Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Kitchen

Well here it is, the long awaited kitchen reveal.  Is it finished? Of course not, because nothing in this house is EVER finished, so you might as well see it as we go.  I think I may be entering my "blue" period. I love how fresh and different everything looks, but I am already looking for ways to incorporate a little red here and there.  I like to stretch myself a little but I still need some of my favorite things and colors :>) Don't we all?
So grab a cuppa, this is a longer post than usual but I just had to show you the progress
A small collection of blue and white plates adds some color to the corner
I looked back at my archives, it looks like the last time I painted was 2010. I find it fascinating how my taste has changed over the years. I credit blogging and especially Pinterest. It's so easy to gather rooms I love on a pinboard and then analyze what they all have in common. 
That is a real boon for someone like me who,
a. Tends to fly by the seat of my pants without a plan when decorating.
b. Likes so many different things it can make me confused about what I want and where I want to go with my decorating.
This is the 2010 mini remodel. It really brightened up the kitchen but it wasn't long before I realized it just wasn't doing it for me. I had abdicated and let my daughter choose the color. It was pretty, but it wasn't me.
And just for grins this is what the kitchen looked like before that. Yikes! This was one of those times that I woke up and decided to paint that day, (see point a. above). Earl was gone hunting, I had a day off and that is just how impulsive I can be. I did this in early November, just before the holidays and I am sure that the warmth of the color going into a cold, dreary Michigan winter influenced my choices. I loved it at the time. It was fresh and warm and felt a little daring.
This is the same corner today.  Ahhhh, fresh cottage farmhouse.  We changed out the lights, painted the kitchen a warm creamy white (I dumped all my leftover whites together, no lie. The only bummer is I will never be able to get this color again.) I have all my paperwork junk hidden in that cute thrifted basket on the shelf, with another basket below to hold my potatoes. It works great, out of sight with enough air circulation that they don't spoil quickly.
Here is a larger view of the kitchen, quite a change from the dark red and oak cabinets of yesteryear.  We painted the cabinets right after the 2010 photo so they need some touching up already.  The wood countertop is from Ikea, of course, and it is by far the most economical counter material we could find.  The whole thing cost around $500 and I love it! It's warm and beautiful. We didn't stain it, just finished with natural dark tung oil and citrisolve which did darken it a little and is a fabulous finish. It is all natural, non toxic, (although we do not use our counter for cutting!), and best of all since we finished the counter in the winter when we were not able to open the windows, the tung oil had a citrus scent that was much easier to deal with inside than a stinky solvent smell.  I have already dripped paint on it (shhhh, don't tell Earl!) and didn't notice until the little drop was dry. It came right off without a trace when I picked at it with my nail. We applied extra coats around the sink and at first we were really careful to wipe up any drop of water we saw, but sooner or later you are going to have water you didn't see, glasses that sweat on the counter and leave a ring, etc. We have found that even those things have not left a mark, it has proven to be a very durable finish!
The curtains were found at Salvation Army last week for $2.99 each. I saw buffalo check valences at Kohls at 60% off clearance that same day for $12.99 which means I got a great deal. I had been thinking of buying buffalo check fabric and these saved me a lot of time and money. I like the color they add and the fact that they don't block the light.  I am enjoying all the white, but you know by now, I have to have some color or I'm just not happy.
The lights are from Home Depot, I was afraid they would glare when we bought them, but I really loved the look. I am happy to report that they cast a wonderful light and don't glare at all. The glass shades are beautiful when we turn on the lights and I love the farmhouse look they give.
The beautiful Irish linen tea towel by the sink was a giveaway win from my friend Barbara at Cornish Cream blog, sent all the way from England. It is gorgeous and I will always think of her when I use it :>)
I know it's wrong to love "things" but I have to say, my new white sink was l♥ve at first sight.  It looks nice and bright against the warm wood countertop and I'm not a stainless steel lovin girl. Earl was lobbying for stainless, but once we got this sink in he loved it too.
This little corner holds my aprons on the mosaic hook that I won from my dear friend Penny at The Comforts of Home. I love it every time I look at it and always think of her. She has been visiting this blog since almost the first post, and that is going on 8 years! I don't know how she found me, but I have been grateful so many times that she did. She is an encourager and kindred spirit and I hope we never lose touch :>)

And finally, the coffee corner, a little red geranium for a touch of my favorite color and a mug tree from World Market (super affordable!) makes this a spot we gravitate to many times a day. Again, coffee spills are a regular occurrence, but the countertop has not stained and seems to just get smoother with use.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the tour:>)  Things are bound to change a little here and there, they always do, but this gives you a basic idea of what the kitchen looks like now.
Is there any remodeling in your future?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?
This time of year you could say I get a little obsessed with flowers. After the l-o-n-g hard winter we had, and especially after seeing all you southern and California girls who have been enjoying and harvesting your gardens for months (#jealous) finally getting a little floral action around here really scratches that itch for Spring.
The fuchsia hanging on the front porch were a Mothers Day gift from youngest daughter, but the rest were  photographed just moments ago as I walked the back yard looking to see what was blooming. The pink crabapple tree has more blossoms than I have ever seen on it, the apple trees are happy and full of bumbles, the lilacs aren't as profuse as usual but it was a hard winter!  My white violets are taking over the back doorway, much to my delight! and the tulips are waving their little heads in the breeze.  How delightful!
This bleeding heart was white when I planted it years ago, it has reverted to pink. I'm ok with that, who can not love bleeding hearts no matter what the color?
A few other things didn't fare quite as well. We lost our ancient pear tree in the bitter cold.  The fruit was never worth a fig but the leaves were beautiful in every season and it bloomed so beautifully. The white peach tree died too. It was so heavily loaded with fruit last fall that one of the major limbs fell off, I think the damage contributed to losing it.  The sweet autumn clematis also died  back much further than it has in the past, but the bottom is still alive and I have confidence that it will recover.
This week we will need to start planting the flowers for Victoria's wedding bouquets and centerpieces. It's summer, why would I pay a fortune for something I can grow?
Anything new in your garden?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, Monday

This is the part of May that makes me happy.  Everything veiled in pale green and the promise of flowers unfurling soon.  We worked on the raised beds this weekend, replacing some rotting wood and rearranging elements of the garden. We will plant soon.  Earl tilled up a long strip in the old garden area to plant with a pink and white cutting garden for the August wedding flowers.
And speaking of weddings, at exactly the three month before the big day mark, we have switched venues, because what kind of fun would it be without rethinking EVERYTHING three months before the big day? Well, that would be no fun at all!  We are going from an outdoor wedding to an indoor wedding, different caterer, different venue, different decorations...same bride and groom.  So after an initial moment of total brain shut down, I have the new event pretty much figured out.  In the end it will actually alleviate some of the things that we were worried about with the outdoor wedding. Things like what if it rains, what if it's unbearably hot, (the farmers almanac is calling for a scorcher of a summer!) what if the mosquitos are on a rampage?  None of that is a worry now, and for that I am thankful.  I'll miss the idea of fairy lights in the trees, and a soft summer evening filled with candles and paper lanterns, but there will be candles and paper lanterns in the new plan.  It will all work out. 

What's on your to do list this week?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Good Mail

It's a rainy, dark, cozy May morning. We've actually heard a bit of thunder this morning, my favorite kind of rainy spring day! I stepped outside for just a second to snap a picture of our snaggly old tree out by the chicken coop all wreathed in tiny soft green leaves.  Sadly, that tree is slated to be removed this summer, along with a few more that are half dead.  They are box elder trees, and anyone who has them can attest they are a hot mess.
 But for now, I'm enjoying the beauty in even this half dead old tree.
 Guess what? I got some sweet mail last week. I won a lovely giveaway over at The Inspired Room. She teamed with Dayspring who was giving away 10 pieces of this adorable dinnerware to 3 winners, and I was one of them!  I didn't really need all 10 pieces, but I have one daughter getting ready to set up her own household and one who has been married just a year and a half so I gave them some of the prize.
For myself, I chose this pretty pedestal cake plate,
 A beautiful big serving platter,
 and two of these handy serving bowls.  We had Earl's Uncle over for dinner last night with Victoria and her fiancĂ©. This is one of the serving bowls with a salad of mixed greens, strawberries, feta cheese and pecans. Yummy and pretty :>)
 The kind folks at Dayspring even threw in a couple boxes of these cool chalkboard place cards that should come in handy for labeling drinks and desserts at the wedding this fall.
 Lauren chose the tea set and butter dish,
 Victoria chose a platter and serving bowl like mine as well as a gorgeous deep serving bowl and a great pitcher.  I love the sentiments of gratitude on these dishes and the fact that they are fairly simple and white means we can use them with a lot of table settings.
I love giveaways, and in the 7+ years that I have been blogging I have won many items that I use all over my home, and each item reminds me of a far away friend that I haven't yet met but who I consider a kindred spirit :>)
Have you ever won a giveaway? What is the favorite thing you have won?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Meet the New Babies

Happy May Day! No flowers to show, but last night Earl and I headed out to finally get our baby chicks! We haven't had chickens for the last two years, and I have missed them.  I find their soft clucking and gentle peeping such a pretty sound.
 So after whitewashing the coop and pulling down my grandfathers brooder light to keep them warm, off we went to choose our chickies.  It was hard to choose, the place we went was like a chicken smorgasbord!  We ended up with a mix of 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Aracaunas (blue eggs!), 2 Black Australorp, 2 Silver Lace Wyandotte, 2 Light Brahmas, and one each of Speckled Sussex and Wellsummer. The Wellsummer is supposed to lay very dark brown eggs.  But the Sussex and Wellsummer  weren't sexed so we may end up with roosters. We're rolling the dice with them. So 12 chicks in all.  We are going to have the prettiest mixed flock!
I went out this morning to make sure they were warm and doing well. They are a bit skittish so they all ran to the corner to be together when I came in.  We will be friends eventually. Aren't they just adorable? We smiled all the way home with our little box of peepers.  Victoria came home from work at 10:30 p.m. and headed straight out to see them.  We are all pretty enchanted with the little  darlings.
Happy May Day to everyone! May is my favorite month of Spring.  Everything blooms and the leaves unfurl.  The grass already needs to be cut and we are busily cleaning up the yard and gardens while we plan outdoor parties and coffee in the garden :>)  Garage Sales kick off this weekend here. I have a long list to attend later this morning.
What's your favorite thing about May?