Saturday, February 5, 2011

In-between De-cluttering and Cleaning~

Good Saturday morning! I hope your weather is warmer than ours today. New Mexico has warmed up a little bit, but it's still very cold, and the sun isn't out so far. Today I'm not ready to summarize a chapter in Meeting God in Quiet Places, but since I've been pulling out books  the last couple of days to de-clutter my shelves, and donate to the library or sell on eBay or, I began looking through an Alexandra Stoddard book titled Creating A Beautiful Home. And the first thing I thought of is sharing some of her Grace Notes, which come at the end of each chapter. This chapter is about the kitchen, and some of her ideas are easy to do, and can make a big difference in the beauty and comfort of your kitchen. I have chosen just a few of the many ideas she has given in her book. I'm betting that  you and I will soon create a warmer atmosphere in our kitchens.

The oddest thing just happened to me! I was searching for Alexandra Stoddard pictures, and among the page of pictures that came up was a picture of MY bathroom! MY bathroom is on the net! I have no idea how it got there except that someone took it off my blog and put it on (my blog gets credit), or does that happen automatically sometimes? It was sort of mindblowing for a few minutes.'s a picture of Alexandra's kitchen in Stonington, Connecticut. I took it from the blog  Kathryn Bechen Ink. She has a tour of Alexandra's home and city.

Alexandra says:
  • Because the kitchen is the heart of every home, make it the warmest room in your life. Use as many organic materials as possible, such as wood, tiles, cork, plaster, baskets, terra-cotta.
  • If you are planning new countertops, consider installing a 1 3/4-inch-thick butcher block. If the block is of unsealed maple, you can scrub it clean with hot water and a Brillo pad. To eliminate stains, use a sanding block and some cleanser. 
  • Place a colorful rag rug in front of the kitchen sink.
  • To create a feeling of the south of France, rough-plaster your walls. Get instructions from your local paint store. 
  • Hang shiny copper pots on the wall to reflect light and for decoration. 
  • Install old-fashioned brass and porcelain hot and cold fixtures for your sink.
  • Hang a collection of baskets on 1 1/2-inch brads (nails without heads). Use the baskets for bread, fruit, and flowering plants.
  • Hang a collection of favorite pottery dishes on wall-mounted spring plate racks to brighten up a blank wall. Place three to five in a grouping.
  • Replace your old, worn-out stainless steel sink with an inexpensive over-counter white porcelain sink approximately 16 by 22 by 8 inches.
  • Install in the sink a high goosenecked faucet approximately 14 to 17 inches long so you can clean roasting pans and tall flower vases.
  • Hang an unusual, large, fun clock that keeps good time on a prominent wall. 
  • Have a small basket next to your sink filled with a variety of colorful scented soaps.
  • Store a collection of clean glass pitchers on top of the refrigerator. 
  • Always keep a cup of sharp pencils, a notepad, scissors, and a memo board for messages next to the telephone.
  • Hang a decorative painted tray on the wall. 
  • Hang colorful plaid or striped cotton dish towels as curtains. Use 2-inch-wide grosgrain ribbons or cut up a dish towel for tabs; hang from 3/4-inch dowels painted white, supported by white wooden brackets purchased at the hardware store.
  • Try to keep counter spaces clear for spontaneous projects--pasting in scrapbooks, opening mail, balancing the checkbook, folding laundry, or placing freshly ironed clothes to be put away. What greater place to wrap a pretty package?
  • Hang amusing trompe l'oeil dishes painted with fruits, vegetables, or other appetizing foods like croissants, caviar or cheese and crackers.
  • Use a hanging rack for everyday dishes, including a collection of your favorite mugs.
  • Put your wooden spoons in a decorative canister and have it near the stove.
  • Hang a dried flower wreath on the wall. 
  • Replace your old cabinet hardwar with simple, shiny brass wire pulls 3 to 4 inches long.
  • Turn a built-in kitchen desk into a meaningful writing place. Set it up with a lamp, stationery, writing pads, and pens. There is something special about the atmosphere of a kitchen to a writer. Place a blotter pad over the surface to give yourself a spirit of place.
  • Think of your kitchen as a cafe, a gathering place for fun and conversation. Food preparation is only one of the many functions of this room. Walk into your kitchen and see it with fresh eyes. 
This list should give you some wonderful ideas for changing up your kitchen and your life! I believe they go together. I haven't done much to my new kitchen since I moved a year ago, because I'm not sure where I'll be living permanently--New Mexico or Tennessee. But I'm willing to invest in some of these great ideas right now. I hope you are too! 



  1. Mimi,
    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I finally posted a bit about how I got started making books. If you go to my blog, it's in the right hand side bar and under my "Blog Author" gadget.
    I hope you're doing well!
    - Elise

  2. Thanks, Elise...I've left you a comment on your blog site. And yes, I'm doing well except for the very cold weather. Thanks for asking!