Friday, December 27, 2013

Make Your Own Dinner!

I know my kids aren't old enough for that yet, it doesn't stop them from wanting to play kitchen though. I had been given a free used play kitchen that had seen better days, but the kids still had hours of fun with it. I had dreamed of making them something fancier though. When I was a kid, my sister and I spend many fun hours playing in our kitchen, I wanted my kids to have the same memories.

I've seen many entertainment centers converted to kitchen on Pinterest, and decided it was time to stop looking and start doing. I found a free entertainment center on Craigslist, found a rehab space away from prying eyes, and got to work.

After plenty of pondering I grabbed my favorite power tools and set to work. It took me about 6 hours to modify it, that included removing/changing doors, filling gaps with wood filler, creating a microwave area, adding a back, cutting plywood for new door configurations etc..

Then I primed the entire piece. Having just finished a painting project I decided to purchase a quality brand of white paint to cover. It still took a total of 4 coats (1 primer, 3 finish) to get a good coverage. I was getting really discouraged after the 3rd coat, white paint and I do not seem to get a long.

I used some acrylic paint to add details to the oven, stove top, microwave and blacksplash. The counter is an enamel paint that I belatedly realized was oil based. Yeah, I get to buy a new pair of jeans. (note the deep sarcasm.) It did make for a nice shiny countertop finish though.

Note the missing handle on the microwave. I forgot...

New jeans aside, this project cost me significantly more than I originally anticipated. Even though I used scrap lumber, the hardware, and paint added up quickly. It also took more time. I sure hope the kids like it...

Yes I realize that the hinge on the top oven is
crooked. I'll fix it later, for now it is done.

On Christmas Eve, My Vet and 2 friends helped haul "The Beast" as he affectionately named it down the stairs and to the trailer to bring it home. After the "Who's were a snooze in their beds" (aka the kids)We moved it into the house and beside the tree, and went to bed.

Oops forgot to put in a blank memory card!

On Christmas morning the girls quickly tore through all of the wrapping paper, and my oldest promptly announced that she "didn't even want a kitchen." dramatic pause so my heart could break a little "But I love it, because you made it." They then spent the next several hours taking orders and making food for us.

The next day after a couple of tense moments, where the stair railing was removed My Vet and father in law safely moved the kitchen to the kids play area in the basement. Some play appliances and a new pair of aprons from a friend of my mom's completed it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Oh What a Night!

One step chalk paint. No need for a
final coat of wax!
In small towns across America, businesses are hosting Lady's Nights Events as a way to show women their wares. I have seen fliers over the past couple of years, and I finally decided to go. I know that it doesn't seem like a big deal, but these events are usually held on nights that My Vet works late. Paying for a sitter so that I can go shopping just doesn't make sense to me.

Then a friend invited me to a Lady's Night at one of my favorite stores, that's right Lady's Night at the Hardware Store!!!

Not only did she GET to spend the evening
with me, she won a prize too!
Toward the end of the evening I was visiting with the store manager about various community events, when he excused himself to help a woman get her packages to her car. She was one of the few women in attendance that the manager didn't already know, and he wanted to make sure he connected with her before she left. That is the kind of customer service I have come to expect from both hardware stores in town. Talk about spoiled!

Check out these cute rain/garden boots
Why can't my feet shrink to at least an 11?

As a serious couponer I am always on the hunt for a good deal, but that doesn't mean I can't shop local. The nice folk's at Marv's put together simple, seasonal, crafts and then had inexpensive kits available for purchase so you could do it at home!

Beverage table fully of condiments!
In addition to great ideas spread around the store, other local business's showed up to show some of their offerings, along with a fantastic snack table on display.

Pulling out all the stops. How often do you
see a tux in a hardware store?
I'm so glad that I cleaned the plaster off, and braved the cold. Many thanks to everyone who made this happen!
I clean up OK, I could use help in the clothing department from some of the super stylish ladies at church. So instead of me, check out the smooth, angled ceiling to the right. Yep, I'm removing more popcorn! Unfortunately this room has a coat of paint over it so it is a bit more tedious, but coming along. I know exactly what to do with the free gallon of paint I won at Ladies Night!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer

Still have a few more additions in the next week, but progress is pretty too!
One of my earliest Christmas memories is watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The poetry of Dr. Seuss being read by Boris Karloff is contagiously happy.

For several years I have had a plan in my mind to help spread the message "But this... this sound wasn't sad. Why... this sound sounded glad. Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, was singing, without *any* presents at all! He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming, it *came*! Somehow or other... it came just the same. It came without ribbons!... it came without tags!... it came without packages, boxes, or bags!"

My favorite scene. The Grinch's heart growing.
I started with an easy project of packages, boxes, and bags. Then I got busy, and procrastinated too long. Thanks to an early family Christmas celebration in TN, I've had Christmas on the brain for a while this year. I grabbed a pencil, scrap plywood, and my jigsaw before Halloween. I can hear my cousin asking why I started so early. I don't live in Texas it gets cold, and it is not fun cutting out intricate lines when your fingers are frozen. Cutting that early gave me plenty of time to paint in my basement. Since My Vet likes to change houses every few years, I painted both sides with all the details so that they would be reversible. That took extra time, but I had it.

Keeping it real, this is how my house looked most of the weekend.

I did most of the construction and had them roof ready. The sleigh was heavier though and needed extra bracing. My Vet aka "Night in Shining Armour" stepped in to figure that out. He also got to head up to the roof for installation. I am willing to tackle lots of things, climbing on the roof is not one of them. While he was up there, he also got to hang the C-7 lights along the ridge. (I did change out any broken bulbs before he got up there). I'm thinking he earned shrimp scampi and cheesy biscuits in the very near future.

Cold and dark, yet he's on the roof
quickly trying to get'er done.

Thanks to the Vikings going into overtime, we didn't get all of the lights up on Sunday. Instead he finished them up Tuesday before the temperatures dipped further. We aren't the Griswold's (yet), but I think it still looks pretty good!

Notice the fresh snow? It's not too cold so it's a
big sloppy mess, at least the sun is shining now

Since it took extra days to get the outside done, I even had time to get to the inside. This is from last year, I'm working on a special kid tree that I'll share soon.

As I was outside taking this, a neighbor stopped to say how much he liked it! The kids and I love watching cars stop or slow down. If you see us gawking out the window wave! (We try to be sly about it so the drivers don't get creeped out or anything.)