Thursday, May 7, 2015

I was chosen for the BetterAfter Mystery Thrift Off!

Wow!   I can't believe it is May already!  I should totally be ashamed of myself as my last blog post was in March!  Yikes - that is not good.  Tennis season is in full swing and I am busy coaching and stringing racquets and all things associated with the Spring sports season.  I have also been working on my guest room and that is another reveal post that is coming up shortly after I put up the crown molding.  Then that room is DONE!  What a great feeling!  I love how it is turning out too.

Anyhoo - if you read my blog regularly, you know I am a huge fan of the blog BETTERAFTER!  It is like a daily ritual for me to visit and see the latest makeover.  It is like I wake up, eat breakfast, brush my teeth and then... go and visit Lindsey at to see what incredible makeover is being freatured today!   I have been extremely fortunate and honored that she has posted four of my makeovers on her site.  First, it was my faux carriage garage doors HERE, then it was my faux granite countertops HERE, then it was my backyard shed HERE, and my Christmas sleigh HERE.  If you haven't ever visited this site, I'm warning you now, make sure you have ample time and enough beverages to keep you properly hydrated because you once you go in, it may be hours before you come out!  Seriously, not even kidding!  If you need a good laugh out loud moment, read her post on her new bookcases.  It is like snort laughing funny! HERE!

So, in February, Lindsey - the very talented and hilarious author of BetterAfter announced a crazy new idea she had.  She partnered with Goodwill Industries to announce a new contest called #TheMysteryThriftOff!  She was going to go to Goodwill thrift stores and find items which she would send out to those lucky enough to be selected via an entry questionnaire submitted to her blog.  Well, of course I entered immediately!

Lo and behold, a few weeks later, I receive an email that I WAS CHOSEN.  I was one of only 12 people and I couldn't be more excited.  I totally felt like Charlie when he finds the Golden Ticket except there was no Wonka Bar with which to celebrate.  Bummer.  This was such an intriguing idea and I was super excited to see both the crazy items she chose and the transformations her followers created.  And to know now that I was going to be given the opportunity to participate in the first annual GREAT  MYSTERY THRIFT OFF, well, it is just very cool.

So each day I earerly awaited my mystery delivery.  And then it finally arrived!  The box was a little worse for wear but there it was!  The box!  Sitting on my front step in all of it's General Splendour. Hmmm....what could be inside!  Drumroll please...... TADA!

This is my item that I need to make over.  I guess it could be described at a macrame wall hanging but all I keep thinking of is the hilarious scene in When Harry Met Sally with the Roy Rogers Wagon Wheel Coffee Table.  So I do call this my Roy Rogers macrame wall art thing item.  It is about 13" around and accentuated with pine cone petals.  And enough glue to choke a small pony. 

And it is signed by a BB Slater?  Could the artist - this macrame genius - be a beloved relative of "Slater" from Saved By The Bell?  Nah!  

Initially, I came up with some crazy ideas such as an organic hipster hubcap... dope, right?  LOL

Since I received it the day before the Kentucky Derby, I thought maybe if I added some flowers, I could have a one of a kind fascinator hat in case I road tripped to Kentucky....

Then I thought of a frisbee or one of those Native American dream catcher things with the feathers....

But as a devout Catholic,  I'm not quite sure how that works with the Indian Gods.   I'm sure my Mom wouldn't be too thrilled with that - even watching down on me from Heaven.  So ok, no dream catcher.  It isn't worth it to upset my Mom.  Or Jesus.  :-)  Lol!  

Then my peonies are coming up and they always flop over!  Grrr.  Well, did you know they make a peony ring?  (Insert your own joke HERE).  No really!  It looks like this:  

It keeps your peony from being floppy coz no one likes a ... Oh Nevermind!  So I gave that a shot:  

So that is where I stand right now.  I've thrown around a few ideas and I think I have finally arrived at a plan.  The rules of the contest are that I can't reveal my final makeover here at General Splendour until it appears on the blog  The deadline for the finished project is May 23rd and they will be reaveled in June!  And at the rate I'm going, that will be about the time for my next blog entry.   Seriously.  LOL

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Open Shelving LOVE! Project complete!

I just wanted to share my completed open shelving project!  A few weeks ago, my large cabinet started to pull away from the wall.  So I removed the cabinet to repair it.  But once the cabinet was down, I really liked the way the counter space opened up.  So I began to research the idea of open shelving.  I must say, I absolutely love it!  It adds a bit of pop to the kitchen and pop is always a good thing.  ;-)

The process of how this open shelving was installed can be seen here.

As a true Disney fan at heart, I like to add smatterings of Mickey Mouse or Disney magic in my projects.  Nothing major, just subtle nuances usually known only to me.  This time, I chose to cover the dividers in the glass jar cubby cabinets in vintage Mickey Mouse cartoon scrapbook paper.  You can't see it from looking head on to the cabinet but I like that it is somewhat hidden.  

Here are my shelves decorated for Valentine's Day.  That chocolate cake is from Hobby Lobby.  It is spectacular and looks SO real.  It was $30 but came down to $18 with the coupon.  LOVE!

The cubby cabinet has worked out wonderfully.  I found these chalkboard tags at JoAnn fabrics!   I also found a thin tip chalk pen that works like a marker but can be erased at any time.  Its very cool.

I like the way it opened up this space in the kitchen and gave me more counter space for tasks.  

This space has gone through quite a few evolutions to get to where it is now...

When I first started to redo my kitchen, I was dealing with brass knobs, hunter green formica and honey pine trim!

I painted the cabinet trim white, changed out the hardware and painted the counters to look like granite.  For details on that process, please click here. 

Next, I painted the kitchen grey blue and added a ledger stone backsplash.  

And here is the current and final result.  I really love the way this looks in my kitchen.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I did it! Good-bye kitchen cabinet....

So, as I posted previously, my large kitchen cabinet has started to fail.  The shelves were bowing and it started to pull away from the wall.  I had to make the decision to remove the cabinet,  restructure it, and put it back on the wall OR throw caution to the wind and remove it to explore new possibilities.

Yes, those are tree branches above the cabinets.  I use them with twinkle lights from Halloween thru winter.  It just adds a touch of sparkle to the drab winter.

I am not sure if it the promise of a new year or just an itch for change but I decided to remove the cabinet altogether!  Wait, what?  I KNOW!  I'm a little crazy for removing a perfectly good cabinet but what is life without a little adventure, right?

I emptied the cabinet, removed the shelves, and questioned my decision about 1,000 more times before removing it.  I mean, whether I fixed it or decided to eliminate it - it needed to come down.

And after some wriggling and pounding, down it came... 

The outlets on top of the cabinets allow for Christmas decorations and over cabinet lighting, etc.  That and the cabinet crown molding and trim had to be removed because it went along the top of all the cabinets for a finished look.  

So as I decided to go with the open shelving, it was off to the home store to get some wood and supplies.  I decided to go with 2" shelves for the rustic elegance.  I found scrap lumber and after going through about twenty five pieces, I found two that were perfectly straight yet with interesting graining.  I went with 2 x 12s which were four feet long.  I cut them to the width I needed.  I also bought some 1 x 2 cedar boards to serve as both a ledge for the shelf and trim for the cubby I was also building.

Then I spied some unfinished shelving for only $2.78 each!  Wait, what?  So I put back some of the more expensive wood and decided to use this to build the cubby for my glass jars of flour and sugar.  SCORE!  I love saving money!

So this project took a lot of sitting on a stool, having a snack and mulling over designs in my head, options for mounting the shelves, etc.  It was really a trial and error process but finally I got started.  I used the cedar boards coupled with large brackets to support the bottom shelf.

I had to drill a hole to run the existing under cabinet lighting through the new wood bracket.  The metal L brackets had to be off center because those were the only two existing studs in the wall.  

Living in Chicago, sometimes DIYing in the winter has its drawbacks.  Since it was about 20 below zero when I began this project, I elected to cut wood in the kitchen.  I had no choice really but it has made a HUGE mess.  Oh well, it beats frostbite!

I wanted the shelf to sit flush on the wood ledge so I chiseled the width of the bracket out before securing it to the stud in the wall.  It worked perfectly!

Now that the first shelf support was ready, I proceeded to the cubby.  I needed a closed area for glass jar storage but also to continue to line of the cabinets and trim, crown molding, and over cabinet lighting.  I used the unfinished shelving to make a very basic box.  I trimmed it out in 1 x 3s and 1 x 2s.

I chose to use the large brackets again because I didn't want to worry about anything crashing off the wall and I didn't want to have to be limited in  what I could put on the shelf.  I painted the cabinet and the metal brackets white for a uniform look.  A little caulk and some sanding and it looked like a uniform and polished cabinet.  Yay.

This was just me goofing around with options of what to put on the shelves.  I still have to add the second shelf and decide what color to stain the shelves.

I found this awesome Kate Spade inspired polka dot grey and creme cotton duck material which I was going to use as a backdrop to hide the brackets and give the kitchen some pop.  I also found these wire baskets at Goodwill for ...... $1.99 for the two big ones and .99 cents for the smaller one!  SCORE!!!

So that is where I am so far.  The weekend was spent watching Notre Dame hockey and men's basketball in South Bend so I am looking forward to finishing this Sunday evening.  I am so looking forward to how it is going to turn out.   Even though there is more work to do, I think I made the right decision.  I am excited to post the final product in a few days!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Unexpected Kitchen Project Kicks Off 2015!

Hello!  Happy 2015!  Let's start the year with a little quiz.... On New Year's Eve,  and all of a sudden I heard....

A.  Fireworks to celebrate the arrival of a new year

B.   Party horns and the sound of a fab party

C.  The collapsing of dishes in a kitchen cabinet!

If you answered C you are absolutely correct!  All of a sudden two of the shelves gave way in the main dish cabinet in my kitchen.  The little plastic things which hold the shelves in place all seemed to give way at the same time.  Very interesting!  And frustrating.

I have always had trouble with this cabinet pulling away from the wall, etc.  It is a large cabinet which holds a lot of stuff.  Thankfully, nothing broke!  I have no idea how that happened but I am extremely grateful!   Most of the items in that cabinet have sentimental meaning such as Disney mugs which are no longer available and family heirloom serving plates.  But now, I am face with the dilemma of what to do.

It definitely needs to be attended to and I don't want to risk just fixing the shelves and losing all the dishes the next time it decides to misbehave!  But out of adversity comes creativity!  My head is spinning with ideas!

The area where the cabinet is supported on each side by a microwave and glass cabinet on one side and the pantry wall on the other.  So I really don't have to put the cabinet back if I don't want.  I have always been intrigued by the concept of open shelving and this would be the ideal situation to give it a try.

Since the area above the cabinets houses electricity for over the cabinet lighting, the top of the cabinet cannot be removed.  So as an option, I found this adorable cubby hole system on Pinterest which would work out perfectly!  The instructions and blog post on Shanty 2 Chic can be found HERE.

I would make it a bit wider and only one level but it would also free up space in my pantry.  WIN WIN!

Then still exploring ideas and options on Pinterest, I found these rustic and cost effective open shelves which I LOVE!  These would be perfect!  I think I also have a few pieces of stone left from the backsplash to fill in if I made the shelf level with the microwave.  The tutorial and blog post from The Woodgrain Cottage can be found HERE.

So I am kind of being forced into jump starting projects for 2015 which isn't such a bad thing I guess.  I am going to think about it for a few days before I decide to simply reinforce the existing cabinet or throw caution to the wind and try something new!   This is starting off to be an interesting year already! Happy 2015  - I hope your DIY dreams come true!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Disney Frozen Themed Christmas Lights!

I have a confession!  I LOVE FROZEN!  I absolutely love it.  Here it is, over one year later and I still love the movie, the characters, the music, the snow theme, the ice, Olaf, Anna, Elsa, Sven, Kristoff, Oaken, etc.  I think the movie is fabulous and funny and highly entertaining.

So, on a recent trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, my 5th visit this year, I saw this sign and thought.... Hmmmm I could turn my house into Arendelle for Christmas.  So that is exactly what I did!

This is my sign I made to replicate the sign from the Downtown Disney Marketplace 12 Days of Christmas Store in Disney World.  I made it from frames from Michaels, a poster and foam and remnant  fabric.

I then mounted a scene setter Happy Birthday banners  to simulate Anna and Elsa looking out the castle windows.  I made the castle banners which were placed along the drive way and in between the castle windows.  I then draped them with garland and silver bows.

The next thing I made was OLAF!  I love Olaf and I knew that I had to have an awesome snowman in my Frozen Christmas display.  I cut his shape out of wood and then cut his image out of the scene setter birthday pack I purchased.  I then glued the plastic image to the wood.  I made his hair out of brown pipe cleaners and his arms out of felt which I glued to straws and attached it all to the back!  He really turned out ver cute.  I placed him in the large flower planter I have which I covered in a blue plastic tablecloth.  I then cut out some snowflakes out of foam to complete the look!

I then surrounded him with snowflake lights - this is how he looks at night.  He's really cute!

This was the front door - the garland, wreath, and snowflakes light up at night.  I love coming home at night and feel like I'm walking into Queen Elsa's castle in Arendelle!

These are the castle banners I made for the driveway.  The fabric was on clearance at WalMart for $1.00 a yard and I made the banner cover out of wood, glitter scrapbook paper and pompom trim.  I really like the way they turned out.

This was a totally fun project and I have received a lot of positive feedback from passers by!  I love Frozen and I know there are a lot of haters out there who tell me to "Let It Go"!  But, sorry.  I just can't - I love it too much!  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas week and a very Happy New Year!  Here's to a healthy and happy 2015!  CHEERS!