Sunday, April 6, 2014

Barefoot in the kitchen...

Well, I'm back in the kitchen. Barefoot.

 'Mmmkay, I'm not barefoot in the kitchen (Luhvah wishes!). But I am working on getting the kitchen where I want it (i.e. not looking like a cave). I could should have started with the cabinets but I'm still burned out on painting cabinets from before at the Kingdom (and continued painting in general here at the Miracle). So, instead, I decided to start with the countertops because it was something new and different.

I hated the way the counters looked in the Miracle from the second I saw them.

Never mind that they are laminate. I could handle that. But the faux granite look was so messy. I've always hated it- I mean, even if it were real granite I still wouldn't like the look. I can't stand how splotchy it is, messy-like. It's very popular but I prefer a more subtle look.

After living with the counters I hated them even more. The uneven splotches made it very difficult to tell if the counters were clean. Are there any bread crumbs? Did you spill any sauce? I mean, everything blended into the counters. They may as well have been camo counters (Kindred, can you imagine?)! In fact, I ran across this blog post complaining about that very thing- and her real granite counters look very similar to mine.  I even found a pic of counter tops in camouflage (ick):

Anyhow, I was continually running my hand over them to make sure that they were smooth and no jelly was left from the Monkey's afternoon snack. It was rather annoying.

I want white kitchen cabinets so I decided black countertops would be preferable. My first stop was Pinterest (of course) to get ideas.

Then, I hit up Home Depot to check out countertop options to see what I might like. I planned all along to paint them when I saw multiple tutorials for painting laminate counters. I think this is the one that first got me thinking about it though. Still, I needed an up close inspiration piece to use for reference.

At HD, I found this:

I liked how it was subtle but still had some variety in it. Up close you would see texture, but from far away it would still look like a black counter top. My counters didn't end up exactly like that but it was more of an inspiration piece to guide me.

I started by taping everything off and priming the countertops. I used 2 coats of this primer:

I already liked it better with the primer. More calming than that busy pattern.

After the 2 coats I started with basic black. I got lucky one day a few months back at HD and found this on sale:

I knew it would be perfect for the countertops (even helps that it's an exterior paint so it's more durable). So I snagged it right up.

3 coats of it gave me a great base. Here it is after 1 coat:

Each of the base coats of black, and the primer, I let dry almost 24 hours between to make sure the paint set well. Here's the 3 coats of black:

After that, I used 2 different colors of acrylic paint (a dark gray and a light gray) and a toothbrush. I experimented a little until I got the look I wanted. Luckily this was very easy. If I didn't like how it looked all I had to do was paint back over it again and start over. Easy peasy.

(Tip: if you want to replicate this the key is a dry toothbrush. I kept an old towel handy and a bowl of water, every 2-3 sweeps of the brush and I'd swish it out and dry it. If the brush gets too wet it doesn't splatter as evenly and you'll get a blotchy mess).

To give it a little more interest and movement, I also added glitter. Not obscene amounts mind you, just sprinkled across after I'd already gotten the look I wanted with the acrylic paints (the very fine glitter too). That way, when you looked at it from certain angles the glitter did its thang. It looked good. Made it look less flat (the inspiration piece above had a glitter surface too). I tried to get a good pic of the glint of a piece of glitter but it didn't come off well in camera- in person it looks amazing-makes it look more like granite or quartz or whatever:
Here's the finished look:

As you can see, from far away, it just looks like black countertops.

But an up close look:

I love, love, love it.

To seal it all I used a polycrilic in semi-gloss (multiple coats). The polycrilic said it's good withstanding water which was my big concern. All in all, this cost me 20.00 to do (and 16.00 of that was the sealant). It would run you more based on how large your counters are (I already had the primer and I got the base paint on clearance-2.00).  I think it turned out great. I can't wait until I can paint the cabinets to see how much better it looks in here. I'm already thinking it looks amazing just having those busy looking counters gone!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's The Doctor...not Dr. Who?

Hello y'all! I'm working on something big so I'll be back later hopefully to share that. For now, I wanted to share with you the crafts that I did for the Monkey.

Lately, she's into everything British (it's sweeping the nation I suppose). So, she loves BBC something fierce. Her big thing is Sherlock and Doctor Who. Doctor Who is very big for her since there are sooo many episodes to watch (as opposed to Sherlock with only 9 episodes).

Anyhow. For Christmas, (yes, I know this is rather late coming) I decided to make her a Doctor Who inspired nightstand since she was needing one for her room. I'm always rearranging furniture and I happened to have an available nightstand that would fit this makeover perfectly. I found this on Pinterest which helped spur me on:

 I decided I would do something similar with her nightstand. A Tardis nightstand. (If you don't know what the Tardis is, basically, Tardis in Doctor Who = Delorian from Back to the Future). The Tardis looks like this:

The nightstand started out like this:
I had already taken off the hardware. Next, I covered the grating so it wouldn't get painted since I was spraypainting this. 

 All I did for this was buy 1 can of spray paint from Walmart in what I approximated as a close color to "Tardis Blue". The can cost me only 2.00. After spray painting, I painted the inside of the top drawer black and stenciled the words on in the same way that I stenciled on our front door at the Kingdom.

I haven't yet gotten hardware for the thing (I know, 3 months later...). But she loved it. So, now she has her own Tardis nightstand. What I loved about this Christmas present was it was practical (she needed a nightstand) but whimsical and it caters to her teen obsessions. Plus, it was absolutely cheap, cheap, cheap= 2.00 (and however much hardware may be). It was just a can of spray paint. Everything else I already had on hand.

The next craft was similar in nature. Again, found this on Pinterest:
Bleach, easy. I just needed a shirt. I finally pulled the plug when I ran across a rack of  $1.00 shirts  (No lie, one friggin' BUCK!) on clearance at Walmart. Just basic long sleeve tees.
 If you're trying this I recommend putting something in between the front and back side of the shirt to make sure the bleach doesn't bleed through (I just wanted the front bleached). I used a plastic bag (you can see it sticking out in the pic above). 
I free handed a rough estimation of the Tardis on cardboard and cut it out to lay on the shirt when I bleached around it.

I also tucked the sleeves in the side. I was using that orange electrical piece to hold down the paper since it started curling up when it got wet. I simply sprayed straight bleach on the shirt in a galaxy type way.

Here's the finished product:

I also showed you the back side of the neck. I forgot to cover the hole up in the front and it bled through. Not a big deal but may want to cover if you don't want to have it on the back.

Again, this was a cheap craft- only 1.00 for the shirt. And I really love it. So cute.
The Monkey is certainly covered in Doctor Who gear. These were quick and easy crafts.

I'll try and be back next week to show you the project I'm working on right now.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Make a good Entrance...

Today I wanted to show you my entry or foyer or for-yay if you're fancy.  I always believed you only had a for-yay (foyer speak for fancy people) if you were really, really wealthy. Well we're not so I guess I just have an entry to show you.

I was really excited to decorate this area because we only had a walk in area at the Kingdom, not a really truly true entry. See here:
One of the things I loved about the Kingdom was how open it was but that meant there wasn't really an entry way specifically.

Not the case at the Miracle. Here it is on inspection day:
Really bad picture and it's from the living room looking into it rather than the actual front door but you get the idea.
It was a pretty big area to decorate. I waited to do anything with it until I painted everything (ugh). But thankfully, since this was the main part of the house, I stuck with Revere Pewter by BM and flat white ceilings.

After painting I hung curtains. I just put up something I already had which I'd used in the master bedroom at the kingdom. But I liked them in the foyer so they stayed.

Next, I had the difficulty of finding a rug. I went to Target and brought home multiple choices to contend with:

After looking at them all I figured I could return what didn't work. Oh, and if you'll notice- the door is still smoker's yellow (or cream if you're nice). I plan to change that but I'm trying to decide if I want white, black, or maybe again- a pop of color. IDK. Still deciding.

Anyhow, on to the rugs.

I kept this small rug for the walk way between the entry and the living room (to hide a cord and the scuffed up tread):

I really wish they would've had a larger version of this rug (it was a small mat if you can't tell). It was exactly what I was looking for in an entry rug. Neutral but still some color and pattern. It was gray, cream, and mustard yellow (if you can't see from the pic). But alas, they didn't have a larger size or my search would've been over.

So, I tried out the variety of other options.

1) I picked out this mustard yellow because I thought it was beautiful and different. Giving some color. But when I got it in the entry it clashed with the curtains too much. So, nope.

 2) Then I went with this gray greek key pattern (I don't know exactly what this pattern is called). I liked it but it seems too light to hold down the floor, if that makes sense.

3) Next was this floral number. It had color, but still seemed neutral. But idk, it was still too busy looking for the curtains and entry in general.

4) Then, I tried this green striped number. Which I really liked. It had color and yet was subtle enough not to clash too much with the floral curtains. But still, though you can't tell in this pic, the green was too vivid. Not as muted as I'd prefer. Plus, it screamed SPRING! which was great for the upcoming months but then I'd have to buy another rug for fall/winter. Most people might just buy an additional rug. But if you know me, I'm el-cheapo. So, I needed my rug to do double duty. All year round, baby.

5) Finally, I tried this trellis patterned gray rug. Ahhhhh....Goldilocks. I liked how this was a darker gray so it felt more weighted. It had a tinge of blue in the gray (whereas the other gray rug was a full gray-gray). So, this one looked like it fit better and didn't clash with my curtains.  Yet it certainly stood out more on the floor. This was it. The One

And it looked very good with the other (my favorite) rug:

Here's the inside corner of the entry too:
That lil statue guy there is an ashtray. It was my grandmother's so it has sentimental value. He's been around for as long as I can remember at my grandma's and we named him Jeeves when we were younger cuz he looked like a fancy butler. Luhvah thinks he's hideous but I love him so he stays.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't show the leash hanger for the dog leash-
I made this awhile back. 3.00 Ikea dog butt hook and 2.00 wood plaque from Hobby Lobby. Plus scrapbook materials. It was an easy make and looks so adorable hanging in the entry. 

Besides the entry rug (30.00 for the gray and 20.00 for the small yellow) I shopped entirely from the guest bedroom for any d├ęcor items. So, other than paint- which was overall for the house, the total renovation for this entry was 50.00.

Oh, and the cat was free too. :)