The big unveiling has finally arrived. The kitchen cupboard painting project is complete. This is the Martha Stewart "Hollyhock Red" paint that covered the original dark walnut stain. I liked the red color, but I have just one small window over the kitchen sink that looks out onto my screened backporch and it was way too dark. Kitchens need to be bright and cheerful, so it's five years later and I started all over.
The cupboards are now what I have dubbed farmhouse white. That's really not the official paint color name because I had Sherwin Williams do a color match. There is no name... just a formula on the paint can.
Peeking out at the top of the photo, notice the rolling pin for a curtain rod. I have a pair of them that the curtains' tabs are tied onto. They carry out the theme of the kitchen's decor... the old silverware hook door handles and measuring cup and cookie cutter drawer pulls. To change things up a bit and add variety, there are wooden knob drawer pulls interspersed throughout. It turned out just as I had envisioned. Now if I could figure out where I could build a walk-in pantry and make room for a table in the middle of the kitchen instead of in a separate dining room, I would truly have a farmhouse kitchen. Hmmmm...
When I decided to do a kitchen cabinet makeover, I wanted the door and drawer hardware to have a fun twist. Silverware hooks seemed to fit the criteria.
First I scoured thrift stores, yard sales, and antique stores for old silverware. Spoons and forks were readily available but butter knives... not so much, although I have a few. We found the handles on regular knives too think to bend.
Here's how to bend the silverware. We took a short-handled sledge hammer and pounded flat the part of the spoon or fork that enters your mouth... the part that the food sets on. Next, we flipped the piece of silverware over and whacked that side to further flatten it. It isn't necessarty to use a rubber sledge hammer to whack it, but I imagine you could. To get the curve that forms the hook, we manually bent it around a piece of pipe. If it is too stubborn to bend, you can help it along with a hammer. Finally, we drilled a hole where the screw will go. Notice, in the photo of the hooks attached to the cupboard doors, that the bottoms of the hooks are at the same level but the screw holes are not. If you prefer that the holes and the bottoms of the hooks both match up, mark the holes with a pencil after positioning them on your doors to determine where to drill the holes. We predrilled all of the holes beforehand because we didn't have a particular use for them in mind when we made them. Imperfect is good.
This old hutch in my dining room was the inspiration for my kitchen cabinets redo. I wanted a farmhouse kitchen cupboard white color, so I took a drawer into Sherwin Williams Paints for a computerized match.
In addition, I wanted to reproduce the look of the hutch's drawers, so I found some wooden knobs at Menards that came two in a package with screws. Now here is where it gets fun... Look at what Dick came up with to use as a paint drying rack... a garden rake that was missing the handle. So ingenious.
I need to get started on the first assigned project in my Basic Herbology class, so I decided to draw upon a strategy that I used when I was studying to earn my degree in education. I prepared a dried fruit and nut/seed mixture to munch on. It seems to help me think more clearly. Last evening, I was reading my latest issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine (October 2009) and it was there that I spied a new combo of ingredients to try. The heading was "autumn in a jar". Who could resist such a name? I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I went with it. It is so very good! I especially like the burst of flavor and sweetness that the candied ginger provides. Candied ginger should become a staple in your pantry right alongside the cans of stewed tomatoes, baby food prunes and applesauce (alternatives to butter and oil), walnuts...
Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix
1 cup *raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup large unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup whole almonds
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup candied ginger cut into tiny pieces
Place all ingredients into a bowl. Mix to combine.
*The original recipe said to toast and salt the pumpkin seeds and almonds. My Fundamentals of Basic Nutrition textbook recommends raw nuts. The author Elson M. Haas, MD states, “Roasted, salted nuts are best avoided. Most of us do not need the extra salt and roasting affects the oils and decreases the B vitamin and mineral content.” Dr. Haas also reports that “pumpkin seeds are best known for their concentration of zinc and their use in the treatment and prevention of prostate problems.”
This afternoon, I discovered a set of dishes while sorting through some boxes we had stored in the attic of our pole building. (The design looks black in the photo... at least it does on my computer's screen, but it is really a very pretty green.) I remember boxing them up. The newspaper pages, that I had wrapped around each piece to protect them, were dated March 1998. Eleven years is long enough for them to feel fresh and new again and ready for another go round, so into the dishwasher they went. I switched them out with ones I had in my cupboard which I boxed up to take to the local thrift shop.
After digging through six more boxes, salvaging a few beverage glasses, and loading the remainder into the trunk of my car to donate, I grabbed a flat shovel and my wheelbarrow and headed to the chicken coop for some fall cleanup. It was sad and lonely there... no hens clucking, no hens at my heels anticipating veggie scraps, no freshly laid eggs to gather because a couple weeks ago we transported our hens to a neighboring farmer who will care for them over the winter months.
But the coop is cleaned and ready for their return in the spring...
A day long break in the rain and a balmy high temp of 43 degrees were the deciding factors in determining what Dick and I would tackle today. Fall garden cleanup completed... except for a little corner where there are potatoes to be dug yet. Dressed warmly and with continual movement, it really was a very pleasant day to spend outdoors.
Late this afternoon, I returned 15 library books that I had checked out for my grandkids for their visit from New Jersey two weeks ago. It seemed a waste of a trip to town just for this one errand, so I pulled into an open parking spot directly across the street from a shop called Twiggy's Treasures. I had learned of the shop from my friend, Jackie, who had stopped by the shop during her stay at my bed and breakfast over MEA (Minnesota Education Association) Weekend. Now how does it happen that an out-of-towner discovers such a fun funky shop with "an eclectic mix of vintage treasures at very affordable prices" (quote from owners' facebook page) before I do? The two owners, who just opened their business on October 5, have created an artsy oasis in downtown Brainerd (Minnesota) on a stretch of street whose neighbors include Coco Moon Coffee Shop, Cat Tales Book Store, The Bead Shop, Between Friends Yarn Shop, and Downtown Art and Frame Company. Their wares are creatively displayed in "rooms" formed by using a sofa, chairs, and various other tables and shelves that hold merchandise but also serve a secondary function of warmth and coziness. One of the owners practices Reiki, which she offers in a corner of the shop. According to the International Center for Reiki Training, Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. Thursday evenings, the shop is open for special events. Tonight they were offering wine or cider and snacks with music by Emily Hammer, a singer songwriter guitarist. Just a bit ago, I listened to some of her music on her MySpace Page. Oh, I do wish I had braved the cold temps in the low 30s tonight to listen to her perform. I got too comfortable curled up in my flannel pjs and by the time I realized what I was missing... it was too late. Take a listen... http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=181422081
I came away with this old but well-preserved lap quilt sewn in cheerful bright colors and a bonus of polished stones. The stones are "gratitude stones" for placing a monetary donation in a jar to be used for women in need. The shop's owner recently organized an event that raised $50,000.00 for the cause, which was matched dollar for dollar by the Brehmer Foundation in Brainerd. The donation jar is to add to the fund.
Sometimes people, ever so effortlessly, make one's life happier by little gestures that come about because they paid attention to... made a mental note of... the most minute detail that could be so easily missed. For example, I ever so briefly mentioned "sunny fruit slices" in a September 14, 2009 post regarding a stop at St. Cloud. Minnesota's Good Earth Food Co-op. Here's the sentence from that post: "Today I brought home pluots (plum and apricot cross), a heavenly fragrant herbal orange spice tea, organic "sunny fruit slices" (like candy orange slices except they come in many different fruity flavors and are mini bite-size pieces) that are always so fresh, 4 lbs of buffalo meat which I can get at our Brainerd Farmers Market but only one day a month and sometimes I'm not able to make it in that day, a little chunk of nitrite-free hormone-free antibiotic-free ham to slice and brown a little for breakfast alongside deep-orange yolked eggs that only come from free range hens that can eat bugs, worms, seeds, and other naturally occurring outdoor things... I can't wait for breakfast, and 6 ears of organically-grown sweet corn." This is one very long sentence and yet there it is, buried deep within the heart of the sentence... sunny fruit slices. In the post, I didn't elaborate on how much I love the glittery coating on their exterior that looks so very much like snowflakes. I didn't describe the soft gelled interior with its authentic fruity flavor. I didn't go on about the lovely cheerful colors. Yet, what did a bed and breakfast guest and her sweet 7 year-old daughter present to me as a gift this past weekend when they came to stay? Yes, a little bag of these treats from the St. Cloud Good Earth Food Co-op. Thank you, Jackie and Maeve, for noticing the little things and realizing that the greatest joy comes from the simplicities of life. Happy 32nd birthday today, Lisa! Love, Your Momma