Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pantry Love

Last September this was an anniversary gift from dear hubby. Considering I have very little fondness for floral shop bouquets and even less of an interest in adorning myself in silver or gold this was absolutely perfect. However did he know exactly what to get me to make my heart swoon? It was quite simple really considering our long standing tradition of dinner and a shopping spree in which we each select our own gift. Most often we find ourselves in a bookstore on our special day, quite appropriate considering they have been a favorite date night destination throughout the entire twenty-five years we have known each other. This year was no different and so while I purchased a stinky old set of books on Russian history he paid for this little gem!

For months now I have drooled over the pages of The Pantry, wishing ever so much our little house had one of it's own. Catherine Seiberling Pond does an amazing job detailing all the glorious attributes of this architectural element of domestic order. There are numerous photos of butler's pantries, storerooms, larders, farmhouse butt'ries, Hoosiers, and "secret cupboards" where old closets with shelves have been outfitted as makeshift pantries. . . . . hold on one moment there....closets with shelves? Makeshift pantries? After numerous rereadings of the book, inspiration finally hit with my realization that I had a closet. . . . . old. . . with shelves. . . centrally located to the kitchen. I dashed down the hall and swung open the door to reveal. . . . .

. . . . .this. UGH! Luckily my stint with the bathroom redo had my confidence level peaking and so I dug in.

First things first, I removed the door which did a lot to brighten up the cubby and open up a new space for Stormy to explore. Although a bit concerned to discover his dog food had also been removed he didn't linger long since I'd decided the wire shelves had to go and that was not a pretty scene.

Each of the five shelves had five support brackets containing two screw anchors. Now I'm sure there's a tool out there specifically designed to remove unwanted screw anchors but I stubbornly tackled all 50 with pliers, several assorted screw drivers, and a drill. Needless to say a good amount of a wall putty was required to repair the damage but after several coats of paint it looked good as new.

I have to thank my dad for the installation of some "real" shelves and believe me this was no easy feat either!

Since the edges of the shelves had a rough cut to them I decided to finish them off a bit. I found Home Depot had a whole assortment of wooden trims to choose from which were easily cut to size and tacked on with a few finishing nails. A bit more painting followed by several days of drying and it was ready to go. . . . .

Canned goods, dry goods, fruits and vegetables all found a new home.
While crisp, clean, and a huge improvement over its previous state of existence, it's nowhere near as charming or nostalgic as those pictured in Pond's book. I've now set my mind on remedying the situation.
While contemplating what elements could be added Stormy returned to check on the status of his food storage. He was quite relieved to find it located second shelf from the bottom but it seemed another little soul was in distress. A wee whimpering could be heard in the distance and when followed lead me directly to . . . . .

. . . . . Bogg's Cottage. Upon first glance it was quite evident something was awry. My knocks went unnoticed, most likely due to the steady sobbing heard from within. After several calls up to little Lucy's window a faint response to let myself in was finally heard.

At the top of the stairs I found her, engulfed in a sea of fabric. "Oh I've ruined everything," she cried. "I was so excited to make something special for Lily Red that when I returned home from the store I couldn't wait to get started. But it seems once I began, I couldn't stop. I've gone absolutely scissor crazy and cut all the fabric into shreds and now there's not a single piece left big enough to make a bed cover out of. Whatever am I to do now with this mess?"
The poor thing! It truly was a mess, and a big one at that. But it's not as if I haven't tackled a mess or two in my time (remember my pre-pantry photo?) I actually had a glimmer of an idea but needed a bit of time to work out the details and Lucy needed a spell to calm down.
"It's going to be alright," I told her. "I got a plan and I think you'll be quite pleased in the end. For now lets gather up these scraps. I'll take them away while you dry you eyes and when I return we'll sit down with a pot of tea and have a chat."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spinning Straw

The last straw involved an unfortunate mishap with one of these little babies. For years our downstairs bath/laundry as been a room of much function and very little form (or fun for that matter!) The sink has been nursery to numerous "grow big"sponge creatures, the washer and dryer served together as a wonderful stash and dash catch all cubby, and the floor a great foundation for entire mountain ranges of laundry. As far back as last March I was making plans to reclaim that space, collecting an assortment of bits and bobs as inspiration for the project. For one reason or another, it never seemed quite the right time to actually take action. But then dear daughter discovered the amazing world of nail polish. . . . . .

. . . . . I won't deny the fact that the space was quite dreary and more than a little boring. It really did need a splash of color just not the "Wild Cherry Red" that literally leapt from the nail polish bottle to the wall one afternoon during a hasty clean up maneuver. Try as we might that stuff could not be removed and so we had what appeared to be a CSI crime scene on our hands.

Oh and just in case your wondering. . . . . all toilet paper had to be removed from the holder three years ago when we brought Stormy home to join our family. For some reason nothing delights that dog more than tearing into a spinning TP roll!

Unfortunately I can't say the view from this direction has anything much to offer either.

Considering the situation, it was time for action. The collected assortment of bathroom accoutrements were dug out of hiding, raw materials and equipment were gathered, and my mom came over for the day to join in the fun. The bathroom make do and redo had begun!

A couple coats of smokey blue paint on the walls and in the hutch did wonders to cheer up the room as did a fresh coat of white on all the woodwork.

One of my few purchases for this endeavor was a can of spray paint. I enjoy popping in over at Creative Little Daisy every so often as Autum always has the most amazing household projects going on, many of which involve spray paint. She is a genius with that stuff! So I thought I'd give it a go and change up my nasty brown vent cover. I think perhaps I was a bit heavy handed while spraying as that thing took two days to fully dry.

But the end result truly put a smile on my face. Thank you Autum!

And what you may ask did I do for two whole days while that paint dried? Plenty! What a mess of lost socks, missing mittens, Christmas linens, school art projects and much, much more I had to sort through.

Once cleared out it was quite evident that a fresh coat of paint was required on the laundry shelf as well, which in a past life existed as the door to the previously seen hutch (a long ago make do project that I seem to recall tickled me to no end at the time.)

My greatest feat of those days , however, was perhaps that of diminishing my ironing pile enough to house a small remainder here in a handy basket.

Trial #1 at wall decorating looked like this. Most successful was the 59 cent acquisition of an unfinished candlestick shelf from the Mill Store that was easily altered into a toilet paper holder. Without the spinning action Stormy doesn't give it the time of day. Least successful was my placement of a china bluebird platter above the peg shelf. Delightful to look at it may have been but resistant to the hammering I did the next day while installing a new back splash behind the sink. . . . .

. . . . . not very. And so another trip to the hardware store for some super glue was in order.

The new wall arrangement looks likes this now. The final detail here will arrive when lavender blossoms can be gathered to hang from the tiny pegs.

Broken or not I decided to keep the bluebird platter out as an added protection against water splashes in the sink area.

Perhaps I'm tempting fate in deciding to hang these three matching plates up over the laundry closet but it wasn't done without the added security of bendy wire looped through the plate hook and wall mount. A generous amount of adhesive wax was also applied. Those things don't budge an inch now!

And neither does this peg board. By this time I was out of mounting hardware and not about to make anymore trips to the store so I hung it the good old fashioned way with a hammer and nails. I'm sure I'll come to regret that decision the next time I repaint the walls, but for now I'm pleased.

The hutch stayed put with a slight variation in its position.

I find it great to have my collection of garden, cottage, and Tasha Tudor books here in the laundry if for nothing more than eye candy to feast on while folding clothes. They're great inspiration to keep me on task for if I follow through and tidy away all the clean laundry where it belongs I then treat myself to a spell in the reading chair with a cup of tea or. . . . .

. . . . . with these fair days ahead, some time in the garden planting a new crop of flowers.

Either way, it's nice to have the redo behind me and have the freedom to while away the afternoon. Unfortunately I can't say as much for little Lucy. She's still holed up at Boggs Cottage often burning the midnight oil on what I can only imagine to be her secret project.