Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Making a Kitchen, Part 1

Anyone who knows us on Facebook and/or real life knows that Jeff and I are remodeling our kitchen this summer. This is a pretty big deal for us - we've lived in this house for almost 4 years and haven't really changed anything in the house since then.

We still haven't painted the hallway after tearing down the wallpaper before we moved in. The dishes and everything in the kitchen are still located where they were haphazardly tossed when we unpacked the boxes - not a lot of make-sense organization going on in there. So to be taking apart the kitchen and putting it all together again with better layout, cabinets, and flooring is a really big deal.

Not to mention the fact that we're doing it all ourselves. No contractors, no workers. We're doing our own flooring, cabinets, counter tops - everything. And I'm so excited about it!

I have been posting little updates on Facebook about the design process and what not, but I decided that it would be neat to create blog post updates as well. I can be a bit more detailed on the blog. So this post is mostly to catch up on what I've accomplished so far, and I'll be sharing more as we continue to work on the kitchen.

I started with the idea to remove the peninsula from the kitchen - it cuts the kitchen/dining space in half and creates a couple awkward areas. First, there's only a small walkway to get from the kitchen to the dining area between the fridge and the peninsula, and if the fridge is open no one can walk through. And second, the dishwasher opens up right in front of the sink, so we have to stand at an uncomfortable angle to rinse and load the dishes.

After dreaming about taking out the peninsula for months, I took it to the next level and started a Pinterest board. Oh yeah, I was really getting serious now! I started pinning articles about how to remodel a kitchen, plans for making kitchen cabinets, tutorials for creating hardwood counter tops, and ideas for appliances, lighting, flooring, and anything else I could think of that I wanted in my new kitchen.

Next came the actual plan. I took lots of measurements and drew out what I would like the new kitchen layout to be. Without the peninsula, it will be more open. The storage and counter space that we're losing with the removal of the peninsula will be replaced by adding some cabinetry to the wall next to the fridge.

We'll save time, effort, and money by keeping the sink and fridge where they are, and the range will only be moving a few inches so that shouldn't be a problem. But the dishwasher will be next to the sink, which makes so much more sense!

After making this general plan, I got more specific as far as cupboards and drawers and such. Here are the plans I created which show where shelves and drawers will go on the range wall, the sink wall, and the fridge wall.

These plans took a lot of brain work - I stayed up super late a couple nights making them, but I loved every minute of it!

Next came the step of creating plans and cut lists for each individual cabinet. I relied heavily on Ana White's plans for basic wall cabinets and base cabinets. As I shared on Facebook, some plans were fairly simple, and some made me want to tear my hair out! The most major plan was the cabinet that sits next to the range, and goes all the way to the corner. The fact that I had drawers and vertical shelves to plan for made the calculations and measurements head-spinningly difficult for me, but eventually I got it figured out.

Seriously, look at that! It's ridiculous how many times I had to scratch my head, erase a whole bunch of numbers, and add everything up over and over again to make it all work to fit in the space properly.

But finally, I had plans drawn up for every single cabinet I'm going to build. Major sense of accomplishment there! I chose one of the simplest plans to start with, and after purchasing some beautiful hardwood maple plywood, I was finally ready to start building.

This first cabinet took me two days to build - one to make the carcass, one to add the back and the face frame. The sense of accomplishment I feel after completing this is indescribable.

After building one cabinet, and knowing that I still have 12 more cabinets of varying size and difficulty yet to build, plus a table comprised of a farmhouse table top and two additional cabinets, plus a storage bench, plus a kitchen island, I can honestly say that this kitchen will be a true labor of love. A WHOLE TON of work, but a whole lot of love.

I'm having to work around nap times, taking care of four kids, Jeff's odd work schedule, and trying not to be working in the hottest part of the day. I have to deal with the fact that I am extremely prone to migraines, and two of my triggers happen to be heat and physical exertion, so I have to take pain relief before I even go outside to start working each day. But looking at these kitchen plans, looking at my Pinterest board, dreaming of what my kitchen will be someday soon, I know that it will be worth it!

Linking to:
Think Tank Thursday at Joyful Homemaking

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tea Cup Rain Chain - Iron Craft #11

Our Iron Craft challenge was to create something dealing with rain, clouds, etc. I was intrigued by the idea of rain chains - alternatives to downspouts which "make a water feature out of the transport of rainwater from the guttering downwards to a drain or to a storage container." Wikipedia

I wanted to make a rain chain out of little tea cups, so I headed to the thrift store. It's a great place to shop for craft supplies. Here's some of the pretty little cups I found, only 75 cents each.

Other supplies for this project included some chain (I used white plastic chain), some 14-guage wire to wire the cups onto the chain, and some wire cutters.

Since I needed to drill a hole in the bottom of each cup, I picked up a masonry drill bit. I assumed that since it was strong enough to drill through cement, it would surely be strong enough for porcelain and ceramic. However, after trying to drill a hole for at least 15 minutes, and making little more than a dimple in the surface of the cup, I realized I needed something stronger.

So don't use a masonry bit to drill in tea cups.

Instead, I found a diamond-tip drill bit that is specifically for use on ceramic, porcelain, and glass. I guess I should have believed all those web sites I checked out when they said you had to use the diamond-tip. They know what they're talking about!

This video shows how to drill a hole in the bottom of a ceramic pot, and I used this technique to drill a 1/4-inch hole in the bottom of each tea cup. Some took longer than others. It depended on the thickness of the cup, as well as the strength of the porcelain or ceramic.

Then I cut the chain into segments of about 10 inches each. Similar to this video, I attached the cups to the sections of chain, only I used the 14-guage wire instead of fishing line.

And here is my finished rain chain! I love how it turned out, so dainty and pretty.

Due to some problems with our gutter, I haven't actually installed the rain chain yet. I took these pictures with the chain just hanging off a loose gutter nail. Once we get the gutters fixed, the chain will hang where the downspout currently is.

I want the water to drain into a large container, so that we can collect the rain water and use it to water our vegetable garden. So I bought this large planter, which I'll place directly under the rain chain as soon as we get it properly hung.

There were five of these lovely cups at the thrift store. I was thrilled. Unfortunately, they took the longest to drill through, so by the time I was done, I was quite a bit less thrilled with these cups! But now that I'm done, I can love them again.

  And thus concludes this installment of the tale of the dainty rain chain. I will post about it again once it is properly installed. :) 

Linked to:
Think Tank Thursday at Joyful Homemaking
Project Inspire{d} at Dukes and Duchesses