Time for take 2! After reviewing the tutorial again, I gave it another try and this time I'm much happier with the end product.
The board and scrapbook paper
Paper cut to size and the area cut out for the vinyl chalkboard
Painted the edges with a pearlized black acrylic paint, making sure to paint a small edging around the top of the board
Covered the chalkboard with painters tape while I sprayed with clear acrylic
Found these great beads on clearance at Hobby Lobby to use for the handle. I placed them on galvanized wire and used jewelry wire to create the design.
The finished board and beaded handle
Perfection? Not quite, but it's certainly close - or at least closer than the last one (LOL!). As with anything, there are lessons to learn and this project is no exception, but I'm pleased and I hope my sister will be too!