Monday, 21 April 2014

A Kitchen Prayer- Answered

A Kitchen prayer

Bless my little kitchen, Lord;

I love its every nook.

And bless me as I do my work,
Wash pots and pans and cook.
May the meals that I prepare
Be seasoned from above
With Your blessing and Your grace,
But most of all Your love 

MY little kitchen minis have not had a permanent home for many,many years. Not since some real life rats decided to B&E ( break in and enter)  2 of my very poorly stored doll's houses that had been sitting idle in my garage.  They physically vandalize both of them, by chewing the wall-coverings  to shreds, including the walls of both of my doll's house kitchens.  When I  discovered what had happened, I had to empty out  Everything.  Anything that could be salvaged, was.  After I had cleaned it , and finally re-pack it, it all went right  back into the deep and dark recesses of the garage loft where it sat for more than 12 years, waiting and waiting and waiting....  
So I already had a lot of usable stuff, once I was able to find it all again, but no place to showcase any of it.  Then in the year 2012,  along came "the ARTHUR"; $19.99  found at the thrift store.  I soon got busy trying to turn it into an English style stone cottage using my FAVORITE ROMANTIC NOVEL as inspiration.  I call this house,  # 43 GREEN DOLPHIN STREET.
But here's the thing....,  for all of the kitchen knickknacks that I had, I really did NOT want to do this kitchen.   I had put it off for months, too afraid to move forward or even to start.  The room was so small and so very narrow and that staircase was, ( for me )  the permanent elephant in the room.  Everything about working on this kitchen scared me silly and froze me in place.  Initially it was the problem of the stairs and then it was how to cope with the meager scrap of leftover, available floor space. How could I make this room work?  What to keep, and what to forfeit?  I wanted certain items that I would probably have to sacrifice;  i.e. a refrigerator as well as, overhead cupboards and/or deep shelves.  I wanted them, but in order to have them, other more important things would be lost such as a work table and the valuable Air Space that I treasured.  A full set of cupboards would have swallowed the entire wall and closed in the beloved airiness of the room making it into a closet, so I had to compromise; but contrary to what I first believed, I am not sorry at all!  And this unworkable space has assumed the look of having always been worked in, AS it IS, which has surprised and pleased me to no end. :D
 So I think that I can safely say, that in this tackling this little kitchen, I have found

 that I have somehow managed,

(against all the odds ),

 to sincerely "love it's every nook"

And that to me really is a Seasoned Blessing from above!
thanks God!

so grab yourselves a cuppa either tea or coffee, and let me take you on a  rather long tour of what has now become

 my very favorite room

 an answered prayer indeed, when I stop to think about it
Here is the kitchen that I built
A look at the two sides together, still in the middle stages of "becoming"
 I begin with
The farmhouse sink
as an outline on how to make a farmhouse sink.  The steps were detailed and very easy to follow. A sink was an absolute MUST HAVE, and I wanted one that would reflect the atmosphere of the vintage-style within this kitchen.  Atmosphere is usually of the utmost importance to me. 
one day
I just so happened to see this empty cookie tray, in my recycle bin.
Hmmmm ...?  "Who ate all these cookies and why didn't I get some?" :/

but wait.. are there
I decided to see if I could use it for the sink detail.  I cut out sections of the thin ribbed acetate and glued it to the outside of the sink form, ( a miniature wooden crate from a former fridge magnet )
I used Quick Grip to secure the plastic to the sides
I only covered the 3 exposed sides of the sink and then I painted it all out with gesso.  Once that was dry, I puttied the entire piece, inside and out, with textured gel medium mixed with acrylic paint.  The back splash was done with Spackle and an over-lay of sand gel medium on foam board, to give it depth and the look of "stone".
When Fats and I were at the 2014 Seattle Miniature Show last March, I had purchased these two sink taps which looked 'farm-housey' to me.  They started out chrome colored and now they look as old as the ones over the bathtub in this doll's house.  I painted the tap handles with a  WHITE OUT paper correction fluid, then I glazed over that with clear nail enamel.  Then the last step was to age everything bit more, with wood toned gel paints which I also used on the sink bowl both inside and out.
I built a stand for the sink from balsa wood and painted, and aged the base with the same color as I used for the shelf over the stove.  I wanted a curtain to hide the pipes and the stuff underneath the sink but mainly to soften the hardness of the unit.  I used the same technique on this fabric skirt that, I used In my BED CURTAINS TUTORIAL.
 During the aging process, I made the curtain look a little too dirty.  Later, I decided to change it.  However the curtain
 didn't go to waste.   I transformed it into a dirty apron that I draped over the corner of the sink.
(see photos further down) 
 think Recycle

I hooked a homeless soap holder over the sink and found some hard-milled french soap blocks made from fimo, that Janine and I produced a way back in the 90's and I placed one inside the  holder.  I also added a sponge scrubbie that I found as a miniature tutorial ( can't find the source ) and decided to give it a try.  It was one of the easiest things to make, using a real thin sponge from the dollar store, that I painted with green acrylic chalkboard paint then cut down to size. 
  It is a cute mini detail. 
A side view of the sink.
and then
I needed a table
I was combing through my collection of "furniture in waiting" looking for something that might work as a table for this kitchen.  I thought that I would have to resort to cutting the length and the width of another table that  I had been seriously considering.  Then I found this piece.  It was a Christmas ornament from several years ago that had a checkerboard stenciled on the top and painted in  American Country colors of red and blue.  It has been sitting around a long time, just waiting for this moment.  It was the same depth as the sink and it comfortably filled in the remainder of the wall without over- crowding it.  I sanded it down and added the slats to the base, so that I could have some additional storage.  Then I painted and aged the table with the same blue color I used for the shelf above the stove and the sink base.  The bottom shelf I filled with a stack of pots, pans and bowls. I also included a big container of flour which sits at the back and a bowl of white and brown eggs that Janine made for me back in the 90's.  A bottle of sherry for cooking and an empty mason jar of salt, ( by me) that appears to need refilling, all of these little things share the lower portion of the work-table.

 I used a trick of Janine's taken from her MINWORKS Empire Bedroom.  I turned the little drawer upside-down; and it became a perfect sliding cutting board.

By adding two nails into the side of the table, I had some additional hanging storage for the grater (my tutorial) that I wanted to use, and for a whisk that has also been a "favorite mini kitchen thing"

The table scape

IF I had my "druthers", I would have loved to have done a "baking table scape".  But for some reason or other, this kitchen wouldn't have it that way.

I found myself obliged to go savory rather than sweet.  The results were not what I had originally envisioned, but it works out far better this way.   I get to use ALL of the Mushrooms that I have; both the ones I bought and the ones I received as a gift, as well as the ones that I've made.  I chopped in some green 'herbs' and decided that marinated mushrooms or a cheese and mushroom pie, were what was on the menu!
A couple of  red onions and a garlic bulb rest on the blue and white china plate.  And what I Thought looked like 'butter' to me ( but Janine thought it looked more like cheese ), is on the wax paper.  Some olive oil in the bottle and poured into the measuring cup,is on standby so too is a bottle of red wine vinegar, salt and a pepper mill and paprika in a tiny spice jar as well as Fatima's  lemon,  a juicer, and a open can of salmon, (Seattle Show) which could go into the pie, ( or perhaps to the cats) all fill up the table top.

 to store the utensils; a tall blue vase and viola! 

I placed the table into the kitchen and liked the way it looked with all of the stuff on it

When I was viewing the sink and the table together, I was distracted by the naked window.
I had thought to leave the window bare so that it would be easy to see through it and yet it did not look the way I wanted it to.
 In the Parlor, the bedroom and in the bathroom, there are drapes.

Curtains would help to diffuse the glare and soften the atmosphere of the entire room

I started experimenting.
Here is the Parlor and the kitchen side by side.
The kitchen window is bare with glare
I tried this coral red and liked it until I got them hung up.
N. O.
they are visually, too strong.
they drew the eye to the window and not to the table where all of the "action" was.
they look PINK when the light is behind them
(not good)

I dug out a lone drape that I made for the Bed Curtains tutorial but I didn't use it either.
I know the curtain is too long, but it IS TOILE!
  I love toile but this looks dowdy


I found this pretty little sprigged cotton in my box of fabrics but it was far too white.  I wet it and stained it with gel paint to tone down the white ground color and then used the gel glue to add some body.   I  used my own tutorial and fashioned the drapes onto the Pretty Pleat mat and used a blow dryer to set it.  I made a pocket for the brass rod and slipped the curtain onto it, and hung them with enough of the window uncovered above so that someone could still peek through.  The curtains diffuse the light and give such a soft warm glow to the walls.
The window latch is what is causing the curtain to bulge out which is an unexpected detail that I find rather intriguing.
Next to the window on the floor is a basket of french breads that I made from air dry clays next to an old  Realife kit Bedroom night stand which generously provides all of the needed kitchen drawer storage.  I have draped it with one of Ruth Stewart's laser cut doilies,( Seattle Show)I love her stuff!  The ktchen scale, also came from the Seattle Show, but it now has a shallow tin dish ( a cut down measuring spoon)  full of tiny metal cookie cutters, an idea that I 'stole' from Kim Saulter's It's a Miniature life.  Jennifer, of Plushpussycat, sent me the heart-shaped cookie cutter as well as the little glass pitcher ( thanks again Jennifer :D ).   I have placed it on top of the  Realife spice drawers along with a tiny teapot that I purchased from potter
Jason Feltrope of Arkansaw. 

 Fatima and I just Adore his pottery and what a genuinely friendly guy he is to speak to. 
his teapot can pour! 

I have a very dear friend named BETTIE SMITH whom I have known for many, many years.
Last year, Bettie suffered a major stroke from which she is still valiantly trying to recover.  Bettie has been active in miniatures for decades, but now she is no longer able to participate in this hobby and it grieves her terribly.  She called me on the phone a few weeks ago and asked me to come over and take some things that she had wanted to give to me.  She was trying to down-size her Vast collection and needed me to help her do it.
I did go over and she and I went through several drawers of items with Bettie telling me to "Take this and take that".  This set of blue and white china were some of the many things she wished to pass my way.
I am so honored to have Bettie as a friend and the fact that these blue and white pieces are from her and now in Green Dolphin Street, keeps a part of her always with me but also in

 the Land of LILLIPUT that she so adores.
Thank you dear Bettie!
I originally blue tacked the china to the wall and liked the way that it looked.  I have blue and white china in varying combinations, in every room of this Arthur cottage, but in the kitchen, it has the most visual impact. However, I didn't just want it for display only, I also wanted to be able to use it.

So I made a plate rack just for Bettie's china and hung it above the table.

Whoops!  I nearly forgot to tell you about
 the laundry
I was scoping out a German blog ( that I shall try to find the name of again) and saw this clothesline idea.  I just so happened to have an appropriate weight of string that came from an old necklace and so I strung the line over the sink.  Then I had to make some towels for it. And after making the towels, I had to make some clothes pegs.

One of the benefits to having a clothes line, is that these 2 towels cut the glare from the light fixture right behind it.  They also draw the attention away from the fact that there are no overhead cupboards on the wall other than that one frugal little plate rack.  The clothes line fills out the air space without FILLING UP THE AIR SPACE!
Even with the lights off, the kitchen looks active
YES,I know that this is already a very long post and that you have seen the stove before
 but here it is again
 with more of the back wall visible since I removed the red sifter for this photo 
and changed the configuration of the products on the shelf above.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I rearranged this upper shelf over the stove but this is what it looks like now.  I made room for a silver biscuit tin ( West Coast Miniature Show) and also a box of "WEE OATS", placed in front of the tall jar of Spaghetti from my spaghetti tutorial and my jar of mustard made from a wooden bead with a great shape.  The varying heights and textures of paper, glass wood and metal, are now far more interesting for me to look at and enjoy. :))


So let's review....
 The right side of the kitchen

and what's Inside of the sink

What is Over the sink
 and what's Under the sink

All of the items On the table
 and an old photo On the wall
 How it looks Overall
 and how it connects being Next to the Parlor


May the meals that I prepare
Be seasoned from above
With Your blessing and Your grace,

But most of all Your love

my thanks to everyone