Spreading the Cheer

If you don’t snag the magazine Lowe’s Creative Ideas every chance you get, well, you are missing out.  And it’s free.  Not free like a bad infomercial product.  They actually have some great ideas…hence the title.  Not like the Ear Vac I just heard about for ten minutes.  Seriously.  How much wax are these people producing that they need a small appliance to suck it out of a hole in their heads?! 

All body hygene products aside, Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine asked me to come up with a way to spread some ‘Holiday Cheer’.  I took that as sign to literally spread the Christmas spirit to our neighbors.  And nothing says Jesus is born like chocolate and flowers.  That combo also says work-out-ahead and please-forgive-me and how-you-doin with a wink thrown in.        


I found some primed plinth blocks in the wood section of Lowes.  They are with the corbels and the dowel rods.  I actually have about a dozen neighbors that I was doing this for, so the first trip was very experimental.  I decided that I would get two different sizes…the first was 2 3/4″…

and the second was 3 3/4″.  While I was there I also picked up some quart size paint cans for three dollars each and some poinsettas (these were on sale for $1 a piece – score!). 

When I got home I taped off the edges using Frog Tape.  And yes, I do have rolls of this stuff in every room of the house :)

Now this is where the real fun part happened…I got to use chalkboard paint for the first time and it was uber exciting.  It reminded me of when Tapanga finally got that makeover on Boy Meets World.  best. day. ever. 

A few coats later (ignore the chalkboard globe por favor) we have little chalkboard plates ready for the curing process (just rubbing chalk all over the chalkboard part so that the first writing doesn’t become permanent). 

While the chalkboards were drying, Will and I made up the oreo truffles.  I blogged about the recipe for these before.  They are delicious and so easy that it’s kind of ridiculous.

Oh and because my little helper wanted to roll the balls with me, I had to share his greatest achievement…

Merry Christmas.

After all the chocolate was hardened on our oreo treats, I lined the paint cans with some tissue paper and put in about a dozen truffles.

The poinsettias were wrapped with some old red & white striped fabric and I hung a little message plaque on each pot.  (oh I just used a little eye hook and some thread to tie it all up!)     

Since I decided to go with the smaller plaque, I kept the larger one for myself.  It’s been really useful and I can totally see myself using it to write little messages to myself or to Jeremy long past the holidays.  I thought about picking up a few more and using them as name place holders for the table.

Here’s my budget breakdown:

12 pots x $3 = $36

chalkboard paint = $6

12 plinths x $2 = $24

2 pkgs eye hooks = $4

4 pkgs Oreos = $12

4 pkgs cream cheese = $8

4 pkgs semisweet chocolate = $8

TOTAL = $98  (about $8 per neighbor)

Since I like to keep my neighbors gifts in the $5-10 range, this project was perfect…and if you have less neighbors that you treat to treats, then you can always make less.  But overall – I loved this craft because it was so easy for all seasons.  Just imagine it for Valentines day or for fourth of July…especially since there is always options for cheap small plants available and the plinth/chalkboards and mini paint cans are for sale year round.  Merry everything :)


p.s. This is a sponsored post by FrogTape for Bower Power’s Frog Tape Fridays. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.



  1. Laura says

    These are gorgeous, Katie!!! SUCH a lovely and simple idea… I’m SO going to have to steal this for Mother’s Day. One question about the curing process (because I’ve never used chalkboard paint before either) – after painting, do you rub ground up chalk all over the board then wipe it off to cure it? I’m sure this is a completely dumb question, but I’d want to get it right. I just may have to sign up for Pinterest (I’ve been avoiding this) JUST so I can “pin” this project. Oh and while I’m at it, CONGRATULATIONS to you and your family on the arrival of sweet baby Weston. He is adorable! I’ve not congratulated you all yet, but have been thinking of you all and pray that the transition to a two child family has gone smoothly. Happy Holidays (a bit late)!

      • Erica says

        Where or when did you find valspar spray chalkboard paint? I’ve been looking for this product, but it’s not at my local Lowe’s or on their website. Other than the obvious bonus of way less cleanup, how does the spray cover on large surfaces like a full chalkboard?

        • says

          This was at my local Lowe’s so it may just be a new product that hasn’t hit all stores yet. And this was my first time using it so I’m not sure how well it would do on a large surface. Sorry – wish I could be more helpful.
          xo – kb

  2. Annie says

    Very cute! And I have a child that produces so much earwax I have been debating the small appliance to remove it…we’re talking boulders….it’s gross.

  3. says

    I just drooled at the photo of Will and the kitchen cabinets. I’m not sure if it was due to the beautiful kitchen, the toddler in Christmas PJs or the truffles. What a trifecta.

    Have you seen chalkboard markers before? They work just like chalk, but are so much easier to write with than regular chalk. Also, if you are like me and hate chalk on your hands, it helps with that, too. :)

    • says

      I have seen them…and ran out and bought one…but quickly realized that it doesn’t erase as well the first go round…so I nixed it for the real stuff :)
      xo – kb

  4. Melissa says

    Love this, so cute! Filing this away for future neighbor gifts. Oh, and thanks for the plumber recommendation- your brother helped my husband and I with a quick plumbing problem at our new house today!

  5. Laura says

    The best laugh of my day? Will’s greatest achievement.

    Thank you Katie for always being clever and always keeping it real. Absolutely what I love about you and Bower Power. <3

    I hope YOU and the fam have had a wonderful holiday and that you have a merry and cheerful 2013!

  6. says

    Very cute! I have maybe 2 neighbors that I MIGHT give things to because I also work with them in my school district. However, my actual next door neighbors are too crazy and/or there’s an empty house for me to do this. I wish I lived somewhere where I’d want to do this with my neighbors. Maybe for friends/coworkers though! :)

  7. Angela says

    Curious about the truffles. The first ones you did were white…did you use a different kind of oreo? Can’t wait to try this!
    Thanks – enjoy your blog!

  8. Amanda says

    Is that chalkboard paint in a spray can?? I have only seen the actual paint. I don’t like the chalkboard paint markers either. I can’t figure out how to get them to wipe off clean without what I wrote still being on the board.

  9. says

    Cute! What a good neighbor you are. I have never made neighbor gifts. But these would be cute friends gifts too! Why haven’t I thought about buying plants as gifts. Duh! I totally scored some of those 75% off plants too for my own casa! Score for sure!

    • says

      I had a brain fart and only took one with my phone of the truffles in paper (looking down on it)…I do have an extra that didn’t make it to a neighbor (they weren’t home on delivery night) so maybe if I have time I’ll shoot it and post it as an update.
      xo – kb

  10. Jenn says

    Great idea! I’m the one that commented a few weeks ago about doing the 24 acts of kindness on the advent calendar with my 2 year old. We’ll add this project to our list of things to do for next year’s lead up to Christmas! Our neighbors would love it.

    Thanks again for another great idea!

  11. Tracy says

    Love the idea of a chunky little memo chalkboard!

    Question… what about the cost of the poinsettias? I didn’t see that in your breakdown.

  12. Samantha says

    I know this is part of your career, but my goodness am I tired of reading about simple little projects with frog tape thrown in for the sake of you meeting some quota. This project could easily be done without it and it feels like a stretch for you to make some deadline.

    • says

      I do have a quota – it’s one a month…but I usually meet that in the first week. I simply just use painters tape a lot in my projects…I do not believe I could have done this particular project without it (I’m not that good with spraypaint…yet)…but if anyone feels they can, then by all means, they should and save their Frog Tape for a bigger project :)
      xo – kb

    • Stephanie says

      Samantha – stop reading if you don’t like the content. I like to see what you can do with Frog Tape, Katie, whether big or small because I have a huge supply on hand always (seems like we’re always painting or redoing something!) Cheers to the weekend!

  13. Maura says

    LOVE that picture of Will. And a peek at your gorgeous kitchen in action. Your hard work paid off. It looks wonderful!

  14. Christina S. says

    SO cute! I think this is probably one of the most telling projects you have done that screams the amazingness of Frog Tape. Those plaques look incredible! What an easy thing to do, paint them any fun color, add the chalkboard tape! I can see this given with any wedding, baby shower, bday present with an extra sweet message board that keeps on giving. Love it!

  15. Rebekah C says

    Love these projects, love Will’s “accomplishment”, and I love the peek at the new backsplash. Can’t wait to hear more about the final steps in the backsplash department.

  16. says

    Super cute – could totally see doing this for V-Day next month!

    But, dang, it was so hard for me to focus on the project – that tile backsplash was screaming “DO THIS TO YOUR KITCHEN NOW” so loudly, I had to recoil and put earplugs in. (Which hopefully will not result in a need for the EarVac – ewww).

  17. Pam says

    STOP IT! I CAN’T stop laughing after your rant about the ear vac!!!! i saw that just the other day and thought to myself…you gotta be kidding me!!! I am cracking up so hard. i thought i was the only who had the same thoughts on that product. ok back to read the rest of the post…ps- i am STILLLLLL waiting for the Birth of the Kitchen. i mean i feel like we have been carrying this sucker for months. i want the oohs and ahhs of the final final reveal already!

  18. says

    I wish I had a neighbor like you – cause that gift rocks! Holy smokes, definitely need to try the recipe for those chocolate bons bons cause they look good!

  19. Carolyn says

    What a cute idea!! And I just have to say the kitchen shot with Will on the counter is GORGEOUS – your new kitchen is amazing, and I totally want to copy and paint my cabinets white and then throw up a beautiful backsplash. And Will’s jammies are adorable!

  20. Laurie says

    Ok… Did I miss a reveal on the kitchen cabinet hardware? Seriously love the ORB by the way. I don’t know if it was the Oreo truffles or the backsplash and hardware that had me salivating. Love Will’s jammies by the way. You get the cutest outfits.

  21. Katie says

    So I want do make the little chalkboard signs as tags for some baskets I have – to label which basket is for which kiddo. And I’m wondering… the plinth blocks that you found, do they have the pretty beveled edge on all 4 sides of the piece of wood, or was it only on 3? I can’t find the 4 sided pretty edge anywhere. Hmmm. Thanks for your help and inspiration always!

    • says

      Yes! They were beveled on all four sides on only one side of the block…so the other side was just simple chop cut. It was right next to the three sided version.
      xo – kb

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