February 19, 2012
No kitchen since November….no problem? Well, maybe it’s a bit of a challenge. 😉
Here is the current state of the laundry space. The kitchen looks about like this, but it still retains half of the subfloor. That stuff is a BEAST to take out since it’s a few layers thick.
December 30, 2011
I’ve escaped this
for fun in the kitchen,
helping write last minute letters to Santa
and kissing babies!
It was a great trade!
November 22, 2011
Yes, that’s right….total gut job.
Here is a photographic summary of our day.
Did you catch that?
So, we’re now at “total gut job” status. As you probably already know, projects have a tendency to spiral out of control. Ours always do!
November 12, 2011
While BeachBoy runs to Lowe’s for an emergency supply, I thought I’d check in. I’ve been busy, busy, busy sealing the floors in the living room and dining room.
I still need to hang the blinds and curtains back up, replace the floor grates, and purchase the new rug (this one is from our bedroom). Plus, we’re STILL trying to sell the furniture (no bites yet). But, the floors are done in here and in the dining room.
As for the master bedroom, well…I haven’t coated those floors yet because it looks like this today:
In OTHER news, we also have THIS surprise project to tend to right away. What’s new at your house?
June 4, 2011
A few nights ago, we had dinner straight from the garden. What a treat that was!
When BeachBoy got home from work, I snagged my harvesting basket and we headed to the backyard to decide what to have for dinner. It was like ordering take-out, only better!
(Of course, SOME people couldn’t wait and dug right in before we finished making our selections.)
We settled on squash and beans, and I picked some herbs for our meal plus some extras to make a bit of salsa.
There was something amazingly satisfying about creating a meal from the backyard. It was comforting to know exactly how and where it was grown and that it was safe and chemical free. It just felt good.
We cooked up the veggies, and I tossed in some leftover pasta and homemade pesto to help clear out the fridge. Fast. Easy. Satisfying.
It’s amazing, really, how growing your own food transforms the entire cooking and eating experience.
May 30, 2011
One of my life goals is to feed my family from a backyard garden. I spent the winter months dreaming and scheming, ordering books and flipping through magazines. I am thrilled to announce that this is the year I’m taking my first (baby) step in that direction by starting Phase 1 of my potager.
I haven’t finished the project yet, but we’re off to a running start. In an effort to get everything into the ground on schedule, we did some of this project out of order.
First, I built myself a set of raised boxes using 2×12 pine boards cut to length. (Lowes and HomeDepot will cut them for you, which is great if you don’t have a truck.) Then, I predrilled holes into each board for easy assembly. A screw in each predrilled hole quickly transformed them into boxes. For added support, I put a brace in each inner corner.
For a step-by-step look at building raised beds, check out All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It has great photos. The boxes were then filled with Mel’s Mix.
Then, I filled my boxes with seeds and seedlings based on what we like to eat. Fast forward a month or so, and we have a backyard that looks like this:
phase 1 of the potager
My work is not complete, but we’ve been enjoying a steady harvest of goodies. The next step is replacing the grass between the boxes with rock walkways. Now THAT is going to be a hot job!
April 28, 2011
Last weekend, Beachboy and I enjoyed an impromptu trip to California. It was a refreshing getaway from work and a wonderful chance to give each other our undivided attention.
Now, I know most people go to the coast to see the ocean. But this girl goes to the beach to see the COTTAGES! I simply adore beach cottages, no matter the size or style. I’d inhabit one if I could, but the “tear down” cottage we saw while there was listed at $7.8 million. So, there won’t be a waterfront cottage in my future anytime soon!
What really struck me about the California coast was the lack of salty air. You couldn’t smell the ocean. Instead, you smelled the roses. Everyone there had roses, and the scent drifted all around you. It was absolutely divine.
This is a street of dreams!
One thing is for sure, these cottages are begging me to return when I have time to explore with more leisure.
March 23, 2011
Our first Spring in our cottage brought us a lovely surprise. Our shady back yard had plagued us with weeds and dead patches all year long. And, then, one day we woke up to this:
Spring at Squirrel Cottage
Every year since we’ve looked forward to these most welcomed Sprinbg guests.
This year, I cut some to carry inside. I simply couldn’t resist.
February 8, 2011
It’s only February, and already I’m dreaming of this year’s herb garden. When we moved into our cottage, the very first thing I planted was a small herb garden. But, over the last few years, I’ve outgrown it. Between cuttings for the house and for cooking, I need more than it’s producing. With the food changes we are making this year (more on that later), I know I’m going to need much more space for my garden. So, I’ve been hunting for inspiration!
I LOVE the baskets in this photo from Dotcomwomen!
I dream of a large, lush garden like this one from Eden's Path.
I'm a huge fan of garden "rooms," but that's probably not in this year's forecast.
I have two large containers like this that I picked up from the paint department last year. Maybe they'll make their way into the herb garden this spring.
Herb Garden Passion
Herbs make me smile. Nothing beats the scent they leave around your house or the taste fresh cuttings add to your dishes. But, equally important to me is how cute the garden is as I sit and enjoy it from the window. I can’t wait to plan a new marking system for this year’s crop! It’s a great way to add a touch of whimsy to the space each year.
For fun markers for your herb garden, look here, here, and here.
February 7, 2011
I have a very difficult time walking out of a bookstore without a cookbook. Just yesterday, I had to leave two at the store, and it nearly broke my heart. I was without a pen to jot down the names of them, and I was certain I’d never locate them a second time. But, three new books have found their way into my kitchen in the last week, so I’m all smiles tonight.
I’ve fallen in love with the earthiness of Harvest. Sure, many of the recipes are ones I’d list as “common sense,” but others are a fun combination of flavors. Besides, for me, the draw of a book is as much the inspiration it creates as it is the actual recipes. And, this book is full of inspiration. The photography is gorgeous, and as soon as I opened the cover, I felt at home in this family’s kitchen. My favorite line of the book is “Give the bird a good whacking.” How can I resist someone so charming?
Tonight, I tried out the tomato and brie tart recipe in order to use up some overripe friends in my fridge. And, I promise you, if you can mash butter with your hands
and slice a few tomatoes, you can cook from this book.
It’s charming, really. You should look it up the next time you’re in the bookstore. For me, it was just the dose of pickmeup I needed to start the new year.
February 7, 2011
Much to my dismay, BeachBoy was very excited, and exclaimed he need the same bumper sticker.
You see, we have this little problem when we travel…
I’m pretty sure I was left with whiplash due to the quick turn this little stand caused during our recent trip to Alabama.
December 19, 2010
Since I stumbled upon these dish towels at TJ Maxx, I’ve been dying to get started on a sewing project they inspired.
For now, I’ll keep a lid on what I’m making since it’s a gift, but here’s a preview of what’s happening at my house.
And while we’re talking about stitches, here’s a look at a project I did today. My sewing travel basket was in need of some personality. Plus, I grew tired of chasing pieces around the car when they snuck out the bottom of the basket. Solution: basket liner.
The basket was a cheapie ($3) from Walmart, and I picked up the fabric from the remnant section (2 dollars for 1 and 3/4 yd). The bow is a stand in until I decide what I really want on the side. I’m thinking something metal… perhaps some sort of tag…
December 16, 2010
Tis the season to be asked to “bring a finger food.” I have a love-hate relationship with these types of parties. I love the concept of sharing in the preparation. I love to cook. I hate that I stress over it.
BeachBoy’s favorite carry-to-a-party item is bacon chicken wraps, but I’m not a fan of taking the same thing to every party. I’ve tried to explain it to him, but he insisted they’re too good not to take.
Long story short, I actually found myself buying a magazine called, of all things, “Southern Lady.” Yes, you heard me right. I was standing in line at THE grocery store of the south (Publix), when I noticed a magazine featuring appetizers. As I flipped through and saw a few that looked good, I caved and paid the ridiculous price charged by the grocery store.
This weekend, we have to parties requiring a finger food, so tonight I’m getting everything ready.
The first recipe I tried was good, cheap, and couldn’t be faster, so I thought I’d pass it along.
Cranberry Cheese Log with Rosemary and Toasted Walnuts
- 1 pack softened cream cheese
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
- 2 cups chopped dried cranberries (This came out to be just shy of a 6 oz pack. You could make it even easier and just round up.)
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (My bush recently died, so I used dried. Sorry, I didn’t measure. I just eyeballed it as usual.)
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Mix all bu the nuts. Chill the mixture. Form a log and roll in the nuts.
This made me wonder: What if I used fresh cranberries and candied walnuts? Hmmm….