Thursday, April 21, 2011

In Your Easter Bonnet

Judy Garland and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.
        ~Irving Berlin

Easter ushers in the season of rebirth and renewal...a celebration of the resurrection of nature and, most importantly, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Growing up in a wonderful, Christian home, the Easter Sundays of my childhood are some of my fondest memories.  As a young child, I may not have fully understood the significance of the day, but I knew enough to understand it was a celebration of Jesus and His sacrifice for us.  It was also a day to be with family, to feast on wonderful, traditional food, to get dressed up in new, spring colored clothing, to wear my white shoes for the first time since the end of the previous summer, and to marvel at the brightly colored Easter eggs and all the wonderful chocolate treats and special gifts my mother and grandmother would place in my Easter basket.  My beloved "Granddaddy" would always bring me a beautiful corsage to wear to church, and I could not wait to put it on with my pretty spring dress.

But one of my favorite things about Easter Sunday (call it the girl in me) was seeing all the beautiful hats the ladies of the church would wear on that special day!  My grandmother always had beautiful hats and gloves to wear to church, but on Easter Sunday, she would always wear something extra special.  This may have been the origin of my fascination with hats and, especially, Easter Bonnets.

As long as I can remember, I have loved hats - so much so, that I have a collection of beautiful, vintage hats displayed on a coat stand in my home.  I have many others in boxes in closets or displayed in the top of a Victorian trunk in one of my guest rooms.  I adore them.  If I could get by with it, I would enjoy wearing a hat every day! 

Easter bonnets are top of the list for me as far as hats go...right up there with the beautiful hats women still wear to the Kentucky Derby...but those are for another post.  In celebration of the upcoming Easter holiday, here are a few photographs of a few gorgeous Easter Bonnets.  Enjoy!

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kitchen Redo - Weeks 1-4

A kitchen remodel is not pretty.  Believe me.  We are now into week five of our kitchen redo, and I am beginning to wonder if we will survive it.  The dust, the lack of water, the inability to cook in my kitchen, and the complete lack of organization (this is my fault completely) is about to drive me over the edge.  But at least I can see progress.  That's what keeps me going.

I can't believe I am going to do this, but I am going to share with you the pictures of my  mess.  I won't sugar coat it. I won't crop out the embarrassing stuff.  Here it is:  my kitchen remodel...and all the chaos that has gone along with it.  Without further ado:

 Here it is.  We have moved a lot of the stuff out, in preparation for the workers to come in and tear down the wall that separates the "cooking part" of the kitchen from the "dining part" of the kitchen.  I've dreamed for years of having one large space instead of two tiny spaces with no prep area! 

 And here's the wall.  Why someone chose to build it there is beyond me. It's not load-bearing, so it really serves no purpose except to close in the cook area from the rest of the room. Problem is, there's absolutely no space to do any prep work.  Makes it tough to do much in there!

 Another picture of The Great Wall.  The door to the left goes outside.  Keep in mind as you're viewing these pictures, that this section of the house is the oldest, built sometime in the 1820's.

 A view from the eating area into the tiny kitchen area.  The door to the right goes through a sort of "butler's pantry" and into the dining room.

 Can you see why preparing a meal in this kitchen would be difficult at best?! See that tiny sliver of counter space there in the middle?  That is the ONLY area to work in here.  Honestly.

 Here's our sink.  When the dish drainer is on the left and our flour jars and spice rack is on the right, there's no space remaining for anything else.

 Another view of the wall that separates the two areas.  Grrr.

 Opposite side of the room from the sink.  At one time, the door on the right housed an ancient dishwasher.  Yes, the dishwasher was located on the opposite side of the room from the a closet.  I can't make things like this up.  The pantry is the door on the left behind the fridge.

 After week one, the wallpaper is gone.  Michael and I scraped wallpaper for days!  Looks a little better, eh?

 The wall is HISTORY!  And we extended the counter top from the sink in order to accommodate a dishwasher.  Our new counter tops are in at this point, and I've been able to get our island out of storage.  Not sure the room is big enough for it, but I desperately need the prep space.  Due to structural issues that we didn't realize we would run into, our budget we kept the old cabinets, and I decided to try to restore them.  I would have loved brand new ones, but ....such is life.  At least I have a dishwasher that works!

 Another view of the room minus the apple wallpaper.  We had to work around the table and china cabinet, as I had nowhere to move them!

 Half the wallpaper is down in the cooking area, but we still have that pesky strip above the cabinets.  You have no idea how difficult this was to get down.  We scraped for DAYS.

 And the new floor is in!  It's so nice!  Before, we had half the room in pine and half in ancient linoleum.  We're glad to get a cohesive look to the entire space!

 Another view of the new favorite thing in the entire house!  :-)

 That wallpaper was IMPOSSIBLE!  Here, it decided to take part of the drywall with it when it was stripped.  We had to mend these walls...seriously mend.

 The new sink is nice...a bit deeper than the old one and not stainless steel....yeah!  I wanted one of those fabulous farm house sinks with the apron on it, but I just couldn't afford it.  Next best thing:  a cast iron sink in white.  It's a lovely thing.

 Here's looking into the room from in front of the refrigerator.  You can see how open it feels. Still haven't made up my mind if the island stays.  We'll see how it feels when all is said and done.

 Here's my DH scraping away at that nasty green wallpaper.  Can you tell he's having fun?  This is about three weeks into the wallpaper removal.  Three.  Yes, it took us that long. 

 And here's the walls painted!  I wanted something neutral, so I chose this color.  I'll accent with red, I think.

 New crown molding on the ceiling and beams.  We decided to paint all the trim white to make it really stand out against the walls and ceiling.  I am going for the "clean" look.  I really NEED the clean look.  :-)  Also, you can see our new light fixtures.  Much better than the old one.

 Another view of the paint color.  Neutral, neutral, neutral.

 One of the beams on the ceiling. We have three of them.

 Week Four. DH is still scraping green wallpaper.  I'm not kidding.  :-)

 In case you wondered where all the stuff we removed from the kitchen was being kept, here's a view of my dining room.  Yep, four weeks it's been like this.  Four.  Help me.

 Teapots and pottery and pitchers....oh my!

 Uh huh...more stuff.  Are you wondering where we've been eating dinner during this remodel?  Two words:  Take out.  Oh, two more:  Family Room.  ;-)  Uh huh...on the couch in our TV room...on the days that we didn't need to escape and just went to one of the nearby restaurants.

 Just so you can get the full experience.  Somebody has too much stuff.  Don't you think?

 And here's the path through the dining room.  Yes, that's dust on the floor - drywall dust.  That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  I'm beginning to feel as though we need to be highlighted on an episode of Hoarders.  How sad is this?!?!

 Finally, the china cabinet gets put back together! 

 Hubby, trying to find his way through the clutter and mess...

 Did you know that drywall dust gets everywhere?!?!  Even in drawers and closets in other rooms in the house?  We'll be cleaning up this stuff for weeks!

I have no shame, no shame at all.  ;-)

So, there it is.  Pictures of a REAL remodel.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  And we're still working on it.  Think we'll be finished by.....Christmas?