Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Country Kitchen

Today I am sharing some pictures of my country kitchen. I have written about my kitchen before but I have spent some time recently rearranging how things are set out to make it more user friendly for my twin girls who love to bake.

I now am the proud owner of 3 dressers or as you may call them, hutches. The one in my kitchen is the largest and most solid. It holds most of my vintage china with its large spacious cupboards where I store dinner and entree plates, dessert bowls, trios and some dinner sets. As you can see from just peeking inside my cupboards, I have a big collection of English china. The little salt/sugar shaker is the latest addition to my collection. I can't resist anything with roses! Does the china get used you may ask? Absolutely! I have a vintage hire and styling business and the china has graced tables at bridal and baby showers, a Jane Austen themed Regency ball for a 21st birthday party and of course weddings!  It has been on trips to country halls, private homes and 4 1/2 star hotels. Setting beautiful tables is a passion of mine and it's lovely to have something which can earn us some additional income from time to time. It also means I have more than ample hospitality supplies. No need to use paper plates or plastic forks. And of course should you ever visit me at home you can choose a teacup (over 200 to choose from!) and we will enjoy tea and fellowship together.

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This dresser has drawers with inbuilt compartments perfect for my cutlery sets. This is the cutlery I use on special occasions and hire out for wedding receptions. I have silver plated place settings and a beautiful Royal Albert setting with gold plated accents that has been used for bridal tables. I recently purchased a set of Laguiole cutlery with pearl coloured handles which teams perfectly with my vintage plates as most of them have cream backgrounds. I just love their floral embellishments and scalloped edges.

I recently moved my larger glass jars of ingredients and baking essentials down from my cooks shelf to the dresser. Previously, my girls were forever asking me to get down the jars for them. Now they can easily access them and it saves me a lot of time! They are only 8 but have mastered a number of our favourite recipes. They are completely independent and I only help with removing larger trays from the oven for reasons of safety. Here's a few recent cakes they baked. They substituted mulberries for plums in this Annabel Langbein recipe. It is one of my favourite cakes. The other is 'Dorothy's Rhubarb cake'.. one of the first recipes I tried from a blog. The blogger shared her neighbour's recipe. I am sure Dorothy never realized her rhubarb cake recipe would become a family favourite in a home in Australia! There's a link to it on my 'slice of heaven' pinterest board if you want to try it. I love my cook books almost as much as I love my china and moved most of them up to my cook's shelf from the dresser. I love having everything accessible for cooking and it saves me so much time not having to rummage around in cupboards or drawers.

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My kitchen is by no means perfect. It has some dream elements such as an Ilve stove but it has limited bench space, a too small, narrow pantry and there is nowhere to house our large side by side fridge freezer which sits in the corner of our dining room for now. I am happy to live and work with the current arrangement. I have never forgotten our first missions trip and our visit to a slum area in Jakarta, Indonesia many years ago where the open sewer ran past the front of the ramshackle house and seeing the tiny stove in the corner of a room with its dirt floor where the wife cooked meals for her family and guests. The size of her kitchen and it's lack of facilities made no difference to the quality of her cooking or the warmth of her hospitality. It was a real lesson about learning to be content and I thought of my own dissatisfaction with the dated but spacious kitchen in our first home with its dark timber laminate cupboards and orange bench tops. What was I really complaining about!

And so I accept and work around my kitchen's limitations and thank the Lord for giving me such a lovely kitchen in my country home and providing what we needed for it at the right time at the right price. It's where I bake bread and make meals for my family, where my children have been taught and still are learning to cook and it's the first room our guests step into. Most of them gravitate to it anyway and it's homely furnishings and the aroma it produces sometimes makes them want to stay longer .. a lunch invitation often extends to dinner in this home and it's something I have learned to expect and prepare for.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the pictures of my country kitchen. As Jane Austen famously wrote 'There is nothing like staying home for real comfort' and as for me.... my kitchen provides much of that comfort!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A View From a Table

Today I have found a pocket of time on a glorious spring morning to share with you the view from my table. I purposefully chose this seat at the dining table to be mine as it faces the double glass doors and corner window which looks out over the front of our property. We are completely surrounded by trees. We have gum trees of course but there are also palms and the front of our home is framed by a Himalayan cedar and a Kashmiri cypress with its draping fronds creating a waterfall of green. These are evergreens so all year round we are surrounded with green.

From the corner window I can also look out on our side patio. Last year we planted a climbing rose to cover a metal arch and it has run rampant. It is covered in crimson pink blooms at the moment which truly give meaning to the description 'pops of colour'.

Every time I sit down at the table I am reminded of God's provision. I often say to myself 'Look at where we live'. When discontent creeps in after looking at images on pinterest or blogs of neat manicured lawns or a perfectly tended cottage garden I look out at my forest garden and God gives me a wow moment.

At my table surrounded by this beauty I enjoy my morning coffee at breakfast with my husband. Always around 6am or earlier in summer. We have always been earlier risers and we accomplish more as a result of this habit. At this table of course we dine together as a family. I also teach my children at this table. I have never had a separate school room. Who would want to be away from this view during the day when the resident honeyeater hops along the pergola ? Nature study comes naturally when you live here!

Sometimes we snuggle up on the couch to read, especially in winter but I do love sitting at the table to read to my children. We have just finished the Millie Keith Books. These are treasured books in my home. I read them to my older children and I am now reliving her adventures with my twins. The 4 year old boy loves Millie too. She seems more like a friend than a fictional character. Yesterday, we began Anne of Green Gables. She talks more than we do was the comment of the twin who is the family chatterbox!
It's also where I have my quiet time though it is hardly a quiet time when there are children playing outside making as much noise as the lorikeets flying over through the tree tops! I love to make a pot of tea and sit down with my Bible. The verse that jumped out from the page on this occasion was Psalm 61 verse 5... 'For you, O Lord have heard my vows. You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.' A beautiful reminder of the Godly heritage I discovered when we delved into our family history for a project.

I hope you have enjoyed sharing the view from my table. If you do not have a view you can still create something lovely to look at when you sit at your table. Some flowers or greenery in a vase. A pretty cup to sip tea from. A stack of books that inspire you. Right here on my table are some of the things that sustain me and bring beauty into my life. What sustains you and reminds you of God's provision? Surround yourself with these things and see the difference it makes!


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