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Monday, October 2, 2017

The Iron Giant Costume

A couple months back, my adorable nephew Henry

woke up one morning wishing he could dress as his favorite character - The Iron Giant

which apparently is a film from 1999 that is available on Netflix

Since it's a movie from the 90s - there aren't a lot of costume options out there, so I decided to construct one from scratch!

I looked at a pic online, drew out a sketch and went shopping for supplies.

I cut up and sewed a metallic table runner onto a black T-shirt.

Then I freehand drew the shape of the shoulder piece, and cut out strips of cardboard where I needed dimension.  I used hot glue to add all the strips.

Then I spray painted the shoulder piece with a hammered metallic spray paint. 

I cut this piece out of the metallic fabric and added rivets.

I added a bunch of rivets and screws to give it a realistic robot look.

I sewed arm and leg pieces, stuffed like pillows. with Velcro straps.

I decided to attempt a helmet.

I used a balloon and a piece of poster board as the base for paper mâché.

I was pretty happy with how it turned out

And it was ADORABLE to see Henry giving me his best Iron Giant stare!
Halloween costume DIY The Iron Giant

The mask wasn't that comfortable/wearable, but pretty cute on Henry.


This was a really fun project for me.  Problem-solving is one of my favorite things and I loved starting from a picture - with no instructions or blog posts and figuring out how I could replicate it.  With Halloween coming up - you might have an opportunity to do the same thing! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Repainting Kitchen Cabinets

In 2015, my house was flipped.  At that time, they painted the cabinets and added modern handles.  (They did a lot more, but today we're focusing on the cabinets!)  These pics are from the listing after it was flipped.  

When I bought the house in 2017, the cabinets had started to yellow.  Against the white stove, dishwasher, and subway tile back splash, it was very noticeable.  These pics try to capture the comparison of the cabinets with the paint sample and then with just one coat of primer.

The yellowed look bothered me enough that I decided to take it on as a project before I moved in.  So in the midst of packing at my old house and moving into my new house, I was also painting cabinets.  
Like all the other bloggers I read - I'm going to warn you - it's a LOT of work.  It's not a weekend project.  There are so many steps and it's really time-consuming.  The only other painting project I had to compare it to was when I repainted my dresser, and I thought that was a LOT of work, but obviously this was even bigger in scope.  But I also think it was totally worth it.

I hope this list helps you - I never found a really good comprehensive list and ended up going to the store about 5 different times.

For this project you'll need:

Cordless screwdriver
Painters tape (this can also be used to make the labels)
Drop cloths, roll of brown builder’s paper
Krud Kutter
Medium grit sandpaper
Fine grit sandpaper
Microfiber cloth(s)
Zinsser stain blocking primer
Benjamin Moore Advance paint
Paint can opener
Stirring stick
Paint tray
Paint roller
Paint roller cover  - I used the “foam roller for cabinets” type
Foam brushes
Paint pyramids – 10 in a package and you need 4 per cabinet door (optional, recommended)
Spray paint for hinges
Clear topcoat spray paint for hinges

Extras:  paint clothes, stool, phone to listen to podcast, lots of diet Coke, paper towels

Step 1 - Prepare labels (3 duplicates of each) and a map of your cabinets.  I had a hard time with this because since you're cleaning and painting both sides of the cabinet doors, at some point they lose the labels.  I think if I were super organized I could have labeled their place on the drop cloth to solve that problem.  You need 3 of each label because you need to label the cabinet base that the door came off of, the cabinet door and the Ziploc bag full of hinges and handles.  

Step 2 - Take off all cabinet doors and pull out all drawers.  

Step 3 - remove the hardware from each and put it into Ziploc bags with the corresponding label.  I did all of this with a manual screwdriver and that was crazy - one of the bloggers should have told me - STOP - go buy an electric screwdriver.  I got mine at Menard's for under $10.  It's worth it.

Step 4 - Clean/degrease/degloss (all one step, not three separate) all the places you'll paint - the cabinet doors and the bases still in the kitchen.  I read about and used Krud Kutter and thought it was good.  I made sure to wear gloves when using this product.  Remember - if it took you six days to get to step 4, that's totally normal.  This is a long process.

Step 5 - Sand everything with a medium grit sandpaper.  Not down to bare wood, but to get it roughed up, to help the paint stick better.  

Step 6 - Wipe everything down with a microfiber cloth.  You need a clean, smooth surface to start painting.

Step 7 - Tape the walls around where you'll be painting the base cabinets.  Cover counters, appliances, floors, whatever is at risk for getting paint on it.  I recommend listening to your favorite podcast during this time.  I listened to The Bobby Bones Show on iHeartRadio.

Step 8 - Prime everything.  Don't get discouraged - this step may take several days.  You have to prime the base cabinets on the walls and then one side of the doors and then probably wait to flip the doors and prime the other side.  (At this point you may be thinking - maybe outside or my garage would be the best place for all this mess.  It's not.  I carried all these cabinets out to my garage and primed one side...and they never dried.  You need it cool and low humidity.  Since it was a rainy, hot August in Kansas, I brought them in and cranked down the AC.)  To me - this is really important - buy primer that is stain blocking.  I think that's what happened in the two years since my house was flipped, whatever was underneath the white paint started to bleed through.

I read about and found these paint pyramids and they were great, except to keep costs down I only bought two packs and it would have been nice (and would have kept the project moving faster) if I had enough to put all the cabinets doors on.

[💡TIP] When you're done for the day, you can cover your paint tray with foil and you can dip your roller and brushes in paint (to keep them moist) and then wrap them in foil.  I have also read that if you store the foil wrapped brushes in the fridge, they'll last even longer.

Step 7 - Paint everything.  At this point you really start to feel good, you can see progress and the end in sight!  After quite a bit of research, I decided to use Benjamin Moore advance.  It's expensive, but here are the reasons it's good:  
  • self leveling ability…the open time is longer – so it helps eliminate any brush marks or that ‘painted-at-home’ look.
  • easy clean up
  • it’s an alkyd meaning it has the hardening ability of an oil based paint but it is waterborne
  • low VOC
Step 8 - After at least 16 hours, paint a second coat on everything.  IF there are any noticeable drips, use a fine grit sandpaper to remove them and then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. Drying times are 4-6 hours to touch, 16 hours to re-coat, 3-5 days before use, and up to 30 days to optimum hardness and sheen.

[💡TIP] Are you wondering what the soap is doing on the counter with my tools? 😂  The drawers are wood and prone to sticking (rather than easily gliding open) so I rubbed soap on the drawer slide and it really helped!  Also I am crazy about this soap!  #ilovehoneysuckle

Step 9 - Regarding the hinges - I really wanted to replace mine and wanted them to be all on the interior, but after researching it a ton, I determined I couldn't mentally handle one more thing.  So I decided to spray paint the hinges white and then spray a top coat on them.

Step 10 - Remove painters tape, reattach handles and hinges and then rehang cabinet doors.  One of the benefits of using Benjamin Moore Advance is that it dries like an oil paint (hard and wipeable) and eliminates the need for a topcoat/poly.

Now that the painting work is done - I LOVE my kitchen - it makes me so happy to see it every day.  That is worth everything.
white kitchen, farmhouse kitchen, modern kitchen, Lyndi's kitchen

Monday, July 31, 2017

My Experience as a First Time Homebuyer

Buying a house has been a long-time goal of mine and I'm excited to announce that I now have the keys to my very own house!

Here are the things I did years before I was ready to buy a house.

1. Lived in the city, got familiar with the different parts of town, figured out where I felt most comfortable.

2. Paid off my debt.  Credit card debt, car debt, student loans.  At the time I bought my house, I had no debt.

3. Saved.  Every new year I make a list of about 3-5 resolutions and the last several years, the resolutions have included Save $___/month.

4. Set up a personal timeline.  I've known for the last few years that my moving date would be August of 2017.

5. Get familiar with the market.  For probably the last year, every day I looked at houses available through Trulia, Zillow, Realtor, etc.

6. Pray.  This is #6 on the list - but it's truly the most important thing.  For one year prior to my expected move date, I prayed specifically for God to lead me to a house perfect for me.  For 2017 I chose Deuteronomy 31:8 as my theme verse and I prayed that scripture over and over again throughout the process and I saw it come to life.

7. I made a list of what I wanted.  Here is my must-have list:

NW Wichita
3 bed
2 bath
Large bathtub
Wood/wood laminate floors
Updated kitchen
Updated baths
Fenced yard
Outdoor living space
Garage with remote

Under that list I included a wish-list.  For me, this really helped focus me.  For one thing, I didn't look at houses with only 1 bathroom or without a basement - which saved me from getting worn out by the process.  Another way it helped was not to let me get swayed by a cool feature of a house (wow - granite counter tops, cool, this house has really pretty landscaping) - I looked back at my must have list and found those weren't on it!  I'm very happy to say the house I bought has everything on my list - the only thing sacrificed was 1/2 bath.  

The first thing I did, when I was ready to buy a house is to contact my bank, in hopes of getting an idea of what price range I should be looking in and getting a pre-approval letter.  

When it was time to start looking - people I talked to say it takes 2-3 months, so I started mid-May - I asked friends for recommendations of realtors.  

Since I knew exactly what I wanted - I only looked at two houses in person and I put an offer in on both houses - which kind of cracks me up!  

The first house I found was nothing like what I thought I wanted - it was a quad-level.  Fully carpeted.  Extremely open floor plan.  But I loved it and I could picture myself living there.  And it had a greenhouse, which I loved! 

The things I didn't love - the cabinets were painted dark brown, and I really wanted white.  The floor was carpeted and I really wanted hardwood.  The yard wasn't fenced.  And there was no dedicated storage.

The thing that bothered me most was that a house next door looked rundown, their fence was falling down into my yard.  There were piles of garbage bags under their carport.  I looked up property records and discovered it is a rental house.  I knocked on doors in the neighborhood but couldn't really get any information.  I drove by at different times throughout the day.  I loved the house but I really wrestled with the decision.  I had an impression that the neighborhood wasn't as safe or nice as I really wanted.  I finally decided that a wooden fence would make me feel more secure.  So my realtor and I wrote the contract on Sunday afternoon and included that the Seller would put up a fence around the backyard.

The next day (Monday) around noon that the Seller received two offers and decided to take the other one.  I was disappointed, but I truly felt like God was closing a door.  I felt he was going before me and protecting me.  A lot of friends at work shared stories of how they lost a house and then found one much better - which I found comforting.  

Monday night I drove by several houses that were listed and had potential.  Across the street from a house listed (that I hadn't really considered previously because it had one bathroom and no bathtub) I saw that a for sale by owner sign had been put in the yard.  (I later found it had been put in the yard on Saturday).  

I got the number and went home to search online.  The pictures posted were from a prior listing but they were GORGEOUS.  My realtor contacted the Seller and we went to look at it the next day (Tuesday) after work.  In person, full of furniture, the house looked a little smaller and less gorgeous.  But I really liked it.  I asked if I could look at it one more time, and get the opinions of my mom and sister.  We went at 8 the next morning (Wednesday).  My family was very positive and when I went back to my must have list - I realized it had nearly everything I wanted (except 1.5 bathrooms instead of 2).  The neighborhood felt much safer.  I talked to my realtor and we put an offer in.  We also knew that another Buyer had looked at the house twice already and may be putting in an offer.  When I left work that day, I texted my realtor and asked if it was a bad sign we hadn't heard anything yet.  She said don't worry yet.  At around 7 that night we heard that the Seller was planning to accept my offer.  Around 11 that night - I actually got the signed contract.

At this point people would ask me if I was excited and I wasn't - I just felt like the process is so fragile - the whole thing could fall apart at any moment.

Next up was the inspection.  I was so nervous - but God went before me.  The inspector said it was actually really good results.  He found only a few things that concerned me and the Seller agreed to fix them.

Then the appraisal ordered by the bank.  Again, I was nervous, but God went before me.  The appraised value was the exact same as the purchase price.

At this point my other sister visited town and I drove her past my new house and she noticed that the garage doors had a design of a shield and cross.  It was actually really hard to see but I felt it was an amazing confirmation that God had gone before me and put a seal on my doors as a reminder that He had gone before me and prepared a place for me.

Closing got pushed back a few days, but everything went smoothly.

As of today...I own a house.  I'm so thankful and excited!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dinosaur Eggs

Henry got a water table from his grandparents (shout out!) for his 3rd birthday.  I started looking for ideas to go along with the water table.  On Pinterest I found several posts about Dinosaur Eggs and I loved the idea.

I bought water balloons and little dinosaurs at Dollar Tree.

Unfortunately it was REALLY hard to get the dinosaurs into those tiny balloons and once in the tiny dino feet and tails kept puncturing holes in the balloons.

I was about to run to the store to get normal size balloons, but then found some better quality water balloons.  It was still REALLY hard to get the dinosaurs into the balloons, but once in, the better quality balloons didn't puncture.

So I put the dinos in and then filled them up with water at the sink.  Then put them straight in the freezer.

We used them about 19 hours later and they were perfectly frozen.

The balloons came off easily and it's so cool that you can see them, suspended in the ice.

We put them one at a time in the water table and used a turkey baster (also from Dollar Tree) to squirt warm water over the ice eggs.

Since it was about 90 degrees out and the water table water was warm, it took, probably under 10 minutes for them to get done.

It was fun watching them be revealed.  The best part was hearing Henry's excited exclamations.

 "They're hatching!"
"They want to be free!"
"They're almost out!"

Fun activity - I definitely recommend it!



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