Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Emily Dickinson's Wallpaper

Emily Dickinson is one of my favourite poets and A Bloomsbury Life has just posted a blog about the wallpaper in her bedroom, where she wrote her poems. Please check it out.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Kitchen Addiction

Kitchens I Love

Right now we are doing little improvements in our kitchen: last summer we took out a microwave and overhead cupboard and put in a big stove fan with "chimney." Now we don't have enough crown moulding for the cabinets and need to choose something new.  Here is a small one we are considering:

Before and after pictures will follow in a later post. In the meantime, I am still planning.  What I am hoping for is a layered but simple crown moulding look like in this London England kitchen I saw in Elle Decor.

Kit and Tim Kent London Townhouse Kitchen

I absolutely love this kitchen. I know I can't make my walls round, and my cupboards are brown, not grey, but they have the same aged knotty look. I like how this kitchen is not afraid of cabinets, as no real cook without a separate pantry can be.  I wonder if I should rip out more cabinets, but if there is one I don't really need right now, what about when I get that big wooden salad bowl?  I like how just a few of the cabinets in this kitchen have glass doors, or nothing. I like the old tray leaning against the wall, and I love the bead board. But first things first, I love the small moulding on top of the cabinets with bigger moulding at ceiling level above.  That is the first thing I want to emulate, and while the moulding I am choosing for my kitchen is a bit more elaborate, it is the smallest that will match our cabinets.

Here is another kitchen I like a lot:
Michael S. Smith green kitchen
If you saw my post about green kitchens, you will know I have a weakness for them.  I love this one not because it is green, though, but because it has a similar cosy vibe to the one above; it is as though they have been there a long time. Maybe it is the large hearth-like stove. Maybe it is the bead board again, and the moulding.

So there you have it: it is moulding that I love in a kitchen, besides knotty cabinets, as well as big hood fans.  Maybe it's some sort of cottage kitchen in my past I am trying to evoke, when we had a wood stove and cloth curtains instead of cabinet doors. Or maybe it is some iconic ideal. Why does a modern feminist spend so much time thinking about kitchens, when my mother tried so hard to free my from the servitude of this place?  Maybe it is mommy, herself, we kitchen addicted are looking for.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Why do Little Things Make me Happy?

The Joys of an Organized Spice Drawer

William Hazlitt wrote, "It is better to drink of deep griefs than to taste shallow pleasures."  Well, I have drunk enough deep griefs in life and can't stop opening my new spice drawer to taste its shallow pleasures!  What is it about clean glass jars at an angle in alphabetical order that makes my heart sing?  I mentioned while installing it that it has long been my dream to have such a drawer in my kitchen, and my teenage daughter remarked, "Nice dream, Mom." OK, it is dream number 549,000 on my dream list, but still an old and dear one, going back to my mom's spice drawer of my childhood. I should mention also that our 25th anniversary is coming up this summer and most of the spice jars we had been using we have had for 25 years.
My new spice drawer.
 Now isn't that a sweet sight? Clearly visible labels and spices equals a happy cook. Of course, I had to buy fresh refills for many jars! I bought these little racks at my local kitchen store, The Seasoned Kitchen, in Gibsons, BC. (They even sell extra jars separately, which is good, as we can't make dip without dried onion or some of Vij's recipes without Garam Masala, so had to squeeze two more in front.)
Tidy, shiny, exotic!

Here it is in context. This drawer used to be for plastic wrap, aluminum foil, wax paper and the like, but two spice racks fit perfectly in here and those thin boxes don't need so much space. It is right next to the pantry.
"Old Spices"

Here are the old jars which we couldn't part with for a quarter century, now headed either to the recycling or my son's kitchen. So far he only wants basil. That mace you see in the bottom of the jar has been there since 1988! We didn't make a new mace jar.

Majestic Jars

The sight of these colourful herbs and spices, in ground or leaf form, makes me think of all the places in the world they have come from, and all the cooking and baking I want to do. This is the sight I must keep peeking at all morning and evening. Like babies in baskets or more like a control board?  Whatever the associations, this drawer is my magnetic north these days while it is new.