Saturday, February 14, 2015

The one where I paint the kitchen cabinets

I spent all of January painting our kitchen cabinets!
Now they're done!
And I'm never going to paint anything ever again!
Just kidding, it wasn't that bad. And the results were worth it!

My before kitchen was fine and I was happy with it for quite a while. I don't know what the finish on the cabinets would be called, but it was NOT the typical '90s honey oak (that would have been gone the first 6 months of living here). It's nice, but now let me show you the transformation!

Ta-da! I am really happy with the finished product. It's so much richer now. We did not intentionally paint the cabinets to match the barstools, however. I'm trying to decide what to do about them now--maybe glazed coral? Any suggestions?

We also added hardware, which we didn't have before. I had my heart set on copper hardware--the cabinet's hidden hinges are copper and I fell in love with how it looked against the gray-blue. Copper hardware is expensive, though, so I bought some cheapo stuff from Amazon (these bin pulls and these knobs) and spraypainted them with Rustoleum hammered copper spray paint, plus a protective glossy topcoat. They add so much warmth to the darker cabinets!
Now a little bit about the actual painting experience... I'm not going to bother giving a detailed post because there are plenty out there already. I spent a lot of time researching products and had it narrowed down to General Finishes milk paint (find it on Amazon), Benjamin Moore Advance, and the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit. I settled on the kit because it promises NO sanding or priming (says it right on the box!) so I figured if I didn't have good results, I could get my money back. Other products might claim to not require sanding or priming but say on the can that it's recommended.
Instead of sanding, the kit comes with a deglosser (like liquid sandpaper) and you use that on all the surfaces to help adhesion. Then you use the bond coat in your choice of their tintable colors--we chose "Castle". After two coats of bond coat, you can put on the decorative glaze (we skipped it) and then the protective topcoat. Everything was super simple, just time-consuming! I used a 2 inch angled brush and there are no brush marks anywhere. To avoid brush marks, you just want to make sure to use very little paint and brush in the direction of the wood grain. I read terrible horror story reviews of the topcoat being so difficult to work with and bubbling, or being streaky, or leaving brush marks, but I didn't have any trouble with it at all. It's a nice low sheen, too, instead of high gloss.
Total time: estimated 50 hours.
How much did this all cost?

  • Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit: $78
  • Hardware: $30 for 10 bin pulls and 20 knobs (yeah, awesome stuff!)
  • Spraypaint: $4.97
  • Spray sealer: $5ish 
  • Longer screws for hardware: $.97
  • Total: LESS THAN $120!!!!
If you are thinking about painting your kitchen cabinets, do it. It's a lot of work, but anyone can get great results if you are patient and use the right product!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Home decor rule I'm breaking: unstyled bookshelves

I feel like this is the year that our attitude toward our home is really shifting. When we moved in 6 years ago, it was a starter home and we thought we would be moving on to something bigger. But we are coming to realize more and more that this is the home and neighborhood we want to raise our family in, even though the house isn't as big as we thought we would need with 4 kids (more on this later). With this new view of our home, we've (I've) really started making strides to turn it into everything we want. It's freeing, because instead of worrying about how things will affect resale value (ok, let's be honest, I've never been too concerned about that), we are just doing things we love, even though that means sometimes breaking all the home decor rules. Most rooms in my home do not look like a Pinterest board... but that's ok, because they make me smile every time I see them.
First up, my unstyled gigantic bookshelves.
I have posted about these several times.
That's because they're awesome and they deserve lots of recognition!
There are tons of tutorials on Pinterest about how to "style" bookshelves. That ain't never going to happen in our house because we have too darn many books.

And that's not all... there are more on the floor to ceiling bookshelves in our room. I know I could do a better job about arranging these books by color, or size, or splitting them into different sections, etc.... but we have a system. Jason agonizes over how these books are arranged, each section blending perfectly into the next, authors staying together, short stories with short stories and novels with novels. They are crazy and each shelf is stuffed with books, but we like it that way!

Last summer Helena asked Jason if he could measure her against the bookshelves. I said it would be ok, thinking he would discreetly mark with a ballpoint pen against the edge. Instead he scrawled "Helena, 6/19/14" in green sharpie across the whole thing. After that I decided our kids' height should be a work of art, so I used a gold paint pen to mark their height and doodled their names big and proud. 

I just put little bookshelf markers along every shelf a few months ago. It was hard to know how to label them, because like I said, our sections kind of flow into each other... we ended up with labels like "War, what is it good for?", "US Americans", "Americanarama", "Cowboys, past and present", "Paranormal teen romance", "INFINITE JEST", "Something clever", "Nerd", "Graphic Novels", "Ladies' book club", and "I love lamp". You'll have to come to the house to see what kinds of books fit in those sections.

Another thing... you will always find stacks of books on every shelf that haven't been reshelved yet. It sometimes drives me crazy because I like things neat and tidy and not cluttered, but we are a family of readers and we really read those books. Like, all the time. There are always several that are in rotation and so are just stuck on the edge of the shelves instead of "put away". 
So there you have it, the first of one of the many rules I am breaking as I decorate my house. Take away message: do what makes YOU happy in your house, and who cares what your neighbors, friends, relatives, strangers on the internet, or future realtor think!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Poor pictures of my awesome bathroom

It's been six years this month since we moved into our house. Since then, we've painted (and repainted) every room except for the living room (which was already a wonderful shade of olive green that we love), changed tons of light fixtures, built giant bookshelves, put up a huge headboard in the master bedroom, framed bathroom mirrors, added closet doors to the laundry room, made a mudroom in the garage, painted the front door (four times at last count), and painted the kitchen cabinets (pictures coming soon). With all that, there is one room I have just never been happy with.
The hall bathroom. First it was builder beige boring. Then it was bright screaming turquoise. Then it was Pinterest inspired pretty (but with a really bad paint job).
But now... now, I finally LOVE the hall bathroom. Love. I can't stop looking at it!
First up, I had my dad paint the walls and ceiling white (Creamy White by Behr). This was a huge improvement in itself because I had painted the bathroom tan a few years ago and got it all over the ceiling and did an overall terrible job.
Next, I painted the vanity (Happy Camper by Behr). I just used a sample jar in eggshell with the intent of going back and buying a quart--but the eggshell was perfect so it only cost me $3! I love this bright pop of green against the creamy white.
Now comes the crazy part. One gold Sharpie paint pen. One afternoon. This tutorial. I didn't use a level or straight edge when I did mine because I wanted it to look hand-drawn. Turned out ah-ma-zing. The pictures truly do not do this justice at all. The triangles are metallic gold and shimmer on the wall. I love it so much!
Last thing I did was frame the bathroom mirror with scrap wood. I didn't stain or paint it, just left it this lovely natural blond color. I hung our typography map of New Orleans and an awesome print of "Single Ladies" that I got from this Etsy shop. So fun!
Please ignore the shower curtain--I am hoping to pick this one up on our next Ikea trip.
Also, I know these are TERRIBLE pictures. This is a long, narrow room and it is so hard to take good pictures. Just use your imagination or stop by and ask for a personal tour of our Beyonce bathroom :)

Cut glass owl knobs on the vanity and a brown owl vase to hold toothbrushes :)

One thing I love about how this room turned out... I actually like how the original '80s brass fixtures look! If you can't afford to replace everything, just embrace it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


After our last disastrous museum experience, I am pleased to report that we had a wonderful time last Saturday at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the U of U campus.
The UMFA is free every first Wednesday and every third Saturday AND on the third Saturday there is a free family art project. We liked to do the project, but what we really like is checking out one of the exhibit themed backpacks from the front desk! Each backpack comes with a folder full of guided questions to help you explore the museum, plus hands on activities, paper and crayons, and even a take home packet with extra fun.
This time we checked out the large sculpture backpack. We started outside by the "driftwood" statue of a horse. Did you know it's really made out of copper with a patina? We got to compare a twig and a copper "twig".

We headed inside and took turns freezing in different poses to try and capture movement like this artist did.

Here's Juno holding a small rendition of "The Thinker" when we were studying a bust by Matisse.

We took a detour in the Egyptian section where the girls had fun learning how mummies were made.

Now comes my favorite part--the contemporary art exhibit. I love contemporary art. I feel like I could do that stuff! The girls took turn arranging small wooden blocks to create their own sculpture, like the one you can see in the background behind Juno (next picture).

Tempe studied this sculpture made out of old bike tires and then made on of her own out of black pipe cleaners!

This is the full contents of the large sculpture backpack. There was a materials box and every sculpture we visited was represented by something the girls could feel--a piece of marble, a twig vs a copper "twig", a piece of bike tire, brass, etc. The girls loved getting to feel what the sculptures feel like!

And here they are getting the "kids' eye view" of these pink streamers in the large gallery downstairs!

We had so much fun exploring the museum with the large sculpture backpack and can't wait to go back and try another! The girls all really loved exploring their take home packets too--those came with packets of Model Magic clay so they could sculpt their own work of art!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Natural History Museum of Utah (or how to totally stress yourself out in one afternoon)

Today was the free day at the Natural History Museum of Utah, something we've (I've) been looking forward to for a long time. Admission to this particular museum would run our family $40--and that's just me and the three older kids. Yeah, not in our budget. Tempe especially asks to go to a museum every single Saturday, and it breaks my heart that I almost always have to say no. We hit up all the free museums (the Church History Museum, the BYU MOA, the UMOCA, the Bean Museum, the Eagle Bay learning center, the UMFA on every third Saturday), but there's only so many times you can go to the same museum. I've been wanting to take them to the Natural History Museum, so this free day was perfect.
I was a little worried about crowds because some free days are just not even worth it because of how crowded they are, but we decided to brave it anyway. 
Fail #1: I picked the girls up at the bottom of the hill when they got out of school because I didn't want to check them out and I thought leaving at 3:40 would still give us plenty of time.
Fail #2: It was raining today. Like, downpour raining. That reduced my interstate speed to around 50 MPH, which meant it took us about 40 minutes to get to the museum itself.
Fail #3: This was the museum's fail--they have entirely too little parking. I circled the lot 3 times, and finally pulled behind a lady sitting in her car with the engine on. I waited for a minute and then actually got out of my car to ask if she was leaving soon. She did not react well. I honestly don't see why, because the parking lot was completely full and there were several cars circling, looking for spots. I think it's just common courtesy in that situation to NOT be sitting in a parking spot doing nothing while you wait for someone to come out. But whatever. We ended up parking in the satellite lot and taking the shuttle, which put our arrival at 4:25.
Fail #4: Biggest fail ever. I did not check the museum hours. I don't know why. I really thought it was open until 8 pm for some reason. No. They close at 5. 
We rushed to the elevator but Tempe was already starting to quietly weep. I apologized profusely and promised we would do our best to see some stuff--we definitely didn't see everything, but we stuck to the 2-minute schedule and were able to see and do quite a few things. It is an awesome, almost entirely interactive museum and I think we could probably spend 3 hours there and not get bored!

Playing in the sand table
Beautiful girls in a mountain meadow full of wildflowers

All three girls had fun putting the pottery jars and jugs back togther--fun magnetic exhibit!
Juno was terrified of the dinosaur skeletons but the other girls liked them!

So we had fun, even though we only had 35 minutes to explore. The girls all agreed that we saw plenty of stuff and we'll have more fun next time we go (next free day is in April).
Fail #5: We left the museum and went and stood in the pouring snow/slush/rain where the shuttle had dropped us off. Then the shuttle came, drove right past us, stopped at the edge of the driveway and picked one person up, then zoomed away while we were running after it, screaming and dragging four kids and a stroller and a diaper bag. I could see it stuck in the massive amount of traffic pouring out of the parking lot, but we couldn't get to it, so we were resigned to standing in the snow and waiting for it to come back--actually, I don't know if it would have come back at all, it might not have since it was officially after hours at that point. Luckily, a very sweet couple and their three kids saw us running after it and offered us a ride to our car, even though it meant kids doubling up and the mom sitting on the floor. It makes me cry just thinking of it. I did not get their names, but I am so grateful that they stopped for us, because we were all on the verge of tears and I was trying my best to find some good in the situation so my kids would still have fun and not leave on a bad note. So THANK YOU anonymous strangers!
Fail #6: Because we got to the museum so late, we left at rush hour. It took us 30 minutes just to get back to the interstate an then another 45 minutes to get home, in the pouring rain, with very poor visibility. There were minor emotional breakdowns, but surprisingly, nothing too terrible.
All in all, it was not a super successful trip. I was so looking forward to taking my kids to this museum and I think I was the most disappointed of all. At least now I know what to do in April to have a better experience!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

mighty girl

This is Juno.
Here are some of Juno's favorite things: cars, trucks, trains, babies, playing house, t-ball, baseball, coloring, painting, football, dancing, basketball, tools, playing office, and cooking.
Do you see a pattern?
No. That's because there's not one. Juno likes both stereotypical "boy things" and stereotypical "girl things"--or, as we call them in our house, "things". I would hazard a guess that most kids are probably like Juno.
No need to label :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

New year, new crazies

Quick recap from Christmas--I'm not going to bother posting 50 pictures, because no one wants to look at all those! Just follow me on Instagram @younghipstercoolgirl.
Anyway, Christmas. It was a crazy whirlwind month of December, full of fun great activities and lots of family time. My sweet sister Kelsey got married on the 22nd, so my parents were here with us for Christmas. We have not spent Christmas together for I think 7 years! It was so fun to have them spend the night with us on Christmas Eve. We also went to the zoo on Christmas Eve with my brother and his wife and my parents and that might be a new tradition! Then for our dinner that night we had a special candlelit Bethlehem dinner, eating foods that Jesus might have eaten (probably not)--fish, flatbread, cashews, dried figs and dates, rice and couscous. After dinner and reading the Christmas story from the scriptures, the girls opened their new Christmas Eve pajamas and went to bed!

If you're wondering, Helena did love her pajamas but was not happy about taking the picture.

Our kids were up at 4:45 on Christmas morning. Yep. They were all in the same bedroom because my parents were sleeping in Tempe and Helena's, so it was a three ring circus all night trying to get people to go to sleep and stay asleep. Everyone drifted back off around 6:30, so we stayed in bed until almost 8. Christmas morning was a big success--Santa brought Tempe a bike, Helena a super cute fairy doll treehouse and fairy dolls, Juno a basketball hoop, and Pearl some plastic dishes and spoons (we really needed some more, thanks Santa). The rest of us were pretty spoiled too, that morning!
Moving on to New Year's Eve...
We started off with a fondue dinner (cheese and mustard fondue), then had different activities every half hour.

Each activity was in a balloon marked with the time we should open it. We painted nails, read Harry Potter, watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid, ate Butterfinger fondue, played video games, and watched the ball drop at midnight. Here's to 2015!

And just when I got everything finally put away from Christmas and my house back in order... I decided to do this. Cabinets are getting painted!