Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blessing #180 - Mason Jar Pendant Light

I've been working in my kitchen for a couple of weeks.  I did not plan to work on my kitchen right now. Remember, I was working on redoing the bathroom, but I had an attack of ADDD when I decided to put shelf paper on my back splash.

When I changed out the receptacles in my kitchen,  I felt like super woman.  After that victory, I found myself staring at the fluorescent light above my sink that needed a new bulb.  Did I really want to replace the bulb when I really did not like that light?

That's when I started thinking, "I bet I could take that light down."  After a few phone calls to my dad, I took the ugly fluorescent down, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  One of the first pins I saw when I joined pinterest was mason jar pendant lights.

After reading a few tutorials and with my new found electrical skills, I decided to try. What's the worst  that could happen.........besides electrical shock?

One piece of advice I would give if you are going to try this project is to make sure the light kit you buy does not use poles, but has a nice looking wire that can be adjusted.

The shortest length in the pendant kit I bought was twelve inches, but a kit that uses a chord could be adjusted to any height.

Once, I finished the project, I stood back, and realized.....I really didn't like it.  What? I have been thinking about this light for over a year, and I didn't like it!?!

Right away, I knew it was way too long, but I was unsure of how to fix it.  I decided just to hacksaw the pipe in half and just have it not connect at the top. Yes, it's not perfect. It's rigged, but it's better than hitting my head on it when I am washing dishes.  Eventually, I will buy the pendant kit with the chord and not these poles, but for now this is working.

When I painted the trim of the window, I was shocked at what a difference it made.  It just seemed to make the light pop.

Yes, those are dishes waiting to be cleaned in this picture.  I tried my best to get a half way decent picture of this light, but because it's in front of a window, the light was always to bright.

I tried taking a picture from the outside, but that pesky gorgeous sunset reflected off the window.

I love my new light! It's so much better and cheerier than the old fluorescent!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blessing #179 - Chalkboard Table

A few weeks ago, my friend and I wanted to get together.  Due to my love of projects, I suggested we have a project work day at her house.  She could pick projects she wanted to get done and we would work on them.  It's simple, but my kind of fun.

One of my favorite projects we worked on was this table.

I love the story behind this table! When my friend needed a new coffee table, she bought this one online on a Craigslist type site.  When she looked at the pictures, the table looked great.  She didn't think to pay attention to the dimensions.  Her husband picked up the table and brought it home, and it is tiny! It's not really tall enough to be a side table, but not large enough to be a coffee table. When my friend showed it to me, she said, "Here is my mistake."

Being the genius she is, she decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and use this table in her kids play area.  One project day later, and here it is.....

My friend put chalk and markers in mason jars, and spray painted the lids with chalkboard paint.  You know me, I just had to dress up the drawer.

I think my favorite thing about this project is that my friend turned a mistake into something that her family loves.

 You can really tell in this picture just how small this table is.

A few days later she sent me a picture of some of their artwork.  This table is not a mistake anymore. It's a masterpiece.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blessing #178 - Tigger

On Monday, our cat Tigger passed away.  Tigger has been sickly for a while, and Monday afternoon, B found him in the yard, dead.

Initially, B ran in the house and said, "Mom, the cat's dead.  Where's the shovel?  Can we get another cat?" At first, I thought he was crazy, but then I realized he was just in stage one of the grieving process, denial.

A few minutes later, when he realized what had happened, the tears came. That night, he couldn't get to sleep because as he said, "Couldn't get Tiggy off his brain," so we let him sleep in our bed.

Yesterday morning, he woke up complaining about his leg hurting.  He was being so dramatic about the leg, I checked him over, but didn't find anything.  On the way out to the car, he stopped, cried even louder, "Mommy, it's not about my leg.  I'm just sad about Tigger," and that is when he started walking through the other four stages of grief.

Stage 2 - Anger - "Mommy, all those years! All those years, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I was at school and away from him."

Stage 3 - Bargaining - "Mommy, I don't want another cat I only want the cat I had. Tiggy was the best cat ever."

Stage 4 - Depression - "Mommy, Tigger is never going to wake up. He is never going to come back to life."

Stage 5 - Acceptance - "Mommy, Tigger was the best cat ever, and I still love him even though he's gone.  

All this happened just in the seven minute drive to school.  I was emotionally exhausted and it wasn't even 9:00 AM!

I asked him if he wanted to go get breakfast, and just go to school a little late. He said no, "But Mommy, could you pick me up a little early for the funeral."  I didn't really know we were having a funeral, but he assumed we were, and I wasn't about to tell him we weren't.

Yesterday, a cold front came in  and it was only 18 degrees, but we still found ourselves standing outside at Tigger's funeral that afternoon.  (Note: It was only 40 degrees on the day Tigger passed away)

As soon as Shad came home from work, he dug a hole.  I asked Brandon how he wanted the funeral to go. Did he want to say a word about Tigger or one of us? Shad read a verse out of Ecclesiastes,  we sang amazing grace, and Brandon gave the eulogy.

Reason #843,340 that I love this man.

His eulogy sounded something like this.....

"Tigger was a good cat.  He was nice to me. He was nice to Mommy, and he was nice to Daddy.  He was the best cat in the world and I will always love him........(short pause).......Now let's cover him up."

You see, Shad had dug a pretty deep hole for the cat, and the big pile of dirt was just sitting there waiting to fill up the hole.  At that moment, Brandon's love of dirt became greater than the pain of his grief.

As we walked away, I whispered to Shad, "Note to self: Brandon doesn't give the eulogy at my funeral. 'Now let's cover her up'!"

It may seem silly to stand outside and sing Amazing Grace at a cat's funeral, but both Shad and I knew it was important for Brandon.  This was more than just losing a beloved pet, this was the first time Brandon had experienced death.

As we road to school this morning, I giggled under my breath at some of the cute things he said, but when he said, "Mommy, Tigger is never going to wake up.  He is never going to come back to life," I had to hold back my tears.  For the first time, I knew he really understood death.

Today, Brandon lost a little of his innocence, and if standing outside singing Amazing Grace helps him deal with this, then I will do it all day.  Besides, Tiggy was a saint of a cat.  He bravely, lived among these two crazy boys.  He will be missed.

"Tiggey was the very best cat, Love Brandon"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blessing #177 - A Mom and Brandon Date

A few Mondays ago, Brandon was having a particularly bad day.  You know one of those days where nothing seems to go right for him, and he just seems determined to find some trouble.

After getting into trouble, Brandon cried, "I never get to see my Mommy anymore! I miss my Mommy."

I realize he was probably just trying to manipulate me.  Honestly, that boy is gifted in manipulation. He can get you to do exactly what he wants and make you think it was your idea.  When I was pregnant with Collin, B would say in stores, "Mom, you've been really good today.  You deserve some candy." Sadly, his line would work about 80% of the time.

Even though, I knew he was probably manipulating me, his statement made me think. When I looked at my day, I realized Brandon really didn't get to see me much anymore between his school and my cleaning job in the afternoons.  Maybe his bad day was just him wanting some attention from me, good or bad.  He missed me, and to be honest, I missed him.

There were things I couldn't change, Brandon still needed to go to school, and I still needed to do my cleaning job, but I knew Brandon and I needed some time together.  We were due for a Mom and Brandon date.

Last Saturday, we set out on our date.  When I told B about it, he acted like I told him we were going to Disney World, and that was the moment I suspected I was on to something with this date thing.

On our date, we didn't do anything amazing.  We just ran some errands together, just the two of us.

On the way to the errands, I promised Brandon I would pick him up his favorite breakfast, a cheese biscuit at McDonalds, but then being the super mom that I am, I drove right by McDonalds.
A few miles later, he sweetly piped up, "Mommy, what about my biscuit."  I felt bad about my forgetfulness, but I made it up to him by stopping at a gas station for his second favorite breakfast, a donut and chocolate milk.

As he picked out his donut, he said, "This is the best day ever," and that was the moment I knew we needed this date together. (Later, his excitement diminished when he found out one of the errands was at Michael's craft store.)

 When I had to go to the book store, he asked to ride the escalator.  He had been so good, and it was his date too, so I didn't mind the three escalator rides.  Besides, that is when I got this smile....

.....and that was the moment I knew he really had missed me, and in that moment, I decided Brandon and I needed to go on more dates.  He really didn't need an elaborate place or a major event, he just needed me.   Last week, we went on a date to the grocery store, and Sunday, we went on a date as he hung out with me at choir practice.

Sometimes life slips up on you, and things fall out of balance.  You may want to judge me, but I'm sure you've been there too.

Moms are required to be expert jugglers. With cooking, cleaning, laundry, finances, your health, a job, church, friends, kids, a husband, and your spiritual life it's easy to have a ball drop.  I can't do it all.  Even when I try my hardest balls still drop.

On our date day, I realized I had dropped the ball when it came to Brandon.  He needed me, and I needed him.

I may have dropped the ball, but I know exactly how to get it back up into the juggle. No, I can't do it all, but when I see a need, I promise I will be there to fix it.

Thank you for the reminder that day Brandon even if you were just trying to get yourself out of trouble.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blessing # 176 - New Open Shelves

Friday, I shared some updates I have made to my kitchen.  After I put the chevron paper on my back splash, my open cabinets looked terrible.  As a quick fix, I painted the inside of the cabinets grey paint leftover from my pantry makeover.

Right after Christmas, Shad found an awesome set of plates for $12 at Goodwill!  The set included 18 plates which is perfect for me and my butter fingers.

When I placed the new to me plates in the cabinet, I expected to be blown away by the impact of eighteen beautiful white plates, but I wasn't.  They looked kind of blah to me.

You may be wondering why I only have three glasses.  Maybe the rest were dirty? No, like I said, butterfingers.

I really couldn't think of what would make the cabinet look better.  With all the chevron on the walls, I really couldn't put a pattern back there, but then inspiration struck while I was looking at the Ballard Designs catalog.

As soon as I saw the plates in the back of the cabinet, I knew that was what I needed to do.  When I put up my new plate wall, there were a few plates that didn't make the cut. I guess you could call them reject plates.

I placed them on the back of the cabinet, and once I liked the arrangement, I used command strips picture hanging strips to hang them.

Here is the final look....

Now, this cabinet is awesome not blah, and the reject plates are now the stars!

For the other open cabinet, I decided to switch it up and display my newly expanded Pyrex butterprint collection.  I put my mason jars that were in the cabinet beside there so I can still use them when I cook.

I am loving my new shelves and how they just seem to finish off the new look to my kitchen!

Here's my progress so far...

I am loving the progress, and I can't wait to tackle more projects in this kitchen.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blessing #175 - Chevron Backsplash

All week, I have been sharing my shelf paper projects.  At the beginning of the week, I told you I went crazy for this stuff, and today I'd like to share the moment I realized crazy happened.

As I was browsing Pinterest, I saw a pin that suggested using chevron vinyl as a back splash.  Suddenly, the wheels in my head started turning.  My kitchen had a cream plastic back splash. Here's a picture in case you forgot.

Because the back splash is plastic, I did not worry about the shelf paper hurting paint or anything like that.  I cut the piece to fit, and then I would roll it onto the wall keeping an eye out for air bubbles.

It only took one afternoon (from 12:00 - 4:00) to do this.  For $12, I bought four rolls of shelf paper for this job, but it only took three.

Honestly, when I first did it, I did not know how I felt about the chevron.  If there is such a thing as too much chevron, I think I found it.  Also, if someone has problem with seizures, I really don't think they will be able to come into our kitchen.

I took this picture quickly the first night I had it up. (Notice the full sink of dishes.  Don't judge! I was busy that day.) Shad suggested that I break up the chevron somehow.  I think his exact words were, "Wow! That's a lot of chevron."

I switched the outlets to white, and that really made it look more updated.  I also spray painted all the hardware with a satin nickel spray paint.

I decided to take Shad's advice.  He really does have a good eye for things. Over the stove, I bought some letters and spray painted them with the same paint I used on my chandelier to spell the word "EAT."

The day after I hung the letters, I realized that hanging the word EAT in seven inch letters in the kitchen of a woman that struggles with her weight maybe wasn't the best idea.

I painted the inside of my open shelving gray.  I'll show more details of those shelves on Monday.  For now though, here is the shelf papered kitchen....

At the time of this picture, I kind of messed up one of the brackets for the shelves of the canning jars, but I've fixed it now.

 In the end, I am liking it more and more.  Is it my favorite back splash ever? No. I really think white bead board would look awesome as the back splash.  But for $12 and one afternoon, this is a great back splash!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blessing #174 - Spice Crate

One of the tricky parts of my kitchen was the awkward corner cabinet.  I never really knew what to do with it, and ended up just shoving anything that didn't have a home in that cabinet.

When I was looking for uses of my Christmas crates, I knew I wanted to do a spice rack, and I knew it would look perfect in the awkward corner cabinet.

After my bread crate was such a success, I knew I wanted to put shelf paper in the bottom of this crate, but the dividers got in the way.  I tried to remove them, but they didn't budge. Shad tried to get the dividers out, but we realized they were going to break...because Shad's that strong. (sorry I had to throw that in)

It looked like I wasn't going to be able to put the shelf paper in the crate, but I am very stubborn.  I racked my brain to find a plan B. (If you look in the top left corner of the picture above, Collin proves yet again, that he is the best photo bomber ever.)

Willing to try anything, I cut a piece of shelf paper to fit the crate.  Using tweezers, I slid it over the side of the crate and under the dividers.  Surprisingly, it worked!

Once the crate was ready, I moved my spices into matching spice jars.  The labels are Martha Stewart labels from Staples.  I'm not a fan of my handwriting at all, and I will be changing these labels eventually.  I just haven't quite decided how I am going to do that yet.

On the top shelf of the awkward cabinet, I store a gallon pitcher, extra pyrex, and kids cups are in the pink basket. I use the spice crate almost like a door.  Behind the crate, I have extra plates and cake stands that I use for entertaining.

The shelf paper adds a cute punch of color and brightens up this cabinet.

Tomorrow, I'm sharing the moment when I knew I had crossed over into crazyville with my love of shelf paper.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blessing #173 - Rusty Medicine Cabinet

Today's shelf paper project is very quick, but it made a big difference in my mornings. Last week, I shared our bathroom makeover so far.  Here is a picture of my medicine cabinet.

I love how it looked from the outside, but on the inside the cabinet was still a mess.  I wish I had taken a before picture, but I just did this on a whim and didn't think to take one.  Before, the inside of the cabinet was rusty and gross.  Normally, I love rust. Most of my favorite pieces are rusty, but I don't love rust near my toothbrush.

I told you I went a little...a lot crazy over the shelf paper so the obvious solution to the rusty medicine cabinet was SHELF PAPER.

I just love it! It's such a fun pop of color.  I used some of the apothecary jars I have picked up at yard sales and Goodwill.  When I'm thrifting, apothecary jars are one of the things I always buy if they are a good price.

At first, the jar with the toothpaste had a lid to match the makeup one on the left.  It looked so cute and symmetrical, but me and my butter fingers dropped it in the sink and shattered it. I love having my makeup on the jar on the left.  As you can tell from my collection, I'm not a big make up person. (You can see some of the rust peeking out in this picture.)

I'm still looking for just the right toothbrush holder, but this is working fine for now.

The cabinet is still missing it's shelves.  I asked Home Depot, but they did not have replacements.  If you know of where I can find some or what I could use please let me know!

This was a really simple update, but it has really brightened up my morning routine! I just love shelf paper.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blessing #172 - Bread Crate

It's day two of shelf paper week, and in my quest to show you how awesome this stuff is I have another quick project.

For Christmas, Shad got me some pyrex and several old crates.  Yes, he did good!

Soon after Christmas, I walked around the house and looked for ways to repurpose these pretty crates.  I keep my bread on top of our refrigerator.  I really can't give you a reason for it, I just do.  Here is what it was looking like.

I knew one of my crates would be perfect for my bread! I chose the yellow Coke  crate because it didn't have any dividers in it.

When I told Shad what I was doing, he said, "That crate is really dirty!" No problem! I had shelf paper!

This brand of shelf paper is not super tacky so I was not worried about it damaging my crate.  Here is what the crate looks like after it's mini-makeover.

I just love how cheery it looks.  In the world of colors, yellow and aqua are best friends.

After the mini-makeover, I filled the crate up with my bread items and the boy's bribes......I mean....rewards.

Once I put the crate on top of my refrigerator, it looked so lonely and I searched my house for just the right piece to go with it.

The lantern I used on my Christmas mantle worked perfectly.

It's a small change, but it makes a nice difference.