Talavera Kitchen, Part 1

A couple of months ago, in keeping with my quest to make my home unique and whimsical, I got the idea to have a Talavera theme in my kitchen. It’s far from finished, but I do have some pictures of its progress to show you.

First there were the paint chips. I kept them around for awhile until I decided on the perfect Mexican Talavera color, called Buttered Yam. The lady at the hardware store liked my choice; in fact she even said she would do her nails that color! Paint never looks exactly like the paint chips once you actually see it in the can. So it looks a little more orange than I had expected. Also depending on the lighting, the color will look different from photo to photo in this post.paint-can

I have always loved to paint…walls, not paintings. But I make a huge mess, because I am lazy about all the taping and putting down drop cloths. I was determined this time to do it right…rubber-plant



I even went so far as to put spackle in any holes or imperfections on the walls. What I liked about this kind was that it goes on purple and then dries white. Kind of whimsical, don’t you think? Then it was time for the fun part! Let the painting begin!

first-wallIn the background of this picture you can see Foster’s climbing structure, made of cardboard boxes covered with fabric and ModPodge.



I decided to do both sides of the wall, which is the divider between the original part of the house and the “back living room” that was added on by the people who owned the house before us.


And, it’s not like I didn’t have enough help…



Since I had made the mistake of letting him sit on the step stool, Foster figured out how to get up onto the island in the middle of the kitchen. Up to this point he had not seemed to notice that this was a surface on which I might have items he wasn’t supposed to get to. So I had to move the plants to the stove…

Which didn’t work. The plants had to go into the sewing room with the door closed for the moment. Later I found a macramé plant hanger for the peace lily and it matched the walls perfectly. So far my faithful feline companion has not figured out that he could probably jump up and reach the tassels on the bottom. The rubber plant is still in the sewing room – more about that later.

Once the walls were finished it was time to figure out what to put up on them. In my mind I could see Talavera animals or butterflies on the top part of the kitchen side. But when I looked at the Talavera items available in stores (see below), once again I decided they were too expensive and I would have to make (or improvise) my own. (You can see my first attempts at “faux Talavera” here.)


A friend had given me the ceramic “Mi Casa Es Mi Casa” sign about a year ago (yes, I’m a retired  Spanish teacher so I know it’s supposed to be “Mi Casa Es Su Casa”, but you have to appreciate the humor.) Originally I thought of putting it up with these little plastic plates I got at Target. But then I found these painted plates at a thrift store, and I had gotten the fox plate at Thanksgiving from Walmart. I put “Mi Casa Es Mi Casa” above the sink, and so far haven’t found a home for the small Target plates.


For the other side of the wall I found these birds at Hobby Lobby, and three plates like the one you see below at Home Goods.


wall-from-far-awayIt was hard to get a good picture due to the lights being in the way, but in this picture you can see how the plates look on either side of the birds.


This plastic tray is from Tuesday Morning.  I will find a spot for it eventually. And I’ve already started on my first “improvised” Talavera animals! I found this orange ceramic fish at a thrift store and realized that I could paint over it with “Talavera-style” designs.

talavera-fish-2At first I felt kind of bad when I noticed someone’s name carved on the back, which made me think it was someone’s ceramics project. How could I paint over someone’s project? Had it been it done in a school ceramics class? What grade had it received? Had it been given to someone who later gave it to the thrift store, or who passed away and left it as part of an estate sale, or had its maker been the one who decided to give it away in an attempt to simplify his or her life?


Because I have such an (over) active imagination, sometimes thrift stores and I don’t mix very well. But finally I decided that it had after all been given to the thrift store and it wasn’t up to me to figure out why. Here you can see it with its first coat of “primer”, which is actually terra cotta colored craft paint. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. I already have plenty of Talavera fish images saved on Pinterest for inspiration!


So that’s the progress on my Talavera kitchen so far. I’ll follow up with Part 2 eventually. But until then, mi casa es, well, mi casa!