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"Where better to care for the soul than in the details of our daily lives?....The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought... An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love and union with the world around us. As mystics of many religions have taught, that sense of rapturous union can give a sense of fulfillment that makes life purposeful and vibrant." ~ Thomas Moore.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

White Humble "Frenchy Cottagy" Kitchen Done

 Hello Beautiful People.

 *Warning, lots of pics....
** And I finally googled "French Country" and "English Country" in images and to ask one vs the other to see what the differences are and I can't quite grasp it and it's not interesting enough to pursue. Suffice to say it appears my Kitchen has elements of both French and English and I would say some Fairy too. :D..on to post.........

In my process of Going White I realize that various shades of Whites has the most interesting effects.

This kitchen is not one of the amazing jaw dropping makeovers, people, it is the efforts of someone who has to make the most out of what she already has, loving what she already has, and with the help and transformational power of paint....and a few artistic touches here and there.....this is a humble transformation.....more for the likes of us on a "monstrous budget"....but great transformations CAN be done with very little to no money.

It has taken a bit longer to finish this kitchen and yet there are still a couple of touches I have yet to put on that will be done when I have the'm still recouping from full out workdays here. I don't know what happens, but when I work from morning to evening, I experience alot more pains than I used to and it is unbearable. I'm learning the slow way that maybe I don't have the energy I used to and that its meager portions allotted to us in our age is simply a very stingy thing! But I move on.

I have found a few interesting comments from my neighbor and from the housemate John himself, who have both said that this "new" kitchen feels like a French Country Kitchen, and not knowing what that is like because I've never been to France nor in a French Styled Kitchen, I couldn't say, but they are pretty sure it is and so I have called it so. It's that Frenchie thing again! LOL

But here are some pics.....

First the before in its Tuscan Italian Clay color which I loved, and which I have to say, as I was painting the Pale Mint, I was missing it terribly and had a pang of fear that I wouldn't be able to make such a pale cool color feel warm and cozy, but I pushed through it, and had to finish. I did have to do some stenciling and a few other details to get the feeling I like in a kitchen.

and now...........


I guess those pics show the transformation of paint, things moved around, some other things painted and a new wall dish rack which is the main purchase and beauty focus over the stove.
It's not awe inspiring, but its my world. For more details about this process read on.

The colors were chosen by John, based on my dishes here......


But alot of painting of many things had to be done. Once the walls were painted, it felt oh sooooo cold in there and I didn't like it at all. I just knew I had to find ways to make it warm again. I even thought of not painting the cabinets at all....leaving them their natural pine color to keep some warmth.

But the harmony and whiteness I wanted was not there, and though I always know what to do, in this case I didn't, so I called the Robyn Story people I buy the Annie Sloan paints from and explained my confusion, and sent her pics. They were soooo cool about that and within 10 minutes of receiving my pictures Laurie, on her day off! called me at home to tell me she saw the pics and read my email, and she advised me on painting the cabinets a half and half blend of Old White and Pure White to bring in the appliances because using just Old White as I wanted could make them look 'dingy', and then to bring in some white on the left side by maybe painting just the chairs instead of everything else on that side as I feared I might have to. But it occurred to me instead of painting another thing! I could just make slipcovers for the chairs which I've decided to do.

I did decide to paint the cabinets, and once I did I questioned my doubt! because they looked better.
However they looked too stark so decided some stencil work was needed but I wanted something botanical, lacy and delicate and I didn't have anything like that but Martha Stewart to the rescue! I googled her stencils and there was the perfect one which I ran to Michaels to pick up and then did the doors. This one is called "Tendrils" was perfect. I mixed some green peridot paint with the Annie Sloan and stenciled away. I used green to pull together the counter tops and the wall paint. It works for me.

Thank goodness! that looked better and the cabinets went from stark plain white to Country Kitchen just because of the Botanical Stencil.

The focal point is the dish rack over the stove, and my new lacey white them! Dish rack is from IKEA. John liked it when he saw it in the store as we were buying brackets, and they had white dishes in it and he wanted it. I said GREAT! Lol....because that was exactly what I wanted for over the stove area, to get rid of the basket. I bought these dishes from my favorite all time store, HOME GOODS, love them!

I added sea shells to the dish with sea shell embossing on it, love the textures.

Then on the other side the other cabinet bothered me alot and oh god, I realized I had to paint that too.
But not just a plain coat, it needed some textured look or faux finish and stenciling because I wanted Country Cottage as always. I did it and waxed it in one day. I love it!! This has two coats of the "Original White" as its called by Annie Sloan, which is half Old White and half Pure White. Then I mixed some Old Ochre and French Linen to do the faux dry finish 'wash' and then I stenciled it with the same "Tendrils" set from Martha then waxed it.

The oak cabinets I've had for years are not being painted but I did bring some of the white there just a little bit by adding some lace trim to the was my neighbor's idea.....I loved it. Done.
I did have to paint the basket over it white and the apothecary spice jar rack white and then I glued on some dried pink peonies I had from this past summer. Many roses I've dried sit on top of the cabinet.I love wood and ironwork together....need more of it.

These two little shelves also got painted the "Original White" but they looked boring to me, but I knew something would come to me to fix that......soo. I made this my tea pot cute and whimsical.....
whimsy is necessary in my life, very much so! :D I added some small cup hooks to the bottom and hung one teapot ornament and the others are silver sugar holders from the thrift. My authentic Moroccan Teapot now has a better place to sit, next to my favorite of all pots, my heat resistant Glass Teapot.

The ceiling fan blades got painted too.

Over the kitchen entryway I added a shelf using salvaged wood from when my neighbor moved away. I painted it with the leftover paint from the living room, in Off White.....held with adjustable IKEA brackets painted Off White too...... holding my thrift store finds creamware and milkglass.

I was in an exhausted state and even my most beloved Mercury Glass pieces were having the strangest effect on me.....the sparkle was making me irritated?!!! Can you ever imagine such a thing!? ME!...sparkle getting on my last nerve?? Well that's what happened and so I removed it all from the mantle and the tables, put some elsewhere and a few up on the shelf.

I decided I really really like the look of the wood boards and wanted to have that same look somewhere else, but didn't want to paint anymore and wasn't sure how to do it yet.....but when John too looked up at it and said he liked the look of those boards, I decided to figure it out and I did.

Especially because there was a place that was really naked and screaming for something.........

can you see it here?

Naked I tell you! and there was the answer. I decided to paint the other boards I had and nail them over the cabinets on the borderless naked wall LOL
THAT finally happened yesterday, and John keeps saying how much he likes it. Strange the effect of rustic wood on people huh? can't be explained but I love it too. And I wanted more Country and nothing does that like wood! I love wood and ironwork together, love it.

I have plans for that bare wood too, some delicate stenciling of more Tendrils of creeping greens coming in from the door, over the wall, onto the wood and a bit over onto the shelving too....LOL....whimsy people, gotta have whimsy ! :D:D:D

I even reorganized the kitchen cabinets that hold spices and got some 3 tiered shelving and mini lazy susans from Bed Bath and Beyond and I have to say it is the fun part of this kitchen. I can spin this one and pick my glasses LOL These are 24K gold rimmed glasses I use for my "Chocolat" hot chocolate....not your average chocolate, people, lol nope! whimsy! :D

The center of this shelf seems to dip just a tiny bit so I added a seashell in the center for support.....:D

Parisian Pink Goblets and Persian teacups with tea spoons.

I finally found, after 8 years of searching for a tiny 8" dishrack that would fit in the only space we have for it, in a store....that in itself is a story. I had gone into the store because a voice in my head kept telling me to go in as I went to buy my foods at the Italian Market next to it, and I refused because I didn't want to shop and I had only 10 dollars and didn't want to go in. I heard this when I went into the market and when I was leaving the parking lot. YET! I realized I left something at the store when I bagged my own basket at the Italian market and so I HAD to go back and again! that voice kept nudging me to go in that other store and I did so only on the condition that it would show me precisely why I had to go in there and since I walked up and down the isles not finding the purpose of being in there, I said "I'm not finding what was so important and I'm leaving", and as I walked out, I looked down and there were these gorgeous dishes  in a rack, and I stared at them but not needing them because I had just bought my white ones, I noticed they were sitting in a white dish rack, the very one I needed in the no longer available size I needed!.....and it was.......$9.99 ! and it was the only one. It came home with me, and now I even like my dish-rack area.
I painted the bamboo caddy in Old White and stenciled it too. lol.....alot can be done with paint and stencils !

We also reorganized the freezer with an organizer I bought for John just because that entire space is a balancing act but I never use it except for ice cream in emergencies LOL....and pulling it out is tricky. So we organized it last night and its like new. No pics sorry, not a pretty thing. lol.
I think thats most of it.
So I leave you with my favorite pic I this one....must be the lace and chandelier and the iron scroll work on the corner rack.

 Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

White Thrifty Finds and Butter Bells

Hello beautiful people,

First I want to say to Pammie dearest, I do pray and hope you find yourself in your own home safe and secure forever more!

I have been working here in the house.....sigh.......there was a time when I said I would be done with a project in X amount of time and it was done. Period.

Now I don't know what is happening.....but it has taken longer than I thought to finish this kitchen. However, it was not just about painting as I found out, I had to also organize and go through the cabinets and things like that. Also waiting on the housemate to help with a couple of details took a couple extra days and there were times I just HAD to stop. So, maybe lol, today Thursday should be the last day. (waiting on the housemate for some nailing up of some wood) I had taken off the last 2 days for rest but I'm not getting near the rest I need with not being able to sleep from too much physical discomfort, nor due to noise, as in barking dogs and flying planes, I live near a small airport....they circle this house.

Sooooooo today I needed to have fun if at all possible because I just didn't feel like I was ever going to smile again.
I've been wanting a butter dish.....that's not so much to ask right? Its a small thing in the scheme of life? I never had one before so it would be a first for me, so that's not excessive right? And a butter dish is organizing and tidy, right? Soooooooo........I wanted one! I needed to get out of the house and the thrift store would be just the most simple thing to do, spend maybe two dollars and be done but I thought I'd look online for some ideas. So as I could not sleep last night I got online to search for ''butter dishes'' and I saw one I absolutely loved, like the nice crystal ones I liked.......alot lol........I'd love something this sparkly in my refrigerator! in fact, I'd like lots of sparkly dishes like this in there! lol

(please excuse if pics disappear from this post, I did copy them from the internet.....)


but then I saw this one,,,,,, I KNEW that was the one I wanted and they said it sits on the counter and does NOT go into the fridge? what? how is that? I read on..........It was not just a butter dish, it was a butter preserver and this system has been used to store butter since the middle ages! And that guess what? after I decided to get this one, I saw the real name was.....wait for it......can you guess???

French Butter Crock! did you know about these? how come no one told me I could have soft butter all the time???

man! French ingenuity rocks!

 A French butter dish is a container used to maintain the freshness and spreadable consistency of butter without refrigeration. This late 19th century French-designed pottery crock has two parts: a base that holds water, and a cup to hold the packed in butter which also serves as a lid. The cup containing butter is placed into the base, where water creates an airtight seal that keeps the air (and thus oxygen) away from the butter so that refrigeration is not needed, and the butter can be used in its soft form. This method will keep butter for around a month provided it is kept at temperatures below 80 °F (27 °C) and the water is changed regularly. The French butter dish design is thought to have originated in Vallauris, France. Vallauris is known for its pottery crafts. Others speculate that it was created in Brittany, or Normandy—both known for their butter production. ~ source

The Butter Bell Butter Crock is simple and easy to use

Some kitchen gadgets require batteries and a Master's in Engineering. The Butter Bell Butter Crock requires 1/3 of a cup of cool water and the stick of butter that you'd like to keep fresh and spreadable.

Add 1/3 cup of water to the base of your Butter Bell French Butter Keeper.
Step 1: Add 1/3 cup of cool, fresh water to your
Butter Bell.
Pack a stick of butter into the lid of the Butter Bell Crock.
Step 2: Pack your butter into the lid of the Butter Bell.
This butter keeper can hold one stick (1/2 cup) of butter.
Place the lid of the Butter Crock into the base.
Step 3: Put the lid into the dish of the Butter Bell butter crock.
An air-tight seal is formed.

Here's how the Butter Bell French butter keeper maintains fresh, spreadable butter:

An air-tight seal of water is created at the base of the Butter Bell butter crock. This maintains your butter's flavor and freshness. To maintain maximum freshness, fill the base of the Butter Bell butter keeper with fresh water every three days.
When you place the lid of the Butter Bell Crock into the base, the water forms an airtight seal.
The air-tight seal of the butter crock ensures freshness.


And looking online further, anything more sophisticated I could not find, and decided this one was the one, I DO want my butter soft all the time people LOL ........and they come in gorgeous timeless colors and all I had to do was choose.....THAT my friends, was the hard part.....but soon one of the four colors I wanted won over.....and I ordered Antique Pink Pastel.......
now....sigh.....I will then need more pink accents....darn. :D:D:D

My other choices for my *"new" White and Green accented kitchen  were obvious......remember these sit on the counter so its a decor choice......

* (post and pics coming soon when the housemate helps me with the last details so I can then take pics)

Ivory Rose......sooooo sweeeeeeeetttttt!!

Sea Spray ....the first oooooooohhhh and aaaaahhhhhhh I had....and still continue to have lol.......


Vert......this green and all shades of lively green just tug at my heart......I do have green accents.....but.....?!


But Pink it is.


So. today I went to see if I can find something that I could put a lid together with a dish and come up with my own lol....until my French Butter Bell arrives......there's always something there. But I didn't have to conjure anything, there were several things there that looked like butter dishes or ceramic crocks with lids and all I had to do was choose.
But wait! there's more ! LOL.....
there were other things that I was not looking for but were pretty and I always said if I see them, I'd get them, and there they were.....but all this had to happen with $20.00. And I found these below........

A couple of milk glass pieces and the square one is truly beautiful and a heavy piece! I think I'm going to add some selaginella moss to it, a plant I have all over outside doing well. There is the sage green ceramic crock which will hold my butter until I get the French Butter Bell. Imagine butter out all the time and be soft!?
Then there is the Madonna and Child. I have always loved the Madonna, or Queen of Heaven which her corona means and I adore her holding a sentiments exactly. This one is already iridescent and white and I had do nothing but wash it, and it sits on my bureau now next to another one. 
Then there is the vintage green glass soap dispenser for my Bohemian was gold accented which is now Old White accented....
.......A creamware ceramic vase which now holds my kitchen utensils.....
and an ornamental relief piece which will find a perfect place soon, no doubt! :D
I almost forgot....I'm always looking for doilies, and I found one bag there, always .99 cents no matter what's in it.

And a last picture of the tiny cloche I have that is filled with Hazelnut Turkish Delights, inside another cloche.

 I love thrifting and I hope you all look into this because so many cool things are out there that can make your home life so much more cozy, pretty, and functional for a fraction of the price of new in stores. I love  recycling and making new use of what has already it.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kitchen Before.....

Hello Beautiful People,

Just wanting to post the awful before pics. I DID love this Tuscan Clay color when I chose it, matched it to a beloved Italian Clay Pot I adored.....reminded me of Italy sunsets....but now....gosh, can't stand it.

My favorite painting music song....I sing to this and I can paint LOL

Here is the inspiration for the colors we chose.......

 I'm in the process of painting the little things like the apothecary cabinet and the baskets, the shelving etc.
 This one holds the vitamins, herbs and tinctures I use as a nutritionist, and I do keep myself healthy and any who truly want to get better and follow healthy advice. I'm going to change the knob and add a stencil to the glass to detract from the contents.
John has been feeling much better with his cancer since I've been making sure he eats because I'm cooking! and the juicing he has noticed is what gives him energy since I stopped it, he felt it, and he went down. Got to juice again daily.  I give him certain herbs and oxygen pills to take. I must put them in a tiny dish and present them on a tray like an old fashioned butler and say "your medicine, Sir"...for him to take them! otherwise its just too much trouble to pick up the bottle that sits next to his coffee cup himself! If I don't make it fun for myself, it won't happen, you know??

This is the view when you are at the front door.

This is the view coming in from the back yard.........

approaching the kitchen from the front ..........oy, not liking the clay color anymore.....

looking to the right.......
the border is coming down, everything coming apart today........ceiling fan to be painted too....hate that back door, I'm planning on changing it when John is not looking. Cabinets getting painted with Annie Sloan Old White.

looking to the left, and that is the whole kitchen....its tiny!

Will see you in a few days........thanks for visiting and reading..........I love all of your comments, really!