Monday, November 12

All In Its Place

I love baking. A dash of extra sugar, splash of vanilla, some flour and cold butter. Berries and cherries and apples and chocolate. Cinnamon and nutmeg and ruffled edges and golden brown crusts. The smell of a baking kitchen warms you right down to the bones and makes me feel like humming a sweet song while pulling warm lovelies out of the oven.

And as much as people might tell you that baking is a science--I'd have to disagree. I bake with my heart and see beauty in every piece. Rinsing off strawberries, piling pits of cherries, bread dough on floured wood and perfectly domed cookies all make me feel like I'm painting on the canvas of life.

And as much as I adore baking--I equally adore the process of perfectly poising the kitchen for such an occasion.
I've always been organized. I can't help it. When I was younger I rearranged our play room several times--organizing toys and books and games and furniture until everything seemed to snuggle into it's preferred place. I've cleaned my sister's room more times than I can count and have been severely reprimanded by her on occasion for doing so without an invitation. I helped my neighbor with her chores so we could play after and was never discouraged to find all my hard labor tossed and over-turned the following week as she lived out her lovely messy life. And when Jk and I were dating, his parents knew better than to threaten not seeing me when his room was in shambles. Instead I was invited over for motivation and organizational expertise.

And a couple months ago, I rather unexpectedly found myself organizing the Bible section of a bookstore for 3 hours while waiting for Paige to get off work.

I can't help it.

It isn't some frenzied obsession, though. Or a fear of clutter. It's just me, being me.

And it's a lot like baking.

I sweep through rooms tidying them into a pretty canvas for life to unfold. Like a starry sky or serene sea or an endless field, I feel freer and more inspired by such surroundings, and it makes me appreciate everything more.

Which was exactly my motivation for all the little organizing in the kitchen. To inspire a kitchen filled with warm welcomes and delicious dishes.

And there's no better way than to serve them up on pretty plates! I have a firm belief that beds should be bounced on, decorative candles lit, and china used. My grandmother gave us this gorgeous Spode Billingsley Rose set of china for our wedding, and we sought to find a set of everyday dishes to mix and match with it. We happened upon this quaint set, and use both types of dishes for all our meals.

And I'll tell you what--I am convinced that baked goods taste better on little plates with ruffled edges :)

The counters are topped with jars of dry baking ingredients, in plain sight to prompt a surprise baking session. And we always have nuts or chocolate chips or coconut to sprinkle into whatever we're making. We found these little jars at goodwill for less than $2, and etched "Flour" and "Sugar" onto our larger jars. The mixer is always out as well because, well for one, I always thought they were too heavy to lift on and off the counter, and for two it makes for easy cookie making or bread baking when you're in the mood to warm up the house.

And our drawers are just as dressed for the occasion. I love these various-sized bamboo organizers to cup different tools and utensils. (You can find them cheaply at Bed, Bath & Beyond or The Container Store). With everything in its place, I feel like I'm picking up a little treasure each time I grab for something. And the drawer of baking tools just tickles me pink.

For a long while, I was at a loss as to what to do with the kitchen's cacophonous areas. You know--the places where when you just try to pull one thing out, you get everything else along with it in one giant cacophony of clattering? Well, we happily found these cheap organizers and utilized a Martha Stewart tip of placing a rack organizer size-ways to store pans. Now I can quietly slip out what I need without disturbing our home's happy hum.

And to everyone who added their parts to our kitchen through gifts and visits and warm wishes, know that you have helped--and are continuing to help heap paint upon the beautiful canvas of life that we call home.

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