Thursday, January 30, 2014

A "Crafty" Birthday Party

My daughter just turned 12, and it feels like it went by in the blink of an eye....truly!
You know that moment, when you hear some mom say " It makes me feel so old" and you just laugh, because you've been there. Well prepare yourself.....
It makes me feel so old!!!
I know, I know, it only gets worse.  I was taking her annual, first day of school shot (between the eye rolling), a couple months ago, at the start of 6th grade. While comparing the days pictures, to the kindergarten really hit me! She' not so little (or innocent) anymore. 
This age, for some reason seems like such a big deal to me. 
I guess her whole childhood, I'd been preparing for 13, for all that comes with 13! I don't know why exactly. My mom told me once, that's when I became a pain, so I guess I was thinking I had more time....NOPE! Since so many things in her life are changing as a middle-schooler, and lots of new friends were being introduced, I decided this would be the year to let her have a big party. 
She begged for a sleepover with 10 girls...WHAT?!?!.... NO WAY!! That would age me 10 years over night!!! With two little kids, and no basement to stick them in...we opted for a day time party.
But what the heck do you do with 10 girls?
I have no energy for chasing them around some gaming place, and January's weather  is to unpredictable to do anything out doors. So we decided to do what we know best....crafts!

We came up with a craft, that would take a good amount of time, and let the girls be creative....without being overly hard to do, and needing little direction or assistance from me.
We mixed in a simple tween circus theme....cause that's her favorite...I wonder why :) My number one fan!

The party colors, and the cake, were what she was most particular about.  She wanted a colorful cake, with an animal topper.....she let me pick the rest.
So I did a simple ombre icing on the cake (which is sort of hard to tell here), and finished it off with a giraffe topper.

 I normally would make the food, I practically insisted.....but my husband brought me back to reality, and reminded me how stressful it would be to cook, among everything else I had to do....and that teens will eat just about anything...without flinching!
45 Min before the party,  I realized how super thankful I was, that we ordered sandwiches!!!

I used all sorts of party animals. Some held this hippo.

Others just manned the drink station, like this jumbo giraffe in a circus wagon

There were a total of 9 girls involved, so we set up a large table, with a craft kit for each one.

For the runner, I used some plastic grass sheets, covered with a parade of circus animals.
We couldn't have anything tall, blocking the girls VERY loud conversations, or singing sessions. 

Each girls basket, was fill with everything they needed to make an embellished bird cage.....Fabric strips, a wired cage (which I made ahead of time), flowers, buttons, butterflies, and a bird. 

To save the girls form any minor arguments, over who had the better stuff.....they all got the exact same fabrics, and same basic embellishments and birds.

 The girls had such a fun time putting these together. Most of them, hadn't really ever done any kind of craft project. A couple had never even used a glue gun before. They were ecstatic with the result...that they had made this cool thing, that could be displayed in their rooms. 
They have been talking about it all week at school. 
So I'd say it was a big hit!!!

This is such a good idea for any age really. The younger crowd could do a paint project, and as they get older, more involved things, like jewelry making could be introduced. 
It's nice because they were all confined, sitting, happy, and still able to chat and visit with one another. They don't get to do alot of bonding outside of school. 
I will tell you though, this was NOT a quite party...lots of songs were sung, and gossip was talked, I defiantly felt older by then end.  
 This gave them such a confidence boost, that they too, could make crafty things!!

Check out my Etsy shop, for more animals and party decorations, like the ones used here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

4 Tips To Installing Cabinet Molding

Well it has been cold out there.....seems like it has been everywhere the past week or so. I've been working so much, I hardly knew it was coming here. There is nothing like some snow in south Texas, to give you a day off. Our heater went out twice during the two coldest days, brrrr! We did finally got it fixed, thank goodness for the gas stove and fireplace, and fleece pajama's. 
I'm from Denver originally, so I'm used to all of this weather, and you start to miss it in the winter months. It was pretty windy on Thursday night, and with the rain, and all the humidity, the trees were like giant icicles. It made such a sweet sound, the clinking around. 
I was listening out the front door, then I realize how dang cold it is, and remember why I didn't like Denver so much....So I closed the door, and put on my flip flops....because I can :)

With stir crazy kids, illness, work, and a major birthday party, I've been a bit behind, with pretty much everything.  So here I am, sort-of healthy, and back in full swing!
 Today, I thought I would give you a couple tips on installing cabinet molding. 
You need to have, molding on the cabinets! 
Most cabinets do...although while at a friends apartment the other day, I realized they never installed it on her cabinets.....blahh!

It's pretty bland right? I wanted to nail up some wood right then and there. 

Some cabinets have a super skinny molding, which makes the cabinets look out of scale with the rest of the space.

Our cabinets, when we first moved in, did have a molding on the top, but it was so skinny, it made the cabinets look dinky. The awful orangey oak color didn't help of course, but something had to be done.

Since we knew we would be painting the cabinets, we had alot more options. 
When you have a nice stained cabinet, that you want to beef up the molding on, you need to match the wood, and the stain. 
It isn't impossible. 
Take off a door, and take it with you to look at stain colors. The sample chips on the shelves at the store, are a much better test of the color, than the print out on the front of then can. Start with one of the super small cans of stain. If you can't find your color, you  may be able to mix a couple colors, to get that perfect one. Buy extra wood, for doing test samples on. 

For our kitchen, we tore all of the 2 1/2' molding down, and opted for a 4" wide molding. Anything bigger wouldn't have looked in proportion with our cabinets. We chose a style with a good amount of ribs, and detailing.

Ok lets be honest here....We knew, we knew how to do this...we did! 
We've done lots of molding, and base boards...lots of wood work. But this threw us for a loop. We wasted quite a few feet of wood at first. We even called it quits on day one, out of frustration! 
Calmly, the next day, by myself (which sometimes works out better)...I worked on it with a clear head.

1. Label Stuff
 I figured goes alot smoother if you label stuff. 
Some moldings are simple, you can tell which is top and bottom, but I kept mixing this one up. So with a scrap piece, from our scrap day...I labeled the bottom., and just kept it by the saw to match it up, to be extra sure.

I know, it seems like a super silly, and simple step....but believe me, if I had another day like the one before, me and my husband may not be alive to tell you about it!

2. Cheat Pieces
 The next key to my sanity, was cheat pieces. 
With all the miss cuts from the day before, I had plenty to use. You could make several different angled cuts, with scrap wood, to get these.

 When you hold the wood up to measure for your cuts, and your SURE you know which way you have to cut make it back to the saw, flip it around, and are like....wait...WHAT?!?!? You'll thank me!

So I took these little cheat pieces,  held the "correct angled" piece up, on top of my molding I was measuring. Keeping it up against the wood, until I had it flipped around on the saw, and had changed the saw angle to match my cheat piece.
Then just cut the angle

Ok, so if your a beginner at this, and are really confused already, here is what we started with....

A Miter Saw. 

Or you could use a Miter Box for smaller jobs

Our miter saw, didn't not have a big back's kicking it old school. So our 4" wood would not have rested against something. Which makes it impossible to cut.

So we added a piece of wood to make the back board taller. The trim will need to sit flush against this while your cutting. 
If your molding is shorter, or you have a fancy new saw with a tall back may not need this step.

Then, we ran into the issue of the blade guard hitting the wood, so we notched out a piece...again you may not need any of the steps....and yes, this is totally rigged, but it works!

3. Cutting the Molding
The main piece of info you need to know, when cutting the molding angles is... 
 the bottom of the molding, needs to be at the top of the cutting surface. 
Flip the piece, from how you measured it.
 I have no idea why....Im sure they went over it in high school math, but I think that was the year I was not paying attention!!

The piece should sit flush like this. Both flat surfaces resting level, on the saw and the back board. 

To adhere the pieces, I used a bit of wood glue, and nails. Nailing it, into the botom rib of the wood. Since I was by myself, blue tape was a big help to keep it lined up. 
After the piece were all on, I used caulking to fill any gaps, and make smooth seams.  

Use a nail setter, or another nail, to hide nail heads.Fill in nail holes with wood putty.

Starting in the corners, or inside pieces, makes it easiest to get good tight joints, on the joining pieces. 

You can tell how much it beefed up the cabinets even with just the primer coat on.

4.Problem Areas
When we got close to the vent hood, we encountered a problem. 
How to stop the molding?
You may run into this same problem on different types of vent hoods, or window casings. 

There was two ways to stop the molding.
By overlapping the vent-hood, which obliviously wouldn't work.
Or by stopping it flush, which left a gap in the back.

To fill the gap, we used a piece of filler wood. I made a template with a piece of paper. And cut the wood to match. Since I was painting it in the end, it didn't matter what we used. 

The molding was really an important part to the end result of the kitchen. They also look more like custom cabinets, than the builder grade kind we actually have. 

 If your cabinets are older, and go straight into a soffit, you can still add the molding to the top. Though it may need a trim piece to push it out, and over the soffit.

If your cabinets are taller, you can do a much wider molding. This can really help your cabinets make a statement.

If you cabinets go to the ceiling you may not have the space to beef it up...look at hardware, to help make a statement.

Follow these simple tricks, and you'll be a pro in no time, or at least have a good looking kitchen!

Check out the rest of the kitchen remodel, or how to make the faux reclaimed wood counter tops!