Chalkboard Kitchen Labels

In my quest for attractive organization I bought some glass containers for the kitchen.  They are simple, square jars that I thought could be useful for day-to-day items I didn’t want to keep in the pantry since our pantry isn’t actually inside our kitchen.  We’re insanely short on counter space in the kitchen, so as tempted as I was to have pretty labelled jars on the counter, the tiny space left on the shelf beside the microwave won!

Truth be told – I did this weeks ago, but it didn’t turn out the way I had hoped, and that was entirely my fault.  I tried too hard to make the writing on the labels seem like my regular handwriting, and I don’t even like my own handwriting, so naturally I hated the way it looked.  Of course I’m going to share that with you!

chalkboard jar CollageSo that’s what the shelf looked like for the last few weeks.  It only really bothered me for a few days, but every time I thought about other people seeing them, I felt uneasy.  Yes, I know how silly that may seem, but in this life we have control over very, very few things.  I am someone who likes to control everything, and suddenly this blog post has turned into a therapy session?  Anyway, I can control this, so I did!  I changed it.  Want to see how much better it looks?

chalkboard labels 2If you guessed that this is not my handwriting, you are correct!  I cheated… I found a font I really liked (2 actually) and I printed out the words and transferred them onto the labels (step 1).  How?  I cut them all out, rubbed chalk on the back of the paper (step 2), grabbed my labels (step 3), taped them onto the labels (step 4), and transferred the words by tracing around them with a pen (step 5).  Ever done this before?  I used to do this as a kid all the time when tracing wasn’t an option, but with lead rubbed on the back of the paper instead.  Anyway, what I’m saying is this is a tried and true method here folks!  Check it out:

chalkboard jar 2 CollageThen I sat back for a second and admired how amazingly this had worked (step 6)!!  I went over the writing with a marker because I don’t want these to rub off easily since they will be handled often.  The Dry-Erase Crayons I used the first time were actually pretty fantastic as well, but I’d rather use them for other projects, plus I would have had to sharpen them about 15 times to get through these.

chalkboard labels 3And that’s what the shelf looks like now.  It’s so much better I actually WANT to look at it all the time!  And I’m super happy with how the marker looks too.  This is going to be a technique I’m sure I’ll use a lot once the chalkboard I have been working on for the living room is complete.

I do love The Nester’s motto “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”, and this is by no means perfect, but it’s much closer to it now the words are at least straight, right?? (That was for you Cheryl and Jon, if you get to read this!)


chalkboard labelsLinking up at these awesome places plus Cheerios and Lattes, The 36th Avenue, Skip To My Lou, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry, Savvy Southern Style, and My Repurposed Life.


DIY Daydreamin’

All of this writing has made me look around the house a lot.  I already look around the house a lot on a regular day, but since starting this series I’ve been pushed to really look at everything, almost critically.  Well, maybe that’s an inappropriate word choice… I don’t mean I’m critical of my house, I mean I look at objects more critically and ask more questions about them like: Do I need this?  What can I use it for? How can I turn this into something that brings purpose into my home?

With that being said, looking and questioning and thinking have me daydreaming of DYI projects all day long!  Here are some of my current faves.  Just click the photos to be taken to the original sites these came from.

We have some pallets currently sitting in our garage, just begging to be made into something awesome… like these shelves!  With 100’s of pallet projects out there, I could do a blog post about them alone (and I probably will!)

Too Much Time on My Hands

Chalkboard anything is almost an obsession these days.  Let’s face it, it’s just so convenient to have a surface you can write on over and over , and personally it takes me back to elementary school – all kids ever seemed to want was to write on the chalkboard.  Holding chalk had power somehow!  So, why not use trays to have these magical surfaces on?

Signature Style Blog – link will take you to the home page. I can’t find this particular project anywhere!

We have this huge walk-in pantry at our house.  It’s magical, but it’s also a mess – as you can imagine, it’s the black hole, where everything goes!  It badly needs to be organized and I have dreams that it will someday look a little something like this, oh and it brings my love of organizing together with my love of the dollar store.  YES!

I heart Organizing

Now that we’re on storage and organizing… How awesome would it be to have a linen closet like this?  Doors are overrated anyway, right?  I would just change the labels for towels, sheets, etc.

Sweet Pickins

This is a little wishful DYI project for the office, or master bedroom (for my jewelry), or even the bathroom.  I think it’s just so darn cute, and looks like it’d be fun to make!

aka Design

Lastly, I contemplated whether or not to even post this because if I post one picture with a glass container and label I love, I thought I’d have to post them all!  And I have lots.  But I love the labels.  I love labels, period!  This has such appeal to me because of the phonetic component and the dictionary look.  Maybe it’s the teacher in me, or the fact that these are just plain adorbs!

The Painted Hive

This is it for now.  It’s a lot to do, but I think slowly we can achieve some of these goals, right?  It’s these kind of details, this care and time put into a place that help me nest and help me build a home for us.  I think it could be pretty great!

Check the full 31 day series here.

A funny thing happened

So… I had big plans yesterday, and the day before that.  I was planning on coming home, making a delicious dinner, enjoying it with my husband then sitting down to write all about it! 3 out of those 4 things happened.  Guess which 3?  Yeah… the first 3!  I started uploading photos for the blog and closed my eyes… just for a second!  At 10:30 Alex woke me up from my curled-up-with-the-laptop slumber and we went to bed.  No blog.  I was so looking forward to making up for my nothingness from the previous day too!  In an effort not to dwell on my sleepiness and lack of blogging, let me just tell you all about Tuesday night…

I stopped at Costco and Sobey’s on my way home for some groceries, list in hand for some delicious meal recipes I found online and couldn’t wait to try!  I have been posting so much about how to make our house look like a home, but I really think this is a huge part of what makes a house be a home – sitting down for a delicious meal together.  As a family.  Just the two of us!  Now because I had a lazy Monday and didn’t even make dinner (the popcorn doesn’t count… the Whirly Pop did all the work!), I needed to redeem myself.  How did I try to do that? I attempted to make 2 meals at the same time.  Yep… I did.  Here is how that went:

Firstly, here are the recipes which I got from The Nest:

Recipe 1: Pasta e  Fagioli

Recipe 2: Maple Salmon Over Nutty Couscous

Please note: these were not meant to be eaten together.  I was making the pasta and beans for us to have this week with lunch and as a warm stew/soup.  Plus, I loved the sound of it and I really wanted to try it!

So I didn’t wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf into a cheesecloth because I don’t have one.  I just left them as they are.

Onion chopping.  No tears!

Butter and olive oil. Delicious!

Add pancetta (best part).  I did not measure this.  I thought it’d be better to just have as much pancetta as I see fit!

The recipe calls for 2 cloves… I used 3.

While the onions, garlic and pancetta sauteed, I got started on the salmon.  I forgot to take photos of the maple syrup and balsamic, but you get the idea… it’s a syrupy, dark mixture.  My salmon was frozen, so I put it in the oven for a few minutes to soften it up.

Here are the beans I used.  I didn’t want to use all kidney beans, plus I really like Romano beans.

Adding in the broth.  As a quick FYI, the container has about 3 3/4 cups, so just dump the whole thing in there and measure 2 cups from the next one.

I got pre-chopped walnuts.  I accidentally cut the bag upside down.  Oops!

And while the bean concoction was busy boiling, I got to making the quinoa.  That’s right… no couscous.  I thought quinoa would be a better alternative.

Here is what the kitchen looked like while all of this was going on:

The picture does not do the smell in the room any justice… honestly, it was heaven in that kitchen!

The recipe says to blend a cup of the stew in a blender.  We do not have a blender.  I thought I would be smart and use our food processor… huge mess!  But it sort of worked.

I would have used whole wheat macaroni, but let’s face it… white pasta alway tastes better!

The salmon was done before everything else.

Here is the finished Pasta e Fagioli… parmesan cheese and all.  It tasted better than it smelled, which I did not think was possible!

Yes, we did end up having both the beans and the salmon.  We wanted to try both dishes.  And finally the salmon.

Finally, the kitchen post cooking 2 meals and eating… not bad, right?  Alex did the dishes.  Love that husband of mine!!

Go here for the 31 days of House to Home.

Linking up here.

Have a cuppa

In keeping with the Fall theme of blankets and being cozy I wanted to post on the best companion to those things – a hot cup of tea or coffee.  It took me a good 3 months to actually choose a kettle, and that included test driving 2 of them before settling on our current beauty.  My maid of honour and mom can both attest to my excitement when I saw this on the shelf at The Bay – it was love at first sight!  The small espresso maker and coffee press were same-day purchases as well.  What can I say?  I was feeling inspired by hot beverages!  The next phase of the hot beverage/breakfast bar will be to have some porcelain or glass canisters with coffee and sugar.  Maybe once the shelf for the microwave is up we can get that going!

The icing on the cake for this particular story though is the latest.  Look at this pretty little thing!  Isn’t she lovely?  Tried her out this morning for the very first time.  Did we have perfect cappuccinos at breakfast?  Why yes we did!  Thanks for the amazing present little brother!!!

What does this have to do with making our house a home?  Well I am of the belief that coffee and tea can not only make a house smell lovely, but can make the people in it feel good also.  Coffee wakes you up in the morning, brings people together to talk over it and can serve as a nice pick me up in the afternoons.  Tea has the ability to bring us such comfort: it helps us sleep, makes a crummy cold feel a tiny bit more bearable, and can even make that already amazing book that much better!

So come on in, have a cuppa…

Check out the other 31 days so far here.


Today’s post will be short and to the point.  This is one of the things I always wanted in our home: to make dishes (and therefore eating) easily accessible.  How do we do this?

Well I think it starts with having dishes exposed, rather than behind doors.  For a while, during our mini kitchen transformation we had no doors at all and it felt really nice to simply reach for a plate or a cup without having to swing open any doors.  It might sound silly, but that kind of accessibility meant that anyone who walked into our kitchen could feel a little more at ease also.

The little bucket there serves to hold scrubbers and such for washing dishes.  I was hoping for some fresh herbs in there in the future though, to add a fresh scent to the room too!

My favourite part is the mugs – there’s something so great about being able to just reach for a cup and fill it with coffee or tea!

It’s very much a work in progress in our kitchen, but I think the dishes and mugs are a great start.  On top of that,we have a smaller hanging rack above the oven that I think need some serious work!  The spaghetti measure can stay (I love it!  Another Home Sense find), but the measuring cups can probably stand to be hidden an replaced with other prettier things, am I right?

Well I said short right?  So that’s it.  This post is definitely about the kitchen becoming the vision in my mind.  Here’s one last peek at that lovely olive wood spaghetti measure, for good measure! 🙂

All 31-day posts HERE.