Monday, August 23, 2010

Kitchen Cabinet Plan du Jour

My kitchen plan is morphing. My in-expensive makeover was going to be to remove all the doors from my cabinets, add vertical dividers to make "cubbies" and then paint it all a great tomato-y orangey red color.

As a first step towards that, and to see if I would actually LIKE the open concept, last weekend I removed the doors and hardware from the upper cabinets on my sink side of the kitchen. Oooooh! I love the openness -- what do you think? And I am surprised how much I like not having to open cabinet doors to get to things -- that's sort of a weird thing that I hadn't considered.

I think it really does give it a more open feeling. Now -- this isn't the final product -- don't worry I am not THAT crazy. But now I think I am going to take out the cabinets all together, and paint the wall that same tomato orangey-red color, but in a high gloss. And then put up white horizonal melamine shelving. I see it being about an inch thick, so that it looks substantial. And the red will end where the shelves end, not extend past them to around the window and over the chest freezer. I've priced the shelving, and it isn't expensive. I haven't chosen a brace design yet, but there is a handful of inexpensive ones out there.

I am sure that I will need to do some kind of wall texturing, or patching or something after the cabinets come down, before I paint. I'll just have to see what type of surface I am left with. And I will need to get a new piece of wooden butcher block because when the cabinets come out, it will need to extend all the way back to the wall. I'm also sure that this project will be more complicated than I am anticipating, but I'm okay with that. At least I am going in with those expectations, right?

I have a good idea or two for the doors on the bottom cabinets, (thanks to someone with long red hair.) And I have three more, different types of cabinets (?!) on the other side of my kitchen that I haven't exactly figured out yet, but this is a fun start. I'm excited.

"Self Pruning" Pecan Trees

My tree service told me that Pecan trees are "self pruning," which I guess just means that it isn't necessary during pruning to remove every dead branch with a saw. And I must say, judging from the amount of branches and twigs that fall into my yard on a daily basis year 'round, he seems to be right. Greta thinks it's great, because she would much rather chase a stick then a ball, and I do have an endless supply!

Since I have a wood burning fireplace and last year I never seemed to have enough kindling, I've been saving twigs and branches as they fall into my yard. And when I had the alley fence put in, there were a lot of scrub trees that were taken out. We spent a great deal of time cutting them into 12 inch pieces to have for kindling this winter. (And if I may, I'm just going say here that preparing for winter when it's 100+ degrees outside is a great display of OPTIMISM. Yes, it could also be called a display of demented behaviour, but I choose to call it OPTIMISM. :::grin:::: )

That is all fine and well but it does become a storage issue. I looked everywhere for a small kindling rack for the backyard, but didn't like any that I found. They were too wide for my sized pieces, or the rack was too tiny for the volume I have, or it was simply too expensive. I found a company that sells metal braces that hold the ends of 2"x4"s to help you build any type of rack that you want -- $20. I ordered them, and they've been languishing in my shed for weeks. I finally got the project done this weekend.

It's not the most asthestically pleasing thing I've ever seen, but it's very functional. The top half holds sticks that are longer, and not straight, and the bottom is for the nice and tidy cut 12 inch pieces. Also up on the top shelf I have the big pieces of tree bark from my two stumps. I've never burned those before, but doesn't it seem like they would be great firestarters? Regardless, I'm quite pleased to check this off of my To Do List. (Greta is certain that I've just built her a toy chest.)

I still have a couple of buckets of twigs left over. I have some natural twine, and I'm going to bundle those for fire starters that I can just toss into the fire for a quick start. Some day soon you'll see me on my porch... a ball of twine and a bucket of twigs... I'm sure the neighbors will be entertained with my antics.

Pull Up a Chair

I finally took the power sander to the two black wooden chairs that I picked up out of bulk trash a month or so ago. I scrubbed them down to remove cobwebs and dirt, and then hit them with the sander to take off some ooopsies of white paint they had on them, and to bring some patches of natural wood through the black paint. Then I got some good furniture oil (Gold's, and it was almond scented, which I just have to say I think is really weird) and gave them a good wiping down to give the wood some luster. They look better! I don't think this will be their finished state, but at least they are clean, and have had a little love!

My mom thought they might be old, and told me to look for a marking underneath. I did, and found they were mass produced in September 2003. Oh well. At least I saved them from the city dump AND got them for free! They also met the most important criteria -- they are comfortable. They do need a big cushion though, because they are a little low for my table.

The Tree Man Cometh

If you read my previous post about old men, then you've seen the photo of the wood carved "tree man" that I found at a store in Fort Worth. I did my usual "I could probably make that" and made a mental note to watch around the neighborhood for a big (okay huge) log that would work.

On a dog walk a few days later, I realized that I had been circum-navigating around the perfect tree for months! My neighbor one block over lost a tree in the snow storm in February, and hadn't taken care of it yet, and it'd been blocking the sidewalk. I secured her permission to cut it down, and asked Red to help me. Here are the ensuing photos -- it was quite an adventure... A big thank you to my B.B.B. for providing the tools, muscle and truck to make this happen.

This next photo was taken just before the chain melted from bumping against the pavement and disintegrated! The log then rolled a few feet down the road (we were going uphill, Murphy's Law --) but thankfully ran into the curb before it rolled into my neighbor's car...

We got it as far as the end of my driveway... then we had to roll it up the driveway to get it to my backyard. Because one end is bigger around than the other, it kept rolling crooked and we'd have to stop -- because you know, we were rolling it SO FAST - not - and straighten it out. Uff da!

Once in the backyard, we heave-hoed it upright and braced it. It needs to dry some so that the bark can be removed. This is from a Pecan tree.

I already had these two pieces of wood that I was going to turn into little tables on wheels for my porch. Now they have been repurposed to be my practice pieces for the big piece! Perfect. They are not Pecan, but I'm hoping that won't make a huge difference...

I'll give your progress photos as I have them! I've never attempted anything like this, so it should be interesting.