More Kitchen Updates

It’s been a long time since I updated but I finally have good pics of the changes to the kitchen.


I painted just about every surface in the kitchen–the cabinets, the cubby hole, the counters, the walls and even the tile backsplashes! Above you can see the cubby hole is now bright red against a soft green. The backsplash used to be a yellow/tan. And the counter, which was once just a simple formica, has been replaced by two IKEA modular pieces.

Dale eventually plans to gut the kitchen but I think with this refresh we can hold off!

A couple of before and afters:

This is how it looked on the first day we moved in–and how it looks now:

The only appliances we haven’t swapped out in past two years are the microwave and the stove.

I love that new clock over the sink! And while I still don’t like the rug, I picked up a couple of throw rugs that I like quite a bit.
Kitchen2014-1If I had to do it over again the only thing I would do differently would be the counters. I am glad I painted them but I would go a few shades lighter and I would put a few more coats of wax on it to make it stronger. Still, very happy with the new look in the kitchen!

Dale’s Three-Bin Composter

Trying to get pics of Dale’s projects lately has been impossible! So I snagged these off Facebook when he wasn’t looking.

Dale did a bunch of research of composting yard waste (we spend money every week on having it hauled away and then we spent money having mulch and dirt delivered. Seems like there was a better solution!

Using some plans (like these) that he found online he build a compost bin at the back of the yard.


First he took out a GIANT bush that took up near the same amount of real estate as our neighbor’s garage. The remains of the bush and the neighbor’s garage are pictured here. 1891366_10203182669183218_1827481404142120631_o

Then, using plans similar to the ones I linked above, he set out to build his new super compost bin. 10298536_10203182669103216_5985526762956420416_o

Because Dale is basically exceptional when it comes to building stuff? He knocked it out in a weekend.10379866_10203182669023214_1557818079933026719_o

Here it is! All three bins with movable front panels in place. Now he just has to fill it… (he actually already has started to and bought a compost thermometer to see how his beloved clippings are doing). 10265660_10203182669063215_7730371716139414466_oAll ready to be filled!


Kitchen Updates Pt. 1

We’ve been making some updates to our kitchen this year, slowly but surely.

As a refresher, here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

120831-034As you can see we had an L-shaped formica countertop!

120831-020And black appliances on the opposite wall. The dishwasher was almost as old as the stove (which is basically ancient).

So the first thing we did this spring was to knock out the old formica countertop! And we put in place two mobile Ikea pieces that provide a ton of storage and butcher block counters:



Here is it all dolled up for a get-together! It’s not perfect but it’s a huge improvement in functionality for us.

Then we got an almost-new dishwasher from a friend (it’s Bosch, all stainless interior and basically 25 years newer than the one we had).


So this is the new Bosch! And while it’s a huge improvement, I actually really wanted stainless steel. And the miracle of modern technology gave me one: IMG_2877

This is actually a giant magnet you put on the front of the dishwasher to make it look like stainless steel. Ha! It works great. We got it at Amazon (affiliate link) and it worked like a charm! I really can’t tell you how much I enjoy this particular upgrade! For some reason it gives me more joy than almost anything else we’ve done in the kitchen so far. Weird, right? IMG_2885Then on Memorial Day weekend we upgraded our refrigerator to this giant beast. YAY for holiday sales! I am in LOVE with this thing. I want to refrigerate my life.

Next up: My kitchen cabinet refresh project.

My First Upholstered Chair!

For the tl; dr crowd here’s the shorthand on my first upholstered chair project:

I have always wanted to learn to do basic upholstery projects so I bought this chair last year with good intentions and little free time:


I liked the lines, and I didn’t even mind the slipper pink fabric and gold trim. I mean, I love tacky stuff, right? But this was cheap and in bad shape so I didn’t care if I messed it up. It was like $7 at an estate sale.

Shoddy paint job? Eh, I knew I wasn’t going to keep it.


So I stripped it, carefully keeping the interior layers (I probably put it back together wrong anyway because I’m clueless). And then I lightly sanded it. I probably could have done a better job sanding but I was more interested in the fabric in all honesty.
IMG_1854Then I spray painted the chair black.

And then the chair sat in the basement for about six months collecting broken dreams. I thought I was going to do double welting as the trim because that’s how it came to me. So I felt like I needed to learn how to make welting. That’s a long side project/story that is pointless here because, after I got going? I realized I’d rather just have gimp trim!

So here’s what I did:

IMG_2846Dale set me up with an awesome work station in the garage–on a table he built that he hasn’t given me pictures of. He’s done a bunch of impressive projects that I can’t show you until I get pics from him.

I used a traditional heavy duty stapler and that seriously and totally SUCKED. I really need an upholstery stapler if I plan to get serious about these projects going forward! It also kinda ruined the chair (which was my fault and nobody can really tell unless I point it out but still). Get a real upholstery stapler. That’s my biggest piece of advice for newbies like myself.


Trying to position the pattern within the frame of the chair was a challenge. I pinned it first and then stapled. IMG_2852

And THEN I trimmed the fabric. Probably a terrible idea. Probably destroyed the cutting tools I used. Live and learn, eh? Top pinned

Put the existing padding in just as it had been before (that was actually in great shape).  And pinned the front to get my staple on. Ugh, my hands were tired!


You can see some of my shoddier attempts at cutting the fabric here. I literally have no idea how I should have done it. I’m going to have to do more reading next time. Heh. I also winged it with folding the fabric over the corners. The book I had didn’t address that style. IMG_2859

Finally, I got to the part that I’m good at: using my glue gun! I pinned the gimp (that’s the edging) all along the fabric to cover up all my most egregious screw-ups. Then I used my hot glue gun to glue down several inches at a time, careful to shape the gimp as I moved around the chair. IMG_2861

I cut smaller pieces and glued them down around the edges of the chair.IMG_2863

Ta da! I felt pretty impressed with myself all things considered. IMG_2864

And a pic of the back, of course. IMG_2865

And, in the interest of full disclosure? I screwed up a bit, too, but nobody noticed until I pointed it out to them. IMG_2872This is the first step in our amazing bedroom makeover (that is nowhere near happening yet). But I like it!

New Built-In Planter Boxes and Yard Drainage Plans

After roughly 18 months of hacking, chopping, digging, and shredding the overgrown foliage on our estate it is now time to actually put things back, in this case it involves constructing a planter box.

What inspired this? Rain.

The torrential rains last year had Dale outside digging canals in an effort to route water around the house to drain the yard. That experience, plus this year’s thaw, and the endless sump pump running the past couple of months has moved yard drainage to the top of Dale’s list.

Our backyard has a pretty serious slope as evidenced by the photo below, and there are two other sloping yards feeding their rain runoff and snowmelt to our back yard.

140517-005In classic Dale fashion he has hatched a multiphase project:

Phase 1: Installing a French drain on our property running the full width of the yard that will feed two lines running down each side of our house.

Phase 2: Installing a small retaining wall with two more French drains, one at the top and one at the bottom of the wall and each tying in with two lines running down either side of the house. We hope to plant flowers to attract butterflies and humming birds as well.

In all it took about seven trips to Home Depot for wood, 2 yards of “compost”, 2 yards of dirt Dale had me sift through some screen thing he concocted, and 2 yards of fresh planting mix dumped in our driveway.

Following are photos from the day we filled it.

140524-024First we ran the drains under the planter box(es).


We had tons of yard waste and clippings shredded from last year to serve as a mulch base.


The drainage in place!140523-017

Then we added mulch.

On top of that we had soil we sifted and added from other parts of the yard.


And for the final/top layer we brought in good soil to grow our first garden–We are getting our first sprouts now and they are coming up quickly! I’m sure we’ll post pics of those later. 140524-035

Quite the impressive planter situation, Dale!140524-036

And, at the front, Dale put together a little planting area. I added the ornamental oregano you see here! Before and AfterHere’s a fun before and after shot of our garden area that hides our drainage. The brown house is our next door neighbor’s and they are really nice!