Painted Countertops?!?!?!

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Colorful Fiesta Backsplash

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I wanted a colorful, unique backsplash to stand out against the otherwise all-white kitchen (Which you can see here: https://prettybeeboutique.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/painting-cabin…-white-kitchen/). Again, I did my search engine research. I considered mixing different types of tile, or just choosing a bright color. Inexpensive colored tile was difficult to find. I found a few pieces at the local tile outlet (http://ctonky.com/). I think the floor clerk thought I was nuts as I scooped up random bits & pieces from their seconds bins & free pile. But nothing was really jumping out at me until I saw a picture online of a broken plate backsplash.

My kitchen decorum & all of my table settings revolve around my colorful Fiesta dishes. Back when I was about 15 my mom asked what I wanted her to put into my hope chest. I kind of shrugged my shoulders & said “Well, I like Fiesta dishes.” Not in line for inheriting my grandmother’s very large collection of vintage Fiesta dishes,  My mom & Aunt Mona collected all the Fiesta dishes they could find for my hope chest. I’m thankful to have my own large collection of  first hand, second-hand & vintage Fiesta bowls, plates & saucers in almost every color. My collection is now ever-so-slightly depleted, as I broke a bunch of my plates! Now, now, I have plenty left & I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

Steps:

  1.  Prep: There was no old backsplash to remove. And as always, I did no preparation of the surface.
  2.  Break the plates: Wrap in a thick towel & place on hard surface. (I did it on the driveway.) Start by tapping with a hammer in the center of each plate to get larger pieces, then you can re-wrap & break into smaller pieces as you like.
  3. Installation: I used a really cool product, tile installation mats. They’re sticky on both sides, so remove adhesive from wall side & place mat. Then remove adhesive from front & place your broken pieces in whatever pattern you like.

Perks…Tile placement isn’t permanent until you grout, so you can make sure you have the colors evenly dispersed throughout the pattern & rearrange the plate pieces as needed. Also, the mats come in a small, easy to use size, so you can work on the backsplash a little at a time.

     4.  Grout: Once you’ve set the plate pieces, mix sanded grout (for larger grout joints) in color of choice, according to package directions. My antique white grout was very tricky to handle. If too runny, it simply dripped onto the countertop. I made sure it was thick. I picked up gobs of it & smoothed the grout between the broken plate pieces with my hands. (It’s not as bad as it sounds!) While still wet, I took a damp rag & smoothed the grout’s surface, then let dry as directed.

5. Sealing: Well, sanded grout is hard to clean once it gets dirty. It needs sealed. But alas, polished “tile” (or broken plate pieces) can’t be sealed. Another quandary, but solved easily enough. A latex grout sealant with a sponge applicator allows you to smoosh the sealant into the grout a little at a time so it has time to soak in without getting on the plates.

I’ve only had one issue with wear. I have to scrub to keep the grout clean above the sink where I splash a lot. Other than that, it’s perfect. And beautiful!

              Before:                                                                                                     After:

Painting Cabinets for a White Kitchen

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(Before)                                                                                                                                       (After)

I wanted an all-white kitchen. I googled multitudes of kitchen images and poured over home decorating magazines & blogs, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had to have: 1. Off-white walls 2. Bright white cabinets and 3. All-matching appliances for AS CHEAP AS I COULD GET IT.

1. White Walls

Are tricky. We had the perfect shade of creamy, warm, golden white in our heads. After weeks of deliberating on the caches of ivory, off-white, beige, pale yellow & white paint chips taped to my kitchen walls, I decided. Then I hated it. So I deliberated again, chose another color, and I HATED it. Both of our first tries came out stark, cold & uninviting, not much different than what was on the walls when we moved it. The third time was the charm & it’s gorgeous. “Havana Cream” by Behr was the color for us.  My suggestion is to narrow down your paint chip selections, then buy samples to put up on the wall. It’s an investment that could actually save you money, time & most certainly, your sanity.

Gallon of Behr premium paint plus primer: $28 (+tax) x 3 =   $84

Sample of Behr paint: $2.82 x 3 = $8.46  +  Gallon of Behr premium paint: $28 = $36.46

2. The cabinets

The cabinet color was a different story. I already knew I wanted to use the same “Polar Bear” white semigloss by Behr that I was using on all of our baseboards.

I didn’t use or need a kit & I didn’t even know cabinet and countertop “transformations” existed. (More on the countertop transformation later.) We simply didn’t have the cash to reface, refinish or replace our ugly builders-grade laminate cabinets so I HAD to paint the cabinets. It was the only way. That said, I probably did everything wrong. I didn’t sand, prime, clean or prep the cabinets in any way. I didn’t degloss away the old shiny finish or prime before I painted. I simply picked up a 3/4″ nap roller, then put it down because it left a bumpy texture on my cabinet surface from all the lint depositing into the paint. So then I simply picked up my extra smooth sponge roller specifically for painting cabinets & doors, and went to work. And I absolutely love the results! I haven’t had any issues with wear, the finish has incredible “scrubbability” & it looks fantastic. (I also update the brushed nickel hardware.)

3. Matching Appliances

Who doesn’t love an all-white kitchen??? And why wouldn’t that include the appliances? Especially for us, as our newer fridge was white, we replaced our bargain basement black stove & dishwasher with my parents’ old stove (Works great for us & was FREE!) and a scratch & dent Kenmore Elite dishwasher from the Sears appliance outlet (www.searsoutlet.com/). It was 1/3 of the price with one small scratch, easily covered with white epoxy appliance paint. The results are amazing. I’ve never understood why anyone would pay so much for stainless steel appliances that are so gosh darn hard to keep clean! Who wants to clean that streaky mess everyday??? (And I don’t even have kids yet–I can’t imagine!)

Clean Cincinnati Chili

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This recipe from “Clean Eating” magazine is DELICIOUS! Although it doesn’t really taste like Skyline or Gold Star chili, it’s sweet & savoriness is very, very satisfying.

It’s good with or without the pumpkin & I went liberal with the allspice, chili powder, oregano, garlic & cinnamon, but that’s because I really like full-flavored foods.

This is a crock pot recipe, but I’m going to give it to you straight: I’ve never made this in a crock pot. I mixed everything in a large skillet & left to simmer covered on low for an hour or two.

-1 cup chopped yellow onion                     -1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

-1 lb extra lean ground turkey                   -2 cups jarred tomato sauce

-4 cloves garlic, minced                            -2 cups beef broth

-2 tbsp chili powder                                  -1 cup canned pumpkin

-2 tsp dried oregano                                -1 15oz. can kidney beans (or pinto!)

-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon                    -1 tbsp raw honey

-1/4 tsp allspice                                       -14 oz whole wheat spaghetti

-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar                     -4 oz low-fat shredded cheddar

1. Cook onions in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add turkey & break up as you cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon & allspice. Cook & stir for 1 minute. Transfer that mixture to a 4-6 qt slow cooker or leave in the skillet & continue.

2. Add cocoa powder, tomato sauce, broth, pumpkin, beans, vinegar & honey. Stir well & let cook in crock pot for 6-8 hours on low or in skillet for 1-2 hours on low/simmer & stir regularly.

3. To serve, cook spaghetti according to directions; top with half of chili & cheese. Garnish with cilantro.  Freeze remaining chili in an airtight  container for up to 3 months. Keeps a week in the fridge.

Hello!

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~Welcome!~

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It took me forever to start because I don’t feel as if I have much to say that hasn’t been said or that I’m doing anything that hasn’t already been done. I also don’t have much extra time. I have a wonderful new full-time job, a more than full-time husband, a part-time volunteer job & a house to keep up with.  However, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it’s the keeping up with the house that is the passion I wish to write about. I ADORE cooking, decorating, organizing, cultivating a garden & being crafty. As far as creativity goes I have my moments, but my inspiration comes mostly from others & out of necessity. Hopefully my collection of inspiration will be inspiring to someone else!

I’m going to begin by chronicling some of the recipes I’ve tried, steps my husband & I have taken in home improvement & some of my ventures in home decorating (and redecorating).

I’m honored you’re reading & hope you enjoy!

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