Remember that half the joy of achievement is in the anticipation.

Monday, June 30, 2008

What do you collect?

I've always been a collector. When I was a little girl I used to collect stickers, when I was a teenager, I collected "accessories" and now as an adult my collections lean towards tea cups, crystal & linens. I try to incorporate my collections into my decorating and believe it or not, I actually "use" what I have. Some people think I'm crazy to do that, but what's the point in having a beautiful tea set or vintage tablecloth if you're not going to use it and enjoy it?
Here are some of my latest Ebay and Etsy finds. The cloth on the far left is all hand embroidered and so very pretty. Here's a look at my china hutch. This hutch has been passed down through three generations all ready. I will continue that tradition of course. I think the set on the top shelf is my favorite. When I was a little girl, my mother had the same set and when she passed on, the remaining pieces were given to me. I say remaining because after three major earthquakes all that remained of the original set was one cup, two saucers, the creamer and a cracked sugar bowl. Well, one day while perusing Ebay (one of my fave places!) an "almost" complete set came up for auction with a "buy it now" option. I didn't hesitate and I bought it then and there. The even greater thing was that the set was located in a city just 45 minutes from where I reside. I guess it was meant to be mine.

Monday Monday...

Personally, I have always loved Monday. It's my day to "renew" my home & myself. Hubby goes to work and kids would go to school and it would be my day to relax and enjoy the solitude of an almost empty house. I say that because my youngest child won't begin Kindergarten until the Fall. Now, with the kids on their summer vacation, my Monday's are a day I have to share...sometimes a bit reluctantly on my part. Monday has become so busy! This Monday I will vow to find that time where I can slink away to a quiet part of the yard or house and just muse on the days events and daydream, or maybe I'll tackle some gardening and pot some flowers. Whichever I choose, I will find some time "just for me". I often wonder what others do to indulge themselves a bit and get that "me" time. I hope everyone has a Marvelous Monday!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Striving for that perfect country cottage kitchen

As mentioned before our kitchen stands in arrested development. Looking at the job that lies ahead , makes me feel a bit overwhelmed but I keep focusing on the reward that is at the end of this particular challenge. Much has been done all ready to get it to this point, however we've still a lot of work ahead of us. This is the ONLY before picture I have. Across from this wall is the sink, window and cabinets that sit on either side of the sink. I remember taking a lot of pictures when the job began, but I don't know if they accidentally got deleted from my camera or what. Oh well. Here you see the west side of my galley style kitchen. We'd all ready begun work by this point. Originally there used to be a fleshy colored , broken tile that ran behind the stove to about midway up the wall. Not attractive! You can also see where there is nothing to the right of the stove. Wasted space. There was also a 1980's era fluorescent light fixture that took up the entire ceiling. Eww! Okay, so it seemed that way to me :0) That came down this last go around. I guess you could say we are now beginning phase 3 of a kitchen face lift.
Here you can see where we've added some cabinet space and a bit of counter/work space. This is just a stock cabinet that we had to cut down so it was the same height as my original cabinets and if you look closely you can see where the edges have been sanded away to match an existing detail of the original cabinetry. Yes, those are 1954 cabinets you see to the left of the stove. The plan I have for the new cabinet is to remove the door and have hubby fit the space for baskets that will slide out like drawers. I'm not quite sure what we're going to do about the existing drawer yet. As you can see it doesn't match the others but I know there is something I can do to make it blend. The counters are temporary.
The microwave was moved over the stove to give me more counter/work space. The cabinetry above the microwave is also stock. I'm not sure yet what I want to do here. I know if we keep the doors, the hardware must be changed. I just have to share that it's been so great to have the extra work space and the look of the kitchen just seems "neater" now that the microwave has been "uplifted".

Another view of the of the microwave. As you can see, open shelving was added as well. This is all "new" to the kitchen. We will be removing the existing molding since we cannot "match" it as it's to old so now I've been looking at something that's got a bit more substance to it. I'm also thinking that I'd like to add an applique of some kind above the cabinet doors. It seems to be that even with a chunkier molding, there will still be this big empty space there. See the original cabinets to the left? Here I have a dilemma. Do I keep the decorative curves at the bottom or do I change it up? I really like the technique Kim used over at One Woman's cottage life where she added molding to the bottom of the cabinets. This idea could work here and give us enough of an under cabinet "skirt", to add task lighting.Here you can see where we've added bead board to the side of the added cabinet. We won't do any finishing molding until the new counters have been installed. Along the east wall of my kitchen there is another "end" cabinet that will have bead board attached.Yay! Recessed lighting installed! We still need to finish patching the ceiling.Yes! That is a dishwasher you see. What a find it was. We walked into Sears and it was on clearance, marked down over $200 !!! It didn't have a box and had been the store floor model. It came with the same kind of warranty a boxed model would have had, so we snatched it up! I admit, it was hard to give up the storage space in order to make room for this beauty, but it's been so worth it. With 7 people in the house (a lot of the time) and sometimes more, you can just imagine how many dishes we'd use. Before this we did them all by hand. Talk about having dishpan hands! Now, not only to do I save myself and the kids from that chore, but we are conserving water and energy too!
Wallpaper and border has all ready been removed too. This go around we'd like to get the walls and ceiling patched, sanded and prepped for paint. We'd like to add the new moldings also. We plan on removing all the original cabinet doors and hardware, sanding the doors and scrubbing the original hinges with paint remover so we can remove layers and layers of paint. What I can see, this kitchen has been four different colors all ready! While re-doing the kitchen has meant it's continually dusty and messy, which are huge pet peeves of mine, I know that one day it will be crisp and clean again. Also, I know I want to try and go in a more vintage direction with the decorating and while that part is still a long way down the road, I'll have fun shopping & envisioning my "new" old space.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nice way to begin a morning

Coffee made with freshly ground beans and one of my favorite magazines and I'm a happy girl. Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two for Tuesday

I have a kitchen that sits in arrested development. Last year we decided we were going to give it a nice little face lift. My kitchen is circa 1954 and does not look or function in the way that I'd like it to. It's a galley style area. Last year we managed to upgrade to recessed lighting, and added a cabinet and microwave over the stove, which freed up that ever precious counter/work space. We also added a cabinet to the right of the stove that was just dead space before. That's where the work stopped. Budget and time crunched us. Now we're starting to begin again and I'm excited about it. Here are TWO of my inspirational kitchens. Now I can't do a complete gut out of my kitchen but there are elements here that I'd like to incorporate into my existing kitchen. Notice the open shelving in the first picture and the crisp look to the cabinets. I want to keep my existing cabinetry. It's over 54 years old but it's sturdy and the cabinets are big. They measure 48 inches in height and 13 inches in depth. I really like the glass paned cabinets in the 2nd shot as well as the dark counters but for my small space it may appear to heavy .

Monday, June 23, 2008

There's something missing...

The bathroom face lift has been done for a while now, but to me it seems unfinished. Does it need more accessories? Yes! Of course! But what? I've been going through magazines trying to gain inspiration and stir up my creative juices but I think my "creativity" has gone kaput! Here you'll see the vanity area. We took the old but solid 70s vanity and gave it a new look. We sanded, primed and painted. Hubby put in the new sink top, hardware & faucet. We did add the new light fixture as well as the towel ring but I've yet to find a medicine cabinet that I like. I'm thinking something "old & vintage" would look great here. Um, excuse the trash can. It's ugly but it's a must. Another item I need to replace. I'm thinking a galvanized bucket might look pretty good.

This second photo is of the window that is directly to the left of the vanity. It's sizeable and lets in lots of natural light. The valances match the shower curtain. Notice that really cute "check" at the bottom of the valance.

Here's a bit of a peek of the shower curtain. It's the Waverly "Country Life" toile fabric and I love it! As you can see we added beadboard along the walls of the "entry" into the bathroom area. I love beadboard!

This is the opposite wall, again the beadboard and a brushed nickel towel bar. That little plant stand needed a home so I'm trying it in here. I'm not sure if I should paint it black or white. The little basket sitting on top of it is stashed with extra hand towels and hand lotions. The basket below will be spray painted white (sometime) and is also loaded with extra hand towels. I'm thinking for this part of the floor I may add a black bathroom mat or try and find the coordinating bath mats that went with this Waverly line. Might be tough but Ebay never seems to let me down.

This last picture is a full view (minus camode) of the bathroom.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hot Hot Heat...

It's been hot, hot, hot! And did I mention how brutally hot it's been? Friday we put up the old EZ up pool and by Saturday it was filled and ready to enjoy. Thank goodness since the temperature was 108 on Thursday, 106 on Friday and a whopping 109 on Saturday. Today we're getting a bit of a break with the forecasted temperature being 100 degrees...yep, "only" 100 degrees. I hope you're finding creative ways to stay cool. Doesn't this look refreshing?

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm happy to meet you...

Creating a blog was something I thought long and hard about, and now that I'm here I wanted to give a proper hello. In my profile you can read and get to know a little about me. What it doesn't say is the kind of person I am. I'm an optimist, forever the optimist. My life is one filled with lots of happiness, laughter and most importantly love. Not to say there aren't those moments of hardship and challenge, but I use those to strengthen who I am and my own resolve. I consider those moments my life's lessons, so to speak.
I'm really the one who will make lemonade when the lemons come my way.
With that being said...

Let the blogging begin!