The Kitchen Reveal…One Year Later

Well, here it is….the kitchen reveal. No need for a drumroll.  It surely is not on the scale of a Chip and Joanna Gaines…”Are you ready to see your fixer upper?”  (I love those two btw!!) remodel, but it is an improvement from what it had been for eighteen years prior.    For those new to the “Monogramery” you may not know that last January I took on a kitchen facelift project called  “Operation Kitchen Redoux”  something or another (it’s been so long ago that I forgot).  I painted my HORRIBLE white cabinets with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and replaced my formica countertops with Carrera Marble (LOVE IT!).  The walls were painted not once but twice.  Did I tell that story or not???  Anyway I am sure you can figure out the wall paint story….husband paints walls once; then husband paints walls twice because wife does NOT like the color, but wife does not say she  does NOT like the color in fear that it will hurt the “check writing for marble” husband’s feelings.  The husband just knows the wife well enough that he can tell by her “look” that she does not like the walls.  The second paint color of choice makes everyone happy.  It’s Blonde by Sherwin Williams. 

As you may remember, it took me eight weeks to paint my cabinets.  Then it probably took another four weeks to get the marble countertops.  After the countertops were in, I was READY to order the Carrera Marble subway tile for the backsplash but someone (husband, Kenny) wanted to catch his breath (save some money to pay cash) so we waited to order the backsplash.  Finally last June/July, after waiting (saving) for several months, I was given the green light to order the backsplach.  It arrived within days of ordering it.  I carried each box inside from the pallet that was delivered, and I lined them up along the dining room wall where they SAT from July to November/December. (Yes, you read that correctly…SIX months.)  Within those six months, I only asked ONCE about the installing them.  For those of  you who know me personally know that was a job for me to only ask once. I waited patiently because I feared the more I asked the longer I would wait.    And so…the week after Thanksgiving 2014, the backsplash was installed by my wonderful “DEH” husband.  (DEH = Do Everything Himself) He did a fabulous job on something that he had never done before and  something that he may never do it again.  LOL!!!

I am sharing with you the before shots of my kitchen. (A little note:  I forgot to take pictures before I took all the cabinet doors off to paint.) 




This is the butler’s pantry from my kitchen to dining room.  It did not always look so bare.  Of course… I forgot once again to take a picture of it before I emptied the cabinets.  It was also the last set of cabinets I did so the countertop served as a collection spot for some appliances.  I am standing in my laundry room/pantry taking this photo. 

Let me stress before you move on to the AFTER photos that I have NO idea what I am doing behind a lens of a camera.  I used my son’s camera to take the pictures.  It’s a really nice camera but since I know NOTHING about it, the pictures are sub par (aka awful).  I think the  camera made my kitchen look too busy…LOL!!  Can you believe it did that??  (wink) I don’t like the looks of the kitchen through the lens as much as I do when I am just standing in it.  The light reflecting off of the cabinets does not truly show what the cabinets look like.  I already know that when I see a kitchen on Pinterest or in a magazine that it has been staged for the photo shoot, and now I am assuming that a professional photographer took the pictures.  (insert tears and loud crying sounds)  Looking at these pictures makes me want to repaint my cabinets.  The look of the cabinets is heavy on the eyes with the black and white tile (which I would change if I could but that is NOT happening according to the DEH).  This is also not my dream kitchen.  Yes, I like a lot of things about my kitchen, but would I have wanted grey cabinets…..not really.   It’s what I thought would work with the floors since they can not be removed.  Now that I see the kitchen photographed, I think a solid grey cabinet would have been more pleasant to look at with the floor. Maybe one day in the future I’ll paint them again, but for now the labor pain of painting the  cabinets still holds fresh in these old aching bones.   


I will start with the after “redoux” photos where I left off with the before “redoux” photos….in the butler’s pantry.  I kind of changed the butler’s pantry into a baking center.  To be honest, I did not have a butler so it only made sense….LOL!!!  I do have a want to be baker.  Hallie wants to move to Paris with her new American Girl Doll Grace Thomas and bake French pastries.  (If you’re a mom of an American Girl loving girl, you’ll  understand.)  The walls look really LSU yellow-gold in this picture but I promise  you they are not.  It’s the same Blonde by Sherwin Williams as the rest of the kitchen.  Remember…I am not a photographer so the lighting is awful in the photos. 

 Why grey cabinets?  Well, the tile on the floor goes all the way to the wall.  (NIGHTMARE!) In order to replace the tile, the entire kitchen would have had to have been taken out, and this was just a cabinet redo in order to get the marble countertops that I had dreamed of for 18 years.  I used Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey and used a dark (black) wax to give them an aged look.  Looking at them now in these photos, I think that maybe I should have just painted them the Paris Grey and used Annie’s varnish to seal them instead of the wax.  I had to create my own black wax with putting paint in to the clear wax.  The wax has worn quickly on heavy traffic areas of the cabinets such as the fridge panel where everyone puts their hand to handle to open it.  

 My husband extended our kitchen island by adding on to the ends of it.  He also made it wider so stools could fit under one side.  I painted the island and the butler’s pantry with Annie Sloan’s Graphite and applied her dark wax to both sets of cabinets.   The dark wax on the graphite chalk paint gave it a richer, deeper color of graphite.  I am almost sorry I did not do all of the cabinets in the graphite. 



I made this area of the counter a coffee/breakfast bar.  It use to be an area thats only purpose was to collect junk papers and such.  Now it is cluttered with things we use everyday.  The butler pantry would have made a nice coffee bar area as well, but this area would not have made a nice baking center. 


I searched high and low for a cow creamer and was really surprised to find this one at Bed Bath and Beyond.  My children think it’s creepy looking, and can I tell you that since I bought this creepy cow creamer, after searching high and low, I’ve seen cuter ones at Walmart (yes, Walmart), Kirklands and Tuesday Morning.  You may notice that there is a jar of sprinkles in the coffee/breakfast bar area.  Looks odd, but when your “daddy’s girl” thinks you’re like the daddy and will run out and get her chocolate covered sprinkled donuts,  you offer her a waffle covered in Nutella and sprinkles. 

This old scale use to hang in my pappy’s store.  He had a hardware type store where he sold trawl nets for shrimp boats.  He also carried nails and such.  The customers use to weigh the nails in it.  I loved it when I saw that it was rusting away in my grandma’s shed years ago and I called dibs on it, but really had no place to put it.  I had it in our shed until one day after my kitchen was finished, and I got a brilliant idea to hang it over my island on my pot rack.  It also lead me on an eBay adventure to find more old scales. 

My husband surprised me with this one.  It was in rough shape when he bid on it and won it from eBay.  I was shocked when it arrived.  The glass was missing (so is the glass in my hanging scale) and it was full of rust (so is my hanging one).  It made the hanging one look like it was in excellent condition.  I questioned whether he could restore it.  He laughed at my questioning him and gave me a response of, “I restore old cars full of rust.  I can restore this scale.”  And isn’t she a beauty?  She really works too.   In this next photo, check out the “Makin’ Groceries” sign above the window. 

If you are Southern or know any Southern folks, you  know how proud we are to be Southern.  The South runs deep and wide.  When most folks think about Southerners, they think of long drawn out Southern Drawls, ice tea and deep porches with over grown ferns.  At least this is what I think of when I think of Southerners.  I’m from so far down South that there is no where else to go South besides the Gulf of Mexico, and I’m sad when I say that my part of the South got the short end of the baton when it came to Southern Drawls.  Don’t let those fake New Orleans’ Southern Drawl accents fool you in the movies.  Down in Nawlins, “yat” is the local accent and it’s a language all on its own. Up until recently I would NEVER say “Who Dat”.  I mean really….what degreed elementary teacher would use that term??? SMH…Not me dat fo sho!  But it was something about Drew Brees saying “Who Dat” that made me hear it differently.  I, then, began to embrace my Southern Culture and be proud of the unique things that only New Orleans brings to the South.  Don’t get me wrong…there are still a lot of things I can not bring myself to say such as the term “makin’ groceries”, but I am proud that no other place in the world will say that in reference to going to the grocery store.  Although I may not say it, I’ll proudly display it. 

In honor of Hallie’s favorite quote/question from HGTV  “Are you going to LOVE IT or LIST IT?”……. I would love to list it and build my beach house in Bay St. Louis, but until then I am going to love my Carrera Marble countertops and I am going to live with the cabinets. 


 The following are just a few “close ups” of things in the kitchen that may one day be post of their own. 




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How To Make a Pillow Sham (an Embroidered Pillow Sham)

Let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year.  I hope this post finds you well.   I know I have been missing in action since Summer.  School began, and I found myself embroidering almost everyday until my children went on Christmas Holiday.  It’s a good thing that I don’t have one of those blogs that get sponsored by brands that expect a post or two a week.  They would fire me. 

On to the topic…

Last year (Christmas that is) I found myself with the idea that I would give personalized throw pillows for gifts for a few lucky ones on my list.  I thought that it would be an easy gift that I could personalize with an embroidery design, family name, initials, etc…  I thought all I would need to do was to go to Hobby Lobby and pick a “ALREADY” made throw pillow sham/cover, come home and embellish it with a design suited for my recipient….EASY- PEASY, LEMON -SQUEEZY right????  WRONG!!!  All of the “already” made throw pillow sham/covers/sleeves’ openings were along the bottom edge and did not allow the pillow case to fit on the hoop of my machine in the direction that allowed my design to maximize the area on the pillow.  I’m not sure if that makes sense but I needed the design going horizontal in my hoop but the opening of the pillow was going to allow the design to be embroidered vertically on the machine which would have resulted in a design being limited in size.  I wanted to use the largest size of my designs.  My largest hoop measures something like 12″wx8″h. 

There WENT my idea of giving personalized pillows as gifts to a few folks on my list…or at least I thought. My husband suggested that I SEW a pillow sham so I could embroidery it prior to stitching the case together.  I am not sure if I have ever told y’all that I do NOT sew.  I can sew a seam in a koozie but to actually have to make something with my normal sewing machine is NOT something I can do.  I can not sew detailed instructions from a pattern. Well, that is not totally true…..I kind of can.  I JUST DO NOT LIKE TO SEW.  However, in this situation, I was either going to DIM (do it myself) or think of another gift.  The easiest solution this time was DIM with a little help from a few Pinterest tutorials in which if  you follow me on Pinterest, you can view them. Those tutorials were GREAT, but none of them gave me the steps that I needed to add an applique. I do not know about  y’all,  but I NEED the step by step visuals of EACH STEP.  At Christmas time, I did not have any brain function to engineer all of this together.  SO…..  I add those extra steps in my tutorial below for you (and I’m not going to lie when I state that this is for ME TOO for future pillow gifts).

I also need to stress that I AM NOT A SEWER FOR HIRE.  I made (and will make) pillows for my gift recipients.  THIS IS STRICTLY A TUTORIAL FOR YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN PILLOW.  I can applique it for you if you don’t embroidery, but you will need to bring me the material marked with the center. 


1/2 yard of fabric of choice

3/8 or 5/8 double-sided hem tape

pillow insert (I used 16×16) 

fabric marker (disappearing/magic/dissoluble)

embroidery design of your choice

The given..scissors, needles, sewing machine, embroidery machine, thread, straight pins, fabric for applique, stabilizer,  possible iron

 To make a case for a 16″x16″ pillow the goal is to have a 15″x15″ pillow sham/case/cover. 

If the pillow insert was 18″x18″ the goal would be to have a 17″x17″ pillow sham.

All sides should be 1″ smaller than pillow so that the pillow is nice and “tart” in the sham.

A half a yard of material will work for one pillow as long as your insert doesn’t exceed 18″.

 Trim your yard of fabric to 38″x16″. TIP: I keep it folded as I trim it 16″ wide.

Then it could be kept folded as you cut the folded piece to 19″ so when you open it up, you have 38″ long.


Then to keep the short edges from fraying and to aid in the making of a hem, I prepare the edges to be hemmed with the double-sided hem tape.

I used the 5/8″ tape. It also comes in 3/8″. ( If you use the 3/8″, you may need to cut your material down to 37″x16″.)

Run the tape along the short edges and peel away the backing.

Fold your edge with the 5/8″ tape over so you have a partial hem keeping the hem the 5/8″ of the tape.

I hope that makes sense???…..FOLD OVER 5/8″ don’t fold it over more than the width of the tape.

Do this to both short sides of the material/fabric. 

The tape will stick to your fingers. Be patient!!

Just remember it’s not super glue…LOL!!

Once I have both short edges folded over with the tape, I fold the edges over one more time so my raw edge will be sewn under.

I keep this fold 5/8″ too.

I press this fold with the iron. It would not be necessary but I like to keep the fold in place the best I can without adding another strip of tape.

A few straight pins would hold it in place too.

Once your hems are folded, stitch them with the sewing machine. 

My machine is marked with measurement so I can use them as a guide.  I stitched at the 5/8″ marking. 

Time to fold the short side to create the envelope type back so the center for the embroidery can be determined. 

Please note that the material should be right side facing down as you begin to make these folds because the next few steps is in preparation to find and mark the center for the embroidery.

 The fabric should now be somewhere between 35″ and 36″ long with 35″ being ideal.  With it being 35″, that allows for a 15″ front and the back of the sham measuring 10″ in towards the center to create the envelope type back. 

Here is a diagram.  I hope this helps make it clearer for you.  You may find that your material is a pinch longer than 35″ so you may have one fold at 10″ and the other 10″-11″. The goal is to leave about 4-5″ on each side once you over lap them.  I have labeled the next photo for hopefully a better visual. 

My fabric was a little longer than 35″ so when I folded it in to get 15″ wide, I had an edge folding in 11″ and the other edge folding in at 10″.  This left me with a 6″ overlap and 5″ on one side and 4″ other other.  The ultimate goal is to leave 4-5″ from the overlap to the edges of the pillow.   This will allow for your pillow insert to fit in nicely and then lay nicely without a large gap in the pack. 

Now to mark the  center.

Now that the sides are folded in to create the back of the sham, the pillow shame is measuring 15″x16″

(Remember we cut our fabric 38″w x 16″h when we started so now that is hemmed and folded we have 15″x16″). 

To mark the center, simply fold the fabric in half.  Now the fabric is 7.5″x16″.  If your using a cutting mat with measurement on it like I did, mark the center at 8



I add a few more dots along my centers with my fabric marker to help me hoop the fabric in the hoop straight. 

I also had to put an arrow with my marker to show me which way is the top.** 

** This will only matter if your folded back pieces are not an exact 10″.  Mine were 10″ and 11″ so that will matter when go to sew my sides together after it’s embroidered. 

Hoop and embroidery the design. 

Depending on the fabric a piece of “No Show” cut away stabilizer may need to be added.

  This fabric was a thinner cotton so I floated a piece of it between my fabric and tear away stabilizer. 

The sides are ready to be pinned so they can be sewn.  In this step, the right side of the fabric should be facing up. 

The top of the pillow will be folded back first.  It will overlap the bottom of the pillow on the backside of the sham so it must be folded first. 

 I like to use a yard stick to help me fold. 

This is also the step that was important for me to note which one was folded back at 10″ and which one was 11″.  ASK ME HOW I CAME TO THIS IMPORTANT DISCOVERY!!!!  You might notice that in the previous two pictures the designs are different. I’m sure  you know why….   You will get to see my blooper in the final picture of the deer silhouette pillow.  For my pillows after the deer, I made sure the folds were even, and/or I pinned it both ways:

with the top folded back at 10″ and looked at it from the front to see if the design was centered. 

 with the top folded back at 11″ and looked at it from the front to see if the design was centered. 

My goal here is to save you from bloopers, but you may not have any since  you may be a better “sewing engineer” than I am.

Once the folds are folded back with right sides together, pin it in place. 

I pinned at the hems of the overlaps. 

The sham is ready to be stitched

Remember I made mention of my sewing machine having the measurement guidelines? I am sure all machines do. 

I have owned two in my sewing life in which both had the guidelines.  

These seams should be sewn at 4/8″ (aka 1/2″).  If a 1/2″ seam is sewn on both sides, it results in a 15″x15″ sham.  

 It is also a good idea to do a reverse stitch over the hem areas. 

There will be a lot of tugging at these points so reinforcement will be beneficial. 


I trimmed the seams with pinking shears to limit fraying.

Now the sham can be turned inside out…over to the right side. 

It is ready for the pillow insert. 

 It will need fluffing (also known as a beating of the pillow) to fill out the sham.

It was a blessing that the blooper pillow was MINE! I really don’t mind since most things in nature aren’t perfect and as far as my husband…..

he has not even noticed that our bed has a new throw pillow on it. 


Any questions….LOL!!! Please feel free to comment or email me. 


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