House Sign, Castle Sign

Every Englishman’s home is his castle…. The adage has been in use for at least four hundred years. According to a blog post on Quoteland, the earliest recorded use is found in a 1581 guide to early years education written by a man named Richard Mulcaster. As early as 1642, Thomas Fuller used it with a tone of disillusionment. In any case here’s a sign from someone whose house still is, at least in name, his castle:

Wilton Castle House Sign Image

This style of artwork – gilded outline drawing – is rapidly increasing in popularity.

Daffodils on House Signs

Although they only bloom in the springtime, daffodils are clearly an all-year-round favourite on peoples houses. While signs with flowers such as primroses and azalea are popular only during the bloom season, daffodil house signs are still being requested now, while the leaves are falling.

Here is a typical example, ordered by a customer in the US:

Daffodil house sign image


Driftwood House Sign

Holidays are never long enough. We just made a sign from someone who wished to extend theirs with a picture. Our artists were able to copy their favourite holiday snap, creating a long-lasting reminder of a summer day in Spain. Unfortunately, the first attempt by our artists was in the wrong proportions, not leaving adequate space for the desired text. The painting was so stunning, however, that we could not face simply binning it. Somebody had the bright idea to put it in a driftwood frame to produce a brilliant piece of art. The frame is not real driftwood, but a more durable HDU imitation. Check out the final house sign, as well as the one we messed up – decide for yourself which came out nicer!

Fuertaventura House Sign Image

Driftwood Framed House Sign Image

On our house signs website, we offer a lot of standard signs for people to choose from.  However, we can create almost anything (like the above example shows.)

Complex Mashup

“Mashup” is a word you often hear these days on the web. For those who don’t know, a Mashup is:

A mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool; (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia also mentions that a Mashup was originally a music term, for aggregating 2 or more songs or tracks into one.

Hence I would like to tell you about my favorite mashup. For anyone who hasn’t listened to or watched Les Misérables, you should. The characters all have various songs they sing during the performance, then just before half-time, they all sing the song “One Day More”.

You can listen to the song on the Les Mis website here. Turn up the volume and let it blast. It is a truly inspirational piece of music. Here are the lyrics so you can read along:

One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road to Calvary;
These men who seem to know my crime
Will surely come a second time.
One day more!

I did not live until today.
How can I live when we are parted?

One day more.

Tomorrow you’ll be worlds away
And yet with you, my world has started!

One more day all on my own.

Will we ever meet again?

One more day with him not caring.

I was born to be with you.

What a life I might have known.

And I swear I will be true!

But he never saw me there!

One more day before the storm!

Do I follow where she goes?

At the barricades of freedom.

Shall I join my brothers there?

When our ranks begin to form

Do I stay; and do I dare?

Will you take your place with me?

The time is now, the day is here

One day more!

One more day to revolution,
We will nip it in the bud!
I will join these little schoolboys,
They will wet themselves with blood!

One day more!

Watch ’em run amuck,
Catch ’em as they fall,
Never know your luck
When there’s a free for all,
Here a little `dip’
There a little `touch’
Most of them are goners
So they won’t miss much!

Students (2 Groups)
1: One day to a new beginning

2: Raise the flag of freedom high!

1: Every man will be a king

2: Every man will be a king

1: There’s a new world for the winning

2: There’s a new world to be won

Do you hear the people sing?

My place is here, I fight with you!

One day more!

I did not live until today.

One more day all on my own!

How can I live when we are parted?

I will join these people’s heros
I will follow where they go
I will learn their little Secrets,
I will know the things they know.

One day more!

Tomorrow you’ll be worlds away

What a life I might have known!

And yet with you my world has started

One more day to revolution
We will nip it in the bud
We’ll be ready for these


Watch ’em run amok
Catch ’em as they fall
Never know your luck
When there’s a free-for-all!

Tomorrow we’ll be far away,
Tomorrow is the judgement day

Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

Anyway, some mashups are great, some are just useless, but I would vote this as the best mashup of all time.

Picture Perfect

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and some of our customers obviously agree. In addition to ordinary house signs, we are occasionally asked to make signs which have no words, just a hand painted image. Here are two examples, a fish and three badgers, painted in a matching style:

leaping fish house sign

badgers house sign


‘The House’ House Sign

A house name for the imaginitive: ‘The House’. There do seem to be some houses called this, which could lead to a rather (un)interesting address:

The House
The Street (yes – there are several streets in England with this name)
The Village (in Greenwich)
or The Town (a part of Enfield)

I doubt you’d get very far with ‘the county’ but it might be worth a try. In any case, here’s a sign with a slightly more descriptive name: ‘The House at West Green’.

The House house sign image.jpg

Find out more about house names. Read this article on the History of House Names.

Google Index Speed Test

I wrote a post on Friday regarding how fast pages are added to the main Google Index. In the test, I linked to the blog post from Digg. However, it may be that Google just picks it up from the RPC-Ping.

Here is a test of just that. Before I wrote this post, if you searched Google for the words “google index speed test” you came up with no results when you used the quotation marks.

I will post this and see how long it takes to appear. It might appear in the results without the quotations as well, but I want to see exactly when it appears.

Here we go:

11:48 – Posted

11:57 – Picked up via Technorati tags on Tagcentral which is indexed, but the post is not

Index speed result one image

12:04 – Scraped onto someones spam blog

12:05 – Picked up and added to Googles main index

google index results

Pretty fast – 17 minutes from post to index. It also appears right of the top of the results even without the quotes.

The next test will be to see how fast pages which are linked to from a blog post like this one get indexed. The RPC-Pings seem like very powerful tools for getting indexed quick.

Interestingly, at 12:20, the TagCentral result no longer shows up – just the blog entry. This is because, being a tag aggregator, the link no longer appears on their page. Google has re-indexed their page already and removed them from the index. So it’s not only fast in – it’s fast out as well.

Wow – who would have thought testing Google could be so fun?

Minty Fresh Indexing – 18 Minutes!

It used to be that to get into Google’s index was a process that could take days or months. However, Google now seems to be indexing pages at a blinding speed. You can read Matt Cutt’s report on “Minty Fresh Indexing” here. He writes about one of Skrenta Blogs posts, and about how it got indexed within an hour or so.

Skrenta has a PR6 home page, hence a new blog post can get indexed very fast via a normal RPC blog pinging service.

But what about just a normal static page? How fast can they get indexed?

Clover Signs wrote an article about how to calculate the height of text for signs. When it was published, there was only one link pointing to that page. It came from the index page of the articles. Google does not crawl that page very often, and didn’t crawl it at all the day that day.

10 minutes after it was published, I submitted the article to Digg, as it has interest to any graphic designers. Then an amazing thing happened:

11:50 – Article published

12:00 – Article submitted to Digg

14:00 – Article appears in Google’s index (using under the term “Traditional Sign Making”.

Traditional Sign Making is not an obscure keyword, people do actually search for it. However, the articles ranks at Number 4.

Here is a screen shot taking at 5:00pm.

Fast Indexing Image

The Digg article only got 1 digg and only 4 people actually clicked through to it.

Showing the freshest results must be very important for Google now. Unfortunately, the results are temporary, and you quickly drop back down again. All I can say is well done to the Google Engineers again!

I am publishing this post under the heading “Minty Fresh Indexing”, as when you search Google for that term, you get Matt Cutt’s post about it. It will be very interesting if I manage to rank, even temporarily, above his post! I will let you know.

UPDATE: It’s happend already! 18 minutes after I posted this, it ranked at number 11 for “Minty Fresh Indexing”!

UPDATE: 1 hour and a half later, and I rank second, right under the blog of Mr Cutts.

Minty Fresh Image

3D Sculpted House Sign

Every so often we get a request for a 3D Sculpture. Although this is obviously quite a lot of work, some of the results are truly amazing. Check out this fairy tale scene –

3D Sculpted House Sign

Using HDU makes sculpture much easier than when using wood. HDU has no grain and is easier to carve. The person with the chisel still needs to have an artistic eye though.

This sign is carved out of one thick piece of HDU. You can easily get one too. Just ask!