Yes. I have an unfinished kitchen. Only looongtime readers will remember my first admission of this problem. I’ll summarize for the rest of you.

We gutted and redid the kitchen ourselves. For a detailed before and after of the kitchen, click here and here. We moved in just as the new hardwoods had been laid throughout the main areas, replacing carpet, linoleum and parquet. It was the the second week of new schools, in a new city for the kids, and we moved into a kitchen-less house. I could see the look of concern on the teachers faces as I picked up the kids.

“So, (Thing Two) tells me you don’t have a kitchen right now! How’s it going?”

“Yes, that’s right, we’re managing, but I think it unsettles him a bit, (he was only 4) we’re just trying to sell it as an adventure!”

They stopped asking after a month. We really did manage pretty well out of the dining room, with camping tables set up as counters and a microwave, toaster and electric kettle. It was late summer so we had the grill as well. Without a downstairs bathtub, the washing up was much more difficult than the preparation of meals.

All that to say, when we finally got the kitchen fully functioning around 6-7 weeks later, we were exhausted and we looked over at the pantry wall and said..we’ll get to it in the Spring. Little did we know that actually meant in the Spring FOUR YEARS LATER.

pantry wall

We don’t have the cabinets, and the wall between the fridge and the shelving/makeshift pantry has to come out. It was a horrible realization that we have to undo some previous work. We had opened up this wall and reinforced it/shortened it because we had thought it was load bearing at the time. It used to extend further into the room and we brought it back flush with the fridge….we had it halfway down already! Arrrrgghhh!!!! We all make mistakes in these kinds of endeavors now and then, but it doesn’t make them sting any less.

wall to come out in kitchen

As much as we would LOVE to tackle the master bath, it is a much bigger job labor-wise and with the dog out of his crate the last few months, we figure it’s only a matter of time before he decides to get curious about the contents of these shelves while we’re out.

Also, I absolutely CRINGE having these open shelves for our pantry. Especially when people come over, it feels so exposed. Maybe not as bad as having an open medicine cabinet, but I have struggled with it and threatened to hang curtains over it and all sorts ever since it went up.

Ikea finally got with it and enabled the kitchen planner for Macs, which was not the case when we first did the kitchen, so we got to planning, and this is what we’ll have in its most basic form.

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 8.39.01 AM

The visuals on the new planner aren’t as good as the old ones! It’s really hard to tell what you’re looking at here. The bottom cabs are pull-out recycling and drawers. The space on the end is open because we have 2 cabinets already for those spaces that didn’t work in the main kitchen.

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The microwave will move out of the main kitchen to this area of upper cabinets as will the wine rack from above my desk. The fridge will move over to the left a bit to be surrounded by floor to ceiling cabinets.You don’t see handles either since we have several already, so it makes it hard to see the full picture as we cobble together leftovers.

Now to get our schedules sorted for a trip to Ikea…we think we can just do a day trip this time without spending the night in Atlanta. We haven’t measured the car yet, but I think our tallest cabinet will be just a few inches too tall to fit in the SUV and we’ll have to rent a truck or van. The shipping cost with Modernash will be too expensive.

We’ll have to move some electrics as well, so we’ll have to get that started before we install anything. Sheetrock dust and chaos, here we come.

TARDIS and Dalek

The CC made the kids TARDIS and Dalek ornaments this year. Dr. Who fans know what this means. I told you guys he went all out this year!!

If you want to see how he did it, head over to his Instructable for the TARDIS HERE, and the Dalek HERE.


Crafty Time: Holiday Projects Edition

We are geeky crafters. We are not ashamed of it…although, there was a period in our youth it seemed like a dirty secret…. 20 somethings with no kids who were home making things instead of..I dunno, doing whatever the hipsters were doing=Decidedly Not Cool. We got over it and decided to embrace the craftiness, since it typically yields things we like. Funny how that can happen.

I’ve rounded up a few projects from past years for your holiday pleasure.

Airplane and Helicopter Ornaments

Wood Veneer Ornaments

Every Year, The CC makes the kids an ornament, and every year, he frets about running out of ideas, but he always pulls it out in the end. Can I just say, he outdid himself this year and I can’t wait to show you. Dr. Who fans will enjoy them.

DIY Agate Slice Ornaments

agate in light

Heat embossed gift wrap

bag graphic detail

Map stenciled gift wrap


I mix up the decor every year. I like trying to find new ways to use my decorations each year to keep it fresh. I can’t imagine having to put everything in the same place, put together the same way, every year. Is that weird?

On a general decor note, most of this stuff, and the food gifts and projects just end up on Instagram, but a few had posts….might need to be better about that? Posts like this and this.

BTW, ditched Followgram now that Instagram finally has static pages for users, so the IG link above and in the sidebar will now take you to my page on Instagram instead of a 3rd party site.

The disco balls have been making our holidays sparkly for a couple of years now…


Bucky gets into the spirit.


Last year was the too wide taper caper for the brass deer….

And then there’s that damn elf. Don’t EVEN get me started.

I’m slowly getting this year’s vibe going…far from done, more to come!

Crafty Time: Bauble Edition

I made a garland of wooden baubles. Why?

Once upon a time, when people only read magazines made on paper, I tore out an image from Real Simple. Since then, it has made its way to all the digital formats like Pinterest etc.. and I still like it after all this time, so maybe this is the year I actually do something about it? OK, then.

Here are the original shots, back when Hable Construction textiles (see the napkins) were all the rage.

The simplicity and crispness of this styling still works for me and I wanted to make that wooden garland the minute I saw it. When everyone was going ape about the Ferm Living candleholder, I remembered this tablescape and knew it was time.


So, I braved Michael’s during the holidays to gather my supplies.

Instead of red string, I decided to try this red suede cord. The larger balls were not drilled, so I had to do that myself. Luckily the CC has a drill press he lets me play with now and then.

Without a vise, I had to hold the balls in place and hope I could stay on center.

Then, I strung them all up on the cord very loosely.  I don’t know yet how I will arrange the table for Christmas, so I decided to err on the side of caution. I can always tighten, but can’t add length once it is cut.

It was super simple and quick to put together. I might have to go to the woodcrafters shop and look for other woods. I’d also like to see if I can find even bigger spheres since the biggest ones at Michael’s are still smaller than the RS balls, but if I don’t have time for all that, I’m still happy knowing I can add on and tweak later.

You can see above that the red suede is creating a dust, but I’m hoping that’s just a temporary settling in thing. It might be a problem for someone using a white tablecloth.

Towel Bar

I looked at tons of too big/too small hooks and bars of all shapes and sizes for a hand towel in here. It finally occurred to me that maybe all I needed was another toilet roll bar under mounted, and out of the way visually. I hate it when obvious stuff seems to come so slowly. $19 price tag helped too.

Bathroom Update

Above photo added 11.15.12

So we got it done, just under the wire with a few days to spare. Granted, we didn’t go out much at all last weekend to make sure we didn’t fall short of this goal. Progress posts on the bathroom are here.

To refresh your memory on how we started out, here’s a snap of our previous half bath.


I moved my beloved Tretchikoff in here so she can judge all who come to do their bidness.

No pressure.

Those following on Instagram know that I had to do this wall twice. I’m still not thrilled with it, but I’m going to live with it awhile.

What job or photo shoot would be complete without an Otto photobomb? OTTOBOMB.

Here, we were trying to mark where to mount it propped up on scrap lumber.

The reason the soap dispenser and faucet are different finishes is simple – we had a hard time matching the Grundtal, so we decided to stop trying and go for contrast.

After multiple sandings, the CC finished the slab with Arm-R-Seal, which is a combination of oil and varnish that gets sanded in over successive coats to fill in any slight imperfections. The oil brings out the natural wood sheen and the varnish protects. After the sanding coats, the last few passes were just a wiped on finish. The recesses in the live edge had to be sealed against water, so multiple applications of epoxy sanded smooth with the wood allow them to show for character.

Those wondering how it is supported underneath can have a look-see.

We recycled the old mirror and mounted it lower so that it could act as a backsplash, and the other live edge could be seen.

I got the vintage Lightolier (we think Sciolari but are not positive) from the flea market. New bulbs and a little cleaning, and we were good to go.

And added a dimmer….

The monoprint is by our dear friend David Mah.

I think I want to get a tiny hook to hang next to the sink for the hand towel, but for the party, we just had to roll with things as they were.

The faucet had a tiny leak that dripped onto the counter, and we didn’t have time to fix it before the party, but the CC took it apart and fixed it yesterday…he’s kind of a rock star like that.

Rough Cost: $1000 ($963 plus a few screws and small hardware purchases where we misplaced the receipts)

White Oak Slab $80

Faucet $98

Sink $65

Stainless Undersink Bottle Trap $40

Quartzite Floor/Mortar/Grout & Sealer $425

Toilet $200 (American Standard Cadet with Apron/skirted bottom)

Lightolier Pendant $25

Soap Dispenser $30

Thanks for your patience on this one…we had a lot of fun doing it and are glad to check it off the list. Master bath? Hmmmm. Hopefully soon.

UPDATE: Took another couple of pictures today and I wanted to add my favorite here.