We Have Cabinets!

Our very first peak!
Cue the choir- the kitchen cabinets are up!- and after four and half years of planning, it's like music to our ears. Praise God for His perfect timing and provision, as well as enabling us to get this massive cabinet hanging project behind us!

But first let me set the stage.

We arrived at the ranch after 22 hours of driving to discover a much anticipated garage full of newly ordered cabinets. It was like Christmas morning. With glee in our eyes, we ripped open boxes like kids ripping open gifts. And just like Christmas morning, this lead to inevitable chaos;

As great as it was to stare that them amidst a sea of cardboard and scattered haphazardly on the floor, we couldn't wait to get them hung. And on the verge of chickening out and hiring a pro to do it for us, I gave Thane a hearty "you can do it!" (Easy for me to say, since I wouldn't be doing it, LOL.) But a little encouragement goes a long way, and the iron-man-cabinet-monkey (that he's now proved himself to be) did it! Along with the much appreciated assistance of somebody else we'll call cabinet monkey #2.

This was our inspiration (see the full gallery here);

And we decided on maple cabinets with an espresso stain from MidContinent Cabinetry. This look is what we based our stair design on, as well.

Now for the DIY portion of the post;

Tool List
-Measuring tape
-Electric drill
-Heavy duty general purpose screws size 9x2-3/4"
-Laser leveler
-Regular leveler
-Stud finder
-Electric rotary saw (for cutting the cabinet trim)

The laser leveler and the stud finder was extremely helpful. The last thing we wanted was crooked, ready-to-fall death traps. If we couldn't guarantee how good this whole undertaking would look when we got through with it, we at least had to make them sturdy. Here's the leveler;

And I've got to say that I'd have no idea what kind of screws to use for a project like this, but thanks to people who know a lot more than me, here they are- heavy duty general purpose screws;

Since I'm in no way a cabinet hanging expert, I can't really give you an accurate or detailed step-by-step guide. Thane could, but he has this thing called a job. So I'll just pass along a few helpful tips that we picked up throughout the process, just in case any of you are considering hanging new kitchen (or even bathroom or office) cabinetry. If nothing else, this goes to show that you don't have to be an expert to tackle this kind of project! All you need is the right tools and a little gumption. All Thane did to prep was watch a quick You Tube video (see a variety here) and enlist a little help from cabinet-monkey #2 (another able bodied man).

So here we go;

Before starting, use your cabinet blueprints to get everything laid out and prepped. Then there's no need to stress over whether you're hanging the right pieces in the right spots once you kick it off.

Tip 1- Start in the corner, if you can.

See the corner piece? We started there in order to get the right placement of the cabinetry. It would have been a nightmare to start on the outside of either wall and then realize that the corner piece didn't fit. So we avoided that possibility altogether and didn't run into any problems! This top corner piece is a "garage" with a little door that pulls down to cover whatever you store inside. It was a little tricky since the space between the garage and lazy susan underneath of it had to be the perfect width in order to accommodate our future counter tops. (How that will play out is anyone's guess...)

Tip 2- Use a 1x2 as a guide for hanging.

See the 1x2 board that's nailed under the rightmost cabinet? Thane used it as a guide for hanging the upper cabinets to be even and level. Determine how high your cabinets need to be hung on the wall (depending on if they're standard or not), and then mark that height. He marked the correct height using a regular leveler (to make sure his board was level), and then it was as easy as "stacking" each cabinet along the top of the 1x2 board and screwing it into the wall. By the way- whoa those walls are orange! Especially in this photo, haha. I'm thinking I might tweak this color a shade or two once we've picked our counter tops.

Tip 3: Studs=sturdy! Use a stud finder to mark your studs.

Screwing into studs vs. drywall is kind of a must in this case, so it was really helpful to mark out the studs so that Thane knew where to drill. There is a lip on the top back of the cabinet and one underneath as well.  Drilling into those lips will prevent anyone from seeing the screws when you're putting away dishes or just opening them up and showing them off.

Yep, they're sturdy!

Tip 4: Screw your cabinet faces together

If you screw the sides of each cabinet together it will remove any seams or gaps and make the kitchen look completely tied in.

You might remember the 3D plans our supplier drew up for us after measuring the dimensions of our space. Take a look at how one 3D compares to the real thing! (Minus counter tops and appliances...)

Unfortunately the lighting in this room isn't great. We don't have electrical lighting installed yet, and this room gets the least amount of natural sunlight. But oh well, you get the idea.

This might be my favorite section of the new kitchen;

I love the bookshelf with the cottage-y panel details. This was a total surprise to me, I assumed the backing to the shelf would be plain. Then to the right of it is a microwave shelf, which will be great for preserving counter space. Directly below the book shelves is what will be a desk for my laptop. I'm always finding myself dragging my laptop into our current kitchen to reference a recipe. But that will no longer be necessary once it gets a permanent home here! Not to mention the fact that it'll be great for playing music and sermons while I'm cooking and cleaning.

The empty hole with the wire hanging down is where the ovens will go. Word to the wise- as great as double ovens are, they're pricey. This is one thing we could have planned to do without when planning out the cabinetry. It's kind of a standard in the custom cabinet world, and it's just about all you see when you browse kitchen galleries while building your own kitchen plans. I think it'll be worthwhile in the long run, but it's a big pill to swallow right at first!

So, that's a big check on the ever long ranch house to-do list. And all glory be to Christ for providing us with the time, finances, and wonderful babysitter that enabled to get this done! This home will surely be a blessing to our family, but I'm praying that it will bless a lot of other people too. Hopefully it'll be a place for lots of wonderful family time, Christian fellowship, and service in the years to come. As imperfect as we are, we want to dedicate all we do to Jesus for the sake of His name and Kingdom. That's our desire and prayer!

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And...We're Back!

Whew! After 44 hours of driving and a week of non-stop ranch house work, we're home. And just in case you noticed the lack of posts, well, an unfortunate collision between my water glass and Asher's foot sent the laptop to its untimely death. So, for a grand total of six days I was not only text free (no cell service on the ranch), but computer free as well. Yes, you heard me. No e-mail, no Facebook, no blogging, no texting, no nothing for a week. And I actually quite enjoyed it- total seclusion has it's perks! How often do you get the chance to escape to the middle of nowhere where the only mode of communication is a land line? And lets face it, nobody knows how to use those things anymore.

But now we're home where we have a working computer...and it's just sitting here...asking to be used. So here I am, excited to get started sharing all our ranch house progress.

Unfortunately, there was no progress made to our landscaping situation. As you can tell, our sandy jungle of a front yard is in need of some major work. But that will have to wait till we're living there.

But as for the flooring, kitchen cabinet installation, painting, and a handful of other things, we made leaps and bounds! Praise Jesus for that. With only short amounts of time to work (basically, a couple of weeks per year) we do our best to make each trip count. And with His provision and a ton of help from Grammy, we accomplished much more than planned! We are truly thankful. So stay tuned for pics of progress and plans, they're coming soon!

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P.S. Asher turned six months old during our trip! See his 26 week picture here (6 month and 27 weeks also coming soon!)

P.S.S. Another major answer to prayer was making it through the 44 hours of total driving without a meltdown from Asher. And praise God, he didn't get upset at all on the way. It was a little rougher on the way home, but he still did wonderful overall.

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Thrifting; Round Two

Here we go again, round two of great deals from thrift and antique shops! (See round one here.)

Goodwill- Columbus, Georgia- $1.50
This pretty little candle holder is soon to be red. It reminded me of a neat candle centerpiece I spotted in Burlington Coat Factory and mentioned (with a picture) here a little while back. I might even try to replicate the hanging crystal look and possibly make some sort of stand in order to raise it up just like the one in the photo. That one was $30, by the way, and it's black counterpart was $50.

There was a 4-Items-for-a-Dollar clearance sale going on, so I had to find four purple ticket items in order to get the deal. It was a challenge, since the purple tickets were few and far in between. But I did it! And I came home with a wad of cute baby ribbon, a silver mini-frame, a black plastic file organizer that'll be great for my wet brushes while painting, and an antique sweet pea grocer advertisement framed in very old wood.

Benning Thrift & Consignment- $.25

Benning Thrift & Consignment- $.25
I have a soft spot for graphic, antiquey things like this. And of course the sweet pea immediately reminded me of Asher, that's what really sold me on it! (Like I mentioned above, I just had to find three other purple ticket items to get it $.25 instead of it's original list price of $1.30.)

Fort Benning Thrift & Consignment- $.25

Benning Thrift & Consignment- $.30
 This is an older purchase, from Asher's nursery. Funky, eclectic, $.30. Need I say more?

Goodwill- Radclif, Kentucky- $1 (I got two)
One of these guys is living on the living room built-ins, and the other is on our other living shelf that's yet to be featured on here.

And that's all for now! My next thrifting adventure will hopefully be to Gina's Junk, a neat place in Columbus I keep hearing about. So, stay tuned!

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Out with the (M)old, In with the New

Raise your hand if you've ever had a moldy shower liner. Okay, okay, not all at once!

I'm assuming that we've all run into this problem at one time or another. Thane and I definitely have. As a matter of fact, we run into it at least once every six months. So, at least once every six months I'm standing in Walmart staring at shower liners and debating between the $2 plastic one that's destined for the trash and the $15 washable one that will last "forever".

Well, the $2 variety has been the winning choice for far too long. I finally got the gumption to upgrade. And for $12, this one should pay for itself in, oh, 6 years. I know, it doesn't sound all that worthwhile when you look at it like that. But at least it'll be one less household item that gets routinely thrown away, and assuming it washes well (only time will tell) it'll be worth the cash in the long run.

It's 100% polyester, which is non-absorbent and won't "hold" water; hence the "water repellent" promise on the packaging. I'd love to wow you with more fascinating facts on textiles (courtesy of my Textiles for Fashion college course), but I'll assume I'm the only one that finds that stuff interesting and just leave it at that. Although it's obvious that the $2 plastic liners are technically "water repellant" too. If only they could go into the washer! Maybe it's worth mentioning that I've unsuccessfully tried de-molding one with 409 and a scrub brush.

So, I'm betting on this polyester curtain. As a matter of fact, since she's a new and hopefully permanent member of the household, we'll call her Polly. She'll no doubt have many adventures to share as time "tells" how she works.

And just for fun, here are a couple of photos of our very rough and yet to be finished master bath at the ranch house;

The shower stall is directly across from the tub, you can see it peaking out a tad on the right side of the photo. And here's our little toilet closet in drastic need of cleaning and door-ing. As is the entire bathroom.

While I'm thinking about it, here's a quick to-do list that we hope to put a good dent in over the next couple of weeks (that's right, we're going!);

Ranch House Master Bath To-Do List

-Install sink tops
-Install sink faucets
-Hang mirrors over each sink
-Install towel rods and rings
-Finish tiling the shower
-Install shower door
-Stain leftover maple trim (from the stairing project) to line the tub
-Install toilet closet door, linen closet door, and main bathroom door
-Deep clean

So watch for updates over the next few weeks. After months of ranch house stagnancy, progress is about to happen! Praise God for the opportunity to make the trip out, as well as the financial stability to continue working towards a finished home! As always, we hope and pray that it will be used for His glory and Kingdom, that Jesus would be honored in all we do.
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P.S. Back to reusable household items- see reusable swiffer wipes here, reusable diapers here, and reusable grocery bags here.
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Kitchen Cart

A good neighbor not only invites you over for dinner, but also inspires you to revamp your kitchen organization! You might remember my kitchen curtain post where I first introduced you to the White Elephant's shabby and not-so-chic heart of the home. You know, the post where I pointed out it's abundance of grunge and made the bright graphic curtain panels in an attempt to divert attention from this grunge? If you didn't, no worries, one look at the speckled linoleum tile flooring and you'll get the jist.

In addition, there's this odd little corner space between the dishwasher and back door;

This is actually a pretty "clean" photo. Usually this spot collects a lot of shoes and a hodge podge of other things. But you get the idea, it's a not so pretty little area for trash and miscellaneous items. Or that's what it was resigned to until I saw my neighbors kitchen and noticed that she had a microwave cart here. Not only did it look a lot cleaner and nicer, but what a good use of the space!

So, after perusing thrift stores and Craig's List for a week or two and still coming up empty handed, I finally went to Walmart and bought the least expensive storage cart they carried. As much as I would have liked to find something used, it was $20 well spent. What do you think? 

Not only did that grungy-corner-for-trash-and-junk look go bye-bye once the new cart was up, but a lot of counter space was freed up as well. And counter space is precious real estate in this kitchen.

Welcome to the new home for the coffee maker, microwave, cook books, and the green firebird rooster. He moved down from the windowsill to get a change of scenery.

Speaking of the coffee maker, it's now in close proximity to my coffee containers for maximum convenience. My daily morning coffee routine just got even easier!

Oh and let me point out a project within a project. Remember this tray? It came from a thrift store for about $1.50.

It needed some cleaning and spiffing up, and that's exactly what it got. For a few bucks more, I picked up a can of "Cherry Red" spray paint and gave it a fun new color to match the curtains.

Then I had a small pile of frames that I'd picked up from Rugged Wearhouse on clearance for $1 each. I also had some fun cards that happened to be the perfect size, so in the frames they went! (The other one's sitting on the windowsill where the rooster used to be.) You might have noticed the little yellow-green acorn frame as well. It was also on clearance for a buck, so I got two and then painted them this yellow-green color (they were originally brown, then lime green- the same color as the firebird, which was too much- and now this shade after mixing the original green with some white to lighten it up a little). As you can see, they (the little "acorns") are empty for the time being, but I have an idea for 'em that I'll eventually get around to.

The trash can still sits here, but now it's not the focal point of the space. I've been toying with the idea of spray painting it red... I've never heard of anyone doing this, but hey, I've got to do something with the leftover spray paint, right?

So that's it for now. We're slowly and surely improving our little "character-rich" kitchen. I say "we" not because Thane has any part in the decor aspect of the makeover, but because he's the one that put the shelf together. Thanks honey!

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P.S. See our ranch house kitchen plans here. (And pssst, they won't just be plans for much longer, the cabinets are going up sooner than we can believe!)

P.S.S. Spray paint works wonders; see how to use it to get the exact look you want for your decorative curtain rods here.

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"Honey-Do" List; Featuring The Boot of Doom

Aren't husbands wonderful?!

Mine had a little honey-do list waiting for him when he got back to Georgia;

1. Give our washer & dryer the old switcheroo. The Lowes deliverers installed our washer on the right and the dryer on the left, which means the doors hit each other when they're both opened. That makes getting the wet clothes out of the washer and into the dryer a little difficult, especially when holding the baby. As Thane likes to remind me, it's possible that this is the only option due the hook-up arrangement in the back. If that's the case, that's totally fine. It's not an ideal set-up, but it's a temporary one, and I'm really just happy to be co-habiting with our own laundry room again! Four months of hauling our dirty clothes and diapers to a shared basement laundry room at Hotel K has taught me how to appreciate what we have here in Georgia. (So much so that I was led to give it a little low-cost makeover when we got back.)

2. Move our back door so that our kitchen opens up into the stairwell leading to the attic. This will expand our kitchen space and give me more room for storage. It'll also make the two attic rooms feel like a real part of our house if I don't have to go through a locked door to get to them. (The entire back stairwell spans four stories, from the basement to the attic.) We share it with our neighbors below, so until the door is moved it's all entirely open. Not that we don't trust our neighbors- they did a huge favor to us by watching our place when we were away- it'll just be nice to feel like we can go upstairs without going "out" of our personal apartment space.

The door will need to be re-installed directly to the right, in order to close off the back stairwell that leads down to the door that goes to the outside. (Our apartment is on the second story.) I'm thinking about hanging our pots on the wooden boards that are already nailed up.

3. Get my attic room that doubles as an art/storage/junk room cleaned up. So that I can use it for painting when the temps cool down! (There's no AC in the attic rooms.)

4. This one sort of hinges on #3- Move one of our new love seats downstairs. We found these for a great deal at a clearance center in Columbus. We don't need them here, but they'll be great for the ranch house. We've got plans... By the way, see that red bag peaking out of the bottom right corner of the photo? I've got a scary story about that below...

5. Create a reading nook. I'd like one of the two love seats to go in this empty spot in our second bedroom. It's kind of the catch-all room for the time being, it doubles as an office and guest room. So why not make it a little cozier for ourselves and for our guests? All it'll take is a little muscle to get the sofa downstairs and then a little womanly touch to get it looking inviting.

6. Kill the huge-silver-dollar-size spider with a marble sized black butt that I came across in the big red bag in the attic so that it doesn't get our baby; check!

Yes, this is what went scurrying dangerously close to my hand when I started to look into the red bag you see in the photo above (honey-do item #4). I'm not usually super skiddish when it comes to bugs. I don't like them, but they don't petrify me. This one's a whole new ball-game; it had chills and bumps and every kind of heeby-jeeby you can imagine running through my body. And after a friend suggested that it might be poisonous, I sent Thane upstairs a day later to try to find this crawly guy. I honestly never imagined he would, but to my astonishment he had the job done in about 30 seconds flat. This is how it went down;

Me- "Thane, I think we need to find that spider and get rid of it so it doesn't come down here and bite Asher."

Thane- "That spider's not coming down here."

Me- "Ok, well whatever, but it might be poisonous."

Silent pause for about five seconds.

Thane- "I'm going to go find that spider."

And this is what I heard from below- Clop, clop, clop (up the stairs)... Thud (items falling out of a bag and hitting the floor)...STOMP STOMP STOMP. Clop, clop, clop (down the stairs).

Thane- "I got him."

Me- "What?! Already? How'd you find him so fast?!"

Thane- "It was easy. I turned the bag upside down, he scurried out, he met the boot of doom." (I'll clarify; The combat-boot-of-doom. He was still in his work clothes.)

Praise God for husbands. They have nerves made of steel!

While we're on the topic of good husbands, I'm so thankful for Thane. He is a blessing from God. Yes, his dashing good looks and great personality are what hooked me in the beginning, but it's his relationship with Christ that truly makes him the wonderful man that he is. I'm beyond blessed to have a godly husband to take care of me and lead our home. And now that we're a family of three, I hope and pray that I'm the godly wife and mother that Christ would have me to be. I treasure these blessings and opportunities!

So what do you gals have on your honey-do lists this month?

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P.S. For another post on the best husband (plus a peak at one of my paintings), go here.

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Candles & Flowers

I've always liked candles and flowers as table top centerpieces. Who doesn't, right?

We've had this Pier1 Spiced Pear candle (found on clearance!) on our ottoman for a while. My problem with candles is that I'm shy about burning them. Because burning equals burning down, which leads to no more candle (insert frowny face here). Plus, you see the burned wicks and distorted wax.

On another note, I've always thought a little vase of flowers would look nice in this same spot. But obviously there's only room for one decorative focal item. Or is there??? (Head cocked to the side, eyes squinting contemplatively.)

That's what I assumed until I had the random idea to put a fake flower remnant on top of my candle.

Now it's a two-in-one! It took me a few days to decide whether or not I liked it. The verdict is in, and it's a yes! It's not only a great way to cover the distorted wax and burnt wicks, but now it doubles as a floral piece when we're not burning the candle (which is most of the time), and a regular candle when we do light it. (Obviously the flowers come off for that.)

The cost for this simple little idea; $0!

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No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.
{Luke 11:33}

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