Pantry Perfection, is like a Confection

my sugarplum dream is a Pantry

Don’t laugh, but I searched thru 26 pages of Google results to find out what is a “sugarplum dream”:
*Sugarplum Dreams Other Fine Things (a baby boutique in TX “whimsicle items”)
*a Victorian candlelight Christmas –event by the Fullerton Arboretum *the event has been named “Sugar Plum   Dreams” for its emphasis on the holidays and how dreams may come true
*a cookie recipe from Betty Crocker's "Bake Up A Story"
*Staging of The Nutcracker Ballet behind the scenes (article title)
*a piano concerto (you can listen to online)
*a beautiful cocktail based on a drink first recorded in 1862 made with Peruvian brandy- and 10 plums:
(drink presented by the ‘Mansion Bar’ – get the recipe here:





*the name of a Martha Stewart ‘Candy Garland’ (and tree skirt)
* “Astorian's sugarplum dreams come true – when her mother saw an ad for dance auditions”
*a lovely and dreamy black and white ballerina scene & a flower photo on ‘deviant art’, and the name of one ‘deviant’ artist
*a fanciful pack of holiday cards, wrapping paper for wrapped wishes (etc.)
*Bearstone Figurines- "Timmy & Tammy with Santa, Limited Edition
*the name of an artistry dolls catalogue
*Sugar Plum Dreams quilts a little girls’ pastel bed quilt. (“...sweet dreams under this soft...”)
*all manner of Christmas holiday wishes, lightboxes, ornaments (from Hallmark), etc.
*a seasonable flower arrangement with 25 red peppermint carnations
*the name of an importer of fabrics and rugs
*an Ohio wedding cakery (using imported Swiss, Dutch and Belgium chocolates, Amish butter, etc.)
*Mark Roberts' Dreams of Sugarplums 9” tall fairy doll (sold out)
*the name of Week 4 of the color challenge! Plum! ~ on a Wordpress blog hosted by “the wanderings, ramblings, and wardrobe of a secondlife vampire”  (self-challenges to work with a computer paint program)
*more whimsy: “Magical vignettes filled with treasures and special finds set 'just so'.  Glass domes and boxes reveal fairytale splendors...  visions of the sweetest of treats”
*brown sugar plum cakes
*a Snowflake Printed Moleskin Jacket – by Christopher & Banks
*a blog touting living the sugarplum dream life by adopting children
*“sugarplum dreams” art for sale by fineartamerica.com
*sugarplumdream a dream journal, on LiveJournal (such topics as Recovering from abuse, raising 7 children by herself and interested in writing topics, taking a class on analyzing dreams &required to keep a dream journal)
*holiday sock pattern released from the book Sock Whimsy  –by Patti Pierce Stone
*candy cane wishes and sugarplum dreams ‘word art’ kit for sale (digital scrapbooking)

~~~~~ Whew!

creamy white
Of course one wishes the best and loveliest things, the sugarplum dreams, to each other and those we love, and for ourselves; one wishes for sweets and treats and delicate romantic things... beautiful memories. Life is so short, and so harsh without them!


I had 4 very different 'inspiration photos' to goad my ideal:


Painted Hoosier cabinet at auction



Pantry @ SugarpieFarmhouse (inside)


Newly renovated office for "Farmgirl Wannabe" @ Tales from the Coop
Right now,  it matters to keep one foot firmly planted on the idea that our situations and circumstances are tenuous at best, hanging by mere threads. Of course our futures might be shiny, but then again, they may be bleak --and reconciling myself to that likelihood is what I'm doing right now. Simply because we (in America, or the world at large) are so close to the edge already.
It seems like a pantry might be a good idea.

So, getting down to the examination of the “how-to” aspect of how to attain our sugarplum dreams”, I’ll make it simple and you take it from there. Below is the BASIC kind of information you can start with:

On Michael Hyatt’s website ( he’s a church-based leadership coach) - this is from his 'Creating a Life Plan'. He talks about planning out his life to avoid having regrets at the end of it- I didn’t read it all, but this is what I was looking for:
“My Life Plan is surprisingly short; it is only five pages long. It consists of three sections:
Outcomes
Priorities
Action Plans”
And, then on Outcomes ~  In the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, bestselling author Stephen Covey says that Habit 2 is to “Begin with the End in Mind.”


So first you start with a system. Then you begin with the End in Mind
The end result- your vision and how to go for it.
It’s all practical, but  if there’s a way to beautify the practical aspirations, then that also is my aim. Heck, I even put fancy fonts on my recipes. No getting away from eye candy if there’s a way!


Since it’s winter,  I could collect free pallets from the nearby breweries to build a chicken coop, but I do not want to go out and build a coop in the frigid air and snow... that leaves me my first priority~ setting up a Pantry.

A pantry dream is what I started researching about years ago. From there I learned about keeping a home binder and have expanded on that over time to cover most aspects of my life. It works for finances, personal journeys of all kinds, tracking anything, collecting ideas.

I learned about menu planning and freezer-cooking (once a month cooking sessions where you fill the freezer with pre-made meals, thus saving money and time in the long run). I learned a lot about organizing in general- from paperwork to how to clean the house most efficiently. But a real pantry was always in the back of mind. Now I like to think a pantry is the backbone of a household. I think a working organized pantry can be vital to other areas of life running smoothly. It’s different for everyone.

As you may have seen, every year I’ve compiled a great list of aspirations, given them deadlines (1 year) by designating steps within each month of the year, according to topic or some such, and developed a tracking system.
(You can see past efforts on my post “Agenda 2010Setting the Bar At Cloud Nine)


I’m simplifying this year, not reducing the aspirations, but refocusing them so that they all coordinate somewhere along the lines of the farm dream. I began with “the End in Mind”.
to get my priorities down, and am working on action plans more than lists this year (and not tracking so specifically like I did when I used and excel sheet for EVERY meat purchase we made for 1 year! I thought it might come in handy, but so far haven't found use for it.)

I NEED to feel like I'm contributing and morphing and purposing myself toward this end- because not to, means not doing my best with what I have been given. Right now, that's a second chance to make a go of this place. That is our lot in life, such as it is. I intend to make a gift out of it, even if survival is the only reward. But until then, lets get some eye candy! 

For my purposes, it’s a pantry/office. A Farmgirl's Office (even though the farm is still all on paper).You have some amount of food security wrapped up in a pantry, but there are other aspects I wish to include:
*long termfood storage items like dried herbs & canned foods (not basic kitchen ‘pantry items’ like condiments and boxed foods - I have plenty of kitchen space for that)
*a desk for painting and crafting
*a gifting storage area (items for making and stuffing Christmas stockings, making cards, a collection box for clothing to give away, etc.)
*a binder collection (these I’ll share another time)








not mine~mine don’t match but I want them too...










*a how-to library (homesteading topics: gardening, chickens, canning, outdoor cooking, animal butchering and animal husbandry, how to build things, recipe resources, et al)
*seed storage
*a seed starting area (we have short growing season)
*a place to paint 

Our kitchen has plenty of storage, so I will not store the condiments and paper goods or boxes of foodstuff familiar to a pantry- it’s an office space that focuses, for me, all my farm dreams. A place to collect my thoughts and pursue meaningful artistic endeavors. It has to remain uncluttered. (Everything I paint either decorates the walls, is a gift, or can be sold for farming supplies – or another horse).
I’ll share everything I’m doing as I finish it.

The room I get to use was designed as an office, and has it’s own door to the front -with a doorbell, lol. (see lower left-hand side) 
It faces East and gets the sun until noon. In summer, it gets hot and there is no screen on the door to keep wasps out, or dogs in. (the window does tho’).
Outside the window is a waterfall that deer and birds and toads frequently visit:

The driveway is beyond that, so I can see anyone approaching and access the water hose easily.
The room is currently a beigy off-white with an orangey-gold tone cement floor (ieww- it never was sealed well, and needs painting or something, but it works for my purposes.)
It’s currently an unused bedroom (furniture will have to be moved).
I've had the idea of putting a light like this one inside a walk-in pantry, but now I have an actual room with recessed lights - which are rotten for doing desk /detail work. This light would be perfect over the desk.

The colors will be cream and gold, and the theme will be nests, feathers, and eggs...

I've got an antique Hoosier bakers cabinet, painted that same flat beigy white of the walls in this picture - ieww:

 I've dream of making it look 'dairy 'farm’ – in glossy milk white paint, to match the light! Clean and fresh, but warm... 
The handles are tin- they remind me of antique milk pails! I’ve thought of painting the inserts with chickens and covering that with chicken wire like so:


But at this point, the idea seems too much work. There’s such a thing as overkill.
I have bookshelves to paint to match... currently they are full of junk in the utility room. Can use it if I’m willing to re-home all that other stuff! It’s tall, more than what I need for how-to books and binders full of of recipes and menu plans, and all manner of cooking and canning and other homestead-y farmy information, that I could pour over.
I’ve got a work table I’ve used for seed starting in here before and it fits perfectly under the windows to catch the morning light. When not growing things on it, will work as a craft or painting table...
For things like “leaf pounding" or "flower pounding" (get plant color into fabric by using a hammer!) or pressed flower art, or things like wreaths made with baling wire...or just painting projects...
Pressed Flowers
Barbed-Wire Wreathe
Leaf Pounding


~and sweet things to give away...(Such sweet ideas and the best ever pantry at  http://www.sugarpiefarmhouse.com/)

I'm working on  paintings of rustic birdhouses, feathers, and nests full of eggs for the walls. 
My collection of nests from the property - they fall out of the trees. The tiny one on top I found after I gave up Cherihuka to his previous owner (green horse, green rider- not a good match after all). 


The birds had used the hair I’d combed from his mane to weave with grass into a nest. I cried all day. It was such a gift.


The walls I want a rustic gold (after I paint the floor a golden and dark brown swirled together):


If the walls are golden, I think I'll play with something along these lines:
Raised plaster that's then painted or glazed. I LOVE raised plaster stuff. Wouldn't that be perfect between nest paintings?


And hope to sew some “gathering aprons” for myself to hang on pegs for a row of aprons... one for each day of the week!
Gathering Apron, down


Gathering Apron, up
I love Sara (at http://www.frogcreekcottage.com/) She’s my kind of lady!
She is as bad as me- wearing mens’ jeans and going barefoot!


Here is my beloved farmgirl/horse riding hat that will have it’s own peg: 



I LOVE my hat with river pearl headband (btw, it was a gift from my husbands’ first wife!)

It’s feminine. Need that when you’re going to go around barefoot in mens’ jeans...

I am working on all the things I've mentioned - I've been working on the binders for years... it's all a work in progress. I’ll share it all as I go!

I’d love to hear some feedback, questions, ideas... get a link to see what you’ve done with the space you’ve got for yourself. 
The place you get things done, the place you put dreams into words and ideas into plans. 
Your preferred colors, your ideas on theme... 
Whatever else intrigues you and makes you want to dig deep into the pantry issues.

It's important that we all start somewhere, right?








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