Complete Kitchen Remodel - Fast! and Free!

In a fit of annoyance earlier this year, I put our microwave on the floor in order to reclaim some precious counter space in our tiny galley kitchen.  It was kind of weird, but you know how you just get used to things.  We just bent down and put stuff in the microwave.  The bonus was the Turtle could reach it himself and got to have the official job of pressing the buttons.  When other people came over, they didn't quite know what to make of it, but whatever.  

I finally purchased this kitchen island and put it in the dining area to extend our kitchen counter.   

So now the microwave has a home along with the fruit bowls and cookbooks and I've got my workspace cleared.   I was so happy about this that I never even bothered to put anything inside the island yet.  When I went to open it to decide how to finally organize it, I found that Turtle had co-opted it and had been placing various toys in it.  (Oh, so that's where THAT's been!)  I had no idea.  

But yesterday I set about claiming my island, happily filling and organizing it, and then looked over and decided that Turtle's kitchen needed upgrading, too.  

First, I fashioned some stove-side utensil holders out of toilet paper rolls.  

Next, the oven was given a red-hot burner.  

I reused a gift bag decoration to add a vase of flowers above the sink, which is a giant lettuce container set into a cardboard box.  A small plastic bin is attached on the left to hold a sponge.  I can put a little water in this sink and it holds without leaking so Turtle can actually wash dishes in it.  The salad container pulls right up and out for dumping out.   

The sink itself was given a facelift.  Previously just a cardboard front, I cut cupboards in it for increased storage and covered it in reused wrapping paper.  

This up-ended diaper box had been divided with a shelf to make a crude pantry but never decorated.  I added a door to the bottom with rope handle, made from one side of a gift bag, to make a mini fridge and covered the wrest with leftover holiday wrapping paper.  

Turtle's kitchen is adjacent to mine, so he gets to use the hooks on my island for his canvas shopping bag, apron and pot holders.  The apron set was sewn by my sister and given as a xmas gift this year- cute, huh?  

Here's the "after" picture.  Turtle's kitchen is much brighter and cheerier now with all the colored wrapping paper and the flowers than the plain cardboard look it had before.  He has more storage with the utensil holders and under the sink cupboard and he gained a new appliance with the mini fridge.  All in all, not a bad remodel for 90 minutes of my time, a bunch of reused stuff that was lying around the house, and a lot of packing tape!  

He was so inspired that he set about making us a scrumptious meal.  Each person was served a variety of whole produce, eggs, and rigatoni.  Mmmm. Mmmm.  

This morning, Turtle told me he needed a kitchen timer.  So, now we have a play doh container decorated on the sides and with a printout of a real kitchen timer taped to the lid (Thank you, Google image search) and a large jingle bell inside so that when you shake it, the timer rings. As I write this, he is making me coffee with "spices and honey and milk and eggs".  This is his specialty, served in a reused fruit cup cup with half a plastic Easter egg sitting in it.  And muffins, which are play doh blobs in each hole of a mini muffin tin.  I am told that right now they are in the oven and we are waiting for them to "poof up".  

I love that he is working in his kitchen, using his imagination and creativity to prepare meals for us.  And I love that I get to use my imagination and creativity to make and improve his kitchen so that he can engage in this kind of play.  And I really love that I didn't buy and won't be someday getting rid of a $200 plastic play kitchen.  

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