DIY Chalk Lettering

My vintage schoolhouse chalkboard is one of my very favorite things! In fact, I have chalkboards in several shapes and sizes around the house. I love using them in fun new ways for parties and holidays. (My extra large one is one of those pieces that sort of migrates around the house because of its versatility!) I especially enjoy creating cool chalk art but my hand writing is just okay. I'm certainly no calligrapher and my attempts to duplicate beautiful fonts and typography are almost always futile. Typically they resemble elementary level scribbles at best! But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.. And it's a short cut that doesn't require a projector! It's super easy and your lettering will look perfect. All you need is a printer, some chalk and a little tape.

First things first.. pick a design. The world's your oyster! 

Once you decide what you want your board to say, you need to print your graphic. You can use a fun printable or download some pretty fonts and create your own design. My inspiration for this demonstration piece comes from Lauren Buzetti over at Schoolhouse Electric. I swoon every time she  changes up their board! 

The next step is important! Once you have your sizing just right and you've printed your words/letters/pictures,  flip your paper over and evenly rub chalk all over the backside. Then, flip the paper right side up and place it exactly where you want it on your chalkboard. You can use tape to secure it so that it doesn't shift!

Next, take an object with a firm tip and trace the outline of your letters or shapes. I like to use a carpenter's pencil. The tip isn't so sharp that it will scratch or leave an indention in the board, but it's firm enough to transfer the chalk onto the hard surface. You can use a pen or pencil or just about anything firm enough to hold comfortably and trace with.

Once you've traced all edges, carefully lift and remove all the paper. The outline of your graphic will be transferred onto the chalkboard and you can use chalk or chalk markers to fill in as desired. (I prefer the aesthetic of regular chalk. Just keep in mind that chalk markers are semi-permanent and can be more difficult to erase. They're great to use in heavy-use areas or on things like pantry labels that get touched a lot.)

Light outline.. ready to be filled in!

I like to use the broad side of regular chalk to coat the backside of my paper and these two tools to fill in my art by hand after I've traced everything. You can buy the fine tip cartridge here! It's my very favorite and it also has a handy eraser tip that really helps to clean up your edges without using your fingers!

Easy peasy, right?! And the possibilities are endless.. You'll look like a pro in no time!



Country Living comes to Stillwater Farm!

Hello, summertime! It's been awhile since I've done a farm update! Brett recently had back surgery and has been off work and recovering for several weeks. Property maintenance has been in full swing since spring arrived and our acreage is back in bloom. Lots of our interior projects are on hold right now while Brett is healing and we're doing our best to save up for our big kitchen renovation. But, our new farmhouse pantry remodel is almost complete and we can't wait to show you!

The MOST exciting news we have to share is that our Alabama farmhouse is on the cover of the July/August 2016 issue of Country Living Magazine that released this month! It was one of the most memorable experiences we've ever had and it's still so surreal to see our home (and our sweet little Baker man!) on the pages of my very favorite magazine. 

My devotion this week opened with this quote.. "When you feel like everything is falling apart, it could actually be falling into place. God works in mysterious ways." We actually did the photo shoot on the five year anniversary of the tornado that destroyed our home in 2011. Watching their team work was such a treat and I was just so full of gratitude. Through the process of grieving, rebuilding, searching for our forever home and growing as a family both spiritually and physically, it feels like we've come full circle. We can so clearly see the way God worked so intricately in our lives and brought us to a home and community that we are so thankful for and proud of. We have a lot of work ahead of us but we love the farmhouse and we are proud to call Columbiana home. We're right where we belong! 

Our sweet Baker man! He looks like Huckleberry Finn and my momma heart could just burst!

A really fun tidbit about this whole experience is that they totally surprised us with our cover! We had absolutely no idea that we'd have a full two page spread inside the magazine, much less the front page. (I honestly just thought we'd see a small 2" photo of our porch and I would have been over the moon thrilled with that!) The Country Living offices are located in an old biscuit factory in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The week before the issue released they invited me to stop by and tour the office and of course I basically landed outside their doorstep about .5 seconds later jumped/cried/happy-danced/screamed/leapt at the chance! 

So, first off, Brett made a little handmade gift for the editor that we worked with which I wrapped in my favorite blue gingham paper..

Shockingly, I somehow manage to make it all the way their office without passing out and this is the first thing I see:












I have never felt so "at home" in an office in my life! Like, #THESEAREMYPEOPLE. I almost hugged the wall but I managed to practice enough self control to keep walking.

So, they guide me through their open air office where magazine dreams come true - every square inch of wall space is covered in beautiful photos of barns and farmhouses and flowers and they even have a relaxation corner complete with a blue gingham hammock wide enough for three. (It's Perfect. When can I move in?) We walked over to the conference room where I got to meet the entire team, including their incredibly talented Editor-in-Chief, Rachel Hardage. (I was seriously fan-girling hard by this point!)

And then they oh-so-casually hand me a magazine to preview and mention to me to "pull this little tab and take a look"...

And then I died. #RIPLauren

"She lived a wonderful 28 years but a photo did her in."

But, seriously. I practically broke out in hives and got teary eyed. It absolutely took my breath away. I'm sure to them it was just another magazine issue, but to me it meant the world! I ran to my car and called Brett and my family and then just sat there in shock for a while. And one of the coolest things about this issue is that it's reader themed and the big "Country Coast-to-Coast" story that features spaces from all 50 states includes a whole bunch of my blogger and Instagram friends, too! I love that I can flip through and see their homes in the same issue. Really makes it extra special! 

Behind the scenes on photo shoot day! Photography by Alyssa Rosenheck

Baker did SO good! I had an emergency stash of candy, donuts, cookies, suckers and straight sugar cubes to keep him happy during the shoot. HAHA!!! But he was in a great mood and they let him eat popsicles and play in the sprinkler so he was a happy camper!
The farmhouse is decked out now for the rest of the summer. She'll proudly don her Red, White & Blue until the end of the season which is perfect in our little town because we have lots of patriotic festivities coming up like Liberty Day weekend and Fourth of July! Here's a look around the farm this month. And if you happen to pick up a copy of the magazine and see us.. Just know how big I'm smiling! We will never ever forget this!

This tree was just begin' for a swing! We made a little mini adirondack swing for Baker and he loves it!

Bath? Pool? Same difference around here. Two birds, one stone! :)

Summer Nights! About to light 'er up!
Liberty Day 2016



2016 One Word Resolution

I "met" my Instagram friend Sarah from East Plum last year when she invited me to showcase some of her amazing handmade pieces in our nursery reveal and I've just adored her ever since. Not only is she super down to earth and an amazing and passionate momma, but she's incredibly talented to boot. Her shop is brimming with the most unique and whimsical items. (You can shop her Etsy store here or follow her on Insta here.. And no, she didn't pay me or ask me to share her links. I just love her that much!) :)

Not long ago Sarah invited me to participate in the launch of her latest collection entitled One Little Word. A concept centered on selecting and highlighting one word to represent the upcoming year. Since I'm not one to make a long list of resolutions, this project was right up my alley! It has allowed me to truly reflect on the past year and my goals for our family in 2016. What an awesome project, right?! Sarah will be sharing more about this collection on her Instagram account and I encourage you to hop over and read more.

I wanted to document the word we chose and share our photo collection. It will be interesting to look back on this next year and see if it did indeed embody whatever 2016 encompasses for us. Here's to hoping!

Per·sist | verb: To continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.

"2015 was a long year of pushing through week to week. We’ve been living with ripped out kitchens and bathrooms and entire sections of our home. My husband averaging only a few nights home each week. Little money and little time hasn’t allowed for much progress on many fronts – if any. But, amidst the chaos we’ve tried our best to remain steadfast in our goals for our home and for our family. We are incredibly grateful for the home we’ve been blessed with. We’re incredibly grateful for our jobs. We’re incredible grateful for the challenges we’ve faced because without them we would lack the wisdom and perspective gained by the experiences. Here’s to hoping that 2016 will continue to be a year of persistence. That know matter what, we will continue to move forward and make positive changes in our home, in our relationships and in our family!"

Happy New Year! - Lauren


Everything Home Magazine - January Issue!

     Happy New Year from the Everything Home Magazine​ family! In less than two short months our magazine has gained over 400,000+ readers and we're growing every day! We couldn't have done it without your continued encouragement and support. The future is bright and we can't wait to see what 2016 has in store! We hope you had an incredible holiday season and that you enjoy our first issue of the new year. Happy Reading!



DIY Parking Garage

Baker's stocking was a huge hit this year! Santa was on a tight budget so he had to get a little creative. ;) We really love homemade gifts and toys anyways so we enjoy creating things for our home that are unique and special. We can't take credit for this idea at all. I actually found it here! But we did customize it a bit to fit our needs. Baker loved it so much and it was such an easy and inexpensive project. I thought I'd share the details in case anyone else has a car or truck lover like we do and wants to give this DIY a try!

All we used to make this was a crate, some scrap PVC pipe and a piece of scrap wood. The crate is from Michael's and was about $14. (We used a 50% off coupon.) Overall, we spent a whopping $9 on everything! I do like the look of natural unstained wood, but I wanted it to look a little more polished so we put one coat of light wood stain on the crate. And because our little boy has cars and trucks of all shapes and sizes we decided to incorporate two different size PVC tubes to accommodate them all. The tubes fit very tightly in the size crate we used so we didn't think it was necessary to glue them in. But, if you used a different size crate or PVC you could easily hot glue them in to secure them, as well.

I decided to distress and Mod Podge the little "Parking Garage" sign. I don't have a Cricut machine nor do I have the best hand lettering skills so this was the next best approach to getting a really precise look! I do have a few tips if you want to attempt this technique! Mod Podge is a really simple product to use. I have the liquid product in both the matte and glossy finish, as well as their all-in-one aerosol spray product. I actually used both the matte liquid and the spray on this project and I'll tell you why below!

The first thing I did was design and print my wording. I then cut it to my desired size and shape. After I painted and distressed my sign, I sealed the sign by spraying it with the aerosol Mod Podge product and letting it dry completely. This step is what kept my blue paint from smearing across the white paper once I was ready to attach my wording. 

Once the Mod Podge spray coat was dry I applied one layer of matte Mod Podge liquid to use as glue for my piece of paper. After I placed my wording where I wanted I just painted one last thick coat of matte Mod Podge all over the entire sign. The product goes on looking milky and thick, but dries completely clear providing a seamless and permanent finish. I chose to hot glue it to the top of the crate so there wouldn't be any visible nail or staple holes.

It turned out so darling! And it could be customized and used in so many different ways. An incredibly simple and inexpensive DIY product that our little boy absolutely loves! Happy DIY-ing!