It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

Well Thanksgiving came and went, and we were so busy that I never got around to taking many pictures, which is sad since we had lots of wonderful family in town and I failed to document it. 😦

I did manage to document this awesome cheese ball turkey that my aunt Janet made though!

I did manage to document this awesome cheese ball turkey that my aunt Janet made though!

Joey’s parents came up and stayed with us for a few days, and we had a wonderful weekend together! My uncle Gary and aunt MaryAnn came down this year for Thanksgiving as well, which was nice! And then of course we had our usual crowd, in total I think we had 15 people this year.
Jess and DebeeBecause Thanksgiving came so late this year I started getting itchy to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving was even upon us. So the day before Turkey day I cracked and we hung wreaths on the windows of the front of the house. They had just come in the mail, and I was soo excited to get them that we just had to put them up!
exterior

I love this addition, and plan to step it up next year with candles in all of the windows and maybe adding some LED lights to the wreaths.
dogs with wreathWe also added some net lights to the bushes in the front of the house. At least the bushes on one side of the house…haha. Our house is odd and has no outlets outside in the front or sides, so we’re limited when it comes to putting up Christmas lights. So we decided since it was so late this year to just throw on some net lights and call it a day. Next year we plan to have an electrician come out and install some outlets so we can light the bushes on the other side of the house, and maybe add some icicles to the roofline.

I picked up these luminaries last year at Goodwill, they were really sad and pathetic before they got a nice coat of silver and gold spray paint perked them up!

I picked up these luminaries last year at Goodwill, they were really sad and pathetic before they got a nice coat of silver and gold spray paint perked them up!

We didn’t do much decorating at all the first year in the house, we were still adjusting to having Chief, and tired from all the events in 2012. So this year I was really pumped to decorate, and I plan to continue to add a little more each year for the next few years.
Living Room

We got the flu in the second week of December though, so we lost steam about half way through. Luckily we got the outdoor lights and the tree lit and indoors before the flu officially hit, but our tree didn’t get decorated until just last weekend. And we didn’t even bother with putting on all of the ornaments…just the ones that we truly loved and have sentimental value with. Partially because we just weren’t feeling up to it, and partially because I didn’t want to put any ornaments too low for fear the dogs would get them.
Tree

So far they’ve been ok with the tree, much better than we thought they would be. But they also don’t get much in the way of unsupervised opportunities for destruction, so I can’t give them too much credit. Lady has slinked around the tree a few times which makes me nervous, but so far so good, she’s so agile that sometimes I think she does stuff like that to test her skills. If Chief attempted something like that, the tree would certainly come crashing down and he would wind up twisted up in lights. lol. Poor baby lives his life like a bull in a china shop, and doesn’t know the meaning of the word gentle or grace.
Nativity

We had our friend Jaclyn take some holiday pictures, she interned awhile back with our wedding photographers that we love, and we were so thankful that she was willing to take some shots of us! Although trying to get our dogs to sit still long enough to be photographed was pretty comical. Lady mostly cooperated, Chief on the other hand took a little more work, and we have some pretty funny outtakes. But Jaclyn was very patient, and took some great shots so we’re very happy and thankful that she was willing to do that for us! We didn’t have any pictures as a “family” so it’s nice to finally have some. We need to work on the dogs with the “stay” command before we attempt something like that again though. 🙂

Would have been a great pic if Chief wasn't being a goober!

Would have been a great pic if Chief wasn’t being a goober!

We’re finally starting to feel better so it’s nice to feel like DOING stuff again, and not just laying around in bed. But speaking of laying around in bed, our dogs have been SUPER snuggly lately. Its been a nice change of pace…
Sleeping ChiefSleeping LadyThat’s about all that’s been going on around here…we’re just gearing up for the holidays! Hope you are all having a safe and merry holiday season as well!! 🙂
Christmas Stockings

Forgotten Cookies

Well it’s very near the holidays, and it’s getting to be that time of year again when I crave one of my favorite cookie recipes (to eat and to prepare) so I decided to make a few batches to share with our co-workers.
Forgotten Cookies 9I don’t usually share recipes on my blog, but this one is so good and so easy, that I felt guilty not sharing it. Forgotten cookies are seriously one of the oldest and easiest recipes in the book! But if you’re unfamiliar with them, they are basically little meringue cookies that melt in your mouth and deliver a yummy crunch of chocolate and/or nuts.

Here is the basic recipe:
2 egg whites
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (any flavor)
1 cup nuts (if desired)
Forgotten Cookies 1

The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then line a cookie sheet with foil (shiny side down).

My highly sophisticated method of separating egg whites

My highly sophisticated method of separating egg whites

Next step is to beat the egg whites until foamy,  I’ve found it’s best to use a stand mixer if you have it, but definitely an electric mixer either way!

Beat the eggs until foamy

Beat the eggs until foamy

Then you gradually add the sugar to the egg whites, and then continue to beat them on high until the mixture forms stiff peaks (this is critical or they’ll come out runny and won’t harden).

This is a "stiff peak" But think less dirty and more delicious..

This is a “stiff peak” But think less dirty and more delicious..

Next, add the vanilla and the chocolate and/or nuts and just kind of fold them in.
Forgotten Cookies 4Then you drop them by the teaspoonful onto the foil lined pan. No need to space them too far apart, they don’t expand or anything.
Forgotten Cookies 7Once you’re done, put them in the preheated oven and promptly turn it off. Then
forget about them! Leave them in the closed oven overnight (no peaking or they’ll crack!!) and in the morning pull them out and put them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat!
IMG_3438
Usually I’m a purist and I just go with old faithful semi-sweet chocolate chips and no nuts (because I’m against adding healthy things to cookies). But this year I made not only the semi-sweet chocolate ones but also experimented with chocolate mint chips (AMAZING and I highly recommend!! Makes them even more Christmasy) and white chocolate chips (these turned out ok, but I think I prefer mint chocolate chip or regular semi-sweet). But use whatever you like! It’s all delicious!

Halloween Party

I’m very late to post this…but to be fair, some traumatic events occurred at our Halloween party this year, so it took this long for me to be able to write this post. Ok… that’s a bit dramatic, I’m also lazy…you have to take that into account too. 🙂
smittysThe month of October flew by this year, and all of the weekends seemed to be spoken for by Florida State football games. Lots of home games this October. That and Halloween was on a Thursday this year…so Julia and I decided that our Halloween party should be a little low key this year, especially since we were scheduling it on a Friday night before an FSU home game. So we decided to go with a dinner party this year, with a subtle witches and wizards theme.
trioDecorating was easy this year, since we spent so much time last year collecting lots of Halloween items. We decided that we should make ahead the items for dinner, so we went with a vegetable lasagna (Julia) and a baked ziti with meat sauce (me) stuff that would be easy to heat up, along with salad and bread of course.

We rented tables and chairs so we could all sit together, and boarded the dogs so that we could light candles unafraid of them getting knocked over and setting fire. And four hours before the party we looked at each other and said, ” Can it really be? Can we really be done with setting up this early?” Famous last words….haha.

tableYes we were done with the set up and decoration…we prepared as well as we could have and had time to get ready and have a glass of wine before the guests even arrived! It was a dream…and felt too good to be true….it was. For some doom was to come upon us later in the night.
table scape

Shane and Lex

Shane and Lex

We used a backdrop this year, for a photobooth type of photo. I’m pretty happy with this addition, I think it’ll be a keeper. I think I got everyone but Jaime and Shiloh, which is sad because they had AMAZING costumes this year! They were voodoo queen and voodoo doll. Loved it, especially because we’re waay into American Horror Story this year!!

Rosanne and Mike

Rosanne and Mike

Adam & Judi

Adam & Judi

Matt & Jaclyn

Matt & Jaclyn

Hostesses

Hostesses

BillingtonsMore pics, sorry this one is going to be heavy on the pictures for a bit…

Bar

Bar

Breedings

SpellsConsole tablemantelfoodboo2You may have noticed a theme with the candles…we went a little heavy with the candles this year…we initially planned to do this outside, but then it rained so we moved to the living room as depicted above…

And we thought it would be fine since our dogs were boarded, so surely the amount of candles we had lit would be fine…four grown adults had approved it, combined with Martha Stewart endorsing the cheesecloth candle combo…

Well my friends, let this be a lesson to all of us that you should not play with fire…because while we were all gathered in the kitchen, preparing to make our plates and sit down to dinner…a shrill scream blasted through the air…the fire alarm.

We ran into the living room and all of the tables were ON FIRE! It was the scariest thing ever to see our living room in a blaze. Joey ran in and fearlessly began batting at the flames, and everyone kind of froze for a minute watching before we all kicked it in gear and started filling up cups of water to throw on the flames. Wasn’t really the best idea…all that really accomplished was a giant mess of an aftermath, but in the end, the flames were all extinguished, and we were all ok.

We were so very lucky though that no one was hurt, and that the house was ok. The tables suffered a bit of a scorching, but they all still work fine (although we’re still waiting for that bill from the party rental company-thank goodness I’m friends with the owner lol). Nothing or anyone was harmed other than the tables, a couple of the rental chairs, and unfortunately our floors suffered a scorch mark or two, or three…haha. But nothing that can’t be buffed out and refinished later on down the road when we care enough/don’t have doggies and babies doing their own damage to them. So probably whenever we go to sell…haha.

All in all, our ego suffered the most damage, but we’re recovering and hoping that one day it will be a funny story. In the meantime I’m trying to embrace the imperfections in the floors like everything else in our home… chalking it up to memories and reminders of how blessed we are everyday to be safe, healthy and have a beautiful roof over our heads.

The Entertainment Center Dilemma

We’ve been in need of a good entertainment center from the time we’ve been together. I honestly don’t even remember what Joey used as an entertainment center before we lived together, but I’m sure it was awful because it was kicked to the curb about the same time I moved in. 🙂

Not that I brought with me anything that was too fancy either. We’ve actually been using the same entertainment center (if you want to even call it that) that Julia and I (and let’s be honest, my DAD) built when we first moved in together in college, circa 2001? It was fire engine red when Julia and I shared it, and man were we proud to tell people that we built it!

Later the entertainment center moved with me to the Pool House, and when I decided to evict whatever Joey was using when I moved in, well I brought old red with me. Except when it went with me to Joey’s townhouse we decided to paint it black…you know, to class it up a bit. HA.
LIving room

Well it served us well for a number of years, but ever since we moved to the new house it started feeling a little TOO reminiscient of my college years. It was time for something more grown up, and we dreamed of something big and built in. With cabinets lining the bottom and shelving on the top. But it turns out custom cabinetry is expensive…shocking right?? So, then we looked at other options like the following from Ikea:
hemnes-tv-storage-combination__0209228_PE362819_S4Which actually as I type this I realize that this set has significantly gone down in price since we first looked at it, so it may go back on our list in the not so distant future as more of an option. Especially if we doctored it up to look like a built-in unit. But even with the drop in price, at $750 it is still out of our budget for now.

Following the kitchen reno, our budget for the rest of the house has become very limited. As in, I was told by my husband, no more “projects” for awhile. So I put the entertainment center on the back burner and moved on with life.

Then, in August when my brother moved to Raleigh, and had no furniture of his own, we decided that it was the optimum time to unload gift our entertainment center to him.
🙂 Luckily, we had picked up an old dresser from our friend Summer a few months prior. She was moving and decided she didn’t have room for it anymore, so we took it off her hands, not really knowing where we were going to put it but there is always room for a free dresser. Actually, when we picked it up I thought it would be the perfect size for a future changing table/nursery dresser. But when we decided to gift Justin with our entertainment center, we decided that we would try to re-purpose the dresser as an entertainment center.

I forgot to take a true before shot of it. 😦 Bad blogger. But let me paint a picture for you first…this dresser was free even to Summer! She inherited it from an old roommate in college that didn’t want to move it. It had a tall sibling, that I’m kicking myself now for not grabbing. But it was cream, almost a yellow, and it had very purposeful brush strokes that could be seen, its probably some 90’s treatment like rag rolling that I’m not aware of…but it was definitely some sort of treatment. It also had some terrible wooden hardware we snatched out immediately.
entertainment4I wanted to paint it a fun bright color like turquoise. It was a free dresser, we could take some risks. But Joey promptly shot that down and told me I should paint it white or black. The man has trouble “seeing” my vision…but to be fair, I’m glad he reigned me in because the end result works so much better for our house and the space.
entertainment2

I went back and forth on whether to paint it white or stain it cherry like our kitchen cabinets. Joey didn’t think it would stain since it had already been painted…I knew in my heart that gel stain was magical like Pandora Radio, and would work. I decided to try my hand at a two tone finish. The plan was to take the top drawer out, and use it as a shelf for our electronics. Then to use the bottom two drawers for dvd/game storage. My dad advised to use a matte black spray paint to paint the inside of the empty shelf so that it will fade out and be less noticeable. That is what is going on in the photo above.

We decided that to make it work as an entertainment center we needed to add some height to it…so we tore out the legs and decided to add new ones. The ones in the photo above are the new ones. You’ll notice a slight problem in adding the new legs…
entertainment3There’s about a quarter inch gap in between the dresser and the legs. Womp Womp. The issue is the hardware. Because this dresser did not have screw in legs, we had to buy a special hardware that would attach it but it had a raised configuration so there was really no way around it.
Source:15898

We went back and forth about it, debated adding trim around the base, talked to my dad about it, debated some more…before it finally dawned on us that if we just moved the legs a bit inward it would be perfect because the outside edges of the dresser were reinforced, but the inside wasn’t so there was a difference of about a half inch that would cover the gap perfectly. The lesson here is that sometimes it takes weeks to come up with a solution that was right in front of you. So don’t get discouraged.
entertainment5Here it is with a fresh coat of white paint, and the first coat of gel stain. You can find out more about this magical gel stain from my kitchen cabinet post here.
entertainment6Still the first coat, but you can see how uneven it is and streaky. Some of this is from the brush strokes that were already there, but some of it is just because that’s how the first coat of this stain looks.

We used spray Zinsser Bullseye primer to prime the dresser, and then generic white flat paint to paint it. If I could do it all over again, I would have bought good paint to do this project, but we worked with what we had and what we had was cheap white paint we used on the craft room desks. We had some issues with the hardware, the hardware I picked out (and ordered because both HD and Lowes FAILED me) came with screws that either did not fit the hardware, OR we have particularly thick drawers, either way we had issues getting them to anchor firmly. And this is an issue that continues because I love the hardware and haven’t made it out yet to buy new appropriate length screws. But they’re in, and they look pretty, they’re just not all that stable. haha. So I should work on that. In the meantime, feel free to ooh and ahh over our pretty new more mature entertainment center!

Thanksgiving entertainment ctr Xmas Entertainment Center
It needs a little poly, I got so excited about it being done that I didn’t actually finish it before we brought it inside and set it up. haha. I NEED to give it a nice coat of poly on the inside so that we can more easily wipe the dust away (you can probably see that its more grey than black right now) and so that the top will be nice and shiny. And drink ring resistant. Need that for sure. But its easy fix, and I’ll do it one day…probably the same day that I put the right size screws in the hardware…haha. 🙂

Thank you Summer for saving this baby for us!! 🙂 It loves it’s new home!!

Kitchen Reveal

Our kitchen is by no stretch of the imagination complete…we still have a number of things that we want to finish up in there, but we’re getting close! So I thought I’d share a few before and after photos… 🙂

Don’t mind things like the range hood that need to be replaced.1 Removing that cabinet above the sink was a HUGE game changer. I feel like it really opened up our kitchen and updated the entire space.
11

We wanted white carrara marble countertops, but because they’re so delicate, and we’re so tough on things, we opted for quartz. We were told that quartz countertops are the most durable of the solid stones, and are heat and crack resistant, so when we found a pattern that mimicked the cararra style we jumped on it.
3

LOVE that sink!! We agonized over the sink decision, and I’m so happy with the one we chose. We knew we wanted a single stainless under mount sink, but we had no idea how many options there were! In the end we went with the 16 gauge steel (the lower the gauge the better) and the deepest we could find (10 inches). It’s gigantic! We could definitely bathe Lady in there, and maybe even Chief!
4The appliances also did a lot to upgrade the space. The oven is new of course, and the dishwasher and refrigerator were hand-me-downs from Joey’s parents. I think the black is a huge improvement, and works nicely with the stainless and black stove. We were so lucky that Joey’s parents were looking to upgrade their set, because appliances would have set us back a ton of money and we would not have been able to call our little kitchen reno done so quickly if we would have had to save for those! Especially since the fridge Joey picked out cost an arm and a leg, that kid has expensive taste! But don’t cry for him, because he convinced his parents to buy “his” fridge, so he gets to visit it every time we go down to Land O Lakes.

It’s also good because I probably would not have picked out a French door fridge if we were buying a new one, but now that we have one, I really like that style…so I’m sold. I guess now we just have to save and wait for Joey’s fantasy fridge to go on sale. 🙂
5

Since these photos were taken we’ve replaced all the switches and outlets to white ones and put covers over them, so it looks a little more finished now. Also, the eat-in got a little transformation as well…
10

Unfortunately on a normal day it looks nothing like this, and most of this area is taken up by Chief’s condo (gigantic crate) and Lady’s studio (smaller crate) and the table is filled with dog paraphernalia like treats and brushes and toys. But sometimes I like to take all that stuff out and pretend that our beasts are well-behaved and that we live in a clean, serene space, instead of the loud, sandy and chaotic place we typically call home. 🙂
14And a few more photos just for fun…
12A shadow box displaying the koozies from our rehearsal dinner lives on the wall between our bedroom and our laundry room.
6Fun fact about me…I love the idea of birds, and have filled our home with little bird figurines and other symbolic bird type stuff (nests, houses, cages), I even worked it into our wedding theme…and yet I’m terrified of them in real life. haha. I mean the ones flying around in the wild are fine…but the ones that are not afraid of humans and get too close (I’m looking at you pigeons and seagulls) as well as pet birds, and most of all big birds (like ducks and chickens) freak me the hell out!! 🙂
7This sign lives on the back of our dining room door, and I’m obsessed with it. I didn’t make it, I bought it off of this deal of the day website I’m obsessed with (Groopdealz.com if you’re interested), maybe a little too obsessed…but whatever. It’s good to have items in your home that make your heart sing! Right? Well this sign makes my heart sing.

That’s about all the pictures I have, but I’ll leave you with a fancy side by side before and after shot that I have been trying to figure out how to do for months but finally got it to work today! Take that internet! 🙂
Side by side croppedNot too shabby if I do say so myself… 🙂

Ok so things left on the kitchen to-do list:
Replace that cream range hood with a stainless one
Add a white subway tile backsplash
Stain the floor grout charcoal grey
Replace the pendant lights for something better
Stain the table top cherry and give the base a fresh coat of white paint
Find chairs to match the barstools
Paint the ceiling white (it’s a slight cream color now…I’m dreading this task though)

Two very different sets of golden haired twins

The week before last was a tough one at the Meyer Manor…Joey recently came down with a case of Shingles, and has been pretty miserable for the last couple of weeks. Then factor in that our dogs who are pretty consistently troublemakers, turned into complete holy terrors for an entire week! The combination was enough to really throw me over the edge.

pups

I’m not going to lie, there were a couple of points last week when I truly believed I was not cut out for dog ownership. Usually, their overall cuteness and moments of sweetness get me through these moments…but last week it was hard to see the cute and the sweet. That’s how bad they were…
chief

I read somewhere that dogs sleep between 18-20 hours per day…this is not the case with Chief and Lady. Joey and I joke that Chief sleeps with one eye open, but the truth is that there are only one or two occasions when we’ve actually witnessed him sleeping. We just have to trust that he is sleeping when we’re not around because otherwise there is no evidence of him actually requiring sleep.

He really only has the attention span for laying down and relaxing for about 30 seconds, which is a vast improvement on his attention span as a puppy. Otherwise he is up and moving, and if you aren’t in the current act of petting him, then you can bet that he is likely getting into trouble somewhere in the house. Lady is not much better, but I’ll admit is slightly more content to just lounge in the living room or sunbathe in the backyard. It’s exhausting, and sometimes I feel my patience wearing thinner by the day.

Luckily, I got to go up to Atlanta for a girls weekend with Julia and Kris (my besties that go way back to high school…) and escape the terror that was Chady (our dog’s nickname when they’re bad). Joey of course was not so lucky to get a break, but he managed to keep from strangling them, and keep them from killing each other (which is a feat in itself).

A welcome banner from the girls :)

A welcome banner from the girls 🙂

I’m a terrible friend, and rarely go up to visit them. So I was glad when Kris gave Julia and I the swift kick in the pants that we needed to actually plan a trip! And it was a lovely weekend! I so loved catching up with Kris, and bonding with her twin baby girls. Although I probably can’t call them babies anymore now that they’re walking and talking.

Ok not just walking now, RUNNING! It's crazy how fast they are growing up!

We went to a pumpkin patch in Cumming, GA that was really awesome! It had a petting zoo, corn box, bouncy houses, and hayrides! It was a perfect activity for the girls, and the perfect way for us adults to get a fun Fall fix!

goat

I only have a couple of close girlfriends that have kids, which is kind of funny given my age that there are so few. Although I do anticipate there will be a “baby boom” if you will, over the next year or two for my circle of friends and hopefully for myself as well. But even though I only have two girlfriends with kids at the moment, they are longtime friends of mine, and I have to say there is something kind of awesome about watching your friends become mothers.
Kris and girlsKind of incredible really. Motherhood just seems to come so naturally to them, and I love to watch them interact with their little ones. The patience and tenderness I see there is so sweet, and gives me hope that those skills will come to me too when I (someday) embark on the journey of motherhood. It’s encouraging, especially when sometimes I feel I can barely keep it together being a puppy parent.
hayrideI always knew that Kris would be an awesome mom. She’s loves kids, she spent her summers as a camp counselor and babysat and tutored kids all through high school. She wanted to be a teacher LONG before I ever even dreamed of picking a career. But even knowing all this, I still marveled all weekend at the endless energy, humor and creativity she brings to the role.

It kills me that this is out of focus, I just love these smiles!

It kills me that this is out of focus, I just love these smiles!

I know I’m getting a little mushy here, so I’ll wrap it up. But I’ve been thinking about this kind of stuff a lot lately, and it’s inspiring to see such wonderful examples of love and patience from my girlfriends. I’m grateful that they went ahead and navigated these uncharted waters of parenthood before me, and hopefully they will teach me their magical ways when I find myself immersed into motherhood.
tractorThank you Kris for being an excellent hostess, but more importantly for being an amazing friend and an awesome mom to these adorable girls! 🙂

Sophie

Leah

I came back to Tally refreshed, and ready to face my own little “trouble twins.”

Sometimes they look like a  two-headed beast

Sometimes they look like a two-headed beast

And magically, it’s like I came home to whole new dogs… They are becoming more and more loving toward each other, and are really starting to become content with just relaxing and laying around like normal dogs (instead of bouncing off the walls and looking for trouble). In fact, this past week they even laid down in the bed with us for a solid two hours! It was unreal!! Usually Chief spends his time in our bed trying to take the sheets off me, or eat my sleeping mask, or fight with his sister, but all of the sudden it’s like a light switch turned on and he realized its nice to rest and relax sometimes.
bedI don’t know what changed, but I’ll take it. I do feel like sometimes things get worse with Chief before they get better. I think this is a good example of one of those times, now if only I can just remember this the next time he goes on a reign of terror. 🙂

Staining the Cabinets

Pinterest started to become a thing just after we bought our house if I remember correctly, and I thank my lucky stars for it every day. Although I think Joey kind of despises it in a way that men used to despise HGTV, because it is a constant source of ideas for projects to do in our home. 🙂

I however, would like to kiss the makers of it, and most of all Monica, from Monica Wants It: A Lifestyle Blog. Her post about updating her bathroom vanity from a honey color to the dark espresso with gel stain was one of the first posts I came across on Pinterest, and her tutorial is what inspired and motivated me to do our kitchen cabinets.
PinterestI’d never heard of gel stain before, and her tutorial enticed me because there was only a light sanding, scuffing really, that occurs with her process, instead of the very labor intensive stripping and sanding that would need to occur for traditional staining.

I decided to try it out on our guest bathroom vanity first. Just in case, since that would be A LOT cheaper for us to replace if it was a DIY fail, than all the kitchen cabinets. I used the same brand of gel stain (ordered from Amazon) but in a different color, I selected Georgian Cherry, because I am a sucker for all things cherry colored. I followed her tutorial to the letter, and the vanity turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. It was the first go around, so it’s a little heavier handed and the doors are darker than I would have liked, but I learned a lot in this process and I’m glad I practiced there first. The bathroom vanity was actually my first diy project in this house!
Cabinet door beforecabinet door coat 1
(Left photo is the before of one bathroom cabinet door, right  is after one coat of stain)

So with the results of the bathroom encouraging, about 6 or 7 months later, is when I finally got up the motivation to start on the kitchen cabinets. And to be honest, for the number of cabinets that we have, it stretched out into quite a project. I started in March and called it done just before Labor Day in September. I had initially planned to be done by Memorial Day but alas, life gets in the way.

For anyone that considers doing this method, I definitely encourage you to use Monica’s Tutorial and to practice on something less important first. You definitely find your groove and your style, and you can kind of make it your own. But follow her main points, and really it’s pretty fool proof. And quick! Even though it stretched out for as long as it did, I must say that the actual work part goes by very quickly. As with any project the worst part is the prep. I was very meticulous about  taping off areas I wasn’t staining (like the inside of cabinets, inside of doors, floors, walls and countertops) and even just a light sanding and cleaning is still tedious, although I do recognize how easy I got away with this process versus normal staining techniques.

Oh and how could I forget the hardware! That was also a beast, just removing all the hardware was a massive chore. If I remember correctly we had 52 knobs in that kitchen, so that meant 52 doors/drawers that all required two hinges be removed and replaced. In the beginning, I did it alone, just using a screwdriver, it was a workout to say the least! Later we got smart and used the drill, and Joey took over most of those duties.

Please also ignore the ratty looking contents of the cabinets. The foam liner for our china looks so tacky

Please also ignore the ratty looking contents of the cabinets. The foam liner for our china looks so tacky

But the staining itself is a snap. I broke our kitchen up into sections for staining, and I would say that each section took under a half hour for each coat of stain, and even that is being generous. The long part was waiting for it to dry and cure, I waited at least 24 hours in between coats. I did three really light coats on the cabinet frames and the doors. Although in my experience the doors really sucked up the stain a lot more than the frames, so some of them only got 2 coats to make sure it was all as even as possible.

Once three coats of stain is on, then you have to apply between 2-3 coats of gel poly on top, letting each coat dry for 24 hours. I did two coats on the upper cabinets and three coats of poly on the bottom cabinets since they take a little more of a beating.

If you are very dedicated and have nothing else to do, you could definitely knock this project out much quicker than I did. But with Chief having increased needs due to his surgery, Lady requiring more attention because she couldn’t play with Chief to get her energy out, and then Joey also having carpal tunnel surgery on both hands during this time, it really took a lot longer than I could have anticipated. But the important part is that it’s done. And we love it.

Now I want to stain every piece of non-cherry wood in my house. Including pieces that are painted and not real wood (this stain works for those pieces too!! I’m telling you it’s miracle stain!) so you can be sure you will see future posts of projects involving this product, in fact I have two different projects going on in my garage this very minute that required this stain. 🙂