Save like Nana did. The kitchen table.

Todays post is not so much a savings subject as a way of life one.   It was inspired by a post by Jenny at Elefantz where she shares a book study and the subject of creating a beautiful home and a welcoming kitchen.   

When we moved into this farmhouse I was just thrilled with a big old kitchen.   It had a fifties kitchen with cupboards to the ceiling,  a big old stove and a walk in pantry!!   Now... I had said yes to this house without ever seeing inside it.  I knew in my heart a year before that we were getting out of the city and it was meant to be.   When this house was made available for us we just said yes.   So that first day coming inside I was just all eyes and it was overwhelming because God had gone ahead of me and here were the desires of my heart some of which we things no one could ever have even known I wanted.   The main things were a walk in pantry and lots of light.  It was a mess and needed a giant clean and paint but it was all here, everything I had ever dreamed of!  

The first thing everyone assumed was that I would want to rip out the old kitchen and stove and put in something more "modern."  But no,  I was very happy with a big old double sink that looked out a big double window across the paddocks and gum trees.   Apart from paint the only thing we replaced was counter tops.   The stove is just a beauty!  

(This was cleaned up and before we moved in.)

I set the house up with our dining room table next door to the kitchen.  The first day Dad visited (after we moved in) I made him a cup of tea and moved to go into the next room to sit down and chat with him.   We did all our chatting over cups of tea.   This day he asked WHERE is my kitchen table?   He didn't want to sit in the dining area.  He wanted to be in the kitchen, where the action was!    So the next few visits he would go get a chair and plant it in the middle of my kitchen and sit there to talk to me.    This looked ridiculous but he was determined.   

I got the hint and I remembered that in the shed up the hill there was a room full of piled up junk.  There was a very old table in there along with piles of old carpet,  thousands of spiders and probably a snake or two.  It was somewhere I had not ventured because it truly looked infested.   The first day I took fly spray up there and just sprayed and ran.   The next day I put on boots and gloves and went in and worked to pull the old table out from under things.   It was upside down and when I got it upright I realised this was the table that had been in the original kitchen as it was exactly the right size and it was with old kitchen flooring.    Andy helped me to move it down to our lawn where I started with hosing it down.    It took several days and scrubbing it with steel wool and Ajax to get it clean enough to bring inside.

Once inside I found two old chairs and added a vase of flowers and my table was ready.  The next time Dad came I was lucky enough to be in the kitchen when he came in the door and so I saw his face!  Oh!  "You got a table!"    As he took his hat off he was all smiles and so pleased.  And so he sat down and I made tea.   The table became our place of many, many long chats, lunches and cups of tea for two years until Dad's passing.   No cafe, no restaurant could come close to the kitchen table. 

So Jenny's blog post asked what do we do that makes our kitchen inviting?   Even though I can admire some kitchens I always love a working kitchen.   A kitchen that obviously cooks.  There is something cooking,  a bowl of eggs or lemons,  pretty linens,  preserves and action!  A place to sit and talk and listen.  A place someone can come and tell you all about it. 

There have been many tables in my life.  My parents huge dining room table that has been surrounded by family endless times.   My Nana L who had a huge farmhouse kitchen with a table that sat fourteen!   That was the most beautiful table of all.   The house had a modern stove next to a wood stove.  Nana decided she preferred the old stove the best.   The warmth from the fire, the big old table and Nana always being busy cooking made the most welcoming kitchen imaginable.  It wasn't modern, it wasn't new,  it was spick and span and spotless though.   Something was always cooking.  

Every Sunday while we all went to church Nan would prepare a roast lunch for everyone.   She usually put the meat and various veggies into the centre of the table in a kind of self serve set up.   It was always delicious.   She made sponge cakes and things like cream kisses and  cream puffs.   Most of the time the table was filled up with my Grandparents, Parents, brother, Aunt and Uncle and extras.   I loved Nans kitchen,  I loved everything about it.   

Back then going to a cafe for smashed avocado on toast was not a thing, nor was buying coffee everyday or multiple times a day.  Lunches were some kind of left overs from a roast made into sandwiches or fritters or quiche.  When you went somewhere you took a thermos and a lunch bag.   When we still lived in the city we knew that Andys' work mates spent $20 to $30 a day on coffees and take away food.    $27 a day is $10,000 a year.  Nan and Pa would have had a fit because that was a house deposit.   

I am not saying going to a cafe is wrong or getting a coffee is a bad thing.  I am saying what we do all the time really adds up.  Or what we don't do all the time adds up!   A welcoming kitchen does not have to be fancy.  Cooking does not have to be fancy either.  Most of Nans meals were simple old fashioned cooking.  She made a lot of soups.  I grew up on Nans soup!   If I could time travel back to Nan's kitchen it would be wonderful.  

I am following along with Jenny to study more on creating a welcoming home,  how simple wholesome and beautiful things create memories and lessons that nourish and inspire.   We can really benefit from simpler ways.   The kitchen table is like the heart of the home. 💖 xxx


  1. Thank you for taking me back down memory lane Annabel. So many things you mentioned were the similar in our family. Kitchens are an important part of our lives and so are the people who gather in them around the table.

    Now, I must go check out Jenny's blog as its been a while since I was there. Sounds like it might be something I would be interested in. Thank you.

    Take care and God Bless,
    Tania xxx

  2. Lovely thoughts Annabel. I totally agree with you.

  3. I love when you write about Nan’s kitchen. I have such fond memories of the sponges, cream puffs, biscuits and even the tomato zucchini and onion bake to go with roasts.

  4. I am chuckling about your Dad and the chair in the middle of the kitchen because in our first house we had a tiny galley kitchen and my Great Aunt Bonnie would come over and stand right in the middle of that tiny kitchen and I could not get past or around her to work. But, she was determined to be in the kitchen with me!

    My husband built our kitchen table when our oldest child was 2 which was 41 years ago. That table has so many memories. I homeschooled our five children around that table and countless friends have eaten there with us in many houses and in two states. Over Christmas we squashed all eleven of us up to the table so we did not have to split up into two rooms. The finish is almost worn off from so many meals and school books and countess sessions of crafts and play dough. I would not trade that table for a new and beautiful one because this one is priceless.

  5. I'm with you. I wouldn't have changed the kitchen either. When we moved into our old farmhouse, we painted and cleaned and did very little else, oh, we did replace the countertops! Anyway, your kitchen has far more workspace than ours, I hardly have any countertop, but it IS a working kitchen with lots of light, a fireplace with wood stove and a window and door! In the summer it's like being out in the garden and I love it. I think most people would think it too rustic.

  6. $10,000 might have bought a whole house back then!

    I have an eat in kitchen & no dining room. So sitting at our dining ta you're in the kitchen. I also have a comfy rocking chair by the back door. That's where most people like to sit while I'm working in my kitchen.

  7. Beautiful post, Annabel. Just love it. And I love your stove! Your memories are priceless and having them makes for wonderful guidance. It just goes to show that how a person lives their life can really affect others in so many will never know!!!

    xx Jen in NS

  8. Dear Annabel,
    This is a very heartwarming post. I would love the stove that you have.
    I love old kitchens. I think they are truly more relaxed, comfortable and beautiful. While the past twenty years every builder here has put granite in homes, unless it is a custom build. I prefer good hardwood floors with a laminate countertop. Sadly, tile seems to be a builder's choice.
    My grandmother had a beautiful old craftsman style home. Her kitchen was small, but warm and cozy. It was where I learned to cook.
    I am so glad that your Dad came by for tea and you have such good memories of your time with him. The kitchen table is the heart of the home.
    With love,

  9. Oh, this does speak right to the heart! My kitchen, in a town house, is a galley style one and way too small to put any sized table in it. Fortunately the dining area is right next to it as house is open plan. It's lovely to chat with others as one potters away in it. Ah the memories of chats, deep talks, parties, and more in kitchens over my life span! Lynda in Port Macquarie

  10. I love your stove! Wish I had an old one like that. Sometime I hope you publish a picture of your beautiful sink. I don 't remember eating at my grandma's very often, so not a lot of memories there...but I loved her dearly.

  11. What a beautiful read, thank you!

  12. I love your kitchen stove, and a walk in pantry with lots of light is my dream.

    God bless.

  13. Dear Annabel
    Growing up, there was always a kitchen table wherever we lived. In my grandparents' house, life happened in the kitchen, and I remember only once being in their "sitting room", which was rarely used.
    In a big old house we lived in shortly after we were married, there was a huge kitchen, with a table and chairs for dining, as well as a comfortable armchair - excellent for feeding babies. That kitchen was the only one I ever had with a huge walk-in pantry, and I loved it.
    I have to say, I like a separate kitchen rather than totally open plan. I need to concentrate when I cook, and I also like being able to hide messes!
    Thank you for this series. I am loving it.
    Linda in NZ

  14. Annabel, your faith is beautiful…knowing beforehand the change that was coming and saying “yes” without seeing first! This kitchen perspective IS about saving like Nana…creating a space where you want to be keeps you from spending crazy money to be somewhere else!

  15. Dear Annabel, goodness I got teary thinking about you and your Dad at the kitchen table. I am so glad that you 'listened' and moved and then 'listened' and got the table. I love kitchen tables. Our kitchen can't fit one but we have stools at the bench and I love being able to cook and talk to the kids as they sit there, not the same, but it is something. It shows that there is life there! I only thought the other day how I would love to sit at my grandmother's kitchen table and to have a cup of tea again. You are right; it is about the love and warmth that people provide. Lots of love, Lily

  16. Dear Annabelle , I just wanted to let you know that I throughly enjoy your posts, I have been a sideline follower for several years. Your pantry looks wonderful you have a knack for making things look beautiful. I live in a suburban area in the Adelaide plains but manage to grow fruit and veggies , making jams chutneys relish and preserving using Fowler bottles. Thankyou for your inspiration ,it helps to hear from like minded people sometimes you can feel very alone when your lifestyle isn’t based on consumerism in todays world. Thankyou . Julie

    1. Dear Julie, Thank you for commenting! I was born in Gawler and my Grandparents lived at Willaston. Your preserving sounds beautiful and Flowers jars are fantastic. You are not alone I think there are more of us than we think it is jus that we are busy at home and not making the news! I hope you have many good finds and deals on produce just now and over the next weeks. With love,

  17. Annabel I read this post in the evening after I had been busy in the kitchen getting some muffins made for the family for Morning Tea. We had the three little people runnin around the backyard and in and out of the wading pool all morning. Their parents were there keeping an eye on them. Bluey was changing a belt on the mower with Francis help. I stopped inside and got some muffins made. I used up some squishy strawberries and the last of the choc chips leftover from Christmas baking. We all sat down to a drink and a muffin at the table. The children were telling Grandfather off for not sitting down to eat. Four year old Maddy told me that I didnt need a 'Naughty Elf on the Shelf', because I have Grandfather. She's right. I was the Granny wearing the apron and faffing about in the kitchen. I love it.

    1. That is beautiful and the girls will remember these times all their lives. xxx

  18. I remember reading your original post about moving into your farmhouse and your dad commenting on needing a kitchen table. I just love your farm and your lifestyle. I also love your blog and all I’ve learned from you and others like you. I started preparing when you did. Thank you for all the knowledge you pass along.
    Melody from Oregon

  19. This post caused me to reflect on my nan’s kitchen. Her house was as basic as they come. The style of home where the old timber verandah was enclosed to make a long narrow room for all the children to sleep in!

    Her kitchen only had a wood cook stove, winter and summer all meals were cooked on that stove. A tea kettle sat permanently at the back of the stove and the moment a visitor walked in the back door (only strangers used the front door!) nan would move the kettle to the hotter front part of the stove :) to boil.

    There were no built in cupboards, just a couple of free standing hutch’s to hold food and crockery etc. A small sink was up against one wall and nan would wash up with strips or rags secured with wire to create a type of long handled brush!

    And of course the table (the only table in the house, no room for second dining areas in her house) was the centre piece of the room. Every visitor sat at that table, pots of tea were always at the ready and simple biscuits or sandwiches. Such simple times. Such fond memories, with not a bell or whistle in sight ❤️🐦

    Sigh ❤️😔❤️

  20. My kitchen has a small breakfast area at one end and for years we dined in that area, but eventually my family grew too big to fit the space. Not in numbers but in size. So we moved it to the area meant all along to be a dining room but there was that empty space. One day I was moving furniture around and pushed a rocking chair into that space and i found myself just naturally gravitating to that chair to sit and rock while I waited on something to finish off cooking or for someone to come in and eat a meal. Then I realized that often others would come in and sit there and chat while I was working, so I put in two chairs that faced the kitchen area and now I can sit with a guest and chat while a meal is cooking.
    I'd suggested to my husband that he might put another table there but he confessed he'd just stack his things on it when he came in and no one would be able to sit and enjoy the space. So we'll keep the two chairs there for sitting and talking and having a cuppa.

  21. We could have a dining area but I prefer my big Amish built wooden table with 2 big leaves. It fills the kitchen when all spread out but I want all my family in there with me. We'll have to add card tables as the babies grow up but that's ok. It's the center of my kitchen and we eat there, play cards with friends, Farmer uses it for a desk. We home-schooled on it. It's my staging ground for when I do a big cook or bake. I don't want an island, I love my big farmhouse table.
    Speaking of coffee/lunches during the workweek; we take turns buying coffee for our workplace coffee pot. I fill it before I go home so it's ready to go when I get there early the next day. I just started making my own creamer and I take it to work also. Farmer and I both take our lunches and snacks to work also. There is no reason to buy anything when we have a pantry filled to the brim. :)


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