Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kitchen Facelift {Phase 2}: The Plan

One of our biggest home improvement projects to date was when we did the kitchen facelift just over two years ago. If you remember, we live in a small basic builder home and we painted the basic oak cabinets....which has been so great for our family. I love it because it's not all white, not all black....it's a happy medium and you basically can add any color and/or pattern to a black and white scheme and it just works. When we did the facelift, the footprint of the kitchen remained the same and now that I'm ready to do the second string of updates, once again I'm keeping within the existing footprint. There just isn't a budget for a full gut job so that it why we are doing it in phases/layers and within our means.
This is right after the Phase 1, or better known as the Kitchen Facelift 2 years ago (click HERE to see all the befores and afters):

 Thanks to the beauty of Pinterest, I have collected about 77 pins on dining areas. Naturally, a reoccurring theme emerged.....built in seating. I started thinking about how the eat-in part of our kitchen could be utilized more efficiently, give me more storage, a pantry, and built in seating.
What I like about this picture is the symmetry. Of course I do not have tall ceiling like this, but I like the seating flanked by cabinets with a rectangular table. 
This picture demonstrates another great use of space that I could incorporate. L-shaped seating and a round table. The only thing about this I don't like is that the people sitting on the end of the banquette wouldn't actually be able to access the table. In my small space, this wouldn't quite work. I still love everything in the picture though.

In this picture, even though it's a much bigger house...the door and window are set up nearly like it is here. Another great option...and how cute are the framed flip-flops!

All pictures from HERE
So from this view back, you can see what I have to work with. Beyond the peninsula, it's approximately a 10X11 area. If funds were unlimited, I would bump out the back of that wall, make this whole area the kitchen, get rid of the peninsula, and add some lovely French doors...but that just isn't going to happen-so I am going to work with what is here.
As painful as it may be, I am going to store my hutch for a while. I considered selling it for a while, but I think I'm going to hold on to it for a little while...Justin and I worked really hard on that thing! The reality of it is...there is a lot of wasted space around the hutch.

So here is what I've been toying around with. Keep in mind that the right side of this drawing is the existing kitchen and not changing at all....and yes, I realize that this is old school, doing it on paper ;) So, originally, I thought I would butt up the banquette along the back wall and peninsula and add cabinetry and a pantry on the left. Use a round table and 2 (maybe 3) different chairs. Then I thought it looked too tight even though this is the rough drawing and not to scale-I went back to the drawing board.

This is the final plan to scale. By centering the banquette on the back wall, I can put full base cabinetry (30") on either side, the pantry (24"X72") by the back door and some sort of custom thing in between that I will have to call a cabinet maker in for.
  This also includes new counter tops that I have been patiently waiting for almost 9 years for. I've thought long and hard about what to get, and I originally thought quartz...but in my heart of hearts I want marble, and after pricing both, marble is in our future! I think that it would look fantastic with the base cabs black and the uppers white-as they are. I'm hoping to find a vintage round table or talk Justin's Grandma out of one she has (it's an extra one). 2 or 3 new chairs, I've already listed my existing painted ones on Craigslist.  I want to add in some more pot lights and I found a fantastic vintage fixture that I will be using (see below)
Aside from the counters and the cabinet on the left, we are hoping to do this ourselves. Now that the plan is established, it's time for the real work to begin! It will most likely go pretty slow, and I'm not going to put any time constraints on myself.
Here is the vintage fixture I found-I cannot wait to incorporate this!!
So. On the subject of marble, I want honed but my MIL thinks polished. Do any of you have experience with the pros and cons of marble? I need some input!

Thank you all for the love and support! I want to talk to you about chemo stuff, but later...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Chemo War

Where did I last leave you? Oh, that's right...I was going to come back after I had recuperated from my last chemo. The thing is I never recouped.
First though, before I delve into cancer issues, I know some of you guys may be disappointed, bored or don't want to read about cancer (not in a bad way, just in a I can't relate way). I just want to say, I get that and I totally understand. In a "blogger" perspective, I'm doing everything wrong...infrequent posting, blogging outside my niche and too far too often, getting "too" personal and probably a whole host of other things that I'm not even aware of. But, I just want to say that if you are here, if you are reading, I want to thank you. Lord, I just typed that and I just rolled my eyes at myself....but if I were in your shoes, would I want to go from reading a fairly active DIY, decorating and crafting blog to reading about cancer??? I don't know. 
Now that I am wearing those shoes, I think about things in a different perspective. I'm not the young go-getter with non-stop energy working all the time and trying to build a brand and get my foot in the door of a world I thought I wanted to be in....Maybe that is what God is trying to teach me? To slow down, look around and enjoy what I have and stop the incessant need to be constantly moving forward, perhaps in the direction He doesn't want me to go. To be at home, to spend time with my boys and family....to...COOK, for crying out loud! :) To teach me to except who and what I am right now. Right here. And not think about petty things that really don't mean anything. I am not talking about giving up on my dreams, I just mean...I'm getting my priorities straight. So, if you're here along with me, I so appreciate that...you guys are this net of lives that when I fall, you catch me and help me get back up. Ugh. I said too much again didn't I?....
SO. I had the new drug...if you remember, the tumors had grown, the doctors switched my chemo after only 3 treatments and I started something new. It was a weird regimen too...chemo on Day 1 (which ever day I started), Day 8, Nuelasta shot on Day 9, then treatment again on Day 21....then the cycle would start over. I had my first treatment on Day 1 and it was ok, we sort of have a routine down now, basically my MIL takes over for me till I feel better...I was so tired and that is normal, but I never started feeling better. Now it's time for Day 8. They always do labs first and I couldn't have chemo because my white blood cells were too low. 2.2 and I think the range starts at 4.4...so I couldn't get chemo and they sent me home. The next day, they call me in to get a shot to help my WBC, something similar to Nuelasta, just fast acting. I went back the next day to check my blood. If the counts had been low still, I would have gotten another shot but they weren't-they had shot up to 13.9!! That is off the charts! I went back home, chemo was to resume on Day 21. I still did not feel good at all and was sleeping a lot...and then the effects of that shot took effect. I still don't fully understand, it is suppose to stimulate white blood cell growth which in turn has a side effect of bone pain. The shot that they gave me was a 'fast acting' type of Nuelasta and the bone/joint pain was so severe, I was laying there on the sofa in tears.
Day 21 is slowly approaching...I am still shuffling around the house and my biggest accomplishments are "I loaded the dishwasher today!". The Sunday before President's Day, Logan and I are at home alone. I get up to go to the laundry room and come around the corner to see that Daisy (our beagle) has gotten into the trash. Ugh. So I'm cleaning up the mess and something happens. I am still not sure exactly...I started getting REALLY hot, dizzy and darkness over my eyes....I walked a few feet and felt this incredible urge to lay down. So I did. Right in the floor. I can't move my arms or legs, I can't get up. I am able to talk and I tell Logan to call Grandma...luckily, there is an icon on my phone, he didn't have to dial any numbers...I hear him calmly tell her that mommy is sick and laying in the floor...I still cannot move. Elaine (my MIL) rushes over so quick she didn't even put shoes on...she's trying to figure out what was happening...I've started hyperventilating....and she decides to call the paramedics (thank you Webb City Paramedics!!!). Anyway, long story short, I finally put my head on my own pillow around 4 am with absolutely no idea what caused what I now refer to as my "episode". I had a follow up appointment with my doctor, I explain to him what happened and he tells me that I had a type of seizure brought on by the antidepressant that he had started me on. Just great. Needless to say, he took me off the antidepressant. Day 21 came around and because of my issues, the doctor dialed back my chemo drug by 20%. Let me tell you...I could really tell the difference. I was still tired, but I started feeling better by the end of the week. I have even had another treatment (another Day 1) and by yesterday I was feeling better (annnnnd another week goes by). I have Day 8 tomorrow, so I hope to bounce back again in a week or so. It's such a tiresome cycle.
That's why the doctor started me on an antidepressant....I mean this chemo thing is just never going to end. I know the reality of my situation...I am terminally ill with stage 4 cancer, at this point the chemo is just a measure to try to stop it from spreading. That's the reality of it...my latest "spring craft" is not reality...not that I have one. :) 
More on reality, I have been trying to eat better to maybe help myself.....who knows.... Steve Jobs was a vegan his whole life and still died of cancer....so I am holding on to the knowledge that everyone is different in cases of cancer. Not that I am going vegan, but vegetarian, with a few slip ups here and there. It's not easy changing how you've been eating your entire life overnight....but I have been trying and that is what counts. 
You might remember that I am a big fan of Kris Carr and inspired by her with her battle with cancer and she recently put out a cookbook for healthy eating (if you are with me on Instagram or FB, you know this). I've tried several of the recipes and I gotta tell you, for meatless-but-you-wouldn't-know-it recipes, I love the book! I have made crab cakes that didn't have crab, but SO good...Justin went crazy for them! Quesadillas made with black beans and avocado and cashew cream cheese that even Logan ate...I mean, maybe I can do this! I bought a food processor people, that is how serious this is!
So that is everything that has happened the last month since I left you...geez, the drama. Some fun DIY news for the near future though...we are going to start on Phase 2 of our Kitchen Facelift. I would go into it now with you but this has just been entirely too long as it is, so I will save it for the next time. 
I want to say that I will talk to you after I recoup from chemo tomorrow, but I don't want to jinx myself!-Ha I will just tell you that I will talk to you soon and thank you so much for your support!
If you want to catch up with me from everything from the Chemo room to my newest necklace ;) find me on Instagram at sweetsomethingdesign or on Facebook: Michelle Edwards.....If I was savvy enough, I'd link to those two things.....but anyway