It's hard to decide to redo a part of your house. But sometimes it's harder to decide not to! Most of my house is not my taste, but it's in good shape and not worth the expense and inconvenience of a change - yet. I can work with it most days!
My kitchen is has a 1980's casual country look to it, with the country blue and cream wallpaper patterns and stained moulding. (You can also call it molding. Theodore Roosevelt tried to reform spelling in American English without much luck, but this was one of the words he had some success with, leaving us all confused! More here: http://www.johnreilly.info/alt20.htm) The stain is a maple color, and most of the furniture in my house is cherry or mahogany. The flowers on the cream paper above the chair rail have blues, greens, tans, and peach. I am drawn to the bright or the simple, but pastels are not generally my "thing." Think Mondrian, not Turner. So this kitchen has been an interesting struggle.
The biggest trick I have learned is to almost match the kitchen. I refuse to buy a houseful of country blue and peach plates! One set is plenty! I have tried to find other things that almost match, though, with my tableware, linens, and even the furniture. The cupboard and the table are of a darker stain than the moulding, but they blend because they are simple. I have mixed some of my most formal china and my everyday china on the shelves. One big bonus with the china is that it is white rather than cream. While there were white Battenburg curtains in my kitchen when we moved here, there is no white in my kitchen now. But rest assured, white is welcome anywhere! The white curtains were too much mismatch for everyday, but the china pulls the white in. It makes it easier to set the table with white. The cookbooks lined up at the bottom are very casual and full of color. Of course, that is more of a necessity rather than a design decision.
The antique chairs to the side of the cupboard are covered in a really nice fabric that I found years ago at a discount outlet. These chairs are my previous breakfast chairs. That table is in the attic, but the chairs are scattered all over the house. The flame-stitched fabric matches everything! The colors are fine in the kitchen, but the fabric is a little dressier. I like the juxtaposition. It pulls the kitchen towards a little formality.
All of these components can be used to change the look of my kitchen. I can put anything in the cupboard to emphasize certain colors. I could put more green cookbooks out, for instance, for a green table. Slip covers could be added to the chairs or they could be moved out of the kitchen and replaced with other side chairs.
As far as the table goes, the wood is lovely. I keep a glass top because I have children who need that surface for painting, gluing, and messy eating. The chairs are simple. Like the changes I could make to the cupboard and side chairs, I can add slip covers or pillows to the chairs. The glass dresses up the space a bit merely because of the reflection of light. And you can add a tablecloth over or under the glass. You can also place items under the glass for decoration: post cards, black and white pictures, posters, Christmas cards, etc. Sometimes I put a rug down under the table, too, but it is easier to clean up when I don't! I have several, most purchased from places like Kmart, Walmart, and TJ Maxx. I am always on the lookout for a bargain.
By using the eclectic background, I can actually set a pink and white table in my country blue and peach kitchen!
This table was a ridiculous bargain: Big Lots, eBay, Dollar Tree, Target, and antique shows were my sources. The ramekins are from Target. They were $2.00 each.
The pink glass plates and glasses were eBay treasures. The vintage glasses were made by the well-known Arcoroc company in France and were $14.99 for a set of 6. The vintage plates are actually a similar pattern, Fortecrisa, made in Mexico. The dinner plates were $10.00 for a set of four, and the salad plates were $18.00 for a set of eight. I found an extra set of dinner plates for $13.00. So I have eight of each. I also found two extra glasses for $5.99. The glass plates are a little smaller than average, so I am able to layer them on a standard dinner plate. Layering the plates creates different shades of pink. The dinner plate alone looks more like the color in the wall paper.
You may notice the underside of the khaki place mats. They are green on the other side and completely reversible. There wasn't even a tag to cut off in the seam. Perfect! Big Lots. $1.50 each.
And my beloved Dollar Tree plates. $1.00 each. :)
The sterling is Old Master by Towle. It is a very popular pattern; you can always find pieces at antique shows. The delicate flower pattern definitely works in my kitchen, pulling it towards elegance. Nearly all of these pieces were from estate sales. These pieces belong to my youngest daughter. She gets a piece or two for every big event - birthdays, holidays, promotion at the end of every year. In second grade, she has more of her own silver than I did when I got married!
Her knives can be a little hard to find. They are the French blade rather than the modern blade. A good explanation of knife differences can be found here: http://www.silverchatter.com/2008/12/french-blade-knives.html
Another antique find is the cupcake server. I have chosen to emphasize pink by using Camellia blossoms from my front yard. Flowers go a long way in adding color to a space.
The napkins are vintage and belonged to my mother. She gave them to me with a matching tablecloth when her tables were too large for the tablecloth. Lucky me!
In honor of the ramekins, I will share a some recipes that use ramekins. I adore ramekins and am always looking for a way to use them. They often are filled with fresh fruit or pudding or fast and easy sides. But sometimes, it is worth it to go the extra mile!
Mock Panera Breakfast Soufflés
(You can Google this and find many good ones!)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (6 people):
1 pkg Pepperidge Farm Pastry Sheets
Cheddar Cheese - finely shredded
2 1/4 cups half n half
dash pepper and salt
6 large ramekins
How to Make It:
Preheat oven 375.
1. Thaw pastry sheets & cook about 6-8 slices of bacon to crispy.
2. Unfold and cut longways along fold seam then cut each third in half giving you 6 rectangular pieces per sheet or 12 total.
3. Using two pieces of pastry sheet, make shell in tart pan with four corners hanging outside each pan and working seam together along bottom of pan (once egg mixture is in shell you'll gently fold corners over toward the center).
4. Put tart pans on cookie tray.
5. Break up the bacon into small pieces and sprinkle on bottom of each shell; cover with shredded cheese, (I didn't measure just reached in bag grabbed some with my fingers...1 big grab of cheese suffices).
6. Scramble eggs, half 'n' half and add dash pepper/salt.
7. Pour egg mixture into something with a spout (Pyrex measuring cup) so you can pour gently into each shell.
8. Pour mixture up to top of shell, fold corners over toward middle of tart.
9. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes till golden brown.
Chocolate Lava Cakes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients (4 people):
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (or use your favorite 70% dark chocolate bar)
6 oz. Butter (diced, room temperature)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
Butter for Ramekins
How to Make It:
Preheat oven to 350°F
1. Melt chocolate on low flame in a bain-marie (double boiler). When melted, take of flame, and…
2. Stir in diced butter, until it melts.
3. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar, until it starts to whiten.
4. Stir in melted chocolate and then the flour.
5. Butter 4 individual ramekins, and pour in chocolate batter.
6. Cook for about 10 minutes.
7. You can tip ramekins upside down onto dessert plates and serve. You can serve them in the ramekins as well.
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy!