Chalkboard Wall (guest post Corey & Cambrey Little)

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Chalkboard Wall

When building our new house, my husband and I knew we wanted a chalkboard wall that we could draw on, have our guests sign their names, create cool holiday messages, make grocery lists, etc. We can thank Pinterest for the inspiration! Lucky for me, my mom’s a teacher and my husband is a designer. So we had this one in the bag. My mom is an old school at that. It is 2012 and she still uses chalkboards in her classroom. She swears they are better than any white or smart board on the market. So thanks to her advice, and my talented husband who is a graphic designer/web designer/architect/creative extraordinaire (shameless plug –, we were able to come up with the perfect Christmas chalkboard design.
Here are the steps we took to achieve it:
1. After we chose the wall we wanted to paint (that took some serious contemplation), we set out to buy some chalkboard paint. We found a can at Home Depot for about ten bucks.
2. Paint the chalkboard wall (a no-brainer, right?). Quick tip – we didn’t use a primer. Just used 2 coats of chalkboard paint. The wall was light grey before.
3. Buy some good chalk. Any kind will do for the “seasoning” (see step 4) we got some really good colored chalk from Michael’s. The brand is Artist’s Loft (blue box) and it had 24 pieces in 3
4. After the paint has dried, you’ll need to “season” or prep the wall (think like you’re prepping your brand new cast iron pan). Basically all you need to do is cover the entire wall in chalk and then wipe it down w ith a damp cloth. This makes it easier to erase any future design and keep it erased for good. Remember in trigonometry class when you could faintly see the unit circle on the chalk board even though it had been erased weeks before? Anyone? Maybe that was just me. Moving on.
5. I mentioned earlier my husband is a graphic designer. He whipped up a really cool Christmas design in photoshop then had it printed on a transparency at Fedex Office. His dad happened to have an old light projector lying around and gave it to us. We used that to project the design onto the wall and trac ed it out with chalk. Voila! A fancy looking (but super easy) Christmas message on our new chalkboard wall.

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I can’t wait to see what we come up with next!

Guest Post: Gifts for Girlfriends

DIY: Gifts for Girlfriends

by: Christy Brown

You know what I love? Crafts.

You know what else I love? Natalie.

So you can imagine my excitement when my beautiful friend Natalie asked me to be a guest writer for her blog about crafting.

Natalie + crafts = Yes, please.

I’ve never been trained in crafting, nor do I know if there is such a thing. Usually my crafts are a result of my cheap (Dave Ramsey) budget combined with my mind running at 100 i.p.h. (Ideas Per Hour.)

This Do It Yourself project is just one more example of that when I decided to make gifts for my girlfriends rather than buy them this past Christmas.

Making gifts is better than buying them (I think) for two reasons:

1.       It’s budget friendly. (See Matt’s map project.)

2.       It’s more thoughtful because it took time and effort to create.

I decided to make my close girlfriends each a pair of earrings. Aside from fresh highlights, nothing makes a girl feel more put together than a few great accessories, right? Right. So, I picked a cold night in December while Matt was out of town to work on it. I went to Michael’s to get all of my supplies and here’s what I bought:

1.       5 different types of beads.
I was going to make them each one pair but when I got there, the beads were so affordable that I decided to make them each two pairs.

2.       Earring hooks

3.       Round wire pieces to join the pieces together

4.       Straight pin pieces to put the beads on

Next, I threaded the straight wire through the beads in the order that I wanted.

The straight wire was sticking out of the top so you have to bend it into a closed loop. The wire is pretty thick and hard to bend accurately into a loop with your finger so I found a nail in a junk drawer and used that to shape it.

Needle-nose pliers are particularly helpful to pull it all the way around.

You are left with a nice closed loop at the top of your wire which keeps your beads securely in place.

Next, you take one of your round pieces and pry it open. You will thread this through your loop above the beads, leaving it open. Then, take the earring hook and loop the bottom around the same round bead while it’s open. Then use your pliers to close the round bead around all of the pieces. You end up with a complete (and quite dangly) earring!

Repeat x the number of girlfriends that made the gift list this year and Bada-bing-Bada-boom! Earrings!

In this case, I repeated the process again for the second pair of earrings for each girl so that each of my friends ended up with two pairs as a gift.

Last step: Wrapping!

You can buy a package of jewelry boxes at the craft store along with some ribbon. I chose navy because it’s one of my colors for Matt and I’s wedding this Spring. J

Place the earrings in the box,

Wrap your ribbon around it, write a thoughtful note in the card and Viola!

You have a thoughtful gift with a total cost per girl (with card, box, and all supplies) being less than $7!

Oh and one last thing: take the leftover beads and make some for yourself!


Happy Crafty Thursday, Friends!