Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Before we start, may we please take a moment of silence in honor of what appears to be the heart-breaking demise of Mr. Crowley.  WHY???!!
But then think back to the look on Bate's face and his "Yes, she is something", when he sees Anna dancing.  Didn't that just pull at your heart strings?
And why is the season so short?
I know it's only a story...
BUT! I'm just saying...

As I sit here writing this, while the Captain is walking his dogs, it has begun to snow.  Right now it's a mixture of rain and snow but hopefully it will be enough to stick for a little while.

Did I mention sometime before that I keep a towel through the refrigerator handle to open and close the door. This really helps keeping fingerprints off of the stainless.

Now, on to the meat of this issue which is, "The Workings of a Victorian Home", Part Two, The Kitchen.

I know you are probably groaning right about now, "Oh no, not that kitchen again". But I will try to show you more of the nooks and crannies this time so it all won't seem so monotonous and familiar.

"The Victorian kitchen had the dubious distinction of being a utilitarian service area that was oftentimes the domain of domestic servants.  Cooking; laundry work; putting up preserves; making soap, candles, and cleaning suppies - these were but a few of the overwhelming tasks assigned to those who labored in the kitchen."

Text from The Victorian Home

"As a factory like (and later; laboratory like) center of household operations, the Victorian kitchen rarely reflected the attention to detail lavished on the other rooms of the house.  Rather, the nineteenth-century kitchen developed a subtle charm all its own as the Gilded Age progresses - a look we find especially appealing in bringing Victoriana into the present day."

Text from The Victorian Home

"If parents wish their daughters to grow up with good domestic habits, they should have...a neat and cheerful kitchen.  A kitchen should always, if possible, be entirely above-ground, so that all the premises may be swept sweet and clean.  If flowers and shrubs be cultivated around the doors and windows, and the yard near them be kept well turfed, it will add very much to their agreeable appearance.  The walls should often be cleaned and white-washed, to promote a neat look and pure air.  The floor of a kitchen should be painted or covered with an oilcloth."

Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe
The American Woman's Home

"In housekeeping as in everything else, system is of the utmost importance...Not only should there be a place for everything, and everything put in its place, the importance of which is often insisted on, though none too often, but there should also be a time for everything.  Have certain days of the week for doing certain things, and also arrange the work of the day, as far as possible, allotting a time for every duty."

Smiley's Cook Book 
New and Complete Guide for Housekeepers

"Kitchens are more appropriately papered in varnished staircase paper; as the soils can be easily washed off.  In many houses kitchens are wood-paneled, or the walls covered with tiles, after the good old fashion common in Germany and Holland"

Alexander V. Hamilton
The Household Cyclopaedia 
Practical Receipts and Daily Wants

"The kitchen, as the workshop of the house, is the room in which many housekeepers spend most of their waking hours.  Hence it should be perhaps the lightest, airiest and most cheerful room in the house...Try to make the kitchen a room in harmonizing tints by painting or tinting the walls in light greens and the floor in dark green.  Or a clear, light yellow is a good color for the kitchen walls, with the floor in brown.  Or, if the room has a southern or western exposure, gray walls with the floor in drab or slate color, will give a cooler effect...A smooth floor of unpainted wood, hard enough not to splinter and to admit of being scrubbed, is perhaps the best floor for a kitchen..Or the floor may be covered with linoleum, which is perhaps all things considered, the most satisfactory floor covering."

Sidney Morse
Household Discoveries

We have two new additions to the Cottage kitchen decor...

Here we have an old tin advertising sign for Black Kow soft drink.  It has a copyright date of 1928 by Welsh's Fruit Products Company.  Starting in the early 1900's root beer was referred to as Black Kow.  Hence, the drink we are most familiar with: the Black Kow or commonly known as an ice cream soda or a root beer float...

3/4 to 1 cup of cold root beer
3 small scoops of vanilla ice cream
Cold club soda, optional

This sign has been in our possession since 1990.  It is not in pristine condition, it is rusted and bent, which only endears it to us all the more.  It hung in our laundry room for as long as we've lived in the Cottage, but to get more cabinets for storage in there we've moved it to a place of honor here in the kitchen.  Now it gets the visability that it deserves.  You would think that it was the jumping off point for the colors used in the kitchen, but we didn't figure that one out until after the fact!

We paid $170 for it back then and I've tried to research it but have only found small signs or reproductions.  I have no idea of the monetary worth of it today, I just know that we are very happy to have found it.

The other addition you may have noticed is Mr. Roo...

You might remember him looking like this.  He was beautiful and regal and so pretty when I bought him home from HomeGoods, but when the kitchen evolved into the "old miner's cottage working kitchen" and not into the beautiful French country look I envisioned at first, he seemed a little too slick.  So what was the solution? Paint, of course.


I sprayed him all white, taping off his pretty shiny red comb and wattle, and his feet and fauna around them.  I then sponge painted him with black and more white to get the look I wanted.  I then applied a few coats of clear wax.  It was a leap of faith and worrisome at times, but I think he fits in better now.

You probably will be getting another update of the kitchen in time as I have my eye on a black and white braided rug for under the table and I'm waiting for some natural linen toweling with a red stripe, that I ordered, to make a runner for the table.

I hope you enjoyed this installment and sit tight for "The Workings of a Victorian Home, Part Three, in the future.


After walking the dogs, we came home to this!

I love a small snow fall but one of the reasons I was so wanting this one was so I could share with you what Jake gave me for Christmas.  He and his girlfriend, Jacinda, picked it out and they were so excited to present it to me on Christmas Eve.  It is probably one of the first gifts that he ever picked out all by himself and I could tell that he was very proud of the fact.  He said he just knew that it was something that I would like and he was right!  The reason I wanted snow was that, to me, it reminds me of Dr. Zhivago for some reason, and I thought the snow would show it off to it's best advantage.

I know I thanked you already, Jake, but I have to tell you again how much I love it.  Doesn't it look so pretty in the snow?  It hangs on a tall shepard's hook and I can't wait to put it in the Secret Garden come spring.


I'm sharing today with: 


  1. Such a fun kitchen. My kind of kitchen. I love the cow sign. And what a transformation on the rooster. He looks great in black and white.

  2. My gosh- What a FULL post- so much to look at and see. I love your kitchen and I LOVE that Black Cow sign. What fun! I have never seen one like it.
    Now- I do have a bit of info for you. When Downton Abbey started filming they weren't sure it would be picked up for a 2nd season and certainly not a third. But, just to hedge their bets they had all the actors sign a 3 Season commitment contract. Well, you guessed it-it took off better than expected. Meanwhile, Sybil and Matt both signed other contracts that would pick up where their contract left off. Sybil is making movies and Matt is playing on a Broadway musical. Sad, isn't it? I will so miss him on the show. AND YES-I loved the look on Bates face as he watched Anna dance. xo Diana

  3. Love your kitchen - could stay there for hours. It is the heart of the home and I know you love it. Great Christmas gift from your son - will look great in your Secret Garden.

  4. Judy, this is another beautiful and interesting post. Your kitchen is really cozy. I love the Black Kow sign and hadn't heard of this before but I do love root beer floats! The snow looks really pretty and you new lantern is gorgeous with the snowy backdrop. I enjoy visiting here. Blessings, Pamela

  5. Judy,

    I love that advertisment! What a lucky find! I love the quotes you shared as well.

    Amy Jo

  6. Hi Judy, you know I'm in love with your cottage your kitchen is so cuzy, I would love to have cup of tea in your kitchen table loking out side beautiflu place.
    Your son gift are so pretty, the snow looks nice
    Have a blessing day

  7. Judy, such a wonderful and cozy kitchen. The snow is always beautiful. We didn't get any. It sure was cold last night. I know that cow sign is getting plenty of great reviews.

  8. Ah Judy I just love looking at your kitchen! Another wonderful post. I did write you a lengthy response to your header problem only to find that the computer I sent it from is not sending email. UGH! What I wanted to tell you is to look on your layout page...you should have a space to add a gadget below your header. Put your new header in there and then take a look at your blog. If you like it just move it to where your exisiting header is then delete the old header. If you don't like the new one just delete it. I went ahead and created a test blog to try stuff like headers out on...must less nerve racking that way!
    Have a wonderful thursday!!!
    XO Barbara

  9. Hi Judy, Your kitchen is gorgeous--so inviting and warm! The idea about putting a towel in the refrigerator door handle is genius. I am forever trying to keep our fridge free of little finger prints. Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog. I have posted about my Mom's house before--although she is always changing things around. You can check out more here: http://numberfiftythree.blogspot.com/2012/10/rustic-autumn-home-tour.html and here http://numberfiftythree.blogspot.com/2012/06/americana-house-tour.html


  10. Hi Judy! Funny you would mention snow, it is snowing here, in mid Missouri, right at this very moment, with thunder too! How odd is that? But anyway, your kitchen is so cozy and inviting. It even reminds me of an old mercantile. Very nice touches. Thanks for sharing. Gina

  11. You have so many nice dishes, Judy. Thanks for the tip on keeping finger marks off of the fridge. Love it.

  12. Judy,
    I would never groan at seeing your kitchen again!! i simply adore your Kitchen!! And once again, another terrific post!!

    We have a chance of snow and ice coming our way Sat. and then again on Tuesday.....


  13. You have a wonderful kitchen, and I loved your housekeeping advice! As a baker and mom of 5, the kitchen is truly the heart of my home, so I think you post is just wonderful! Hope you can stop by the enchanted oven to say hi.

  14. The Victorian kitchen article is so cute - good advice!! Love the idea of the kitchen towel on the door of the fridge. I just got a new fridge in SS and I hate it. I will have to try your hint. Sounds like it would work - now, why didn't I think of that?

    Your son's gift is beautiful!! Doesn't it make you feel good to think that he picked it out knowing you would like it? Precious.


  15. Hello dear Judy,

    ... thanks so much for visiting my blog - I hope the story in Romantic Homes was nice, I didn't seen it till now, but I hope that I will get an issue from RH soon.

    Your kitchen is so lovely, a perfect and calm place to enjoy the daily work. The huge range of roosters are great and the old sign is simply nice.

    Wishing you a wonderful week!
    Greetings from Germany

  16. I could spend all day in your cozy kitchen surrounded by so many wonderful collectibles!
    It's just amazing! Thanks for sharing with us.

  17. Hi Judy,
    Oh I just love Jake's gift to you. What a gorgeous piece to treasure and enjoy.
    Loved this post, the old time thoughts on kitchen housekeeping and your kitchen it the best part of it all. So cozy,inviting and the details perfect. Love the roosters and your signs.
    Have a great Monday.
    Hugs, Celestina Marie

  18. Your kitchen is really charming, Judy! I enjoyed reading all the information about Victorian kitchens. I like anything historic. :) We just had our kitchen re-modeled almost a year ago, and we had our walls painted yellow. We LOVE them; they're so cheerful and clean looking.

    Thanks for visiting my blog -- I hope you have a great week!


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  20. Judy, you have so many cute things in your cozy kitchen. I love the blue and white spice containers. Your son has very good taste for purchasing gifts. He did a very good job in choosing that gorgeous gift for you.

  21. Thanks for the nice story of the Victorian home. I just love it and I DO love your kitchen. I don't think I'll ever get my son to chose such a gift, lol.
    Hope you have a nice day. Here it's rather cold, and snowy. Now I'm tired of snow and long for spring!!!
    Love Elzie

  22. Hey Judy - how the heck do you have all that stuff in the kitchen? Amazing - and it all looks great! I don't have as many nooks and crannies - or wall space (need to utilize more of the walls I do have. I finally did put up 4 plates over my sliding glass door!). Maybe I will have to do more accessorizing of my kitchen and do a blogpost on it.

    Your quotes from the book remind me so much of when I went to Newport RI and viewed one of the kitchens in one of the Vanderbilt mansions. I believe it was not on the first floor - but in the basement. It wasn't all that inviting and it was huge. My grandmother was a cook for the Vanderbilts - but in New York - though she could have been summoned up there for a weekend when they were having a big affair. I really just felt what it was like in my grandma's days and, although I never met her, felt like I got to know a bit more about her - seeing this kitchen. An immigrant Irish woman, just trying to make ends meet to feed her family.

    I love the gift you got from your son - that was right up your alley. I love when that happens...when my kids really "get" me and give me something that's more "me."

    Speak soon I hope...


  23. Love your decor! Warm, welcoming and just perfect!!!


Your comments are so special to me...Judy