The Busy Bean

What’s For Dinner?

I find myself asking that a lot. It’s not that I don’t cook – I love to cook. It’s that I never plan ahead. I find myself staring into the pantry (which is actually full of food) thinking that I don’t have anything to make for dinner. Maybe it’s because I start staring into the pantry at about 5:30 every night (or 7:00). At that point, my creative mind is gone.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a solution. A menu chalkboard that someone had attached to their fridge. I can’t find that particular one again, I have no idea which blog I was reading that linked to another one that featured the particular inspiration for this. I know it’s not a new concept, so I’ll just share how I did mine.

This morning I packed the girls up and headed in to town. I had a bag of stuff to drop off at our local thrift store, then I parked and went inside to get new {to me} stuff. I picked up a couple of frames for $1 each! Wall space in our kitchen is limited, so I was happy to find a skinny tall frame. I used this one for my project today:


Sure, it was only $3 originally, and the tag says $1.50. But a bargain’s a bargain, right? I feel good about paying just a buck. Especially because it’s so ugly. But, I think it’s like Fran in Strictly Ballroom… all it needs is a little love, a few dance lessons, a new outfit, and it will be a whole new frame. (Alright, maybe I didn’t give it dance lessons, maybe I’m just thinking about that movie since a song from the soundtrack just came on my iPod and now I really want to watch it tonight.)

I started out by sanding it just a tiny bit on the flat parts to make sure my paint would stick. Make sure you wipe all the dust off and let it dry before you start painting.  I used an American Crafts acrylic paint that has been getting a lot of use at my house lately, Georgia Clay.

MenuBoard2I applied two coats to make sure I got it in all the little details. Already it looked better – but still quite plastic-y. Is that a word? {okay, I know it isn’t but if you ask that after using a word you just made up then you can feign ignorance, right?}

MenuBoard3See? Plastic-y. So I used a little Burnt Umber to deepen it up. A really dark brown like this is one of my go-to colors when I paint stuff, it’s just like a walnut stain ink pad for distressing edges of paper when I scrapbook. Just use a few drops of the Burnt Umber and a few dips of your brush full of water. It should look like a dirty puddle on your palette.

MenuBoard4This is why my sister doesn’t craft. This whole project would be a nightmare for her. I know – we talked about it just this weekend.

Anyway, once you have that really watered-down Burnt Umber, wipe it all over  your painted frame and just let it sit for a minute. Long enough to snap a quick picture… or get a Coke from the fridge… or both. Because that’s what I did.

MenuBoard5Then, take a paper towel and wipe off the excess dirty water. Because let’s be honest, it’s more dirty water than paint at this point. If that looks okay to you, great! I wanted mine a little deeper toned, so I did that one more time.

This time while it dried a little, I cut out my letters and shapes with my Cricut machine. My inspiration for this was a chalkboard, which I considered, but I didn’t have any chalkboard paint, I didn’t want to pull my girls out of the car again to run into Home Depot, and I kind of don’t like the idea of chalk dust in my kitchen. So, I cut out letters and arranged them on a paper to put behind the glass so I can write on the glass with a glass pen.

MenuBoard6I wanted to make a little area to write each day’s meals on, and I kind of like the bracket look. But I also wanted to make sure they were evenly spaced… so I measured down each side, making a mark where I wanted the tip of each bracket. Then I used Mod Podge to glue down the letters at the top and brackets down the sides.

By this time my paint and dirty water was all dry, so I took the frame out to the garage and gave it a couple coats of finishing spray (after all, this will be in the kitchen, I wanted something that would clean up easily).

Put it all together in the frame,

MenuBoard8and hang on the kitchen wall.

MenuBoard7Tomorrow I’ll run to the craft store at lunch to get a nice white marker I can write on it with. Now at the beginning of the week, I can plan menus, shop accordingly, and not have to stare blindly into the pantry each night before I give up and pull out spaghetti yet again, just because it’s quick.

What do you think?


Update: I remembered where I saw this… Head over to So You Think You’re Crafty and get all sorts of fun ideas to get your mind going! Each week different crafters have to complete a challenge and gather the most votes, or they are kicked off! It’s lots of fun to see how they all interpret a theme for the week so differently.

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7 Thoughts on “What’s For Dinner?

  1. OH! I love it! I am so making one of these this weekend!

  2. This menu idea is just what I need ..I love the paint technique, too.
    You are so funny! You do win a prize for guessing the book….send me your shipping info. and initial and I’ll make a St. Patrick’s Day fabric flower corsage! have a great day. email:

  3. Oh my, it turned out so beautiful! I’m sure I’d be more organized if I had dinner written on the wall.

  4. Pingback: The Busy Bean · Frame Calendar

  5. Clever idea. Now if I could just get someone to do the shopping. 🙂

  6. Thanks for joining the party. What a great idea. I love the color and the brackets were a great idea too.

  7. Such a cute and practical idea. Love the red colored paint you used. Mine would read… Monday: Wahoos; Tuesday: Schlotzsky’s; Wednesday: Noodles & Company….etc.

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