The $6 Tile Project

One thing I’ve noticed about being a homeowner is that you must have a little savings set aside, because when you least expect it, something will break. I miss having a landlord sometimes. Case in point, my garbage disposal died last week. Granted, I don’t expect my appliances to give me two weeks notice (wouldn’t that be nice), but this is getting a little out of hand. In the two years I’ve lived in this home, my washing machine has burned out, my AC has stopped working, the oven heats up hotter than the sun, and now my garbage disposal died. I should also mention it all happened right after my home warranty expired. 

This is where a contingency fund, and a DIY attitude comes in handy. Of all the appliances that could break, the disposal is fairly inexpensive, so I’ll count myself lucky for now. Since I was clearing out the kitchen cabinet to replace the disposal, I also decided now would be the perfect time to cross another little ‘to do’ off the list.

This is the cabinet below the sink. This picture is about 2 yeas old, but it generally looks this bad. The pipes create a bit of an organizational challenge. I’ve also found that the inexpensive cabinetry bubbles badly if it gets wet. I needed a fix for that STAT. 

 

First step was to fix the garbage disposal, so everything had to come out. I ordered the replacement disposal through Amazon since it was cheaper than the model at Lowes, and it had great reviews. At Lowe’s it would have cost me about $240, but through Amazon I scored the disposal and necessary electrical plug for about $150. I did have to go to Lowes for a small container of Plumbers Putty, but overall Amazon offered the best deal.

Installation was fairly easy and took a little over an hour. I did have some help, but it could be done by one person if necessary. The hardest part was lifting the heavy unit up to attach it to the sink. We ended up propping it up with an upside down bucket which helped keep it level while we attached it.

Under Sink Tiling_1

It’s amazingly quiet, I never realized how loud my old model was before this was installed.

Now for the fun (& surprisingly easy) part!

To keep the bottom of the cabinet from getting destroyed by any leaks or spills, I decided to add tile. I picked up 6 vinyl tiles from Lowes for less than $1 each. Vinyl tile gets a bad rap for being dated (hey I know, I grew up with it too), but it’s come a long way. I was really impressed with the styles they now have available, they are a great knock off for stone if you’re looking to do an inexpensive update.

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The tiles are self adhesive so all I had to do was cut them down to size using a box cutter. The project took less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The hardest part of installing the tiles was that the cabinet isn’t square, so some edges were difficult to meet, but it worked out.

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Not bad for a $6 makeover. Pretty and functional.

DIY Dark Wood Spice Rack

While wandering the Crate and Barrel outlet a few weeks ago, I found the perfect little spice jars. They run about $2 each, which is more than I originally wanted to spend, but I love them. They have a tight seal, are easy to access, and look so pretty lined up on the counter.

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However, as much as I like them next to the stove for easy access, I quickly realized I needed another way to organize them. It looked messy when I grouped them on the counter.

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Stacking them was an option, but they aren’t designed to be stacked…

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..so they would often look like this.

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Needless to say, I needed another storage option. After playing around with some scrap wood in the garage, I came up with this.

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It was incredibly simple to build and I had everything on hand so it didn’t cost a penny. It even provides enough room to add another 4 spice jars under the first level.

The entire rack was made up of 4 pieces. Each side was a piece of wood cut into an ‘L’ shape. I believe it was cut out of a piece of scrap 1 x 6 wood. The shelves are cut from scrap 1 x 3 boards. There is nothing magic about the measurements. I lucked out that the 1 x 3 perfectly fit the spice jars and I knew I wanted 5 jars per shelf. This design is easy enough to adapt to any space/jar size that I plan on building a second spice rack to fit in a kitchen cabinet to hold additional spices that aren’t used everyday.

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I used simple brad nails to build the rack and sanded the whole thing lightly to take away sharp edges. I chose to stain the piece very dark to compliment the dark flecks in the granite. I used Rustoleum Kona, layered on a thicker than usual coat and left to dry for 2 days. Usually you would apply stain and wipe it off shortly after application; however, in this case, I just let the stain dry like paint. It ended up being perfectly dark and dried with a slight shine.

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The finished product ended up being a huge success and I’ve already had several compliments on it. It’s an added bonus that it was free; although if you did have to buy the supplies, it would still be fairly inexpensive.

DIY: Portion Control Plates

A few weeks back I was browsing through Open Sky and came across this portion control plate. I actually really liked the idea for those times when I needed a little extra attention to my eating. However, they were charging $30 for 2 plates, plus whatever shipping happen to be that day. So I would probably be looking at about $40, and I just can’t justify paying $20 a plate.

Glass Portion Plate_TanyaZukerbrot_Opensky

Portion Control Glass Plate (OpenSky)

*This picture is from Opensky and it’s wrong since they placed the protein in the large section. I’m not sure how this got past someone, because I don’t know of a diet where that would be an acceptable vegetable serving.

The point is to use the frosted lines as a guide and fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter of the plate with starch and the last quarter with a protein. Only I made my own for the cost of the plate since I already owned some etching cream.

Step 1:

Collect your supplies.

  • Simple Glass Plate
  • Armour Etch
  • Paint Brush
  • Painter Tape
  • Gloves/Eye Protection (The Armour Etch can cause burns so take proper precautions and be safe)

Portion Control Plates

*Please be safe when using this product. I would not recommend letting kids use this product, this is definitely an adult project for safety reasons.

Portion Control Plates

Step 2:

Using the painters tape, tape off the plate. Be sure to press down all edges of the tape to keep the Armour Etch seeping under the tape.

Portion Control Plates

Step 3:

Apple a liberal layer of the etching cream and set aside. I let it set for about 20 minutes before taking the next step.

Portion Control Plates

Step 4:

Carefully remove the tape and wash off the etching cream using lukewarm water. I wore a pair of dishwashing gloves for this step since I didn’t want to get the etching cream on my hands.

Let it dry and you’re done.

Portion Control Plates

I haven’t used etching cream much, but it’s not difficult. I did get some on my hands and didn’t have any negative reaction, but I still think it’s incredibly important to wear gloves just in case. Since the etching is on the bottom of the glass, the top is food safe. I read somewhere the glass will still be dishwasher and microwave safe, but it doesn’t state this on the bottle.

Portion Control Plates

Not bad for a $3 knock off of a $20 plate.

Portion Control Plates

I tried it out last night and loved it. Yes, if you’re great at portion control you won’t need a plate with lines, but for those times when I need a little extra help the lines are a good guide. I think this will come in handy.

Portion-Plate-After-1

(Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi, Brown Rice, Sautéed Brussel Sprouts and Spinach) It was delicious!

 

Project Cost Breakdown:

Clear Glass Plate (World Market) = $3

Armor Etch (Already Owned) = $0 (Hobby Lobby sells this and with their 40% off coupon it would cost about $5 for a small bottle) 

Painters Tape/Brush/Gloves (Already Owned) = $0

Total Project Cost: $3

I’m Feeling Inspired – Kitchens

I haven’t shared it on the blog yet, but I’ve recently imposed a strict grocery budget in my house (I’ll explain more on Wednesday). This means I’m spending a little more time in my kitchen lately  cooking and planning meals. So while I’m off painting random walls in my house this weekend, here’s a little kitchen inspiration.

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Genius!

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Kitchen Ledge Installation

I’m a strong believer that you can make small changes to your home and it can have a BIG impact. Paint is the first thing to come to mind, as it’s probably the most inexpensive design element that can make the biggest impact. However, once you venture beyond paint, there are a lot of other options when you start to think outside the box.

In this case the design ‘box’ was an awkward half wall that separated the living room and kitchen. This wall also has the sink and dishwasher.

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At first I thought that the wall would perfectly accommodate a breakfast bar, but there is a clearance issue as you enter the room. Hands down, everyone would run into the bar when they enter the room, which I’m pretty sure would be incredibly annoying…and painful.

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However, in this state it was a wasted space. The wall was slightly uneven so balancing items on it was difficult and it was cracking along the top as well. It just looked out-of-place and unfinished.

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This design dilemma had a simple fix that made a huge difference. See there was a point to my intro above.

With a little moulding, a primed piece of MDF, some screws, glue, and caulking…we had a perfect ledge. It also tied in with every other ledge in the house which gave everything a very unified feeling.

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A little before and after action for you…

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The whole thing was assembled off site and then brought to the house and installed in about 30 minutes. By off site…I mean my dad was sweet talked into yet another project. That man is just too good to me when it comes to house projects.

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This shelf has been an amazing addition and it looks like it came with the house. Now I can set items on the ledge without fear of them tipping over and spilling all over the carpet. It also lends itself well to holding groceries that need to be put into the pantry, which is just outside the kitchen.

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You can see the pantry in this picture, it’s the door on the left hand side of the picture. You can also see a ledge that was built with the house in the background taped off in blue as I was applying a fresh coat of paint. They match incredibly well.

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The entire project was less than $30, in fact it may have even been less than that, but unfortunately I didn’t keep any of the receipts.

What simple projects have you done that made a huge impact in your home?

SHOWING THE LOVE!!

Linking to: Addicted 2 Decorating

DIY – How To Use a Hurricane Candle Holder for Kitchen Utensils

A few years back I picked up a really beautiful Hurricane Candle Holder at West Elm. Ever since, I’ve been using it to hold utensils in the kitchen. It’s worked great and easily matches any decor. Hurricanes are a really great multi-use decor item, but are often overlooked. I have several throughout my house, they hold utensils, toilet paper, act as trash cans, etc. They aren’t just for candles anymore.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

The only problems I have with the piece is that the bottom is detached from the body of the hurricane. This is perfect if your using it for candles, but not for top heavy spoons and spatulas. It tips off the base constantly, it’s a surprise it hasn’t crashed into a million pieces yet.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

As a quick fix, I decided to adhere the bottom to the hurricane body with a little tacky glue.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

I tipped the pieces over and piped glue along the bottom of the hurricane body, as well as the base.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

A little glue seeped out of the bottom, but it was easy to quickly wipe it clean.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

I let it sit for a while upside down to dry.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

Then I flipped it over and let it sit for a while longer to ensure everything was dry.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

It worked like a charm, and whole project was FREE since I already owned the Hurricane and the glue.

Hurricane Utensil Holder

Sometimes it’s the easiest projects/fixes that make the biggest difference. I can’t tell you how nice it has been to not worry about breaking the hurricane when grabbing for a spoon.

Kitchen Cure Week 1 Progress

Week 1 done! In my opinion this is the messiest week since it involves pulling everything out of your fridge, freezer, and pantry. It’s one of those moments where you make a bigger mess in order to organize.

Without further adieu, let’s showcase some progress! So that you can see the specific progress, below are before and after shots directly next to each other. Instead of showing you all the before shots followed by the after pictures. 

Whole Fridge/Freezer Before…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

After…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Fridge Door Before…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

After…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Freezer Before…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

After…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Now when I open the fridge or freezer, it’s like a sigh of relief. It’s so nice to have it cleaned and organized that it actually makes me want to cook instead of being so overwhelmed by the mess that I just run for take out.

The pantry was a little bit of a nightmare, definitely a much bigger project. For the record, I am a couponer and I do have  a ‘stockpile’, but nothing like the TV Show. I have mixed feelings about that show in general, but I do have a stockpile that I consider appropriate for a family of 1. I don’t have a whole room dedicated to product, I have the bottom space of my pantry and I only let it get so big before donating items or stopping my shopping all together. I don’t spend hours couponing, and I only work with one newspaper…but I’ll share my coupon thoughts at a later date.

Pantry…

This pantry is difficult to keep organized. The shelves are very deep and while they hold a lot, so if you stack items too close to the front of the shelf you can’t see the items in the back. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Whole Pantry Before…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

After…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

I absolutely cannot reach the back of the top shelf, without a step stool, you have to be a giant to reach the back. For this purpose alone, I don’t house any food items on the top shelf. The entire space is dedicated to cleaning supplies and Baxter’s food. I actually keep about 40 pounds of dog food in the garage, but I hated walking down their twice a day to get his food. So I keep a 2 week supply in the pantry.

Before…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

After…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Before…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

After…

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Whew!

 

Addison

Kitchen Cure Summer 2011

Last fall I took part in the Kitchn Cure with Apartment Therapy and it did wonders for my Kitchen. During the cure I cleaned all my cabinets, appliances, dishware, freezer, pantry, refrigerator, etc. In fact, it worked so well that I want do another one this summer. While the kitchen is technically clean, it’s unorganized and I have a few design projects that I want to do, just to clean things up. The official Kitchn Cure takes place over 4 weeks and I’ll be following that same plan if they host another online cure this Fall, but right now I’ve made a few adjustments.

My Summer version is going to be 5 weeks long since it includes a few building/design projects. This post will outline my plan for the next 5 weeks and then I’ll be back later this after noon with some pictures and an update from Week 1. 

The Plan…

Week 1

  • Deep Clean! Meaning that all shelves needs to be washed and organized. Old food/supplies dumped and bottles wiped down. (you know you have some salad dressing dripped down at least one bottle. This is the time to wash it off and make everything look pretty)
    • Clean out Refrigerator
    • Clean out Freezer
    • Clean out Pantry

Week 2

  • Deep Clean/Purge Continued!
    • Clean out all equipment, tools, gadgets
    • Deep clean all appliances (except the fridge since it was done in week 1)
    • Purge unused equipment, tools, gadgets

Week 3

  • Clean/Fix
    • Scrub all cabinets of grime (especially those over the stove)
    • Fix caulking around the sink
    • Fix any missing grout/caulking on the countertop tile
    • Touch up paint on walls and cabinets

Week 4

  • Install/Fix/Clean
    • Install Baseboards over Kitchen Kickboards
    • Deep Clean Floor Tile Grout
    • Stock up on great pantry staples, refresh herbs if necessary
    • Update Recipes, finish sorting recipe box

Week 5

  • Install/Beautify/Celebrate
    • Install Pendant lighting over sink & table
    • Create pantry list, hang in pantry
    • Paint cabinet knobs
    • Host celebratory party/BBQ

 

Anyone that wants to join in, please feel free to speak up in the comments. Please feel free to link to your blog if you’ll be posting updates or you can link to Flickr if you’ll be posting progress pictures.

My progress will posted on Flickr page as well.

 

Addison