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Oh, Rosanna!

New purple kitchen cabinets means Never teh Bride is on the prowl for coordinating dinnerware! Yay! Right now I’m digging on dishes, glasses, mugs, and tableware from Rosanna Bowles, creatrix of collections of charming ceramics like so…

dinnerware by rosanna inc

Her current offerings include wonderful things like chic black serving trays and cake stands, holiday plates that aren’t covered over with dorky smiling snowmen, eye-catching jet teapots, colorful dessert plates, mugs that feature your initials, pate knives, and more.

Wait, what? I need specific knives just for pate? I think I’ll pass on those, but as for everything else, bring it on.

Dear Ikea,

I’ll take one of these:

melltorp table ikea

And four of these:

urban chair ikea

And while you’re at it, I may as well have you send me one of these:

spoling high chair

Never teh Bride (who is redoing her kitchen)

Have Your Pi and Eat It, Too

Throughout history, people have been obsessed with the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. In other words, Pi, which is the subject of David Blatner’s The Joy of Pi — a book I am currently devouring. And what better way to devour a book on Pi than with one’s very own Pi plate?

Pi plate

Ceramics guru Maria Neal has a knack for imbuing pottery pieces with a little quirky fun and this Pi plate certainly does not miss the mark. While there are other Pi plates out there, this one is by far the prettiest and most appealing to me, since the design is subtle enough that both math geeks and non math geeks can enjoy it.

UPDATE: The artist’s web site can be found here!

Sticky Fingers, Homemade

Remember those hot summertime days that seemed to stretch on forever? Joy came easily in the form of a fast-melting popsicle that dripped down onto fingers and wrists and the sizzling blacktop. Luckily, some things never change, and easy joy is still obtainable, at least on the weekends. I will, however, recommend that you leave the HFCS to the kiddies and make your own popsicles at home using body-friendly ingredients like pomegranate juice and muddled blueberries.

zoo pops

Forget secondhand popsicle sticks and paper cups — nowadays you can DIY up yourself an old school treat with Tovolo Rocketpop molds. Just like Rick the ice cream man used to deliver, and why were all the ice cream truck drivers named Rick, anyway? Or get funky with Zoo Pops molds, which I somehow doubt will look anywhere near as good as they do in the picture. Oh well! When it comes to drippy, delicious popsicles on a hot summer day, looks aren’t all that important, right?

Brighten Up Breakfast On the Cheap

For an inexpensive way to brighten up mealtimes — especially in the wintertime — you can’t beat these melamine plates from Crate and Barrel.

Crate and Barrel plates

Graphic florals pop on bright backgrounds, and the cute color combos make them fun to mix and match.

Crate and Barrel plates

At $6.95 each, these plates are as easy on your budget as they are on the eye.

A Minimalist Kitchen

I remember long ago living in a Brooklyn apartment that was totally tiny. The kitchen? Smaller than my mother’s walk-in closet. Luckily, my roommate had already stocked the kitchen cabinets with all of the pots and pans and dishes we could want. Well, as many as could fit in those minuscule cabinets, anyway. Nonetheless we had just about everything we needed to cook almost anything.

Now I’ve heard people say that you can’t make a gourmet meal in an itty-bitty kitchen, but I’m going to say they’re wrong. Check out the Portable Kitchen guide, which is a PDF geared toward traveling cooks, but way useful for those of us with no space to spare.

minimalist kitchen

The best part is that you can get everything you need on the cheap. I mean all these things. As cookery book master Mark Bittman found out, you can outfit your kitchen without spending a gajillion dollars.

I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well.

He started with an eight-inch, plastic-handle stainless alloy chef’s knife for $10. Nice. Next up was an instant-read thermometer for $5. Then three stainless steel bowls for $5 and tongs for $3.50. A sheet pan set him back $6, and he continued on with a paring knife, a colander, and a can opener, among other things. He also bought pots and pans, in case you were worried he was starting off with an unfair advantage. Remember, cast iron is cheap!

Bright Dining, Two Ways

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve sitting down to big European style breakfasts in my grandparents’ dining room. Because the rear of their waterfront home was almost all window, light and warmth were never lacking. Cut to the present day, in which I don’t have a dining room and am more likely to be breaking my fast at my desk in my home office. While we do have a perfectly serviceable kitchen table, the kitchen in its current state is rather too white for wintertime. In the summer, it stays cool. In the winter, it just feels too cold.

Note that The Beard and I are considering various DIY renovations. Here are two images that are inspiring me right now:

Orange dining room

Yellow dining room

Maybe they’ll inspire you, as well?

(Images via Wohn Idee)

Birch Tree by Jessica Rust

Birch Tree Dinnerware

Jessica Rust specializes in small-batch ceramics that are both playful and functional. The patterns don’t immediately jump out at you, which is part of the fun. At first, the trees and birds emblazoned on this dinnerware appears to be an abstract pattern, but the truth gradually becomes clear. What’s lovely is that the line can be personalized, so the initials carved on the birch trees can be those of you and your honeybunch.

DIY Serving Tray

When it comes to amazing DIY transformations in the home, it seldom gets more amazing than this:

Serving tray, before

One of these white kitchen cabinet doors at the salvage yard doesn’t know it, but it’s going to go home with a superlative crafter with serving trays on her mind.

Serving tray made out of a cabinet

And here’s what that kitchen cabinet door became! Monica of Craftynest is the brains (and I suppose the brawn) behind this oh-so-easy DIY project, and she’s been kind enough to share a how-to on her blog. If you’re in the San Fran Bay area and you love Monica’s stuff — hey, one out of two ain’t bad — then you’re in luck. She occasionally puts some of her projects up for sale on the local Craigslist board. Lucky Californians!

Nom Nom Nom?

On one hand, these French serving trays are delightful in their hybrid beauty. They are, at once, serviceable pieces of kitchenware that are perfect for entertaining and portraits of beautiful woman.

French serving trays

On the other hand, I just can’t seem to shake the image of my hors d’oeuvres being eaten from underneath by ravenous ghost people.

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