Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Part 3: Ranch Home Makeover - Cottage Kitchen Island

Finally the post I've been promising for far too long and so many have been patiently waiting for -

How We Made Our Kitchen Island

First, a little background for those viewers who are new here. In a couple of previous posts I shared the Ranch Home Makeover my husband and I did on our new home in 2013, which starts here. Now lets see and talk about that Kitchen Island.

Cottage Kitchen Island - AFTER

I want to start by explaining that my husband and I are NOT carpenters, just determined. And we've a teensy bit of experience creating a kitchen island. Here is one we did back around 2004 for our home at the time.

Kitchen Island - 2004

Now to get on with explaining just how we made our kitchen island. We simply started with a leftover 18 inch kitchen cabinet to which we added a few purchased pieces, including:

(1) a Rev-A-Shelf 6 inch cabinet pull-out from Ebay

Cottage Kitchen Island - condiment pull-out

(2) a microwave cabinet in unfinished oak, purchased locally
(3) a bookcase in unfinished pine from TheWoodlandMills on Etsy (comes unassembled but inexpensive and easy peasy, only took about 30 min)
(4) island legs from Van Dykes (sometimes a bit pricey but their selection is gynormous!)

Cottage Kitchen Island - DURING

And the scalloped detail (called "aprons") I made from 1 x 6 stock pine lumber using a jig saw. Again, I am no carpenter but I'll admit that once upon a time I had an art biz making birdhouses so I do know how to use a few basic woodworking tools.

Here is the backside of the cabinet components during the assembly of our Cottage Kitchen Island.

Cottage Kitchen Island - DURING

And to this we added beadboard paneling to the back and one side, and also to the inside back of the bookcase. Next we installed the legs and scalloped aprons, which we assembled and attached to the island using small wood cleats. Lastly, we used stock primed 1 x 6 lumber to make the base. This is basic construction, really, I promise!

Cottage Kitchen Island - AFTER

The finishing touch, our awesome cutting board style walnut countertop that I had commissioned by a local cabinet maker (who also did our walnut countertops.) I simply asked him to take the various tones of wood he had from his inventory of walnut boards and create a top to resemble an artisan made cutting board. (Note: I do keep a large, actually HUGE, wood cutting board as a work surface on top of the island.) Mind you, we are empty-nesters with no grandchildren so our countertops do not get a lot of abuse.

Cottage Kitchen Island - Walnut Countertop

Here are a few photos of our new kitchen with the island in the context of the space.

Cottage Kitchen Island - AFTER

And the view from our tiny den/living room:

Cottage Ranch House Makeover - AFTER

And last, a photo of a change I made recently (2015) where I replaced the glass knobs with wood and added the green tray over the range. (Don't ask why, I just get these notions to change details from time to time. No doubt, my fellow decorating-obsessed viewers will understand.)

New Wood Cabinet Knobs added 2015

So that's it! I hope you've enjoyed my Cottage Kitchen Island post and are inspired!

Any questions, just email me - the link is on the right sidebar.

Now I must bid you adieu, because as most of you already know.....

Saturday, February 6, 2016



 Welcome to our home, Mr. Flicker.


We're so glad you could make it.


Come on in and take a seat.


Enjoy your meal!

With winter in full swing here in North America and a blanket of snow on the ground, I'd like to remind everyone to do what they can to provide food and water for feathered friends. Ideally they should be offered a variety of foods at any of the “big four” feeding stations: ground, table or window shelf, free-hanging feeders, and feeders fixed on tree trunks or posts. 

Now, how about a recipe for a yummy and easy homemade treat for the birdies? 

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2 quarts popped corn 
¾ cup chopped nuts, any kind 
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup 
¼ cup shortening or butter 

Grease a large shallow pan and spread with the popcorn and nuts. Combine sugar,  syrup and shortening (or butter) in saucepan and heat,  stirring,  until boiling.  Set to med-low and cook without stirring until 250 degrees. (Or test by dribbling a few drops boiling candy into cup of cold water. Pinch the sample with your fingers and if firm then its reached the right stage.) 
Remove from heat and add baking soda; pour at once over the popcorn and nuts. Toss rapidly with wide spatula until pieces are mostly coated. Let cool to touch and form into small (golf ball sized) balls. When balls have cooled completely,  tie and hang from trees with string using strong thread and large needle.

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The photos above show an example of only one of the many species of wild birds that visit my feeders here in the Shenandoah Valley. 

And they obviously provide an enormous amount of inspiration for my paintings and pottery! From creamer pitchers, platters, mugs and bowls to tiny ceramic clay goodies like pendants, needle minders and buttons.

Painted Pottery and Miniature Bird Ornaments
Ceramic Garden Signs
Ceramic Porcelain Clay Bluebird Necklace
Donkey Sculpture with Tiny Bluebird
Blue Bird Needle Minder
Hand Built Pottery Bowl
Tiny Blue Bird Ceramic Clay Buttons
To see more of my porcelain and stoneware ceramic goodies please visit Cynthia Crane's Pottery on Etsy. And for my prints and notecards please visit me here Cynthia Crane's Art on Etsy.

Thank you my friends for stopping in today. I hope you'll remember to feed the birdies, too!