Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 Steps to Loving the Kitchen You're In: Step 4: Surround Yourself With Beauty

I hope you're enjoying my little tangential trip into kitchen-keeping. I'm having such a great time talking about all the things I love about kitchens, it's going to be hard to stop myself when it's over. The tip for today is: understand what things, sounds, textures, smells, and objects make you happy, and surround yourself with them. This will be personal and different for everyone, as we all have a different set of ideals for beauty. For example, my friend Teresa loves modern art. She has a Kandinsky in the kitchen and Munch's "The Scream" hanging in her bathroom, on tangerine orange and lime green walls, respectively. She has bold-printed curtains with huge patterns in flashy colors. I would never ever paint my walls tangerine and I appreciate modern art but would never ever hang it up because it clashes with all my stuff. But when I go to Teresa's house, I see the way she has designed her space to work with the art she loves, and it makes me love that modern art every time I see it. My tastes aren't as vibrant, in fact they're boring in comparison, but it's what I like so I go with it. Here's a glimpse into what I keep that's beautiful to me:

I just love blue dishes. I can't explain why, but everytime I see them I am giddy. I have an entire collection of antique ones from my grandmother and I've bought more from ebay and The Old Dutch Store. I like them so much I decided to buy an entire set to use as my everyday dishes. I take care when I wash them because I like to look at them.

Music can really set the tone in my house. With so many children and so many jobs, sometimes I need a little pick-me-up or a little calmer-downer, and music does it every time. I've had my husband add one of these in every kitchen we've owned. For Christmas I got an iPod dock so I can be up with the times. Hey! You could do a whole kitchen playlist...the wheels are really turning now.I like nature and seeing the seasons change. I never ever lower the blinds in any of my kitchen windows and I try to keep them clean because I want to see the view outside. And with a mountain like that in your backyard, it's easy to love it.

In October the Nester had a series called "31 Days to a Less Messy Nest" and I remember she talked about having cute soap out to use. I found this wire thing at WalMart by the canning stuff for $4 and thought that it would be a cute soap holder in the kitchen. I have two sizes of spouted oil bottles (also available at WalMart) and one holds hand soap and one has dish soap in it. I think they're so cute sitting there on the counter together in my cheap wire container.

I almost always burn a Scentsy or a Salt City candle in my kitchen for two reasons. One, I don't like my house to smell like food unless I'm actually cooking it. And two, I like the seasonal scents that make me feel excited about whatever season I'm in. My favorite smells are Sunflower, Peppermint, and the one that smells like Clean Laundry.

There's almost always seasonal candy or items of some sort in my little jars on the windowsill. We're heading into winter's bleak stretch now, so I like to put white marshmallows and blue candy in my jars. At Christmas, it was sour candies and peppermints. Autumn is candy corn and pretzels, back to school time was crayons and pencils, Fourth of July I did cinnamon bears and those little flags, Valentine's day is usually conversation hearts and cinnamon hot lips, and Halloween was purple, orange and green gumballs and black spider rings. I have fun with it. Anything cheap and abundant that reminds me of the flavors or colors of the season will eventually end up in one of my jars. I love the seasons and that little reminder of where I am in the year makes me feel happy.

So there you have it. Find your favorite things and bring them into the kitchen with you, be it a color, a sound, a smell, anything that gives you joy to see. We spend so much time in there already that it only makes sense that surrounding yourself with beauty will make you love being there that much more.

Happy eating!

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