Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kitchen Before and After

I've definitely neglected my blog since returning to work in the engineering field. The kitchen was completed months ago, but I hadn't taken time to get my husband to snap some nice photos. Finally made time for that, in between work & using my days off to painting & reorganizing the other rooms in the house after the re-wiring job. I put together some before & after shots so you can see what a big improvement the new kitchen is.

Happy to see go: wallpapered ceiling, vinyl floor, old hardware on cabinets.

Favorite new additions: recycled glass countertops (vetrazzo), DSC range, bosch dishwasher (nice & quiet), new bar/counter & window valance made with the glass bottle bottoms & LED lights. Eco friendly marmoleum floor and bamboo cabinets with a tall pantry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day Card Handmade

Father's Day Card by b-a-boop
Father's Day Card, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.
My handmade card for dad for Father's Day. That's an old photo of my big sis & I in his lap probably in 1959.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Flower Embellsihed T-Shirt

This is a recent birthday gift I made for one of the family members. Most of the fabric I used for the flowers were remnants from the 1970's hence the psychedelic, hippie look of the top. A few of my vintage buttons are in there too.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cupcake Birthday Cakes

Our family has grown so big that it's now beginning to be almost impossible to get everyone together on one date for birthday parties. We end up postponing over & over...
This weekend, we finally did catch-up and combined 4 birthday's into one party. Didn't want to bake 4 individual cakes (would have been too many leftovers) so I looked for ideas for arranging cupcakes and made cakes for 2 of the celebrants out of one cake mix. 



 My husband then made a rum cake for his dad & a vegan key lime pie for his vegan sister. We sang "Happy Birthday" and blew out candles four times in a row.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Organizing the New Kitchen

Wow, I didn't remember us having this much crap. I've already organized the pantry and put away the plates, glasses & cups, but I keep finding more & more boxes of dishes (mostly pots & pans & plastic containers). Even though we have more cabinet space than we used to, I seem to be baffled about how to put away and organized all theses dishes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wire Wrapped Upcycled Jar Vase

 This is what I made my mom for Mother's Day. Years ago I had torn from a catalog a picture of something similar . The photo was very small, so I couldn't really see the detail of how it was made and I think they were smaller. 
Well to make mine, I went out & got some glass beads (blue and clear) some 16 gauge blue craft wire (two 7 foot packs) and some silver wire from the hardware dept (it was cheaper than the craft wire, but will probably tarnish quicker). I had a neat jar from maple syrup that I was thinking of using, but it seemed a bit big. I then looked in the fridge & found an old jar of McCormick cocktail sauce that I don't even remember ever buying. I emptied it out (it's color was off) washed it out & then used some blue glass stain on it for color. 
I then slid a few beads onto the wire and started twisting the ends into curls and following the shape of the bottle. I wrapped more wire around the top & bottom of the bottle and looped the side pieces through them. At this point I got frustrated because the side pieces were just flopping from side to side. Obviously I didn't quite get the construction right. I used the silver wire strung with beads to attach the separate swirl pieces at the bottom and for additional decoration. To get the sides to stay in place I attached some more silver wire with beads & just wrapped it all around the two pieces to get them to stay in place. 
Now I'm just hoping that the weight the vase once a little water & flowers are put in won't cause it to come apart.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Inexperienced Tilers at Work

After weeks and weeks of delays due to missed appointments and scheduling conflicts our contractor finally came a week ago and installed the backerboard for the backsplash. He brought us thinset & trowels, but left us on our own to install the glass tile backsplash. He was very uneasy about cutting glass tile. We are using 6"x12" tile, so they are a bit large. My husband took a few days off work and we've spent 4 days working so far and have only finished the first wall. 
First we needed to put in some aluminum edging to cover the backerboard where the tile ends because we didn't find any matching bullnose for our glass tile. The first strip we cut by hand with a hacksaw. Since we no longer had the miter saw, or a hand miter box, my husband thought we could use the tile saw to cut it. We have a portable wet saw (picked it up at a yard sale for $20) and a diamond blade for cutting the glass tile. But hubby wanted one with a sliding tray because he was concerned about scratching the colored backing that comes on the glass tile. So we went out and rented a tile saw and tried cutting the metal trim. That didn't work too well, the metal heated up from the blade & left an edge at the cut. So we had to go back to hand cutting with the hacksaw & trying to make clean 45 degree cuts. Ended up taking the rest of the day to install the trim & get the skim coat of thinset on the backer board. 
Next day, we needed to figure out the best placement of the tile under the windowsill and around the electrical outlets so that we would have the simplest cuts possible. Laying them out was also a bit difficult with two faucets at the sink sticking up in the way. After a bit of debating, we finally settled on the placement and went to make our first cut. Well the blade on the rented tile saw chipped up the edge of the glass all along the cut. We should have tested it the day before... come to think of it, we did with a sample tile of a different brand & it looked OK, but our first cut was unacceptable. So we gave it a try on our wet saw with the diamond blade and it was a nice clean cut. Of course, at that point we looked at the clock & it was passed closing time on saturday for the rental place. So we'd wasted 2 days rental on a saw we didn't use. Lucky for us, when we did return it, the owner was very generous & only charged us for one days rent. Anyway, since neither of us have much experience with tiling, we decided to start with just the small batch of tiles centered under the windowsill first. After we got those cut, thinset mixed, notched troweled on the wall & buttered on the back we mounted our first tiles. Those little tile spacers are a pain, they keep falling out, especially when you try and sponge the thinset off the face of the tiles and out of the grout joints. When we finally finished that, it was getting too dark so the next morning we cut the ones to the left of the window. We laid them out like subway tiles but in a vertical direction, so each column had 1 full tile and a bit less than 1/2 a tile. The hardest cut was the 'U' shaped cut out for the outlet. Since the glass is so easy to crack & chip, the best recommendation we found was to cut parallel strips to the bottom of the 'U' and then break out the pieces. The first time we didn't get the 'U' quite deep enough. I suggested using the tile bit on the dremel to cut it a little wider. Unfortunately the dremel slipped and the bit scratched the front of the tile. Then I suggested that he try to just bring the tile down over the saw blade at the bottom of the 'U' not necessarily cutting all the way through the tile but to help break away the strips. I think he misunderstood what I was getting at - he tried the cut on another tile, but didn't cut the sides of the 'U' first and the tile cracked in two. Then on the third try, he cut the side lines first & then laid the bottom down over the spinning blade & it worked. The corners did chip out a little in the back (as the blade is curved) but the cover plate for the outlet is big enough to hide it. 
So after we mounted those on the wall we got to repeat the same process for the other side of the window. But we didn't get the last section mounted until today, after returning the rented saw. The next problem was deciding how to space the tiles so we only had to cut one tile each for the 2 outlets on the next wall. I spent a few hours shifting them around so that we wouldn't have too thin a strip to cut on either end and by the time we settled on the proper spacing it was getting a bit late again, so now we have to squeeze in the rest of this tiling around our work schedules. The fun of DIY!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Kitchen Renovation Winding Down

We’re finally approaching a completed kitchen. We’ve been drilling the holes to put the hardware on the cabinets and get them hung, but it turned out that we didn’t get a few of the hinges that connect the two piece doors for the corner cabinets. They arrived yesterday, so we should be able to finish hanging and adjusting the doors this weekend. We still have the backsplash left to complete and to finish getting the bottle bottoms mounted in the bar.

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Electrical Panel

New Electrical Panel by b-a-boop
New Electrical Panel, a photo by b-a-boop on Flickr.
Yeah, we passed our final electrical inspection today. Here's our new relocated breaker panel. Not quite sure why it needed to be so large, it's less than half full. Now I need a tall narrow work of art to cover it up. Guess I'll have to look through the thousands of my husbands photos for something the right dimensions. I also need to pick out a paint color for this little hallway and paint the patched up wall.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bottle Bottom Valance

We finally finished mounting the bottle bottoms in the valance & connected it to the cabinets. We just love how it came out, can't wait to finish the bottles on the bar counter. Of course we had to take took it back down this morning as the electricians are here to install all the light fixtures and outlets. Little by little, we're finally approaching the end of this overdue project.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kitchen Sink Installed

 YEAH! We finally have a kitchen sink. Earlier in the week one side of the kitchen got the counter tops installed, with the sink under-mounted. The other side of the room had two counter pieces that needed to be re-cut because the brick wall isn't square to the wall it abuts. Anyway since the sink side was ready, the plumber came today & installed the faucet and water filter and hooked up the lines for the dishwasher and the icemaker in the fridge. The appliances can't be used yet because the outlets won't be in until the backsplash is done. But we now have a working sink, no more going out back to use the laundry room sink. Little by little it's starting to look like a kitchen again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mounting Bottle Bottoms in Wood

Bamboo Finish on box to heighten Brick Wall
Bottle Bottom Template for Valance
Sometimes simple ideas are harder to execute than you expect. My idea of mounting glass bottle bottoms into the wood we used to build-up our brick wall to counter height took days & days of planning & practice to figure out how to accomplish it. 
First of all a lot of beer bottles appear the same size, but they vary ever so slightly. Also since we are using LED lights to shine through from the inside of the box, the bottles need to fit snug in the hole so light doesn’t bleed around the edge. The cleanest way to get a nice round hole in wood without chewing up the edges is with a hole saw. Only problem, they come in just certain sizes & the larger ones get pricey. Between the contractor & ourselves, we had quite a few, but not enough for all the sizes of bottles. We splurged on a few additional ones. My husband also found an adjustable hole maker, but it wasn’t cutting through thick pieces of wood easily. So after various practice holes and shaving down of glass bottles, he decided to use the adjustable hole saw to cut holes in a template, clamp that template to the box and use his router to cut the smooth round holes. So we ended up going out & spending almost $25 on the right router bit. In the end it was worth it.
Bob cutting Circle Templates
Adjustable Hole Saw

Hole Cutters & practice cuts in Bamboo

The Circle Templates
Special Router Bit

Box with Circles Cut Out (protective tape still applied)


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