Friday, September 19, 2014

Kitchen Tour -The Scary History of the Fresh Pioneer Kitchen

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and she's ready to show you her kitchen! (I'm popping in a day early because Missy is feeling under the weather. Praying for a quick recovery, Missy!)
Anyway, my tour is some scary stuff, so hold on to your hats. This tour made me face some hard facts about my kitchen. Number one: I've always thought those bright white kitchens with pale cabinets were pretty... but when I get a chance, I go for the COLOR. I will never have a white or cream or even tan kitchen. It's not in me. 
 First of all... some pretty flowers. Try to keep this in mind on the journey. It will relieve the psychological stress.
                                            
When we first moved to this house in the year 2001, for some reason there was a blue outdoor carpet in the kitchen. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. The cabinets were also dark green. The kitchen was small. Maybe (I'm too lazy to get up and find a measuring tape) 16X12. So, imagine stained weird carpet, dark green cabinets. Long winter. But, I was a (relative) newlywed and life was grand so it only depressed me a little! This is Jacob, born in 2003. I thought I had ripped out that carpet right away, but apparently having three kids under 3 made this not a very high priority!  (Oh, this is also my dear friend Eleanor's cat. Pumpkin had been ordered on a diet and she couldn't figure out why he wasn't shedding the weight. Uh huh. I caught Jacob sharing his snacks with Pumpkin.)
                                                       
OK, next shot that I could find: Sammy just learning to walk, clutching the cabinets for dear life. Sammy was born in 2005, so I know that the new floor was in.  One summer day, I ripped out the carpet, bought some industrial tile at a yard sale, painted half of it bright red, and laid a checkerboard floor. Don't ask me why. I had four kids under five and it had to be better than blue carpet. In the background is a drop-in stove my dad gave us when they did a custom remodel on their kitchen. The cabinet Sammy is clutching is also a donation from their house. We only had one counter before, at this point we had three. Heaven!
 This is a newer shot of the counter (Hi, Edna!), but this is relevant, I promise. Originally the counters were a chipped formica. I retiled them in white. I really didn't know what I was doing (even though I checked out several books at the library) so they've got some issues. Mostly the front edges. That was tough. Some day I'll replace them... when I think of it and don't have anything else I'm doing, hahaha.
 A closer look at the tile. Looking back, I wanted something charming, but I should have just picked more formica or stone or something. Tile is a lot of work. I think mainly I just wanted a project and buying a slab of counter wasn't really a project. (This was pre-writing days and I needed to do something.)
Oh, side note. When we built on, our kitchen ceiling fell in and had to be replaced. (They took off the roofing and then it rained for three days and soaked the insulation and... BAM. Fun times.)
 So, here's our second stove. The drop in stove died, so we had to tear our that part of the counter. At the same time, we redid the floor in wood. I still miss my checkerboard floor! We also did the rest of the floors in the house since we had about 5 different kinds of linoleum. This isn't a whole house tour so I won't go there. (Let me just say there was also green carpet in the BATHROOM when we moved in. I can promise you it didn't take me 5 years to rip that stuff out.) By this point, I've painted the cabinets white several times but then decide to go with teal.
This is my friend Lili's baker's rack/ It was green but I painted it red.I love this rack so much!
                                   
I found this random piece of a picture and zoomed in... the rack has doodads and pictures and things on it now. Oh, the picture behind the photos of friends... Our honeymoon site. Let me find a better picture.
                                       
This was my last deadline and I was standing at the kitchen counter because I couldn't SIT IN THAT CHAIR ONE MORE MINUTE. I felt very Mrs. Gaskell-ish, writing at the kitchen counter while kids rampaged through my workspace.
Oh, right. The map in the background. I saw on Pinterest where you take a map of a special place and cut out a heart. I love this little picture because we honeymooned on the coast so our map looks like a broken heart! This is so us. We can't ever do anything the normal way and it shows.
                                     
Oh, I found an old picture of the sink. I did the blue tile in the background. This was before I knew the kitchen would be red. So, then I had a red, white, and blue kitchen. My Mexican husband was not amused. Haha! It's a little less noticeable when I went to teal for the walls and cabinets, but you still feel rather patriotic in that space. I love the old farmhouse sink. There was another in the laundry room when we moved in but we took out it for pantry space.
                                            
I tried to find a picture to show how long the opposite counter/cabinet is. Close to six feet, which is great for our fruit bowls. We eat a lot of fruit. This is the winter edition, but in the summer this is all home grown peaches, plums, grapes and cherries. Soon, it will be fall and we'll have boxes of apples!
 Side note: this came from our peach trees this year! Almost two hundred pounds... but both trees split in a storm. I'm trying not to mourn, but be thankful for what we've been given. Next year I will cry over this picture!
                                    
And our grapes are ripe! Our friend Noe the cellar rat turned vintner says they're Himrod variety.
                                             
I love my kitchen because when I look around I see how very blessed we are. So much fresh food, healthy and ready to eat. Some of our blueberries this year, washed and drying, ready to be frozen for wintertime treats.
 Also, our sunflowers are blooming. This is my kitchen table. (I know we're drifting from the kitchen. I'll head back over there.)
  Random shot of a teacup my friend Christalee sent me for my birthday. And a pepper from the garden. That was my husband's addition.
 I have a collection of old ink bottle vases. I line them up on the counters...
 The fridge is covered with kid art. You actually can't see the fridge. Here's my marriage proposal from a few months ago. Made by my five year old. I love the top hat but am suspicious of the frowny face.
 Every day I get love notes and flower bouquets. I can't save them all but I but a rotating display on the fridge.
 I have plates on the wall from the dollar store. They have no particular meaning but for some reason I liked them... maybe the fruit? Or the red? Or the polka dots? I got these at the same time I did the red tile floor. I know, I know. What can I say? A white show kitchen would drive me batty.
 Apple pie made by my 13 year old. This is what happens in my kitchen. Art, pies, fruit, kids.
 This was a batch of peaches from a few days ago. I had to can a LOT this weekend. I made dark vanilla bean syrup for the sliced peaches. YUM. They won't make it to winter, but I tried.
I love the light in my kitchen. Bright, sunny, welcoming. (More food.)
 Every now and then I find a piece of fruit and decide it needs to be showcased. A freckled pear. It was my dish washing company for several days. Loveliness.
 A freckled green apple. Doesn't this look like it should be a painting?
 In the end, I don't think I'd trade my kitchen for any other. I have wonderful memories of our ten years here. We're a colorful bunch (and maybe a bit fruity) so it fits just perfectly. Add in Miss Edna and Mr. Latte, and we have everything we need (now that the blue rug is gone).
One more picture, not in the kitchen. Looking for old pictures, I found this one. The pine tree was lost in a storm. The little toy car has been given away. That old fence has been replaced. The back of the house was rebuilt when we added two rooms, bathroom, laundry room. This little girl towing a wagon of pumpkins is now 13, and the baby in the background is 11. Things change so quickly, but the people are what matter.

Favorite spot: I like to stand near my coffee cup, which is usually set next to the stove. I think I stand here because there's an odd little cut out area that leads to the living room and I've had 14 years of trying to keep an eye on littles while drinking coffee.

Favorite thing about my kitchen: the people in it!

Favorite kitchen tip: I don't know what to offer as kitchen advice... Maybe use your kitchen to cook. Don't let it hold your junk. Don't make it the mailbox, the library, or the entertainment center. I have to fight to keep mail from creeping into the kitchen. Bring in friends, family, make food, create memories. Also, don't be afraid to make bold decorating choices (unless you're moving and then the next tenants may not enjoy your mural of Paris at night time).

 I hope you enjoyed this tour of my kitchen and are inspired to go make some memories!

31 comments:

  1. awesome! my junk drawer has to move now - the kitchen is the only downstairs space with cabinets/drawers! it attracts al ot but at least one of the 3 junk drawers hold tea lights and lighters for one of my tea sets - apparently I had the bright idea of using the set a few times since when looking for a place to store the 2 huge packs of tealights I sorta found the other 2 packs I'd bought sometime before...
    think this weekend I'll have to work on the kitchen...dread it I hate digging through cabinets sigh
    Susanna

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    1. Ohhhh, the junk drawer! I'm telling you... I can never keep just one!

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  2. Okay you win the looks most like a magazine shoot award. I've loved watching your kitchen evolve. And your kids grow. ...sniff.

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  3. Hi Virginia~
    Making memories, that's what it's all about. I loved visiting with you this morning, sipping coffee together in your kitchen, seeing your food and fruits and especially your family.
    Love your teal and red choice, you're very creative. I collect blue transferware dishes and have at least 20 different patterns mixed and matched but they all work together because of the color and go well in my cream kitchen. However, I've always wanted to do a kitchen with red accents too. So many color choices :)

    Back to those memories...your babies and love notes have me in the mood to pull out my photo albums and take a walk down memory lane as my own three were growing up. Such good memories made in kitchens, truly the heart of the home.

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    1. I love transfer ware! I bet they're just beautiful! And those little notes... so many of them. I never know how many to save. I try to save at least a few from each child each year. :)

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  4. I've enjoyed all the kitchen shots..at first I thought I hadn't seen Jan's but it was the last pic in her post..the one pic I couldnr see the first time I looked! Where was Missy's?!
    Susanna

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    1. Susanna, I'll try to do something next week. Just didn't feel good this week. I've mostly been off the computer.

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    2. Hope u feel better! Susanna

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    3. Missy was under the weather so my post came in early! And of course, I forgot so I was MIA.

      LOL.

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    1. I do, too!! I haven't chipped it yet, but I did give it a big rust ring with a cast iron pot. I had no idea cast iron pots and enamel sinks don't go together.

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  6. I love your kitchen sentiments, Virginia!!! Your kitchen is certainly the heart of your home. And loved the trip-down-memory-lane pictures. So much fun! I'm partial to red too. I think if I had a kitchen wish it would be for a trendy oh so chic red oven. :-) Or orange. A happy colour, anyway.

    I lived in an apartment with carpet in the kitchen. Gross. I couldn't rip it out and I hated it -- especially when one of my dogs snarfed down a bag of gummy bears and threw them up on that carpet. Of course, we were out at the time so when we arrived home we found globs of hardened regurgitated gummy bear guts all over the place. Never could get them off that carpet. Ah, the childhood memories my daughter has to cherish! :-)

    And boohoo, Missy. Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. BWAHAHAHAHA! That's a terrible kitchen story!!

      Those are the times you're tempted to just... set a small fire.

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  7. Beautiful, Virginia! I LOVE aqua/teal! And I love how fresh fruit and flowers can be the best decorations.

    thanks for filling in today! I think maybe I've turned a corner. Thank you, God!

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    1. So glad you're feeling better, Missy!

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    2. So glad you're better, Missy!!
      It must have been all me. I forgot I was covering for you and my inattention helped you pull through the worst of it...

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  8. 1) You've lived in your house for ten years. I'm still trying to get my head around that. The longest we've lived anywhere since we were married is seven years. Mostly it's been around five. One of the hardest things about moving is leaving behind the kind of memories that "place" brings to mind.

    2) I love what you've done with your kitchen over the years. It's grown and matured :)

    3) We had carpeting in one kitchen. Until I realized that it was moving. It was Texas, and this Yankee gal didn't know you needed to be proactive with bugs. That weekend it was replaced with peel and stick tiles. I didn't care what they looked like as long as they were clean.

    4) On a MUCH brighter note, I love all the fresh fruits and veggies! You live in a fabulously bountiful place! Too bad about the peach trees...will you be able to replace them?

    Thanks for the tour!

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    1. GROSS. The carpet was moving???? Oh my word, I would have died on the spot. And here I was complaining about having to clean it all the time. Ugh.

      And actually, we've been here since 2001, so almost 15 years!

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  9. I am charmed beyond belief! I love this so much, it's like a walk in the park and chatting about what's for dinner, and why do some canning jars not seal and do you think ??????? needs to lose weight? It's just PERFECT and homey and delightfully crazy inviting. When my six were young, we had a whole kitchen wall devoted to their "stuff"..... And then it expanded to two walls.... Sarah's corner, Matt's Wall, Seth's Place, Bethany's Spot, Zach's Nook and Luke's Section..... and filled with school work, love notes, fun stuff, art projects. This reminds me of that, and how important it was to display their stuff.... I'm grinning, remembering! There is something so perfect about a lived-in, kid-filled kitchen that makes me think of sitting, cutting beans and drinking fresh coffee and giggling over stuff. Thank you for this!!!

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    1. I'm on the fence, there. I always think I'd love those clean lines and white/ bright spaces. But then I go and paint everything up, then post some pictures over it.
      And just tonight my husband was frying some eggs on the stove, I was standing there sipping coffee and chatting with him. He turned, tripped over the dog, ended up at the sink, squashing some poor young person against the counter. I went to go help the squashed toddler, but bumped my daughter who was carrying a mug of milk, which splashed on the other toddler between us. Our boys at THE SAME TIME decided it was a good moment to toss an orange to each other through the little cut out to the living room...

      My husband looked at me and said, "Where did all these people come from? I remember when there were two of us and we had our OWN KITCHENS."

      That cracked me up.

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    2. Hahahahahaha! That's so funny!!!! My boys played Butter Box Baseball in the kitchen because it was the only room with THE RIGHT DOORWAYS. An empty two-liter pop bottle (with cap on to keep the air volume steady) and a taped-up empty butter box. Batter stands in doorway, pitcher lobs butter box, and batter smashes it wherever.... It is a great game, no one dies, and then they started making up the funniest rules ever, like "if it hits this wall, ground rule double, if it's a grounder, automatic out, if it hits the ceiling, automatic home run, but only if it's BEYOND THE LIGHT FIXTURE!!!!. I totally see this as a win/win as long as no one dies, LOL!

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    3. I am NOT sharing this game with my children.

      :O

      :O

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  10. What a wonderful kitchen! So homey and full of cheerful colour, love and memories! I love getting this peek at it via your description and photos.

    We've been in our current house since the fall of 1994. The kitchen is galley style and small, but adjoins of the family room, both sharing a long wall of windows overlooking the back garden and woods beyond. The house was relatively new when we moved here, but a critical look around now suggests an update, at least for the kitchen, is long overdue. I don't think it'll happen anytime soon, but I don't really care. It's a comfortable place where everyone hangs out. I sometimes wish it were bigger though, since we trip over each other when anyone is helping me.

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    1. My sister has a long kitchen like that and she calls it a "one butt kitchen".

      That always makes me laugh. I'm jealous of the windows. Sounds amazing!

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    2. Almost everyone in NYC has a galley kitchen, if even that big. It's the strangest thing when you come from a country house with space, to go to folks' places in NYC and see how tiny and abbreviated everything is. And in a way, they have everything they need, they just don't have space. I always come home appreciating space in a whole new way.

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    3. "One butt kitchen" is the perfect description! My daughter and I used to be able to function together in it, but hubby and I get in each other's way all the time.

      I love my windows -- seven of them and big sliding glass doors all along the west side. It was all the light plus the view of the woods that sealed the deal when we first saw this house. But I remember my grandmothers' kitchens with a certain amount of envy -- country-style rooms, both with a big cookstove and a table that was always the centre of every family activity. ::sigh::

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    4. I've always wanted a big kitchen table... in the kitchen! I love those scenes where the table is right in the middle of all the cooking. Our table is in the next room. It doesn't keep us from eating in the kitchen, but we have to stand up and eat at the counter... So, mostly it's the teens and hubby who like to do that. I prefer to sit down!

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  11. I love your kitchen! I have a galley kitchen and it's really not my favorite place to be. When we bought our house 7 years ago, it was one of two things I didn't like about it. You can't really move around in it, and I have been know to yell, "Everyone! Out! Now! I can't move or think!" I haven't really changed the kitchen much since we moved in. Mostly because there's so little room to change anything. We have reasonably nice looking wood cabinets, nice countertops (even if I think they're a little too dark), and decent linoleum. So it's not a bad place. Just not roomy.

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    1. haha! YES! I do that, too. I say, "If you want to eat, you better leave the kitchen." Everybody wants to be in on the action, but then I can't get to one spot without having to dodge bodies. Plus, some is always moving what I need, so I'll turn around and the stirring spoon is gone, etc.

      And I figure if it's not broken, don't worry about fixing it. Whether it's a little too dark or light, I think that's something you can change when you get the bug. Otherwise... it's all good.
      Unless you have carpet. Then... yuck!

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