Kitchen Reveal! (Almost done)

before

(Before picture.  Please excuse the mess, I was in the middle of baking about 5 things.  And of course, it was just before I painted the walls, so there is tape everywhere.)

before

So, I have been mentioning, here and there, about how I have been totally revamping our kitchen.  We moved into our house in the middle of May this year, and we have been slowly chipping away at upgrading the house.  It was built in 1910 with lots of great character.  But, it also has horse-hair plaster walls, sloped floors and very out-of-date wall paper, rugs, cabinets, paint colors.  But- I am totally okay with that.  I love the idea of slowly changing things, and making it our own.  My husband and I (mostly my husband), did a total wallpaper overhaul before we moved in.  It took him two weeks straight of removing wallpaper from three rooms, repairing walls, sanding then painting.  He took the day shift, then after the kids were in bed, I would come over and take the night shift of painting and cleaning.  It was exhausting, but oh so worth it.  We got the bigger things done before we moved in so we didn’t have to live around the mess of wallpaper pieces everywhere.

before

before

Since the kitchen is my place, my sanctuary, and where I spend a lot of my time, I was determined to re-do it this summer.  The walls were bright yellow with outdated, wooden cabinets.  Just yuck.  I couldn’t stand the room.  We didn’t want to replace all the cabinets because that gets costly, very quickly.  I was set-on doing it myself to save as much money as possible.  So, I did some serious research on the internet, and talked to some friends, about how to go about painting my cabinets.  I really don’t like, or have the time, to do thorough sanding.  So, after probably two months of research and finding pictures on Pinterest as inspiration, I decided to get to work.  I ended up making my own chalk paint for the cabinets.  There are several different recipes online, but I roughly did 1/3 cup plaster of paris, 1/3 cup water, then 1 cup Behr eggshell paint.  I did three coats on all the cabinets, then I did two coats of poly-acrylic, crystal clear formula that is water based (oil based would make the white cabinets yellow over time).  (If you don’t know about chalk paint, then you need to research it!! You don’t have to do any sanding, or at least very minimal, depending on the surface you are painting.  It goes on so thick and smooth- I loved it!)

after kitchen

(After!!!)

I started by painting the walls.  Even after finishing one wall with white paint, it made a world of difference.  (I used Behr Ultra paint- eggshell, ambiance white- for the record!)  Then, I took the top cabinet doors off.  I placed them on a big table in the shed and got to work.  I didn’t paint the inside of the cabinets, because I didn’t think it was necessary.  Just the inside/outside of the doors and the outside of the cabinets.  I did the top cabinets first, got them all hung back on, then started on the lower ones.  Considering I was still using the kitchen full time, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself in trying to do it all at once.  In the days of waiting for doors to dry (we had about two weeks of fog and damp days while I was trying to do this!), I painted the trim.  I used Behr Ultra, semi-gloss, silver drop.  It is the same color as my dining room, and I totally love it.  It is a very light gray.  And for the blue cabinets, I used Behr Ultra eggshell- admiral blue (keep in mind, I made it into chalk paint).  The upper cabinets, I did the same color as the walls, just as chalk paint.

Before I painted the lower cabinets, my husband removed one cabinet and installed a dishwasher.  What a world of difference that has made!!  After I painted the cabinets, we installed handles.  It dresses them up a lot.  Some other additions we made are, I purchased two lights from Etsy for the kitchen.  One is a beautiful pendent chandelier, made of six vintage Kerr jars that I hung over the kitchen island.  That light, we were able to hook right into the wires that were already there (thanks to previous hideous neon lights), but the light over the sink is a plug in the wall with a switch on the cord.  I love both of the lights, and they were both reasonably priced.  Another favorite addition of mine are the four shelves placed on the wall.  I love how I can access my baking goods so easily.  And we can’t forget the killer island that was so generously given to me!  The island is where I do ALL my prep and mixing.  It is perfect to roll out pastries since the top is granite.  The addition of that beautiful cutting board given to me by the neighbors has made a great space to work as well.  I just love it all!

after kitchen

after kitchen

Overall- I am SO happy about the kitchen.  I just love being in there now.  When I say we are almost done, it’s because I still have several ideas for next year.  I plan on taking down a cabinet and creating open shelves for the dishes we use.  Also, we need to upgrade the thousand year-old fridge (ha!).  I think we may leave it in the cut-out space in the wall, but just frame it in to make it look nicer.  Also, distant future are new countertops and potentially new flooring.  But, for now, we are done!

after kitchen

after kitchen

after kitchen

Sorry that I have written a novel.  I am just so excited about it all, can’t your tell!?  I hope you enjoyed seeing where all my creations come out of.

*All opinions are my own, Behr doesn’t even know who I am, and the guys I purchased the lights from don’t know I am a blogger.

Summer Life and a Visit with Annie and Tara

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Please excuse my prolonged absence.  Things have been a little busy here.  A good busy, but busy.  It’s amazing how you can get caught up in the summer whirlwind of activities. My oldest just completed two weeks of her first, real summer camp.  (The same one I went to as a kid!)  She absolutely loved it, but it was always a rush, twice a day, to drive the 10-15 minutes to get to the bus on time.  But, it was well worth the time!

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We have been soaking up the beautiful weather to the maximum, working in the gardens, playing at the beach, and taking walks.  Summer is good!  And baby has started walking!  She has taken off running and is very happy about it.  Also, going out to dinner with an old childhood friend of mine that moved away when we were still children, was a definite highlight.  We only get to see each other about once a year when she generously makes the long trek to Maine to see old friends.  I always look forward to her visits! It’s hard to believe that school starts in a matter of weeks.  That will be a bittersweet event!

One of the highlights of my summer was meeting and befriending two fellow bloggers that I have been following for several years.  Annie and Tara were both vacationing at the same time on Mt. Desert Island.  We agreed to all meet for dinner in Bar Harbor (sans kids for me) at a cute little restaurant named Havana.  We all spent the evening getting to know one another, chatting, eating and having a good time.  (Caroline and I had an intense conversation about our cats, it was very sweet.)  Since this is a food blog, I have to share what I ate!  I had their empanadas which definitely brought back memories from my time in Nicaragua as a teenager.  And for dessert, I had their affogato.  For some strange reason, that was my first time having it, and it was delish!  Definitely something I will be ordering again in the future!

Two evenings later, Annie and family, generously invited the kids and I to their rental place for a lobster boil dinner.  (And no, I didn’t provide the lobsters, but I did provide goat cheese from the farm down the road from our house and local bread!)  Our kids played together and spent time picking blueberries while we cooked and chatted in the kitchen.  The kids all wanted to participate in cooking the lobsters, of course.  And, they occasionally came in to not-so-sneakily steal a deviled egg.  It was another lovely evening!

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My husband I had invited everyone to go for a little boat ride on his lobster boat, and haul a few traps to show them how lobsters are caught.  It was THE perfect evening.  I mean seriously.  The water was like glass, the sun was setting, which made the colors beautiful, all the kids were so excited and had a blast, and Tara made amazing bars to accompany the boat ride.  We even found some seals!  My husband showed the basics of the trap, the rules about what lobsters you can and cannot catch- pretty much all of the basics.  It was fabulous.  Except when my kids had hit their limit and may or may not have had a total melt down as soon as they got off the boat.  I managed to get them into the car in one piece with only a few bite marks.  Ha! Ah, children…

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To finish the week of their vacation, Tara and her husband invited us all to their rental place for brunch.  They both cooked a wonderful breakfast, which we all enjoyed in the brilliant sunshine on their little deck.  It was wonderful way to finish up the lovely week we all had together.  They were all sweet and incredibly generous to squeeze me into the vacation plans!  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone.

(Please excuse the fact that all my pictures were taken with my iPhone because I was foolish and forgot my camera… Who does that!?)

Your favorites of 2014

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2014 has been a great food year! So many great things have come out of my kitchen. And many not so great things too. If only you could see what happens in my kitchen. Here is a collection of your favorites from this year. Here’s to a wonderful year. And I hope that 2015 can be just as great!

Banana Ice Cream with Caramelized White Chocolate

Banana Ice Cream with Caramelized White Chocolate

Who would have thought that banana ice cream would be the most popular flavor. That is, until you try it yourself. There is no going back.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I love vanilla cupcakes. They are my absolute favorite. Especially when they are topped with raspberry frosting- my favorite type of berry! What’s not to love?

Baked Brie with Blueberry Compote

Baked Brie with Blueberry Compote

The whole idea of baked brie is new to me. Oh.My.Word. I am never going back. I can’t wait to do more cheese nights with my sis to experiment with other baked brie recipes!

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

Creamy, dreamy peanut butter pie. In an oreo crust? I might need to make this again. Right now.

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Pizza with White Sauce

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Pizza with White Sauce

My new found love of white sauce. This is on my upcoming pizza night with the kids, and I can’t wait!

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Creamy Pesto Pasta

I definitely went a little crazy with pesto this year. I can’t help it, pesto is so addicting! And it’s wonderfully versatile. It can make any boring pasta dish exciting!

Salted Chocolate Pots with Caramel Sauce

Salted Chocolate Pots with Caramel Sauce

One of the greatest, easiest desserts ever. And it has my beloved caramel sauce in it. I’ll take two please!

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

These are still my go-to pork chop recipe. I always look forward to these when they are on the menu. Crunchy coating with tender meat. Perfection.

refrigerator dill pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

These babies converted me from a pickle hater to a pickle lover. They still have a soft spot in my heart. I cannot wait to start the garden next year to make more!