Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Dining Room Chandelier Reveal!

After weeks of waiting and miraculously not nagging on my part, Himself graciously hung the new dining room chandelier this two weekends ago. Hooray! The contemporary monstrosity is gone!

Here she is. The rest of the room is not ready to reveal, so you only get a peek.

You may wonder where I got my inspiration. And if you knew me in person, you'd definitely ask. I have no innate sense of style. And I would answer: Debra at Common Ground, a blog I follow. I saw her dining room chandelier in her Christmas home tour and was knocked out by how fabulous it is. So I sent her an email, to which she kindly replied. She gave me the name of the store where they bought the chandy 11 years ago. I perused the store's website, got the names of some of the manufacturers they carry, and quickly realized that Quorum International looked promising. I popped over to the Quorum website, and in a matter of moments -- I kid you not -- I found MY chandelier.

It's 6037-6-70 in Persian White. Just look at that detail!

Himself, who is not in on the chippy, painty, lived-in look (which I adore), was skeptical. "Is it supposed to look like this?" he asked. Like what? "All dinged up like this," said he. Yes, it is. I love it. He merely grunted.

But because of his great love for me, he hung it up wonderfully and kept his thoughts mostly to himself.

Not a fantastic photo, I know. I'm still learning the ins and outs of my new camera. I've already gotten numerous compliments. And she looks gorgeous from the street after dark.

Another project completed in the new house!

 photo signature_zpsbb142848.png

Linking up with:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
What We Accomplished at Green Willow Pond
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll thru Life
Be Inspired at Common Ground
Inspiration Gallery at The Golden Sycamore
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Confessions of a Mediocre Cook: Cream Drop Scones

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for scones. I just love them. But making them is a bit of a chore, with the whole "cutting in the butter" part. I know it's not difficult, but it is time consuming, whether you use two forks, a pastry blender, or your fingers. And if you use a food processor, you have more dishes to wash. Then there's patting out the dough, cutting out the dough. . . . Yes, I realize these are total first-world problems. But they're also what's stopped me from trying my hand at making my own scones.

Until now. Enter Cream Drop Scones.

I found this quick and easy recipe in Pinterest, and it's pinned to my Tasty Eats and Sips board. (Do you follow me on Pinterest? I certainly hope so!) The original recipe came from Babble.com's Food pages. I made some last night and they are scrumptious! Tiny Girl and I ate them warm from the oven with strawberry preserves. I was fresh out of Devon cream (by a mere five or six years).

Cream Drop Scones are everything a scone should be: rich, velvety, slightly sweet, and light, with a slightly crunchy exterior. But there's no butter involved. Nor patting. Nor cutting.

You can throw these together for breakfast, elevenses, or teatime. I mixed them up in less than three minutes. They were ready to pop into the oven in less than five minutes. Dessert!

So you could think of these as rogue scones with a touch of the unorthodox about them. The reward without all of the work.

A dream come true.

Here's the recipe, just in case you're not a pinner:

Cream Drop Scones
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • coarse sugar, for sprinkling (I used Sugar in the Raw)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the cream and stir just until the dough comes together. Don't over mix or your scones will be tough. Drop by the large spoonful (or use a melon scoop) onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. I used a melon scoop, and this recipe made 15 scones. I also ate about one scone's worth of dough, so maybe 16 would be a truer count.
So good with a cup of tea!

 photo signature_zpsbb142848.png

I'm linking up with:
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
The Inspiration Board: Creative Party @ homework
Show Me What Ya Got @ Not Just a Housewife

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Waxing and Glazing the Kitchen Cabinets

After the cabinet door were re-hung, I waxed them with ASCP's clear wax. I actually completed this in stages, just as I completed the painting in stages. I tried several application methods and what worked best for me was applying the wax with a brush and then buffing with an old t-shirt. Caveat: this is a lot of work! My muscles were worn out. I had to do the waxing in stages, too.

And then I thought I was finished. Finally. But the more I looked at them, the more I wanted to try glazing, especially after reading Kim's post about glazing some of her kitchen cabinets over at Savvy Southern Style. (One of my favorite home decor blogs, by the way.)

I used the same glaze that Kim specifies, Valspar in Mocha. I tried to order it online, but had a hard time finding it. I finally found a bottle at Lowe's, but they only had one. It turns out that the already tinted glaze is becoming a thing of the past. The new thing is clear glaze tinted to your specifications. I guess that's why I had a hard time finding it.

I glazed one door to start. Then I posted on Facebook a photo of two cabinet doors side by side, one glazed and the other not. I asked for some opinions. Everyone went for the glazed.

Facebook comparison photo. Glazed on right.
Here's my method:

  • Poured a bit of glaze onto a small styrofoam plate.
  • Quickly brushed on glaze with a smallish paint brush.
Brushed-on glaze (before wiping excess) on the left.

  • Wiped off excess with a damp rag. If I wiped off too much, I simply brushed more on.
  • Stepped back to see if I liked the effect and made changes if necessary.

After wiping.

A finished look after a bit more wiping.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Which is just the kind of project I like.

Now all I need to do is protect everything. Kim used ASCP Lacquer; I may opt for regular old poly. Or more wax. But I'm not sure how the wax will react with the glaze. That'll take some experimenting.


 photo signature_zpsbb142848.png

I'm linking up with:
That DIY Party at DIY Showoff
Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings -- The Heart of Your Home
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage
The Scoop at StoneGable
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
What We Accomplished at Green Willow Pond

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Kitchen Cabinet and Drawer Hardware

Another consideration about the kitchen cabinets -- besides the painting -- was the hardware. The drawer and cabinet pulls were sadly outdated and had to be replaced I learned that Hobby Lobby has a nice selection of drawer pulls, so I headed there. Just in time for a big sale! I bought my cabinet knobs for 50% off. The store didn't have as many as I needed, so I purchased the balance online for the same great price.

 I found the drawer pulls online at Amazon.com. They are priced really reasonably every day.

However, I balked at the replacing the hinges. Hinges are expensive! And I had a lot of doors. So instead, I cleaned them really well, primed them with spray primer, and the spray painted them with Ace Premium in Ivory (satin). I first tried one of Rustoleum's Hammered spray paints, which I used on my hutch at the cabin, but I didn't care for it this time. I decided I wanted the hinges to blend in with the cabinetry, not stand out.

Himself was dubious about the hinge painting. He thought we should just replace them. I said it didn't hurt to try a less expensive option first. The paint was way cheaper than new hinges would be. It took a few coats to get them looking right, but he soon gave his approval.

After the doors were re-hung we noticed a bit of flaking on the hinges, but not enough to bother us. In hindsight, a quick coat of spray-on poly probably would have been a good idea.

Reveal photos coming soon!

 photo signature_zpsbb142848.png

Friday, March 7, 2014

What I Learned Painting My Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint

Remember how I told you that Himself had charge of finding our new house all my himself? Remember how I told you all my friends thought I was crazy?

I may be eccentric, but I'm not crazy.

No, I was involved in the process all along via my good friend, the internet. With the help of realtor.com and email, I kept in close communication (multiple times, daily) with our real estate agent and personal friend, Becky. She knows my personal tastes and what I was looking for in our next house. I had a few non-negotiables: a finished basement, no drive-under garage (garage in the basement) -- I'd lived with one of those for seven years and was tired of schlepping stuff up and down steps to get it in and out of the house -- and a kitchen with a window view to the outside. And I preferred a house that needed no substantial updating.

Well, I got most of what I wanted. Isn't that life? But the house we bought needs substantial updating, all over the place. But I love it anyway. It's going to be fabulous!

I started on the kitchen cabinets as we moved in. Himself thought I was nuts. But I couldn't stand it. The kitchen does not get a lot of natural light, and the dark cabinets had to go right now.

I had used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White on a hutch in our cabin over the summer, so I figured I'd slap some of that on and be good to go.

And thus began the project that took about seven years off my life. I'm still glad I did it because we saved a ton of money. But it was not as easy as I'd first supposed.

In the above photo, you can see the hideous dark stain on the cabinets. I'd already painted the boxes below. We had also stripped the wallpaper from the walls and soffits. It was ORIGINAL to the house, but came off surprisingly easily (peeled off in three minutes) leaving bare sheetrock and plywood behind.

It quickly became apparent that I was going to have to remove the doors -- all 29 of them -- to do a good job. Before I painted, I cleaned the doors with TSP. Then I started painting.

Lightbulb Moment #1: ASCP has a reputation for great coverage without sanding or priming. But small dark spots, some as large as a penny, bled through TWO COATS of ASCP on the first few cabinet doors. As you may know, ASCP is not just paint, it's an investment. I couldn't afford to keep painting on coat after coat with no appreciable difference.

Enter my friend, Sharon, who volunteered to help me with this project, and earned my eternal gratitude. Sharon had painted her own kitchen cabinets and barely lived to tell the tale. Wanting to save me the horror and tears, she whisked in to help me out. And gently suggested we try Kilz.

Lightbulb Moment #2: Kilz is not a miracle product. After painting three or four doors with Kilz, we could see spots STILL bleeding through. Sharon: "I think we're going to have to sand."

We set up an assembly line in my garage and started sanding, each of us armed with a hand sander. Due to space restrictions, we could only work on a group of doors at a time.

After sanding and wiping down the doors -- both fronts and backs -- we then primed them with Kilz. Bingo!

Lightbulb Moment #3: You really need to sand and prime cabinet doors. We ended up sanding the cabinet boxes, too. We did NOT have to prime them, though.

After that, we were on a roll. We cut in with paintbrushes and then rolled on ASCP with small foam rollers.

Lightbulb Moment #4: Foam rollers leave a textured finish. I did not lightly sand over the paint before waxing, which would have given me a smoother finish. It doesn't bother me, but you may want to take this step.

This entire process took weeks. Sharon put in 18 hours over three days helping me out. Then I did the rest myself.

Lightbulb Moment #5: If you can manage it, keep working at the job. I found everything went better and I made a lot of progress when I could devote several hours at a time to the work. Even better if I could work a couple of days in a row. If I'd been able to dig in and work steadily until the job was done, I wouldn't have taken so much time. Putting everything away and the getting it all back out again several days later was a drag. Also, I lost steam. You don't want to lose steam with a big project like this!

After I got everything painted, I gave everything a nice coat of ASCP Clear Wax and buffed it in. Again, this took quite some time. My arms got tired!

In my next post, I'll talk about my hardware choices AND the glazing process, which I thought I would do, changed my mind, and then decided again to do after the cabinets were "finished."

Happy Friday!

I'm linking up with:
The Scoop #109 at Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Be Inspired Friday at Common Ground
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

 photo signature_zpsbb142848.png

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shazam! New Blog Design!

I'm a little late in posting about the new blog unveiling, but such is my life these days. I'm a little late a lot. Anyway, I am also really excited about my new blog design! A big thank you to Rebekah Louise Designs for her fantastic work AND being a delight to work with.

I've been planning future blog posts, many of which will center around the work we've done on our new house and book reviews/recommendations. I'll also update you on our transition to a hybrid private school after six wonderful years of homeschooling.

First up, though, will be a post on my kitchen cabinets painting project, which took about seven years off my life but saved us thousands of dollars. So I guess it was worth it.

 photo signature_zpsbb142848.png