N: N


N is for … N.
I’ve been collecting vintage sign salvaged Ns for some years. My husband is especially accomplished at finding and gifting really good ones.


Some I admire for their intricately weathered surfaces.


Some I love for their over-the-top appearance. This one is three feet tall, of heavy wood painted red, and oversees a stairwell.


Much of the typography is beautiful, like this well-balanced classic uppercase N, of green metal.


This is the newest one, a hollow aluminum lowercase n, about 12 tall by 3 inches deep, an early Christmas present (of course) from my delightful husband.


N is also for Napoleon, my stoic and dingy old man cat, who is growing very boney. It makes me so happy to see him comfortably napping in the early morning sun.


This was the remarkably pastel dawn over the ocean that morning. There’s the horizon obscured with a far-off fog wall, as often happens, but the colors — especially the lilac and rose — were extraordinary.


16 thoughts on “N: N

  1. Pepper says:

    I love your eclectic collection of ‘N’s, scissors, and I have to ask…what is the story behind the photograph of the chicken man?? I love it!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Chicken man is a print found online somewhere, years ago. From the footwear, I’d guess the original photo is European, mid-20th century. It reminds me to create joy :)

      • Pepper says:

        I’m a little disappointed that this wasn’t a family picnic, that someone got really drunk and did this to scare a passing fox hunt 😆 What was I thinking? I love it nevertheless as it makes me smile every time I see it 🙂

  2. Shelleybweb says:

    Lovely photo of Napoleon. Your numerous Ns are naturally, nicely nuanced. And yes, tell us about Chicken man.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you, ShelleyB. These Ns represent about half of what live on in my small home :)
      Chicken man — actually Rooster man — answers the question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

    • Nancy Enge says:

      *ahem* Rooster man is late to the pageant, having misplaced his garters, and believes it’s best to always make a dramatic entrance.
      Napoleon is beloved, and is enduring the indignities of old age, as well as the antics of others :)

  3. Jodi Hippler says:

    Oh what fun it must be to be on the lookout for the “N”‘s! I’ve got only two “J”‘s myself, but having the initial just makes you feel that you were somehow meant to be, and that your name is really meant for you!
    Napoleon looks as though he’s forming the animal letter “O”!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I believe one must always collect “something” because then people always know what to get for you :) And as the collector, I enjoy looking at my collection, remembering or wondering about each piece. I used to collect scissors, and for a while it was Mexican folk art. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Calavera_Catrina)
      Cats seem to enjoy sleeping in unlikely contortions. I wish I was that bendy!

      • Jeanne says:

        Cats and toddlers both. I made a little album of photographs of my then-one-year-old daughter, who while napping flung herself into the most amusing positions a mother could ask for.

        Thanks for sharing your Ns — they are lovely!

  4. elizabeth s says:

    Such a novel idea! It must give you husband an great sense of adventure tracking down then gifting you with unusual N’s for your evolving collection; which you have displayed with decided panache!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Elizabeth! Collecting Ns is a natural, given my profession as a graphic designer and my love of typography. And yes, my husband is adventuresome :)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I’m glad you like them, Keli. They’re like looking though a picture book of collected moments; they have their original lives as parts of useful information systems, now overlaid with stories of how they came to me :)
      The little monsters came from the gift shop of a sculpture park in Massachusetts, locally made, and I wish I had bought many more. Hindsight!
      And yes, under stair drawers. In my small home, these constitute my “linens closet.”

  5. Megan says:

    Now that’s a great collection! Thanks for showing us. Hugs to Napoleon. (I’m still stuck on C for Cat, but busy building miniature birdhouses right now).

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