Sunday, July 27, 2014

DIY Sunday: 2:00 am Home Improvement

Good Morning....or Evening...

I've been pulling some late nights on a boring work project. Tonight isn't an exception. It's easy to be productive when all the humans and dogs in the house are asleep. As often happens while I'm up late, I decided to do some home improvement. What, you don't grab a hammer at 2:00 am on a regular basis? My PJs and grub clothes have slowly merged into one lovely wardrobe of cut offs and paint splatters. No Mad Men inspired robes in my house. Just old D-Days shirts and mismatched socks. My husband is a lucky man.

Tonight, I was taking a break from my work to read a bit on Young House Love. Talk about inspiration! Easy simple projects with some down to Earth people. I finished my timed break (timing is essential or I'll see the sun rising while reading how to install a light fixture), I got up to get some recharging fuel and looked at my red back splash.

I hate that $%&%#$ back splash.

My husband stole my thunder a few weeks ago when he installed my dishwasher. Since the cabinets he had to move had a lovely kick board of red tile, he got to be the first one to remove tile. Such a simple pleasure taken from me. *Tear* Okay. Not really. I was loving the dishwasher until a few days ago. Then I realized we never bought detergent so now I'm hand washing until I finally remember detergent. (Three trips in and I've managed to forget every. single. time.)

As what normally happens during 2:00 am home improvement, I decided I was going to tackle a project with whatever tools were sitting within grabbing distance. (Today it was a window scraper for paint and a screwdriver). I earned the right to attack some of that red tile myself.

The first one popped off without removing any drywall. "Look at that. That wasn't so hard" I thought to myself. So I kept going. On my fourth one or so, I wasn't so lucky. A big chunk of drywall came off. Oops. I think I better stop going to town with my paint scraper and screwdriver. If my husband asks, it was a gang of women from the Ugly Kitchen Brigade that broke in and started the project.

In an unrelated note, I was motivated by my Thirty One conference to do more active and passive things to help other people. We started collecting pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House. Perfect use for this random jar we had in the overflowing pantry!

However, I think this week is the week. The week I've been looking forward to for six LONG months. We have to remove the tile. All of it. Even the entire wall of it behind the fridge and the pieces that were haphazardly attached to the ceiling. (yes...CEILING). My husband and I are taking the plunge and buying kitchen cabinets next weekend. I finally did the due diligence of getting estimates from all the local places, and we're back to the original plan of installing an Ikea kitchen. More to come on that on a different post. We've decided to install the main kitchen cabinets while we wait for the mysterious price quote on removing the ugly sci fi wall comes through.

That tile is coming down this week. I am pretty sure the heavens will open up, wars will end and my daughter will start cleaning her room. Or maybe it just feel like it as the waves of joy hit me with every tile in the trash. Weeeeee! (Did I mention it's now 3:00 am and I need sleep?)

Title of this post should be "Blurry iPhone Pictures Galore" My dog is driving me insane by sitting down and chewing dirty off her paws. My carpet is littered with mud and the noise is driving me batty.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Before & After: Vintage Canisters


I have two fun little before & afters to share today. When we went to install a dishwasher, we had to displace two cabinets. We have maybe 6 cabinets total, so removing two was a big deal. In fact, it was the only unit that could store silverware. My husband pulled them out carefully and put them against the wall we'll [eventually] remove & replace with a beautiful large island (yes...I daydream about this). We not only got a dishwasher, but we got a bit extra counter space. My in-laws were kind enough to cut a piece of hard plastic they had, and it's a perfect temporary counter top. The plastic is stained in some places and kinda looks like marble if you squint just right.
With my new found counter space, I could finally pull out my vintage metal canisters. I picked up these sweet things in an antique store basement for $15.00. I had just told my mom maybe 10 minutes earlier that if she ever saw a complete set, I'd love to have it. It was fate.

They had been stored for a while and had some fingerprints and dust. They also had some minor rust spots all over. I was going to clean them, but after seeing how great my Norwex paste was with the new dishwasher, I had to try it on the canisters. It was kinda like magic. Little rust spots (unfortunately, not the large ones) went away and they shined up beautifully. They look great with my red Pyrex mixing bowl, red stool (a $3.00 yard sale find!) and my Thirty-One family organizer. They will probably gather finger prints as I start to use them, but until then, they look fantastic.



I might not even mind the old cabinets with the lighter counter top. I still think the Rooster light switch plate needs to go.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

DIY Sunday: Flour Sack Fun

Good morning!

It's been a fun couple of days around here. Dishwasher is installed (again) and working this time! I'm pretty sure for the first time in my six years of marriage, my kitchen has had both a clean counter and sink.

Speaking of kitchens, I have a fun easy project to share. I found some flour sack towels cheap (around $0.10 a piece) a few weeks ago. Great deal, and I love how they shine up my glass wear. (I say that like I don't drink wine out of a red Solo cup) But the towels were boring white. I decided to use a little Pinterest inspiration and embroidery thread to fancy them up. I might have to get another set to do something else fun like paint or dye.

I'm not a embroidery person. I leave that up to my mom. I do have a simple set of needles, some clearance thread and a little hoop. That's all you need to do this super fun project (plus a disappearing ink pen to draw out the design). I tried to make them campy but fun and a bit modern. Check them out!

Ignore the wrinkles...if you can. If I was smart, I would have ironed it...but I don't iron. Ever.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Norwex Paste & Stainless Steel

Good day,

While I was gone at the Thirty-One National Conference (which, by the way, was completely amazing), my husband decided to go from great husband to awesome sauce husband. He removed cabinets, bought a dishwasher and installed it for me. I will now go on vacation every month so he can continue this precedent. Viva Las Vegas!

Happy to get this picture message while I gone!
Over many Lowes visits, I had been drawn to a marked down dishwasher. It was the brand I wanted (GE), it was a step (or several steps) up from the entry level ones that were in my price range, and it was about half price. However, it was stainless steel. We have a fairly new black fridge in Ugly House, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to deal with the finger prints that come with stainless steel.

The deal was just too good not to take. I'll eventually attempt to pull it all together with a black and stainless stove. So after my husband's manly man weekend, I had a new dishwasher. I was going to photograph my new lovely dishwasher and then I saw all those prints. Imagine how many there were after sitting in a Lowes. Ew.

I added stainless steel cleaner to my shopping list and went on to other chores. Then, I saw this little container of Norwex Paste under my sink. I got it as a stocking stuff from my mother in law and had never used it. I did some googling and found out it was safe for stainless steel. Sold. Let's break this baby in.

You first apply the paste using a damp Enviro cloth with the grain of the metal (like stain...but much much easier). You only dab the paste onto the cloth, so this amaz-a-paste is going to last forever. Then, you wipe down with a clean wet Enviro cloth. Finally, you polish it up with a window cleaning cloth. I don't have one of those, but I did get a polishing cloth as part of my stocking. I did those easy steps, and it worked like a charm. Check out the pictures below. So sparkly! Until the kids wake up.

Here's the dishwasher with just the top half cleaned with the Norwex Cleaning Paste. Can't you see the difference between the two halves?

Here's the entire dishwasher cleaned and polished up. I'm very happy with the results!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Show & Tell: How to Not Stain a Dresser


I have had this dresser done for a few weeks now, but I finally remembered to change the knobs out, so I can post a true "after" post.

This was one of those projects that I thought would be done in a day or so. Then I kept making stupid mistakes, so it was a week long cursing adventure. So, if my daughter tells you a four letter word you know where it came from. Just kidding. I don't work on projects until they are sleeping or gone. Those words clearly come from my husband being a Minnesota Twins fan. (aka a disease called "Gardy Rage")

I got this dresser from my favorite in-laws basement. (Many great finds to be found there at the outstanding price of free) I found some inspiration pictures and decided I'd paint the outside with the super duper neat Annie Sloan paint in Providence (can you tell I got a couple of sample pots?), and leave the drawers some nice dark natural wood.

So. Stain. I don't get along with stain. I try to talk to it reasonably. I try to follow all the directions it gives me, but no matter what, Stain just uses and abuses me.

I stripped the wood. I sanded down the wood. I applied the stain exactly how it instructed me on the label and 40+ YouTube videos, and it hated me. It just sat there sticky and ugly for days. I now think that I probably didn't get all the way down to the natural wood.

Okay Stain. I realize "it's not you, it's me."

Sometimes, you should just stop and realize that you aren't good at something. Like my husband and dancing. Just stop and go back to what you know. Instead, I decided that a bad stain job just needed some more stain. Black dark gooey stain.

After I had stained the dresser and myself, I sat back and looked at the finished result. Bleh. It actually didn't photograph terribly, but in person it looked like a person had tried to faux finish stain with black paint....or a crayon.

Now that you've got two coats of stain (and whatever else under all that), what would you do? Oh, you would just attempt to put 3 coats of DIY white chalk paint on top? Me too! Then you'd attempt to distress it while the paint is still wet so you scrap off four layers of gunk and have a huge gouge in the surface? Brilliant!

At this point, I've spent countless hours just being stupid and impatient. I decided this was a job that required me to go back to the fundamentals. I stopped messing around, ordered some Annie Sloan paint in cream and waited by the mailbox. When the paint arrived, instead of just slapping another coat on (which to be honest, I actually thought of doing), I did the adult thing and sanded everything down to the actual real bare wood.

I'm sitting there with the paint ready to go, and I'm thinking...well I'm pretty much at the bare wood, maybe I should try staining again. 
Thankfully somewhere in my brain someone slapped me into reality, and I stuck with what I know. I love the finished product. I spray painted the original gold knobs white to use when I was still thinking I was going to master staining. I didn't like the white on cream, so I saved those knobs for a different project and grabbed my favorite garage sale find knobs. 

Difference between the two knobs. I switched to the silver.

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