My Chalkboard Calendar {Tutorial}

As promised in my Top 5 DIY Projects post – here is the tutorial for the chalkboard calendar in my command center.

With 4 kids involved in more than I like them to be – we need to have our lives mapped out.  The iPhones help A LOT – but I’m that mom that hasn’t let her kids have a phone yet…so they need to be in the loop, too.  We always have a breakdown of the week at our Family Night on Monday nights, and we all say what we’ve got going on and then….it goes up on the Family Calendar.

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

 

Sorry about the terrible photos – that area of my house has TERRIBLE lighting!!! {and I have no tripod!}

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

It’s big and beautiful and you can’t miss it!  I have a little command center right as you walk into the house {well…where WE walk into the house}, and right where we walk out of the door.

Command-Center

Backpacks, Lunchboxes, even our SHOES are stored here so that we always know where things are, and getting out the door is MUCH easier!!  The kids each have a bin to keep homework folders, Cub Scout books, etc.  It’s ALL HERE!  But, the Calendar is still the main attraction.  And the best part about it…it’s SUPER EASY TO MAKE ONE!

**If you don’t have this kind of wall space – you can make this in a MUCH more scaled down version – and even put it INSIDE OF A PICTURE FRAME if you’re not handy with the power tools!

Since I made this before my blogger days – I have no pictures of the step by step {SORRY!!!}  So – I’ve created graphic visual aids that I HOPE make sense!  Just make sure to read ALL of the instructions.  I know – not as easy as picture tutorials…

*I’m going to give you instructions for how I made mine – so if you’re doing a different size – just make the changes accordingly.

What You’ll Need:

**Sheet Metal – you can find it with the duct work materials (heat & a/c) at a Hardware store.  I wanted mine to be magnetic – so that I could just stick up party invites or appointment cards easily where they are very visible.  If you don’t care about it being magnetic, you could just use backer board found by the wood trim.

**Chalkboard Spray Paint – you could use brush on paint – but I wanted my finish to be smooth like buttuh.  No brush marks or drips for me!

**Primer – Again, I like mine in a spray can. :0)

**1/4″ Square Wooden Dowels – how many you’ll need will depend on the size of calendar you are making.  I used 16 of them :0)  It’s a good idea to buy a few extra sticks in case you have cutting errors.

**MDF casing molding – it’s already primed and ready for your paint!

**Caulk in a Tube – I find that if you’re not used to using a caulking gun – the tubes make it pretty easy to use caulk!

**Glue – I used my Hot Glue Gun.  I know…I could use something stronger.  I didn’t want to stand there and hold each piece on until it was set enough to let go.  AND it’s been up for 5 years with no issues…so there you go!  Just make sure the glue is REALLY hot!  No cold temp guns allowed! **you could also use caulking – since it’ll be hanging around the ‘job site’ anyway!**

**Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape – this is going to need to stay up for awhile.  You could also use Liquid Nails if you’d like…but you’d need a caulk gun :0)

How To Make It:

**I had a big wall to work with – so I chose to make my board 60″w x 46″h.  You will have to figure out what size of board you want to make and buy materials accordingly.**

Step 1:

Decide what size you want your calendar to be.  To figure this out – I knew that the sheet metal I wanted to use was 24″ wide – and I wanted to cut as little as possible – so I decided to make my calendar according to those dimensions.  I also wanted the dowels hide the seams of the sheet metal – so I made each “weekday” box 8″ wide to get 3 “days” per sheet of sheet metal.  The length of the sheet metal is 36″ – so by making each “day” 8″ tall – I could get 4 “days” down – leaving 4″ to put the days of the week at the top.  Perfect! Since there were 3 “days” across & 4 “days” down  per sheet and I needed 7 days wide and 5 days long – I knew that I needed 3 pieces of sheet metal.

Layout the calendar

I used the full 2 sheets with no cuts & cut the remaining piece into {3} 8″ strips.

Cut the sheet metal into thirds

So – I placed the 2 full sheets side by side and then I added one strip to the width to make my “saturday”, and the other 2 strips to the bottom.  Cut off any excess using steel snips.

Sheet Metal Layout

 

WHEW!!!  That’s the hardest part – I PROMISE!!!

Step 2:

Once your sheet metal is cut to size layout all of the pieces…

Prime it – make sure that you have even coverage and don’t stay in one place too long to avoid drips!

Paint it – with the Chalkboard paint – I like to use 2 coats of chalkboard paint.

*make sure you’re in a well ventilated area.  I put a drop cloth on my patio table outside.  It’s nice and open and the fumes don’t get to me.

Step 3:

Paint your casing molding the color that you want.  I used ‘Aged Beige’ Behr Primer and Paint in One.  This seems to be my favorite color these days!!

Set aside to dry.

Step 4:

Attach the sheet metal to the wall using Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape. (or however you’ve chosen to hang the metal)

*use a bubble level & a yard stick to draw straight GUIDE LINES on the wall at the height you’d like the TOP of your calendar to be.  Then use the level to draw guide lines for the SIDES.

*attach strips of the mounting tape to the backs of the sheet metal & then remove the plastic strip exposing the glue

*using the guide lines you’ve drawn – attach the sheet metal to the wall in the same pattern you chose to lay it out.  The mounting tape directions say to hold them in place for a set amount of time – make sure to read the time frame!  If you’re using liquid nails or another form of adhesive – follow the directions for use.

Sheet Metal Layout

 

Step 5:  Cut & attach the casing. (if you’re using a picture frame – you can skip this step and go straight to step 6)

Using a miter saw or a miter box – cut the casing as shown below to the length of your sheet metal layout. Don’t assume it is a certain length.  MEASURE TWICE & CUT ONCE!

cut linesAttach using a brad nailer if you have one.  {you could nail in finish nails and an awl, or use liquid nails, too!}

Step 6:  Add the dowels to make the grid

Once everything else is in place – use a bubble level to attach the dowels in a grid pattern that will make up the “days” on the calendar.

*I like to start with covering up the seams first.

-Cut the stick to where it won’t end in the middle of a “day”. For example:  My dowels were 36″ long – but I made my days 8″ square.  So, I would need to cut the dowel to a number divisible by 8.  So – I cut my 36″ long dowel to 32″ so I don’t have any seams where I don’t want them.

*start glueing (again – I used my hot glue gun…) the 32″ long sticks following the grid that you created to figure out the layout – so for me I placed them every 8″ across and to cover up the seams on the bottoms strips.

***the black lines are where you should be placing your dowels***

lay out the long dowels

Once you have the long dowels in place, you can start making the cuts for the short dowels.

*I like to roughly measure between the long dowels to make sure that they are straight and you SHOULD (in theory) be able to mass cut the short cuts.

But – I would cut maybe 3 sticks into your width length (for me it’s 8″) and make sure they are fitting before you go and cut up all of your dowels.

cut the short dowels

Glue them onto the calendar in this pattern:

Full Grid Layout

 

Step 7: PRIME THE CHALKBOARD!!!

I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is!

*You’ll want to turn a piece of chalk sideways and rub it in all over the chalkboard areas.

*Then use a dry cloth and erase it.

*If you don’t do this step – whatever you write on the board will never fully erase.  It needs that chalk as almost a sealer so that future chalk will wipe off.  That probably made no sense :0)

Ta- Dah!!!  You’re all done – now your kids can look and see what activities they have coming up & I have my life in front of me at a glance.  I love it!

Just as a side note:  I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again that I LOVE this chalk cartridge set from Allary.  I stick it on top of the frame so it’s always there handy if I need to add an appointment.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  I will take step by step pictures when I help my friend make hers ;0)

**Erin

 

 

Oh, how do you survive in the summertime?

Ahhh….summer.  In my mind, summer is what I see in the magazines.  Outdoor picnics, working in the garden, family bike rides…lots of outdoor fun.

OH WAIT!  I live in Phoenix, Arizona.  Stepping outside is like opening your oven.  These activities just aren’t possible here in the summer time.

And here I have 4 kiddos home from school for the summer to entertain and it needs to be indoors as much as possible.

So today, I thought I’d share some of my solutions:

First of all – we needed to have some kind of schedule.  My family just functions better that way.  The kids like having something to look forward to, and it keeps me from hiding from them.  {ha ha…don’t judge me…}

One of my super genius friends told me about hers a few years ago and it is the #1-must-happen in my summer time planning.

Our Weekly Summer Schedule

Make-it Monday: It can be a craft – it can be a treat.  But we create something together.

You can get ideas on my pintrest board HERE

-OR-

If you feel like you just don’t have the crafty gene – Kiwi Crate has SUPER cute crafts that get shipped right to your house.  The kids LOVE them!! {even my 13 year old!!}  You can do a subscription or just buy individual crates.

Intelligent Tuesday: We head to the local library and spend time finding and reading books.  They also get to have computer time there.  You can give them research projects if you want to step it up a bit.

Wet Wednesday: We do SOMETHING involving water.  We don’t have a pool – so we go to a local splash pad, wash the car and have a water fight, swim at the city pool, go to a water park, etc.

Theatre Thursday: Our local movie theatre offers summer movies.  $5 per kid gets them a movie every week all summer long.  They love it and it gets us out of the house.

Sci-Fri Friday:  This was my sister-in-laws genius idea. {And I think the name is AWESOME!!} Every friday the kids go to her house and do science experiments.  THEY LOVE IT!!

That takes up a few hours every day.  Then what?  My kids self-entertain pretty well.  They love legos.  They love to play board games and card games and stuff.

But sometimes…it comes to “Mom, I’m BORED!”  

I got tired of the usual “what about this, what about that” game…so I’ve created an “I’m Bored” Activities Jar.

I'm-Bored-Activity-Sticks

This is in no way an original idea.  I’ve seen them around for forever…but I wanted to make it tailored to my family.

I’ve pinned all of the activities that need instructions onto my Summer Survival Pintrest Board.   If you follow it – any new pins will be sent your way.

For example: if you need to know how to make the bouncing bubbles – just click on the image on my pintrest page and it will take you to the tutorial.

There are a few rules associated with the “I’m Bored” Jar that I laid out to the kids ahead of time.

1. You MUST do whatever the stick says.

There are more than just fun things to do in there.  I have 3 categories: * Fun * Jobs * Educational *

So – if they draw a job – they have to do it.  In return – if they draw something fun that I need to help with – I have to drop what I’m doing and do it.   Fair trade, I’d say.

2. You can only draw 2 sticks per day per person.

I have 4 kids – but if you have a smaller family – you may want to up the limit.

3. We let everyone do the fun & educational sticks together.

The job sticks are yours to do alone.

Obviously, you can set this up however you want – and I’d love to hear any improvements or suggestions!!

I’ve included copies of the sticks I’ve created for my family for you to download & print. The image below is just one of 3 pages full of fun!

Bored-Sticks-Free-Printable

If you need a good old fashioned printable file that you can cut out yourself…you can download that HERE.

If you have a Silhouette:  I have a print and cut file all finished in the silhouette studio for you with the registration marks and all!!  You can download it HERE.

** I’ve included a blank page in each file – if you want to create your own or just add to what I’ve made.  The font I used is Cafe Rojo from Fonts101.  You can download it HERE.

**The stick size I used is the Jumbo Craft Stick (5.9″ x 0.7″)  I just found them at Wal-mart in the craft section.

**I spray painted one side of my sticks yellow so they were a little more cutesie…just because I like to make things more difficult.

**I left the inside free of a pattern to save on ink…but if you want to cute-ify it even more – you could print your pages on patterned scrapbook paper.  {I think a light gray or yellow chevron would be DARLING}

**Once you have the paper sticks cut out – just use a glue stick to attach the paper stick to the wooden stick.

{I let my kids help me make the sticks.  Not only did it give them something to do – but they got to see what was on them.  They are super excited about them now and I can use them as leverage.  Bwahahahaha.}

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed ideas on the Facebook Page!!  I’m going to try and use the blog’s Facebook page more for the giveaways and stuff like this – so make sure to LIKE US so that you’ll get our posts ;0)

 

 

 

No Storage Space?? Shelving is the Solution!!

I would like to continue with the organization theme…because January seems to be the time I feel like getting it together.  Today’s post is all about what to do when you have a lack of storage space in your home.

I’ve told you before that I have amazing friends with amazing skills – and that I’d love nothing more than to steal their brains for a few days.  Well, my good friend let me do just that for this post.

2 of my closest friends and I all have the same house floor plan.  And while I love my house – one thing that it’s lacking is storage space.  It’s a fairly large home – so it really kind of irks me that I have nowhere to store things.

One of the spaces that seems to lack above all others is the kitchen.  It’s lacking cupboards to begin with – and then add to it my obsession with serving stuff.  Platters, Cake Plates, Cloche’s, Pitchers, Napkin Rings, Plates, Chargers, Napkins, Tablecloths…where do you put it all???  Here is the solution that my friend devised.  {And I will be replicating as soon as the budget allows!!}

Shelf-1

Shelf-2

This shelving is from IKEA. {I promise – they don’t pay me for this stuff!}  And is fairly cheap.  You couldn’t buy the wood to build it yourself for what it costs to put together!! To make it you will need 2 of the side units and as many of the shelves as you would like.  (They have different depths and widths – so measure your space and change the size in the drop down menu!!)

She painted hers black and added casters to the bottom.  I have plans of painting mine white and adding crown molding to the top and paneling to the back {Don’t worry – I’ll show you when it’s all done!!}

But I love that all of her favorite pieces are out on display, but easy to get to when you need them.  (kind of a functional fru-fru mentality like in my last post)

The crates are great! They look fabulous and they are holding her larger platters and cloche’s in them.  A few other things to put in them: Your tablecloths, napkins, silver trays, glasses…you get the idea. ;0)

Crate-1

And I just love the canisters.  Perfect for storing silverware, napkin rings, place card holders,

or the immense paper straw collection that you have. (oh – is that just me?)

Things that there are a lot of and you don’t want them out where they can get dusty.

Canisters

I love the way she arranged the plates and pitchers.  They look fabulous all stacked – but she can easily grab what she needs.

Cookies-and-Cream

Pitchers

And I am really excited about being able to display my cake plate collection the way she has…

Cake-Shelf

Cake-plates

Because this is how my collection is stored now…

Cake-Plate-Collection

…all shoved away in the top shelf of my pantry.  Out on display I will get to see them and enjoy them –

AND I’ll be able to get to them without doing a circus performance!!

Not to mention that I will gain a lot of useful space in the pantry for things that really belong there!!

I have this same shelving collection in a few places in my house.

In my playroom (I’m so embarrassed that I’m showing you this – all of the shelves aren’t painted because I have grand plans that don’t involve red)

Playroom

As you can see – they have narrow shelving as well that attaches to the wide shelving so you can mix it up.  They also have the corner shelves and the crates at the bottom.  (I added the wheels – but they were also at IKEA)

I also used this system under my stairs for some of our food storage.  (Like I said – my kitchen is seriously lacking in space!)

My-Pantry

{I tilted the shelves by putting the back pins 2 holes higher – so that the cans will roll forward and it rotates my food for me!}

Tilt-the-shelves

I did leave the bottom shelf straight to store things that don’t roll, like flour and sugar and pasta :0)

To keep the cans from rolling right off – just cut a piece of wood 2 inches longer than the inner width of your shelves and slide them in to act as a stopper. I used 1.5″ x 3/4″ sticks from Lowe’s and had them cut to 33″ long to fit this shelving system.

Stopper

So – if you feel like you just don’t have places to put things – like me ;0)

I guess the moral of the story is – go to IKEA.  Ha Ha.  Just kidding.

The moral of the story is – that shelving is a fantastic solution!

You can use storage boxes  like I did in the last post  to store your napkins and tablecloths.  Use urns to store utensils or use apothecary jars to store napkin rings.  Think about what you have and find a stylish way to display it.  Good Luck!  And happy organizing!!

**Erin

A Place For Everything…

I am a firm believer that if you have a place for everything…then everything will be in it’s place.  You never have to wonder where something is if it has a specific place that you know you will find it.  For those of us that are riddled with ADD – this is a necessity.  Nothing would be found otherwise.  Ever.

So I’m going to start with my craft room and hopefully inspire you to get your organization on.  Life is blissful when it’s organized.  When it’s not – chaos takes over.  I can’t handle chaos…so I’m a little anal.

The problem I see with organization is that it comes with a price tag most of the time. There are really good cheap alternatives to what I’m showing you…and I’ll try to suggest them as I go along.

First thing is getting some furniture that makes sense for your needs.  I knew that I needed a large work space, because I do a lot of fabric cutting and “spreading out” when I project.  So – instead of a desk – I use a kitchen table.  I found it on Craig’s List (which is a great place to find cheap fabulous furniture.)

It was a little beat up – so I painted it and I love it!

These canvas frames are greta and easy and cheap ways to usefully fill the wall space above your desk:

Desk

Once you have your workspace – it’s time to find places to stash your “stuff”.  My husband calls it my crafty crap.  But – it is my happiness.  So I’m a little offended by it being called “crap”.  Again – Craig’s List is a great place to look for these things.  My friend used a dresser and an armoire and had some shelving installed.  It works fabulously!!

I was blessed enough to be given some office hutches that perfectly matched the built in bookcases in my room. (Thanks girls…) And they have been HEAVEN!!

Craft-Cupboards

This one is great – because it has closed off cupboards that hide the “less pretty” things I have – but are still things that I use and need to have handy:

Craft-Lower-Cupboards

And I love having the drawer – because I’m kind of obsessed with drawer organizers.

Seriously – it might be clinical.

Odds-and-Ends-Drawer

Sewing-Drawer

Craft-Drawer

You can find drawer organizers pretty much anywhere.  Walmart, Target, Staples (though – they only carry black…weird…) But I am especially in love with THESE ONES
that have a top level that slides back and forth for even more places to put stuff!!!

The other was open shelving – so I had to organize the stuff in a way that didn’t look like chaos.

Sewing-Bookcase

Enter: these fabulous IKEA boxes. (For some reason it is only showing their biggest size…if you click on the box and click “size” it will show you all of the available sizes) I LOVE THEM!!!  I’ve had them for awhile – so I was worried they wouldn’t be available anymore – but lucky you…they are.  I love that I can see exactly what is in there and they come in several different sizes.  So – from glitter to chipboard pieces to rub-ons to fabric.  You can organize them and not cringe at the storage box. For a cheaper alternative – you can use shoeboxes and modpodge some fabric onto them – or just paint them and then attach a bookplate
on the front.

Here is a close-up of the boxes

IKEA-Boxes

So pretty.

I was lucky enough to end up in a home that had beautiful built-in bookcases.

{But if you weren’t – no worries –  there is another post coming this month that may help!!}

But – if you were – here are some thoughts on how to organize them:

Bookcase-1I love the craft specific furniture that has built in rods for wrapping paper…but it’s easy to get the look.  Just pick up some Cafe Curtain Rods  They are spring loaded like a shower curtain rod – so you just twist them into place.  I used the holes that are used to adjust your shelving as guides to keep my rods straight.

Cafe-Rod-Wrapping-Paper-Holders

The wrapping paper is in the front and I’ve got the ribbons in the back.  All I do when I need some is pull off the amount I need and use a Scotch Paper Cutter to quickly cut a piece off.  It works great!!

If you have a collection of some kind – you can display it on the shelves.  Like this:

All-my-Martha's

I love Martha Stewart.  I love her magazine.

It appeals to the “I want to know how to do EVERYTHING” person in me.

As a result – I can’t throw them away.  Slightly “hoarder-esque” of me…but there it is.

I don’t love the wooden holders they are in – but that will be a post for another day.  {I have big plans} but I do love the idea of having them out on display instead of packed away in a box forgotten about.

If you’re the scrapbooking or paper-crafting type – here are some tips for storing that kinda stuff:

Paper Storage

I got these metal ones at Target.  They hold 3 rows of paper each – so it makes it easy to organize by color or pattern or texture or whatever floats your boat. The point is: they hold a lot. ;0)

And if you’re a punch freak like me  {because you haven’t been able to purchase the silhouette that you dream about at night} here is a clever way to display/store your punches.  If it looks to messy for you – you can install them inside of a cupboard.

Punches-resized

I used this rod from IKEA {you’d think they pay me for this…but they don’t – HA!}

Once you have the big furniture taken care of and you have the storage boxes you need and everything has a place – it’s time for the fru-fru.  {I call it that – because my husband does.}  But – just because it’s fru-fru doesn’t mean it can’t be functional.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Functional-Fru-Fru

Tape-Dispenser

Like this tape dispenser from Anthropolgie that I use for my Washi Tape!!  I was out Christmas shopping, and well, I couldn’t help myself.  So – I wrapped it up and said to my husband “There really is a Santa!!”

Normally I wouldn’t spend that much on a “fru-fru” item – but – well…

I just couldn’t put it back.  You understand, don’t you?

Well, that was eternal, wasn’t it??  Ha Ha.  Hopefully it was helpful and has inspired you to organize your creative space.  If you have a question about any resources I didn’t mention – I’d be happy to help!!  Just leave a comment – you know I love them!!

**Erin