Sunday, March 16, 2014

Giant Chalkboard

Happy spring break! Yes, even nursing students get a small break. Unfortunately I still have homework, online tests to take, and a paper to write but thankfully I have seven days to get those accomplished. 

My first priority was to make at least one DIY project this week. Sure my priorities may seem a little out of order, but if I tell you it was for my favorite little would that make it sound better? Good because it IS for my favorite little! And also for me, because let’s be honest, with or without kids we are all a little selfish.

There is a wall in our kitchen that is boring, bare, and in desperate need of some TLC. See? It’s practically screaming, “Make me useful!” Who am I to tell that wall its useless?   

So of course I headed to Pinterest for some Kitchen ideas. I wasn’t in love with anything I had found (this rarely happens) and ended up pinning ideas for Sophia’s birthday party, bathroom ideas, my future closet, and playroom ideas. While looking at the marvelous playrooms I noticed one had a chalkboard wall, say what?! How neat! 

We rent, so painting an entire wall black was definitely not an option. 

Project: Giant Chalkboard
Specs: Sturdy, eye-pleasing, not permanent, and fun for our little.
Deadline: Before I start school on March 24th.

DISCLAIMER: Rant ahead.
“You’re spoiling her rotten! She runs your house doesn’t she? Why would you put a giant chalkboard in your kitchen?! What a mess that makes. Your house must be a mess all the time.”

These are some of the many things I am asked told when I tell stories of our crazy life or tell people about my next big project.

Here’s why I want a giant chalkboard in our kitchen, why I let her draw on my fridge with dry erase markers, play in the sink until it almost overflows onto the floor, or blow bubbles in our kitchen: SHE’S A KID! She is a learning, full of energy, curious, and sometimes naughty KID. We do set boundaries, but generally when there is danger associated with an activity, such as a safety handle on our front door so she can’t run outside and no running in the house because there are sharp corners on some of our furniture pieces.

So maybe she does “run this house” because this is her home. This is her learning environment, this is where I want her to be who she is as her two year old self, where she can make mistakes, and where she can feel confident in all that she does.
This does not make me a bad parent and it does not make her an unruly child. She does have rules, she still has a bedtime, she has to eat her veggies, and she needs to use her manners. Yes, she does misbehave, she pouts, she doesn’t sit nicely in church every Sunday, she throws fits in the grocery store because I won’t buy her favorite fruit snacks, and she recently learned how to stick out her tongue. She’s two.

Enough of that bologna. Let’s get to the fun stuff!

1 large sheet of plywood. (We had ours cut at 3 by 5)
Magnetic primer
Chalkboard paint
Moulding for the frame (I bought white to save some paint time)
Wood glue to attach moulding to the board
Small screws 


1. Start with the magnetic primer. You need three thin coats of magnetic primer.  I used a roller to make sure I had nice, thin, and even layers. I rolled the first layer on and let it dry for two hours. I then rolled on layer two and again waited for two hours while it dried. The last coat was rolled on and I waited not so patiently while it dried for two hours.

2. Next is the chalkboard paint. You will need two coats of chalkboard paint. I let the first coat dry for two hours, and the second coat dried overnight.
I recommend testing a spot near the edge. That way if for some reason it doesn't work out, it will be covered up by the moulding.
3. In between dry times, I cut the moulding to size. Okay, actually Joey did because using a saw is NOT by forte. (I swear in every project post I brag about how great he is, but it’s because he is really great. I am so lucky that I can come up with some bizarre project and he can help me make it perfect!)

4. The next morning when everything was dry, I glued the moulding onto the painted board. Make sure you don’t use too much glue because it is a pain to clean up. You also don’t want to use too little glue, or you end up with this:

5. The glue just was not holding on the corners, so my hunk decided to use some screws to better secure the moulding. (I’m glad I keep him around.)

6. Next you need to hang it up. We used this to secure the chalkboard to the wall. It’s pretty nifty!

7. Before you let your favorite little at it, you need to prep the chalkboard. To do this you need to take a piece of chalk, turn it onto its side and rub it along the entire chalkboard. Next, take a paper towel or soft cloth and rub the chalk into the board using a circular motion. To finish the prep, take an eraser and erase any leftover chalk.

All in all, this DIY project was pretty easy. It does require a lot of time though, so I recommend you don’t start this project until you have at least a couple of free days.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Chocoholic Lives Here

By the way, according to Wikipedia, a chocoholic is a person who craves or compulsively consumes chocolate. There is some medical evidence to support the existence of actual addiction to chocolate. It's a real thing. You’re welcome.

If you ask S what Valentine’s Day is about she will tell you: chocolate and pretty flowers. I may or may not have told her that as a friendly reminder to her daddy.
However this year is different because I won’t be asking for chocolates. I know how long that will take me to run off. No thanks.

So here is my guilt –free solution to having chocolate on Valentine’s Day. I saw something similar to this on Pinterest, but unfortunately it was just a picture with no link to follow. I hate it when that happens! So I apologize to whomever the original maker is for not being able to credit you. 

What you will need:
-Styrofoam balls – I used 2.5” balls and cut them in half
-Styrofoam board – I used a 1” thick board and cut squares and rectangles that were roughly 2” wide
-Cardboard – This will be your heart
-Poster board – I cut two strips and used them for my heart-box “sides”
-Tissue Paper – used to cover the bottom and sides of your heart-box
-Crepe Paper (streamers) – I used maybe half a roll.
-Baking cups
-Paints – Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate in color
-Ribbon – to hang your finished project
-Brushes, Hot glue gun, Elmer’s glue stick, toothpicks, a pen
- A box of chocolates for reference. I used Google because I hate running. Chocolate=Running.

Step One: Cut out your candies. I didn’t take a picture of this step because I enjoy having all ten of my fingers. Cutting the Styrofoam balls was possibly the hardest part of this project. 

Step Two: Paint the first coat on your chocolates. I had a great helper and I hope you do too!


Step Three: Grab your cardboard and cut out a heart shape. I used a Valentine’s placemat that we have for Sophia. I am no good at drawing hearts that are symmetrical.

Step Four: Grab the extra Styrofoam board, and your toothpicks. By this time your first coat of paint should be dry. The first coat soaks into the Styrofoam so it dries quickly. Next, stab the toothpicks into the bottom of your chocolates and stand them up using the extra Styrofoam. This allows you to paint closer to the edges, and makes for a smaller mess. Paint on your second coat.

Step Five: Glue a sheet of tissue paper to your heart cut out. (I used a stick of Elmer’s glue for this) Cut off the extra that hangs over the edge of your heart.

Step Six: Cut two strips of poster board about 2.5” wide. The total length will be determined by the size of your heart. Fold over half an inch and cut slits on this half inch. This will be glued to the back of your heart.

Step Seven:  Wrap these strips in tissue paper. Again, I used the glue stick for this part.

Step Eight: Paint the final coat onto your Chocolates. 

Step Nine: Glue the folded edge of your poster board to the back of your heart using your hot glue gun. Cut the excess on each side off.
Step Ten: Use the hot glue gun to glue on your crepe paper. I ruffled mine up along the way to give it more “wow”. 
Step Eleven: When your chocolates are dry, transfer them onto a sheet of wax paper.
Step Twelve: Drizzle your chocolates with paint. I used a frosting piping bag for this step. A sandwich baggy with the corner cut will work, too.
Step Thirteen: Let your drizzled chocolates dry completely. Next, hot glue the bottom of each chocolate into a baking cup. I used two baking cups per chocolate. (Remember to glue the baking cups to each other, or your chocolates will fall when you hang the wreath.)

Step Fourteen: Hot glue your chocolates into the box.

Step Fifteen: Glue the ribbon to the back of your “box.” 

Step Sixteen: Hang your guilt-free chocolates for all to see. 
The total cost for this project - $16. You really can't beat that.