Monday, March 21, 2016

Kitchen island, take 2

This was our first try at a kitchen island.  It replaced a higher half wall with a higher laminate table that jutted out into the kitchen.  So we my dad cut the wall down and attached a plywood top (very well, with lots and lots of screws) which he then tiled.  It was a massive improvement and served us very well for many years. 

Buuuuuut then I got all kinds of ideas about my perfect kitchen island and I convinced myself that I needed to change things up.  For one thing, we had a ton of empty space in our kitchen between the fridge and the island.  It was wasted space and I knew it could be used better.  Plus, I needed some more storage and drawers so it just made sense to enlarge the island top and incorporate some cabinets.  Also, a friend of my parents' gave us a wine fridge and why not throw that in the mix, too?

So, my dear parents loaded up their car with tools and a cabinet and wood and headed down to help us revamp our kitchen island.

First, the trim and old island top had to come off.  The only way to get it off without destroying the half wall was to cut through all those screws holding it on.  This was the tough part.

The night before, we prepped the butcher block top.  I could not find any that were in the exact size I needed (about 4'X5') or even close to it.  So I ended up ordering 2 25"X8' tops from Menards.  They were delivered free to the store and we picked them up and brought them home.  Unfortunately, there was a bit of a bevel to them so we could not just slap them together.  My dad had to cut about an inch off one and plane it.  He decided just to plane one edge of the other one because we did not have a table saw at our house and it is really hard to cut a super straight line with a circular saw.  Once that was done, he used biscuits and glue to join them.  I don't have a pic of this process, but he actually put 2 biscuits instead of 1 about every foot or so.  Then we used some giant clamps from my uncle to clamp them together overnight.  We did have to use a bit of wood putty to fill any gaps between the two slabs.

The next day, my dad cut it to the length I wanted, just over 5', sanded it and routed the edges so there was no sharp edges.

Back inside, we had the half wall.  We added a 36" cabinet unit that my parents removed from a rental property.  They primed it and removed the doors and drawer fronts in anticipation of paint and hardware.  Then, I had the cutest little wine fridge I wanted to incorporate so my dad built a base to put it on so it was raised up to the level of the bottom of the cabinets.  He also had to build a few structures to place between the cabinet and the half wall as we were going to have some empty space there.  Sorry but I don't have a very good pic of that.

The wine fridge was black but I spray painted the black area on the face of the fridge silver to match our other stainless appliances.

Once the frame was in place, it was time to secure the butcher block to the base with screws from the bottom of the cabinet and through the 2X4 that was the frame for a wall next to where the wine fridge would be.

Then, we added some 1X4 base trim and some 7" planking with 1/4" sanded plywood.

In addition, we removed the trim around the opening between the kitchen and the dining room and replaced it with 1X6 painted boards.  It went a LONG way to completely updating the space and it the first step in pushing me to changing all my trim to white painted 1X4 boards.

Once all the wood and new light was installed, my parents left and I painted the planking and trim with Behr Pure White.  The next day, I attached the hardware to the drawer fronts and cabinet doors and attached them to the cabinet base unit.

Then I cleaned up the mess off the top.

 This was before I oiled the top.  I had to use a ton of oil.  Almost a whole bottle.

Then I stood back and admired...

 One drawer is my tool drawer, the other is for loose papers.  The cabinet houses our printer/copier machine, along with paper, crayons, writing sets for the kids and kinetic sand bucket (which I had NO IDEA where to put previously).

 The light was free from my parents, who had it laying around.  It was white and they spray painted it silver and added a light kit.

I wanted to make the island look like a piece of furniture, not like there was a half wall there.  That is why I choose to use planking around 3 sides of it.

One last comparison...

I scoured Pinterest for ideas for my kitchen island and in the end, it was almost too overwhelming as the options were endless.  It came to me deciding what I needed the island to do for me and then picking the materials that made the most sense.  The only money I spent was on the butcher block, planks, boards for trim, cup pulls for the drawers and spray paint.  I got the light, cabinet and wine fridge for free.  I already had the paint on hand as well as the cabinet door pulls.  My parents supplied the labor, light kit and brought some planks as well, along with screws and nails (Thanks Mom and Dad!!).  My uncle let us borrow the clamps and the device that makes the biscuit holes and even sent me some oil for the butcher block (Thanks Uncle Steve!!).  It changed the look of the entire kitchen and it turned out even better than I thought!

Linking up to

Monday, March 14, 2016



That is the perfect word to describe me and my life right now.  Full to the max, plus just a wee bit more.  Life just seems to be dripping off of me.   I leave puddles of it all over the place.

It's a daily struggle to keep it all together.  Just to not lose too much throughout the day.  I do my best to make sure the kids are picked up, the house is sanitary and not a disaster, we go on a vacation every once in a while, the bills are paid, I am on time to work and give enough of myself to a career I do enjoy but which carries so much responsibility, but not giving all of myself so that I have none to give to my true joys and reasons for living, all while not completely ignoring and becoming a stranger to my partner in crime.

It's a lot.

This saturation right now, I realize this is what I have always hoped for.  What I have worked so hard to get to someday.  All those years going to college, working several jobs at a time, scraping by.  All the decisions that I have made was to get here.

I feel like I finally made it.  I am a real adult.  As I went through life, checking boxes off my list, I still felt like I was a kid just trying to figure it all out.  As if all my life decisions didn't really affect anyone else but me.  It sounds silly but I didn't feel like a true adult until I had my second kid.  Then it all hit me.  Holy crap, I am responsible for other humans who are completely vulnerable and have no choice.  I have to say yes or no to sugar, screens, spanking and a million other big and small decisions.  It was exciting and scary and overwhelming.

I kinda sorta want time to stop.  I would be lying if I said I am a little scared to keep moving forward beyond this time in my life.  Will having older kids and being older myself be just as great?  I cringe a little when I hear, "You will look back on these days and wish they were still little" or "once this stage is done, you will so miss it."  Does that mean I will be miserable and sad in a few years, knowing that the "best days" are gone?  Will I forever view parents of little kids through a lens of green envy?  Is it all downhill from here?

I hope not.  I hope that seeing these kids grow into adults and growing older myself will be just as interesting and fun as it was getting here.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Spring is here...for 5 minutes.

Mother nature has given us an evil teaser of spring this past weekend, here in southern Wisconsin.  I say evil because the next snow storm is scheduled to hit tonight.  Grrrr.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.  But the weekend weather has me wanting to rid my house of every last winter decoration in favor of greens and light colors.  Cozy plaid throws and fuzzy pillows must go!

I picked up two packages of dried greens from Hobby Lobby about 2 weeks ago when they were 50% off.

You actually get quite a good amount of greens with these and I was able to spread them throughout the house.

I split them up in vases and glass bottles and even stuck some in a wreath.

I still love my Rosemary plant that I got during Christmas (and its still alive!!)!

I took down all my red from my shelves and added some blue accents with some faux greens.

That cake stand with the blue base can be found in the $1 section at Target.  They are actually $5.  

I even had some left over the decorate my floating shelf in my living room.

This change in weather is giving me some much needed motivation for getting some kitchen projects completed.  We finally bought a new dishwasher which will be delivered and installed next Monday.  I am itching to get the island completed and tackle replacing the counter tops and installing the new-to-us sink and faucet (which I bought off Craigslist like 2 years ago!).  Now to see when my favorite handyman is available to help;)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

PSA and a spray paint project

I know I have been slacking here.  Believe me, I know.  I don't feel good about that.  I love this space that allows me to share my creativity.  It allows me to purge my ideas and thoughts and clear my head a bit.  So I don't have these things clogging up my brain and pouring out of my ears.  So you know I feel my lack of activity here.

I guess you could say I am in a bit of a funk.  I feel like this space, this blog, is having an identity crisis.  There are many reasons for this.  First, I am kind of a crazy person and my obsessions interests change over time.  I go through phases of needing to pour my heart out about all the feelings.  The feelings about motherhood and growing up and experiences.  And then, I won't need to do that and I will redecorate my house.  I will become engrossed in doing DIY projects and feel the need to document them here.  Only to then devote myself to a strict half marathon training schedule for 3 months in which I set my alarm for 5 am and run 5 miles before work every other day until the race day is done and I quit running altogether.  But then, I will pick up reading with a vengence and my head will be in books for months.  Devouring them at a rapid pace to feed an appetite for getting lost in another world.  And not all of these interests make for interesting blog posts.  Hence, crickets.

Second, I understand that oversharing in this day and age is considered by some a disease.  I have to think about how my sharing of my children's experiences will affect them when they are older.  I am not against a little parental humiliation but too much information out there reaches a critical level bordering on breach of privacy.  Problem is, there are no hard and fast rules about this and each person has a different tolerance to this.  So I started shying away from so many posts about my kids, keeping only to birthday letters or major milestone markers.  But I am in the trenches of this parenting game.  It consumes me day and day out and leaves little time for much else.   Which leads to me last point....

Third, I am just busy living.  I am working my day job and figuring out this Craftshop business and cooking dinners and bathing kids and getting oil changes and taking road trips and going to Vegas and folding laundry and attending parent-teacher conferences and spray painting my light switch and outlet covers and Fitbitting and throwing birthday parties and nursing the pinched nerve in my back since New Years day.  And sometimes I even need to get some sleep.  And blogging, at this time in my life, has taken a back seat to all these other things a lot of the time.

So anyway, that's were I am at.  Sometimes it will be slow going here and sometimes there will be some regular posts.  And it is probably not going to be consistent content.  It will jump from DIY projects to feelings to some of my motherhood life.

Now that I have that off my chest, do you recall I mentioned that I spray painted my lame, yellowing light switch and outlet covers?  Lets talk about that more.  I had already spray painted the ones in my dining room several years ago when our dining room was painted a Merlot color.  Now that the dining room is a more neutral color, I wanted to spray paint them a lighter color.  But I was not sure what color.  Until I stumbled on another blogger that spray painted hers gold.  I could not find the exact paint she used but I could find this...

So I got busy removing all the covers.  I washed them in soapy water and dried them.  

I had a piece of foam that I pushed all the screws in so I could spray them easier.

I put 2 coats of spray paint on the screws and covers and let them dry for 3 hours but should have let them dry overnight because they were still tacky to the touch when I was putting them back on.  But here is one of them...

 I do plan to spray the register thing near the ceiling soon.

I love it!  It was the right choice for me.  Does that mean that I have to remove all the silver in my house and replace it with gold so its all matchy-matchy?  Nope!  I prefer a mix of finishes.  It is way too stressful to make sure everything is the same finish and it will look one dimensional anyway.  So go ahead, I give you permission to mix those finishes!

Monday, February 15, 2016


Dear Sydney,

You turned 2 exactly 2 weeks ago.

You are a little thing, but a mighty thing.  Always quick to exert your independence with every.single.thing.  "I do-ed it!" rings in our ears all day long.

You are a girly-girl with the sweetest heart and the sweetest smile to match.

Today at your 2 year old appointment, you weighed exactly 24 lbs and were 34 inches long.  You screamed and cried while you were weighed, measured and examined.  At one point, you even tried to fold your little body into my belly.  You would NOT be won over by the doctor, CMA or NP student. 

 But I knew you would do that.  You are quite shy with most people you don't see very often.  Not unlike me as a kid.

But you are quick as a whip, knowing many of your colors and even doing some counting.  You are so very silly.  Your brother always says, "Sydney's hilarious!"  I have never met a sillier kid!

One request, could you try not to be such a stuntwoman?  It's freaking your father and me out.  Try to stop jumping recklessly off the couches and out of the car the second I unbuckle you.  We would really appreciate that.  We are quite relieved that your trust-falls-off-the-counter phase is over.  It was completely heart stopping.

And I will try to take more pictures of you like I did for your brother.  I will do better to photo document your growth and early life.  I am sorry I have been really slacking at that.

Even though I have only held you, rocked you, kissed you and loved you for 2 short years, I feel like I have known you forever.  You are like and old friend.  Some one I have known and who has known me my whole life.  We get each other.  Completely.

I am so thankful every single day for you and your brother.  Even though it means I never pee alone and have to share all my food with slobbery mouths.  And my body is now forever "softer."  Along with my heart.

I am We are thoroughly enjoying you in all your two-ness.

 "Mommy, I done!"

So, I cheers my wine with your sloppy, drippy whole milk sippy.  On to bigger and better adventures together!