So after posting a roundup of pretty soap pumps last week I decided to go ahead and order this glass oil cruet from Amazon to see if I could make it work as a dish soap dispenser. It arrived on Thursday and I filled it immediately with my lavender-scented store brand dish soap. I was worried that it would be too viscous and I’d need to water it down, but actually it works great! It does take a moment for the air bubble to work its way up and the soap to flow out but after a couple days of use I was convinced to keep it.

olive oil dish soap dispenser

There was one other small issue: as I’d suspected, the smooth glass is a little slick on soapy hands. So on Sunday afternoon I took literally ten minutes to give it a quick little DIY improvement. I started by wrapping some painter’s tape around the top and bottom. I just eyeballed the placement but tried hard to keep it straight and level.

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Then I brushed on some of this glass etching cream that I’ve had forever. It’s pretty old and seemed kind of goopy so I tested it on the bottom first to make sure it worked. Once I was sure it was still good I applied it to the glass as smoothly as I could manage.

etched glass cruet

I set my kitchen timer for five minutes and then rinsed it off. The moment of truth!

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It looked pretty good! The bottle of etching cream had said specifically that it wasn’t intended for use on large, solid surfaces so I was nervous that it would be splotchy but it wasn’t at all.

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It’d probably look better if it wasn’t almost empty but I’m just keeping it real here. I am not the type of blogger who will make a special trip to the store for more dish soap just so I can get a prettier picture.

DIY Etched Glass Dish Soap Dispenser

It’s subtle difference that’s not even really visible from afar but that wasn’t the point. The point was to make it easier to grip and that mission has been accomplished!

DIY Etched Glass Dish Soap Dispenser.

With all of the incremental changes I’ve been making in the kitchen lately it’s quickly becoming my favorite place to be. Nick and I even decided this weekend to challenge ourselves to go 30 full days without dining out. We usually go out at least once a week, usually more, but we need to cut back on our spending and I’m actually getting to be a pretty good cook. So between now and March 15 I’ll be spending plenty of quality time in here cooking and cleaning. Nick helps, of course, but honestly at the end of the day I’d rather send him off to play with Jack and have some time to myself. Just me, the stove, and Pinterest, haha.

Happy Monday, my friends! How was your weekend? Ours was really great–we barely left the house (except for a walk to the park on Saturday morning when the weather was absolutely gorgeous), I never put on makeup, we had friends over for dinner on Saturday night, and somehow Nick and I managed to watch the ENTIRE second season of House of Cards. So good and I can’t believe it’s over already (the weekend or the TV show).

What I didn’t do this weekend was work on any big DIY projects. It was so nice to just chill after several weekends in a row of either being away from home or snapping into project mode as soon as Jack was napping. I did knock out a few smaller projects, though, like hanging this clock in our kitchen.

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It was a gift from my friend Laura and I knew as soon as she gave it to me where I would hang it. I just had to wait to get some of the other kitchen projects out of the way, like the beadboard and the shelves.

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The navy is a nice reference to the curtains on the other side of the room. They’re kind of blown out by the window here but you get the idea.

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We used to have a clock hanging above the doorway to the laundry room, but it was so high that I forgot it was there and when the battery died I never bothered to replace it. I like that this clock is hung closer to eye level so I can actually, you know, see it. Plus it’s at an angle that’s visible even if I can’t see the clock on the stove.

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Of course it doesn’t hurt that the grocery store tulips Nick got me for Valentine’s Day look so pretty with it. Tulips have always been my favorite flower and in fact my wedding bouquet was comprised solely of pink tulips. I’ve been so happy looking at them all weekend that I’m tempted to start buying them for myself more often. If tulips or peonies grew this far south I would so have them in my garden just for cutting.

Random thought to end this post: do you see that towel bar on the end of the cabinet in the photo above? It was there when we moved in and I used to hang decorative cloth napkins/dishcloths on it but I’m sure you can imagine that with a toddler in our house that’s now a lost cause. I’ve thought about using it as a little pot rack for Jack’s toy kitchen (when he gets a little older and can actually hang a toy pot on a hook) or using it as a towel rack again when Jack is old enough to stop pulling down everything within reach or just removing it entirely since it’s never really been something I used much. Thoughts?

Happy V-day, my friends! Whether you’re in a relationship or not I hope you’ve got plans to do something fun. Nick and I will be staying in, eating chocolate, and binging on the new season of House of Cards on Netflix. Sounds fabulous, right? I’ll take a night in over a night out any day. If (like me) you are not into the mass consumerism that is typical of Valentine’s Day and if (like me) you are often belated in many things, check out these handmade lovelies to buy for your loves:

little eli

White Turquoise Necklace. Wire Wrapped Turquoise with Beads Necklace. Semi Precious Stones. Unique Necklace. Gold Wire Wrapped Necklace. (428x570)

White Turquoise Necklace. Wire Wrapped Turquoise with Beads Necklace. Semi Precious Stones. Unique Necklace. Gold Wire Wrapped Necklace.

Pearl Strand Necklace with Vintage Gold Pendant. White Pearls. Elegant Necklace. Gold Pendant. Simple, Refined Style. (428x570)

Pearl Strand Necklace with Vintage Gold Pendant. White Pearls. Elegant Necklace. Gold Pendant. Simple, Refined Style.

Small Concrete Bowl Planter. Painted. Succulent Planter. Jewelry Storage. Indoor Planter, Urban Industrial. Rustic Cottage. Cement. (570x428)

Small Concrete Bowl Planter. Painted. Succulent Planter. Jewelry Storage. Indoor Planter, Urban Industrial. Rustic Cottage. Cement.

abs shop

Navy, Pink, and Gold Dipped Geometric Wood Magnet Set (570x380)

Navy, Pink, and Gold Dipped Geometric Wood Magnet Set

Vintage Upcycled Paint-Dipped Faux Bamboo Frame (408x570)

Vintage Upcycled Paint-Dipped Faux Bamboo Frame

Vintage Upcycled Paint-Dipped Wooden Key (570x380)

Vintage Upcycled Paint-Dipped Wooden Key

Momentus New York

Tiny gold feather necklace-feather necklace-simple small gold feather necklace-tiny feather necklace-tiny gold feather pendant necklace (448x336)

Tiny gold feather necklace-feather necklace-simple/small gold feather necklace-tiny feather necklace-tiny gold feather pendant necklace

gold long tube necklace-gold thin tube necklace-long curve tube necklace-long bar necklace-gold bar necklace-skinny tube-NO wires NO loops (570x412)

gold long tube necklace-gold thin tube necklace-long curve tube necklace-long bar necklace-gold bar necklace-skinny tube-NO wires NO loops

dainty tiny heart initial necklace-bridesmaids favor-tiny heart initial necklace-initial heart necklace-rose gold initial necklace-tiny disc (448x336)

dainty tiny heart initial necklace-bridesmaids favor-tiny heart initial necklace-initial heart necklace-rose gold initial necklace-tiny disc

And last but not least, I like to spotlight a special nonprofit each month. If your heart belongs to A) a soldier or B) a dog, you might have a special interest in Paws and Stripes. They provide service dogs for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. These well-trained animals all come from shelters and help veterans live the full and rich lives they deserve. There is so much to love about this program. If you’d like to help you can make a monetary contribution, donate something from their wish list, or purchase something from their shop. And if you or someone you love is a veteran who could benefit from a service dog try googling to see if there’s a similar program in your area (this one’s in Albuquerque; I heard about it from a friend who recently lost her husband to suicide after he served two tours of duty in the Middle East).

Paws and Stripes (570x400)

Please hold the grieving, the heartbroken, and the lonely in your hearts this Valentine’s Day. And if you’re feeling sad after reading that last part take comfort in the fact that today is a great day to eat your feelings. Chocolate for everybody!

Yesterday I regaled you with the tale of how I installed the wood and metal shelves in our kitchen. And today, my friends, I’m here to show you how they look in their natural habitat all loaded up with my stuff.

First the before:

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And now the after (although actually there are still several projects left on my to-do list):

DIY Wood and Metal Open Shelves Kitchen

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me nervous to have a very heavy set of china plates up there, but the brackets are steel and they seem pretty sturdy so I’m trying to relax.

DIY Open Shelves

I’m still working on finding a new home for the microwave. I’d really love to get it off the counter but every idea I come up with for relocating it gets met with some roadblock.

DIY Wood & Metal Kitchen Shelves, Part 2

The bottom shelves hold the dishes we use every day (yep, we eat pizza off our wedding china) and the top shelves hold items that are pretty enough to display and used so rarely that we’d probably rinse them before use anyway. I wouldn’t want to have all open shelves in my kitchen because of the dust but I think these two categories of items are well-suited to it. You can see in some of the other photos that there are several other items I’ve been storing above my cabinets for years–a couple of cake stands, a punch bowl, etc. It gets nasty up there so I just give them a good cleaning whenever I need them which is maybe once or twice a year. I’m hoping the everyday stuff gets rotated frequently enough that it never has time to collect dust.

DIY Wood Kitchen Shelves

Full disclosure: there was a tiny pile of clutter that I moved around the kitchen to be out of view from whatever angle I was shooting. Part of my plan for improvements going forward is to organize things more efficiently so the counters stay clear but I’m not there yet.

DIY Wood & Metal Kitchen Shelves Part 2

And here’s the view from the dining room. I tidied up for you.

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These are the next projects on my list:

  • Remove the ill-fitting bifold doors from the pantry and install new cabinet-style doors
  • Add an additional shelf to the pantry as well as baskets and bins to make the most of the available space
  • Finish the undersides of the upper cabinets with painted plywood and re-install the stemware rack that was hanging there before (it was not really installed properly before, hence the need to finish the undersides of the cabinets before putting it back)
  • Possibly have an electrician drop a box for an additional light fixture over the food prep area, then move the existing light over there to function as a light/pot rack and install a new light in the center of the room
  • Possibly have an electrician drop an outlet in a cabinet or the pantry for the microwave
  • Switch out one of the standard electrical outlets with one that will accommodate USB plugs
  • Repair or replace two of the drawers that are not opening smoothly
  • Replace the cabinet handles and pulls with something more my style
  • Upgrade the vent over the stove (the one that’s there now is really old and mostly just makes a lot of noise)
  • Add more art/accessories/decor as I go

It feels so good to finally be making these changes after literally years of thinking about it. Little by little I’m getting it done without going beyond my normal budget for discretionary spending. Good things come to those who wait!