Where Rustic Living Meets Refined Elegance

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three Girls and a Baby

I am away from the Barn for a few days and wanted to do a post but didn't have anything pertinent to the Barn on my notebook so I decided to post about my girls and my precious little grandson. (It still feels weird to refer to myself as "Gramma" but I have to admit I love it!)  I'm sure if I asked their permission they, especially the younger two would have a fit, but since they are not around and they rarely if ever actually read my blog I think I'm safe.  So here they are, 

 My oldest Olivia, is the mother of my sweet, adorable, precious, lovable, squishy, huggable, oops, sorry about that I just get so carried away with this little guy,
Little Ian a week old.
4 months old.  When my girls were little I used to kiss their cheeks and little necks and say "If had some butter I would just eat you up!"  This little guy is half Hispanic so I about fell over laughing last week when I heard my oldest daughter Olivia, his mother, kissing him and say "If I had some salsa I would just eat you up!"
 Six months old getting a bath at gramma's. That's me!!
And of course my two younger girls can't get enough of this little man either.
 Everytime he comes through the door we all rush to grab him and saturate him with hugs and kisses.  The first time he rolled over you would have thought he had discovered a cure for all world diseases by amount of cheering and applause from us.  We're a little worried that he may be in for a rude awakening when he gets older and goes to school and all the women and girls around him don't cheer at his every move. 
And here's my two younger girls, Caitlin (the blonde) and Preslea (the brunette).  It's hard to get a picture where they aren't mugging for the camera but I love that about them.  Always smiling, always ready for a good laugh and always looking out for each other.
They make me smile every time I see them.
And this is the two of them with Caitlin's boyfriend, Tyler.  He is such a cutie patootie!  The three of them are hilarious together and when Tyler comes over and little Ian is around the first thing he does is pick him put and try to get him to say "Tyler", love that.  So far all Ian says is "Mama" and "No" so the race is on as to whose name he'll say first.  The Cowboy swears it's going to be "Grampa" but my bet is on "Gramma"!
Hey, a girl can dream.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Four Bowls and Three Little Girls

My very first job at age 16 was in a small kitchen shop.  Not like today's stores such as Williams Sonoma but more of a little boutique shop.  This was before big box stores like Bed Bath and Beyond.  This was when local people made a profession of what they loved and opened small shops where customer service reigned supreme.
It was "The Shop Around The Corner" of kitchen shops.  It was called Charlotte's Web and the owner, Charlotte, was a jewel. I have always loved to bake and cook so this was a dream job for me.  One day as I was unpacking the most beautiful bowls, new from Phaltzgraph, (remember them?) I told the owner how much I loved these bowls. The shape, voluptuous yet simple, heavy and sturdy with the simple band around the top dressing up just a little bit. I was in love.  And then Charlotte said the most wonderful words had I had ever heard in my long life of 16 years, "Well you know you can set them aside in back and I can just take it out of your check".
Yes, employee lay-a-way.  The heavens had opened up. I not only grabbed those bowls and set them in the back I started walking around the store with a careful eye as to what else I'd like to "set in back".
When I moved into my first apartment these bowls were an important part of my kitchen. The small one was just right for one person to mix just about anything.  When I got married I found each one served a perfect purpose in my kitchen.  The small one for mixing eggs or tuna salad, the next one up quickly became the daily salad bowl, the next one up was for big salads and large batches of cookies and the granddaddy of them all was perfect for making bread, which I did a lot of, and for taking salads to large picnics.
Over the years, even though I was careful I found they took a small beating.  Especially as my three girls began to work in the kitchen with me.  The other day as I unpacked these bowls and looked at all the chips and even a small hairline crack in one I saw them for the first time for what they really were.  Not just beautiful bowls that were old and chipped but instead I saw beautiful pottery that helped me teach 3 girls (now beautiful women) how to cook and bake. 
It made me sad to think of all the times I chastised the girls for not being more careful and getting upset each time there was a new chip.  Not that I didn't want them to appreciate taking care of things, but when I look at these now I see little hands stirring with a big wooden spoon, slopping batter over the edge.  I see eggs getting cracked with a tiny piece of shell dropping in and a sweet little face leaning over the bowl looking inside the bowl wondering what to do.  I see sweet, angelic faces so proud as they showed their daddy what they had baked.
How I wish I could go back to do it all over again with them and each time there is a small crack or chip, hug them and tell them it's ok instead of a lecture on being careful.
They've now been assigned the top shelf with their age spots pointed to the wall, but they are still used frequently.  When the cowboy is cooking these are the first bowls he reaches for.  They really are just right.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When Mrs. Out of Money meets Mr. Creative

It all started with a plain white bookcase that came out of a friends colonial house.  They had it sitting in their driveway, possibly headed for the dump.  25 bucks and 20 minutes later it had a new home at the Gilded Barn.  A coat of black paint did wonders!  We figured it would be a while before we could have the lower piece made to make it look like a hutch so as you know the Cowboy raised it up on fence post to put in place until we could finish it.  Then out of the blue some other friends decide to renovate their kitchen and they were hauling their old oak cabinets to the dump!  Hold on! Load 'em up and get 'em to the Barn!
The Cowboy lined them up to see if the upper cabinets would fit. A match made in heaven! (Not many lower cabinets and they are going in Cait's kitchenette upstairs).  Ok so next order of business.  Tie the pieces together, add feet, remove hardware......
 Three cabinets hooked together made the perfect size base for the base of the "hutch"
A couple of coats of spackle to get rid of the seams where the cabinets are joined.
Holes filled where the old hardware was since the knobs will now need to be at the top of the door.
WHAAAAAAT?! Is that a nail gun sitting on top of my vintage linens?!
I leave for a few minutes and the Cowboy gets really creative and cuts one of the cabinets down so that along with another one they can fit perfectly in the corner right up to the old sink.  No feet underneath makes it sit lower than the "hutch".  Nice work!
The first coat of paint goes on.  I'm so excited!!!!!!!  A plywood top with a plain trim is added to give me a base to work with to create a thick faux "Carerra Marble" slab.
The Cowboy puts in new shelf liner so that I can start putting things away.  I know, he's a regular Renaissance man.
And.......VOILA!  A lovely old hutch.  I'm hoping to soon be able to enclose the pantry and install the antique swinging doors from an old local pharmacy no longer in business.  When it's done this is what you see when you walk in.
You can see how the corner sits back nicely.
Just a little lower. Perfect!
I think the coffee maker will go here along with shelves up above to hold all the white coffee mugs.
So much room!
So much Storage!
Finally out of the boxes and ready for use.  And yes I do use every bit of it.  Regularly.  I refuse to use paper plates and we always use the vintage linen napkins.  I love to serve food in pretty dishes even if it's just us for everyday.
Vintage linen napkins washed and folded, ready to be used.
Vintage silverware ready for service next to French bistro water carafes.
A very old French cake pedestal. I guess I'd better bake something.
So nice to see it all and so fun to use!
We estimated that between the cost of the bookcase, the plywood, paint,feet and knobs we spent about 90 dollars.  Worth every penny!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One last sneak peek

Ok, so I just have a few finishing touches to the faux Carerra Marble top and I can reveal it.  Here's a small section.  I love it!!!!
Yep that's it for now. Tee hee!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's almost done!

The Cowboy has been working away turning my Black Bookcase into my dream Butler's Pantry Cupboard.  I can't believe how wonderful it looks!  All that's left is for him to put the little silver knobs on and for me to put the faux carrera  marble top on which I will do this weekend. 

Here's a peek at what's to come.
One of my favorite ladles from France. Ready for action.
All silver and white on display with just this tiny bit of blue. How could I resist?
Trying to figure out if I can use these beauties somewhere on it.  Can't wait to show the finished piece.  I'd better get busy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I passed a yard sale and didn't stop

I KNOW!! I still can't believe it either.
 But I just had to.  It's because of my illness, you see.  Yes I regret to say I have Linenitus

Linenitus : (Lin-in-eye-tuhs)
Noun: A severe inability to pass up any vintage linen in a desirable state when the cost is obscenely low.

Yes, it's a terrible yet somewhat delightful sickness that whenever you see a beautiful linen item for a dollar or less you just HAVE to buy it!  And I'm afraid I have had it for some time now. I must be getting better since I saw the yard sale and didn't even consider pulling over.
I know there's a lot of them, but it's not like they aren't well taken care of.  Ok so instead of a puppy I have linens.  They are washed, pressed, tagged with a description and neatly stacked ready for use.
Just looking at them makes me feel good.  They are so soft and make a table look so pretty.
I may be on the road to recovery but I doubt I'll ever be totally cured.  And I'm ok with that.


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