Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Kitchen Decorating

While I should be hauling out the Christmas decorations this week (we will probably do that this weekend) instead I have been slowly trying to put my kitchen back together. I have been taking my time and enjoying the fact that we don't have people coming and going every day. I know I will change things a million times- especially since we are going to leave the upper cabinets on either side of the sink as open shelving. I still feel like I want to get things as close to "just right" as possible on the first try.

I started by rehanging the curtains I made and I love them even more now that they aren't clashing with the blue and yellow. I also started decorating the little shelves on either side of the sink. I literally just threw whatever up there before because I didn't feel like it mattered but I am trying to choose more carefully now that I like to look at my kitchen. This is where I am now-

I want some more red to balance out the aqua. I had had my eye on a little red enamel sign on etsy for a looong time but I waited too long and it sold. I am going to try and find something similar. I will let you know when I find it. I am sure I will find other things to put up there as I go but it is going to be more about finding things I love or that have meaning than just putting stuff up there to fill space. To the right of the sink on the counter is my Christmas present!

I have been wanting an antique scale for ages and I LOVE this one! It's chippy and red. What more could a girl ask for? It's small enough to sit on the counter and not take over but also looks amazing and can useful too! I will take more pictures as the kitchen progresses. I always forget how horrible it is to take pictures in there because the lighting is weird with the window.

On the other side of the sink are my vintage canisters that I purchased I think before we moved in or right after. I have had them for a while but now they look fantastic!

I haven't gotten too far in my kitchen decorating because I wanted to seal the counter tops which took a couple of days. We got our butcher block counter tops from Ikea and typically most people oil them but we had 3 seams and I wanted to make sure we would be water proofed since one of the seams is under the faucet.  I also did one application of stain in golden oak- which just warmed the counter tops up a little bit.

I followed what Traci over at Beneath My Heart did for her counter tops. If you click on that link she will give far greater description than I am giving you. But we used the same products so it should answer any questions you could have! If you go over take a look around at her blog! She and her hubby just did an amazing fireplace makeover among many other things. She has 4 boys and I don't know how she does it! Amazing!

We are slowly making progress! On the list still-

Adding Hardware
Painting the Upper Cabinet Doors
Adding Trim above the Fridge
Painting the Walls
Painting the Trim
Add Cook Book Shelf Under Old Fridge Cabinet
Redo Backsplash (eventually)

There are probably more things I am forgetting but that is quite a bit of work there. Can't wait! Talk to you soon!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Came Early!

One of the things that I have lamented on a regular basis about since we bought this house is the kitchen. When we bought the house all I wanted was a dishwasher. That meant redoing the electric and the water supply lines. After those were done it was the matter of getting the cabinets. Those took twice as long as they told us they would. But this week allllll that changed.

Let's go back to the beginning.

Our kitchen was blue. Very, very blue. No under the sink storage. Nope we had a radiator.

We owned a dishwasher. It just was sitting in a box in a corner of the foyer for just under a year now.

Refrigerator randomly floating on a wall by itself? Check.

Which also meant where the refrigerator was "supposed" to go (in 1947 when the cabinets were installed) was a random waste of space.

For a year we have had this kitchen. NO MORE!!!!!!!

Now I am going to show you some in progress pictures. We are not done by any means. There is a long way to go. But after a long weekend of us redoing the floors and having our contractor here for 2 days here is where we are now.

It is still a construction zone- which is how I know it's my house. Every time I walk into the kitchen I feel like I somehow ended up in another person's house. It is truly amazing!

There was some rain on my parade in a big kind of way.

Mystery leak solved. While that is a good thing -it isn't fixed yet AND I have a big hole in my ceiling. I think besides the fact that we have a hole in the bathroom sink drain there is the disappointment that this is overshadowing the joy we had in making such progress in the kitchen. Plumber is coming tomorrow. We will see what he has to say. In the meantime a quick before and after is warranted I think!

I will try to give a list soon of what still needs to be done. I need to go stare at my beautiful kitchen some more! Woo hoo!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Renovation Realities and a Name Change

Surprise! We had a little name change around here. I wanted something that suited out lives a little better and was easier to remember. I am thinking a little face lift may follow but with all we have going on these next few weeks that is going on the back burner.

As for our kitchen renovation? Well it's not going as smoothly as I had hoped. We have a mystery leak in our kitchen ceiling. It leaks when no one is running water and the heat is not on. I am baffled. I am thinking it needs to be fixed BEFORE we install our nice new cabinets so that is making me a little anxious. We actually installed a new toilet upstairs thinking that may have been the culprit. Nope. Not it. However, the tank on the new toilet is about half of what the old one was. AND bonus-the new one isn't pink! I am hoping we are going to save some money on our water bill.

 This needs to be a short post as I have much to do. I could go on for ages about what is not exactly going the way it should so far but I figured I would just let some pictures do the talking.

The Before picture...

And the Current mid process pictures...

Aren't you jealous? I can't wait for this to be over!!!!!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Vacation and a Chair Makeover

We were fortunate enough that Matthew was able to take off 5 days in a row last week. It meant Matthew was home for the hurricane- because all of his guys still had to work! and it was a nice mini vacation that we really enjoyed. It was supposed to be filled with kitchen makeover but after finding out there was another delay with the cabinets and our contractor wasn't going to be available just yet we focused on spending time together as a family. We didn't even lose power during the hurricane! We know that was not common occurance and we are sending prayers for those who were hit with the brunt of the storm.

While we didn't get much kitchen renovating done I was able to finish a project that I started 2 weeks ago. I found 2 chairs on craigslist. This was the craigslist picture.

I got the guy to come down $15 in the price ($60 to $45) which still might be a little more than I would have liked to pay for them but I really do love them. They kind of have a french style to them. They have a carved back...

and the detail on the feet...

and yucky upholstery and needed to be changed.

So I started painting. I started with what I had which was white milkpaint. The chairs actually started to look blue. It was really strange. So I ordered some Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Grainsack and went over the white with that. 

I was going to use antique grainsacks to cover the seats. I have 2 that I have been saving for the *right* project but it wasn't this project because the ones I have were not wide enough. So I had some beautiful linen that I had purchased that looks amazing on these chairs!

I LOVE the way these chairs turned out! I distressed the back of the chairs to highlight the carving.

And I will give you a better look at the linen I used on the seats.

I will admit this was the first time I had recovered a chair and I had some struggles. I think it had a lot to do with the fabric I was using and the fact that our staple gun is somewhat temperamental but I think they turned out great!

If you are wondering where these beauties are living in our house- well they are in the living room. If you have been in our house and are wondering where in heaven's name would you put them in there?!  We had to do some rearranging. Our loveseat was practically shoved up against the radiator.  We knew we couldn't leave it there but I still wanted seating over there and these were the perfect solution. Not to mention it makes that side of the room look so much lighter and less cluttered.  I will show you pictures when I can get the whole living room. We started moving stuff around to prepare for kitchen demo and there is just stuff everywhere.

I have to tell you- even the hubby likes the way these turned out!  How about a quick before and after?

They just want to make me do a happy dance! My adorable assistant helped me with this project (as she does for so many projects) but she wanted to get in on the photo shoot this time as well.

Most adorable assistant ever.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ready for Sandy...

Of course for me that meant a different kind of preparation than running to the grocery store because I had 2 dressers sitting on my front porch. Hubby is convinced we are going to have to open a furniture store soon. We'll see.

I showed you my rescue from last week.

So a small update for you-I have finished the curved drawer as much as I could.

('Scuse my toes! Taking pictures was difficult since our foyer is jammed with stuff. We did prep for the storm by bringing stuff inside.) On this side of the drawer the veneer was more badly cracked than anywhere else on the drawers. I had to glue some of it just so it wouldn't come off. I was afraid to sand it any further because I didn't want that whole side to come up. Since it's in the curve the color difference isn't as noticeable in person as it is in this picture. I am making progress though! Wood putty and I have bonded(ha!) over this dresser. I don't want to show you too much because I want you all to be pleasantly surprised when I am done!

The other dresser we picked up for just $35 off of craigslist. I have a plan for this one and I can show you what I got done but I am telling you now this is NOT the final reveal. So some befores (or after some sanding actually)-

That one knob would not budge. That is one of the original knobs although I have something else in mind for the final reveal of this dresser. I will show you my midway point.

Not too bad for an afternoon's work. Right? This dresser was in fairly decent shape but (again) it was old and the finish was not in the greatest of condition. I will tell you that this dresser is part of my plan for the babies room. Before it got hauled up the steps I wanted to sand it but I didn't want to leave the wood unprotected. So this paint is Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Grain Sack. The awesome thing about milk paint is that it is layer friendly. So really where I would like to end up is more around here.

This is of course from here. Funniest thing I picked this color without looking at this picture since MMS posted it back in July. How weird that it is almost the identical dresser??? I will not be painting flowers on mine but I was going to put some pretty glass knobs on it. So this is a REALLY good idea of how my dresser will look when it's done! I cannot wait!

The dresser is going on hold for a couple reasons- I have to buy the paint -have to save my pennies BECAUSE our kitchen cabinets are supposed to be ready at the end of next week!! Matthew is hoping to get some time off this week so we can start working on it. this will mean NO KITCHEN until we get the new cabinets installed. Should be interesting to say the least. I see lots of sandwiches and cereal in our future. I cannot wait until I have pictures to show you! 

Everyone on the East Coast stay safe and stay dry. We will catch you later!


Monday, October 22, 2012

I Had No Idea...

how much our week would be affected by having Aleena in school 2 days a week. She only goes about 3 hours each day but we are still playing catch up most of the time. Well she didn't have school on Thursday because of an in-service day so I was able to get a couple projects started.

If you are wondering about the kitchen- we still are waiting on the cabinets. I had hoped to start some of the prep work by now since the cabinets are *supposed* to be ready this week but Matthew is covering for someone on vacation and is working without days off for 2 weeks. Not fun. When the other guy gets back Matthew should be able to get off 5 days in a row and we should get the progress in the kitchen moving.

One project that I want to share with you is not one I have finished yet. I am not sure when it will be done but I am really excited about it. I rescued an empire dresser this weekend. It is in pretty sad shape.

The drawers had to come out so we could get it out of the car and since they are a little tricky to get in and out with one of the legs missing (just for now- it's actually sitting on top of the dresser in the picture) I didn't put them back in but here is  a before shot of one.

There is a ton of potential there. I started working on the drawers yesterday. I figured I would sand them to get a smoother surface and then paint them but after the icky old varnish was gone the veneer was still in decent shape and pretty darn lovely.

This one is just sanded.

Then I added the acrylacq.

I am going to show you one more that really shows the grain of the wood. It just has a flash glare on it. Whoops.

I am going to try and finish sanding out the curved drawer today- the hand sander can't really do it so I will get an arm work out today. It's current state is a great example to show the before and after difference.

I am going to have to paint the body of the dresser. I am going to have to fill a lot of cracks and the veneer is just going to come off in a lot of places so I am using Marian's (Miss Mustard Seed) Typewriter Dresser as an inspiration.

Isn't it lovely? I am using her milk paint in the same color so I am excited to see how it tuns out. I am not attempting any decorative painting on my dresser but if I get the urge I guess the option will be open. It's good to have an example of my plan! I will keep you updated!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rainy Fall Days and Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

I will take a rainy fall day over a 100 degree scorcher every time. While the kids aren't appreciating the rain I took the time inside to try a new recipe. It's fall related so I thought it would make a great post!

Cute right? I found it on Pinterest (who's surprised?) and I haven't had the time to make it until this week. This is the original recipe and I haven't changed anything but I do have a few words of wisdom advice after actually making them.

I tried to double the recipe because I wanted to be able to share the cookies. I have a 6qt Kitchen Aid mixer and it could barely handle mixing double the recipe. If you want to make a lot- and honestly one batch probably made about 7 dozen SMALL cookies- but if you need more than that make the dough separately. If I was going to make them again I would probably triple the recipe- each made separately and do one batch in each color and then separate it to make the candy corn layers.

Be prepared for orange hands or wear gloves. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if I could have mixed the food coloring in the mixer (totally why I would do separate batches of colors) but my hands were orange for most of the day. 

It will take a while to figure out your cuts. Kathie has a great picture on her blog on how to cut them but it took me until the second batch to really get a more consistent shape.

I think that is all of my helpful hints for today. They really are a yummy lemon sugar cookie and so fun for fall!

Here is the recipe- which you can find on the Kathie Cooks Blog.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

2 Sticks Butter, softened
1 c. Sugar
1 Egg
2 T. Lemon Juice
2 t. Lemon Zest
1/8 t. Salt
3 c. Flour
1/2 t. Baking Soda
Red Food Dye
Yellow Food Dye
1/2 c. Granulated Sugar (for dusting)

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Continue beating until well mixed. Add flour and baking soda, beat until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds. Press one-third of the white dough evenly into the bottom of a loaf pan that you have lined with foil, wax, or parchment paper. Place another one-third of the dough into a bowl and add yellow and red food dye to make orange (refer to the chart on the back of your box). Once it is mixed evenly, press orange dough evenly over white dough. In another bowl, add the final amount of dough and dye yellow. Press that evenly over the orange dough. Cover and refrigerate until firm (2 hours or overnight is best). Once chilled, invert your loaf pan and unwrap your dough. Flip it back over and place it on a cutting board. Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using a sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary. Cut each slice into 6 wedges.

Place 1-inch apart onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven. Place cookies straight into a bowl with sugar and coat. Place coated cookies on a baking rack to cool.

Here is a cute picture from Kathie's blog since I couldn't get my lighting to cooperate yesterday!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Very Own Waterfall

and no that is not a good thing. I had every intention of giving you a nice post about my sewing room today. Until we woke up to a huge puddle of water on the floor in the kitchen...that was from the upstairs toilet. AWESOME.  At some point last night the toilet overflowed and we aren't sure why or when exactly but we do see the results. yuck. So I will have to promise you an extra post next week  but I need to keep cleaning (and get Aleena from school.)

I will leave you with a lovely picture I found on pinterest that has become my new crush. Enjoy!

picture via interior divine

I don't even to know where to start about what I love in that picture- the table? the mirror? The candle pillars? The baskets? I love it all!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oooh Shiny!

I feel like we are still in recovery mode from last week. We had a birthday party for the twins on Sunday (I need to steal someone's pictures from the party since we have none!) and then the first day of pre-school was on Tuesday. Aleena was unsure on the first day but still humored me in taking a picture even if it was not the happiest of photos.

The next day was the babies actual birthday which involved a trip to Red Robin (of course!) and also some car sickness and a trip to the playground. Thursday brought the 2nd day of pre-school which went much better and we took a picture that morning too since we weren't as rushed.

Saturday was the Fall Festival here in West Reading- which we checked out since it was our first time here for it and yesterday was the babies 2 year check up and all 3 kids got shots because we squeezed Aleena in for a flu shot while we were there.  See why we are in recovery mode?

My sweet hubby was kind enough to watch the kids on Sunday afternoon so I could get some "me-time" which involved a  trip to a consignment shop which was ok but not great and a quick trip to Marshall's which is what this post is really about.

For a long time- even before we moved- I was crushing on some mercury glass lamps. I am not usually into shiny but there is something I just love about mercury glass. Here are some examples.

 This one from Amazon  is on sale right now for $70 down from $150.

Then this one from wayfair I really liked too but it was $158 down from $237. Ouch. Of course my favorite ones were at Pottery Barn.

 I love the burlap shades on these! And while I love the rounded shape I wanted something a little more simple. Plus the fact that these are $200+.

This one is also from Pottery Barn and in it's current state of being shade-less still costs $200.

So being the good DIYer I like to think I am I tried to find a less expensive option. I searched on pinterest and there are several tutorials on how to DIY some fake mercury glass. I was totally up for the challenge. But I couldn't find a lamp that I wanted to try it on. I have been looking in every thrift store I go to without any luck. So when I got to Marshall's and saw this....

Mercury glass, simple lines and burlap shade for $30!!! I knew it had to come home with me. Thankfully the hubby likes it too. It's living in our foyer and replaced this lamp that I got at Target 8 or 9 years ago.

This lamp has a new home in the guest room so I think everything worked out just fine :)

I haven't had time to do much to the kitchen but take the doors off since we've been so busy. We found out the cabinets aren't going to be ready until the last week of October so we have a little more time than we thought.

One step at a time!