Going Farmhouse in the Kitchen

I’ve been switching up the decor in our kitchen for a more simple, farmhouse style and had this idea for a sign over the pantry.  Everywhere I looked I saw “EAT” and “KITCHEN” but I wanted one that said Dry Goods, because that’s what’s in the pantry!  I considered making one myself but life has just been too busy for that project and things won’t slow down anytime soon.  So when I spotted the style of sign I wanted for a great price at one of my fave local shops, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, who you may remember from the recent vintage market, I asked the owner if she could do a custom version.  She said yes and because she’s awesome she even kept it at the same price as the other signs she already sells!

It turned out awesome.  She made it to the dimensions for my specific spot and gave me a choice of colors so it was just what I wanted.  It’s the perfect addition to the cabinet top decor changes I’ve made so far.

On the right side the large white platter stayed where it was, as did our personalized cutting board, but the fruit basket was swapped out for this large breadboard and a vintage wicker wrapped jar.  I picked both of those up at an antique shop outside of Portland on our recent trip for a great price.  I’ll be sharing more of that shopping trip soon.

The other side kept several of the same pieces as before, just rearranged.  The wine rack I had in the corner was sold and I picked up this cute copper bucket that I’d been eyeing at Target for months for just $2 on the local buy/sell page.  That’s a 90% savings from the original price!

It sat empty for a while, but when I won an Amazon gift card at work I ordered my favorite purple pens and several bunches of faux lavender.  As soon as they arrived I knew they belonged in the copper tin.  I love the contrast of the colors and textures and am even happier that it’s something that can stay up year round.

I still may rearrange a few things as I find other items just right for this space, but for now I’m pretty happy with how it’s looking.  I’d love to hear your suggestions on moving things around or items to add, so leave me a comment if you have ideas!

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A DIY Command Center

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Containing paper clutter is a constant battle in our home, just as I’m sure many can relate.  Because we enter the house from the garage through the laundry room most of the stuff that comes home ends up dumped on the dining room table or kitchen counters so I figured that was a good place to start.  I decided to create a command center in this little corner where we could write notes, stash important papers and organize the hub’s stuff.

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I started with a small wooden organizer where the hubs can stash his wallet, receipts and notes.  I also found him a small jar with a lid for loose change.  That worked fairly well, but he often had full size papers that he needed handy so I decided to add a wire rack we picked up during one of our trips to Portland.  It had been in the laundry room for a while but never got used there and came down when I did my DIY Ballard Knockoff Décor for that space, so I’m glad it’s found a useful home here.  I used two clear hooks with removable adhesive tape to hang it just under the countertop.  It fits the small nook of space perfectly.

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Originally I wanted to paint the side of the top cabinet to create a chalkboard but the hubs nixed that idea noting that if I changed my mind later removing the paint would damage the cabinet.  What?!  I never change my mind! Well ok.  He might have a point there. 🙂  So I came up with a better idea.  I’d paint a piece of sheet metal and install that on the side of the cabinet so it was both chalkboard and a magnet board!  Of course they didn’t sell a piece that was just the right size so the hubs cut one down for me.

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A couple thin coats of chalkboard paint and it was looking pretty good.  The hardest part was waiting for it to dry in between coats.

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Next I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then wiping it down.  This helps prevent things from “staying” on the surface after you wipe them down.

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Since the hubs wanted the piece to be removable I attached it with the same removable adhesive strips I’d used on the hooks for the wire rack.  IF I every change my mind I can start at the bottom and work my way up pulling the tabs to release the adhesive.

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I stuck it up on the side of the cabinet against the trim on the front and top of the cabinet so the edges weren’t exposed.  And as you can see, it works great as a magnetic board too holding our early bird tickets for Junk Bonanza outside Portland in October!

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Things were looking pretty good at this point but I wanted to address the uneven edge of the metal along the wall.  The hubs did a great job cutting the sheet metal, but the tool he used had to take a 1/4″ off at a time so he wasn’t able to match the size exactly.  He was pretty frustrated that it wasn’t perfect, so I wanted to find a way to make it work.

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I tried a few pieces of trim we had on hand but most were too big or bulky.  I picked up a square dowel at Lowes but that was too narrow and too thick, so I returned that.  A few days later I was at Michaels and figured I’d look at what they had.  I’m glad I did because I found a piece of balsa wood that was the right thickness and width for what we needed. At less than $2 plus a coupon it was the perfect solution. I gave it a couple coats of stain to match the cabinet color.  It fit so well that it actually stayed up without any adhesive but I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get bumped off so I added a little hot glue on the backside before putting it up.  The glue should be easy to peel off if I ever need to.

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Now I needed somewhere to store my chalk.  I originally planned to use colored chalk pens like the yellow you saw above, but they have to be primed and I didn’t want to deal with delays when I needed to work up a grocery list, so I opted for old-school white chalk instead.  I used more hot glue to attach this pull handle upside down to create a cup where the chalk sits.  I did have to reposition the cup due to installing it unevenly, which caused the chalk paint to peel up a bit which caused the bare spot under the holder, but I touched that up with a thin coat of chalkboard paint and it looks fine now.  I still need to touch up the wall paint, but I’ll get to that at some point.

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Since the papers in the rack still looked messy I found these simple poly vinyl folders to clean it up a bit.  I wanted something a little cuter, but apparently mid-March is not prime season for two pocket folders.  Who knew right?!  I’ll keep an eye out when the back to school supplies come out in the fall, but for now these seem like they will hold up pretty well and could be easy enough to add simple decoration to with paint or vinyl designs.  That might just be a future post if I do!

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Total cost for the all the materials came in around $50. Because the extra metal and chalkboard paint can be used for other projects that lessens the total a bit too.  I love it and I’m sure it will be super handy once we start fostering and have kiddo’s school papers to manage.   I’m going to keep an eye out for another wire rack that matches this one when we are in Portland this fall in case we need to expand since there’s still room on the bottom cabinet to accommodate another.

I’d love to hear what you think of our new DIY command center or how you created one of your own, so leave me a comment below.

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TDC Before and After

DIY Measuring Cup Storage

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I’ve been meaning to do this project for some time now and finally checked it off the list this past weekend while the hubs was sleeping of a cold and I needed something quiet to work on.  Our stacked measuring cups always seemed to be in the way in the cabinet, so I decided it was time they found a different home, one that didn’t cause extra effort when grabbing things in the cabinet.  Since there was a little extra room on both sides of the spice rack the hubs installed on the pantry door and that’s often what we’re measuring with these cups I figured that was a logical spot for them.  A few small hooks on either side of the spice rack was all I needed.Hooks1

The hooks screwed right in, although I did create a pilot hole with a finishing nail and hammer to get things started. I placed each cup as I went so I could eyeball how much space to leave between it and the next.Hooks2

Here’s how the first side looked a few minutes later.  All but one of the set fit on this side.

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So I put the remaining cup on the other side with our odd duck extra from an old set that is handy to keep around.

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Unfortunately the way they were hanging you couldn’t see the measurements with out taking them off the hook.  A metallic sharpie marker took care of that problem.  We’ll see how well it holds up to the washer, but I’m thinking it should be ok since they will have plenty of time to cure and dry before they go in for a spin.

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It might take a bit to get used to the sound they make as they sway against the wood when you open and close the pantry door, but I’m fine with that when it comes with improved organization.  Simple, inexpensive and efficient.  That’s my kind of project!

Shared on Tatertots & Jello’s Link Party Palooza.

Tea Time

TeaFinalThe hubs and I aren’t big coffee drinkers, but we do enjoy starting the day with a warm tea, especially since our early mornings are still pretty chilly.  Because it’s a daily routine, the tea supplies tended to be left out on the counter.  While that made the process more convenient, it also created clutter.  So I decided to create a tea station where all the ingredients are readily accessible and organized.  I found this little stand on the clearance shelf at Pier 1 recently and thought it would work perfectly. Except for those gigantic elephant handles.  Although interesting, they’re just not my style.

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But with a price tag of just under $12 and a gift card in hand that would cover that and then some, I was up for a little revamp.  A quick inspection revealed a single screw head for each handle underneath, so I knew they could be removed.  I was hopeful that the jars I planned to use on the board would cover the holes and I could just leave the wood as is.

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However once the screw was removed, the handles didn’t budge.  Apparently there was also glue underneath.  I was a little worried that prying the glue up would disturb the finish on the sides of the board since the handles had a small lip over the edge, but there was only one way to find out.  TeaBefore2

Luckily, the glue was only around the hole, but it did leave a bit of damage to the top of the board on each side.

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It was pretty minor damage, but I knew it would drive me batty, so a little filler and some sanding were in order.  Here it is prepped and ready for paint.

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A few quick coats of grey paint we had sitting around gave it a whole new look.  I lightly sanded the edges so a bit of the wood color shows through to coordinate with the other wood tones we have in this space.  The two types of tea we use are now stored in these cute patterned neutral canisters from Target and a sleek pump replaced the squeeze bottle honey we’d been using.  A small spoon rest completes the set-up.  It’s simple, functional and pretty, which makes me oh so happy. 🙂

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This post linked to Tatertots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza!

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TDC Before and After

Free & Easy!

Soap

I recently found some pretty green bottles and instantly knew that I wanted to use them in the kitchen for the hand and dish soap.  I lucked out and the top from the store dish soap bottle fit the glass bottle perfectly.  It even screwed on tight without a hassle.

The hand pump was a little more difficult.  I tried a pump like the one we used on the mason jar soap bottles, but it wasn’t the right size to fit the opening.  I had a small hand soap bottle in our bathroom that had a larger pump so I decided to try that.  That one did fit, unfortunately the stem wasn’t long enough to reach the soap at the bottom of the bottle.

Then I remembered that we had a package of flexible straws somewhere and wondered if that might fit the pump.  I dug through the cabinets and found them, then tested out the length next to the bottle.  It seemed like it would work, so I pulled the old stem out of the pump and pushed the straw in.  The connection was a little loose due to the flexible part of the straw, but it stayed snugly attached as I fussed with it.

Since it seemed pretty secure, I put everything together and gave the pump a couple pushes.  It took a few before the soap started flowing, but when it did it worked just fine.  It’s been about a week now and it’s still working great, so I guess my little DIY rig is good enough.  And it’s a whole lot prettier than the plastic store bottles!

I’m not crazy about the different colors of the two tops, but they work and I’m probably the only one who notices it.  Plus the bottles fit the little tray I’d been using to hold their plastic predecessors as if it was made just for them, leaving just enough room for the sponge.  But the best part about the whole project is that it was 100% free!  Now if only I could get all my projects to be this affordable and easy. 🙂

Finishing Touches in the Pantry

Thanks to a great BOGO Free sale and gift cards from Christmas I recently finished up the pantry.  Because I wanted to add some more baskets now that we had more room, I decided to replace the ones we’d been using since we were in Kodiak – which will be repurposed in the studio and the spare room.

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I also picked up some tiered racks for things like olive oil, bbq sauce, etc, and added a lazy susan next to it for the spices that didn’t make it into the spice rack.

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Additional turntables in the remaining corners created accessible storage for drink ingredients, sauces and jellys.

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The hubs made use of the wall space next to the door by hanging the cooling racks and fryer scoop.

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Just like he did in the guest bathroom closet, the hubs added an additional light to the pantry for those items that are on the lower shelves.

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Up above there is room for the rotisserie, a basket with spare grease cans, the hubs’ cast iron pan, paper towels and a basket for storing plastic bags.  I went back to get that big basket after the BOGO sale, and ended up getting a super deal because it rung up on clearance for much less than what I anticipated paying with my 40% off coupon!

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The bottom of the pantry became home to the dog food and recycle containers, with room left over to store my soda habit.

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My final pantry project was the jars for our sugar, flour and other staples (seen in the picture above).  It was a fairly simple project.  I picked up several of these screw top jars on sale at Fred Meyers.

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I put them right to use and had to come up with a quick temporary labeling system until I had time to make something pretty.  So I grabbed my trusty dry erase marker and hand wrote each item.  That of course didn’t last long.

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Based on that, I knew I didn’t want to do the cute chalkboard labels I see all over Pinterest.  Instead I decided to create vinyl labels for each with my Silhouette.

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They turned out pretty nice!  I love that they are easy to read and should hold up to repeated use.  Plus they look pretty spiffy all together on the shelf.

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And that’s our pantry.  It’s the perfect marriage of organization and inventory, which not only makes me giddy, but keeps the happy as well.  I think that’s a sign of a project well done. 🙂

 

 

Dressing the Cabinet Tops

Decorating the tops of cabinets is harder than it sounds.  It takes a perfect mix of size, color, shapes, spacing and design.  I had a basic plan for the top of our kitchen cabinets as we were building, but you never really know how it will turn out until you’re in the space and trying it out.  I decided to tackle the smaller section first, and am quite pleased with how it turned out.

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I like my decor to do double duty and actually function, so displaying my large holiday platter was a perfect choice – and the fact that it’s so large it won’t fit anywhere else played a key role too.  🙂  I added the custom cutting board I got for the hubs for a birthday a while back and a two-tier basket filled with faux veggies & fruit for color.  All of these things were items I had on hand, so total cost was a big fat $0!

I did have to figure out a way to elevate the items so they could be seen over the lovely crown molding.  And the perfect solution came in the form of the little dip cups we’d *cough* “acquired” *cough* from restaurants in our to-go boxes.  I was actually about to take the whole stack of them to Goodwill, but as I stood on the ladder contemplating what I could use I had a “light bulb moment” a’la’ Gru in Despicable Me.

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I’ve since added the glass chile peppers we found on our honeymoon in Sedona to the left edge of the cutting board for some additional color on that side.  I love seeing them displayed and I know they’re “safe” that high up and out of the way. 😉

Next, I had to figure out what to do with the staggered height cabinets on the longer back wall.   I already had my giant ceramic chicken my sister gave me and my pretty cake stand, which make a great combo and fit perfectly on one cabinet.  I also had my handy drink dispenser on a stand that I’d filled with faux lemons for some color while at the rental house.  That too fit perfectly on one cabinet.  I still hadn’t spent a dime and I was almost done!

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With two cabinets to go, I was stuck.  I left the project alone for a few days weeks and moved on to other things.  One of those other projects was getting new bar stools for the kitchen island bar, which meant all of our dining chairs moved into the dining room.  I didn’t like how full the table felt with all eight chairs around the table so I put two on either side of the buffet.  Unfortunately, that meant that the pretty wine rack I’d found during a recent thrifting trip had to find a new home.

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We aren’t big drinkers – even with dogs named after alcohol – so we only had a few bottles of various things (note there is only one real wine bottle in said ‘wine’ rack!)  I had originally planned to include some sort of side table or cart as a bar in the dining room or main area of the house, but once we were in and placing furniture it seemed like it would make the space feel crowded and because we don’t tend to keep a lot on hand, there wasn’t the need for a dedicated ‘bar’.  So my under $5 rack worked out perfectly and left a little room to expand if needed.

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My now displaced rack seemed like a perfect candidate for above the cabinet decor, so I tried it first over the fridge, but it was too tall.  The hubs suggested I move the chicken over one cabinet to the spot above the stove and try the rack in the corner.  Although the corner cabinet seems to be the same height as the fridge cabinet, they are apparently not, because the rack did fit this time!  And I was quite pleased with how it looked in that spot.

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Now I’m down to just the space over the fridge.  Since this is a wider space I decided to use two items here.  First is the lovely vintage scale I bought as a newborn photo prop (even my photography props do double duty!)  It hasn’t arrived just yet, but I’m sure it will bring just the right amount of color and difference of shape to that side.  I’m a little worried about the scale of the scale (ha ha), but I think it should be ok, even if it’s a little small because I also found a large popcorn tin on a local buy/sell page that I plan to paint.  I was originally thinking I’d go with a copper color but now that I have my cache pot, I want something different.  Perhaps a milk paint ivory with a greenish lid and a stenciled design similar to this.  But before I start that project I want to decide what the design should be.  I’m considering a simple ‘Bon Appetit’ but I also like the idea of ‘Delish’ with a small flourish pattern or something using some of these words.  Or maybe create something like this but with an Alaskan spin.  What do you think would look best?  I’m also toying with the idea of changing the handles so it looks a little like the uber expensive Pottery Barn urns I always lust for although Pier 1 has a similar option for a little less.

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So far, not counting the scale – since that’s a business expense 😉 – my total is approximately $11 for the wine rack and tin.  Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.  Granted there might be some cost in painting the tin, but I’m sure it won’t be anything major.  I’m sure I’ll do a post on my re-do of the tin once I get to it, so keep an eye out for that!