Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Growing Up

Growth charts are popping up in all of the major kids’ catalogs right now. This is a little bit bigger than a "Nap Time" project, but it’s worth the effort for the cute factor and cost-savings. This is a great housewarming gift  or a 1st birthday gift for a friend who delights in watching her family grow! 

  • 2x4x12 piece of wood
  • Sandpaper
  • Pint of Chalkboard Paint
  • 6” foam roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paint pens
  • Pencil
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
  • Rubber stamps (optional)
  • Drill (optional)

 At your local hardware store, purchase a 2 x 6 x 12 piece of lumber. Ask an employee to cut the piece in half so that you end up with two 6 ft. pieces of wood. Make sure you are involved in the wood selection – sometimes the lumber has large cracks and flaws. 

** Do NOT be intimidated. Just walk in that lumber department like you own the place. Or walk in like me, looking confused and tired, and eventually someone will ask if you need help!**

 Lightly sand the wood to smooth out the roughness.

Paint the entire plank with three layers of chalkboard paint. Wait 20 minutes between coats.
Random tidbit: The vinyl drop cloth I use for my painting projects (seen above) was our table cloth when we lived in Chicago. We had it draped over a 4-person card table, and that was our official dining room table. Fancy, right?

Use a ruler and pencil to measure the inch markers. 

**Even though the piece of wood is 6 feet long, I adjusted the inch markings to account for the wood hanging 6 inches off the floor. In other words, your last marking at the top with be 6 feet 6 inches.

Use a stencil, or rubber stamp, to trace the number markings on the chart with pencil.

Once the wood is measured and marked, draw over the pencil with a paint pen. Decorate the rest of the chart with chalk!

Drill a hole in the top of the chart so that it can be secured on the wall in the garage, kitchen or playroom. The wood is 6 feet long, so you have to hang it 6" off the floor to get the measurements right.

I plan to mark Drew's height once a year on his birthday - and I plan to do that with a permanent paint pen. You can keep track of multiple heights on the same chart, just choose a specific paint pen color for each child. 

The rest of the growth chart can be decorated by Drew with chalk - easy to wipe clean and start fresh when the creative mood strikes! You'll notice a few Drew smudges in the pic above. :) 

Below is a growth chart I made for a friend. I wanted to include a full length photo so you can see all 6 feet...and Frank. Always have to include Frank. 

For anyone reading this locally (Maryland), I would be happy to create a growth chart for you - just message me about pricing. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Lucky Day

I haven't gotten news this good since I received my invitation to join Pinterest. And that's saying something.

After submitting a portfolio of ideas, I was chosen to be the first Craft Columnist for Maryland Family Magazine. It was a very good thing that I was home alone with Drew when I got the news. He's very forgiving with my singing voice, and seems to turns a blind eye to my dancing.

I will be contributing kid-friendly project ideas that will hopefully inspire families to pull out their glue guns and get crafting! I'm trying to filter my projects by thinking about crafts that moms will actually want to keep on display. I know children create a lot of art over the years in pre-school and Vacation Bible School, and believe me, there is a place in my heart (and home) for cotton balls, construction paper and toilet paper rolls. However, I do feel there is a sweet spot in this category that results in a fun activity for the child and a cool finished product that mom is happy to display.

Hopefully you guys will keep an eye out for the articles. The remaining 2013 printed editions of Maryland Family Magazine will hit newstands in August and November. The other months' projects will be featured online at

The first project was featured on Wednesday and is a great activity to get your family ready for Mother's Day (read: THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE YEAR)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Answering the call...

We have officially lived in our house for 3 years. For some (read: most) families, 3 years is not that long. For our little family, 3 years is a lifetime. A.J. and I moved 4 times in the first 4 years of our marriage for various job and life opportunities. I wouldn't change a single decision, but my good friend Ann's father used to say "Don't move near Meghan, her stuff's on wheels"! 

When we moved in to our townhouse I was thrilled when we got to the point where the house felt fully decorated. Curtains hung - check. Pictures on the wall - check. Walls painted - check. But now that we've been here awhile, I hear the house whispering for a refresh. So as life is giving us a little pocket of downtime, I'm answering the decorating call by starting in the kitchen.

These pictures have hung in every house we've lived in, and they were my first big decorative purchase for our first house. I have a vivid memory of painting the gold frames black in the bumpy driveway of our sweet house on Skipwith Rd. If you look around you'll see these prints everywhere, but I love them  for all the good sentimental reasons. They're getting packed away for now, but will hopefully make a return to the walls in the future.

The need for more photo space and the desire to display some of the art we've collected over the past few years led me to this final product...

Sorry for the weird pic - I had a hard time getting everything in the shot!


I'm obsessed with these picture ledges from Ikea - they're streamlined, affordable and provide some creative space to lean frames or put small items on display. 

My girlfriend Jessie gave me the awesome birthday gift of a class at Wine and Design in Richmond. We spent a lovely afternoon in March sipping Prosecco and painting stress-free Cow faces. Sounds weird, but trust me, it was so fun. I named my cow Boyer after the very best Richmond ice cream shop in all the land. 

The Fork is a personal favorite. Whenever we go back to Nashville, my husband's hometown, we try to eat at one of the Nashville Originals restaurant. The city is onto something - local restauranteurs have joined together to increase the visibility of local restaurants as more and more chain restaurants pop up. We were at Tin Angel and I saw this cool poster hanging on the wall. Once we were back in MD, I looked on the website to see if I could purchase a print. No luck. I took a stab in the dark and called the restaurant. I spoke to the owner and he told me that they weren't for sale, but that he had a few extras in his office and he'd be happy to give me one. Score! I love generous people. My mother-in-law was still living in TN at the time, so she picked it up and now it hangs on our walls as a fun reminder of A.J.'s southern roots, good food and the importance of supporting local business.

The clipboard is there to display all of the future artwork that Drew creates. I'm basically counting the days until he's old enough to wield a crayon. Coloring was such a great part of my childhood, and I can't wait to share that creative time with Drew. For the record, I was an in-the-lines colorer. 

I couldn't find a cork board that I liked, so I bought a frame, removed the glass and bought cork to fit. 

Drew's big-headed silhouette makes me smile every time I see it. It also reminds me of the silhouette wall in my grandparents' house - my mom is the oldest of 5, and I have a strong memory of seeing the collection of 5 sweet girl profiles on their walls.

Between this new display, the removal of Drew's exersaucer (hallelujah!) and the addition of an easel (future project) and new rug, the kitchen is feeling fresh and new. Maybe this new eye candy will inspire me to cook a little more - I'm doubtful, but hopeful!