Sunday, November 27, 2011

A weekend of Pinspiration - Part 2 - Menu Board

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday - we're just getting back from Memphis with my mom's side of the family - great weekend of food, family and fun!  Pics to come soon!

But first, back to my weekend of Pinspiration - I've been dying to come up with a solution for my weekly menu planning.  If you know me even slightly, you know I'm pretty obsessed with spreadsheets.  Usually, I try and make a menu plan every Sunday - I do this out of sheer necessity (so don't be too impressed) because I'm not creative enough to come up with something on the spur of the moment with ingredients I have - if I haven't planned ahead, it probably means we're having a Moe's night  :)  This has also been pretty essential in getting healthy - I find that if I plan in advance, its much easier to eat healthy dinners.  So, normally, my spreadsheet would be fine.  The problem was that we buy a lot of stuff frozen so we can buy in bulk and I'd forget that morning to set out food to defrost.  Sometimes, a meal also requires that we grill extra items on one night so I have it for later.  Well, all that planning goes out the window unless I remember to do the prep.  So, a menu board it was!  And I decided I needed a giant board right by the door to my garage, so there really would be no way to forget.  I was loosely inspired by several Pinterest pins (including the one hyperlinked below), but really Lisa and I came up with this one all on our own!

Chalkboard menu planner
So, Friday morning, bright and early, we headed to Lowe's (our first of 4 trips) and Hobby Lobby to get supplies.

We started with one of the unfinished frames from Hobby Lobby - they were 50% off and this one ended up being about $40.  We thought about trying to use trim pieces from the hardware store, but couldn't figure out how to make it flush (since a frame already has routed edges to drop in a piece of glass), so I decided this frame was worth the extra expense.  We ended up picking the frame we liked the best and didn't worry about the color - spray paint is cheap! 

Step 1:  Spray paint unfinished frame with white spray paint

Finished frame
We also bought a sheet of plywood from Lowe's and had them cut it to fit exactly into our frame.  The whole sheet was about $10 and we used less than 1/2 - we saved a few smaller pieces and gave one larger piece we couldn't fit in the car to a stranger  :) 

To create our chalkboard, we first tried chalkboard spraypaint that we found at Hobby Lobby - total fail, I wouldn't recommend.  Granted, I probably didn't give it a fair shot - after about a 1/2 a coat, I waived the white flag - it was getting drip spots, the coverage was very uneven (didn't cover the grain of the wood) and it looked like it was going to need a TON of paint.  I think this may have been created for use on a slightly smaller projects - not 40x30 pieces of plywood!  Either that, or perhaps its user error.

So next, we turned to chalkboard paint that we applied with a roller.

Step 2:  Paint plywood with chalkboard paint

See the difference?  We did end up doing a 2nd coat of the paint as well, just in case.
Lastly, we had to figure out a way to attach the plywood to the frame.  We wanted to make sure the plywood was held very tightly in place so it wouldn't wiggle when I tried to write on it.  The plywood wasn't quite as thick as the opening for the frame, so we had to get creative.  We ended up buying these metal thingys (which is the technical term - I checked) and screwed them to the frame so it would hold it.  Lisa slightly bent them so they would have more pressure on the plywood.  Apparently she was a little too strong for her own good - she ended up breaking the metal once, so take caution!
Step 3:  Attach plywood to frame with metal fasteners

Close up shot of our hardware
Then - our menu board was ready to hang!  We used picture hanging wire on the back and screwed two screws into the wall.  We added some chipboard letters we painted black to spell out "Menu" and....Ta-Dah!

One stipulation I had was that I did NOT want to use regular chalk to write on the board - I hate how dusty it gets and I knew I wouldn't want to deal with that.  Lisa recommended these:

Crayola Dry Erase Crayons
They write just like crayons and they do erase off my chalkboard as long as you use a little water.  I'm also thinking about getting a chalkboard marker, but we'll see.  Tim and I used our board for the first time last week (even though it was a short week b/c of Thanksgiving break and meals were basically just a hodge podge) - it was a great reminder to me that I needed to make the pumpkin pie cheesecake swirl dessert I brought to our family meal. 

I'm looking forward to meal planning today just so I can write it on my board!

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