Saturday, January 5, 2013

From Southern Charm to DIY School Marm

I will admit that my home decor has come a long way in the past few years and my dining room is no exception. What I envisioned as something I coined "Southern Italian" (I'm from the south, Pete's family is Italian) turned into a HUGE failure of a red dining room that I had problems matching accessories to along with a hodge podge of hand-me-down furniture from family.  And part of the "Southern" portion of the dining room was a huge picture of magnolia flowers.  While it reminded me of my grandmother's house and her beautiful magnolia tree, I do have to admit that it was a little cheesy piece of wall art that I picked up from Kirkland's.

After years of trying my best to work with the red color scheme, I'm ready for a change.  I realize that I'm not one of those people who can paint color on the walls and still be okay with it five to ten years down the road.  I like neutrals.  I like to throw in a pop of color here and there and then take it down four months later when I am sick of that color and want a change.  The dining room that we so painstakingly painted in 2004 is getting a face lift this year.  Along with it, home accessories are being re-purposed into fresh new pieces for our home.  One of those items is the magnolia print.  This picture was taken in 2004 not too long after we remodeled the room.  You can see the magnolia print on the wall.

I decided that I wanted a chalkboard and that the frame was perfect for what I was looking for.  The back of the picture was covered in plain brown paper and we carefully cut that off.  Pete pulled out the staples that held the picture tight in the frame and the magnolia print was now loose.  The back of the print was a perfect flat plain surface in which to paint.  I had some leftover chalkboard paint from another DIY project.  I covered the flat back of the magnolia print in four coats of the chalkboard paint.  Each coat dried pretty quickly.  I did leave the chalkboard in the kitchen to dry for 2-3 days just to make sure everything was good and set.  I put the print back in the frame with the chalkboard side now facing out. The magnolia print was still safe on the other side if I ever decided I wanted to display it again (which would probably be never).

And it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

In the bay window of the kitchen where ALL of our sun comes into the house each day from morning to late afternoon.  The magnolia print on the back quickly faded from the sun's heat and rays.  I planned on hanging it in the kitchen and writing our dinner menu on it.  The key word was planned.

So it sat some more.  Until I used it for a newborn photo shoot.

And then it sat some more.

And then one day I decided that I wanted to spruce up the hallway that leads from our entry, beside the stairs, and into the kitchen.  It also houses our laundry area under the stairs.  And I found the perfect space to put the chalkboard.

Please excuse my dark grainy instagram picture

And so it lived there on my wall.


For several months.

That was until I saw a DIY Dollar Store Tray Chalkboard on Tonya of Love of Family & Home's blog (while you're there, check out her beautiful home!).  She was even kind enough to include the graphic for readers to replicate her tray.  My chalkboard is much bigger than a tray and without an overhead projector, I had to freehand it (pardon my lack of snowflake drawing skill).  But thanks to her inspiration and lovely fonts, I finally got to use my chalkboard as decoration for our home.

It still looked a little bare for me.  I went outside and cut a few pieces of greenery off of our Leland Cypress trees and tucked them behind the frame.

It could probably have used a little more greenery, but I was happy with the quick 20 minute transformation.

It's something that I can keep up for a few more weeks and then easily change for different holidays.  It's so much prettier and more versatile than the magnolia print.  I'm already thinking of ways that I can decorate it for Valentine's Day.


  1. Love it! My brain is already working to figure out what I have in my house to do this with!

  2. I think that is a way cool way to use a chalkboard. I love it because you can decorate it by the season. Great idea, and now I want one!

  3. Thanks, ladies! It was so easy to make. You can always pick up a frame and picture at Goodwill or something in a clearance section of a store that may have a scratch on it for super cheap.