Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top 8 Favorite Craft and Decorating Blogs of 2012

The first time I heard the word "blog" was in 1999.  Our computer savvy friend who does start up financing told me that blogging was the future of the Internet and that I ought to be blogging.

Shakes head, I should have listened.

Since then, there are a number of blogs that I have come to faithfully read.  Truth be told, its all about the pictures for me.  I love the eye candy. The following blogs caught my eye in 201 and served to inspire me.  I hope they do the same for you!

One of the first blogs I started reading faithfully is Ashley's Film in the Fridge quilt blog.  Man oh man, she has the eye candy down pat.  I keep coming back for more of her drool worthy quilts time and time again.  Is this gorgeous or is this gorgeous?

From the delicious quilts to the fabric designer, I give you Anna Maria Horner and her fabulous self titled Anna Maria Horner blog.   I'm obsessed with her luscious fabric and her gorgeous blog.  Just look at her sewing space.  I think almost anyone could be creative in that sort of space.

Can you tell where I am going with this?  Yup I'm really into making things or at least dreaming about making things.  My next choice fits right in with this theme.  Ana White is a super talented blogger that starting making furniture out of 2.4's.  Sounds like some bad nightmare from the 1970's and board and brick book shelves but no her stuff is drop dead gorgeous.  Her self titled blog AnaWhite is jam packed with inspiration. This Farmhouse bed is one of her very fist creations.

I think one of the most clever things I saw this year was Censationalgirl's Laundry Drying rack.  Who would have ever thought anything to do with laundry could be beautiful?  Who needs a dryer if you have a hanging rack like this in your laundry room?

Tracie's from Cleverlyinspired"s $10 wood counter also got my attention.  How could you make a counter for just $10 let alone make it something that you'd actually WANT in your house? Yup it sure is pretty and most definitely doesn't look like a $10 DIY special.

Naptime Decorator ALMOST made me want a yellow toilet.  She did a quick paint job and made the most of her 60's yellow toilet.  I never thought I'd use gorgeous in describing a yellow toilet.  But this, is a gorgeous bathroom.

The next blog that really spoke to me this year is Alex and Wendy's Old Town Home.  Having lived in a 100 year old home, their tales of woe in fixing up their house ring so very true to me.  While I loved my old house, I didn't love the crazy electrical or the half demolished back porch we "put up with".  My hat is off to them and the fantastic job they have done with their 100+ year old house.  Those stairs just make me swoon.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a thing for mid century modern, especially mid century modern houses.  Jessie from Cape27 did a stunning remodel on just such a house.  A little Ikea and a lot of DIY creative talent and viola, gorgeous modern kitchen.  Its just yummy!

So there you have it; the bloggers and blogs that inspired me in 2012.  Do you have any great blogs that you follow that inspired you?  If you do, please share, I'm all about finding fresh eye candy!

Have a happy and safe new year!  I am looking forward to a creative and inspiring 2013~

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hood Fan and Kitchen Sinks

My kitchen sink is dinky.  There is no other way to describe it.  Its always full but its also hard to wash anything big in it.  I didn't realize just how small it is until I started looking at sinks. I whipped out my trust tape measure the other day and measured it.

Its 7" deep.  I was shocked because a lot of the sinks I had looked at were 9" and 10" deep. 

I have my eye on a rectangular sink - in fancy designer speak, that would be zero radius. I kind of like the sleek design but I'm not 100% sold on its functionality.  If you have one, please comment and let me know if you like it or not.  

I'm also looking at hood fans.  Its a bit embarrassing to admit, but the one we have is a hand-me-down from out next door neighbour.  The one the builder put in our house was so bad, snow would blow in when it was windy outside.  I mentioned it to my neighbour and she gave us her "old" one when she put in a microwave hood fan.  

Yup its the kitchen of many colors right now.  The black hood fan never really went with what the kitchen.  It was meant as a temporary fix.  It is very quiet and it keeps out the snow and wind quite nicely thank you very much.  

My current plan is to take the cabinet that the hood fan is attached to down completely and replace it with a pretty fan.  Like this ....
Or this...

What ever we choose, it has to be mounted at the proper height so I don't bump my head on it like I do with the one that we currently have.  I have to lean under it to reach the back burners.  When I stand back up...boof.  I kid you not, he other day I smacked the back of my head three times.  What do you think?  Do I deserve a new hood fan? 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Paint or Not To Paint...

painting oak kitchen cabinetsPainting wood.  The thought scares the pants off of some people. I had this discussion with a friend yesterday who is of the camp that you never paint wood.  I think she she thinks I've committed a crime by painting my oak cabinets.

I realized it was maybe time to take a step back and explain my though process on painting these babies.  My kitchen cabinets are not fine pieces of custom mill work.  They are builder grade.  They have solid wood around the edges but the center panel is particle board with a veneer over top.  They are not something that can with stand a whole lot of sanding.  They also have was appears to be a single coat of finish on them.  The doors flanking the stove and the one over my electric kettle have essentially had the finish steamed right off of them.  They are rough.  One even had the veneer starting to lift.

ugly old oak kitchen cabinet doors Ikea EKBY JÄRPEN BJÄRNUM
Ikea Ekby Jarpen Bjarnum shelf.

All the outer exposed sides of the boxes are nothing more than industrial mac tac which is a polite way of saying they are plastic.When the kitchen was original put together, the sides matched the doors.  Eleven years later, not so much.  The doors have aged and the plastic sides remained the same.  See...even the plastic bit looks super fake.

I had toyed with painting this kitchen for years.  The one thing that stopped me was those plastic sides.  I wasn't sure how successful I would be at getting paint to stick to them.  The insl-s stix primer my paint guy put me on to rocks.  It is STUCK.

I have seen many lousy paint jobs on various kitchens.  The more I googled though, the more I saw just how FANTASTIC some of the formerly ugly oak kitchens looked.  The number one painting crime that is committed by home owners it using white paint out of the can.  One of the things about successfully painting with white, is to get a tinted white.  It adds depth and richness to the colour.

This fantastic kitchen by Chris was a builder blech kitchen.  She pimped it up with moulding and paint to give it a whole lot of custom kitchen bling.

Capree's builder kitchen is also testament to just how much you can change a cheap oak kitchen.

The most exciting thing though, is your not limited to "good' builder cabinets either.  You can even overcome 1970's builder kitchens with some paint and creativity.  My in-laws have this kitchen.  Its really dark and depressing.  Its nothing more than a hunk of particle board with a plastic veneer over it and a design routered into it.  Just look what The Lettered Cottage did with this dated kitchen.

I guess lastly, the thing that finally pushed me over the edge was that I really LOVED my white kitchen in my old house.  It was always bright and fresh looking.  I never, ever walked into that kitchen feeling like I was walking into a cave like I did in this kitchen.

The wood vs white debate will rage on but for me, paint is the way to go.  I like white kitchens.  I would never, ever pick wood for cabinets if I had the choice between the two.  In my world, wood is for furniture and for floors.

Have you painted your kitchen cupboards?  I'd love to see before and after shots!

Friday, December 28, 2012

My Favorite Glue

First off, I need to say that I am not being paid for this.

A couple of years ago, I forget exactly what it was, but something broke.  I went to the store to grab some glue and some random sales clerk changed my life and suggested Gorilla Glue.  Cute name but really?

I have not had much luck with glue in the past.  I've bought many different glues and they have left me with not much more than a sticky mess.

Gorilla glue.  I love you.  I have yet to find something I can't fix with this stuff.  Its quite simply AMAZING.

I fixed the broken handle on my mother's teapot.

You can see the fix but I really don't care.  It has sentimental value.  It was pretty dusty after I glued the handle back on so I threw it through the dishwasher!  The handle held and is SUPER strong.

I used the wood glue to glue the shelf back into my china cabinet.   Yup its dusty in there!  Yikes.

We bought this larimar ring for DD a couple of years ago in the Caribbean.  She wore it faithfully until one of the stones along with the setting broke off.  She has kept it for over a year.  She pulled it out the other day and handed it to me and said "can you gorilla glue this?".  Sure why not try!  

I tell you, I tried and I failed.  It was really hard to hold the stone without gluing it to my fingers to the ring and together.  I sat and pondered it and then gave it another go.  It WORKED.  I should have taken a before shot!

A little self hand modeling....  I have no idea how long this will hold for but it feels pretty secure.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sofa Slipcover

I spent some time recently on a little diversion project.  Our sofa is just shy of 16 years old and from Ikea.  Its had a slipcover on it since day one.  Under the slip cover, its as white as the day I bought it despite having three kids.  We've been through four slipcovers in 16 years and yours truly has made each and every one of them.  Its my christmas present to myself.

My oldest son saw this picure and commented that it didn't even look like our house :)  My dog doesn't look as impressed as my teenager was.

This is part way through making the yellow version....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day

I am a day late with the well wishes but Happy Boxing Day.

Ever a fan of kistch, I give you the vinyl fantasy tree - or so it says on the box.  My parents bought it in the 60's and it really was a good "investment".  I also have a boat load of th 1960's ornaments as well.

This little elf hung on my grandparents tree.  He is circa 1950 something and is stamped Made in Japan.

I spent many hours as a kid taking the Santa, elves and reindeer off the tree and playing with them!  Its so fun for my kids to see these guys.  

Christmas is also the time when I haul out my Fiestaware!.  Yum.  I just adore the colours!  The lime and red bowls were my christmas present to myself last year!  I have a full set of dinner plates but I think I need some bowls and some lunch plates added to my collection!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Counter Quotes

With the island rejig, we REALLY need a new kitchen counter.  No adds here for any of these compaies.  I wish I could use the blog for getting a discount.  No such luck.

I ordered a sample from Formica and got a quote for redoing the island from Lowe's in Formica FX calacatta marble with their new on all sides egde profile.  It is a really impressive fake.  Sadly, the price was $1400 for just formica for JUST the island.  Gulp.

I also got a quote for real statuario classic marble as well.  It certainly is gorgeous but I don't know how well it will hold up with our very sloppy family.  It rang in at $7k for the whole ktichen which was a tad more spendy that I thought.  

I also got a vague quote for quartz which was around $5k to do the whole kitchen. I'm not sold on quartz either.  I'm not a big fan of the speckles.

In the mean time, I started googling for make shift solutions.  I had thought about butcher block from Ikea but they don't sell it in large enough lengths to cover our island.

I found Cleverly Inspired $10 wood counter.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't intrigued.

And this from Breakfast for Dinner

I know wood, especially dimensional lumber will warp over time.  I think it might be a really good interm solution for my problem.  If I really can make a top for my island for less than $100 I think it might be worth a try.

I think there is a better way to construct it thought.  I've been watching Ana White for years and I think the Kreg Jig is the way to put this sucker together.  The Friendly Home did this table for Ana White and I think that would look REALLY good on an island and I might just give it a go.

I think a nice weathered grey stain would look really good with what I have going on in the kitchen!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bigger Island

Part of my kitchen rejig involved pulling out a set of drawers that was next to my oven.  In a fit of inspiration, I realized that it would be perfect next to the sink to extend the island.  You can see them in this post and this one.

It was really quite simple.  I unscrewed the drawers and basically plopped them into a new spot.  Think lego for big people.

The blue bowl with the straw is the dog bowl.  My kids thought she would enjoy a straw.  Sorry for the crappy quality photo but its taken with my phone.  Even with a lousy picture you can see the HUGE change that going from orange builder stain to white made.

The new dishwasher!

The kitchen really is coming along.  I am thrilled with the progress. Its looking less and less like a builder kitchen every day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Quick Trip to Ikea

I am about to take a quick trip out to Ikea.  Yes THAT Ikea, the one with the monkey.

Lets see what exoitic animal I see today.

Its a rather mundane trip.  Just going to troll the as-is section to see if by ANY chance of fate, I find some more liljestad doors.  Its a long shot but hey, I might get lucky like I did the last two times I was there.

I am also pondering if I can paint the lidi doors because they are the same style ad the liljestad and the more I think about it, the more I realize I really do want one more set of drawers in the kitchen.

Colin and Justin of Scottish decorating infamy painted Ikea and I am 99% sure this is lidi painted blue.

Sarah Richardson has also painted Ikea cabinets many times in many of her shows. The bottom cabinets are painted beige but the top white ones are stock.  I "think" these are the supre glossy abstrakt line but non the less, painted prefab cabinets.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Buy A New One...

Wouldn't you know it, I have my kitchen in pieces, a new dishwasher sitting here and boom my drill battery fries the charger.  While the drill itself works, I can't charge the battery.


This is not the first time this has happened either.  Sigh.  Six or seven years ago, it happened.  When the batteres get to the point where they can't charge anymore, they short out the charger.  Its a sucky design.  At the time, we debated getting a new drill.  We figured we'd buy two new batteries and a new charger.  As it turned out, we ended up buying a really crappy compatible drill just for that batteries and charger.  I figured I would do the same thing this time.  WRONG.

I called the manufacturer only to be told they hadn't made that style of battery in five years.  So much for that plan.  I now have TWO perfectly fine drills that I can't charge.  Sigh.  The problem is, we both REALLY like THIS drill.  Its seen us through THREE major house renos and it works great.

I spent the day looking at drills.  Nothing really jumped out at me as really good.

I'm really not sure what to do.  When I called B&D the very perky person that answered the phone said "its time for a new one".  The environmentalist in me just feels wronged by that attitude of planned obsolescence.

I'm not even sure what brand to buy.  Black and Decker used to a be pretty decent product for the money.  The new ones look and feel cheap.  I had no idea that Ryobi was Home Depots house brand until I started reading about drills.  I have a Makita that isn't powerful enough but was a lot of money that has made me gun shy of tools.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dishwasher Sound Insulation

Here is a quick pic of our old dishwasher.  It did the job dutifully for many years.  Its never been particularly quiet.  It has a plastic tub and minimal insulation that is covered in what looks like your average every day garbage bag.

Sound is where dishwashers have improved by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years.  This is the sound insulation on the top (yellowish) and back (black) of the new dishwasher.

The new one also has outer metal sides and has more of the fabric insulating material between the outer metal sides and the innter stainless tub.  The build quality on the Miele is remarkably better than our old machine.  Everything about it feels solid and well made.  My 17 year old son, always the funny guy, asked me if I was going to put a garbage bag over the new one to keep it pretty.  I could not convince him that the old one was actually MADE that way.  He thought I had rigged up a home made cover.