Saturday, April 28, 2012

About Time...

I am happy to say that every square inch of my beautiful new cabinets are now happily painted and I can start the process of moving into all of this wonderful storage space!!

With over two years of planning going into the design of my kitchen, I had several ideas that I knew I wanted to incorporate.  Pinterest was a HUGE help to me in gathering all of my ideas in one place and having easy to see pictures to explain what I really meant to my incredibly patient carpenter!  (If you don't have a Pinterest account, email me for invitation.  It will forever change the way you bookmark!)

With the current layout of my house, I knew that I didn't have enough space for a mudroom, either now or in the future, but I did want a drop zone to put things.   When you enter my carport/garage door, the entrance I use 100% of the time, I now have a place for my purse, keys, sunglasses, schoolbag, and a charging station for my million electronic toys.  (Eventually I will have undercabinet lighting in here along with a fancy charging station but for now it's a 4 outlet plug and ambient light!)

I must say, it works wonderfully, when I remember to use it!  I am slowly getting better and better about it, but it's taking some time.  For 2 years I've been dropping my things on whatever flat surface was open.  I've got to get used to having a certain spot again.

Now that I have somewhere to store my stuff, what about my everyday food items?  Enter my kitchen pantry cabinets, not to be confused with my full room pantry off the laundry.

A few things about my pantry.

-I love the pull-outs at the bottom.  This keeps large things from getting lost in the back and makes each shelve completely accessible.

-Notice the cream box on the left in the middle?  That's the backside of a covered electrical box that has my laundry, and kitchen light switches and an outlet on the outside pantry wall.  (I'll try to shoot a pic so that my jumbled description becomes more clear.)

-The u-shaped shelves up top were my carpenter's idea and they work great.  They allow me to store canned goods and other shorter things that I need to access, but still have space for basics like cereal boxes and oatmeal (my daily breakfast) where I can reach them.  

Function is one thing, but my kitchen has to be aesthetically pleasing to me or I won't use it...  I know, I'm petty thinking about surface beauty, but if being able to cook was all I needed I would have never done this remodel!  I wanted my island to be symmetrical, and I needed to store pots and pans, and I wanted it to house my trash/recycle, and my nifty paper towel holder..

Not too much to ask right??


Thanks to Pinterest, I had my problems solved...

 I have two working drawers for cooking tools and silverware, left and right respectively.  My paper towel holder is in the middle.  The lower left drawer is my trash/recycle center.  (more on that later).  The middle drawer is one deep drawer for my large stockpots.  (I'll be sure and let you know when I get one!)  The bottom right is not one, but two drawers, hiding behind a single door.  Confused? 

Does this help?  From the outside the look is clean and symmetrical, but on the inside is very, very functional.  I love having the shorter drawers for storage. 

I wanted a dedicated space for not only my trash, but paper recycling.  I hate having piles of mail everywhere.  Go paperless people!!  (Yeah, I hear the irony now because my house is covered in mail piles.  I need to sort them and put them away in the office, but the stuff that's in my way in there has to be put away in the kitchen first.  Argh!)  Anywho...  Enter my cabinet trash drawer.  The first bin is for trash and the second for paper recycle.  The rest of my recycling is stored in the laundry room, out of the way.

When you're buying bins to fit a specific drawer, either give the bins to your builder before the cabinet is built, yeah would have been smart..., or purchase bins from multiple places and try them all.  The ones from Lowe's were too big and would have had to be trimmed to fit.  The exact same size bin, but different manufacturer, at Home Depot fit like a glove.  Go figure. 

Pull-outs have to be my new favorite thing.  I also had them installed under my kitchen sink.  The braces eat a small amount of space, but the functionality of the drawers more than makes up for it.

I can easily access everything and in case I need to get in the cabinet to work, the drawers lift out without a hitch. 

The last super custom piece I put into the dining room side.  I received many antique linens from both sides of the family.  Hanging them is the best way to store them so that they stay wrinkleless neat and air can circulate. I requested a closet rod in the top of the cabinet for this purpose.  The shelves pictured will be lowered for storage of large platters, but I need to drill a few more support holes.  (I'll let you know when I get my platters too!)

All in all, I am thrilled with my new kitchen.  Now if I can just recall where I put everything!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No more handwashing!

While I was literally waiting for paint to dry and the air to clear, I did some shopping.  My kitchen is in sore need of a dishwasher.  Since I haven't had kids yet and am still looking for Mr. Right, I am the resident dishwasher.  With the only working sink near the kitchen being a utility sink built for people with no spine who don't mind touching their toes to wash dishes, you can imagine my distaste with the whole process. 

I've been drooling over the Kitchenaid dishwasher with the new utensil rack.  Basically it's a 3rd rack that goes above the top rack that holds silverware flat so that it can truly be cleaned.  Add to that the energy star rating and the 40 dB sound rating and I was sold!  Until I saw the $1300 price tag.  WHOA!  Nope, not gonna happen...

So, back to the waiting board I went.  (No need for a drawing board, I knew what I wanted, I just needed to wait until I could afford it.)

Enter Factory Builder's Store annual scratch and dent sale!  Score!!  They had almost the exact same dishwasher I wanted for hundreds less.  The upper back side has a small dent, but no hoses or cords were damaged and it runs without any issues.  I did have to sacrifice my dream 3rd rack, but in exchange for not having to hand wash everything?  I'll gladly take it! 

Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, April 23, 2012

paint fumes...

With the arrival of all of my new kitchen, I had a dilemma.  How should I finish them??

Dark cherry stain?

Orangey oak?

Glazed paint?

Plain paint? 

The options are truly limitless...

My goal was is to do this remodel thing once and NEVER, EVER again.  (okay, unless I'm just writing the check from an account with plenty of money in the bank and then I'll do it again...)

So, I wanted a look that was timeless and would age well.  Orangey-oak was out of the question.

Stained cherry?  I love the look, but with only one wall out of 4 with natural light, I was scared that the cherry would make the room feel small and cramped. 

Glazed paint?  Let's face it, I'm not the neatest person and adding a layer of glaze would only make the cabinets seem dirtier faster to me.  (I love them in other people's homes, just not in mine because I would see them daily and notice when the glaze became more intense from all of the gunk that accumulates over time on kitchen cabinetry.)

I did like the idea of paint though.  Clean, fresh, white cabinets.  Okay, maybe not white-white, but white-ish.  I picked the same trim color that is in the rest of the house to be the cabinet color.  Once I had that part down, it was time to call in the painter.

Yup, this avid DIY'er said call in the painter.  Since I spent, compared to other projects in my house, a TON of money on my cabinets, I wanted the finish to look flawless, ie no brush marks.  (Disclaimer:  my cabinets were a steal compared to off the shelf at the local big box stores, but I still was shell-shocked at spending so much money, even though I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  They are worth every penny I paid!)

In order to get a flawless look, I knew that a professional sprayer would be involved.  I had also researched paint enough to know that if I wanted a more durable finish that would last and last, important since I was going with white cabinets, I would want to go oil-based instead of DIY friendly latex.

So I looked around and ended up with a painter's helper who picks up jobs on the side.  My kitchen was a true no man's land for a while when everything was taped up.

While I was pleased with the result in the end and happy with the price compared to a professional painter, his timing skills were way, way off.  Because of the oil based fumes, I had to move home for more than six weeks while my place was fumigated painted.

Primed and ready...

Maybe I should have been tougher on him and fussed more about his schedule (he canceled multiple times for random reasons), but I'm happy to say that the whole darn process is finally over and in a mere 2 weeks (cure time) I can start to move into my new spaces... 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


No, this is not an ode to James Morrison...

Heck, I'm not even sure that I have the right name, but hey.  (I'm hoping that I got the name of the lead singer of the doors, but if not, that's who I mean and yes, I could google it, but I'm tired and feeling extraordinarily lazy right now...)

My gorgeous, stunning beatiful kitchen is starting to come to life.  In my last post, I showed the incredible transformation that happened in my dining room.  In case you missed it, click over here, we'll wait...

Are you back??

How about now??


Okay, good.  My awesome carpenter came back a week or so later and installed all of my cabinet doors.

Now my kitchen looks like this.


Dreamy isn't it?

Somehow, even with all of this cabinetry my kitchen looks bigger.  How in the heck is that possible??

You'll notice in this post that there is something new installed as well.  Yup, I bit the bullet and purchased my dream stove.  I am thrilled to say that it is as incredible as I dreamed it would be.  It feels professional and sturdy in my hands.  The ball bearing oven racks glide in and out with a whisper.

I could go on and on and on, but I'll spare y'all the details.  However, if anyone is dying to know about, please let me know and I'll wax poetic all about it for you!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A winner!!!

After much delay on my part, we have a winner for the My Memories giveaway!  Congratulations Lindsey!! Email me when you get a chance and I'll send you the code for your software.  This digital scrapbooking software going to be awesome for putting together incredible pages and accents for Baby Whimsy when she arrives! 

If anyone else is interested in getting their own copy of My Memories, be sure to click through on the ad to get $10 off the retail price.  Or use the code, STMMMS37706, to earn $10 off of the retail price!!  Awesome!! The even better part??  That's not all!!  When you purchase your software with $10 off, you will receive another $10 credit to the My Memories store!!  Score!!  Enjoy Lindsey!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dining Room Glimmers

When my kitchen design was finalized, it utilized the entire kitchen space.  The original kitchen was tiny and closed off. 

When I mentally redesigned the space, I only used half of the room, thinking that the other half would be great for a table and maybe a sideboard, but other than that, not much.  Instead, my awesome kitchen designer drew up plans that encompassed the entire room. 

Brilliant, right??  I know, it seems so simple, but if it's all one room, why not use the whole room?  It was kind of a duh/ah ha moment for me. 

When I decided to go ahead with the kitchen remodel, I was understandably worried about the costs.  I hemmed and hawed about going ahead and doing the dining room, or waiting until I had more monies.  Ha!! Since reality finally hit and I knew that I wasn't going to get more money (in the remodeling sense) anytime soon, I went ahead with the dining room build. 

While I was prepared for the build, my sweet builder's shop wasn't quite ready.  He had to build out the kitchen and install it and then build out the dining room.  Apparently my kitchen cabinets filled the entire floorspace of the workshop and had to be moved out before he could build the dining room side. 

A short two weeks later, my dining room looked like this-

Now, the wait was on for doors and paint!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Trying again!!

Alrighty folks, What happened??

My first giveaway was a complete and utter failure.  Whoops!!  No one, nope, nobody, entered to win a copy of My Memories scrapbooking software.  Seriously?  Why should you enter??

A.  It's free!

B. It's actually a pretty easy, impressive software that can help you create all kinds of things for your home!

Just check out the cool things you can create with it-

Thank you notes!  Snap a picture of the birthday boy, or girl for that matter,  during the birthday party.  Take a traditional 8 1/2" by 11" sheet, landscaped, and drop the picture into half of it.  Add a cute phrase and fun background.  Copy the phrase and pict to the other half of the paper.  Print it out on cardstock and cut in half.  Add an envelope and voila!  Custom thank you notes!!

Love all of the Subway art that is so hot in blogland??  Check out the cute Easter art I created in minutes.  (narrowing down my font list took a bit of time!)

I used a free background and then racked my brain thinking of phrases that hold an Easter meaning for me.  Using my own fonts, I added those phrases in a simple white.  All I have to do is print this off and find the perfect frame for it. 

Now that I've shown you more things that My Memories digital scrapbook software can do, I'm going to again try and give away a free copy, valued at over $35!!

Giveaway Requirements (1 entry)-
- Become a follower of Giddings Lane
-Head to My Memories and cruise around.  Check out all of the cool pages and accents.  Leave me a comment telling me which is your favorite.

**Extra entries
1 entry - Post about this giveaway and link back to my blog.
1 entry - Tweet about this giveaway.
1 entry - Post about this giveaway on your Facebook account.

Leave one comment for each of the extra entries you do!

Thanks and Good Luck!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1st Giveaway!!

(In my excitement to write this post, I inadvertently hit publish post without first changing the date.  If you received this via email, so sorry!!  You received the unedited version.  (I usually write posts, set them to publish later and then go back and edit them before the post.  This lets me follow a clearer train of thought.) Here's the more polished version!)

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Liz and asked if I would like to try My Memories digital scrapbooking software.  My Memories is computer based digital scrapbooking software.  You go to their site and purchase a copy of the software and it downloads the complete program onto your computer.  This means you can create to your heart's content without having to be "attached" to your a wireless network.  (Great for times when you travel and horrors of horrors aren't connected...)

Once you put it on your computer, a virtual workspace opens up and allows you to layer thousands of papers, backgrounds, journaling, and accents such as ribbons, buttons, screw heads, just about anything you can dream of with your digital pictures. Adding pictures couldn't be easier, either.  Simply open My Memories software and iPhoto at the same time and drag and drop.  Easy!  Once you have your creation perfected, then you can print it to a pdf, jpg, or directly to your printer. 
Now, I have a confession, I am a self proclaimed scrapbook nut who has an entire room full of scrapbooking bits and pieces.  I love to cut the paper and stick the pieces down.  I find it cathartic to take a pile of mess and make something beautiful.  So, what exactly was I going to think of digital scrapbooking software???

I can honestly say I love it!!  No more mess, sticky fingers, oops with the glue, glitter or scissors, no frustrations, nothing, just point and click!  Everything you do traditionally with scrapbooking can be done just as easily with My Memories. 

In a short, untrained afternoon, I created a nameplate for my niece's bedroom door and a cute LO for Zach-a-doo & his Tonka truck.  The software is super user friendly and makes creating something precious a breeze.

For the nameplate, I started with the basic background and added a square of burlap, two colors of ric-rac trim and a couple of flowers.  Then I chose the perfect font from all of those on my computer.  My Memories lets me use all of my fonts, not just a few preselected ones.  (Sorry, personal pet peeve when I have the perfect font in my head and I can't use it because it isn't supported on whichever platform I'm working in.  Grrrrr.) 

Tonka Boy went together just as simply with a couple of layered papers and those great screw head accents.  The color matching feature made it super simple to get the perfect shade of brown for the picture border. 

If your software package doesn't have the perfect background or accent piece, cruise their website for thousands, literally, of accents, papers and quick pages (already created pages that just require you to drop in the pics.)  While most of these have a small fee attached, lots of items can be found for free!  Both of my creations above where made using items purchased for free.  My Memories cycles through over 140 different items, ranging from quick pages to background papers and accents.  (For those looking for a deal, they often run sales as well!!  Wahoo!!)

Is anyone else out there wanting to give it a try?  I have a copy of My Memories software to give away to one lucky follower!! (I'd love it if you'd follow Giddings Lane, but it's not necessary to be a winner.)

Head over to their website My Memories and look over all of their items.  Come back and leave a comment letting me know which incredible accent piece caught your eye! 

I'll choose a winner randomly on March 5th!  Good Luck!!

Even if you don't win, but are still interested, head to My Memories and use the promotional code, STMMMS37706, to earn $10 off of the retail price!!  Awesome!! The even better part??  That's not all!!  When you purchase your software with $10 off, you will receive another $10 credit to the My Memories store!!  Score!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More Glimmers

So when I last left you, it was with a huge delivery of what was supposed to be kitchen cabinets.  I know it was a bit of a mish-mash, but stick with me.

I also know that i get long winded, but I digress and thus make this post longer, sorry!!

I spent hours days weeks months researching cabinets.  I knew I wanted wood and would prefer custom, but could never ever afford them.  Ikea cabinets did catch my interest for a while, but was worried about how the cabinets would wear over the years. 

If you recall, my motto was to do this kitchen once and NEVER EVER again!

I headed to my favorite go-to store for just about everything remodel, Home Depot.  I spent hours wandering through the cabinet displays, opening, closing and dreaming.  I had my basic floor plan for cabinets, but nothing beyond the cabinet doors.  Have you seen all of the cool things that you can have behind those cabinet doors?  But alas, those things cost money.  Lots and lots of money.  So, I put my dreams aside and sat down with a very patient lady to build the kitchen of my budget, if not my dreams.  

We spent a couple of hours using stock cabinets to "build" my kitchen on her computer.  Using their pre-chosen sizes, I chose basic cabinet boxes to make up my kitchen.  From there came the sticker shock.  And a shock it was.  Over twenty thousand dollars!!

Are you kidding me?

Basic cabinets, no bells and whistles??

I came very, very close to tearing up in the middle of home depot.  Not a new thing for me to do, granted, but I was trying to save face.  I've worked hard to make my friends at HD and didn't want them to get embarassed again.  Yeah, issues, I'll add them to my list!  :)

So, back I went to my hot plate and continued to mourn the loss of my kitchen. 

Since I was already spending thousands and thousands beyond my budget, I figured I might as well look into custom cabinets, had nothing to lose right?  Back in the day, the local ag teacher did custom cabinetry on the side.  When he retired, he went to making cabinets full-time.  On a whim I gave him a call. 

On a side note, I love small towns.  Mike, the cabinet guru, doesn't advertise, so you have to know someone who knows someone who has his number.  Love it!!

I called Mike and over a series of very patient meetings, we hammered out a list of cabinets complete with my bells and whistles.  Then came the really fun part, the bill.  Would you believe thousands and thousands less than HD's price for stock??

After working with Mike, we made a special visit to his workshop to see the progress.

Aren't they gorgeous!?!?  Is anyone else as excited as me??  Yeah, I'm guessing no, but that's okay.

The best part of my cabinet install?  Yet another kitchen arrangement?

The odd thing?  That pot of mac and cheese was probably the best tasting pot I'd ever made!  Somehow knowing a real kitchen was coming soon made it all the better.

A short time later - magic!!

So, the upshot was/is I now have custom cabinets in my kitchen!!  Real wood with all the bells and whistles I dreamed of!

more about those later!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Once upon a time, I dreamed of getting a kitchen.  What seemed like a dream, so far away and completely unreachable, has now become something that is very, very attainable.  If you recall, one of the first things I did lo those many days ago was let my friends and family go at the original kitchen with sledges.  The pictures shown here were actually shot before I owned the home.  (Yeah, I know, I was CRAZY to purchase it in the condition I did, but being sane has never been something I've been accused of!

Nothing, nadda, zip, zilch worked in the kitchen so I didn't feel bad about tearing it down.  The cabinets were also built in place, so they couldn't be taken down and donated.  They were also so soaked with grease, animal urine, and nicotine, no one would want them.  So, for 2 years and 4 months, my kitchen has stayed that way and I have faithfully cooked on a double hot plate, when not mooching food from family. 

You have seen my preparations for a "real" kitchen, plans being drawn up, watching the walls go up, and the lights installed.  In order to even plan for cabinets, I had to know approximately which appliances I wanted to that we could make allowances for them.  I decided that I should follow my words and go with my dream range & hood set.  Add to that the changes in the plans for the kitchen and that translated into wanted to hang a 100 pound vent hood over a pocket door to the laundry room.  (Yeah, so happy I'm working with family as opposed to a true contractor who would have long ago given up on whims convictions.)  Thankfully, the hood is well secured to the wall and if/when you have more time, I'll tell you about it, but not today!

So, after searching what seemed to be most of Texas for the best deal on my combination, I found it at the local appliance store.  Huge shout-out to them!  Yay Buddy's!

Once the hood was here, installation was a breeze!  Ha!  Actually it wasn't bad, and not only because I didn't have to help lift it! 

It had a cleat for hanging and allowed you to get the hood up and in place before securing it to the wall.  So, while it was heavy, the weight didn't have to be supported too long before a break. 

Shortly after the hood was hung, the crown attached and the rest of the walls painted, I received a delivery!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The first day


In a word, lighting can make or break a room, a picture or even a dream!  Changing the lights in a room can make one thing look like another.  That being said, my lights needed some work...

Yeah, not the best, I know.  All 3, yup, only 3 lights in the entire kitchen, were put in specifically for light.  Nothing AT ALL about aesthetics was even considered.  I'v ehad my eyes on these for a while, all with the intention of getting rid of them.  However, in order to kick out the old lights, I needed to know where the new lights should go.  That meant that I needed a more definitive kitchen cabinet plan.  (Nothing in this house is EVER simple.  It's do 3 other steps to get the one step you wanted to do in the first place done!)

You might recall my original kitchen plans from long ago.  I loved 96% of everything I saw in them.  The other 4% I wanted to change and that involved changing some functional cabinetry and redesigning other pieces.  Not fun, but once it was done, it meant that we could install the recessed lights that I wanted to function as the general lighting for my room.  I won't bore you with the hours spent running wires, eating drywall dust and trying to make can connections work.  Instead, here's the new look!

The cans are the basic 6" cans exactly like the ones in the pantry.  They come with the part for the ceiling and nothing else.  From there you can customize to your heart's content, using different baffles and bulbs.  Instead of dropping $15-$20 on a baffle plus the cost of a bulb, I elected to spend a bit more and go with the all inclusive LED light. The cost over the long term should be better and I love the soft warm light it provides.

At just over $30 each, I'm going with the one a month version purchase plan!  Come see me in a year and they should all be in!  And yes, that means that I went from 3 light fixtures to almost 12, if not more!  (That doesn't include accent lighting and more specific task lighting.  And no, you don't need sunglasses when you're in the room.  Instead it looks perfect!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ivories have been tickled

Remember this gem from a while ago?  Once upon a time it was a piano headed towards the dump.  As any good DIY'er we took it down the basics and saved the wood.  There it sat for almost a year until recently.
In the push to get my kitchen to a liveable state, new windows were installed across the back of the house.  When the original paneling and cabinets were ripped out, the window sill was removed as well.  It was part of the backsplash maybe??  I cannot recall at this point.  The main point I'm trying to make in a thousand words or more is that the poor kitchen window was sill-less and sad looking.

So, off we went to the wood pile taking over in my carport.  Out came one of the sides of the piano to undergo a transformation...

Once we had it cut down to size, we took the edge off by running it through the table saw.  The saw still left a poor edge, so we hit it again and again with the sander.  We had to take off the top layers of paint and then the red stain and get the wood back to square one. 

Once the dust had settled, we had to dryfit the sill again to make sure we were on the right track.  It took cutting out some extra drywall mud and removing actual drywall on one side to make it "seat" properly. 

Once the headaches were solved, the finished result was incredible.  I'm guessing I have the only maple window sill in the neighborhood! 

(yes, I know that the caulking needs to be fixed.  I'm on it!  The window installer is GREAT at installing windows, but not so great at caulking.  I have one more window seam to re-caulk and then the blinds are hung and the window is done!!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Missing in Action

Several of you have noticed my blog hiatus and commented on it.  Here's the thing, I don't multi-task so well and when I working on my house I find it very difficult to also blog about my house.  Add to that the holidays and my real job and blogging falls to the wayside.  It happens.  But the good news is that I'm back and I have tons of material to share.  2 of the things I've accomplished were already mentioned in the Winters in Texas post and the Orange Explosion posts.

I jumped rather randomly to my front door redo because I couldn't really work anywhere else in the house.  We'll get to why in a few posts, but I'm excited about it! 

Way back when you and I had last spoken, I was telling you about the last pieces of the electrical work for the kitchen.  Once the kitchen was finally finished, as far as electrical wiring, it was time for the next step.  DRYWALL...

In case you've never attempted drywall, here's a little secret.  It's no fun.  none.  It's dusty dirty work that kills a manicure in nothing flat.  (I don't ever get manicures or paint my fingernails anyway, but it's the point, people, the point!!)  First chore?  Scamming Asking your brother to help you haul drywall across town! 

Once that was done, I scooted out of work on time (!) and headed home to set a record drywalling an entire kitchen with my ever faithful help.  Thanks a TON Dad & Sara.

In one evening, we were able to turn my kitchen from dark and studly (pun intended!) to this!!

This is a HUGE step in the right direction.  It makes a kitchen, my kitchen, start to look like a real room.  After living with a hot plate on a dryer for 2 years, the first signs of a room are a big deal. 

Once all the drywall was up, the next little step was sanding, and sanding, and sanding the mud.  This caused a rarely seen climatic event called Remodeler's Snow. 

Unfortunately, this messy stuff is most likely the only snow I'll see this year...  The good/bad news about this is that it NEVER GOES AWAY!  No matter how many times I dust and clean, there is always another surface covered in drywall dust.  Oh well.

After the dust was cleaned up or at least moved to another room, I put up a coat of paint on the walls and was left with this.  love it!!

I'll explain the arrows next time.