Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Barstool Facelift

Barstool After

Did you ever have something forever that you didn’t like, with the full intention of replacing it when you could afford “something better”?  Sometimes that day just doesn’t come:)  These barstools were that “something” for me. We purchased them at Target years ago in a rush because we needed them right away.

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Save money on your kitchen remodel

kitchen tips

There are so many ways to save a little money without sacrificing quality.  Here are five ways we saved during our kitchen remodel.

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Vintage Kitchen

White pitchers, old glass bottles, wire baskets and glass storage add vintage charm to any kitchen.    All these things are easy to find and usually inexpensive.

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DIY Slate Countertop

slate countertop

Reusing materials can save you tons of money on any room redo.  This cabinet and countertop added NOTHING to our kitchen budget.  Gotta love something for nothing!

We reused all the original cabinets in our kitchen remodel. With some paint and glaze, they were transformed. Visit this previous post about our cabinet finishing.

Putting the slate countertop together was super easy (considering we had already learned how to tile by doing the floor).  All the materials were leftover from other parts of the kitchen.  We cut a 3/4 inch piece of plywood to size, picked out the slate pieces we wanted to use and decided on the pattern.  We cut the slate using a wet saw.  This may sound a bit scary, but it is so easy once you get used to it (just very messy!)  After the tiles were set and dry, we grouted the seams and the front.  The front edge is just grout, but it looks like a thick piece of stone. After all was dry we finished with a food grade mineral oil.

This countertop is a workhorse. It can handle anything we throw at it including hot pots and spilled spaghetti sauce.

It is amazing what you can do with leftover materials.  Our best ideas come to us over a glass of wine:)  Give yourself kudos, repurposing is great for the environment and your wallet!

slate countertop mineral oil  slate countertop close-up

Mason Jar Markers

Do we have to use EVERY glass in the house by the end of the day???

I only have two kids, and they would go through about 12 glasses a day. They would take one out, fill it, drink half, leave it on the counter, and forget which one was which.  God forbid they drink out of the other one’s glass, so next time they were thirsty…just grab another glass.

These markers are free and so easy.  Cut an old t-shirt into quarter inch strips (I used a rotary cutter, but scissors work just as well).  Thread the strips through the button holes. If you need help, use a paper clip.  Put it around the glass, pull as tightly as you can, tie in a knot, and cut off the extra.  For the ones above, I used two buttons on each to make them a little more interesting.

We use Ball jars for everything…dry storage, leftovers, and drinking glasses.  These are wide mouth pint size jars.  At about $10-$15 a case, Ball jars are very inexpensive, easily replaced, much sturdier than most glasses, and just fun.

If you don’t have a button collection, try starting one.  You can usually find containers of them at yard sales and thrift stores.  They are great for little home projects and crafts for the kids.

Have fun!

Chalkboard Pantry Menu

You gotta love quick and easy changes that make a big impact.

In my ongoing attempt at organization, I have been trying to better plan the weekly menu.  This is helpful for two big reasons. First, as a self-proclaimed not-great-chef, it just feels great to know what I am going to make everyday and that the ingredients are actually in my refrigerator. Second, less trips to the grocery store means spending less money…always a good thing.

So after planning the menu and having all the ingredients on hand, thought I was on the right track.  Silly me would forget to write down the plan (or write it on a post-it or scrap of paper that would get thrown away) and the planning time and effort just went out the window.

With a little chalkboard paint and extra wall paint from the kitchen (Behr Perfect Taupe), our weeks are suddenly better organized.  Since the menu is on the inside of the door, the outside still looks clean and uncluttered when the door is closed.

Here’s the bonus…when the “what’s for dinner” questions start rolling in, I just point to the menu.  The kids now know what to expect for the course of the week, which somehow translates into less complaining about the dinner choices. And, for some crazy reason, Friday pizza day doesn’t seem far away when they see it in writing:)

Try this out at home. Can be anywhere…in the pantry or behind a cabinet door. Chalkboard paint dries unbelievably fast, so you can be done in about an hour…even with three coats of paint!  A quart of chalkboard paint goes a long way, so maybe share with a friend.

Have a great day!

UPDATE: Thanks so much to Kelly from LilyPadCottage for her inspiring chalkboards designs.

Here is our new version:

Menu close up

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover


After a little over a year in our “new” house, we found ourselves with a broken dishwasher, barely working cooktop, and the wonderful wall oven that would not even fit my cookie sheets. Time to rip apart the kitchen!

Once we realized that the majority of our budget had to go toward appliances, we got creative.  Our biggest savings…reusing all our cabinets.  Even though they were not my style, they were in good shape (except the sink cabinet, which had to be replaced due to a nasty leak).

Since our plan was to reconfigure the kitchen, we had to come up with a new layout using our existing cabinets.  Sort of like real world Jenga, and it worked!  We took them all down and reused them in completely different ways. The set above was moved from the corner to the island.

The hardest part of this operation is finding the color you want.  I just love those $3 samples from Home Depot.  They are an inexpensive way to play with paint colors. We had many versions sitting all over our downstairs until we decided this was the combo we liked best.  The winning color is a mix of Behr Ultra Pencil Point from Home Depot and Valspar Glaze from Lowe’s. The cabinets were then slightly distressed with sandpaper and finished with a Flat Polyurethane.

Looked all over for knobs…found these at Target. They are perfect, with a pewter look, and a great price!

Just LOVE the color with the slate floors and recycled barn wood countertops.  Of course, the slate floors and countertops have stories of their own.  So, our kitchen remodel is to be continued…

Jars, Jars, and more Jars!


Open shelving is worth the risk…

Putting open shelving in our new kitchen took much convincing with my better half, but now he loves it (and so do I). These jarred staples are used everyday.  The airtight lids keep everything super fresh and it is easy to see when we are running low.

The top shelf houses our baking needs…flour, sugar, and oatmeal. These are cracker jars with twist off lids. They are sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target.

The next shelf changes constantly. Now showing…popcorn, marshmallows, walnuts, quinoa, beans, etc.  These are all wide mouth Ball jars, pint or quart size. They are sold at Walmart by the case, but they can also be found everywhere for a little less at the end of the summer (canning season).

The third shelf usually holds pancake mix, hot chocolate, dog biscuits, and crackers. These are also cracker jars, just in a different size.

The large white containers are great because they hold an entire bag of chips or pretzels…the kids love this shelf and everything stays fresh. These came from Ikea a number of years ago, but anything similar will work. Just make sure the lid has an airtight seal.  The fun chalkboard labels are from Staples.

Give open shelving a try to create a vintage feel in your kitchen!