As Promised- The Counter How-To

There are not many things that Jimmy and I will not try when it comes to home renovations. We just have NO FEAR when it comes to these projects. Both good and bad outcomes in our past, but WHATEVER! Anything can be fixed by a professional later if we completely screw it up. Right?  And I have to say, we are usually overly PROUD of our own work. And we really LOVE being able to say that we did it....I think the lack of fear is what sets us apart.
 
 
For good and bad...I, for example, am a terrible painter of walls (furniture, now that is totally different, I LOVE IT!). I HATE the prep work that goes into painting a room so I just throw on the paint in globs....usually Jimmy comes in a rescues me....okay, let me be honest. Usually I just give up halfway through and say "I'm going to bed!" and he stays up to finish my mess! :)
 
 
So, when the counter project came about, I was surprisingly excited to give it a try. I had heard about this product before, but then after doing a little research, I just entered my credit card info online and it was a done deal! :)


However, I will not lie. When that box was delivered, I got really NERVOUS! Am I about to paint the counter tops??? I carried the box inside, and then took one look at the HIDEOUS white laminate and said "YES I AM!"
 
 
So here it is....
 
 
There are several products like this on the market. Some that are even sold at local hardware stores, but this product gave me the best hope that it would withstand 3 kids and some time before I can get granite one day. And it looked, in the advertisements and online, the most like granite.
 
 
Again, I know that painting your
 counters can really sound tacky. I thought it too! I thought that I should just wait and save up the money for new ones. But in our situation, I knew that we have a thousand projects ahead of that one....and it just wasn't a high priority. And the truth is, that even when we did have the money, I was going to buy laminate again because I know that one day this kitchen will be history. :)
 
 
The product I decided to use is called Giani Granite Paint for Counters. We chose the Chocolate Brown kit. You can see a ton of pictures and get lots of information from their website:
 
 
 
 
or from their facebook page :
 
 
 
 
They have a ton of posts from previous customers. Gotta love the before and after photo shots! You can also see that no 2 counter tops are going to be the same (just like granite) so it is REALLY foolproof. It is also really customizable too with how much of every color you decide to add.
 
 
Many of you do not have any need to paint kitchen counters, but this paint could be used for bathroom vanity counters, or any other surface that needs a pick me up. It really turned out 100% better than I expected.
 
 
The product comes in a complete kit. It has everything labeled for easy use AND comes with a DVD to watch before when you are starting to freak out :) :) :)
 
 
Here is how I did it:
Step 1:

I taped around the counters/appliances, walls, and cabinets. Then I cleaned the counters completely using SOS pads. I wanted to make sure I got off all of the grime and oils.
 
 
Step 2:
I used the black primer and simply rolled it on to the counters. You use a little foam brush for the corners and hard to reach spots. Super easy and goes on really smooth. There was no turning back now! :) Jimmy came home at this point....I wish I could have gotten the look on camera!!! :) The primer dried pretty fast but I waited overnight to get the courage to start the next step! :)
 
 
Step 3:
There are 3 different shades of paint that go on at this point. You pour those 3 different paints onto paper plates and start painting. All of the supplies are included in the kit. You use a big sponge for this step. (Again, I know it sounds crazy to sponge paint but as you combine the 3 paints, it REALLY looks like granite!!!!)
I started in a small area to the left of my stove. I wanted to "practice" over there! It turned out exactly how I wanted it right away and I started losing the anxiety at this point and I was getting really excited!



From there, you just keep going and adding in different shades to get the result you are looking for. I will offer advise here though....I would say do the sponge step all in one project. What I mean is, don't do what I did. I did the small area first (above pic) and then went on with my normal chaos of getting the kids to school. When I returned to do the rest of the counters, I had forgotten exactly how I did the first area. It takes a little bit of experimenting to get the shade that you are looking for. So I had to do some extra playing around to get it to match my first area. I think if I would have kept going, it would have been easier. I also suggest doing small areas at a time. Your eyes start to cross if you are looking at a huge area and trying to keep it uniform :) :)


 



At this point, I decided that it was too light. I wanted it to have more black showing through. NO PROBLEM AT ALL! I just added some of the black primer back into the areas and it worked great! See, it really is EASY!!!
Step 4:
The last step is a top coat. I sanded the counters beforehand with a 600 grit SUPER FINE sandpaper to get them as smooth as possible! Then I added the top coat which made it shiny, smooth, and complete!


 



We added some extra top coat because we wanted to add a little more to one specific area.

So that is it! I can honestly say that it was SO EASY and turned out FANTASTIC!!! I just love the new look! And it makes the floor look even more horrible...which means they got bumped up on the priority list! :)

I know that I had a lot of questions when I was considering doing this....so PLEASE do not hesitate to ask! I would love to help! You can leave them in the comments section below in case anyone else has the same question! Thanks for checking them out! :) :)






Heather



Under Construction

Bear with me everyone, my blog is getting a whole new look....but in the meantime, it is going to be a little unorganized! :) Hoping to have it worked out this week! :)

Heather

TRAYS!

Instead of crafting, I should be doing so many other things!!! Spring cleaning should have begun already but instead i have 10 projects going on and I have made a trail of mess in every room. Why can't I just stick to one thing and get it finished?


So, I thought I would drop in and post about a little craft project that costs VERY little to make and I think it makes a big statement in a room. I am sure many of you have all of the supplies to make this on a rainy day like today.



I LOVE TRAYS! I love to add them to tables, dressers, centerpieces,etc. I think they add another layer to the rooms decor and keeps everything tidy and together. I also love that I can pick them up and move it from place to place when I need the area or when I am cleaning. I am just starting to collect a bunch of trays... Here are some that I have my eye on too...

White & Silver Tray\
picture from pierone.com

Faux Croc Aqua Tray
picture from pierone.com



For my coffee table, I decided to make a tray. I was really looking to buy one at the time but I decided to make one instead from a picture frame. There are tons of them floating around the Internet so you may have seen them before but here is the first one I made. I have a box of picture frames in my attic. I just had a lot more wall space in our previous home and I had the whole house plastered in family pictures. So I went up and grabbed an 8 by 10 black frame to make the tray. You can also find LOTS of CHEAP frames at thrift stores, goodwill, or walmart! You may need to give them a good coat of spray paint... The one I chose to use was black and already distressed so it was all ready to go.

I just simply took the back off of the frame and covered it with fabric. You could also use scrap booking paper or wallpaper instead. I then put it right back into the frame and kept the glass in place. (some people remove the glass but I wanted to keep it to make cleaning extra easy!)

I then picked up 2 cute bronze handles from lowes or home depot. Jimmy screwed one on each side to make it look more like a tray. They are very sturdy. Here is the final result.... So super easy and I love the charm it adds to the coffee table!




(FYI- I had one problem! The screws that held the handles on were scratching the coffee table when the kids would drag/push the tray. Super easy solution- I just bought the little felt circle pads from the dollar store. The ones you would put on the bottom of furniture. I attached 4 of them to the bottom of the frame. Problem solved! :)


Happy rainy Sunday here in Maryland!! :) We have needed this rain so badly. I hate to have it on the weekend but it is a great day to just chill. :)



Heather

Check them out

Hey Strangers! It's been a week since I posted and believe me, that was not my intention. I just got wrapped up in birthday festivities (I am 31 now!!!), some big projects around the house (which will eventually mean LOTS of new posts), and time got away from me. I won't apologize, because with all of the things going on with the kids and everyday life, it is bound to happen again one of these weeks.

So back to the last post about our kitchen. I just loved all of the response I got from the painted kitchen cabinet posts! I was so excited to share the end results with you all.... But I have to say I may be even more excited about this one! Let's look back at the cabinet redo!

BEFORE...


And After...



I LOVE those distressed old white cabinets. It is exactly what I love about decorating. I love something that looks like it has been around for awhile.... I guess I just love a timeless look. Some people ask what my favorite styles are. I think I love a mix of traditional, cottage, with lots of textures/character. Anyway, I love timeless and the cabinets give me that! But those counters, on the other hand, give me nothing but anger. OK not really anger, but why?????? Why ???? Why would anyone put those in their house???!!!! Reminds me of the Towson University cafeteria!

Now that you all are getting to know me and my personality, can you guess what this post and project will be about? :)And let me remind you of my biggest goal in redoing this kitchen. I want to do it as cheap as possible! Not because i am a total cheapskate, just because I really hope in the next few years that we can add on and expand the kitchen. At that point, I will make up for all of the money I saved this time!!! :)

So....what would your husband say if he came home from work and you had painted the kitchen counter tops??? And better yet, you had started painting them and you weren't aloud to touch them for about 4 days! Jimmy, you are a saint!!! :) I don't think he is reading this but he needs a reminder sometimes. I like him to think everyone does this crazy stuff to their house, but probably not and definitely not at the speed and craziness that I go!

On Monday, he came home and I had started! Painting counters sounds so tacky, right? Here is my rationale, if it worked out, I just spent $70 to upgrade them and avoid thousands in new counters. If it didn't work out and is a total bust, I can't possibly hate them anymore than I already hate the white ones. Sounds like a good plan to me!!!And.... Here is the result!!!! Of course it is not passing for granite anytime soon but the pattern that I painted really looks just like the granite that we had in our previous house! It updated the look and makes the white cabinets pop so much more! I just LOVE THEM NOW!!!









(I didn't do a step by step post because I figured that not many people have counters to paint...let me know though if you want me too!)

 
Next up, the ceiling fan and ORANGE tile floor!

Enjoy your rainy Sunday tomorrow! Perfect craft/pajama day for us! And I promise another post tomorrow! :)

Heather

Kitchen IN PROGRESS

Normally I wouldn't take pictures of a project that wasn't complete. I hate "in progress" because I LOVE the reaction of a big before/after change. BUT, a few of you have asked about my kitchen cabinets so I will give a sneak peak.

Let me tell you a few things first though. When we moved to our new home, we knew it was going to be a work in progress. However, when I tell you that the yard is SPECTACULAR, I am not lying. Of course, it needs some major LOVE but it feels like I live in the state park. The house itself is small, as I have mentioned many times...but it has a ton of potential. We knew, right away, that we wanted to convert and add on to the original house. One of the things we want to add is more space in the kitchen/dining area. We want BIG family get togethers here as our kids get older so we know that the current setup will not always work. So, the plan is to possibly add on to the kitchen and rip out the current one. HUGE project and definitely in the future, but something to dream about on pinterest in the meantime!!!

SO....with that in mind, we decided to just live with the current kitchen cabinets because they are well made and in great shape. BUT...I CAN'T just live with that kitchen! I had to change some things.

So here goes, this is the LOVELY 1980's kitchen when we moved in!






 WOW!!! You must LOVE the scalloped thingy over the sink, the cafeteria counters, the orange floor, the OLD white appliances, hmmm.....what else?? Oh yeah, the HUGE bulkhead above the 36" cabinets. It was a nightmare! Jimmy kept telling me that it was fine, but I just had to do some changes. So on the  day before THANKSGIVING, I pulled out my paintbrush and got to work. I am not kidding, I thought Jimmy was going to leave me when he walked in to me painting the cabinets! :) :)

I am definitely impatient! I want to do a whole project and get it done at once so this kitchen is something different for me. Probably a way for God to tell me that it is okay to take life slower. We decided that we didn't want to put a ton of money into the kitchen knowing that we would be ripping it out eventually. So the cabinets are first to be painted, and everything else will come as we have extra money.

I REALLY wanted to get rid of the bulkhead. (for those of you that don't know what that is, it is the big "block" area of drywall right above the cabinets. It was popular when the house was built to fill in the area above the cabinets.) In order to do that though, we would have had to take the cabinets down, demo'd the bulkhead and then put the cabinets back. I decided to live with the bulkhead but I did something different to make it fit in better! Check it out below!

So to start the kitchen project, I removed all of the cabinet doors. I wanted to paint the inside of the cabinets also. This step is not necessary if you don't want to have them match. I primed the inside and painted them with the same color that I used on the cabinet doors.











Our kitchen window looks out at the backyard. We have HUGE trees in the yard so we don't get a ton of sunlight. I knew that I wanted to make a valance for above the kitchen window but I didn't want to block any sunlight. So, I brought Jimmy in and told him my plan! He LOVES ME and my plans! See this picture-



I wanted to get rid of just the bulkhead above the window to make room for the valance. It also had electrical access to that LOVELY light there, so I wanted to use that for a pendant type light from the ceiling! Without any questions, Jimmy grabbed his hammer and got to work! :)




And then we covered it with a plastic bag! LOL! We had to call Jimmy's dad to help us figure out what to do with the big hole! :)



Meanwhile, we kept painting and painting. The biggest step to do before painting your cabinets, is to clean them. You can't even imagine the amount of grease and grime that needs to come off. If you are using latex paint, you also need to sand them down to barewood. I used my favorite, ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT to avoid the sanding step. After cleaning them good, we were able to go right to painting. Here's Jimmy! SEE!!! eventually he wasn't mad at me for starting the project! :)


The cabinet doors took 2 or 3 coats to cover because they were pretty dark wood. While they were drying, we finished working on the bases of the cabinets.



Jimmy's Dad came to the rescue and was able to close off our big hole above the sink. I made a valance (post coming soon) and it turned out exactly how I planned. I found a pendant light on amazon too! And...you can see below what we did with the bulkhead. Jimmy cut crown and other molding to dress it up! :)


And I ordered new hardware from Ebay! So here it is when the painting was all completed and the doors rehung! Remember, this is a MAJOR work in progress! The orangish tile floor, the coutertop, and the white ceiling fan will not be around for long!!!! Oh yeah, someone happened to blow up our old microwave (okay maybe it was me!!!!!) so we got a new one in the process. We went with stainless knowing that it wouldn't match, but we also knew that was what we were going to change all of the appliances to eventually. Probably pretty silly looking but it works with the counters and tile! :)





And a few more changes along the way. I LOVE black and white kitchens! And although this one is far from my dreams, I had another idea. We applied wainscotting to the "peninsula" area and painted it black!


MY BEST ASSISTANT!!! :)





AND DID YOU NOTICE ONE MORE THING???? I decided to leave the three cabinet doors on the right side of the kitchen OFF! I wanted the openness and cottagy feel! I LOVE this part! I love just reaching up and grabbing a glass or plate. It certainly isn't "styled" the way I want, but it works for now! :)

 Here is a better look!


So what do you think??? Ever thought of painting your kitchen! I know it is scary but it was fun and changed the entire look! I can't wait to share the changes as we get rid of the rest of the 80's personality! :) INCLUDING THOSE BAR STOOLS that the previous owners left behind!




Here are some close ups of the cabinets! Ya'll know I LOVE LOVE LOVE the distressed look so I used it here as well!


Counters next followed shortly by the FLOOR! Ugh....they drive me crazy!!!

If you have ANY questions about painting or anything else, email me! I would love to help!!!!

Heather

New Endeavors!

Hey everyone! I have been MIA for a few days because of spring break, Easter, and activities with the kids. I LOVED every moment of having the kids home from school. We had something planned everyday, and although that is definitely not part of my introvert side, it was so nice to see some of my best friends and their children. The kids had fun together and now they are counting down for summer. I am working on planning out summer vacations and maybe even a fall surprise for the kids (DISNEY!!! BIG QUIET SCREAMS FROM ME! But we want to surprise them so we are keeping it HUSH!). On top of all of that, I am getting back into running because I want to get some 5K's on the calendar. OK, and one more thing....I have been trying to figure out what I want to do with my career life! HA! I am just not the kind of girl that can keep things simple, right! I have to have 10,000 things going on at once to stress me out! :)

Anyway, I have gone back and forth about getting back into nursing. I want to keep my license "just in case" but I also want to stay home with the kids. I have had so many conversations about this with the ones I hold closest, and still question what to do. SO...for now, I will throw it back on the back burner and worry about it later! ;)

So... what can I do to make some extra money and keep my mind busy? I think I have a plan for now.

I am going to work on some projects to sell. I am looking for furniture that I can redo (paint or restore) and then see how it goes. Do you have furniture that you want to sell? Or do you have antiques or other furniture that needs a new look? I am thinking about starting a business to either redo other peoples furniture and my own furniture purchases. I am not sure exactly how it will go, but I want to give it a try. I thought the blog would be a great place to get started. I know many of you have talked already to me about pieces that you would like to redo. Let's get started!!!

I am really excited about it but SO FEARFUL as well! I guess that is normal with any new endeavor but I want to try it out. And it will give me TONS of things to share on the blog too. What do you think?

I am working on a blog post about my kitchen as well! It's taking a little while but should be done soon.... :)

Just wanted to update! :)

Heather


Tulip Garden

Happy Spring! Happy Passover! and Happy Easter!!!

We are having such an AMAZING spring break with the kids! Jimmy took off for a few days and we are trying to get some stuff done around the house. Besides the spring colds that linger with little kids, we are just having lots of family time together! It is PERFECT!

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to check out new areas and relax together. Have you been to the Tulip Garden in Baltimore? It is in the incredible area of Guilford. Surrounded by spectacular homes and some great places to grab lunch. We went the other day, threw down a blanket, played catch with the football, walked around, and just enjoyed the gorgeous weather. If you haven't gone, or even if you have, the tulips are in full bloom and it will only last for a few weeks...so go check it out if you are close!

Here are some pics that I took to show you! It is an amazing place to hang out and take a picnic!










We wish you a great holiday weekend with your families!!!! :) :)

Heather and Jimmy


2 tiers

First of all, let me say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that has been sending me positive vibes and comments about the blog. I love hearing that you feel inspired to try something new or just get crafty.This has been so much fun to share and as much as I may be inspiring you all, it has been a HUGE inspiration for myself! I really want to expand and try new things...just to be able to share. So thank you!

And...Wow, the blue dresser post got a lot of notice! I seriously LOVE that thing! I adore the blue color and the stripes are really fun to experiment with. The other thing that was noticed was the table decor. So funny because I was just trying to throw something on the dresser to make it a little "pretty" but you all noticed! Here it is again, just so you remember!


I just did the post about the family sign, but other people have asked where I got the decorations! Here it goes... :)

The candlestick, glass dome, and the white milk bottle were all Goodwill treasures. Total $4! Are you starting to get persuaded into checking it out?

The white little plant holder and fake (although I must say it is the most "realistic" fake I have seen) plant came from Ikea...
another one of my FAV's!

The little birds came from Michaels. I thought they would be cute for the spring.

And then the two tier stand....well that was something I put together. SO EASY!!! so of course, I have to share!

I really love cake stands! I have my eyes on MANY right now but haven't bought them yet just because I can't decide which ones I want. Lots of different ideas of how to use them between entertaining or just setting them out for decorative accents. So, I decided to make a "decorative" version. I can't take a ton of credit for it except that I did put it together, but the idea came from pinterest.

I headed out to Michaels for the supplies. Here is what I got:
2 different size Planter Plates (see photos)
2 different size TINY Plant Pots
Crafting Glue
and spray paint.
Total Cost $10



Put a little glue on the edge of the Plant Pots...


Place it right in the center of the Plant Plates...


And then add some Spray Paint....and here it is....all finished! About 2 minutes of work :) :)




Ok, mine took a few more minutes...I first spray painted it silver, then blue (then I decided to paint the table blue), so finally I sprayed it Oil Rubbed Bronze. (insert a few eyerolls from Jimmy as he watched the paint colors change! )

So that's it! The decorations on the table TOTALED about $20 all together...

Glad you liked it. Now I think a new fabric for a table runner may be in the works....

Heather





Handmade Gifting

Hey!!! :) Lovin' this beautiful spring weather during spring break! I have lots of plans with some of my bestest friends during break so we are just relaxing and hanging out! What are you doing to kick off spring?

This post is about GIFT GIVING! :) I love to give gifts so much but I adore most the reaction when someone opens a gift that I actually put time into. I will admit, there was a time in my life where I would run around and spend a ton of money last minute just to fill the need to give a gift....but these days, that has all changed. I LOVE to make gifts...yes, handmade! I know it sounds scary but what is better than something handmade and really thought about? I love the imperfections of a handmade gift! The fast that it isn't perfect but it came from a place much deeper than your local store. OK, so some of you are not crafty! That is okay too! Have you discovered ETSY? If not, you are at a major loss! Check it out! www.etsy.com. AN ENTIRE website of handmade goods. So, you can give your friend or loved one something handmade, even if it isn't made by your hands. :) And handmade goods are not only for gift giving. I LOVE filling my home up with things that were made by a mom just trying to make some extra money or a grand mom with a passion for something unique. Check out ETSY... ASAP!

Oh...and PINTEREST!!! Jam packed full of ideas to give for gifts.How could I have forgotten! :)

So, I thought I would share a little gift that I have been giving out for the last few months.

This past Christmas I decided to make something handmade for Jimmy's mom and sister-in-law. And then after making theirs, I decided to make one for myself and a few friends. I have had many people call/email asking about this special little part of my "BLUE TABLE POST" so I thought it would be the perfect next blog post. Remember this little sign that I had displayed??


I have always loved the Family Name signs and the Established date to let everyone know when this little family world that we created started. So one day I thought about it and started to make them myself. Here is how I did it:

I started with these supplies:

1- canvas (I ended up using a flat hard canvas board in 11x14in size, and by the way they come in a 3 pack at Walmart...perfect excuse to make 3 of them)
1 jar of Mod Podge. Love that stuff!
Scrap booking paper in different patterns (I used 4 sheets including the blank one for the writing)
Total Cost: About $5 for the project! Pretty good for a personalized GIFT, right?

You can also choose a frame and/or I displayed mine on a plate holder.
Again, these were made back in December (pre-blog) so bare with me since I don't have step by step before photos...
This is so simple! And think outside of the box....You can make signs for ANYTHING! Your favorite Quotes, Party Decorations, Seasonal Sayings, Christmas Carols, ETC.... The IDEAS ARE ENDLESS!!!
1. Go into a Word Document and first change the page orientation to landscape. You don't have to do this but if you want it to be like mine, that is what I did.
2. Play with different fonts and sizes until you get your wording to fit in. I typed in the family name and then adjusted the size to fit as big as it could without pushing to the following line. Then do the same for the established date part. Underneath that, you could do SO MANY different things. For the ones I made for Christmas, I put the names of the family members but I have made them with quotes about Love, Marriage, Whatever would go with that specific family/holiday.

3. Then you will print that out on your scrapbooking paper. You can see in the pics below that sometimes I used plain paper for this part and sometimes I used patterned.
4. Then you will cut the papers to size and decide how you want to lay them out on your canvas.
5. The last part is to attach them with the Mod Podge. I have talked about mod podge before... The biggest problem is bubbling. The solution is to put the mod podge glue on the canvas and not on the paper. So, paint the mod podge on the canvas and then lay down your papers where you want them. I usually let the papers dry completely and then go back and attach the "family established" paper.
6. After the papers are attached, you will go back and paint mod podge over the entire project to seal it. It gives it a shiny sealed look! I love that stuff!
Here are some pictures of the ones I did for Christmas!






These were really fun to make and give! I wrapped a cute bow around them for Christmas but I think you could make one for a wedding gift or baby shower gift with the new baby's name and nursery colors! Really, so many ideas!

Let me know if you make one! I would love to see a picture!

And...let me just share a friend of mine, Andi's, blog! She made an ADORABLE personalized pennant banner as a baby gift and I can't get enough of it! Check it out here... I LOVE EVERYTHING PERSONALIZED!


And one more shout out! :) I have a friend Ashley who likes to make fun of her crafting skills :) But she came over and surprised me with the CUTEST magnet board ever. Check it out! Using some galvanized steal and AMAZING little handmade magnets! MAYBE she will "guest blog" one day and tell us how she made it???


What gifts are you going to be giving soon?

OK, going to work on my next post since the kids are napping and playing and no one is screaming :) :)

Heather

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