Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Little DIY Tip

This might be a little bit obvious. But I'm new at this and like to read about very obvious DIY tips. So bear with me.

When we were painting our kitchen cabinets we decided early on that we also wanted to replace the hardware with something more our style. New paint + new hardware goes a long way, in my opinion. Most of the metal accents on our main floor are in a finish known as "oil rubbed bronze," and we wanted to stay consistent with that.

So we picked up these guys at Home Depot. Classic look, great price.

But who wants to put in brand new hardware on newly painted cupboards, but with old, tainted, shiny brass hinges? Especially when the hinges are very visible?

Not us!

But a pair of hinges costs around $3. That doesn't sound like too much, but multiply that by 25 cupboard doors and you're looking at an additional $75.

The solution? A $4 can of spray paint.


We didn't know if it would work. Josh was especially skeptical. But what did we have to lose by trying? $4 in paint. It was worth a shot.

And let me tell you it was:

And they looked great!

We went from this:

To this:


To do it all over again I'd make sure that they were painted more completely before they went on the cabinets. Hinges have all kinds of nooks and crannies to get at, and we realized we hadn't covered them 100% once they were already re-attached to the doors. Some touch-ups were needed. But really, this solution worked super well for our cheap-o kitchen makeover.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Camera Timer

Remember this?

Well, it is clear I'm still working out the kinks on this camera thing.

Here's one I took last week in D.C. You're supposed to see Jamie, DeeDee, her baby Noah, and me in front of the U.S. Capital Building.


But hey, the Capital dome + sky + the smallest evidence of 3 heads is good, too, right? And that is obviously what I get for trying to balance a camera on the bunched up umbrella of a kid's stroller.

And thank goodness for the ability to immediately view pictures after you take them!

Attempt #2. Much better.

[crop, straighten, boost]

And better yet.

Now only if I could learn the trick of getting kids to look at the camera upon request.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kitchen In Progress

Last weekend I was in D.C. with my friends DeeDee and Jamie. More on that later.

But while I was there my VERY sweet husband decided to tackle a project we'd had in mind since we bought this place -

Painting the kitchen cabinets.

In their original state, they were VERY 1985. Shiny oak. Medium brown. Not hideous, but not our favorite look either. And while it would be fun to start from scratch and get new cupboards and counter tops, it would probably cost a bit more than we're willing to spend. Which is to say it would cost more than $300.

So with just a few ingredients - an electric sander, a couple of gallons of West Highland White paint, new hardware, and a bit of bead board, we'll have ourselves a nice, budget-friendly kitchen update.

The counters and sink will just have to wait. But we're okay with that.

Last weekend while I was partying it up in D.C., Josh texted me iPhone pictures like these:



It was fun to track his progress. And since I got home on Monday night we've continued to chip away at the project.

We're not done yet. It is still a work in progress. In fact, this is what our basement currently looks like:

But it's coming right along, and that is fun to see. Here are some sneak peeks:


Saturday, January 23, 2010

More from NYC

Yes, it was cold.

Yes, we were only there for a couple of days.

Yes, we're on a budget these days.

But holy cow we really packed it in! My cousin Chrystin lives in Manhattan with her family, and we enjoyed spending a lot of time with them. We also walked all around town, ate great food, caught a Broadway show, and even got to catch up with one of my friends from high school, Laura, and her boyfriend, Adam.

Oh, and I got lots of snuggling time with Chrystin's baby Gray. LOVE. HIM.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Master Seamstress.


But I've been feeling totally crafty lately and have worked on all kinds of various projects around here lately. You know, between weekend getaways to New York and D.C.

And since our "for fun" travel budget has been slashed to save up for baby B's arrival, I'm going to keep right on going with the home/craft/photo projects for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, back to my sewing projects.

Back when we moved in I was perusing the clearance rack at West Elm and came across a totally awesome duvet cover. We didn't need a duvet cover. I don't even like duvet covers. But the fabric - oh, I loved it.

And more than that, it matched my kitchen 100%. So I bought it and stashed it in a closet for about 8 months.

Then, with the help of my friend Lora, I made the two easiest sewing projects in the history of sewing projects.

A curtain. And a tablecloth.

Kitchen window before:


Kitchen window after:



A few things to note:
1. Yes, we totally still have our Christmas decorations up. Sewing projects are more fun than packing away holiday stuff.
2. See how there are only 2 lights working on the chandelier? Now there's just one. Ghetto fabulous.
3. Our next kitchen project (a much more involved one) is currently underway. The target? Those 80's oak cabinets. They're getting a facelift.
4. It is a rare day when there aren't dirty dishes in our sink. I didn't feel the need to clean up for y'all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chilly in the Big Apple.

Rosy Cheeks.
[central park]

Cold ears.
[central park]

A much-needed hat.
[brooklyn bridge]

A big winter coat.
[near madison square park]

Multiple layers.
[high line park]

A red, drippy nose.
[high line park]

A scarf.
[brooklyn bridge]

We froze our ever-loving tails off this past weekend in New York City.

But had a great time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Obsession

Playing around with textures in Photoshop.

texture play 2

I mean, it's just too fun. I've found that textures just give a picture a whole different feel. And (and this is helpful for me!) they can smooth over what is otherwise a mediocre, potentially out of focus shot.

Choose a different texture for the same picture, and everything changes. I like that.

texture play

And really the process is very easy. Armed with Photoshop and some basic instructions/tools (see links below), it's really do-able.

Also great for portraits.



Helpful texture links:
-One from PW's website, although a guest blogger wrote it.
-Download free textures! - and check out a helpful tutorial
-Texture sharing group on Flickr

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Frustrating, but worth it.

Baby B 2

I feel buried sometimes.

Under the load of paperwork.
The constant expenses.
The scheduling of home study visits, over-the-phone meetings, and doctor appointments.
Criminal clearances.
Immigration office phone numbers which make it nearly impossible to talk to a real human.

And the injustice of it all.

A dumb teenager can bring home a baby to any kind of rat hole. And no one asks questions. But I have to have a social worker out to the house to verify that we take out our trash? And schedule the fire department to come over and certify that it isn't a fire hazard?

We have 12 hours of mandatory online classwork to complete. Not a bad idea. But parents whose kids have been taken away from them? Do they have to take classes to get their kids back? Nope.

But it will all be worth it in the end.

No question about it.

Our as-of-yet-unknown baby is worth every mind-numbing minute of this process. We love him already.

And God will use this process to teach us, grow us, and mature us.

And when I think of the sacrifice Jesus made so that I could become a part of His family...

It puts it all in perspective.

Friday, January 1, 2010

First Quarter Resolutions

In an attempt to K.I.S.S., I'm just going to outline a few first quarter goals. A full year is far too long for me - and way too easy to put things off.

1. Go back on Weight Watchers and lose 10 pounds. My jeans are just a leeeettle too tight these days.

2. Go back to a cash budget, Dave Ramsey style. With some significant adoption-related expenses coming up, we need to do a better job controlling our spending so we can save up over the next few months.

3. Hug Josh more often.