And the Kitchen Sink

When my husband and I were having the floors installed, the contractor suggested we remove the base cabinets and run the floor underneath in case we ever decided to reconfigure the kitchen. We really didn't want to do this extra work. I had already decided to paint the cabinet frames white and had ordered custome shaker style doors. My old cabinets were really ugly and had started to deteriorate even though they were less than 10 years old. They were builder grade oak, pickled oak, ya know PINK, and had white laminate doors. The laminate was peeling and were plain ugly.

The first blog I ever read was Kim's at Twice Remembered. I loved what she had done with her kitchen and even primed the cabinets and started to add trim to them. However, there is always Murphy's Law and once the base cabinets were removed, we found that the boxes were falling apart. My husband and I had to make the tough decision to either repair and salvage what we had or go all out and completely reconfigure the kitchen. It was a whirlwind because we were already in the thick of getting the floors installed. Now this was going to set us back weeks. (Little did I know, it would be months).

Old cabinets primed, beadboard added and trim installed.
I mapped out new cabinet configuration on the walls.
I gained twice as much cabinet space.

All the details aside, I shopped around, purchased new Kraftmaid cabinets, waited 4 months (yes, kitchen was like above photo for 4 months. I installed a sink on plywood, plugged in fridge and used micro for most of cooking. Hello takeout.) before they arrived and had them installed with my lovely farmhouse sink. I LOVE MY SINK. The cabinet designer almost talked me out of it saying that water splashes when you are washing the pots and pans. I DON'T CARE. It holds pots, pans, dishes, glasses---all messy from dinner. I wouldn't change a thing.

The sink, faucet and grid were all purchased off eBay. Here are the retailers I bought from.

Sink- Whitehaus Fireclay (501) with mounting kit from Home & Stone for $638
Stainless Grid in Sink from Blue Bath for $154
Delta Faucet in ORB (Model 156-RWBF) from eBay seller for $169

(I did just notice that prices have come down a smidgen from when I purchased in 2007- darn for me.)

A whopping $961 bucks, but wouldn't change a thing. More to follow on the rest of remodel. Ebay was my savior for saving bucks on appliances.


Downstairs Remodel- Wood Floors

View from Kitchen looking into Living Room and TV Room (front of house)

View from Back of House looking into Front Window. TV Room.

View of One End of Kitchen to the Other.

View of One end of Kitchen to Other.

A few years back I walked into my neighbor's home and fell in love. Her home was the same model as mine, typical builder grade shell of a house but the details made all the difference. I am still continuing to update, but I quickly created my dream list and started to chip away at it.

First off, my house is small, little less that 1500 square feet. The rooms are small and the downstairs is all open with a center stairs up and down to the basement. The first picture shows me standing at one end taking a picture. Clearly a hop and skip to the other end of the house.

The biggest bang for my buck was installing hardwood floors throughout the entire first floor. This opened up the space and made everything more cohesive, less choppy. I had white ceramic tile in the kitchen and white berber carpet in the other rooms (Hello dirt).

Installing the wood floors was a huge chunk of money and started a rather lengthy remodel, which cost more money (think Money Pit) but I am so glad my husband and I went through with it. We didn't have much choice after the floor and kitchen were ripped out.

My selection process for the floor started with my "idea file". I looked at all the tear sheets that I had collected and found the common theme I liked with floors. I was partial to wide plank and low sheen. I found a local mill who had a large selection of samples, oak, maple, cherry, pine etc. and brought them home. Ultimately, I bought the cherry wood due to its grain variation and color. While I liked the pine, the cherry just took my breathe away. It darkens with time and has a soft amber glow.

For the floor install, I was too scared to do it myself. I had the mill produce the planks in random 4, 5 and 6 inch widths up to 12 feet long. Waiting for the wood to acclimate in the house was the longest two weeks, but so worth it. I hired a separate installer and finisher. Since I used water based poly (3 coats, and no stain) we were only out of the house for 3 days. (Slept in the camper in the driveway with the cat...cat box scratch at 4 am--Never Again).

In the end, I couldn't be happier. The installation was perfect. No gaps 'cept for a few here and there in the winter with the fireplace cranking. The finish is what I wanted, but I think I would have hired a different "finishing" crew if I had to do it over again (or just do it myself like I did with the pool house.)

Look for local mills in your area. I had gone to Lumber Liquidators and a local reseller of unfinished wood, but the mill had the best price and so much better quality. A family owned company that helped every step of the way. I ended up paying a total of $10,000 with $5k for the wood and $5k for the installation and finishing.

Check back for my kitchen remodel details


Exercise Tips

2010 brought new meaning to me and I told myself it was time to get into shape, lose some weight and tone up. My mom died from complications of diabetes over 10 years ago and for some reason this year I told myself I have to do whatever is in my power to stay as healthy as I can. Burn the toxins.

In high school I found that working out to Gilad every day really helped my self esteem and feel real healthy about myself. Here I am over 15 years later and find myself going back to Gilad.

For those of you who have Discovery Channel/Fit TV, he's on a couple times throughout the day. Try it out, you won't regret it. I've lost 3 lbs. so far and the trouble areas are toning up already. If you record the Bodies in Motion and also the Sculpting series you get an hour workout.


As I lay on my bedroom floor this morning doing crunches (a new morning ritual to shed some pounds), I found myself staring at the same spot on the ceiling that always annoyed me.
It was a spot that I missed while painting the ceiling white- many years ago.
I know a lot of you can relate. Painting white over white with your arms over your head.
It's annoying and there are always streaks, splotches.
Well, I ran out of paint and said I'd fix it soon enough.
It's been about 6 years and that spot is still there.
Today I realized how thankful I am that God ignores all those splotches, streaks and bland spots in me.
I don't have to be perfect.
I can be at peace knowing that God loves me no matter what.
Right then and there I told myself to leave to spot on the ceiling.
May it be a reminder to me (until I am brave enough to tackle painting ceilings again).
I hope today you go easy on yourself and share in my Thankfulness for God's love.



Sometimes the necessities for life really aren't that pretty to stare at everyday.
For instance, mouthwash.
The plastic Listerine bottle, not so appealing.
I went out looking for a small wine canister, but found this GLASS bottle in Pier 1.
Pier 1 is having a great sale right now and this was a couple bucks.
It looks much better in person and is 1,000 times better than the plastic bottle.
I think the purple Listerine would look even better. :)


M.A.C. attack

Mega M.A.C. attack tonight.
Don't ask me how much it all cost.
I've justified it in my head that it was OK to use the entire gift certificate totally on makeup.
I don't even wear that much makeup.
Heck, half the time I work from home and my face is totally naked.

But the most glamorous feeling is getting all made up,
feeling a little younger,
looking just a little bit different,
a little more happy.

So I splurged and forked over my gift card for pure luxury.
Hey, I tried.
I strolled the department store beforehand.
Tried on skinny jeans that made me feel like a stuffed sausage.
Tried on a ruffle front sweater that made me feel like a hot air ballon.
Tried on LUCKY shoes that were cool, but then I remembered I am not 20 anymore.

So M.A.C. makeup it was. I asked for concealer to cover the splotchies.
I then asked for lipstick to bring me to life...next thing, next thing
and out I walked with a big bag full of makeup.
I am happy.

Thank you to my generous team at work who gifted me a Macy's card for Christmas.

P.S. I am a loyal M.A.C. customer, but the last time I bought anything besides concealer was over 10 years ago. Tonight I made up for lost time :)


And there is joy

With all the devastation in Haiti, I've been saddened.
However, the Lord is good and brings joy.
This weekend I spent 26 hours being a part of the miracle of life.
A new baby has joined my extended family and I could not be more elated.
I am now the "Auntie" to a beautiful baby girl.
She is loved.
She is precious.
Her Mama is strong and gentle all in one.
I couldn't be more proud of her.
I am blessed.


Dreamy Drapes II

Something was bothering about my living room. I wasn't happy with the way the windows looked. Time went by and I decided to take the advice of my fellow bloggers...add two more panels. Off to Target, two more sheets purchased. 3 hours later, they were washed and ironed.
I love how the room looks now. $7 a sheet. Can't beat it and WASHABLE too.

Here's the BEFORE:

Here's the AFTER:


Blue Ceilings

Few months back I swapped out the two spare bedrooms and took the larger one to make my office/exercise/now sewing-crafting room.

The guest room is rather small at a 10x10 space, but my intentions are to make it cottage cozy. It's basically a clean slate, fresh with paint, double bed and one dresser. I have not accessorized it yet, but have 1,000 ideas swimming around.

I fell in love with the blue ceilings found in BHG issue and gave it a shot here. I love it. Now I want to paint all my ceilings a color.

Besides adding some fresh bedding and wall accessories, next on my list is to update this dresser.

I bought it at an antique shop few years back. It was ugly brown and I gave it a quick coat of paint. I am debating if I should freshen it up with a color. I love the lines of the dresser.

I took one handle off (found out they are not standard holes) and am thinking about filling them in and adding just knobs. I'm on the hunt for some really fashionable ones (aka Anthropologie)


Sewing Room

I desperately want to sew great, beautiful things. In the past ten years, I've made a simple valance, a couple pillows and a baby blanket, but I so admire those that can really sew. Those that take the time to make special things for their home. My mom was really good at sewing. She made all my childhood costumes, a prom dress, altered my wedding gown, made endless curtains, pillows and runners for the home and could even make itty bitty baby clothes. I really wish I learned from her, but she passed away before I had the desire or the time to learn. So here I am, over 10 years later with all of her supplies. They've been sitting in the closet, occasionally coming out for a trial.

This new year I decided it's time to tackle and learn or move on. Some of you may remember the black hutch I painted (that gave me so much grief). It's been in my home office loaded with office type stuff. Something about it annoyed me and I didn't like how it looked or felt in the room.

In a whirlwind the other night, I took everything off. Now what? I moved it all into the closet and took every sewing item out and organized them. Now they have a new home on my black hutch. I think they look pretty where they now are and are inspiring me to dabble....maybe this weekend. My goal is to use the sewing supplies (and if not, give them to someone who will.)

I've been searching blogs for inspiration and The Domestic Diva gives some great "how to get started" tips and setting up your space. While I don't have nearly as much goods, it's been fun checking out how other folks store their stuff.

I'd love to hear from you and learn what your tips are.


Cable Corral

Cable Corral

Organization Tip

I bought one of these "over the door shoe" hangers at Target and use it to keep all my unused household cables in check. Various cell phone cords, Sirius radio, IPOD, camera, phone, TV, ya name it, it's in there. I was sick and tired of sifting through a shoe box and HUBS asking "where is the IPOD charger?". When the cable/cord is not in use, it goes in it's own labeled pocket.
I bought the tags at Staples, used my label maker and a safety pin to fancy them up.


What's Your Trim Style?

A few years back I was on a mission to start transforming our home from builder blah to my own cottage like style. One of the most satisfying transformations was replacing all of the baseboards and door trim. Every single room was tackled, but I started in the upstairs first. This way my mistakes wouldn't be so apparent and I could learn as I went.

I loved prying off the old trim, hauling it to the garage and saying "Good Riddance". I took a look my inspiration photos and decided on the trim style that I was most drawn to. My favorite was in an issue from Cottage Living that I just tweaked to my liking. It happened to be a craftsman inspired style that was very easy to install.

All my installation was done before I was smart enough to buy a nail gun. A lot of sweat and tears. I highly recommend a nail gun!

My upstairs hollow core slab doors never closed correctly. It was very irritating. So while I popped all the trim off, I decided to replace the doors as well. I bought pre-hung pine solid core doors. Scared, very scared. How the heck was I going to install these. I panicked and called a handyman. He came over and quoted me $125 a door to install. WHAT! No way, I had 4 of them. Hubs said "You watch way too much HGTV, so now put it to use, give it a try." OKAYYYY. I spent over a week prepping, which is not my usually style, but I think I was too scared to jump right in.

The old door jamb came out and the new one went it. I shimmed, I hand nailed, I tested the door and IT CLOSED. One right after another with some minor tweaking, I couldn't believe it. I did end up having to shave the one door with my Dremel, but I learned a whole lot in the process on how to check for plumb and don't shim too much.

I sanded and stained each of the doors making sure they were smooth as silk. Wipe on poly became my new friend then. It's been about 6 years and I am still in love with my doors and trim. I even tackled the hall linen closet and installed solid pine sliders. Built my own door jambs, installed the tracks and hung the doors.
For a little money, a lot of elbow grease, you can transform your home too. What trim styles are you drawn to? Pick a room and try it.


Coupon Clipping

Are you a coupon clipper? For 2010 I'm going to try harder to use coupons when food shopping. I grew up in a household of mega coupon clippers. My dad used to sit at the kitchen table clipping coupons (precisely along the dotted lines) and filed them into categories in an old kid sized Buster Brown shoe box. That old shoe box sat in the front of the shopping cart on every trip.

I had all good intentions of using coupons last night while food shopping. I made a list of what I needed, brought my coupons with me and was excited to save a few bucks. Here's the bad news, I don't know what happened, but at the checkout, I completely forgot about the coupons in my pocket! Dense. Brain fog. Who knows. I got home, emptied my pockets and GASP- I forgot the coupons!

In an effort to be more organized, I quickly put a single envelope in my purse with all store coupons, grocery, department $ off and the gift cards I received for Christmas. All in one place. I just have to remember to use them. :)


Update: Would you paint this?

My family, friends and co-workers know that during the month of December I went crazy selling all sorts of stuff on Craigslist (yes, he's my very best friend). I will tell you that I did encounter some "interesting" people, but I did make a nice fistful of cash to use for Christmas shopping.

Everything came out of the attic and closets. I sold old vacuums, wire and laminate shelving, electronics, golf clubs and yes, the Lane Cedar Hope Chest. I had put it in my kitchen by the back door and tried it out for a week. While it was convenient to sit and put shoes on, it really just became a junk collector and used up way too much precious space. On Craigslist it went and 2 weeks later she sold to a woman who fell in love with it. I don't miss it one bit!

Lesson learned here is to not be afraid to let things go.


Use What You Got

2010 is going to be a great year...I can feel it.

I am desiring to SIMPLIFY and keep it real. I'm back from a long week of sneezing, coughing, think "I am going to die" type of a week and I hit the ground running today. The Christmas Tree is on its way out the door. The Living Room is spic and span clean. All those holiday decorations are back in the attic and I am loving the sparse, clean look!
I grew up in a "take your shoes off", "don't sit on the bed", "OMG is that dirt?" type of household....luckily that gene didn't carry over. My house is a "put your feet up", "no worries, I own a vacuum" type of house. However, every so often the deep cleaning bug hits and I go after all kinds of things.

Today, it was the glass curio cabinet. I decided to take out all of content, take a good look and them and decide if they were going to stay in the house. Windex and hot, soapy water were my new best friends!

Right then and there I decided: "You want to keep this stuff, you better use it." I vow to use the generously gifted Waterford and Lenox. I vow to have an elegant dinner with Hubs and I once a month (how crazy is that?). I'll let you know how I do...can't wait to try some new recipes, sit down at the table for longer than 5 minutes.

Use What You Got or get rid of it. Simplify for 2010!