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kitchen prep & other things


Today was a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  It was a school holiday, so the boys were home and that means a lot more pancake-making and Go Fish and Legos and Phineas & Ferb than my usual weekday.  I did get few things done, though.  The main thing on the to-do list was getting the kitchen prepped for the tile back splash my dad and I are installing tomorrow (Tuesday.)



Right now I just have a drywall back splash that’s painted in chalkboard paint.  The back splash project isn’t for a freelance tutorial, but I’m installing butcher block counters and showing how to build a custom range hood, so it makes sense to do the tiling at the same time.  I’ll share the tile back splash tutorial here on the blog.

So, somehow prepping the kitchen for tiling led to me cleaning the stove grates…



They’ve been caked with gunk ever since we bought the house (and the stove with it) over six years ago.  I tried to clean them from time to time, but always gave up.  I’m sure there is some super simple way to clean stove grates, but in the end, I used souring pads and a straight blade to get them back to almost new condition.



I had to work at least 30 minutes on each one, so I just spread it throughout a couple of days.  What does this have to do with tiling a back splash?  Well, this is one of those decorating domino things.  I knew I would be taking lots of beauty shots of my new back splash, range hood and counters, so I wanted to get the stove squeaky clean.

I also removed the window trim…



I would eventually like to replace all of the trim in the addition of our house to match the 1940’s pine trim in the original part of the house.  The way the trim was tapered wasn’t going to work with the tile anyway, since it’s thinner than the tile.  It had to go.  I knocked a crowbar behind the trim with a hammer and gently removed the trim.  My husband put up new trim tonight, so it’s all ready to go for tomorrow.



We also cleared the counters, removed the switch plates, loosened the counters and took out the microwave and cabinet above the stove.  (Most of that happened over the weekend.)  That beige was the kitchen wall color when I bought the house.  Totally not me, right?!



My mom and I went shopping on Saturday and I picked up another boxwood topiary from TJ Maxx…


I just love these things…


That was random.

 Anyway, back to today.  When we were shopping this weekend, my mom bought this piece from Lucketts.  (I bought a pair of vintage German pillow shams and some ironstone)


She’s going to use it for her TV.  I told her I would buy it from her if she changes her mind.  It’s a great piece.  So, she came over today to give it a Milk Paint makeover.



It’s still in the works, but I’ll show it to you when it’s finished.

Just had to share that I had no idea I would ever own a Lego mini-figure of Richard Armitage, but there he is…


Too bad it’s not the North & South Richard Armitage Lego mini-figure.  He’s pretty dapper in that series.

That was random, too.

Tomorrow I have a date with my dad, a tile saw and this stuff…



 Wish me luck!

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  1. NORTH and SOUTH! My nieces just turned me on to that series on New Year’s Day. WHOA. Richard Armitage is smokin’ in that show!

  2. Patty Martin says:

    Marian, To clean your stove grids put them in a large trash bag with about 1 cup of ammonia and tie the bag shut. Leave overnight and in the morning just wipe off the crud. It’s the fumes that do the cleaning and it really works!

    • I’ve done this too – it really works. No scrubbing.

      • Ditto! Ditto! There used to be a show on HGTV about 6 years ago with some lady that had household hints (anyone remember that?Or am I showing my age again?) And this amonia trick was one SHE did. I thought it was nuts. Turns out it was just the trick. I use it for the grill grates. They come clean! Every. Time. – Unrelated to the amonia cleaning…I learned another good trick off a HGTV show. How do you get the divits out the carpet that is left when you move heavy furninture? Ice Cubes! Put ice cubes on the divits, allow them to melt & the carpet to dry. Fluffs right up like it was never there! Every. Time.


  3. Can’t wait to see your kitchen done! I’ve been thinking about butcher block counters and seeing what other’s think always is a plus! I am in the market researching sinks right now and am so drawn to farmhouse sinks… just can’t decide! As far as cleaning the stove grids…I bought a glass stove top, LOVE IT!

  4. Andrea says:

    Wish I could get one of those toparies in Australia. All the ones I see are plastic and gawdy! Love you style ❤

  5. Dianne says:

    Thanks Patty for the cleaning tip. Marion, you continue to inspire and motivate me everyday. I had stopped working on a baseboard project so many years ago I can’t even remember, and over the weekend I took off the old gungy ones, moved furniture, stained and finished new ones and installed them all around my dining room. I was still motivated, so I bravely painted a little table my Dad made when he was in Junior High woodshop. I was first going to leave the top wood and paint the bottom, but in the end I went ahead and painted it all. Now I am at the waxing stage. . .

  6. Audrey Zumwalt says:

    Kitchen is coming along so nicely. Tile flooring is beautiful. Anxious to see the end results when everything is finished. Your day of “this and that” looks pretty busy, and you accomplished so much.
    Audrey Zumwalt
    Timeless Treasures

  7. Carolyn Harvey says:

    If you have a self cleaning oven, you can put the stove grates and even your grill grate in there to clean it. works fast and does the job.Any that will fit. Or on a hot day, put all the metal parts in a black garbage bag, spray with oven cleaner and let sit out in the Sun. After a couple of hours, dump them out and hose down with garden hose. Slower but works great.

  8. Sherill says:

    Luck!!! Can’t wait to see it!!!

  9. Linda S. in NE says:

    That looks like a wonderful project, and I am sure it will turn out beautifully. You are so blessed to have your Mom and Dad close by, and so willing to help. Don’t forget to do some stretching tomorrow so your lower backs won’t be so sore from leaning over the counter top while working on the new backsplash. Can’t wait to see the beautiful finish.

  10. Just loved watching the progress of your kitchen transformation…can’t wait to see the beautiful tile work that you and your dad are about to embark on…and you mom looks very comfortable painting that piece…she has a great teacher that’s for sure!…I so love topiaries and love the one you bought…

  11. LayLa Benson says:

    Thank you Marion for making me feel brave! I come from a generations of DIYer’s and I love reading and learning so many new things I can do. Good luck tiling tomorrow!

  12. Liz Thomas says:

    I found a suggestion on Pinterest for cleaning stove grates and I tired it and it worked so I’ll pass it along to you. Make a paste out of baking soda (1/4 cup of baking soda) and peroxide (about 1/4 cup), then coat the grates and stick them in a freezer storage bag for at least 5 hours. I added a few spritzs of apple cider vinegar which was not in the directions, but I thought it would add extra power. I actually left it overnight and the grates scrubbed clean the next day with very little effort.. I hope you and your dad have a great time putting up the tiles. Can’t wait to see the finished backsplash. Thanks for all your suggestions. I’m glad i could offer your one.

  13. Marian, I noticed that your mom was painting her new piece with the doors and hardware still attached. Do you always do that? And does that mean you paint over hinges and other stuff? I tend to take off all the hardware before I paint. Just curious.

  14. The backsplash tile looks gorgeous – can’t wait to see it up! And I’ve got to get to TJ Maxx for some of those boxwood topiaries!

  15. HI I just found your website and love it. I found your tutorial On making a vintage sign and can’t wait to make my own. As I was browsing through your pages I was curious about how you finish your furniture? I use a semi-gloss finish but it seems to be too glossy sometimes and doesn’t really give it that aged look. I love to refinish furniture and have done a few pieces myself but I have found I have a problem with brush stroke marks when I paint.

  16. jerri says:

    Spray your stove grates with oven cleaner and put into a garbage bag. Seal it up and let sit overnight. The next morning all of the gunk rinses away. Works every time.

  17. Ok I am still looking for photos of the finished kitchen, I bet it is amazing.

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