Free and easy holiday chalkboard art

I came across a post recently from the Thrifty Decor Chick showing a simple way to DIY chalkboard art. It looked so easy, in fact, I figured it must be too good to be true. But it was true. I made the most adorable holiday art for my refrigerator using her method and I just had to share it with you today.


I started by printing out on regular 8.5-inch by 11-inch paper letters that I typed in a Word document. I chose three different fonts: Academy Engraved LET for “JOY”; Blackadder ITC for “to the”; and Gill Sans MT Ext Condensed Bold for “World.”

Then I trimmed out the letters and positioned them on the black chalkboard vinyl on my refrigerator until the design looked right. (The vinyl came from Kohl’s a few years back. It usually has my weekly menu on it.)


I marked where each piece of paper was positioned, then removed the letters.


I turned the letters over on the counter. Taking a regular piece of chalk, I scribbled all over the backside, completely covering the backs of the pieces of paper with chalk.


Then came the really cool part. I retaped the letters onto the vinyl, positioning them where the tick marks were located. I used this pencil with a blunt end …


… and traced the outline of each letter.


The pressure of the pencil point transferred the chalk dust to the vinyl, creating a perfect image of my letters! After pulling up the paper, this is what the first letter transfer looked like:


Here are all the letters after I was done tracing:


After that, I simply cleaned off the excess chalk dust and tick marks with a damp paper towel and some Q-tips. Then I colored in the outline with a set of chalk markers to make the design look more intense and “finished.”


I also decided to free-hand draw a sprig of holly berries to give the sign a pop of color. Here’s the finished result:


What do you think of my DIY holiday chalkboard art?


Now all I have to do is hope nobody leans against it. ;)

Holiday home tour

Today I thought I’d share some of the Christmas decorations we’ve got going on around here. Believe it or not, this is the first year we’ve added a live tree to the decor, which makes a total of three trees in our house right now. Whew! However, one is in our daughter’s bedroom and that space is not fit for pictures, so you won’t see it featured in this holiday home tour. ;)

I’ll start with our dining room. I decided to go with primarily red, green and gold accents.


I really wanted to incorporate some plaid napkins this year. I got the ones you see in the pictures online from World Market (with a 10 percent off coupon). Plaid seems to be having a moment right now.


I went with a traditional look in the dining room, which means I also tried to incorporate some traditional treats for dinner guests, including this bowl of mixed nuts.


Every year, I have a vision of what I want the main rooms in our house to look like for the holidays, based on inspiration I see in magazines and online. Of course, the vision in my head is often not how things turn out. But at least the basic idea is achieved, hopefully. I’m calling this year’s dining room “Chevy Chase Traditional” because it reminds me of decorations you might see in his home in that movie. Would you agree?

Moving on to our living room, I went for more of a natural, rustic look.


This is the room with the live tree. Gosh, a real tree is a lot of work!


The mantel includes my DIY wooden tag ornaments as well as my Pottery Barn knockoff DIY birch candles and eBay snowshoes.

Flocked-mini-Christmas-tree Birch-candles-on-mantel Snowshoes-on-mantel Wooden-reindeer Santa-and-sign

If you’re interested in where I got any of the other mantel decorations, I have a detailed post here.

We displayed our Christmas village on the TV stand in the living room.


My favorite decoration by far is the tiny nativity set I got while on a mission trip to Guatemala.


In the kitchen, I try to keep the counters pretty clear so there’s plenty of room for holiday baking. :) I focus mainly on decorating the area above the cabinets.




I try to dress the staircase because it’s the first thing people see when they walk into our home. I’m still in awe of what a difference my poor-man’s wainscoting makes in our entryway.


Speaking of thrifty transformations, it still makes me smile every time I look at our front door. It is amazing what some paint and hardware can do!


For details and jaw-dropping before and after photos of our front door redo, click here.

Before I go, I want to remind you that Duluth Trading Co. is giving away $200 worth of gift cards on the blog right now! To get your paws on one of them, hurry over and enter to win here.

Happy holiday decorating!

Video: My top Christmas gift picks for DIYers (plus a giveaway)

I wish I could say I was done shopping for Christmas gifts this year, but not by a long shot. I admire folks who are done Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving. But honestly, how in the world do they do it? The good news is, there’s still time to order online before the big day arrives.

So for all of you folks, like me, who are still on the hunt for that perfect gift, I created a short video highlighting my top Christmas gift picks for the DIY diva in your life. Or if you are that DIY diva, grab a pencil and paper and deliver this list straight to Santa right away. ;)

All of these choices are from my favorite DIY-friendly outfitter, Duluth Trading Co. Be sure to stick around until the end of this post because there’s a giveaway from them that you are not gonna want to miss.

Here’s a list with links to all the items from the video:

  1. Women’s Crosscut Performance Flannel Shirt
  2. Women’s Lifetime Leather Portfolio Bag
  3. Women’s No-Yank Long-Sleeve Scoop Neck T-Shirt
  4. Women’s Goatskin Gloves
  5. Riggers Bag
  6. Women’s DuluthFlex Fire Hose Slim Leg Cargo Pants
  7. Women’s DuluthFlex Slim Leg Jeans 

Also, if you’re looking for a gift (or stocking stuffer) for that special gentleman in your life, here’s what I recently bought for the hubs: (Shhhh. Don’t tell.)

  1. Men’s Trim Fit Free-Swingin’ Flannel Shirt
  2. Men’s Woolly Mammoth Boiled-Wool Cap
  3. Duke Cannon Men’s Soap (in both the Accomplishment and Productivity scents, which smell like fine scotch and mint)

Finally, the generous folks at Duluth want to give away two $100 Duluth Trading Co. gift cards here on the blog. So two of you lucky readers will each win $100!


Enter to win below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll announce a winner Dec. 19.

Special thanks to Duluth Trading Co. for providing, at my request, the items featured in the video. As always, all opinions are 100 percent mine.