noun: a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
synonyms: noun: fragment - piece - bit - shred

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paper, Please...

After painting the walls & cabinet
Ewww, no match at all!  Teal is out!
And notice the pinkish tinge to the
countertop?  Yuck!
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! I sincerely hope all of you have had a good enough week to make up for mine. Here it is, the middle of June, and we're still raining. Not only raining, but still cold and windy most of the time. This last week we've had several thunder and lightning storms accompanied by that frog drowning rain.   You know, that rain that if a drop hits you you're going to get a concussion?  Seriously? This is totally impinging on my painting the kitchen project! Grrrrrr.  Come on weather, straighten out your act here!  I've got things to do!

Crumpled paper bag pieces
and mod podge cuz I didn't
have glue.
One of those things would have been grocery shopping, but I did it last week.  Thank goodness! On our one good day! Trust me folks, that was a fluke. Pure and simple - it was a fluke.  I was very thankful. Hauling out groceries in the pouring rain is not my idea of fun and I was a very happy camper that I didn't have to wring out all my groceries.  That just might have sent me over the edge.  Although hubby thinks I've already gone over it, he's wrong.  I'm teetering, but I'm still up there.

Just finished putting it on and it's
still wet.
What does this have to do with today's blog, you ask?  EVERYTHING.  And I do mean everything.  The main reason I grocery shop is not to get food.  Oh heck no!!  The reason I grocery shop is to get those nice heavy paper bags that I sack my groceries in.  What would I want food for?  I've got things to do, remember?  And that means working on stuff, not cooking dinner or letting anyone else eat.  Really, people, what do I look like here, a wife or something?  Pffbbbt.  No, I've got my eyes on those brown paper bags that are heavy enough to hold a baby in (Ok, possibly a baby doll, but hey, that's a baby, right?) and lug it around.  Yes, I have plans!

Done with the first part and now
ready to dry overnight.
I've been wanting to try the brown paper bag counter top method for a while now, after seeing so many beautiful pictures on other blogs.  The first one that I saw and to this day is still my very favorite, was done by Susan from Compulsive in Texas. You can see her post right here.  I am not kidding in the least when I tell you that she did the most awesome job I've seen. I totally love it! It's beautifully done and looks so incredibly warm and cozy. I took my direction from her post and did the same process she did. Minus the stain. I wanted it; Mr. Scrappin did not, so we went without. I figured I could compromise on this since he does have to live with it too. And although I went without any kind of stain, I think it will work perfectly for out kitchen.

Polycrylic goes on milky but dries
clear.  Don't worry!
As you know, we've been painting (or trying to) the kitchen and its cabinets to spruce things up a bit.  It's coming along, slowly because of weather, but it is coming along. And I love it so far.  Problem was that those old counter tops just DO NOT match at all. Nor does the tile back splash and counter trim.  Hubby bought this place brand new and back then (in the early 90s) teal was in.  Really in.  I remember doing a quilt for my friend for her wedding in the teal and peach colors and it was incredibly beautiful.  I can even remember having a little bit of those colors in my own house back then.  Fast forward to now...and...NO.  Uh uh, no way Jose', ain't happenin' Lucy!  It has to go.  

This is the polycrylic I used.
Off came the back splash and counter trim (I did break one piece of tile in the corner, darn it) so I could start my project.  I have to admit I was a little nervous as I started this.  After all, covering something up, even if it is ugly, is sort of intimidating.  This is my kitchen, that everyone who comes here will see, and not just a little thing that I can hide if it's ugly. What if it doesn't turn out like I planned. What happens if I don't like it?  I really don't want to have to pull it all back up.  That would totally be a pain in my bazoo.  I took a deep breath; actually, several deep breaths and went to work.  

All finished!  I love it!
After I cleaned the counter top thoroughly, I ripped some paper bags while it was drying. That was the fun part.  Ripping is like cleansing the soul.  There should be a song about it.  I did all kinds of random sizes just because. Then I crumpled the paper pieces up to get some texture from them.  That was hard for me since I don't have a lot of strength in my right arm, but I did it.  Then I dipped the paper in some mod podge and smeared it all over to make sure I got every part of the paper.  You don't want to miss any spots so it stays down! Now, normally, I would have followed Susan's instructions to use Elmer's Glue...1 part glue to 2 parts water, but I didn't have any. And since it was raining and I was still in my pajamas (It was Saturday - don't judge!), I wasn't going anywhere to get any. I will do that on the way home from work Monday. So, for this tiny little counter, mod podge it was. I won't lie, it's messy. But I can do messy since I practically invented it. Hahahaha

Another view of the finished product!
This did take me a bit of time, but it was a relaxing kind of thing.  No hurrying at all. Once I got the counter top all covered, it was time to leave it alone.  Just...leave it alone.  In Susan's instructions, it says to leave it to dry overnight, which is what I did.  It's amazing how it looks when it dries. And it feels good too.  :)  Bonus!  So, this morning I got up and did my first coat of poly acrylic.  I wanted several coats since this is a counter top that is actually used (I know, who'd a thunk it?  Using a counter top in the kitchen?  No way!) quite frequently.  I figure several coats will give me the protection I need. Now, the poly acrylic that I used says that after 24 hours you can use it like you normally would, but I think I'm going to wait a couple of days before I put things back on the counter top.  Just because.  Since there are seven layers of poly, I don't think it will hurt to take extra drying precaution.  I will be doing the back splash to match the counter...just waiting for hubby to bring me the wood.

Aaannnndddd...the other side.
During this process, I sent pictures via text to my sons and daughter.  One son asked if I realized that knives are sharper than paper. Smart aleck!  I have no idea where he gets that attitude from!  Today when I sent him a new picture, he said it looked cool.  He might actually be serious but I can't tell yet.  It could also be that he's on the line with Mr. Scrappin trying to make arrangements for me to have a special stay somewhere.  Only time will tell.

All I know is that this is a fairly easy process, although a little time consuming, but I love the end result.  My kitchen is starting to look warm and comfy, and like someone actually lives here and cares about it.  For a while, at least until I get all the counter tops done, I'll be saying "paper please" at the grocery store.  :)  Who knows, I might even find other things to do with them.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Like the Spice Life, Baby...

Good morning, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  And welcome to June, too.  Do you see the exclamation points after that sentence?  No?  Well, it's because here we are in JUNE, with our weather still being cold.  Makes me very, very cranky. Seriously, WHEN will it start to warm up?  This California-born girl is not handling this very well.  Seems like every year it takes longer and longer for it to get warm and then it's fall and it's not warm anymore.  I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! Someone send me some warm vibes, would ya?  Please?

Mr. Weatherman, please send me some warmth.  I NEEEEEED it!  I truly do!  Alas, the dang weather person is not giving me my wish, so I have to do it myself.  What is wrong with this world today?  No one likes to be giving anymore.  Sheesh.  What did I ever do to the weather people to get this kind of treatment? Well, I still ramble...but, since I have to spice things up myself, this is what I came up with.  Spice jars.  I know, I know, not exactly the spice of life or the greatest  spice up in the weather, but it's something!  And heaven knows...I need something!  LOL

A lot of you can probably relate to the dilemma of opening that cabinet door to get out your oregano, basil, whatever spice or herb you're looking for, just to have to sift through 50 million of the things to find the one you want.  What - you don't have 50 million of them?  Where have you been?  Are you a pod people or something?  Seriously, WHO doesn't have a bazillion spices in their cupboard?  Sorry, I was feeling a little alone and overwhelmed there.  Anyhoo, as I was saying...the sifting, the moving, the "ah crud, I don't even have any of that" and the "why do I have four bottles of this" quandary.  It's ridiculous.

One would think that we could keep our spices neatly stored where they belong, but noooooooo.  No matter what I do, those little buggers come out at night and move themselves around in all kinds of ridiculous places and then I can't find the one I want when I need it.  Now, I've always been an organized cupboard gal, but I just don't know how the spices get so messed up.  It can't be because I continually use them so a different one makes it to the front every time. And it certainly can't be because my cupboards are messy.  They most certainly are not!  Ask anyone that knows me, they'll tell you I'm very OCD about my cupboards. Sad, but very, very true.

Last week as I was once again rooting through those darn things, looking for something I SWEAR I bought, I couldn't find it.  Turns out I bought something I already had and not what I actually needed.  Great.  Now I'm a little miffed.  Spices are not cheap.  They are VERY not cheap.  I've actually thought of selling blood or plasma or one of my grown children just so I could have money for a bottle of spice when I needed it.  Hey, I'm getting desperate!  I'm sure that's why Erma Bombeck (God rest her soul, she was a wonderful woman) said, "Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go."

Anyhoo, as I was sitting in my craft room on the computer, I was looking around me and happened to eye these cute little jars I bought a couple of years ago for an "anything goes" project for a stamp group that I belonged to.  I had used those jars to hold M&Ms (one still has some in it).  Hmmm, I have two left (including the one with the candy, which means I may be forced to eat it).  Of course, I immediately wondered if they would be a good size to use to make myself some matching spice jars.  They are totally cute, small enough to not cause a scene, and SHOULD hold enough of something to be useful.  After all, they hold several M&Ms just fine, and we all know that spices are not as big and bulky as M&Ms.  Right?  We ALL know that, right?  HUMOR ME, HERE!

My next thought was how to label them.  I am a huge fan of the chalkboard look, and my first thought was to chalkboard paint the fronts and write on them.  But then I saw something with glass etching and went "ooohhh, ahhhhh" to myself.  Shoot.  What's a girl to do?  So, like any normal person, I took a jar to work with me and asked Shelly and Leslie for their opinions.  It's very important to get feedback.  Well, they were NO help.  Leslie said, "definitely chalkboard paint."  Shelly said, "but the glass etching...oooh."  Thanks girls..thanks a lot. Where do I find these people?  That dilemma went on for several days.  I just couldn't figure it out.  Love the chalkboard, but glass etching is so pretty.  Enter Michaels.  Shelly and I just happened to end up there (not sure how that happened) and we looked at the glass etching stuff.  Um...expensive!  For what you get, the glass etching cream is expensive.  This stuff better be good and go a long way at that price.  Then we looked at the letter templates.  Glass etching wasn't going to work for this project.  The letters were not small enough to fit a whole name on the front of the jars.  Bummer. But I will still use my little tiny bottle of etching cream for something else.  I bought a small (3 oz) bottle for $12.99.  I have an idea.  hee hee hee

That same evening, I had to go to Safeway, which just happens to be right by Staples. Well, a few stores down, but hey, who's talking distance?  Of course, Staples is one of my favorite places, so in I went.  Leslie had told me about some labels that were chalkboard labels so I thought maybe that would be less messy.  Nope. They're too big.  Curse you, too big chalkboard labels!  But then, I saw some different labels.  And they're very cute.  In the same section.  By Martha Stewart (and no, I am not a groupie, but Martha does have some great stuff sometimes). Little kraft labels, in cute little shapes.  Oh goodness, THIS WAS IT! Angels were singing and bells were ringing (technically it was the fire truck siren as it went by, but hey, ringing is ringing)!  These would be perfect!

I grabbed me a package (there are 36 labels in one package) and headed home. Yay, I was one happy girl!  Hubby was on a field trip so it was just me and I promptly went to the computer to play with my labels.  How fun!  I looked up some little tidbits about each spice and used them for my labels.  The font I chose was very plain; I wanted it to just attract the eye, not overwhelm it or make you squint because you can't actually read it.  THAT was fun!  Putting the labels together was easy once I figured out how I wanted them to look.  Ooh, one sheet done; time to print!  Uh, printing was A NIGHTMARE.  No matter how much or how many times I adjusted my printer, it was almost impossible to have the labels print out properly. I ended up with one good sheet, which was my last sheet.  The others were ruined. The labels would not align as they looked on the template no matter what.  I was totally disgusted.  I was even using the template program that went with Martha's labels, which was user friendly as far as making the labels, but didn't let me save them like I wanted.

Well, with that last sheet finally printed out correctly, I had no labels left.  But I wrote down the settings I had used and got more labels.  I knew they would print right now that I'd fixed it.  NOPE!  I didn't even get one good sheet out of the next pack.  As much as  I love the look of these labels, I will not be using them again.  At least not to print on.  It's frustrating.  At $3.99 per pack, I have one good sheet out of $8 worth of labels.  I'm not very happy about that.  

The labels that did work out are adorable.  I love how they look, and I love that they fit perfectly on my jars and they look like something you could get in a store. Love, love, love the look.  However, I will be hunting down some self-adhesive kraft paper in a lighter weight in order to finish the labels off, and I will be using my nestabilities or my sizzix to cut the labels out.  Sorry Martha, your label template issues are not for me; I don't feel like wasting all my hard-earned money.  Nosiree jimbob, that will not be happening.  As a side note, once I attached the labels to the jars, I did mod podge the allspice one, just to see if the extra protection was worth it to me. It wasn't.  It smeared my ink, even though it had been dry a while, and the coating of mod podge made the labels look almost dirty.  Now, I used an ink jet printer, so I'm sure that's why the ink smeared.  It doesn't dry like it does with a laser printer.  If you're using a laser printer, you should be just fine.

Anyhoo, labels are on, jars are cute, and I'm ready to hang them.  Oh, did I say hang them? Well, yes I did.  I am actually going to hang these on the wall instead of putting them in the cabinet.  I think they're fun to look at, fun to read (the little tidbits) and I want easy access. So...I will be getting one or two of those magnetic tool bars (like the ones in a mechanic shop) to hang them from.  Hubby will attach the tool bars, I will adhere the magnets to the backs of the jars and voila!  Magnetic spice rack all my own.  Even with the frustration of the labels, I really like the finished product so I am very happy with them.

Good thing...I have 50 million spices to store and, as they say, "variety is the spice of life."  

Snap lid jars (3 inch) from Darice; Kraft labels from Martha Stewart; Font is Ariel.