Dueling DIY: Pulling Myself Out of a DIY Rut

diy rut

Oh, you remember that whole battle with Brick City Love to finish our kitchens, right? Yeah... well, I guess I am officially losing after getting distracted with blue dining room walls and then losing steam, because that's pretty much what happened with my side of things this summer. Meanwhile, Carrie is picking up speed and really throwing some salt in my game (that's throwback slang from 2005, folks. And yeah, that made me feel old. 30 is apparently making me cranky.). But this … [Read more...]

Count Your Brush Strokes Instead of Sheep

when i can't sleep

Last night, I had a tough time sleeping. I just couldn't get tired enough, and always catch a tough-to-fight second wind around 10pm. So, knowing that I wasn't going to be hitting the hay quite as early as I would have liked, I used my go-to cure for when I can't sleep: painting something. I don't know precisely what it is: the soothing and quiet house, the repetitive nature of painting, or simply knowing that I'm getting something done, but this method seems to work for me each and every … [Read more...]

How to Extend & Fix a Wobbly Outlet

wiggly outlet

In a perfect world, I wouldn't do as much assuming as I do before I begin a project.  I almost always underestimate the time a project's going to take... that I have every possible supply I could need already on hand (ha!)... and that I really won't make that big of a mess.  I'll be careful and aware of my surroundings. In other words, I can be pretty stupid. In a perfect world, I would do all of my homework before beginning a project and not just assume that two previous tiling projects … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Little Things All Around

gfci outlet

Hey, ever think you pushed "publish" on your post but didn't?  Oops.  Going out one day later than expected, but let's all pretend it's Friday once more... Yeah, yeah, yeah... it's Friday and not Wednesday, I know.  But still - Dueling DIY post comin' at ya. While adding the hardware to all of the cabinet doors in the kitchen is a bit slow-moving, I have found time in the week to get to some of the smaller things, such as adding the little foam buttons to all of the cabinet doors (to … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: I Work Out

cabinet doors

It's that time again for another kitchen update.  And this time, it's got something finished.  The upper cabinet doors are now all hanging back up where they belong!  :) After working up a sweat in the kitchen (not cooking - Hell did not freeze over), I realized that I should probably start counting some of this DIY stuff as daily exercise.  After all, I'm doing plenty of gym-like activities in here, such as: Lunges (I've realized that since I don't have a stack of paper towel rolls … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Counting the Hours

paint door

Happy Friday!  I normally mean to post kitchen updates each Wednesday, but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you have probably just gotten used to me getting around to things when I do.  I considered waiting until next Wednesday's after pictures to finally have a good post update, but... nah.  After all, since when is this blog just about before and afters anyway? So, even though I don't yet have them up and ready to take those sweet "after" photos for a few more … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Well Hung


It sounds like a bad or boring thing to entitle this post More Cabinet Doors, but when it comes to the progression of this kitchen, more of anything is pretty damn good.  Behold: That, my friends, is an entire section of my kitchen (the whole unit next to the fridge) with all of the doors re-attached.  I was cursing even more than I did last week when trying to install the smaller ones above the fridge itself, but in the end, they all succumbed to my stubbornness.  AND, they're even … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Snarling at Inanimate Objects


Here's a perfect way to get frustrated:  give me a task that requires at least three hands to do properly, and provide me with only two.  This is exactly the scenario of what hanging the upper cabinet doors has been like. When I reattached the bottom cabinet doors, I had to get creative with support in lieu of a third arm to hold the door (while my two hands were occupied holding & screwing in the hinge).  A little funny, but still - worked pretty well. The full steps are … [Read more...]

How to Protect an Oiled Butcher Block Countertop During Projects

oiled counter

So, I have this amazing walnut butcher block countertop. It cost me well more than the Ikea butcher block alternative I was considering (about a $400 difference in total cost).  But after that first coat of oil and beeswax soaked into the wood (read about why I chose this mixture here), bringing out all of its gorgeous color variation, I was forever smitten.  I had made the right choice.  However, when it comes to finishing off various other projects in the kitchen, such as the tiled … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Two Steps Forward…

kitchen tile 2

This week, I've been completely high on the getting-it-dones.  Not only had my dad and I done the first round of scooping mud onto the drywall panels in his dining room, but I'd actually managed to get the grout finished in my kitchen in the same weekend. BOOM.  And I also sealed the grout around the stove, which meant I could finally shimmy her back into her rightful place along the wall.  Like a real kitchen or something. I need to do a little cleaning on the stovetop, and then … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: Still Backsplashing


Even though most of my weekend was spent at Mom and Dad's installing drywall, I did manage to eke out a few minutes (basically, in the time it takes Charlie to do her business & do a little playing outside) to get some of the grouting done on the kitchen backsplash. I chose to stick with the white bucket of Simple Grout (see here for why it gave me pause) and hope for better results on a larger wall.  And happily, that's exactly how it went.  So the little nook next to the fridge may not … [Read more...]

Dueling DIY: “Real Quick”


You'd think that after skipping last week's Dueling DIY update, I'd be all BAM, look at my fully-grouted kitchen walls.  But then you'd be very wrong.  Optimistic, of course, and I'd be grateful for that... but still wrong. No, all it seems I managed to do was this: Which wouldn't have even happened at all if I hadn't just forced myself to do it "real quick" under the premise of needing to have something to be updating you about this week (I guess then I can be happy that the whole … [Read more...]