Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finishing the Kitchen

Last week was a busy week at my house. Cross a long abandoned home project off our list!

We had started re-painting the kitchen 7 years ago (before our son was born). We got the walls done, found out I was pregnant, I was put on bed rest, had our son, 2 years later had our daughter, and finally got around to finishing the cabinets last week. My husband and I set aside 3 days to do the re-painting, so naturally, it took us 5 days to fully complete the project.

Oh, the things we learn when we do home improvement projects. Like how many flat head screws are actually holding our cabinets together. Or just how gross the floor under your washing machine gets when you don't move it for 7 years. Or how old your plumbing is when you find a copper water line leading to your refrigerator. And those are just the highlights.

Despite the fact that my husband had a really hard time taking the doors off the cabinets, due to years of paint, I somehow managed NOT to get a true "before" photo, sorry about that.


This was the color of our cabinets, sort of a dull faded yellow. Blech! 


Several of which had some lovely (and dated) contact paper in them. Now, I like retro as much as the next person, but this has got to go!

We decided to paint everything a gloss white. Our walls are a very pale green, the tile is two shades of yellow, and I just refinished a sideboard (seen here) in a bright green, and I wasn't willing to throw another color into such a small space, so white seemed like a pretty good choice. 

Once my husband pulled all the doors off the cabinets, I took them out back to paint. And I was lazy. And I paid for that laziness by having to paint the doors twice. If your doors, or walls or furniture or whatever you're painting has any kind of shine to it, you MUST do one of the following things:
1. Strip it using a chemical paint stripper.
2. De-gloss and sand it.
Or 3. Prime it with a primer like Kilz or Zinsser.
If you don't, you will end up with peeling paint, sore arms, a bad mood and have to do one of those things anyway, trust me.

So, that was my day one. Not a great day. But the next day things went better, my husband primed all the cabinets, and when it was dry, I followed behind with the paint.


Looking good. Moving along nicely, until I went back to the doors and suddenly decided that they needed molding on the fronts. My husband is such a patient man, he didn't even roll his eyes at me. So, back to the store for 1/2 round molding, which he cut by hand with the saw and miter box then handed to me to glue and nail to the door fronts.


The molding seriously improves the look of the doors. I started loving them again. Once they were a nice, glossy white, I loved them even more. 

We let everything dry for a day, then started to reassemble our kitchen. I put new contact paper in the shelves and drawers.


We put the doors on the shelves near the washing machine.


Put the hardware back on the drawers and cabinets. All I did there was spray paint the old hardware with shiny nickel spray paint.


And then I left my husband to put the cabinet doors back on by himself. Yes, I really did. I went to a birthday party with my son, and when we got home, the doors were back on.


I am amazed at how much bigger our kitchen looks.


And brighter. And cleaner.


We do still have some touch-up to do, and one door with a hardware issue, but overall the whole kitchen looks fantastic! And I am sooo glad that it's done!!


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Letter Shelves

Our house is not very big. When my husband and I bought it in 2004, it was just the 2 of us and 2 medium sized dogs, so the house seemed huge. Jump to 2013 and the addition of 2 other people (small though they are) and all the stuff that they've accumulated, and our house has grown much, much smaller.

And our kids share a bedroom, which puts space at an even greater premium.

So the question is, what do you do when you have no more floor space for furniture to store all the stuff?

Answer: you start climbing the walls. (snicker, snicker) With shelves, of course, I meant shelves.

The inspiration for these shelves came from Ana White and can be found HERE. (I could spend all day on her site. Seriously.) When I saw them, I raced into my kids' bedroom with the blue painter's tape and taped their letters on the wall.


Where they stayed for several months. Until last weekend. I went and bought some lumber, and my husband drew up some plans for the shelves. Plans. Complete with a cut list for each shelf and the math already done.


Dude. And he helped build them. My hubby rocks! (Please note, if you're going to use these drawings to build your own, remember to double check all your measurements!)


After cutting all the wood, I made 2 piles and we started building the shelves.


We used 1X6 lumber for the shelves and 1/4" luan for the backs.


The "L" shelf finished and waiting for paint.


The "E" shelf finished. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly  these went together, I think they took us a little under 2 hours to build, thanks honey!


I base coated them both with white paint. Once that was dry, I painted the "E" a bright royal blue and the "L" pink. 


 Then, I glued the 1/4" luan back pieces together along the edges.


I decided to cover the back pieces with fabric. I found some pink and white polka dot for the "L" and some red and white chevron for the "E".


I used spray adhesive to apply the fabric to the front of the luan, then coated the letters with a glossy polyurethane.


After the backs were dry, I nailed them onto the shelves with a brad nailer and attached the hanging hardware.


Then I had my husband hang them in the kids bedroom. They were so excited to finally get their shelves, they were running around the house looking for things to put on them. I was just happy to get all the little odds and ends off the dresser.


So much fun! And how can you beat more storage?! I just may make one with my initial for my craft room!


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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Flip-Flop Fix

My daughter got two really cute pairs of flip-flops for her birthday last month. (Thanks, Grandma!) Unfortunately, since the straps are made out of that rubbery plastic, she can't wear them without getting blisters. And, naturally, I threw away the tags and receipts, so there's no way to return them.

We were bummed.

Then I stumbled on a post at Sassy Sanctuary, where she replaced the plastic straps on her flip flops with fabric. Brilliant!

Off to the fabric stash we went, where Lilah chose 2 fabrics she liked for the new straps. (We have now arrived at the stage where if I don't consult her on fabrics for outfits or accessories, she will not wear them. Ever. So, even though sometimes the fabric she chooses wouldn't be my choice, well.....I can always make my own clothes, can't I??)

First, I pulled off the old straps.



Then I cut 2 strips of fabric 13" long X 1 1/2" wide, one for each front "toe loop" and 2 strips 18" long X 2 1/2" wide one strap for each flip flop. The lengths we really just guesses, I just wanted to make sure I had enough fabric to knot on the bottom. They turned out to be good guesses!


I cut my strips, ironed them so the edges were finished and sewed them to make smaller straps.


Next, I took the smaller strap and pushed both ends through the front hole on the flip flop, making a loop.


Then, I put one end of the longer strap through each side hole, threading it through the front loop. (I forgot to take a photo of that, but it's simple to figure out.) Then, after she tried the shoe on, I adjusted the straps, turned the shoes over and tied knots at the bottom holes. I used hot glue to secure the knots in place, it's probably not necessary, but kids are hard on shoes and I wanted the extra strength.


Nice, soft, fabric straps for the flip-flops, yay! Aren't her feet cute?


I could have stopped there, but since she asked so nicely, I pulled the decorations off the old straps and added them to the new ones.


It will be interesting to see how these wear, especially through an Arizona summer, but now I know how to easily fix or replace the straps. I may have to go buy some cheap flip flops for me, I have lots of fabric in my stash just itching to be used! 


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