Friday, August 19, 2016

Birthdays in Heaven

Today would've been my dad's 58th birthday, and its his 4th birthday our family is left to celebrate without him.

4 years.

Two grand-babies have been born, without the chance to be bounced on his knee. Another grand-baby on the way, my sweet niece, and she too will not hear his booming laugh or be tickled by his mustache as he deposits kisses on her sweet cheeks.
This is the part of parenting you don't think about when you first get that positive result: when you, the parent, have lost a parent, now your children have lost a grandparent as well.

Although we didn't know we were expecting when my dad passed away, one of my earliest grief-filled thoughts was the knowledge that my children would only ever know him through me. There would be no serious faced with twinkly eyes admonitions, no candy snuck behind my back to them, no dancing while standing on his feet. They won't have a smell to associate with him, while every time I catch a whiff of cough drops and wisps of cigarette smoke mingling, I fight off tears.

And yet. As The Lion King so faithfully taught me all those years ago, he lives in me. My eyes twinkle just the same, and so they will know that look after all. My mom will continue to be the ultimate candy sneaker, and my sister will kiss them until her lips fall off. They will know love, the love we have in our hearts for them. Although it may not always feel like enough, it really is. They are my family, my children's family, and they will know their missing grandpa through them.

We are his legacy. Our children will carry on the legacy as well.

Happy birthday, Dad. We miss you so.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Turn a drab dresser into a fab coffee bar

Since we haven't been busy enough (ha!) with moving and being without a/c and traveling and life, I realized our new kitchen needs more storage and decided to buy a cheap dresser off of CraigsList and turn it into a coffee bar. Here's the step by step in case you're a glutton for punishment like me!

1. Buy a sad looking dresser off of Craigslist (safely! Don't go alone!). Here's my before photo:

There's my little helper! I use a shower curtain as a drop cloth, because they're literally $2. 

2. Clean it. Scrub it down. Remove hardware. I left the hinges and door on, because ain't nobody got time for that. I removed the drawers at this point as well.

3. Tape off 6-8 inches (I used painter's tape and a paper towel, taped again at the bottom of the paper towel) to spray paint the top.

4. Spray paint the top. I used a textured stone spray paint, so it would look more like kitchen counter tops and less like a dresser. Make sure you buy enough! I thought it would take one 12 ounce can,but it took 2 full ones and I touched up with a third.

Once you're certain you don't need do to touch ups, remove the tape and paper towels.

5. While waiting for the top to dry, I worked on the drawers. I decided to cover them with adhesive Con-Tact paper I found at the Dollar Tree. I eyeballed it (mistake 1) and thought I had enough. I was wrong. I spent the next three days driving all over Knoxville, calling and visiting numerous Dollar Tree locations, without luck. Finally I remembered I'd actually used some of it in large sheets as shelf liner, and pulled that up to use on the exterior of the drawers and door. I stapled the edges where it wraps around to reinforce the adhesive and keep it from peeling. I also changed the knobs for a sleeker style.

So, before you go this route, measure and make sure you have plenty before applying it! Had I not found some I'd already used, I would've had to order a case from the Dollar Tree online for $16.

I also covered the door in adhesive shelf liner, but considered painting it cream.

6. Paint the sides and frame of the dresser
 I used cream chalk paint to keep with the style of my kitchen and allow room for error, since my 'helpers' are 1 and 3 and I am frequently pausing while doing these projects.

7. Once it's all dry, reinsert the drawers and set up!
Here's my finished project:

I added a table runner, because I love it but my boys only pull it off of our dining table, and put our coffee maker and espresso machine on top. The first drawer is coffee cups (which we'll eventually hang above the bar) and coffee supplies, the middle drawer is baking supplies, and the bottom drawer is my husband's BBQ tools and rubs. The door hides two shelves filled with small appliances, like the slow cooker, food processor and blender. The coffee bar adds a lot of storage and frees up valuable counter space without adding bulk or interfering with the high traffic paths. We also put a little tray there to catch mail and other detritus my loves would leave on my dining table, which I like to leave cleared.

I love it! What do you think?