Kitchen Cabinets (Part 2)

January 29, 2011

So I have removed all the upper cabinets’ doors, and removed the panels out of them.  Well, I have now painted the upper cabinets.  There was no real science to it.  I prepped the cabinets by cleaning and sanding them.  Then I primed and painted two coats, sanding between coats with a fine (220 grit) sandpaper.  The inside of the cabinets I painted white because I was afraid that the frosted glass would show differently if some were darker on the inside.  I painted two coats of white but that didn’t quite cover it completely.  I’m not too worried though because it IS the inside of the cabinet.  If I decide to get anal about it later I can always add another coat.  Anyway, they turned out nice! I am happy with it.


Kitchen Cabinets (Part 1)

January 25, 2011

This is the first installment of many for my Green without a lot of Green Kitchen Makeover.  I am currently in the process of renovating my kitchen.  I appreciate the “Going Green” trend and I will try to incorporate as much green into my kitchen as possible.

First of all here is a couple of before pictures of my kitchen.

Don’t mind the mess.  So far my plans include refinishing the kitchen cabinets.  Now I figured that being green involved salvaging these hideous cabinets and turning them into something good.  For some time, I have thought about painting them.  I wanted to paint them black but my wife had other plans.  So we compromised…she picked brown.  It is fine with me, because I am cutting out the center panel and replacing it with frosted glass.  I prefer opalescent because my dishes are a bit of an eye sore and I think that the glass will serve a dual purpose: very decorative yet covers the ugly dishes. 

Furthermore, I added a few cabinets.  To the left of the oven I added an 18 inch upper and lower cabinets, as well as a cabinet over the refrigerator.  The over-the-fridge cabinet and upper, 18-inch cabinet were donated to me by a friend of mine because he completely renovated his kitchen.  Instead of going to a landfill they are going to my kitchen.  As for the lower, 18-inch cabinet, I tried to salvage one from a local thrift store and didn’t have any luck. It was just too nasty.  The wood was beginning to rot on the bottom.  So I was forced to purchase one at Menards.  It was on sale for only $55, but it was totally worth it.

Last weekend I removed the center panels from the doors on the upper cabinets (the lower cabinet doors will just be painted).  Basically I used a 1/4-inch router bit and a router to removed the inside lip of the groove that the panel rested in.  Once it was removed the panel just popped right out. 

I first made a rest that the router ran along (see below).  I then clamped the door to the worktable to ensure that it didn’t move. 

I finished all four sides.  There were a few staples that held the panel in place, but other than that it just popped right out. 

I felt this was a very easy project.  I tried to be a lackidaisical and quick as possible, and I didn’t screw anything up.  One thing I did learn was to let the router cut the wood for you.  I tried to rush it a few times and it nearly split the wood frame in places where it shouldn’t be split.  I nearly ruined the door.  Just take your time and you’ll do just fine. I had 8 doors and it only took me about and hour and a half to get all the panels out.

Next on the agenda for the cabinets is to prep them for paint.  To be continued…

January 21, 2011

I have recently joined the ranks of a website called Ravelry.  It came as a result of me trying to knit a pair of gloves.  I was having major problems with the knitting technique.  After all I am new to this art.  So I solicited the help of my friend Brandy who is a knitting guru.  She is amazing! Anyway, I shouted out to her on Facebook and she replied literally within 5 minutes with links to videos and other website.  She later directed me to Ravelry where I became a member. 

Now.  With all that said, I joined Ravelry which a website dedicated to crochet and knit art.  There are tons of patterns, forums and tips for you to hone your skills in the craft of yarn.  I am also a member of lion brand’s  website which is great for learning the arts with helpful videos and articles.  The only problem I have with lion brand is that their patterns are generaly lame and old fashioned.  Ravelry offers patterns that are up-to-date and more modern. 

Also, the interface is very user friendly.  It is easy to navigate.  You can easily find the pattern that you looking for in no time.  Unlike other websites where you have to read endless numbers of links before you find the one you’re looking for, this site allows you to narrow your search with criteria such as garment type, knit or crochet, whether the pattern is free or you have to pay for it and whether the pattern has photo with it.  Finally the best part of the site is it is completely free. 

So get off your tails and sign up for Ravelry!

Kitchen Update

January 17, 2011

I am planning on redesigning my kitchen.  I enjoy the thought of a “green” kitchen and I am trying to do it on a budget.  With a one-year-old and a limited income, I definitely have to consider using my money to the max.  I plan to do all the work myself.  I am researching every project from the internet to books from the library, and I feel that this will cut costs big time.  I don’t have a set budget because I will simply work as I can afford supplies.  Also, my father has a large shop that is full of useful tools and gadgets that are at my disposal.  The only thing is I probably have to sit and visit a while if I come over and stake claim on half his tools.  No problem!

Some of the biggest changes are going to be categorized into four major projects.  The first project is the cabinets.  Currently I have ugly oak cabinets that are builder grade.  Nothing fancy.  First I am going to add a few cabinets between the stove and refrigerator.  Also, I have decided to paint them a chocolate brown color.  I am planning to remove the center panel out of the upper cabinets and replacing it with frosted glass.  Actually I thought about inserting plexiglass.  Plexiglass is light durable and easy to cut on a table saw.  If you sand the plexiglass with a very course sand paper and an electric sander you get a simulated frosted glass look.  Lastly, I will replace the hardware with brushed nickel pulls.  These cabinets will definitely give a modern touch to my kitchen. 

The second major project is the countertops.  I have always wanted concrete countertops.  I think they are so original and they look so sleek.  Plus, they are so customizable.  I will experiment on the 18-inch cabinet between the fridge and stove, then I can hopefully move up to the rest of the countertop.  This idea is still in its infancy.  I know that this is a feat in itself so if it doesn’t work then I will simply have to fork out the dough for a new countertop.  It is worth a try though.  Plus, the one that we have now simply will not work…period.

The third major project would be the wood floors.  I would like to put cork floors in but I think that would be a little too expensive.  I actually found on Craigslist and man was giving away 500 sq. ft. of wood flooring that came of the old Indiana Pacers gym when they were still in the ABA.  How cool would that have been! I didn’t get to them in time.  Someone else gobbled then up.  I want to put wood flooring in the adjacent living room and will probably just continue that to the kitchen.  Until then, I will continue to look for Indiana Pacers ABA gym flooring for free!

The last major project will be the back splash.  I actually have been considering making my own glass tile out of green glass beer bottles.  Basically, I would remove the top and bottom of the bottle, leaving just a glass cylinder.  Then I would cut it vertically into fourths.  And, Viola! 1″x3″ tiles.  I figured that I would need 12 six packs of Dos Equis to do this project, which is well worth it to me.

Finally, I plan to replace light fixtures, paint the walls a taupe color, and install a lighted pot rack over the kitchen sink.  I think this is going to make the kitchen look great and I hope that you join me in my journey.  Also, if you have any comments, please let me know.  I would love to hear what you have to say.

New Patches

January 10, 2011

So I thought that I would stop the patch-making business because they are so tedious.  Plus, my fingers hurt after ever session of embroidery.  However, I made two more patches.  I made a Honda patch for my brother for Christmas this past year and I just had to have one myself.  In 2007, I bought a brand new 2006 Honda VTX1300C.  I immediately called him and told him.  Then about two hours later I was heading down the road and I saw him on a motorcycle.  Turns out he had gone to the same dealer and bought a 2006 Honda VTX1300C in charcola grey.  Mine was burnt orange.  So, we have that kind of bond.  We both love motorcycles and riding them.  Fast forward to 2011, he still has his bike.  He has put several new updates to it: exhaust, air intake, mirrors, saddle bags, etc.  I sold mine in 2009 so that I could pay for my house that I live in now.  Long story short, I love Honda motorcycles, and I wanted my own patch.  I also made another patch with a duck on it, and it says “the Flying V’s.”  This signifies my last name which starts with a “V” and ducks fly in a V pattern.  You might remember the old Disney Movie D2: The Might Ducks.  Anyway, these are my patches and I am planning on making a few more.  I was thinking along the lines of a duck riding a motorcycle.  We’ll see.

“I Survived An Indiana Earthquake” T-shirt

December 31, 2010

On December 30, 2010, Central Indiana felt an earthquake that registered 3.8 on the Richter scale.  I posted on Facebook “Be sure to get your ‘I Survived An Indiana Earthquake’ t-shirts while they last.”  I got a lot of comments on it, so that evening I decided to actually make this t-shirt.  This t-shirt however was one of my biggest blunders.  Not only did the t-shirt not turn out like I thought it would but I got the Richter scale wrong.  On the day of the quake, the news reported 4.2.  My brother even warned me to check the news to get an update, but I told him to shove it.  I went with 4.2 and it turned out to be a 3.8.  Sigh.  Anyway, here is the creation.  It simply a red, long-sleeved t-shirt, with some writing from a black sharpie and a Clorox bleach pen.  I let the bleach pen soak for about three minutes and I should have let it soak for probably 15 minutes.  It just didn’t fade like I wanted it to.

Coffee Cup Cozy

December 16, 2010

Here is a little insulator for coffee cups I made last year.  It looks great!  I think that a small button on the front would just set it off.  I simply crocheted it out of left over Red Heart yarn.  I would post the pattern to this but this cozy is a little impractical.  I thought that if I put a collar of the “shirt” it would protect my hand from any spillage I may have.  The only problem is that the cozy itself is so fat that it is actually really hard to hold comfortably.  So I never saved wrote down the pattern.  I can tell you though that the ribs come from a simple combination of front-post double crochet and back-post double crochet stitches.  If you would like me to post a pattern I can probably come up with something for you.  Just send me a message.  Enjoy!

Embroidered Honda Patch

December 15, 2010

Alright!  So I finally finished my patch that I was making.  I decided to try embroidery because my brother had showed me a couple of patches that he had made.  I chose to make a Honda patch because I used to own a 2006 burnt orange Honda VTX 1300 C.  It was an awesome bike and I miss it.  Fortunately my younger brother bought the exact same bike only in charcoal grey.  So, I thought to myself that if I didn’t want the patch I could give it to him if it turned out okay.  I think he would appreciate it.  Anyway, I chose the Honda motorcycle emblem.  This patch was embroidered with brown floss onto a canvas background.  I actually used one of those environmentally-friendly bags you buy at the grocery store when you don’t want to use the paper or plastic bags.  Here we go!

First I traced the image onto the canvas.  I actually just pulled the picture up on my computer screen and traced it.  The canvas was transparent enough to do so.

Next I just simply used a Satin stich to basically fill in all the areas that I wanted to be the color brown.  I tried to make the lines as straight as possible but I found it really hard to do.  Plus I also found that you can’t fret over every little stitch; otherwise, you will be working forever to finish.  Unless you are an over-perfectionist, you don’t need to worry about it because it will turn out pretty good and everyone you show will be impressed.

I was going to finish there but I thought it definitely needed more.


At this point it looked really good as is…if it were just embroidery work, but I wanted a patch.  So, I added a border.  You can’t see it in the picture (below) but I put a piece of red cloth behind the patch while I embroidered the border so it had a nice backing.  Lastly, I simply cut the patch out.  I intentionally left about 1/8″ around.  I felt it made the patch look a little more rugged, lending itself to the bad embroidery.  I like the way it turned out.

Well, there you have it.  I hope you give this a try.  I think anyone can do it as long as you have patience (this piece took about 10 hours to make).  I am sure that you can get faster the more you do it.  Nonetheless, your friends will be very impressed when you show them the finished product.  I would like to experiment with doing more colorful work in the future and I will surely post it. 

If you would like to read more about embroidering patches, follow this link INSTRUCTABLES.  I have this site bookmarked.  I draw a lot of inspiration as well as help tips on how to do just about anything.  Thank you for reading.

Graham Cracker Houses

December 11, 2010

Today, my wife and I decorated a couple of graham cracker houses.  They are so much fun and you don’t have to go to all the hassle of making the gingerbread either.  We had taken a small group to a cooking class for her work and we got to participate.  So here you go they don’t need much explanation.

Chair Reupholstery

December 7, 2010

I have here a set of chairs that I reupholtered.  They were pretty drab and I don’t have the money to get new ones.  I was in my local Hobby Lobby and found a yard of fabric in the remnants bin for about $1.49.  Knowing what I know now, I would have gotten a piece that was little bigger because I was cutting it pretty close.  You need about an inch of fabric left so that you can staple it down without it unravelling.  On the flip side they seem to be holding up just fine.  It’s pretty easy to do.  Here’s how I did it.


  • About 1.25 yards of fabric
  • Staples


  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver

Est. work time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1: Lay out your fabric and cut out a basic pattern. 

First thing you want to remove the old cushion.  On this particular chair, the cushion is simply held on by four screws from underneath.  Next, You may remove the old covering here and use it as a template for the fabric, but since this is such a basic pattern I just laid the cushion down on top of the pattern and cut a basic shape out. This is also where I wish I had a little extra fabric.  It was really close.  I only had one yard and I had to put the covering on pretty tight to get it to fit right. 

Step 2: Start applying the fabric.

You want to start stapling the centers and work your way to the corners..  Leave about 2 inches from the corners.  Pull the fabric tight leaving no slack.  Also remember that you don’t want to pull it too tight or you will end up with waves in the top of the cushion.  Plus you don’t want it pop loose when you sit on it the first time. 


Now you are ready to staple the corners.  If there is a tricky part to this project this is it.  You want to fold the corners in an accordian fashion so that the top looks seamless.  I folded it in three parts.  I applied a staple for every fold just to make sure it stayed in place.  Don’t worry though.  This part isn’t rocket science.  You will be able to figure it out when you get there.  Finally, I used a small hammer to nail those pesky staples that didn’t go all the way in.  Also, if you have a lot of excess fabric then use your scissors to trim that part down.

And this is how the top should look when you are done.

 Step 3: Reattach the cushions and enjoy your work!

Simply reattach the cushions the same way you took them off.  Four screws later and I am finished!


This was an easy little project.  For under $2.00, I gave my kitchen chairs a little more flair, and hopefully will get a little more life out of them in the process.