Chalkboard Memo Board An easy project for only $2!

What’s inside:  Need a way to remind your kids, your partner, or even yourself of something important?  I always do.  So I created this Chalkboard Memo Board and it only cost me $2.  Yep, you read that right –just $2.  You can make this as simple or as complex as you want (I’ll show you a few ideas for both). I plan to use this board to remind my kiddos of important school things in the morning, but I am sure I will use it in many other ways as well!

What is Our World Coming To?

When I came downstairs on Monday morning, I made my coffee, sat in my chair, and turned on the television.  This is my normal morning routine – I spend about a half-an-hour to drink my coffee, get caught up with the news on the Today Show, and wake up my brain before I wake up the boys.

But this morning was different.  The first thing I saw on the television was the headline for the special edition “Mass Shooting in Texas Church”. And I thought, as I have many times in the past few months, “What is this world coming to?”

Just over a month ago, the special edition of the Today Show was “Las Vegas Massacre” – How many of these special editions will there be?  I constantly worry about the state of our world and humanity in general.

Mental Health Issues on My Mind

After reading a few news articles about both shootings, I notice yet again an all too prevalent commonality.  This common thread – both of the perpetrators of these horrific massacres had a history of mental health issues.

Now I have written before about my own struggles with mental health, so this fact hits me especially hard.  Although my history with depression and anxiety has been a true struggle, I have been extremely lucky to have a strong support system, access to excellent medical treatment, good insurance coverage, and the ability to pay for medical treatment and necessary medications.

Without these factors my story would be much different.

But my case is the exception to the rule.

The State of Mental Health in America in 2017

According to Mental Health America,1 in 5 adults – over 40 million Americans – have a mental health condition.  Although in 2017 more Americans have had access to mental health services, most still do not.  In fact, 56% of Americans with a mental illness did not receive care.

A Correlation between Access to Care and Incarceration

In addition, there is a strong correlation between untreated mental health issues and incarceration.  For example, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama have the least access to care and the highest rates of imprisonment.  In these 3 states alone, there are over 57,000 people with mental health conditions incarcerated.

Mental Health Illnesses are Diseases

The shortage in access to services for Americans with mental health issues is a serious problem.  And I personally believe that the lack of understanding of mental health in general is one of the main causes.  Many people still believe that people suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and other mental health illnesses are not sick but weak.  “Just get over it” is a common statement to people suffering with mental health illnesses.  But all mental health illnesses are DISEASES.  Just like diabetes and cancer.  And they must be given the same attention.

My History with Mental Illness

I have many reasons for starting Adding Shimmer to Life.  The first reason is very selfish – I need an outlet to share my thoughts and feelings.  But, I also hope to help people –especially people suffering with mental health issues – while sharing my story.  For many years, I hid my disease because I believed that I was weak and I was ashamed of my condition.  It should not be this way – for anyone.

If these 2 sick men who killed and wounded so many innocent people had been successfully treated for their mental health issues, would they have committed these deeds?  Unfortunately, we will never know.  However, I believe we can prevent future tragedies by treating mental health conditions as the diseases that they are and therefore give appropriate help for the people who suffer from them.

My Mission

I believe if we educate more people about mental health concerns more people will seek treatment. With a greater understanding, eventually and hopefully, the increasing trend of tragedies like the 2 we just witnessed will begin to decrease.

It all begins with awareness.  At the moment, I am just 1 person with a little blog and only a few followers (so far).  But in light of the current situation, I feel compelled to do something however small it may be.  Consequently, in each blog post I write I will include at least 1 statistic, fact, story, etc. related to mental health concerns.  I do this in hopes that I can reach at least 1 person and maybe help change someone’s life.  I also hope that you will continue creating awareness by sharing my blog or Facebook page.

Do you have a cause that hits home for you, too?  Tell me about it!  I love helping people and will use my little blog to help raise awareness for any good cause.

Let’s Get to It

Now, I will jump down from my soapbox and get back to the real reason you are reading my blog – a $2 Chalkboard Memo Board.  Again, I really do not feel right touting this as a tutorial because this is such a super simple project.

Chalkboard Memo Board

I was inspired to do this project when I saw a mini chalkboard easel used as a table number at a wedding.  There are so many ways that you can put together a Chalkboard Memo Board and I will give you a few ideas.


As usual, I started this project by picking up a few supplies – and I do mean a few.

Chalkboard Memo Board supplies

I found a rectangular chalkboard at Dollar Tree and a giant wooden clothespin at AC Moore. That’s it – $1 for the chalkboard and $1 for the giant clothespin. And you can leave it like it is – no embellishments, no painting, no nothing – and you have a great Chalkboard Memo Board.

No Muss, No Fuss Chalkboard Memo Board

Chalkboard Memo Board

But I cannot resist adding a little shimmer to a project – and who doesn’t want to add a little shimmer to life – so you can spice it up.

Add Some Color

I wanted to add a little color so I painted my giant clothespin bright red.  I also added a “Don’t Forget” vinyl sticker that I cut on my Silhouette Cameo.

Chalkboard Memo Board

Add a Border and a Title

On the other side of the rectangular chalkboard, I cut a white border and a red “Don’t Forget” vinyl sticker on my Silhouette Cameo.

Chalkboard Memo Board

Or, Make a Different Shape

If you want a different shape or cannot find a $1 chalkboard, you can pick up just about any shape piece of wood and then paint it with chalkboard paint.  This way does take a little bit more time and effort.

On that same trip to AC Moore I also picked up a 6” wooden circle (also $1) and some chalkboard paint ($1.99 – but I used a 50% off coupon).  I painted both sides of the circle with the chalkboard paint.  However, when painting, make sure to use at least 2 coats and then let it cure for 24 hours before using it as a chalkboard.

And, since I can never leave anything plain, I added a border and message with some paint markers.  You can see from this picture why I tend to use my Silhouette Cameo for any text!  This attempt is rather pitiful, but I just wanted to give you another idea of what you can do with this project.

Chalkboard Memo Board

The Possibilities are Endless!

This project is full of endless possibilities – I have a feeling I am just getting started.  If you make a Chalkboard Memo Board, send me a picture in the comments below.  Maybe you can give me an idea for my next one!

Make a Chalkboard Memo Board and Add a Little Shimmer to your life today.

Nicole Warren-Missimer

And – If you like what you are reading on Adding Shimmer to Life, take a minute to subscribe to my blog via email (below). As a subscriber, you will get an email when I post, add a page, or share content just for email subscribers (coming soon). I also appreciate you sharing Adding Shimmer to Life with other people who may enjoy my content.  Or, if you like Facebook and Pinterest you can follow me there, too.

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Nicole Warren-Missimer

Adding Shimmer to Life: A DIY lifestyle blog helping you add some shimmer to your everyday life.


All content – text and images belong to Nicole Warren-Missimer of Adding Shimmer to Life.

©2017 Adding Shimmer to Life

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Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – What is the difference? My experience with dementia & how I am learning to accept and cope

I have not been very motivated this week and have been trying to get too many things accomplished in a short amount of time.  Does this sound familiar to you?  I’m tired and the day goes by so fast that by the time dinner is over and the dishes are washed or in the dishwasher, I am done for the day. Resonating now?

I schedule just about everything in my life – cleaning, volunteering, laundry, washing my hair (yep, I schedule that, too), etc.  You name it, I schedule it and it is in my planner.  Since I have started this blog, I have been scheduling time during the week to prepare and write posts as well.  But, for the past week or so, I seem to be falling further and further behind on my to-do-list.  And, writing tutorials and posts takes a lot more time than I planned.  I do have a habit of putting too much pressure on myself and then get to a point where I cannot take any more.  I got to that point today.  Have you been there, too?  I know you have.

However, this blog is important to me and I want to consistently post relevant content.  I was planning to do an “I tried this” post about some recent projects I have completed from pins on Pinterest and posts on Facebook.  But, I am not ready to post that content today.  So, instead of pushing myself further than is necessary, I am going to just write about something meaningful to me. And I hope you may gain some insight as well.

On Tuesday mornings, I visit my grandmother at her assisted living facility.  About 5 years ago, after my grandfather died and my grandmother’s memory deficiencies made it unsafe for her to live alone, my dad and I moved her to the Memory Care Unit at the assisted living facility where she lives today.  We are very lucky, because she has enough money to live in one of the best facilities in the area with a wonderful staff.  It is a difficult situation enough without worrying about her being in a sub-par facility.

With the lack of motivation and energy I have been suffering lately, today’s visit did me in. Although today’s visit was a good one, whether it is good or bad it just makes me sad and drains all of my emotional energy.  I was just spent.  I have also learned in the last few years dealing with my grandmother’s dementia and trying to take care of a family while in the throes of a deep depression – you need to take care of yourself.  If you do not take care of yourself first (which I always thought of as selfish), you are no good to anyone else.  So, when I came home today, I took care of myself.   I curled up on the couch, watched a recording on my DVR and “rested” for the afternoon.

My grandmother is 95 years old and suffers from dementia.  Usually when I talk about my grandmother I just say that she has Alzheimer’s because most people do not understand what dementia is.  I have found some information from the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Blog that may be helpful to you.

In the post Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are Different on the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Blog, Angela Lunde states, “The term dementia refers to a set of symptoms, not the disease itself.”  In another blog post, Alzheimer’s, Dementia and MCI overlap, But have Different Meanings, Angela writes, “Memory loss generally occurs in dementia, but memory loss alone doesn’t mean dementia. Dementia implies there are problems with other brain functions as well, and that more than one dementia symptom is present.

Symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Language problems
  • Inability to learn or remember new information
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to reason
  • Changes in behavior
  • Apathy or loss of interest in activities
  • Paranoia”

In addition, she writes “Alzheimer’s causes brain changes that gradually get worse. Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles are prime suspects in damaging and killing nerve cells, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.”

Maybe this information helps you understand the differences.  Really, I just don’t get it.  I have done research on-and-off over the last few years and have decided that the definition does not really matter.  My grandmother has severe memory deficiencies that significantly impair her life – who cares what the specific diagnosis is?

However, in the article Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are Different, Angela also writes, “You may have heard the saying, “When you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s, you’ve met one person with Alzheimer’s disease.” In other words, no two persons are similar in how the disease impacts them. This holds true for caregivers as well. If you have seen how Alzheimer’s disease (or related dementia) impacts one caregiver, you have seen how it impacts one caregiver.” This is so true and, to me, is more important than the definitions.   Due to the nature of the disease, no two patients are alike and, therefore, no two caregivers are alike.  However different each person’s experience, all patients and caregivers ride an emotional roller coaster.

One week I will visit and she is in a good mood and the next she has no idea who I am and yells at me to “get out.”  I have learned to deal with these mood swings and am usually ok after a bad visit.  However, for the most part, we have good visits.  She really does not know that I am her granddaughter, but she does know that I am someone who is important to her – not just one of her regular caregivers (not that they are not hugely important as well).  She may not know that I am her granddaughter and I often have to remind her that I am her granddaughter, Nickie (my childhood nickname that I hate), but she usually treats me with the same sentiment that she would if she did know. Although she does not remember me or my husband and kids, I still tell her funny stories about the kids, how they are doing in school, show her pictures of Gunner and videos of Skater Boy riding his skateboard.  I treat her the same now as I always have.

Since my grandmother has a ton of old photographs (I mean some are from the turn-of the-century), we often look at pictures when I visit.  I usually pick about 5-10 and we look at the same pictures over and over for an hour.  Over the past few years, I have come to know many of the faces that I did not know before and am now able to tell her who is in each of the pictures.  When she asks me, “How do you know?” I always respond simply, “Because you told me Grandmom.”

To be honest, I was never especially close to my grandmother.  I spent more time with my Nana (my mom’s mom) growing up and I was especially close to my Nana. But, in the past few years, I have become closer to my grandmother.  So, although her dementia is a curse in many ways, I guess it has also been a gift.

Although I do hope that you never have to deal with the — of Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia, I’m sure many of you have.  How do you deal with the multitude of emotions? Do you have any suggestions for me – I am always open to new ideas!

Again, I did not make anything pretty today (I actually wrote a rather depressing post), but I am trying to focus in the positive aspects of caring for my grandmother and encourage you to do the same.  So, if you cannot make something pretty today, try to focus on the positives in the less-than-perfect aspects of your life.

And – If you like what you are reading on Adding Shimmer to Life, take a minute to subscribe to my blog via email (on the right sidebar) and you will get an email when I post, add a page, or share content just for email subscribers (coming soon). You can also follow me on Facebook and on Pinterest.

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