Saturday, 31 May 2014

Do it yourself woman!

We've had a full on week. A weekend in Aylesbury for a family party and then four days at my dads in York. Half term holidays can be a bit frantic.

The kitchen hasn't progressed much and I have a small problem to overcome. Two of the doors hit each other when they open. My lovely doors  are purely decorative at the moment. Such a drag, I need to sand one a bit smaller and hope that works. It's very boring when things go wrong.

I'm just going to write a quick post about Unibonds current advertising campaign. Whilst in York, I saw a full page ad in a magazine for the Unibond Go range of products. It's the first DIY ad I've seen aimed at women. It's about time! 

According to sources, women are now doing 60% of  home improvements. They aren't prepared to wait for their husbands to get around to it and don't want to pay for a tradesman. Half of those women who do DIY reckon they're better at it than their blokes.
Single women now own one in five UK households. Do it yourself is no longer just a mans domain.

The Go products are three small tubes of instant grab glue, bathroom sealant and filler.

No idea what they're like, I've never used them. This is NOT a sponsored post. Clearly.

On their website they have a series of instructional videos featuring a woman and her simpleton husband. The husband can be seen in absolute awe of his partners glue squirting technique.
She manages to seal behind the sink in the time it takes him to fetch his tools and slip into his DIY dungarees. And she even lets him have a go with the filler after he carelessly makes a hole in the wall.

I just can't see their relationship lasting.

I am so pleased that they're aiming themselves at a female market. I think that up until now, we've only seen women with paintbrushes in their hands.
Anything that gives women the confidence to have a go at DIY is awesome in my book.

Unibond, you rock.

Back soon with some cool secondhand finds and 1/4 of a completed kitchen! Woo hoo!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Painting kitchen cupboards...even melamine!

How to go about painting melamine... I've done plenty of research on this subject and I must say, most of it recommends using a super primer like Zinsser or Blackfriars. I also found a few articles suggesting ESP. Mostly on forums where it was recommended by people who paint kitchens for a living.

I've known about ESP since the mid nineties when they mentioned it daily on ''Change That'' the greatest TV show known to man.
I really thought that this was a lazy persons product. For people who can't be bothered to sand properly or for people who are on telly and have a very short time frame in which to paint furniture. Being a total perfectionist, ESP and I never crossed paths.

Until I started researching painted kitchens. I read the words, ''chemically bonds the paint on to a surface'' and I was intrigued. Because that sounds pretty damn good to me.

And let me tell you, it IS pretty damn good. It's the most peculiar stuff. You wipe it on liberally, wait 10 minutes, wipe off the excess with a clean dry cloth, wait two hours and you can paint.

It really gives the greatest adhesion. There was a small area in my cabinet framework where I noticed a little residue of a sticky dot. I left it unpainted and when the surrounding paint was dry, I decided to sand it off. The surrounding areas were sanded too and that paint didn't shift. This was water based eggshell on plastic! I would have imagined that the paint would have peeled away very easily.

This stuff is amazing. Forget your chalk paints. Ugh, who'd want a chalk painted kitchen anyway? Forget your super primers. Definitely forget your cupboard paints! Have you read their reviews?
They just. Cannot. Compete. with ESP.

 I got mine on ebay for £25 with free postage. It's clear and thin like water so it stretches pretty far. One litre would be enough to do my 22 doors more than three times over.

As you can see I have one door up. I only had one handle, my sample handle but the others are coming tomorrow. I think I looked at every handle in the country.

I'm totally thrilled with my one solitary cupboard door. You know when you have a picture in your head? Often things don't turn out quite the same. Well this one has turned out just like it did in my head.

This post is not sponsored by ESP or Owatrol. I'm just a bit in love with it. If you're thinking of painting your kitchen doors, look no further.


I'm one step closer to having a nice kitchen for the first time ever.

You can see how I'm getting on HERE


Friday, 16 May 2014

Secondhand Scores...

The kitchen is coming along slooowly. Five doors are done out of 22. I spent a day and a half looking at every handle in the country and ended up ordering 6 different ones because it's the only way you can see if the handle colour works with the paint colour.

I'm not showing you the doors until they are back on the units with the handles in place. I'm praying that will happen soon.

So I'll share my latest secondhand scores instead.

I'm told this is St Theresa. She was £2 from the car boot sale.

She's had a little wear and tear over the years. I think it adds to her charm. I have three of these now...

St Anthonys nose has turned green and Jesus' head has come off at some point but I love them.

            Someone else who has seen better days is this funny little papier mache and glass glitter Santa. 

I cannot resist vintage Christmas tat.

Nor could I resist this vintage plastic shop sign for 50p. It's up in the kitchen window naturally.

But best of all, found this very day, a whole washing line full of unused vintage barkcloth!

See my raised beds too? Just need some pebbles or something on the weed liner between them.  And a few more raised beds running down this side of the garden. The canes are to keep the cats off. They don't work...

But back to the fabric, isn't it lovely?

  What can I make? What would you use it for? There's over 5 metres altogether. I'm thrilled with it.

I'm car booting on Sat and Sun and the weather looks good so they should be big ones. Have a lovely weekend whatever you're up to.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Around here...

We've enjoyed a lovely May day holiday with a picnic in Hitch Wood...

(Can I just say, my bum isn't this big. My cardy has sticky-outy pockets creating an optical illusion of booty. I actually have the pert derriere of a 20 year old. Honest.)

Isn't it beautiful?

Things at home are not quite so beautiful...

A little electrical socket re-jigging was called for but we have a splashback up! Yay! 

You'll have noticed that the surrounding kitchen isn't exactly selling it just yet. 

The doors are off...

and are getting clad in strips of hardwood...

and slowly but surely, I'm amassing a pile of 'done' doors.

And there is mess EVERYWHERE.

I'm using this product...

Titebond melamine glue. Apparently it's the bees knees for gluing wood to melamine. I'm not even using panel pins. It gives you plenty of slippiness time so you can guide your joints into the right position. Then you clamp it and it dries fairly quickly. You can stop clamping after 30 mins. Which is good if you only have five clamps and a lot of doors.

They say, 'this is an exceptional glue that forms a bond stronger than the substrate itself.'
I think that means you'll pull the whole melamine front off the cupboard before you pull my planks off.
It's pretty butch. I like that in a glue.

I had a play with my ESP today. What peculiar stuff it is. I've even got a couple of coats of paint on the cupboard frame. Cooking is strictly forbidden until this section of cupboards above the cooker is completed. Hopefully I can pull that off before the weekend is over because I go on strike at weekends and force my husband to cook. I don't want to miss out on that!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The kitchen... here's the plan...

After I bravely shared my less than beautiful kitchen with you last time, I'll now share my grand plan.

This is a case of working with what I've got, spending the least amount of money possible and creating the look of a £20,000 kitchen.

Okay, I'm kidding about that last part.
But let's take a look at a kitchen that costs £20,000.

Here's my cunning plan. I shall take my flat melamine eighties door...

And add thin strips of timber...

see my pencil line?

...all around the edges, creating the look of a shaker door. 

The wood will be primed with super-primer. The melamine will be wiped with ESP...

...a product I have NEVER used! This is a very exciting prospect for me. Apparently it's not just a primer. Oh no. It makes the paint CHEMICALLY BOND to a non porous surface. Like magic. It's all very scientific I'm sure but let's just call it magic.

Then, I can paint. I've ordered Farrow and Balls Cornforth white. Okay, F&B paints are not cheap BUT, if you're getting the look of a £20,000 kitchen for under £200 then it's a bargain.

The colour was chosen for its ability to look great with the cooker and the splashback.
New handles and you'd never know what lies beneath.

For the rest of the room, I'd like to replace this...

with this...

but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not going to pull that off whilst keeping my budget under £200.

We have concrete floors so gorgeous boards aren't going to happen either. Also wood would worry me as our washing machine has been known to flood the floor.

I think we might end up with this...

...pretend slate. And even that's going to bust the budget. Unless I pay with paypal generated by ebay sales,
then it's free. That's how I paid for the dining room floor.

The pantry door...

will become another one of these...

but I'm going to have to replace the enitire door architrave to make that work I think.

I'd love to replace the worktops but it's a huge expense and also involves replacing the sink. This will have to wait for another time. (sniff...)

I don't want to do spanktacular expensive tiling and then risk it being damaged or not fitting when we eventually replace the worktops so I have a few cheap options that would look good but could be replaced somewhere down the line. I'll keep those up my sleeve for now.

The lighting...

...totally sucks. I'd like to find a spotlight track that fits the exact footprint of a strip light but there don't seem to be any. Why ever not? People don't want to have to replaster a celing when they update their lighting. Someone needs to invent this. Fast.

The ugly radiator will be hidden behind a radiator cabinet. And I think that just about covers it.
 That little lot could take me until Christmas. So I can't sit here chatting about it all day. There's work to do!