Sunday, March 21, 2010

Met Monday...20 year wait for a new kitchen!

Metamorphosis of a really old kitchen sponsered by
Between Naps on the Porch at:

~It took twenty years....but I finally got my kitchen. Not an easy task. This old house was full of deterrents. Poor structure, granite boulders for a foundation and nothing but dirt under the floorboards. The main beam across the breakfast room floor was a tree with bark still showing on it and little stubs where the branches once were. Crude, to put it mildly. So...for hubby to remodel and make this house whole, the approach was a bit out of the ordinary. Each time we would start to talk about the kitchen, we'd become overwhelmed and decide on restoring and remodeling another room. Our granddaughter who began doing dishes at the old sink when she was four was becoming a teenager before our eyes. Yet, the old kitchen was still there. Eventually, we had to come clean. The kitchen was staring us in the face. It was bad.

~Over the years we've held many a family gathering here. During road race week each August, we would often have 25 people or more for dinner each night. Naturally, with summer weather, we could provide seating outdoors. But the prep work, cooking and the clean up always took place in our kitchen at that little sink. When I told people that our oven door was held closed by a bungee cord, they would chuckle but assume that I was kidding. I wasn't. It was true. Everything about the old gas stove was broken. The cook top burners worked (sort of) but had to be lit with a match. I could cook a mean roast in the oven but not much else since it was always at a 450-500 degree temperature, no matter how you set it. Why didn't we get a new stove you might ask? Well...because we needed the space heater that was in the side of the old one. Since this old house didn't have central heat until a few years ago, space heaters were our only source of heat in the winter. A large floor furnace in the living room that pumped hot air out when needed and the aforementioned space heater in the side of the kitchen stove were all that kept the pipes from bursting each frosty New England winter.
~Fast forward to the kitchen remodel. The job took four years...hubby did all the work himself. Yes, I said 4 years! That's how long we used the powder room sink for all our needs. And, we still had those big summer get togethers. I temporarily transformed our mud room into a make-shift kitchen directly across from the powder room. Hubby changed the faucet on the little sink to a wet bar faucet, which is very high, so that we could get pots and the coffee pot underneath to fill with water. Looking back, I can't imagine how we did it. But, we did. Climbing the step ladder to get to the hanging staircase that led to our bedroom each night for a week(see photo), was a real kicker! We've managed to live with a lot of adversity in this old house, but this experience took the proverbial cake.

~Yet...look at us now! When I asked hubby to build cabinets that were new but looked fitting in an old kitchen, he gave me that "look" that he always gives me, but then proceeded to do exactly what I had in mind. I also asked for open shelving. The low ceilings in this house needed a visual bump to keep the entire project from looking top heavy. Add to that, I'd become accustomed to not having any upper cabinets in the old space. I rather liked having all our dishes and glasses at hand and they look pretty as well. The tall pantry cupboard that we built many years ago, stands alongside the refrigerator and conveniently holds all our canned and packaged goods along with two shelves of spices.

~Thanks to the plentiful color pallet of Old Century Paint Colours, we were able to find just the right shade of green called Olde Pewter. It's almost an "army blanket" green. The color contrasts nicely with the limestone tiles on the counter trimmed in painted pine that give the look of old but the convenience of new. They are easy to keep clean with the solid appeal of stone. Ah...but the best part of our kitchen redo is the sink. A big, deep, black siligranite sink that is so generous in size, you could bathe triplets in it. Topped off with a black faucet, it is the centerpiece in the room. You can't miss it! Not to take away from the furniture style lower cabinets that hubby crafted, complete with footed bottoms and the little wooden knobs he makes that I adore. So simple yet utterly divine and actually an entirely different metamorphosis due to the repurposed pine flooring that he used to build the doors and bottom cabinet.

~Speaking of the floor, we chose a prefinished heart pine board floor in 6 inch widths that's not only beautiful, but a breeze to keep clean. Our old kitchen had a door that led into a breakfast room that was used as our tv room. Hubby took down the wall to reveal a large open area where I can now watch tv as I cook. Since he reads, and reads, and reads, and reads in his spare time, we needed book shelves as well as a sink. The far wall that once housed a breakfront and mirror now keeps his books in good order and surrounds our new flat screen tv in a most perfect yet unobtrusive spot. It's a terrific room.

~I still hate to cook, but I love being in our new kitchen. Coming downstairs each morning, a smile grows on my face when I step into our sunfilled, happy kitchen.

~Even though it's new, it still has the charm of yesteryear that's perfect in our old house, circa 1724.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Sunshine On My Shoulders" Special Order For Terry

~Sunshine. Everyone loves sunshine. And sunflowers. Who doesn't love sunflowers?
~Ordinarily, I don't do special orders. There's too much room for disappointment. My idea of what looks good may not be what your idea is. It's always difficult to read into a description what someone else is actually envisioning.
~However, this request was different. A friend asked if I would create an apron with a sunflower theme. This apron would be actioned off at a summer barbecue to raise money for a foundation that honors her friend who passed away. There were no specific requirements other than that the apron reflect sunflowers because they were her friend's favorite flower.
~Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well...not so fast. After much searching, and help from neighbors, the one bolt of sunflower themed fabric in all of the Space Coast of Florida finally revealed itself at JoAnn fabrics. I couldn't even find anything on the Internet. (All the fabrics with a sunflower theme were abstract. Beautiful patterns, but you had to look close with a keen eye to see the similarity to the big yellow flower that I had in mind. Blue and lavender sunflowers just weren't going to fill the bill.)

~Since my favorite part of creating an apron is working with contrasting fabrics for the trim on the pocket and bib edges, I was happy to find two prints that worked well with the basic sunflower fabric. To top it off, I landed a sunflower applique' and sunflower buttons in the notions department.
~The end result is a very happy apron with a big sunflower smile on the pocket and a matching ditty bag. I hope it brings lots of bids at the auction that honors the memory of someone who meant a lot to my friend.
"Sunshine on My Shoulders" is a very special order for Terry.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

~Chocolate pudding with sprinkles~

~Our newest apron. A polka dot batik apron with an artful side. The charm of batik is in its innocent irregularities, both in color and weave. The chocolate brown and strawberry pink colors of this polka dot batik are particularly playful. If you look closely, sometimes the tiny dots look like tear drops in places where they lose their exactness. If you've ever done tie dying or hand blocking, you know that those irregularities are what lend the fabric its charm. The matching patchwork ditty bag is dynamo!

~Check it out in our online store at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pretty in Pink with M'nMs and Chocolate Syrup....

Finished the newest apron for my online shop yesterday and its name came to me immediately. It's styled in a gorgeous strawberry pink and chocolate brown cotton batik fabric. Baby-doll pleats at the bib, extra long ties and a fully lined pocket. Tiny, colored buttons (the M'nMs) along the bib and pocket edges. Comes with its own coordinating ditty bag.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

~The Oscars~

~The Oscars. Always a lure. Even though we don't see as many of the nominated films anymore, we still watch. I think it's because of the evening gowns. Love seeing the beauties as well as the grand faux pas that is always mixed in somewhere. This year, we were invited to an Oscar party held out at the pool here in our condo complex. The invitation said, "dress optional." That was enough for me. Hubby tried to find the nearest closet to hide in, but I eventually got him involved in a get-up that he agreed to. As long as it was comfortable and not too "out there" he was game.
~I intended to buy some gaudy fabric and make a kaftan but accidentally found one already made that was reduced from $48 to $9. Who could beat that? Added some gaudy jewelry and worked a flower hair clip into something more dramatic. $5 sunglasses and lots and lots of makeup (even did the false eyelashes) and I felt like Liza Minnelli. Hubby's outfit was non specific at first. Mimicking a Hollywood "has-been" merely called for a big, silky shirt, some gold bling and a great hat. Found everything but the bling. Ah Ha! Not to be denied, I enlisted some brass plated swag lamp chain, added a lion head medallion and he looked the part. Friends at the party began calling him "Kid Rock" and he accepted the role.
~Well...Liza and Kid Rock had a rockin' good time and even won a prize...not for the costumes but for hubby scoring the highest grade on a movieland quiz that was passed around to each guest. (We are a wealth of useless information.) But we enjoyed the gourmet popcorn prize immensely.
~Back home that night, curled up in my pajamas, I watched the entire show even though hubby gave up halfway through. It's a ritual. Every year I'm in the same spot on Oscar night. But this year, the costume party was an added treat!
~Enough fun. Back to work. I'm currently making a pink and brown batik apron. The fabric is gorgeous. Absolutely. I should be posting it sometime tomorrow if I can discipline myself to stay seated at the sewing machine.

~Until then...check us out at
~We love our aprons. You will too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

~Facebook. Love it and hate it at the same time. Great communicating with friends and foe alike. But it takes up too much of my time. I often get off on a tangent much as I did last night....and there goes the evening. Sparring verbally with others is my passion. I love a good duel. Especially when it involves political issues. So...when I see a link or a comment posted by a facebook friend, I'm always curious. If it involves a subject dear to my heart, I can't help but respond. This gets me into trouble more than I'd like. Spent the better part of last evening debating the science behind man made global warming claims with and old friend who is near and dear to my heart. I just needed some answers to some questions. That's all. No big deal. Just some answers. I might as well be dead if the day ever comes where I stop asking questions and looking for the answers, right? But...I kept getting shot down. Kept hearing I should have faith; that it was just the right thing to believe...not to question. Kept hearing that the science is firm, concrete, no doubts, even though in recent weeks, the very institute from which much of the science has come has admitted errors, fault and erroneous sources. But there was no retreat, no middle ground, no compromise. I should not question, I was told. I should believe. I should have faith because the story is good and just.
~But, my faith is broad, not confined to specifics. My beliefs are generally supported by evidence. And I repeat...I might as well be dead if I stop asking questions.
~It rarely ends well when I engage in these discussions. Ah, facebook. It's a love/hate relationship.
~On a brighter note, both the Blue Medley and Flowerfields on Ochre aprons went to good homes this week. Our Aprons Gone Wild customers are the best folks on the planet. Always so supportive and communicative. Sure makes this gal feel good.