Archives For Projects

I realize that this is a rather uncommon problem and that a tutorial on how I resolved it is unlikely to benefit many of my regular readers, but since I had such a hard time figuring it out and couldn’t find any guidance online I figured that maybe somebody out there might find it helpful. In the photo below you can see that the undersides of the two upper cabinets in my kitchen were left unfinished. This probably wouldn’t be a big deal except for A) the cork-like surface that was exposed was kind of gross and B) I have an under-cabinet stemware rack that can only be installed on a more sturdy surface. When we first moved into this house I rigged it up with a piece of scrap wood but it never looked right and so I took it down when I started working on the kitchen a few months ago.

010 (570x380)

It’s taken me that long to figure out what to do here. My first thought was to install some 3/4″ plywood using pocket holes to attach it to the frame. When I bought plywood for the DIY pantry doors I had Nick cut a couple of pieces to fit under the cabinets, but it turned out that it was actually too thick. I wasn’t devastated because I don’t know how to drill pocket holes anyway.

Once I decided to use thinner plywood, I needed to figure out how to attach it. I was thrilled when I came up with the idea to screw a small block cut from scrap wood into each corner and use it to attach the plywood.

012 (570x381)

I secured each block to the frame of the cabinet with two screws. The bright light from the window makes it difficult to see, but the trim around the edge of the cabinet comes down a little further than the frame so the blocks are kind of hidden up there.

019 (570x379)

This created a perfect setup to attach some 1/2″ thick plywood with a screw into each block! On this particular cabinet I added an additional screw in the center since there was a piece of the frame available. The other cabinet has no center support but it’s not as wide so I’m confident that the four corners will suffice.

029 (570x380)

I think that the 4′x2′ piece of plywood was about $17 at Lowe’s.

032 (570x338)

Now that they’re painted white they blend right in, which is exactly what I was going for.

037 (380x570)

051 (570x380)

036 (570x380)

The stemware rack used to hang on the right side, but I’m planning to mount it between the refrigerator and the paper towels this time. We’ve rearranged some things as part of the recent changes and all of our drinking glasses are now in that cabinet. Makes sense to keep like with like, right? Plus I like having the knives and mixer over on the other side where they’re adjacent to the main food prep area. Once I finish up another project I’m working on in the pantry I’ll have room for the microwave in there and the wine glasses can go back to hanging neatly instead of sitting out on the counter.

046 (2) (570x380)

It’s so funny that I spent so long trying to figure out this solution and making it way more complicated than it needed to be, but when I finally came up with a good idea it took me only a couple of hours to knock it out by myself. It’s one of those little things that nobody would ever notice but the cabinets look much nicer and higher-end now (though in reality they are very, very old).

Spring has always been my most favorite season. The warm weather, my April birthday, long afternoons and the presence of crawfish all combine to make this time of year seem almost magical. I think I’m also hardwired from the 19 consecutive years I spent in formal education settings to associate spring with a sense of optimism–a feeling that something wonderful is just around the corner. This is in contrast to summer, when the South Louisiana sun is unbearably hot and despite the sweltering temps I feel haunted by the knowledge that fall is right around the corner. But Spring! Spring is made for front porches and crawfish boils and gardens and strawberry beer. Spring is the stuff life is made of.

my favorite weather is bird chirping weather the wheatfield

Sometime around March I usually talk myself into regularly shaving my legs again and the reward is spring dresses. There are few things I love more than a good jersey knit but after I had Jack I realized that most of my favorite dresses wouldn’t work for breastfeeding. Even though Jack is now weaned I do hope to have and nurse another baby down the line so I only buy nursing-friendly dresses these days. This one looks like it would be so comfy and flattering.

Women's Cross-Front Jersey Dress Old Navy

Women’s Cross-Front Jersey Dress | Old Navy

One thing I’m hoping to invest in soon is a really great pair of flats. I like to keep a pretty minimalist wardrobe and rotate the same 2-3 pairs of shoes until they wear out. The last few pairs of flats I’ve had were very inexpensive and wore out quickly. I’d go that route again if I found some that I loved, but I’m also willing to spend a little more if I think they’ll last more than a season. Have any of you found a comfortable and pretty pair of flats that will last forever? I prefer neutral colors that will go with everything. I’m considering the pair below!

Hush Puppies Women's Chaste Ballet Flat

Hush Puppies Women’s Chaste Ballet Flat | Amazon**

And since Spring is swimsuit weather in this part of the country I’m already daydreaming about trips to the local splashpad and a possible beach vacation. I already have a swimsuit that I love but man oh man am I tempted to spend an obscene amount of money on this little number.

Ruffled Halter Maillot

Ruffled Halter Maillot | Anthropologie

I know that the first day of Spring isn’t officially for another nine days, but it was 76 and sunny yesterday. Of course it’s overcast and supposed to rain today and the humidity is 90%, but I’ll take it.

**Amazon affiliate link. If you click that link and then subsequently make a purchase I will receive a small portion of the proceeds at no additional cost to you.

Last week I began a somewhat ambitious project–replacing the old bifold doors on our pantry with a pair of Shaker-style doors. Remember how the old doors were too small and difficult to operate? We honestly just left them open most of the time because they were such a pain.

011 (380x570)

In Part 1 of this project Nick cut some 3/4″ plywood to size and then together we trimmed it out with some lattice strips.

074 (380x570)

Next I filled all the nail holes and joints with wood filler and sanded it smooth.

074 (380x570)

I also filled and sanded the sides to help smooth them out and even any low spots.

085 (570x380)

Then I set up a painting station, conveniently located so that I could catch up on my DVR while I worked.

090 (380x570)

I put two coats of primer all over, then two coats of white paint on just the backs and the sides. I left the fronts primed but unpainted so that I wouldn’t stress about the paint getting messed up while we were hanging them. I always use Olympic no-VOC primer and paint.

110 (380x570)

Since we made these doors ourselves they are not quite perfect and if the doors get switched or turned upside down they won’t line up properly. To make sure we kept them oriented correctly I marked the tops with two small arrows using a sharpie. I’d intended to paint over them once they were hung but it’s too high for even Nick to see so I haven’t yet. I laid the doors face-down on the kitchen floors with the arrows pointing together to attach the hinges.

119 (570x380)

We went with an aged brass finish to match some of the older hinges in our kitchen.

117 (570x380)

133 (380x570)

Then we used some scrap wood to prop them in place and, after checking to make sure they were level, we marked, drilled, and screwed the hinges to the frame of the pantry.

146 (380x570)

I was seriously holding my breath as Nick tightened the final screw and removed the scrap wood. It was kind of a letdown when I saw that the door on the left wouldn’t lay flat!

160 (380x570)

But no worries. I took the opportunity to finish painting and drill holes for the knobs, then went back to Lowe’s the next morning and picked up a pair of these magnetic door catches.

168 (570x380)

We just attached the magnets to the top frame of the opening and a metal plate to each door. Now the doors stay closed but are still easy to open.

211 (570x380)

I attached the knobs and–voila–mission accomplished!

DIY Pantry Doors

225 (380x570)

I’m worried they look a little plain and am actually thinking about adding some more trim across the middle near the knobs–sort of like this. It would be really easy to do but I’m going to live with them a little while before deciding.

181 (380x570)

I was surprised to feel a little underwhelmed when they were complete, but when I look back at the photo of the old bifold doors I’m reminded that they are a massive improvement. And now I have an opportunity to create some storage on the insides of the doors–like this and this. It’s hard to say exactly how much we spent on these doors since we used only part of a huge piece of plywood, but I’d say it’s probably around $50. I have been keeping track of how much we’ve spent in total on the kitchen so far and am proud to say that it’s still under $500. That’s not a lot of money for the huge functional and visual impact that the we’ve made. Just take a look back at this “before” photo:

Picture1 (570x380)

We’re definitely moving now into some of the more functional/less glamorous changes, like finding a new home for the microwave, updating the range vent, possibly adding some new lighting, and organizing, but I do have some fun and easy ideas for decorating and DIY art that will help round out the scary and expensive stuff. Excited!

We have a couple of upgrades on deck for our exterior this year. We need a new roof, a fresh paint job, a repair to where the plumber cut away part of the house(!!!) to repair a faulty drain pipe. We also need to fix the broken gate and to dethatch the grass in the backyard (yeah, I’d never heard of it either, but we’ve got weirdly thick grass back there). This past weekend the weather was warm after a rainy week and we decided to knock out an easy task that we’d been tossing around for a long time. We live in an historic neighborhood where the houses are tightly packed and driveways were an afterthought. Ours is this narrow space between our home (on the right) and our neighbors’. And it’s getting kind of muddy. After any big rain I have to tiptoe to and fro and that area near the trashcans forms a giant puddle.

012 (570x380)

Some friends told us about a local stone yard that has good prices (Jim Stone on Florida Blvd if you’re local), so Nick brought a truck home from work and first thing Saturday morning we drove out there and bought a cubic yard of pea gravel for $35. We paid for it, they dumped it into the the bed of the truck with a bucket loader, and we were on our way home. Easy peasy! Back at the house we backed the truck up into the driveway and Nick shoveled it out, moving the truck gradually back toward the street every few minutes so he could distribute the gravel evenly. I came behind him and raked it a bit to even it out but didn’t stress over perfection. It took under an hour. Bonus: Jack thought it was a blast.

037 (570x380)

It’d probably be prettier if we’d leveled the ground beneath first so that the grass didn’t show through high spots, but whatever. It’s not muddy, it’s not so deep that you sink in and get rocks in your shoes (hate that!) and Jack thinks it is seriously so much fun to pile rocks in a bucket and carry them around, dump them back out, etc. I’ve always felt bad that we didn’t have a big, flat, paved driveway for him to play with ride-on toys but the rocks are pretty fun.

056 (570x380)

It’s rainy and cold again this week but I don’t have to worry about getting my shoes all muddy on my way to the car. It’s the little luxuries in life, I tell ya.

067 (570x380)

Not to mention how much Jack enjoys it.

2014-03-03 17.12.40 (570x570)

So if you’ve been thinking of filling in your driveway or a low spot on your property, or even wondered about making a rock box for your kid, check out your local stone yard! It was really cheap and easy and makes me happy every time I come home.