Sunday, June 24, 2012

Range Hood Re-do

The paint has been peeling off of our kitchen's range hood for the past five years. Most people would consider it an unbearable eyesore, but its amazing what you can get used to when you see it everyday. I'd been meaning to repaint it for some time, but it just wasn't all that pressing since the rest of the kitchen kind of matched. Now with the new paint, hardware, and everything else, its gotten a bit harder to ignore.

I know. Its terrible.

I decided this would be the perfect weekend to give it a try. I'm not at all ashamed to admit this project was very ambitious and possibly a little beyond my skill level. Thankfully, my husband was home to help me out. Plus, I figured that even if I messed up horribly, it still couldn't end up looking much worse than it already did.

This was a very cheap project because I didn't have to go out and get a bunch of supplies. Besides the degreaser and spray paint, most of what I needed was already lying around the house.

My husband started by taking down the hood, removing the wiring, light bulb, fan and filter. I just watched this part. We took pictures of the wiring so that he would know how to reassemble it. Outside, I sprayed the hood down with the heavy duty auto degreaser. We sprayed the filter as well, but left that in the sink to soak. Outside, I began scraping off what I could with a paint scraper. The front area peeled away fairly easily, but the sides and rear required a bit more effort. I removed the rest by alternating between wet sanding and using a metal brush.

I decided to leave the paint on the sides and top because it wasn't peeling and wouldn't be seen once it was re-installed. After letting the hood dry overnight, I was excited to get back to work in the morning. I started by applying several thin layers of primer (spray paint of course). This worked really well to hide any light scratches that were left by the sanding.

 After letting it dry for an hour I began applying the main color. I had picked out a satin color called Sparkling Canyon. I was hoping that it would come close to matching the copper switch plates I had recently installed, but after finishing I found that it was much too light, and looked too modern in comparison to the rest of the kitchen. Luckily, I had some leftover darker metallic copper that I had used for a previous project. I layered the two paints over one another to create a color much closer to what I was hoping for. I suppose its important to note that I didn't use any specialty appliance spray paint. I don't think that our range hood gets hot enough to cause any problems. Plus, I had a very specific idea for the color I wanted. Most appliance paints only come in black, white and maybe red. After letting everything dry, my husband put everything back together again.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, but I'm not gonna lie, sanding was a lot of work. Definitely worth it though. And look at that grease filter...

I only wish that I had been able to get more of an aged copper look, to go with the feel of the rest of the house. I know its a silly thing to complain about, that something looks too new, but I love the personality that comes along with age. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Gardening Post From Someone Who Does Not Garden

I've never been terribly good with plants. I suppose that's a bit of an understatement. I've killed cactus. Though I have been trying really hard this last year, and I think I've finally figured it out. Turns out plants need water and sun.

So far the windowsill garden is going really well. After getting the drainage figured out, the cilantro and dill have really started growing like weeds. I love checking on my plants everyday when I get home. I'm so pleased with the success I think I will have to fill another windowsill and possibly some larger containers outside.

I've been absolutely loving the mild weather we've had so far this year, and just want to spend as much time as I can outside. To be honest, my husband and I haven't done much with the yard since we moved in. We mow the lawn and enjoy the rose bushes that were already planted. We've added a few perennials and some small lilac bushes, but neither of us have much experience with gardening. I'm not sure how that happened because we both have relatives that are pretty much experts. Go figure.

Anyhow, I'm really excited about this book that I found at 2nd Look Books
 (One of my favorite book stores in Spokane)

1951 First Edition Better Homes and Gardens Garden book. Very practical and simple advice for everything garden. I'm sure I could find most of this information online, but sometimes reading print helps things to stay in my mind much better. Plus the illustrations and photos are so much fun!

This book has sections on lawn care, lot planning, pests, soil and all kinds of plants. It doesn't seem to be terribly outdated either, besides a few things I can laugh about while reading. What a find! Hopefully by summers end I will have some things to show off. For now its just fortunate that roses need so little work. These beautiful blooms come back every year regardless of how I abuse them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chalkboard paint

After a three day wait, I've finally gotten to test out the chalkboard paint I used last weekend on the inside of the kitchen cupboard. The paint I used for this project was Rust-oleum Chalkboard paint, and I have to say I'm really pleased with the product. It was easy to mix and went on very easily. The chalk doesn't wipe away from the surface as cleanly as I had hoped, but I think this is mostly due to the fact that the particle board wasn't completely smooth even after a layer of primer.

Its always a good idea to test out products before using them on the intended space, so several weeks ago I tried the paint out on an old dry erase board that would no longer erased without the use of alcohol and some serious scrubbing. Using a paintbrush to apply the product left a streaky texture, and although it didn't affect how the chalk looked all that much, I found that using a foam brush on the kitchen cupboard worked out much better. Here's the finished practice piece.

Working on the cupboard door was just as easy. Instructions on the paint can recommend conditioning the surface by rubbing a piece of chalk length wise throughout to help get a cleaner board when erasing. The Dogs were pretty curious about this whole process, and our big guy even felt like helping out.

Heart shaped nose print left by Sarge


So here are the results. This way we can write down what we need as soon as we use up the last of something. Hopefully I'll never get blamed for letting the milk run dry again.

Reading my handwriting might be an issue

Pigs are cute and bacon is yummy

The beauty of this paint is that I can change up the look whenever I want. I have a quite a bit left so I'll have to think of some more creative projects to use it on.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Projects 6/8-6/10

What a busy weekend! I was hoping to get some things done outside but the weather decided not to cooperate until late Sunday. Anyways, I was able to tie up some loose ends and finish a few projects that had been lingering around the house.

Winning the award for least interesting...

I put in a sliding shelf under the kitchen sink! Its not nearly big enough, but its a pretty good start. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more cheap under the sink organizers. Very convenient for the things I use most. Okay, moving on...

Kitchen Cabinet

This one has been in progress since I started working on the kitchen a few months ago. The interior is painted the same Chinchilla Grey as the west side of the kitchen but the exterior still needs a fresh coat of white paint. I lined the shelves with an adhesive black and white toile patterned liner, and just today finished painting the inside of the door. I'm really happy with how crisp the edges came out. I must be getting better at using painters tape. The black is done in a matte chalkboard finish, which in three days I will be able to test out. I'm thinking for grocery or to-do lists. Overall, it looks much better than it did before, but the mismatched hodgepodge of dishware inside kind of spoils it. Oh well, another project for another day.

Mounted Antlers

I found this beauty at Orphaned Decor a few weeks back and just had to have it because of the red plaque. originally the plaque was a duller, burnt red and the deer's fur was still showing. After asking around and doing some research, I decided it would be a lot simpler and much less disgusting to hide the fur rather than try and remove it. Twine really is just about the best crafting material ever.Taxidermy? Why not. I used a thick hemp twine to wrap around the skull, gluing just in key areas. I repainted the plaque a more vibrant red and then finished it off with some furniture brads around the edge and on the front to cover some old screw holes. It looks a little lonely on the wall right now, but it'll liven up once I freshen the wall paint and add some more stuff around it.

Silver Plated Recipe Holder

Last but not least, I picked up this gem at Farm Chicks last weekend. I had been looking for one of these antique silver plated trays for the past few months, and although I was hoping to find more of an oval or rectangular shape to fit above the stove, I couldn't help but fall for the intricate details all along the edge of this one. I attached a heavy duty flat magnet to the back (unfortunately magnets don't stick to these plates, so a heavy duty magnet on the back is necessary if you want to have any magnets stick to the front) and then used double sided adhesive to attach this to the back splash behind our stove. I am really hoping to avoid using any nails, so with a little luck, the adhesive I used should be able to withstand a bit of heat and humidity, otherwise I may have to look into more traditional mounting methods. For now its still standing. 

Happy to have gotten all that finished. Lets see what this next week brings.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jam Jars and Such

I've never tried canning anything or making my own jam. Someday I would love to learn, but I didn't grow up watching my parents do any of this so it all seems a little intimidating. I know it would be easy enough to find a tutorial or even pick up a cookbook, but the idea of preserving food from scratch is very overwhelming. Even so, I love the look and feel of mason jars. They're classy and warm at the same time.

Thanks to a small stock pile I found in the basement left by previous tenants, I've gotten to play around with using them around the house in a number of different ways. There are so many good ideas online, and so far I've only tried a few.

Candle Centerpiece

Probably the simplest way to use a mason jar is just to stick a candle in it. Pile on some junk and you suddenly have something of a centerpiece. You can tell we're not huge wine drinkers seeing as this is our whole collection.

Window Garden

I'm not fooling anyone with this one. I've never had a green thumb. So this is a work in progress. This is my third try too. Every time these herbs have popped up and started to grow, they've only lasted about a week before they died. My husband thought they were lacking sunlight, so he moved them from the kitchen to the dining room, but again they died within a week. I'm now thinking the issue is poor drainage. I originally smashed up some cheap terracotta pots and put them at the bottom of each jar to absorb any excess moisture, but I don't think it was drastic enough. This last time I filled the bottom of each jar with about an inch and a half of gravel. So far the basil is all that has popped up but its looking good!

Magnetic Spice Rack

I absolutely love how this project turned out. You would be surprised how much more inventive with seasonings and spices you can be when they are all laid out in clear view instead of hidden in the cupboard.


After finding this tutorial I decided this project would work great on the side of our fridge because its so close to the stove where most of the cooking gets done. The only snags in this project were finding magnets that were strong enough (I ended up gluing three 3/4" magnets to the lid of each), and also gluing the jar rim and lids together. (The gorilla glue I had been using was not cooperating, so they are loose, but still just as functional) I found some really neat printable magnetic sheets at Staples and used those for the labels. Over all it was a lot cheaper than any of the magnetic racks offered online and not difficult at all to make.

There are a lot more mason jar projects that I want to try, so I will post them when I get around to them.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Back By Popular Demand!

Well, okay....not so much popular demand but mommy-in-law request. Hey, I'll take what I can get.

The last couple of months I've really been focusing on the kitchen. Its actually been more of an obsession. This all started about three months ago when I found cold hard evidence that we had a little house guest that had been living in our basement and coming up for midnight snacks in the kitchen. Can you believe it? A mouse in the house! Ewwww. Apparently our cats had been sleeping on the job.

After finding said 'proof', the husband promptly ordered a mousetrap from Amazon (This humane mousetrap really works great), loaded it up with peanut butter and crackers, and within three days we caught a furry little friend. I wish I had taken pictures. He sure was cute and tiny. We decided to keep him captive for a few days to see if he had any family we could catch and release him with, but after a week of waiting 'Mouser' was our only catch. We let him go in the wild part of our park, so hopefully he's doing okay.

Since then we haven't had any signs of house guests, but I decided the kitchen was gross and would require a serious do over to help me forget that we had been living with a mouse. So, after a fresh coat of Chinchilla Grey paint and several easy projects, I am well on my way to having a neat kitchen!