Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kitchen Makeover: Faux Granite Countertop Tutorial

Faux Granite Countertops Tutorial at Made it on Monday

We’ve been making great progress on our downstairs makeover! Phase 1 & 2 were refinishing our kitchen countertops and painting the cupboards. It has been an exhausting process but I am loving it!

Kitchen makeover before and mid way

My kitchen wasn’t bad to begin with, but now that I compare the before and mid-way (the after will come once we’ve painted the walls and installed new flooring), the before suddenly looks much less attractive.

kitchen makeover counter

I am LOVING my new countertops! For years we’ve talked about painting our cabinets white and how much we love the look of black granite with white cabinets. But granite is way out of our price range, not to mention installing it would probably upgrade our home beyond the value of our neighborhood—we just wouldn’t see that great of a return from it. And even the cheaper counter top options were just too much for us at this time.

kitchen makeover counters

Then my brother and SIL did a faux granite treatment on their counters about a year ago, and we knew it would be the perfect solution for us! We got a lot of tips from them and appreciated the instructions in THIS tutorial and THIS tutorial. I think reading several tutorials for this process is helpful so you can get a more complete picture of what to do, and adapt the technique different people used to make it your own. And the best part about all of this—it only cost about $120!

kitchen makeover counter top

Before I get to the how-to details, I thought I’d share some of what I love about the counters, and some of what you should be aware of before doing them yourself. The finished product is high-quality. The resin we use to top everything off and give it that high-gloss finish is hard and durable. This isn’t a project that will loose its quality and durability in a year or two or even five. The surface is easy to clean. Things like dried pancake batter scrapes off so much easier than it did on my previous laminate. The surface is smooth and I find myself regularly drumming my fingernails on it because it makes me happy. They look beautiful. These pictures aren’t just showing the best angles. The counters really do look amazing in person.

kitchen makeover phases one and two

For the negatives, most of them can be avoided or easily fixed. No matter how careful we were and how closely we inspected after the final sealing step, we did miss a few spots. Those spots are all very small (think quarter of a dime size), but they are little indentations without any gloss on them. The vertical surfaces (front edges) don’t get the same finish as the rest of the counters because the product gets poured on, and gravity keeps the product from staying there as thick. And there are drips under the edges that are mostly just noticeable when you look for them. I keep meaning to sand them off but just haven’t had the motivation yet.

Ok, now that we’ve gone over those details, let’s get into how to do these counters yourself. From what I found online, there are three methods for doing a faux granite/stone finish on your laminate counters. Rustoleum makes a Countertop Transformation kit, but it costs more than I wanted to spend and I wasn’t as into the look of the chips for giving the granite affect. Plus, I wanted more artistic control over my colors, etc rather than having to go with one of their set looks. The second method would be to paint the counters, do a sponge painting like technique for the texture and color variations, and seal everything with several coats of polycrylic. The third method is the same as the second only you finish it with a pour on resin. We went with the third because I liked the thickness that the resin provides—it’s the equivalent to 50 coats of polycrylic.

Items/Products I Used
Sandpaper | Painters Tape | Kilz Oil Based Primer | Paint in your base color (I used a cheap black paint) | Craft Paint in 3 or 4 accent colors | Superfine glitter | Enviro-Tex Lite Pour on Resin | Blow Torch | Plastic measuring containers and wooden stir sticks | Paint brushes, rollers and sponge brushes | Plastic Sheeting | Paper plates | Plastic grocery bag

counter process 1

1. Clean your surfaces REALLY well. Make sure everything is scraped off. 2. Lightly sand your surface and then clean it again. 3. Tape off anything you don’t want to get painted/sealed. 4. Give your entire surface a good coat of primer. We painted our backsplash tiles as well (I’ll post on that another time), so we primed them as well. You could either leave your backsplash as is if it’s tile, replace it, or use the same method on it as on the counters. Check out the two tutorials I linked to early in this post for how they did their backsplashes.

Counter process 2

1 & 2. Paint around the edges/trim of your counters using a sponge or smaller brush. I wanted my counters to be like a black granite, so I did mine black. But your color options are endless. I just bought the cheapest flat paint at Walmart for this. 3. Using a roller brush paint the rest of your surface. 4. Tape off anything you don’t want to get the resin on it. I did the taping after the painting because my tiles were fairly recently painted as well. You might want to do the taping before the painting. You’ll also need to cover your cabinets and floors in plastic because once your pour the resin, it’s permanent.

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The next step was one of the most fun parts. I used 4 colors of craft paint (only 3 shown here)—metallic silver, gray, pearl white and black. I also used two colors of super fine glitter—white/iridescent and black.

counter process 3

1. Pour your first color of paint (mine was the gray) on a paper plate. 2. Scrunch up a plastic grocery in your hand (I liked using this as opposed to a sponge because it makes a more organic pattern) and dab it in the paint. 3. Blot the bag on a new paper plate to get excess off so your pattern doesn’t have globs of paint in it. 4. Randomly stamp the bag on the counter, repeating steps 2 and 3 as your color gets too light. Remember that you’re using multiple colors so you don’t need to fill the entire surface with the first color. Repeat steps 1-4 for your remaining colors (my order was gray, silver, white and black. The black ended up being my favorite layer because it was a different shade than the original black and added some cool texture). As your painting, randomly sprinkle glitter on, being careful to not lay it on too thick. If that happens, though, just gently blow on it to spread it out.

counter process 4

Here are some examples of what the pattern looked like when we were all done. Make sure you go over the edges as well.

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The next step was the most nerve wracking because it was permanent. Had I messed up with the paint, I could have just repainted over it. We mixed up our resin in batches. Once you’ve mixed to two ingredients you only have 20 minutes to work with it before it begins to cure. Nolan would mix while I would be pouring it on the counters. The hardest part going into this was gauging how much resin we would need. As you can see, we had a pretty good amount of counter space to cover—a long bar and a wrap around counter in a decent sized kitchen. We ordered the 1 gallon kit off Amazon (found HERE). The kit plus shipping was under $80. We were able to cover all of our space with it, but probably went a little thinner and were worried about it fit would stretch far enough. I would have been happier with the gallon plus another 16 oz so I would have had some left over to fill in the small spots I missed.

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After you mix the resin, just pour it on and start pushing it around with a sponge brush. Work in smaller sections and just keep spreading the resin out. The product is meant to be poured up to 1/8 of an inch of thickness, so don’t treat it like paint and try to spread it too thin. Just push it and spread it so it’s evenly coating your surface and it will level itself.

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Some spilled over the edges and then I went over it with more with a sponge brush. I went through sever sponge brushes because I noticed after about 20 minutes with one, the product in it would start curing and it would get gunky.

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Nolan followed after me with a blow torch to pop small air bubbles. For all of this, I HIGHLY recommend reading the directions that come with the resin thoroughly. I also went back to wipe drips with a sponge brush. Within a few hours the resin has hardened enough that dust won’t stick to it, but you have to leave it alone for 72 hours to let it cure. This was the hardest part of the whole process.

kitchen makeover counters and cupboards

I love my new counters! I’ll be back in a few days with details about how we painted the tiles in our backsplash and our process for painting the cupboards.

kitchen makeover paint color choice

And, in case you were wondering about the color we’ll be using on the walls, I chose Versatile Gray by Sherwin Williams.

***Read about how we painted the cabinets HERE***

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pinned Food that I Love

I was about to say that I feel like I’ve been working on my kitchen for three weeks straight, and then I realized I feel that way because we have been working on the kitchen for three weeks straight.


We are officially done with phase one of what will feel like a never ending project. The counters are refinished, cupboards painted and hardware installed and oh how I love it! I can’t wait to show it to you, but that will mean that I need to actually clean my kitchen. Perhaps tomorrow?


We’re taking it easy this weekend (and it feels strange to take some time off) and next week we’ll start painting our entire downstairs, vaulted entry way, staircase and upstairs hall because they’re all connected.

And even though we’ve eaten out more than usual this month thanks to all the projects, I have baked and cooked a little here and there. These are all recipes I found thanks to Pinterest, and they’ve all been in fairly regular rotation at our house. Follow along with the recipes I think I’d like HERE.

This Korean Beef recipe is super simple to make and I almost always have ground beef on hand, so it’s the perfect go-to recipe when I’m short on inspiration/motivation/time.

I made this sweet and sour chicken and fried rice again tonight and I love it every time! Other times I’ve made just the chicken and serve it over white rice. Delicious either way and it makes a good leftover.

I first tried out this cake recipe when Reese couldn’t handle me having chocolate. I then made it three or four times in one month. And I took it to a Christmas party where the recipe was requested by everyone who had it. And we had it for dessert on Christmas and Nolan’s birthday. Yeah. We like it that much. Unfortunately for me now, though, Reese can handle chocolate again (yay reflux meds!) but not dairy… and there’s butter and evaporated milk in it. But you can pretend it’s healthy since it has oatmeal in it too.

Also during the no chocolate phase but before no dairy, I fell in love with this recipe. I may have celebrated the loss of 5 pounds by eating almost an entire pan of these sugar cookie bars. Be very careful to not let them over bake. Mine never really turned golden, so the first batch I baked were a little dryer than I like. So I made them a few more times just to be sure I had the timing right. I also topped them with THIS buttercream frosting.

Mmmm… this is making me want things I can’t eat. Oh how I look forward to the day when I can drink a glass of milk and smear butter on something without knowing I’ll hurt my baby’s tummy because of it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Some Pie for Pi Day!

I was pretty excited about the opportunity to review a Marie Callender’s frozen pie for Pi Day. See, Marie Callender’s and I go way back… the night before I was born my mom ate one of their pot pies. And then my freshman and sophomore years of college I was a waitress in one of their restaurants. I ate a lot of pie during that time.

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Jace and I picked out the Dutch Apple Pie—found in the freezer section of your local grocery store—and I was pretty eager to eat it so we baked it as soon as we got home. I was curious how it would compare to a homemade pie.

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For the Dutch Apple Pie you have to bake it for about 55 minutes, add the crumb topping, and then bake for another 10 minutes. My house smelled so good while it was baking! And the pie tasted even better than it smelled! Jace was quite the fan of his “apples pie.” I’m pretty picky about my pie crusts, and this one was so good. And the filling and topping were even better. Nolan and I were later talking about how it tasted just as good as, if not better than, the apple pies I have made from scratch. And, in my opinion, not having to peel my own apples was a BIG deal!

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I wouldn’t mind picking up another pie to eat on actual Pi Day (March 14)… maybe this time I’ll try a cream pie? You can find the retailers in your area that carry the pie you’re craving by entering your zip code at the bottom of Marie Callender’s website. They also have a blog with party ideas, how to’s and more found HERE.

And just to sweeten things a bit more, they’re offering you a coupon for $1.50 off a Marie Callender’s frozen pie at a national retailer. You can get your coupon HERE and then enjoy your pie for Pi Day!

Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy your pie!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kitchen Progress

As I mentioned in THIS POST we’re doing a bit of an overhaul on our downstairs. I’m pretty excited to say this is one of those times where we’re actually doing as opposed to dreaming. After a day of [what felt like] a lot of spending and bringing home at least 8 gallons of paint and primer, we spent the weekend re-doing our kitchen counters!

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We went from this…

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…To this…

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…To this…

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…To this…

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…To this! I’ll share all the specifics of refinishing our counters later. I was going to take pretty pictures of everything put back together. But then nap time didn’t happen like I hoped it would. And then we took all the cupboard doors of and started prepping them for painting. Tonight we’ll prime them and then tomorrow night make them a pretty, bright white. And then we’ll paint the walls. And all the walls in all of our downstairs. And then we’ll install the floors. I feel like we’re going to be in project mode for at least a month. But I’m LOVING it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Casually Chic Lace Top

A Casually Chic Lace Top by Made it on Monday

This was a guest post that I shared over at Kojo Designs back at the end of January. In case you missed it, here you go!

A Casually Chic Lace Top 2

I’ve been somewhat redefining my style and rebuilding my wardrobe since having a baby four months ago. My shape and size are different than before. And even though my days are consumed with nursing, potty training, wiping the dog’s paws and attempting to keep some order in our house, I want to look put together when running errands. This top finds a balance between practical-mommy-wear and trendy-cute with its lace front and jersey knit sleeves and back.

Supplies needed: lace, matching lightweight jersey knit, thread, bias tape. I picked up all my supplies at Joann’s for less than $15.

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I used two existing tops to create my pattern. The one on the left had the lace front that I wanted to recreate, and the one on the right had the sleeves I wanted.

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I started by tracing the lines of the lace on the first top and created a pattern for that portion of the top. I then lined it up on the second top, as well as another piece of paper and traced the sleeves as well as the back.

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I ended up with five pattern pieces—the the sleeves front and back, cuff of the sleeve (the width of the hem of both the front and back sleeve pieces by 4”), the front and back. If you don’t have an existing top like the ones I used, you can use another shirt that you like the fit of and just create the pattern pieces with the angled line from the armpit to the collar.

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Then I cut my pieces from the lace and knit.

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Sew the sleeve fronts to the lace, right sides together. I used my serger, but you can also use your regular machine with a small seam allowance. If you aren’t familiar with sewing with knits, I wrote a post about it HERE.

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Then sew the sleeve backs to the back, again right sides together. Follow that with sewing the front and back together, right sides together, first at the top of the sleeve up to the neckline, then from the sleeve cuffs, under the arms, down to the hem.

a casually chic lace top cuffs

The next step is one of my favorite ways to make a homemade top look professionally made. You can read a more in depth tutorial HERE about finishing touches on homemade clothes. But a quick overview—On both cuffs, fold it width wise and sew the two short ends together, right sides together. Fold in half length wise so the raw edges line up and the seams are hidden inside the cuff. Slip it over the right side of the sleeve with the folded edge going over the sleeve and the raw edges lining up with the shirt. You should have three layers of material around the whole sleeve.

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Sew the cuff on the sleeve.

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Fold it over and admire your beautifully made cuff.

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I then serged around the raw edge of the lace at the neckline, but you could either use a rolled hem or zig zag stitch on a regular machine. This is just to make a little something extra to attach the bias tape to since the lace isn’t a very strong/sturdy material.

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Sew the bias tape around the neckline. And you’re done! The lace already had a scalloped edge that I used at the hem, and the jersey knit won’t fray, so I didn’t worry about hemming the top.

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And now I have a neutral top that will look great with jeans or slacks. I can layer it with a white tank or I can mix things up and use a colored tank. The lace dresses it up while the knit keeps it comfortable. And I love the way it looks under a cardigan!

Thanks for stopping by!

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