Klein Command Center, Part 1: DIY Dry Erase Menu

Whew!  This has been quite a busy fall.  I can’t believe October is already here (though I’m not complaining, I love October)!  Dan and I have been working hard on various small projects around the house, trying to tackle smaller kitchen projects (me) and building a workbench (Dan).  Here’s part I of what I’ve been working on to take our kitchen to the next level.

As you may remember from my post a few weeks ago, I am still pretty enamored with our recent kitchen renovation.  In fact, one of my favorite additions to the kitchen has been our glass cabinet.

It’s filled with fun and colorful goodies, and it’s functional additional storage that we never had before.  Of course, finishing one project always leads to another, so here’s what’s next for our little glass cabinet nook.

Because we have very limited counter space in general, and we currently don’t have the room for a bar (or even a bar cart, which is my real dream), I want to make sure that we are utilizing every single space in the kitchen.  Once the kitchen was renovated, I immediately noticed the wall space between the cabinet and counter.  Those magical wheels in my brain started turning.

What could we possibly use this open space for?  It measures 23 inches wide (between cabinet brackets) by 32 inches tall, so it’s not a large space, but it could definitely become functional.  Then lightning struck (in the form of Pinterest, of course): a Kitchen Command Center.  According to my very expert research, this is essentially a section of the kitchen (or other space) where one can display important information and practical items like mail, coupons, and other items that add up to clutter.  To be honest, our kitchen table always becomes the landing place for mail, and it can get pretty frustrating, so I loved the idea of creating a rack or other storage space to hold mail and other papers that accumulate in the kitchen.

Aside from that, I was unsure what else to include in the Command Center area. I found a few other suggestions like adding art, a magnet board or strip, and my favorite idea: a dry erase calendar.  Since this is our kitchen and not necessarily an office space, I didn’t want to take up the entire wall with a monthly calendar listening all of our commitments.  I started to brainstorm with Dan on our key elements.  Thus far, we’ve decided on a mail rack/paper holder, small piece of art, and a kitchen-friendly weekly menu calendar.  Here’s the layout we’ve been working with so far.

Today, I’ll be sharing the first part of our project: the weekly menu.  We’ll be hanging it up in the top left of our Kitchen Command Center.  The weekly menu idea was a perfect fit for us because since we began the kitchen renovation, we started planning our meals for the week on Sundays.  It helps us to stay on track with our monthly budget and avoid going out to eat more frequently.  Also, I must admit – I can be a picky eater, so knowing what I will be eating in advance is always helpful.

For this project, Dan and I headed to Michaels for a decorative and fun frame. We snagged this one on clearance for $8.  It has a good amount of interest, but it’s not so busy that it would distract from the actual menu.

I tried to decide which background color would work for the menu.  I raided my scrapbook paper collection so that I didn’t have to go out of my way to buy anything.  First, there was the patterned number, which I thought was too busy:

Next, I tried out linen paper (leftover from wedding projects):

Then came cork:

And lastly, a silver paper:

Ultimately, I went with the silver paper.  It actually really fits our kitchen design the best, since we have a silver grout and Benjamin Moore’s harbor gray paint on the accent wall behind the window.  The dark brown in the frame and the gray in the paper also complements our countertop nicely.  I cut the paper to the size of the back of the frame and fit it right in there.

As for the menu, I didn’t just want to write on the frame.  I thought it might be nice to add some interest, especially since the frame has a nice circular pattern throughout.  I rummaged through my craft supplies and found this stamp (in the $1 section at Target) which I could use as the inspiration for my days of the week to be posted on the menu.

I bought a circle craft punch from Michaels for $7 (I figure this will come in handy for quite a few projects) and decided to hand draw my own circles to look similar to the stamp.  I used the circle punch to make sure that all of the circles were uniform.

As you can see, I drew a border on the inside of each circle and drew lines connecting them.  This was the easiest way to produce uniformly sized circles and also get that custom, hand-drawn look I was going for. Next, I taped the circles onto the silver craft paper just to get a sense of the layout.  They were each about a half inch apart, and the row started 1.5 inches from the top of the paper.  I used tape so that I could move them around into the arrangement that I liked best, before securing them in place.

Once I found the arrangement I liked, I glued the circles in place using a glue stick (nothing too fancy!).  I used a dry erase marker to actually write in the meals we’ll be eating this week.

Though we haven’t hung it up in our future command center yet, I really like being able to keep track of our meals in one place, rather than using a post-it which we immediately misplaced.  Plus, this project was fun and only took about an hour to complete.  It’s another step forward in moving toward full completion of this kitchen!



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