La cocina nueva

It’s only fitting that my first post in 2016 is dedicated to the biggest project Fran and I finished this year (albeit 3 months ago…). Our somewhat spontaneous kitchen remodeling came after a cockroach infestation that led to impromptu demo-day with the kitchen cabinets. (See here for a preview of what they used to look like.)

With major help from our recently-graduated architect friend, Arq. Nico Balzarini (shout out for being the first clients!) and a spectacular design for our mini kitchen, renovations took a few weeks with Fran’s brother doing a lot of the hard labor (notably the pantry door which had to be torn off and cemented to form a proper wall), here were the end results! Feel free to leave a comment if you have specific questions about the various parts of the kitchen and I’d be happy to share further a step-by-step!

Before:

During:

After:

Fran and I are very satisfied with our new kitchen; so much so that we actually cook dinner almost every night, eaten on our matching guatambu wood dining table, with custom legs!

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Gook be Gone – Removing Melted Magnets and Stickers

Never, ever think of putting a magnet or sticker on an oven hood, let alone an oven. No, I did not make this mistake, but the previous tenant did. And boy is it a pain to remove. However, I think I found the secret (let’s call it a homemade WD-40) and I’m going to share it with you! The oven hood I was working with was a smooth metal, so this process might not work for every surface type. Test a tiny area to make sure the steel scrubber won’t destroy your appliance.

Before

Before

After

After

What you’ll need:

  • a sharp knife (butcher works best, no serrated edges )
  • vinegar
  • steel scrubber
  • old sponge
  • a hell of a lot of elbow grease

What to do:

  1. Start by scraping off the magnet(s) with a butcher knife. Be careful not to aim the sharp end at any part of your body, since it could very well slip.                                                                             01d8af90f3e78b0d9f1ae5ba05d61be579ad19a7b6
  2. Once the magnets have been removed as much as possible, you’ll have a lot of “gook” remaining. Use the old sponge to layer on some vinegar. Be generous, leaving enough to make any sticker and magnet remains soggy.
  3. After a few 01a47ed0a70f0a7653c71323c8d2269dc2169e7dedminutes, use the steel scrubber to scrub off the magnet and sticker remnants. This is where the elbow grease will come in handy, too. Who knew a kitchen project could turn into a nice arm workout?
  4. Be sure to let the surface dry completely before beginning to paint. I chose a paint that I used on our doors, semi-brillante látex (semi-gloss, latex paint), which worked very well.

Any tips of your own to share to remove those awful disasters your former residents left you? Share them in a comment!


My new kitchen cupboards! (Now, for a microwave that matches...)

My new kitchen cupboards! (Now, for a microwave that matches…)

Rustic Branch Coat Rack

After a few weeks of working my butt off at my job, I finally had the time to finish a project I had been working on for weeks and I’m very excited to share it with you all!

I found the idea on a Pinterest pin and thought it would be the perfect fit for my white walls in the flat. It was quite simple to make – I just roughly sanded the branch after Fran cut the ends off to make it the right size (now it fits perfectly behind our front door). Fran helped with the sanding, as we found a tiny electric sander in his house and he just loves power tools.

Next I found hooks at a nearby ferretería, or hardware store, and Fran drilled small holes and screwed the hooks in, using the little plastic nail inserts. I would prefer not to do this step, but supposedly it prevents the wood from splitting.

Finally, I painted the hooks black with regular acrylic paint. It would be better to spray paint the hooks so the paint doesn’t peel off the metal hooks in the future, but seeing as how I don’t have a front lawn to paint, I went the acrylic route.

You can also paint the branch a different color, but I liked how the texture of the wood turned out after sanding. It’s definitely a project to get creative and add your own flare to!

Any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

 
 

Map Boxes: Origami Decor

I have had a bunch of 60- and 70-year-old maps sitting in a pile on my nightstand for a couple months now, ever since I found them in a trash pile, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect craft to come along so I can use them. (Yes, I have my mother’s hoarding gene, but how could you throw something like that away?!)

Luckily, Fran and I needed something to put change in and I had pinned something about map crafts a while back. They were very easy to make, once you get the hang of the final step. It’s a lot of paper folding, too, so make sure your maps aren’t super flimsy, as some of mine were. (Find the instructions here!)

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Hope you enjoy this easy and useful craft! 🙂

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: The Gift for Everyone

For those of you who don’t get their Christmas shopping done until Christmas Eve, I have one more gift guide to share with you. If the words “Secret Santa,” “Yankee Swap” or “amigo invisible” make you want to fall to your knees and sob like a baby, then this Gift Guide is for you. Sometimes it’s hard to think of a gift that everyone would like, and you wind up buying a bottle of wine for a 15 year old, or a makeup set for a 40-year-old man. But, I have a solution! Below I have listed some of my favorite gifts that EVERYONE would enjoy. If you have another gift that you fall back on for gift swaps, comment below!

For Nobody in Particular:

  • Humans of New York (HONY) Book – I have followed the HONY photoblog for years on Facebook and Brandon recently made a book of some of his best works. It’s on the NY Times Bestsellers list and has obviously been super successfully in the past few months. This gift is great for everyone because every story is extremely real and interesting and intriguing, and makes for a great coffee table book.

    hony

    humansofnewyork.com

  • Phase 10 – I’ve been in love with this game for years. It’s simple, quick, and very malleable… Fran and I have adjusted the rules numerous times and each time it gets more fun! It’s also really cheap, which is why it’s a great option for those Yankee Swaps.

    phase 10

    amazon.com

  • Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments – For the creatively gifted bunch that are reading this post, this is a cheap and (very) easy gift for anyone. If you’re on a tight budget especially, these ornaments can be mass distributed to all your loved ones at a very low cost. (Found on Pinterest!)

    craftriver.com

    craftriver.com

  • Throw Blankets – My mom has always made fun of me for my obsession with blankets. I used to sleep with ten of them on my bed when I was younger. But really, who doesn’t like blankets? That’s why a cozy throw blanket is perfect for a gift swap. You don’t see it often, but when you do you know that person really hit the jackpot with their gift.

    target.com (UM YES PLEASE!)

    target.com (UM YES PLEASE!)

  • Portable Speakers – One Christmas I won a portable speaker set by iHome that, to this day, I use more than I ever thought I would with a swap gift. They’re reliable, very portable, and the charges last forever, as the efficiency of portable speakers nowadays has improved tremendously. My fave store Francesca’s has a super cool looking Bluetooth speaker that I will recommend to you, and it comes at a mere price of $26.
francescas.com

francescas.com

I hope NHN’s Holiday Gift Guides have helped you finish your shopping in some way or another, and may you and your loved ones be merry and full of joy on Christmas Day.

Stay tuned for a special Honorable Mentions edition of the NHN Holiday Gift Guide!

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DIY Flower Wreath

My most recent project for my sister’s house is something they needed badly… a wreath! The previous owners left a hideous mustard yellow-green door color and the only way to draw attention away from it (until they paint it, of course) was to add, as my mother put it, a “gaudy” flower wreath.

I’m a fan of wreaths. They add personality to the front of a house (which may or may not look like every other house on the block). It’s a great way to stand out and make a statement.

A.C. Moore sells their off-season fake flowers at a discount, and since spring flowers are pretty much the same as summer flowers, I had no problem finding a cute blend of pretty flowers and some leaves. (Yep, gardening isn’t my thing, so don’t ask what kind of flowers!) Besides the flowers, all I needed was a wreath base ($4.99) made with twigs and branches and green wire ($1.99) to put it all together. My mom had the burlap ribbon so I lucked out with that part. I spent a total of $15 to make this gorgeous masterpiece:

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Ta-da!

The whole project only took a few hours. I hope instead of buying your next wreath at Pier 1 you decide to create your very own customized wreath!

I’ll post a picture later when they mount it on the door!

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A crafty alternative to knitting…

Good evening!

On account of my recent boredom I’ve grown fond of crafts that occupy me for a long time, especially paired with some HGTV. Who knew I had a secret longing to be a house flipper? Since that’ll probably never happen I like to watch Flip or Flop, and like everyone else from Generation Y I always need to be doing multiple things at once. Enter: The Red Thread Blog. :O Every crafter’s dream. Found on Pinterest, the Rope Coil Vessel is the perfect time-crushing craft that is mindless enough to pay attention to your fave TV show.

It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it. You start out making the base whatever size you’d like…

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…And then you continue until you reach your desired height…

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…And maybe mix and match until you have a nice set…

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…And voilà! A nice set of decorative bowls for my sister’s new house! I wonder if she’s sick of my decorative bowl gift sets yet…

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this craft as much as I did. I don’t think it cost me more than $5… I found the rope at Walmart for a great deal and have tons of embroidery thread from my summers of making friendship bracelets. Seriously, if anyone has a craft with embroidery thread PLEASE sent it my way! I have way too much.

I hope you’re all enjoying the heat if you’re from my neck of the woods. I forgot what it felt like to sleep without ten blankets!

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Chalkboard Craze

Hey everyone! Quick post — school and work are getting somewhat busy! Anyway, since my roommates and I have moved into our new apartment we have been trying so hard to fill up our bare walls. Lauren’s mom sent us these cute chalkboard stickers that come on and off easy, and after seeing one of my blogger inspirations posting like crazy about chalkboard prints, I wanted to make ours look cute too. I won’t post pictures because a.) I’m too tired to do that right now and b.) we didn’t even spend that much time on them to make them perfect. HOWEVER: I found an AWESOME blog site that shows you how to make printing 10,000 times easier, especially for those of us who have no calligraphic skills. Click here to learn how to do it. Hopefully at some point I can try this and give some extra pointers.

I miss blogging regularly, but until I get used to having school and work again it might be a bit of a wait. Thanks for sticking with me!!

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Mini projects in less than 30 minutes!

So if any of you are busy bees (unlike me) I’ve come up with a couple projects to satisfy your crafty cravings! The first is quite possible the next epidemic of hair ties in the U.S. I’m not sure where on earth they originated, but Loft recently just started selling them so I doubt there is a popular origin. They don’t leave that ugly crimp mark in your hair when you take out a pony tail, and for me they are much more comfortable to wear on your wrists, and a little bit more stylish too. Check them out!

ImageOf course, you’re probably more likely to use some color but I like black and white because they match everything. They’re really easy to make; all you need is elastic that is about half an inch wide. Measure it around your wrist with a little bit of extra for the knot, and simply knot it by folding the elastic in half, looping it around itself and tightening the knot. Voila! You have a cute hair accessory that probably cost 25 cents!

My next craft was especially simple for me, since I have a bunch of leftover jewelry materials. I found two different types of beads at Walmart for $1 each and i already had the elastic I used to put the beads on. When i had the beads on and ready to be tied up, I simply looped one of the strings through the last bead of the other string and double knotted it. Here’s some photos!

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Enjoy!

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