If you’re going to join my live painting class/demo, I’ve scheduled it for Friday, April 3, 2020, at 2:00 CST. HERE is the event in Facebook to let me know if you’re joining live. It will be recorded and you can watch it later if you’re not able to make it.
Remember, this is just for fun. No pressure about having all the supplies or the right supplies. We’re just going to paint and learn. It’ll be my first time doing a live oil painting demo, so we’ll muddle along together!
I’ve had “organize the dining room” on my to-do list for a loooong time. Months. It hasn’t hung out on the list because it’s a big project, it’s hard, or even that I’m avoiding it. It’s just not that important when the mess is behind closed doors that I don’t open very often. I only go in them when I’m setting a table, need props for a photoshoot, or I’m rearranging accessories. If I was in and out of them all the time, they would’ve been a higher priority.
While I’m home, while we’re all home, I’m taking some time to chip away at little projects and things that have been languishing on the to-do list for a little too long. This is also the natural time when the spring cleaning and warm-weather project itch starts to kick in, so it makes sense on a number of levels.
The thing about my messes is they normally aren’t visible.
I can’t handle clutter all over the counters and evident disarray in a space. I’ve gotten much better at tolerating the normal mess that comes with living in a house with three other people (and animals who like to drag things around the house and deposit them in odd places), but my threshold is still pretty low. I am much more willing to ignore messes that are behind closed doors. I still don’t like it, but out of sight out of mind.
Here’s how the buffet looked…
You’ll see a common theme in all of these cabinets. I just shoved stuff in wherever it would fit.
This one was the worst…
And all of them were arranged (or not arranged) in a way that it was hard to see what I had. I believe if I can’t interact with my stuff in a meaningful way (I can actually see it and get to it when I want to use it), then I should get rid of it. Most of this is stuff I don’t want to get rid of, because it was passed down to me, I like it, and/or I do use it often enough to justify keeping it. So, my option is to organize it, so I can see what I have and put it to use when I need it.
I organized my table cloths, runners, and placemats in the hutch and put bulky things on the bottom shelf.
That is about a 40 lb bowl of alabaster fruit! Most of the pieces belonged to my Oma. She had them sitting in a bowl on her dining room table for years. The funny thing is she started out with plastic fruit and wanted to replace them with alabaster. My Opa, who was a child of the depression and was understandably thrifty ever since, didn’t see the value in replacing perfectly good plastic fruit. So, she replaced them one at a time so he wouldn’t notice! She was a collector and loved the hunt, so it’s a story that fits her perfectly…hunting for her next piece of fruit to swap out.
I found the rest at a thrift store, mixed into a bin of plastic fruit, for $.25/each. If you’ve ever been in the market for alabaster fruit you know that is a crazy price. They can be $20-50/each and even more for rare pieces. I had honestly forgotten about them, since they were wedged in the back of a cabinet! They would be good still life painting subjects.
One drawer is empty and the other one has some smaller linens (like tea towels, cocktail napkins, and bread basket liners. I have another drawer in the living room for candles, but I put the candles in here that I typically use for tablescapes and around the holidays.
I moved all of the silver to the buffet…
Almost all of these are family pieces. Most are monogrammed or dated. The large silver bowl is a tennis trophy! I think my Opa won it. I bought the English hotel dome at an antique market. I’ve always wanted to hang it on the wall somewhere and I’ve just never had the right spot for it!
In the butler’s pantry cabinets, I put ironstone and other white/cream pieces on one shelf and blue and white on another.
And the other cabinet is filled with fine china, my Christmas plates, cafe au lait bowls, and some other random pieces.
I don’t use the fine china very often, but I love these pieces and I do use them sometimes. The pieces with the turquoise hand-painted border and gold rim are over 100 years old! They belonged to my great-great-grandmother and are marked with her monogram in gold. The dainty two-handed teacups are from Bavaria and I dug them out of my Oma’s attic. The cream, pale blue & green pattern with the silver rim was my mom’s wedding china (a pattern by Lennox.)
I used to have a lot more china and crystal from various family members, but I had to thin it down. It was just too much to keep packed away and it made me sad that they never saw the light of day. The crystal was especially difficult to keep, because it was so fragile and there were so many pieces! There was a size and shape for every drink from brandy to port. I passed them along to people who will use them and kept just my very favorite pieces.
The drawers were already pretty well organized, but I straightened them up a bit, too…
My dining room always looks tidy when you see it, but now it’s “tidy on the inside”, too!
And, just to make you smile, here is a shot of Violet leaping through my picture…
No ironstone was broken.
If you’d like some more organization motivation, you can find more posts on cleaning and organizing HERE.