Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kitchen Nesting

The closer I get to my due date, the more I begin to 'Nest'. Which I love btw (as long as the energy to complete the project comes too). Less than 7 days to go!
Yesterday I thought I would take on the 27 cabinet kitchen of mine. (The thinking behind this, not really sure, because I know just as much as you that this project isn't #1 on the list of things to do before baby arrives.) But since I did this I thought I would share with you few tips and tricks I took to along the way.
##1 Everything should have a place (Yes we all knew that one). But I also love to find ways that work out with our busy day to day lives. So everything should be placed on purpose.
With this I strategically place things in the kitchen.
- Dishes in the cabinet above the dishwasher.
- Coffee, coffee cups and drink mixes above the coffee machine.
- These awesome new jars in the photo above were my happy mail today, I filled them up with our cereal we use often(sometimes more than one bowl a day ;)) And I placed them just below the cabinet with the bowls.
- I have a cabinet that keeps a bread basket (for the different types of breads, wraps, sandwich thins we use) right next to the bin holding the PB, honey, you get the picture.
##2 Make it easier on yourself. Okay a lot of the above would definitely fit into this one also.
- I went to the dollar store yesterday and picked up different bins that would fit into my cabinets. Everything fits so nicely into each bin. They are labeled on the fronts with the cute new labels found in the dollar bin at Target. And that helps me to be able to keep track of what we have and will make it a lot easier when I check the cabinets before my grocery store run.
- To make lunching easier, I place a lot of the different items in individual baggies, ready to grab and go. This makes lunch packing a whole lot easier in the mornings.
Okay, I promise it seemed like a whole lot more when my 9 1/2 month pregnant self was in the middle of this crazy mess in the kitchen. But those are the tips I have for you today. Hope this helps somebody out there.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Living Room Before/After

Back when we were looking to buy a house(one of my favorite things to do). We looked online at a ton of homes in our area. We went several days with our terrific realtor looking at the ones that we thought that we would like. One day she said I have this home that I think would be great for you guys. Newly renovated, original hard wood floors. But then there was this...

Please excuse the poor photo quality, I'm pretty sure this is a photo of a photo. But This right here is one of the reasons why we didn't even have this house as an option to look at because the words out of my mouth was "What would you even do with this room". But trusting our realtor we went, we looked, and loved this house.
So here is the story of the ugly duckling room.
The Plan for this room did not all come together at once. It was definitely a work in progress for awhile.
 But here are some tips on how to:

One thing was the awful flooring. And yes I understand that It could be falling apart and that would be worse but this carpet was stained and ripped. The brick is ugly, just look at it, Scrub it all you want and it looks filthy.

So we ripped all of the carpet out (Heavy! and What a mess!) We researched the plywood flooring and then got to it. The subfloor is concrete. So we had to use a lot of liquid nail along with drilling into the concrete to make this work. And then with sanding (a lot) and staining, and sealing we have pretty cool unique looking wood floors. I actually love them. The photos of this process are currently lost. . . somewhere. Maybe one day I will come across those for a floor tutorial for you.
The brick on the flooring I painted and then hand painted the grout lines in. This is probably one of my favorite things about this room. After painting I did add on a poly top coat and it has held up very well.  Along with the brick floor, I also painted the brick wall, this I painted all white. It took several coats because the brick just really sucks up the paint.
Again another blurry picture below but check out the difference that this made. My dad came over one day and he helped me with my cabinets. We used the existing cabinets building new doors for them. He also gave me some awesome built in shelving, that are adjustable! Double score on that one.
But check out that difference!!

And here you have it. My now favorite room in my house that was once the room I disliked the most. I love all of the color in here and how bright it is.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Subway Tile for Dummies

When I last abandoned you I had updated the progress of our kitchen renovation.

Is renovation even the right word!? 'Remodel' is a definite no (I always think of ripping out or knocking down when I hear remodel) 'renovation' still sounds so expensive.

To date we are still under $500 in the project costs. So I dub this my kitchen makeover.

"Cher's main thrill in life is a makeover, it gives her sense of control in a world filled with chaos"

High five yourself if you can name that movie!

So today I share with you the biggest project in the kitchen so far, the subway tile backsplash.

We went with 2"x4" white subway tile by Daltile purchased at Home Depot. I love it. For around $2.50 the 12x12 sheets of tile made for quicker/easier install. I've never laid tile before so this was all new to me.

My favorite purchase though was the SimpleMat tile setting mat. This eliminated the need to spread thin set on the walls (the "glue" that holds the tile to the wall) final cost may have been a little higher due to using the setting mat as opposed to the thin set, but the sanity/time saved/minimal if any mess made it all worth it! Trust me...you don't want to skip this step!

This was the night I got home with everything. Can you tell I was excited to for a visual!? So excited I ripped that cabinet off the wall.

Hulk Smash.

The next day I got to work cutting my tile mat and sticking it to the wall. 
Scissors or a straight edge and blade if you're feeling dangerous. That was all that it required!

If you're a super sleuth you'll notice that I painted the soffits in-between finishing the other half of the kitchen. I ran out of tile and had to make another run to home depot (1hr away) before I could finish the other side. 

My life is a lesson in patience.

I did have to purchase a wet saw for this project. It was the cheapest one we could get and worked just fine. $50 well spent. I tried everything else before we bought the saw: score and snap, tile nippers, Dremmel with tile bit, miter saw with ceramic blade. 

Each one failed in their own special way. Either burning, cracking, or taking FOR-E-VER.
It would've been $50 to rent/day or $50 to own. Hmmmmm.
Thanks Menards!

Incase you are wondering...yes, I did purchase something for this project from every local big box home improvement store. I'm an equal opportunity shopper.

Grout was Mapei in Warm Grey from Lowes (see what I mean about equal opportunity shopping!?) I went with the unsanded. My tiles were 1/8th spaced. Based on the label of the grout I could've gone sanded or unsanded but preferred the look of the unsanded.

Grouting was not a terrible job. Just wear gloves. Your hands will thank you. Spread it on with a rubber float and when you get tired of that use your hands. Let it sit 15-30 min then wipe the wall with a damp sponge. 

I highly recommend buying a $2 tile sponge with a scrubber side. 

My favorite wall in the place. So glad I ripped out that cabinet. 

I made the shelves and tutorial to come in a post to follow!

Until next time!


Monday, March 31, 2014

DIY Ottoman

This project has been a long time coming. I have had everything just sitting in the house waiting, just waiting to start on this.
 And finally here it is.
This Old table was another treasure found. Actually falling apart, needing lots of love.
And I was in need of an ottoman, we made the perfect pair.
We used a hammer to take off the top, the boards were uneven and coming off anyway. Then we chopped off those long (beautiful) legs.
Ready for a bit of wood filling, sanding, and wiping down.
And a fresh coat (or 3) of paint.
While in the middle of painting and drying- I started in on the ottoman top. Here you will see my layers, fabric of choice( yes lobsters it is), batting, and foam. I measured out how far apart I wanted my buttons to sit and I marked it onto each layer. We used 1/4in thick finished plywood. I drilled holes small enough for my needle to fit through where I marked for the buttons. Then I sewed them without knotting through the fabric and batting. My needle was not long enough to get through the thick foam so I used a crochet needle to do this. And then finally my needle to thread it through the wood, taping it down until I was ready to pull taut.
 With the ottoman top down I began to pull tight and staple down my fabric and batting. Then pulling as taut as I could I stapled down the button thread. The foam was so thick I was unable to pull it in too much. Once I had It all where I wanted it, I was ready to attach my ottoman top to the table base.
We went to the local hardware store for some L brackets and screws 2 for each short side and 3 for the long.
And here you have it. I finally have my ottoman.
 And isn't that the cutest ninja turtle.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ruffle Skirt

Warning: This is a blog post about sewing from someone who does not speak the seamstress language.
So Please excuse the lack there of. Enjoy ;)
So here goes nothing. Planning for my nursery and searching pinterest, I found a pin on a ruffle crib skirt by EmmmyLizzzy. I love the look of her crib ruffles. So I got with my Great Aunt to make one of my own. And with a combination of the pin found, my Aunts many years of sewing, and a few new tricks here is what we have.
Starting with just an old white fitted twin sheet, We measured out the "deck" and also lined out where each ruffle would be sewn.
Then measuring out each strip (a bit over 6" so that our edges would all be finished). Here's where the math comes in(and math is not really my friend with my preggo brain.) The fabric I selected was 44" wide, I bought 1.25 yard of each fabric. So I was able to have 7-6.5" strips of each fabric. 2 for the sides totally 88" each and 3 for the front for 132".  I admit my aunt is way better than I am so she did the sewing for me. Happy am I! First Sew the strips together, then finish your sides.
Then as shown in the second picture above, we took floss,
Yep DENTAL FLOSS, and zigzag over the floss trying to not sew the floss onto the fabric.
Then you pin your fabric onto the deck. I pinned each end in place and also found the center of the fabric and pinned it onto the center of my line. Next you begin to pull your floss out, creating the ruffle. Pin the ruffle in place along the line. Next you sew the ruffle in place. Removing floss and pins.
Repeat x's 9! We trimmed and finished hems on the deck also.
All together beautiful, LOVE it (and seriously loving on my Aunt for all of her skill and hard work).
Now I'm here, still patiently waiting Parkers arrival.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fabric Tassel Garland

If you love a quick project, I have one for you. I made this simple garland out of fabric scraps left over from things that I have made for the nursery, a $1 spool of bakers twine, left over ribbon, and a few push pins.

Just a few easy steps for you. But first gather up all of the fun things you plan to use.

#1 Decide the length of strips then start cutting. (Here I went ahead and placed them on top of each other and cut my strips together. I also found it easiest to have a striped fabric on top, made it super easy to cut a straight line. And I'm all for super easy!)
#2 I made sure some fabrics were right side up and some upside down then twist in the middle and fold in half.
#3 Wrap it up and tie, this should leave you with a loop.
#4 Then run your ribbon through the loop.


Fun and Super Duper easy!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teething Necklace Tutorial

Hey Guys, today I have a guest post for you from my cousin. So without further ado, take it away Erica!

This is Norah. We call her "the animal". The other day as I was sitting watching her gnaw on the edge of my coffee table I thought to myself, "self, this girl needs something better to chew on. Something that her big brother can't snatch out of her hand and throw at her head every five seconds." So I got my hiney off my couch and ran down to my local craft store to pick up a couple of supplies.

Material: cute fabric (I bought half a yard, that was way more than necessary!)
             coordinating ribbon
             wooden beads, I used 1in. beads

Tools: Sewing machine
          Iron (optional)

Nothing I do is ever precise, so in true form, to measure my fabric I folded it a couple of times to give myself a more manageable length, selected the size bead I was going to use, folded the fabric over the bead, and marked where I needed to cut to allow myself a small seam allowance. Again, I don't do the measuring thing so I don't know exactly how much of an allowance I left myself, just cut for what you are comfortable working with, I trimmed excess off after.

After I cut the fabric I opened it up and folded the right sides together so that I could sew a big long tube. I then cut off the excess fabric from the seam and ironed it so that the fabric would lay flat on the seam and not cause any bunching once I started putting the beads in and tying knots. Now comes the longest part of the project, turning your 42ish inch tube right side out. I didn't do this the smartest way so it took me approximately  3/4 of an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

Once you are seeing the pretty side of your fabric again tie a knot about 5 inches from the end. Drop a bead in the other end and tie another knot tightly against the bead so that it can not move around. Drop another bead, tie another knot...you get the picture. Every couple of beads I would wrangle the animal and kind of measure how it was looking for length and decided that 7 was our magic number, pick whichever number makes you happiest. End like you began, with another knot.

Line the two end knots up to each other and then snip off some fabric to make them even, sorry, still no measurements! Fold the ends in a little to give yourself a clean edge. Cut two lengths of ribbon, long enough to tie a bow and to give yourself the desired length of the necklace. Cut one end at an angle to prevent it from fraying. Put the flat end of your ribbon into the tube of fabric, I put my ribbon all the way down to the knot so that I would know I had plenty of length to catch when I was sewing it in. Fold the fabric over so that it is only as wide as the ribbon, like so.

And then sew across to hold it in place, which also help to extra secure the wooden beads so that they can't pop out and choke an animal...or the animal. I had to help mine through a little since it is kind of bulky from a couple of layers of fabric plus the ribbon. Just go slowly, and watch out for your fingers, it would be a shame to get blood on your necklace after all the work you just put in! Voila!

All that's left to do is try it on yourself and decide whether to give this baby up to the baby or tell yourself you'll make another for her real soon...