Monday, July 16, 2018

Lights, Pocket Door, Action!

Getting the pocket door ready to hang was as easy as picking out a door handle. I grabbed this one off amazon:
 I went with the satin nickel because I want it to match the drawer pulls I will be putting on my cabinets. Installing the handle was very easy. I just followed the directions and cut out a notch with a jig saw. I stuck the handle on to see how it would fit. If you look closely in the picture though you can still see the outline of the old dummy handle.
 So I filled the outline and old screw holes with wood filler, sanded it a little and then touched up the paint. I didn't do a perfect job, and if you put your face up really close you can see the imperfections, but from a distance I am confident no one will notice that this has ever been anything but a pocket door.
 And wala! Here is the beautiful hung door, illuminated by the brand new can lights! The door was fairly easy to hang and slides in and out wonderfully. Now It just needs trim around it (easier said then done. I have no idea how to do that part!) and it feels like such a special piece of this new kitchen. Oh yeah, and I have a plan for frosting the glass. I'll post about it when I do that part.
 Speaking of the lights, my brother was able to come fix up all the electrical for us. He put in new can lights and see those two blue holes in the picture here? Those are for hanging some pendants over the bar. We'll install those after the cabinets are in so we don't break them.

 He also centered the box for the dining room light over our dining table:
 And moved the range hookup so we could move the range to the other side of the kitchen. He did a bunch of little stuff too, like making new outlets appear just where I need them, and moving light switches to the right places. I am so lucky to have such a talented brother!
 And here we are tearing out the laminate floor we laid over the retro linoleum. This is going to be a big process tearing out all this linoleum, but I have a few tricks we learned from other projects that I'll share later.
So that's where we are at now. The cabinets came in to the store we ordered them from last week, and there has been some disappointment there. The color and finish of the cabinets are gorgeous, but the quality is lacking. Two of the cabinets were damaged in the shipping process and we may have to wait a couple weeks to get them replaced. It is very discouraging because not only did I hope to have the cabinets installed this week, but now I am worried they will all fall apart on me in the near future. I am going to the store today to work with them and see what can be done. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Time to Prime! (and paint of course)

Now that the ceiling has been textured so beautifully, it was my turn to prime and paint it. The drywall guy told me to just put on one thick coat of primer and then it should be ready to paint. I bought a can of drywall primer off the shelf at Wal-mart. Here is the wet ceiling after one coat of primer.
 Then this morning I applied a coat of Wal-Mart's white ceiling paint off the shelf. That was a waste. It was basically primer. It had no sheen to it because it was flat paint. I do not recommend this, especially for a kitchen. By the time it was dry I could tell it was not a good paint. It did not match the sheen of the ceilings in the rest of the house. (Is sheen a thing? It's the word I'm using for how shiny it is.)
Here I am painting with a bag on my head to protect my hair. Painting ceilings is messy business.
 Here I am after the third coat of painting/priming. You can't see it well in the picture, but I was covered in paint speckles, from my eyeballs to my toes. I really had specs of paint on my contacts.
 Anyway, after a coat of primer, then a coat of flat wal-mart paint, I went to my favorite paint store in town and grabbed a can of Dun Edwards satin paint. I didn't get it tinted, I just had them shake up the white off the shelf. It matched the rest of the house so much better than the flat white. It has just the right amount of shine to it.
It is such a relief to have the ceiling painted and done! The ceiling alone has been an expensive part of this project. Between paying for the labor to tear out the sofit and have it professionally mudded and textured, along with paint and other supplies it has cost us around $650 just to make the ceiling the way we want it.
Now I need to pick out a wall color. Luckily painting the wall is far less messy than painting the ceiling!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Drywall, Mud, and Choosing a Pantry Door

So you can't see it very well in this picture, but after installing the pocket door hardware (which I did all by myself!) we put up some drywall over the framing and started to tape and patch it up. We used the Johnson pocket door frame kit and it was fairly easy to install. I'm not sure how well it works yet though as I don't have my door in yet.

After putting a couple coats of mud on we decided to have it textured by a professional. We tried doing the texture ourselves in our basement remodel a couple years ago, and we decided that in such a not inconspicuous place as the kitchen, we better not do this one ourselves.

 The guy who did it did a simple knock down texture. He made it look so easy to do, and the finished result looks fabulous! He textured both the new sheetrock, as well as the dining area so it would all match. We'll get it painted and see if it blends with the rest of the house ok. I think it will.

 So, now that I have the pocket door hardware installed and the walls put up where they need to go, I needed a door slab for my pocket door. I toyed with the idea of building my own door and staining it to match my kitchen table that I built last year. That would have been a lot of work though, and luckily our friend came to the rescue yet again. He had a bunch of doors from old projects and remodels he had done. The doors ranged from antique to practically new. Some of them would have to be cut down to fit my door opening, but others (like this one I chose) are pretty much just right!
 I decided to go with this lovely french door that is in excellent shape. This was the french door had a dummy handle so I was able to just remove that and the hinges and there is no hole in the door from a door handle that I would need to hide. The side where the hinges were will slide right into the pocket and never be seen.
My next step is to get the door cleaned up and ready to hang. I am planning to frost the glass, and I am toying with the idea of doing some fun designs in the glass. We will see what I come up with.
So the next steps in the remodel are to get the ceiling and walls primed and painted, tear out the old flooring, move the electrical and install the new lights, put in the new cabinets, put in the new floor, and voila! I will have a lovely "after" picture. Whew, it sounds like so much, but when I see how far we have already come I am hopeful we will finish before school starts in the fall.
If I am being totally honest, this remodel has been an emotional roller coaster. When we make some progress I feel so excited! If things are stagnant for a couple of days (like they were last week) I start feeling so down and discouraged wondering what in the world I was thinking taking on this huge project. It's coming along though. It's going to be awesome!

Hello Pantry, Goodbye Dirty Laundry!

I would say the hardest part about remodeling has been deciding on a new layout for the kitchen. The funky 70's layout we had was nifty and unique, but not something we were going to do again. This remodel has not been as easy as just changing out the cabinets. The layout needed major help.
So, first I had to decide what I was willing to move. I decided that I would be willing to move the electrical for the range, but not the plumbing for the sink. I was also willing to realign non-load bearing walls. It all came down to 2 layouts that could work in our space.

There was an island layout where we could do an L shaped kitchen with a small island
Or a peninsula layout where we could do a U shaped kitchen with a peninsula.
 I won't go into details about how I agonized over these two layouts. I really love the island idea, but in the end I felt like the peninsula idea would better suit our families needs. We have 5 children and the peninsula bar will give us enough room for 5 bar stools, where the island would only leave room for 3. I also have a son with food allergies and the peninsula layout gives me a totally separate counter and cupboards just for his food and prep area.
 So, now it was time for more demo! This time the kids got to help knock down the wall.
 Which leads me to the title of my post. For many years all of our guests have had a wide open view of our dirty laundry. You may have seen in previous posts how there was just an open doorway leading right into the laundry room. It drove me crazy!
We had our handy friend come over again and frame over that opening and frame out a new opening into the pantry. This time, instead of just being an opening there will be a door. But not just any door...we are installing a pocket door!
I never would have imagined we could do something cool like a pocket door, but I got to watching some youtube videos and found that it is entirely possible to put in hardware for a pocket door during a remodel. Not only that, but see that drywall hanging there in the picture? We were able to preserve that drywall and still frame out the opening for the pocket door. There are lots of tutorials out there on how to to do that, so I won't go into details, but that's what we did.
Oh, also during this process of making a new opening there was an outlet coming out of the floor right in the middle of where my new doorway was. Our friend that framed the opening was able to move the outlet pretty easily using a metal hanger.
And that's how the kitchen looked for a couple weeks.

Tearing out the Soffit

Since we love our house and plan to stay in it forever, I wanted to make sure I didn't have regrets with the remodel. One thing I have really been wanting is to get rid of the dropped ceiling in the kitchen area and raise the ceiling to the same height as the dining area. (sorry for the dark photos)

This was incredibly intimidating and is actually what has held us back for so long. I couldn't find much information online about tearing out sofits, besides that you need to check to make sure it's not hiding duct work or doing any load bearing stuff. We climbed into the attic and it seemed ok, but we still didn't dare do it on our own. We finally hired a friend to help us out and I'm glad we did. It was worth every penny.
It took us a full day of very dirty work (I say us, but I mostly mean my husband and our friend) but we did it!

After removing all the upper cabinets they cut a hole in the ceiling and let a bunch of insulation fall down. They then decided it would be a good idea to climb up in the attic with snow shovels and move as much insulation as possible out of the way. This worked out better. It was still a huge mess as they tore out the sheetrock though.

By the end of the day we were hot, sweaty and very dirty, but so excited that it worked out so well and there weren't any issues along the way. In one day we were able to tear out the cabinets, tear out the sofit, and put drywall back up making the ceiling all one equal level through the dining room and kitchen. The sofit wasn't hiding anything important, it was just cosmetic.
It was a huge mess to clean and mop up, but we were able to cook dinner on our own stove by dinner time (if you call buttered noodles and frozen corn on the cob dinner...)
It has been such a relief to have that huge project out of the way, but it's been a bit of a pain to live in a kitchen with a lot less cabinets and storage space.

It's Kitchen Remodel Time!

I realize this has nothing to do with sewing, but I wanted to blog about our kitchen renovation because I'm so excited about it! So, for my first blog post I have some before pictures. Here is what our kitchen looked like when we bought our house 5 years ago.
Actually it's not a true before picture. When we bought the house there was green shag carpet in the dining area and orange linoleum in the kitchen area. We changed the carpet throughout the house and put in this laminate wood flooring before we moved into the house. The cabinets also had some lovely 70's hardware that my husband hated and removed right away.

 For years we were bumping our hips on that beautiful orange peninsula counter top every time we walked past. The color started to grown on me, but the layout didn't work well with the flow of traffic in our house. It made the dining area feel cramped and the cabinets above and below the orange counter were hard to access and keep organized. It was a cluttery mess!
One day I went to a play and when I came home, the orange counter and surrounding cabinets were gone! My husband was so tired of them, he ripped them out. For the past year or more we have been living like this.
 It has felt a lot more open, but it's been a pain! The stove is sandwiched in there with no counters on either side. One of the cabinets (to the left of the fridge) hasn't had a counter top on it, and it's just been awful. So, now that summer has come and we have time on our hands, the real kitchen remodel has begun!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Legend of Zelda finished quilt top!!!

And....We...Did it!!!!!!
We finally, after 8 long months, have finished our Legend of Zelda quilt top. We have it sent off to the quilter now with a heartfelt plea, begging her to take good care of it and work her magical quilting skills. It was hard to turn it over to someone else to finish it off, but I have been assured we deposited it in good hands. The lady who is quilting it was pretty impressed with what we've done. She has never seen a quilt like it before.

In this picture you can get a sneak peak of the fabric my son chose for the back of it. It has Link with his sword and shield and horse, and while it doesn't match the top perfectly, it's going be pretty awesome!
So, I wanted to share some final thoughts on this project:
1- Linda's pattern is awesome! I would have paid money for it if she didn't offer it free. Her instructions were very clear and easy to follow and it all came together so well.
2- Don't be afraid to use some fun fabric and change up the colors. We love the subtle patterns and vibrant colors of the fabric we used!
3-Use gray thread! Linda suggests using white thread so it doesn't shadow through on the white parts, but there are far more black parts to this quilt than white. I used white thread at first and there are some places where the white shows through on the black. Once I switched to gray it worked great everywhere.
4-Don't skip the first step of making the ironing grid to lay the pieces out on! That part is super time consuming, but worth it. It doesn't have to be expensive though. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I  used duck cloth (that I got for cheap out of a remnant bin) on top of my card table, and it worked great! The only burn mark we got on the card table was when someone plugged in the iron and left it laying on the fabric. We have a nice iron burn mark on the card table now for some happy memories.
5-If you are curious about the final cost of this project (that's always something I like to know) I will try to break it down for you, although I didn't keep as good of track as I wish I would have.
I bought a bolt of 20 yards of interfacing from That was about $20
The June Tailor slotted ruler (almost a necessity for this project) was gifted to me by my friend, but goes for $30-$50.
2 yards of the green I used $10 (it was $5 a yard at Walmart. Walmart is all we've got in my small town! :(
1 yard red fabric $5
Some fat quarters for other colors, about $10
The rest of the fabric for my front was either from my stash or gifted to me, but if I had to have bought it it would have been probably another $40-50 (also included in this would be the cost of needles, thread, and a new blade for my rotary cutter).
The fabric for the back was about $50 with a coupon from Joann's
Cost of getting it quilted by someone with a long arm will be about $65 (but could be much higher if I wanted cotton batting or a specific design. As it is I chose polyester batting and asked her to just do random swirls)
I will make my own binding using fabric from my stash.
Total cost=
So the cost will be pretty variable depending on what you already have. I think it's important for people to realize how costly making a quilt like this can be though! It's not cheap for sure.

And I think that's all folks! This has been a super fun project. I can't wait to see how it turns out after being quilted and bound.