Suddenly, it’s the last day of February. Did this month just whiz by or what? Maybe that’s because the kitchen has been quite a project. Just finding the materials and designing the patterns was enough for one month! We decided to get as many of the raw materials as possible from local stores, which was interesting. It’s definitely kept me busy on weekends, and I’ll be busy for a couple more weekends finishing. I’ll post about the non-kitchen goals separately.
By the way, our kitchen projects were inspired by this blue and yellow distressed shelf and letters that Jeff got me for Christmas from OldNewAgain. I love the sunny feel of it, and that there’s a little jam jar for flowers. I’m also trying to work within our kitchen’s lingering fifties feel and the simple, quirky aesthetic of my sixties-era dish collection. There are elements from the kitchen shown in the cutout below (I can’t remember what magazine it’s from), but the benches and table seemed right for our little space. I don’t like the chairs though. I’ve actually read horror stories about children and animals getting stuck in hairpin legs like that and getting hurt.
1. Kitchen table: Yes! We got it Saturday and had dinner at it last night. Jeff and I got super picky about the table. We decided the optimal table was a 40″ round table – not easy to find – and similar to a Saarinen tulip table. Those are expensive and hard to find second-hand, but there are a variety of knock-offs. We settled on the CB2 Odyssey based on sturdiness and build quality.
2. Benches for the kitchen: Almost! Progress is slow owing to my lack of expertise. After I designed them we went to a local lumber store for materials, where Jeff and I faced the fact that we were woefully out of place. We are giant nerds, and though we were willing it was a good thing my brother was there and knew what to do. Much sanding, fiddly math and drilling later, we nearly have some pretty and sturdy custom benches. They’ll also double as bookshelf-storage underneath. I named them Woodhenge, haha … see?
3. Cushions, pillows, curtains, appliance cover, oven mitt: Almost! I am awaiting special accent fabrics – I had to wait to order them until after I knew the bench sizes, the style of the table, and what sort of coordinating linen I’d find. I was going to use Central Park, but we decided we liked Kate Spain’s Fandango collection more. I picked these fabrics: Portico in celadon for the bench cushions and Sarabande for the curtains, plus coordinating fabric. I ordered enough for future projects like napkins, a round table mat, and placemats.
The other fabrics I’m using are a white cotton I already had and a heavyweight linen. I got the linen and other supplies at local store Discount Fabrics. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven in there. Also, in case my inventiveness fails me, I got this pattern to get me through making box cushions with cording. So now everything’s washed, measured, ironed, cut out and partially sewn. Just awaiting the other fabric.
The challenge in making everything yourself is mostly about pulling together a thousand tiny details. I really like how things are turning out so far, so hopefully that will give me the inspiration to spend a bunch more hours working on it!
is for February, which appears to have arrived in due course after January. Typically this is the coldest, most miserable, grayish month of the year. However. I expect this February to be different, because I now live in a place that is nearly always between 48 and 68 degrees and at least somewhat sunny. I read about the snow in other parts of the US, and the freezing temperatures, but it seems I have found a way to avoid all that entirely. I now have just two seasons to deal with (onshore Pacific flow and offshore Pacific flow). While some of the trees here have no leaves (but others do), flowers bloom and vegetables ripen no matter what season it is. I cannot say that I mind this new experience of winter at all.
In 2011 I’ve decided to a thematic goal for each month instead of just doing whatever, or nothing at all. My overall goal is to keep me producing and learning new things the entire year.
I’d like to do something art-y this month but I need to work on my house and specifically, my kitchen. You’re all welcome for dinner at the end of the month, if you can make it, to see how I did.
- Get a kitchen table (not crafting, but it really needs to happen!);
- Make two benches for the kitchen. Yes, make them somehow. How hard can it be? (don’t answer that!);
- Make removable zippered covers and bench cushions, thick enough for happy tookuses;
- Make hidden zipper accent pillows for the benches. I’m dreading these zippers;
- Make cafe curtains for two windows in the eating nook;
- Make an appliance cover;
- Make a terry-cloth oven mitt;
- Make bath and laundry room curtains from material I already have.
- Optional: a couple Hanging Dishtowels, and two fabric flower bouquets.
The fabric for the soft goods will be the Moda Central Park line with an undetermined neutral. I’d like to see if I can work in a favorite thread crochet edging also. I wish I had time to make up some new table linens as well, but I would have to be unemployed for that, and I really think this will be quite enough, don’t you? Unrelatedly, I’d also like to make
What I Finished in January
January was my month to wrap up and get prepared for new projects, and I succeeded! It’s amazing I got this much done considering I was horribly sick for two weeks. To recap:
- Finished/frogged all crochet projects: finished my red sweater and my shawl, frogged an ancient blanket I knew I’d never complete and a pair of icky fingerless gloves.
- Finished my mending: buttons, hemmed pants, repaired sweater holes, a friend’s Thai purse.
- Completed fitting alterations to a handmade skirt, a purchased skirt and purchased coat.
- Finished my two outstanding kimono silk projects (I don’t have pictures yet!)
- Emptied out 150+ starred craft posts from Google Reader/Instapaper. I star/save things I want to remember so I can go back and retrieve them later, but my list was out of control.
- Cleaned and oiled my sewing machine.
- Finished setting up my crafting room.
- Started redesigning this website (a six-month project).
The only two things still outstanding are the ongoing train blanket and a shirt pattern that I plan to complete in another month, in which it will be my goal to actually make clothing for myself.
I swear that you can cook in 4′ by 9′ of kitchen. Remember my plan? Here it is.
I do believe NO ONE has ever fit more kitchen stuff into a space this small ever before. Well, perhaps they have, but holy moly, there’s stuff in every square inch of this kitchen. You can’t even see the stuff under the sink. But everything is easily within reach while cooking. I’ve got spices and pans and spoons and bowls and everything. It’s truly excellent. I tried to make it look decent too.
I was cooking black bean tacos here. The main issue with this kitchen is not the space, actually, it’s that TERRIBLE STOVE. The top of it tends to slide around. You know, completely OFF. Which is not optimal when cooking. And three out of four of the burners won’t lie flat enough to cook on, even with water in the pan weighting it down. We’re discussing this with the landlord. A repairman came and took a look and said it looks like I need a new one. I agree.
Anyway, if you think I can’t cook a five-course dinner in here, you’re wrong. I would. Just for the challenge. To see if I could.
Here’s some more pictures. I was having fun taking them. By the way, if you’re reading this via email, you can’t see the slideshow via email, you’ll have to visit my website to see them.