Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pantry Progression

No, I haven’t gotten any more work done on the pantry, since I spent the weekend painting Grandma’s cabinets.

Here’s where I left off:

pantry doors

While I continue to create new swear words as I attempt to install the remainder of the pantry doors, I thought I’d show you how we built the pantry.

When Brandon’s old job was moving buildings, they were cleaning out their shop and offered him lots of free lumber/plywood, etc. It was all scraps to them, but it was free gold to us! Most of the plywood was CDX (i.e. not finish grade) but I decided not to care, because it was all a full 3/4” thick – so it had great strength, most of it wouldn’t show, and I could mud/sand/paint the rest.

Then we had to decide what kind of doors or closure would go on the pantry. I shopped around at Home Depot, Lowe's, and Menards where cabinet doors are $20+, so I also considered making my own doors, researching what materials I could use, what trim treatments would be easy but look good…

That’s when I got “Weekly Deals” email from Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson, saying that they had a semi-load of cabinet doors for $.99 each!! Heaven! $.99 for doors to go on a pantry made of free wood seemed perfect.

I measured the dimensions of the wall that the pantry’d go on, Brandon hooked up the trailer, and we headed out to Bailey’s.

blank pantry wall

There were plenty of styles, but I chose these beautiful doors:

cabinet door

I did some quick cabinet designing at the Dairy Queen inside Bailey’s, decided I’d need about 24 doors, and then bought 30 to be safe.

Grandpa and I decided to create 4 independent pantry units that we could build in the garage and then install on the wall. (One of the units is deeper than the rest to accommodate serving dishes and extra appliances, etc.)

First, I painted the back of the wall to match the inside of the pantry, so it’d look all built-in, then we began installing the units.

pantry in progress

Each of the units is glued and screwed together, with a top and bottom, and 2 fixed shelves that correspond with the dimensions of the doors.

Grandpa and I created a base out of 2x6s that would serve as the toekick. We screwed the base into the studs of the wall, then screwed each pantry unit into it. We used L-brackets to secure each pantry unit to the wall, and also screwed each unit to each other.

pantry in progress

Once we had all 4 units in, I put a 1.5” facing strip of plywood on the 2 interior shelves to give us more room for the doors to hit (and to match the 1.5” that was the width of each upright (since they were 3/4” each x 2)), and began mudding and caulking the seams.

pantry shell complete

I also caulked and mudded any huge gaps that showed, since we knew our walls weren’t straight/level/plumb at all.


Then, I painted everything to look seamless, added adjustable interior shelves (with pegs), filled them up, and lived with the pantry looking like this for over a year.


Oh! I forgot to mention one of my biggest design flaws. So, instead of making the pantry 12” deep like regular cabinets, I thought that saving 1-whole-inch would really make my kitchen seem bigger, so Grandpa and I built each unit to be 11” deep. All that happened was a lot of things wouldn’t fit easily into the pantry and were sticking out about an inch. Womp-womp.

Before putting the doors on, therefore, I decided to extend out my pantry by at least an inch. I ended up using 1x2s, which are really 3/4” x 1.5” to do it. It was a lot of tedious work that I should have avoided by making 12” cabinets like a normal person.

I glued and nailed (thank you, pneumatic nailer) the pieces on.

1x2 facing

Then I primed and painted those, which brings me where we are today:

pantry doors

Woohoo! I know you loved that walk-through of pantry building.  If you’ve got any more questions about the building process or my gillions of mistakes, please feel free to ask! I’ll keep you updated as I add the rest of the doors, and finally trim out the top.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grandma’s Kitchen Makeover

Happy post-Memorial Day! I don’t know what you did with your long weekend, but Brandon and I helped Grandpa makeover Grandma’s kitchen by painting her kitchen cabinets.

Grandma's kitchen before and after

Grandma still wants to paint the walls, maybe add a backsplash, and install new counters, but what a huge transformation, right? We’re all pretty excited about it.

Here’s the before pictures. Pretty much all the cabinetry in the kitchen is original to the kitchen, which was built with their house in 1984. We started here on Friday.

Grandma's kitchen before

Grandma's kitchen before

(Oh, but they did change out that cabinet over the microwave, when they got the combo microwave/range hood. The doors are different, but they all blend so well with the new paint!)

We labeled all the doors and drawer fronts before taking them down (great idea from Evolution of Style!)…we kept moving the tape labels from front to back as we painted, and boy was that ever helpful. We would have never known what went where if we hadn’t labeled them!

labeled cabinets

We used Zinsser Paint Deglosser on the fronts and backs of all the doors and drawer fronts, as well as the cabinet frames.

Then we primed with Zinsser FastPrime, an oil-based primer. We brushed it and used a foam roller on the cabinet frames, and used the Wagner Wide Shot Power Painter on the doors.

Wagner Wide Shot Power Painter

I wasn’t sure about cleaning the oil-based primer out of the sprayer, but it was really easy. I sprayed mineral spirits through the sprayer, then took the sprayer apart, and let everything soak for a bit. Just a little wiping and it was all clean! No real scrubbing. I couldn’t complain at all!

We spray primed the door backs, let them dry the 2+ hours that FastPrime recommends, then sprayed the fronts and let them dry overnight.

doors in progress

On Saturday, we painted the first coat of paint on the cabinet frames, and used the Power Painter to spray the cabinet door backs (just like I did the other day with my pantry doors!)

We used Benjamin Moore’s Advance, in an Ace Hardware color called Warm Scones, that Grandma had color matched. (Thanks to Young House Love for turning us on to this great paint!)

On Sunday, we flipped the doors over and used the sprayer to paint the fronts with the Advance, and put the second coat on the frames.

kitchen in progress

While we were waiting for all that to dry, we spray painted all Grandma’s old cabinet hardware.

We realized that the hinges on the doors showed, and Menards didn’t have the right style of hinges in stock. I told her that instead of buying all new hardware, we could just spray paint everything to look like new!

We soaked all the hardware in mineral spirits for an hour+, then scrubbed it all down.

cleaning hardware

Most of the finish on the handles came off, and they were ready to paint!

We used Rustoleum American Accents Metallics in Classic Bronze.

spray painting hardware

And instead of a Memorial Day picnic, on Monday, we put Grandma’s kitchen back together! (She fed us plenty, though!)

Here are the after pictures!

Grandma's kitchen after

Grandma's kitchen after

Like new handles!

I’ll keep you updated with any future updates we do! :)

Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Bathroom Faucet

This is not an exciting update, and there’s no how-tos, but it’s a little bit of real life homeownership…

Our bathroom faucet gave up on us Monday night. It came with the house and we knew it wasn’t in great shape, but we were hoping it’d limp along until we can build ourselves a nice new master bathroom (that doesn’t exist yet) and completely re-do the bathroom we currently have.  But that was not to be.

So a new faucet it is! I chose one that we’ll end up re-using when we remodel the bathroom. I did most of the uninstalling of the old faucet, and Brandon installed this pretty new one!


It’s a Delta Porter 2-handle faucet, 4” center. I got it at Menards, but here it is for less on Amazon. :)

So far so good! We love it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The First of the Pantry Doors!

When I am less excited, I will put together a post about how I designed and built this wall of a pantry.

Today, as we put up the first of the cabinet doors, I realize that I am not a cabinet designer. :) Lots of little errors are adding up to make for a bit of a headache. :)

But it’s working, and the first of the doors are up!

pantry doors

I’ve still got some painting/touching up to do and some refiguring of things, but I’m so happy that these first doors are up, so that now, we have an idea of what we’ll really be in for to get the rest of them up!

What about you? Do all of your projects turn out to be more complicated than you expect, like mine do? :)


(Oh! And speaking of more complicated projects…here’s a sneak peek of a humongous bunting project I’m working on for one of my best friends, Janis, who just had her first baby on Saturday!! It’s going to be the whole alphabet, with animals!! I’ve been working on it since her shower in March, though! Oops! It’s coming, Janis, I swear! :)

L is for Lincoln

(And Janis, if you’re reading this, I’ve got a little personalized something for baby Lincoln’s nursery in the works, too!) :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Steak and Bruschetta

I am not a food/recipe blogger. I realize that now.

But I still want to share with you what I cook and how, even if my directions and pictures aren’t going to be as good as real food bloggers. :)

Here’s the delicious steak and bruschetta I made last week. See how I forgot to take a good picture? And I really just remembered to grab my camera when I was nearly done eating?

Steak and bruschetta

If you don’t love red meat, that picture probably looks gross. But to me it looks delicious.

If you haven’t tried the $1.89 bacon wrapped 5 oz. filet steaks from Aldi, go ahead and buy them now. They are fantastic and cheap. And here’s how I cook them:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put a pan over high heat (I have an electric stove, so I set it to 8 or 9).  Pour some olive oil on one side of the steak, along with some salt and pepper. Plop it in the pan olive oil side down.


While the one side is cooking, pour some olive oil and salt and pepper onto the uncooked side. Sear each side for 3-5 minutes or until each side’s got a nice dark crust.

Then put the steaks into a baking pan.


And cook them in the 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. We like ours medium. When they’re not overcooked, they’re so nice and tender and delicious!

I didn’t take pictures, but I cook sliced onions in the pan with the steak drippings over medium heat. Oooh, then I put the onions all over my steak and it’s so delicious!

I also forgot to take pictures of the steaks when they were done and before they were eaten. Oops!

Dinner also included bruschetta.

I roughly followed this recipe from

I chopped up 6 medium-small tomatoes, a half an onion, and some fresh basil (from an Aerogarden! Not mine, but one we have at work) ;). I added some minced garlic (the kind from a jar), some balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.


Then I served it with some big ol’ Turano bread and fresh mozzarella. Yum.  It was super great with the steaks!


So there you go, dinner: delicious, inexpensive, and simple!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pantry Progress!

Oh man am I excited!  It’s not a lot of progress, but after months and months of zero progress, anything is exciting to me!

Remember this pantry?

kitchen and pantry

It’s been that way for over a year now.

I was lucky enough to get these unfinished cabinet doors at Bailey’s Discount Outlet for $.99 each.

$.99 each!

unfinished cabinet door

I bought 30 of them, and actually designed the pantry (sizes and whatnot) to fit the doors. The pantry will end up using 24 of them.

24 is a lot of doors.

I primed them with a brush and Zinsser’s FastPrime2. It took forever. And a lot of space in the garage. Then I began to paint them. One thin coat on about 12 of the doors. And it took forever. And I didn’t love the paint (regular wall latex). And I gave up. So they’ve been piled up in the garage since then.

Till today!

Grandpa and Grandma want to paint their kitchen cabinets as a great, inexpensive refresher. I’m going to help! (I’ll take pictures and post all about it!)  So in the meantime, I thought I’d re-start my own doors as guinea pigs before we start on their kitchen.

I bought a gallon of Benjamin Moore’s Advance in Simply White (to blend with our existing Ikea cabinets). 

           Advance  Satin Impervo

(I was almost talked into using Benjamin Moore’s oil-based Satin Impervo. You know I love oil based paint. But I decided against it for fear that it’d yellow sooner than later, and although I would love the hard, tough finish, I really don’t want to do this project again.)

Grandpa’s got a trusty Wagner WideShot Airless Paint Sprayer that’s sprayed our basement ceilings (the open joists and pipes and all) and cinder block walls, his deck, a friend’s basement ceilings and walls, and a set of Ikea shelves that I have. It sprays the paint on thick and it always works.

Wager Wide Shot Paint Sprayer

I started by cleaning off the doors (since they’d been stored in the garage for so long) and sanding the grain that had been raised by the primer (with 220 grit sandpaper). I used the air compressor and a blow gun to spray off all the dust.

Sandpaper and blow gun to clean the doors

I didn’t thin the paint, filled up the sprayer, and went to town. I set up some horses outside (where I wouldn’t have to protect the ground – lazy!) and began on the back sides of the doors. I wasn’t sure if it’d spray on too thick and textured-y, but I thought I’d give it a shot. The doors were just $.99.

spraying outside

I adjusted the flow knob a little – decreasing it for a slightly finer spray. But it turned out that the nice thick coat is just what the doctor ordered. I kept the finer spray (which is still thicker than something like an HVLP gun would produce, I think) but went over each side in 3-4 directions to ensure nice, even coverage in all the grooves/corners. It’s so hot out that the Advance is probably drying a little faster than it’s supposed to, but it doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting anything.  The nice thick (but not too thick!) finish is drying perfectly smooth and making for one-coat coverage! That’s something I can never complain about!

Here’s some of my 24 doors:

door painting in progress

I couldn’t be happier! They look amazing! And I painted one side of all 24 doors, including some sanding and cleaning, in about 2 hours. That’s waaaaay better than how long it was taking me to do by brush…that was so bad that I gave up! :)

Isn’t it looking great? In person the finish is so smooth and beautiful!

painted door

To sum up: unthinned Benjamin Moore Advance sprayed great in an airless Wagner Wide Shot Power Painter!

I’ll keep you posted when I do the other sides, and along the way to speak to the paint’s longevity.  This also means that I have to get moving on the pantry itself…there’s a little more to do before I can install the doors. And attach all those hinges…ugh!

Anyway, for now I’m excited! Woohoo!

Happy Birthday, Grounder.

Grounder the dog

You’re not the most terrible dog on earth.

But you’re close.  :)

Grounder the dog

You’re destructive outside and whiny inside. You’re neurotic and annoying. You were trouble from day one.

But you (usually) listen; you’re good-looking and soft. You’re sweet and you’re tolerant of humans of all ages.

Grounder the dog

And since you’ve been living with us for the past 8 years, I guess you can live with us a little longer.

Grounder the dog

Happy 9th Birthday, Grounder.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Most Amazing DIY Lotion

Most Amazing DIY Lotion

This is a project that I actually did in February, after seeing it on Pinterest and reading this post on The Crafty Blog Stalker.  I wanted to come up with a cute DIY container to jazz up my own post, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’ll let you know if it ever does.

In the meantime, I fell in love with this lotion. It’s amazing. It’s thick, and because of the petroleum jelly, a little oily, but definitely in a great-before-bed kind of way. It has totally made my dry, cracked heels and toes look smooth and pretty (I still use my pumice and foot file in the shower), and it’s great on my hands when they are all dry and cracked from doing drywall and yard work!  They might still be a little callus-y, but they don’t look like it!! :)  I use it almost every day - it’s great when you get out of the shower, and when you just need a moisture boost. I’m making my second batch, which prompted me to actually post this post.

And even though I didn’t DIY any containers, I definitely found some cute ones, which I’ve posted below!

So here’s how you make the lotion:

Lotion ingredients

Gather up a 27 oz. bottle of Johnson’s Baby Lotion (which comes in a variety of scents; I chose Vanilla Oatmeal), 2- 4 oz. containers of Vitamin E cream (a super value pack!), and a 7.5 oz. container of petroleum jelly.

Combine the ingredients

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. (I used a disposable Rubbermaid bowl with a lid – so I could cover and store the lotion while seeking out cute, smaller containers.)


And mix with a hand mixer until everything’s combined…

Super thick, amazing DIY lotion

…into a thick, amazing new creamy lotion!

Because the lotion’s so thick, you can’t really pump it out (as in, you can’t really refill the Johnson’s container). I like to refill the Vitamin E containers for travel and giveaway. I refill the petroleum jelly container to keep in the bathroom.

Containers at Marshalls

I found these cute ceramic containers at HomeGoods and Marshalls to keep other places (like my bedside table).  I like that they have wide openings and are shallow, and their lids are really easy to get on and off.  They’re the perfect kind of containers for this lotion that you have to scoop out before rubbing it on! :)

My containers of lotion


The first time I made this lotion, I could only the Vitamin E at Meijer and it was about $4.50. (It is also available on Amazon.)  Target had a better selection than Meijer of Johnson’s baby lotion scents (including Honey Apple, Shea & Cocoa Butter, Vanilla Oatmeal, and Lavender).  This time around, I was able to get everything at Wal-Mart, which was convenient. The Vitamin E was under $4, and the Johnson’s selection and pricing were comparable to Target.


So, if you’re in need of a good, new lotion, try this one out and tell me what you think of it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...