Sunday, March 24, 2013

New appliances!

Part deux of our March home improvements includes new kitchen appliances! Home improvements are always a domino effect. We had the plumbers come in to fix a drip in the tub before the resurfacers came and while they were there, they looked at our other plumbing to make sure we were getting the most out of our $75 house call. They said our dishwasher (which came with the house) was on it's last legs and we should consider a new one. We kind of figured that because it was doing a worse and worse job cleaning the dishes with every wash. We decided to start looking for a new dishwasher to keep an eye out for really good sales. Just so happened that the day we went to Best Buy to browse (after me doing hours of obsessive appliance research on the internet) they were having a really great kitchen appliances sale. We found the dishwasher of my dreams (you don't dream about dishwashers? Weirdo.) and it was on sale for $165 less than the normal price. Sold.

Then we started browsing the refrigerators because they were so pretty. The refrigerator we currently had that came with the house worked fine, but the part in the water/ice dispenser in the door cracked and a rust problem ensued. It got a little out of control and rust dripped down the door. Oopsies. It's supposedly a reasonable fix to sandpaper out the rust, buy a new part for the dispenser, and spray paint the door with appliance spray paint, but neither of us felt up to the challenge, plus having to lug it outside, store all the food somewhere for a day, and then lug it back in made all those shiny new refrigerators in Best Buy VERY tempting. Not the most responsible and frugal decision we have made, but work is going really well for Jeff right now and we felt like splurging. GET OFF MY BACK!

Anyways, we found an awesome Samsung refrigerator with LED lighting powered by mini magical unicorns that live in the refrigerator that was also on super sale PLUS I found it online for even less from a competitor which Best Buy honored the price of giving us the additional discount. Only problem, we went home to measure and realized that we needed a counter-depth refrigerator which guess what, surprise surprise, are a lot more expensive than normal and larger fridges. Bah! The same Samsung we wanted came in the counter-depth so it was an easy switch, it just cost a bit more (still got the price match discount though!).

Geez. So many words for two appliances. Anyways, here they are:


It's a vintage kitchen with old cabinets obviously, so the brand new modern dishwasher sticks out a bit, The black control touch panel is supposed to be hidden but with our short cabinets it's visible. Oh well. Stainless steel inside with adjustable heights on the rack so we can now properly wash all the tall beer glasses and travel mugs.

The fridge:

LED lighting! It's not just me, everyone is impressed with the lighting when they open the door.

Sigh. I love new appliances. Our range and microwave are still in good working condition so no plans to upgrade those for the time being. I think next on our wish list will be resurfacing the kitchen tile (we're resurfacing addicts!) and doing something about that awful vinyl floor.

New (kinda) bathroom!

It's been the month of home improvement projects for us, so first up, our new bathroom!! When we moved into the house, the one and only bathroom was pretty dated. It luckily was in very good condition, everything being clean, not chipped, nothing rotting, just dated and pink and not great. We had already ditched the pink toilet and replaced the linoleum floor with tile, but the pink tub and sink, and pink tile surround still haunted us. I'm normally a fan of retro tile, especially if it's in good condition, but the pinks were slightly different and it drove me nuts. Plus the grout was old and mildewy and impossible to clean. I don't know why it took us so long, but it finally dawned on me that would could get the fixtures and tiles resurfaced! 

If you don't know about resurfacing, then you obviously aren't watching HGTV. They resurface stuff all the time on their home improvement shows. Anyways, professionals come in, tape off every damn thing in the room, and then spray this enamel on the fixtures and tile (and over the grout lines), and you basically get a shiny and clean new surface without having to rip everything out to the studs. The enamel covers the grout so no more scrubbing grout. Just a smooth swipe and it's clean. 

You can get just about any color done, but to do a custom color match, they have to send it out and it takes a few weeks. I wanted a white tub and sink, white tile horizontally on the vanity, and a light gray tile on the tub surround and vanity backsplash. They said they could mix the gray on site in front of me to approve, which we did, but the wet gray I approved in the can was SO different from the final look. Not a surprise because grays are stupid hard to get right (this one dried very blue and I'm a fan of the warmer, browner grays) but still kind of a bummer. Oh well. I still like it and it's growing on me. Ready for before and after pictures!?

Toilet/tub/tile/floor before:

Toilet/floor after (you've seen this before):

 Vanity before:

Vanity after a new mirror and gray paint on the cabinet:

Vanity after with resurfacing!

Those crazy patterned tiles on the vanity stayed, but with the solid color, the pattern is super subtle and kind of cool. Here's a close-up:

Tub, tile, and shower doors before:

Tub and tile resurfaced and no more doors after:

We went all out and got a new shower head too. (Btw, this picture was taken after my shower- I couldn't wait- and you can see the water drips and condensation. That's not the enamel dripping I swear).

The patterned tile in the shower is also still there (all tiles were in great condition so nothing had to be chipped out and replaced) but classier now in gray/blue.

And the stupid soap dish also stayed. It would have been work to take it out and replace it but this thing was COVERED in mildew and mold before the job. I swear I scrubbed the crap out of it trying to clean it but it was impossible. It's sealed now and I'm going to keep on top of cleaning it regularly so it won't be a breeding ground for bacteria.

For the details, we used ProTub Resurfacing in Signal Hill for the job and they were great. Very nice and easy to work with, we'd recommend them. The job took two days because we did two colors (they can only do one color per day) and you can't use the bathroom for 24 hours after the paint job so our bathroom was out of commission for two days. The enamel takes 30 days to cure fully so you can use the bathroom normally after 24 hours but you need to be careful and wipe things down and not put heavy stuff on the resurfaced surface for the 30 days.

Resurfacing the tub and adding an anti-slip surface to the bottom (like a sandpapery finish) was $290. The sink cost $140, and the tile on the vanity cost $315 ($45 per foot of vanity, we have a 7 foot vanity). The tile surround in the shower cost $290. So altogether, $1035 for a much cleaner and more modern bathroom. Ripping out the tile and replacing everything can go up to over 10K in labor and materials, not too mention it's pretty wasteful if your existing stuff is in good condition, so we feel like we made the right decision. We also got a new ceiling fan to combat the moisture issue in the bathroom (about $100 for the fan and free labor from our electrician neighbor who wanted to get paid with a Jeff McMillan print) and Jeff repainted the whole room and ceiling, so I think it's safe to say that this room is DONE. We're calling it a wrap.


Elsa's getting a little better about staying put and focusing on an activity so we naively thought that maybe she would sit quietly and color if she had a little table and chair set to sit at. We picked up this cute and super cheap set ($19.99 for the table and two chairs!) at IKEA (where else?) and had to rearrange the office/sewing sweat shop/playroom around to make everything fit. The bookcase got flipped and my desk is now on the other side and Elsa's table got parked right next to it. It's a good set up, I actually like it more than our second (third?) iteration of the room layout. 

Elsa also likes it and will sometimes sit at her table but not for longer than 30 seconds or so. She mostly just hovers over the table and eats the colored pencils. Oh well. 

She's still too mini now, but I see this corner of the house getting a lot of craft time action from us in the future. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cirque du Elsa

We realized that we don't have much to entertain Elsa in the backyard (Andy & Kim have more backyard toys than we do, and they have cats) so I picked up this cute little circus tent from IKEA for our little clown. She liked it in the store and it was only $20 so I figured we'd give it a shot. She kind of likes it, but I think it'll get more use in the summer especially when we're out there for dinners.

And I guess at least Jeff will keep using it if Elsa loses interest. 

Bathing beauty

YES. I found Elsa's swimsuit for summer. So sophisticated but cute! Love that floral print. Floral peplum one-piece from GapBaby:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bucket hats

I made Elsa a couple bucket hats from a pattern in the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book yesterday and today. They are surprisingly easy to make and the size turned out perfect. 

The first one I made with a piece of vintage fabric I found at the flea market a long time ago that was in my fabric stash. It totally does not go with her leopard peejays but oh well.

Maybe I should have sewn in straps to keep it on, although it is a pretty snug fit.

I made her another one this morning made with the Cloud9 Flock bird fabric and a waterproof fabric Mandy scored for me when she worked at Quiksilver. The inside is the same waterproof fabric so her little head will stay dry. Think this one will join us on our trip to Hawaii.