Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. Thank so much to all of you whole left fun comments on my “a Little About Me” post – it was fun to hear back from several of you and get to know you a bit better! Thanks also for all the race well-wishes! I have a mini race recap at the end of this post for those interested to hear how it went 🙂

Today, I want to share a tutorial for a project that’s been on my To-Do List for a while. I had all the materials sitting on the sidelines just waiting to be done, and last week I pulled them out to “just dot it!” I am super excited with how they turned out! Check out my new kitchen art: stenciled cutting boards!

These have a little back story. For those of you who know me or have checked out my About Me page, my “real life” interests/profession are health, fitness, and nutrition. Many years ago, I was a chronic dieter, always watching my weight, counting calories and cutting out this or that in an effort to achieve the ultimate health and aesthetic…in reality, I just created a pretty un-healthy relationship with food. Over the course of several years, throughout grad school (where I studied Nutrition), and as I simply just got older (and wiser?), I slowly cleaned up both my eating and my attitude toward food so that I can now say I have a very healthy approach to my “diet.” I attribute most of that mental shift to Michael Pollen’s book, In Defense of Food.

This post is not about that book or even my journey to food peace; however, the main premise of the book is summed up in three very simple phrases: Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants. These three phrases now guide my food choices and have for years. So…when I was trying to think up something fun to perk up my boring small kitchen – I knew displaying these meaningful words were just the ticket.

I started by buying a three-pack of bamboo cutting boards from Marshalls for $13…

Then I gave them a really simple, but time-consuming, stencil job. Let me show you what I did!

Pick one of your cutting boards to get started. Now, I didn’t do this step (because I didn’t know), but if I were to do this again, I would spray or brush the board with a very light clear coat (poly or something). The boards are made from bamboo, and as I pealed off the vinyl (that I used for stenciling), some of the fibers pulled up too. Not a huge deal, but a little annoying.

Next, I picked a font and experimented with sizing until I determined the exact right size for each of my phrases for each of my boards. I recommend experimenting on cheap paper until you finalize your sizes and then cut out your phrases onto re-positionable vinyl.

I should have used transfer paper to move my letters to the cutting board, but I didn’t. It was pretty easy to place the whole thing by hand, even going back to insert all the letters’ details.

I chose to use lowercase font for the top and all caps for the bottom to give it some variation. Here are my words ready for paint.

 Before I actually applied paint, I went over everything with a small craft brayer to make sure everything was flat and adhered nice and smooth and tight.

I used simple acrylic craft paint to stencil my words. Instead of using a dobber, which would have been much faster, I decided to paint my stencils by hand with a very fine-tiped paint brush. My track record with stenciling isn’t the greatest: I always seem to get leaks into areas that are supposed to be paint free. I really wanted to make sure my words came out perfectly clean, so I chose a slower more detailed application process.

I painted the top with white and the bottom with green, all using the small brush. All the letters got two coats of paint. It took for.ever….

But it was worth it! My letters were crisp and clean once the vinyl was removed. (Pst, see what I mean about how the vinyl pulled away some of the bamboo fibers – I know – totally annoying. Once they’re sealed and up, you can hardly notice, but the heartache would have been avoided had I just sealed them first.)

I repeated the exact same process with the other two cutting boards and the other two “food rules.”

Once the cutting boards were stenciled and the paint was dry, I took them outside for two light coats of Rust-oleum Clear Gloss. Not only did this seal everything up for durability, but the spray also intensified the colors.

I love how they turned out. These would be a neat gift idea using monograms, last names, home addresses etc.

My last step was to add a little texture to the “handles” on these boards. After attaching it to the back using hot glue, I wrapped some basic twine that we had out in the garage around the corners of each board.

Totally un-necessary if you’re not digging that look, but I like the texture it brings to the project.

These boards aren’t too heavy, so to hang them on the wall, I hot glued hanging brackets on the back of each board.

Here they are all done and ready for hanging!

The original plan was to hang these over the sink. But as we played with different options, we actually liked them next to the refrigerator better. Here’s what it looked like before…

And now with a little meaningful art!

Our kitchen is a cave, so it’s super hard to photograph nicely, but here you can see how it nods to the greens in the next room. They really are the PERFECT reminder right next to the refrigerator 🙂

With that done, our kitchen feels a tad more complete. Now, I just need to figure out something for above the sink 🙂

Oh, and for those of you curious about my half marathon. Here I am crossing the finish line:

Don’t be fooled by that very happy expression (I was waving at some friends who surprised me in the crowd!). I did finish, so that in itself is always a victory. Especially since this is the first race and considerable distance I’ve done since being pregnant, having a baby, and having hip surgery. It wasn’t however,  my best race, slogging along for the final three miles in pretty rough shape. I’m not making excuses…okay, maybe I am. But my Little Guy gave me his sicky germs – how kind of him – and I got sick starting late Friday night, the night before the race. Around 2am, I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to the start line. I did make it to the start line as well as the finish line in 1:57, a very respectable time, at the top of my game or not. Every race is always a journey, and with longer races you never really know how it’s going to end. You can feel good for 10 miles and fall apart during the last three despite solid training and a good race strategy. Maybe that’s the excitement and allure of running longer distances? Although not the race I was hoping for Friday morning when I was last here with you, I am still proud that I put one foot in front of the other, and got it done!

I’m spending the rest of the weekend re-couping instead of tackling the list of projects I was hoping to finish up. I’ll see you back here Thursday for another playroom update!

See You Soon!
Megan