Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Kitchen: A work in progress

I love my kitchen and I love the things in my kitchen, but I’ve spent the past four years being dissatisfied with the way I’ve decorated it. My main color in the space is red, with black and silver accents. My small appliances (blender, toaster, milkshake machine) are all retro style and I love them. But the space above my cupboards has been pretty pathetic. I’ve always had some larger pieces up there like a pasta bowl, soup tourine, popcorn bowl, pitcher and colander, but the space in the corner has been sad. I got the idea a few years ago to do something with antique and vintage cookbooks, and sent my mother-in-law on a mission to find ones with good spines (since they would be the accent piece). She found some great ones, but, still, I didn’t know what to do with them. Until Friday evening, that is!

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Somehow, it finally clicked in my mind that I have the PERFECT picnic basket (a wedding gift) that has just been sitting on the floor next to my buffet in the dining room, behind the highchair, being useless. It would make the perfect platform for the cookbooks. I used two antique jars (also from my mother-in-law) as bookends. My husband was wonderful in helping me figure out how to arrange the cookbooks. In the end, he came up with the idea of slightly tilting one in the middle so they’d have the look of still being used. I felt like the books on the basket looked a little too tall, and Nolan (ah, the wonderful, decorator mindset husband!) suggested we keep our eyes out for antique cereal boxes or something. Facebook proved to be wonderful as I wrote on my mother-in-law’s wall that I finally used the books and jars, but wanted to be on the look out for antique and vintage kitchen things. Turns out, she has quite a few of the items I’m looking for, all boxed up from her former kitchen decor! We were up at her house yesterday, and she handed off a Saltines tin and baking powder tin. I LOVE the way they look up there!

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I knew that Is needed something to fill the white space on either side of the center, so I made two [temporary] signs, and plan on turning them into something permanent after I paint the kitchen or something.

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And, ta-da! I could have shared these pictures with you a few days ago, but my kitchen was in DESPERATE need of some cleaning. In fact, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that my sink is FULL and there is a pile of cookie sheets next to it. But, thanks for careful picture taking, the mess isn’t too obvious. I certainly want to add more to this space, but already, I like it way, way, way better than anything I’ve done with it in the past 4 years.

Later this week, I think I’ll share my unseen (and unsightly) tricks for making everything sit high enough to be seen over the molding at the top of the cabinets. But, before I bring this post to a close, I’ll also show you my absolute favorite element in my kitchen:

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This is the recipe my mom used to make cookies for us everyday after school while I was growing up. Once (oh, so many years ago) she copied the recipe from a bag of Tole-house chocolate chips onto a piece of paper, and then that piece of paper was pulled out over and over again. My brothers and I all learned to bake cookies from this sheet. It has been folded and worn. The ink is faded and it is covered in grease spots. But so many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in this piece of paper. As a shower gift before I got married, my mom mounted this recipe on a piece of scrapbook paper, wrote a border about what it is around it, and framed it for me. I LOVE having it, and look forward to when Jace is old enough to help me make cookies using this recipe.

(Sorry the lighting is so not-fantastic in these pictures… My kitchen doesn’t have any windows directly in it, and I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley where fall has set in with cloudy mornings, thus creating bad lighting!)

Please visit the parties I'm linking up with!!!


  1. Love the hit so red! Vintage is totally the WAY to go! nice!

  2. It's very cute! Red is so nice in a kitchen. I use red in mine, too. I love the idea of framing a recipe like that! What a wonderful way to preserve some memories!

  3. Looks great! I love the recipe framed from your mom. Very special!

  4. I love old cookbooks. And the recipe - what a sweet and personal touch!

  5. Hi Jill,

    I always say if we ponder something long enough the solution finally hits like a bolt of lightning! :0) I do believe your bolt of lightning has struck.

    Keep at it..I love the old cookbooks and they are usually fairly easy to find at the thrift stores.

    I'm visiting for Transformation Thursday. I'd love for you to come visit with me.

    Have a wonderful day,
    Stephanie ♥

  6. Oh so nice! The corner display is perfect for your kitchen. Letting the ideas percolate in your head has worked wonderfully for you. Love the red, my kitchen is full of red....and vintage style tins. Yours is looking great.

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  8. What an inviting kitchen-lots of great touches!

  9. I have a ledge in my kitchen too and it was tough for me to fill too. I actually think I have the same or a very similar saltine cracker tin. What a coincidence! I love all the little bright spots of red, it really makes things look lively. And I agree with your husband's suggestion. I think the slightly tilted cookbooks give it such a spontaneous look. It's the details that really pull a look together. But of course, my favorite thing is your mom's old handwritten recipe! What a wonderful piece of family history to have! Thank you for joining us at A Crafty Soiree! I hope you'll come back next week and link up again!

  10. You did a great job filling up that corner! I really like where you are going with this! Oh, and I am so jealous of your Willamette Valley fall. we're still in the upper 90's here...way too hot!

  11. I love how everything looks on your cabinets especially the signs. I was thinking of using styrofoam to lift my pieces above the molding. Is that what you used?

  12. Thanks for all the sweet comments, ladies! I love walking into my kitchen now :)
    Tammy--I just posted what I used :) Your method sounds smarter than mine. I'll have to keep that in mind in the future since I seem to usually have styrofoam in my garage!

  13. You have some wonderful ideas. What about painting the walls a warm color or adding beadboard wallpaper top of cabinets and backsplash. You could also add framed recipes from family members along the backsplash like "tile". These are ideas I would love to incorporate in my kitchen if I had the space. Mine is very tiny.

  14. I have the same problem... that empty space. Mine is very high so I can't get to it often. I found an old chicken at a garage sale and decided that I could collect them and add to the top. I don't know why I never thought of this before. I am also going with red. I love the signs you used. Cute little corner!

  15. I keep forgetting to say that I found you through Tidy Mom and now I'm following!

  16. I love the jars filled as bookends! I may try that on my mantle project, I think it may be perfect!

  17. What a cute way to display your cookbooks. I love the idea of framing your mom's handwritten recipe.

  18. Love that framed recipe! And the displayed cookbooks is great eye candy.


  19. I love your decor! My style is very similar! Great job Girl!

  20. OMG loved that you framed your mom's recipe! thx for linking up at a crafty soiree... hope you share again tomorrow
    cheers! Malia

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