Thursday, September 30, 2010

Late September Pictures

The rain stopped and all the colors were glowing. Things are starting to look like like fall now. The creeks are full; it sounds wonderful out there with all the water rushing by.

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Fajita Soup Weather!

We're having some misty, moisty fall weather at the moment. Cool and drizzly. In fact we're under a severe weather alert until tomorrow evening. About 4 inches of rain expected. We actually had to turn on the heat this afternoon. I was wishing I could light a fire in the wood stove, but my fireman hubby likes to give it a good overhaul and cleaning before using it for the first time each year.

I absolutely love this kind of weather, and took a few pictures from the front porch, and one from the kitchen window. With the clouds hanging around the tops of the mountains and between the ridges, I always think our little valley resembles something out of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It also reminds me of the illustrated works of Norwegian artist Theodore Kittelsen. Our woods are a mixture of soft and hardwood trees, lots of knotty branches and knobbly roots, boulders and rocky overhangs. You could imagine elves and dwarfs and, ooh, trolls inhabiting them.

Well anyway, Ken brought home Fajitas, from the Mexican restaurant last night. We never can eat it all, so what could be better on a day like this, than -leftover- Fajita Soup! Yes, it's my own invention. Ken thought I was joking when he asked what was for supper. Surprisingly, he actually liked it! Surprisingly, he agreed to try it in the first place! Let's just say, Polly, kitchen, making stuff up... we don't usually dare go there.

Fajita Soup:

Put left over fajitas into a sauce pan.

Add about a cup and a half of pink grapefruit juice and about half a cup of water. A dash of Worcestershire sauce and a sprinkle of crushed, hot red pepper.

Bring to a boil then simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve with garlic bread.

Mmm.. it's kind of sweet and sour and spicy all at the same time. Really warms you up on a drizzly day like this.

Of course you can tweak things a bit too. This time I also added two teaspoons of mango salsa to the mix and sometimes I add a little ginger.

Try it and see what you think.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wildflowers and Widgets

There are lots of little blue flowers in the pasture right now. Not sure what they are. I brought some in but immediately started coughing. I'm not usually prone to allergies but Ken and Joshua are.They would have been suffering greatly if I'd kept the flowers in the house, so here they are relegated to the back porch with Ken's work boots.

Well, I'm quite happy with the fresh spiffy blog decor. This background came from Shabby Blogs. Megan has lots of lovely free backgrounds and other bloggy stuff to choose from. Thank you Megan! I would still like to add some pretty little post dividers but for the life of me I can't find the place to insert it in the template code. My code doesn't seem to match up with everyone elses ( I tried a few different tutorials ) After two hours of scrolling through lines and lines of code looking for the right combination of gobbldygook I was about to tear out my hair in frustration. Blogger needs to add a widget specifically for post dividers!
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

A New Look

It's a lazy rainy day here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and since there wasn't much going on, and the old blog has looked the same for over five years, I decided to mess around with it and make some changes. It's hard to get used to such a drastic new look, so it may change again yet..

Friday, September 17, 2010

A simple cotton top

I can't believe this sewing spurt has lasted this long. Usually everything goes wrong and I get frustrated and put it all away in disgust. But wonder of wonders, I just finished another project and it all came together perfectly. This is a little cotton top I decided to attempt. The pattern is Simplicity number 2596. The blouse was shown in various versions. I intended to make it with an elastic waist and shoulder tabs holding up the sleeves, but it's so comfortable and airy just as it is, I didn't bother going any further with it. It was very easy to sew. I plan to make one or two more for next summer.

The fabric is some thin cotton I bought back in 1987. I made curtains and a tablecloth out of it for the apartment I'd just moved into. Still have them somewhere packed away, but this was the bit of fabric that was left over from those things.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Stella Apron

Woo hoo! I finished the Stella apron! I messed up a bit when sewing the binding on. I couldn't quite figure out the mitered corners. The first corner isn't so good but I caught on after that. The next apron will be better. I suppose thats the way it goes when trying something new. I didn't add the pocket because I find they tend to get caught on the drawer pulls on the kitchen table. I usually sit at the table and surf the net while waiting for things to bake. When I stand up, yikes! the tearing sound as my pocket catches on the drawer knob.

Oh, and I made the blouse too! Twenty years ago - when I was going through another sewing obsession.
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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Just a quick peek at the kitchen re-do progress. We have all of the bead-board up on that wall now. The colors are a bit off because of the flash, and as you can see it's dark outside ( midnight). I can't believe how much brighter it looks already.

We still need to paint and put trim at the top of the bead-board, finish painting cabinets, add the knobs and drawer pulls, put in the new sink that we bought two years ago, re-paint the upper wall, paint the door - not sure what color to paint the door yet, paint all the trim around the window and door, and trim the entrance to the dining room. I love the bead-board so much, I also want to put it on the back wall of the dining room. We have other plans but I'll blog about those as we get to them.

Look at all those tomatoes I need to dehydrate!
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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Spray Painting Oak Kitchen Cabinets.

I think I mentioned a while back that we started working on the kitchen. I mean, it's not like we have anything else to do, so why not renovate the kitchen? :)

Well, we started laying tile two years ago and it finally got finished a year later. The cabinets that we moved out of the way are still sitting in the dining room. All the junk we took out of them is up in the "junk room". It used to be the "art room" but no art was ever created in there because of all the junk that was deposited in there whenever we had nowhere else to put it. So in short, we've been living with a torn up kitchen and stuff all out of place all over the house. It's driving me batty all of a sudden. So, this week I went back to work on painting the kitchen cabinets. I started on them in the spring but had to stop because of all the other projects I needed to work on.

This is a farmhouse, so I wanted the kitchen to look like a farmhouse kitchen with nice bright painted cabinets. I didn't want fancy new painted cabinets, I wanted them to look old and hand painted; which is a good thing, because new, old-looking painted cabinets cost a fortune!.

After viewing hundreds of pictures of painted kitchen cabinets on the web, this is the one that I kept coming back to.  ( image from -I think)  This, and all the ones painted white, but I decided I liked these green ones the best. Our cabinets are very similar in design, so it was easy to envision them looking like the picture. Believe me, it was a nerve-wraking decision. It seems just plain WRONG to paint over good oak, but they were so dated and dull, and our kitchen is small and narrow  and rather dark, it needed brightening up. Experts always warn that oak has a raised grain that will always show through the paint, no matter how many coats you put on. Well, I like to see the grain in the paint, it doesn't bother me at all. If someone's reading this, biting their nails and fretting over should they or shouldn't they paint over oak, I say, don't listen to the experts, just go ahead and do it!

Well, to cut a long story short, after buying the paint and making a start, I soon found out just what a pain in the rear this job is. It was taking forever! And the finish wasn't that great either. There was no way I could paint all these cabinets by hand with a brush and the texture the roller left -even one made for smooth surfaces, didn't look good. Ok for walls, not so great on cupboard doors. I was really in a quandry. Then I had the idea of maybe spray-painting them. The fate of the ozone layer immediately shot to mind, but there are far worse things being pumped into the atmosphere in far greater quantities. So, I looked online and found that Krylon have the exact color I wanted. It's named: "Celery" and it's perfect! ( the primer, by the way, is "Ruddy Brown", also by Krylon. I actually like the two colors together so I left the inside of the doors flat Ruddy Brown", and the outside is "Celery". Once any surface grime has been cleaned off, spray painting goes 20 times faster than painting with a brush or roller. It dries in minutes so you can put on a coat, go feed your chickens or pull a few weeds in the garden and then come back and put on another coat. See, you can do chores AND paint your kitchen at the same time! Stuff like that is important to some of us.

This is what we've been living with for 6 months or so.

 This is where we were at yesterday morning.

Last evening we started installing white beadboard behind the cabinets. Only two pieces are on. I'll take pictures when the wall is done.

That cupboard at the end is painted a deep red named: "Sun Dried Tomato". It's regular paint, I think it's by Glidden. The side wasn't finished in this shot, but Ken finished painting it last night.

I'm already jumping for joy at the transformation. Can't wait to see it all finished.

More updates tomorrow.