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Writings on the wall

Phrases inspire and instruct

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When entering the Minson home in West Point, anyone can read the writing on the wall: Freedom. Family. Faith. Friends. Sit Long. Laugh Much. Talk Often.

During the past year, Tonya Minson has dressed up several of her home's walls with vinyl words and phrases

Minson sells vinyl lettering to people who want to decorate their homes with personalized quotes. She and her husband, Randy, owned Post in Print in Kaysville until 2003. After they sold the business, she kept their vinyl printer, which she now uses to cut the vinyl phrases.

"We've always done signs and banners and stuff like that — that's just been my husband's side thing — and now I'm just going full bore," Minson said. Minson does a lot of her business on the Internet through her Web site, phraseswallart.com, where she has been able to hook up with customers across the nation.

"I've been getting orders from Florida and Nevada," Minson said. "It's just been great. That's the exciting part is getting stuff from far away."

Minson has a computer program for the vinyl machine that cuts the letters out in a certain color. Then she peels off the extra surrounding color and places transfer tape down so the letters can be peeled off in strips of words.

After the vinyl lettering is placed on a wall or smooth surface, it won't come off unless someone wants it to. In that case, they can heat the lettering up with a blow dryer and then pull it off.

Many of Minson's customers place the phrases directly on their walls. One of her customers placed entire thoughts and quotes on her walls.

"She loves stories and she loves thoughts and she put just huge thoughts all through her house, and they are really nice. They are really neat thoughts and sayings," Minson said. "She said that she likes

just having thoughts everywhere so that her kids will always remember that she loves them and cares about them."

But Minson isn't the only one to bring the vinyl phrase craze to Davis County.

Others like Jeff and Teresa Nielson of Syracuse provide the product to area residents. The Nielsons started selling vinyl-phrase crafts a little more than a year ago when the couple decided one of them needed to stay home to care for their disabled daughter.

Now, Jeff manages the orders and markets the business during the day while Teresa, after working her government job, puts the products together.

"I don't go to bed at night very early, usually around midnight," Teresa said.

The couple works with their neighbor, Lisa Chandler, to design and sell all types of vinyl-phrase crafts including plaques, clocks, tiles, picture frames, shadow boxes and more. Chandler provides the vinyl and the Nielsons provide the finished products.

"We sell everything you can think of," Teresa said.

Teresa said she likes the artistic side of the crafts and said the couple has been successful during their 13 months of business.

"It hasn't made me wealthy, but I haven't had problems with the bills," she said.

The couple sells some of their crafts at J&J Nursery in Layton and at the Secret Haven in Fruit Heights. They also have a Web site, teresascustomcreations.com, where people can place orders. They have sold to as far away as New Zealand.

Janice Johnson is another distributor of vinyl and sells the letting and crafts in Kaysville. She said the lettering is gaining popularity because the phrases express things parents want their children to learn.

The phrases in her home are strategically placed so her children will see them at certain times in the day. For example, her favorite saying, "Remember the day's blessings, forget the day's troubles," is located directly above her children's coat rack so when they hang up their coats each day, they can remember that they don't need to worry about their hardships.

"The little things we put in our home, we don't say, 'Read that,' 'Read that,' but they read it every day and it sticks with them," Johnson said.

Johnson has a vinyl cutter and computer program similar to Minson's that will cut out the lettering in several different colors.

In October 2004, she purchased the cutting equipment and began selling phrases to family and friends in Las Vegas, where she said her products were quite popular. She took orders by phone or e-mail. But, in January 2005, Johnson started selling the vinyl products to local Davis County residents.

"It's just amazing how fast the word of mouth goes," Johnson said, noting that she has been busy with her business year-round.

Johnson does her vinyl work mostly during the day when her children are in school, or at night when they are asleep.

"I'm not into it to have a full-day business, I want to take care of my children also," Johnson said.

She has recruited her four boys, who range in age from 5-12, into helping her with some of her orders. She sells the vinyl lettering, as well as finished wooden plaques, tiles, glass blocks and more.

Both Minson and Johnson host vinyl parties where people can come sample their products and learn how to use the vinyl.

"It's kind of just taken off," Minson said of her business. "The party thing has been huge because you can earn (and) you get discounts if you have a party, and that's where the parties come in. Everybody wants to get discounts on their vinyl."

In her neighborhood alone, Nielson said, there are four people who have vinyl lettering cutters.

She said she loves to teach people how to do the vinyl. She also loves seeing the reactions of people when they pick up their product and really approve of it.

Jeff Nielson said he has sold a variety of things before, but this is different.

"This is the only thing I've sold that you can help somebody that's having a bad week or a bad day," he said. "By you selling them something with a good quote, it can brighten their day."

E-mail: nclemens@desnews.com