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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Kitchen Overhaul on: April 20, 2014 08:34:29 PM
Welcome to my NEW KITCHEN!  

My budget was less than $1500 for this room AND the laundry/pantry (there's also a thread from when I finished that room).  That meant that I had to do a LOT of stuff….myself.

This is what I started with….a VERY small room (9'x12') with FOUR doorways that enter the room.  This is looking from the dining room into the kitchen.  Straight ahead is a double bifold door (6' wide) that goes to the laundry room/pantry.  When our refrigerator died we bought a new one and got it home only to discover that it was 1" too wide to fit.  So, we put it next to the counter….in front of one of the pantry bifold doors.

Wallpaper gone, pantry doorway reduced to 30", cabinet from over the stove moved to the new wall allowing for some pan storage, new light, new floor, dishwasher moved with proper end panel installed and a new countertop installed (this one is PROPERLY installed) for MUCH more counter space:

Here are the other two doors, the door on the left goes to the bathroom, the door on the right goes to the basement.  If you'll notice….there is NO counter space.  That's why we had a roll-cart (for extra storage and counter space).  We had to move the cart to the front of the basement door in order to go into the laundry/pantry and then move it over again if we wanted to go into the basement.   I HATED that cart:

New light switches, new doors and LOTS of repairs to the walls to make the room look crisp and clean.

Cabinets were refinished (yes, these are the SAME cabinets!) using General Finishes Java Gel stain and new handles were added.  This is the same stain I used in my bathroom, but because the slate-look of the floor in this room was such a cool gray that the brown of the Java Gel was going to be too warm.  I added color dyes to make the color a little more blue-black and I think it was a good choice.  There is a new cabinet installed over the stove to accommodate a new over-the-range microwave….the counter to the right of the stove is now opened up for other uses!!  GFI outlets were also added throughout the room.

BEFORE:  We used the oversize refrigerator situation as an excuse to install a dishwasher.  We installed a temporary counter over it and some utility shelving for some additional storage….even with that addition there still wasn't much counter space.

SO very temporarily set up. You can also see here I had to deal with tons of wallpaper (all very difficult to remove) and pink paint.  The linoleum was a disaster….it wouldn't come clean and was torn in spots.

I moved the sink cabinet over 1" to the left to accommodate the refrigerator.  I also widened the doorway between the kitchen and dining room by about 15" so that the refrigerator doors can open all the way.  With the old fridge we couldn't access the drawers on the right because the door wouldn't open enough.  The light above the sink was purchased at a garage sale (best $3 I've ever spent!):

This was quite the project and I had to do it all on a pretty tight budget. 1/3 of the budget was had to cover just the flooring!  Still, I think it turned out nice…..now, onto the next room…...
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Deck Renovations on: April 03, 2014 07:21:06 AM
When we moved here there were "nice painted decks" but little did we know…..they were painted to cover the fact that they were built using untreated wood.  So, as you can imagine, they didn't last long.  

We're in the process of fixing up this place so we can sell it and of course new decks were necessary.  There was nothing salvageable on the old decks (not even the foundations since…..there weren't any!!).  I designed the new decks and we built them both ourselves:

Entrance deck - before and after.  I don't really like the stair railing on the finished deck, but I'm not about to redo it:

I don't have a photo of the front deck before because it was ripped out over a year ago (it was in worse shape than the other deck), but here is the beginning.  Deck Day #1 - foundation holes dug and cemented:

Husband's nap with the barn cat:

Beginning of Deck Day #2 - posts in and everything square (I think this is always the hardest part):

End of Deck Day #2 - Trusses in:

End of Deck Day #3 - floor and railings in:

SHORT Deck Day #4 (I had to work until noon) - the stairs always seem to take forever to build:

DONE!  I hate when cats and such can get under the decks and I can't stand the look of lattice so that is why there is a "solid" underside.  I like the stair rail on this deck much better than the main entry deck.  

If we were going to stay in this house we would have wrapped the front deck around the side of the house to connect with the side deck, but whoever moves here can do that themselves if they'd like.
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Laundry Room/Pantry Renovation on: April 03, 2014 06:51:58 AM
We're still in the process of getting this hose fixed up to sell.  A few weeks ago I finished the laundry room/pantry! I sure wish I had before photos because it was pretty awful.

Wallpaper border down (the VERY LAST OF THE WALLPAPER to take down in the house…..and it was a TOUGH job) and fresh paint up. The paint looks green in some light, blue in some light and gray and some light. Normally I don't like blues, but this works for me. New light (SO MUCH BRIGHTER!), light switch and outlets. The icky carpet and old, old, OLD linoleum was removed and new Pergo slate-look floor added (I wouldn't have considered Pergo if we were staying here, but I'm sure it'll hold up as long as we'll need it to sell). The washer and dryer were scrubbed to within an inch of their lives……cleaned right down to the nitty gritty and they look nearly new now!

The doorway to this room WAS a 6' doorway that was absolutely overkill and we really needed the wall space so the doorway was reduced to 30" (plenty enough room for anything going into that room) and a new bifold door added. The door and door trim are painted the same as the wall color because I want the door to visually blend into the wall on the kitchen side. There are four doorways that go into the kitchen and I think painting them all off white breaks up the kitchen too much.

The shelves were reconfigured and one long shelf added. Before, we had the cat's litter box below the shelving, but I no longer want cats in there so now there's PLENTY of room for my husband's never-ending supply of toilet paper and paper towels. We no longer have to go downstairs to get them. SO MUCH STORAGE SPACE! I scrubbed and spray-painted the heat grate (it was so beat up), but once I saw this photo I realized the white is too white and so it is now a dark, charcoal gray.

The floor and the wall color are the same as what I will be using on the kitchen.

It's nice having space in there to fold clothes (rather than trying to find a place that doesn't have animal hair in another section of the house) and it's SO MUCH EASIER to keep clean!

(the cover for the ironing board was in the wash)

I'm getting close to finishing the kitchen and I'll post photos when that is done.  It's surprising how long this stuff takes to finish!
4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Live Painting Demo - Deer, Swallows, Apples, String and…..a Halo on: March 12, 2014 06:40:48 AM
I recently did a live painting demo for a fundraiser.  I've participated in this event each year for the past three years.  This year I think I'm more pleased with the results than in the past.  

The painting is an acrylic base with oil over-painting (so I could develop solid color without having to deal with extended drying times) and was painted on 18" x 36" cradled Ampersand Hardbord.  The time I had available to paint was very limited as the auction ended at hour 8. The painting took me an additional hour to finish during the event.

"Acknowledging Tradition: Anticipation of the Empty Nest"

The final painting:

and a photo taken at the event by photographer Dianne Carroll Burdick during my painting process:
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Bathroom "Overhaul" on: January 27, 2014 03:55:40 PM
Bathroom renovations done and all done by…….myself. If we weren't planning on putting the house on the market in the spring this isn't what I would have done with the bathroom, but I was after "more bang for my buck" renovations and so the results I have are what they are.

Although in these after photos it appears that the room is darker (the before photo is at the end of this post), the room is actually MUCH brighter than it used to be. The wallpaper border is gone (took 3 days to get it down and get all the glue removed), new towel racks (the wooden ones that were there were gross), new door (this one doesn't drag on the floor because it's properly installed), new door lock (the old one only opened if you turned the door knob in a certain direction and caused many guests distress when they got "stuck" in the bathroom…..not a problem now), new toilet (that was an ordeal), all new grout (the old grout was broken and patchy looking and the original dark color just looked dirty) and a new shower curtain (that was the EASY job)…….:

Refinished cabinets with General Finishes Java Gel Stain (See * NOTES at the end of the post).  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull it off, but it looks good…..it does NOT look streaky in person.  New cabinet hardware, new faucet (also a new faucet in the tub - no photos of it), new medicine cabinet (not my first or even my second choice, but it was what was in the budget), new light/circulation vent and new outlets/switches (one old switch fell apart when I took the face plate off the wall….I'm surprised there wasn't a fire before now!). I kept the sink because other than needing some scrubbing and sealing there wasn't really anything wrong with it:

I thought I'd need to replace the cabinet above the toilet, but it turned out pretty good once I refinished it (the stain isn't this red….in person it looks like a black/brown). When I removed the wallpaper there was some wall repairs I needed to do. They weren't bad, but I noticed other areas were too rough to paint without a LOT of work so despite my HATRED of wallpaper I decided to go ahead and wallpaper that wall in a paintable paper. It's not covering anything structurally wrong as all of that was fixed, but it saved me a LOT of time. This was a bad place to attempt a first wallpaper job because there were LOTS of things to wallpaper around:

Most of the paintable wallpaper patterns were awful. They were either boxy looking stamped tin designs or 80's looking swirls. I finally found one that I thought would fit the decor and I think it looks alright:

If we were staying the entire room would likely have been gutted. There are still minor "issues" with this bathroom, but it's visually pleasing, safe, easier to clean and not leaking.

Unfortunately, I only have one before photo and it doesn't show the awfulness that the dark green "country" wallpaper was on the left wall. It also doesn't show the awful (and not very useful) medicine cabinet with the saggy shelves. However, it does give you an idea of what I started with:

I have carpenters coming tomorrow to finish up some work on the kitchen. They're installing 2 doors, making a narrower pantry doorway (it's currently a 6' double bifold door…..a waste of wallspace in a 9' x 12' kitchen that already has 3 other doors going into that space), widening another door (so I can put the refrigerator there and the door can open all the way) and drywalling a closet. These are all things I'm perfectly capable of doing, but I'm running out of time (and energy). They've been able to accomplish this FAR faster than I could and while they're working I can work on other things. So, when they're done I get to get started on the kitchen (I've already removed the kitchen wallpaper thats shown around the doorway in the "before" bathroom photo so that's a BIG start).

* General Finishes Java Gel Stain - This is pretty amazing stuff. I'd never heard of it until recently, but the comments I'd read about it online were all good. I was skeptical because I'm always skeptical about internet "quick fixes", but a friend tried it and the results were exactly what I was reading online. Do a search for it….there are LOTS of tutorials and before/after photos of it. I liked it so much I'll be doing the same thing with the kitchen cabinets.

The bonus with this stuff is that you don't have to strip down your original cabinets…..only clean them REALLY well and do a light sanding with 120 grit paper to rough up the surface (I made the mistake of using what I had and my sandpaper was too fine….caused some issues I had to resolve later, but it was still manageable), apply the stain and put on a clear coat. If I didn't want a more solid look I could have wiped on one coat (even that first coat made the cabinets look SO much better!). The second coat always looks like crap according to everyone and I honestly thought I'd made a bad decision after putting the 2nd coat on, but the 3rd coat fixes it all. You can still see the grain under the finish so it doesn't look painted.

I put the stain on using a rag (a sock works too) and nitrile gloves). If I'd sanded it properly it would have taken only 3 coats, but I had some repairs to make so a few areas needed a 4th coat. The clear coat I used was Minwax quick dry wipe on polyurethane in satin…..SUPER easy to put on! The amount of staining time was minimal….it was the waiting between coats that stretched it all out, but even then it took about a week.

The tall cabinet and the cabinet over the toilet are cheap, fake wood cabinets. I figured I'd try to refinish them and if it didn't work then I'd consider replacing them, but they look REALLY good once I refinished them. They don't look like high-end cabinets, but they don't look cheap and crappy anymore.
6  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Drawing of a Repeatable Pet Pattern! on: December 07, 2013 02:07:17 PM
I've been absent a lot here....trying to play catch-up with all the projects that piled up while I was finishing up grad school.  However, I just had to share my latest LOVE!  I just recently started making custom repeatable patterns of family pets.  I thought I would make these as something that can be used for fabric, wrapping paper or even wallpaper.  

Here was my first attempt....from some awful photos that I had to piece together I order to even figure out what the markings were on these pets.  There are some areas of the pattern I believe could use a LOT of improvement, but I thought it worked out well.  This was drawn by hand (ink on paper) then scanned and color added.

This is the second color palette.  However, I like best (a lot of people prefer the other).  The cool thing is that once I get them into Photoshop I can quickly revise the pattern palette:

And the first color version:

Some of the items I made using the pattern (printed on heavy paper & fabric).....I think I could REALLY like doing these!

And closer shots of the individual items.....

The box (paper spray-glued onto colored Canson paper & cut using an altered box template found online):

The card/ID wallet (pattern printed onto printable fabric sheets.  Template idea from a similar wallet I was given, but I made alterations in the design:

The bag (pattern printed onto printable fabric sheets.  Matching scrap fabric & rawhide laces pulled from my stash used.  I didn't have a template for this......I just made it so the sketchbook would fit in it):

And the sketchbook (again, pattern printed onto printable fabric sheets.  A purchased sketchbook was deconstructed and re-covered):

7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Jackalope for a fundraiser on: March 31, 2013 09:41:53 AM
I was shocked when TheDaytimeHeroes posted her Jackalope painting because I had one planned to paint that weekend for a fundraising event.  Great minds think alike I suppose!

There is a local even to raise funds for our community art center.  50+ artists come in and do live painting/drawing/sculpting etc and the art is auctioned off by silent auction.  The auctions are staggered to close every 45 minutes so that if you have multiple auctions you're interested in you have the opportunity to bid on all (or at least most) of them.

I decided to paint a jackalope.  The public doesn't arrive at the event until 6pm, but artists can come in and begin their work at noon.  I arrived at noon with my image sketched on a toned board, but that's about it.  My auction closed at 10:15pm and I finished about 3 minutes before the close of the auction......I never stopped painting.....all... ..day.....long.

There were several bidders, but only three were intent.  Eventually, it was down to two ladies that were determined THEY were the ones that were going to win the painting. Nearing the auction end one lady had the highest bid and was trying to distract the other lady so she couldn't see that time was running out, but while she was busy distracting a guy stepped in behind her in the final seconds to bid one final time.  There was no time left for a counter bid so he won.  The woman who was outbid was so angry she threw her paddle!!  However, I managed to get three commissions out of the evening so it was a good day for me.

The final piece:

and progress shots throughout the night (I tend to paint from the background to the foreground before making final adjustments to a painting so I paint from section to section):

This was about the time that the public was coming in and I needed to complete the face so that it was kind of clear what the painting would look like:

8  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / "Inheritance" Gouache, marker and ink on: March 04, 2013 06:14:49 AM
This piece was for a show in NY.  I had to depict one of the five senses using a part of the body.  I decided to depict sight and the visual legacy we artists leave to future generations.

The piece is pretty small, but I was pleased with how it turned out.  The eye is painted in gouache and the bees are marker and ink on bristol board.

From the side to show the framing and how the bees are raised:

And this is how small the bees are:
9  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / So it Became a Game of Two Halves (Oil on Board) on: February 22, 2013 09:59:00 AM
Realized that I'd neglected to post this sooner.  It is the second of my clown series.......and the one that I managed to snooker my husband into participating.  I told him that no one would ever be able to tell I used him as a model, but I was wrong.  Everyone who has seen it knows immediately that it's him.  Despite his protests, I think he secretly loves it.

So It Became a Game of Two Halves  - 36" x 24" oil on board:

My favorite parts:

And a few progress shots for those interested:
It began as a grisaille painting:

That I then glazed color over:

and then I painted directly over some of the areas because it seemed too "sterile".

10  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Some work in simplifying backgrounds and Limited Color on: February 08, 2013 12:19:55 PM
I finally have scans of two more paintings I completed during my residency last summer.  These were meant to be studies for some ideas I was putting together for my thesis work.  They just weren't what I needed for thesis so I set them aside until recently when I needed work to submit for a juried show.  I submitted one of them fully expecting it to be rejected but it was accepted AND it won an award! 

Both are oil on birch panel.

"Denouement at Dusk" (5" x 7"):

"Destination Delayed ("8" x 7") - Mentor Award winner:
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