Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Introducing the first of my IKEA finds that I have incorporated into our house…EKBY.

Technically, I bought two EKBYs.  For those of you unfamiliar with IKEA they are known for giving their products odd Scandinavian names that you can’t remember or pronounce.  It just makes shopping there all the more fun.

So where did EKBY 1 and EKBY 2 end up?  Well I’ll confess that this was one of the few things at IKEA that I had in mind to purchase for our kitchen.  Let's review where we left off.  The last time most of you saw the space it looked a little something like this.

Since then I brought up a spare cabinet from the basement, and also purchased a slab of butcher block off of Craigslist for $60.  I really lucked out with finding this butcher block.  It originally looked a little rough with a “torn” corner, but the dimensions were the exact width and depth that I needed to create an additional work space in the kitchen.

I sanded everything down and rounded the rough corner so it now looks a little something like this.

It still needs several coats of oil & finish, a product specifically made for butcher block, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.  I also have a pile of lumber in the garage waiting to be assembled into the other half of the kitchen “island”.  I say “island” since it is not technically floating, but it’s also not a peninsula so I’m at a loss for names (suggestions?).  For now, the microwave cart is filling in as support for the butcher block and it just happens to be the perfect height.

The gray wall looked a little bare, and the off-centered vent was well, a little off-putting.

I thought some wall shelves would fit the bill, and I knew there would be plenty to choose from at IKEA.  What attracted me to EKBY was the combination of the sleek white shelf with the stainless steel end caps.  To install the shelf I enlisted the following tools  along with my step stool.

I decided that I wanted the shelves spaced between 15 to 16 inches apart.  I also measured the width between the door frame and the corner of the wall and determined I needed about 4 inches on either side of the shelves to center them on the wall.  After determining the placement I marked the holes for the first bracket, drilled the holes, and placed the wall anchors for the screws.  I found it easiest to attach one bracket, insert the shelf, add the second bracket, and using the level mark the position of the second bracket on the wall.  

 I’d like to add that I managed to do this alone, not to make Jason feel bad, but to encourage others to take on projects of their own on their own.  Yes women out there, you can hang a shelf (or picture frame) without the assistance of your man.  I think it’s silly when I see women on TV say “honey, can you hang this picture for me?”  Really? 

Anyways, here are EKBY 1 and 2 in all their glory…

I feel like the EKBY twins helped warm up the wall and keep it from feeling too sterile.  The vent is still present and functional but less obvious with the selective styling around it.  I also like having Winston's treats and wipes off of the work surface.  And yes I did meet Alton Brown once, back in college at Nebraska Furniture Mart.  He is awesome and deserves a shrine in our kitchen, but I guess one photo will do for now.

Next on the list for the kitchen…
1.  Applying oil finish to butcher block top.
2.  Assembling under-cabinet shelving to create a more “built-in” look for the “island”.
3.  Priming and painting said “island” (along with the rest of the cabinets and trim).
4.  Adding hardware to cabinets.

I’m sure there’s more but let’s not get carried away.  Thanks for stopping in, hope to be back with more updates soon!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Month in Review

Last night I was asked by a friend if I had abandoned the blog.  I suppose it kind of appears that way, April 21st was my last post.  I guess I took a sort of blog holiday, a somewhat forced blog holiday with my life being as busy as it was last month.  Here’s a run-down of the last months happenings (prepare yourself, it gets lengthy!)

The end of April was spent with my mom on our Annual Girls Shopping Extravaganza.  My mom and I drove up to Minneapolis and spent some time with my wonderful Aunt Robin and her new husband, it was so good to see them!   We of course squeezed in a little shopping at Mall of America.  Oh yeah, and we always allot an entire day to…IKEA.

This is always the most anticipated shopping portion of our trip.  Normally I like to spend months planning ahead of time to strategically determine my plan of attack when we get there.  Usually I have a list in hand, and have even made sure it was “pre-approved” by the hubby.  Not this time.  This IKEA trip was a complete free-for-all, no real expectations or specific items I was in need of.   I really enjoyed looking at all of the pretty show rooms.

You realize that this doesn’t mean I came out empty handed.  I still managed to spend some serious dough there, but I came away with some great finds.  I’ll report back on these later as I incorporate them into our house.

As customary, we also partook of the delicious IKEA breakfast with Swedish pancakes and lingonberry sauce.

 All of this was only $7, oh wait, I mean free!  The cherry on top of our already wonderful weekend was the fact that we came on “EAT FREE” weekend.  This meant that if we spent over $100 (no problem here) our restaurant receipt was deducted from our total.  So we took full advantage and went back for round two for lunch. 

On our second swing through IKEA (we have to make sure we don’t miss anything!) my mom spotted her super fun cousin Janet.  There was a lot of laughing/crying and talking, and complete disbelief that they ran into each other in the bowels of IKEA.  I however was not so shocked, my mom can run into someone she knows just about anywhere in the country.  Either way, it was great running into her and getting to catch-up!

After a relaxing weekend away I came back to an atypical week at work.  Our hospital is reapplying for Magnet status (an award for nursing excellence), and being on the Magnet committee I was able to spend the week hosting the Magnet appraisers during their site visit.  Going into it I was a little stressed and scared, but it turned out to be a great learning experience.  I took away a lot from the chief nursing officers that I was able to spend the week with and feel that I have a better understanding of our hospital system as a whole.

That weekend Jason and I attended the annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting at the Century Link Center.  It was fun to get to see Warren and Charlie in person, they are very entertaining!

My favorite part was probably the model train layout at the BNSF booth.  It reminded me so much of my Grandpa and his layout that he had.

The next week was spent planning and preparing for my friend’s bachelorette party that was co-hosted at my home.  I had a lot of fun just getting ready, but the party itself was even better!  (Pictures not posted to protect the innocent.)

The next day was Mother’s Day and we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the new Mai Thai restaurant in Aksarben Village.  I am addicted to Panang curry, and they have excellent curry there!  We came back to our house for gifts and dessert.  Here are the three generations!

A few days later we left for a wonderfully relaxing trip to South Padre Island, Texas with two other couples.  We spend our time lying on the beach, boogie boarding, eating at restaurants, sightseeing and just having a fabulous time with friends.  I was even brave enough to try para-sailing, which was amazing and not scary at all for someone who is afraid of heights!

This brings us up to speed to this Memorial Day weekend.  Last night we had a small BBQ and hat party at our house with friends.  Thanks to everyone for wearing hats.  It was a great time!

So there are my excuses for not blogging, pretty fun excuses if I do say so!  Hopefully the next few months will allow me a little more time for home improvement activities and blogging, if not, I'm okay with just having fun too.  Happy Memorial Day everyone!