Kitchens in Blue

Blue is one of my favorite colors in the kitchen. While it’s well-suited for bedrooms and bathrooms for its calming, clean qualities, blue is lovely in the kitchen for these reasons and more. I spend/would like to spend a lot of time in my kitchen so I want it to feel functional, clean, and calm. In smaller kitchens, soft blues can open up the space and enhance natural light. The use of aqua/blue/sea-foam glass tile adds light and dimension. Studies show that blue suppresses or controls appetite rather than encouraging it like orange or red, resulting in fewer trips to the stove for seconds. This might seem odd, but light colors in the kitchen influence me to cook with more vegetables and less breads. Is it because string beans, peas, spinach, blueberries, lettuce, and kiwi are in the same cool-ish color family?

I also happen to prefer warm colors for my cookware: my red Kitchenaid Mixer, my yellow Le Creuset Dutch Oven, warm wood tone salad bowls, cutting boards, and my warm yellow-orange serving ware. These colors pop and compliment cool blue walls and cabinets.

Whatever your reason, cool hues in the kitchen are a definite do.

via Donna Elle Interior Design

via Steve Gambrel

via Camille Roskelly

via Better Homes & Gardens

via Better Homes & Gardens

via Better Homes & Gardens

via Living Etc. Magazine

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Fresh Cut Kitchen: Beverly Weidner

Before we dive in, some background on how I came to be so very excited about this renovation. When it comes to Beverly Weidner, I’m the proud, wide-eyed little sister who is all up in her blog-sharing over on her two(oh yeah!) facebook pages. Ok, one is a page. One is her profile. I “friended” her, liked almost every food post, and the rest is history. We’re best friends! But really, she’s the whole package. Pretty inside and out, pretty kitchen have-r, amazing chef, and laugh-worthy narrator. I hope I’m convincing because she has not personally cooked for me and gabbed over a glass of wine… yet.

Here’s a pic to break up my chatter.

Aww.

Back in March, on my big ‘ol Spring b-day, Bev wrote on my wall. O.M.G. Having played her up as a famous blogger-foodie-chef-lady for months, my mind was beyond blown when she wished me a happy birthday. Ever since, I’m convinced – and I don’t miss an opportunity to share it enthusiastically – she’s gonna be famous. On TV. Making people laugh right up there next to Ree and Paula on Food Network. In her sparkly new kitchen.

Mark. My. Words. People.

Bev, you mark ’em, too – I can’t bear to be wrong about these things!

You can imagine my excitement when she agreed to be my first official Fresh Cut. So here you are – behold, a truly Fresh Cut Space. Finished just last week. And she didn’t miss a beat on her morsel posts. Designer and chef. Go girl.

Before the overhaul..

Grab your Ray Ban‘s – it’s so shiny bright! Ta-da!!

How classic is that hardwood flooring? And the clean, crisp white? I’m in awe.

I’m a sucker for cute, snuggly coffee-maker nooks.

And cutting board slots! And pretty cutting boards in general.

Coil-y, stainless sink heaven.

Repeating the warmth and rustic feel of the floor balances the space. I love shiny white when it befriends natural wood.

More shelves and happy vintage glasses.

The “coffee station.”

Two words: functional display. Love. Go ahead. Pin it. I’ll wait.

Twinkly lights! This makes me that much more giddy about our bathroom renovation featuring: super, glittery halogen track lighting. Doesn’t it just feel like your in the tropical sun? No? Close?

Kudos to Bev and Aaron and Eric and all those people who made this space the dreamiest little kitchen. I bet the food is going to taste so much more delicious (if that’s possible)!

Design and photos by Beverly Weidner on her fancy camera. In fact they’re even prettier over on her blog. If this looks familiar, I shared a little link to Bev’s post over on my FB page last week! Go see!

Homes for Herbs

I’m growing my very own herb garden – it’s way teeny and has only two types: Sage and Basil. I plan to re-locate and thin these sprouts this weekend and fill this glass bowl with Rosemary. I also have fresh spearmint and parsley growing happily in the backyard garden and on the patio. I’ve been itching for a more suitable little spot for all of my herbs to live together in harmony (and easy for pickin’). In my not-so-intentional hunt, I’ve found the following accessories and herb homes. Here’s what I have now (sorry for blurries):

Here’s where herbs should live!

Western Red Cedar Herb Planter via Japanese Garden Supply on Etsy, $120

Cork Herb Labels - DIY (via.... all over Pinterest), $Free (after your bottle of wine)

DIY - Trellis with Hanging Herb Pots via Making Lemonade (click photo for link)

Slate Herb Labels via Terrain, $18

Copper Style Herb Planters, $11 via Save on Crafts

Spiral Stone Herb Garden, via Isla Verde

And a few great links for herb tips:

Terrain | Tips from Stone Barns

Better Homes & Gardens | Fanciful Indoor Herb Gardens

Happiness tip: use fresh herbs. And grow them yourself – sense of accomplishment, sense of taste, and sense of minty mojitos!!

Happy (not-too-often) watering!

Decadent Dishes

I don’t know whether to set the table with these artsy dishes or display them on the wall. They’re too pretty to dirty! They would look beautifully balanced displayed horizontally in a row over a buffet in your dining room. Or vertically in the wall space between two windows. Or in a square as shown below over your kitchen table! Use them however you fancy best for your home and more importantly, get ’em while they’re hot!

Set of 4 Egyptian Plates, $22.50 | The Met Store

Peachy Pick-me-up

Today, MotoMan came home from work feeling pretty drained (and it’s only Monday, the horror!!). I fed him a tasty lunch consisting of leftovers from our delicious patio dinner with some really cool friends. This isn’t usually the case, but the morsels tasted so much better today! I mixed up the saffron/cilantro/lime orzo and black beans with the seasoned chicken and veggies we grilled – it was so light and satisfying on this steamy day, the onset of a week-long heat wave. Extra fresh lime juice gave it some kick and I prepared some of The Bread (Oh, yes.). Still, this lunch didn’t feed MotoMan’s need for energy and cheer. I gave him a cool wash cloth while he rested on the sofa, then I rounded up my red blender and some fruit.

Photo Credit: Lauren Kennedy Photography

I couldn’t let him leave feeling so down, so I made the following smoothie, hoping it would improve his physical slump and his broken mood.

The Loot:
1 Juicy, ripe Farmer’s Market Peach
1 Cup o’ crushed ice
4 Strawberries halved
1 Cup of 2% fresh milk from the farm
A drizzle of sweet honey

Serves: 1 forlorn husband in need of some oomph!
Snazz it up: Serve in icy glasses with a sprig of fresh mint and a small dollop of home-made whipped cream for guests.

What I did in 3 minutes: Blend the ice first, then add the sliced peach, strawberries, and milk. Puree for about 2 minutes, then add the honey and set for 30 seconds more. If you want more peach flavor, add more peach and less strawberries and milk. For added protein and a nutty flavor, throw in some unsalted almonds (about 5). Just as I had hoped, this sweet, juicy smoothie did the trick. Inspired by the effects, I set out to find lovely images of fuzzy peaches and was very successful. The simple image above spoke to me and now I want it in my house. Huge. Framed. Stat.

Veggie Variety

I have made an effort in recent spring-summer weeks to buy local fruits and vegetables. I admit, I made this decision initially after viewing a documentary about the big, impersonal processes of supermarket kings. However, as a gal whose more interested in polished silver than politics, I let that aspect remain as a mere influence and I am now hooked simply because everything tastes and looks so vibrant. Produce found at farmer’s stands and markets is typically sold no more than 24 hours after harvest and looks lovely on display in your counter. I always encourage functional ways to decorate using bowls of lemons, bananas, or pots of fresh herbs.

Self-proclaimed "Eat Your Peas" propaganda by artist Joe Wirtheim, $20 for print | http://www.redefinehomestore.com

If you’re like me and you love fresh kale, broccoli, apricots, and peaches, you might like these colorful posters for your fruit stand, I mean kitchen. This is an excellent example of decor which reflects your passions and personality. (Might I add: the only way to decorate!?).

Yum Bite Eat Good

HGTV recently released fresh news to the design world: Diane Keaton’s new line of dinnerware. That’s right, friends, the spirited, classy actress has abandoned Hollywood for Interior Design. Just kidding. She’s sharing her multi-faceted personality and design talent (who knew?!) with everyone via Bed, Bath, & Beyond. The words she chose for the plates could not be any more “her”. See photo I snagged from HGTV’s blog below, then click on this link to see their article – I’m just the messenger! (And I really, really want this collection or at the very least, for you to want it as well).

Diane Keaton's new line | http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com

The cute word plates can be found here for just $4.99 per plate! Style for pennies! Hope you’re as excited as I am – I love incorporating text into design.

Down Home Hip

Howdy, there! In celebration of my vacation in Nashville, TN, I’m bringing you my idea of one hot southern cook-out.

1. Sweet Tea and Icy Lemonade. The cooler of Corona and Budweiser is a given, but these sweet refreshments will keep you hydrated and smiling. Keep drinks cool and easy to pour in a recycled glass jug with spout like this one from Pottery Barn. *Tulip Tip: make a tray of ice cubes with mint leaves frozen inside for that sweet tea. The leaves will look great floating around!

Decorator's Drink Dispenser, $79

2. A nice crock-pot full of Spicy Pulled Pork like Pioneer Woman’s Recipe and a pretty pair of wooden tongs with which to pile it on your plate! These magnetic tongs are available at MoMA’s gift shop!

Pulled Pork Photo Courtesy of Pioneer Woman | Tongs, $50, MoMA

3. Home-made buttery bread. I will let this recipe say it all. Before clicking that link, you’ll need a tissue because you’ll definite drool a little.

4. Ribs are another given, but it’s the healthy stuff I’m going to advocate here. Some simple, sharp skewers for grilled veggies and a durable serving bowl to pass around the table (also looks pretty while it’s on the table) are a must to keep a balanced plate.

Calvia Serving Bowl, $48 | http://www.anthropolgie.com

5. Extra seating. I love the idea of using hay bales for additional seating. Pick up a few rectangular bales from a local farm (a truck is essential if you mind hay in your trunk!). Drape festive, brightly-colored southwestern blankets on each bale. These lightweight blankets below are affordable and pretty. If you’re going for a more neutral setting, try these in a larger size so you’ll only need one to stretch across a few bales – then wash and use it on your bed.

Serape Blankets, Photo by Natasha Wong of Dirty Boots Images, Blankets $30 at Amazon | Eco Wool Blankets, $198 at Garnet Hill

6. An intriguing, hand-made invitation to your shindig! I love this Etsy shop’s version below.  If you’re creative and resourceful, design your own using free downloadable fonts from http://www.dafont.com and a free image of wood or bark by doing a stock photo search on – you guessed it – Google! Even if you don’t have Photoshop, you can do this in MS Paint or even MS Word.

Backyard Invitation, $17 for printable file | http://www.etsy.com Seller: Flipawoo

7. More finishing touches include a groovin’ country, southern rock, and bluegrass playlist.  Make sure the dancin’ tunes aren’t scheduled to play during dinner. If you’re lucky to have a ‘Pick Your Own’ wildflower shop/garden in your neck of the woods, collect colorful flowers and place them in mason jars to brighten the table(s). Spice those up with some of those snarly branches I mentioned in my Desirable Dozen post. Hang up some exposed bulb string lights for a summer-y touch. Bring out red, white, and blue pop-sicles for an icy dessert. Place handfuls of sparklers in more mason jars for after the sun goes down. Last, but not least – invite someone who plays the guitar. No singing required, but it’s a nice backdrop to late night conversations. And heck, if those beers are running low, the vocals might make an appearance.