Blue Plate Special

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Since we moved in, I’ve been debating what to put over the sofa in the family room. The room has tall vaulted ceilings, so I knew I couldn’t just put a dinky looking picture on a very large wall.

For awhile, I thought I was going to do something like this with some antique plates:





I never actually got around to looking at or buying any plates, so when I saw big red shelf at my favorite little antique store at the end of Main Street in Newark, I jumped at the chance to buy it with the idea of putting it above the couch and switching out seasonal decorations. However, I still thought that the little shelf alone would be dwarfed on the huge wall. The solution: some antique plates on either side!

Luckily, I share my mom’s love for antiques and decorating, and she bought me a beautiful blue plate that dates back to the 1890’s. Of course I made Adam hang up my shelf as soon as I got home and then I jumped on Ebay and Etsy and managed to snag three more coordinating plates to flank either side of the red shelf.

Here is the final product:

Plate Edit


Finished Kitchen

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We had our granite counters installed two weeks ago tomorrow, but I haven't had time to post about them until today. Everything went smoothly with the installation, and we are really happy with the outcome. I'm sure we will enjoy this kitchen for many years to come. It is safe to say that we are pretty much done with big projects for now. We are planning on relaxing throughout the spring and summer and maybe working on some smaller things around the house.

See that little owl on the island? Adam and I saw that while we were in New York City for my birthday and he surprised me with it today!


A view from the side:


A little comparison from what it used to look like to today:



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My grandmother passed away on Monday after struggling with dementia for years. Although the whole situation is not ideal, it is comforting to me to know that she’s no longer suffering. Watching her struggle with a horrible disease was difficult because it seemed like every time I saw her, she was losing valuable pieces of what made her “her”.

There was never any doubt in my mind that my Grammie loved my sisters and I, in fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times she called me by my first name. Instead, it was always pet names like sweetheart or honeysuckle rose. When we lived halfway across the country, I would look forward to getting cards from her, which were sometimes sent just to tell us that she loved and missed us. I also remember patiently waiting for my Mom to get off the phone with her every Sunday so that I could talk to Grammie long distance. She was an attentive listener and gave wonderful advice for any problem you might be having at that particular moment. When we visited my grandparents in Pennsylvania every summer, I remember fixing lunches with her, going out onto the carport of their little house, and reading for hours at the picnic table. In fact, I think she is one of the reasons why I love to read so much.

When we moved to Pennsylvania, I was happy to suddenly be in close proximity to my grandparents. I spent many evenings in their little apartment, chatting, doing homework and baking with Grammie. Her welsh cookies and apple pies were to die for, and tea breaks were used as a time to enjoy them and catch up on whatever was going on in our lives. She was an incredible support system: taking me to get my first real make-up; attending countless numbers of band, chorus and orchestra concerts; listening to trivial high school boyfriend drama; and always praising accomplishments. Grammie loved to shop and was always happy to make a trip to Talbots.

After my Grandpop passed away, it was clear that her health was slowly beginning decline. She moved from her two bedroom apartment to a smaller room and gave up driving her Buick. We still went out shopping or to lunch, but not as frequently. Once college started, our visits became fewer, but she was always happy to see me and eager to hear about the latest happenings. One of our last outings together alone was when I took her wedding dress shopping, and she told me everything looked beautiful. It was so special that she was able to attend our wedding.

As the dementia really took hold of her over the past two years, she still continued to smile and laugh when we came to visit; and, she was always singing whatever song happened to be in her head at that moment. When my sisters brought their children to visit her, her eyes would light up and she would watch their every move- she loved being a great-grandmother. When Adam and I were sad after saying goodbye to our first dog, she offered to buy Griffin. Last Easter, my mother and I attended sunrise service with her and she held my hand throughout the sermon. These little things made it clear that beneath the lost memory, she was still the same Grammie.

The relationship that I had with my grandmother was a special one, and one that will not be forgotten. I will miss her terribly, but I can only hope that she is in a better place having a tea break, eating a welsh cookie and reading a book right now.

The kitchen and other things....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The weekend following our trip to New York City we painted our kitchen cabinets. When we were looking at houses, I wasn't necessarily looking for the nicest kitchen, but I was looking for a big kitchen. When we walked into our house, I loved the kitchen and that was one of the big selling points for me. The orangy builder-grade cabinets were not really my thing, but they were in good shape, so I knew I could live with them.

Before Christmas, my in-laws painted their kitchen cabinets using General Finishes Milk Paint. By using the milk paint, they avoided having to sand all of the cabinets down to bare wood. Once I saw how beautiful their cabinets were, I knew we could take the same approach with ours. So, we reserved their assistance over President's Day weekend to help paint. The entire week before, we worked hard prepping the cabinets: taking the doors off, taking off hardware, filling holes, cleaning, and deglossing.

On Saturday, we were able to get on a coat of adhesive primer as well as two coats of antique white milk paint. If you are looking for an easy paint to work with, I would recommend this brand of milk paint. It comes pre-mixed and it goes on really smoothly, we had no problems with coverage. By Sunday afternoon, we had done a double top coat to protect the cabinets. Then, we put on all new hardware and we were done! My father-in-law was also nice enough to install bead board around the island.

Even though the cabinets aren't perfect, I'm really proud of the work that we did. The only thing that we splurged on was the hardware, which came from Restoration Hardware. Of course, it would have taken us three times as long without Adam's parents.

I know you're probably expecting to see pictures of the kitchen now, but I want to wait to show off the whole thing because we are having granite countertops installed next week! Seriously, excitement is oozing out of me right now in anticipation of these counters. So, once those are done, pictures will come!

I will, however, provide you with a picture of how we found Griffin one day when we came back from running errands: