How to create a Chalkboard wall with a twist!

How to create a Chalkboard wall with a twist!

chalkboard wall

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wallpaper remover

 There is a three quarter wall in our house that divides our kitchen and living room. Since we moved here, my husband and I have talked about what to do with that wall….take out the wall and open up the space (what I want to do), or turn it into a half wall (what he wants to do), or cut a “window” into it. Choices, choices, but for now it stays just like it is. Now the problem was that the kitchen side of this wall was covered in wallpaper.

Wallpaper does have it’s place, but never in any of my homes. I always take it down. Always. My friend warned me before I started to peel that there were some serious wall issues underneath. I soon learned that she was so right and that the wallpaper had a well deserved purpose being on that wall! 

chalkboard wall

My son helped me when he got excited and picked up the scraper or water bottle pretty often on his own accord to help.

Fortunately for me he LOVES squirt bottles and has gotten VERY acquainted with a scraper and a paint roller these last few years. I love him joining me in the crazy things I just must attempt :). I’m just awaiting the day when he tells me, “Mommy, you’re not doing it right.”

chalkboard wall

And there it was. Look at that eruption of hideous gold tones underneath that wallpaper!  

Upon the unearthing of this gold atrocity, there were also many areas of the wall that needed some extra TLC with applications of joint compound. That patch down in the center, next to the outlet, looked like a drywall patch gone wrong. It was uneven and flimsy, obviously not attached to a stud and covered incorrectly all those years ago. 

I can’t say that I know the exact method to repair many things, but I’m slowly learning as my husband teaches me along the way. Thanks to my Dad I learned how to paint a room correctly (and many other skills), and thanks to my husband, I have learned how to replace electrical outlets and switches, use power tools (many different drills), hang my own decorations on the wall, and do a little home repair work.

We have worked on fixing up 4 of our homes/rentals in the past 10 years and I continue to learn. We are confident this is the last place we’ll live in, so we are doing it right and just the way we want it.

chalkboard wall

However, it was  not GOLD PAINT! There was a small pocketed area down at the bottom and I started to peel…..and peel…and peel it did! Nathan ran back for the fun! 

chalkboard wall

 After 2 days we discovered that only the lower half peeled off to reveal what felt like an oil based blue underneath. I think that’s why it peeled off. Latex based paint does not cover oil based well at all. So then, Nathan learned to use joint compound and we covered a zillion divots and imperfections in the wall. And then we sanded, and sanded. . .

chalkboard wall

 And before I decided to patch, instead of peel more, I stared at this gold/tan/blue spotted wall for nearly two weeks…part in procrastination, and partly to see if I should decide to peel the really stuck on portion of the gold. After two weeks, I decided “No” was the answer, and just patched that seam with joint compound and sanded to make it even. 

chalkboard wall

 Moving on…we primed with an oil based primer. I prefer the Zinsser brand .

 

chalkboard wall

And after once coat of primer, it was starting to look better:

chalkboard wall

 I painted gray on the upper 3rd of the wall. 

chalkboard wall

I wanted the wall to have some design and whimsy to it, so I opted for a patterned design. I cut a zigzag shape out of regular computer paper to use as a guide, and then used masking tape to mark out a repeated pattern. I made sure to measure down from the top of the wall to make sure my line stayed straight.

I started drawing a tighter zig zag, but changed my mind and ended up widening it.

chalkboard wall

 Using a roller and a quart of Chalkboard Paint 

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I painted the lower half of the wall. After one coat it looked like this:

chalkboard wall

And after a second coat:

chalkboard wall

 I added a few practical decorations in the corner. I used a  A palette shelf (bought at a favorite local shop of mine) for a few of my favorite cookbooks and some art.

To finish it off I added  a vintage looking wall clock from Ikea, and turned a piece of Lexan .

chalkboard wall

To create the memo board, I left the outer plastic on the front and back of the Lexan. I then made a quick template with a post-it note in the corner, and drilled a hole. Drill slowly and steadily (do not use pressure on the power drill), so that the Lexan won’t crack.

chalkboard wall

 After drilling through all four corners, I the plastic removed rom both sides of the Lexan and secured it to the wall with 4 counter sink screws.

chalkboard wall

And my boy got to testing the wall out right away that next morning! Nathan’s first order of business was to draw a train track…and he went big! 

chalkboard wall

 Even Daddy got in on the action and drew a steam engine for Nathan : ). 

chalkboard wall

And we draw, and draw, and draw now! The invitation is always before us and we love it! We even found  Non-Toxic White Dustless Chalk .

<iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=joy2sew-20&language=en_US&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B010BTLTSG&asins=B010BTLTSG&linkId=17d1cc6df33dfc8cb39ff714f71c8e38&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”></iframe>There is less mess, and while that white chalk haze seems to linger after being water washed, it’s still so much fun!

We are so pleased with how it turned out!

chalkboard wall

 What to draw, what to draw : )…Turns out that “erasing it” and painting over the chalk with water and a paintbrush are equally as fun to a toddler! Gotta love that too!

UPDATE: Years later we are still loving our chalkboard wall. The paint has lasted well. We enjoy using it as the back drop for celebrations! Check out How to throw a Simple Birthday Party

chalkboard wall

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Monkey Birthday Party!

Monkey Birthday Party!

It was a great first celebration of our son turning ONE! Even with all the snow and ice we had here in Ohio, I was so thrilled and blessed that so many family members made it to his party! What a great time we had! And thank you to all my family who came and made it a super special day to remember!!!!
I mean, your only baby turns only ONE, once, right? This time is so priceless!
Another HUGE blessing this day was getting to Skype with Steven/Daddy during the party…all the way from Afghanistan! We sang happy birthday together and Steven watched Nathan have help blowing out his first birthday candles! I’m sure neither of us will ever forget it! (**tears**)
I carried a “monkey” theme throughout the party with my decorations (and so to make it easier, these decorations look very similar to my baby shower decor from last weekend):
And my Dad made a wonderful cake (he’s our family “cake boss”)! :
And I made some food:
corn muffins, to go with the chili.
Spinach, Pasta & Almond Salad. Yum.
And baked macaroni & cheese. (and pizza, not pictured)
And some “monkey” favors for the kids:
And “monkey” food favors for the adults:
(Twizzlers= monkey vines, Banana Chips= monkey snacks, and
Chocolate Covered Banana pieces= monkey bits)
“Thank you” to Pinterest for your inspiration for this!
And our amazing ONE year old… on deciding how to eat his first piece of birthday cake (hands free):
And some of my favorite people: my family.
(I stenciled a monkey design on Nathan’s shirt for his party.
 And the kids even entertained themselves by creating superhero capes out of tape and tissue paper (this craft was purely all the kids imagination): They all looked like they had a great time too!
And Mommy, with her ONE year old little monkey:
 We are so excited to watch you grow, our precious son! Daddy and Mommy love you so very much! Happy Birthday Nathan!
Decorating Updates!

Decorating Updates!

This is our/Nathan’s bedroom. It’s come a long way these last two months with new paint, and now decorations. It feels like a real bedroom now. And I’m happy now with my yellow color in there. Cheery notes all around!

This is Nathan’s story time nook. I love these shelves from Ikea that host some of Nathan’s favorites! I enjoy reading to him, and his favorite book right now is, “Guess How Much I Miss You” read and recorded by Daddy. Nathan loves to hear his Daddy’s voice, and I’ve watched him pull the speaker on the book close to his ear….and he’s only 8 months old. Makes me tear up every time!

And here is Aunt Amy reading Nathan’s favorite to him and the little princess. They both loved it! Thanks, Aunt Amy! I think I saw tears in your eyes too that day : ).
And this is Nathan’s spot. I finally hung the LOVA leaf today….it only took 6 months to get it up : ). But, I’ve got big plans for this corner, complete with a modern painted wall mural of a tree, with family photos hanging from it;  and to the right: a painted giraffe growth chart. I’m so excited! I enjoy envisioning things in my head, making them a craft reality, and then sharing them with you!



And here’s our fireplace…..well the top of it anyways. It’s a work in progress. I just painted the top portion gray to make it stand out in the room more, and painted the mirror bright yellow. I am loving the gray/yellow combo, as Erin suggested in her blog HERE. I’m developing ideas for the right side of that blank space, but I’d love your suggestions!



And unfortunately, I opened up a can of worms last week too, and here is the bottom hearth. It was looking pretty unattractive with the layers of paint on there, and so I decided to strip it off. I had no idea what I was getting into. This is what it looked like after the whole first scraping.
And this is what it looked like after the gruesome 2nd scraping. And I used the WHOLE QUART of paint stripper at this point!  I discovered 2 layers of latex paint (the top coat I had put on last year), and 2 layers of oil based something…paint or stain whatever. It is on there good, let me tell you! Wow! And it still looks horrible. Hmm…

Out of paint stripper, I turn to the steel wool pads. Brilliant! Finally there is that grey slate underneath showing through. Now that’s what I’m looking for. Well, it’s progress even so, but far from done at this point. It’ll look fantastic when I get done, so I’m pushing through the cramped fingers of all that scraping!
And finally the bare corner gets covered! I have one area there on the right to patch back up from my initial shelf-hanging, hate plaster woes, but other than that it’s looking great. See what it used to look like and what the rest of my kitchen looks like HERE. Yea for decorating! And thank you, Amy, for suggesting the fabric covered canvases! I love ’em!