When you pin, you win.

If you haven’t heard of Pinterest by now, you’ve been living under a rock (at least one that doesn’t have wireless internet access). I started pinning a few months back and since then, Pinterest has seemingly exploded onto the social media scene. I, for one, LOVE it! It’s my new addiction. I’m trying new things, making new recipes, crafting – all because of this amazing inspiration tool.

We’ve been eating some great new meals, snacks and treats lately like Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Quinoa Cakes, Banana Cinnamon Swirl Bread and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus to name a few. All found on Pinterest. I just can’t get enough.

Now I’ve stumbled upon several kitchen menu boards in my Pinterest travels. We’re always looking for ways to get more organized in the kitchen and plan out our meals. I came across one DIY menu board idea in particular that really struck my fancy. A. because it looked easy and B. because I like the idea of using chalkboard markers (like on the menus at Starbucks). I Pinned this from A Content Housewife: Menu Board Tutorial, and now I own one.

We headed to Michael’s, picked out a nice big picture frame, some scrapbook paper for the background and some chalkboard markers.

We cut the scrapbook paper using a blade and straight edge.

Cutting card stock

We used black card stock and this plastic, clear and black print to go with.

Black card stock

We inserted the scrapbook papers, replaced the frame backing and voila! A menu board was born.

DIY menu board

Now for the fun part: writing with the chalkboard markers.

Chalkboard markers

We found these at Michael’s too. I wrote the days of the week down the left side of the board and began filling in the meals next to the corresponding day of the week. In the tutorial I found, they used letter stickers to permanently apply the days of the week, but we couldn’t find any stickers we liked, so we just stuck with writing everything in.

DIY menu board

I think we’re going to end up going for a lighter background, as this one doesn’t work as perfectly with the colored markers. We could also opt for white chalkboard markers, but I quite like the colorful ones. All we have to do is swap out the dark scrapbook paper in the frame for some lighter maybe beige or white paper that will allow the writing to show better.

This is a fun way to organize your meals and it will spice up your kitchen decor. I recommend this DIY menu board idea and Pinterest to everyone!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest! See what I’m pinning and check out our Fresh Nest pin board for photos straight from the blog! Be sure to take a look at my Food Board as well for great new recipes!

3 Month Check-up: Part 2

As promised, oh 6 days ago (we’ve been slacking), we have the 2nd installment of our 3 month check-up. Last week, we focused on the living room and the bedroom. These were the first two rooms we attacked immediately after our closing. We showed up to our closing with a carload of stuff. Embarrassing? No, not at all. 😉

This week, we’re bringing you a progress report on the dining room, kitchen and basement to round out our check-up. We’ll skip the bathroom because you pretty much know how that went down since it’s all we could talk about for the entire month of November (and parts of September/October). We’re skipping the office too because it’s not much of an office yet and not much has been done to this dump-everything-here-for-now room.

The Dining Room

We never had big plans for the dining room. In fact, we weren’t even going to paint it. We purchased our lovely china cabinet from IKEA and once we got it home, we did some impulse painting. Now we’ve decorated and re-arranged a few things to make this space a little more pleasing.

Here’s the dining room as pictured in the listing photo:

Dining room listing photoHere’s what we did:

  • Bought some IKEA shelving units that we fashioned into a “china cabinet.”
  • Painted the walls: Olympic One in Gray Beige
  • Added some lovely circle mirrors from Target
  • Bought an awesome piece of Bulldog art, also from Target

And here’s what the dining room looks like today (decorated for Christmas, of course)!

Dining room remodelDining room remodelThe Kitchen

Oh the kitchen…it went from being one of our least favorite rooms to being quite possibly one of our favorites. All thanks to a little paint, new flooring and some sweat equity.

Here’s the kitchen as pictured in the listing photos:

Kitchen listing photoHere’s what we did to it:

  • Had a dishwasher installed
  • Bought a new refrigerator because the old one gave us the creeps
  • Primed and painted the cabinets: 1-2-3 Prime + Valspar Interior paint in Du Jour
  • Purchased new cabinet hardware and re-affixed all of the base cabinet doors and drawers (we’re still working on the top half)
  • Installed a pantry closet with a little help from our friends at IKEA
  • Built a ridiculous (and ridiculously awesome) coffee station, courtesy of some IKEA furniture and an overabundance of Keurig gadgets and K-cups
  • Installed new flooring: Pergo Laminate in American Beech
  • Purchased and assembled a center kitchen island, complete with breakfast bar

Whew! Here’s what that looks like today:

Kitchen re-design, kitchen remodelKitchen re-design, kitchen remodelKitchen re-design, kitchen remodelThe Basement

The basement is a big work in progress, but so far, we’ve at least jump-started it into the future.

Here’s the basement as pictured in the listing photo:

Basement listing photoThis one’s deceiving because the before picture may almost look better than the after, but it’s the little details, people!

Here’s what we did to the dungeon:

  • Had the giant freezer hauled away (hiding in a nook next to the washer). Received a $50 energy credit from the State for it!
  • Had the oven hauled away by our friends at Hammertime Remodeling who offered to take it off our hands
  • Purchased new drop ceiling tiles. Sliced them up and started hanging them (this is still very much in progress)
  • Painted the basement stairwell after the old bathroom window overlooking the stairs was removed: Behr Paint and Primer in One in Fresh Day
  • Removed some ugly, sliding, faux wood doors from the storage shelving in the stairwell and painted them as well
  • Re-organized the storage shelves + added various hooks to store reusable grocery bags, recycled plastic bags, extension cords, etc.

    Basement remodel, home improvement

Basement stairwell, storage space

That just about wraps up our 3 month check-up. I think we’ve done a pretty good job, but we’ll let you be the judge. Let us know what you think. We’re also looking for suggestions for finishing our kitchen cabinets. We are having a helluva time cutting some Lexan (polycarbonate sheeting) for the cabinet doors and we’ve just about run out of ideas – help!

You Can Call Me Al (Borland)

I’ve never in my life felt like much of a “handyman.” That seems to come with a negative connotation and conjures up visions of faulty wiring and not-so-level shelves. On the other hand, owning a home kind of forces you to become a “handyman.” I’ve also never really thought of myself as being any good at building things. I think I’m much better at the whole “taking it apart and putting it back together” thing. I’m more of a tinkerer or modification expert. I like to think I’m good at finding creative and practical ways to alter something for my own use. My Dad seems to think I’m pretty good (a regular Al Borland of Tool Time fame), so let’s take his word for it.I don't think so, TimWith that being said we’ve been quietly working on a lot of different small projects that involve a good bit of handy skills. We’ve also done some fairly basic things that have improved the quality and practicality of our living space. The kitchen has been a big point of contention for us in the landmark case of Megan & Andrew v. House.

kitchen before listing photoThat’s the kitchen before. Those are the listing photos, but they are really the most dramatic “befores” we have. The way the kitchen was in this condition just lacks the kind of storage we need. It also lacks the practicality that we crave. Mornings are crucial for both of us, so we decided to build a coffee bar of sorts.

coffee bar ikea stenstorpThis was a simple build, and is a combination of 2 IKEA units. The top shelf is a Stenstorp, and the bottom is a Lyckhem. The table also lets us make great use of the Kuerig we just got and the shelf has built in mug hangers for our new mugs.

target pull outOne of the best things we were able to do with the table was put these cloth drawers in the cubbie holes. We found them at Target and they just so happen to be the right size and the perfect fit! They match and are easy to pull out. Awesome!

flower pigAlso featured on the shelf is this pig that my Grandma gave us a year ago. I’m not sure if it is supposed to be a flower pot or if maybe it is supposed to be a pitcher or maybe a watering can? It seems to be working fine right now as a decorative pig with flowers.

tools on the floorTo end this post, I’m gonna bring it back around full circle. Here’s some shots of me working with various tools on the floor in various pants and short. Note the sparks coming off of the Dremel in the last one. Also notice the not-safe-for-the-workplace open toed shoes/flip flops. Would Al Borland approve? I don’t think so, Tim.