The Kitchen – An Update

19 10 2011

So with the addition of my little friend, Ollie, I’ve decided to put my kitchen remodel off a bit.  I was still debating it, but I managed to give it a little upgrade that’s made me quite happy.

As you know, my kitchen is most decidedly stuck in the eighties.

It depresses me.

And I hate, hate, hate the cabinets.  They’re just so very Miami Vice, no?

Plus, the wood on the front of the cabinets was all sticky.  I have no idea why.  I’ve tried cleaning it with soap and water, with my go-to Soft Scrub, and even Murphy’s Oil soap.  Then, I read in Good Housekeeping that I could use white vinegar to clean the stickiness off – I keep white vinegar around for cleaning, so I figured I’d give it a shot while I was sequestered in the kitchen with the pup last weekend.

It didn’t work.

So I tried sanding it a bit.  Of course, that worked, but it took the finish off, of course. My mom had suggested at one point that I paint the wood. At first, she’d suggested matching it to the cabinets to try to have the wood blend in, but then thinking that might be too tough, she suggested just painting it something totally different, like black.

I had some black paint leftover from my closet stencils (and no, I still haven’t finished my closets – my back is really killing me lately!), so I thought I’d start with the strip of wood along the cabinet door fronts, and see if I needed to do the wood cabinets themselves or not.

And it looked GOOD.  So I took the doors off (one at a time, so I didn’t have to label them), and painted the wood part of the cabinets that I can see.  I also painted the front of each of the shelves inside the cabinets. Also, despite the accent to the countertops being laminate, I painted that as well – as long as I don’t scrub at it, it will stay on.

The amazing thing was, it really tied the kitchen together. My appliances don’t match (never have) – the stove is ecru and black, the microwave and dishwasher are black, and the refrigerator is ecru.  Annoying.  But with the black accents and ecru cabinets, it’s all tied together. The “kiss the cook” sticker on the wall pops.  It looks fabulous!

After the first evening - you can see how the front of the shelves in the cabinet on the left are also painted.

Starting to look good...

And finished!!

It looks great, doesn’t it? I actually like the way it looks now!

Admittedly, it’s not as great as a new kitchen, but it certainly buys me a few years I think.  I still need more space in the kitchen, which I plan to solve with a furniture addition at some point.

What you can’t see here is the final touch – my dad messaged me this weekend, and said that he’d be willing to help me try to figure out how to get the cabinet doors to shut properly. As you know, I’ve tried to do this before, with minor success.

But after replacing the doors, I still wasn’t having full success. I told my dad I’d be happy to have him try, but I didn’t think we’d be successful.  We weren’t, initially, but then he mentioned that I might want to get some magnet closures.  And I remembered that I’d already bought some for the kitchen, a long time ago, for that very purpose! My dad put a few in, using a glue gun to put the plate on the doors so that he didn’t have to drill a hole into them.

So now, they close!!  It’s such a silly little thing, but it makes such a difference to walk into a kitchen that looks neat because all of the cabinet doors are closed. It’s amazing.

There might be a few other little things I do in the kitchen, but for now, I’m happy with it!


Fall Decorating

17 10 2011

As I mentioned last week, it’s been busy around here, between travel, some immediate-attention projects at work, and having a bad head cold…oh, and a little something called “Oliver.”  We’ve been doing a housebreaking bootcamp for over a week, and the little guy seems to be getting it.  We’re still working on the teething thing (he nipped my little niece yesterday!), but he’s really trying hard to be a good boy.

But I have found some time for home projects – some BECAUSE I’ve been doing the bootcamp, and was sequestered in the kitchen with the little guy all last weekend. But more on that later.

First, I want to talk about decorating for fall. I have three plastic containers of Halloween stuff – I thought I had enough for decorating the house, but it turned out that I mostly have Halloween costumes, and some things that are only useful if you’re having a party (cups, forks, etc.).  I was bummed to realize that I really didn’t have much to decorate for fall!

So I headed to Michaels, to Target and to Pier One, and picked up some great stuff for fall (I stuck with more fall stuff, because although I LOVE Halloween, you can get more mileage out of “fall” decorations! Since there are no directions for fall decorating – just do what you love! – without further ado, here are the photos!

How have you decorated your house for Fall/Halloween?

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of Darkness Walk

7 10 2011

So this isn’t a handy-homeownering post, but it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart, so I felt compelled to share it with you. I’ve been battling a bad head cold following my European travels (ah, airplane petri dishes), but I’ve been decorating for fall, and promise to be sharing some handy homeowner projects again soon!

On October 16th, I’ll be joining with thousands of people nationwide to walk in AFSP’s Out of Darkness Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I’ve set a personal fundraising goal of $500 – it’s a lot, I know, but I believe I can get there.  I would appreciate any support that you can give me for this worthwhile cause.  The walk is only ten days away, so I’m really ramping up my fundraising efforts!

I’m participating in the walk as a member of Team Walk for Dennis – my very good friend, Kelly, lost her dad to suicide three years ago. I lost my great-grandmother to suicide many years ago, and I know how it continues to touch my family through the generations, even though many of us never even met her. So I’m participating in this walk to support Kelly and her family, raise awareness about suicide and depression, and hopefully get help for even just one person suffering. It’s a cause that’s very near and dear to my heart.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of research, education and prevention initiatives designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. With more than 33,000 lives lost each year in the US and over one million worldwide, the importance of AFSP’s mission has never been greater, nor their work more urgent.

I hope you will consider supporting my participation in this event. Any contribution, no matter the size, will help the work of AFSP, and all donations are 100% tax deductible. Donating online is also safe and easy! To make an online donation, please click here for my fundraising page and click “support me.” If you would rather donate by check, please make the check out to AFSP and mail it in with the offline donation form.

Thank you SO much for considering this request for your support – every little bit counts. If you have any questions about the Out of the Darkness Community Walks or AFSP, do not hesitate to contact me, or visit

I’ll let you know how the walk goes! This is my second year doing the walk, and I can tell you that last year’s was incredibly moving.