Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Widow's Kitchen

 


I’d say I’ve got the kitchen as blinged out as I’m going to get it but, knowing me, I’ll find something more to add. I’ve still got a box labeled “small art” to find places for---frames of things under 8”x10” and another box labeled “medium art” of frames under 18” x 24”. I had a lot of stuff hanging on the walls at my old place but I’m hesitating about doing the same thing here and please don’t tell me I’ve gotten bitten by the minimalist bug because I think I’ll die if I have to turn in my Collector of Collections membership card. …still I’m loving the freshly painted, unmarred walls.

Let’s begin the tour starting with the view I get when I open the door from the hall (the photo up above). The cow painting over the sink is a homage to the diary farm near the cottage where I spent all my summers growing up. The farm is still there and when I was a toddler that’s how I knew we were at the lake, when Dad turned at the cow pasture. Today that farm is 3-4 times the size it was when I was a kid. Back then we cottage kids occasionally followed the farmer around when he did his milking. I have a lot of cow and cowpie stories to tell but that’s for another day. Let’s just say the Holsteins have an entire file all to themselves in my memory bank.

The mid-century canister set was one my mom used during that Great Aluminum Era when housewives all lusted after aluminum tole-ware, glasses, trays, bar-ware and canisters like mine. I have the complete set but I’m from the school of displaying things in odd numbers so the tea canister is cohabiting inside the coffee canister. Heaven only knows what they do at night when the lights are out.

The cow by the toothpick dispenser is a Lladro and if you see one for under $245.00 snap it up. That’s what the authorized Lladro dealers sells these antique porcelain cows for today. They’re from the past century and I’m going to cry if it gets chipped. It’s always been in a protective china cabinet until now. My husband hit a home run with that gift and his track record for doing that wasn’t the greatest. Look at me using sports metaphors. 

The Woman’s World magazine needs a proper frame but it’s the only woman’s magazine I didn’t sell off before I moved. I had maybe 30-40 women’s magazines from the 1890s through the ‘30s. I choose this 1932 one to keep because it hit all the right notes to go with my new color scheme plus the dinner table theme fit in the kitchen where I needed the touch of color. But mostly I love the teaser line on the cover because it speaks to my romance reader’s soul, “And They Lived Happily Ever After, a new Jane Story, ‘ Nothing Ever Happens’ and 15 other features.”

The calendar clock. I have two and they keep my head in the right century, month and date. Behind the clock is a plate my niece gave me and it matches the set my mom had at the cottage for years. It’s too big to fit inside any of my cupboards which is a happy-stance because now I get to see it every day. Lily-of-valley was her favorite flower and a close second of mine. 

Over the years I collected a similar china pattern from 50’s when they used to give them out as premiums with your grocery purchases. I have a complete set of eight all obtained piece by piece. I mix them up with restaurant ware from the ‘40s and Fenton glass from the ‘60s. I had a huge collection of the latter two and it was hard to downsize then to fit in this place. The restaurant ware represents a lot of flea market and antique store shopping over my entire adulthood years.

The green Hull’s teapot and the soapstone foot warmer below are vintage and all the rest are newer.  (The black rack was actually a pet store item to raise Levi's dishes off the floor.) I added felt pads on the bottom of the foot warmer and have always used it as a hot pad in my kitchen. In case you’ve never seen one, they are from the era when cars did not have heaters in them and people would heat the soap stone on their cooking stoves, then put them on the floor of their cars to keep their feet from freezing. I used to have two but one got downsized because of the move. The cutting board was one we used in the motor home and I use it a lot and it's the only one I have now.

 




The "you are my sunshine..." coffee cup is a homage to my dad. Him singing that song to me is one of my earliest memories. It makes me happy and I think of him every time I hear those lyrics.

This is the view standing with my back to my living area. The table and chairs were Amish built, the table a custom size so my husband’s wheelchair would fit better than at a standard table. The tiny dog standing by the door is a door stopper. I made it in shop class in high school (1950s), the first girl in my district to take the class. Eventually I hope to always have fresh flowers sitting in the center of the table. And for your amusement, I end this tour with the infamous silver gilded mirror that I dropped face down in the grass when I was painting it, a well document story in a past blog post.  


And just so you know I'm not finished finding things to laugh at myself about, I'm having a hard time remembering to use my right hand to turn on the kitchen faucet. I remember when the water hits my wrist. I could maybe reverse the dish drainer to the other side but I don't like the aesthetics of that with the cows and it doesn't function as well for making coffee or using the garbage disposal. ©

And I'm totally in love with this stainless steal roll-up dish drainer rack.

 

47 comments:

  1. Jean, your kitchen looks wonderful! I really like the way you've used meaningful art and objects to make it all yours. Glad that your custom table and chairs work well, too. I'll bet when you sit there it brings back memories. Thanks for sharing the stories behind your objects--that's what makes a home feel like a haven. Just seeing yours finished, makes me excited for my new little kitchen. I haven't seen it, due to my hospital stay, but the cabinets are in and the flooring goes in today. I plan to use keepsakes throughout our retirement home, but one new thing that I just put on my list is a roll-up stainless steel dish drainer like yours. Guess I've been living under a rock, but I didn't know they rolled up. I'm still learning and that's okay. I also wanted to tell you that I'm really, really happy for you. You've worked and planned so hard for this new home, and it shows. Enjoy your kitchen!

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    1. The make different sizes and colors of those roll-up drainers. I got mine at Amazon. Tried to find on locally but no one seemed to have them. I found them by accident while looking for a standard dish drainer.

      You have the fun part ahead of you for your kitchen.

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  2. Love all the touches you have added, especially the cows over the sink. I might worry that the steam from hot water might effect the painting but I'm sure you know more about that than I. I'm guessing. Also like that roll up drain. Never seen one before. Adding your personal touches makes the new place--home.

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    1. The cow print was a cheap, mass market photo of a paining printed on canvas. Looks for real but it's now and it will hold up well. If not it was under $50.

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  3. All the personal details really make a home, and yours is looking warm and inviting. Such interesting links to past, present and future. Any new friends been invited in yet? All dining chairs should be on wheels. I had wheels added to my counter stools, and it's no chore shift positions. About the stainless steel roll-up dish drainer...I feel the same way about mine! My cow figurine (same pose) is one of the few childhood relics I've kept. I grew up a couple streets away from the farm which delivered our milk. Always knew when the wind was blowing from the east.

    You had your first cataract surgery yesterday, yes? How did it go?

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    1. I have two dining chairs on wheels and two without. Love the wheels!

      I did have my cataract surgery yesterday. Just got back from the doctor for my first post-op exam. She said I'm now legal to drive but my vision is still blurry. My niece and I had a good time---she stayed overnight. She helped me hang some art work and took me to Costo for a smart TV for my bedroom.

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    2. P.S. I'm not ready to invite anyone over yet. And there are so many public places to meet I'm not sure that we'll be visiting each other's personal space all that much.

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  4. I love all your personal touches and memories they contain. Lovely kitchen.

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  5. So far, so good! Everything looks really nice and I love how you have kept the treasures that have special meaning and memories for you! Very lovely but also very functional!! Great job!

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    1. I really don't like it when you can walk into someone's homes and see produce lines from Home Goods or Ikea or Wayfair over represented in their decor. I like to see a personality in decor that is unique to the person. I could never work as a stager for a realtor. LOL

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  6. Jean you've curated your kitchen area so well.

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  7. Gorgeous! And so new and fresh looking. Your things all look great. And I must look up that roll-up drainer. It looks so cool compared to my boring one. And so practical.

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    1. As Oprah would say, "It my new favorite thing" or was it Martha Stewart. I love that drainer!

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  8. I’m so glad you are finally settled. ❤️

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    1. Me too! Still have things to do but the main pressure is off.

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  9. I'm in LOVE with that Kitchen of yours Jean! *Swoon* You've settled in so seamlessly and I like that you are taking your time with some things, we did that too, just to see what it would be like to have less for a while. Over time of coarse you'll tweak it all, but right now just luxuriate in it, you've more than earned it after a Big Move!

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    1. You and I are infected with the same disease of not always knowing when to stop curating a space. I've discover Command strips to hang things so from here on out I'll be using them. If I hang too much I wouldn't end up with a nail hole if I change my mind.

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  10. Your kitchen looks so comfy and pretty and if I had a larger sink, I'd be ordering one of those stainless steel roll-ups!

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    1. Thanks. They make them in different sizes. I wondered how they would have worked in our motor home but you'd have to roll it up when not in use.

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  11. I have a Holstein cow kitchen, so I really like yours. It's bright, neat, and light.

    I've downsized and streamlined my cow collection so many times. I've finally gotten everyone to stop getting me cow stuff. It was ridiculous.

    That roll-up dish drainer is an awesome find! Brilliant product.

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    1. It's that way with any collectable. People buy you stuff that may or may not fit your vision. Since taking these photos I've add the tin advertising cows from Delaval Creamery. (Highly prized advertising pieces.) They are marching across the top of my door frame.

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  12. This is a terrific kitchen space and I really love all the personal touches you have added. I know what you mean about having things from the past that meant something surrounding you, like the sunshine cup. It looks pretty spacious. Love that roll-up dish draining mat!

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    1. The kitchen seems bigger than my old one but I had more stuff in those cupboards. I can't figure it out. My favorite part is all the under cabinet lights with bulbs I won't have to change.

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  13. Replies
    1. Thanks! It felt good getting to finally be able to photo document the space.

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  14. Beautiful and functional, Jean! I love what you have done. I also keep something colourful and/or arty behind my sink since I don't have a window over it.

    Deb

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    1. I hated the idea of not having a window over my sink so I'm calling that print as a window to the best part of my childhood.

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  15. Your kitchen looks so cute. I love that table too. I haven't hung all my pictures either. I dropped one really large and really heavy off at Goodwill just so it would look like I had less to decide over.

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  16. Rolling chairs at any table are the best! It's looking good. I hope you're feeling a bit settled in.

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    1. I am feeling settled but there's no rest for the wicked. Always something going on. Almost too much to keep up with. I'm going to have to pick and choose my activities or it would be like going to school five days a week if I did all the classes starting up.

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  17. I love this post sooo much! Thank you for the tour of your new kitchen and all the cool things you've used for tasteful, meaningful, whimisical decor. Good job on the sports metaphors! LOL

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    1. Thank you. Not sure everyone will apprentice my style but at least it's not cookie cutter.

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  18. lovely kitchen & place Jean love love it, & thanks to your dad & you I also went & bought that coffee mug for me to start my day on happy note, was feeling bit rattled today that coffeemug & saying made me feel happy again so did retail therapy for myself & life is good again. I am glad your catract surgry is done & u r seeing better, hubby also got it done last week & seeing better.


    Thanks,
    Asha

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  19. It's nice to start the day off will special cup, isn't it.

    I'm legal to drive at night now but I'm not seeing the brighter colors people talk about. That's disappointing.

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  20. The roll up dish drainer rack is awesome. I have one of those things that side on the counter and drain into the sink but this would be better. I love how you have your kitchen set up. Looks great.

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    1. I can't get over how much I love that roll-up dish drainer. You can't stand stuff up in like you probably can in yours but when you wash out a cup or bowl or take out boxes for recycling it's prefect.

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  21. I love that roll up drainer rack! Your kitchen looks very nice!

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    1. Thank you. Te more I use that drainer the more I love it.

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  22. As a farmer's daughter, I love all you cow-related bits and bobs. Your kitchen looks lovely - very inviting.

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  23. I loved the tour. It was fun to hear the stories behind your things. That's what makes a home!

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    1. You got to hear the stories of all the things I downsized, it was only far that I wrote a post about all the things that made the cut.

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  24. Your kitchen looks both aesthetically pleasing and functional -- kudos. I have never seen a roll-up stainless steel dish rack before, but now I'm wanting one!

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    1. Thank you. Aesthetically pleasing means more to me than functional but it does function better than my old kitchen. The roll up mat is counter space saver for sure and doesn't take up much space if you want to store it although mine has not left the sink it's I put it there. Usually it has a coffee cup on top that I've rinsed out.

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