Today I thought I’d invite you into my kitchen and home here at Bountiful. There are so many of my personal treasures that I want to share with you and I am honored that you are taking the time to allow me to.
Bountiful has been a wonderful dream come true for all of us and I’ve taken care to fill it with things I love. Of course, we have to begin at the beginning. Anyone knows that the nucleus of the home (especially mine!) is the kitchen!
Sit back and get comfy, this is gonna take a while.
(there is your warning!)
This window is the obvious focal point of my kitchen. You see it as soon as you walk in the front door of the house and I just love everything about it. Mama made the curtains, Daddy made the shelf, and I painted the shelf and arranged the things atop it with Mama. You’ll notice my kitchen is a bright, sunshiny yellow. I painted it myself using paint from Wally World.
I LOVE my yellow kitchen, it’s so cheerful!
Now that I’ve given you a gander at that shelf up there, lets take a closer look and I can explain what a few things are. I
If you have any questions later just holler at me in the comments and I’ll get to them as best I can!
Ahh, the snuff tin. A lot of folks might be wondering about this one. My great grandmother used to dip snuff. She was so very dainty and delicate about it that no one ever knew. She kept a perfectly folded handkerchief in the pocket of her house dress and would gently blot at her mouth from time to time. Being a typical Southerner (we just can’t stand to waste things), she saved the little snuff tins in a drawer in her dresser. Whenever we came to visit, she’d usually get a in out for each of us and fill it with coins to take home. I so vividly remember her handing me a tin with the rattle of coins that I can almost see her in front of me now.
When I got my own house, I was in the grocery store one day and walked past a Bruton tin. It immediately caught my eye and next thing I knew it was in my buggy. I took it home and set it on the back of my stove, to remind me of Lela. The funny thing is that one day I went over to my brother’s house. He was living alone at the time and as I walked in his kitchen, there sat a Bruton tin on the back of his stove, too. I can only imagine…
The Tabasco bottle is really special, too. I was seventeen during the Gulf War. I heard on the news that there were soldiers not receiving any mail at all and so I decided to send out letters to “Any Service Member”. That was back in the day when you could do such a thing but I’m pretty sure you can’t now.
To show how naive I was, I wrote out ten or so cards and put in packets of hot cocoa mix, Hot Cocoa mix -to send to the DESERT ~laughs~! They were very kind though, I heard back from several of them and one man in particular became a great pen pal. He was in the Air Force and his name was Frank. We wrote back and forth, bless his heart for putting up with the excessive curiosity of a seventeen year old! He sent me photos of Iraq, told me about his job, and then indulged me when I asked if he’d send me a little bit of sand from where he was. This Tabasco bottle arrived a few weeks later.
When he returned from the war I got one final letter telling me that he had come home to find his girlfriend had left him, his car had been repossessed, and his apartment lease had been let go. I never heard from him again and I’ve always worried about him. Sure do hope you’re okay, Frank.
These are the little Amish people (or “Honest People” as Katy calls them) that started me on my cast iron Amish craze. I’ll show you more of that later in this post. They are just an inch or so tall and made of cast iron, cute as a button.
This little pitcher is a type of pottery called Ironstone. It belonged to my grandmother. Mama was surprised when I pulled it out to use on this shelf because she thought Grandmama had sold it at a yard sale – my Grandmother is really bad about selling family heirlooms at yard sales so we have to watch her!
Once, we had a big family yard sale and weren’t paying attention. Grandmama walked to the money box smiling and said “I just sold my double boiler for fifty cents! That was pretty good considering one of my teachers gave that to me when I graduated high school”.
Mama and I just about died.
She also sold Mama’s ceramic pumpkin off her porch one year. I had made Mama this HUGE Ceramic pumpkin and painted it. I had spent forever getting it just right and Mama loved it because you could set it on the porch and it was large enough to be seen from the road. Grandmama sold it for a dollar. We don’t have yard sales during October anymore….
The large mason jar that looks to be filled with popcorn is actually a large mason jar that is filled with popcorn. ~grins~ I’m a practical gal and it’s pretty so why shut it up in the pantry? I have several mason jars of dried beans sitting around, too. It’s really best if you store your dried beans in a jar or some other type of container, rather than the plastic bags, if you aren’t going to be cooking them soon. Don’t ask me to tell you why because it is not the most appetizing truth so I want you to just trust me on this. Get them out of the bags if you aren’t going to make them within a few weeks of purchasing.
The little Chicken Feed thing is an old piggy bank I picked up at an antique store when Grandaddy was still living. He helped me get it working again. You drop a coin in and the chicks bob up and down like they are eating. Grandaddy could fix anything.
The blue jay next to it is in honor of my Grandaddy. His name was “J” and he loved birds. There is a bird or a bird’s nest in every room at Bountiful. When I finally get a symbol designed for my home, a bird will be the focal point.
On the other end..
On the far left is a Prince Albert tobacco can. Now you need to know that my mother is a perfect person. She has never done anything wrong in her life (seriously). BUT when she was a little girl she’d call up a store and ask “Can you tell me if you have Prince Albert in a can?”. They’d respond that they did and she’d say “Well quick! Let him out! he can’t breathe!”. We thought she was the coolest person on earth when we heard that story as kids.
To be honest though, I wouldn’t of had the nerve to do it myself!
Beside that is an antique coffee grinder and beside that is a mason jar of black eyed peas. These jars of beans get used a lot so you are liable to see another type of dried bean in there from time to time, depending on what I’ve cooked lately.
That coffee pot is made by Pyrex. It was a special promotional item where they were trying to get home cooks to brew their coffee in these “new fangled” containers so they ran promotions where you bought a certain type of coffee and you got the pot either free or very inexpensively. This one still has the original sticker on it with instructions. I’m told these pots make superior coffee if you know what you are doing.
Moving right along…
These cubbies hold SOME of my antique and vintage dishes. They will never look the same in any given pic because I use these dishes all the time and just put them back in whatever spot is available.
See? One pic to the next and the cubbies are holding entirely different items! They are very useful and I just love having them.
The Coca Cola bottle carrier is an original one that belonged to Granny Jordan. They actually used that one to carry their bottles to and fro in. I’ve put some red rooster glasses in it and use it to hold straws, plastic utensils, and such. It’s easy to just pick up and put in the center of the table or take outside if need be.
That little spice rack above the Coca Cola whoosiewhatsit is just a little tin rack with small tin cans in it. I found that in an antique shop in GA for ten dollars and just thought it was pretty. I’m sure it has some interesting history and such but I bought it purely because it made me smile.
I don’t think you should have anything decorating your house that doesn’t make you smile. It’s just good feng shui :).
This is a copy of a portrait of some of my husband’s ancestors.
Me and Mama just call them “The Peach People”.
My other set of cubbies. Over these you’ll see some antique ads that I really like.
This is a Pyrex ovenware ad. I just love the graphics in it. When I first started Southern Plate I actually made a logo using this clip art and had no idea it was originally done for Pyrex.
This is my Big Top peanut butter ad. My Mama Reed’s tea glasses were the ones that originally came with Big Top peanut butter in them. I have several Big Top glasses (that I actually use!) and thought this ad was such a treasure to help my kids understand the history behind them.
And the glasses…
I’m especially proud of the one with the label on it. That is the only one I don’t use.
I use all of my antique dishes other than that. I don’t really believe in “Dust Collectors”.
And still moving along..
This is on the wall over my laundry closet in the kitchen. Truer words have never been spoken.
Until you read this one!
I LOVE this saying. If I could have one wish with this post it would be that everyone pause here and just think on this one a minute.
It may seem simple, but it can be life altering.
This is my cast iron dinner bell. I love this thing. I have loved this thing since I for got it over a decade ago. My husband has never loved this thing. He has never liked that I insisted on having him hang it up in every kitchen and he has never found it at all visually appealing – until now.
At Bountiful, the rooster just looks at home and our whole family loves it.
This is one of the wrought iron plate holders I have on each side of the window. I have mix matched plates in them with roosters on them. I just picked up the plate holders and the plates at Hobby Lobby but I love them.
Here hangs Mr. Durham. Yes folks, I have a framed obituary hanging in my kitchen.
This man’s face caught my eye in an antique store eons ago and I had to stop and read it. The obituary really touched me and so I purchased it and made a color copy to frame. The original is tucked in behind it. I would like to end up living a life that would end in such an obituary being written about me. We all should be so fortunate.
E.C. Upton died at his home in Trenton township March 4th, after an illness of two months with a complication of diseases. He was born in Clark county, Ohio, and on January 28, 1908, he and his wife who survives him, celebrated their golden wedding. James C. Greeen, justice of the peace, married them in Trenton township and they lived on the same farm for fifty years.
They never had any children, but their marriage was a very happy one and they had hundreds of friends in this county. Mr. Upton was one of the finest men we have ever known, honest and upright, he didn’t know how to do wrong.
In politics he was a Democrat and you always knew where to find him on the big questions of party. He was on the side of right and justice.
He was not a rich man as his ambition was not to accumulate a lot of money which he could hoard. He always made good living and owned a farm and enjoyed life. When he was doing something for a neighbor or a friend he was happiest. For years he paid for four copies of the Free Press, three copies being sent to people who formerly lived in this county. He said that would save him writing letters, but we think he did it also because he enjoyed doing things for his friends.
The funeral was held Thursday at Green Mound, which is located in the township in which he lived so long and where he had man, man friends who mourn the death of a noble man and good neighbor.
His wife who is not in good health will live with Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Beaber of this town. Her friends extend their sympathy in her hour of grief.
Aren’t these pretty? Little antique decorative molds still in their original packaging. I found these at an antique mall about ten years or so ago and then the little measuring spoons showed up at some point. I thought they made a nice little arrangement.
You’re not going to ever hear me say I hate a lot of things but this phone is going to be an exception. I hate this phone. We had this horrendous looking phone jack on the wall though and someone hung up the phone to cover it up. That thing isn’t even connected. It does look slightly better than the ugly phone jack but only slightly. I have a phone that I REALLY want to go here but it is around $70 and that whole “I am cheap” thing keeps rearing it’s ugly head whenever I go to buy it.
I do, however, love my Morton Salt things. Three of my grandparents worked for Morton Thiokol, the company that owned Morton Salt at the time. Grandmama cross stitched this and my Grandaddy made the wood frame that holds the mugs. There are Grandmama’s initials. She made this nineteen years ago.
The big to do about Morton Salt was that salt in it’s natural form clumps in damp weather. It clumped a lot, actually. Morton came up with a way around this by adding a chemical to prevent their salt from clumping and make it free flowing. Thus the slogan “Morton Salt, it pours!”.
They went on to further demonstrate this unique quality of salt that didn’t clump in damp weather by adopting an old saying with a play on words that worked to their advantage. The photo of a girl holding an umbrella in the rain was used and she holds a can of salt that is pouring despite the rain.
“Morton Salt: When it rains, it pours!”
The ad featured above it is an advertisement for the mugs.
You sent in two dollars and a spout seal and they sent you the set, shipping and everything was included in that $2.00.
The top of my fridge has a big mustard colored ceramic rooster I got at Old Time Pottery for about six dollars, a lantern that I actually use from time to time (no dust collectors!), and a great little S&H Green Stamps sign.
My one magnet was a gift from Southern Plate reader, Terri.
There are magnets the kids play with but those are mostly on the side. That way Katy can stand there and play and they don’t get knocked off when I open and shut the fridge.
See that little ding at the top center of my fridge? That is how I got a great new refrigerator! Scratch and dent all the way! I mentioned needing a new fridge back in a previous post and asked reader’s their opinion.
I got some great input but in the end mainly chose my fridge based on it being scratch and dent and thus deeply discounted. I did want a single door though because I make a lot of big dishes and it is so awkward to try to fit it in there when you have to slant or turn it to make it fit. I also opted out on the water/ice in the door since I seldom used mine anyway. It was a nice option but this not having it wasn’t anywhere near a deal breaker for me.
This is my entire fridge in all it’s glory. ~hugs her fridge~ If you saw my old one you’d know how grateful I am for this one! It is hidden in the garage and used as a coke fridge now. The handles are even broke off of it!
I don’t care for the hardware on my cabinets but that will get changed eventually. I want to go with a shiny chrome look, similar to kitchens of the fifties.
Oooh! The close up of my green stamp sign! S & H Green Stamps were a very big deal in my family. My grandmothers and mother always saved them and you could use them to buy gifts at Christmas or throughout the year. My beloved rolling pin was bought with green stamps for my mother by my great grandmother, Lela.
This is my antique milk glass punch bowl set.
I found it at an antique mall on my birthday about eight years ago. Let me show you why it is so special..
First of all, it came in the original box. That is pretty nice right there but the neatest thing is…
It was given on October 21, 1948…
and bought with S & H Green Stamps.
Green Stamps really enabled people to have nice things back in their day, things they could have otherwise never afforded, things that would have been frivolous when you had kids to feed and grocery money was something that had to be scraped together from wherever you could find it. Most importantly though, green stamps allowed folks to be generous and to have the pride of being able to give nice gifts to the people they loved.
Like the rolling pin my Great Grandmother gave to my mother.
I have lots of other milk glass pieces that have special meaning to them too but I’ll save that story for another day. In the meantime, since I’m showing my sideboard here it looks like we’ve moved on into the living room at Bountiful so I might as well go back to telling you about my Amish people.
It all started with this little family. I had the two little people I showed you on my kitchen shelf that Mama had bought so long ago she can’t even remember when or where she got them. Then I saw this little family of folks and just had to get them. They are all made of cast iron.
They are sitting atop a doily that my Great Aunt Louise crocheted. Louise was Lela’s sister and she was a wonderful person whose eyes lit up when she smiled. She loved kids and we just flocked to her whenever we went to Grandmama and Grandaddy’s house and she was visiting. She told me my very first “dirty” joke! It was about three mice who went to the bathroom. Of course it is G rated by today’s standards but we thought it was SO NEAT that we knew a “dirty” joke!
She found out she had cancer very late in her life. When the doctor told her, she said “Well, If I’m gonna die, I don’t want to know” and his immediate response was “Well you are”. ~sighs~ So if you ever get cancer in Huntsville, Alabama, let me tell you the doctor not to go to…
When she heard this, she didn’t change who she was or how she lived her life. She was still as happy and optimistic as ever, but she did change one thing. She started crocheting doilies like wildfire. By the time she passed away, she had made a doily for every single person in her family, great nieces included. This is mine and it is as lovely as she was.
The lamp and small crock are Rowe Pottery and yes, Mama, I remember that the lamp belongs to you and you are just letting me use it.
This is a miniature quilt that Mama made. It is the size of a pot holder and has 155 pieces in it.
If anyone EVER makes you a miniature quilt and you use it for a pot holder, you should be warned ahead of time that the ghosts of every quilter that has ever lived will then haunt you for the rest of your life.
How do I know how many pieces it has in it?
Trust me hon, anytime a quilter makes a seven inch wide miniature that has 155 pieces in it, they’ll make sure you know!
Here are some more Amish people from my collection, all cast iron.
These are little people like the ones in my kitchen.
They can sit at little cast iron school desks or on the little cast iron wagons I have.
They can also sit on a see saw….
or go for a ride on a bristle block airplane that Katy has made :).
I let my kids play with all of these. They are antique but they are made of cast iron so they are almost indestructible.
and they live here in this log cabin doll house that my Dad made for me and gave to me at Christmas when I was twelve.
It sits in my den on a stack of books to elevate it a bit. When the kids want to play with it and the Amish figures I just pick it up and set it out in the middle of the floor.
This is a special basket I had made for the 1 Year Anniversary of Southern Plate. I’m having a different one made each year and they will all be part of a series, different names for each. This one is the Bountiful Basket. They are all handmade in the USA of hardwood maple and the first in the series (The Bountiful Basket) is going to be signed on the bottom by myself, my mother, and my grandmother – three generations of Southern Plate women. Tomorrow I’ll show you how you can get one if you like. They can only be ordered in August of this year and never again.
In front of it is a little cast iron wagon that other Amish people sit in. The wheels roll so the kids enjoy it.
There are little passengers in the back.
and a little man and woman in the front to drive.
and they come out of the carriage so you can stick some other little people behind them if they want to go for a ride, then put this couple back in. According to Katy, the “Honest people” love going for carriage rides.
While we’re here…
The quilt hanging on the wall is one my Mother did. We like to go on Quilting Retreats whenever we can (usually once or twice a year if we’re lucky!) and a group of our sewing friends decided to do a block exchange several years back. We each made a set amount of these blocks in a particular color scheme and exchanged them at the retreat. Of course, I never got around to putting my quilt together but Mama did and she let me use it.
Yes, Mama, I know this is your quilt and I am just borrowing it.
The small quilt under the rocking chair is a miniature I did. It is called a rail fence. It is the miniature of another which is draped across the cedar chest I showed y’all earlier that has all of the Amish people on it. I used to teach the Rail Fence wall hanging as a beginner quilt class. The bottle here is actually an oil lamp, made by Rowe Pottery, and the frame holds a set of four quilt stamps that were released in … Well whenever stamps were 13 cents so it was a while ago!
The doll in the rocking chair belonged to me when I was a little girl. She used to have a baby in her arms but that baby has long since flown the coop (we wish her well, and hope that wherever she is, she is not embarrassing her Mama!).
The little red chair is one of my most prized treasures.
When my Grandaddy was dying, I was living with he and my grandmother. Their house was very close to my University. My Grandaddy was the type of man who could never just sit still. He was always tinkering with something. He could take anything at all you handed him, no matter if it was mechanical or a piece of furniture – anything at all, and fix it. He got a gleam in his eye as he headed out to his shop and would always come back with whatever you had given him either good as new or better.
My Grandaddy was what we call a “Tinkerer”.
He got really weak, though, and just walking the short distance to his workshop (ten to fifteen yards from his front door) got to be a problem. He would park his four wheeler by the door and get on it to drive down to the dock river’s edge so he could fish without having to walk or stand, then drive back up to the house again and walk the few steps to sit back on the couch.
Grandaddy needed his mind occupied and I needed to see him with an occupied mind.
I was in an antique shop one day in between classes and saw this little chair. It reminded me of some old chairs that Grandaddy had refinished before he had gotten too bad. He had sanded and stained them and coated them in this pretty, shiny lacquer. I got the little chair and brought it home to him and asked if he thought he might be able to fix it up like he had the chairs in the sun room.
Grandaddy got the gleam in his eye and set to work. It was an easy project because he could set it on a table in front of where he sat and work on it. He fiddled and tinkered with it until he got it just right, sanding and repairing and finally coating it in several coats of pretty, shiny lacquer.
I watched as he’d set to work when I left for school and would see it setting out to dry when I returned. In a few days he returned it to me, in better condition than that silly little chair had ever hoped to be.
Grandaddy died a few weeks later.
And now you know why this little wooden chair is one of the few things I won’t let my kids play with.
This is the cabinet that all of this sits on. It also belonged to my Grandaddy and features some more pottery and baskets. The doll to the right of the cabinet is in an old Amish made child’s rocking chair. She is another doll from when I was a girl and Katy takes great delight in covering up her face with all of her hair for some reason. See the two violin cases on each side of the cabinet?
We used to have a lot of fun arguing over whether it was a violin or a fiddle.
His still has rosin on it from the last time he played and the bridge is perched atop two pennies. I’m not sure why he did that but I am certain it was his ingenious way to correct some problem. My grandaddy could play any instrument you handed him and he was all self taught. He could take an instrument he’d never touched before, pick it up and tinker a few minutes to get the feel of the sound, then play a tune.
This is my couch. The quilt on the back is one Mama made for me after she recovered from her wreck (see coconut pie). The Quilt square hanging over the back of the couch is a Dresden Plate that I did for Mama and had framed for Mother’s day about sixteen years or so ago. That was another one of my silly things…
Mama had gotten really into quilting and I had really NOT gotten into it (at the time). But I got this notion that I was going to make her a quilt square and frame it for Mother’s Day (we were always taught that a handmade gift carried far more value than anything you could buy and I am still a firm believer in that). I was working for a credit union at the time that closed on Wednesdays so the President and Vice President could go play golf (I’m all about priorities).
So on one Wednesday a few weeks before Mother’s Day, I waltzed right into a quilt shop that Mama frequented and introduced myself and asked if there was anyone who could teach me how to make a quilt square for my Mother. Surprisingly, no one laughed me out of the place.
One of her friends said she’d be glad to help and I spent the next several Wednesday afternoons in a back room at that shop working on this Dresden Plate. I had never quilted or appliqued before and by the time I was done with that one plate, I was DONE with that Dresden Plate! lol I prefer piecing over appliqueing and this is the only square of this pattern I have ever done. I had it framed and gave to her and it hung at her house for years. When she moved to the new house it hung up for a while until she redecorated and then it turned out I had the PERFECT spot for it at my house.
Yes, Mama, I know this is your quilt square and I am just borrowing it.
A sign I painted years ago that sits atop the TV.
I really don’t care for Televisions in family rooms. I don’t like how they seem to become the focal point no matter what you do. I used to have a armoir that hid the TV but the one we have now is too big. One day I dream of having a family room with no television at all and having a nice one for anyone wanting to watch it somewhere else in the house.
As you can tell, I’m more of a country decorator (if you can call it decorated!). While I enjoy looking in the Pottery Barn stores as much as the next person, I don’t really care to bring it home with me, that stuff has no soul. I like to surround myself with things that have a history and a meaning to them, knowing that these are the things my kids are going to remember and cherish when they grow up.
While a hundred dollar hurricane globe with an all natural-organically-produced-candle-that-only-drips-wax-on-the-north-side-from -a-wick-handwoven-by nuns-who-live-in-the-Swedish-Alps might be very pretty, it has no sentiment with me. On that same note, even though the color schemes in magazines are nice, monotones and white might inspire me or make me feel relaxed but I want my kids to remember life in color. Mixed and matched and ragtag, with lots of memories attached to the things they touch, play with, sit on, and cover up with at the end of the day.
My sister is a Pottery Barn gal. We’re not sure where she came from although Mama seems pretty convinced she’s related!
Thank you for coming into my home and letting me share all of my special things with you today. It is now 4:10 PM on a Saturday and I’ve been working on this post since 9:00 AM! I guess it is about time to cook supper now! Today is our eleventh wedding anniversary.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
From Southern Plate Reader, Elaine. To submit your quote, click here.Yum