Friday, July 31, 2009

While Waiting for the Paint to Dry

I decided to try something a little different for dinner. I pulled a pork tenderloin out of the freezer and put it straight on the grill, seasoning it with garlic olive oil and lemon. I turned it very slowly so that each side got nice and brown.

As that was cooking we sliced up some potatoes thin, set them to rest in balsamic vinegar for a bit and then put them on the grill. I turned them once, brought them out and dusted them with sea salt and a little more balsamic vinegar. We ate those rather quickly while waiting for the pork to finish cooking. They were Good!

I cut into a pineapple and it was a good one. The first two slices were devoured on the spot before I realized that it might be good on the grill. I love serving fresh pineapple with a strawberry lime yogurt sauce, I love that. I cook with canned pineapple some, on pizza, in quiche and sweet and sour dishes, but I’ve never grilled fresh pineapple before. So I got some ideas from friends on Facebook and couldn’t make up my mind between sweet or savory, so I did both. First was a lime, jalapeño oil and fresh basil combination. The second was vanilla bean paste, brown sugar and fresh mint combo. A soon as we took the pork loin off the grill I popped the pineapple on. While the cheddar garlic bread was toasting the pineapple cooked, a few minutes per side.

I cut into that pork roast and sliced it up. Hubby wandered by and helped himself. “Da-Yum!” LOL! I think THAT is a compliment! =) The pineapple came off the grill and the toast came off at about the same time and we started in. Hubby liked the sweet one with the vanilla and brown sugar, I think I liked the one with the jalapeno kick a little better. I was really surprised how good it was. I would do the sweet version again with a desert, maybe served with something creamy plus something crispy. And I would do the spicy one again and figure out a way to ratchet up the heat a little more, it was a bit on the mild side for me but still lovely. Both were wonderful paired with the pork. And the crispy edges to the bread were nice also.

I looked at my plate and had to laugh, it was all kind of beigy yellow, which is totally not my thing. A meal should have color, but what this one lacked in color it more than made up in flavor. That was fun!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two Quilt Thursday

I went to my quilt studio today to make a handbag. I’ve grown really tired of the ones I’ve been using and wanted a fresh look, plus I had no motivation to do anything on my actual To Do list for the day. But as I worked out the design of the piece, I decided that I liked it too much to turn it into a purse. So before long I was quilting it for the wall instead.

Then I happened to notice a quilt that I started a while back and thought of how pretty that would be in the room I’m working on for my daughter. So I finished it and am really pleased with how it looks. Now I just need to finish her bedroom. No problem, right? These things always take so much longer than it seems they should. I'd like to think I'll be back in the studio again soon but who knows?!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another Bathroom Facelift

Our small bathroom had a bad case of ugliness so we gave it a little facelift. Nothing major, we didn’t move any of the big stuff.

Vintage 1975 blue shower, blue vinyl floor with glitter in it. Can't believe anyone ever manufactured that stuff.
The light and mirror get the award for the worst things in the room. And the sink... well... it is what it is.
So I went shopping and when I got home it was time for the real work. First, that med cabinet was out of there, it had been installed way too high on the wall and I wanted it lower. Which wasn't as simple as it seemed like it should be. Never is.
Some fancy drywall patching, a coat of paint and the new light fixture installed and it's already looking like a different room. There he is, looking pleased with his work! And I love the extra space inside this mirror/med cabinet!
I put down a new floor, vinyl tiles go down fast and are pretty easy to cut if you have the right cutters. Hubby put the baseboard back down and that finished up the floor.
On the window I used a piece of vintage textile from my collection and it fits beautifully on the window. I hung it from a tension rod on clips and the hand work on it is a nice detail and a touch of color in the room. A new white shower curtain, and a nice new extra long towel holder. (curtain rod)
I painted the vanity "Italian Leather" and was surprised with how much I liked how it turned out. Removing the old hardware and patching the holes and some new hardware from the Restore and it's a big difference. A new GFI outlet and white switches and plates were more nice details.
We visited our friend John Sproul to make some bracketless shelves in his woodworking shop and for the price of a sheet of MDF we built some serious shelves. Hubby is putting the finishing touches on them after he'd attached them to the wall.It didn't take me long to fill those shelves after the paint dried. Three of my hand painted vases look great here, and a landscape photo taken from our front porch when we lived in the artist/witch's house. Of course there is a bowl of beautiful soaps. The fleur de lis are a theme with me, have been for a very long time. I don't know if that plant will make it there or not, I guess we'll see.

I found this great clock at Big Lots and it even has storage space inside which tickled me pink.

There are a few more details I will to attend to at some point in this room but for now I'm really pleased with how it is turning out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tasty Treats

This was dinner last night. And yeah, it tasted good. Maybe even better than it looks even. To start out I sautéed up yellow squash, green beans, red onions, and zucchini in the jalapeño flavored oil that I made the other day. So they were spicy and cooked so they still had their color and were still crunchy. I did potatoes with some salt and balsamic vinegar and they had a little crunch to them. Then the steak was sautéed up quickly with mesquite smoked pepper. The spaghetti was left over and I opened a can of mandarin oranges for a little sweetness. I layered everything up with lime juice and fresh basil over the top.

This was so fun to experiment with the creative process when it comes to food, I enjoyed it very much.

It was an interesting combination of the spicy kick from the jalapeño oil, the sweet/tang of the citrus and the flavor of a great Omaha steak. Mercy it was good. I was a little concerned about what hubby would say because he likes his food to be pretty conventional but he really liked it.

I love the Food Network, it makes me consider cooking with things like texture, spicy heat, sweet , tart, fresh herbs and… of course… COLOR!


Then hubby felt inspired to pull an old cake out of the freezer, saw off a hunk and set it to thaw on the kitchen counter. We both ate a piece before we went to bed last night.

And Hope had her piece this morning. Leaving her whisker and tooth marks for us. I walked into the kitchen this morning and looked at the cake and she looked at me and started to growl. So I guess we know it was her and not Misde. What an opportunistic brat-dog!

Yeah, go ahead, look innocent. We all know better!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

This Good Day

I scored some wonderful veggies today at the Farmer's Market. Sometimes I think I buy them just for the pretty colors to put on my kitchen counter for the week. I decided to get beets from Bob and Lisa who had the booth next to me at market this week. They put extra in the bag before they handed it over. It's a fun feature of market that we pass our products around to each other, sometimes bartering and sometimes just being neighborly.
Dinner when cooking for color...
I've never cooked beets before, never had the urge, never found them anything of interest until I saw them at market today and decided to try them myself. Maybe it was the salesmanship, I don't know, but they made them sound delicious. They told me how to cook them and I followed the instructions mostly, except for the bacon. =) I thought it needed bacon. Hubby didn't like the greens but approved of the beets.
Fresh Basil and mayo are wonderful on good tomatoes and I purchased a loaf of wonderful bread at market and melted some fresh motz over it. Yummm...
I roasted a few heads of garlic and a number of jalapeños in olive oil for flavoring this and that over the next few months. I wonder if that will have the "depth of flavor" (a phrase used by Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network) that I hope, we'll see.
This spring I planted this little bird bath full of goodies and I must have been doing something right. The plants are growing and so are the golf balls. There are now 17 of them. We find them regularly since we live on a golf course. It's only natural since our home is located right on the curve of a 90 degree angle green so that the golfers are aiming directly for our house when they tee off. =)
It’s been a lovely day - in spite of the alarm going off at 5:00 am to get up for farmer’s market. It was a fun market day, the temperatures were perfection. I wore a jacket most of the morning, just can’t believe this is July! And it never did actually get hot, just perfection all day. Even though the vender on one side seemed very grumpy, the lovely couple on the other side of me made up for it by being good company. I borrowed two books on felting from another vender and flipped through them in between customers. Talk about inspiration! Yay!

This afternoon I saw that a friend of mine is having a sale in her lovely art supply store which is close by. So instead of catching a nap, I headed over to pick out a lovely collection of colors and canvas. Buying colors is such a delight and it's a treat to pet the puppy and Leslie is very cool!

And when I came home I still wasn’t ready to succumb to a nap so I pulled out a box of llama fuzz a friend had given me and tried out a very basic felting technique. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten accomplished. The results are rather weird. I also dyed up some wool roving in a variety of colors, so once that color is properly set I’ll play with adding some color to the strange experiment and see what happens. I blame it on the books lent me by another vender, they had such inspiring photographs!

We’ve been working on another bathroom facelift this week. It takes time but the work is rewarding and I’m pleased with how it looks so far. We’ve hung a new light and med cabinet; I painted and installed a new vinyl tile floor. It’s cheap and fast and will hold us over until we’re ready to rip out and install some exotic glass or hand painted tile or something. Hubby put the baseboard back down and I have a little touch up painting to do. There are other details that need to be finished up and I’ll post photos when I get the chance.

We’ve had a lovely evening here and I’m grateful for these days that feel so right. This year has brought more than its share of grieving, and these days of grace are good for the spirit. I am grateful. It reminds me of a Fernando Ortega song called “This good day.” And if I could have found a youtube video of it that was decent, I would have included it.

Here is the chorus:

“This good day, it is a gift from You
The world is turning in its place because You made it to.
I lift my voice to sing a song of praise
On this good day."

Thursday, July 9, 2009


A quilt in process... but I can't decide which one I like better.
Which one?
hand dyed cottons + natural cotton, aprox 24 x 45
"Mystical Forest"
a work in progress

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bathroom Makeover

Before (well... we'd already started making the mess at this point)Everything was vintage 1975! There were various colors of green in this bathroom, from the avocado tub, to the multicolored floor, to the moss green counter top… and then the gold walls. Mercy! Instead of remodeling, I decided to give it a face lift. No demolition, no tile work, no big mess or big bill. Just a new look.


First of all, I covered this avocado tub...
...with this great new shower curtain from Marimekko.
And all the gold paint had to go! I chose a shade of green that would tie the other greens together and give an updated look.
I picked out a new faucet and hubby installed it for me. I picked up new hardware for the vanity. (Can you tell I have a thing for fleur de lis?!) We painted the vanity and all the trim in a lovely clean ultra white. I removed the hinges and rattle canned them white. Hubby installed new GFI outlets and changed the switches and recepts to white with white plates.
My hubby removed the old lighting and put in track lighting, with two pendants lights and some spots. I love how the glass shades echo the black lines in the shower curtain and the flexibility of track lighting spots.

I must admit to loving my new TP holder which is now on the end of the vanity to the right of the throne rather than on the wall to the left.
I like how the new towel holder works to cover up the intercom system a bit. Though I love having music from my ipod piped to every room in the house, I think the wall units are kind of ugly.
The "towel rack" is ready for towels, and that wall is ready for artwork! So I'd better get to work!
We were able to do all the work ourselves with help from my Mom & Dad who dropped by to help paint and re-hang the doors. It was far cheaper than a remodel job and we have a nice sense of accomplishment in the transformation.

Thanks for stopping by.

My Cake

Featured in Cake Wrecks Sunday Sweets section over the weekend. (The Non-Wreck part.) That's fun! Kudos in the comments also which is kind of fun to read. Yay!

Friday, July 3, 2009

All in a Day's Work.

Day one of the facelift of my bathroom is underway. I decided against any serious renovations, the tub and vanity stays, I’m not going to install tile or replace the floor. This is just a facelift for the bathroom that will update our vintage 1975 house without costing much. One of these days we’ll do a real renovation but not now. I painted the walls and primed the trim, we painted the inside of the closet as well. Hubby took the doors off the hinges and primed them. We took the doors off of the vanity and I'll do my best to clean them up. He installed new GFI outlets and put on new switch plates. I hung the new shower curtain and we went shopping for new lighting, faucet and wood to frame out the mirror. And when we got home we installed the new TP holder. So far I love it.

Mom is coming tomorrow and we will paint trim and the vanity. We’ll start putting together some of the details and see if we can have it beautiful by evening. I want three towel racks but instead of just buying towel racks I have a few ideas, so we will see how that goes.

Photos coming, I'm trying to remember to document each step of the way. I love before and after photos!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One of my favorite places

A little blog reading music for ya:

Remember my little bird bath garden inspired from this Spring?
Well, it has become our golf ball garden. I thought I had ten balls in there but counted today and there are eleven. I asked hubby if he found another one and he said no. So maybe one of the golfers is really THAT good. We live on a golf course and the golfers aim at our house on a 90 degree green so whenever hubby mows, he has to be kind of careful.
The plants on the back deck have done surprisingly well, considering I'm not much of a gardener.
Here are a couple tomatoes, some mint and the grill. I grilled a whole chicken the other day and inadvertantly left some of the olive oil marinade inside. It was a BIG fire in that poor little grill, I had to grab the bird while hubby doused the fire. I was really glad for a brick house that evening! Lesson learned, as much as I like fire, I don't want to burn down my house.
Misde is my sweet girl. She's a border collie and mystery mutt mix.
I can't believe how fast my tomato plants grew, we've got green tomatoes and it won't be long before the cucumber is big enough to pick. It's not a real garden but container gardening on the deck at least gives us the hope that we can keep some of it away from the deer. Our deer population is thriving here, so much so that they got the SWAT team to thin the herd a while back.
This is Hope, my border collie. She's a lovely creature most of the time. And sometimes she's a brat, but she's my girl.
I think this deck is one of my very favorite places right now. The other evening I wrapped up in a blanket and watched the stars for a while in the stillness of the night. There were some lightening bugs out and the evening was so perfect and peaceful. I love this place. It reminded me of the lyrics of a song:

I see skies of blue, clouds of white.

Bright blessed day, dark sacred night

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Thank you Louie Armstrong!
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