Chalk Talk

March 20, 2015

If you’re a Spokane reader, you’ll know what I mean when I say I live in a “little big city” — theoretically, about 500,000 people live in the Spokane area, but somehow it maintains a small town feel. If you’re like me and you’ve ever lived in an actual small town (holla, Kettle Falls!), you likely know the “everyone knows everyone” feeling — and if you’re like me, you feel both the burden of a frustrating sense of isolation and the blessing of an incredible sense of community on a daily basis.

Wednesday became one of those blessings as I ran into Ed, my former boss at a place my North Spokane friends will also {hopefully} remember: Gelato Joe’s. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me fill you in! Before it sadly closed its doors, Gelato Joe’s provided an escape for Spokanites into a charming, delicious European oasis. Writer Cindy Hval described it well in a 2007 Spokesman Review article — as a place that sported “exposed brick walls, tall Greek pillars, a hand-painted mural of Italy and lots of cozy tables. Funky urban paintings by local artist Jim Battell [adorned] one wall, and shelves filled with giftware [lined] another,” a place marked by sunny “umbrella-topped seating” and deliciously creamy “frozen concoctions.”


Aside from all that, it’s also a place I still like to describe as “the best first job ever” for so many reasons, but perhaps most importantly because it fed (haha, so punny) my creative side in such a meaningful way. Ed and LeeAnn, the two owners, quickly recognized my crafty inclinations and put me to work designing new waffle cone flavors, creating hand-drawn labels for the homemade gelato and sorbetto, and, most fun of all, carefully writing out a massive chalkboard menu.

And just like that, a love of chalkboard art was born.

Fast-forwarding to today, the massive chalkboard that now resides in our dining room does not list out prices and daily specials (because that would be kind of weird, right?) — instead, it has often served as a menu for dinner parties…


…an extension of our Christmas decorations…


…even a daily reminder of our favorite quotes…


…and it honestly just brings me so much joy! When I say that, I mean all of the stages: finding the inspiration, sketching out the actual fonts and graphics, admiring the end product, and sharing it with guests in our home.

With that being said, I’m itching to freshen up the chalkboard display this weekend, and I’m planning to post a tutorial of my newest drawing!

What do you want to see?

Which quotes inspire you? Which graphics intrigue you? Do you have any chalkboard art pins that you want learn how to recreate? Anything seasonal you would love to display?

Happy Friday!


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  • Stephanie

    May be I should try different fonts in my targets? You are missed in small town Kettle Falls, but I am so glad you have a blog! I am thoroughly enjoying your blog! Thank you! You are an inspiration! 🙂

    March 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      Steph — it’s wonderful to hear from you!!! I miss teaching with you so, so much. I was confused by what you meant for a second there and then suddenly remembered the gigantic rolling chalkboard in your classroom. So much fun!!! I will definitely include some fun fonts for you.

      March 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm Reply
  • Cynthia Holman

    Easter bunnys, beautiful eggs and Lilly’s!

    March 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      Grandma, I will practice some Easter graphics for sure! Eggs might be the most realistic option for this girl. 🙂

      March 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm Reply
  • Jessi

    I’m really looking forward to the tutorial! I’d love to learn how to hand create beautiful graphics. Aaaand– I adored Gelato Joe’s! It always set me daydreaming.

    March 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm Reply
    • Carolyn

      I’m on it, Jessi! So funny — I wonder if you ever came in while I was working and we didn’t even know it!

      March 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm Reply

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