Kitchen Cabinet Updating

Ever since we bought the house last June, I have disliked the kitchen cabinets. The tan seemed dated and showed every stain, and the white framing was another thing I didn’t like. It took me a long time to pick the color I wanted because I wanted the kitchen to be a certain way. I wanted a dark gray that wasn’t too dark, but also was a true gray without any undertones. I did lots of looking and my local Home Depot had a Behr paint called Anonymous that I just knew was the one. We also didn’t want to buy new hinges for this project, because we’ve thought about making new doors in the future. So, I soaked the old hinges in scolding hot soapy water for 1 hour, before leaving on towels to dry another hour before painting. The paint we used was on the hinges was the same we had used on the hall light fixture, Rustoleum spray paint in the color Brushed Nickle.

First, I removed all the doors and hinges. I began scrubbing down the remaining cabinets with a mixture of hot water and comet. I then taped off the inside of the cabinets and painted them. By the time I finished my first coat it had dried at the beginning, so I added my second coat then. The next day, I added the hinges to scolding water, and began scrubbing down the doors with more comet-water mixture. I then pulled out the hinges and let them dry on a towel for an hour before taking them to the garage to spray paint. Once done, I began taping off the doors to paint only the faces. I painted only three doors that day. On my third day, I finished painting the cabinets with two layers of paint. I waited for them to dry, then hung the doors on the new hinges, and reattached the handles.

I then took a week off before starting the bottom cabinets. I had Josh pull off the baseboard for me, and I pulled off the rubber baseboard before I started. I used a bladed scraper to remove the glue residue that would stick out above the new trim. I then used wood putty on the doors and cabinets wherever there was a seam or gap, that was the end of my first day. The next day, I pulled off the hinges and doors. I began soaking the hinges. I then sanded all of the cabinets and washed them with more comet-water mixture. Once dry, I began painting the left island cabinets. I gave that two coats, then I went outside and painted the hinges. When I came in, I gave the right hand cabinets two coats and added the drawers back in. On the third day, I painted the remaining drawers. I sanded the doors where there was putty, then I scrubbed the doors with more comet-water mixture. I waited for them to dry and painted only three doors that day. On the fourth day, I painted the cabinet doors, and attached the handles to all the cabinets. And on the fifth day, I hung all the painted doors and hinges. My kitchen was painted!

Dishwasher to Storage

We’ve been working on this project on and off for several months now. Our dishwasher died in December and rather than have a broken machine in our kitchen, we decided it would be better to have the extra storage. Here I’ve split up the process into the big steps that we took.

Removing Dish Washer

First, we had to remove our dishwasher. We turned off the water near the dishwasher, remove the foot board, and lower the dishwasher. We then pulled out the machine, unhooked the water and drainage pipes, and we fully removed the dishwasher from our house.

Capping Garbage Disposal

The drainage for the dishwasher came into our garbage disposal. This posed an issue since the garbage disposal usually had a metal plug that would keep it sealed, but once it is popped out, there is no way to reattach it even if you kept the tab. We ended up using a rubber foot for protecting a chair leg and used a hose clamp to attach it onto the arm of the garbage disposal.

Making Walls, Bottom Shelf, & Painting

We were left with a mess. There was a hole in the left wall there the hoses were run to/from the water supply, and there were live wires for that was the dishwasher. First, Josh capped off each wire and wrapped it with electrical tape (the universal sign for a live wire), we then attached it out of the way. We got it so our water was no longer leaking and so that we won’t have to worry about them leaking again any time soon. We cut out the section of damaged wall, cut a piece of plywood to fit, and attached it with glue, filled the crack with a glue and sawdust mixture, plastered the wall, and sanded it flat. We used MDF to create a false wall in the back. We used brackets to wedge it against the wall since we didn’t want to put screws into our metal walls. We then made the bottom shelf with plywood and 2 2×4 feet that ran the width of the gap, with one placed in alignment with the cabinets on either side. This made a consistent kick board along the ground. Finally, we glued in the shelf to the cement, and we calked in the shelf and painted everything white.

Making Curtain Rod and Shelves

Josh made a holder for the curtain rod. He used 1/2 inch wood to create mounting points on either end. He drilled into each a hole for 1/2 inch conduit, and that would be my curtain rod. I had a set of extra curtains from college, so I added one panel, sewed it to the correct length, then attached the curtain rod. The mounting points for the curtain rod don’t have an option to simply remove the rod at this point, but we plan to rework this in the future. You can also just order a small tensions rod off the internet as long as you have the measurements. Finally, Josh took some aluminum angle to make the mounts for the selves. He drilled 3 holes to attache each to the sides of the cabinets and he added some on top if i even want to attach the shelves permanently. I picked the height I wanted, Josh cut 23/32 inch plywood to be shelves, I added 2 coats of white paint to everything, installed, and reorganized.

Final Product

Being Prepared

I’m a bit of a hoarder, and that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe one day I’ll show you my green room’s storage unit to show you what I mean… Anyway, I tend to overstock on everything. I currently have 2 unopened containers of toothpaste, 13 rolls of untouched toilet paper that will last me and my husband over 3 months, and I have a small horde of canned foods.

Why am I posting this? That’s a good question. I feel kind of embarrassed to say it’s because I went out preparing yesterday. I spend a lot of time listening to the news and some time with my ear towards YouTube, and I just want to be prepared. I grew up as a girl scout where we share the same motto as the boys with “Be Prepared”. I also grew up in a house were we always seemed to be in need of an essential. I just want to be prepared, and I want to make sure my family is prepared.

Yesterday when my husband and I went to the store, we had a shocking realization. We first went to a hardware store. When we went there last Saturday, there were stocked cold face masks right when you enter. Because we remembered that, we decided to go there first. The shelf that was once completely full have 4 boxes left, and 3 of which were opened. Beyond that, these boxes had a sign saying “Limit one per customer” and were $20 for 20 masks. We had a shocking realization at that point that this may not be a simple cold. We checked their safety gear section and they were also out of normal respiration masks. Our second stop was CVS down the road. Surely a pharmacy would have some, right? Right? The selves were empty where there had been the $9.49 and $4.49 face masks. We got some cold medicine and some hand sanitizer and we decided to visit the grocery store. We stocked up on groceries because it had been several months since my last big haul. We got the essentials, and also more canned foods and water. We found some face masks there of all places, and we decided to get a couple.

What prompted my trip was the illness, but I wasn’t expecting the results to be as bleak as they were. I live in a state that doesn’t even have a single case. I live on the east coast, far from the quarantines, so why was there already such a need? Don’t panic. There is no need for that, but would it hurt to get a couple weeks worth of cans? Would it hurt to get some water and a bit of cold medicine? I just don’t know. Nobody seems to know how bad or how weak this illness is going to be. On some levels, even I was at the front of the line preparing, and it’s already getting tougher to find things. Worst case, you have a bit of extra food and you don’t have to go shopping for a bit, right?

DIY Hidden Pantry

The Idea

Josh has put a lot of time and energy thinking about how to do this project. He had leftover wheels from a long board he had, and we have some space between the fridge and an existing wall, so he thought this would be a nice thing he could build that would look nice and provide us with additional kitchen storage. We have an 8 1/2 inch gap that is 18 inches deep, and 63 inches until the back would hit an existing bracket on the wall, but 66 inches in the front to be level with the fridge.

The Space and Materials

For this project, we needed 3 1″x8″x8′, 12 3/8″ dowels that were 48″ long, and a set of 18″ Full extension drawer slides. We picked up the materials as home depot paying just under $14 per board, under $1 per dowel, and under $15 for the drawer slides.
We then cut the one board to 63″ for the back board, 65″ for the face board, and we cut 6 shelves at 16″ each. Josh also created a jig to help us pre-drill holes in the end of each shelf, so that when we add screws we didn’t split the wood. We also had to cut our dowels, which we cut to 18″, and drill holes for the wheels to mount. After drilling all of that, we also pre-drilled holes in the face and back, and drilled holes for the dowels to fit. Then we were on to assembly.

The Assembly

We assembled the shelves by making the slightly longest be on the bottom, and getting smaller as they go to the top. After drilling all the holes, we added wood glue to each end of the shelf and began screwing it together. When you make it, glue and screw into the face board, and once it’s dried, then attach the back. Though we predrilled holes, we still split a shelf, and we attached the back before the front, so the back is square while the front is sloped (oh well).

We attache the wheels by centering them and using screws to mount them to the board, and not the nuts and bolts that come with boards. And, for the dowels, we slipped them through the holes. The holes we were using were tight, so we didn’t, but you can also add glue here if they are loose.

Finalizing

To finish the project, I used wood putty to cover the screw heads and dowel ends, and let it dry for 4 hours as directed by the package. I then sanded the surface flat by hand. Finally, I painted the face of the cabinet with semi-gloss white paint. I had to use 2 coats, and finally, we drilled 2 holes at our desired height and attached a handle we got at Ollie’s.

This Weekend: Shower Disaster and, Filling our Freezer

Shower Problems

One thing that happened this weekend was our shower stopped working. When we first moved in, the shower was already not working correctly. The hot water knob would slip and make it very difficult to turn on and off the water, as well as hard to close it enough to prevent a leak. In September or October, Josh pulled apart the hot water knob, and was able to tighten a clamp on the cartridge. But, Sunday morning when I was about to shower, the clamp finally gave again, so Josh pulled apart the mechanism and broke the old clamp, but it needed to be actually fixed this time anyway.
We turned off the water, took out the cartridge, and took it to ACE hardware to find replacement cartridges. We found two, so we could also replace the cold water too, and we also bought new handles that attach directly to the splines on the cartridge. We returned home late, but we still fixed it and with that we finally have water again. What do you think of the new knobs? Have you ever had problems with your shower handles?

Packing our Freezer (Venison)

We are not vegan or vegetarians, but my husband and I are fervently against animal cruelty. We also understand that our meals come from animals. We understand that some are against hunting, however hundreds of deer die every winter from starvation and car accidents in our area, and if hunting will prevent animal suffering and if hunting can provide food for someone, we feel hunting is worth it. We don’t enjoy the action of hunting, but our ecosystem is cruel. We also use as much of the meat as possible, and find that the meat is often healthier than normal grass/corn fed beef, and has a fat content of less than most beefs. Deer usually has a fat content of less that 5%.
With that understood, Josh went hunting this weekend and managed to get a button buck. I had gone hunting with him earlier this year, but this weekend we were fortunate enough to get a small buck. We then took Sunday to process the deer and get it cut and packaged for meals. We are grateful that now we will have 36 meals covered as a result, and it is a blessing that we won’t have to spend as much on groceries in these winter months as a result.
What does this mean? It means I’m going to be making a lot of recipes in the next few months using a mixture of my normal beef, pork, chicken, but now also venison. This will be my first year cooking venison, so bear with me as I try new recipes and give you alternates to Venison if you want to try the same recipe. As you can see my freezer is now mostly meat and frozen meals, so please consider subscribing or following if you want to keep up with everything to come!