Well, we finally decided on some barstools for the peninsula in our new kitchen.  We searched all of our local furniture stores before we found these counter-height beauties at Furniture Row. 


I wish I could say we got a super deal on them, but we didn’t.  We paid the sticker price.  But since we saved so much money by doing the majority of our kitchen renovation work ourselves it didn’t seem to hurt as much when we handed over the money.


And we think the money was totally worth it because we love how the stools look in the room!  Plus, the fact that the seats are leather means they’re totally wipe-able and kid friendly.  A definite plus in our house!  Oh, not to mention the whole barstool purchase has turned the kitchen into a highchair-free zone…


…which Bailey couldn’t be more excited about! 


Fall Is In The Air!

Needless to say we’ve been taking advantage of the fall colors by spending as much time as possible in the beautiful Tennessee outdoors over the past week! 

We spent a good bit of time at Fender’s Farm in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  We did a lot of the same things as last year when we visited, but I must say it was a completely different experience with a toddler.  We started things off in the corn maze…



…which we followed up with a quick ride around the farm on the pumpkin train.


We also spent lots of time on the playgrounds and in the other kids play areas.





And of course we couldn’t leave without a pumpkin.



After leaving Fender’s Farm we took a scenic drive through the Jonesborough countryside and over to Erwin, Tennessee to check out the fall colors. 




Our final destination was the Cherokee National Forest where we took a little dirt road to Beauty Spot at the top of Unaka Mountain.







It was easy to see why this spot got its name.  The views were simply gorgeous!  What more perfect way to enjoy fall than to spend a day in the beautiful outdoors with the people you love!


A Long Overdue Oven

I am so pleased to be writing this post!  I can now officially say that we have a fully functioning kitchen again!  That’s right folks… our new wall oven/microwave combo has finally been installed!

I know… your thinking to yourself “have you really lived without an oven since demo-ing the old kitchen nearly 7 months ago?”  Well, the answer is yes.  And surprisingly enough, it was pretty easy to do once the cooktop was installed.  And to supplement the cooktop we did a fair amount of grilling, crockpot-ing, toaster oven-ing, and microwaving (with our old countertop microwave)

But anyway… back to my point… the oven is in!  And it’s a beautiful thing! 

However, before I show you the completed picture I’m going to show you all the work that went into installing it.

The first thing that we had to do was make some adjustments to the cabinet that would be housing the oven.  Craig removed the pullout shelf and the cabinet doors below the oven cut-out and built a frame inside the cabinet to support the weight of the new oven.



Then came the hard job of making the oven cut-out larger.  As you can see from the pictures in this post the oven cabinet already came with a cut-out for the oven.  Unfortunately, the cut-out wasn’t quite big enough to accommodate the oven/microwave combo we purchased (which we knew when we bought the cabinets… so we were fully prepared to cut it out some more).  So Craig got to measuring twice 300 times and cutting once.

He used blue painter’s tape to mark his cuts.  This also helped to prevent the cabinet wood from splintering when it was cut.



Then Craig cut a hole in the drywall behind the cabinet to fish the wiring to the oven through.  This wasn’t too difficult since we knew exactly where the wire was.  We knew we were going to have to do fish the wire through so we intentionally left plenty of wire in the wall when we rewired the kitchen and we made sure to mark the wall with pencil once the drywall was installed.

So Craig cut a hole from one stud to the other, pulled the wire out, and then fished it up and through a hole he had drilled in the top of the cabinet.  He then attached the wire to an electrical box.



Then he drilled another hole in the corner of the upper cabinet, through which we would later run the wire from the oven and then connect everything in the box.


Next he took the piece of drywall he cut out, screwed it back in place, and then mudded the seams.  He didn’t bother with priming and painting it since it would be concealed behind the oven.




Once all of this “prep” work was done we were ready for the physically intensive part of the job… moving the couple hundred pound oven (even with the doors removed) into place. 

Thankfully, Craig had a plan for doing this that didn’t involve us actually lifting or carrying it.  The basic idea was to wheel the oven into the kitchen on a dolly, lower it onto three 2 x 6 boards, and then strap it in place. 


Next Craig lifted the boards on one side (tilting the oven up) while I slid a frame made of 2 x 4’s underneath the platform of 2 x 6’s. Then we would move over to the other side and repeat the process, which resulted in lifting the oven 4 inches off of the ground with each pair of 2 x 4 frames.  I swear I felt like an Egyptian trying to build the pyramids using logs and rope pulleys… it was absolutely crazy!  But it worked!



Five pairs of 2 x 4 frames later the oven was lifted to the height of the cabinet cut-out.



Then all we had to do was run the wire from the oven through the hole in the upper cabinet and slide the oven back into place.



Next Craig connected the wires in the electrical box and switched on the power. 


The last step was reattaching the oven and cabinet doors, which left us with this final product.  Not bad, huh?  Especially when compared to our old, pre kitchen renovation oven! 





What a huge improvement!  I am so excited to finally have an oven again!  I may just have to bake myself a birthday cake to celebrate!

Oh… and let’s not forget to give Craig a huge virtual pat on the back!  What an awesome job he did (as usual)!  I am so lucky to have snagged such a handy hubby!


DIY Kitchen Word Art!

I have spent the last couple of days working on a special word art project for our nearly-completed-renovated kitchen.  I ran across this inspiration picture on Pinterest (originally from here) and decided that I could easily adapt it for my purposes.

word art inspiration

I started off with a 24” x 36” canvas purchased from Michael’s.  I was lucky enough to snag it during one of their half price sales, so it only ended up costing around $17.00 (which I thought was pretty good for a canvas of this size).


Next I gathered up some spray paint I had lying around the work room. 


Then I laid the canvas out in the yard.  I placed cardboard beneath it and then propped it up off of the ground with two upside down flower pots.


Then came the fun part—the spray paint!  I started with one color…


…and added another… and then another…


…and then even more colors (eight colors in total).  I stopped when I had this nice tie-dyed look.


Next I laid the canvas out on the table and used a straight edge and pencil to draw several evenly spaced lines.


Then came the hard part—laying out all of the kitchen related words and phrases.  I grabbed several bags of foam letters with adhesive backs in varying sizes.  Some of them I was able to find in the $1.00 section at Target.  The others were purchased from Wal-Mart and Michael’s.  I think I spent around $13 for six bags.


I used the lines and the straight edge to make sure things weren’t getting wonky.



I’m not gonna lie.  This part of the project really stunk!  It took forever 2 nights of working (and DVR watching) to get all of the letters and numbers in place.


Once done, I laid the canvas out on the cardboard again with the upside down flower pots under it.  I double checked that all of the letters were stuck down really well.  Then I gave it two even coats of flat white spray paint.


After work last night I peeled off the hundreds of letters I had so carefully stuck on (of course this step took less than 30 minutes… go figure!).



And this is what we ended up with!



A fun and interesting piece of art for the wall next to our new peninsula!



I just LOVE the variety of colors that peak out from behind the white!  It’s bold and graphic, but still blends well with our fairly neutral kitchen. 

What an easy project!  I’m tellin’ ya’… anybody could do this!  And if you want you could easily adapt it to fit in any other room of the house.  You could do laundry related sayings perhaps… or maybe movie titles/film related words for a family room.  Endless possibilities.  Gotta love it!