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Waste Not, Want Not (If What You Want Is Gray Water)

removable kitchen sink

When you’re using an eco-friendly washing up liquid, it seems a shame to let all that potentially useful gray water swirl down the drain into the municipal sewer system. It feels particularly wasteful when you live in a city or state that has passed extreme water restrictions. And if you live in a country currently facing a water crisis, saving gray water is a no-brainer. But how do you collect usable waste water without sloshing a bucket round the kitchen? Hughie of Australia has one solution in the form of a removable sink insert with carrying handles and a conveniently placed underside drain. First you wash your dishes (or clothes or what have you) in it, then you take it outside or over to your winter garden and give your plants a good dousing. At $25 AUS it’s a pretty good deal if it will fit seamlessly in your sink, though if you’re not down under, you could just find yourself a Rubbermaid dish pan with handles and tip it out as necessary.

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A Kitchen With Flow

julia-childs-kitchen

Love her or hate her, Julia Child exerted a great deal of influence over the evolution of American cooking — a book I love, Something From the Oven, touches briefly on just how much. But that sort of history is best left to authors of food tomes and cookery bloggers. What I’m interested in is her kitchen. Want to see it? There’s an amazing reproduction of Julia Child’s kitchen in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I’d post a picture here, but I’m unsure about the legality of doing so, which means you’ll have to be satisfied with the link above.

Isn’t that a beautiful kitchen? Julia Child’s kitchen was not particularly pretty in the sense that a staged kitchen in House Beautiful is pretty. Rather, it’s a lived in kitchen… a worked in kitchen… a kitchen that is beautiful in its perfect usefulness. The knives, the colanders, the parts for the KitchenAid are all accessible. I somehow imagine that I could walk right into Julia Child’s kitchen and start whipping something up without much trouble. I doubt anyone could say the same for my kitchen, since not much beyond my cast iron pan and my teapot is accessible without digging around in cabinets and drawers. Could someone say the same for your kitchen?

Where’s My Colorful Fridge?

When I lived in Berlin back in the day, the tiny kitchen we had in our otherwise massive flat contained a refrigerator that was orange. I mean bright orange. None of this white, cream, black, or stainless bunk for the Germans. Though I can’t recall if our stove was equally colorful, I can remember being surprised and delighted by the orange refrigerator that complemented our orange kitchen. That room in particular could easily be described as retro-modrn, and that was just the built-ins!

It’s a shame that the only places selling very colorful kitchen appliances here in the States seem to be Big Chill and Northstar. And then, of course, they’re quite expensive and really only work if you’re a fan of retro kitchen appliances. Sometimes you can find them at thrift stores, although they might need some minor repairs. However, you can find parts for retro appliances on sites like PartSelect

retro kitchen appliances 1

I do like them, but wouldn’t it be nice if some of the European kitchen appliance manufacturers would decide to sell to us here in the U.S. of A. so we could all have colorful refrigerators and stoves without having to opt for retro kitchen appliances. Of course, everything would still be quite expensive, but at least there would be some variety beyond the usual four-color palette!

Giving Thanks With Style

Thanksgiving, at least in the States, is less than two weeks away, and for the second year in a row The Beard and I will be serving up dinner here at our very own home. Our extended families will be elsewhere, and we will miss them as we chow down on a Celebration Roast instead of the turkey they’ll be eating. Last year we had a guest, but this year the roster of diners will be limited to ourselves and the baby who can eat just enough real food to enjoy her own Thanksgiving feast.

Our table? Will be simple. We resist the urge to serve up the mashed and stuffing on plates and in bowls embellished with gaudy cartoons of pilgrims and Indigenous Americans. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though if you were to ask me I’d tactfully suggest steering clear of that whole bushel of iconography. The holidays should not be an excuse to lose one’s sense of good taste.

So what have we got here…

thanksgiving-table-6-de

Personalized napkins are awesome, eliminating as they do the need for place cards. Plus, guests can take them home at the end of the meal! Country Living has simple directions for the DIY crowd.

Thanksgiving tablescape

Printing coordinating menus, place cards, wine glass labels, and other paper goods for the table is easy. Just choose a color palette to coordinate with your tablescape and clip art to jazz things up a little. Conversely, sites like Paper & Cake sell print-at-home kits that make printing everything you need for your Thanksgiving table easy-peasy.

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Martha Stewart’s Thanksgiving tables range from the fresh and cool to the modern to the downright dowdy, complete with pine cone turkeys. Note that pine cone turkeys are fun for the very young and the very young at heart, but do look silly. Can’t help that.

Thanksgiving table 2

This table was DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemieux’s American Thanksgiving design, featuring plenty of DwellStudio products, natch. It’s sort of busy and understated at the same time, which isn’t entirely off putting.

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Love the pitcher. Like the use of leaves. Love the chairs. Love love love the sunshine! My ideal Thanksgiving would be hosted by someone else (preferably a vegetarian, but I’m not picky) in a sunny and very warm locale. Screw autumn.

Thanksgiving_download

Finally, here’s more of what you can do with printable templates from Paper & Cake. Yum!

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.

A Farmhouse, Not Farmy

I’m loving the 1840s farmhouse the painter Sean Scherer shares with his partner, Marc Mayer. It’s rather deceptive — outside it has all sorts of rustic charm, while the inside is home to botanical, zoological, and anatomical artifacts. Mercury glass shares space with transferware and precise renderings of human guts. Where else can you find an old slaughterhouse table share space with midcentury Scandinavian ceramics and newsprint wallpaper all in one space?

farmhouse bedroom

farmhouse kitchen

farmhouse living room

farmhouse kitchen 2

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

Love,
Never teh Bride (who is redoing her kitchen)

A Little Bit Country

Your home can be a little bit country without animal heads on the walls, lots of dark exposed wood, or being a little bit rock and roll. Just like you can be mod without plastic chairs or inflatable furniture. Not that there’s anything wrong with going a really rustic route.

Check these country interiors out for down home inspiration without the gun rack:

country art

A recipe for rustic: take one piece distressed furniture and combine with old world landscapes, vintage art pieces, and crisp white furniture. (via)

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