Thursday, June 26, 2014

thanks to mother nature

We are testing out a change to our regular summer gardening--basically, we have no garden!  Instead, we have a share in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  The farm is not far from here, just up in the Isanti area, and is called Outstanding In Our Field.

Yesterday was our first pick-up.  We have only a single person share, to see how it goes.
We were given basil, sage, thyme and parsley plants.
Then Bok Choy, turnips, spinach and a big beet rounded out the selection.  I have spent the morning washing, rinsing, washing, rinsing to get all of the fine sand out of the leaves so we can devour them!  Actually, since my stove is not in place yet, I will take some to Brita's house tomorrow night to cook for dinner with them.  And I am starting to educate myself about juicing, something my son, Dan, is a big fan of.  So we will haul out the juicer and see what we can concoct from these and some fruits.

When I cut off the beet top, I saw this pretty design by Mother Nature--

Also, another part of nature's bounty, these came to us last week from Glacier Distilling in Coram, MT. Lucky for us, we have a connection via Dan and Lauren to obtain some of these fine distilled products.
But you, too, can order from their website drop by Coram to get these or other distilled adult beverages, so don't miss out!  The bottles alone are worth having!  The labels and design are beautiful.

On the left is Little Cottonwood, a cherry liqueur flavored with orange, cardamom and ginger.  This is delicious in small amounts over ice.  On the right is North Fork Whiskey, named for the North Fork of the Flathead River, flowing from British Columbia to Montana.  I have tasted this one, too, in little sips.  It is smooth and flavorful.  Do I sound like a connoisseur?  I'm not.  
It's hard to lay my hands on a decent glass around here, since everything is still boxed up.  We are using mostly disposable stuff, and I'm sure that the dixie cup that these beverages were served in added a special and unique flavor.  Sorry, Lauren, you might be cringing over the fact that your award winning distillations have stooped so low, but I can assure you that the good glasses will be located soon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

fill 'er up!

After a whole lot of deliberation, we finally landed on a wine refrig to go in as we remodel the kitchen. And now I need a wine sale to happen!
As we were considering our options for this appliance, we did a lot of online window shopping of a variety of brands and sizes.  We needed one that could be in a "built-in" space with the proper ventilation.  We wanted one that would hold up to 50 bottles, although it will be a bit before we reach that number!  We wanted one that was affordable and definitely did not cost more than the new full-size refrigerator we purchased!  We read lots of reviews by online customers, which tended to be less helpful than I had hoped because it's mostly the crabby malcontents who write the reviews.  One of the biggest complaints I read about was the noise associated with the condenser running, which many people find disturbing, I guess.  It is a fridge, after all, so that condenser does need to run!  We finally stumbled upon this model by Vissani (made by Magic Chef) at Home Depot, a hotbed of winos, I guess!  It was the right price and the right size, so we brought it home.  We had it in the box in the garage until last week, when we brought it into the house with the hope that it soon could be put into place.  We were gone last Wednesday-Sunday, and when we came home we were happy to see that it had been slid into place.  The plug-in had been non-operational, so we didn't think it was hooked up.  After a couple hours of unpacking, I took a closer look.  Lo and behold, it was turned on and cooling!  We had not noticed a single little sound from it, so I guess all the fears of deafening noise were put to rest!  Today I had some time to clean it inside and out, remove and reverse the door (all by myself!) and place the 4 bottles of wine we had on hand into their place of honor.

About a week or 10 days ago, we went down to Iowa to visit my parents.  It's about a 4 hour drive from our house.  There had been heavy rains 2 days apart, and we drove out to "the farm" to see how the crops were effected.  Standing water in many areas means washouts and drowning.  Not a good thing to see.  The picture below is on "the dump road" running next to the land my brother farms.  The low area was always a perfect spot for flooding, so now it isn't actually planted to crops.  But you can see that the water had been high enough during the night to run across the road.

While staying with my mom and dad, Bob and I did some yard work.  We were given the task of pulling out a bunch of overgrown plants from this little garden on the slope.  We ended up assembling that rock wall, planting and dividing plants, and spreading wood chips.  A good result.

Our special little guys are both so precious, so I need to share some new pictures.  Jack just turned 3 months old, and is smiling and cooing now.

Happy Jack
 Ian (age 2) does a pretty good job as big brother, but does have to be reined in now and then when he gets a bit too enthusiastic.  He is quite a talker and surprises us with the things he picks up on.
King of the Cupcakes
By the way, during all of this remodel business, we have made many excursions to stores to look at lighting, sinks, toilets, faucets, tile, paint, etc.  We have the 3 big-box stores within a few miles.  I can honestly tell you that we have found Home Depot to be the best with customer service and selection.

I also wanted to tell you that even though I might lapse in the posts here sometimes, I am also writing posts over on the Bear Patch blog more frequently than I used to.  So you might want to pop over there to see what else I have to say!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

a book for you

I managed to sneak in a little reading lately, and was glad I had requested this book from the library.

It was a very eye-opening collection of stories of people living in North Korea, told by a few who managed to escape.  This is far from a happy ending story, it is very grim and somber in many ways.  I really knew very little about the history of North Korea, and this book provided a background that made some sense out of the rulers and conquerors.  Because there is very little media coverage allowed by the communist government, we rarely hear much about the country.  I think I tend to forget about the everyday people there, and how hard life is for them.  

I recommend you give this book a look-see for yourself.

Friday, June 13, 2014

this 'n that

This is going to be a blend of several things!  I have a couple of quilty-related things to show first--

I have a good bit of work done on the next in my series of monthly wallhangings from Buttermilk Basin.  This is from a group of patterns called "By Thy Hand" and it is the October pattern.  Not hard to figure out with the jack o' lantern, right?!  It needs some quilting and binding to be qualified as finished.  This is #7 for me, and I have been doing different types of quilting on each one.  Partly so the people taking the class can see several options.  Not sure what I am going to do for this one.

Then on the right, is an actual finish!  You have seen this before if you have been reading here for awhile.  It is to be for my own bed, with some bright colors and fun fabrics to add a bright spot in the house.  I made it from my own pattern, Hocus Pocus, and enlarged it to be a good size for our bed.  I got the binding done, with a little help from mom, and now it is complete.  I have some coordinating things to add to the bedroom and make a little bit of a makeover.

Speaking of makeovers, the kitchen and bath remodel are proceeding after a 2 week hiatus!  Our contractor ran into a problem with the paint company he had scheduled, totally unavoidable and no one's fault, so there is no use getting bent out of shape over it.  Finally this week we are back on track with the painters taking over the place.  They have everything blocked off and sealed up tight while they do 3 or 4 spray coats of the cabinetry plus walls.  We have been exiled to the sanctuary of our daughter and son-in-law, well, not always a sanctuary with an effervescent 2 year old and a hungry 2 month old!  But so wonderful to have a handy place to stay and good company, too.

Just before we came for our little visit to Ian and Jack's house, I got this ready for the baby's room--

I ordered it from the designers at Sweetwater's Etsy Shop.  It turned out great!  You can have them made with choices of colors, words, etc.  Their service is great.

Speaking of design, look at the inside of this purple cabbage--

pretty little convolutions, designed by Mother Nature.

Last week I was able to spend several days with my parents at their home in Iowa.  Dad's health is failing, and he needs help with a lot of things now.  One thing he doesn't need help with is his word find puzzle books!  He gets set up in his new recliner and is perfectly content to puzzle awhile.  By the way, this is one of those power lift recliner seats, and it has been a godsend in helping him up and down.  I might want one for myself before long!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

today the theme is family

I haven't shared many personal pictures lately, but today I am breaking that habit!
Non-quilting related stuff, so here we go---

Bob and I recently celebrated our 39th anniversary!  Hard to believe that such youngsters as us could spend that many years with one another, but it is possible.  And by the way, the idea or thought of "selfie" never existed on our wedding day!  Nor internet!  There were some sort of computers back then, because I remember some kind of punch cards that were used for class registration at college and they were somehow entered into a data base.

Memorial Day weekend was a special occasion, because baby Jack was introduced to quite a few of his family members.  Below, Great Uncles Dave and Larry were discussing something important while Jack slumbered through it all!  We met up with about 8 family members for lunch.

Then we drove just a little further to stay at the home of Great Grandma and Great Grandpa.  We spent a couple of days there, enjoying the early summer days at their home by the lake.
The boys were so good, and entertaining, and full of activity.

We went out to Great Uncle Jarry and Great Aunt Mary's farm, and Ian was excited to see the tractors and machinery.  But the noise of them was pretty scary!

Last Friday Bob and I had a sleepover with Ian and Jack, while their mom and dad went out and re-discovered what it is like to be just a couple again for about 14 hours!
Ian loves his little Thomas trains, and we played on the front step where he could crash them down the steps as often as he wanted.  This was after a walk, and Jack was snoozing peacefully.

And so that's the current status!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

and the work goes on....

A few weeks ago, I shared some pictures of the beginning of our kitchen and bathroom remodel.  A lot has been done, and things are starting to come back together.  All of the wood flooring has been done and 2 coats of finish with sanding.  One more final coating at the end.
The bathroom plumbing is all roughed in, and the base of our soon-to-be tiled shower.
And most exciting for me--The cabinets are installed!  They were made for us by Scandia Cabinets.  They are going to all be painted (by the pros) hopefully starting tomorrow.
Here's just a quick rundown:

the broom closet and appliance storage

In lieu of an actual pantry, I have a pantry cabinet!
The look from the back door towards the great room (behind the plastic curtain)

there will be a new fridge in the spot on the left, and an undercabinet wine fridge just to the right.  The upper and lower cabinets in that picture are right next to our dining area, so will be a choice place for dishes and beverage ware.  In the photo on the right, I was standing on the stairs looking down at the new island where the stove will be placed.

All coming together!  And I think we have chosen all of the things (lights, sinks, faucets, etc.) that will be used, except for one light fixture.  I am having a hard time with that because it will be suspended over the end of the island, and a stainless steel and glass vent hood will be suspended over the stove.  So I want a light that is compatible with that, but not too large to be in competition.  I have some good candidates, from Lappin Lighting Studio.  We have picked up our items from all over the city, and after logging quite a few miles and hours of looking, pricing, comparing, etc., we are eagerly awaiting the installation.  More pictures will follow.  In the meantime, we are finding our way through the dust and plastic and household in boxes.  Today we decided we wanted to make some soup for supper.  After 10 minutes searching upstairs and downstairs for the crockpot, black beans, and a few other ingredients, we got it cooking in the laundry room.  That has become our little kitchen, since we are using the laundry room sink for washing dishes.  

I am throwing this fabric picture in here on the chance that someone looking at this might know this fabric or maybe even own some of it.  I need a small amount of it to complete a Lone Star design.  I cut some of the diamonds with the lines going the wrong way, and can't turn up anymore of it anywhere so far.  Maybe you can help me out?