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?? ūüėČ

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…

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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.   ūüėČ

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…

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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.  ūüôā

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…

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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
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Easy Mirrored Planters – Monthly DIY Challenge

Howdy, guys! ¬†It’s that time again! ¬†What time???

Monthly DIY Challenge time! Woot!

For those who don’t know, this is a monthly challenge that I participate in along with some other mighty talented bloggers. ¬† We’re simply assigned a theme (or an item) and must make something with it. ¬†Easy peasy. ¬†And this month’s theme was….

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The dollar store!

I’ll admit, I was pretty excited about this one. ¬†Not only is the dollar store close to my penny-pinching heart, the possibilities are endless! ¬† So, I headed right around the corner to our local 99 Cents Only store and got going. ¬† After corralling the aisles for a while and being pretty impressed with their selection of plants (which ranged from $1.99-2.99), I decided to personalize some planters for these sweet viney guys…

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¬†Aren’t they charming?

I’m totally picturing them channeling the pansies from Alice in Wonderland right now (The cartoon, not the creepy Johnny Depp version. ¬†Seriously, though… doesn’t Johnny Depp make creepy look good? Just sayin’. ūüėČ )

Now, I must profess that there is imminent danger when shopping at the 99 Cents Only store. ¬†You will end up buying much more than you planned on. It happens to me every time. ¬† And this trip was especially dangerous since I literally circled the store four times, just making sure that I didn’t miss anything. ¬† And I missed nothing. ¬†Trust me. ¬†This was halfway through shopping…¬†¬†

I literally got all of the plants that I needed for my covered back patio for under 20 bucks.   It was magical.

Anyways, what I ended up choosing for planters were these glass candle vases, which I purchased for (you guessed it!) 99 cents each!

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I loved how sturdy and stout they were, and their low profiles had me at hello.

Now, for what to do with them…. I’ve seen “dipped” vases all over Pinterest for some time now (and even created my own version here a while back). ¬†I’ve always adored the simplicity and elegance of them. ¬†How that simple band of color lends so much to whatever item it’s adorning. ¬† This time I wanted to replicate that effect on my candle vases with this mirrored spray paint….

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I’d purchased it about a year ago. ¬†Then it sat, completely ignored and neglected, up until now. ¬† After reading the label, I learned that the shiny “mirror effect” happened when you painted the reverse side of the glass, but I actually wanted a slightly duller effect. ¬† Shiny, but not quite mirror-tastic. ¬†I wanted it to look like old, aged chrome basically, so I decided to paint the outside of the glass instead. ¬†Plus, I figured it was better for the plant to not have spray paint fumes infusing the soil.

I started by cleaning my vases well with vinegar to remove any oils or dirt, then I taped them off with painters tape…

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See those wrinkles and bubbles in the shot above? ¬†I made sure to press all of those down flat before painting. ¬† Then, I set them upside-down on some cardboard…

IMG_8936Yeeeeeaaaahhh…. I didn’t even remove the labels. ¬†I figured they’d be hidden anyways.

And gave them three thin, even coats of spray paint…

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I was sure to remove the tape while the spray paint was still wet to avoid any sad tragedies involving peeled-off paint…

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I immediately loved the imperfection in the finish. ¬†The little dots and dimples. ¬†It was exactly what I was going for and another reason that I’d¬†wanted to use the mirror spray paint as opposed to plain silver spray paint. ¬†After allowing my planters to cure in the garage for 24 hours, it was planting time. ¬† I simply stole some pea gravel from Lucas’s play area out back…

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Then, added my plants with some potting soil…

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And here they are chilling on my patio along with some cute placemats, which I also found at the 99 Cents Only¬†for (say it with me now) 99 cents a pop….

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Call it nepotism, but my new children vases totally steal the show, right?

Haha! ¬†None of my other planters stand a chance. ūüėČ

I love that they’re sophisticated with a touch of glam. ¬† And the texture of the soil peeking through the glass makes me happy. ¬†Plus, those bright, viney leaves are such a welcome contrast to that sexy, sleek vase. ¬† Me-OW!

I did some googling to figure out what these plants are (since they didn’t come with a tag or label), and I think they’re Heartleaf Philodendrons. ¬† Thus, I plan to move these guys indoors for a little air filtration action. ¬†Apparently, they’re little beasts when it comes to attacking many types of nasty VOCs (like formaldehyde which is used in certain types of particleboard and such). ¬† ¬†So, BONUS! ¬† This challenge has gifted me with cute planters AND cleaner air. ¬† I call that a success. ¬†(Fistpump!)

Now,¬†check out the other awesome projects created by my bloggy friends. ¬†Trust me, you won’t be disappointed…

TDC Before and After