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Kitchen Before and After... Featuring Glazed Antiqued Cabinets!

When we bought our house in 2009 one of the things we really hated was the kitchen.... which is kind of funny beause that's where we spend the most time, basically the most important room in the house!   We knew though, that it had great potential, it was just really, really ugly. 

Here is the sales picture on the internet when our house was on the market... (this is not my old decor!!)
Look at those cabinets, what color are they supposed to be??  Anyone... Anyone?  Bueller.. Bueller?;)

They were such a hideous color.  The previous owner said they were "white-washed",  ummm, no.  They were kind of pickled with a pinkish under-tone, just awful. 

The other very bad thing going on in the kitchen were the floors.  It's hard to tell by the pictures but they were linoleum that was supposed to look like tile.  They were a grey color that really hid the dirt. They hid the dirt by looking dirty all the time!!  Yuck! 

The first thing we did before we moved in was replace the flooring with dark cherry bamboo hard wood.  You can see close up pictures of that here.  This made such a difference and even made the cabinets look  a little better, but they still had that weird pink tinge to them, they SO had to GO!! 

The previous owner took most of the appliances and the remaining two weren't in great shape so we replaced them all with new stainless steel, this really brightened it up and gave it a sleek, modern feel. 

We then changed out the light fixtures, hanging a nice black chandelier over the kitchen table and some DIY pendant lights (will blog those soon) over the island.  Another huge improvement.  The kitchen was really dark and having the extra bulbs in there with the chandalier and pendants really warmed it up. 

The biggest improvement was re-doing the kitchen cabinetsWe I decided to glaze them with an antique finish (hubby voted for plain white, sorry babe). 
There are a few more things that we'd like to do in the kitchen when the budget allows... crown moulding, adding a backsplash, and granite or quartz countertops.

Finally came the decor... what I love to do. :) 

Here is the After:

Another view...

I also have to show off my kitchen rug that I am in love with. 


I should also note that our kitchen remodel will probably be the most expensive thing I ever do on my blog.  I am Chic on a Shoestring Decorating because I am on a shoestring budget, this house was such a great deal that I got to do the upgrades on the kitchen.  Don't let this "pricey" post scare you away! ;)

I also wanted to share that I feel the antiqued glaze was the right choice for the cabinets as I saw the same look in a book my little one got for Christmas....

Picture courtesy of Sesame Street
How can you go wrong if your kitchen resembles the kitchen of Cookie Monster, Elmo, and the Count??  Check out their sweet antiqued cabinets...  HA! :)

Update : After attempting a giant-detailed-tons-of-photos too-long blog post about my glazing and antique-ing kitchen cabinet techniques I've decided to write an e-book!

I am sharing all my secrets of the whole process including how to avoid sanding, leaving your cabinet doors on while painting (yes, you can!) Plus, the exact colors, brands and products I use (not, just go to the paint store and buy some glaze).

Please "follow me" or bookmark my site to look for the release date by the end of 2012!

I'm linked to Thrifty Decor Chic, Between Naps on the Front Porch,  Cottage Instincts , Making the World Cuter, The Shades of Pink, My Frugal Family, The Faded Charm Cottage and It's so very Cheri.

You too, can hang your own curtain rod using a power tool!

Are you scared of power tools?  I was.  Anything that involved more than a hammer and nail used to be off limits for me.  I'm still no "Handy Manny" (for those of you with pre-schoolers) but, I've recently broadened my tool wielding horizons to include cordless drills. 

After moving this summer we had lots and lots of projects.  Many of them were small easy projects that were way down on my hubby's priority list... things like hanging towel bars, curtain rods, heavy pictures, etc.  It also happened that these "low priority" tasks for the hubs were high priority tasks for me! 

One afternoon I was really sick of the toilet paper sitting on the back of the toilet... so tacky.  I went and got the cordless drill and a box of what I later found out were drill bits.  I had seen hubby do this a lot so I had an idea of what to do.  I opened the package of my lovely new oiled bronze toliet paper holder and low and behold there were directions in side for newbies like me! 

The directions told me which drill bit to use to make the appropriate size hole for the screw anchors and I proceeded to drill holes in my wall and hang up my toilet paper holder all by myself!  It sounds very trivial but it made me feel so good to know that I can tackle these silly little projects by myself, with my new bff, the cordless drill! 

Today I decided to hang up the curtain rod over my annoyingly naked French doors.

I found out that it is very hard to take picture of yourself doing a project on a stepladder so I enlisted my 5 year old to help.  I also found out that my camera is not capable of taking a non-flash picture of a window... sorry in advance for these crummy-washed-out-from-flash pictures.

Here is the "naked" French door... so boring:

Here are the tools you need to hang a curtain rod:

You also need a level which you will see pictured later on. :)

First, make sure you measure the bracket for the appropriate length of the curtain.  It is very stylish nowadays to hang curtain rods up near the ceiling and let the bottoms pool on the floor.  However, since this is over a French door and we'll be moving them often (when the frozen tundra finally melts) I stuck with the standard curtain rod slightly over the door trim and curtain bottoms just barely touching the floor.

After you've measured from the floor up, make marks on the wall using the bracket holes as your stencil.

Now it's time to get your new bff (the cordless drill) ready for action.  My curtain rod came with instructions that told me what size drill bit to use so I didn't have to guess.  I found the proper size and attached it to the drill.  This is done by spinning the front area (see below) to the left, sticking in the bit, then spinning it to the right to tighten it around the bit. 

Then drill the holes that you marked with your bracket "stencil".

Once the holes are drilled, stick in the screw anchors then hammer them flush with the wall.

Now, pull out your level to make sure your curtain rod will be nice and... well, level, and make marks for the drill holes for the other 2 brackets.   

Now that you've got your screw anchors up we can put up the brackets.

Find your drill bit with a Phillip's head (if that's the kind of screws you're using) and attach it to the drill.

Hold up your brackets to the pre-drilled holes, stick the screw through the bracket hole, drill it into the anchor.  Try not to scuff up the wall like me :)

When attaching the 2nd and 3rd bracket, I always wait to screw them in really tightly until I check them with the bracket next to them and the level.

Nice and level :)

Now it's time to put up my gorgeous new panels...

They look a little busy in the picture but they really pull my room together.

Here's a close-up of the fabric...

As always, thanks for visiting my blog.  I love your comments and it makes my day when I have new follower so please, follow me! :)



Whatcha' think of my kitchen cabinet tops??

My kitchen cabinets are finished! I was able to use things I had around the house and ended up just using 2 of my 80% Hobby Lobby finds. Several of the things I got were just a tiny bit too tall. But don't worry, I'll find someplace else for them.

Sorry the pictures are a little dark.... the sun has been MIA for a while in my neck of the woods. :(

I am so happy to be able to show off my little pitcher collection.

I am very happy with how this turned out, it makes my kitchen feel so much cozier.  It's funny how little touches make such a big difference in the feel of a room. 

So, whatcha' think??  I love your comments!!!

I'd love it if you'd follow me! :)

I am participating in Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphisis Monday and Cottage Instincts Make it for Monday,  also...

The Girl Creative

Kitchen Cabinet Tops and Super Sale at Hobby Lobby

Since we moved into our home this past summer I have been contemplating whether or not I should decorate the top of my kitchen cabinets.  This is something I have mixed feelings about, sometimes it can just be too much.  

One of our previous houses had a vaulted ceiling in the kitchen so it was a no-brainer, it had to be decorated.  Our last house the cabinets went all the way up to the ceiling so it wasn't even an option.  This house has that weird space where there is just enough room to decorate but not too much to get really creative.

That weird little space has been bugging me a bit lately so I thought, what the heck, I can decorate it and see how it looks, if I don't like it, it comes down, no harm done and it gets the cabinet tops dusted for once. :)  

I have lots of random decor stashed in my basement that I can put up there but what really motivated me to decorate was hitting Hobby Lobby when they marked down their clearance stuff from 66% to 80% off, 80% off!!  That's practically free, how can I pass it up!? ;)  Run, don't walk over there because after this weekend only the not so attractive stuff will be left. 

Here are a few of my finds... (sorry about the lighting and shadows, since the stuff is mostly dark I found it showed up best on the light carpet and not the dark counters or table tops)

I absolutely love this big pear! 

I don't know why... I seemed to be drawn to the fruit for some reason...

Might be too small for my cabinet tops but just liked them... maybe hit 'em with some spray paint??

Pear #3  (do I have a problem??)

Simple yet sophisticated...

So, I'm not really a rooster/chicken girl but every good French Country-ish kitchen has one, right?

I have a nice collection of off-white pitchers that I plan on mixing in too.  Stay tuned to see the results. 

So, friends, what do you think about decorating kitchen cabinet tops??  Yes, No, Maybe??????  Let me know, I L-O-V-E love your comments. :)    And, don't forget to follow me. :)

Happy Valentine's Day & me on (or off) scrapbooking...

Hi everyone!  Just a quick lil' bloggy to say Happy Valentine's Day! 

Thought I'd share a pic of my finished Valentine "LOVE" sign in action in my kitchen.  (Here is how my $1.50 Love plaque looked when I bought it.)   I also borrowed the idea of paper wrapped candles from Imperfectly Beautiful and absolutely love how it looks!!  Definitely going to do this again.

I love the fun paper!

Here's why I'm so excited about a new fun use for pretty scrapbook paper. I used to scrapbook, I used to attempt to scrapbook.  I have two really great totally unfinished albums and tons of really cutesy paper, stickers, embellishments, etc.  They are sitting in my basement in a nifty little scrapbook suitcase on rollers (that wasn't very cheap!).  I had the best intentions to create awesome scrapbooks for my kids and our wedding, honeymoon, etc... important stuff like that. 

I found out that scrapbooking makes a huge mess and I don't really have a place in my house to leave it out all the time and what a pain it is to pick up and put away every time.  I aslo found out that I am such a stinking scrapbooking perfectionist that it would take me like 4 hours to do one page, who has the time for that?!  I don't.  Why did it take me so long?  I don't have to be such a perfectionist on my silly scrapbooks, I just can't help it. 

I found digital scrapbooking (thankfully!) and really like it, I am 2 pages away of completing my first album but have put it on the back burner as I just have too much else to do.  So, I really have 3 unfinished scrapbooks... awesome.  Anyway, I'm so excited to be able to use some of the super-cute scrapbook paper I see in the stores but have been avoiding since I know it will just go in a cute little case in my basement.  Woo hoo! Thanks Imperfectly Beautiful for your Awesome idea!

Back to Valentine's day... last night we celebrated at home because Deuce (as in #2) the babe is sick so we stayed home with him and put him to bed early.  For a special Valentine's day dinner I splurged and got us each a whole Lobster!  They were pre-cooked which made it not so... icky... and they were on sale at Jewel for $8 each, I think the sale runs through the 16th so get on over and get one.  It was deelish and such a nice treat. 


Anyway, I hope you and yours have a super romantical (no, that is not a mis-spelling, I just said romantical, stole that word from my sis-in-law and love it) Valentine's Day!! :)

Catalog Inspiration and K-mart...

I got my Ballard Designs catalog in the mail today... WOOT WOOT!  Love Love Love getting Ballards in the mail, makes my day!!!  It's like a design inspiration magazine subscription for FREE, can't beat it! 

So while I love Ballards style and find it very inspirational I find their prices to be ree-donk-u-lous!  (that's my word for extra-ridiculous) 

Seriously, I can't find anything I like in that catalog for less than a hundred bucks!  There are some under $100 items that I like but they don't pass my TJ Maxx test, which is... if I can find the same or similiar item at TJ Maxx for less, then I ain't buyin' it from you-aka Ballards, Pottery Barn, etc!  (Yes, I just said ain't and I'm from way North of the Mason Dixon line... hahaha. :)  I know, ain't ain't a word, I only use it to show sassy-ness so please don't think I have some kind of terrible grammar problem.)

Anyway, guess what passes the TJ Maxx test in the Ballard's catalog??.... umm, nothing.  Dang it!! But I know this before it arrives in the mailbox, it is simply just inspirational.   This issue really surprised me because it just happened to have an almost perfect replica of something I already have, something(s) that were one of my best deals ever. 

Here is the inspirational super cute Ballard's counter height barstool for $129 plus tax and shipping.

Here is how I got one of my best deals ever!

I was walking through K-Mart this summer, snicker snicker, (see why I'm snickering about K-Mart here) and the loudspeaker comes on and they say, and I quote "Attention K-Mart shoppers, please head over to the furniture aisle to check out our great deal on clearance items including barstools, tables, blah blah blah".  We had just moved to a house with an island and I really needed barstools but hadn't been able to find any decent ones for less than about $125 a piece, too high! 

So I high-tail it back to the furniture area thinking maybe I could get some cheapo barstools until I found the nice ones I wanted at the right price.  Imagine my surprise when I found these!

I heart you Martha Stewart.

These K-Mart Martha Stewart barstools were almost exactly what I had been looking for and they were on clearance for $8, that's right, eight dollars!!  What?!  I thought for sure they were mis-marked so I asked the lady working in the aisle and she said the price was right, they were discontinued. And by the way, can I buy the display too, yes ma'am!  I got 3 barstools for $24!!  And I love love love them!  They are perfect in my french country kitchen (which someday I will show you when I get it finished)!

Twins! (kind of)

So, I got these perfectly Ballard-like barstools for about 95% off Ballard's price, YA-HOO!!  Since it was probably about 4 or 5 months ago I'm thinking these barstools are probably long gone so I'm sorry about that.  And, I'm sorry I can't give you a tutorial on how to make your own barstools out of stuff found in the dollar store but I'm just not that crafty (yet!). 

This kind of find is a good reminder that you can find stylish pieces without paying out the wazoo!  I think the original retail price was $35 a stool and I would have been willing to pay full price for these.  I could have gotten all 3 of them for less than the price of one of Ballards, even at full price.  I wanted to share with all you bloggy friends that appreciate sweet deals as much as me! 

I'm linked to Coastal Charm!

As always, thanks for stopping by and please consider following me.  I heart comments!!

Valentine's Day Picture Card

After seeing all kinds of cute-sey Valentine's cards out there in bloggy land I was inspired to make special Valentine's Day cards for my boys grandparents.  My oldest is SO not into crafting/drawing/etc (hopefully that means he'll be good at math because he doesn't like art, right!?) ;)  and my youngest is too young so I decided to do it myself. 

I took several pics of the boys individually holding up a piece of blank white poster board. 

Then I added letters using software I have on my computer, you can probably do it at Photobucket.

I did this for 4 pictures alternating kiddos so I was able to spell out LOVE, I then lined up the photos and changed it to black and white and "softened" the edges with my software.

I then downloaded some free digital scrapbooking paper to add as a background.  And here's the finished project!

I think the grandparent's will love it, I do!  :)

I went to and made them into 5x7 greeting cards with personalized insides for about $1.50 each.

I should mention that I was inspired by another bloggers LOVE picture with their kiddos, I think she actually wrote the letters on the poster board and then put each individual picture in a 4 picture holder frame as a super cute decoration.  I have been searching like crazy for her to give her credit for being my inspiration but can't find her anywhere.  So, if any of you out there know who I'm talking about, let me know and I'll link her up to my post. 

Thanks for looking, please follow me and leave me a comment.... and don't forget to come back soon!

I'm linked to:

Get your craft on Thurs.
and Somewhat Simple Strut your Stuff Valentine's Party (couldn't get the button to work :(....  )

Easy Picture Hanging Trick

My husband and I have two very different approaches to the fine art of hanging wall art.  His approach involves tape measures and levels, measuring and re-measuring, tapping the wall for studs and then some more measuring just to be sure. 

My approach to wall hanging is the old tried and true method of "eye-balling" it.  This method has served me well over the years.  After one of my little eyeballing jobs he'll come in and measure and it'll be right on.   He'll look at me slightly amazed like how do you do it? and I'll give him that look like, yeah, you know I'm that good. ;)

The only problem with eyeballing it is that once in a while I'll be just a little off... you know, just like a smidge.  Those "smidges" don't bug most people but me, I take out the nail, move it a smidge and hammer it in the perfect spot.  If it's just a smidge off I'll always look at it and be like... "oh that picture, it's just off a smidge, it's driving me nuts!!"

Whenever my hubs gives me that how did you do that? look I'm always secretly hoping he doesn't take the picture off the wall... if he did he would be surprised to see one (sometimes two!) extra not so pretty little nail holes in the wall just a smidge from the nail.  Sorry honey!  But hey,  I'm always close, only miss by a smidge... that should count for some kind of natural talent.

So anyway, I was feeling a little guilty about all my extra little nail holes and I came across an article in my hub's Family Handyman magazine (now before you make fun of me for reading Family Handyman, just let me tell ya they have some good little ideas in there sometimes!) 

This particular issue had an article about hanging picture collages on the wall.  I didn't really have a collage I needed to hang but I did have a hanging project that involved hanging 3 pictures in a straight line.  Each picture had not one, but two hooks on the back and the hooks of course were uneven. 

Shaky picture alert!

I was dreading this little project because I knew I would need to do it the hub's long way, with a tape measure and level and lots of little holes in the wall with no nails in them.  I was going to put this handyman article to the test.

First, they suggest cutting out large pieces of brown mail wrapping paper the same size as your pictures. Because I was too lazy to walk in the basement and get my brown paper, I just used the newspaper that was already in the kitchen, it worked just as well.


Then I made holes in the paper at the hooks for easy nail placement.

Then I found the center of the wall (yes, I cheated and used a measuring tape) and taped the first paper there.  I then hung the other two with tape.

Looks fabulous doesn't it?

After I made sure it looked straight and level I hammered the nails through my pre-poked holes. 

Then I hung the pictures on my little white nails and...


Ok, I have to admit, the first two went up like a charm but the last one was off by a smidge...dang it!  Somehow the last one was up  higher on one side but I think it was my sloppy nail hole poking along with the uneven hooks. 

So, this is six hole job and I only made 7 altogether... pretty good for an eyeballer like me. :)

Thanks for stopping by, please leave a comment and follow me.  I heart my followers!!
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