All posts in kitchen

fix it february: cabinets + closets

The latest installment of Fix-It February: tackling cabinets and closets.

This is less of a how-to post and more intended to inspire you to get out that screwdriver and fix your own crooked doors and loose wall hooks. Maybe even climb on a ladder in your closet and install some battery-powered LED lights so that you can get dressed in the dark of winter? Because that was a pretty fun project.

Cabinets: I have the kind of kitchen cabinet hinges that snap apart (with a bang) when the screws get loose. They’re easy to fix, and I took a few extra minutes this time to go around the kitchen and tighten all the screws so there are fewer loud, scary noises in the future.

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I also deputized some drywall expansion screws (Twist-N-Lock) to fix this curtain hook that was falling out of the wall. Don’t know why it took me two years to think of that solution, but it definitely did the trick. These hooks hold back the curtain doors of my master bedroom closet…

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…which was also the site of some new LED lights. Eventually I’d like to have the closet wired for real lights, but these help well enough for now. If you can drill pilot holes and fill battery packs, you too can add remote-control-powered lights to your closet! I got this set on sale at my local ACE Hardware for just $15.

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All together with some projects not worth photographing, I fixed or installed 8 things around the house in about two hours. Much speedier than I planned, leaving plenty of time to enjoy season 2 of House of Cards 😉

miracle mineral oil

I’m a die-hard fixer of things I love … boots get re-heeled, shoes get re-soled, scuffed leather gets moisturized and polished. It’s no different with the architectural pieces of my house that can’t be so easily replaced as a pair of heels.

Take my kitchen cabinets. Custom-built mission-style wood that almost seems to glow from within (thank you, previous owners). And I love them to pieces.


Except for the worn and torn edges near the sink and stove. Most of the staining is from water (near the sink) and dry air (from the oven, and the house in general). Not the most inspiring thing to look at every time I’m at the sink:

But a few minutes with a soft cloth and a bottle of mineral oil, and everything looks as good as new.

I discovered mineral oil a few years ago when I was given a beautiful handmade wooden cutting board as a gift. Someone told me the best way to minimize the appearance of knife cuts on the board would be to treat it with mineral oil (available at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond or your hardware store). It’s food-safe and not only works like magic on minor scuffs and scratches but also restores the wood to its original color (without messing up the stain, if there is one).

So if you have a wooden cabinet, desk, chair or cutting board that could use some TLC, there you have it. My secret revealed.

xoxo, LG

lady, get on that!

I have a bee in my bonnet. And this is a good thing.

There are a handful of projects that I’ve been meaning to tackle since before I even moved furniture into the house.

Like…

finishing the edges and trim in the kitchen…

touching up paint mistakes in the basement…

and turning the garage into a truly usable space.

It’s time for me to get on those projects, my friends — plus a few others. I can’t tell you why (yet! maybe ever.) but there’s a reason and it’s a good one. And even if “it” never comes to pass, it is providing me exactly the motivation I need to finish some long-standing items on the to-do list.

Will you help? Encourage me with your comments, texts, phone calls and stories of your own DIY mis-adventures!

*Project name lifted directly from John and Sherry over at YHL

decorating: summer into fall

Chilly weather is here, and I’ve slowly been replacing summer/neutral decor around the house with fall and Halloween pieces.
I keep the same pieces on-hand from year to year (most came from my mom and our collective PartyLite stash) but I try to do different arrangements each time. Here’s this year’s versions!
Dining room table: silver bowl and hurricane shade –> wire apothecary vase with fall leaves and pumpkins
Dining room window nook: dried hydrangeas –> rosemary plant (has been outside all summer), red candlesticks & fall flower arrangement
Desk: mish-mash of summer wedding invites –> two of my favorite leaf-shaped candle holders
Kitchen corner shelves: Twins baseball memorabilia –> white and orange ceramic pumpkins
Front porch: blue jars and swirls –> pumpkins and jar candles
Living room: added leaf tealight holders to existing tablescape, and a big bowl and leaf coasters to the coffee table

two-year anniversary: the house now

Two years into living in the little farmhouse, a lot has changed. You can see the whole transformation here… but for those of you who have been following the transformation all along, here is an up-to-date tour of the house, top to bottom!
Kitchen

Dining Room

Living Room



Stairwell

Yellow Bedroom

Blue Bedroom
Master Bedroom

Bathroom





Basement



Front Porch


Makeover Alert: Cookbook Corner

My recipe binders got a makeover recently, and I finished the final details today. No longer do I have to sort through piles of papers clipped from magazines or printed from blogs!

I’m posting this via phone from my cozy spot on the couch, and I don’t know how to caption photos… But it was a pretty straightforward transformation. Pretty, matching fabric binders from Office Max. Special section dividers that have pockets for the smaller recipes. Removable/movable section tabs in case I reorganize the sections down the road when I fill up the existing binders. Number stickers for the spines so that I can quickly identify them on the shelf (numbers are key — this way, I can add more binders easily, and not be tied to categories labeled on the binder. Right now, #1 is breakfast and appetizers, #2 is soups, salads and side dishes, #3 is main courses, #4 is desserts and #5 is drinks and misc. If I need to add a binder and spread out the sections into 1-6, it’s all the more simple to do so. At least, here’s to hoping…)

How do you organize loose-leaf recipes? Any tips to share?

gold, silver and peacock feathers

I’ve found some amazing treasures at some antique and vintage stores in South Minneapolis and Uptown this summer.

First, a 30-piece set of silver to add to my collection of various silverware patterns (and, altogether, I only paid $1.73 because of a 20% off sale at Hunt and Gather and a gift certificate from some dear friends who know me very, very well).


Peacock feathers for just three bucks a pop, which you’ve already seen in the living room (a now-closed antique store on Hennepin and 27th).

And a fantastic gold key that is also destined for the living room (from Rewind Vintage at 48th and Chicago).

Aren’t old things just so much prettier than new ones?

Christmassy kitchen

A few fall-to-winter changes to the kitchen recently:
before
after

My mom used to display these blocks at our house in Texas… we had a desk in the kitchen with cubbyholes above it, just below the landing of the stairs. I always loved helping her change them for each new holiday. She sent them to me in September, and they fit perfectly on the ledge above my stove.

before
Whoops, guess I forgot to take a before picture 🙂 But this holder was filled with an autumn foliage assortment, courtesy of my mother, and sat on the top-most white corner shelf in October and November. For Christmas, I filled it with red glass beads and four ornaments that I picked up for free at a swap meet a few months back.


after


I also switched out the kitchen towels, and replaced my beloved Snow White and Dopey salt and pepper shaker set with an adorable snowman S&P set from my aunt. Overall…

weekends in the kitchen

Major house projects finished since I last posted to the blog: 0

Weekends spent in the kitchen and relaxing on the couch instead: 3
The big sprint to get the house in presentable shape before the party a few weekends ago left me a little wiped out… maybe I’ll have more motivation in August 🙂
But, in the meanwhile, here’s what I’ve occupied with lately:

More photos and recipes to come…
xoxo
LG

the kitchen in action

Remember when the kitchen looked like this?
A perfectly nice shade of green that just didn’t go with the rest of the house, sadly. But then I decided to paint it red, and now I would almost forget it was ever another color if I didn’t have the photos to remind me.
For those of you who watched the transformation unfold here on the blog last April, here are some updated photos from a family gathering last weekend:
all clean and ready to party


the second phase of our progressive dinner (phase one was at the Millers’ house down the street)

Aunt Debbie’s berry cobbler, including raspberries from the garden

cousins 🙂

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