Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My (finally, and lovingly) Refurbished China Cabinet

I did it!  I finally, finally, finally finished refinishing my Chinese Cabinet (at least, that's what Megan calls it).  It has taken me since...oh, I'd say, September 2012 to complete this project, but I think it turned out great!  I am so pleased about my new addition to our dining room.  

It all started when my Aunt Pat brought me boxes of my Grandma's china.  I thought that such a lovely gift needed to be displayed in a loving manner and so my search for a china cabinet began.

Pretty snowflake china from the 60s.

I had seen people of Pinterest re-do china cabinets and they made it look, why not?  I browsed Craigslist and found this beaut.

Yeeeesh.  Can you say U-G-L-Y, it ain't got no alibi?  But it was only $100.  First thing I did was make a trip to Home Depot and pick up this bad boy.

Easy. Quick. All in one box= Good.  Actually, I was pretty skeptical.  The china cabinet was awfully dark, and this promised to make it very white. 

Er....That's a lot of steps.  Could it be that this might take a few days longer than I expected?

I disassembled the whole darn thing, every hinge, every screw, every magnetic door-shutting doohickey, and every little plastic bit for keeping the glass windows intact.  It was a lot of parts.  Then I did the Rustoleum kit step by step.  Each side of each piece.  It took...awhile.

Brennan's bug makes a cameo
I also removed the mirrors that backed the cabinet.  It was tricky, but I had a cool little tool that breaks glass without shattering it.  I then had to peel of this horribly un-peelable sticky stuff that stuck the mirror on.  

Best done with a hair dryer and chisel

Once all the stripping agents were applied and it was painted white, the last application was this stuff that gave it an antiquey sort of finish.  The next step was to cover up the background where the mirror was.  I considered many different options: wall paper, contact paper, paint and stencils, but I settled on applying fancy paper with decoupage.

Pretty paper bought online from Paper Source

I would say that the paper is my least favorite part.  I love the design but I was sloppy in its application.  I would suggest using a squeegy of some sort to eliminate bubbling. 

I then (with a lot of muscley help) moved the cabinet back inside after its long winter in the garage.  I drilled in all the little bits and bobs to attach the doors and put the glass back in.  

And then I got to put on the wee finishing touches that made it ALL WORTH IT.  The knobs!

The blue crystal knobs are for the bottom cabinet and three brass birds for the top are from Cost Plus World Market.  

Even though (after all this work) I don't feel super good about putting in all these lovely breakable dishes while the kids are still climby and destructive, I did put in the sugar bowl that I bought myself for Christmas from Anthropology.  

I'm so happy I accomplished such a big undertaking, mostly all by myself.  I set out to get a china cabinet and that is what I got....with LOTS of trial and error.  

Final cost was probably $250.  I think that I could have finished this in a week or two if I didn't have to work around two small children's nap times.  It was pretty limiting.  I also think that if I wasn't working in a freezing cold garage in Seattle during the winter, it might have gotten done a tad earlier.  None of that matters though, now that I have the finished product beaming from my dining room.   

*sigh*  I love my Chinese Cabinet.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Top 10 Pandora Stations

I love Pandora.  I love being able to create my own radio stations and listen to them commercial free.  This is because I pay the extra fee that allows me to not be interrupted by those pesky ads.  I feel spoiled when I turn the radio on in the car and have to switch the dial every five minutes, when Pandora provides me with hours of musical entertainment.

We listen to Pandora often throughout the day, usually on my phone, but sometimes on my laptop.  What we listen to depends on our moods, and here is a list of my top 10 favorite stations (and the reasons we love them).

In no particular order:

1. Bread

You know that soft 70s band Bread?  No?  Well, for shame!

What's not to love?
Some of their songs just hit the spot--If, Baby I'm-a Want You,  Make it with You.  Bread really melts my butter.  I also love the other bands and songs that get played on the Bread station--Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, America-- it's like taking a stroll down my 70s childhood lane; all great music for a lazy Sunday morning.

2. Duran Duran

Awesome 80s new wave pop, good for house cleaning, projects in the garage, and remodeling your bathroom.

And look at that hair!

3. Gotye

Oooo!  I really love Gotye!  I know, I know it's not really cool anymore.  Whatevs.  Gotye is a cool drink of water alternative band, and the Pandora station plays other fairly mainstream alternative music--the kind that has a good beat and you can dance to.  Megan LOVES Gotye, so therefore I love them (although I love them anyway), and often requests this stations or "dance music" as she calls it.

4.  The Cowsills

This might actually be my number one favorite.  I love this station.  It reminds me of my mom, and of the kind of music we would listen to on the radio when I was a kid.  It's the station I put on when I'm playing with the kids, making crafts, playing with toys, baking.  I would put it on my phone and bring it out to our deck on warm days last summer and let the kids strip down and play with the water toys and mud pies.  We listened to this station and ate peaches and frozen bananas and it was my favorite part of last summer.  Not only does this station focus on the Cowsills, but you get the Beach Boys (Finn's fave), The Association (my fave), The Turtles, The Mamas and The Papas...SO good.

Masterpieces made while listening to the Cowsills

5.  Owen Duggan

This is my favorite kids music station.  Found this one pretty randomly and it quickly turned into our go-to playtime station.  We especially like listening to it during bath time.  It focuses on kid music that isn't annoying.  This is good.  You won't find Barney, or any nails on a chalkboard children singing along.  It's pretty alternative without being too hipster and Megan knows all the songs by heart.

6.  Anugama

I love this one for it's super meditative, calming tunes.  When I have time, (which isn't often), I like to sit quietly and breathe with my eyes closed while listening to this.  Anugama is a new age band which incorporates a lot of nature sounds.  I love that it's a meditation station that isn't Enya-y, (I like Enya, but it seems like that's all you get with new age music), and it has a nice Buddhist flair without being to chanty.

7.  Black Eyed Peas

Haters gonna hate.  That's cool.  I listen to this station when I go running and it is super motivating.  It's all totally upbeat, hip-hoppy, fun music that keeps me in motion.  They play Rhianna, Lady Gaga, Usher, Justin Timberlake, LMFAO, and I unapologetically love this station.

8.  Dave Bruebeck

What's not to like about Dave Bruebeck?  He was so cool.  My favorite jazz song of all time is Take Five.  Listening to this station makes me feel like I've got one of those neat Wurlitzer juke boxes in my living room.  This is a good station for dinner time, especially with a nice glass of wine.

9.  Quaker Meadows

I was just messing around and curious about Quaker music.  I knew it would be calming and quiet, but I wasn't expecting it to be so delightful!  You know, it's a gift to be simple and all that.  I listen to this with the kids on weekend mornings while Brennan is sleeping in and it's like, 6am and we're making pancakes.  It's sort of Celtic and Irish, and I can easily see unicorns prancing in a meadow while we listen to this station.

Quaker unicorn

10.  Don't Worry Be Happy

Yep, my favorite feel good song, now a Pandora station!  It's Bobby McFerrin , but also it's reggae, it's Harry Belafonte, It's Michael Frante, it's Iz.  I love listening to this when I feel blue, because who doesn't smile when listening to someone tell you not to worry?  The message: BE HAPPY!