Projects: Survived

15 Feb


The projects are finished. (They were finished last weekend but it took me a long time to finish this blog post.) A week or so back I shared that I’d had some small ideas on how to better organize our apartment and use the space we have more efficiently. I also noted that my small ideas often breed like rabbits. Rabbits that live near nuclear plants apparently, if judging by the size of my latest idea.

Let me preface with this – we have numerous closets. And we name them. That’s how we roll.

Garbage closet is home to  – you guessed it – our garbage can. As well as our hot water heater, an array of unused cleaning items (There’s a thing in there with a long stick and weird looking hairbrush on the end. No idea what that is.) and – here’s the kicker – a 3-shelf wire rack that holds all of our pots, pans, skillets and assorted kitchen appliances including but not limited to a blender, a griddle, waffle iron, fondue pot, espresso machine, apple peeler-corer-slicer, etc. etc. It was PACKED.

It was the sort of place that makes your blood pressure go up. It had gotten so bad that I didn’t even go in there. I asked Zac to fetch me whatever pans I needed because I was afraid. Afraid for my life. For what the neighbors might hear. Afraid for my beautiful copper bottom stock pot.

We have other closets. They all had big problems. Mainly having to do with them being very deep and shelf-less so they were useless. I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say we were determined to build usable shelving in each and every one.

And another point of contention – one that had us on the verge of marriage counseling – The Spice Cabinet. One of us (not this one) has a Spice problem. He’s addicted to spices and rubs and marinades and while the food comes out delicious, I couldn’t handle the prospect of being smacked in the forehead by one more flying bottle of  Cajun seasoning.

He felt the same way about my growing collection of cookbooks, recipe cards and recipes printed on computer paper or scratched onto post-its. They were residing on the top of the refrigerator. Once, one of the recipes written on computer paper floated down onto the stove and caught fire. Bad situation all around.

Also – the TV in our bedroom is from the stone age, about 28 inches deep and sitting on a cabinet that I despise because it is a corner cabinet. And it wasn’t in a corner. Those sorts of things can’t be in my life. They make me nervous.

Alllll of these projects started with, “I wish we had a better pan-storage situation.”

And before we knew it we had overhauled 3 closets, including one which was turned into a safe place for the pots, pans and other small appliances.

We built a bookcase for the kitchen that would house my cookbook collection and his spice collection.

I promise all the construction is level. However I am not capable of holding a camera level so they will look crooked. This is why I take photos of people, not buildings.

I wasn’t about to have a bunch of McCormick Spice labels displayed all over my kitchen! So I devised a more charming way of storing our spices.

I love all the colors!! FYI – I got the mini mason jars at Schnucks. They are part of the Ball Elite collection, whatever that means. Then I made the little label ditties myself and there ya have it.

My cookbooks are now stored happily on a shelf. (Don’t mind me while I randomly make my cookbook shelf photos look vintage. I’m bored and in the mood to photoshop something.) I recommend every book on that shelf 100 percent!

The shelf also freed up space in the pantry since I was able to move my glass canisters of flours and sugars to a new home!

We installed an additional 12-feet of shelving in the laundry closet. You’re not getting pictures of that. Sorry, but no body sees my laundry closet. Mainly cus my underpants are clothes-pinned to the drying line right now.

We kicked the old TV and cabinet to the curb. Actually we just kicked them out into the hallway until we can take them back to Streator and bestow them on some deserving sibling. Or whichever sibling calls me about the TV and cabinet first.

We snagged a great deal on a flat screen and built an awesomely awesome farm-style table for it to sit on. Notice it is not a corner cabinet. It is a wall table. And it is against the wall. And all is right with my world.

The cables hanging down the wall situation has since been remedied. I can’t handle that.

I really love this table. Even in a grainy, vintage-movie star style:

Since you’re already in our bedroom, let me show you around. It’ll only take a second!

Check out those throw pillows! They are the ring bearer pillows from our wedding!

I’m so glad I went with something that we would always use and see every day. The pretty crow-shay-ed (as if I can spell that) part was made by my Grandma Peg some time ago and then made into these awesome pillows for the wedding by my super clever Aunt Chris.

Also check those floating nightstands – they match the new TV table. And the floating wall shelves:

I need the wood in my bedroom to match. I just need it to.

So we’d overhauled 3 closets, built a TV table and a kitchen bookcase and then…then came The Green Monster.

Like all my radioactive rabbit ideas  it started out small, as a simple bookcase.

I googled wall unit, there were some images from Country Living, next thing you know we’ve purchased every piece of lumber in Lowe’s and are building The Green Monster.

There was a lot of lumber in house.


We cut it down, painted it up and got busy building!

Although in reality, there was a lot more swearing involved in the project than the above description would imply. And a startling realization that for two fairly intelligent people, we can’t do math to save our lives. Or to build a shelf. Did you know there are fractions involved in this building business?? Lucky for me I’d held onto my high school calculator and remembered how to use the decimal to fraction button.

The Green Monster had to be fully assembled laying down on the office floor, then hoisted to an angle and pivoted back and forth repeatedly until she was in place. Why I didn’t set up a video camera to assure a big AFV win I don’t know.

I wasn’t strong enough to actually push or pull the cabinet. So my job was to hold it up (at an angle) while Zac pulled one corner in, pivoted the cabinet, then pulled the other corner out. It was also my job to yell “PIVOT!”

It was like some strange version of Mario Bros. in which I am Mario and I am in a squatting position, arms shoulder width apart, palms plastered to the back of the shelf, shimming back and forth, back and forth at warp speed to keep the entire thing from crashing down on myself. (Remember that level in Super Mario? Where Mario has to shimmy back and forth on the big metal cage like thing??) I looked graceful and pretty, I’m sure of it.

But she’s here now and the pains of our labor are forgotten when we look at her beautiful green color:

The charming antique baskets:

And I am so so very excited to have a neat, organized and pretty office space to work in!!

And you see that empty space? Those still-bare shelves? Those are mine baby!! Mine to fill with awesome and weird stuffs from antique stores and flea markets and I can’t wait!

These projects sponsored in part by the generosity of the Internal Revenue Service.


6 Responses to “Projects: Survived”

  1. klmphotos February 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Love it! Love the green monster – love that my wedding gift made it to a shelf! Still want those darn baskets. Poor Joel, he’ll be stuck making me some sort of cabinet…I have a place in mind too. Hehehe…

    P.S. I bought you a paper recipe holder precisely to make sure those papers didn’t fall off your fridge and start fires. You should give that a try!

  2. Rebecca February 16, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Wow, Mags! All of your projects sound (and look) like they turned out great! I’m tackling my spare room this weekend, but unfortunately my boyfriend lacks the ability to build anything and my father lives an hour away! This could get interesting…. 🙂

    • maggieandzac February 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

      Whoo Hoo you can do it! You don’t need no stickin’ men! Assuming you’re better at dividing fractions than I am of course!

  3. Claire February 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Just for the record….I am stealing your awesome Spice-in-cute-jars idea, because well I love the spices too…and they are a hot mess all over my kitchen…and I love you for thinking of fabuloso ideas like this so I dont have too! Maybe I should start a blog, and whatever maybe, kinda cool ideas i have I can share with you!! What a good friend you are!!

    • maggieandzac February 16, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

      Steal all you’d like! That’s what its there for!! But wear some type of mask over your mouth and nose when pouring all the spices into the jar, I was weeping by the time I’d finished. And desperatley wanting to make something with cinnamon!

  4. Lyssa February 18, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I love it all!!!

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