Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DIY Kitchen Renovation

For nearly a year now Josh & I have been living in a house in Deadwood. It's one of the best locations in town (with the exception of the Hill in winter) with the National Forest at our backs and just a few neighbors. We have a lot of privacy and room for the dogs to run around. Another thing we have is a really terrible kitchen.

For those of you who have seen it, I'm sure you can't forget. For everyone else- let me explain. Our kitchen is very small and a crossroads of our house. There is little counter space and the walls are textured (who puts a textured wall next to a stove-top?). At some point, someone had the idea to paint the cabinets sunshine yellow. Not necessarily to paint them well but they did succeed in making the cabinets yellow. Then the walls had to be a sea foam green. I think sea foam is a nice color but something had wrong awry here. And as icing on the cake, the trim was painted a neon form of John Deere green. All together it had a "Wow" factor but not the kind we were looking for. Our kitchen looked liked like a clown had exploded.

Halfway there...
Over the last year we have had some ideas of what we would like to change in the kitchen but since it's a rental we waited. It turns out our waiting had a shelf life because on Monday we had to make a change. One can only live in a Beehive for so long. We picked up some chalkboard paint and a creamy beige to put on the cabinets and went to town.

Josh and I are such a good team when it comes to projects like this. Some couples can't do projects and bicker but we cruise right along complimenting each other and nearly moving in sync. It's kinda amazing how well we flow when we work. It's one reason why we would like to work together again someday.

Before too long the cabinets were drying from their first coat in that nice beige and we applied a second coat. Both coats went so quickly that we were able to apply a coat of chalkboard paint to the cabinet doors. Chalkboard paint is amazing. It goes on a little differently than regular paint (as you would expect), is easy to spread and it evens itself out somehow. As it began to dry Josh worked on the trim. It was just an experiment but with each stroke the intense-ness of our kitchen began to diminish. It was like a Christmas miracle and we decided to call it a night.

The next morning I set to work on applying to second coat to the cabinet doors. It went quickly, there's only 14 doors and 3 drawers, and before long I was watching it dry. It was at this moment that I realized the changes were going to be mind blowing.

After work I picked up some paint for the walls. It had to be done and if 20 bucks would do it then we were in. The paint is called Colonial White and hopefully would compliment the cabinetry and make the kitchen a little warmer.

When Josh got home from work we set upon the walls. With the textured surface it was a little interesting trying to cover the surface but I think we did well. After we got most of the kitchen walls painted with a first coat we decided to call it quits and set upon coloring our new cabinet doors.

After starting the update on the kitchen on Monday we had made a lot of progress by mid-week. By Thursday we seemed to have hit a roadblock. Work was keeping us too busy and tired to put time in on painting the kitchen. But on Sunday, we were on fire!

On Friday we were admiring the changes when we realized that the the ceiling has also been painted a shade of green. Apparently the walls and cabinets had kept our eyes so busy that we had overlooked this. At first, we thought we could probably live with it but then I set to changing Josh's mind and with our trip on Sunday to Walmart even he couldn't deny that even the ceiling would need a change.

To save some money we checked out the returned and mis-tinted paint aisle. For $5.48 we purchased some flat white interior paint. It turned out that it was just what we were looking for. We also bought another brush and roller to speed up our progress.

When we set to work it was well into the afternoon but we had a vision and we set upon getting the room completed. We finished the walls, putting a first coat in a few spots and applying 2nd coats all around. After draping the room with sheets we set to painting the ceiling. I attached the rollers to broom handles and we rolled it in no time. It's a small kitchen, so it went pretty quick. After edging it we put the fan on and took a break.

DIY Done!
After everything was dried Josh and I finished the trim, let it dry and then touched up all the spots we had messed up along the way. After cleaning up we realized that we had gotten some paint on the floor and worked getting them off. Within an hour everything was clean and put away and the tape was good to come off.

It looks amazing! For out 1st DIY project with just ourselves we really did a great job. The whole feeling of the kitchen is different. The cabinets aren't recognizable. The ceiling is crisp and white. The wall are creamy and warm. We love it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crepes and Escapes

Crepes 6.19.11
Today, Amanda and I took advantage of our opportunity to sleep in, so we got a late start on our adventure for the day. After taking showers and letting the dogs run we made some World Famous Laliberte Crepes. Amanda whipped up the batter and let me figure out how to cook them just right. On top we put peach and blueberry yogurt, sprinkling them with powdered sugar. It was my first time to ever try making crepes and they turned out freaking awesome! It's weird now that I have a French side of my family! After the first crepe came out a little over done I had the cooking method down. I made about 8 crepes today and let me tell you (and Amanda agrees...), they were good.

View from Roosevelt Loop Trail 6.19.11
After wolfing down breakfast we decided it was time to leave for an adventure. The only problem was we had no idea where we were heading. So, we picked Mt. Roosevelt. It's a favorite of ours and we thought it would be nice to let the Wu and Tahquitz run a bit. We loaded the beasts in the jeep and off we went. We were hoping to have some privacy so the boys could run free but of course that wasn't a possibility where we normally go. There were tourists everywhere and we headed back to drop off Tahquitz (He doesn't like car rides very much). Before we left Mt. Roosevelt we found a trail to take and let the dogs run on. We hiked a ridge line and after a bit of exploring we wrangled the boys up and started back. On the way Amanda found a nice case for a pair of binoculars. SCORE!! After that we took Tahquitz back home. We laid some treats around the house for him and then Amanda, Wu, and myself were off to explore.

Custer Peak Camground Site 6.19.11
We decided to explore back roads that would take us south into Hill City, so we could try out this restaurant that the locals love, The Alpine Inn. We took Highway 385 out to Rochford Rd. then down Mystic Rd. It's a cut off we've seen multiple times but for some reason we had never taken it before. It turned out to be a great drive through steep canyon walls. From this road we took a cut off called Custer Peak Campground. As the name suggests, it leads to a campground area which is spectacular! Nearly every camping area was against a large creek and it seemed like each one came with about 4 acres of personal land. It was a very private area that we thought our friends would love when they come up here.

We stopped and let Wu Bear take a swim. He jumped out of the jeep and as soon as he figured out where the best entrance was, he started swimming. He loves to have a stick thrown into the water so he can jump in after it and bring it back. Recently, he's started taking up whining like a little girl just before you throw the stick, and to be honest, it's one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen. After being drug around by the strong current he was done, so we headed back towards Hill City to get lunch.

When we finally arrived in Hill City, we parked next to The Alpine Inn and were hoping to enjoy some German goodness..... It was closed. Facing disappointment we travelled on.

Bumpin Buffalo in Hill City 6.19.11
Amanda dragged me down the street to find another place to eat. We saw a biker looking bar that served mexican food. I love Mexican food, but there was another little tavern called the Bumpin Buffalo. The sign was cool so we took a chance on went inside. It was incredible how much this place reminded me of a college bar I used to frequent when I still went to Oklahoma. (Go Sooners!!!) Anyway, I saw that they were serving buffalo brats with sour kraut... CHA CHING!! I love me some brats, but I really love me some buffalo brats! Amanda and I both ordered brats and had the waitress throw in some fried pickle spears. Those
things are amazing and it's kind of our thing to get them everywhere we go. They served the brats on a wheat hoagie with plenty of sour kraut. The fries were really good and the pickles were fantastic. Needless to say, the meal was awesome! I was a happy man.

Caramel Apple Pie Fudge 6.19.11
We took off walking down the street checking out all the shops that line Main St. Of course, Amanda found the one that served ice cream and fudge; I was hooked. She ordered a cake cone with a scoop of mint chocolate chip and I got a waffle cone with a scoop of Mocha Almond Fudge. We also got a couple squares of Caramel Apple Pie Fudge. WOW!! This was just what we had needed. It was the best fudge I had ever had!!

Thunderhead Underground Falls 6.19.11
At this point, we were completely satisfied and ready to head back home. On the way back up 385 we noticed a nice looking new sign for Thunderhead Underground Waterfalls. We've been looking forward to doing this for two years. We headed down the road towards the falls. When we got there we walked down towards the entrance and paid to get in. It's a self guided tour and it's only about 600 feet into a mountain, but it was pretty cool. You could see where there was copper in the tunnel walls and other really cool color patterns all over the ceiling from a variety of minerals. There is a creek that runs through the tunnel. If you follow this creek all the way to the back you can see the falls. It's a small drop but the water is coming down hard and it gives the whole place a really large feeling. We took a few pictures and then headed out.
Amanda and Wu at Custer Peak CG 6.19.11

It was another good day with my Baby and our Wu Bear.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spearfish Canyon Rim

     The last couple of weekends Josh and I haven't strayed too far from home. With such wacky schedules we've been trying to find some time to get out and explore. That day turned out to be Sunday. By 8 AM it was apparent that it could be the hottest day yet this year.

6.5.11 Crow Peak Rec Area
      After a late start we loaded up the Jeep and headed towards Spearfish Canyon via Maitland Road. Maitland Road is basically a local's only dirt road into Spearfish. It winds along the northern side of Spearfish Canyon and offers spectacular views and serene privacy. We turned into Crow Peak Recreation Area and began to explore the two-tracks that run throughout the unit.

     We had been studying maps to find an old unused road that ran between Maitland Rd. and Spearfish Canyon and that day we decided to try every road we came to. We drove for hours on those roads and always ended up having to turn around for washouts and whatnot. The day was really starting to heat up and we were just crawling on these dirt roads without much of a breeze. We came across a road that was overgrown with grass, beautiful lush grass, and so we followed it up hill and to it's end. The road ended on a knoll overlooking Maitland's valley and had a thick carpet of pine needles with jack pines offering shade and respite from the sun.

6.5.11 Improve Picnic under the Pines
     Taking full advantage of the shade, we pulled out a tapestry and our cooler and set to having a picnic on a nearby rock. Oranges, granola bars, and peanut butter crackers were devoured. And Wu was re-hydrated. It was so peaceful knowing that we were the only ones in those woods. It was like the whole forest was ours to explore. So we did.

     Following our path back we took a fork that we hadn't been down yet. At this point we were off the map. These roads, for the most part impassible by jeep, had become mostly ATV trails. As we were discussing that the road was becoming narrower and likely coming to an end, we realized that we had been creeping along the edge of Spearfish Canyon. There was a spectacular view of the cliffs and the winding road. We took a walk to see where the road was heading which was quickly into a ATV only trail and stopped to enjoy the views. How had this happened?

6.5.11 View of Spearfish Canyon
     We let Wu run for a bit and then we packed up, heading for the Canyon. A swim would have to be next. There are a few spots that we always return to in Spearfish Canyon to catch a quick dip. One of our favorites is past Roughlock Falls on CR 222. It's just a little hole big enough for the three of us. Or one particularly crazy Wu, who happened to be all business. The water was as cold as you would expect it to be in early June in the Black Hills. Josh and I were in and out quickly- it was so cold our legs went numb, not to mention we were getting hungry agian. But Wu was in heaven and playing until we offered him a car ride home. Silly dog.