Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Many Coats Of Paint Does It Take To Turn A Door Red?

Well, I know it's not three.

The third coat of "Berrylicious" is almost dry on our laundry/garage door and we're still in more of a pink shade than red/coral.  My guess is 5-6 coats total will do the job.  Granted, I'm doing thin coats since it's a flat door and I want to avoid drip marks or streaks, but I remember the same thing happening when we painted our coral chairs in the breakfast nook.  Patience is the name of the game, and I'm fighting my inner toddler from screaming "I want it NOW!!!"
 
 
(this pic is at night via instagram)

So, obviously we went with the red from our little paint platter here:
(via instagram)

Sometimes it reads more coral and sometimes more berry, but it always reads happy!

It also helped me make a decision on the walls.  I planned to take the darkest stripe of the ombre striped wall into the laundry room (it's on the rest of the kitchen walls too). But with this bold new color in the space, I'm going with the lightest grey in the top stripe of the wall.  Lately I've been loving the look of light or white walls with pops of color and contrast.  It's the perfect small space to play around with that idea.

Hopefully, I'll actually have a RED door with some fun detail to show you tomorrow.

And did you catch this morning's post?  Anthropologie Giveway day!!!  So excited for one of you lucky ducks!!  Enter here!


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Blogiversary Week: Anthropologie Giveaway!!

Woot woot!!!  I'm so excited to be announcing this giveaway today!  What's a birthday party without a few gifts, right?!

A few weeks ago I ordered a couple of things from the Anthro website...and in anticipation of this b-day week for the blog, I picked up a couple of things for you too!

Just a few little goodies that hopefully one of you will enjoy.  The prize package includes...


(1) Spinning Vessel Cup & Saucer set

(1) Set of Calendar Year Dishtowels

(1) Sip Of Nectar Mug - in color shown

and

(1) Set of Hand-painted Florie Measuring Spoons

Since there's only one winner that takes home the whole package, we're using Rafflecopter to give you a few extra chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Giveaway will run for one week and be announced next Thursday.....good luck!!!



 
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pinboard to Home Update: Painted Door Colors

This morning I shared some Lessons Learned from this first year blogging, and I'm popping in real quick this afternoon with an update on our Pinboard to Home project for this month....which happens to be right in time for the Winter Pinterest Challenge hosted by Sherry, Katie, Megan, and Michelle!

This month I'm painting the interior door from the laundry room to the garage, which you can see from our kitchen/nook area.


 I was inspired by these graphic and colorful pins....

graphic design with electrical tape...would be great with paint too



pink chalkboard door

I'm fairly certain I cleaned Lowe's out of their sample size tubs this weekend.  But it was completely worth it since I wasn't 100% sold on any of the colors until I added the last two - the coral/red and the teal blue below it.


Sort of reminds me of those white candies with colored jelly on the inside.  Jelly Bean Nougats anyone?


Anyhow!  The door is primed and ready for a fresh coat of paint tonight!  If you follow on instagram then you probably know which color reigned victorious.  I'll share the results tomorrow....along with another awesome giveaway!!!!


Has anyone else painted an interior door?  Did you go for color or keep it neutral?


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Lessons Learned From The First Year Blogging

Blogiversary week continues here at Fresh Coat of Paint!  If you missed yesterday's giveaway post (courtesy of IHeart Organizing), be sure to hop over and enter.  Another giveaway is waiting in the wings for Thursday, but for today we're talking blogging!


The blog is one year old...that's technically a toddler, right?  Which means lots of newbie mistakes and lessons learned for me over the past 12 months!  Mostly lessons through trial and error, and sometimes through disappointment and frustration.

I know that not all of you reading are bloggers, but hopefully some of these points can carry over into other areas of our lives too. Here we go!


Channel Your Inner Turtle

So, you started a blog.  You're excited. A bajillion ideas are swimming around in your head. The door of endless possibilities lies wide open, and you are off and running!

Now, not all bloggers are this way, but I'm a "jump in with both feet" perfectionist who doesn't like to do things halfway (I'm sure you can already tell where this is going...), and a few months into blogging I was already feeling this ungrounded sense of failure.   It had less to do with the blog growing or not growing, and more to do with the expectations that I had set for myself.

I hoped starting a blog to keep friends/family updated on our DIY digs would help me to actually keep up on the work around here.  So, being a compulsive list maker, I planned out all of my projects and posts for each month.  I wish I had saved that first month's calendar - it would've given you a good laugh.  There was literally some sort of project "reveal" every other day.  Umm...Did I forget that I have 3 kids under 5??  Including a toddler that has to be UP in it and would bargain his beloved goldfish for just one "turn" with the staple gun?  Or that I had about 52 other balls in the air to juggle? 

I had set a completely unrealistic pace, and was then completely defeated when I couldn't keep up with the schedule I had imposed on myself.  Just silly.   It really took a few months to figure out what I could reasonably do during naps, nights and weekends, and what things I could do when the kids were awake.  I've had to learn how fast or slow I can literally blog (with all that goes into each post), and how fast or slow I want to blog.  More on that in a minute.

Spacing out those bigger projects and actually planning out when to do the work, has helped me set a pace I can keep up with....and I don't feel as bad if I'm not able to finish something on time because I now have a schedule that can easily flex and adjust.

I do feel that consistency is important.  Regularly posting just a couple of days a week is far better than posting 7 days straight followed by 2-3 weeks of blog silence.  There is no blog deadline driving the work on your home or hobby that you don't approve.  That's the great thing about blogs - it's no one's timeline but yours.  And time and patience are generous in slowly building up the content on your site if you keep a regular pace.

So, save yourself the burnout by letting go of your inner jack rabbit, and repeat after me, "slow and steady wins the race; slow and steady wins the race..."


Blogging Takes Time - They Weren't Kidding

Often you hear that blogging takes a huge amount of time, but you don't truly understand just how much until you do it.  Especially in the home/DIY realm.  There's the time to actually do the project, take pictures along the way, edit the pictures, write up the post, and promote the post. And that's just the post.  Let's not forget networking with other bloggers, connecting to your readers via whatever social media you use, responding to emails/questions, site maintenance, and continuing to grow and improve at what you do.

Chances are if you're a blog writer, you were first a blog reader.  In fact, it's probably those amazing blogs you follow that inspired you to start one of your own in the first place!   But here's the thing, they are like Beyonce and you're still the artist with mad skilz singing in the coffee shop.  They have a "team" of people...contributors, sponsors, affiliates, followers, etc.

Not every successful blog has all these things but as you grow, you're able to vary the types of posts you publish thanks to content that some of these provide. And seasoned bloggers will tell you that even with more help and "filler" posts to sprinkle in, they still struggle with managing it all!

In the beginning, you are the only one providing the content for your site.  Some bloggers reach out and make connections quickly and easily.  Others of us take more time.  Whatever your personality, it's a lot of work that rests solely on your shoulders.  So, cut yourself some slack.  You are doing an amazing job!


Inspiration vs. Comparison
  
This is a dangerous line to walk.  The whole beauty of blogging is in the shared inspiration we gain from each other!  But when you start comparing what you're doing to what other bloggers are doing, that never leads anywhere good. 

I remember having this great idea but then cruising along Pinterest and discovering that one of my favorite bloggers had just done it.  For a good two pity-partying days, I felt like I couldn't do it anymore.

Well, so what someone else did it?  Consider it confirmation that you had a great idea.  Even better, go let him/her know that you were thinking about a similar idea and seeing their project gave you the push you needed to go for it.  Most bloggers would probably say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and would be honored to hear those words.

Moral of the story? Don't play the comparison game.  And if you find yourself heading there, stop looking at other blogs for awhile (and Pinterest!).  We can lose our own sense of creativity and style, if we are taking in so much from other places.  If that starts to happen, stay away from your blog roll for awhile, go spend some time with the people you love (live a little!) then come back to your own projects and plans. 


Don't Be A Wallflower - Put Yourself Out There

So your mom, family and BFF all love your blog.  But where is everyone else?  Well they don't know about your amazing blog yet!  If you want to welcome new readers that aren't related to you in some way or obliged by bloodlines to comment on your posts, then you have to get a little social.

A great place to start is through link parties.  I'm sure you've seen some of your favorite blogs host a virtual party where readers can link up their own work and everyone gets a chance to check out some great posts.  You can meet a lot of other bloggers who share your interests this way, and possibly have your work featured if the host chooses your project as one of their favs.

Now, I have mixed feelings about link parties.  Some people link up their projects to a slew of blogs each week.  This takes an immense amount of time and I think it can detract from your project a bit.  My advice with link parties is to test a few out.  Go visit some of the other submissions.  See if you like their sites.  Check your own stats and see which parties are bringing new traffic to your site.  You'll also get a feel for what sort of projects each host (and the participants!) like to see.  Invest your time linking up to the few parties you enjoy the most and that benefit your blog the most. 

The other way to grow your readers and network with other bloggers is to be social.  Leave sincere, thoughtful comments - don't you love getting those?  Follow along with their social media outlets.  And if they offer the chance for readers to submit their projects or contribute to the blog, submit your work! 

It takes courage to put yourself out there.  Your work is a piece of you and if people don't like it, it's hard not to take it personally or too much to heart.  But fear of rejection or criticism can keep the door closed to a great opportunity!  You will not get a 'yes' every time, but accepting the risk of hearing 'no' by putting yourself out there can also lead to some incredible 'yeses' eventually.

 
Balance/Shut Her Down

There will always be more to do.  More posts, more emails, more updates, more catching up, more maintenance.  For a few weeks, I stayed there.  At the computer.  Trying to get caught up and macgyver posts out of thin air.  I was so busy at the desk that I wasn't actually working on the projects on my list...and therefore had no post material.   I've learned that the more time I spend away from the computer, the more I have to write about.

I am the worst procrastinator and can be easily distracted, so I also try to create a scenario where I can work most efficiently.  I know I work best at my desk, not on the couch with the laptop and the Biggest Loser playing.  It also helps if I carve out time for specific tasks (i.e. 30 min for emails) and then stop, regardless of how much I was able to get through.  Because...there will always be more to do.  I think the systems we can set up for successful and efficient time blogging could be a whole post in itself!

Time away from the computer, actually living life, provides the inspiration to keep writing and keeps you out of the blog bubble.  I don't think anyone wants to read the words of a blogger obsessed with her own blog.  Find balance, and when there is none to be found, create it.


Give Yourself A Break

When you lose your sense of balance, your perspective, or find yourself in a funk...give yourself a break.  And permission to take a few days off to recharge.  We can all lose perspective, so don't cling so tightly.  Your blog is not everything and will be there once you've had a chance to rest or get back on track.



Pay It Forward and Give Back 

This is one of the greatest joys as your blog grows.  I'm so grateful for every blog that has given me a nod in some way.  Big feature or simple shout-out, it all means the world to me!

When I get to feature other bloggers through the Reader Spot series or giveaway prizes to all of you, it feels so great to be able to say thank you and hopefully pay forward the generosity that was shown to me. 

Look forward to this!

...............................................................................................................................................................

Remember when I said to find balance and where there is none, to create it?  This was my biggest struggle last year.  I approached blogging as a hobby trying to squeeze it in between our family time and other commitments.  We were overstretched and exhausted, and it began to take a toll on our family.  The Mr. and I talked about needing to cut back, in many ways.  We both recognized how much time the blog takes, and agreed that if I were to keep doing it we would need to reduce some of our outside commitments and actually carve out time in our schedule for it..so that our family could remain the rightful priority.  Squeezing in blogging just wasn't working.

So, this year I'm giving the blog more attention and treating it more like a job/business (one that I love!).  No one decided to hire me, so can I say that?  Yes I can, because that's one of  the best things about blogging - you decide!




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Monday, February 25, 2013

IHeart Organizing GIVEAWAY!

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED*

Yup!  You read that right - the first giveaway on Fresh Coat of Paint, is from one of my favorite blogs ever!  And I know it's one of yours too!



One thing I wanted to do during this blogiversary week was give some big virtual hugs to those who have shown Fresh Coat Of Paint some love in one way or another over the past year.  Jen gave me an incredible feature through the Reader Space series on her blog I Heart Organizing.  It was the first real feature for my blog, and I know that many of you who are regulars here, first hopped over from her amazing site. 

When I asked Jen if I could purchase a gift card from her Etsy shop to giveaway on the blog this week, she offered to give away not one, not two, but three $30.00 credits to her Etsy shop!  Her awesomeness and generous spirit never cease to amaze me!

Not only will you fnd gobs of organizing goodness and eye candy for the home on Jen's blog, but she has a shop full of tools to help get your family, home and life organized!

I'm in love with the daily tools in this planner.  And, of course, the stripes on the personalized cover....

This Personalized Household Binder is the ultimate resource for keeping all that important and most accessed info in a one-stop spot...




And for all my fellow blogging peeps, check out this Blog Planner Kit....


Beyond these sets, Jen offers individual printables for everything from meal planning to organizing your finances. So, jump over to her Etsy shop and check out all of the organizing goodness!

As much as I'm so thankful to everyone who has given Fresh Coat of Paint a shoutout on their own blog or site, my heart could just burst for each one of you that checks in here, leaves a comment, and sends your emails/questions my way.   A huge thanks to Jen for helping me to thank YOU today!


 The nitty gritty....

The Goods:  $30.00 credit to the IHeart Organizing shop
Number of Winners: Three
How:  To enter, comment on this post and tell me what area of your home or life could use an organizing boost...and which item from Jen's shop could help you do it!  
Fine Print: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winners will be selected using random.org, and announced on Monday.

Good luck!



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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fresh Coat Of Paint Turns One!

I can hardly believe I'm writing this post.....yesterday was this blog baby's 1 year anniversary!!!  Or is it one year birthday?  Either way, it was one year ago that I started this little blog to document our attempts to bring our new, old house out from beneath the 70's wallpaper and make it into our home.  We're totally unqualified for the DIY job, but it just adds to the fun!

The biggest surprise and joy of this past year, has been "meeting" all of YOU!  All of our family is out of state, so a big part of starting the blog was to keep our family up to date on our happenings and house progress.  Slowly but surely, more and more of you stopped by.  Whether you stumbled here by accident or saw something that peaked your interest, the fact that you take time out of your day to stop in means the world!  Your sweet comments completely make my day and I especially love to hear the success stories in your own homes that you've shared with me. 

A blogger can easily get wrapped up in numbers..how many followers, page views, "likes", pins, yada yada.   But when it comes to measuring the success of a blog, I think that's determined by each blogger and their personal goals. I've thought about this in the weeks leading up to today.  How do you measure success as a blogger?

I got an email from a friend this weekend, who mentioned that some of the projects she's seen on the blog, inspired her to tackle some projects in her own home and embrace the colors she's always loved.  Be still my heart!  I had no idea she even read the blog!  It. made. my. day.  Anytime someone reads or sees something here that inspires them to go for an idea they have for their own home, seriously makes me giddy inside. While I do have goals and think about the numbers, that inspiration is success for me. 

For a long time I operated out of fear and was very calculated when it came to choices for our home.  What if this will affect the home when it comes time to sell? What if I hate this in a year? What if I completely ruin this beautiful piece of wood furniture (which I have)? What if? What if? What if?  OR what if I totally love it?

Over the past year, I've managed to dig up some courage and start taking risks - starting small is still starting.  We've definitely had some flops, but we've had some huge wins too!  And the biggest risks in our home have had the biggest and best payoff.
 


I'm feeling so grateful and expectant for this year ahead.  I have some exciting things to share and I just want to thank everyone who has made this blog such a happy spot for me each day....so, this week we're celebrating!  I hope you're ready to party, because I've got some FUN stuff coming your way!  Including the first giveaways on the blog (that's right - plural.  As in more than one), and some news for the coming year!  There may be a couple of double post days, so we can also share the projects we've been tackling around here.

It's both ironic and sentimental that the project I was painting on this blog's birthday is the same as the first project I shared here a year ago - a painted blue bed for a sweet little boy who's moving on up from his crib.  Except this time it's for a different little buddy.  We won't go into how I feel about taking down the crib, or this could get ugly.  Like mascara running down my cheeks ugly.

For now, consider this your personal invitation to Blogiversary week here at Fresh Coat Of Paint! We're kicking tomorrow off with a giveaway that I'm certain you will heart!



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Friday, February 22, 2013

Pinboard to Home (February): Painted Interior Door




After my epic fail in the first round (certainly a fail in timely completion, and maybe a half fail in execution), I'm hoping to redeem myself in this second month of the Pinboard To Home series.  Yes, we're already a week out from the end of the month when I should be revealing this project, but let's not dwell on the past....namely my tardiness.  Moving on!

There is a laundry/pantry area just off our kitchen and we have been scheming to turn that space into a laundry/mudroom since we moved in two years ago.  It's the first room you enter from the garage, which is how the kids and I go in/out 99% of the time.

Right now it's failing miserably at organizing all our coats, bags, shoes, and important school correspondence.   We are slowly making progress in making it more functional, but this month I'm focusing on an element that's purely for the pretty factor.  Or at least a little fun!

I would love to add some interest to the plain door going to the garage.  All of our interior doors are totally flat.  I thought about adding some trim work for an architectural element, but I know myself.  I would then want to do every other interior door in the house, and we're just not up for that. Yet.  The alternative?  Paint, of course.

Here are some of the pins that are inspiring this project....

This was actually done with electrical tape, but I love the contrast and the graphic element.
graphic design with electrical tape...would be great with paint too

Or how about these french doors with trellis detail.  Divine!

And let's not count out color - pink chalkboard paint makes this door charmingly playful.
pink chalkboard door

Since we're carrying the same grey wall color from the kitchen into this laundry/mud room, I think something with a little color and a graphic design is just what this room needs.  I've already started taping but need to nail down the color. The breakfast nook is just off this space, so we have plenty of colors to pull from....pink? teal? coral? green?  What will she be?!



Who else is pin happy and ready to get started?  This one is just in time for the winter Pinterest Challenge hosted by Sherry, Katie, Megan & Michelle.  Go check it out and get to pickin' a pin-inspired project!



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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mason Jar Spice Organization

I've known our spice cabinet wasn't working for a long time.  When I couldn't paint the kitchen cabinets this weekend, I had to scheme up some new projects to tackle....and those spices didn't stand a chance!  When it came down to deciding on a new way to organize, you better believe I jumped feet first onto the "storing your spices in mason jars" bandwagon.  You really can't beat charming and functional. 


Earlier this year we did attempt to organize our spice cabinet.  It was a hot mess of spices, baking supplies, coffee, tea and who knows what else.
 

We busted out the tried-and-true organizing moves - use baskets and categorize things into groups.  After a massive purge of out dated items and moving the baking supplies to a new cabinet, we ended up with this:

I did label the white baskets with chalkboard labels but I still couldn't tell the onion powder from the cayenne by looking inside.

 Enter the mason jars!  I was inspired by this sweet project from Raising Up Rubies:

So charming!  And I loved the idea of using a drawer.  When I looked at my kitchen, the drawer next to the oven was the only one that made sense.  Thankfully, it only had a few items that could easily be moved to another spot.

I cleaned it out and cut a piece of this neutral striped contact paper I've been ogling at Target to fit the drawer.

I also picked up 20 small mason jars from Hobby Lobby for 50% off.  I washed all the parts and made sure they were completely dry before I went any further.

Now, this may just be me, but the only thing I don't like about mason jars are the darn lids.  It's just a pet peeve of mine that you have to take off two parts every time you crack one open. 

Since I wasn't using these for preserving and didn't need that pop-up seal, I went ahead and glued the center down to the rim.

One quick run around the inside with a hot glue gun was all it needed.  But you do have to get that center down on the glue quick before it starts to dry/solidify!

We went through all our spices, tossed any that were past their expiration date and combined any doubles.

The next step was choosing a label.  I adore those chalkboard painted lids from the inspiration picture but I had some of Martha's Avery Kitchen labels (left over from a failed first attempt at labeling spice jars). The smooth mason jar top was perfect for these and the size was just right.

We filled up the jars and put them in the drawer with the most used spices toward the front.

We ended up with a total of 6 rows (I had to pick up a few more jars) and I LOVE them!  I'm so thrilled that I can see exactly what everything is and that we can easily see when we're running low without a label hiding the contents.
Another reason I love these babies is the wide opening.  I couldn't fit a tablespoon into most of my old jars and sometimes even fitting a teaspoon in there was tough.  These have plenty of space for all the measuring spoon sizes!  James asked about when we want to sprinkle spices instead of using an exact measurement.  In that case, we can just take a pinch and sprinkle it in - the opening is big enough for fingers too.

We also had some spices in large jars that were too big to fit in these small ones.  We keep those Costco-sized spices up on a shelf in that cabinet and just refill the mason jars as needed.

So how about the final before and after?

Before.  Yikes.


And After.  Ahhhh....

I think I may go open the drawer right now just to look at it.....and I may need to keep an eye out for some cute measuring spoons too :)

How do you store your spices?  Is anyone else falling for mason jars?  What creative ways are you putting them to use?


*Linking up with A Bowl Full of LemonsI Heart Naptime and The 36th Avenue

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DIY Gold Dot Closet Wall

If you saw the last post before the long holiday weekend, you know that I had big painting plans for the kitchen cupboards while the Mr. was out of town.  And of course, the kids were hit with yet another cold.  Boo.  It was actually all good, except that I needed to replace my foam roller and a few other painting supplies.  The kids were just feeling too yucky to pile into the car for a trip to Lowe's....and I was not up for carting around 3 sick kiddos by myself.

Soooo, as seems to be the theme around here lately, I gave up painting the cabinets and focused on finishing up a few projects that didn't require any trips to the store.   It ended up being a super productive weekend in between stories and snuggles with sick littles.

One of the projects I was thrilled to cross off the list was painting the inside of our office closet!  There was a sneak peak in this post about how we are storing our printing paper
Many of you asked about this gold dot wall and wondered if you missed a post on it.  Nope!  I actually hadn't finished the top of the closet yet, but thanks to my cabinet plans falling through the cracks, that baby is DONE!

Some of these pics are with my phone so I apologize for the quality...but here's how we did it!

I wanted to bring a little more silver or gold into the space and I wanted to have a some fun with the closet.  This is a shared his/hers office, so the closet was the perfect spot to add some girly touches that could be hidden behind closed doors. 

I tossed around doing stripes or using a stencil, but eventually settled on polka dots.  The great thing about this project is that I didn't have to paint the walls first.  They were already white and in decent shape. 

If you are uber particular you can use a yard stick to measure and mark your dots with a pencil, then simply paint your dots over them.  I went for a more lazy casual approach.   I used a greeting card that was about the space I wanted between the dots.  I stamped a dot with one of these Martha Stewart Foam Pouncers, in Martha Stewart Living Golden Pearl Metallic Paint.


Then I line up the card with the left corner under the first dot and stamped the next dot over the right corner of the card.  It doesn't matter exactly how you line the card up/where you stamp, as long as you do it the same every time.
I turned the card right side up for a spacer in between rows, and centered the next row's dots right in between the dots above it (still using the card as my spacer/guide).

These walls had a lot of texture so each stamp would leave bubbles and gaps.  At first I did several rows then tried to go back with a small paint brush to smooth out the bubbles and fill the spots.  By that time the paint had dried, so from that point on I stamped a row of dots and then immediately went over them with the brush.


It's not a perfectly precise project (say that 5 times fast) but when you step back those imperfect spaces are hardly noticeable.

Here's where we were after painting and hanging the wire wall organizer.


I've actually added some storage to the top shelf since this picture, but I still need to....

-Make labels for the baskets
-Find a replacement for the heavy sliding doors
-Organize/store our pictures
-Organize/store our greeting cards
-Find a home for a few more random items

I love how it's coming together and am excited for all the pops of color that are coming in through additional storage!  James, on the other hand, is probably happy that this little corner with all my feminine tastes will have "doors" of some sort :)

Does anyone else give their closets extra love?  Anyone have some corner in your house that's just for you and totally opposite of your partner in crime's taste?  What are your favorite items for office storage?


*Linked up at A Bowl Full of LemonsI Heart Naptime and The 36th Avenue!


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pinboard To Home: Chalkboard Family Calendar

 


Goodness, this might be the latest post on the face of the planet!  I know, it's ridiculous that I'm just getting around to sharing January's Pinterest to Home project, so I will be completely honest.   This chalkboard family calendar was supposed to be a pretty simple number....but it kicked my butt.

I promised to share the good and bad, so strap yourselves in for one wacky ride!

For those of you that missed the post introducing this new monthly Pinterest To Home series, it was inspired by all those great Pinterest challenges that pop up in blog land every few months.  The idea is simple - take inspiration from one of the pins on your Pinterest boards, and make it a reality in your own space (or kitchen, or wardrobe, etc).

This month I took inspiration from Carmel, Jen, and Jackie....and took to making our own DIY chalkboard calendar for this empty wall.

We desperately needed a way to centralize our various schedules and activities, and this peninsula where the hubs and I touch base each day was the perfect spot. 

Plan A:
Paint chalkboard paint directly on the wall and frame it out with some trim. When I went to tape off the area, I realized that the wall was really textured and there was no way we would be able to write evenly on it.

Time for a new plan..

Plan B:
As we were cleaning out the office, I came across this picture that used to hang in our living room.  Here it is in the "before" shot:


I got this after college so it's not really my taste anymore.  I do, however, LOVE the frame and it happens to be about the size I wanted to make the calendar.

The picture was matted on a really sturdy board, so I flipped it over and prayed it was smooth....smooth enough!

I had some chalkboard paint on hand but since the frame is black I wanted something with a little contrast, yet still dark enough to see the chalk writing easily.  I mixed some black and white interior paint to make a dark grey and applied it with a small roller.

The next part was to make this a no-kidding chalkboard. Magic in a bottle here can make any color surface a "chalkboard" with a few clear coats.

I followed the instructions on the bottle, applying one coat horizontally, waiting an hour, then applying another coat vertically.  I waited 24 hrs for it to cure, then rubbed chalk over the whole board to condition it.

Here's where things started to go downhill.  Again.

After a couple days (because this whole project happened in slow phases), the board started to bow.

I feared that might happen, but hoped I could flatten in inside the frame.  This would've worked except the frame was missing some prongs, and in those areas there was a noticeable gap.  I considered trying to glue those spaces down but I wanted the piece to feel totally stable since we would be writing on it...and I didn't want to worry about it popping out of the frame if we pressed too hard.

Time for a new plan.

Plan C: 
Now I thought I would just have a piece of board or wood cut to fit the frame and paint it. But on a trip to Hobby Lobby for other project supplies I spotted a chalkboard the same size as the frame I had been trying to make work.  After hitting so many road bumps, my desire to DIY the project went right out the window upon seeing exactly what we needed.

I snatched her up for $14.99 and headed home. You can see the gaps on the old board here:

Of course, once I got the new board home I felt the need to get crafty with it.

I played around with the measurements, then used washi tap to create the grid lines.  A crafting knife worked perfectly for cutting nice straight edges.

All taped up!   At this point, I wasn't sure if I liked it, but decided to see how it looked with a few things filled in.

I used chalk markers for the titles and to number the days.  This will wipe off with a damp towel but not with an eraser - ideal for things we want to change monthly but don't want smudged by accident.

When you first press down and wait for the paint to flow, it can gush out onto your work surface if you're not careful.  So, I compressed the tip on a plastic bag and moved over to write on the board after the first rush of paint had cleared out.


I didn't hate it and I didn't love it, but I was getting a nervous twitch over how small the last box was compared to the rest.  And how much the width of the tape shrunk the writing space within each box.

Yikes. Time for a new plan.

Plan D:
 I pulled up all the tape and used a paint pen to create new grid lines.  This way they won't rub off when we clean the board each month, and we have a little more space to fill in our activities.
Somehow, that last column of boxes still ended up narrow, but at this point, I was over perfection and just wanted it UP. ON. THE. WALL.

I mounted the hardware that came with the board, making sure to measure an equal distance down from the top edge on each side so it would hang evenly.

  We filled in our dates and up she went!

I love the space on the side for notes and random info that doesn't fit in one date box.

It's only been up a day but it's already been so helpful! 

We still need to paint this wall, and once we do, I'm certain I'll get the itch to paint the frame.  But that is a project for another day.  It's a "done for now" in my book and I'm just so relieved to check it off the list!

After a painfully disjointed post and an ever-changing project that didn't turn out exactly how I envisioned, there is good news.  While trying to figure out how to make this project behave itself, I started on this month's Pinterest To Home project...and it's already halfway there!  I'm hopeful I won't torture you with all the ways it didn't work this time.  Fingers crossed!

I hope all of your "pin" inspired projects were much more successful than mine!  I would love to see what you've been up to, so feel free to share links to any of your projects in the comments!





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