Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mini remodel for the Kitchen

A long long time ago, over a year now, I approached my boyfriend, Steve, with the idea of painting his kitchen countertops.  He agreed with full knowledge that if it turned out horrible, it would probably still be better than what he had!  I blogged about that here.  Thankfully he is a really good sport and he was on board real quick.

Once he got a look at those shiny black countertops I just knew I had him hooked into a full scale redo of his kitchen.  The thing is though, that I am more talk than I am action a lot of the time.

I told him that if we left the wallpaper up when we did the countertop that we wouldn't have to tape anything off, since we'd be removing the wallpaper anyway.  I just never really committed to how long it would be until that dreaded wallpaper would actually come down.

My poor Steve lived with that wallpaper another 10 months, with the black enamel paint swooshed around the edges without a care in the world.  My Mother came to Jacksonville in August of 2014 and I asked her if she would help us with the wallpaper removal.  (My Mom likes to have a project and I like to use that to my advantage when I can)  She chose instead to help me move out of my extremely cluttered and not yet packed rental condo instead.  She was right - I needed every bit of her energy to get me moved out my condo -- so much so that I enlisted six other friends, plus Steve to help! That was indeed a giant job and I'm glad she convinced me that was the more urgent task.

By November I was determined that my slacking days were over and Steve and I deserved to put that gorgeous blue-green on the wall!   It turns out that the wallpaper came off much easier than I would have ever imagined.  We used a steamer and putty knives and for the most part, it peeled right off the mostly bare sheet rock.  We were very fortunate indeed.

  • The wall color is Home Depot Behr interior semi gloss - Tropical Tide #520D-5.

  • It was only a couple of days after the wallpaper all came down that the color portion of our project was finally put on the wall.  We spent two evenings spackling and sanding, getting the walls as smooth as possible before putting on the paint.  I'm sure glad we took so much care because the walls look fabulous!

    Next up -- painting the cabinets.  I painted a sample board with two different colors of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Old White and Old Ochre.  The white was just too close to the white of the appliances and the pantry door and trim - it made the color just look dirty rather than complementary.  The Old Ochre on the other hand was dark enough to to compliment all the white and blue-green, but also gave a decidedly beachy look to the whole kitchen.  It just worked!

    I'm not sure if you can see the difference in the photo below, but one side of the interior panel has been sealed with the Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax and the other side is only the chalk paint.  I could have gone for a polyurethane finish on the cabinet doors, but I love the look and feel of the wax finish, so we went that direction.  To keep the cabinets from looking too fussy or shabby, I used only the clear wax and did not use a darker wax to distress the corners or darken the edges.  That just wasn't the look we were going for.  I do love, however, the way the clear wax darkens the paint color just a bit and highlights the grooves and ridges of the painted wood.   I will have three coats of the wax on the cabinets when the kitchen is totally finished.  The panel below has just one coat of wax.

    In redoing the cabinets, I only needed the tools below.  A little over 1/2 a quart of paint and a chip brush to paint all of the cabinets.  I like the chip brush because it creates more texture on the surface of the door.  That gives me more spaces for the wax to penetrate and more places for the light to give highlights and shadows, which ultimately gives more interest to the door.  I used a small detail brush for small paint touch ups, too.  Clear wax was my next product and  I used a 1" chip brush to get the wax into the corner details on the door and a soft white cloth to distribute the wax on the rest of the door.  I probably only used about 1/2 the can of wax, possibly less.  The cabinets cost us right around $50 to repaint and finish.  Cool, huh?!

    When I went to Michigan last year my niece Zora and I went to a paint your own pottery place.  I made an outlet cover especially for the kitchen and it actually turned out great!  Here it is installed...

    Soooo, when you put all of that together...

    You get a kitchen that is completely transformed from 1980's wallpaper and wood to the 2015 beachy cool using dark colors and light cabinets and appliances.  We think it really works.

    We still need to get cabinet hardware, but since his kitchen never had them, we will need to investigate and find a style that fits the space available.  I think that door pulls or handles will really feel like the jewelry in the space.  We also are thinking about shades for the windows, but haven't been too eager to tackle that yet.  There's a big window on the wall you can't see, on the left, so we need to make sure whatever we choose looks appropriate for both windows.

    In this picture I excluded the fridge, so the kitchen doesn't look so cluttered!  We have a ton of magnets, photos and information on the fridge and I couldn't even think about taking them all down for a picture.  This is the best I could do!

    In my eyes, the kitchen is done, done, done.  I want to show it off and if I have to wait for us to decide on window treatments and door hardware, it could be another year!

    So here it is -- our Before and After

    Steve and I have gotten hundreds of likes on the pictures we've been showing on Facebook the past few days and we really appreciate all of the cheers and nods of approval.  Thank you so much!  I can't begin to tell you how much it means to have that positive vibe coming from the Universe!!

    We love you all and the kitchen!  Thanks for stopping by.

    Hope you have a great day!

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Pinterest is not an obsession of mine

    No really, Pinterest is not an obsession of mine.
    The moon is laughing at the cat. I'm sure I'm the cat in this instance.  I'm totally not giving in that I have an obsession.
    It's true I have over 5000 pins and even truer that I have an additional 6000+ likes, but who's counting?!

    I am a very conscientious Pinner and that's the reason I have so many likes.  I make sure to follow each link of a pin that I want on my boards and make sure they go right to the photograph and/or the exact page of that information I've pinned.  I don't want to lead anyone to spam links or to the front page of a blog when what we all wanted was the recipe on how to make that really awesome looking casserole that promised to have the neighbors love you even when you forget to bring your trash bins back from the curb! Seriously, don't you hate it when you see something Fabulous and it links to nothing?

    So when I'm in the looking mode, I just click on the little heart as I scroll through.  Later when I have time and desire, I go back and investigate the liked photo.

    Recently I discovered that my likes had gotten a bit out of control. Over 6K? That's crazy.
    So this past week, while my dear boyfriend has been sick and the TV volume has been so low it might as well have been on mute, I decided to sort through and investigate those likes.

    The internet is really an awesome place.
    I love how enchanted I am with every new idea.

    Honestly, I had a blast going through so many of the liked pictures.  I daydreamed about my ledge of Mason jars, filled just slightly with sand and a perfectly lit votive in each.  About how my front entry could be so clean and organized and how I might get out the sewing machine and make some Valentine bunting for the mantle I'll build with reclaimed pallets.

    Sooo, I do dream a bit, but it's a lot of fun.

    I have a DIY board for kids stuff.
    I don't have kids.
    I don't live near my nieces.
    I'm never going to make any of those things, but I. had. to. pin. them!

    I have little hearted more main dishes than I will ever be able to prepare.  
    At this moment I have 272 pins on my New to Me Recipes board. That means I have never tried that exact recipe and more than likely I have never had it at all.
    My New to Me Recipes don't stop with that board.  I pulled out a few key categories and they have their own board like - Pasta (New to Me), Desserts (New to Me), Macaroni and Cheese, Quinoa, Potluck Foods, Drinks and Gluten Free.

    I do have a board titled  Good Food - I've made it.  That's for the recipes that I've tried and I've liked.  Chances are I've liked it a lot!  The Graveyard Taco Dip was really good - but the fun part was making all the little headstones and the tree.  Mine looked FABULOUS!  I was so excited.  I took it to potluck and not a drop of it made it back home.  It was that good.  Buuut, it's not in my Good Food list yet.  I've gotta do that.

    I don't have a board for the ones we didn't like.  If I find we didn't like something I just take it off completely. The Good Food board only has 28 pins on it.  Now I know I've got a lot more than that, but just like the investigation part - sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get everything organized.

    So that's what I've been doing with some of my time lately.  I doubt I'll be spending a whole lot of time on Pinterest in the next couple of weeks as Steve seems to be doing a whole lot better today, so I won't need to be finding quiet work for awhile.  This house could really use one of those 1950's Housewives with the sparkling cleaning products to help us out.

    Enjoy exploring around Pinterest.
    Have a great day!

    Tuesday, January 06, 2015

    Another kitchen update - wall color

    The Kitchen Re-Do

    It's been nearly a year since we painted the countertops black and planned on getting the wallpaper off and get some paint on those dull walls.  I peeled some of the paper off many months ago and that's about as far as I got.  One day, in that small span of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas I got a wild hair to tear apart the kitchen. I don't know what I was thinking!  It was just after Thanksgiving that we tackled the wallpaper removal process and amazingly it wasn't too bad!

    The bare sheet rock walls had not been primed, but the builders made huge swaths of paint or primer or something around the cabinets, the ceiling and the door frames and trim. So really we only had to deal with a couple of spots that were just drywall.  We spent two days just filling in the divots, holes and other uneven spots and sanding everything as smooth as possible.  It was well worth all of the work - the walls look awesome now that they are painted.  

    As soon as we finished painting the kitchen we were in a frenzy to get ourselves ready for Christmas events with our transplant community.  Then, I got a dreaded cold followed six days later by Steve getting the dreaded cold.  Needless to say, the kitchen has remained in a state of not-quite-ready-to-be-photographed-bliss. This photo above, that I shared with Facebook, is all that I have right now.  

    Now that we've lived with the kitchen for a few weeks, in it's unfinished state, we've pretty much decided that I'm going to need to paint the cabinets a nice creamy white/off-white.  I have Annie Sloan Chalk Paint already purchased, so that's what I'm going to use.  It'll be so much easier to use than latex and a whole lot less smelly.  I have a small door in the same wood that I'm not using - I took the door off my medicine cabinet in the bathroom - so I can paint that and show Steve.  If he likes it, like I'm sure he will, then I'm going to get going.  I am not going to wait another year to get this project finished.  

    The paint color that we used on the wall is: 
    Home Depot Behr Brand - Tropical Tide #520D-5. 

    I wanted to go one shade darker than this, but Steve wasn't sure.  I love the color we did choose as it's even better in that room than I imagined.  We had originally thought about going more blue, like the Liquid Blue in the next column, but I was really afraid it would look too much like Dawn Dishwashing Liquid!  The green/blue really was the right choice for us.  

    I will give another update, with a lot more photos in the coming weeks.  I'm over my cold, Steve is too.  We're anxious to get the house put together again.  It's been a work in progress since I moved in over 6 months ago.  It's time.  It's beyond time.

    I hope you have a wonderful start to your New Year 2015. I'm looking forward to this year.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Crockpot Mexican Chicken with cream cheese

    Food has always been a part of my life, but now it's become something other than just getting something on the table.  My boyfriend Steve and I cook together most of the time.  That's something that my ex-husband and I rarely did, so it kind of made cooking a chore.  Steve and I look up recipes, talk about them and stand in the kitchen together creating them.  He's got a huge list of potential dinner ideas from all of the dishes we have made together this past year.  If we find something interesting that neither one of us has made before, it doesn't matter!  We forge ahead anyway.  We are comfort food people, not necessarily adventurers when it comes to our dinners.  We make things like salisbury steak, pork chops with grilled onions, meatloaf, flatbread pizzas, leafy green salads chock full of veggies and kielbasa and sauerkraut.   Steve has introduced me to Vietnamese and Thai food (when we go out to eat) and I have introduced him to high quality bacon, for the best BLTs at home!  It's win win, that's for sure, and we have such a good time.

    Some of the things we find that we'd like to try are of a quantity that's too much for just the two of us, so the potlucks that we go to each month are the times when we pull out the crowd pleasing meals.  Usually, these crowd sized recipes are untried -- yes, yes, we experiment on our friends.

    At our latest potluck we made it a Mexican theme.  I am a fan of Mexican food, but I don't like anything hot, so I have to carefully order my food at restaurants.  No hot stuff, no salsa either.  My goal for our potluck was to make something that had  great flavor, tasted like it came from a Mexican kitchen and would still be stove hot and tasty when everyone finally got ready to eat.  If you want something to stay hot for a potluck, it's gotta be made in a crockpot.

    My Mexican food repertoire includes chips and cheese, chicken nachos, chicken taquitos and tacos.  Not really innovative or exciting, right?

    What does a girl do when she's short on talent?



    I searched both for "Mexican crockpot meal" and only found a few that fit my no-hot-stuff, no-salsa requirements.  The one I ultimately chose seemed really iffy for some reason.  I couldn't quite put my finger on what I thought was wrong with it, but I was just sure it was going to be bad.

    This is real good news to all of you that have stayed with me this far into my ramblings, huh?!

    As I mentioned earlier, I do tend to bring brand new, never been tested recipes to potluck.  Thankfully I have only had one fail in all the years, but I was positive this was going to be fail number two.

    In actuality, we were lucky to bring home any at all!

    I got a little carried away with the sour cream in this photo! This is the way we ate the leftovers - sort of a deconstructed nacho.  Chips, lettuce, sour cream and the crockpot chicken.

    Mexican Cream Cheese Crock Pot Chicken

    2 Chicken Breasts, boneless/skinless
    1 (15 oz) can Black Beans, drained
    1 (7 oz) can Green Chiles, chopped
    2 (15 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes, undrained
    1 (8 oz) can Corn, drained
    1 (6 oz) can Sliced Black Olives, drained
    1 yellow Onion, chopped (about a cup)
    1/2 an envelope Taco Seasoning
    8 oz Cream Cheese, cubed

    Now the hard part
    Put all ingredients into the crockpot, except the cream cheese.
    Turn on crockpot.
    4-6 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

    I decided after seeing this photo that we needed to add in another can of diced tomatoes. (It's now reflected in the recipe)  The dish needs just a bit more color.

    When chicken is tender, take out of the crockpot and shred.  Add back to pot and add in the cream cheese.  Cook for an additional 30 minutes.

    Stir well and serve over rice or quinoa OR serve with tortillas OR serve with tortilla chips.

    We used already cooked and shredded chicken, as I had cooked up a bunch the day before in my pressure cooker.  So I added in some homemade frozen turkey stock cubes that I had in the freezer to make up for the lost liquids in already cooked chicken.  I'm sure a 1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable stock would be fine, too.  Since my chicken was already cooked and shredded, I was able to avoid the "burn your hands shredding the chicken" step in the recipe!  It was still full of flavor and tender.

    I didn't realize there were so many choices of diced tomatoes, when we went to pick out a can at the store.  I chose the fire roasted diced tomatoes and they gave a nice flavor to the dish, but I'm sure any kind you like will work well.

    The dish was a hit and I will make it again.  I might even make it just for us and freeze half of it.  We liked it best as deconstructed nachos with our crispy tortilla chips.  At potluck we served it with corn tortillas so it could be an entire gluten free meal for our GF friends.

    Thanks for joining me!
    Have a wonderful day!

    Sunday, April 06, 2014

    Donate Life - Infant organ donors

    I wrote this article for the Jacksonville Transplant Alliance April Newsletter.
    I decided that I wanted to share this story with more folks than just those in our transplant community.

    April is National Donor Awareness Month and if you are receiving this newsletter you might believe that we are preaching to the choir.  You already know about donor awareness, you know to tell your family about your wishes, you talk to people about being a donor, you talk to people about your transplant or the work you do in the transplant community, etc.  What you might not know is that there is another organ donor group that want to donate and are having difficulty doing so.  
    Parents who want to donate the organs of their newborn babies, who for whatever reason, did not survive birth or were born with a defect causing them to live only a day or two, are often told that it is illegal or unethical to donate their organs.  Recently a family learned, eleven weeks into the pregnancy, that their child was going to be born with a brain and skull defect and that the child would not live much past birth.  This family decided to carry the baby to term so that they could donate the organs and tissues.  It took this family up until two days before she gave birth, to find a place that would accept the child as an organ donor.  It shouldn't be that hard.
    Some families want to donate their baby's organs and tissue but then also want to have the rest of their body used in research to understand the disease process of babies.  Families are comforted knowing that their child did not die in vain and that the pregnancy ultimately resulted in saving other infants.  In my research I learned that actually determining when an infant no longer has brain function, is actually a difficult determination.  Their brains just aren't formed well enough to be able to test for the tell-tale signs of activity or inactivity.   This is where the illegal or unethical concerns come into play.  
    Between 2008 and 2013 only twenty-one infants under a week old were declared eligible to be organ donors.  There were certainly more than 21 infants needing lifesaving organ transplants during those years.  With a little more education going out to the OB-GYN doctors and patients, we can help the effort to get more neonates eligible for donation.  Although some research has been done, doctors and transplant surgeons need to continue to work together, and discover tests that will determine when an infant is brain dead or if a stillborn baby can be eligible for donation.

    Have a great day!

    Saturday, March 01, 2014

    POTD - LB 3624

    LB 3624
    By Kristin Corlett
    © 2014

    I took a photo of a screw/washer combination. There were dozens of these in the poured concrete sidewalk. I have no idea why they were there.  However, when I posted this on Facebook, one of the comments suggested that they were benchmark leveling markers.  It looks like they very well may be.  

    It looks like when I changed the font I lost my ©20 before the 14.  So Kristin Corlett 14 should be Kristin Corlett ©2014.  Ahhh, technology will drive you crazy if you let it.

    I took this photo with the Retro Phone App for Android.  It is my absolute most favorite camera app and it's free.  You can use many different camera settings to get different looks but the orange camera is my favorite.  

    called The Orange Box

    It gives this scrubbed edge to each photo
    gives a red/purple color cast
    severe scratches and damage to the film and frame.
    high contrast

    Have a wonderful day!


    Thursday, January 30, 2014

    Painted kitchen counter tops

    Steve's home has been a bachelor pad for 13 years.  Right after he moved in he got into a car accident that required months of rehab. Not too many weeks after feeling better from the accident he started getting sick from a failing liver and kidney.  He was fortunate and received a liver and kidney transplant, but his recovery was slow.  Needless to say,  he didn't get a whole lot done to make his house his style.  His health has been his focus and his house has just sort of evolved around him.  It is an incredibly comfortable place, but I know he wants more of his personal style in it.

    His kitchen still has flowered wallpaper,  the countertop is a green speckled laminate and there is so little counter and cabinet space that we have started using one of the bedrooms as a pantry.  We now call it The Food Room.

    I think it is fairly common for a woman to come into a man's space and want to change it.  I know I've done it before!  I've been with Steve for over a year now, friends for nearly 7 years and I haven't bugged him at all about his decorating. However, after hearing him talk about the damaged spot on his kitchen counter again, I thought I would mention what my Mom did to her counter years ago.  She just got out a can of Rustoleum Enamel in black and painted out her bright blue laminate.  It made such a difference!   It also made it possible to put off a full renovation for a dozen years or more.

    I suggested this to Steve and he said to go for it!

    So go for it we did.

    A leaky container of Lime-Away destroyed this section of the counter.

    I took everything off the counter of course and took before shots, then I went through the process of prepping the surface for cleaning.   I first washed with hot soapy water, then went over every square inch with a super Magic Eraser and then washed/rinsed the counter with vinegar and water.  I let that all dry real well and then wiped the whole thing down with a cloth soaked with rubbing alcohol to get off anything that could possibly be leftover.  It may have been overkill, but I wanted it to be clean and grease free.

    When that dried, I taped off the sink with blue tape.  We will be removing the wallpaper next so there was no need to tape that off.  Whew!  I blue taped some stove parts and a line or two on the fridge.  It took only a few minutes with so little counter top.

    I purchased a quart of Rustoleum Enamel in black, a small foam roller that was prepackaged with its own tray, a refill foam roller for coat #2, and a small 1\4" nylon craft brush.  To save cleaning time, I covered the paint tray with aluminum foil.

    I used the small brush to paint the tops of the backsplash and to cut in all of the corners where the backsplash meets the counter.  Then I rolled out the paint with the roller.  I made sure I got quite a bit of paint on the counter since it really seemed to level out and become nice and flat.  The final pass with the roller should all be in one direction, giving a seamless look.  I managed to ignore this step on one of our sections and it looks a little uneven.

    This is what the damaged spot looks like now.  I didn't sand and try to get it smooth because I didn't think it would actually smooth out since it was the fiber board and not laminate.  It's just so much better now that it's painted. Water no longer is absorbed in that area.  

    Did I mention you need ventilation?

    This is oil based stuff and it smells to high heaven.  Try not to breathe it in any more than you have to.  If you can prop a window or door open and get a cross breeze going, you're going to much happier for the next couple days.

    The second coat can be applied after 24 hours.  I wish I could put on a third coat on the counter area that looks uneven, but honestly, unless you know it's there, no one is going to notice.

    I should mention that Steve helped with every step of this makeover.  He cleaned, put away and painted.  I didn't do it all myself, even though that's the way I wrote it!

    We have let the counter cure for 3 days now.  Probably longer than most people would, but it's given us time to eat out!

    So, all in all, this was an incredibly easy project.  The fume factor is the hardest part and lingers for several days.  However, I would do this again without hesitation!

    We aren't done with Steve's kitchen.  The wallpaper is going next, painting the walls after that and who knows what else.  I'm hoping to use chalk paint and paint the cabinets.  All this is just pennies compared to the gut job it really needs! But I do think he is really going to love the new look for many years until he wins the lottery or something.

    If you have any questions about painting your laminate,  just ask!

    Have a great day!