Monday, January 28, 2013

Kitchen Reveal

So, it's about time I show you what's been happening with the kitchen.

First, before:

When we bought the house the cabinets were new, but the blonde wood that looks pinky. Some people like that. I don't. At all.

I tried to live with it, but then I finally just couldn't stand it anymore.

So, we broke out the paint. Ta-dah!

Or, perhaps I should say BAM! a la Emeril since it is a kitchen. 

Let me break it down for you. First, I would love to change the tile floor, but it's just not high priority right now, so knowing I was keeping the slightly off-white tile, I did not want white base cabinets. But I also didn't want the kitchen to have all dark cabinets since it is not a very big space. That's how I came to the decision of different color cabinets.

The base is Kendall Charchol by Benjamin Moore. It ties into the dark tones in the counter top.

The upper cabinets are Mayonnaise by Benjamin Moore.

To prep, Matt first added a 1x2 to the side of the cabinet to fill the gap between the cabinets and the stove.

He added a piece at the kickplate depth, and then a separate piece at the face depth. Yes, there is a gap, but no one would ever see it. And, now we no longer have the awkward messy gap next to the stove.

We took the doors off and numbered them, left to right around the kitchen. We numbered the doors in the groove from the hinge,

 then placed a piece of painter's tape over it so we wouldn't paint over the number, and so it would be hidden when all was reassembled.

We sanded everything with a palm sander. Then for good measure we wiped everything with deglosser. And then it was time for primer. We used Kilz. On the cabinet carcasses, I used a small sponge roller and brush. On all the drawer fronts and doors, we used a paint sprayer. 

We bought our sprayer when we first moved in for about a hundred dollars (little less, I think) and we have used it on so many projects! It was worth it.

Anyways. After allowing the primer to dry overnight, we applied two coats of paint in the same manner, waiting the full suggested drying times in between which was ueber hard for a girl who never waits.

Once the paint was cured we added our hardware. I love design details from the 1930s, so I immediately fell in love with the drawer pulls.

It seemed logical to go with small knobs on the doors. It took some searching and finally we settled on a goblet style. We got them from Home Depot, but they were clearanced so I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to find them anymore.

But, what to do about the long doors for the pantry? I decided to change up the style once more and pick something that would look good on those particular doors, even if they didn't technically "go with" the other hardware. 

Because I picked the same nickel finish, they do seem to go together and I really like the long handles on the pantry.

Finally, we began to buy new appliances. Eventually the stove and microwave will go stainless along with the fridge and dishwasher. But we decided to do it in stages. The fridge kept randomly changing temperature on us, so it had to go and the dishwasher took about four loud hours to not really clean the dishes, so I was over that.

I like them, but here's a tip. One store, I think it was Sears, said that if once in place we didn't like the appliances, we could return or exchange them. We went to so many places we didn't keep track of everyone's policies and ultimately purchased these from Home Depot.

The problem? Well, it's hard to find a handle-less dishwasher right now for whatever reason. And I didn't think that through. Because that is my main prep space, I would rather have a flat front, but I didn't realize my mistake until it was in place. Home Depot does not take them back. Sigh. So, I do recommend you check those policies and I would actually pay more to have the opportunity to send something back. I mean, how do you really know that an appliance works until you try it out in place?

It's okay, but we are considering selling this one and replacing it with a different one. We do love the way it cleans though, so the only thing I don't like is the handle.

Someday I would love to change the floor, but that will wait. I also want to change the ceiling light, but I have a feeling that will be a whole, fix-the-ceiling-to-look-right-now-that-the-box-is-gone can of worms.

I am so happy we finally made the change! Really it wasn't much more than a couple gallons of paint. We did spend some serious money on appliances, but you can see you don't have to splurge on those all at once.              

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spy Party Passports

It completely slipped my mind to do a tutorial on the passports for the Spy Party until someone asked. Sorry!

I took my own passport and opened it and scanned the cover. I placed the scan into a document and copied and pasted so I had two on a sheet to save paper when it came to printing. I made them slightly smaller than a real passport size.

Then I flipped over my passport and scanned the inside page with the picture and details.

I opened the scan in Photoshop.
I made a new layer and then proceeded to draw boxes over the stuff that needed to be erased or changed. So, I boxed out my photo and name, birthdate, etc. I just messed around until I found a color that faded into the background and it was different for most of the boxes since the background gradates. 

Then I saved this as my template. For each person, I created a new identity. I just made up names that were somehow based on something related to spying, like Hunt or Trace and for their first names I picked names of British origin that started with the first letter of their real names. So Gabe became Greyson Hunt. Why? I don't know. Just some rule to follow for consistency. 

I made up birth dates and places. I also changed the coding on the bottom of the passport. It has numbers like your passport number and birthdate embedded in it, and I replaced it mostly with my new made up numbers, but I also just filled in with random numbers.

I printed each identity, no photo, and I also printed some pages with stamps (you can find clip art for free on the internet that looks like passport stamps.) I placed everything into document pages so that I could have doubles printed per page like with the cover.(First, double check that all your dimensions are the same.)

I cut them down to size and stapled each passport together.

On a separate file, I made a box that was the same size as the box for the photo on the passport. This way I could quickly drag the photos to resize them when the time came. You could just change the dimensions a menu if you preferred.

Then when the guests arrived, I had them stand against a blank wall and snapped a picture of them. Once I had them all, Matt started spy training, and I uploaded the photos, used my box to quickly resize them, and printed the pictures to photo paper. I left it like above so I could just cut right on the line.

I cut them out and used a glue stick to attach them to their passports. Once spy training was done, each guest received his or her new identity for the mission.

The kids were all very excited that they were allowed to take home their passports.         

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Monkey Tree

I love plants in the house. Not only do they appear to freshen up a room; they actually do!

I've wanted a tall tree since our ficus died back in '04. Yeah. It was time to get on that already. But our ficus was awesome and I hadn't found one that approximated the awesomeness of the former tree.

Then I saw the Monkey Tree.

I love the five braided trunks and the leaf shape.
It was love at first mis-read.

My own little monkeys were being less than well behaved at Meijer when I first saw this tree which must be why read Money as Monkey.

Anyways. I wasn't at the store for a tree, so I left without it. And even though the name Money Tree is way less cool, I still wanted it. So I finally went back and got it. It was only $25 and it's hardy (i.e. I probably can't kill it). It's final placement is yet to be determined.

But, it will always be a Monkey Tree to me. :)