Keeping plans fluid in the kitchen

My grand plan for my kitchen has always involved new flooring and probably new appliances. But an avalanche of renewal took over my kitchen, and I ended up also painting the cabinets. In all that, the vision for my kitchen evolved dramatically.

At first, I thought I would keep my cabinets as they were, put in some nice dark hardwood flooring, and get stainless steel appliances.

That didn’t happen because…
First, the color of paint on my cabinets would not match to any flooring in the world that was in my price range. Second, stainless steel appliances are much more expensive than plain white or black.

So, after many hours on Pinterest (see my For The Home board), I realized I must paint my cabinets white in order to find flooring to match. Hear me now, I will never do that again unless under duress.

Even once the cabinets were white, I had a heckuva time finding flooring. I settled on some laminate that I thought was way too boring. Now that I have it, though, I’m in love. You will see it in a future post.

I also love my white appliances. Thanks to a very savvy saleslady in Sears, I got a great deal, and found a fridge that is quite modern and smaller and more narrow (exactly what I wanted!!).


The night my partner in crime brought my appliances to me. They had to hang out in my garage until the new floor was in.

I put my old fridge on It’s a local eBay that is very popular. I kid you not, in the first day or two of the ad being online, I had 20 people wanting to buy it.

So the fridge was moved from place to place until its buyers picked it up the night after a murder in town. I remember that very well, because at the time nobody knew who committed the murder. I did not want the refrigerator buyers into my house without my boyfriend there. So, there was a long awkward conversation held outside until I had back-up.


Chaos in the kitchen.


I got 100 dollars for that behemoth of a fridge. Had I known the interest it would bring, I would’ve asked 150.

And so, once the old fridge was in the living room, and the old stove was in the garage (it would soon go to my brother’s family, keeping it in the family), the flooring project could begin. First, let’s take a quick look at the old range hood before that’s gone too.


Old range hood, just hanging out.


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Victories in landscaping

I understand. You may click on a link with a title like that and expect to see something amazing.

But landscaping is hard work, yo. Seriously. I spent lots of muscle and sweat and hours to make this happen. And I had help. I cannot imagine doing projects like this on my own.

The rocks in the front of my house were a horrible large white craggy type. I did not like them, and unfortunately did not take a picture of them. I spent the first weekend I could on my hands and knees, picking them up, throwing them in a new wheelbarrow, and hauling them to my backyard to deposit in my shed. It felt like slave labor, like those cartoons where the minions of hell are forced to pick up rocks and put them in another place for no apparent reason.

You could see in this post a bit of the work in progress. One side was finished, with new pretty rocks, the other yet unfinished, but at least devoid of the old ugly craggy rocks.

Now, before I introduce the photos of the finished product, I must explain one more thing. My city was hit with a horrible flood in the spring of 2011. My house, thankfully, was not in the flooded area. However, everyone spent the first weekends and weekdays of summer filling and hauling sandbags and moving people’s furniture from their homes. Nobody planted flowers.

Once I was able to get to the flowers, they were well into clearance. I don’t remember when I planted them, but I think it must’ve been close to July. So, not only are these the first flowers I’ve ever planted in my own home, but they were purchased at a steep discount. I love this, but I really was expecting more voluminousness.

Small plot of flowers 2011

The first, easier and simpler, of the front yard landscaping. Picture taken July 8, 2011.

Large plot of flowers 2011

The bigger, more intricate, plot. Look at those lovely curves. That doesn't happen overnight, folks. That happens on a Friday evening.

As I look at these photos, I realize I don’t think I took a picture once the flowers had hit their height of gorgeousness. That’s a shame.

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Curb appeal in progress

As I was looking through the folders of pictures on my desktop, the pictures of the front of my house struck me.

First off, my house looks a lot different from what it used to. Here, in the spring after I moved in.

Front of house - May 2011

Here is my house in May 2011. I took this picture to plug into a website that would help me find a new color scheme.

One of the first things I needed to do in the spring was get the peeling paint scraped and repainted. That’s required with a first time homebuyer’s loan. Well, technically, the previous owners needed to get it done before an inspection at the end of May, but I worked out a deal with them so they paid me for supplies, and I did the work. Since the inspector wouldn’t care whether the work was done well, I knew the previous owners didn’t need to care, either.

The siding on my house is vinyl. This is not ideal because vinyl doesn’t hold up well to anything. Its only saving grace is that you don’t have to paint it. But, I did need to paint the trim around all my windows, and the back deck. Since I was going to be going to the work anyway, I thought a new color scheme would be fun. I plugged the above picture into a Sherwin-Williams web app, and went to town, playing around with different ideas.

I decided the bricks (which are really fake vinyl bricks installed over real bricks) and concrete would be a dark gray, and the trim a rich blue.

Front of house - October 2011

This is my house in October 2011. Still not finished.

You’ll note there is slight improvement, but it’s not quite there yet. After hours and hours of labor, it wasn’t quite right. A neighbor told me, “I see what you’re trying to do.” But everyone agreed it wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s when I decided to gather some estimates for new windows. Three potential candidates dropped by to give me their estimates. But one also gave me advice on what to do to make the front of my house look “done.”

At this late hour, I do not have a photo to show you what he suggested. I’m sorry. But I will post a picture soon.

For now, note the photo below.

Front of house - October 2011

Not quite there in terms of looking quite right. But see how the world's ugliest carpet has been removed from the front steps? Oh yes, there are better things to come.

Can you believe these photos were taken in October in North Dakota? Note the living flowers, the garden hose still hooked up to the house, and the Halloween decorations. Very odd and very welcome.

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Treating your windows with respect

Here is one of those instances in which I’m very angry I did not take more pictures when I first moved in. Everything was changing so quickly, there was little time to stop and snap a photo. Also, my camera was packed away in a box somewhere in my crazy cluttered office.

Trust me when I tell you the window treatments here were horrid. They were all white (or, more accurately, yellowed) hanging vertical blinds. In every room.

So, in pure excitement, I ripped down the ones in my living room almost immediately, as I was prepping to paint. They went straight to the garbage.

Then, I had to rely on my boyfriend’s parent’s old drapery, pinned to the wall, to get me by. When I think about it, it seems like I lived like this for a very long time, but it couldn’t have been more than a month.

When I started on my search for new living room window treatments, I first thought I would have long dramatic drapes, that pooled on the floor like in the home decor mags. But a trip to TJ Maxx (including a purchase and return) showed me this would not be practical. Besides that one of my furnace vents was right in the path of where the luxurious drapery would fall.

Eventually, I headed to JCPenney with coupons in hand. When I learned that buying new window treatments would cost nearly $1,000, even at 65 percent off, I was dumbfounded. Never in my imagination did I think this could be so expensive.

For whatever reason, I decided to try my luck at Lowes. I had already decided there’s no way anything would be cheap enough for me, especially considering my poor luck at the discount kingdom of Penney’s.

Low and behold, with only a 15 percent off sale, I was able to get gorgeous custom shades for less than half the price I was looking at from Penneys!

These blinds went up on Superbowl Sunday 2011. Aren’t they dreamy?

Living room blinds

I just love having the sunlight shine through these. I gaze at them lovingly quite often.

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Clutter anxiety for the generally not-so-neat Nelly

Those first few months after moving in to my place were stressful to me. I didn’t have a schedule or routine to follow. I have never been one who needed that sort of thing, or so I thought. I misplaced my keys, coat, shoes… just leaving my house was pretty stressful until I figured out a rhyme and reason for departure.

Office clutter

Makes me want to scream.

One room I had to allow to remain cluttered was the office.

That’s where all the unpacked boxes with all the nonessentials went. Except I remember spending lots o’ precious time opening and closing all the boxes on these piles over and over looking for things. I would sometimes open and close every single one of them, just to start over again.

My Christmas gifts were not wrapped until late late on Christmas Eve because I couldn’t find the ribbons. Remember, I had moved in mere days before the holiday.

Office clutter

At one time, I really thought I would like to store my shoes in my office. Really?

Of course, the boxes were unpacked slowly but surely. I went to Lowes and bought a fun ladder shelf and bins to organize my office items into.

Office clutter

Starting to come together.

And note the lovely color on the wall. Still blue, but much less chalky and dark. Eventually, I’d like to refinish the floor, perhaps. I do love the real hardwood in here.

Office furniture

So needed.

And I got a desk and office chair for my birthday, which I now sit at to pay bills, and look at Pinterest and Facebook.

Give me some time and I’ll take a couple photos of my office all pulled together now (giggle) and clutter free (HAHAHAHA)…

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Really burned me up

Now for the story of why I have my childhood range in my adulthood home.

This is the range that came with my house. You’ll notice it’s sitting in my driveway.

Old range

Getting ready for Spring Garbage Pickup Week.

One night as I was heating water for tea, the burner started on fire.

As in, I looked at my tea kettle and for an instant thought I was using a gas stove. Reality set in, and I remembered that my stove was in fact electric.

I pulled the kettle from the burner, and began to blow. I blew so hard I became lightheaded.

Old range

Impressively old and crusty.

That’s the last time I used my stove.

I unplugged it and let it set for quite some time.

I don’t remember if it was weeks, or more than a month, but eventually my parents brought me their old range. They were upgrading anyway. They said this incident just helped them do so more quickly.


Empty space for my childhood range. I'll always remember the first time the buzzer went off in my own home.

I left this one out for spring garbage pickup. My boyfriend removed the obviously valuable cord. I think my dad took it for something.

Old range

Glad others know the value in these things.

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Softly ascending and descending

After the monster blog post I already put out here today, I decided a second post published today should be much simpler. Read the rest of this entry »

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