Archives For Kitchen

I’ve still got half a quart left of chalkboard paint-that stuff goes a long way-and so I’ve been trying to find ways to use it up before it gets all clumpy and weird. I’ve been using a clipboard at work lately and got inspired! And thus my new kitchen memo board was born.

020 (380x570)

I didn’t take any photos of the process, but it was pretty straightforward. I taped off the top so that I wouldn’t have to worry about painting under/around the clip, then gave it three coats of chalkboard paint. After it cured for a few days I seasoned it by lightly rubbing a piece of chalk all over, then wiping it down. I used a couple of adhesive squares that I already had to attach it to the fridge (you know, the kind that come with dry erase boards or cork tiles to attach them to the wall), but you could also use command strips or even some strong magnets. Or if you were putting it on the wall just use a nail to hang it by the hole in the clip part up top.

039 (570x380)

I tied a piece of chalk onto it with some twine. It’s a step up from the regular ‘ol chalkboard because the clip part can hold coupons, photos, etc. Handy!

031 (370x570)

I actually bought two more clipboards and painted them at the same time-I figured if I was breaking out the paint I might as well make a few to sell! I haven’t gotten around to photographing and listing them yet but it’s on the to do list. They were really inexpensive to make so I can keep the retail price low-like probably only $10. I love when I can sell stuff for a price that I would actually pay. It’s probably bad business to post a tutorial (however sparse) on my blog about how to make something that I plan to sell, but whatevs. That’s how much I love you people. I put way more effort into the blog than I do the shop, even though the shop is much more profitable. The heart wants what the heart wants! Happy Thursday, my friends, and stay warm!


This is the first place that I’ve ever lived in as an adult that had a bonafide pantry. My college apartment had a closet that we put a freestanding shelf in, and our rental house had a wealth of oddly proportioned cabinets, but this is the first time I’ve had a space that is specifically designated and designed for storing foods. And while it’s a far cry from the standard walk-in pantry found in many new construction homes it seemed so huge to me when we first moved in. Three years later it’s bursting at the seams.

002 (380x570)

It got to the point where I really couldn’t put off cleaning and organizing it any longer. So on a bit of a whim yesterday I completely emptied the contents onto our kitchen counters. I blocked Jack out of the kitchen while I worked and he was surprisingly content to watch from the doorway.

009 (570x380)

I examined and wiped down almost everything as I pulled it out. I’d set out a box for food to donate but a lot of stuff had to be tossed-like these three bottles of barbeque sauce, all expired (the two open ones were in the fridge-I was inspired to search for them when I found the unopened bottle in the pantry).

006 (570x380)

The pantry, emptied of everything except a few libations in the back and a citrus juicer that in retrospect I really should have moved out with the other small appliances. After snapping this photo I vacuumed the shelves and wiped them down.

008 (380x570)

Then, ta-da! I put everything back in. Except this time I was more thoughtful about it. I actually went grocery shopping in the midst of this whole thing-there is more edible food in the pantry here than there was in the “before” photo. I can’t believe how much more functional it is.

033 (380x570)

One big change for my sanity is that I removed the small appliances and random clutter that used to take up the lower area and replaced them with out most frequently used pots and pans and two command hooks to hang insulated bags we use for packed lunches, snacks for road trips, etc. Since we added childproof latches to all of our cabinets removing anything from them has become really frustrating for me so moving the pots and pans over here was a really good move. Also, I realized this was not the best place for small appliances the day I caught Jack brandishing the blade to the food processor (I hadn’t even thought about it when babyproofing!).

036 (380x570)

On the next shelf up, which is easiest for me to see/access and that’s all that matters because I do most of the cooking, we have a turntable with all our spices on the bottom and frequently accessed foods on the top (there’s a reason we have two jars of peanut butter: crunchy for me and creamy for Jack). On the left is more stuff we eat regularly: dry beans, cereal, cans of tuna, raisins, bread. The common denominator on this shelf is that it’s all stuff we rotate through and replace pretty frequently (with the exception of the spices, which just made sense to keep on the turntable).

038 (570x380)

On the next shelf up is what I think of as a little mini stockroom. Since I started watching our grocery budget a little more closely a few months ago I’ve been stocking up on stuff we use when it’s on sale. But I kept running into the problem of forgetting where I’d put stuff and then buying more because I thought we were out. So now this shelf is the designated spot to put anything I’ve stocked up on or that we don’t use daily but still like to keep on hand. Examples: pasta, peanut butter, and oatmeal are all stockpiled in the back; that brown basket contains items we access infrequently like syrup, salt, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil (with the exception of syrup, we have smaller containers of all those things out in the kitchen that we just refill as needed); there are a couple of jars of pasta sauce over there on the right, that blue basket keeps all my measuring cups easily accessible, and the onions are corralled in a basket (they were on sale-buy one bag get one free-hence the large number). I made sure that the stuff we needed to access least often is way in the back where it’s hardest to get to while items we grab more often like onions, pasta, measuring cups, etc. are easier to access from the front.

047 (570x380)

And finally, the top shelf. I’ve had these bulk containers for years-they’re just plastic snapware purchased at the grocery store that I labeled with scrapbooking letters (sealed with clear packing tape). They’re super functional and located front and center for easy access. My favorite mixing bowls are next to them and in the back I’ve got a basket of baking supplies. I bake maybe twice a year so having that same basket at the front of the shelf before was a waste of prime real estate.

052 (570x380)

This lower cabinet on the other side of the kitchen used to house pots and pans but is now home to all of our small appliances. If we used any of these more than once or twice a month they’d probably earn a spot out on the counter, but since we don’t drink coffee and rarely toast our bread the only things we really pull out regularly are the food processor and crock pot (and okay, okay, I enjoy a homemade waffle now and then).

018 (570x380)

Jack is a big fan of the pots and pans now located where he can get them. He considers it his personal mission to pull them each out every time he’s in the kitchen. I tell ya, though, it was really nice having him out from under my feet while I was cleaning out the pantry and it’s tempting to start keeping the baby gate up in that doorway all the time. He’s not old enough to understand when I tell him something is dangerous but he’s almost tall enough to reach the stovetop. I’ve been searching for a stove guard that doesn’t have crappy reviews but maybe it would be best to just ban him from the kitchen altogether. Anyone else with a gas stove (knobs in the front, which he can reach!) and little kids have any suggestions?

024 (570x380)

Nick has been out of town since yesterday and I am oddly excited about showing him the reorganized pantry when he gets home today. Stuff like this just brings me such joy! I’m in there about a billion times a day making food for the baby who eats as much as I do so it might as well be super functional, right?


I love when I find something that just works. Sometimes the smallest thing can be a total lifechanger if it just meets a need and works well. These purchases are not glamorous, but they are exciting nonetheless. Example A: my jar opener.

jar opener
Evriholder EasiTwist Jar Opener, Assorted Colors

I bought this thing circa 2010 because I needed something to bump my Amazon total above $25 so I could get free super saver shipping. Ah, those were the days. I have Amazon Prime now and it’s so worth it for me because I buy a lot from Amazon. I am never frustrated about opening jars anymore because this thing works better than any other contraption I’ve ever tried. I think it’s the combination of rubber grip + leverage that makes the difference.

hanger holder
Spectrum 35000 Hanger Holder

I bought this hanger holder two years ago in an effort to make my laundry room a little more functional. I love it. I actually don’t use it for hangers that much because I am not good at keeping hangers in the laundry room to hang things right out of the dryer, but I use it to hang up things to dry. I either drape them over it or use it to hang this handy thing from Ikea. When not in use it folds right up and out of the way.

cabinet turntable
Copco 2555-0187 Non-Skid 2-Tier Cabinet Turntable, 12-Inch

I bought this turntable a year ago and have exactly zero complaints. I use it in my pantry to stow the stuff we use most frequently. Our pantry is not huge and it’s so helpful to have our go-to food items so easily accessible.

Isn’t it nice when things just work the way they’re supposed to? And actually last? I were iPhone chargers were so durable. We just had another one bite the dust after Jack got to it. We could probably both have new phones with all the money we’ve spent on chargers over the years.


I got this idea a while ago, but it’s taken me a while to actually execute it. Finally, yesterday, I made it happen. My idea was to copy a recipe in my grandmother’s handwriting to a tea towel, and I love love love the way it turned out.

Grandma Gulley (or Nanny, as we usually called her) had this recipe for Sour Cream Apple Pie that was my absolute fave. I used to make it every year for the holidays, but Nanny taught me to use canned apples and I can never find them in stores anymore (only apple pie filling, which is different). I tried peeling and dicing my own apples one year but it was a lot of work and I think the different texture of the fresh fruit threw things off. So anyway, my Nanny passed away in 2004 and I have a lot of things from her-her/my engagement ring, some costume jewelry, handbags, mixing bowls, etc. But one of my favorite things is the recipe card for sour cream apple pie that’s scanned and saved on my computer. Whenever I want to make some pie I just click click click and there’s the recipe in her handwriting.

To copy it onto a tea towel, I had to cut and paste some parts to make it more into a square shape, then I enlarged it to be just shy of 28″ wide and had it printed at Office Depot for $7. I just uploaded my file from home, paid online, and picked it up that afternoon. Easy peasy. When I was ready to trace it, I rolled it out and taped it flat onto the floor.

024 (570x380)

Then I taped down my 28″ square tea towel, which had already been washed, dried, and ironed. Cat optional for this phase of the project.

033 (380x570)

I decided to start at the bottom so as not to upset Pistachio, who was laying there so sweetly and not ruining everything like she usually does when I’m working on something. I just traced Nanny’s handwriting right onto the fabric using a Sharpie. I googled it ahead of time to make sure it would work and from what I understand the only risk is that it may fade a bit with washing, which is okay with me as that would just give it a more authentically old-fashioned look.

039 (570x380)

Bam. I knocked this one out quickly during Jack’s naptime. I find projects like this so relaxing!

043 (380x570)

To say I love it would be an understatement. My only regret is that I don’t have the perfect spot in my kitchen to do it justice. I may hang up a hook for it to just hang there and look pretty. And I suppose perhaps I could dry my hands on it too.

handwritten recipe tea towel

I’m totally inspired now to come up with more ideas for sharpies and tea towels. I mean, I’ve already got the sharpie, and tea towels are pretty inexpensive with a coupon at places like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. How cute would two of these be as cafe curtains in a kitchen? The old-fashioned handwriting is really what makes it so charming. Nobody writes like that anymore, especially not me! My chicken scratch is barely legible.