This summer, I came to our Oregon house wanting to paint our kitchen cabinets white. I'd been threatening it for awhile, but could never gussy up the courage (or, frankly, the motivation) to do it. Once I got here this time, however, I decided I'd put the project off for another year.

I couldn't stop thinking about it though. Every day, I'd find myself wanting to do it, then I'd talk myself out of it. Finally, I told myself if I just work hard for two days, it would be done and I wouldn't have to think about it again. That's all it took. With Mick's help, I painted those cabinets and we're both loving the results.

As a reminder, here's a couple of pictures of our kitchen when we first bought the place in 2006:

Kitchen_holly_grandma

  

Kitchen_paint

As you can see by the paint on the counter top, I was rarin' to get this place fixed up as soon as I could. We put in laminate flooring, new appliances, replaced the countertops, and replaced the hardware almost as soon as we moved in. This was the result:

Kitchen_appliances

Certainly, a huge improvement, but I had chosen the appliances and the countertop with the plan to paint the cabinets white. But with only a six to eight weeks spent in the house every year, it's hard to get to every single project in a timely manner.

Now, the picture you've been waiting for:

Painted_kitchen

Crisp, clean, and cool, my kitchen now looks like I always thought it should. The cabinets themselves have a nice country look, but the white paint keeps them from looking dated. Plus, they're in great condition and I could never have justified getting rid of them altogether.

Many thanks to Young House Love, whose great tutorial on painting cabinets I followed to the letter.

If you'd like to see the other before/after pictures of our Oregon house, you can see them here and here.

 

Earlier in the year, I wrote this post about a site a friend told me about called "This Young House."

As of tonight, the name of the site has changed. From now on, TYH will be called "Young House Love." You can read the story about the change here.

Yes, it's highly irksome that a big, successful brand (that shall not be mentioned) took notice of "Young House Love" and its former name and decided to go after it. But rather than get pissed off, I agree with John & Sherry. This is a fantastic opportunity to expand their brand–their brand–without being tied, even subtly, to a brand name that is antiquated and has little relevance to what they do.

John and Sherry are a lot more polite than I am, so I'll say what they might not want to: Fuck 'em.

It seems like a big deal to change a name mid-stream, but it's really not. Sure, it requires a little work, but in the end it's worth it. I used to work for a little website called "The Mining Co." With this name, they saw some success, but let's face it, miningco.com was a bit cumbersome. They quickly realized they needed a name that could be easily recognized, branded, and marketed. In one huge marketing campaign, they change the name to About.com and no one has looked back since.

So here's to a new day, and a new love: "Young House Love."

Lately I've been bringing my iPhone when I walk my dog so I can take pictures if I see anything interesting along the way. It does happen–a couple of weeks ago I saw a woman walking her cat on a leash and last week I saw a very large man get out of his car wearing nothing but black skirted bikini bottoms and a pink bikini top.

On yesterday's walk I decided to take pictures of the curb-side gardens I see every day. Some of them are quite lovely. Keep in mind that the photos were taken with my iPhone–not necessarily the best way to take garden photos!

Every time I walk by this house I am impressed by the landscaping in the yard. It's tiered and the variety of plants and textures created by the choices are just lovely together. It reminds me of women who are able to create wonderfully layered outfits with the perfect accessories. I do not possess this talent (in gardening or fashion), so I admire it!

Curb_1 

The house below is another one of my favorites, but in order to get the full effect you have to view it from a distance. This photo doesn't do it justice, but it does give you some idea of what the landscape designer intended. The plantings highlight the house perfectly.

Curb_4 

This apartment building's front is plainer than the first two photos, but it's more along the lines of what I could achieve if I put my mind to it (well, I think I could). I love all the colors, but I especially love the callalillies they've included.

Curb_2

Finally, I love the color combinations they've used for this side-garden between apartment buildings. They compliment the architecture of the buildings and give a sort of Asian feel. I also took a photo of the front part of this garden but for some reason all I got was a photo of the wall in front. I'll save that one for next time!

Curb_3

Today my dad, aged 68, is running the Boston Marathon. I doubt I'll get much writing done this morning because I'm so obsessed with tracking him on the website.  If you would like to participate in this obsessive/compulsive refreshing, his bib number is 14742.

My dad has been running since I was young, and for a long time I took it for granted.  Now that I'm older and have ran a marathon myself, I know what a serious achievement it is. And he doesn't just run a marathon. He runs a marathon. This year his goal is an under 3:30 finish time. Not for wimps.

Update 11:27 am PST:  His final time was 3:35:11 and he placed 11th in his division (ages 65-69).

If you think about it, our parents (I'm 40, parents are in their 60s) are the generation that re-defined retirement. When my grandparents were 40, 40 seemed OLD (and in fact, my grandma became my grandma at age 39). Now my parents are 60+, almost 70 in fact, and they are like Energizer bunnies. Part of it is just their personalities, and they've lived a "healthy lifestyle" for years, but I honestly don't know anybody in that generation that is just sitting around getting old.

And I'm not the only one whose noticed. It used to be you could get a free lift ticket when you reached age 70.  Now you have to be 80 to ski free. I'm up for the challenge.

Skyline Chilly posted a very sweet Umbrella Motif on her blog on Monday:

Umbrella 
Photo by Skyline Chilly

I can just see this simple image on the front of a light-weight spring sweater.  You can see some of her other motifs here, and you can buy her original knit patterns here.

In other news, Mick becomes a U.S. citizen today!  You can read about his naturalization interview here.

We're getting refinanced and today an appraiser's coming to give us the value of our home.  As a result, Mick and I worked to get the place all spiffied up.  It also inspired me to look at some of the photos we took during the home inspection when we first bought the place.

We bought our condo in May 2000.  We knew we wanted to buy something, but at the time we were only half-heartedly looking.  One day after a Sunday lunch on Main Street, we happened upon an open house in the neighborhood and that was the first time we saw what was to be our new home.  Mick still remembers me pulling on the front of his t-shirt in one of the hallways saying "Mick, we have to buy this house!"

And we did.

It has gone through many changes since we got it.  The most significant change (at least visually) is the kitchen.  This is what it looked like when we first bought the place:

Kitchen_stove_bef

Nice enough, sure.  But the light wash on the cabinets just wasn't doing it for me.  This is how we change it:

Kitchen_stove_aft

I'm a dark wood kinda gal and the dark wood cabinets are much more striking (despite the fact that this isn't the best picture in the world).

Another before:

Kitchen_ovens_bef 

And after:

Kitchen_ovens_aft 

 

On Friday I was going through my jewelry drawer and I found a felted bowl I made at Christmas which I put on my nightstand to hold my jewelry when I take it off at night (not sure why it was in the jewelry drawer instead of my nightstand, but I had a good reason for moving it at the time).

Side

This bowl was made from variegated wool (Manos del Uruguay).  I liked the project so much I knit a larger one for a Christmas present for my grandparents.  I put candy in the bowl because they like to have a bowl of candy on their coffee table.

The pattern I used was from One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochetby Leigh Radford.  However, there are plenty of free patterns for felted bowls on the Internet:

Knitted Felted Bowl Pattern
40 Years Felted Bowl
Spring Colored Felted Bowl

Felted bowls are great stash-busters, and they're quick and easy.  In other words, the perfect project.

Top 

Knitting not your thing?  Don't worry, you can crochet felted bowls too.

Finally, if you don't have the time or desire to do it yourself, Papaververton Etsy makes and sells gorgeous felted bowls.

As a kid, there were three great things about Easter.  First, Lent was over, and that meant it was time to PAR-TAY.  Second, it meant a basket full of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, which to this day I cannot resist.  And third, it meant pretty sugared eggs with miniature panoramas inside.

Which brings me to today's selection:  Sugarless Panoramic Eggs and Egg Box by Anita M. Wheeles, via Whipup.

Felted_eggs

Visit PopKnits to see the complete tutorial for how to make these precious eggs.  When I saw them, it filled me with such nostagia I got a little weepy (well, there's been wine involved, and you know how that goes).  But I suddenly realized why I am so enthralled by these tiny little woodland scenes–I have alwasy loved dollhouses, miniatures, and panoramas, and these fit the bill wonderfully.

Plus, they have no calories.

I'm not a felter, but since I joined Etsy I have a new appreciation for this art, especially miniature felted animals.  For example, KaysK9s has such a cute shop I almost can't contain myself.

Need I say more?

The new issue of Knitty.com came out today so you know it was a happy day in the West household.

The issue is heavy on scarves and socks, but one pattern stood out so much I had to write an entire blog post about it.

Flock.

FlockALT

photo from knitty.com

This is such a sweet pattern.  Can you imagine what a lovely baby gift it would be?  I just love it.  I'm almost tempted to knit one just so I can hang it over my bed.  Or better, maybe I'll knit one to hang over my writing desk (of course, that's in the bedroom, so I may as well hang it over the bed).

I posted the first part of this video tutorial from Art Jewelry Magazine a couple of weeks ago:  Making a Bezel Part I.

In my studio today I spent a lot of time taking pictures for my own tutorial on making a bezel set ring, but unfortunately I didn’t finish.  Since I think these videos from Art Jewelry Magazine are straight forward and easy to follow, I thought I’d post the second video in the series in absence of my tutorial.

If you are thinking of learning to make metal jewelry, I hope these videos inspire you.  It’s really not as difficult as you might think and it is such a satisfying process.