Thursday, June 13, 2019

My latest project: Redoing my kitchen island countertop...DONE

My latest big project is DONE! Redoing my kitchen island countertop took a lot of time and a lot of watching Youtube DIY videos, but I'm proud of how it turned out! Now our family of 6 can all sit at the same counter and all have leg room underneath.

The laminate I bought is called "Cafe Azul". I wanted something that woul bring out the silver colors in the kitchen (like our fridge and knobs and sink). Turned out really nice.

Squaring up the laminate with wooden dowels between the laminate top and the particle board countertop base. The dowels keep the glue on each surface from touching until I'm ready to press and stick the surfaces together.

Clamping the edge strips of laminate after gluing them on. I also had to add two legs to the two counter corners as we realized that the corners were sagging a 1/4 inch and would probably sag more in the future if we didn't support them. Hence, the tall butcher block table legs.

Using a paint roller to apply the contact cement (glue) to the underside of the laminate. I also applied a coat to the top of the countertop particle board. The glue adheres to itself when the two pieces are put together.

My 10-year-old sat on the countertop to put pressure on it while I drilled screws up into it from inside the cabinets. My 7-year-old made sure I was supplied with ice water while I sweated my way through the process. It took a lot more arm and shoulder muscle to drill upwards than it would have drilling down and having my body weight to help. Whew!

I gave my old coffee table a face lift with some of the leftover laminate.

Placing the particle board countertop on the cabinets. Squaring it up took a while before I was satisfied enough to secure it.

The piece of laminate I cut, propped up by the old countertop and waiting in the shop until I was ready to glue it to the new particle board countertop.

Using painter’s tape is a good way to keep the laminate edges from cracking or shredding while cutting it with the circular blade.

Thanks to my mom and dad who gave me their old router, I was able to trim the laminate egdes. It sure made a mess of my floor, though, sending shreds of laminate everywhere. I think I spent a good half hour vacuuming and sweeping every bit of it up after I was done.

Yep, I made myself a "plumbob" to help me line up the edge of the counter with the line on the floor. The weights in the background were to keep the cabinet from shifting around while I was moving and squaring up the countertop.

A view of the underside of the particleboard countertop I made. I love having a shop to work in.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Projects I've Been Working On!

I've been busy with end of school activities, schedules, kids, and PROJECTS! Here are some pics of the things I've been doing.

Sewing over 20 hot pad bowls for teacher, bus driver and other "thank you" gifts for the end of the school year. Hot pad bowls are made of 100% cotton batting and fabric so they can me placed in the microwave, along with any bowl or mug being heated up, and not melt, and fingers won't get burned when taking the hot dish out. They can also be used to hold cold bowls of ice cream (as my girls like to do). I make mine reversible. Super useful and fun!

Hot pad bowl next to a small/medium glass bowl that I use for heating soup sometimes.

Our collection at home to match all the things my girls like:
Chickens, Star Wars, Minecraft, Pokemon

All stacked up! We place them by the microwave so they can be grabbed anytime.

Reupholstering my old, ripped computer chair:

The old ripped secondhand computer chair.

Reupholstered using a fuzzy fleece blanket I had. I sewed two separate covers. 
I took the arms off the chair before sliding one cover onto the back and
the other onto the seat and then reattaching the arms through the covers. 

Buying two weathered, secondhand entertainment center end shelves, taking them apart and using the pieces to make a custom-fit cabinet that will go under my extended island that I'll also be making soon: 

I didn't take a picture of the used end shelves I bought for a total of $20,
but they were similar to these pictured here. I cut one horizontally in half to use as
my main cabinet and then disassembled the rest to use the pieces as needed. 

Extra pieces to the left. Holding the sides together on the
future cabinet using a giant rubber band.

I sanded each piece and then applied 2-3 coats of polyurethane onto each.
I used the trim from the old shelves to decorate the doors.
Doors were cut from from the other shelf pieces. 

Installing the hinges and getting the doors straight took some time, but it turned out nice.

This is our current island countertop.
Not a lot of room for the six people in our family. 

This is a cardboard cutout giving an idea of the size of the new
countertop that I'll be making and installing. The cabinet I've been
working will go underneath to support the larger counter.
My 11-year-old daughter is giving me the thumbs up.

So there you go. The projects that have been keeping me busy lately.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Kronk's Spinach Puffs by Rosanna Pansino

I love Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, and I love the character Kronk. Early in the movie, muscular, good-natured Kronk makes spinach puffs for dinner, and as I love spinach, I've always thought they sounded so yummy. Nerdie Nummies creator, Rosanna Pansino, has shared her easy and tasty recipe for Kronk's Spinach Puffs on Youtube and on Rosanna's site. I've written out the recipe below, though the directions are in my words, typed out while listening to her Youtube video:
Kronk’s Spinach Puffs
NERDY NUMMIES – Rosanna Pansino (link to her original directions)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups frozen, chopped spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box puff pastry sheets (defrosted for a few hours from freezer)
1 (3- to 4-inch-square) cookie cutter
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little bit of salt)

Over medium-high heat in a large pan, add oil and wait for it to heat and shimmer. Add onions and let them sweat for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent (meaning kind of see-through, but not brown). Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds until fragrant then add frozen chopped spinach and salt. Cook until liquid is gone. Turn off heat and remove from stove. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses and egg yolk, mixing with rubber spatula or spoon. Add spinach mixture and mix to combine. Set aside.

On lightly floured cutting board or other surface, lay down one large square of puff pastry and give it a gentle roll with the rolling pin just to smooth out the folds. Cut out 9 squares with cookie cutter, then repeat with other puff pastry sheet, making 18 squares total. Remove excess dough from around squares.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and place 8-9 pastry squares on each. Turn squares so they look like diamonds. Brush off excess flour. Place about 1 Tbsp spinach mixture in rough oval-shape in center of each diamond, not letting mixture touch edges. Brush a little egg wash on two lowest edges of pastry and bring them together, pressing hard to seal lower edges, leaving upper edges open and mixture exposed at the top. Should make a rough "cone" shape. Pop pan in freezer for about 10 minutes because puff pastry cooks best from a cold state.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-17 minutes till golden. If baking two sheets at the same time, switch sheet positions halfway through baking (so after 7-8 minutes). ENJOY!