Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kitchen Countertop Research

As part of our low-budget kitchen renovation, we are planning to replace our countertops.

Over the course of the last week to 10 days we've been researching all our options, keeping in mind our budget, which if you check out here, you'll see is TINY!

We'll I've learned that the $200 I had thought we could get away with, we can't. (You can stop laughing at me now.)

Here are the options we've found:
- Precut Laminate at either Lowes or Home Depot, for the amount of space we're trying to cover will cost about $300. The problem, all the options are not what we hand in mind which was clean, crisp, black.

- Custom cut laminate at Lowes would cost about $900 for the black that we want.

- Custom cut laminate at Home Depot would cost even more... $2100 if we want it installed.

- We also looked into solid surface solutions, VERY basic solid surface solutions and including installation, those options start at around $2600

What is a family on a tight budget with a VERY ugly kitchen to do?

They head to Ikea, that is what they do.

: )

Here are the options we're entertaining now, first the Pragel in Stone Effect Black, this prices out at about $9 a linear foot. Drawbacks are, it isn't flat black, note the peppering effect. Up close it looks really busy... from far away though, it looks really good. And yes, we're painting our cabinets white so this would be almost the exact effect we're looking at.

Next up we have the Numerar with a black laminate top and a metal edge. It prices out at about $12.50 a linear foot. We really like the clean black finish, the profile of the counter top which is a little taller than most traditional laminate countertops. BUT, we HATE the metal edge. As in HATE HATE HATE. It really doesn't fit with the look that we are going for in the kitchen. We've talked about taping off the black part and then just spray painting the metal edge black but are worried about how that will look.

 Another thing we are considering is using a butcher block surface on our breakfast bar and the desk we are building. It would go really well with our floors and I think be a great feature for the kitchen. We would go a bit darker with it than is pictured below.

Soooo... that is where we are. We're living with the idea of both the two options from Ikea right now and hope to have a decision on them in the next 2 weeks. So while $200 isn't go to be possible, it does look like $300-$500 will be. The budget is going to have to be revisited.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Star-ting over

I've had this star kicking around for months, I bought it at JoAnn's on clearance with big plans for it.

I tried to use it on the new bookcase:

See it there on the left?

That didn't work.

Tried it on the mantle, no. In our bedroom, no... the list goes on.

But stars are my favorite shape and I wanted to do more with them in the house than I had with just our son's bedroom.

While shopping at Micheal's over the weekend I realized what wasn't working about the star, was the star... it was too smooth, manufactured... it wasn't personal enough.

So - I assembled some supplies:
  • The star
  • Tissue paper (any color/pattern will do)
  • Mod Podge
  • Craft paint
  • Foam brush
First, I crumpled up some of the tissue paper into a little ball, then I smoothed it out and did it again.

I wanted the tissue paper to have texture, lots and lots of texture.

Next, I coated the star with mod podge (which BTW, I still cannot believe isn't actually called Modge Podge...).

And began applying the tissue paper to the star, taking care to not smooth out too much of the tissue paper's new texture.

I kept layering and layering 'till I had just the look I wanted.

And finally, I coated it with flat black paint. This is the end result:

I'm so happy with the way it turned out, you can still make out some of the original texture, but on top of that it now has all the crinkles, crackles and tares.

Unfortunately for the star, it is still homeless within our home - BUT - not for long. I know exactly where it will go once we finish the kitchen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Butterfly Trio

It was time to add some color to our world... but the budget was zero.

So, I assembled some things from around the house:

  • 3 black frames, they've formerly been the toile trio, and the heart art trio
  • Paper from my stash of papers, I'm rather addicted to paper
  • 3M dimensional mounting squares
  • scissors
 First, I simply removed the toile fabric from the frames. Then I found a paper that I wanted to work with, keeping spring colors in mind.

As luck would, have it, the reverse of this paper was a fun lilac pattern, put the two together and I knew exactly what I was going to do.

Cut 3 squares of the lilac paper to fit the frames.

Cut out the butterflies and then silhouette them.

Next, put the lilac paper into the frames, I decided to apply the butterflies to the paper once they were in the frames so that the butterflies could overlap the edges of the frames.

And to help the 8 squares of foam mounting pieces I had, I cut each of them into quarters.

I simply applied the squares to the backs of the butterflies, sometimes stacking them so that the various butterflies would be at different depths.

And here is the finished butterfly trio:

This is the 3rd life for these little frames, not bad for $7.50... and this project, using supplies I already had on hand, cost me nothing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2 Thrift Store Shelves + Black Spray Paint = Amazing!

I just realized I never posted about the little shelf that now lives above my bookcase.

It actually started out as 2 shelves, bought at the thrift store for $5.

All I did was spray paint them black and they went from dated and not at all suited for our decor, to looking like this:

The only problem is that I could only fit one of the shelves with the arrangement that we have so I've got another single shelf just waiting for the perfect spot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Plant Clippings

We used to have a lot of plans in the house. That was before kids, but once Bug came along, it turned out that it was all I could do to keep her alive and the plants in the house were quickly sacrificed. (Don't worry, most were given away to friends and neighbors and very few plants were harmed in the building of our family.)

But during a recent visit to my mom's I fell in love with this little guy:

My mom was sweet enough to let me test out my plant keeping abilities and the sweet little ivy came home with me. That was a month ago and it is still alive... more than alive, thriving!

But you'll notice, there are 2 pots and only 1 plant. So, I'm going to really put the green thumb to the test and along with keeping the ivy alive, and the plants for Bug's teachers - I've gone ahead and clipped off a few of the leaves from the ivy, as well as the pothos and put them in water to see if I can get them to take root:

I'll keep you posted on how they are doing... though you might want to pray for them, just a bit anyway.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flip Flop Fail...

Well, this is embarrassing.

I've been dreaming of these flip flops since I saw Ashley's over on Make it and Love it.

I had everything I needed:

  • Flip flops
  • Velcro
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Gorilla Glue (epoxy)
  • Tooth picks (to stir the epoxy)
  • Clothes pins (to hold the velcro while the epoxy dried)
And we're off... cut the velcro to apply to the flip flops:

I mixed the epoxy:

Applied the velcro to the flip flops and secured it with clips while I went to work on the straps.

And that is where the failure happened. It turns out Guerilla Glue is not the epoxy to use on this project, the velcro just did not hold and peeled right off when I removed the clips.

So... I'll be stocking up on epoxy this week to find exactly the right one to work. We must have these flip flops for the summer!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chalk Pots

As soon as I saw this project over at Lanie J. and Co, I knew I was going to be doing it.

Here are the materials I used:
  • Terra cotta pots and saucers
  • Chalkboard spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • Craft paint
  • Foam brushes
  • Spray sealer
  • Plants of your choice
  • Small rocks
  • Chalk
And here is how we did it...

Step 1 - Tape off the top of the top, or whatever other section you are going to want to keep free of the chalkboard paint and then spray away. The instructions on the paint I had said to do 2 coats and waiting 24 hours before applying chalk so make sure you leave yourself enough time.

Step 2 - remove the tape from the pots and paint the top rim of the pot and the saucer with craft paint.

Step 3 - After you've painted the saucers, seal them with spray sealer.
(My mom would be so proud of me if she saw this step... she always get so mad when she sees unsealed terra cotta saucers)

You'll notice in the bottom of the pots, there is a whole... another thing my mom insists on when it comes to potting plants, in additional to the sealed saucers... is proper drainage. Something that cannot be achieved she claims, with dirt filling the drainage whole at the bottom of the pot.

Step 4 - So what you do is drop a handful of rocks into the bottom of the pots, prior to potting the plants.

Step 5 - Pot the plants!

Step 6 - Write your message on the pots.

Now - I've got to figure out how to keep these suckers alive 'till the end of the year when they will go to Bug's teachers. Seems crazy to have them ready now, but April, May and June are crazy months and if we didn't do this now - we'd be running out for gift cards the day before the last day of school. (As we've done on more than one occasion.)

(And as for all those other pots you saw in the pictures. I've got plans for those.)

Linking this old post to the Chalkboard Paint Party at The Stories of A to Z

Thursday, March 18, 2010

She Shoots — She Scores!!!

In honor of the kick off of March Madness I just had to go with the basketball reference for the title of this post. We're big NCAA basketball fans here - but you know what I love most about the tournament this year... besides of course that Syracuse being a #1 seed has Bear very happy...

Once the tournament is over:

We start remodeling our kitchen!!!


Now, this isn't a five figure remodel... We're trying to do it for 3 figures. We're going to try and remodel the kitchen for under $1000. We have our work cut out for us. Here are our before pictures:

Problem #1 - Not enough storage. We tried solving that a few years ago with that cart you see in the last picture. It didn't go far enough.

Solution #1 - See this area here:
Look to the left of the sliders - we've got an almost 8-9 foot wall there with plenty of room for cabinets. So about a month ago I started combing craigslist and the 2 local ReStores for cabinets that would as close as possible match what we've currently got. Well first, I looked at Lowes where they still sell the cabinets we have... to get 3 base cabinets, almost $700.

I can't go blowing the budget on the first problem, so that is when I started combing craigslist and the local ReStores. I found one set of 3 cabinets that was close, $180 for the set. Not bad.

But then, one night while I couldn't sleep I was cruising craigslist and found a set of 3 base cabinets - the exact cabinets that we have for $100!!! It took all my will power not to call the guy right then and there, but I didn't think the seller would appreciate my call at 2:30am. So I waited, not so patiently I might add for a return email.

After much negotiating - I got them. Well, I almost got them. Turns out he didn't want to sell the 3rd cabinet... grrrr... thankfully, I talked him into selling me the 3rd on after he stripped it for the doors, hinges and drawers. (He has rental properties with these cabinets and wanted the parts.)

Take a look:

The plan is to paint them white, all of them, old and new-old.

Oh and that cabinet with no drawers or doors, I've got big plans for it.

Stay tuned.
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