All In The Family: The Burrows Bond Over Sign Making

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It started by the “biggest mistake ever.”

Ashley Burrows had been wanting a Cricut machine, so she put it on her Amazon wish list. But she never meant to order it.

“We still don’t know,” Burrows, a Pasadena resident, said of how the Cricut machine ended up shipping to her house. “Such a fluke mistake.”

The mistake has blossomed into a family activity: sign making.

Burrows and her husband, Brian, work together to make the signs. Ashley designs the signs and then Brian does the woodwork. Their three children — Bryley, 10; Rylan, 7; and Kendyl, 3 — help however they can.

“They all try to help,” Burrows said. “They’re like, ‘Mom, are we making signs tonight? What can I do?’”

The signs, sold through the magothymarket Etsy shop, are made of solid pine wood. Burrows stains the signs, instead of painting them, “to keep the integrity of the wood,” she said.

Though the shop has a variety of signs, the Burrows are currently prioritizing Christmas and holiday items.

“We try to keep our designs pretty neutral in color so they can go with whatever decor you already have in your house without drawing too much attention or being too tacky. We try to create classic designs, things with quotes that people are familiar with,” Burrows said. “Since we’re in Pasadena and we’re on the water, we try to incorporate some water or coastal-themed signs with everything that we do.”

One of the holiday signs features a seahorse wearing a Santa hat and says “seas and greetings.” Two different signs say “Christmas on the Chesapeake” and “Christmas on the Magothy.”

The main focus of the shop is family-centric signs.

“We’re a blended family, so we like to provide signs for blended families, too, as well as traditional families,” Burrows said. “We have a few signs in our shop that will incorporate multiple last names or multiple initials. We have one that says ‘A Perfect Blend’ and the established year.”

Each sign takes about two days to make, as it has to dry for at least 24 hours after being stained. After coming home from their full-time jobs, the Burrows get straight to sign-making three or four days of the week.

“My favorite part is the customer feedback,” Burrows said. “I’ll have customers that send me pictures and tell me what they did with the signs or who they gave them to and how much somebody loved them.”

The Burrows have sold their signs at a few local craft fairs, including the Made in Maryland Festival and Wine on the Water. The only place to regularly purchase their signs is on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/magothymarket.

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