I’m just curious if I’m the only person who loses sight of her desk every week? I spend Monday mornings clearing the clutter and figuring out my plan of attack for the week. I could really save that 30 minutes each week by corralling my clutter in one place! On a recent excursion to Walmart, I found the perfect storage solution!


I also found lots of other goodies at Walmart. My friend Su and I had a blast shopping together. Su is the stay-at-home mom of five. She has a wonderful vivacious personality and is loads of fun to be around. If you haven’t met Su yet, head over to her blog The Intentional Home.

Being crafty gals, we set out to find some inspiration for a new craft project using the Plaid products that were sent to us.

(The Plaid paint selection is just like the candy aisle for me. Drooool!) In the past I have ordered aprons and canvas tote bags for teacher gifts, but now I know that I can pick them up at Walmart!

Sorry if I digressed a little, but that happens to me in those big super stores. Back to my storage solution. I found the perfect sized file bin at Walmart, but the design wasn’t cute enough for me. While browsing the aisles, I also picked up some cute pillow cases, and soon a plan was hatched to give my storage bin some personality. Here’s how I did it: Read more

What is better than a creative gift wrapped package? A creative gift wrapping that can be re-used again and again and again! Chalkboard tags made from foam board are adorable and can be used after the gift has been opened.


Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam board
  • Chalk or chalkboard pen
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole Punch
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Measure and cut out a 4″ x 6″ rectangle of foam board. The trick to clean cuts in foam board is to use a brand new x-acto blade! It is that simple.


To make perfect diagonal corners, measure 1″ from the corner (across and down) and make  marks. Then draw a diagonal line connecting the two points. Cut off the triangle.

Use the hole punch to put a hole in the middle of the top edge.

Spray paint or paint chalkboard paint onto the foam board. Let it dry.

Season the chalkboard rectangle by rubbing chalk all over the board. Then wipe it off. This will eliminate the chalk message “burning” into the chalkboard and will allow the recipient to re-use the board.


Write a message on the chalkboard tag.


Wrap the present with wrapping paper and a big bow. Attach the tag to the bow.


Now your gift recipient has a cute little re-useable chalkboard tag.


 Merry Christmas, Renee!


Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam core
  • Chalk or chalkboard pen
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Clothespin
  • Silver or Gold acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun (or Elmer’s glue spots)

Follow the instructions above for making a foam core chalkboard. Eliminate the steps on cutting diagonal corners and adding a hole for this one.

Take apart a clothespin and paint both sides using the silver or gold acrylic paint.

Wrap the present with wrapping paper.

Wrap ribbon around the present, but don’t tie a bow. Just make a knot.


Make a separate bow out of the same ribbon and use hot glue (or Elmer’s glue spots) to attach it to the clothespin.


Clip the clothespin over the knotted bow on your package and slide your chalkboard into the clothespin.


“Merry Christmas, Baby!”

Only one more day until Christmas! Better get wrapping people! I’ll have a final wrapping paper tutorial for you tomorrow, I bet you can’t wait!

“It’s a Party and I’ll Paint if I Want to…Paint if I Want to… Paint if I Want To…You Would Paint Too if you had Scotch Bluuuueee!”
I think I’m going to call 3M ScotchBlue right now and suggest this as their new jingle. Kind of catchy isn’t it?!

Check out my project tutorial on revamping an old cabinet door below.

Go ahead, grab your paint and brushes — and don’t forget a roll of ScotchBlue painter’s tape!

I have been using ScotchBlue painter’s tape for a while and I really like it. I am not being paid to say this (even though they did send me a few free rolls of painter’s tape.) You’d know I like ScotchBlue tape if you have read the backlit bookcase post, painting the bamboo rug post and the painting like a pro post (where I share some tips for using ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape!)

But, enough looking back, I want to share with you how to make something out of a disgustingly filthy grease covered discarded cabinet door. So, let’s hop to it! While building my mudroom bench, I took off the doors and kept them in the hopes of being able to use them another day. I’m working on a new bench for my Habitat ReStore demonstration, so I have more cabinet doors now! I devised a plan to reuse the doors in a creative way, a way that would be fun and yet help us keep track of our comings and goings. Meet my cabinet door turned into a chalkboard message board with hooks:

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Clean the doors! If you have a cabinet that has finished it’s first life as a kitchen cabinet, and has so much grease on it that you could grease a pig…well, you need to clean it off. I experimented with several different techniques (GooGone, Dawn Detergent, Shakelee DeGreaser Spray, and Ammonia), but the one that worked best was inexpensive ammonia mixed with hot water.

 

I saturated the cabinet with the ammonia mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes and voila! The grease came off like butter (no pun intended.)

 

Dry the cabinets and gently sand all the surfaces to rough them up slightly. (Don’t rough ’em up too much boys, we need him to be alive. LOL! Spoken like a true Western character.)

 

Wipe off the door thoroughly with a damp baby wipe.

 

Use wood putty to fill in the wood grain on the middle panel of the cabinet. (You could also fill in the cracks on the frame of the cabinet too, but I have other plans for the frame.)

 

Let the putty dry for about 10 minutes. Sand the panel until it is smooth.

 

Wipe off the cabinet door again. Be sure to get all the sawdust off.

Spray your cabinet door with spray primer. One coat should be enough to cover the door. It helps to elevate the cabinet with a block or two underneath so it doesn’t stick to your drop cloth.

 

Mask off the middle of your door with newspaper and ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. Press the edges down firmly by running a finger along the edge. (If your cabinet door is very textured, you can seal the edges by brushing matte medium where the tape meets the door.

 

Spray the frame with 2 even coats of the summer squash yellow color (allowing the paint to dry between coats.)

 

Remove the mask, now ooo and aaaa over that clean edge! Give the paint about an hour to cure before the next step.

 

Wrap newspaper around the back of the cabinet door and fold the edges up. Use ScotchBlue painter’s tape to tape the edges of the frame off (cover all the yellow with tape or newspaper.)

 

Spray the inside panel with 2-3 even coats of the chalkboard paint. Let it dry throughly before you remove the tape and newspaper mask.

 

It is starting to look rather purrrrdy, ya think?! Feel free to stop here and say that you are done…

 

…or if you are a perfectionist (like me), you will want to cover the woodgrain on the frame with scrapbook paper.

 

Simply measure your border and cut scrapbook sheets to that width. It is okay if your sheets aren’t long enough to fit on one length, you can tile them.

 

Brush one layer of mod podge onto the frame then lay the scrapbook paper on top of the mod podge. Press out all the air bubbles. Let the mod podge/paper dry for a few minutes.

 

Then brush 1-2 coats of the mod podge on top of the scrapbook paper borders to seal the paper.

 

If you want to embellish your chalkboard frame, you can rub on transfer decals (or paint some decorations using white acrylic paint.)

 

To make your chalkboard frame more functional, add 2 D-rings on either side of the back for hanging purposes. Then add some garment hooks to the front.

 

Don’t forget to season your chalkboard. (I prefer Old Bay seasoning…just kidding! I always wanted to say that.) Rub a piece of chalk on its side all over the surface and then wipe it off with a dry rag.

 

And that concludes the tutorial. Don’t you think the results are sweet! Especially because it is made from something that would have otherwise been discarded.

 

I envision a wall with several of these chalkboard frames lined up, one per family member. That way a message can be written to each person. I guess I better get busy and make 3 more.

 

I love how the hooks add additional storage! Be sure to use two picture hangers (one for each D-ring hook.) If you have good eyesight you might have noticed my fishing line that is hanging the cabinet above. This was for photography purposes only. Unless you want your frame to rip the drywall and land on the floor the first time your child wants to hang something heavy on the hooks, do as I say, not as I do.

 

Awww, isn’t she just a perfect little slice of sunshine on a blank wall? She makes me happy.



You made it through another one of my insanely long tutorials! Congrats!

 

 

Disclaimer: I was one of the bloggers chosen to host a ScotchBlue Painting Party. I was not paid or compensated for this post. I was sent a few rolls of ScotchBlue painter’s tape, but I honestly can’t remember if it was 2 or 3 or 5 because they promptly got added to the collection of ScotchBlue tapes I already own.

Hey guys, today I’m dishing up a triple dose of posts for you. I’ve been busy, really busy, super busy! And you don’t know the half of it. As you are reading this, I’m on my way home from California. I flew out to surprise my little sister for her birthday. She and her husband are expecting their second child and I wanted to go all “Pretty Handy Girl” on their home ;-D.

First, you can read my tutorial for making this whimsical message center, from a curbside window, over at my friend Sandra’s blog,

Then you can come back here and read about this Artist’s Inspiration board also made from an old window.

Finally, if you like what you see you can head over to Parentables to see an entire post on curbside transformations! You won’t believe some of the before and afters!

Okay, ready? Well, let’s get this show on the road.

Materials:

  • Old divided light windows
  • Foam core
  • Tin snips
  • 3M duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Primer
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Irwin mat knife (or x-acto knife)
  • Clear Caulk (window and door sealant)
  • primer
  • fine grit sand paper
  • Two colors of paint (gold and medium gray)
  • Crackle medium
  • Polyurethane
  • Foam double stick tape
  • mirror
  • ruler
  • mirrored glass
  • tin pots, buckets or recycled cans
  • drop cloth bulletin boards from THIS post

Prepping your window:

You will need to clean, prime and paint your window before beginning this tutorial.

Here is what I did during the prep phase: Cleaned the windows (I used a bleach solution because there was mold and mildew present.) I repaired the glazing that was cracked and missing. I used paintable caulk. No need to buy glazing.

Prime the entire window, glass and all! Once the primer has dried, use the sandpaper to gently rough up the primer (especially on the glass. But, be careful not to scratch through to the glass.)

For the beautiful crackle finish on my window, I started by painting the window a metallic gold color.

When the gold had thoroughly dried, I coated the entire window with the crackle medium. Once that had dried, I painted a medium gray on top. That’s when the magic happens. The paint separates and reveals a hint of gold. It is important not to go back over the gray paint after you paint it on or you will get a gloopy mess!

I finished off the painting prep steps by applying two coats of water-based polyurethane.

Tutorial:

Measure all the individual window panes. Be sure to measure only the exposed glass.

Transfer your measurements to cut 2 squares of foam core. Make sure your blade is sharp! Dull blades will drag and tear the inner foam.

Next, transfer your measurements to cut two pieces of cork board. Cut the cork board with a ruler and mat knife.

Finally cut two pieces of mirrored glass to fit the remaining two panes (need help cutting glass? Have a professional do it, or watch Sandra’s tutorial HERE.)

You should now have 2 pieces of foam core, 2 pieces of cork board (wrapped in drop cloth as I showed you the other day), and two pieces of mirrored glass.

Dry fit all the cut squares to make sure they will fit in the window openings.

Take the foam core and tin pots outside. Spray them with primer.

When the primer has dried, spray the foam core and buckets with a few coats of chalkboard paint.

To view how to print onto painter’s drop cloth, refer to my tutorial here.

To attach the chalkboard foam core, mirrored glass, and drop cloth squares, you will need clear window and door caulk. Snip the top off at an angle. Insert a straightened coat hanger into the tip to puncture the inner lining of the caulk.

Put a fair amount of caulk onto each glass of the window. (Lazy supervisor in the background!)

Press the individual squares into it. Weight the drop cloth squares (with paint cans) while they dry.

To secure the chalkboard and mirror sections, run a bead of caulk along the edges of the boards.

Use a damp paper towel to smooth and clean up the caulk edging.

Once the caulk has dried, you can affix the tin buckets to the window. Drill holes through the bucket bracket or tin cans.

Attach a screw through the hole and screw it into the window pane.

To add a hanger to your memo center, flip the window over and measure down 3″ on both sides.

Use a drill to drive the screws into the D-ring style hangers.

I made this artist’s board to sell, but honestly I’m having a hard time parting with it. So, it may just find a home in my painting studio (aka Bonus Room). But, maybe you could convince me otherwise. How much would you pay for this one of a kind artist’s board? I keep thinking it is a real life version of Pinterest.

Don’t forget to view more of my curbside transformations.

What happens when you have more gift wrapping ideas than presents? I guess I could go buy more presents, but I think Pretty Handsome Guy might not be too happy about that. So, I’ll have to stick with just six days of Creative Gift Wrapping. That’s right, two more posts filled with creative gift ideas! I hope you like them.

Yesterday I showed you some nature inspired gift wrappings, today we’re delving into the popular toxic spraypaint hobby of chalkboard painting! I think 2010 can officially be declared the year of the chalkboard paint. I have seen it EVERYWHERE!

Chalkboard Note Gift

Materials:

Chalkboard paint
Foam core
Chalk or chalkboard pen
Wrapping paper
Ribbon
Hole Punch
X-acto knife
Pencil
Ruler

Measure and cut out a 4″ x 6″ rectangle of foam core. The trick to clean cuts in foam core is to use a brand new x-acto blade! It is that simple.

To make perfect diagonal corners, measure 1″ from the corner (across and down) and make  marks. Then draw a diagonal line connecting the two points. Cut off the triangle.

Use your hole puncher to punch a hole in the middle of the top edge.

Spray paint or paint chalkboard paint onto your foam core. Let it dry.

Season your chalkboard rectangle by rubbing chalk all over the board. Then wipe it off. This will eliminate the chalk message “burning” into the chalkboard and will allow the recipient to re-use the board.

 Write a message on the chalkboard tag.
 Wrap your present and attach the tag to your present’s bow.
Now your gift recipient has a cute little re-useable chalkboard tag.
 
 Merry Christmas Renee!
Clothespin Clipped Chalkboard Message Board

Materials:

Chalkboard paint
Foam core
Chalk or chalkboard pen
Wrapping paper
Ribbon
Hole punch
X-acto knife
Pencil
Ruler
Clothespin
Silver or Gold acrylic paint
Paintbrush
Hot glue gun

Follow the instructions above for making a foam core chalkboard. Eliminate the steps on cutting diagonal corners and adding a hole for this one.
Take apart the clothespin and paint both sides using the silver or gold acrylic paint.
Wrap your present as you would normally.
  Wrap ribbon around your present, but don’t tie a bow. Just make a knot.
 Make a separate bow out of the same ribbon and use hot glue to attach it to the clothespin.

Clip the clothespin over the knotted bow on your package and slide your chalkboard into the clothespin.

 “Merry Christmas Baby!”

Bonus: I thought I’d share with you two more gift packages that were pretty simple and quick. The first one I hot glued crocheted snowflakes from Lillian Vernon onto them (thanks for bringing them to my wrapping party, Renee!)

The second one is an ovaltine can that I wrapped with gift wrap, added some monogram stickers and put a bow on top. Easy peasy!

I hope you will swing on by and check out Day #5 of my Creative Gift Wrappings!

busy day
…to another busy day in the life of Pretty Handy Girl!
I had fully intended on posting a tutorial on distressing furniture for you today. But, I got side tracked today and then let’s just say that my evening ended up with a visit from these guys:
busy day
 Thank you Raleigh Fire Department for putting out my oven fire! 

Let me tell you, it is a scary thing to see your heating element turn into a 4th of July super-sized sparkler! Luckily no one was hurt and our kitchen is still white (not smoky gray.) Needless to say, we will be in the market for a new oven this week. Any recommendations or “steer clears” would be appreciated. And a word of advice, if your heating element shorts out, sparks and catches fire, turn off your circuit breaker.

Not exactly what I planned on dealing with today! I did have plans for one tiny little project. This little project had me on a hunt for the illusive and extremely rare chalk marker. I have been looking everywhere for one of these exotic creatures.
Target – nope
Walmart – nope
Ace Hardware – nope
JoAnn’s Fabrics – nope
Jerry’s Art-a-rama – Ding, ding, ding! Finally found it!
If you’ve been around the blogosphere lately, you have seen chalkboard paint projects everywhere! I probably wouldn’t be surprised to see a chalkboard painted dog next week.
I had some leftover chalkboard wall decal material, so I cut a little label for our jar of colored pencils. But, I really wanted a chalkboard marker so I could write on the label and not worry about it smudging from little hands using it daily.
busy day
So, naturally after using my new chalkboard marker and LOVING IT! I decided to paint some more things with chalkboard paint and use my new marker.
I put up my homemade spray tent (I’ll have to show you how I made it later.)
busy day
And got busy. My mind played “Back in Black” in my head as I sprayed. (Any other AC/DC listeners out there?)  I decided to use automotive black primer (for better adhesion on the plastic spice lids.)
busy day
First up where these Goodwill candy jars all four and the rack for $6.99!
busy day
U-G-L-Y oak lids, but not for long…
busy day
Blackified, labelled and now looking good.
busy day
Next victim was a spice rack and jars (I’m embarrassed to say)
that I repainted years ago.
busy day
That’s right, back in the sponge-era.
The gold ink labels are impossible to read.
busy day
I carefully lined them up and made a list of the order 
they were in to make re-labelling them easy.
Seemed like a great idea, UNTIL my oven caught fire.
Then I swept everything off the counters and away from the stove.
busy day
 After testing my sense of smell, I put the lids back on. And now that I can read them,
I shouldn’t mix up red pepper and paprika anymore.
busy day
The rack received several layers of treatment to give it a distressed look.
busy day
Finally, I spray painted a Goodwill picture frame heirloom white and distressed it.
I cut a piece of foamcore to size (since I accidentally broke the glass) and sprayed it with chalkboard paint. Easy framed chalkboard.
busy day

If you came by for my mudroom tour, you saw this message center made from a curbside window frame.

This was a super easy project and I built it in about 2 hours.

First, I gave the whole window a fresh coat of white paint. Then, I taped off the edges of the upper left and lower right windows and used 2 coats of chalkboard paint in those panes.

While the paint dried, I cut two pieces of foam core to size for the upper right and lower left panes. Then added some batting and wrapped the fabric around. I used a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to the back of the foam core. Then positioned the black ribbons on top and glued them to the back of the foam core as well. While the glue gun was still heated up, I ran a bead of glue around the edge of the window panes and inserted the two upholstered foam core pieces in place. (Pictorial directions for the upholstered foam core can be viewed here.)

Next, I had some leftover cheap mirror glass* that I used for the the mudroom coat rack. I used my glass cutter and cut those two panels down to size. Then I put some E-6000 onto the window pane and inserted my mirrored glass. To seal and hide the edges of the mirror, I used white bath and tile caulk around the edges of the mirror.

* Cheap Mirrored Glass Source: Find those $10 back of the door full length mirrors. Buy one at Walmart, Kmart or Target. Just peel off the glued frames and paper backing and cut your mirror pieces from it.

To build the little curved shelf, I actually already had the curved board leftover from another project. But, you can cut a piece of 1″ x 6″ with a jigsaw. Then use a router to give it a decorative edge. Then sand it, prime it and paint it.

To attach the shelf, I used 3 L-brackets on the underside and painted them white to be less noticeable. I also nailed a piece of 1″ x 2″ (painted white) to the bottom of the window so I could screw the brackets into it.

Once the message center was finished and dry, I located the studs on our mudroom wall and hung the window with two L- brackets on the bottom (see pictures above) and one on top.

Now I have a cute place to welcome guests, hang postcards and birthday invites, and check for ORT (object remove from teeth) before heading out the door.