Monday, September 8, 2014

Around The World Blog Hop: Sharing My New Video "One Fine Day ...."

"One Fine Day at Cynthia Crane's Pottery"
Well, the day has finally arrived for my turn in the Around the World Blog Hop. I'm supposed to answer a series of questions about my creative process....yada yada yada....but rather than ask you to spend 10 minutes reading all about moi (which might bore you), I thought you might rather only spend 5 minutes watching a neat little video my daughter helped me make recently.

I think it should tell you all you really need to know!

So.....without further 'tis:

One Fine Day at Cynthia Crane's Pottery

I certainly hope you enjoyed that! 

Now I must give a big THANK YOU to my blogger friend Jan of Sew and Sow Farm for inviting me to participate in this Blog Hop. A real "salt of the earth" gal is she, helping manage a huge farm in north George while she makes time to create the most splendid quilts you ever did see. 

Featherweight Quilt Company
Jan's current specialty is designing and stitching quilt blocks called Patchwork of the Crosses using the English Paper Piecing method. She even offers her lovely quilt block kits and supplies in her Etsy shop, FeatherweightQuiltCo.

Sew and Sow Farm
Her blog is full of heartwarming photos and stories about the animals on her farm, interspersed with loads of helpful information about quilting. And she has the most wonderful and generous Giveaways, too! So be sure to visit her blog and tell her I said "Hello"!


Well, friends, this will be my last post for a few weeks as I prepare for the upcoming Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, VA at the end of this month. My first fiber art show! Yay!

Button, pendants and beads.....and stuff with bunnies and sheep painted on, will be the order of the day. 

Buttons, pendants and beads, oh my!
But these lovelies are being fired in my kiln as I write, to be listed in my Etsy shop on Wednesday. Oh, what but that the kiln gods will be kind to me tonight as many many hours of love and devotion went into the making of these precious little jewels.

Thanks so much for visiting and watching my new video!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Part 2: My Dated Ranch Home Kitchen Gets Some Fresh New Cottage Style!

It's all in the details. 

You know, those special flourishes that give a space personality. Today, as promised, I'm sharing more specific information about the various details in my recent kitchen renovation 
 - those special flourishes I used to create the cottage charm that I love.

Many of our design decisions were made because our home had no architectural detail whatsoever and has only an 8 foot ceiling height.

Throughout this post, when you will see this - PEARL - you will find little "pearls" of wisdom.

I'll start roughly from the beginning of the renovation and take you right down through to the very last detail.

Click to enlarge.
During the demolition we removed the existing (varnished white oak) cabinets and purchased a few more cabinets (unfinished white oak), and placed them in the garage for painting. A few of the old cabinets and the sink were installed in the garage for my future pottery studio, so we had an excellent place to wash paint brushes (and dishes!)

Click to enlarge.
We removed a few walls and the bulkheads above the cabinets. Then we had a LOT of wallpaper to remove. Ugh! The vinyl flooring and all of the carpet in the entire house was also removed.

Click to enlarge.
The walls were then painted with Valspar Signature Paint & Primer (eggshell finish) tinted with Olympic color C12-1 Prairie Winds. 

PEARL: These rooms are fairly small, especially the family room opposite the kitchen, so by keeping the walls and ceilings some shade of white this helps to visually expand the space and raise the ceiling height. I used color in my furniture and accessories.

Then all of the dark wood trim around the doors was painted with a product called Cabinet Coat. I used a creamy white that I had matched as closely as I could to the door color. 

Click to enlarge.
This was also the point at which the recessed and new light fixtures were installed. The Industrial Cage Pendant Lights were from (Their home store is in Richmond, VA so I made a trip back there to visit friends and family.) And the ceiling fixture is Cary's Mill Clear Hollophane Semi Flush from Jann Richardson at LampGoods on Etsy.

Click to enlarge.
Next came the installation of unfinished 3 1/4" wide long-length Middle Tennessee Red Oak Hardwood flooring throughout the home.

Cookie likes it, too!
This flooring is a slightly distressed and has fewer joints since its quite long. It was actually about the same price as many options for pre-finished wood flooring, and since we still had our apartment to escape to, solid unfinished hardwood was the obvious choice.

Click to enlarge.
Before the floors were stained I covered them with protective paper sheets and set up tables at the other end of the room to create a space for painting the cabinet doors. 

PEARL: To make this job easier, I took some of our scrap 2 x 4 lumber from the demolition and hammered 2 rows of large nails into each board and placed some small round furniture protectors over the nail neads. Then I placed the boards side-by-side running the length of the tables and used that to support the doors while I painted them.

Click to enlarge.
All of the cabinets were painted with the same Cabinet Coat brand paint used on the trim around the doors and then distressed them a little. We then re-installed the cabinets approximately 6 inches from the ceiling and had them trimmed out with crown molding.

Crown molding was also installed throughout the home and painted with the Cabinet Coat. 

PEARL:  We made and installed shelving under the cabinets since now we had 6" extra space below them. This was a much less expensive option that replacing/purchasing all new 36" cabinets. We used white laminated stock shelving from Lowes and added thin lattic strips to create a recess for under shelf lighting. The white shelf brackets are from

Click to enlarge.

PEARL: I think one of the best things we did to give this plain little rancher some "pizzaz" was replacing all of the door knobs with reproduction Victorian Glass Knobs, purchased from We also purchased the cabinet knobs there, keeping with the same octagon shape.

Click to enlarge.
The new butler's pantry was installed on a wall we added blocking off access from the kitchen to the foyer. 

PEARL: To add a special design element and to allow more light into the foyer, I had my contractor create an open space at the top of the wall. 

Papa Crane and I made the wine rack with lattice style grids from

PEARL: Since the foyer previously lead to a hallway, space which is now part of the new kitchen, there were 2 large ugly HVAC returns. I had plantation shutters made to cover them. 


Now for a bit about specific design/decorating details.

First, my color scheme. 

PEARL: Design experts always say its good to start with an inspiration piece, typically a rug or painting.

Click to enlarge.
But since I tend to do things my own way, I started with this pistachio green stand mixer - a purchase made long before the kitchen reno was complete - in order to cheer myself up. I was still feeling very homesick for my previous home, where we'd lived before my husband was transferred. 

I made the floral tea towel from a vintage feed sack purchased from Katey Deasy's Etsy Shop Lovethegiver. And the yellow fruit tea towel I won in a blog giveaway from Deb and Kathy over at Secondhandroses.

I like lattice designs.......
PEARL: It is a good idea to repeat shapes or designs in a space.
So since I really like diamond or lattice patterns I included them in several places.

A daring move, this diamond patterned sofa!

as well as stripes.......
I also like stripes -  and don't forget beadboard paneling - that's a stripe, too!

but MOST of all - I LOVE scalloped designs!
But perhaps my very favorite of all - very cottage-y scallop-edged designs!

This brings us to the very last detail of my new kitchen - the window treatment. I chose the bamboo shade, inexpensively purchased from Lowes, and topped it with a scallop-edged fabric valance I made with help from Spencer's Easy Peasy Scallop Tutorial over at Bellamere Cottage. I was very intimidated about making the valance, but her tutorial was fantastic! Thank you Spencer!

The fabric is Waverly Gingham Check, color 'Pool' purchased from

Gosh, y'all, I could go on and on but this post is probably already too long! I'll post again later with more details on how we made the kitchen island.

But my next post will be for the Around the World Blog Hop. I have a special surprise for that post so be sure to come back now, ya hear? And if you'd like to participate, just shoot me an email or comment below and I'll get right back to you with the particulars.

Hope you've come away with some good ideas today!