Reclaimed Window Chalkboard

Last month we took down our old barn. I had decided, coincidentally during the tear down, I wanted to make a chalk menu board for our wedding. While Andy took the barn down piece by piece I noticed an old double pane window, which was drafty and broken. It had a natural rustic look to it so I decided give it a new life.

Here is the simple “how to” turn an old window into a chalkboard. Even though this will eventually hang in my office, I’ve decided to cover the back with fabric. As it is actually for our wedding,  and it will be propped outside., I wanted to make sure the back looked nice.


  • Chalkboard paint
  • Brush
  • Sandpaper (100 grit or so)
  • Any cleaner that won’t leave a residue (alcohol, paint thinner, acetone, etc – BE CAREFUL HANDLING THIS STUFF)
  • Gloves to protect your hands against glass removal and any cleaners
  • Something to prop the frame off the ground, I used an old crate
  • Window frame & glass/plexi or plywood that fits in the window

Reclaimed Chalkboard Window

  1. Put your gloves on
  2. Put your gloves on. Seriously.
  3. If possible and easy, start by taking the glass out of the window. Set the glass aside.
  4. Prop the glass up on your crate or other item. This will make it a lot easier to paint. I used a piece of original glass from the window, and a piece of Plexiglas from another window. If you cannot take the window out, make sure to tape around the frame so you don’t paint on it!
  5. With the 100 grit sandpaper, light buff the window pane to scour both sides. This will help the paint hold. If you don’t do this, the chalk paint will peel off of the glass – I figured this out first hand.

  1. Wipe down the window pane with your cleaner, to get the dust particles off and let dry.
  2. Put down your first thin layer of chalk paint, let it completely dry and lightly scour the top with sand paper again. Make sure to wipe off the dust from sanding between layers. Keep adding layers until you can no longer see through the glass and it’s smooth. I did 3-4 coats.

  1. Paint one coat, unless you want it dual use, on the back (if you want both sides chalk ready, then layer each side the same) This will help keep plexi or wood from warping. I only did one coat since I was covering the back with fabric.

  1. Insert the panes back into the wood frame when dry and attach as necessary for your window.

Fabric Backing : optional

  1. Cut piece of material to fit behind the window pane.
  2. Fold down edges and staple to frame. Every window is different, so you’re going to have to play around with what works best. It’s easy to pull the staples out and retry. I did 2 other styles before I came up with how I really liked it. Thankfully my frame is rustic looking anyway so I wasn’t concerned with staple holes. If you have a nicely painted frame you’re doing this with, lay it out ahead of time so you can make sure you get it to fit your window the first time. Remember – you can touch up your paint if you have to, no biggie.

Update: Want to see how the frame turned out for the wedding? Check it out here!

Happy Reclaimed Lovin,


Strawberry-Poppyseed Cupcakes

I’m generally a terrible baker of sweets. The truth is, I’m one of those people who cook by throwing “some of this” and “a little of that” in, which doesn’t really translate to baking. I’ve honestly been trying but I always get caught up in a “oh but this would be good with (enter ingredients not called for)”.

For whatever reason I can bake bread, and anything else savory that needs to be baked – but when it comes to cakes, cookies, pastries you might as well just forget it typically.

Despite my complete and total unnatural non-talent for baking, I love it. Yep, you heard me – I love it. In the spirit of bettering my baking skills I decided today to try and make some Strawberry Cupcakes. In all honesty – I *did* do my typical “oh but this would be good with…..” thing. This time, it was poppyseeds. I was looking for baking powder when I pulled them out. I figured they couldn’t screw things up too bad.

The results: DELICIOUS! I actually made something that not only tastes great and has a nice texture but they also look good too! No half caved in, burnt on the outside and raw on the inside cake. I am completely thrilled with myself. So, here you go!

(By the way – thank you Martha Stewart for this recipe, sorry for the poppy-seeds but you could try it, it’s delicious)

Recipe & Directions from Martha Stewart (.com, not herself)

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish
  • (tablespoon or two of poppy-seeds – my addition)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
  3. Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.

Bringing Down The Barn

This weekend we hit near perfect inexplicable weather to welcome spring to the countryside of Maine. The air brought birds, the occasional early mosquito – and the drive to get renovations started. The blue barn on our property used to serve as housing for pigs and chickens, but when we moved in it had long been vacant of any farm life, with the foundation in rough shape. We did find some cool things in the barn however, like old pipe which we saved, as well as some old rusted toys.

We nursed some storage use out of it for a few years but, in the end, with some of the outer wood rotting, it was time to come down. Though we’re building a new barn for our equipment on another part of the property, there will *something* odd about not seeing that old piece on our property.

Mr. A was able to salvage almost all of the wood from this barn for our future equipment shed we’ll be building on a different part of our property. It will be great to keep a little of the “old barn” in with the new one. My favorite part to salvage was the old rooster topped weather-vane. Though it’s long past it’s prime, I look forward to putting it my home as a display piece when we finish the house.

If there’s one thing I can say, now that the barn is officially down and the site is cleared, the view is absolutely stunning!

Mr. A gives two thumbs up for a completed demolition and reclaiming of materials


Happy Homesteading,