Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Christmas Card

Pretty Pattern Christmas Card
Visit Shutterfly.com for classic photo Christmas cards.
View the entire collection of cards.
 
We just love this picture I took of the girls at my friend's wedding reception back in August. The girls haven't changed any at all and it is SO hard to get them both to look great in one picture that we decided to just turn this one black and white, crop a little closer, and slap a Merry Christmas to it. After all, my husband and I both believe they are our greatest accomplishments period so we take every opportunity to show them off. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When DIY Goes Horribly Wrong!

Let me begin by explaining the saga that is my life. I over analyze EVERYTHING! It is a fault that I am working on daily. However, because of this issue it takes me forever to make decisions regarding important purchases. For example, we were given a dishwasher about 2 1/2 years ago by one of my mother's neighbors when she purchased all stainless appliances. There was nothing wrong with the dishwasher it was just younger than our own hideous one that came with our house when we purchased it. Our house is 16 years old so the original dishwasher was 13 1/2 when it was replaced.

The dishwasher from our friend lasted the 2 1/2 years before it finally gave up working. During that time, we had repairmen out once to fix a worn out part but that this point it had broken pieces and rarely washed a load of dishes where they all came out clean.
You can see part of the dishwasher here. This was taken in October before our youngest daughter's birthday party.

We had been debating whether to replace our stove (which is acting funny and not in a ha ha sort of way) or the dishwasher when the dishwasher made the decision for us. We shopped around a lot. By WE I mean I scoured reviews from Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, Best Buy, HH Gregg, etc. All the dishwashers with the hidden controls had horrible reviews where the control panel motors had all been replaced 2-3 times and people warned potential buyers away like a proverbial lions' den.

After looking at all the sites over and over again, I decided to check out the Black Friday sales which may or may not have something I want. I found a Maytag dishwasher from Lowes with great reviews and an even greater price point. The only thing it had that I didn't want was controls you could see. Oh well, it was still stainless, it had an all stainless tub and I could actually fit pots into it? I was sold! I purchased it online with a few coupon codes on Thanksgiving Day and VOILA! for a reasonable price it was going to be delivered to my home on Black Friday!

The delivery men were amazing and came exactly when they said they would. I unboxed my beautiful new appliance and set off installing it. Problem number one. I had never heard of a strain relief for electrical wires and thought it isn't necessary according to the directions so I just won't use it. Then the new dishwasher did not come with wire connectors but I just used the ones from the old dishwasher. They worked so we were great! After about an hour and a half I had a beautiful dishwasher in my kitchen!
Then, we ran it. It worked very well the first time Friday night. Saturday we were a flurry of working on organizing the garage and finishing up the laminate floors in the girls' rooms (more on that later).  On one of the trips back in to the house from the garage we smelled a noxious odor that made you want to throw up/cry/scream all at once! I thought it could possibly we the battery we were charging for the drill as our drill is old and trying to die. We immediately unplugged it and also turned off the dishwasher just in case. We spent an hour trying to figure out what was making the smell. We decided to turn off the breaker for the plugs in the kitchen and the dishwasher just in case. We took the kids out of the house and to the store for 2 hours just to make sure the smell was gone. When we came home I smelled the odor coming from the little vent in the dishwasher (see photo top left).  I was immediately horrified and decided not to mess with it before I hurt myself or the dishwasher. I have been working on Christmas candy, laundry, lesson plans, wrapping presents and just life for the last 2 weeks and have ignored the lovely dishwasher. In the meantime, our kitchen has become a cesspool or disgusting dishes as since I am making the Christmas Candy my husband is in charge of dishes. He is slacking BIG time!
Pardon the horrible lighting, this is an early morning picture. My floor is still also nasty as we haven't decided whether we are doing tile or hardwood, so there is still a nasty stripe of sub-floor in front of our beautiful cabinets. Of course we also have Christmas candy carnage presents everywhere!
Finally, last night I decided to tackle the problem head on. I pulled the dishwasher out and left all connections in place (remember the breaker is off at this point).  Everything looked fine until I pulled out my connections. Don't ask how but one (only one of two) wire connectors decided to melt. This had nothing to do with the strain relief but apparently with the wire connectors. So, it is off to Lowes to buy both a strain relief (just in case) and a new set of wire connectors. UGGGHHH! At least it wasn't worse and I can salvage the wires and fix it. I am not sure exactly what happened but it will be fixed so I can reclaim my kitchen and my beautiful new dishwasher.

On a side note, both girls' floors are finished and so is a new shelf and all decorated for our Christmas Eve party.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Working on Christmas

I'm in the process of finishing up some great things around the house but I stopped to decorate a little for Christmas. Of course, as a teacher, this is my favorite time of year as winter brings snow and can possibly brig unexpected days off with my family. Here is a new shelf we hung in the kitchen last night. I just love looking at this while making my cookies!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Pearlized Stenciled Backsplash


This is the beginning of the stenciled back splash we put into the kitchen. We cut out the cardboard piece and traced around each one. Then I hand painted around each place I had traced. I then repeated and repeated and repeated until I cramped up some more. This was finished under the cabinets all around the kitchen. 
 I started by the fridge and moved some things around as I finished. I finally decided until we can afford an electrician to install an above the stove microwave ours must live next to the fridge to get out of my way! I love having a microwave but detest that it takes up my counter space!
 As you can see I messed up around the phone jack we do not use. I will fix it eventually. I messed up majorly in a different spot and just took some of the base paint and painted over it and then painted the metallic back over it.
 This was done with Martha Stewart Opalescent paint from Michael's. I used the white color but it looks silver/gray against the gray wall. We really like it but I need a pop of color somewhere. Can't decide if I need a new Kitchen-aid mixer in a neon color or just artwork. Hmmmm.....
 My mixer has been acting funny lately.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Kitchen Transformation! (Not yet 100% done)

I have been waiting to blog about our kitchen transformation for a few months now. I have given details about the granite counters but that was as far as I had gone. Well, I am ready to share more! We are not 100% finished as the stencil on the back splash is not really started but that will be worked on this week and next to finish up.

We started with this: (no the racing stripe floor was there when we moved in)
I know it is scary. Plus we were making rice crispy treats. Can you tell?
 One more scary picture just for effect.

The first step in THE GREAT KITCHEN RENOVATION OF 2011-2012 was to work on leveling those cabinets and readying them for the counter.

Here is the 1st step completed with new sink, faucet and counters.

The 2nd step was to work on those blonde cabinets! We purchased Rustoleum's Cabinet Refinishing Kit but we didn't love the colors so I had it custom color matched at my favorite Lowe's. We chose Comet Dust the lighter of the color swatch. Valspar 5006-1A Comet Dust at MyPerfectColor
Valspar 5006-1A Comet Dust at MyPerfectColor

I love it! It isn't quite a gray but it isn't white either. It took 3 weeks to do our whole kitchen! We have a huge kitchen. I have 18 top cabinets alone! We purchased the large kitchen kit.

First you must take down all doors and use plastic gloves to degloss every surface. You can see here the the cabinet face is not shiny at all. That is a good thing!
 Next is the actual base coat layer. I used a brush on the cabinet base to avoid getting paint everywhere. Notice the 2 liter of Coke. Must have my caffeine fix while working!

I used a sprayer on the doors as we were not using the stain after the paint. It is recommended to use a brush so the stain gets into the nooks and crannies. I wanted none of those so we sprayed. It did take FOREVA as we have to wait an hour after deglossing 1 side before you degloss the other and the only place I had to work was in the kitchen on our island.
My brother purchased a sprayer to use on his ceilings and realized it was too small to do the job. It was perfect for my cabinets! Thank you very much! The paint was used with 50% water added to the sprayer.

After spraying, I sanded the edges to give them some character. Then we waited 24 hours before sealing them with the poly coat from the kit. This also went in the sprayer with 10% water added.

After waiting at least 24 hours for the poly to dry I added the hardware back (we used the same cabinet pulls (the drawers are still blank... haven't decided what to use on those)

Then we rehung!

We painted the walls in the entire, kitchen, dining room and living room area the same gray since it is all one open space. We used the 2nd gray on the color sample. It is called Valspar's Notre Dame


Valspar 5006-1B Notre Dame at MyPerfectColor
Valspar 5006-1B Notre Dame at MyPerfectColor
Our picture makes it look more dark gray than in real life. Our huge window's face the west so we get the sun setting not rising. Boo!
The stenciling still needs to be done on the backsplash as does the island. We are going to paint the island the darkest color  from the same paint swatch. It is called Valspar's Granite Dust. It looks darker in real life compared to the swatch below.



Valspar 5006-1C Granite Dust at MyPerfectColor
Valspar 5006-1C Granite Dust at MyPerfectColor

The floor is still racing stripe green and will be until next summer when we can afford to put down hardwood in the whole area. 

We now have picture boxes in the entire area with white below the picture rail and the Notre Dame color above with white accents.

Next up, making curtains, finishing the back splash and then painting the island.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DIY To Be Continued Project List

There are many things I wanted to accomplish this summer before school started back. I did not accomplish all of them but some of them are finished and many of them are only 1/2 finished. I was inspired by Allison@House of Hepworths with her DIY unfinished project list to create my own.

Projects to Finish BEFORE Christmas


#1: Finish Painting Kitchen/ Trim:

I began painting the kitchen back in June when we redid our kitchen cabinets. (You haven't seen that yet).  With such a large open floor plan it is very difficult to find a place to stop one paint color and begin another. With that in mind I made the crazy decision to paint the living room, dining room and entry way the same gray as the kitchen walls. I also decided to put up chair rail like in the living room and paint the bottom half and trim white.

I got it all finished except two spots on the wall, the kitchen window trim and all the doors (there are 4 regular doors and 1 set of bifold to paint). The yellow color in the bottom of the picture is the color the entire house was painted before we purchased it. Painting the white/gray combo covered the last remaining yellow anywhere. I'm not a huge fan of yellow but when you aren't sure if it is yellow, tan or just yuck, that's a problem.
This is the spot next to the garage door in the little bump out section with the trash can closet door as well.

This is the spot by the kitchen window. The left side is the refridgerator door, so it isn't majorly noticeable. Just to crazy people like me and those who help in the kitchen during parties.

#2: Kitchen Backsplash Stencil:

I found this great stencil where someone had created it and used it in their office makeoever. This FREE printable stencil is from Jones Design Company.  She calls is 'painted wallpaper'.  I printed out the stencil and traced it onto cardboard to be more sturdy. I then began tracing it onto the backsplash (wall under the cabinets).  I only got around 1/3 of it traced on. I need to purchase some white opalescent paint so I can hand paint it on. I'd like to have this project finished before Eryn's 4th birthday party on October 16th.


#3: Hang 2 Shelves & Decorate Them:

I have 3 identical shelves that we originally purchased from Lowes in 2004 for Emma's nursery at our old house. We have since moved, had a 2nd child, redecorated Emma's room twice (getting ready for a third already) and decided to use these shelves in the living room.


#4: Hang Mirror Above 1st Shelf:


In the picture above there is a missing mirror. It is a quatrefoil design. I cannot find it on their website so it may be a store only type of item or it could be discontinued. It was $19.99 at the store.


#5: Hang 3 Pictures:

I have 3 picture frames I purchased at one of the local outlet stores on a great sale of $11 each back in December. As you can tell, it is almost a year later. They sat in our bedroom linen closet until I took them out this week and started playing around with where to put them. Haven't decided still 100% where all 3 will go but I do know where 1 is going for sure. I plan to hang them this week or next (before the birthday party)

#6: Put pictures in Existing Pictures:

I have the 3 frames I already mentioned plus a few more around the house that still do not have pictures in them. I need to upload the pictures to Picnik and then get them printed.
I'm sure I have more projects to tackle that I have been ignoring and didn't think of for this post. If I think or find more, I'll keep you updated. In the meantime, how is your DIY list? Is it huge? I know I'm not the only one with such a list.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Been a While and a FALL Plate Craft

While I haven't posted much on the blog since July... alright, not at all. You caught me! I have been doing things around our house. In fact, we have totally refinished our kitchen cabinets. More on that later.

For now, I wanted to share a fall plate craft idea I stole borrowed from Michael's Craft Stores. I was there this weekend, with coupon in hand for their Labor Day sale and snagged this great orange fall plate for only $0.99! Yup! The other supplies I used were:

a letter "G" for our last name: $2.29
orange glitter glue $0.99
Basic Grey paper (had at home)
scrapbook adhesive (had on hand at home)

So... for a total cost of $4.27+ tax I had a custom fall plate for my fall mantle.

Here are the steps.

Step 1: buy materials :o)
Step 2: trace and cut paper to fit inside plate and adhere with your favorite adhesive.

Step 3: using the glitter glue, cover the letter in glitter glue and smear around with finger for semi-even coverage.

Step 4: using glitter glue, make dots as a border around paper about every 1/4 inch.
Step 5: when dry, adhere letter to center of plate ( I used dots so my letter would be even more 3 dimensional)

Step 6: put on plate hanger or stand and enjoy!

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