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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

Don’t be Shady

It’s a funny thing, being an adult and living away from your parents. You grow up with these people who care for you every day and then once you’re old enough to survive on your own, you hardly see them. Going from 24 hours a day to just a weekend here or there really makes a difference in the relationships you have with people, especially your family. My parents came in town a coupe of weekends ago for my Mom’s 60th birthday and it reminded me how much I love my family. And I was reminded of their quirks. I somehow forgot the way my Dad clears his throat or sucks air through his teeth, since I don’t experience it everyday. Or the way that he used to add water to empty ketchup bottles to get the last bit out and we would all groan when we squirted a watery stream of ketchup onto our dinner plates. And I certainly forgot how I am EXACTLY LIKE MY MOTHER in almost every aspect. Thank goodness I think she’s swell or this could be quite the disappointing revelation.

Since this was such a momentous birthday, I had to make things a bit special. I corralled my other siblings and their adorable kids to take pictures of themselves with a birthday wish and then had a surprise waiting for my Mom when she woke up on her birthday. Simple, inexpensive and awesome.

After whipping up some delicious Idaho Sunrise , we headed out to Mary Jo’s Cloth store (aka the best fabric store in all of existence) to find some fabric for my mom. Fabric + Mom = happiness.  I also wanted to pick up something for a little project I asked my Mom to help me with, as a belated birthday present. After our recent kitchen renovations, I wanted a little bit of pattern/fabric in the room, and was hoping my seamstress of a mother could help me figure out a faux roman shade. I pinned a couple of tutorials, and I’ll have to lead you to those instead of explaining the process myself. Frankly, I’m not sure how we got to the end product, but I’m glad we survived.

This is my sewing machine. And no, that’s not a joke. And yes, I know she’s ancient. But I have a special little place in my heart for her. My grandmother, who is an incredible quilter, bought my sister, mom and I this little Singer a loooong time ago in hope that we would all have a well made sewing machine to grow old with. I rarely sew, and know even less about it, but when I do – this Singer treats me well.

Our faux roman shade started with 1.5 yards of pretty fabric, and the same amount of liner fabric (a remnant for $1.75 – score!) and some white thread. My mom walked me through the basics of sewing a large rectangle (with the liner smaller than the shade fabric so you could have the pretty fabric wrap around the back) and how important it is to iron, iron, iron while sewing. The fabric shade was as long as the entire window, and just slightly wider (after seam allowances) than the wood blinds I have on the kitchen window. We flipped that puppy right side out, stitched the bottom hem and got to figuring out how the folds would work.

Why yes, we sew in our jammies. Aren’t we fancy? This picture is deceiving, though. My Mom was definitely the driving force behind this project, but I did do a good portion of the sewing. Of a rectangle. It’s an accomplishment, folks.

I wish a had a magic formula for how we figured out the folds, but that didn’t happen. I just knew I wanted the finished shade to be 18″ long (about 1/3 of the window) so we finagled our way to that dimension. We sewed the areas that would be hidden by other folds on the machine, and then whip stitched the back liner of the other folds to keep thing from being droopy.

We then wrapped a 1×3 with our leftover fabric, draped the shade over the wood and stapled in place, and attached the whole thing to our window frame with some metal L brackets. And by we, I mean my dad and husband after an early morning golf game and a quick power nap.

Why yes, we hang window treatments in our jammies as well. The faux shade took a bit of trial and error but overall it was a really simple project. And I’m kind of giddy over the final product.

Hello, lover. Scott says is looks “western” but I say it looks fabulous. Again I’m on the ikat train after years of despising it. I think I’m growing up.

Thoughts on the new addition? Oh, and you can thank my husband, the Punisher, for the winning title of this post. Neat.

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We bit the bullet and finally painted our kitchen cabinets after four years of living with yellow maple cabinets. Hallelujah! No, better yet, praise the good baby Jesus, no more nasty cabinets! We’ve been toying with the idea for some time now, and the time was juuuust right as a good friend of ours was starting his own finishing/custom millwork business and was looking for a job. Lesson #1: it pays to have friends.

This is a picture of our kitchen before we bought the house. This is a picture that also induces nausea in me in about .25 seconds. Not too long after we moved in, we swapped out the horrendous hardware, put in quartz countertops and DIYed a tile backsplash.

The kitchen at that point was certainly livable, but not quite exactly what we wanted in the end. We always talked about painting the cabinets, but just didn’t think the finish would be nice enough for our taste. Lesson #2: it pays to pay someone else to do something well. Once we decided to go forward with hiring our friend Wes to refinish our cabinets, things moved quickly. We cut the costs down by doing the prep work on our own, and Scott helped Wes reinstall the cabinet doors at the end of the project. Lesson #3: it pays to think outside the box to save a few bucks. We also talked with Wes about options for paint and came up with the best solution that would 1) fit our budget and 2) give us the professional finish we were looking for.

Our first step was to remove all hardware from the cabinets, and then remove all of the cabinet doors for sanding. This picture may or may not have led us to reorganize our cabinets. I don’t know how people live with open storage in a kitchen!

We numbered each cabinet and each door so after the painting was completed, we would be able to put the puzzle pieces back together. Our finisher instructed us to lightly sand each cabinet door, front and back, with a special sanding block (below). Since our cabinets aren’t real wood, we didn’t want to use a heavy sand paper and end up ruining our cabinets. A light sanding would be enough for the paint to adhere and would keep our cabinets looking lovely.

After sanding and wiping down the cabinets, our finisher took our doors off site to a spray booth and sprayed two coats of tinted primer (i.e. our paint colors) and one coat of water based polyurethane. Lesson #4: sprayed finishes trump rolled paint by a landslide. He also sprayed the sides and undersides of the cabinets that would be visible in the house (after taping off all of our cabinets, countertops and backsplash).

The industry standard for these pieces of your cabinets behind the doors (above) is called edge banding – basically, a heavy duty sticker that you put over these pieces of the cabinet. I was fine with the stock color for white, but the gray wasn’t tickling my fancy. What can I say? I’m an obnoxious designer. So we returned the edge banding for the base cabinets and sanded, hand painted, and added polyurethane to these stripes of exposed cabinet. Now I won’t see a slightly different color when I open and close my doors, which makes me infinitely happy. Lesson #5: be sure to think through the details so you’ll be happy with the end product.

Once all of the sprayed/painted parts in the house were dried, we were ready to install the doors and new hardware, purchased from Lowe’s. I looked into hardware all over the place, but decided to go with something that we really loved from our big box store – and there isn’t anything wrong with that! I like to explore all my options and find the best bang for our buck, and this hardware was definitely the best solution.

We obviously decided to go with the two-tone look, and we couldn’t be happier with our selections. We went with Benjamin Moore’s “Cloud White” on the upper cabinets and Benjamin Moore’s “Storm Cloud Gray” on the base cabinets. Now, for a bunch of pretty pictures:

I really wish these pictures would show you how beautiful the finish on these cabinets are. They’re like freakin’ butter. Our finisher said “just feel them” when he was finished, and I honestly haven’t stopped petting my cabinets since he left. Does the kitchen feel so much fresher/lighter/cleaner/more awesome? We’re pleased as punch, you might say. :) Next up: a rug, window treatments and possibly new lighting? Once we start we can’t stop!

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Happy New Year, everyone! Care to see pictures of my Christmas decorations/gift wrapping nine days after Christmas? No? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I had pictures all ready to blog over the break and what did we do? Left the laptop at home. Fast forward to time at home and time with friends in town, and the Christmas blog post just never happened. Ah, such is life.

But what I will tell you is that we have FINALLY decided to paint our kitchen cabinets! To say I’m excited would be a vast understatement. This is what our kitchen currently looks like, in its perpetual state of un-doneness.

With stock, yellow-y maple cabinets a-plenty, our kitchen just isn’t doing it for me. We upgraded the countertops and backsplash a while back (with the intent of keeping the cabinets as is) but the more I live with them, the more they grate on me. Or, I should say, the more clear it is that they just don’t fit with our design aesthetic.

Luckily for us, we have a good friend who is in the wood working/finishing biz and has agreed to help us re-finish our cabinets, the professional way. We considered doing it all ourselves (i.e. rolling the cabinets) but decided to spend a little dough to have the cabinets done correctly (i.e. sprayed with a super fancy paint spray gun). Here are a few ideas I’ve been pinning for inspiration (all images from Pinterest):

Obviously I’m thinking two-tone cabinets, but I’m (of course) second guessing myself. I’d like to find a picture with black appliances to put my mind at ease, but I think I may just have to take a giant leap here and hope for the best. Any thoughts? We’re hoping to paint the cabinets sometime this month, so stay tuned!

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Happy first of June, everyone! Yeah, June… that’s what I said. Can you believe that Memorial Day has come and gone and we’re now in friggin JUNE? I’m having a bit of hard time getting back into the swing of things after such a great holiday weekend, so I figured I’d talk about fun things to come to put me in a better mood.

We haven’t done too many home improvement projects around the abode recently. We got to the point where things were “acceptable” which led to laziness. Or exhaustion. Maybe a little bit of both. But now that summer is on the horizon, I have the itch to spruce things up a bit to avoid complacency. We’ve already painted our kitchen and den and purchased a new bedspread for the bedroom and rug for the living room. But is that enough? How dare you even ask.

Here is our kitchen as it stands today (minus the new wall paint color, which has yet to be revealed). We spent a few smackaroos to update the countertops and backsplash a while back, but now I’m dying to update the cabinets a bit. Our cabinets are in great shape (albeit not my favorite style), but we decided to keep them rather than spend a ton of money on brand new cabinets. I’m fine with the stain color, but it just doesn’t wow me. How about a little facelift, shall we?

Here is my first idea in a (very rough) photoshop image. I really really want white cabinets, but I just can’t bring myself to have white cabinets, white countertop, white backsplash and a white floor – boring, right? I like the look of two-toned cabinets and I think a dark, gray-blue would be just the ticket for our little kitchen. But, of course, the hubs doesn’t quite agree.

Scott thinks that white-on-white is where it’s at and not at all stark/institutional/boring. I’m not sure I can stomach that much lack of color, so I compromised with a light gray on the bottom cabinets to bring a little bit of contrast into the space. Leave me a comment with your thoughts on this (very possible) future change!

We’re also very seriously considering fixing up our deck, if the weather can hold off for an entire weekend. The current stain is looking pretty rough and we don’t want to go to the expense (and maintenance) of re-staining. Plus, we think we’d like the look of a painted deck better since we’d like to have the floor and railings/trim be two different colors. After a long afternoon in Lowe’s staring at exterior paint options, I think we’ve come to a solution.

We’d love to make all of our railings and the arbor a clean, crisp white to tie into the trim on the rest of the house -and to give our deck a lighter feel. A white floor is just out of the question, so we selected a dark, gray-blue (see a pattern here?) for the deck floor, as well as the stair treads. This palette will then open us up to painting our deck furniture, which is in severe need of a fresh coat of paint (can we say lime green chairs?!). Are you chomping at the bit to see the deck makeover? And what about the kitchen – paint away or stay the same? Sound off!

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I’m you’re all too familiar with our kitchen. The cabinets are just dandy, the countertop and backsplash are simply stunning, and the floor is, well, disgusting. Our kitchen (and master bathroom) flooring are the bane of my existence. I loathe them. They’re dirty, dingy and building standard – oh, the shame! The previous owner installed this monstrosity and then proceeded to turn the grout a yucky brown color, thanks to owning a dog-sitting business out of the house. You thought that grout was supposed to be brown, didn’t you? Nope, it’s dirty. Welcome to my shame fest.

Here is our kitchen floor before this weekend. I’m totally airing my dirty laundry here, but you really have to get a good visual of the before so you can appreciate the after that much more. We’ve always hated this dingy flooring, but didn’t see the point in replacing it (since that would involve pulling out our perfectly good cabinets). We’ve researched a lot of grout cleaners and grout stains over the past year or so, but just weren’t convinced that anything was worth the time/effort. Boy, were we wrong. We popped into Lowe’s this weekend to research another upcoming project for this spring, and happened to drop by the tile section to pick up some grout sealer. We started to look around at the grout products and saw a grout cleaner that caught our eye. We were looking for something to do that afternoon, so said “why not give it a go?” All those years of research were thrown out the window on the whim that the first product we spotted at Lowe’s would solve our dirty-grout problem. Go figure.

We brought home this cheap-o bottle o’ acid (sounds scary, right?) and a scrub brush and decided to try our hand at cleaning our nasty grout. We needed to crack the windows in our house and use some rubber gloves, but the rest of the job was fairly simple. We mixed this solution with some water to dilute it and then scrubbed the wash along the grout lines. After letting it sit for two minutes, you scrub the dickens out of your grout with a scrub brush and let the magic happen.

Wait, what? We have white grout?! We were incredibly shocked at the amount of dirt that came out of our sad little grout lines, especially since we’ve been trying for almost 3 years to clean our floor with bleach and typical cleaning products, to no avail. If you’re in need of some serious cleaning power, we would highly suggest using this product or something similar since it kicked our grout’s dirty little butt right out of the kitchen – and with minimal effort to boot.

This side by side comparison makes me scream with glee and vomit a little in my mouth, all at the same time. It’s amazing what years and years of use and a lack of grout sealer can do to a kitchen floor. We used this product in our master bathroom as well and the results were jaw dropping. The grout isn’t perfect (it is old and worn, after all) but it’s WHITE. I never thought I’d see the day.

Have you found a similar product out there that just made you say wow during the process? We couldn’t believe the results this little bottle of heaven produced. Share the goods!

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Natural Born Griller

This Labor Day holiday was a mighty fine one in the Hernandez household. We actually got a weekend to relax, recuperate, and above all things – eat some ribs. We seem to have a pattern of eating ribs on national holidays. It just seems fitting to remember our troops or celebrate the end of summer with a big slab o’ pork. Yummy yum. After my last post about Scott’s famous Hernandez family ribs, I got some requests for his recipe. We’ve since shared this with a few people and have been met with a rousing response, so I figured I’d share the goods with the blogosphere. Enjoy!

The secret to these super easy ribs is honey. And lots of it. I have a hard time watching Scott make these because I can feel my arteries clogging, but he can make a damn good rack of ribs. First, pick up a slab of baby backs from your local grocery store. Line a baking sheet with some aluminum foil and plop those suckers down. Apply a hefty amount of salt and pepper to both sides of the ribs and then coat both sides of the ribs with honey. ::droooool::

Next, simply wrap those babies up like a pig in the blanket so all those juices stay in. Cook your ribs at 300° or 325° for about two and a half hours. Once they start to smell fantastic, take them out of the stove and cut them into manageable pieces so you can move them to your grill.

Once your ribbies are on the grill, coat them with your barbeque sauce of choice, and don’t be stingy. Again, my arteries are clogging as I see this but my taste buds are thanking me. We like to use Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, but any sauce of your choice would suffice. Cook these on the grill for about 15 minutes or until you get a good glaze going.

Dig in. Cover face with barbeque sauce. Use lots of napkins. Repeat. Enjoy!

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This past weekend, I was flying solo. Alone. Singleton, yet again. The hubs was traveling for work, so Charlie and I had free reign of the house. I figured I should use my time wisely and A) watch some horrible chic flicks and b) do something creative. I certainly watched my fair share of awesomely bad films, and I also tried my hand at a little painting for our kitchen.

Here’s what I was dealing with beforehand. When we moved in, we had to plop one of our college-esque Rothko prints on this wall since the genius that built our house decided to put a monstrous circuit breaker smack dab in the middle of this wall. I felt like it was time to move on from the quintessential student poster (hey, at least it’s framed!) but I didn’t want to spend serious dough on a large piece of artwork. So, I decided to try my hand at painting. You may remember my attempt at a simple, graphic painting a while back, but this one was a bit of a challenge since I am not a painter. AT ALL. Not even a little bit. I always had to trace my people in my design school perspectives because I’m absolutely TERRIBLE at making things look realistic. Except for furniture and architectural details. That I can handle.

I picked up a 24 x 36 canvas from my local Michael’s and slapped on some cool blue paint that we had leftover from the guest bathroom reno. I also picked up some gray, black and white craft paint, and pulled out some paint brushes I had leftover from the bike mural in my big sister’s nursery. I wanted to do something graphic and pop art-y, like the silverware painting David Bromstad did in a kitchen renovation I had seen on HGTV one day. Now, let me preface this again by saying I am not a painter and by no means David Bromstad. AT ALL. But hey, I figured I’d give it a shot while I had a weekend to kill.

I started out by taking a fork out of my silverware draw and measuring it to see the proportions I should be shooting for (prongs to handle, etc). I then took my trusty pencil and started sketching, all while taking some measurements to make sure my fork wasn’t completely wonky. As you can see, it took a bit of sketching to get the shape I thought was acceptable. I’m not sure if the pencil sketch method is the best way to go, but it worked for me in this instance.

I then took my trusty $0.99 craft paint and filled in my fork sketch with a cool gray paint (cool gray to go along with my cool blue background paint). The gray had a little hint of green in it as well, so I knew it would go nicely with our green wall paint in the kitchen. I then took my white and black paints and made a couple of different shades of gray to add some dimension to my (very sad) fork shape, giving it a bit of dimension. After that, all while referencing my real fork next to the canvas, I added a few highlights with the black and white paint to add a little pop to my gray blob of a fork. I had to let the paint dry between each of these steps so that the colors didn’t all blend together. Trial and error, people. Non-painter folk over here.

After the fork paint dried, I took some more of the blue wall paint and filled in the areas where my pencil sketching had gone amiss, covering up any evidence of disproportional fork shapes. I then hung it on the wall above Charlie’s food bowls and had a minor panic attack. What was I thinking? I’m not a painter! I waited until Scott got home to see if I was completely insane, and he very nicely commented that the prongs seemed a bit short for the fork. Shucks. Sure, it’s not the most realistic looking fork, but maybe I was going for whimsical (haha). Scott says it’s a bit contemporary for our home, but the more I look at our giant fork, the more it’s growing on me. What do you think? Give it to me straight here, Internet. Should I keep my attempt at a fork or wipe the slate clean and start over with something more abstract? Sound off!

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