Tension Rod Herb Garden using IKEA FINTORP Cutlery Pots

This project is exactly what it sounds like, and requires no tools! Yay! All you need is:

A tension rod

IKEA FINTORP cutlery caddies (which have drainage plates already

A package of hooks for that system

Some plants


Then you put them all together in your window, see? So easy. This was extra easy for me because I have a lot of tension  rods lying around from when I had curtains instead of roller shades. They were a little too expensive to throw out, so I had them all in the shed just waiting patiently! Another great use for one ended up putting it under the sink to hang spray bottles.

IMG_0806As an added bonus my plants are mostly out of reach from the cats. Since these herbs (cilantro, sage, and orange thyme) are all technically pet-safe and non-toxic it isn’t the most important thing, except for of course I would like there to be a few herbs left for me! I previously had a greenhouse in this window to protect them as babies, which is going bye-bye so I can turn this shelf into a 2-seater bar! Until next time…

My kitchen: Dark Wood Cabinets and Warm Grey Walls: Update

I finally found a photo of dark brown cabinetry with grey walls in what looks like a small kitchen (courtesy ApartmentTherapy) – and I love it! Currently our kitchen walls are painted light blue, which definitely feels bungalow-y, but there is something a little undignified about it and I would rather hearken to the Spanish style leanings of the house. Which are, might I add, just leanings. We have stucco, but no tile roof and archways, but they are not curved! It doesn’t know WHAT it wants to be, which I think has been part of the struggle redesigning our little artist cottage of a house. But after seeing this photo I feel more confident that a neutral color palette will help soothe the space. Nothing like a hunk of bread on the counter to make me feel like this is the right way to go 🙂

This was first published April 26, 2012.

Here’s the new paint job:




Tea Cart Salvage


Last year one of our foster dogs (Birdie – yeah, I’ll name names) destroyed an antique tea cart I had sitting on the patio. She was afraid of the fireworks, I’ll forgive her, but it look me a solid year to get over it enough to strip the pieces of their hardware. Yesterday I added this handle to our rolling butcher block. It’s just an IKEA business, bought on Craigslist when we first moved here, and we seldom roll it out because it’s heavy and needs two hands to grip the sides. Not anymore!

To do this you will need to have a drill, screws and a handle.

Dish-Drying Cabinet: Eliminate the Dish Rack FOREVER

I really want one of these. It’s been awhile since I have thought about it, but I remember reading this article forever-ago (it’s Fine Homebuilding Online) and in my recent “kitchen review” phase have gone back to the desire for one – I am entering a period of house design ruminating that I would like to call “the wants,” where I want about a million new things and have to decide what to do first!

Photo by: Eric Roth Photography
From Fine Homebuilding191 (Kitchens & Baths) , pp. 22 October 5, 2007
The thing that kills me about this is I don’t really know if it’s something I should go making by myself. Most likely I will have to either get a carpenter or convince my dad to come visit. 
If you want to see one that’s a little less posh, but that is directly over the sink the way I envision ours, here is a blogpost about one in a normal Finnish apartment. From what I can gather by reading forums, these dish-drying racks are incredibly common in Europe. I suppose they aren’t here because everyone has a dishwasher. Oh, wait. Except all the people who don’t.


This is not very pretty, but you get the idea.

This one is really nice, I like the plates and dishes!
A sweet one from Offbeat Home. I think it would look better with doors (hence the whole point of it being a cabinet) but they built it themselves so I am going to give them a little leeway.

I did find a Canadian website that supplies the internal dishracks, here at Richelieu Hardware.

There are three different sizes, but the website says they only supply wholesale (makes no sense to me, when they are for homes!)

FINALLY, and I actually got kind of excited about this, seems to be a company (copyright 2012!!) that has emerged to sell to consumers in the States. Naturally they have an intriguing website and then it says “Contact Us to Purchase,” which I actually consider hostile – why not just post your prices? Or just admit that you aren’t ready to sell yet and submit your email to be put on a mailing list?
If there is something I hate more than not being able to find something I want,
it’s being told I have to make a phone call just to inquire about it.

Anyway, here is the website: http://www.thedripdry.com/. See for yourself.

Definitely intrigued by the louvered system they have worked out!
I may just have to call them.

If anyone has one of these, please let me know how you got it.

A word of warning: Doing my internet research I found www.dishdrycupboard.com which is definitely a scam, seeing as how it ripped most of the same pictures I just showed!

Beat the Heat…

…by organizing your kitchen!

The little set of plastic drawers I had hated so much: lined the inside front with white fabric (an old sheet) using a glue gun and used these little wooden frames from the old house to glue on the front (hot glue saves the day every time). The labels were a quick hand-lettering job. They say “Containers,” “Tea and Coffee,” and “Picnic.”
Solved two problems in one today by moving the little desk I had in the office, which was overcrowded, to the kitchen! Now we have more counter space, and I was able to remove the bottom shelf of the desk and we can use it as an over the sink cutting board when making larger dinners! For the meantime it fits right in to the side of the refrigerator.
A close up of the little frames on the drawers. For some reason they don’t feel finished, but this was all I could get done before work!

Kitchen/Dining Muses

 Our Kitchen/Dining area has a host of challenges. How to fit it all, how to make it all fun, and how to make it look like a proper dining-area-being-used-for-kitchen-stuff?! I have worked with what we have – a butcher block and a metal etagere (that’s right, the kind that is in your bathroom) to create a functional system.  I’m not crazy about the split look though, and would prefer a way to get in some more counter space. Also, white plastic drawers from my former DORM ROOM are not exactly urban chic. But I digress.

So I have looked into building something a little World Market, a little Pottery Barn esque, by using a dresser that already has drawers, or a bookshelf, and adding functionality. Then hang with two long rough hewn wooden shelves above it.This is World Market’s “Tuscan Buffet.” I like this idea, because then the system will seem more part of the dining room, with the toaster oven and microwave  even possibly hidden inside it! Eureka!

Another “Kitchen Butler.” This is way too country kitchen and islandy to like the look, but the functionality is lovely. I would stop short of hanging paper towels on the side, but what I really like is the fold up cutting board that is featured on the back:

In my design, the cutting board could extend out on the side, or better yet, somehow slide out from a hidden compartment!

These are my muses as I plot the perfect kitchen.

While we’re on World Market, I also love this little “Yash Small Cabinet.” I think it would make an adorable little bar by the tv! Decanters on top, glasses inside, and some board games on the bottom. Keep me posted as to look alikes in the natural world (although this IS on sale for $99…)

Sponge Planter

The kitchen sink is always an area that can use improvement.
Here I have found use for a planter as a sponge holder!

The water drains out the bottom and evaporates; the sponges are happy, I am happy, and the plants I don’t put in that planter are happy. Everyone wins!