It is no surprise to our friends and family that Tyler and I have a huge love for books. I would not be exaggerating if I stated we could build a house from all the books we own. Looking down into the future, we even joked about opening up a little coffee shop/bookstore and naming it “Cafe Diem.” However, we quickly realized that by the time we could open up a coffee shop/bookstore and name it “Cafe Diem” we would probably want to be spending time with our grandchildren. Or on a beach. So we made it work for us. We brought Cafe Diem into our own home! (By the way, I’m sorry about my excellent photography skills. One day I’ll get the hang of lighting and focusing, but for now I’m occupied on first grade common core standards and managing nineteen sic year olds).
Painting and stenciling our own cafe board was much easier than I had anticipated! I am going to say, I am very pleased with it’s look and will not be changing it anytime soon. The first thing we did was sand down the cabinets and apply the chalkboard paint. You can buy it at any local department store, but we found ours for around $10.00 at Lowes. We used the whole quart can, applied coat after coat, and then covered the whole cabinet area in chalk to “prime” it. If you don’t rub the whole area with chalk first, when you go to erase your first message it will often stay put! So, if you are leaving your chalk on permanently, forever and infinity, go right ahead and skip this step.
You will notice that under each day of the week, we have what the menu will be for that day! My perspective on life is “if you have a strong routine, you can be more flexible!” And that is what we are aiming for. So we have structured our days in the genre of cuisine we want for that day, but not so much that we can’t have fun with it.
Then began the hard work. Call me odd, but using chalk made me want to listen to Mumford & Sons and Mumford & Sons only. So whilst playing music that let me dive into my artsy soul, I chalked and chalked and chalked away. Our countertop soon looked like it had a light dusting of snow and I resembled Casper the Ghost more than a 22-year old wife, but the job was completed! And here is how:
1. I posted up all of the fonts into the design that I wanted. That banner that says Cafe Diem was a craft all on its own. If you have never bought graphics from GraphicMarket on Etsy, you have not liiiiiiiiiived, I tell ya. Their store is my go-to if I’m trying to make a printable. I bought their laurel and ribbon design for $4.50 and then created a poster out of the ribbon using www.blockposters.com. I stuck the ribbon up with the font taped on top of it and followed the steps below.
2. Take the “stencil” down.
3. Rub that backside down with chalk. Be generous! I found it was easier to pour on the chalk and then clean up the mess, than give it a light swipe and hardly see the outline.
4. Put the stencil back up and trace over it with a pencil. If you are imagining your middle school self sitting in art class rubbing a picture down with lead and then tracing it, you have the right idea! Or perhaps that was only me, since I can’t draw worth a dime. Just be careful not too apply too much pressure, you only want to transfer the chalk, not embed your message for years to come.
5. Da-daaa-daaaaaa! You have transferred your first word, now fill it in with the chalk. If you want a really bright white line dip your chalk into water, or use a paint brush and lightly dampen the surface you are about to chalk.
6. Use a paintbrush, q-tip, or paper towel to clean up any smudges. It works like a perfect eraser!
7. Revel in the beauty of your masterpiece, Michelangelo.