Friday, September 3, 2010

Our "new" kitchen!

It started well before Christmas, and it's all my Gypsy's fault.  For those who don't remember or who are new to my blog, the Gypsy is a design tool for the Cricut cutting machine that lets you plan out what you want to cut before you cut it.  I show it and my original Cricut (including a video!) in my A Gypsy-rific transformation blog post from June.

One of the benefits (or curses) of the Gypsy is that you can see all of the designs for all of the cartridges, not just the ones you own.  I say it's a curse because the number of cartridges I now have is about 4 times as many as I had before I got my Gypsy.  Now for the various mothers of mine who read this blog, we've found them cheap and/or on sale, so please don't fret.  There are a number of Gypsy owners who have far more cartridges than I have because they go "exploring" in their Gypsy.

I'm (slightly) digressing.  A few months before Christmas I was looking through the cartridges in my Gypsy and looked at "From My Kitchen".  I love scrapping family recipes, so I'm interested in anything I can use for future pages.  One of the features is a set of words relating to cooking such as "bake", "chill", "cut", etc...  They're put together in fun way (as you'll see in a little bit), and I instantly knew what I wanted to do - decorate the soffit or fascia or whatever the hangy-out part of the wall is called.  I showed my husband and explained what I wanted to do.  He thought it was a good idea and got me the cartridge for Christmas.

Fast forward 8 months, and we finally got around to washing the walls (yuck!) and painting the kitchen.  It was pretty boring and off-white, with curtains that had lots of little reddish flowers and leaves and vines and stuff.  We were not going to change the floor (green and off-white), so we picked two shades of green paint - the dark one for the soffit/fascia/hangy-out part and the light one for the rest of the walls.  We also found some easy-to-apply metal-ish sheets to use as a backsplash behind the stove.  I purchased beige vinyl from, which has a lot of colors and is pretty cheap.

So, a few days after we finally finished painting and put up the new curtains (the old ones were dry clean only for goodness sake, and they were dusty and covered in cat fur from Katy sitting on the shelf all the time, so we pitched them), I set to work on the vinyl.  I used the Gypsy and my new Expression (thanks again, Cyndy!) to maximize the size of the words and how many I could cut out of each sheet.  To get the words up on the wall without making a mess out of everything I used transfer tape.  It's still a little tricky, however.

The first step is cutting the words out on the Cricut, of course.  You can set the blade depth and pressure to cut the vinyl and not all the way through the backing.  That makes it much easier to remove the backing from the cutting mat.  I thought I wrote those settings down, but I can't find them now.  Practice first!  Pressure was around the middle, and I think the blade depth was 4, but please don't quote me on it.  I've used my Cricut since and changed the settings, so I can't look it up.

The next step is to take the backing off of the transfer tape and set it sticky side up on the table.  This step can be a bit frustrating because, well, it's sticky.  I ended up tucking a corner or two under to stick on the table.  That helped.

Then, you take the vinyl (including the backing) off of the cutting mat and put it backing side up on the transfer tape.  If you have multiple words or shapes on your mat, I recommend cutting them apart and working on one at a time.  With the tongue-depressor-looking-thing you get with the vinyl or transfer tape (I'm not sure if you get it from, though) or with a bone folder or credit card, burnish the vinyl to make sure it sticks onto the transfer tape.  Carefully peel off the backing.  If the vinyl comes with, put the backing back and burnish some more.  Then pick out the parts you don't need.  I recommend getting off your butt and going downstairs to get your Cricut tool kit instead of just using the scissors you brought to separate the words.  However, it can be done with just the scissors.  The Cricut tools are easier, of course.  You might want to practice first or make sure you have extra vinyl (I'll explain why later).

This is what you have when you're done and ready to put it on the wall:

If you're anal, you probably want to figure out the center of the wall where you want to put it, horizontally and vertically.  With the playfulness of these words, I didn't want to do that.  I wanted there to be some variation, and I'm just not that anal when it comes to stuff like this.  About other things, yes, but not this.

Stick it on the wall and burnish it again:

Then very carefully peel up the transfer tape.  If any of the vinyl comes with, put it back down and burnish again.

Before the big reveal....

One of the things we love about our house is its retro look.  It was built in the 50's and looks it.  There's light wood throughout and has lots of built-ins and cubbyholes.  The kitchen phone is still a rotary phone.  Steve wanted to replace it, but I thought it was too cute to remove.  The "From My Kitchen" cartridge has a retro feel to it, so when I planned out what I wanted to cut out of the vinyl, I included a number of images to go along with the words.  I could have used other cartridges, but I wanted to have everything "From My Kitchen".

However, images look better with more than one color, and I had only purchased beige and purple (Of course!  One can never have too much purple vinyl).  Steve had given me a lighter shade of purple and black vinyl, but none of those would go with the kitchen colors.  In my "I don't even want to go downstairs to get my Cricut tool kit" laziness, I did not feel like driving 25-30 minutes to Brookfield to get another color of vinyl.  I thought about where else I could get vinyl and remembered a sign store a block away on Appleton called Signs & Banners - Today!!.  I called them, and they had vinyl!  I walked over there after lunch and picked out a nice contrasting color.  While chatting with Neal, the owner, we discussed the possibility of me working on his website.  How cool is that?!

Armed with two colors, I now can cut and place images!  Here's one view of the kitchen with a number of words and images:

You know I mentioned before that things can get tricky and that you should practice or get extra vinyl?  That's supposed to be a strainer next to "strain":

I was going to piece together beige and brown so the beige would be prominent, but everything's so darned sticky, and I couldn't get it to lie right.  I was out of beige, so I cut another strainer out of the brown, but it had to be smaller based on the brown I had left.  Argh.  I used the "holes" from the original beige strainer, and it looks okay, kind of, but I'm not that happy with it.  I am going to get more beige and try again.  I thought I had bought plenty of beige, but I would have been happy with 2 more sheets.

Back to the reveals.  Almost everything indicates what that part of the kitchen holds.  It's not complete, of course.  That would look overloaded.  Besides, there's not a "Kraft Mac 'n Cheese" shape in the cartridge.  But I hit the basics.

Working around the kitchen to the left, next to the stove ("bake" and "cook") we have where the aprons are stored and a potholder (because I could not think of a thing from the cartridge that could go over the doorway to the rest of the house - anyone have any ideas?):

I think the apron's adorable:

Again - this is tricky because everything sticks to everything else.  The lace isn't perfect, and the pockets could be straighter, but unless you're going to look closely like you are now, you don't really notice it much.  I added the embellishments after it was on the wall - something else that's tricky, especially if you're short like I am.

Next to the doorway is the refrigerator, etc...

Yes, I labeled the clock.  Isn't that a cute retro clock?  It works with the rest of the kitchen so nicely!  Next to the toaster oven:

Now visitors can find the dishes and the silverware and the phone (as if they could miss it!).  Around the corner is the last of the vinyl:

The second color really makes a big difference!

One final picture for you - the other part of the kitchen with the new Katy-fur-resistant curtains and Miss Katy herself:

She'd really have to stretch to get her fur on those curtains!

All in all, even with the so-so strainer, I love the new look of the kitchen.  Yes, just painting and getting new curtains would have looked nice, but the vinyl accents make a huge difference in making it OUR kitchen, not just A kitchen, if that makes sense.

Let me at the rest of the house!


  1. SteveO. (her husband)September 3, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    No vinyl-labeling the rest of the house! I'd shudder to think what you might put over the bed. ;^)

  2. Or the kitty litter pan! (I love the kitchen!)

  3. love, love, love it! Will you come do my kitchen?? It would DEFINITELY be a challenge to get it to look anywhere nearly as kool as yours!!

  4. Adorable kitchen. Love the accents, colors and curtains. They all work so nicely together.

    1. Oh, that's right - you haven't been over here yet. I love the curtains, too, but shortly after we redid the kitchen I saw they had fork/knife/spoon curtains. Those would have been perfect. Thanks!