Monday, February 15, 2021

Organizing: Tiny, Vintage, Artsy Kitchen

One of my goals this year is getting organized. Although 2020 sucked in many ways, I did accomplish a lot. In 2019, my living room had two end tables, two French bergeres, two book cases, a piano, and a black French provincial dresser with a TV on it. There was more art hanging on the wall than furniture sitting on the floor. In 2020, I was able to add a sofa, a coffee table, a rug, and curtains. They’re not my favorite drapes, but they look better than the blackout liners. I also got a desk and a drafting table. I have yet to organize the office, but the living and kitchen are looking pretty good.

Since the new year, I ordered a small cabinet for the kitchen, I just didn’t have enough storage. It was the hardest thing I’ve put together so far, in regard to complexity. I was able to store food and mixing bowls in it and leave the other cabinet for mostly dishes. Then I set about decorating to make the kitchen cute. A couple of years ago, I bought a cornice to go over my window. When my son visited, we forgot to hang it, so I ended up standing on the sink and doing it myself. I used to have excellent balance, which is good because I've lost a large percentage of that. I'd hate to know what it would be like if  I hadn't spent so much time practicing standing on one leg. The shelf/cornice is pretty heavy, and there was zero tolerance on nail placement. I barely managed to not lose my religion. 

In the photo below, you can see the cornice. The curtains are just tucked in. I was just trying to decide whether I liked them before I cut the fabric. My sister said that it's her favorite thing in the kitchen, but, for me, the jury is still out on those curtains. If I can find the perfect pattern, I'll replace them.

On the right is the cabinet I bought. I lost one door under the sink that I hardly ever open and one drawer that only held a handful of wash cloths. However, I gained two larger drawers in the cabinet, so it was worth it. Teal is NOT my favorite color, but it is what it is until I get the urge to refinish it. I need to put something in that planter/bowl thingy on top of the cabinet, but I have no idea what.

In the photo above, I had not yet changed the ceramic mold (to the right of the window) with the painting. In the one below, you can see my folk art painting. Yes, it’s a fall painting, but I liked it, and the colors worked. I did this one in the early 90s. I think it's the first painting I ever did outside of school, and I was really proud of it. It hasn't been hung in a long time. It got creased somewhere along the way, but it isn't obvious. I couldn’t find the perfect frame until I stumbled across this one that looks like carved oak leaves. The painting is on canvas pad and needed support, so I glued it to the ugly print that was in the frame. Please don’t tell me that print was an expensive one and that I could have retired if I’d sold it. I bought the antique spice rack around that time, too. I have still not labeled and filled the bottles. I was going to print my own, and the labels are stuck in one of the living room drawers.

In the photo below, you see the pot rack and the rooster painting I got as an art party gift. I am not a big rooster fan, but I do have three roosters, a chicken or two, and a few birds in the kitchen. You can’t really see much in this photo, but I hung the paternal ancestors on the other side of the fridge. I've since hung the maternal ancestors on the wall opposite the pot rack. They are a set of ornate gold 5x7 frames with black and white photos from my great-great-grandfather down to my mom as a toddler standing next to a wagon. I didn't show it because the rest of the wall is pretty boring. It has a hot water heater closet, a stacked washer and dryer, and a tiny counter/cabinet with far too many appliances. I use most of them, and I have no place to store them right now. (If I could get a shelf built over the hot water heater or had a cabinet over the fridge, that would be perfect. But the rooster does look nice up there.) There isn't even color or room for pretty stuff over there. I can't plug anything in anywhere else, so there it stays.
On the left (above the cabinet that holds most of my spices in their ugly containers), you can see another painting that I rescued at a flea market. It's funny that I tried to introduce so much blue into the kitchen to temper the yellow, but I keep adding warm colors. I'm not a fan of yellow, but it looks good in the right situation, such as a hickory tree in the fall. And complementary colors make each other "pop." Without the yellow, the blue would be too cold. Without the blue, the yellow would seem too warm. And my aunt once told me that every kitchen needed a bit of red.

There is another painting on the opposite wall, but I am considering reframing it once I find the right frame. It is hanging above the very unattractive electric panel. I rescued the painting at a flea market, and the mat is too wide and makes the painting seem too insignificant, but it's a really nice painting of a yellow porch with wicker furniture. Most acrylic and oil paintings are on canvas and not matted, so I suspect that this one is also on canvas pad that isn't on stretchers. I haven't taken it apart to see what's underneath.

Here is a shot from below the single cabinet to the left of the window. It needed a splash of color, and I remembered this watercolor that I rescued at yet another flea market. Isn't that a bright frame? Of course, I’ve moved a few things since then. I keep moving things around. I have a number of fake plants because I need to see something that looks alive, and I can't seem to keep anything alive. I think it might be the water. I brought my terrarium home after it was in the office for five years. It had gone months without water and looked so healthy when I went to pick it up. It died within a couple of months of bringing it home. My mom blames the water. I used to have a flower garden and a fascination with plants, but I barely even have a back stoop now. I have to find a substitute for a garden, so I have a lot of fake plants and paintings of live, growing things.
I think this orchid came in a tiny little pot under a cloche from Kirkland's years ago. I bought this bird at yet another flea market and tucked it into some Styrofoam that I covered with moss. When I bought the hyacinth in one of the photos below, I was telling the woman about the fake orchid I had bought for my late mother-in-law. I said she thought it was real and watered it for a year before she figured it out. The woman noticed that the hyacinth was a bit dusty and said it just needed to be cleaned. I told her I would put some water on it, and it would perk right up. She has a great sense of humor and laughed.

Here is a closeup of the painting and my copper molds. It has taken me three and a half years to decide how to hang them. I started with a set of copper gelatin molds, and I ended up not even hanging them. These were better quality, and I loved the different types of fish. The bottom one is a bunny.

And, lastly, here is a closeup after I moved the plants. With the bunnies and flowers, it looks like I’m ready for Easter, but these aren’t Easter decorations. :-) Some of the hanging gadgets are antiques given to me by my aunt, and some have just been picked up here and there.

I’m sure I’ll continue to move things around, but it’s looking pretty cute. This kitchen is not the most user-friendly kitchen. You have this unattractive fridge and a stove just free-standing on a blank wall. I added the cart to fill the gap, add work space, and make the appliances seem connected, but before I got the cabinet, that tiny cart was the only thing on that wall besides a stove and fridge. It just looked so dysfunctional. I put the shelf over the stove to hold my salt, pepper, and olive oil that I use all the time in cooking. The Old Charter Kentucky bourbon tin is where I store my spaghetti. :) My father had received it as a Christmas gift (with the bourbon in it) ages ago, and I had a fit over the tin with the farm on it. I can't remember how many years that has been (over thirty, more than likely), but it's just perfect for spaghetti. Here's one like it on Etsy, but I can assure you that mine is not from the 1960s.

The good news is that, thanks to a leaky hot water heater upstairs, I'll be getting a new kitchen floor soon! I think the kitchen floor is one of my top five least favorite things about my apartment. Unfortunately, I don't get to pick it out, so it will be something neutral and very boring. However, it won't be these awful peel and stick tiles that are all chipped around the corners and make creepy clicking noises when I walk across it like there's someone right behind me. So, I'm looking forward to that. Anyway, that's the tour of my kitchen--a bit shabby chic farmhouse, a bit French flea market, and a bit something else. :)

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