May 2010

I just saw this event posted online and thought I would share. What a cool idea!

Get Something Really Really Cool at the Really Really Free Market

And even if you don’t live near Salt Lake City, it seems that the Really Really Free Market is kind of a global movement, so there may be one in your area.

Happy “shopping”!

So the other day when I was having my Oprah “a-ha” moment that basically amounted to me realizing that I’m a good person and I can do better than living with walls like this:

and this:

(which, by the way, resulted in this), I decided to take a casual stroll down the tile aisle. And BAM! These glass beauties were staring me right in the face. So was their price tag- $4.99 a square foot! True, that doesn’t even touch the price of traditional white subway tiles ($2 a square foot- or on sale, $1 a square foot- ouch) but since I’d only seen these glass ones for around $15 a square foot, I was pretty stoked. I bought a sheet, just to take it home and make sure I liked it.

What was I thinking- of course I liked it! I liked it this much!

So later that night when we were making an emergency HD run (I realized that using a rough roller can give your walls that bumpy look  that makes them look like they belong in a locker room), we raided the tile aisle again. At first I thought there were only 4 but then we discovered there was an entire secret stash behind the first box. Jackpot! Around a hundred dollars later I had 20 shiny glass sheets in my possession.

Since my good friend Kristin just bought a townhome that needs just a touch of TLC, she was interested in learning the tricks of the tile trade. She came over and helped me on Friday night, and the two of us busted out the south wall (sink side). As I said before, Woot!

Then the next day Stan helped me put in the tough little pieces around the outlets and light switches (the worst part) and we finished the stove side. Then my kitchen looked like this while the thinset cured for the next 48 hours:

By the way, not to be a Negative Nancy, but I forgot how much I hate tiling. The cutting, the mess, the obsessive straightening and re-straightening… Working with glass was different, too. In some ways I liked it better than ceramic or porcelain- it’s so smooth and easy to clean grout off of, but it also chips easily and sometimes those glass chips end up embedded in my hand and stay there until I notice them later while sitting in the car after eating Costco pizza. You win some, you lose some.

Back to the task at hand- after the thinset had cured, it was time to grout. A marvelously messy job. I chose Delorian Gray (light gray). Here is the stove side mid-grout, complete with trashy Beware of Dog sign:

Even though my stove has a high back, I tiled down to the level of the counter tops. Who knows- one day I might own one of those sleek stoves with no back. You may notice the piece of wood that I screwed to the wall so the tiles wouldn’t slip right after I put them up.

Here is an action shot of the sink side mid-grout (the left hand side isn’t done yet).

And here it is done!

Not bad for DIY! The edges around the cabinets will have to be fixed, maybe with a scrap of matching wood. The outlets and switches will also need a little bit of finagling, as the wall is now deeper.

Time for a close up- I love the shadows. They give depth.

I know I said I was going with white subway tiles (which I happen to love) but I just couldn’t pass up the glass at such a great price, and I wasn’t totally in love with the white in my particular kitchen. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again- I’m not a designer and I don’t think I’m particularly good at designing, so my style is just to kind of pick things I like and hope they somehow all tie together when it’s all said and done. There are a few more finishing touches for the kitchen, so we’ll see if I can accomplish that!

For now, I absolutely cannot wait to make a tomato-based sauce and just splatter to my heart’s content. Or mix up a cake batter and lift the mixer out ever so slightly so that cake batter flies all over the place. This backsplash will be a pleasure to clean!

K this is NOT the after post- sorry guys. I really wanted it to be. But you know when you think “Just a couple more things and I’ll be totally finished!” and it really means “Oh my gosh how could I possibly take a picture when the _________ looks like that! No way- I’ll just spend 5 minutes (read: another hour or so) fixing it.” And by that time, you’ve made a mess of the place all over again, and you’ve lost your nice daylight, and it’s time to go have all-you-can-eat pizza… You know how that goes, right?

Well anyway, I actually did make progress on the bathroom this weekend, and I’ve got the pics to prove it. It all started with the sudden realization that I did not have to live forever with white drywall mud smeared on my ebony walls, and there was no reason that I couldn’t march down to Home Cheapo right this second for an afternoon lunch break and buy some paint.

The first time I picked the paint color, I did it online. I know. Who does that?!?! I chose Obsidian Glass by ICI, and when I saw the paint in person I freaked a little. It wasn’t gray. It was black. Like a black marker that was just starting to run out of ink.

But actually, I kinda liked it. Even though the bathroom is so small that you could use all 3 major fixtures (sink, toilet, tub) at once if you really wanted to, I thought the Obsidian Glass balanced all the white nicely and added some drama.

Then, disaster struck.

Jonny kept coming over to my house saying “These walls look like crap! <name of his employee who painted it> didn’t even patch these cracks. What a bone head.” And true, the old plaster walls have their share of cracks and other imperfections. So one day, he came over and couldn’t stand it anymore and got out the ol’ mud and putty knife and went to town. I wish I had a picture of what they looked like after that. Just picture what a black asphalt parking lot might look like after a wedding cake fight- that’s the general idea.

Oh but that’s not the disaster. After weeks of leaving the mud on the walls (weeks!) I finally decided that I was going to sand down the mud and paint it once and for all. I went down to the basement to get the extra Obsidian Glass, and it was nowhere to be found. Drat. Are you kidding me? I called Jonny.

“They discontinued that product.”

Well that’s just dreamy. Oh well, I guess this is the perfect time to pick another color, like maybe an actual gray like I tried to do the first time. After loving Kasey’s kitchen transformation including her Dolphin Fin walls, and after reading Sara’s extensive gray choosing posts (here, here, and here), I decided that Dolphin Fin was for me. (And yes, it’s Behr, and Jonny reluctantly approved my use of it.)

The guy at HD said they had been selling a ton of that color lately. Oh, the power of blogging! So anyway, this is what the bathroom looks like now:

Quite different, no? I couldn’t decide which one I liked better, but then I decided that I’m not going to allow myself to like Obsidian Glass better, because I am a bit tired of painting the bathroom at the moment, and spending $23 each time. But really, I do like the Dolphin Fin. It’s much more serene, and with some bright/cool (yes, both) turquoise accessories, I think it will feel very relaxing in there. (Except not like this morning when I had to take a cold shower because yesterday the pilot light accidentally went out when we were messing with the gas, which is a different story.)

Thoughts on the new color?

What do my friends and I do on a Friday night?

You’re lookin’ at it! A night of hitting the hottest clubs- er, tile saws. Thanks a million Kristin! I’ll post a better pic when I’m not half asleep.

PS- Kristin just bought a cute little townhome! Now if only she would quit forgetting her wordpress password…

I was just looking at my “I want to…” list, and thinking “Jeez Amanda, how the crap are you going to do all that?” I realize it’s an ambitious list. But I was slightly encouraged, because I was able to cross a few things off! So the following items on the list are now updated:






There is a lot more going on around here today too, and it involves some Dolphin Fin paint, some backsplash tiles, some This American Life, some lawn-mowing, and some dandelion eradicating. Stick around, because you may just get a final bathroom reveal post pretty soon…

No, not that kind of green.

I know that probably about 96% of my readers follow Young House Love and saw their toilet post yesterday, but I just had to share it for the other 4%.

Did you know that you can buy a little $20 kit to convert your toilet into a dual flusher? Neither did I! I thought I’d have to just wait until I needed a new toilet to get one of the water-saving dual flushing ones. And have no fear if you don’t fancy yourself a handyman or handywoman- the installation is tool-free, and according to John, only takes about 20 minutes. The one they bought is here.

And for anyone out there using cloth diapers, their post also includes another little bonus that will probably make your life a lot easier. They are a very thorough bunch and explain things very well, so if you’re even remotely interesting in greening your john, head on over and check them out.

I think it’s pretty cool that someone figured out how to convert existing toilets, rather than encouraging everyone to toss theirs in a landfill to buy a new one. Yay toilets!

This is my late Mothers Day post. But since I’m a good daughter 365 days per year (heh) I think that May 19 is just as good a day as any for this.

This year, I decided to be on the ball* and crafty.

*On the ball for me means that my crafty gift reaches the recipient within a week of the holiday for which it was made.

I found this adorable template on How About Orange (originally from here), and I had to have it. I’m a fan of homemade cards but I’m not a fan of putting them in security envelopes which is all I have, so therefore I am a fan of card/envelope combinations. If card/envelope combinations were on facebook, I would “become a fan”.

It’s a super easy template, and you can even print the invitation or the note version if you wish. I used the blank one. I printed it on cardstock, and I should have enlisted some of Kristin’s first graders to help me cut, as apparently my cutting skills have become a little rusty. It’s a good thing my mother always told me it’s the thought that counts.

After I cut out the template, I sewed a simple stitch around the curved parts, and a fabric heart on the front.

I then stamped and addressed it, and patted myself on the back for sending something by mail all by myself, three whole days before Mothers Day.

Now I don’t expect that my mom will read this (try as she might to keep up on my blog, my mother has an aversion to computers unless it has to do with Sudoku, bless her heart), but I just feel the overwhelming need to share my love for my mother with a buncha strangers on the internet. Seriously, she’s the best. When I think of love, I think of her. I know she feels bad because she was a working mom by the time I came along (the last of 4) and I didn’t get as many home-cooked meals as the other kids, but mama, that just made your homemade chicken noodle soup that much better. Even when we’d eat it for a week straight because you made enough to feed the entire armed forces. My mom is one of those that can quiet a crying baby in seconds. She can convince a 4 year-old that wearing clean underpants is fun, should they need such convincing. She can also convince a bratty teenager that she’s loved and special, and that’s no small feat. And sometimes when the bratty now-adult is having a really bad day, she’ll call mom and say “Can I just come live with you in Fletcher and do crafts and cook food and go swimming every day?” And though my mom knows that’s pretty unlikely, she will always laugh and says yes, which is exactly what the bratty now-adult needs to hear at that moment. I could go on but I’ll stop. Right after I say that she’s not perfect, but I feel so blessed that I somehow ended up with her as my mom. And wow, I didn’t mean for this to be a mom tribute post, but it looks like that’s what it’s turned into.

Just a couple more things about this rockin’ lady.

She’s always concerned for the general welfare of those around her.

Everyone’s happy? Oh good.

About nine times out of ten, you can catch her with this look on her face- affectionately known as “the momsmile” (even when she’s not wearing a party hat):

I just love this woman. Happy May 19th Mothers Day!

Me. I’m the basket case.

When I was designing my kitchen, I was charmed by this idea for the bar:

Again, please excuse the picture of a picture in a book. I really liked the idea of having open compartments that hold baskets. If baskets become soooooo last year, I can just take them out and use the shelves. But to me, baskets are soooooo this year so I want some.

So here is a view from inside the kitchen. The baskets here would be accessible either from the kitchen or dining room. I envision a basket for potatoes and onions, and maybe one for dish towels, and one for whoknowswhat.

Here it is from the dining room. See? The baskets on the left hand side would be accessible from either room.

And here I’ve moved the bar stools so you can see. The baskets on the right hand side would probably hold placemats and table linens (if I had any) and maybe board games like Monopoly. Or Apples to Apples. Or Risk. (If I had any.)

But the above photo also showcases my problem. I need different-sized baskets that look the same! This is turning out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. You see, I have very specific dimensions, and I don’t know of any place that makes custom baskets. I googled and schmoogled, and really the only places I found were obscure places in rural USA and mostly England, and they charge about ¬£39.99 per basket plus shipping. I need six baskets, so I’m not too keen on that price. But it seems like places like Michael’s and other craft stores are basically a crap shoot as far as specific sizes go- I don’t think it’s very often that someone designs a whole part of their kitchen around baskets that don’t even exist.

Can anyone help me? Am I overlooking Target’s “custom basketry” department or something else equally as simple and moderately priced?

Oh, and in case you are wondering, these are the dimensions I need.

7.5″ tall 15.5″ wide 16″ deep

7.5″ tall 20″ wide 16″ deep

Can you guess what it is?

Besides the obvious things like the range hood and the backsplash…

Let’s see it from another angle:

And just ’cause I’m in need of some praise today, let’s look at this same angle a few months back:

But back to the task at hand.

Have you guessed what’s missing yet?


Well how am I supposed to have popcorn for dinner in under 5 minutes?

And more importantly, how am I supposed to perfectly soften butter when I want to make chocolate chip peanut butter cookies?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re looking for the microwave. I really, really didn’t want to waste counter space on it. And since I’ll someday have a sleek stainless steel hood above the stove, I couldn’t go that route either. So I hid it. I hid it in here:

(One of these days I’ll learn how to hold the camera still.)

True, its little bitty size kind of makes me feel like I’m in college again, but I’m not one to try and cook a Thanksgiving turkey in the microwave, so I don’t mind. It’s also slightly more inconvenient to have to open the doors, but the counter space is worth it. Maybe I would mind if I were trying to nuke up pizza pockets 12 times a day for my 6 kids, but as it’s just me defrosting some spinach (and definitely NOT anything unhealthy) every so often, I’m pretty happy with the system. Definitely not anything unhealthy.

So what do you think? Would opening the doors drive you nuts? Would the counter space be worth it to you? To each their own, but I always love hearing opinions.

I keep finding myself saying things like “Oh goody, I ran the dishwasher tonight- that means I get to have a hot shower in the morning!”

It’s being lazy. It heats the water up to the correct temperature, but then if I don’t use it, it won’t keep it at that temperature. It’s a snob- it only likes to heat new water. So when I go out of town, or shower at the gym for a couple days and basically don’t use any hot water, then upon returning to my own shower I’m greeted by lukewarm discomfort. Mind you, if I’d found a shower as warm as this “lukewarm discomfort” during my travels in South America I would have been ecstatic, but alas I’ve grown accustomed to being a spoiled American again. Dangit.

And yeah, sorry for the lame post again, but my internet is still being a jerk and not allowing me the bandwidth to upload a single picture or watch Betty White on Saturday Night Live. It’s a tough life sometimes.

But it’s a good day, because I did get a hot shower this morning, because I did run the dishwasher last night.

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