Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tiny Update in the Bathroom

Isn't it terrific how a little, tiny update can make such a big difference? 

I totally love that.

It means you can make a small investment in time and money and accomplish something that makes you feel good all over. Who wouldn't be on board with that?

I sometimes have little projects that I don't get to, for whatever reason, that sit on the list forever. Do you ever have that? Sometimes there is just no good explanation for stalling.

This is one of them.

Remember how we removed a bunch of yuck stuff we didn't like from our blue bathroom

We ended up with an open cubbie behind the door that once was hiding behind some very unattractive fake oak doors and molding. We covered it in white paint, tossed in a few cute baskets and a great wood box and called it done. 

For now. 

I mean then.

So although the basket on the bottom is cute, the contents - not so much. Not sure why it took so long to do something about it. Seriously, this is like a 30 minute project.

The bathroom cleaning products need to be there - obviously - but they are just not contributing to the look we are going for.

As I totally love that skirted look, I thought I could just pull it off again. I already had the fabric (meaning free!) and just needed to order a small curtain rod. Once that came, I got right to work measuring, ironing, cutting, sewing and fitting.

And things were going really, really well until the fitting part.


Ok, so maybe things were going really, really well until the measuring part. I just didn't know it until the fitting part.


It looks better than nothing, but I know it will look lots better with no gaps. 

Phase one of this little, tiny update is done. 

If I had measured right, this little, tiny update would have been big enough.

Be back with phase two soon.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Old Old Silverware and New Old Silverware

When Hero and I got married, we did not have a shower or big reception. 

Probably because we eloped.

Yep. That was why.

But it is totally good - We were thrilled with our decision to run away and get married in secret (all the way to the city court house).

Something that may happen when you are poor and need to outfit a home (and you don't have a shower or big reception), is that the stuff you acquire is not very expensive - dishes, towels, linens, silverware - or very high quality. But we were pretty pleased with ourselves finding all kinds of bargains from the local drug store. And we ended up with some goodies from Hero's family's basement.

(A side note - We did have two small parties a few months after we got married. We have some awesome family and friends who were very generous.)

But one of the things we had that was not that spectacular was our silverware. Most likely from Kmart. Most likely very inexpensive. Most likely pretty blah.

Another thing may happen when you do not have lots of extra cash lying around is you shop for bargains. Early in our marriage we discovered garage sales and LOVED them. We were able to accumulate lots of treasures and upgrade some of those early purchases we made. 

One of our best finds was a set of silver plated silverware in an awesome box. We have loved this stuff for about 20 years.

But as sometimes happens with old things, they started to develop a patina - Which on some things is a great look. It shows character and love.

But on silverware, it just feels weird on your lips when you take a bite.

For the last few years we have added a few non-matching pieces to our set - supplementing some of the worst tactile offenders. I have no problem mixing patterns, so we were good with that plan.

The box holds all the extras that we don't use everyday (shrimp forks anyone?) and the spoons that were just too awful feeling to use anymore. (Tip - when a guest uses a clean spoon and they turn it over to see if there is food or something stuck on the bottom, it is time to take it our of rotation.)

One of the things I am treasuring now is my mom's set of silverware. When I was a kid, my brother and I would argue about who got to polish the knives (the easiest) when my mom pulled them out for Christmas dinner. That was the only time we ever used it. 

But I am loving having it now - And using it.

Because it was not used very often, it is in terrific shape.

But it still needed polishing. 

This is a mix of my old stuff and my mom's old stuff, which is now my new old stuff.

Have you ever used that pink paste silver polish? Holy cow, that seems pretty toxic to me. It smells bad and I never feel like I can get it all washed off.

I have seen lots of natural cleaning products online and lots of home recipes for cleaning all kinds of stuff. I did some research for about 2 minutes and found just what I was looking for:

Clean silver utensils naturally to get rid of tarnish.

An awesome way to polish naturally, with cheap ingredients and bonus - No hand polishing!

If you have any silver to polish, totally do this - I highly recommend it!

Another before photo. They may not look super terrible, but after they came out clean and sparkly, it was a huge difference.

Basically, you line a pot with aluminum foil, place the silver on it so that every piece touches. I'm not sure if they could overlap, so I didn't let them, just to make sure.

Cover the silverware with water. And the final step - sprinkle with baking soda (seriously, baking soda is good for cleaning everything!)

After about a minute of boiling, they are done! 

Seriously, so easy.

I had lots of silverware to polish (with the two sets) and by the time I was done, I was looking around for more stuff to polish. It is super rewarding, especially if you have ever had to polish the forks (the hardest), which I often had to do because my brother always ended up with the knives.

So sparkly! So shiny! So not toxic!

(The ones on the left are my new old forks, the ones on the right are my old old forks.)

I'm sure these have never been this polished. I know this because I used to polish them, and I was not that great at it.

But now I am. Everyone can be!

Did you wonder where the tarnish went? 

Um, check out this aluminum foil.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Back Splash

This little kitchen of ours is moving right along. 

After the first week of demo and cabinet installation, and then having the counters installed, we are now moving more in baby steps.

But it is finally time to get the back splash up!

Remember we sort of ended up here. That wall....

It is not pretty, but it holds the ceiling up.

First step in making it lovely - We decided to use bead board paneling for our back splash. 

Small Modern White Kitchen

We seriously thought about subway tiles like these beauties.

But we were very much inspired by this kitchen, too. We really loved the cottage-y feel of this one.

And a bonus - bead board would be less work and less money. Perfect.

(And love the little 'm' stool, too!)

After measuring and making templates of our little spaces, Hero cut the panels to fit just about right. "Just about" meaning "there is not a single thing in this kitchen that is square and it is a darn good thing we have caulk and trim pieces".

Or something like that.

Instead of the back splash stopping at the end of the counter top, which we thought might look a little funny, we took it out to the edge of the wall. It feels like it flows just a little bit better that way.

 Taping off the (brand new) counter was a good idea. I think the conversation went something like this:

Hero: You are going to tape the counters off, aren't you?
Me (with paint brush in hand): Um, yep, just about to do that.

I get a little impatient sometimes.

I put the paint brush down and taped it all up quick. Really, it takes about 5 minutes. Now I could caulk and paint without worrying. And then just pull away the mess. Worth doing for sure.

Look at that!

And see that gap under the upper cabinet? We will get on that, too, with very small trim. I painted the trim pieces after I painted the back splash, and we thought we would wait until they were good and dry before nailing them up. 

But because I can get a little impatient sometimes, we pushed on with another little project.

Check out these little goodies!

We are loving these wall mounted racks for all kinds of goodness to hang from. Time to bring in some personality and charm!

The little blue tea cup is from a set that my parent's had when they first got married. Love the sweet color and shape.

And while we are working on adding a little charm,we added these cafe curtains, too.

We did not really need to have anything on this window for privacy or sun, but I did want to bring in a little softness and color. I found this great fabric online, whipped up 2 hemmed rectangles and clipped them up. The colors tie in the few colors found in the kitchen - The light blue overhead light, the yellow utensil holder, the red "m" on the plate rack and a fun green handled antique mallet that will hang on the rod.

We let that bead board wrap all around the little window. (Not to worry - we are all over that gap up at the top.)

There's the trim! We did not want anything too crazy or big - Just something to finish the space. What a difference it makes. 

This kitchen is feeling more and more like ours each day.

Love how it's moving right along.