Category Archives: Kitchen

Fall and Thanksgiving Tablescape 2014

This is my Fall/Thanksgiving tablescape this year. I actually had this same table setting out for September (changed to my Halloween one) and now it’s back so I’m posting about it.

Fall Tablescape 2014
Fall Tablescape 2014

So there is my table. Let’s talk about the details! The place mats, bronze napkin rings and matching orange and tan napkins I already had from previous years and all were purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond.The leaf place card holders were FREE! I went to a shower and they were the party favors on the table and thankfully 4 of the ladies left theirs behind so I took them home. I don’t have a full set of 6 though unfortunately but I just leave the chair by the doorwall without one and no one seems to notice. Some of them have a bit of green, yellow or orange. Here is a close up of one of them.

Place Card Holders
Place Card Holders

I know, I know. I need to actually put name cards in them lol. I’ll get around to it. One day. Eventually. Maybe….

So what’s NEW this year?? DSC_0906

These GORGEOUS real carved wood charger plates are new. They were purchased at Pier One this season and they were NOT cheap. However, I’ve been wanting some chargers like this for awhile now and these were AH-MAAZ-ING so I gave in. To save myself some money I only bought 4 of them and opted to do the captains chairs a little different. I also think it’s just fun to change up the captain’s chairs in any case, regardless of cost. The embossed, distressed cream plates are also from Pier One this season. I think they were $9 or $10 a piece and they’re actually on sale now. Figures. I’ve been scouring home discount stores for awhile looking for a cream, textured plate and haven’t found anything so I bought them here. I bought 6 dinner plates (rather than a whole set). I keep wondering if I should go back and get the salad plates though….Decisions, Decisions.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the green wine glasses were a wedding present (from Bed Bath & Beyond) off my registry.

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These woven grass place mats I bought awhile ago from Marshall’s Home Goods and I needed something here so I thought these would do. You may l notice I doubled up on my napkins this year. I bought 6 of these mustard yellow printed leaf patterned napkins from Pier One on clearance for a dollar a piece. NICE! I’ve actually never purchased anything at Pier One before this fall’s little shopping bender. I didn’t realize they had such good clearance items. I bought some other items on clearance as well that you may see at some point and I think I will have to go in there more often. DSC_0903

The centerpiece I already had and I made it with flowers from Michael’s, moss, string and the wood box I bought at TJ Maxx.

Then I have this on my kitchen counter. I love my owl cookie jar 🙂DSC_0910

What stores have a sneaky clearance section that you love to find goodies at??

Some New Accessories…Home Goods

So, a few weeks ago I was headed out to buy my niece (best friend’s baby girl) a present for her first birthday party. I talked to my friend, Lisa who just happened to be in my neck of the woods going to Marshall’s Home Goods. Lisa lives about 45 minutes from me so Home Goods is about the halfway point for us and honestly I never really need an excuse to go to my fav store. So–I ditched my mall plans for Home Goods and walked out of there spending $80. Yep, that’s right. I spent $80 at a store I wasn’t even planning on going to and really had no good reason to be in there. Eh, such is life.

But while I was in there I actually ended up getting a few things I’ve been wanting for awhile. Number one is a cork board for my “command center.” I’ve decided that my entry off the garage is going to be a spot that I can collect my coupons, papers, invitations, mail, keys, calendar etc. This way I can keep my kitchen counters clear of all that garbage and have it all corralled in one place. I think this was about $17 and the black frame matched my other black accessories I already have in that space.

New Cork Board from Home Goods
New Cork Board from Home Goods
I’ve been debating on whether or not I’m going to keep that mail holder. I rarely put mail inside of there BUT I LOVE the little hooks at the bottom and use them to hold my keys. I may make some adjustments…we shall see.

Eventually, I may put some type of a shelf under the cork board to throw my purse or bags from small shopping trips on. Or I have also considered putting hooks under there for little people coats/backpacks (when we have kids). Do you have any ideas?? I’m all ears!

My next purchase was this cute little dish.

Ceramic Dish from Home Goods with Adorable Bird
Ceramic Dish from Home Goods with Adorable Bird
I found this little guy in the dish section of the store and I don’t really know what its intended purpose is. Maybe you put dish sponges on it, or maybe you could use it in the bathroom or on a dresser to put your jewelry on. I bought it because I’ve been looking for a cute resting station for my tea bags. I’m a SERIOUS tea drinker with at least a 10 glass a day habit lol. Up until now I’ve been using a 6 inch plate to rest my tea bags on because I didn’t want to just buy something just for the sake of having it. I wanted something I wouldn’t mind having sitting out on my counter 24/7. Plus birds remind me of my grandmother which gives me a little bit of happiness when I pass by. To make it better I think it was only $5. Not bad.

My next purchase was even more practical. I’m 5’2, #shortpeopleproblems. I frequently have to get to the top shelves of my spice cabinet and I can’t reach. So when I need to get into it I have to walk over to the kitchen table on the other side of the kitchen, drag a heavy wooden chair over to the stove, get what I need, leave the chair by the stove so when I’m done I can put the spices back and then drag the chair back over to the table. ANNOYING!!! So, I bought this!

Folding Step Stool, $10 from Home Goods
Folding Step Stool, $10 from Home Goods
It’s only $10 and folds up really thin. I’m able to store it right under my kitchen sink so I can quickly access it next to my spice cabinet.
My folding stool Stored under the Kitchen Sink
My folding stool Stored under the Kitchen Sink

If you’re wondering why I have a soda box under the kitchen sink I keep it there so that when a can is empty and cleaned I can stick it back in the box to return to the store. I don’t like putting cans in bags because if there’s any residue you end up sticking your hand in a disgusting, sticky garbage bag (yuck). I guess I should have mentioned I’m in Michigan so we get 10 cents per can for returning them to the store.

Anyway, I love my cute little FUNCTIONAL accessories. What little things have you bought that have made a big difference in your life?

New Kitchen Paint Color: Oyster Shell

I recently painted my kitchen. In case you don’t remember here is a picture of some of the different paint colors I was deciding between. In person each of these colors are very similar to one another and unless you were in really good lighting deciphering the difference between them might be difficult. Each was only slightly different, more green, more blue, more red etc. I was going for a color that would be relatively neutral as I like to change my decor and table settings often. However, I didn’t want Plain Jane tan. I also wanted to pick a color with a depth of saturation; one that was pretty dark as far as paint colors go because I think dark paint colors add drama to a room.

I picked the top swatch of paint for the kitchen.
I picked the top swatch of paint for the kitchen.

I picked the color on the top: Oyster Shell. It’s a funny color. Sort of green, sort of taupe and sort of gray. Depending on the time of day and lighting it looks a little different. Here is what my kitchen looked like BEFORE. This is the yellowish tan the builder painted throughout our entire house (that we didn’t pick). I’ve lived with it until now because I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do.

Spring/Summer Kitchen Decor 2014
Spring/Summer Kitchen Decor 2014
Wall Art from Home Goods
Wall Art from Home Goods
Hobby Lobby Candlesticks
Hobby Lobby Candlesticks
Hobby Lobby Decor
Hobby Lobby Decor

And here’s what the kitchen looks like newly painted. I carried the paint into the entry off of the garage which is connected to my kitchen.

New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
New Paint Color: Oyster Shell
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I had alot of questions from people about how I was going to stop the kitchen paint color without continuing it into the foyer. My foyer and my kitchen sort of share some walls. The most logical thing for me to do was to stop when the wall ended.

How I Stopped the Paint from Continuing into the Foyer
How I Stopped the Paint from Continuing into the Foyer
So in this picture I painted the wall along the ceiling on the side facing the kitchen and the underside of it. The wall with my collage frames in the foyer is the original builder paint which I didn’t change. The wall that my kitchen pantry is on is painted. This picture also helps demonstrate how much DARKER the new paint is from the original color. I am absolutely in LOVE with it. It looks so much richer in there. It’s hard to tell in the pictures because the flash makes it look a little lighter than it looks in person.

This wall is mostly in my kitchen so this wall did get painted the kitchen color. DSC_0854

What do you think?? Not to shabby! I actually like the color so much I almost wish I painted the living room the same color lol.

A New Paint Color for the Kitchen…Decisions…Decisions…

I’ve been mulling over paint swatches for my kitchen for quite some time and after my living room paint debacle I’ve decided swatches aren’t good enough lol. Since I only plan to paint my kitchen ONCE and I intend to like the color the first time, I invested in some sample sizes of a few of the paints I was considering.

Testing Paint Colors for my Kitchen
Testing Paint Colors for my Kitchen

The color on the very bottom was a sample I already had on hand from testing my living room (after I hated the color the first time). I painted that on the wall first wondering if I would like that color and then not have to buy any more samples. I think it was called “Lindhurst Tan.” It read slightly purple to me in my kitchen so I had to go buy more samples at Lowes. Thankfully, I had a gift card from a return I made so they didn’t cost me any additional money which was nice.

The color second from the bottom is called “Windmill” and in this space it reads a bit yellow–probably because of the cherry finish on my cabinetry. BUTTTTT I tested it in my master bathroom and I actually really like it for that space. Just above that sample is “Eiffel Tower.” I originally wanted to paint the kitchen a grayish blue color and I thought this was going to be the color I ended up choosing. However, after seeing all of the samples on the wall I thought it was a bit too cold of a color to stand up to my cherry cabinetry. So that leaves the winning sample on the very top. It’s called “Oyster Shell.”

I never had plans to paint the kitchen this color. Oyster Shell was a color I was considering (along with Windmill) in my master bathroom. However, in my master bathroom it looks REALLY gray which is so funny because it looks green/brown in my kitchen. And while Windmill looks too yellow in my kitchen, in my bathroom it looks like the perfect shade of brown.

What I was going for in my kitchen was something that looked homey and warm but had a little bit of color to it. I didn’t want it to look tan or taupe but I still wanted it to be very neutral. I often change my table linens and flowers and seasonal decor so I didn’t want a color that would clash when I decided to change things up. So this is just slightly green/gray which I thought was the perfect amount of color. I also didn’t want anything that would accentuate the red of my cherry cabinets. I actually DON’T like cherry cabinets (even though I know there are many people that love them). I thought choosing something with blue undertones really made the red in my cabinets stand out. I also chose colors that are pretty dark for most people’s comfort zones. Anyone who sees swatches I pick for paint allllways questions me with how dark I’m going but then after it’s painted they love it. Trust me, you can go darker than you think most of the time.

I’ve never had to buy samples before but when picking colors in the tan/taupe/neutral type of families I think it’s sort of necessary. What you think looks tan in one room looks green in another or gray or yellow or blue or pink. So save yourself some time and money and buy samples. They’re about $3 a piece and you actually get a good amount of paint that you can save to test out in other rooms or use on other projects.

I bought my paint today and plan to get the kitchen done sometime this week. I’m dreading taking down the wall hanging I just put up over my pantry. That thing was SOOO hard to hang and I really don’t want to do it again. It has holes cut in the back of it and it’s super heavy so when you get one hole around a screw and hooked in the other falls out. It’s really annoying. OHHH, the joys lol.

I’ll post pics as soon as I’m done painting 🙂

Do you think I picked the right color based on the samples?? What color is your kitchen??

—Robin

Magnetic Vent Covers

For some odd reason our builder decided to put a floor vent in our kitchen right under the kitchen sink. It’s amazing in the winter because when you stand there washing dishes you have the heat blowing right on your feet. However, in the summer when the air is running you literally cannot stand there for even a minute before your feet are frozen solid. Over the last 2.5 years or so we’ve lived in this house I’ve been straddling the vent during the summers because I’m typically barefoot at home. That is, unless I’ve had the forethought to put shoes on which I think may have happened only once or twice. Here is the ice box as it normally is.

Toe Kick Vent with no Lever to Close it off
Toe Kick Vent with no Lever to Close it off

My vent doesn’t have a lever to close it off either so it is what it is. I didn’t care to change the vent out or spend much money on it so…enter, THE MAGNETIC VENT COVER!!

Frost King Magnetic Vent Covers
Frost King Magnetic Vent Covers

I bought this 3 pack of Frost King Magnetic Vent Covers from Home Depot today for under $5 for the pack. They’re white on the front and just magnet material on the back. It says on the label that you can cover it with wallpaper, paint or stencils to make it blend into your decor which is even better. When I’m feeling antsy I may just cover it with some leftover contact paper I have from lining my kitchen cabinets. It’s dark brown faux leather so it would blend in much better to my cabinets so you wouldn’t see if from a distance. I wasn’t motivated enough for that today.

White on the front, Magnet Backing
White on the front, Magnet Backing

It’s a really thin material and was super easy to cut with ordinary scissors exactly to size. For those crafty crafters out there you may even consider cutting this with your Cricut or other cutting machine into cute shapes for fridge or office magnets that you can decorate or glue pretty 3d objects to. At under $5 for 3 giant sheets it’s MUCH cheaper than buying magnets at JoAnn’s or Michael’s craft stores. Actually, for those parents out there why don’t you buy this and glue your kids school pictures to it or those keepsake photobooth pictures from weddings and use the pictures as magnets instead of holding those photos you want to have up all year with other magnets that just make it look more cluttered than it needs to.

Really Easy to Cut with Scissors
Really Easy to Cut with Scissors

Here it is after. It’s just a magnet so it sticks and there you have it! No more frostbitten toes washing dishes!!

No More Frozen Toes!
No More Frozen Toes!

The Great Pantry Cleanout and Reoganization 2014!!

I’ve organized the pantry several times since being in this home and it’s never been as well organized as it is today. Eventually, I would like to have a professional closet organization company help me out with this area of the house because the current shelves the builder put in really aren’t meant to hold much weight. They’re already starting to bow in the centers so I’ve had to try and switch our heavier items to the far sides of the shelves while putting lighter items towards the center. Unfortunately, that’s not in our budget at the moment so I’m making due with what we have. I invested in plastic food storage containers by the brand Flip-Tite. I found the first container at TJ Maxx but they only had one container. I liked it alot better than the Oxo Pop containers because when you hold the container by the lid it stays in tact. If you try to hold a Pop container by the lid the lid will slowly slip away from the container indicating an inferior seal. I found alot more of the Flip-Tite containers on Amazon.com and later found even more containers by that brand at Home Goods.

I also bought a few wicker baskets from Target for the pantry makeover. I’ve had them for awhile now and I’ve switched out the items in the baskets many times trying to get the right mix of pretty and function. These baskets work, however I wish they were taller so when filled you didn’t see items sticking out of them. Anyway here are the before pictures. (These pics were actually taken about a year ago. I don’t have a more recent before picture.) Click on any of the photos to view them larger.

Before Pantry Makeover
Before Pantry Makeover

The first thing I did was take all of my beans, soup, bouillon cubes, soup stocks, and canned tomatoes and moved those to an empty cupboard I had after my kitchen cabinet reorganization. Then, I moved all of the alcohol and infrequently used kitchen appliances to the basement. I took all of my drink mixes out of their cylindrical containers and put them all in a large Zip-lock bag to save space. Many of my dry goods like sugars, flours, quinoa etc were put into the Flip-Tite containers and labeled with removable sticky labels by Post-It. Once that was complete I grouped all of my like items on the kitchen counter and determined which groups of items would fit best in the baskets I had. Finally, I took black card stock from my scrapbook collection and a round circle punch that you can buy at any craft store and punched out circles. I then labeled them with a silver paint pen I had on hand to create labels for my baskets and hung them from the handles with green ribbon I already had.

It looks SOOOOO much better in my opinion. I have one large basket that holds almost all of my baking supplies (marshmallows, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, caramel drizzle, raisins etc. I have another basket labeled “Baking Mix” which has pancake mix, cake mix and muffin mix. I have a basket labeled “Dressing/Marinade” that has salad dressings, sauces etc. I put my bags of croutons next to that on the right and to the left of that basket I have some packets of salad dressing seasonings. The basket “Pasta/Sides” has pre-made sides like flavored rice packs, flavored noodles etc. The basket “Pasta” has dried pasta in it, all different types. Next to it are some noodles that came in a bag that I put into a Flip-Tite container, and to the right of it I have a pack of Ramen noodles that my husband likes to have for a quick snack at night. My “Snack” basket is a little overfilled and not exactly practical. I will have to figure something else out for that but right now it has some bags of chips, some sunflower seed snacks, nutrition bars, etc. To the right of that are boxed cereals and oatmeal. And get this…there’s NOTHING on the floor in my pantry anymore!!!! YAYYYY! That was a big goal of mine because both of my dogs shed and their hair would float under the door and I couldn’t vacuum easily with all of that stuff in the way.

After Pantry Makeover
After Pantry Makeover
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I used to buy too much food in bulk which frequently wasn’t used before expiration and just takes up too much space. So it’s now a new mission of mine to only buy the food I would eat within a 1-2 week period so I don’t accumulate more than I need. Also, I’m trying to eat out of my freezer and pantry and ONLY buy a few ingredients I need here or there to complete a meal. This will hopefully encourage me to use up some ingredients I already have and not spend money I don’t need to when I have TONS of food in my house. I hope you like what I’ve done 🙂

–Robin

Kitchen Cabinet Organization (as of July 2014)

Is there anything more annoying than kitchen cabinet organization? Once you think you have it figured out you scrap that idea and find a new, better way and wonder why it took you so long to realize it. Well, I can tell you that I’ve arranged and rearranged my cabinets several times since living in this house and at the moment I’m feeling pretty decent about what I have going on but there are still things I want to do.

Here is a picture that was actually taken about a year ago that shows my disfunctional spice cabinet. You’ll actually notice in the after picture that we have about twice as many items in the cabinet now than we had at that time and yet it’s way more useable space now.

Before Cabinet Organizer
Before Cabinet Organizer

To corral the chaos I bought this spice rack from Amazoncom.

Spice Rack from Amazon.com
Spice Rack from Amazon.com
Before you buy an organizer like this make sure you measure the inside space of your cabinet to ensure the organizer will fit when the door is CLOSED (that’s obviously really important so make sure you measure a few times). It was super inexpensive and Amazon has always shipped items extremely fast for me.

Now, once you have the organizer don’t just go screwing the thing into your beautiful wood cabinets because there are alot of ways to go wrong in this department. Hang the organizer where you think you would like it on the inside of the door using lots of painters tape or duct tape and then shut the door to ensure it closes. Adjust it if it doesn’t shut or adjust the shelves inside if they’re in the way. If it shuts and you think it’s good at this point try putting some of your spices inside (use the tallest spice jars you have) and put them on both ends of the spice rack on all tiers of the spice rack and try shutting the doors again. This make take lots of adjustments to get it just right. Even now, the way this rack fits inside my cupboard means I can’t put my taller spice jars on the second tier so consider which spices you want on which tier before you make your final adjustments and screw into your cabinet.

Here is the state of my spice cabinet today.

Spice Cabinet Organization 2014
Spice Cabinet Organization 2014
Spice Cabinet Organization 2014
Spice Cabinet Organization 2014

I put all of my bulk sized spices on the bottom shelf because those are the ones I access most often including my oil sprays. The second shelf has some spices I use for baking and don’t access as often as well as toothpicks and a plastic storage container that contains some prepackaged seasonings. The top shelf has duplicate spices or refill spices (like the large containers of salt/pepper etc) and extra oil sprays. In the spice rack itself I just fit as many of the small spice jars as possible to clear out the cabinet area and keep it cleaner over time.

You’ll notice that I still have some wasted space toward the top of the cabinet door.

Wasted Space at the top of the cabinet door.
Wasted Space at the top of the cabinet door.
If I’m ever feeling antsy I may try to put a magnetic strip and hang my super tiny spice jars. You know, like the mini allspice container etc? But at the moment it’s unneccesary and I have a million other projects to tackle. I also wouldn’t mind buying spice jars that were rectangular and wide. This spice rack as some extra room front to back (rather than side to side) so if I could find some skinny rectangular jars that would take up more room front to back and less room side to side I could probably fit several more spice jars on each row and really maximize the space I have and also make it prettier because all of the containers would match but I haven’t seen any jars that shape. If you see any let me know 🙂

Another one of the organization projects I’m pretty excited over is my medicine storage. Before it’s current state I had all of our medicine and vitamins stored in an old shoe box under my kitchen sink. As you can imagine everything gets jumbled around as you dig for what you need. Bottles of Nyquil tip over and leak and everything eventually becomes a sticky mess. So I went to Meijer and bought a cheap plastic organizer. I think this was around $10? I wanted something with taller drawers in it but this was all they had and I was desperate to get this handled quickly and didn’t want to look around different stores.

Medicine Storage
Medicine Storage
I labeled the top drawer “Pain Relief” and “other” because I put my dog’s medicine in that also. That has things like headache medicine and anti-inflamitory meds. The second drawer is “Stomach Relief” and has heart burn meds, acid reflux meds and things of that nature. The third drawer is labeled “Cold and Flu” and that obviously has cold medicines, immune system boosters etc.
Cold and Flu Medicine Drawer
Cold and Flu Medicine Drawer

Eventually, I will get some cuter labels but I just used what I had on hand for the mean time. Here’s everything I have under the cabinet. On the left door I have a sturdy metal basket that hangs on the door to hold my heavier items like vinegar (which I clean with ALL the time) and dish soap. I used to store those items in the basket underneath (bought from Meijer in the bathroom section).

Under Sink Storage
Under Sink Storage

It actually had suction cups on the back of it and was meant to hang items inside the shower but I just removed the suction cups. That basket is just hanging there on clear plastic Command hooks however they were a bit heavy for that method of hanging and the basket kept falling. So now I’m using it to hold sponges. The right side baskets are the same as that bottom basket and are also held up with Command Hooks. The top basket stores the opened liquid medicines that I wanted to store upright so I didn’t have to deal with leaks or spills. The bottom basket isn’t being used at this point but it’s room to grow. The woven brown basket in the back holds all of my floor cleaners for tile, hardwood, spotbot etc. You may just barely see the small light brown basket on the far left inside the cabinet. That holds my dishwasher detergent pods and my Swiffer duster and refills.

The other space I’m super excited about is this skinny little cabinet to the right of my dishwasher.

Skinny Cabinet Organization
Skinny Cabinet Organization
This used to have 3 shelves in it but they were basically useless. I removed the two bottom shelves and moved all of my trays, cookie sheets, cutting boards and pizza pans to that space and it is SOOOOO perfect for organization now. I freed up an entire cupboard that had them all jumbled up in there and they were always a pain to take out because a million trays were all stacked on top of one another. Now they’re neat, easy to keep like items next to one another and you don’t have to lift up a heavy stack to get to items on the bottom. MUCH BETTER!! One the shelf on top I have our kitchen trash bags, a scented wax warmer and in the basket behind the warmer are tea light candles for the warmer as well as long lighters for candles.

And just so I don’t bore you, here is the rest of my cabinets and the contents. I did ALOT of decluttering. I moved many of my husband’s dishware from his bachelor days, his old silverware, and some party buckets and things to the basement kitchen. I tried to think about things like putting all of the coffee cups and k-cups, teas etc in the cupboard above the Keurig Coffee Machine. The plastic storage containers between the fridge and stove, etc.

I know there are more organization solutions in my future but for now this works 🙂