Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Project - a Kitchen Counter Re-do

I know, I know, I've been lax with my photo-a-day project.  I have plenty of excuses though!  I've been very busy with ArtfulMemory.Com and new drawings for the Torn Paper Design series as well as many other designs for that store.  And I'm still working my part-time job more than I'd like.  Soon, however, you'll see some photos here, but not necessarily what you'd expect out of me!  I'm getting ready to start a major project in my kitchen - I'm preparing to "resurface" my old, ugly, outdated, chipped, stained and worn kitchen counter tops in a unique, DIY way. :)

Above you'll see a sneak peek of how the counters should look when I complete this project.  This is actually a granite chip I picked up at Lowes called Bella Noche.  When I get done, I hope the counters will look very similar to this chip as far as color and pattern.

I'll be using very few products.  The main product which will be providing my background color and save me on quite a bit of painting time is Duck GRANITE contact paper.  Here's a photo from the Lowes site, but the colors are not as clear on screen.  The paper has a deep tan color, with some medium gray and a few gold specks here and there.

The colors in this paper match the tan/med gray colors in my granite chip.  I chose this contact paper for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it's thicker than most contact papers.  It's made by DUCK, and Duck Tape is one of my best friends. :) It also has a light sandy "feel" to it, which goes along with the stone look I'm after.  I saw other granite-look contact papers online in various places such as Amazon, but I couldn't find one in the exact colors I wanted.  After feeling several different types and thicknesses/textures of papers in the stores, DUCK clearly won out with quality and thickness -- and I wasn't sure how these online ones would feel, nor would I be able to tell their thickness online.

Our cabinets are 1970s paneling - not too dark wood, but they do have a dark brownish-black wood grain running through them, and they have a golden hue to them. (you'll see photos soon) I was going to paint the cabinets a lighter color - I did a test on the inside of one cabinet door, and just didn't like it.  Not to mention, the paint came right off with a light wiping, days after drying. NOT GOOD...my wood just does NOT want to be painted!  Since this wood paneling is also prevalent in the attached dining area and HUGE living room, I decided work with the wood and it's colors rather than try to change it.

I'm very chemically sensitive and didn't want the mess of dust from sanding down cabinets inside, as well as the strong smell of paint.  I also felt if I changed the kitchen wood colors, then I'd feel a need to change the dining room wood colors, and then the living room (as I mentioned above - it's HUGE!), and then the ceiling beams, and then the built in wood bookshelves, and so on.  So I looked at things a different way and decided changing the counters (which are white with green running through them and have obvious surface problems from years of wear and tear), and changing the cabinet hardware, and changing the wallpaper at the top of the kitchen as well as the top of the dining room walls, would be the easier, cheaper, and less chemically invasive way to go for me for right now.

We've already changed a few appliance items in the kitchen - the fridge, the microwave, the dishwasher, and the toaster are all silver/black (stainless look).  I still have to eventually do something with my sink, stovetop/venthood, and double ovens....which are all....AVOCADO GREEN.  Unfortunately changing those appliances is out of budget for me at the moment, and I want a nicer looking kitchen NOW.  My patience has run out!

So here's the plan, and I'll share it here on this blog, even though it has nothing to do with my art (well, I guess it is pretty artistic...). :)  The first step in the plan is to get the junk off the counters, and heavily clean them.  The second step will be to apply the tan/gray granite contact paper.  The third step will be to add my paint colors to the top (via sponges and/or wadded up paper towels to create the textured stone look).  And the fourth step will be to roll on a polycrylic coating for protection.

I did see some other products online I thought about getting before coming up with my method above.  For example, there is a highly recommended system by Giani Granite, but I figured I would need two kits at least for my kitchen, and that was more than I wanted to spend.  I'm being careful with my budget - I've spent just under $80 so far, and I think I'll have supplies left over to do some accessories or repairs in the future if necessary.  I still have to buy all of that cabinet hardware I need (knobs, drawer pulls, and hinges for a LOT of cabinets!).  The Giani kit is the same concept though, except I'll have less painting because I'll have the contact paper serving as my base colors.   Another product I looked at was the EZ Faux Granite Contact Paper. Once again, out of my budget (I would have needed at least two of their 12' rolls @ $90 a roll...), and once again, the colors weren't exactly what I was looking for.

Of course after I'm done with the counters, I'll have to get more accessories to better fix up the display of things ON the counters, as well as get and install all the new cabinet hardware, but that's a whole 'nother deal and will come after I get the counter top complete.  So stay tuned - we're going to take before, during and after photos to show you the progress!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

#11 Horseshoes - Photo A Day - PAD

A collection of horseshoes left over from the good ole days basks in the sun in this deserted barn.

#10 Birdhouse - Photo A Day - PAD

This birdhouse is only missing one thing - the birds!

Monday, January 9, 2012

#9 It's Monday Shih Tzu Dog - Photo A Day - PAD

It's Monday....can I just close my eyes and go back to bed?  (Gee, that sounds so good, I think I'll make it into a card!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

#8 Horse By The Water - Photo A Day - PAD

This handsome boy enjoyed spending a warm winter afternoon out by the pond. The sun brought out the rich chestnut colors of his hair, with touches of black in his mane and on his nose. I love the reflections in the water behind him as he poses for his photograph.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

#7 Two Black Kittens - Photo A Day - PAD

After photographing the wild black barn kittens all week long, I finally captured a good photo of two of them together.  See all the wild black kitten photos in my website album.

Friday, January 6, 2012

#6 Nosey Rosie (horse) - Photo A Day - PAD

I bet you all thought I was going to put up another kitten photo.  Not so!  This is what was in my face when I attempted to photo the kittens the first time I went down to the barn yesterday.  This is Rosie, and I call her "Nosey Rosie" because she always has her nose in whatever I'm doing at the barn.  I was all poised to get some shots of the wild kittens, and I heard something behind me.  When I turned around, this is what greeted me - Rosie with her nose almost inside my lens.  Silly horse!  She's a sweetheart though...unless she doesn't like something you're doing, and then she can get snotty.  She was sweet yesterday -- just being curious.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

#5 Strong Kitten - Photo A Day - PAD

This week, I'm spending time kitten stalking.  There are 3 wild kittens in a barn, and photographing them is the ultimate challenge, as they run when they see me.  I borrowed a super big lens to be able to be about 100 yards away and get this shot.  Actually, I took a ton of photos, and have put them up in my Kitten Stalking 101 album on my website.  Or you might enjoy watching the slide show of these delightful little furry babies.

I chose this photo as a favorite, as this little kitten looks so cute as he/she tries to move that metal post in the ground.  I think this kitty will end up being really strong after working his muscles like this! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DIY Wedding Invitations

I've been super busy this week creating a line of DIY invitations at ArtfulMemory.Com.  Check out the first invitation set I'm offering, Orange Rose.  I've created the Invitation, RSVP, and matching Save the Date card, along with a sheet of matching sticker seals.  I think this line will really appeal to the do-it-yourself folks out there, who want to save a little money and be able to add their own special touch to their invites.  I've left plenty of white space to add an emblem, more words, a photo, etc.

For a low purchase price, brides can receive a custom invitation made just for them, and they can print an unlimited number of invitations and cards.  The high-resolution 8.5"x11" JPG image file can easily be edited/added to and printed using any standard graphics software.  It can be printed on a home printer, or the image file(s) may be taken to a professional printer.

I plan on adding many more designs over the upcoming year, which will be different than the designs offered in the Artful Memory Invitation shop, for a totally unique and original presentation.

#4 Turtle's Peekin' - Photo A Day - PAD

My daughter made homemade Reeses style peanut butter eggs last night, and after I shot this photo, we decided they look like little turtles peeking out of their shells! She used a corn cob skewer to secure them for dipping, and removal of the skewer afterwards made it look like these delicious candies have little eyes. I thought this was an interesting choice for the photo a day for today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#3 Blue Parakeet - Photo A Day - PAD

I've had parakeets since I was 13 years old.  They are just delightful, cheerful and fun pet birds!  This is little Biskit, who is a stunning shade of turquoise blue.  He is a little over 2 years old now.  Biskit absolutely loves Wheel of Fortune, and any other TV shows where there's lots of clapping and cheering.  He also loves just about any type of music. And water running...run the water and he squawks and chirps all at the same time!  If you ever want to bring some true joy into your home -- get a parakeet. :)

Biskit's photo is available here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

#2 High Expectations - Photo A Day - PAD

This photo of one of the tallest trees in the neighborhood describes what I have for this year -- high expectations.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

#1 Antique Trains - Photo A Day - PAD

I've committed to the Photo A Day project again for 2012!  I tried a couple years ago, and didn't quite make it.  This year, I'm even more committed to the PAD project.

This is photo #1, titled Antique Trains.

These trains are from an old train collection my dad used to have, and I ended up with some of the trains and buildings.  I'm sure model train enthusiasts will appreciate this photo!