Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Remodel Part XII

The Windows

He is not standing there just staring at a blank wall, really. He is waiting for the opening to be cut out for the living room window. What he's going to do after that I'm not sure.

Ta-da! This is a bargain window Mum found towards the beginning of the project and we kept it carefully until it could be installed. Isn't it pretty?

The other living room window in the front of the house. Uh, hum, the ripped Tyvek is where rats where trying to make a re-entry. Naughty, naughty.

The kitchen window being cut.

Having natural light in the house is so wonderful!

The two windows upstairs. The one on the right has been installed for a while, but the one on the left is a more recent installation.

The view of the currently installed windows from the front....

And the back of the house (and Oakley.)

Three more double french doors have been framed in, but we're waiting to install them until some excavation that has to be done close to the house is finished.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mother and Baby

Mrs. L and Roy
Because I just realized I had never posted a picture of my latest nephew. This is the day after he was born while his mother's sisters were visiting. Doesn't his mommy look beautiful?

Melon Ball Caterpillars

I don't know if this is an original idea or not, but they are cute and simple to make!

For each caterpillar you will need:

1 toothpick
2 melon balls
1 grape
2 whole cloves

Spear the two melon balls and the grape (or three melon ball, or three grapes, your choice!). Push the pointed end of the cloves into the "head" to form antennas. Serve on a lettuce bed - or try a bed of sprouts!

Eat the little bug'gers!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

A baby shower for my sister....

This is the sister that got married last fall, and not only does she love green, but she likes things more country. I'd originally thought about doing a retro, Radio Flyer themed shower, but especially after Roy was born, it just didn't fit. So Plan B, which I fell in love with, A Whimsical Woods theme.

Seeing as he's still a baby, and this was a shower, I wanted to bring in the hunting theme in a subtle light hearted way.

I used burlap coffee sacks for the tablecloth, then scattered branches, bits of wood, pine cones, bark pieces, etc. On the tiered tray are melon ball caterpillars and sandwich pinwheels. (The plan to make them into snails didn't work out in the end.)

Butterfly tea sandwiches!

The delicious scones!

The cake!

The beverage table - you can't see it well in the picture, but we served the punch in quilted canning jars placed on leaves.

And these were my favorite thing about the shower - hedgehog cookies! Too cute, easy to make and yummy. I saw them in a magazine several years ago and jumped on this opportunity to use them. I substituted toasted and ground sunflower seeds for the pecans and a pinch of cocoa for color, but if I'd had pecans I would have used them. Though the seeds worked well, I think they made the dough pretty dry.

Baby pictures for a game hanging from a ribbon.

The mini woods scene had the deer used as a cake topper at the wedding.

Another picture of the cake with Momma hedgehog and babies
And the meringue mushrooms (by Culinary Wending!)

I pulled all this together with the help of Roy's numerous aunts on both sides! Couldn't have done it without them and they were very gracious with my less than perfect planning!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jam Thumprint Tarts

Jam Thumbprint Tarts

2/3 cup butter, (or vegetable shortening) softened
3 – 4 T. honey
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups soft white wheat flour (I suspect you could substitute all-purpose flour)
Strawberry Jam or spread

Cream together butter and honey. Beat in yolks, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour. Chill. In greased mini muffin tins, gently pat about 1 T. dough. Indent top of cookie deeply with thumb. Bake in 350 degree oven for 17 – 20 minutes or until lightly brown. While still warm, top with a generous dollop jam. Makes exactly 3 dozen delicious cookie tarts.

One of the lovely things about this recipe is it taste delicious (isn't that a lovely thing about most recipes? But what I mean is...) and it's healthy. Use a jam made with honey or other sugar alternative and even expectant mothers can indulge guilt free.

While I was raised rarely eating sugar, it recently came to my attention that pregnant woman should avoid sugar - at least according to my "sisters" midwife. I love added bonuses to an already good thing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Remodel Part XI

The one room that was at one time in its life was finished, before Plan B or C, or whatever plan it was came into effect and the floor was ripped out. It was then no longer finished. But it had a better future before it.

Inside of the walls was simply ghastly. Did I mention the mouse skeleton I found while trying to sheetrock in there? No? You know about it now, and you can be grateful I'm not posting a close-up picture of the assorted bug carcasses and etcetera things that were literally infesting the wall. In a word, dreadful. All that had to come out - and those plain Jane windows. Where did the expression "plain Jane" come from I wonder? Poor Jane, no matter if she wasn't a raving beauty, one hardly likes to be called plain. I should write a story about a raving beauty and call her Jane. I like to see justice in the world. And being off topic, I'm moving on....

All "etcetera infested" material removed, and "simple" windows replaced. A step in the right di-rection that.

Resided and Tyveked.

Making progress, but still, something is much to be desired here.

My brother had salvaged quite a few old barn boards and in an effort to use what we had, they started installing them as a wainscoting in the master bedroom. The walls, you see, a mixture of old construction and remodeling, have a lot of jutting surfaces. Rather than fighting it, they chose to make it into architectural interest.

Coming along quite nicely now, even without the window trim and top rail.
It was going to be white washed, but then mother fell in love with the weathered wood and the red. So natural it stays. For now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Was Silent

No rain pattering outside on the metal roof. No cricket chirping - inside. It was something of a miracle, a blessed chance to fall to sleep undisturbed. I can only hope for such another good nights rest.

Did I mention the problem we've had with crickets? For quite a few of the nights since I've moved to the Blue Castle, I get to fall asleep, or not, to the lullaby of a chirping cricket. The key of course is to find a comfortable position with one ear against the pillow and your finger plugging the other ear and try to get to sleep like that. I never had anything against crickets in the past and almost felt bad about killing the ones that came into our bathroom. If only I'd know. If I wouldn't have smashed them with glee, I at least would have done it with a feeling of vindication.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seen at the Airport

Two of my sisters and I took our parents to the airport this morning to send them on their way to Ireland. We were standing with them as they got their labels filled out and my sister took an old label over to a garbage can to dispose of it, but dutifully refrained from depositing it when she read the sign "Newspapers Only."

A few moments later a guy comes along, pauses by the can and starts trying to put a pop can through the narrow opening. It doesn't fit, so he crunches the can, and tries again. It still won't fit so he starts smashing it until he gets it through the opening.

Newspapers only? Read this.

We're still not sure if the newspaper he had a few moments later was his, or if he pulled it out of the can. You never can tell about some people.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Remodel Part X

Brothers working

The upstairs bathroom coming together.

Framing in the upstairs shower

The kitchen window

The living room window (what is with the committee's around here?)

Discussing the bedroom lofts

Yes? No? Maybe. One post or two? How in the world do you make a woman's plans work?

Friday, September 17, 2010

A couple weeks ago.....

We got up early in the morning and drove a long way, curving around a scary winding road that was 25 MPH in places and took us way off into the country. We were going to visit very special friends that had flown into the area for their brother's (& sons) wedding. I honestly wouldn't want to hike in this area but it was awe inspiring - when you opened your eyes. :) This picture is the straight stretch. Once we got to our destination someone said, "You actually feel like your in the middle of somewhere." But the answer to that was, "yes, the middle of nowhere." It was a cute town, but, well, you're off the beaten path. The friends were worth it.

We packed a picnic lunch and ate it in a beautiful gazebo on the courthhouse grounds. These little cookie/tartlets were very popular. They tasted good too.

Then after going back to the bride-to-be's house and helping to wash window screens and clean up the yard, we hit the town a'walking. Because it's what we like to do when we're together. (We walked miles and miles and miles together in downtown Washington, D.C. - and it is a terrific memory!)

We saw a cute vintage VW Beetle

The coolest old doors....

....a flower shop window....

...took our picture in the middle of the street - well, hey, the're were hardly any cars to use it...

...the beautiful courthouse building and the gazebo where we ate lunch....


... there weren't any "no trespassing signs so we climbed the rickety stairs and found these apartments...

...and then we came back down....not altogether...the stairs didn't feel so secure....

And then we said goodbye until we don't know when, and wound our way back home.

This was another visit filled with teasing, laughs, adventure, working together, pictures, and funny things!

We weren't supper hungry as our day together drew to a close, but we had to wrap it up with some sort of meal and ice cream! So off to a recommended local hamburger joint, all six of us girls perused the walk-up menu. Finally, after much cogitation we gave our order off the kids menu: 1 order of chicken nuggets with fries and 1 order of nachos. The girl is looking like "is that all", and the guy looking over her shoulder commented, "wow, we thought we were about to get a big order."

Well, we'll be back for ice cream we explained.

And then we sent Theresa back to ask for ketchup. And we thought about asking how much they charged for water. And then we divided the five chicken nuggets between all of us. They might have thought we were nuts, but we thought it was pretty funny. "Should we all count our change out to pay for this

And for dessert? We ordered three milkshakes and shared them.

(City folks sure are strange. They don't eat nothin'.)

It was in a way sad that two of the "sisters" have married since our trip back East, but they are happily married to wonderful men and have an adorable baby each! So while we missed them, they have moved on to another stage in life with different joys and blessings. So while our numbers have dwindled, it was for a good cause. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Remodel Part IX

This picture doesn't do justice to the precariousness of this situation. Mother careful! Just so you know, she tends to do more dangerous things than her children. We aren't allowed to and for the most part, we wouldn't. We're a cautious bunch, we are.

I'm really not sure what is happening in this photograph, yes I know he is working on the loft floor, but what is up with the shades? It's a little scary actually, he looks like some sort of character welding a dangerous weapon from a sci-fi. And he's smiling. Not good.

We always have plenty of inspectors. An abundance of them in fact.

Proof positive that I actually work on this job. A little. Unless of course this is a staged photograph. Honestly, I did help with this sheetrock project. And you know, if sheetrock doesn't fit, just give it a good whack with a hammer. It's amazing what it will accomplish. I don't recommend this, actually. A whack is much too dramatic, though I do admit to using a hammer to tap some tight pieces carefully into place. I don't recommend that either, but what can I say? That is probably why it is a very good reason they are installing wainscoting on some of the walls. My heart was in the right place.

They won't install themselves. I'm just saying.