"I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul." Jean Couteau

Thursday, May 28, 2015

here is a pot for your herbs

I kind of took the winter off from projects. Not intentionally, it just sort of happened. But now I'm back with a vengeance. I've recently been working on three projects, with a couple more in the planning.

I'm going to start with the simplest project. I'd been thinking about growing some herbs for awhile. Some recipes I use call for fresh parsley or basil or something, but the amount I would use is less than how much you have to buy in the store, and I don't always have a use for the rest of it. Yes, I could do better recipe planning for the week to do all recipes that need fresh basil, but realistically, I'm just not going to go to that much effort. So I thought it would be great to grow a few of my own herbs, and then I could just grab a couple of leaves as needed. 

I had an old window box planter that I thought would be perfect to put a couple of herb plants in, but it was a faded sort of grey-green that would not look good in the dining room, so I decided to give spray painting it a try. I got Rustoleum spray paints in white and a sort of yellow-orange that ended up being a bit more yellow than intended. I wanted to do the bottom tray part in white and the rest yellow.

I started out by turning the planter upside down and spray painting the bottom white. Initially, I thought it would be easiest to take off the bottom tray and paint the pieces separately. However, being an older planter, the bottom was firmly connected, and the plastic started cracking when I tried to pull the pieces apart. So I just sprayed the bottom and didn't worry about over-spray since I'd be painting the top anyway. After a few coats of white and letting that dry fully, I taped Frog tape around the white bottom, turned the planter right-side up, and spray painted the rest yellow. I tried to get a good amount of the inside painted too, since the dirt wouldn't be coming all the way to the top.

And that was that. Like I said before, the color wasn't quite what I was going for. I was trying to match the more mustard yellow I had used for these side tables in the dining room and the plant table in the living room. This turned out a brighter yellow, but I think it will be fine.

Next up, painting a yard sale side table for this planter to live on! But that's a post, and a project, for another day...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

decluttering a cabinet

This post has been mostly done for a few months. I guess I started it and then forgot about it. I also kind of failed at taking pictures before or during, so all you get is the after shot. Sorry.

The cupboard above the ovens is a hazard. Whenever I want something out of there, I have to either take a bunch of other things out as well or risk having cookie sheets and roasting pans come crashing down on me. It's a large, deep, wonderful cupboard, but it only has one shelf. Since most of the things we put in there are relatively flat, it means we get large piles of pots and pans, making it difficult to get to the thing you want.

For probably at least a couple of years, every now and then I'd say to Zach, "we should get some sort of extra shelf to put in the middle of this cupboard." Zach would agree, and then we'd both forget about it for awhile. Then, when we got our bathroom cabinet installed, it came with extra pegs for holding the shelves. Since this is the same type of cabinet as in our kitchen, the pegs were the right fit there. It still took several months, but I finally got around to building an extra shelf for the over-the-oven cabinet.

First, I took everything out of the cabinet and measured. It was a little tricky because there's some sort of box (probably electrical stuff) in the back of the cabinet that I'd have to make a cut-out for. Then I went to the garage to see if I had any extra boards that were big enough to use. I did have a piece of MDF that was big enough, but MDF is super heavy. Not only did I not want to lift that heavy piece up awkwardly high over my head to install as a shelf, I wasn't confident in the little pegs' ability to support that much weight. So I went to Home Depot in search of a light-weight board. 

I was planning to get plywood, but first I checked out the hobby wood section, just in case, and found exactly what I needed -- 3/4" pine, 2' x 4'. I took it home and cut it to size. Before finishing it, I did a test fit to make sure I had measured right, and it fit perfectly! I had also gotten a light stain with the idea of attempting to match the inside of the cabinet. Well, I put the stain on the wood with a rag, and it totally did not match at all. However, it won't be very visible, so I'm not too concerned. Since the stain was already quite a bit darker than the interior of the cabinet, I only did one coat of stain. Then I did lots of coats of spray polyurethane.

And now, every time I open that previously horrible cabinet, I smile :-)