Budget Friendly Kitchen Remodel… a woman with a (new) plan

So this is happening at our house now:

step 1

Some back story… when we moved in last December, I had plans for a quick kitchen remodel on a 2-3K budget. People told me I was nuts. Kitchens cost 20K and up. Upon moving in, they got to me and I too agreed and thought “the cabinets have to go, they are too crummy and not worth the time to repaint” and the “layout doesn’t work,” everything needs to be redone to really make this kitchen right. So my mental budget for the kitchen grew and the plan brewed and brewed. Then we paid the tax bill (some unexpected quirks with my fellowship and maternity leave stuff, rental property, etc), then our Pittsburgh basement flooded and the central AC up there died… and I always toss around in my mind how a potential second child (no, no, this is not that) will clean us out with doubled daycare costs. So the big kitchen gut was seeming farther and farther away. (this is what your kitchen looks like when you skip dishes and paint instead)

chaos

 

Then, I learned about a new paint my mom used on a project I’m sure she’ll share soon- that is specifically designed to paint old wood furniture without sanding and priming. And I realized my desire for open shelving in the kitchen would largely eliminate several cabinets and having to paint them anyway. SOLD. The kitchen plan was reborn (again!). This time, I’m diving right in before I change my mind :-) To satisfy my need to NOT spend money on something I eventually would really rather tear out, etc, the budget is quite small. I’m calling this a 1K remodel (while allowing for 2K when all is said and done- I know how these things go!). I will organize the plan more and share that, but for now, here’s what our base cabinets will look like. Recognize the hardware? I’m going to use the pulls I put in our rental a couple years ago, but removed before moving out. So, that’s $0.

finished drawer

The amazing paint I’m working with is a bit spendy for paint but has great coverage, so one quart will get the base cabinets done easily for about $30. More to come, but just wanted to kick things off to share the chaos I’m starting in the kitchen, and involve you all to keep me accountable to getting this project done quickly and affordably!

 

More EPP… I Can’t Seem To Stop!

I bought some beautiful Phillip Jacobs fabric for the purpose of creating an EPP quilt  (English paper piecing). I used hexagons and created quite a few flowers, but I didn’t like the business of the two prints together. So I got another idea and only used the lettuce print with a leaf print. I’m not finished yet, but I am sure happy with how it’s turning out.

DSC_0009

I hand appliqued all the pieces to the black and then embroidered ferns. I am really enjoying all the hand work. My art quilt friends can’t believe I’m doing all this hand work. But as I have stated before, it is so addicting. I have spent time this weekend quilting it by machine but I haven’t finished it yet. So more later.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today my wonderful mom celebrates the big 6-0. What an amazing birthday year! She has raised two kids, owned multiple businesses, and now lives the dream in retirement. It’s like vacation every day down there in TN! We recently visited for the annual July 4th pilgrimage involving friends and family alike this year. We threw Mom and Dad (who also has an upcoming milestone bday, turning 65 later this month) with a surprise birthday party- that they truly knew nothing about :-) Her cake was made from a photo of one of her favorite art quilts “Fox in the Moonlight.”

mom cake

It was great to honor their big bday with many family and some great friends all together- a rare event. Happy 60th, Mom!! I love you!

mom dad cut cake

 

This and That

So much has happened recently! Major landlord chores to kick us off in 2015 including a flooded basement and failing AC unit. Eek. Hopefully I’ll get a picture of the final new product that is finishing up in remodel phase right now. Even though I don’t live there, it’s still exciting to get a brand new basement and bathroom! We added a bit to the insurance money to get a full brand spankin’ new bathroom, complete with redesigned plumbing and proper insulation, a new double pane window, heated floor, big tiled shower. The previous quick DIY job was not up to the task of record cold temps that Pittsburgh saw late this winter. Remember this from our quick redo in 2012?

DSCF8598

Well, here’s where we are now. Pardon the not-great phone picture. So excited for a bathroom that’s not even finished… and not even mine!

new shower in progress rz

Down here in VA, we’ve initiated some landscaping work in our new yard, with my very own lilac, courtesy of O and Chad for Mother’s Day. The real gift of course was Chad chopping out all the overgrown twiggy shrubs outside our family room to make space for my lilac. (Chad convinced me he would need to purchase a chain saw for this- never did use it for this particular project… hmm….)

chopping shrubs

And we’ve been planting a few other items that I’m excited to get some pics of when they become photographable- think very sad hostas stolen and split from our other yard in PA, and dormant shrubs that are basically just sleeping sticks put in the ground for now (=economical landscaping!).

All for now, but wanted to share a bit of the spring crazy that’s been keeping us busy… oh, and bit of this as well ;-)

IMG_7282

IMG_7418

o mechanic

 

English Paper Pieced Runner Finished

DSC_0003

DSC_0004Here is my finished EPP table runner. Completely hand done and I loved every minute of making it. I used the backing for my binding by rolling it toward the front and hand sewing it down. I never would have believed how relaxing it was to learn to hand quilt. I’m ready for more. As for my EPP flag, it won first place. It now hangs ready in my home for the 4th of July festivities!

DSC_0036

My Improvised English Paper Piecing

DSC_0021

 

I am still working away on new things with English Paper Piecing. I think I need a support group. It is so addicting and yet relaxing.

I decided to make a table runner and even plan to hand quilt it. I am actually excited about the thought of meticulously running a needle through each hand pieced shape in coordinating color quilting threads. Only you quilters know the feeling I am trying to portray. Ahhhhhh. I started this runner by ordering two shapes of paper pieces. One is the 2 inch 8 point diamond and the other is the 2 inch half triangle. I get my papers from Paper Pieces.com . They have it all. I also ordered the clear acrylic shapes in the same sizes as listed so I can” fussy”cut the center diamond circles. They ship very fast and have great service. I usually call them to order because they can really help with any advice you need. “Fussy” cutting is a way to put a pattern just where you want it in the shape that you are using . The clear acrylic shapes have a 3/8 in border on them so you know just where the pattern is going to show.

I first created 3 blocks that I plan to put on point. Then I needed to figure out my background. So I decided to mimic the same pattern that my blocks were made in just in solid grunge fabric.” Grunge ” is my go to fabric in most of my quilts. It is my favorite solid with just a bit of grunge color swiped across it to give it a kind of dirty look. I use it in art quilts and now my English Paper Piecing. Grunge is made by “Basic Grey”. It comes in many colors and they put out new seasonal fabrics several times a year.

DSC_0022

DSC_0021

The block on the right shows the fussy cutting I did to get the center of the flowers and make them all go in the same direction. It gives you somewhat  of a kaleidoscope effect.

DSC_0023

DSC_0024 I love to work with crackle paint fabrics, wood grain and grunge fabric. It gives me a rustic cottage feel which is how I decorate my house. So here is a peek at what I am doing now. I will show you the finished result later. EPP on!

 

Finished Flag…Ready For The 4th of July!

DSC_0036

I finished the flag quilt today. I absolutely love making this quilt. I am so hooked on English Paper Piecing! I am already working on other EPP projects. It is addicting. This flag will fly in my house for the big family fest over every the of July. So I guess I just made an heirloom. I will also be showing it in The Smokey Mountain Quilt Show this month. I will be showing 2 other quilts,” Art In The Park” and “Fiber Mania”. Then my goal is to EPP and finish up UFO’s. My Fox should be on his way home from the Denver show. I was excited to see that they used my “Fox in The Moonlight” in advertising in the Mancuso Denver National Quilt Festival this month. What a surprise. You can see it here.

DSC_0038

Here are pics of the other 2 quilts.

20150116_134129-1

DSC_0020

I am trying to prepare for teaching EPP in Sept. to our guild. So I am busy making samples. I want to get some other people addicted. That doesn’t sound very nice… but it is, because it’s so fun to do. They will thank me…I hope.

English Paper Piecing Flag Project

Well I am just back from a quilt retreat for 4 days and boy did I have fun. 43 women just quilting away, laughing and eating. It was wonderful! I made some real headway on my flag, so I thought I would share. This photo is prior to leaving for quilt camp.

DSC_0012

DSC_0013When I got home I stamped my white hexies with mustard fabric paint so the stars would pop.

DSC_0016

I am really happy with the color I chose. More later.

Here is the progress in the past few days.

DSC_0002

Some English Paper Piecing

I am back into a little English Paper Piecing at the moment along with my other quilting. If you haven’t tried it…you must. It is addictive. English paper piecing is such a great take-a-long project. It requires minimal equipment and is completely portable. It can have an  old fashioned vibe or go with the new modern quilting rage. I had a flag on my mind and remembered seeing one in a book called Hex A Go Go. So that is my inspiration. You will need the paper pieces to make these quilts. Some people make them, but I just get them from a company called Paper Pieces. This is their website. http://www.paperpieces.com/. They have so many sizes and shapes. Check Pinterest out for English Paper Piece quilts for some ideas if you are not sure what these quilts look like.

DSC_0012

DSC_0017

English paper piecing is created by basting fabric around these sturdy paper shapes. Then they are pressed so they have nice crisp edges. You simply sew them together by hand with tiny stitches. I have never been much of a hand piece person , but this really is addictive. It’s relaxing and something nice to do while watching TV with the hubs…like weeks of March Madness! You can use scraps or buy more fabric. Oh boy :).

My mother has turned into an English Paper Piece quilter almost exclusively lately. She is the one that taught me the secret of the squeeze clips. They are worth the purchase. The nice thing about this method is that you  can switch off between cutting fabric, to clipping the  fabric to the paper, to basting or sewing together. So you never get bored and you can give your hands a rest.

DSC_0013 I am in the process of getting enough pieces basted so I can start the blue area of the quilt first.

I will keep you informed on the progress of this American Flag inspiration.