The Kitchen Refresh

Moved in and got to work getting the kitchen up to date.
Paint from Lowes and Hardware from Homedepot.com

Once upon a time we moved to Los Angeles, it was a big move and one we have been so thankful to have made work for our family. It wasn’t easy, we made lots of moves for financial reasons, educational ones and once unplanned circumstances but made it to homeownership again. We searched for a year with our oh so patient realtor and finally found a home one mile away that checked all the boxes, with the caveat that the home came “as is”.

Our home was built in 74′ and other than new flooring and a coat of paint (right over the original light switches and outlet plates too) it was original. The appliances were Harvest Gold the kitchen light fixtures were coated in dust and cooking grease (no dis, we USE our kitchen too and I have to get up on a ladder to clean our cooking debris) and the cabinets had a fresh coat of shiny poly right over all that cooking love. It was sticky. I love me some autumn but it was a bit much.

The original range, the stove “worked” but only with lots of trial and prayer.

With the purchase finalized and basic safety updates underway there were no funds for a hired contractor kitchen redo but I though “no big deal, I got this”. We did all of our refresh on our home in Orlando, lighting, mirror wall removal, carpet removal, wall paper removal, paneled feature wall to hide some of the mirror removal and paint in every room. It was a lot, this seemed like such a small thing in comparison. Seemed like.

The cabinets were coated in polyurethane and a dark stain. I first thought keep the deep color and just re coat them, but that wasn’t working with the veneered drawers and the detail in the cabinet face was just a crevice of gunk. The wood grain was interesting but I couldn’t make it work in my mind with the tile counter. I tried HARD.

It was too dark and cave like, not in a good way. After stripping all the cabinet fronts and drawers with Citrisolve and removing any last bits with IsoProAlcohol and steel wool it seemed like paint was the easiest way forward. We weren’t changing the counters or flooring so I had to work with what I had.

It was a slog of a project and I wanted to quit so many times but once a clear design took hold it was like rolling downhill. I knew where things were going and it was just a matter of doing it . There were many trips to the hardware store and more than eight paints tried out on that back wall.

I may have been sitting on the floor crying when I took this photo, so much work!

It came together beautifully, and I am so glad I did it. My vision realized so much so that my husband now thinks the kitchen never needs another touch, and has no interest in remodeling it in the future. I don’t know whether to be happy about my work or frustrated I missed out on a new kitchen.

Finished

Here’s the list of what I did: striped the cabinets and drawers, painted the front of cabinets and doors, painted pantry white Kilz, installed draw handles and cabinet pulls, drew with gold Sharpie on the painted wall and back splash, installed under cabinet lighting, painted canisters copper, applied Rub N’Buff to light fixtures to make them antique gold, assembled and installed window valance to hide old blinds, Made and hung planter.

It’s wonderful to be finished and we all love using our kitchen, it’s light and cheerful with no stickiness on it’s surfaces. Now with three cooks in the family and one more learning, it gets frequent use. A hard project I never want to do again, but so worth the effort.

Washi Dress Expansion Pack

Wow it is so hard to photograph navy sheer brocade! But I think it was finally managed. Having sewn the original Washi Dress pattern with a successful full bust adjustment or FBA, and loved the shape on me I was ready for more. So when Rae of Made by Rae, gifted the expansion pack for testing the extended size range of her Ruby pattern I couldn’t wait to try to make the dress into some tops.

Lauren standing staring at the camera with one hand on her hip and another resting on a chair with navy long sleeved top, hot pink skinny pants and grey boots.
Messy living room photo shoot
Lauren in a navy blue empire waist blouse with gathered sleeve and neckline bow with her hands on her hips looking to the right
Trying hard to capture the flora pattern.

This fabric was picked up in Downtown LA at a discount fabric seller, I didn’t know what to do with it but my fabulous fabric finding friend said I should get it, the price was right, and I rarely put a good fabric or friend down. I love to fabric shop with others, if you can I highly recommend it. I am so glad I listened because the drape of this fabric made it perfect for a Washi top. The construction of this was seamless and fairly quick project for such and elegant wardrobe addition. I have already mentioned that I did a full bust adjustment on the Washi dress which the expansion uses the bodice and skirt. If you are larger than a B cup I would recommend you do an FBA as well. I did a rough cut how to video on how I do them here. A simple guide would be half an inch for each cup size above a B but your individual data points ie: measurements, will help you choose the right amount for you. Everyone’s body is unique and you are trying to make a two dimensional pattern fit your three dimensional shape.

Lauren is wearing a navy blue shirt with neckline bow tie and yellow lanyard while sitting on a couch making a glamor face.
Here’s me wearing it at Craftcation 18′ with amazing filters thanks to my glam squad Rita

I love the way this top came together. I had to serge all the pieces because the fabric did unravel while I worked and if you haven’t worked with elastic thread in your bobbin before it can be tricky. I used Gutterman brand and had a bobbin case with decreased tension just for the shirring portion of the top, then a quick blast with the iron or steam and BAM! gathered back and cuffs. That way when I was constructing the top I had thread in the bobbin and the case had the proper tension, when I moved on to the shirring I took out the bobbin case and bobbin and used the loosened bobbin case and a bobbin hand wound with the elastic thread. Lengthen your stitches and take your time.

May your bobbin always be full signature sign off

The Washi Dress

This dress is one of my favorite garments in my closet. It’s busy but in the repeating black chevrons hides a peek of fuchsia and the pockets hold EVERYTHING. This is the Washi Dress from Made by Rae patterns. I have tested a few patterns for Rae in the past but purchased this pattern.

The pattern is very easy but for a beginning sewing person there are a few skills you learn while putting this together, like how to work with elastic thread in your bobbin or how to burrito method your lining fabric. I did a quick video of it here.

Hints of fuchsia with the chevrons.

For this being my first go with the pattern I also gave it a full bust adjustment, here is my video of how I do a FBA. I know that Rae will be releasing more sizes for the Washi so this may be an obsolete alteration for some in the future. I really love this dress in the lightweight cotton lawn from the now gone The Fabric Store LA, it was just a bit see thru so I lined the bodice and to about the knee with white cotton batiste. Up next is a top I made with the altered pattern and the Washi Expansion pack….

Feeling very Twin Peaks in this dress and I’m loving it.
May your bobbin always be full signature sign off