Sunday, May 24, 2015

DIY Tuscan Above the Range Microwave Hood Vent Update

On my quest for an elegant old world/ Tuscan kitchen that won't cost me an arm and a leg I came up with a great idea for putting a Tuscan touch on (among other things) the microwave.

When we first bought our house we bought all new stainless appliances. I picked out a stainless above the oven microwave that had a black hood vent. The microwaves with stainless hood vents were about $50 more and I couldn't justify spending the extra money just for that one tiny thing.

 I LOVED our new appliances but the more I looked at that microwave, the more I just didn't like the black hood vent. There was something about it that looked just a little bit off to my eye. It was like a black hole sucking my focal point right to its plastic cheapness.

When I found out about stainless look contact paper I jumped at the chance to change the look of our microwave once and for all. I went out right away and bought some and it sat around on the kitchen counter for a few months patiently waiting for me to get around to a project that would probably only take up 20 minutes of my time.

When I finally measured out and stuck the contact paper up on the microwave hood I was sadly disappointed. The color was completely off (although it doesn't appear that way in the picture). I left it up for Cory to check out when he got home.

The next day I peeled it off and some of the sticky back remained so I grabbed a scrub pad from under the sink and scrubbed the residue off. I swear I should not own any scrub pads that aren't scratch-free because I am constantly ruining things with them. My microwave was now the proud new owner of multiple scratches thanks to me.

Obviously I had to do something to cover the scratches.

I am in love with the custom hoods that old world kitchens have. Of course we're not removing our over the range microwave any time soon so I figured out an idea to get the best of both worlds.

I thought I could slap some super thin wood up on the hood vent and then put an applique in the middle to create the Tuscan look I wanted. I told Cory my idea and he liked it. He also suggested putting a hammered copper cover on the hood but I opted to try out my (cheaper) idea first.

I had no idea what to use for the super thin wood. I wanted it to look custom, like it was meant to be there. Cory told me to try wood veneer.

Menard's seemed to be the only place around that carried wood veneer. At $20 for a box it was a little steep for me but I knew I could use it for lots of projects so I would definitely get my moneys worth. I also picked up an applique at Home Depot for $4.

There was a picture of people using spray adhesive on the box and I already had spray adhesive so I was pretty excited about that. Cory had suggested contact cement, which for my future projects I will be using. There was also a picture of a guy using a roller tool to smooth out the glue. I didn't have a roller tool so I figured I would use my rolling pin located in close range in the cabinet above the microwave.

I gathered up my supplies:

  • wood veneer
  • spray glue
  • applique
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • pen
  • rolling pin
  • all the painting supplies to match my cabinets
I got started by taking measurements of the microwave hood vent.

Then I measured and marked the wood veneer.

I unfortunately didn't have Cory's giant level handy to use as a straight edge. Since once I get started I don't want to stop for silly reasons like not having the right tools, I simply measured out the height of the microwave on the veneer at 4 inch intervals and put a small line there to make it easier to cut a straight line.

Then I cut out the wood veneer with scissors. Yes, that's right, scissors. This product is so thin the scissors cut through it like butter. No power tools necessary for this project!!

After I cut the veneer I laid out some paper towels to prevent glue from getting all over and sprayed down the back side of the veneer with an even coat of glue.

Then I gently lined up the veneer and pushed it onto the microwave hood vent. After I smoothed it out as best I could I grabbed my rolling pin and rolled away to get any remaining air bubbles out. I of course used two hands but I couldn't very well take the picture with no hands.

Here is how the microwave looked after I put up the veneer. I also put veneer on the sides to make it look more like a wood hood vent rather than just a facing.

Immediately after the veneer was up I measured to the middle of the hood and marked it for the wood applique.

Then I sprayed the back of the applique with glue and pressed it onto my marked area.

After that was all up I painted two coats of white on the hood and glazed then clear coated. Here's some pics of the finished product.

To recap, this was super easy, affordable and gave my kitchen more of the custom Tuscan look I want. If you don't remember the ugliness from before, here's a before and after:

I'm completely in love with the custom new old world Tuscan look the microwave hood vent now gives my kitchen! Look for many more kitchen projects to come before I complete my DIY Tuscan kitchen!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day Hand-Painted Flowers

Since it's Mother's Day I thought I would share with you all the absolutely adorable craft my son made this year! Every Mother's Day since Jackson was born we have made "handmade" cards and/or crafts for Grandma, Nana, Great Mama and Great Grandma. I usually scope out Google for free printable cards since cards cost a small fortune nowadays. Or I actually make a card of my own, with Jacksons help of course. I think homemade presents for a holiday like this are much more special and have way more meaning than a store bought card and a bouquet of flowers.

This year is no different. I wasn't even looking for Mother's Day ideas and I happened upon a great idea from The Trendy Treehouse for making paper lily flowers from handprints. It was the perfect simple yet sentimental craft for Mother's Day.

I, of course put my own spin on this craft.  A few weeks ago I had picked up some water color pencils from Michaels. I loved the concept and was eager to see how they worked so I decided to let Jackson be my Guinea pig. He was excited to "paint" and make something for all of the Grandmas. 

First I traced his hand all over some thick water color paper with crayons since I knew crayon would not wash away with water. 

Next I handed him the pencils and he colored all the hands in typical spastic toddler fashion.

After he was satisfied with how his coloring looked I gave him a paintbrush and he "painted" with water all over his drawings.

I liked how the water color pencils were mess free and easy to use. I can't wait to try them myself with a detailed drawing turned into a water color painting!

After the hands were dry I cut them all out and wrote Happy Mother's Day 2015 love Jackson on the fingers. I also made a get well soon lily for Jackson's cousin Christy who just had surgery.

 I then rolled the bottom into a loose tube. I taped that together to form the base of the lily flower. I then curled all of the fingers out and slightly down to look like lily petals.

 Lastly I made a stem out of green pipe cleaners and twisted some different colored pipe cleaners for the stamen to complete the lily flower.

 I love how the lilies turned out and so does Jackson! They look great as a bouquet and I would love to keep them all but we made these for all the wonderful Mother's in our lives and they should get to enjoy them too.

I did make myself one so I could be reminded of how small Jackson's hands were this year and they are just so darn cute that I had to have one! Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mama's out there! Enjoy your day!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Oops I did it again: How to Fix Your Cracked Cell Phone Screen

I have a problem. I'll admit it. I'm a clutz. I've broken three four iPhone screens and one Galaxy screen. *sigh* Wow does that look bad in writing.

The first time it happened I almost broke down and bawled like a baby. I thought I was going to have to buy a whole new phone! But my trusty Facebook friends reassured me there were "places" that fixed cracked cell phone screens. For around $100 my phone would be good as new again. 
What?! $100! That seemed kinda pricey to me.

Since Cory is a the biggest DIYer I know and he will try to do almost anything himself first, from plumbing, to electrical, to cars, and only if the task becomes too hard to handle (or if it blows up in his face) will he call the pros (in my case I always call on Cory). 

So naturally Cory would try to fix my broken iPhone screen and save me around $80-$90. 
Here she is in all her glory. I felt like I was going to cut my ear/fingertip off every time I used my phone. Although I must say the touchscreen still worked perfect!

This isn't going to be one of my typical tutorials, it's just good old fashioned advice with a whole bunch of pictures of the process. Here is our secret weapon to success: the ever informative Internet. Anyone can learn pretty much anything (except maybe brain surgery) from the Internet.  If I wrote my own tutorial on how to fix a cracked iPhone screen, it would pale in comparison to all the great ones out there on the good ol' internet.

YouTube and Google were Cory's teachers for this, among many a project. I recommend watching as many YouTube videos as you can stand about fixing your particular phone and googling any other problems that arise while you're repairing it. The first YouTube video I watched was my favorite because it featured a guy who fixed a broken iPhone 5c screen in less than five minutes.

Yes, less than five minutes to fix my phone. Obviously these companies are making bookoo bucks off of people who think they can't fix their own phone. To prove my point even more, I bought a screen with a digitizer and tools off eBay for less than $20. I spent less than $10 for my old iPhone 4 screen that Cory fixed for me long ago. Which by the way was wayyy harder to fix than the 5 since you have to take the entire phone apart from the back all the way to the front.

So that means these companies, who probably buy screens in bulk for maybe $15 a piece or less, and then fix a phone in 5 minutes, are making crazy amounts of money for hardly any time or effort.

So needless to say Cory would love to get into this lucrative business so if your cell phone screen is broken, you can email me and we'll set it all up. Just kidding!! Ha ha...not really, Ok, yes I am kidding.

Here's some pictures of Cory fixing my iPhone. You basically take some screws out, which are the tiniest screws in the world by the way, and then pop the screen off, then take more screws out, then remove the screen and digitizer, possibly more things that I'm forgetting like the camera, then you put the new screen on, test it, and then viola fixed phone! Except it didn't work out that way this time.

Don't mind Cory's "man hands". He's such a hard worker, that man o' mine.

When Cory went to "push" the new screen back into the frame the corner cracked. Bummer. But the screen was still a million percent better than before!!

 I used my phone like normal not really caring about the few little cracks, knowing I'd buy another screen someday to replace this one. But then my phone started acting crazy, like a ghost was controlling it, and I couldn't do anything to stop it except lock my phone. It wasn't all the time but it was really annoying when it happened. I'm pretty sure the "ghost" changed a bunch of notes into gibberish that I had in Evernote about Jackson's first steps...
So needless to say I got back on eBay and bought another screen. This time I bought a pink one. Hey, why not. I like pink and it makes my phone more personalized and worth more money if I ever decide to sell it. Who am I kidding, I'll probably break that sucker into a million pieces before I get a chance to sell it. I'm honest, what can I say.

Apparently my phone's ghost was friendly, I call him Casper, and stopped controlling my phone so much. So I went on with my busy life using my phone like always. Until one day I bent over to look at some hot wheels and my phone slipped from my butter fingers and completely busted the corner out. A bunch of pretty lines appeared on the screen. Darn, I didn't get so lucky this time and only the left side of my phone worked, and poorly at that. Also Casper was back with a vengeance.

I guess you never realize how much you need your phone until you can't use it. I could barely make phone calls, I couldn't text and I couldn't check my voicemail. My phone needed to be fixed NOW! So I (not so) patiently waited for Cory to have some spare time. I even kicked around fixing it myself. But I'm just not that confident in my techy skills and I knew Cory could do it so I waited.

My bestie Mel was kind enough to loan me her old Galaxy phone to use until my iPhone was repaired. As I was saying goodbye she jokingly called out, "Don't break my phone!" Not even two seconds later as her garage door closed behind me, Jackson wriggling in my arms, accidentally kicked the phone out of my hands and it landed face down on the driveway. Yep. Just my luck. The whole screen was a spiderweb of cracks.
Thank goodness her phone still worked perfect and it got me by until my phone was fixed. I now know I'm an iPhone lifer after using the android system for a week. It's just not for me, no offense to any android lovers.

Cory fixed my phone a few days later. Here's a picture of him working on it. You can see how teeny tiny the screws are. He used shot glasses to store them in so they wouldn't get lost.
Here's a pic of my brand spankin new pink phone!! I put some tempered glass on the new screen and a pink case and called it a day. A bright shiny day. I can't tell you how happy I am to have my phone back. In one piece. Now if I could just stop dropping it!! In the words of my co worker Chris, "You could encase your phone in cement and you'd still find a way to break it." I hope that isn't true this time...
Now that my phone is fixed Cory is going to try his hand at fixing Melissa's Galaxy. If he masters that he can fix his own cracked Galaxy(see picture above of him fixing my phone). See, I'm not the only one. I often wonder how many people out there have broken cell phone screens...

In my honest opinion I think anyone who is technically savvy can probably fix their broken cell phone screen and save lots of $$$. Cory has for me, three times now. So he's saved me around $300!! He's either an amateur techy genius or it's just not the most difficult task to fix a cracked iPhone screen with a video tutorial. I'm going with both on that one folks. I'm too chicken to try it myself but if it can be done in less than 5 minutes by a youTuber then a novice can do it too, it just might take them three hours.


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