diy play kitchen

finally. here’s the post on how to spruce up a play kitchen for your little one. it doesn’t have to be the ikea kitchen; it can be any play kitchen. i’m just going to show you what improvements i made to penny’s kitchen so you can incorporate some (or all!) of these ideas into whichever kitchen set you end up getting for your child.

we decided to get the duktig kitchen from ikea. it’s only $99 and is a blank canvas because it features blonde wood (a swedish staple) and minimalist details. we knew that we didn’t want to get something too girly or pink because penny’s future sibling(s) could be brother(s). plus, we wanted something that would go well with her play room and not clash.

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here’s what the duktig kitchen looks like. it’s not bad, but definitely a little boring!

before i decided what i wanted to do, the amazing pinterest offered a lot of ideas. so again, i am not taking credit on how well the final product turned out.. although it did take quite a lot of patience. i was hoping to whip out the big reveal in 2, 3 days tops but i didn’t take into account how much spray paint would be needed.. or how long things would take to dry completely.

materials needed

duktig kitchen (or any kitchen!)

spray paint: white and gold (i used krylon)

big pieces of cardboard

white foam board

marble contact paper (found on amazon or home depot, loews, etc.)

lever, ruler, pencil & eraser, and a black sharpie

all-purpose glue and/or packaging tape

gloves (latex or cloth)

scissors and a cutting tool (box cutter)

the first thing i did was to spray all the of the hardware, gold. at first i used craft paper to rest the pieces on but i found out the hard way that it sticks onto the paint. i had to respray multiple times to mask the spots where the paint lifted from being stuck onto the paper. use cardboard!!! also, you want to get, at least, 2 cans of white spray paint. i went through 3, and that’s because i used some for the ikea chairs (although i only sprayed 2 small boards). to save time, and spray paint, i didn’t paint the side of the boards that would face inwards, if you get my drift. these would be hidden when assembled so you wouldn’t see the white paint.

again, use cardboard!

then, i used the ikea manual to figure out which boards go where when assembled so i could avoid spraying certain sides if necessary.

spray painting these boards white took the longest… days.. it took many coats of white spray paint to get an even look because the boards soaked up the paint. it also didn’t help that it rained often and was really windy during this time, making it difficult to get any work done. i would spray paint out on the back patio (thankfully the sunroom above provides a roof) but the wind would just blow the spray paint everywhere. this is where i figured out gloves would come in handy because i got a lot of spray paint on my fingertips from moving pieces around, and also when the wind would decide to blow while i was spraying.

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notice how i only sprayed the legs for one of the boards because that’s the side that faces inwards when assembled.

after the boards were complete, i made the faux subway tile backsplash using a white foam board, sharpie, and a ruler. i recommend having a lever or anything longer than a ruler, like a yardstick for straight, even lines. i didn’t have one so i had to erase frequently.

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i laid the foam board above the countertop to get an idea of how well it would fit. i ended up trimming the edges so they wouldn’t stick out from behind the kitchen walls.

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i forget what i did here, but i think i measured every 2.5 inches so i could get even lines.

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here’s where a yardstick would come in handy. i used a ruler to draw lines all the way across the board and i had to keep shifting the ruler.

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i measured three inches across to make the individual tiles. remember to alternate every row.

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here’s what it looks like after retracing the pencil lines with a black sharpie.

next was the faux marble countertop! i unrolled the marble contact paper and peeled off the protective paper. then, i placed the countertop face down on top of the paper and pressed firmly.

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after folding up the sides of the contact paper, cut an ‘x’ across the openings for the stove and sink. then you wrap the pieces around so they stick to the underside of the countertop. the corners proved to be very tricky. i had to keep unpeeling the paper and snipping here and there to try and get smooth, rounded corners.

finally, i started assembling the kitchen. i did this while penny was playing in the same room. you do want to be very careful as there are a lot of screws. i placed everything on a table and made sure i didn’t drop anything. penny is also really great at entertaining herself so she would crawl over sometimes to touch the furniture but then crawl away to play. i also had dennis with me most of the time so that helped immensely.

the last bit was to attach the backsplash to the kitchen. i held it behind the kitchen and saw that the edges peeked out on either side. i marked both sides and trimmed the edges. i applied all-purpose glue to the board but it still fell off.. what kept the board from staying put was taping it down with packaging tape. it’s not noticeable and you can always peel it off after the glue dries, though i kept the tape on.

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ta-da! the finished kitchen!! it’s much more glamorous and eye-catching than the original model, isn’t it? it was definitely a labor of love, but well worth it!

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penny keeping herself busy by reading.. she loves to read books, like her mama!

now that the diy furniture stuff is out of the way, i’ve been focusing full-time on planning for penny’s birthday: it’s in a month!!! i’ve had a lot of help from my sister and genie on decorations, and dennis has provided assistance with the big items. i’m halfway done with the second dol tower but i still have another one left after that…

penny’s smash cake photo session is this friday so we’ve been prepping for that as well. she will be wearing a hanbok that my mom gave us for one of the outfit changes, and she will wear a different hanbok for the actual party. it’s neat that she will get to wear both a traditional and a modern one. all that’s left for friday’s photo shoot is her cake: i’ll be making a giant cupcake friday morning so fingers crossed that it turns out well! ah, we also have to figure out what the parents are going to wear… that’s always a dilemma.

valentine’s day + penny’s 9 months

happy 9 months to penny! she’s 3/4 of the way to being a one-year-old!

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this past month has been a whirlwind! penny is keeping us on our toes 🙂 she’s always been a fairly active baby, but now that she’s moving around we have to keep a close watch on her. she’s sooo close to crawling but hasn’t quite gotten the mechanics down yet. she does, however, creep around. that’s a weird word – creep, but that’s what it’s called when a baby moves around on her belly, and penny goes forward, backward, and all around. she does lift up her belly and bend her knees so she’s getting there!

she also goes from a sitting position directly to her belly so we aren’t always placing her on her stomach to do tummy time and practice. plus, she sleeps on her tummy so when she’s awake in her crib she’ll practice moving around as well.

penny is eager to see and touch everything as is evidenced in the photos below.

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she had her check-up today and thankfully no vaccines were involved. she did get her big toe pricked for a hemoglobin test but she was fine! she just sat there looking around =D she also had a vision and hearing test – she passed both – and got measured and weighed: 27 3/4 inches long and 19 lb. 2 oz. respectively. i was surprised at her height though because she was 27 inches at her 6-month appointment; i thought she’d be a lot taller especially since she’s wearing size 12 months. still, happy that she’s growing and is healthy.

we asked our pediatrician about penny’s eczema. she’s had it for almost a month now, i’d say. at first, it started off as tiny patches behind her knees and near her inner elbows, but then they increased in size. she also had a little patch on her chest (gone now) and now she has spots on her thighs and armpit area. 😦 they don’t seem to bother her as she’s sleeping well and not being fussy during the day but it makes me sad.

at a friend’s suggestion we started apply aquaphor and it helped a lot. however, sometimes it would flare up again; i thought it might be a food allergy so i cut out certain foods like yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter but when i slowly reintroduced them there weren’t any flare-ups. there was a flare-up when we applied coconut oil to the problem areas per my mil’s suggestion. then, i thought she might be allergic to coconuts but i ate coconut almond yogurt the other day and penny was unaffected. (whew.) it just might have been too greasy for her skin… i guess?

penny takes a bath every night as part of her bedtime routine so instead of bathing her with soap, some nights we will just splash her with lukewarm water. this seems to have helped because taking baths can be very drying for the skin especially during the wintertime. we also slather her in burt’s bees body lotion. aquaphor 3x a day and lukewarm water baths have worked thus far *fingers crossed

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penny in our backyard

we had a lot of snow last week. the groundhog (for groundhog’s day) had predicted an early spring but look at us now! december had record-breaking mild weather and we’re making up for it in february. this past weekend’s weather broke records in the new england area as well but for frigidity, not warmth: nights, and parts of the days were in the negatives! walking yuri was brutal and usually she wants to linger outside but after she did her business, she ran back to our house. no complaints there.

although it was too cold for walks, we did go outside in our backyard for a few minutes on the days that were in the 30s just so we could get fresh air.

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this picture reminds me of old-school korea

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penny’s first time touching snow. you can tell from her facial expressions that she’s not a big fan of the cold white stuff. it was good snow too; the kind you can pack into snowballs.

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i LOVE to do arts & crafts – i have bins and bins full of different kinds of paper, stickers, and all sorts of goodies from michael’s. valentine’s day, of course, called for some crafting!

dennis, penny, and i made valentine’s cards for some friends and family. we used ink pads to make thumb people on the cards and i wrote “thumb-body loves you!” i can’t take credit for this cute idea since i found it on pinterest, but the layout of the cards i did myself – definitely not hard to do.

the cutout paper hearts were easy but they were a leftover decoration from my baby shower (made by genie) and i had saved them, yay! i also used 4 different crafting scissors to cut out the card and give each one an individual look.

dennis held penny’s thumb while i pressed it onto pink, gold, and silver inkpads to make a thumb baby. dennis and i took turns stamping our thumbs as well. i had a lot of fun making the thumb-people as you can see! ^0^

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another project that i did was making footprint art. my mil was here to help me with this one. she held penny while we dipped her foot in paint and then i firmly planted it onto scrapbook paper. we tried to do handprint art but it didn’t turn out well.

again, cute ideas via pinterest!  i gave the butterfly one to my mil because that one also had a polaroid of her and penny. 🙂

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when genie and olivia came over a few weeks ago, we also did crafts together. genie had prepped these canvasses back in december for a future art project. since we already had done two christmas crafts together – mistletoes and handprint ornaments – we decided to save them. genie has this cool embossing kit so the word “love” is textured.

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a lot of wipes were used during this project! we used their handprint and footprints to help spell the word “love”. i’m sad i don’t have a picture of the finished product for both canvasses but it makes an appearance in a valentine’s day picture i took of penny.

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i used black paint for the letters “l” and “e” and i also decorated it using more paper hearts made by genie, a pink fuzzball tassle, and writing penny’s name along with the year using letter and number stamps.

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penny also got a mickey mouse microphone as a valentine’s gift from daddy! it plays music and lets you speak into it when you hold down a ‘talk’ button.

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penny was fascinated when my voice came out of the microphone. i had her try it out and she tried by licking it, hahaha.

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lucky penny also received a gift from her grandparents! leapfrog came out with a new toy recently. it resembles a bingo or lotto wheel but when you spin it, and a letter lands on the arrow it tells you the letter, the animal and sound, or plays music depending on the mode. penny really likes to spin wheels so this is a great gift.

she’s so funny.. she recognizes cute animals and figures so when we hold up dolls, she goes nuts especially over miffy, a bunny. the animal above is a blue elephant that my friend, ben, bought for her.

it’s also cute that penny’s hair is long enough to tie back into pigtails.

this should be another busy week! a friend may stop by tomorrow for lunch and on thursday we have two play dates. one friend and her 14-month-old daughter will stop by for lunch as they drive home to massachusetts from new jersey. later in the afternoon, penny and i will go to genie’s house and work on olivia’s dol (first birthday) preparations as well as getting things underway for a friend’s baby shower in may.

it’s also dennis’ short weekend thus his long weekend 😀 no big plans this weekend as of yet; just looking forward to relaxing together. we are huge fans of the walking dead and the mid-season premiere was this past sunday. it started off with a bang! can’t wait to see it next sunday!

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