Pinterest Challenge!

15 Mar

Last week, Sherry from Young House Love announced her Winter Pinterest Challenge. It’s meant to inspire us to actually take one of those thousand pins from Pinterest and do something about it. And I couldn’t have asked for more perfect timing, because I was coming up on Spring Break. So, I’m happy to say I finally completed the my Pinterest project. Let me tell you ALL about it.

I’ll start with my choice of projects. One of my least favorite things in the world is sitting down to plan our meals for the week and a corresponding shopping list. This usually takes me 1-2 hours because 1) I insist on not repeating meals we had last week 2) I have to flip through all my cookbooks for inspiration and 3) I am horrible at making decisions. So, my project was inspired by these menu boards I’d pinned on Pinterest: (please follow my Pinterest links to find the tutorials to make these boards- all due credit to their bloggers!)

The idea was that a menu board would save me time by putting all my favorite recipes in one place, and even giving Brian an easy way to voice his opinion without having to pick up a single cookbook (oh the horror!). I liked something different about each of these menu boards. I liked the fabric pockets on the first, the laminated double-sided cards on the second and the cute clothespins on the third. So, I decided to do what I do best- go off pattern and hope my mishmash of ideas worked out. Here’s the result:

I’m happy to say that I love it! It’s not perfect- and I already know what I’d change if I did it all over again, but I kinda can’t wait to make my next grocery list. I’ll take that as a pretty good sign.

Want to know how I did it? Well, ok. I hate to call this a tutorial, because I’m horrible at taking pictures and keeping track of measurements, so let’s just call this a guide. First, my materials.

I went to Joann’s with a sketch of the plan I had, which was terribly minimal- I’d hardly call it a plan- and started wandering the aisles looking for materials. Here’s what I ended up with:

1 12x”16″ canvas
1 bag of clothespins
1 package of Command hooks
1/2 yard of fusible interfacing
1/4 yard of 2 print fabrics (blue and green)
1/2 yard of 2 more print fabrics (orange and floral)
1/4 yard of basic muslin
1 tub of Fabric Modge Podge (not shown)

Here’s a close-up of the interfacing I chose:

I also ended up using these, which I had on-hand:

Rub-on letters from scrapbooking supply
scrapbooking cardstock (blue)
thick matte photopaper (for cards)
double-sided scrapbooking “tabs”/small square stickers

And I needed these “tools”:
computer, Photoshop, & printer
sewing machine
staple gun
hot glue gun & sticks
rotary cutter, self-healing mat and quilting rulers (for cutting)
Silhouette dye-cut machine (you could easily do without this!)

So the first thing I did was cut out my fabric. The problem is I don’t remember exactly how big I cut these or how I made my decision. I basically knew I wanted the pockets to be 1/2 the width of the canvas. And I had decided on 5 pockets (cut extra, just in case of a mistake), so I calculated/figured the height of the pockets and doubled it. I cut the interfacing to be exact height and width I wanted the pockets to be.

Again, I apologize because I don’t have many pictures of what I did next. I fused the interfacing to each pocket material, using a hot iron. Then I folded the fabric over the interfacing and sewed a 1/4 seam at the TOP (to create a “lip” of sorts). Then I marked out on my background fabric (orange) where I wanted each pocket to line up and sewed them down ON THE BOTTOM ONLY.

I left a good margin at the bottom to wrap around the bottom of my canvas. I left the sides un-stiched because I knew they’d get locked down in the seams I’d make in a step or so, so at this point they were just pretty flaps.

For the bottom pocket, I decided to use a very tight zig-zag stitch (almost a satin stitch) because this edge would be exposed, unlike the others that would get covered up by the overlapping pockets. I liked this because it also made a nice edge to line up against the edge of the canvas, which helped keep everything really straight.

Next, I simply cut out the other half of my fabric (the floral portion behind the clothespins) and sewed it to my pocket-half. I cut out and sewed another strip of the same material to the other side of my pocket strip as well, so I’d have something on the right-hand side to wrap around the canvas. The seams of these two additions are what created the sides of my pockets. Sorry there is no picture of this.

Then, to secure the fabric to the canvas, all I did was wrap and staple it to the back, like you would if you were upholstering something. I used a staple gun so this was very easy. Another idea- which I wish I would have thought of earlier- would be to use double-sided fusing to fuse the fabric directly to the surface of the canvas, instead of just stretching and stapling to the frame. This could prevent any future sagging that I am paranoid might happen on mine.

I simply trimmed away any excess material.

Here’s where some better planning may have come in handy… I then went about making the labels for my pockets. I used some rub-on letters from my scrapbooking supply and rubbed them on to the muslin. I wasn’t sure if this would work or not, but after testing it out on an extra “z” and holding my breath, I saw that it did. Then I cut the words I’d chosen for my titles out (chicken, beef, veg, side and other). I wasn’t sure how I wanted to adhere them. At this point some double-sided fusing would have been nice. I tried stitching the “Other” title down with embroidery floss, but it looked kinda sloppy. Then I remembered the Modge Podge I bought was for fabric- score! So I just glued them in place with that.

Next I made the fabric-covered clothespins, which was as easy as cutting the fabric to size and modge-podging it on (that’s a technical, crafting word). I added a coat of the Modge Podge on top, to protectively seal it since these would be touched by possibly grimy fingers pretty often. Then I cut out the cute doily-like circles on my Silhouette (another scrapbooking stand-by). But, this was just me getting “fancy”- you could easily just cut out circles. I rubbed on some more of those black scrapbooking letters to abbreviate each day of the week. Then I hot-glued my new day-lables onto the dried clothespins, and then hot-glued those clothes-pins to the fabric-covered canvas.

The last step was the most time consuming, and that was to make all the menu cards. I decided on an appropriate size (good for the clothespins, so a bunch would fit in the pockets, and so they wouldn’t be too tall to cover up my pocket-labels) and made a template on Photoshop. You could probably do something similar on MS Word. All I did was create two columns- left for the menu item title and the place where the recipe could be found, and right for my shopping and pantry list. Then I typed them up and printed them out, which took FOREVER. I think I may have chosen a few too many recipes, but Brian and I really like variety.

To “assemble” the cards all I did was cut them into strips and folded them in half so one column became the front and one became the back. This was also very tedious.

I secured them closed with a sticky scrapbooking tab. I plan on laminating these today so they stay clean and don’t get all bent up. Let me explain one thing about the “Pantry” part- I don’t keep milk or mayo in my pantry, but I used this as a way to indicate the ingredients I should probably have on-hand already, but should check just in case.

And finally –finally!– after something like 3 days, the menu board was finished!

All I had left to do was (get those cards laminated) hang it up. I did this using three Command hooks, because I didn’t want to nail into my pantry door where I was hanging it. I used three hooks so the board wouldn’t wobble and get un-level every time I pinched the clothespins.

I simply eyeballed the center hook then used the flat-top edge of the hook and my level to align the other two. Easy peesy! Why I have a picture of this ridiculously unimportant step and not so many of the others, I have no idea. I guess that’s just how my brain works. I guess I was kinda winging-it in the craft/sewing/assembly stage, so pictures didn’t happen. Sorry!

And now, here it is, hanging in all it’s colorful and organizational glory.

Overall, I’m really pleased. But, if I were to change anything here’s what I’d recommend:

1) Use a bigger canvas. I was worried about how it’d fit on my door, but I think I could’ve gone a little bigger and had more room to play with. Things are pretty tight on this one.
2) Get double-sided fusing to adhere the fabric to the canvas surface.
3) Make more pockets. I’ve got like 30 cards in the “other” pocket and a measly 7 or so in “chicken”. For me adding “seafood” and “pork” pockets would have made a lot of sense.
4) Be better and more realistic than me about editing down the number of menu cards you choose.

But to end on a positive note, here’s what I absolutely LOVE about how MY menu board turned out:
1) Pretty, pretty fabrics and fun colors. I love fabric. It took me forever to decide on these fabrics in Joann’s (I literally had a whole cart full of bolts before I narrowed it down, which was funny considering how small this project is, scale-wise.), but I love them. Remember to keep the prints on the smaller-side, though.
2) The shopping and pantry list on the back side of each card! I am betting this will come in very, very handy when making my weekly grocery lists… it’s probably the part I feel most brilliant about.
3) How I got to use so many of my different crafting and overall creative skills to make this project. I really like figuring things out as I go, and this is really only possible because of:
4) How I got to use so many of my different crafting and creative TOOLS. I silently think “Score!” to myself every time I use my Silhouette for something other than scrapbooking. And I wonder how quilters and sewers survived before rotary cutting systems. Plus, there’s something so satisfying about using a staple gun, isn’t there? Just me?
and 5) I actually MADE something I pinned! Woo-Woo! All those hours on Pinterest haven’t been a total waste, right?!!? So I can go back and pin to my heart’s content, right?!?!?

Well, that’s it. Whew. I hope all that work pays off in the long run. Here’s to conquering menu planning and grocery lists with crafting know-how and creativity!


Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Crafts, Recipe


Tags: ,

4 responses to “Pinterest Challenge!

  1. Anna

    March 15, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    SO cute.

  2. Linda

    May 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    LOVE this, this is exactly what I need in my kitchen, only my pockets will be for prep time instead of chicken, beef, etc. since that is how I plan my meals with my crazy schedule. Thanks for sharing this!

    • mgutowsk

      May 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      Great idea Linda!


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