Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project House Update: Cap'n Hook

It’s Pinterest Challenge time again!

This time, I decided to tackle something I think just about everyone has probably pinned: the measuring cup/spoon organizer.

And my cabinet definitely needed it. Here’s what it looked like before:

There were three main reasons why it got to be so bad.

  1. I don’t like when cups and spoons are linked together. I like them loose so they don’t all get dirty and have to be washed every time I cook something. However, since they are loose, they roam and expand and take over everything.
  2. We have way too many. We have mine, my former roommate’s who left her’s behind when she moved out, Dan’s, and the fancy ones we received as a wedding present.
  3. I’m just lazy and throw them in the cabinet when they’re clean. No stacking for me.
Therefore, these hooks could potentially tame this beast of a shelf.

Here’s the tools I used:

  • 5 gallon paint stirrers (Ask about them at the paint desk at Home Depot, but they are free!). My cabinets are narrow, so I needed 3 to hang everything.
  • Cup hooks (Note: the reviews from these hooks claim that they aren't to the sizes specified. The coating makes the hook pretty thick while making the diameter smaller. I did have issue with a handful of my cups and spoons having too small of holes to hang on these hooks, but it definitely fit my nice ones that I wanted to hang, anyway.)
  • Measuring tape
  • Paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Wood glue (optional)
  • 3M Velcro strips
And here’s how it went together!

  • Measuring the opening of the cabinet, not the width of the door. Subtract roughly 1/2-3/4” from the measurement and mark on your stirrers.
  • Lay out the measuring cups and spoons on the stirrers. You want to make sure that the cups don’t knock into each other when they are hanging. Also, since I needed 3 layers of hooks, I put the spoons at the bottom so they are easiest to see and distinguish which size they are: 1 Tbsp, 1/2 Tbsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tsp, and 1/4 tsp. Then, on the middle layer, I put the cups I use the most: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1/4 cup. Since we have (and love) our obscure size cups, those went on the top layer: 3/4 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/8 cup. We also have a 2/3 cup, but that one’s just going to have to sit on the shelf. No more room!

  • Mark the position where you need your hooks to go based on their layout. Remember to leave some room above each hook for a label, if necessary. Also, it may turn out to be handy to make it know which side is the good side. You know, so if your husband helping and inadvertently does everything for the wrong side.
  • Cut the stirrers to length. If you want, drill pilot holes for the hooks. It will make for a cleaner final product, but it’s not mandatory.

  • Make sure to do a test run of your hooks. Because the wood is so soft and there was plenty of extra length, I wanted to test to see if there would potentially be a lot of burrs and splinters when I screwed in the hooks. If there were, I wanted to know before I paint so I could sand them off. It wasn’t too bad, but I found that the threading on the hooks was thicker than the stirrer. If you know the threaded length of the hooks you’re looking at, you could potentially avoid this problem (Note: the thickness of a 5 gallon stirrer from Home Depot is 1/4 in. The thickness of a regular stirrer from Home Depot is 1/8 inch.) Since I already bought my hooks and I really liked them, my husband came up with a different solution. He measured lengths from the scraps of stirrers the same length as the Velcro strips and used wood glue to attach them to the back of the stirrers. It means that the hooks can be fully threaded and the ends of the screws won’t damage the interior surface of my cabinet door. I will be the first to admit that it’s not the most elegant solution, but it’s just going inside a cabinet, so who cares?

  • Quick sand off the burrs.
  • Painting. We just used some that we had sitting around in the garage (Again, it’s in a cabinet, who cares?) Two coats to cover up any little bits of dried wood glue

  • Screw in your hooks.
  • Determine where the stirrers need to go on the door. Make sure to avoid the shelving on the interior of the cabinet. I like to mark of where the shelves are with painter’s tape so I don’t have to double check it a million times. 
  • Put the velcro strips on the stirrers. Other tutorials I’ve seen online just screw directly to the cabinet, but because I didn’t want to damage my “vintage” cabinets and these aren’t that heavy, 3M Velcro strips work just fine.
  • Peel the paper off the back of the velcro (while stuck to the velcro on the stirrer) and stick stirrers into place. 

  • Label your hooks. (I still need to do this, but I will at some point, promise!)
  • Hang your cups and spoons!

Isn't it gorgeous? Once I get around to labeling, I'll know exactly how to find what I need. My husband, being the engineer he is, is already trying to find ways to better the system. And good thing I used velcro strips because he's been moving them around.

Not that I mind because the shelf still looks like this:

I did manage to get rid of one set of cups, but somehow, there are still more than I remember. Oh well. At least I can find things now.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow Day!

Snow is the most magical thing imaginable! Anyone who lives in a climate where it's just normalcy may disagree, but for this desert rat, it is utterly gorgeous.

Yesterday, the browns and tans of Tucson became clean and white. And more importantly, I actually got to witness the transformation with my own eyes. Yes, snow has stuck on the ground in Tucson in my lifetime, but it always happens overnight when the temperature is low enough to give snow a chance.

For the first time in my life, I stood outside, stuck my tongue out, and got a frozen face of some fluffy foreign substance.

Snow may now be officially my favorite thing ever.

I ran outside after my noontime conference call to see if my coworker's were exaggerating how much it was coming down.

My manager, being the awesome guy he is, declared it a Snow Day and gave us all his blessing to work from home to avoid the craziness of Tucson drivers before they get even crazier in the snow. I ran to my car not long after to find it had gained a chilly skin.

I didn't know how to get the snow off my window (rolling the window down and hoping it popped off was a VERY bad idea) so I drove home like this:

Once I got home, our backyard was so pretty! There's usually a lovely view of the mountains under that cloud of snow.

I brought some of it for the cats to enjoy, too.

After that, the snow started to melt and I thought that was the end of my first real snow day. That's why I was quite surprised when I finished up my run on the treadmill this evening to find this:

The snow was back! Two instances of the snow sticking to the ground in the same day? That is unheard of in these parts!

I hope I get to wake up in the morning and see the snow still waiting for me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Color Me Rad Run

Sunday morning, my mom and I started out like this:

and ended up like this:

It was a fun run and we ran the entirety of the 5K, but it was a tough run. There were five different color stations, both dry dye and wet. {Sidenote: I'll have more photos to update in a couple of days once the official race ones are posted online.}

I'm glad we did it, but I don't know if I'd do it again. The $50 registration fee, the fact that the shirt that came in the packet was black so I had to buy a different white shirt to stain, and the fact that the packet pick-up was about an hour drive away means that "Color Me Rad" isn't high on my favorites list. I've heard that "Color Run"s are better, though, if you are looking into running one.

As I said before, it was a "5K", but it felt like much longer. So, I plugged the route into Google Maps and guess what? It was 4.1 miles, not 3.1. I can officially run 4.1 miles! That's insane! One step closer to my next goal of running a 10K!

At least I can cross it off my resolutions list!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Project House Update: Front Room Part I

Hopefully there won't be too many "Part"s to this room, but, there may. We have already hit a pretty big speed bump breaking just painting into two parts.

Let's start at the beginning. Once we knew what kind of color we wanted for the front room, we started trying to develop the exact shade we wanted. Dan mixed the two samples together at different ratios and painted it both on the wall and a scrap of dry wall.

We ended up with the second lightest shade. We've learned the hard way that colors always look darker once a whole room is that color, we played it safe. Since we mixed it, we get to name it, and it's called "Sea Glass Storm". Dan calls it gray. I call it green. Either way, it's gorgeous.

A trip to Home Depot and three gallons of paint later, we dove in. First, we painted the ceiling. Polar Bear like all the other ceilings in the house. Here's what it looked like before:

And after:

It always feels so much better once we've started painting a room. It's so much cleaner and prettier with just that small change.

Then, we painted one wall at a time. Starting with the largest, least-edging wall, we made really good time of it.

Since the rest of the room didn't actually have too much painting surface (once you subtract out the fireplace, the window, and the doorway), we decided to paint the remaining walls in one go. It was going to be awesome.

Then, bum bum BUM! Disaster struck! While taping off the ceiling, Dan found evidence of termites. TERMITES! Every Arizona home owner's worst nightmare.

Downside: we have termites. Upside: we were already working on the room so anything necessary to kill all the damn little bugs won't wreck all our work. If they need to punch a hole in the wall to fill it with poison, no problem! And all the baseboards were already removed, so if they need to get at the foundation, easy access!

Because it looked pretty isolated to one corner of the room, we just painted the other walls.

We'll finally get to finish up the walls once Terminix shows up and does their job. [Sidenote: God, I hate Terminix. Before we purchased the house, we had a separate inspection just for termites and they actually missed the termites. Dan actually found termite damage days before we were supposed to sign all the papers. The former owners were then required to tent the house, which, in turn, almost pushed back our move-in date. All of this during monsoon season, so the tent actually BLEW OFF THE HOUSE at one point. Word to the wise: don't trust Terminix. Learn how to spot termites in your own home. We basically use them as termite insurance.]

But, on the bright side, we did finally agree on a ceiling fan! I doubt we've debating anything as much as we've debated this fan. We debated number of blades, size, type of light fixture, metal color, blade color, you name it. I went back and forth on how I wanted the room to feel. Eventually, the best way to describe what I was looking for was a ceiling fan that you would have found in Indiana Jones' study. I wanted it to be classic and vintage. Dan was insistent that it be five blades. I needed an enclosed light fixture, but it still needed to be very bright. Dan needed it to be big and for the light bulbs to be straight-forward. This is the fan we walked into Lowes and instantly fell in love with it.

It's the Saratoga fan. It's oil rubbed bronze with deep cherry blades and a bright light kit. We love it. It's bright and quiet and just awesome.

So far so good. Next on the plan is to hopefully finish up the walls soon. After the termites are treated, there's some drywall that needs to be placed, but after that, painting should go really quickly. From there, tiling the base of the fireplace, tiling the fireplace itself, and building a new mantel! That's going to be a lot of hard decisions and hard work, but there's no way it won't be beautiful!