Monday, March 2, 2015

Chalk It Up!

I'm baaaaack.  Yea, its been a while...sorry...again.  Keeping up with my little guy sorta keeps me busy !

My latest project makes me all giddy inside.  Its a simple project that I've thought about doing for a while and I just bit the bullet and completed it.  Back in the day, I used to babysit this boy who had a HUGE chalkboard on a wall in his kitchen and I just loved it. He loved it too...but I think I loved it more. It was good for coloring and learning.  Now, my little guy isn't quite old enough to enjoy a chalkboard yet, but soon enough, he'll be making marks all over my painted walls the chalkboard wall.

I thought about putting the chalk paint on a blank wall we have in the kitchen, but decided to go with just a small area and use the side of our cabinets. 

I purchased my Rustoleum chalkboard paint at my local Ace Hardware store, but any home store (or Amazon) has it.  Everything else I had on hand to paint the cabinet.  Its best to use a small foam roller.  I also ended up using a small craft paint brush (not pictured) to cut in the corners and edges of the cabinet.

This project was so easy that waiting for it to dry was the hardest part.  I followed the directions on the paint can as guidance for the chalkboard.  I cleaned the cabinet surface, painted two coats (I used a fan to help it dry faster) and conditioned the chalkboard (more on conditioning a chalkboard below).  The can did say to wait three days before conditioning...I waited two...oops, I'm a rebel.  It seems to be fine, so we'll see down the road. 

I never knew that you had to condition a chalkboard before.  Heck...I didn't even know what conditioning a chalkboard was about!  Conditioning prevents your board from having permanent marks.  All you do is cover the whole board with the side of the chalk and then wipe it down using an old rag or paper towel.  Remember the days of cleaning the chalkboard with a wet sponge?  Nope.  Don't do that.


After I conditioned the board, I wanted to add a place to put the chalk.  I saw the most adorable idea like this, using a drawer pull turned upside down to hold the chalk.  I went to Lowe's and picked up a nice-sized drawer pull (similar to this) and went to work.  

And I take back about what I said earlier about waiting for the chalk to dry as being the hardest part.  This simple task was a pain in my you-know-what at first.  

I wanted to screw it into the cabinets so I actually attempted to drill holes into the cabinet. That was an epic fail due to the fact that I really couldn't reach the spot where I wanted to drill.  I did drill holes, but then couldn't get the screws was a mess.  

I ended up using rubber cement glue and just glued it on.  I bet liquid nails would work just as well.  And looking back, I wish I would have put it near the top right corner, that way my little guy couldn't get to it.  Right now its empty because he's always trying to eat the chalk (along with anything edible looking) Otherwise, I love it !    

I know that chalk boarding everything is pretty popular now, but I think that it's a classic and we'll always be able to use it.  Now, in my search for the paint, I also saw that you can prime it with a metal-type paint and it will be magnetic.  That would be pretty neat for those magnetic Alphabet letters and numbers.  And there is also a dry-eraser paint that can make things like a wipe board and you can use markers on it !  Who knew this stuff was out there?!

I love it and I can't wait til my little guy can draw pictures and write his name on it.  But for now, I'll be the one having fun with it.

Has anyone used the magnetic chalkboard paint?  Or the dry-eraser paint?

Now you can Do It Yourself, Too !


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Medal Finisher

So, my youngest sister has made a personal goal to run either a half or (eventually) a full marathon in each of the 50 states.  While she has run quite a few half marathons in our home state of Pennsyltucky, her only other states are Tennessee and soon-to-be Ohio.  She needs to get on that goal ! From doing each half marathon (and always kicking butt) she receives a participation medal.  Along with the medal, she has her bib as well.  What to do with these memorabilia from each race?  You could scrapbook the bibs with some photos, and throw the medals in a keepsake box, but why not display them?  I've noticed on my sister's Pinterest page (Oh, thank you Pinterest) that she has pinned a few bib/medal holders like this one:

I decided to give it the ol' DIY try and make my sister one of these for her birthday.  This was a trial and error project, with lots of trial and lots of errors.  Bare with me while I try to explain.

Tools Needed:
  • Paint brush
  • Drill
Materials Needed:
  • Paint color of choice
  • Alphabet stickers (color of choice)
  • Mod Podge
  • Sand paper
  • Mug and/or cup hooks
  • Rectangular plaque
  • Some sort of frame hanger (I had these lying around)

The bad and the ugly

I first purchased a French corner wood plaque from Michael's craft store.  The size was 11x14 inches- a perfect size for words and hooks.  I painted it with craft paint I had around the house.  Then, I used my Cricit (I seriously love that thing !) to cut out the word "Runner" with sticker paper.  I stuck the stickers on the painted plaque and then, the first error hit.  As I went to paint over it with Mod Podge to give it a nice shiny seal and finish, the letters got soggy and started to peel up AND the Mod Podge was going on clumpy (I guess that's what you get when it is 12 years old).  So I hurried and peeled off the letters and smoothed out the Mod Podge.  I had to paint over it again to help smooth it out.  It worked!  Then I figured, I'd use a clear sealing spray paint and then put new sticker letters on it.  My spray paint came put clumpy as well !!  That was it.  I gave up and decided to start over.  No salvaging it now.

How bad was it?  So bad that I didn't even bother taking a picture.  I've saved your eyes from the horribleness of it all. 

The good

I went back to Michael's (coupon in hand, of course!), and sadly, they were out of the French corner plaque, so I just got a regular rectangular one.  It's just a little less fancy, but the size is still perfect.  I mixed up my paints again and painted it a pretty blue/teal color. 

Once it was dry, I sanded the edges to "frame" the plaque.  I think the sanded edges gives it a nice look, especially on the French corner plaque version that didn't turn out so well. 
(Picture from first attempt with French Corner)
After the edges were sanded and the paint was dry, I took white letter stickers and placed them near the top.  I eye-balled the letters to make them centered.  A ruler could help with this.

Once I smoothed on the letters as best as I could, I took my NEW Mod Podge and gave it a nice clear coat.  No clumps this time!  For the hooks, I used cup hooks for the bib part and the mug hooks for the medals.  I took one of my smaller bibs as a guide for where the holes should be.  I took a pencil and marked the holes. 

Then I used a drill to start a tiny hole for me to screw in the cup hook.

Not every bib will be exactly the same size, so you may end up needing to hole punch some of the bibs to hang properly.

After that, I made seven holes for the mug hooks.  I decided to stagger the hooks to give it a different look, but you could make the hooks in a straight line as well.  Once the holes were started, I just pushed and twisted the hooks until they were tight.  

To make it hang on the wall, I used a ruler to draw a straight line for my saw-toothed frame hangers.  I nailed both in and voila.  Done !

I tested it out with some of my medals and bibs and it looks AWESOME !

My sister loved the gift and it is currently hanging on her bedroom wall...already pretty much filled up.  Go Em !

What other ways do you display sports memorabilia? Shadow box? Shelves?

Now you can Do It Yourself, Too !


Friday, June 13, 2014

Crate Expectations: An easy storage solution

Hello !  It's been a while !  Our little one has been keeping me very busy with, you know, eating, sleeping, pooping, and playing.  It's so exciting being a mommy !  I love every minute of it.

I have been doing some DIY projects around the house, here and there, but I've been very bad about blogging about them.  One that I finished recently is a bookshelf made from crates.

As I looked around our living room, with baby stuff here and there everywhere, I realized that I have no "baby stuff friendly" storage.  I needed a spot to throw his toys and books and other little things like teething rings and whatnot.  I knew I wanted something "cube" like and small to fit under our bay window. We used to have a wicker basket trunk that sits in front of the window.  Not too baby stuff friendly.  I started looking where every person now looks: Pinterest.  I found some ideas and figured that using some crates would be the perfect solution !

I purchased my crates at JoAnn fabrics.  Each time my husband or I were near JoAnn's, we would pop in with a coupon and get a crate.  Each one ended up being about $8, so around $32 for all the crates.  Could I probably have found them cheaper? Sure.  But with a kid in tow and not a lot of time on our hands, $8 per crate was a good enough deal. 

We had some leftover stain from the desktop that my father-in-law made a couple years ago and I had a sponge brush, so the only other things that I purchased were mending brackets to fasten the crates together.

First, I sanded the crates.  Some parts of the slats were a bit rough and I didn't want to risk any splinters.  Next, I painted each crate and let them thoroughly dry.  The stain does have a strong fume-y smell, so outside is best to paint and let dry.  Just make sure it doesn't rain!

After they were done drying, I used a drill to screw the mending braces on the backs.  Make sure to do this on an even surface and have someone nearby to help hold them together while you fasten them.  I used three big square ones at the top, bottom, and middle, then the smaller ones on both sides.  I also put furniture pads on the bottom so they don't scratch the hardwood floors and to give them just a teeny boost off the floor.  

When fastened together, accessorize !  I used my Cricut to cut out the word, "BOOKS."  I just taped them to the back with regular ol' scotch tape.  

Eventually, once Kevin is crawling, I will attach the shelf to the wall so that he doesn't pull it down on top of him. Aaannd, the plants will probably have to go as well.  Oh, baby-proofing.

I love how they turned out and they perfectly match the IKEA furniture that we have in the living room.  They are also a very functional piece of furniture for baby stuff.  There is one bad thing.  Our dog, Stout, would put his paws on the old wicker basket (which used to be there before the crates) to look out the window.  Unfortunately, he hasn't quite taken to the crates and is a bit skeptical of the new setup.  I'm sure he will figure it out soon enough so that he can continue his squirrel watching.  

These would look great in a playroom or nursery, painted in bright colors.  If anyone tackles that project, please share your after pictures ! I'd love to see them !

Now you can Do It Yourself, Too !