A bunch o’ kitchen and breakfast nook updates

So, remember how one small thing can lead to a bunch of other changes without even trying??

Allow me to introduce you to one two small things…

Yeeeeaaaahhhhh…. I decided that there was no way to get a decent close-up shot without being in the mirror’s reflection (or getting my tripod which seemed like entirely too much work at the time).  So, I chose to maximize the opportunity with a cheesy thumbs up victory pose.   I’ll bet you’re thanking your lucky stars to be reading this right now, aren’t ya?? 😉

Anyways, I had a total score of a trip to my local thrift shop.  It was one of those magical trips where I found these things immediately, paid, and left all within about 5 minutes.    And these items would be a sweet ceramic planter that I got for $4.50 and a vintage shoe mirror which I scored for $8.   Honestly, I had no idea what to do with the shoe mirror when I purchased it, but I thought it was awesome so I had to adopt it.

Once I got them home, I simply washed the planter, and shined up the shoe mirror with a bit of Restore-A-Finish and Feed n Wax.   I dropped a plant I already had into the planter and stuck both items into the corner of our breakfast nook…

Which I loved, but unfortunately, the planter TOTALLY clashed with my bird chairs.   Which were last seen here…


FYI: That orchid has since bit the Big One.

Back when I refinished our Craigslist kitchen table, I mentioned that the chairs needed to go.  They just didn’t mesh with the table and were too busy for the space.   I REALLY wanted to purchase new chairs since these are getting pretty worn (I originally purchased them for $8 from Craigslist and then refinished them), but with the unexpected expense of fixing our rotting wall, that option was (and still is) delayed.   So, my pretty blue and white planter was really the straw that got the motivation flowing as far as making cheap changes.  Or something like that.   😉

I knew that I had some leftover sagey grey fabric laying around, and while it wouldn’t have necessarily been my first choice for this space, it was free and neutral…

Which meant that it definitely had a leg up on the bird fabric.   So, I got going on recovering the seats.  I won’t go through a detailed tutorial on seat recovering since I posted one back when I initially recovered my bird chairs.  But, if you want more precise information on this process, check out that post.  I will say this, though.   I generally consider myself to be in okay shape.  I try to work out regularly and really enjoy it for the most part.   But recovering seats makes me feel like I’m getting a full-on workout.  Every.Time.Not.Joking.   I was literally sweating and breathing hard as I was completing this project.  Something about the strength needed to wield a staple gun while pulling fabric taut is just too much for me for some reason.  So, I’ve found that the easiest way to get ‘er done is like this…

Now, if I weren’t holding a camera with my opposite hand, I would’ve been pulling the fabric tightly directly in front of the staple gun. So, imagine that.   Basically, you wanna rest the top of the staple gun on your surface, and the bottom of the staple gun on the floor and then use your body weight to compress the staple gun rather than your grip.  This should work as long as your surface is relatively flat to the ground.   It becomes worlds easier.  Trust me.  Now granted, this requires you to rotate your surface much more frequently (or move around your object if it’s larger), but it’s worth it in the end.

Once the seats were recovered, I made a point to Scotchguard them.   Since this is a solid-colored fabric, stains will be much more apparent, so I felt that this was important in making the seats last more attractively until we purchase our new chairs.

As a refresher, remember when we first moved in??

Breakfast nook

And now our breakfast nook looks like this…


And our chairs no longer clash with my new planter…

I’m really pleased with how the space is starting to come together.   It definitely feels more grown-up since I recovered the chairs.  Now I’m REALLY excited to replace them.  In the meantime, though, they’ll do.  🙂

My plan with the shoe mirror is actually to use it as a dry erase board for messages.   I just need to get some decent dry erase markers that show up better.   You can barely see the ones that we have currently.

Eventually, I’ll add something to the other side of the French doors to balance out the space, but I’m not sure what yet.   Functionality-wise one of the most welcome additions to the nook is this striped runner by the door…

I found it at Target and love the pop of pattern it adds.  Plus, it goes a long way to preventing dirt and wet feet from muddying up the kitchen.  My goal was to find a dirt-colored rug that was still cute.  Mission accomplished.

Now, since we’re in the kitchen anyways, how about an update on the other side of the room??   Now, let me preface this by saying that I realize that a dressed-up turd is still a turd.  And well, our kitchen right now is definitely a turd (what with its mismatched appliances, nose-cabinets adorned with chipping/drip-ridden paint, chipped Formica countertops, etc.).   But, I figure that I may as well style it cutely to better to help us live with it until the renovation starts (which will hopefully be late summer/early fall depending on when we find decent reasonably-prices appliances).

Just as a reminder, last I showed you, the kitchen looked like this…

And this is the current status…


Minor changes, but they all work much better in the space and seem less cluttered than before.   I’m constantly changing things around in here.  Even as I was taking these pictures, I was altering things actually.  So, now for a few countertop cameos.   First, our coffee area (and yup! This picture prompted me to refill the sugar)…

Next…  Anybody remember Larry the Table Guy??  He was my very first project on the blog almost 2 years ago…

Aaaand… Just like in our last house, chunky cutting boards are a mainstay on the countertop (and see how the teapot is tilting???  Our stove is dangerously uneven.  One more reason why it needs to go.)…

Then, I added a stack of coffee cups opposite the coffee bar for easy access.  Plus, I think it looks kinda cool (and you can catch a small glimpse of our dining room in this shot)…

And one more shot.  Simply because Lucas gifted me the rock….

Right now, I’m okay with this space (sortof), but I’m not gonna lie… I cannot wait to get started on this baby.  It has so much potential that it isn’t living up to right now.   I’ll have a planning post on what we’re thinking soon.  But until then, that’s what I got!

So have any of y’all had small changes that add up to many more?  Kind of like a snowball effect??

TDC Before and After

A Tray with Personality

So, remember when I finally found our mid-century dresser? I mentioned how it desperately needed to be styled?  Well, I decided that a tray to corral some of my decor items was just what the doctor ordered.  Several months ago, I found this guy for around fourteen bucks at Tar-jay.

More than I’d usually spend on a tray, but I’d been looking for some time and was tired of coming up empty-handed. So, I just grabbed it and ran to the register. Once I got home, I placed it on the dresser and accessorized it… but decided it was a little blah on its own.

So, I raided my fabric supply and found this remnant….


It’s a 1/4 yard that I picked up for 99 cents at Walmart a while back. I set the fabric inside the tray, added a few vases and such, then left it all like that to make sure I was completely gung-ho before enlisting any permanent changes. Honestly, I loved the fabric+tray combo immediately.  The fabric brought just the interest I was looking for, the colors were great in the room, and the retro-ish print totally meshed with our mid-century dresser (his name is Drex for any newbies to the blog). My plan was to Mod Podge the fabric to the bottom of the tray. But then I got lazy, and nothing happened for several months.

Last week, I saw that Katie over at Bower Power completed an adorable Mod Podged fabric inlay mirror, and I thought, “if she can get ‘er done (and she has 1.5 kids more than me), then so can I!”. So, last weekend I got off my tush and did it. I pretty much used the same technique as Katie did (with a few changes due to some small obstacles), which was as follows…

First, I assembled my materials…


Tray, fabric (not shown), Mod Podge, sponge brush, plate, razor blade.

I began by applying Mod Podge to the bottom of the tray. And stop. The Mod Podge started beading up and acting like it wasn’t adhering. I realized pretty quickly that the surface of the tray was too glossy for the Mod Podge as it was. So, I grabbed a damp paper towel and quickly removed all of the Mod Podge. Then, I used my vinegar/water cleaner and thoroughly cleaned my tray. Next, I busted out a liquid deglosser and applied it to the bottom of the tray to rough it up a smidge.

Once the deglosser dried, with my fingers crossed in a haze of determination, I applied the Mod Podge once again.


This time it went on like a champ. Nice and even. No beading. Woo-hoo! Once the bottom of my tray was coated, I pressed my fabric into the bottom of my tray and smoothed it out until it was nice and flat.


Next came the razor blade.

IMG_3100 IMG_3101

I used it to gently score the fabric over and over along the crease until it was cut all the way through. The corners were a little challenging because the fabric wanted to lift up each time my razor got close to the corner. I pressed the tips of a closed pair of scissors right up into the corner so that I could hold the fabric down while I sliced into the corner as closely as possible. Then, I finished off the corner with a snip of my scissors.


Next it was clean-up time…


I used a lint roller to pick up any fuzz or strings that had accumulated during the trimming process. I also snipped any rogue strings along the edges with my scissors so the the edges looked as clean as possible. Then, I applied another coat of Mod Podge over top to seal in the fabric and help prevent future stains.


Which left this…

IMG_3156  IMG_3150 IMG_3145  IMG_3148  IMG_3147

I just love it. It really gives Drex a bit of pizazz. Plus, if I ever tire of the print, I can simply Mod Podge something else over it or spray-paint the entire tray a bold color. Nothing is forever when spray-paint’s in the house, my friends.

So now for this side of the room I’ve still gotta find/make some art to hang above Drex. I have an idea for a DIY piece, but need to get a large canvas first. I also want to replace the wicker chair with something sleeker. Maybe some sort of tufted linen slipper chair with clean lines?? Just an idea. I’m sure things’ll change depending on what I find. In any case, I’m slowly but surely getting there.

So, anyways that’s my tray! I hope everyone has a great weekend!! 🙂