One of the main reasons I wanted to update the kitchen was to get rid of the soffits. Me no likey soffits. I think I'd be OK with cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, but those big empty boxes that are up there for no reason, Nope.
I've always been intrigued to see how other people choose to decorate above their cabinets and now that we all have Pinterest, stealing ideas was never easier :D
I made a board and spent some time looking at what other people have pinned or liked and added things to my board.
Some ideas were right up my alley and others fell short.
I was cleaning up the basement last night and I thought I'd throw together some items that I could use above the wall of cabinets. Not sure they will all stay, but it's a good start.
So, let me explain my items.
A few years ago, Jerome and I had our front entry rebuilt. The only things we kept from the original were the door and the lower half of the side lights. We kept the lower half because it had an integrated shelf on either side, which I really liked. Good for holiday decorating, otherwise they are left empty.
When the woodworker pulled off the old side lights, I kept them, of course. I've had them in the basement all of these years, leaning up against a support pole. Well, I was hoping that I could use one of them as a background for my vignette. I wasn't sure it was going to fit, but it did! Just barely. Then the decision of whether to use the side that was painted white or the side that was painted pea green. So, for now I've chosen the pea green side. Pea green was the trim color that the previous owners had on the house.
The item closest to us is a metal basket that we found at Jerome's grandmother's house in Fulvy, France. Jerome's grandmother hadn't lived at the house for a long time, but it is still in the family. The basket was sitting on top of a pile of (most likely) stuff to be thrown away, in a shed in the back of the property. I GRABBED IT! And asked my husband if he thought it would be OK to take it. He thought it would be fine and so I did. When we showed it to his parents, I think they scratched their heads. Later during the trip, my Father-in-law asked if I wanted him to use a wire brush to clean it up. That was nice and I agreed.
This type of basket is sometimes thought of as an egg basket, maybe even used as one but my In-laws said it actually is a salad spinner.
For the last couple of years, I've had it as a decoration in the living room but thought it might be better served on display up here. Inside I have some dried hydrangea blooms from my garden and I have a fabric ribbon around the handle that also came from France.
Next up is the cast iron naked lady. This was the property of the previous owners. They left it behind with many other treasures. All these years, I've had it in the exact same spot as they had it; at the entry of the back door. A little surprising and shocking for some people coming to visit - to be greeted by a naked lady with her legs splayed. Well, come to find out, this is a boot remover. You stand on her face and use her legs to take off your boots. It's called a Naughty Nelly Boot Jack and one just sold on eBay for $150! I think I'll keep her.
Then I have a bunch of vintage glass bottles, some that I've found at one of the houses and others that I've purchased at garage/estate sales or antique type shops.
This is one of those terracotta Romertopf roasters, you soak it in water and then you cook your chicken or pork and the water steams what you are cooking and I guess it is supposed to be pretty good. This was my mother's and it has never been used - to my knowledge.
Finally, a little metal wine bottle holder, holding a bottle of wine in the shape of a cat. The metal baskety holder was a gift from my Mother-in-law. The cat wine, I think this was something that was on sale at our local grocery store.
This is another display over a different cupboard. Most are my mother's items and some come from my grandma DeYonker. When grandma died, anything that I took from her cupboards, I marked with "C" for Clara. That way whenever I used the item, I would see the "C" and think of her. It works.
So, what do we have here? Back left is a flour sifter, back middle is an old Clabber Girl Baking Powder container, back right is an Androck nut grinder/chopper ~ mostly my mother's stuff.
In the front (left) we have a butter box that I got for free at The Lamb's Tail Antique Shop in Armada, MI. A couple of years ago, the owner put out a table of things that wouldn't sell so that people could just take them. I thought it was cute. I tried selling it on etsy, but later I thought that I'd rather keep it. Middle front is, you guessed it!, from my grandma - a spice tin of Thyme from Frank's spices and right next to it is a small bottle of yellow food coloring. This is most likely my mom's since it doesn't have a "C".
As with any renovation, you find stuff that was not yours. These items were found between the refrigerator cabinet and the lower cabinet to the left of the fridge. I believe many, if not all of these items are from the family who reno'd the kitchen the last time. They would be the Stone's. Everything here seems to be from the early 90's.
There was one other item that we found in the walls. It's a small hand tool with a red handle and a curved blade. A scraper of some sort. This would have been from when they first built the house in 1947. We actually used it while we worked on this remodel.
Oh yeah, we also found a ton of wooden matchsticks that were used. They were embedded in between the slats of the original wood floor. Not sure if they were there because the workers were chain smokers or if they were being used to fill in the gap of the slats. As I think I've mentioned before, a friend of ours said that he can tell by the amount of burn on the end of the matchstick that it was not cigarettes that the guy was smoking. Rather, it was most likely a pipe.
Slowly (and I do mean s.l.o.w.) but surely, we are coming to this project's end.
Today marks 4 months that we've been working on this project. FOUR MONTHS! We've been asked or it has been implied that this project shouldn't have taken this long. What's the deal? Why is it taking so long?
Out of all of these people that have asked or implied, have any of them ever tackled a project of this magnitude? While having jobs and other responsibilities that are constantly pulling you in the other direction?
Take this past Friday. My day off from work and a day off from parental care duties...or so I thought. I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to accomplish (maybe even some laundry...), but as I was waking up from my well needed slumber, I received a phone call from my mom who was experiencing some severe leg cramps all the night before. She wanted to see her doctor and didn't feel confident enough to drive herself. So, I get the call. Of course. I'm the only daughter in this state. I always get the call. Always have, always will. ALWAYS. I tried not to be too disappointed that my planned day was crumbling around me and I figured, eh, I will be home around noon, 1pm the latest. Boy, was I wrong. Her doctor doesn't work on Friday's (oh, neither do I!...), so we needed to go to an Urgent Care. She didn't want to go to ER, as it was suggested by the doctor's office because she says it takes too long. So, we picked an Urgent Care in the area that is affiliated with the Henry Ford Hospitals. When checking in we asked about the wait time and were told it would be over an hour. This was enough to depress both of us, but we went and waited in the waiting room. We were not seen by a doctor for well over 4 hours! Day was a total bust. The doctor didn't even prescribe her anything, only to tell her to drink lots of water, walk around when it's happening and when she feels it coming on, she should take her pain medication (that she already has at the ready). Really? I had told her that in the waiting room. Really, it was such a shame and such a waste of time and of a beautiful day. Plus, the entire time I was with her, she was not experiencing any pain. None. Oh, was I frustrated! Driving home thinking all kinds of bad things about time wasted and stuff I wanted to do...blah, blah, blah. By the next day, it was in the past and I wasn't angry anymore and life went on. Sunday night, just as I was watching TV and falling asleep on the couch, I was rudely awoken by a HORRIBLE cramp in my upper, inner thigh! Leg Cramp of all leg cramps!!! I couldn't even stand up straight. I have never experienced this kind of cramp in my life. And immediately, after I screamed a bunch of MF'rs, I very loudly apologized to my mother. Lol. BTW, it's the next day and my leg still hasn't completely recovered. Karma's a b!tch!
So before my leg cramping experience was the weekend. The weekend consisted of finishing the grout on the backsplash, spraying the last of the doors (NOT!) and hooking up the water to the kitchen.
Saturday we ran out of white lacquer. The place where we buy it is only open during the week. I called the technician to see if he would be willing to do an "emergency paint mix/pick up" and I guess he has boundaries ;) and told us he could take care of us on Monday...it turned out to be fine. We did what we could with the white that we had and then we were done with the spraying until next weekend...maybe. We were spraying until after 11pm on Saturday, so I'm not sure we would have had much time to finish up the 15 white doors and 2 black doors on Sunday, so it was just as well that we didn't pick up any more paint as it would have forced us to try and finish. Never good to force yourself because then you make mistakes.
My sister says this reminds her of an Easter Island statue :D
The list of things that still need to be done:
finish spraying the fronts of 13 white cabinet doors and respray 2 espresso & 2 white cabinet doors
touch up paint on crown molding
connect electrical boxes
reinstall phone (NEEDED! ~ yes, we still have a land-line)
install said cabinet doors
install cabinet hardware
install and paint moldings (around windows, doors and cabinets)
We've spent the last couple of weeks doing small things in the kitchen, like pulling off the paper and plastic; revealing somewhat how it will look.
We spent a whole weekend spraying the island and the backs of the cream cabinet doors. They have spent the past week or so curing.
I had made a nice painting station in the garage using plastic sheeting, our canvas tarp, left-over paper roll that we saved when we were taking it off of the kitchen ceiling. It turned out pretty nicely. I think we could make a living spraying furniture now. While I was putting up the plastic sheeting, and it was taking me quite a while, I pondered on how Dexter does this all in an evening AND captures, kills and disposes of all evidence. He's just so much better at it than any of the rest of us.
Other notable things that happened would be winning tickets to see a tribute band for Van Halen at the local pub. I don't even care for that kind of music, but when the trivia question was asked on Facebook - I was quick to google the answer and even quicker posting it. So, I won 4 tickets and posted the same trivia question to my FB friends so that we could share the evening with the lucky winners. My old friend Tami came up with the right answer...and she could have come up with a million wrong answers and I still would have handed over the other 2 tickets to her as she was the only one of my FB friends that even seemed remotely interested. So, it turned out to be a nice evening. Hadn't done anything with her for many years and had never met her husband, so it all worked out really great.
The band was LOUD! We needed to put pieces of napkin into our ears to save our hearing. The lead singer was wearing skin tight leotards that showed off his package to the point where you could.not.look.away. My friend thought he had stuffed something in his pants to give you the impression of a larger package, but all I can say is "male camel toe" to the max.
Just before leaving for our small vacation, we needed to attend to the red currants that I had harvested from our two bushes. So, we made jelly!
Yep! That's all we got!
Our long weekend get-away encompassed attempting to break a Guinness Book of World Records, record. The event was called MINIs on the Mac(k)(I put the "k" in parenthesis because if you are a real Michigander, you would not use the "k" when referring to the Mackinac Bridge) and we were hoping to gain enough interest from those that own MINIs to break the current World Record that was set in London. They had 1450 MINIs on parade. Well, we didn't come close; only 848, but it was a cool event to be a part of AND we did end up breaking a World Record...Largest ensemble of car horns beeping Smoke on the Water...
We also did our yearly stay on Mackinac Island, which is always relaxing. I would say though that we won't stay in that bedroom again (at "our" B&B) because the bed is just way too uncomfortable. I could barely sleep and woke up in achy pain.
While preparing for this trip, our MINI friend, John asked us if we wouldn't mind taking his (Matchbox car) MINI along with us and take some pictures of his MINI enjoying the event...and also include another MINI friend's (someone we've never met) mini MINI. This was because neither of them could attend the event themselves. SURE! We've done this before, once while on our honeymoon with our brother-in-law's shoe (he left in our honeymoon suite, by mistake - drunk bastard ;) ) and once with our friends on a trip to Europe. A blow up palm tree that their son sent them as a gift.
It was fun and gave us a bunch of things to take pictures of while on our trip. And the owner's loved all the creative shots!
While on the island, I was pleasantly surprised with an email from the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau stating that they picked my story that I had submitted to them about our trip to Punxsutawney to be featured in their Fall/Winter GO Magazine. This magazine will be distributed at high traffic areas such as rest stops, restaurants and hotels. You can read the whole story here on my blog - I sent them an edited down version - which I'm sure they will edit down even more.
After our 4-5 hour drive home from the Upper Peninsula, I think we were home for an hour before we were "BACK TO WORK!" Needed to get ready because the next day our counter tops would arrive and be installed. We are so happy that we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel for this project. This coming weekend marks 4 months that we've been at it. It's a long time to not have a working kitchen - or, the most missed is not having a sink. Whenever we need water, we have to trudge down to the basement and fill up a pot. I call it "going to the well".
But for a short time, I believe I've felt what our forefather's (or mother's) had to live with.