Saturday, July 20, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

It has been a quiet, mostly indoors week- re-entry from a trip up North, a sick kid, feeling the heat...

My husband's grandmother collected figurines of birds, and we received this bluebird of happiness in memory of her.  Lovely, isn't it?

I was able to catch up on a little knitting...

Some finds from the parish rummage sale- a baguette pan, muffin tins, a decanter (pressed into service for mouthwash), two old milk bottles (repurposed as bedside carafes), and a crystal box.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

CSA: Week Six

Cauliflower: tossed into homemade Mac and cheese
Corn, Peppers, and Onions: grilled for fajitas
Kale: bean and kale enchiladas
Peaches: eaten fresh
Beets: roasted 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Well, with temps like these, beating the heat was no small feat.

But... I did paint a room.  Being up near the ceiling was pretty miserable on those hot days, but I'm really happy with the results. 



Previously, the only people who had stayed in our guest room had common DNA with us, and were so relieved that they no longer had to sleep on an air mattress in the same room as the baby that they overlooked the dismal nature of our guest room.  The room also served other functions. I intermittently use the room for sewing.  (Let's be honest, I'm a knitter). Also, all but one of the closets in our Victorian house are deep as a shoe box and as wide as the door.  Newborn items not currently in use languished here, since there was nowhere else to put them. But, with house guests on the horizon, I needed to do better.

This is the third home where I have painted a room this color.  For the first few days after painting, you'll think you left a light on because of all the warmth and brightness it adds. After painting (Behr ultra with primer- Brandy Butter satin), I turned the bed at an angle to create a storage nook for all the baby things.  Then I corralled all the sewing items in a box and draped a quilt over it. 

Room paint: 2 gallons @ 29.98, Home Depot
Trim paint: found in the cellar
Peacock Curtains: $50 for 6 yards,
Drape pulls: $5, Wally World clearance
Bed spread: repurposed damask table cloth
Frames, basket, toiletries dish: $2, thrift store

So, for just over $100 ($150 if you throw in the bed and dresser I picked up secondhand last year), our guest room became welcoming and warm.

round button chicken

CSA: Week Five

Cherry toms: pico de gallo
Peaches: canned into peach bourbon jam
Corn: 4 ears in corn sausage chowder, 4 roasted on the grill
Zucchini: roasted on the grill
Summer squash and green beans: three sisters pasta salad
Eggplant: roasted to make just a dollop of baba ganoush

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Easy braided bread

Love the look of braided bread, but feel intimidated?  Try these three easy steps.

After the first rise, press each loaf sized amount of dough into a rectangle slightly shorter than the pan.

Cut slits in the dough as pictured above.  Cross alternately.  Place in greased pan for second rise.  Brush with egg white prior to baking.


{pretty, happy, funny, real}

What a beautiful week.  The 70s in July?  We'll take it.

I don't subscribe to a faith tradition that encompasses The Secret.  But I had been wishing for an area rug for the playroom (but not enough that I was willing to give up the one from the master bedroom.) Voila!  My good friend's neighbor was giving one away.  A good shampoo and we were in business.

I hadn't put any effort into decorating this room after my mother in law and I painted it in January. It's a creamy brown which could be accessorized any number of ways.  The red works!

Well, if the floor got a new covering, so should the windows!  I replaced the roller blind with this family heirloom tablecloth that had not seen the light of day since the arrival of little hands mounted to a tension rod in the window frame, and mounted a red tablecloth that has never looked right in this house on the rod for when more coverage is needed.

Now, to figure out shelving...

The fabric for the guest room curtains also arrived this week.  After a year of assiduous thrifting, I gave up on locating secondhand print curtains (much easier to come by in Boston) and bit the bullet.  And since it's easier to match textiles to paint than the converse, I can pick a paint color.

My friend (the same one with the rug bestowing neighbor) and I had a no cost decorating spree on Saturday, relocating things from different rooms. We replaced a set of silver bookends and blue and white pottery with these books in the living room.

I am finally happy with my dining room!  For a long time, I felt I was fighting its 1880s bones, but I think everything shook out in the end.  We moved all the red serving pieces (which I was using as a segue to the turquoise and red kitchen) and replaced them with blue and white serving pieces from around the house.   A few old pictures from upstairs bedrooms came down, and everything looks calming and historically consistent.

On to the kitchen!  I have a narrow shelf above the sink.  It can only be accessed via stool, so it's not a great storage space.  But the cord for the lap was dead center, and I wanted to cover it up.  Enter the book ends from the living room and smell pretty cake pans.

A platter provided a focal point over the stove, in keeping with other displayed kitchen tinware.

And the frequently accessed rugs found a more accessible home.

I have been working on a hooked rug for my son's room, which has stalled due to running out off old blue and white fabric/garments.  
round button chicken

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

CSA: Week Four

Kale, turnips, potatoes, cherry toms, peaches, regular toms

Kale: sautéed with pasta

Potatoes: some used in meatball curry, others roasted, some in frittata

Peaches: eaten fresh

Regular toms: one in pico de gallo, one in a frittata

Cherry toms: stuffed with herbed sour cream

Turnips: roasted with supermarket brussel sprouts

Thursday, June 27, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

It has been a stormy Thursday, so good for the farmers and gardens.  Our house has weathered 130 years of storms. 

I am closing in on a full year since working full time, outside the home.  There are things I miss and things I don't, but seeing what a sponge my little boy is makes me think hard.

A relative regifted me this quilt when I graduated from Notre Dame.  The bright blue never went with any of my bedroom schemes, so I used it inside a duvet or with the plain backing side up- a matelasse  sort of effect.  I wa originally going to rebind it, but realized I had enough scraps to appliqué over the blue.  I have about 30 hours of work to finish it.

I am also expanding what was a twin hand pieced duvet into a queen.  
It's slow going- I haven't done much sewing since I learned to knit in 2008.

We made pizza on the grill this week.  Everyone had their own pizza, which also made them easier to turn and saved me from the simultaneity of someone moaning about olives and somebody eating them.  Win, win, win!

round button chicken

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CSA: Week Three

Grape tomatoes
Regular tomatoes
Onions (red and walla walla)
(Plus a bonus mint plant and farm eggs!)

Grape tomatoes: stuffed with herbed cream cheese
Tomatoes: Pearl Couscous with Tomatoes from American Masala
Onions: used in cooking
Broccoli and kohlrabi: cooked poriyal style 
Beets: roasted on the grill, served with blue cheese
Spinach: tossed in pasta carbonara

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CSA: Week Two


Week two had a lot of green: cabbage, sugar snap peas, snow peas, leaf lettuce, and cherry tomatoes.

How this week's produce was used: 

Cabbage: Slow cooker cabbage rolls.  I did brown the pork first for better flavor.

Leaf lettuce: Side salads again.

Sugar snap peas: Eaten raw.  

Tomatoes: Another recipe from Suvir Saran, this time from Masala Farm: Pasta with popped tomatoes. The butcher was out of slab bacon so I subbed hard salami.Through a little couponing I was able to get a packet of fresh pasta for 60 cents, and that really made the meal.

Snow peas: They were a little hard for my toddler to manage whole last week. This week, I plan to blanch them and serve with home made hummus.

CSA: Week One


Our town's CSA started up last week.  As you can see, we received spring onions, cauliflower, leaf lettuce, strawberries, snow peas, and spinach.  Not bad for a county that had snow in May!

How I used the produce:

Spring onions: Aside from Vidalias, there is a dearth of onions in the grocery store until the new crop comes in.  I've been using the spring onions wherever one would use regular onions.

Cauliflower: Roasted with cardamom, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes, from Suvir Saran's American Masala.  If you don't like cauliflower, try it roasted before you give up on it. 

Leaf lettuce: As side salads, dressed with a little lemon and olive oil.

Snow peas and spinach: A rustic pasta primavera.  I dropped the pods into the pasta water just before I drained it and put the spinach in the bottom of the colander.  Then I tossed the whole mixture with olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Strawberries: Freezer jam.  I enjoy hot water bath canning, but I haven't been happy with my last few batches of strawberry jam.  The extra 10-15 minutes of cooking saps the ruby color and translucence. Freezer jam it is!