Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Needing Sunshine in My Kitchen


This picture our son took of our youngest granddaughter says Spring and Sunshine to me. 

It captures that essence as well as our granddaughter's thoughtful and curious nature.

I know it's not officially Spring yet but sunshine and daffodils are as good as a spring tonic to me.

I'm just craving light after so many rainy days, are you?

RH helped bring more light into our kitchen recently when he drastically pruned two big holly bushes that are up against the house, one that completely blocked the smaller window in our kitchen.

I've never shown the "black hole" on that end of the kitchen but here's a picture from Christmas where you can see it down at the end. That small window that is covered with a holly bush is the exact same one that you can see in the corner of the big window. Huge bush and it made that end of the kitchen so dark.

Now here is the same small window with much of the lower part of the bush removed. Light! Even on a cloudy day.

I know that most of you would probably have cut down the whole bush--but then where would our large finch family live? And where would the cardinals shelter from the rain? They were upset enough with us from this trim job. You should have heard them fussing!

And even the big window has more light now and I can see more of our yard to check up on BreeBree and James Mason when they're in the pen playing. (That green pile on the ground was just one of the huge piles of holly branches that has now been taken to our neighbor's burn pile.)

I was so happy with the additional light in my kitchen that I went around snapping pictures as RH was snipping away outside.

That's my pink, green and blue blouse reflected below in the silver tray behind my cooking spirits. Okay, I admit it's not a blouse, I still had my gown and robe on. Am I the only one who photographs around the house not dressed properly for the day?

And then the sun came out for a peek and I went nuts snapping photos of it shining on things in my kitchen that weren't used to seeing it.

If you remember, the open shelves and pot hanger was the first project RH did here after we moved in two years ago in January, with the help of his brother.

Oh, look at my little brown-eyed girl basking in the sunshine!

Here's the two old agate enamelware buckets we use to hold potatoes and onions. We've had them almost as long as we've been married and that's a long time.

I know I already showed you my pot rack but it's just the absolute best solution for a small galley kitchen. The stainless steel rod had been in the barn at the old house for years and is one example of RH being right in never throwing anything away. 

That may be one example but many more examples exist that might not agree with that if you knew just how many dumpsters Zack and Courtney had to rent just to empty out two barns, a smokehouse and cowshed when they bought our place.

Here's another space saver, a granite lazy susan that our daughter Christy gave RH for Father's Day one year. It holds all the vinegars and oils.

You'll find post-it-notes up on my cabinets, and granddaughters' drawings, and quotes I'm loving, and prayer lists that I can see every day.

A new addition to the kitchen is the oil painting I commissioned from my daughter-in-law years ago with a paraphrased Bible verse from Proverbs done in raised letters all over the painting. I couldn't capture the writing in the photograph but it says:
Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as satisfying as a good harvest.
 It originally hung over my dining table at Valley View, a reminder of how important good conversation is, then moved over the bathroom mirror here, the only place I had room for it. 

But with a planned bathroom repainting here soon and finding a quirky old black and white picture at an antique store in December added to the bathroom, and another second one, with plans to look for more, I took all pictures and objects with color out of that room and found the perfect place for this in my kitchen over the door leading to our breakfast room/dining room/sitting room.

Here's a picture of RH's kitchen project of last summer. He, with the help of two sons, replaced the old tiles that were not only ugly but downright dangerous with luxury vinyl plank flooring in a pattern I chose called Scratched Stone. I absolutely love it and after 12 years of having black and white checkerboard tile in our kitchen at Valley View--gorgeous but showed dirt so easily--this distressed look is so forgiving. That white streak is sunshine!

After putting down the new floor they moved a cabinet over some five or six inches where it would be snug against the stove. The gap, of course, was because stoves were much larger when this house was built in 1935. I toyed with the idea of choosing a retro replica because I badly wanted a white range to match the white dishwasher and fridge. I checked with the company that Rue's stove was from but hers is gas and ours would have to be electric and they didn't have the same good reputation as the gas ones.

And the really expensive white larger electric stoves were just that, really expensive. So I settled for a new one that cooks great and has a beautiful blue enamel interior but is no star in a blog-worthy world of beautiful gas stoves.

I'm just glad there is no longer a gap between stove and counter.

Here, see below how the coffee pot counter is moved down from where the upper cabinet is? That's the cabinet the guys moved. I love the little bit of extra floor space it gives us and makes a perfect place for my babies' water bowl on the floor but if you're the one putting down a fresh bowl of water for BreeBree and James Mason, watch out for your head on that upper cabinet!

Both RH and I have seen STARS a time or two until we learned our lesson.

And there's something else I taped up on my cabinets, a menu I want to make soon and don't want to forget.

After the new floor was finished we went looking for something to put in the space below to hold stuff. We looked at expensive made-in-China cabinets and rolling tables, etc. in stores until I got stubbornly passive-aggressive and refused to buy any of them.

We were both frustrated with the whole day but I asked to be taken to the nearest antique mall where we split up with a focus on any possible contraption that could hold stuff and still have character.

RH found a dry sink! 20% off and under $70 with tax! And oh my goodness, it fit right in there with a 1/4 of an inch to spare. I tell you, passive-aggressive sometimes works!

That's me reflected in the black hole below to photograph our new find. James Mason was very interested in it even before snacks got put inside.

But look at that raw wood showing on the cabinet next to it...wouldn't you think that we would have thought to paint it before we put the cabinet in? Or even when the kitchen walls got painted white after the new floor was put down? 

Neither of us noticed it then. 

And who's going to do it now after the dry sink is loaded down with stuff? Most of you would!

You're going to laugh when I tell you that the guys did paint the other side of this white cabinet when they painted the room. You can see it painted white two pictures down. I mean...?

But I was so thankful for this white cabinet that we brought with us from Florida that was leftover from a job RH was on. Rejected because the measurements were wrong, it has three drawers of storage space for all my baking things, and the cabinet guy found a beautiful piece of marble for RH to top it with.

We had intended to someday paint the wood cabinet of drawers that the microwave sits on, in the picture below. This cabinet was a tool box for RH in our old house. But I claimed the top three drawers here for spices, etc. and tools remain in the bottom two. Compromise. 

Now, to a few more hopefully planned little projects--all of our projects will be little ones from now on, we've promised ourselves.

See the long florescent light on the ceiling? I don't want to insult anyone else's florescent lights, but I hate them! And since the kitchen here is one of the warmest rooms in the house I hope to replace it with a simple white ceiling fan with one light in it.

So that's number one on my wish list for this spring.

There's even a picture of a fan on an upper cabinet. And it will stay there until that florescent light is gone. You would be very surprised how many things actually get done if I just put a picture of it over the coffee pot.

I think I'm skipping around in order here with my pics. I put these pictures all up on the post last weekend and now am trying to write the story to go with them, not my usual way to post.

I think I just wanted to show you my solution here for storing the stacks of clean white dishtowels on top of the fridge.

The kitchen door, below. It and the trim around it need painting badly. The claw marks from five basset hounds that lived here before us are still on the outside of the door.

I'm so grateful that RH installed a storm door here after we moved. I keep the door open to the light whenever I'm in the kitchen. And BreeBree and James Mason don't have to claw on the door to get back inside from their pen, all they have to do is look at me through the glass door. Those poor bassets!

The first thing we do when we come in the kitchen in the morning is open the door to see the pond and to see if the geese have flown in yet for the day. Part of the year they sleep on another pond in the neighborhood.

Here's another mini project, see the light fixture over the sink in the picture below? Guess who picked that out? Ha! I can tell you that it sure wasn't me!

Looking for something else there, folks, not sure what but I'll know it when I see it. 

The kitchen cabinets could use painting too but for now I'm just calling them distressed.

The light fixture down by the open shelves is a sweet little inexpensive chandelier that was over the sink at Valley View. A sentimental favorite but I'm wanting something easier to clean for the sink area.

I kept hoping the sun would stay bright for these pictures but that's shy March for you, springtime one moment, winter the next.

It will come though, and the sun with it.

Whether March is sunny or cloudy, it is still beautiful, a harbinger of beautiful Spring.

Here's a cloudy springtime photo of our other granddaughter, taken last spring--or was it two springs ago? Maybe so because she has just had her hair cut and donated 10 inches of that blonde hair.

I'll have to ask permission to show you her new hairdo soon, after I get over the shock of our little girl growing up so quickly.

Thanks to their father for their beautiful photographs!

Wish I'd had him here to take my kitchen pictures. On the first day of Spring I'll be taking the picture below of his down and changing it to one of Spring blossoms. 

A few years ago for Christmas he gave me pictures he had taken representing the four seasons of the year and I love them so much and have made a little ritual of changing them on every equinox. This winter one is frozen ice bubbles around the dogwood buds in his yard.

I know this is another one of my long posts and I intend to do much shorter ones next, but I hope you enjoyed it. I know that I always love to see the kitchens of my friends, whether they are big showstopper kitchens or small cottage kitchens. 

Our daughter and son-in-law recently moved from Florida to Montana and it made me so happy to have a FaceTime tour through their house the other night. 

You just have to be able to picture where your children live, don't you? And the kitchen was the room I was most waiting to see. It was gorgeous!

Thank you for bearing with me on this long post, even if you did scroll quickly through it! But I love this little galley kitchen of ours so much and wanted to share it with you, now that there is more light in it.


  1. What a lovely post Dewena, I enjoyed it from start to finish.
    Loved seeing all of your photographs.
    The ones of your beautiful granddaughters are just lovely and I thank you for sharing these precious photographs, which provide you with wonderful memories for many years to come :)

    All the best Jan

    1. Thank you so much, Jan! Yes, they are precious photographs of precious girls!

  2. I LOVED the tour of your kitchen and am so happy for you that you have more sunlight there now -- that is such a huge factor! I think it's also good for you, to do a thorough photo-appreciation session and have these pictures and this blog post to savor. Because I know you love your kitchen and have put so much of yourself into it. God bless it!

    1. Thank you so much, Gretchen! I do love this kitchen so much, it is just right for me now. It was so intuitive of you to suggest that it was good for me to capture it in pictures. True in many ways and thank you!

  3. I love long posts! I am one that keeps out her oils and vinegar and all the whatnots in cooking. I don't have much counter space, or much cabinet space, but dragging the same stuff out of a cabinet all the time is not my thing. (Besides, I fell off the kitchen step stool and broke my tailbone reaching into a cabinet--so not into doing that again, either.)
    To me, your kitchen looks like one that gets loved and used.
    I WISH I could figure where to put a rod for my pots and pans! That's just delicious.

    1. You fell off the step stool? Painful injury! We think those things will never happen but they do all the time. Even if I had room to store my vinegars and oils, I'd still keep them out, just enjoy the look of them and it reminds me to use them often.

      Thanks so much!

  4. I'm in Mexico right now and I love reading long posts. We only have a galley kitchen in our apartment and my husband is always nagging because he is a minimalist. When I lived in a house with a different husband, I had a grid on the wall for my pots and pans. Those dogs! I miss our and right now the balconies are being replaced on our apartment . Tilde is used to the glassed enclosure being her room. I'm glad that I'm away for the disruption.

    1. I know you must miss your sweet little dachshund girl, Madame! But how wonderful to be enjoying March in Mexico now and hopefully your balcony work will be finished when you return home.

      It would require great compromise when married to a minimalist. Would you believe that in comparison to my husband, I'm the minimalist? Doesn't seem possible but oh so true.

  5. Dear Dewena ~ I thoroughly enjoyed this post from you. I love your cottage kitchen and know I'd feel completely at home in it.

    Your grandgirls are precious and so is your sweet pooch.

    I love your dry sink and all of the light coming into your kitchen.

    Enjoy ~ Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thank you so much, Rainey! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Those granddaughters are gems!

  6. OH MY! Home Hill at its best! it's just lived in and glorious!
    and no I didn't "scroll quickly through it!" I relished every paragraph and every detail in the pictures. and the humor. RH has no idea how important he is around there! LOL!
    you're a winner DSM! and you are loved!!! xo
    that little brown eyed charmer I could just reach down and pet the silky head.
    and I love the pictures of your beautiful grand daughters! so happy to get to see them always!

    1. Thank you so much, Tammy! And yes, RH is so important around here! He's a little bit like our other energizer bunny, right? His batteries run down sometimes but next thing you know he pops up and is at it again.

  7. Dewena, I absolutely love your little galley kitchen, and now all the light since the bush was cut down! The first thing that comes to my mind when I see it is that it belongs to someone who loves to cook. I wish I could put all my oils and vinegars out on the counter but I don't have any room. The longest part of our counter by the fridge holds my KitchenAid mixer and a bowl of fruit. Technically, I *could* fill that long space with more items, but that's where we do all our food prep and more stuff would just get in the way. The other part of the counter is on the other side of the sink, by the stove. That holds a basket of teas and coffee beans, two utensil jars full of cooking utensils, a bowl of potatoes, another bowl full of onions, garlic and shallots, and my big blender.

    I wish I had wall space for shelving and a pot rack like you have. The only available wall space would be the wall that is right next to the living room. I don't want to be sitting in the living room, looking at a pot rack. It just doesn't "flow" to me, if that makes sense.

    I'm glad we're not the only ones that seem to always have these little projects that need doing. We need new kitchen light fixtures, too (both main/overhead light and over the sink). We also need new countertops, a backsplash, recessed lighting and updated cabinets...but that's all $$$ and there's more important home projects that have to get done first.

    Thanks for the kitchen tour!

    1. Thank you so much, Melanie! And we've talked before about a pot rack for your kitchen to free up cabinet space but sometimes it just won't work. And you have had so many major home projects recently that the little ones have to wait. No rush, that's the attitude to have, I must remind myself.

  8. PS - your granddaughters are so beautiful!

  9. Oh my gosh Dewena so much cuteness in this post. Your granddaughters and the curls are just beautiful. I love love that big window you have in your kitchen. I would love a big window like that and your view is so pretty. Love seeing Bree enjoying the sunshine. Buddy loves the sunshine and finds those spots in the house too. Happy Wednesday sweet friend.

    1. Thank you so much, Kris! You may not have a big window in your kitchen but oh my goodness what you would do with one if you had it! You're welcome to come show me some fabulous things to do with mine, anytime you want to!

  10. Hi,
    Fun, fun! You know, I just love your sweet towels and aprons with your dogs on them. I noticed those right away.
    I like your home, it is Home Sweet Home. :-)
    I love the photos of your granddaughters. I love curls. I have got them too. LOL
    Love, Carla

    1. Thank you so much, Carla! You know, it is the little things I notice too, like a tea towel.

  11. Dewena, your granddaughters are just darling with those curls. These are sweet pictures, and you should frame them sometime. The one with the cheerful yellow flower for Spring really got to me. All that light in your kitchen is wonderful. What a sight it must be to see the geese on the pond. I notice touches of blue in your kitchen also, so pretty. And I like the white cabinets. Thank you for sharing some of your kitchen projects with us, Dewena. You do have a charming kitchen. : )

    love, ~Sheri

    1. Thank you so much, Sheri! I do have framed pictures of the girls in almost every room here. I say good morning to them and goodnight! And the geese on the pond are such a blessing to us. Yesterday I stepped out on the kitchen porch just in time to see them circle overhead and land on the pond. And there I was with my phone in my hand but froze just watching them. Lovely sight!

  12. I thoroughly enjoy long, chatty posts such as this one. Your granddaughters are beauties! Something you didn't mention as sunshine in your kitchen is your Kitchen Aid - what a great looking appliance! I went with boring white.
    It takes a long time for a kitchen to be adapted to one's style of cooking and storing things. I confess, I'd be putting things away left right and centre! I also hate fluorescent lights and that's what I have in my kitchen just now. A few more years and we'll be doing a major reno. Then, bye bye fluorescents!

    1. Thank you so much, Lorrie! (I'm accepting all the compliments here that my granddaughters are getting!)

      Here you have a white Kitchen Aid, which is just what I want. If we were not so very far away we could swap them. And I do admire kitchens with cleared counters in others houses, just doesn't work for me. I know you must be making plans for that major reno down the road and have it all worked out in your very organized mind!

  13. There is something so fascinating about seeing kitchens. Real kitchens and not the magazine kind.
    Your kitchen is very welcoming And now with the pruned branches, it looks like a new kitchen.

    Your grand daughters have a sweetness about them!

    1. I feel that way too, Christine. I went on a Christmas tour of homes once where one of the houses didn't admit us to the kitchen. I felt so cheated!

      Thank you, those little girls are so very sweet!

  14. Dewena, Your granddaughter is adorable. I love the curls dropping toward the daffodil. Your husband did a great job trimming back the holly. So much light in that end of your kitchen now. Wonderful. Blessings to all, xoxo, Susie

    1. Thank you so much, Susie! I was so in love with that photograph, just as I am with the girl in it!

  15. I love the look of your kitchen, dear Dewena. You can tell that it is a real working kitchen, where real food is being prepared, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse into your life and meeting your 'friends'. And, also, your granddaughter is adorable.

    1. Thank you so much, Amalia! I love how convenient this kitchen is and how nice it is to just turn from one side to the opposite to work. Might not have been great when we had four children at home but it's perfect for us now.

  16. You're like me, Dewena! I have my cooking stuff out too, no clutter free counters for me! I love your galley kitchen, it feels cozy and like home. :)

    1. Well, Debbie, you know how much I love seeing posts of your wonderful cozy and colorful kitchen! It feels like home to me too!

  17. Dewena, like you, my kids are part Scottish and Irish, and they both are wonderful heritages. I can see why you think about your father, who was Irish, on this day. Lots of precious memories for you. Nel actually just did her genealogy, and it turns out she has mostly Scottish and Irish in her. She wants me to do this someday, as I'm really into heritage as well. Happy St. Patrick's Day, Dewena. How special to be a part of this beautiful heritage.


  18. Dearest Dewena, good morning!

    I can relate so much to you about THE LIGHT. I get giddy, happy, totally uncontrollable when the light hits me. The other day around 4:45pm, the light came into the kitchen in such a powerful way that I had to take out my camera. I documented the time that this sunshine struck so boldly so I could style that part of my kitchen for a proper photo today, at that time. Light is my friend. Since childhood, it has played a huge role in my memory-making and it has taken me through much grief over the years since the loss of my parents. May the true light continue to illuminate our souls! Thank you for visiting my blog!

  19. the view must be beautiful from your window.
    have a great day

  20. Looks great!! When we moved in here every window was covered with roof high bushes and shrubs. We used to joke that it was like Little Shop Of Horrors. The plants were taking over!! What a difference a little light makes in a room. And that first shot of your granddaughter is amazing. She's gorgeous and what picture!

  21. Hello sweet friend! Love seeing the pictures of your kitchen, it is warm and cozy and I love it! Glad to see you had stopped by and in answer to your question, yes the people of Charleston are known as Charlestonians!! LOL...you got it right! Hope your week is coming along great!

  22. I thoroughly enjoyed all the views of the kitchen and the descriptions you gave and those beautiful kids - wow - that top one with the flower ...fantastic. Someone like me would visit you but never engage in conversation because I would be too busy looking at everything. I love a house that has a lot of personality - yours does. One of my sons moved to Montana a couple years ago to Great Falls - Evidently they have had quite a winter.

  23. My dear friend,

    No matter how much natural or artificial light illuminates your galley kitchen, it is very clear that what makes it truly shine is all the TLC that you have embellished it with! From the charming, mini chandy (hoping you'll keep it there!), sparkling pot and pan display and cheery yellow Kitchen Aid, to your collection of must-have cooking concoctions, scratchy stone flooring and bright white cabinets, your pretty kitchen is definitely the heart of Home Hill!

    The portraits of your princesses must bring sunny smiles to you and your hubby, every single time you look at them, which I imagine, must be several times a day. How adorable are they?!!

    Loved the inside scoop of your beautiful kitchen's crannies and nooks, as well as the talented cook that occupies them!

    Sending you smiles and hugs,

  24. Dewena, I love the light in your kitchen. But then, I love a home with light everywhere. I am sure you are enjoying working in your kitchen much more. To me, our homes should hold the things we love and enjoy and be cofmy and cozy. Yours looks as though it is. And, I have to tell you - your granddaughter is precious with her head full of curls.

  25. The longer your posts, the more I enjoy them, Dewena. I read every word of your in-depth kitchen tour. This entire post was filled with sunshine, starting and ending with your beautiful granddaughters! Glad that your pruning has brightened up your kitchen, and as a backyard birder, I totally get why you wouldn't cut down the entire bush. Now I know why I don't get anything done - I need pictures and notes taped to my cabinets! My method is to keep things on the counter, but before long, I just have a big pile that I forget to look through. Happy spring!


RH and I love your comments! They are sent to my email for moderation first but I do hit publish as soon as I read them. A few commenters' comments are not sent to my email for some reason but I try to visit that section on my design page twice a day to see if they're hiding there so I can publish them. I went the first 3 years of blogging not knowing that was there and when I discovered it there were many pages of old comments that never got published. I was so embarrassed and contacted recent ones but hid in shame from those who had given up long ago.

In these busy days I appreciate so much when you take time to comment. Thank you so much!