Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kitchen Counters

If you remember, part of our plan for the kitchen was to replace the laminate countertops with butcher block. We bought three Lagan countertops from IKEA for just $59 each. They came in 8 foot lengths so the first step was to cut them down to size. We needed two pieces to go on either side of the sink, a large piece with a cut-out for the stove, and a long narrow piece for the bar. Zach also cut out a windowsill for the kitchen window with some of the leftover wood. After the pieces were cut, we sanded them down, with a belt sander, to remove the existing coat of tung oil.

Since it was way too hot to stain and seal them outside in the garage, we cleared out one of the bedrooms. We had both windows open and a fan going to circulate the air but even so I wore a paint respirator.

After sanding, they got a coat of wood conditioner, followed by two coats of Minwax dark walnut stain. I let them dry for three days before sealing them with Waterlox. I coated the bottom with two coats of original Waterlox, allowing 24 hours dry time between coats. Then I flipped them over and started on the tops, applying four coats of original Waterlox, followed by one coat of Satin Waterlox, again allowing 24 hours of dry time between coats. The original Waterlox must be used as the base coat, but can also be used as the top coat, which gives a semi-gloss sheen. However, we opted for a satin sheen, and used Satin Waterlox for our top coat. (Complete Waterlox instructions can be found here).

Overall, we're really pleased with the result. The only problem we had was small air bubbles during application that caused the surface to be a little rough. I think it may have had something to do with the heat since we followed all the recommended steps to prevent bubbles. Here they are, stained, sealed, and ready to install.

UPDATE: I went back and lightly sanded the counters with a very fine (220) grit sanding sponge, then applied one more coat of satin Waterlox. It made a big difference and they are now much smoother to the touch. (Waterlox does not recommend between coat sanding for adhesion purposes, but does say a light sanding before the last coat can help with the appearance, which in our case meant smoothing out the bubbles).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August: The worst month to clean out your garage

We put a hold on some of our indoor projects to get the garage cleaned and organized. The sawdust from cutting the flooring was several inches high, and it was beginning to look like a sandy beach, minus the cool water and refreshing sea breeze. So we drug everything out into the driveway and then tore out the garage ceiling. Weren't expecting that, were you? Yes, we ripped down the perfectly good drywall covering the ceiling in our finished garage. I admit it was a bit painful for me to watch, but it was all in the name of organization. Zach did most of the demo while I helped clean up the mess. Between the leaf blower, shop-vac, and air-compressor, we rid the garage, and everything in it, of all its dust and dirt. Now that the ceiling is opened up, we're able to use all the rafter space for storage, getting a lot of things off the garage floor.

We even found a couple of surprises up there, like pool cue chalk, an antique ball canning jar and a newspaper from 1970.

Lovely brown and yellow laminate covers part of the floor.  For now we've decided not to remove it; it's stuck very firmly in place with a lot of glue. We will be re-taping the edge, though.

We also have a storage shed in the backyard for all our yard tools. At one time it served as a port-a-potty for all the neighborhood roaches, kind of like Joe's Apartment. Let's just say it looked like someone took a gallon tub of chocolate sprinkles and dumped it all over the floor. As gross as it was, I'd rather clean up a ton of roach poop than have to deal with one live cockroach. Ugh.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Babybel sculptures

I came home the other day to find that Zach had made me a heart, out of wax from a piece of Babybel cheese. The next day it had been transformed into a rose. So cheesy sweet.

Then I started to wonder if anyone else had made a Babybel sculpture. And through the power of Google, my question was instantly answered. Yes.


What can you make out of Babybel wax?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Table before and after

My mom saved this little table from her neighbor's garbage, and it eventually found it's way to our house. I don't know what it looked like originally, but someone had tried to strip the paint off of it at one point. I kind of liked the unfinished look, but it was a little too unfinished and had some pretty bad water rings on top.


I gave the top a couple coats of Minwax dark walnut stain, and painted the base with Glidden's Elegant Lace in eggshell (which was free, thanks to Glidden's customer appreciation promo). I also used a bit of brown glaze to bring out the details.


Right now our living room is a sea of beige: beige walls, beige couches, beige tile. I've been slowly working my way around the room, priming and painting the trim, and hope to get some color on the walls soon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

White Coat Ceremony

Zach had his White Coat Ceremony today, where he was presented with his coat for pharmacy school. Class starts Monday for the class of 2015!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peppers and Berries

Before we left Austin I dug up a couple plants from our garden, including a blackberry plant and two jalapeno plants. They survived the trip to Houston and one of the jalapeno plants is even making peppers. Hopefully we will be able to get some things in the ground this spring.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Craft Table

Aside from a few scratches, most of our furniture made it to Houston safely. However, there was one casualty... the glass top on my craft table.

My craft table is very dear to me, for obvious reasons (how could I do all my sewing and crafting without a good craft table?), but most importantly, because Zach built it. Just for me. With his own two hands, and a lot of love. I'm relieved it was just the glass that broke; although a bit pricey, it's easy to replace.

Which brings me to a long overdue post about how my craft table came to be.

I've actually been using the table for over a year now, but have never got around to sharing it. I guess I've been too busy crafting. Below is the sad little craft table I was using before, something I took from my mom's garage. Not much surface space and very wobbly.


My mom bought me an old door at a consignment store, and I thought it would be great as a table top. So last year for my anniversary gift,  Zach turned it into a table...

He used turned porch posts for the legs, and did the rest of the wood work, including the scalloped apron, by hand. He even included a drawer, with dovetail joints, for easy access to all my sewing notions. (Drawer pull from Anthropologie).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Galveston Trip

Zach and I took a short trip to Galveston to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. We spent a little time on the beach, did some window shopping on the Strand, and enjoyed a couples massage at Moody Gardens.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A lesson in Utility

One of the nicest things about our new house is the laundry room, which despite the hot water heater taking up space in the corner, is quite larger than what we're used to. For us, the best way to use the extra space was to install a utility sink. Between all the messy projects we do, and the shiny new sink we'll be putting in the kitchen, we knew it would be well worth it.

We spent a few weeks looking on Craigslist for a utility sink, but in the end found the best deal on Home Depot's website. Most of the plumbing supplies were bought at Habitat for Humanity ReStore for next to nothing, which helped us keep the cost of the project under $60.

The hardest part of the project was connecting the sink to the waste pipe used for the washing machine. Zach removed some of the drywall to get to the existing waste pipe, then re-plumbed it so he could attach a P-trap from the sink to the waste pipe.

Once the drywall was patched, re-textured, and primed, the sink was ready to go in. We used two hosepipe splitters, or Y-connectors, to attach the faucet to the water lines for the clothes washer.

Image source

Since we're replacing the kitchen sink and faucet, we used the old kitchen faucet for the utility sink.

If you're wondering what those funny cylinder things are, they're water hammer arresters. You can find them at your local home improvement store.

Please ignore the half finished paint job. This room is a work in progress.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grandma Lee

I said goodbye to my last grandparent this week, Grandma Lee. She was 92 years old. We will miss her.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monster Sighting

There are blogs for just about everything, even monster enthusiasts! Hop on over to i only like monsters to see a post about my monster softies, as well as other cute frightening creations.

Master plan for the master bedroom

Our empty bedroom

We got rid of most of our bedroom furniture before we moved, which was a good thing, since we wouldn't have been able to fit another piece of furniture in the moving truck.  So we'll pretty much be starting from scratch on our new bedroom. We're considering  making an upholstered headboard and using some of the accessories and bedding we already have to finish off the space. Instead of regular bedside lamps, we're planning to get wall lamps. Upholstered headboard + wall lamps = hours of comfortable reading in bed. And since our closet is a bit smaller, we're thinking about using small dressers as nightstands, to give us more space to store our my clothes. We'd also like to include a small seating area, with a pedestal table and two upholstered chairs. We'll have a better idea of how much furniture we can comfortably fit in the space once we've got a queen sized bed in there. We may end up having to nix the seating area, or going with just one chair.