Sunday, June 24, 2012

Land of Milk and Honey

For some time now, my kitchen has been craving change.

Alright, fine. My kitchen does not have feelings. I'll admit it that it's me who has been dying for something new and better to happen on my biggest set of open shelves. I was ranting about it just the other day here, and several months ago here.

I know. It's taken me a while to work this out, hasn't it.

Finally, over the past few days, my wanderings in the desert of trial and error have led me to the promised land of satisfaction. Here's my new look:

"Well," I hear you saying, "that's all fine and good. But what on earth took you so long?"

To which I must reply that just as God left Moses to drift for quite some time before showing him the way out, so must I give my mind time to work out this sort of challenge. 

Slowly but surely, I sort through my belongings, trying out different arrangements, playing with what I have and what I love until it all looks right to me.

And while this particular composition of bowls, plates and pitchers is brand new, almost everything here has belonged to me for years, if not a decade or two. 

Trust me, I make do with what I have. 

For example, see all the shiny pewter pieces? Four bowls and an pitcher. All wedding gifts. Which means they date back to the days of Pharaoh. 

More recently acquired were these red polka-dot mugs. Are they not just about the most cheerful thing you have ever seen?

These were a gift to me, from my daughters, about six or seven Christmases ago. I had seen them on sale and gone crazy for them; my daughters cleverly took my madness as a sign that I would appreciate them for a gift. Yes, I'm a fool for red polka dots; well played, daughters.

At the beginning of a summer maybe five years back, I fell in love with these little blue bird plates when they were at full price. No possible way.

So I watched and I waited through several rounds of markdowns till the price dropped into my reality. Then I swooped in and snatched them up, like manna wet with morning dew.

The little red cups were scored at the thrift store last summer. One of my mandated rules of thrifting: If it's red, buy it.

That's a gross exaggeration. Sorry. 

If it's red and cute and not more than a few dollars, buy it. 

See the stack of six white bowls to the left of the bird plates? That is my one splurge for this new arrangement. I bought them at IKEA last week for about $2.50 each and I am madly in love with their simple, clean ways. 

The clear footed dishes and the white plates are from Target, accumulated in bits and pieces. My eldest daughter jump-started the stack of plates as a Christmas gift; I've added to the collection as my budget has allowed, over the past few years.

The bird theme was not my idea. It just happened. I wasn't looking for a theme at all. At some point in this days-long rearrangement fest, I was looking for a punch of turquoise and this fine feathered friend was just what I had in mind. Funny how these things work out.

Down in the lower right corner of the shelves live my favorite bowls. The red striped one was thrifted last summer; the stack of Fiestaware bowls are probably the most-used dishes in the house. And most loved. Over the years, I have collected one of each color available, and it's fun to mix and match them in never-ending combinations.

For many years, I've kept my go-to cooking ingredients close at hand on the counter. Just to change things up, I switched out the usual container for a shiny silver-colored tray that was formerly used for candles. 

Also shiny and silvery is my cake-stand-turned-fruit-bowl. I have a couple of wooden bowls that usually do this job, but I was loving the metal look and decided to mix things up.

Off to the left of the fruit stand, you can see the last piece of cake, languishing under the glass dome of another cake plates. I'm into cake plates. They are so lofty and fun. 

I have been wanting to eat that last piece of cake for days. It's been dibsed by someone else, and I'm trying to respect the dibs. But honestly, I think there needs to be a statute of limitations on dibs, or that cake may end up spending 40 years under that glass top, waiting to be eaten.

So there you have it. My long journey has finally ended (for now) and my open shelves have reached the land of milk and honey.  Thankfully, I lived to see the day.

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