I’m Back….with a kitchen update!

Are the Holidays over? I haven’t noticed! We have been going and going since October and the past 5 months have been a bit of a blur. In the middle of all the Birthday/Holiday frenzy, I managed to start quite a few projects. I did not, however, manage to finish any of them or post any progress. I usually like to see one project through to the end before beginning anything else, but this winter has made it hard for me to focus on any one thing, not to mention the hundreds of ideas and checklists swirling around in my brain making it difficult to process anything. I’ve begun work on the girls room, we replaced the back door, I started recovering my super awesome barrel chairs, I’m in the midst of turning Lily’s old room into a craft room (although it looks more like a trash heap/laundry sorting room), I helped my best friend paint and begin to decorate her kids rooms in their new house, and the list goes on, and on, and….you get it. I’ve been ALL OVER THE PLACE with not much to show for it…until now!

I knew I wanted to add crown molding to my builder grade cabinets, but I was a little nervous about making some of those awkward cuts. After I wasted 8 ft. of beautiful crown practicing the right angles and cutting upside down and getting super frustrated( seriously I had to wait 6 months to try it again!) I finally figured it out and got it up! Yay! go me!

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After putting the crown on top, the bottoms looked a bit naked, so I added some super cheap, thin trim to the bottoms as well.

I was so happy with the way it turned out and how quick it went once I got the hang of it. I was on a roll. I decided to just get to the painting and ran to get my almost full can of black paint, cracked it open and discovered it was DRIED OUT. SERIOUSLY?! I had just used a few weeks ago, and now it’s dried out?? So then those almost done cabinets sat, all black and white, for four months. I lost out on my window of time to get them painted with all the other life-y things going on, so I looked at them everyday wondering how awesome they would look painted, or is it kind of cool to just have black and white? Maybe I just discovered the newest trend. I even had a dream that the whole world was doing their cabinets this way and it was exactly how it should be. But then I woke up and realized it’s not cool. It just looks unfinished, and gross. I was longing to have them done, so I just decided to do it, finally. I MADE the time and I’m so glad I did.

Here’s the Before:

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And After!:

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After:

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I also picked up this super awesome stainless steel microwave and stove for $135 on craigslist. The stove is awesome with its glass cooktop and warming zone, but the microwave is touchy. Like really, it doesn’t always work, but if you touch it, it seems to work for me. So that will need to be replaced, but it sure does look pretty!

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I’m  in the middle of building a spice rack cabinet to go between the fridge (which will hopefully one day be stainless steel too) and the stove. I feel like having the fridge shoved up next to the stove looks weird and unfinished and there was exactly enough room to do a skinny spice cabinet.

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I’m also working on figuring out how to make a nice light fixture with a pull string. The current light over the sink is gross and isn’t connected to a switch, so it has to have a pull string. But I have a pretty good idea brewing…

We also replaced the ugly faucet with a super cool one I found on craigslist for $10

Before:

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After:

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EEEE!!!! So pretty!

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And last, I really wanted to figure out a way to display some of my beautiful white serving pieces but knew I couldn’t do shelves. I wanted them over the banquette seat but Jeff is a tall dude and I didn’t want him hitting his head everytime he went to eat dinner. I decided to use the picture ledge from Ikea. It is shallow enough that it isn’t obtrusive and deep enough to just hold my pieces.

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Still need to patch some holes from a different shelf I tried failed to build.

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So still on the ‘ol To Do List:

Replace the curtains on the sink window

Replace the curtain over the banquette (it just looks old and nasty)

build a light fixture

finish building my spice cabinet

I’m hoping to get the kitchen stuff done before moving on to anything else, but I seriously doubt that will happen! I promise to keep ya updated this time! 😉

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Yard Work!

So far, this has been the summer of yard work, EVERY WEEKEND! I’m spent! But it looks like we are reaching the end of our outdoor projects, for now.

Remember our free-ish fence? Well, I finally got around to painting it! I started off with my handy dandy paint sprayer, but I guess the heat and size of this project was just too much for it and it finally bit the dust after 2 years! It got me as far as the primer for one half of the fence. So the fence sat, primed and waiting for paint for about a month.

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Lucky for me, my neighbor is a contractor and he let me borrow his commercial paint sprayer! I fell in love with it!! Painting was so much faster since I didn’t have to keep refilling the cup. You just stick the tube in your 5 gallon bucket and go to town! It was awesome!

It was also very, VERY messy. Especially in the wind. By the end of it, I was coated in paint. I’m not sure professionals look like this when they are done. 🙂  But imagining painting all those pickets by hand (which I attempted and only got as far as 2 before giving up) made the mess of it totally worth it! When I was finished, I immediately ordered a sprayer of my very own.

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And now we have this perfectly shabby, beautiful white fence!

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Let’s just take a minute to reflect on what the yard looked like when we bought it

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Now we’re making progress!!

We lined the fence with black mulch and I planted some lavender bushes along the inside.They are just tiny babies now, but they will eventually be a beautiful hedge of purple. I found about 350 free brick pavers on craigslist and we used them to line the tiniest sidewalk in the world.

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Our sidewalk is wider and looks a whole lot better, and you just can’t beat free landscaping! We also got some free sod and used it to fill in the bare spots on the “good” side of the yard. It’s a bit over grown because we seeded over it as well to fill in any bare spots, and we can’t mow it until the new grass is longer. So we are living in the jungle for now!

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Jeff Rototilled the back yard to get it ready for seed.

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We ran into a small problem in the back when the rototiller cut through the internet cable that was buried less than 2 inches deep!!

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I thought we would have to spend hundreds of dollars and have the whole yard ripped up to replace it, but Jeff was sure he could fix it. He whipped out his soldering iron and put that baby back together. I was so impressed.

So we seeded the back and the dirt half of the front, and we are finally, after 2 weeks, seeing some great progress. We have green fuzz!

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We also added a paver walkway in the backyard that leads to our cars. It’s not much to look at, but then again the back has never been anything wonderful so this is more for function than form. We kept dragging dirt and mud into the house and we needed a simple solution. Thankfully we were given these pavers from a great friend, so it was another no cost update. Hopefully, it will look better when the grass comes in? We shall see…

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So that’s where we are at for now. I’ll get some more pictures up once the new lawn is more established and well manicured. I’m just so happy to finally see something growing in the dirt! What summer projects are you working on?

Mailbox Love

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My best friend and I were talking yesterday about all the things we wanted to do to our yards this spring and summer. My list is quite long considering the shape our yard is in! After our conversation, I started pinning ideas  left and right when I came across some beautiful mailboxes. The realization that not only was our mailbox boring, but that I could do something about it hit me and I was off planning. Those of you who know me know that I’m impatient and when I get an idea I HAVE to run with it. Sometimes this impatience results in some pretty cool outcomes. I decided last night that I was going to do this project today. I made my plan and I updated our boring, standard mailbox for free. That’s right, I spent no money on this project. Just some leftover paint and supplies we already had and It only took me about 3 hours to complete.

Here is the mailbox before:

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I had to get pretty crafty to get some good results. First, I printed off the address and a pretty little flourish ( I used green ink because I didn’t want to waste my black ink) The I flipped each page over and used a pencil to color over the back of the text.

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Next, I cut out each piece, made sure I liked the way it would line up, and then taped each piece to the mailbox.

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I used the same pencil to trace over each letter, number and flourish. Once I removed the paper, I was left with a transferred pencil image on my mailbox

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Can you see it?

My last step for this part, paint in the lines! Easier said than done, but with a little patience it can be done.

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One coat of paint was not enough, but I did kind of like the look. It was almost like chalk…but it didn’t last

3 coats later and….

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Don’t worry about mess ups, smudges, or uneven lines. I just used some flat black paint to touch up the spots I wasn’t happy with. Then I coated the whole thing with clear gloss spray paint to keep it protected.

I found these shelf brackets in the basement and screwed one to the post. I’m thinking of adding another to the other side as well, but I’m undecided.

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And finally I painted the whole bracket and post with some leftover exterior trim paint.

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So much better!!! So what do you think? Should I add another bracket?

(almost) Free Fence

Awhile back, I found a fence in the free section of craigslist. It was perfect! Gothic pickets, pretty little gate handles. I said “Husband, I MUST have that!” Lucky for me, he was pretty excited about it too! It came from a condo complex pretty close to where Jeff works. They were taking it apart slowly over the course of a few weeks so Jeff was able to go back a couple times for some truckloads of panels. Everything was great, we were going to have a white picket fence like I’ve always dreamed of (I know, I know…soooooo cliche) and then….. it sat, and sat, and sat….for months! I think I could have earned an award for how much I nagged Jeff about that damn fence….

Well, people, today is the day! The fence is up (well mostly)!!!!

Jeff enlisted the help of his brother, John. First they put the posts in. I got quite a few for free on craigslist, but Jeff ended up having to buy 7 more for $42.
The concrete to keep the posts in place was $30

After letting the posts set for a day, the panels started going up! Let me just say, Jeff looks pretty good with a power tool 🙂

We are halfway there people!! It’s going to look so amazing!

Next step, paint it white! Stay tuned for that update (p.s. don’t my neighbors trees look gorgeous! So loving fall!)

What a Difference Some Paint Makes!

I am so over painting….for the past 6 days I have been painting our cute little house. My amazing parents took the girls all day Saturday and Sunday so we could work on it and I honestly believed that we would get it all done in those 2 days. I mean there is really not much to the house, it shouldn’t be any different then painting interior walls, right? Wrong!! One thing I’m coming to learn about myself (or maybe just finally admitting to) is that My concept of time is MUCH different than the rest of the world. I am terrible at time management because I convince myself that what might take an hour in real time, I can get done in 20 minutes…and that is NEVER the case. I think it might be a quality among artists/creative types because I am not the only one who goes through this….or am I? *SIGH*Anyway, 6 days later and I’m still not finished, but there is enough complete to show you some pictures, woohoo! The bulk of the painting is complete, it’s just those darn details like shutters and ledges…ugh!

So without further ado, here is before :

And After!!!

Gorgeous!!! I am so happy with this color! It’s called Grand Smoky Mountain.

We were toying with the idea of hiring a someone to paint for us until we got the quote back. They were going to charge us $1300!! Outrageous! After that, I became completely confident we could do it ourselves. Now, I will not deny that Benjamin Moore has some gorgeous colors to choose from, but that is some pricey paint. I happen to love the variety at Wally World and I love their prices even more! I managed to get a great deal this time around. When I went to the counter, I told the lady I needed the big 5 gallon bucket (which happens to be a pain in the butt to deal with but is also a better deal than 5 individual gallons) and she explained that they were out of the one I needed but that she would give me the 5 individuals for the same price. I couldn’t argue with that! She then informed me that there weren’t enough 1 gallons to get the black paint for the shutters so she gave me the more expensive brand at the same price. Oh poor me! 😉 I was expecting to pay around $145 but I ended up spending only $110!! The 5 gallon bucket was priced at $98, but she ended up charging me $68 for the 5 individual gallons. I should’ve bought a lotto ticket that day….

So first came the prep work. We had to caulk all the hairline cracks in the stucco. Not my favorite part of the job.

We used clear silicone meant for outdoors.

Just run it over the cracks….

And then smooth it out (wow, do I need a manicure!)

Then came the fun part! I love my paint sprayer is saves so much time and it only takes one coat! Best $60 we ever spent! It only took about 2-3 hours to do the bulk of the house!

Jeff hung our cute metal scroll-y thing (no idea what else to call it) He used a drill with a masonry bit, a level and cement screws.

Look at that stud!

Ta-da! We put the screws in before we painted and then painted them the same color so they would blend right in. It just adds a nice little detail to an otherwise flat space.

Doesn’t our black front door look beautiful against that grey color? I love it!

Since we had all the supplies on hand, we saved just under  $1200 by doing the work ourselves! Awesome!

Bathroom Update

Let me start by saying I’m sorry that I’ve been MIA lately. I’ve been so caught up with life that I just haven’t had much time to share any of my projects! We’ve been painting the house (pictures coming soon!) , traveling to Steamboat with family and getting Lorelei all ready for preschool!! I’m so excited that she is going to learn and have fun with kids her own age, but I was kind of taken back by the tinge of sadness I felt that she would be doing all these fun things without me. She’s not going to need Mommy there to help her. It’s a strange feeling to be happy that she’s becoming this cool little person that can do all of these things on her own and sad that she is growing too quickly all at the same time.

I digress…. Anyhoodles…..

The bathroom is now officially complete! I ordered some super amazing beadboard wall paper from Graham & Brown. It went up so easily and looks like the real deal. It’s amazing what a difference a good texture on the wall can make.

So much nicer! Don’t you think? I got the 8 ft. of chair rail for $5! The wallpaper was $39 including shipping and I already had white paint on hand. That puts our total for this bathroom remodel at….

$196!! You just can’t beat that.

It looks so much nicer in there. It’s fresh and crisp now instead of outdated and, well….gross.

I used my bathtub to soak the wall paper before hanging it. I was too lazy to take the bath toys out while I did it. What? Sometimes you have to take shortcuts!I just soaked each piece for about 5 minutes and then stuck them up, right over the existing crap, er, I mean wainscoting.

The weird texture doesn’t even show through with this awesome wall paper! I’m so impressed!

It sits right on top of the baseboards so I just caulked the edges and threw up my chair rail and quick coat of paint. Easy peesy!

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Here is the world’s smallest bathroom. So I’m exaggerating a bit, but considering it’s the only one for all four of us makes it seem that much smaller. It still needs a lot of work, but it’s a huge improvement from what it once was. Since it is so tiny, I wasn’t able to get it all in one or two shots so I thought it would be best just to point out all the details and hope that you are able to get a picture of it in your mind.

This is before, makes me shudder….

I painted the walls City Smokestack Gray. I love it completely! It seemed like it might be a bit tricky because we have this very old school texture on our walls that would make painting a clean line nearly impossible, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve…

See, weird texture, right? So here’s the trick. When taping at the ceiling bring the tape down onto the wall about 2 mm. If you go right into the corner, the texture will trick your eye into thinking your line isn’t straight. Next, “seal” the tape. This is a bit tedious, but totally necessary. Just take the background, or in this case ceiling color, and paint up against the tape. Make sure it fills in any gaps and allow it to dry completely. This is usually pretty easy because most ceilings are white and just about any white will do since its such a small amount. It will help avoid all those pesky bleeds through the tape.

Yay! Now it’s time to paint! Use a good brush and cut in, making sure you are bringing the brush down and away from the tape and NOT up towards it. Repeat this step. Then, roll up as close as you can get to the ceiling without getting paint on it. Remove tape while the paint is still wet. This will prevent any accidental bleeds as well.

Tada! Clean line and gorgeous color!

This next part is my favorite thing! We had this hideous sink/counter combo. The cabinet was oak so I painted it black (no surprise there) and then I searched craigslist and found a black granite counter top WITH an undermount sink for the low, low price of…..(drumroll) $30!!!! It was the exact measurements as our current sink and was so easy to install. Thanks to my handy hubby, in 20 minutes we went from this…

To this!!

Isn’t it beautiful? Needs a good polishing, but its so perfect for this space. I found the faucet set on craigslist for a mere $5.

This is the lovely black and white fabric we used for the shower curtain. I bought it on sale for $40 to use for another project but decided it would be perfect in here.

The light fixture was something terrible from the 1950’s, so Jeff took it down and replaced it with this one from Lorelei’s room. After a quick coat with Rustoleum’s black metallic spray paint, he hung it up and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. It looks like oil rubbed bronze!

We found this vinyl remnant in the clearance section at Home Depot for $25. It was so easy to rip out the old floor and glue this in place.  The girls were away at Nana and Papa’s and we were able to finish it in one evening. We even had time to go out for drinks after! It was the PERFECT date night!

I love the black, white and gray color palate.

We really needed more cabinet space for all of our toiletries, but it took over the towel rack. Jeff actually came up with this fantastic idea. He took this bottom part of a shelf I had (found at goodwill for $2), cut off the shelf and attached the brackets right to the cabinet! 4 hooks for 4 towels. Awesome!

Next on the To Do list….This awful wainscoting!  It’s some kind of weird textured plastic. It’s so ugly and I hate how it takes away from all that we’ve done. My solution? Beadboard wallpaper! Hopefully we can get to that in the next few weeks!

Cost so far for Bathroom Remodel

Flooring………………………………..$25

Flooring glue………………………….$10

Granite sink……………………………$35

1 Quart Wall paint……………………$10

1 Quart Cabinet paint………………..$8

Fabric …………………………………..$40

Towels…………………………………..$24

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Grand Total…………………………….$152!!!!!

When One Door Closes…

So one night, while perusing the Free section of Craigslist, I stumbled across an ad for 17 interior doors. FOR FREE. This was more than exciting because it was the second time in a week that someone had posted interior doors. The first time, I was not quick enough to respond. They were deleted before I even finished typing the email. I was so bummed because our interior doors are gross. They are the flat hollow core brown ugliness that the previous owner painted white, complete with chipping paint and cracks. Just awful. Lily’s bedroom door is about an inch and a half from the floor. No way am I living with these! But no way am I paying for new ones! What are we to do?

So there was the ad, so I emailed. And then I called. And then I called again. Finally an answer. ‘Sorry they are taken’. Dammit! I’ve been out-craigslisted again!! So I made dinner and told Jeff all about how I was this close. After telling him that they were located in a town that is 45 min. away from us, he told me he wouldn’t have gone to go get them anyway so it was fine. Then the phone rang…

The lady told me that the first guy flaked and that I was next in line so if I wanted them I could have them. OMG OMG OMG!!! I begged and pleaded with Jeff to please go pick them up!! They were so pretty. Two paneled awesomeness. Please please please please??? Fine, but I’m not happy about it, he tells me.  I always make him run these errands for me and he’s usually pretty happy to do it. But this time it was 8:30 pm, after a long day, and it was going to take him 1 1/2 hours. I understood his reluctance. I hated to guilt him in to doing it. But I hated the thought of missing out on those doors too. So he went and we went from this….

to This

(Please forgive my lack of photography skills (:)

Pretty great, right? And the doorknobs were a great deal too. Those oil rubbed bronze beauties were $30 for 6. Can’t really beat it when they cost that much for 1 brand new. They were all still in the box, untouched. The woman got them and realized they wouldn’t work and she was unable to return them. Her loss=my gain!

So we ended up with 17 brand new doors. They needed a little touch up paint here and there from damage due to moving, but otherwise they were perfect. But we only needed 5. What did we do with the rest? Sold them on Craigslist of course! We ended up making $60 to have brand new doors in our fabulous little home! What are some of your thrifting success stories?

Happy Thrifting

There’s Just Something About a Black Front Door

Just after we moved in I started scouring craigslist for a new front door. Ours was hideous. It was a metal door, the door knob was nothing to write home about, and it just made me cringe! Every door I fell in love with was way out of our price range. That’s when I started to make a habit of checking the free section daily.

This is actually our back door, but it’s exactly the same as our original front door. Boring, right?

So one day I stumbled across this beauty, FOR FREE!!! I said “HUSBAND, I MUST HAVE THAT DOOR!!” So he went and picked it up! Yay!

Oops, I started to paint it when I realized I forgot to take a picture

It was an almost perfect fit. Jeff had to saw off about 1/2 inch to make it fit perfect. He just used painters tape to tape off his measurement and went after it with a hand saw.

I decided to paint the inside as well as the outside of the door. That way it would be a statement in my entry way too! I painted the molding with a medium angled brush and then rolled the panels with a cabinet roller found at Wal-Mart. I found a quart of indoor/outdoor black paint for just under $8 at Wal-Mart too! I have to say, they do have the best value when it comes to paint and painting supplies.

Molding first with the angled brush, then use the roller for an even finish

I had to do 3 coats to get a uniform look, but one quart was still plenty. All I did to prep the door was wash it and let it dry. It’s been holding up pretty nicely 🙂

Not too shabby for an $8 door! That gorgeous brass hardware actually came with the door. It is bit beat up, but it kind of goes with the age and overall feel of our home. Now all it needs is a beautiful wreath. I’ll be checking out Goodwill this weekend for that!

What do you think?