Thanksgiving crafts

We’re going to have people write what they’re thankful for on these leaves and then hang them from some manzanita branches as a centerpiece:

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Even the leftovers are so pretty!:

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Kitchen and Craft Room remodel pictures, finally!

Okay, it’s a bit anti-climactic at this point since we’ve been living in the house for about 3 months now, but some friends afar have asked for pictures of the remodel.  I wasn’t sure how to best do “before and after” pictures since we moved 3 rooms around (kitchen moved to where the dining room was, dining table moved to where the kids’ craft area was, kids craft/project area + my laptop moved to the old kitchen location). I could sit around and weigh the options, but in the end, I decided it was best to just start posting pictures. 🙂

First is our new kitchen — ooooh, ahhhh….  (Confession: Even after only 3 months I had to move a ton of our junk stuff just outside the picture so it would look all nice and clean, but of course you knew that, right? haha)

DR corner after

We are LOVING the island, having all that extra counter space for prep and eating, plus the extra sink on it. I had initially wanted NO seating at the island, but the kitchen designer pushed back and said it’s something we would really enjoy, and we decided to take her expert advice, and she was right!  We are also loving the huge gas rangetop and the second dishwasher (soooooo useful when you are counting on your kids to empty the dishwasher).  Lots to love, I am so grateful.

Here’s a before and after of this particular space: (I hate those “before and after” makeover pictures where it seriously looks like they told the person to look as terrible and depressed as possible in the before picture. Sadly, I didn’t have to do anything extra to make the space look this cluttered, just ordinary life, but I do recognize that this unfairly makes the before even worse and the after even better.  Oh well)

DR corner BandA

The dining area didn’t change much (other than get moved to a new location), but the kids’ craft/project area did!  Here are two sets of before and afters.  The first is what their craft area used to look like compared to now.  The second is how the space changed from old kitchen to new craft/project area.

Art Area BandAOf course it will never look this tidy — it’s a craft/project area, so it’s always messy! 🙂

Kitchen View BandAThere were a lot of subtle things we had to do with walls, doors, and windows to make this all happen.  Come to think of it, I think almost every door and window in these spaces had to be moved/replaced!

Here’s a comparison of the view into this space as you walk through the front door…

Entry View BandA

We also expanded the laundry/pantry area just a little bit and reconfigured the doors.  The new door is in the middle dividing the laundry/cleaning supplies from the second fridge and pantry cabinets.

Laundry Pantry BandA

We also expanded the kids’ bedroom and added a nice cubby area for shoes/jackets/backpacks, etc.  I’ll have to post those pictures another time.  In the meantime, we’ve started having friends and family over to start “using” the new space, and it’s been working out great for us!  It’s been an inconvenient and sometimes painful 6 months, but we love the changes. (much like pregnancy and childbirth)  As we enter into the major “celebrations and gatherings” season of the year, we look forward to really putting the new spaces to the test!

First Meals with the New Kitchen

First Meals with the New Kitchen

After a much-too-long wait, the stove was finally usable last week and I’ve been able to cook for a little over a week now. (I think it ended up being over 4 weeks of eating out every night! And that was after moving out of the house for 3.5 months.)

Some people wondered what my inaugural meal would be. (no pressure!) I posted on FB that I had been able to do a lot with a microwave and toaster while “Remodel Camping” plus eating out for dinner, but the one thing I couldn’t really get easily was a soft-boiled egg! So sure enough, it was the first thing I made on the stove.

After that, the meals were a slow ramp up in complexity–a pot of udon, some filet mignon (first time searing it on the stove, I undercooked it so I need some more practice, yum!), and a big pot of curry chicken, for which I actually needed to peel and chop and use the new island and prep sink.

I enjoyed cooking before, but now it’s even better with the setup of my new and improved kitchen. I’m feeling so fortunate!!

I know I need to post final pictures of the remodel, but I’m still trying to put everything back and organize it all. Even though most of the focus has been on the kitchen, the remodel ended up touching so many parts of the house–a new pantry, a new craft area, a new cubbie area, a rearranged living room, a new location for the dining table, and two expanded bedrooms. It’s like unpacking everything after a big move! More pictures to come…