Now We’re Cooking With Gas!

Ok, to be fair, we’ve been cooking with gas for some time now. This old oven/stovetop came with the house when we bought it. 

Isn’t the discoloration at the bottom of the oven door a particularly nice feature? It’s burned on. 

As Tony and I have debated aspects of a potential kitchen remodel, one component we discussed was replacing our old gas range with an electric one. I grew up in a home with electric, so I felt most comfortable with it. Besides, I complained to my friend, Monica, “It’s impossible to cook anything on low! Our stove has two settings: high and super high!” 

Monica and her husband rave about cooking with gas, as do most of my friends who cook, come to think of it. So Monica was visiting a while ago and took a look at our range. “I see your problem,” she said. “All your burners are the same size. On most gas stoves you have a couple big burners and a couple smaller ones so it’s easier to simmer.” 

Mind. Blown. 

Anyway, we made do with our old, ugly, superheated oven for another year or so after Monica’s revelation, because it worked. And we’d learned how to compensate for the ridiculously high heat levels (manic dinner preparation). And new stoves are expensive.

Then Home Depot had a sale…

… And this Beauty found a new home! 

Next step is to box in that five inch wide space on the left. I wanted to do it when we put that little cabinet on the right in, but I was waiting to replace the stove first. You can’t see it in the photo, but our gas line comes up from the cellar in a spot that prohibits anything from going right up to that wall. Tony looked at moving it, but the floor joists line up in way that moving the line wasn’t really an option. It’s fine with me though – it will be nice to have a teeny bit of counter space on that side of the stove. 

Now it’s time to relearn how to cook all my favorite stovetop recipes!

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Replacing Glass Shelves 

Thank goodness for three day weekends! Last Monday was Presidents’ Day, and I honored the contributions of Presidents past by taking care of a little project that’s been on my to-do list for three years now. I’ve been meaning to replace these glass shelves with wooden ones since we moved in!

The reasons for replacing these shelves were two-fold: first, glass shelves seem a little dated. Second, and more importantly,  I was always eyeing them to see if the bowing in the middle had gotten worse. I was just waiting for the central support to pull out of the wall and the shelves to collapse in a heap of deadly glass shards! Luckily, that had not actually happened, and I wanted to avoid such a scenario.  

Sunday night was date night, so Little Man was at Mimzy’s. I took advantage of a baby-free morning to sand, paint, and stain the wood for the shelves. Notice, we don’t dress up for staining on the back porch! 

I was using an extremely simple design. The supports (made from 1×2 pine strips) were painted to match the existing opening and would hide the holes from the glass shelf supports. Tony helped me screw the supports into the wall, and I filled the holes with wood filler.  

Then the stained shelves (cut from 1×10 pine boards) could just sit on top of the supports. 

It’s all very stable – no more concerns of fallen shelf carnage. And I took the opportunity to rearrange a few other items with the knowledge that we’re going to have a little walker sooner than I care to think about! Now that Generations frame will be out of reach for a while… At least until he starts climbing! 

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Love is All You Need

Things are getting wild and crazy around here! There’s not been a lick of work done on the house, but there’s been a lot going on!

Little Man is legit crawling now, too. So you’ll excuse my absence, I hope, as I’ve been trying (and failing!) to clean all the things. There’s nothing like a baby dragging himself across your floors to draw attention to just how much dog hair is really down there!!

I have a couple Love themed projects to highlight though, in honor of V-Day coming up soon. This first one EO and I actually made for Christmas. 

The wood was all scrap from past projects, and it had been sanded smooth already, which was fantastic! I just brushed acrylic paint on EO’s foot (1 at a time) and pressed it onto the bare wood. The hands were harder, as he kept balling them into fists, so I let him fall asleep on the couch and carefully pressed his hand to the wood as he slept. I intended to design letters on my machine for the ‘l’ and ‘e,’ but eventually just decided to freehand it. EO watched from his box in the kitchen as I applied a coat of dark walnut stain to each sign out on the back porch. 

Two coats of polycrylic finished it off. EO and I made 5 of these, and the grandparents all loved them!

I’ve been eyeing the sign I made for myself and wanting to do something else with those precious little feet. I decided on a Valentine’s Day shirt – season of love and all! Amazon had baseball tees for a good price so I ordered one up and put cardboard between the front and back layers. I mixed regular acrylic paint 2:1 with a fabric medium (to thin it out so the paint will stretch a bit when the material does) and used a sponge to apply the paint mixture over the top of a vinyl stencil cut on my machine. It’s not perfect. EO scrunched the fabric between his little toes when I put the second foot down, but I’m excited to wear it for Valentine’s Day next week! 

Wishing lots of love to you all! 

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A New Year, a New Mixer! 

Here we are on January 15th, 2017. I’ve just now, finally, taken down all the holiday decorations (thank you, 4-day weekend) and begun to reflect on the last year. For our little family 2016 was expensive (new water line, HVAC, and windows, plus a major truck repair) and emotional (my parents’ divorce, the birth of our baby). I’m looking forward to a fresh start and planning new projects for 2017! 

The long-terms goals for this year include a guest bedroom remodel (paint, chair cover, furniture updates) and an end table that looks like a card catalog for the library. For the time being, though, I’ll be taking on little projects here and there and spending the majority of my free time with our little crawler! Crawling?! It’s crazy, I know. 

Plus, I have to recuperate from that giant wardrobe! …The one that I built to hold all Tony’s tools, but I don’t want to put any tools in now because they will mess it up… Goodness. 

Anyway, here’s my first project of the calendar year:

I’ve wanted one of these Kitchenaid Stand Mixers for some time. When we got married I didn’t cook much, so it seemed silly to register for such an expensive kitchen appliance. Over the last few years I’ve really upped my culinary game though, and I began to dream about one of those beautiful mixers. Tony found one that was nearly new for me for Christmas, and I’ve been whipping up cookies, pizza dough, scones, more cookies, guacamole, baby food, shredding chicken… Basically everything! It’s been a blast. To personalize my new machine I added some subway art vinyl and sewed a cover for the bowl that will keep all my attachments dust free. 

The bowl cover was the first project I’ve ever done with elastic too, so I may have to come up with some other elastic-based projects in the future!  

Happy baking, and Happy New Year to you from us! 

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Merry Christmas! And the Wardrobe is done!!

I hope you are having a joyous holiday season! EO is enjoying his fourth straight day of Christmas celebrations- that’s a lot of paper to try and eat! 

It hasn’t been all elves and mistletoe around here though. I’ve had a big deadline to try and meet in terms of my wardrobe project, and there’s nothing better than a deadline to get a girl’s bee-hind in gear! 

And boy, was I cutting it close on this one! Just an hour before guests arrived I was vacuuming saw dust and snapping these pictures!

I’m happy to say, this beautiful beast is 95% done! All that’s left to do is some trim work, but it’s totally usable for this weekend’s out-of-town guests.

If you’d asked me on Wednesday if it would be ready, I would have grunted out a frustrated “no.” Last weekend mom came over to help me finish painting the doors, so on Wednesday, our first day of winter break, I prepared to install them. That’s when I realized they were an inch and a half too short. For real! I still have no idea where I went wrong. When I called Tony to tell him the problem, I was sure my inlaws would be sleeping in a room still under construction.  Then I told myself to put my big girl panties on, and just get it done. That night, after I put EO to bed, I went to Home Depot for some 1x3s and headed to Dad’s to fix my error. We ended up building a frame with the 1x3s, cutting the MDF doors down even more, and fitting them into the frame. Sorry, there are no photos, because there was no time! We finished the doors the next afternoon, so I primed, painted, and installed hinges on Friday. That left Saturday morning for the install. Thank you, Tony, for routing out the grooves for the hinges and helping me hang the doors!

I am so glad this thing is finally (almost) done. And I absolutely love it. The only problem is that I can’t see it from the hallway! I guess I’ll be hanging out in the guest room a little more in the future.

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Sofa Table Gifts

My grandparents have this little black table in their entryway, and apparently my mom and her sisters have coveted it for years. 

Well, Mom decided it was time they all had the table, and that surely I could build it. So on Black Friday I took a break from my wardrobe project, and we went to Home Depot. We were there at noon, and it was still a zoo, but luckily the lumber side of the store was mostly calm and quiet. That afternoon we cut all the wood and Mom used the electric sander to smooth down the tabletops and the electric drill to make the pocket screw holes. 

The tables really went together quite nicely! I think the key was my new Kreg Jig for the pocket screw holes. We used it to build the legs out of a 1×3 and a 1×2. We just joined the pieces with the 1×3 facing the front, so you can hardly tell it’s two pieces of wood put together. 

Mom took the tables home for wood filling, 2 coats of black satin paint and light distressing. 

Then she added the words we’d cut on my machine and finished them with a clear topcoat. Here they are all lined up in her hallway. 

Mom saved one table for herself and took the other two up to Green Bay to give to my aunts. That’s why I couldn’t post about them earlier – couldn’t spoil the surprise! 

Aunt Beth sent a picture of her table in place in their living room. 

My aunts were so surprised! It was fun to FaceTime with them right after they saw their tables! 

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Wardrobe Work

So… it’s been nearly a month since my last post. Yikes! I guess that tells you just how much I’ve been able to complete since I returned to work… Besides the regular craziness of transitioning to working momhood, we’ve had some wonderful weekend visitors and even a baptism for little Lovebucket!

Love that little bow tie!

And then, Thanksgiving Break – Oh how I love you! I love the extra time with family and friends, of course, the delicious food, and the push to focus on all the many blessings I’ve received…


But I also love that I finally had a little time to focus on my wardrobe project! 

To be fair, there has been some work happening. Right after I went back to work, Dad helped me cut the dados (pronounced day-doughs) for the drawer bottoms to slide into. A couple weeks ago I painted and put the drawers together, but then they sat in the dining room for awhile.  

So I was very thankful that Miss Shirley came over to watch the little turkey on Wednesday so Tony could do homework at the library, and I could get in 4 uninterrupted hours of wardrobe work! 

That’s not to say it was a blissful project experience. The wood for the drawers was a bit bowed, and they didn’t fit together quite as tightly as I’d planned, so everything was around an 1/8 of an inch off from my original measurements. And I didn’t install the slides level with oneanother the first time… Let’s just say there was significant grunting, muttered profanity, and even a frustrated tear or two as I tried to correct my various mistakes. At one point I just hammered the heck out of a screw that was too stripped to pull out. It was cathartic. In the end, I learned how to use another new tool (the planer) so I could shave down my drawers to make everything fit. And just 5 hours after I began, my drawers were all installed. 

They are massive, by the way. Before this is all said and done, I will be snapping a photo of EO sitting inside one of these!

Climbing inside this cabinet to install the drawer slides brought back memories of the sliding shelves I made for the kitchen cabinets last January. It was much easier to do without a baby growing in my belly!

Up next: The face frame for the drawers is all ready to install, then I can do drawer faces and closet doors. Getting closer!

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Happy Halloween! 

I’m a big fan of homemade Halloween costumes. Its sort of a requirement for a DIYer. So, I spent months wracking my brain, and Pinterest, for a cool costume idea for EO and me. He won’t be trick-or-treating this year, but I wanted to take him to school for the costume parade! 

The top costume contenders were Winnie the Pooh and Piglet (but I didn’t buy the Pooh onesie early enough) or a couple of bumble bees. I wanted something we’d both be comfortable in, and something EO could wear in the stroller, which ruled out the really adorable dragon and scuba diver costumes. In the end, I kept coming back to this Pin of an octopus made from women’s socks. I found some polka dot and striped socks that perfectly matched a onesie that EO already had – decision made! And to make it a coordinated costume, I would be a coral reef!

I followed this woman’s tutorial exactly, with just one modification – instead of stuffing, I used old plastic shopping bags. I’m not even kidding. I just stretched out 4-5 old plastic bags and shoved them into the socks. They make a little crinkly noise when you move them, which EO loves, and it was one less item to purchase! 

I just used pinking shears to cut the leggings, and I left some of the foot of the sock so they would cover most of his feet. I did have to sew the sock legs though, so they could just slide onto the elastic and remain repositionable. 

My costume is just a men’s tshirt with a coral reef painted on it. It had to be easy to put on!

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Road Trip – Petit Jean 

We’ve just returned home from our first family vacay! Tony’s leave was able to overlap with mine for a few days, so we  visited Petit Jean (French for Little John) State Park in Arkansas. Legend has it that a French explorer was sent by the King to explore the Louisiana Territory. His fiancé asked to accompany him, but the explorer said it was too dangerous. Unwilling to be away from her love, the woman dressed as a boy and secured a job as the Cabin Boy for the voyage. The crew loved the diminutive Cabin Boy, and nicknamed him Petit Jean. They all enjoyed a lovely summer with the natives of the area, but as they were preparing for the return trip to France, Petit Jean fell ill and asked to be buried at the top of this little mountain, thus the park’s name. 

Though the locals definitely pronounced it Pet-it Jean, so I can’t get that out of my head!

We rented an adorable, little, overnight cabin for a few nights. 

It was pretty cramped in there with the pack’n’play, the kennel, and the stroller, but so worth it that the 4 of us were all there together! I think we did a decent job with the packing!

Petit Jean has some fantastic hiking trails that center around the beautiful Cedar Creek and Cedar Falls, a 90 foot waterfall. 

 The water level was pretty low, but the hike to the Falls was still beautiful. 

On a different trail, we went above the falls and along the creek that feeds it. 

We spent each morning hiking the various trails. EO did great for about 3 hour stretches. He just fell asleep on Tony’s back when he got tired. In fact, he’s asleep in almost every family photo I tried to take, but we got a few of him awake too! 

Charlie led us fearlessly on each path. He absolutely loved scampering up and down the rocks! 

Then we spent the afternoons napping and taking it easy. 

There were two spots in the park that were less trail and more natural playground. The first that we visited was Bear Cave, a collection of massive boulders that you can walk around, over, and through. 

Even EO did some climbing!  

It was a great spot for photographs. 

The other spot was Rock Cave, a natural shelter with Native American pictographs. 

Walking back from Rock Cave, you can really see why these are called Turtle Rocks! 

The boys were completely wiped out on the drive home. I was able to snap this pic of them napping together in the backseat – warms a momma’s heart!

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Wardrobe Part I

Most of my projects lately have been knock-offs of things I saw on Pinterest, but I’ve been working up a more original idea – a wardrobe in out guest bedroom. We’ve added closet space in our bedroom and EO’s bedroom, but we’ve hardly touched the guest room since adding the full bath a couple years ago. That room doesn’t have a closet of any kind, but the more traditional closet we put in EO’s room was such a mess with the mudding and sanding, etc. For the guest room, I’d decided a wardrobe was the best choice, but to maximize space and avoid carrying giant, heavy furniture up our narrow stairs, I wanted a built-in wardrobe that went from floor to ceiling with drawers and shelves and hanging space. This was my original plan: 
 I’d decided this would be my maternity leave project, and with only a few weeks of leave left, it was sure time to get started! 

So, EO and I went to the hardware store with my list of items. We picked up the little thing first – painting supplies, hinges, screws, etc. Then we went and got one of those lumber carts with the slot in the middle to hold the big sheets of plywood. I pushed EO in the stroller and pulled the big cart behind me. It was pretty humorous, and I got a few funny looks. The lady at the register told me I was amazing. Luckily, by then  Tony was off work and swung by the Depot to get the little man. 

Anyway, progress on this honking piece of furniture is predictably slow, but steady! Mom helped me prime and paint the first two coats on the MDF. Dad helped me cut the wood on his table saw. Tony cut out the baseboard for me. So it’s construction time! I can’t get a whole lot done while EO’s sleeping, as nap times have shrunk to 40 minutes or so. 

But I’ve had the babysitter come over a few afternoons, and that has allowed for a lot of progress!

Two more weeks. Let’s see if I can do it!

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