Monday, January 12, 2015

True Rose

It's a gloomy day here and I'm buried in work, but I thought lighting a candle might make things a little more cozy and a little less dreary.  I got this candle on Black Friday when I was visiting my parents who happen to near outlets including a Yankee Candle outlet.  I was surprised by how much True Love really smells like roses and I had to have it.  

It has 2 wicks and when I lit it, I wondered if there was something wrong with it because the wicks burn strangely.  They sort of unravel and clump up in a way I found undesirable.  I looked up the candle because I wondered if I could buy another one or if it was a discontinued item since it was from an outlet store.  It turns out that the don't seem to sell this particular candle with the double wick, but they have others with the same scent - a larger double wick candle, and a few single wick candles.  I also discovered that the unraveling wick is intentional and makes the flame brighter.  I had no idea.  I think next time I'd opt for a regular wick since I am interested in the scent in the room and not so much the flame.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tea for Two

Hello, blog. It's been a while. I didn't expect to ever post again between work, being mom to now 8 and nearly-7 year-olds, volunteering, belly dance and marathons (I did 4 of those last year).  I've since given up dance due to back issues and am retired from marathoning (4 was plenty) so I found some time to take a friend out for tea for her much-belated birthday.  Like me, Nisha is also a fan of all things vintage.  I have really missed the old tea room I would visit with my mom which closed a couple of years back and thought this one might be similar.

It was a good long drive out to Winchester, VA to The Coach and Horses tea room, but it was worth it.  Nisha and I hadn't chatted in a while so it gave us a chance to catch up on the 80 minute drive.

This was the first indication we were in for something wonderful was this. c.1790!  

They were still all decorated for the holidays and it was so warm and cozy as we entered.  Every room had stenciled walls.

There were also wide plank floors throughout.  The room where we were seated had this piano ...

... and this fireplace.  Our table was the one just to the left.

The place settings were beautiful.  I was so excited!

Each of us had our own teapot waiting for whichever tea we selected.

Water glasses - absolutely beautiful.

I selected a chocolate tea and it was as delicious as it sounds.  Later, I got a pomegranite pear tea and that was obviously more fruity, but also wonderful.

I wanted to go all out, so I selected the George Washington tea which was pretty much all the tea courses.  The first course was either soup or salad.  I chose the soup which was a vegetable soup.  I was surprised that it was a cream based soup.  It was ok, but I have to admit that I wish I had gone with the salad (Nisha's choice) that had a pomegranite dressing.

Normally, we would have been served a tower with our food and desserts, but Nisha required a gluten-free meal (which they have available!) so we were served on platters instead.  No complaints here.  It looked amazing.  I didn't know where to start!  I got lots of delicious fruit - pineapple, oranges, blackberries and a strawberry.  An apple scone with devon cream and preserves. Also included were cucumber sandwich (my favorite), chicken salad, sausage pastry puff.  Dessert was a chocolate chip cookie, brownie, cheesecake, vanilla mousse and a small cupcake.  I came hungry and tried my best to eat it all but the cheesecake and cupcake came home with me.  It was just fantastic!

We took our time with dessert and our second pots of tea and chatted before considering the drive home.  We walked around and decided to explore a little so we headed upstairs.  These were quite steep!  Sign of the times with this house, I would imagine.

Upstairs were more rooms equally beautifully decorated.

This tapestry was in a corner.  

Passing through one room, this seems to be where they keep a lot of tea.  They are preparing to start selling it.

This bench was gorgeous.

We headed back down the stairs and out to the car.  Did I mention how steep the stairs was??

The sun was setting as we drove back and chatted more.  A really great day with a good friend.  I hope to visit again soon.

Whether or not I will blog more remains to be seen.  Realistically, I can't post the way I once did, but my hope is that another year doesn't pass before I blog again.  For now, it's date night - dessert and Downton Abbey with my husband.

Hope to be back soon ...

P.S. I did end up finishing that wall in my previous post and it's gotten quite a lot of use.  Maybe a topic for another post?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Entry Progress

My hydrangeas are officially blooming happily so I picked these and brought them in to brighten up our entryway.  I believe this one is called Blushing Bride.  It starts out white like the bloom in the lower center then develops a slight pink tint.

We've made a lot of progress on the entry. My husband did an incredible job putting up the wainscotting.  This is actually paneling and not the full boards.  Paneling was just easier for us to transport in our smaller cars and to work with.

It's amazing what a big difference this makes here.  I'm glad I did the entire wall.  We're still playing with the hooks and there are going to be changes to our original plan.  We also still have moulding and painting to do but I love the way it looks already.

To refresh your memory, this is what we started with. 
(This is an older picture.  It was actually painted grey like the rest of our living room since this picture was taken.)

Hope to be closer to finishing by the end of this week. 

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Entry Project and Potatoes

I'm considering a new project for my entry. I'm not lucky enough to have a space for anything resembling a mudroom, so it's been a challenge finding a solution. 

I'd love for the girls to be able to hang their own jackets instead of tossing them somewhere because they can't reach the hooks.  Not only are there jackets and bags, but shoes constantly accumulate here.  Then there is a certain basket full of stuff up on the ledge at the top of the stairs for keys, wallet, etc.  It just doesn't belong there, but I've let it slide because where else can we put it?

Searching around, I came across this.
This is some kind of premade unit that isn't what I had in mind, but it has all the elements of what I do need.  A hook for my husband and myself, shelves that can accomodate the little basket, two lower hooks the girls can reach and those bins for books can easily be made to accomodate a pair of shoes.  Because of the way the angles on the walls are, the wainscotting will have to cover the entire wall or it will look awkward.  The moulding on the top is also nice, but it just doesn't fit wit the rest of the house.  We have wainscotting in other parts of our house, so this will make sense. 

On to my taters ...
This is how they looked a week ago (about a week after planting).

And here they are today!

We built a box around them to fill as they grow.  The potatoes grow between the seed and above ground plant.  As the plant grows, you add more soil (and more boards) and you get more potatoes.  We'll be adding another board this week.  I have read that they take anywhere between 12-20 weeks before they're ready and they will be ready after they flower. 
Today's plans include a trip out for wainscotting and soil to fill in the potato box.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kid Clean Up

I'm starting to realize that with kids it's inevitable that their rooms will evololve over time.  A room with merely a basic cribs and changing table ...

... became a big girl room. 
I thought I would be done for a while, but not quite.  Babies have a lot of "stuff" like swings, bouncers, jumparoos, etc.  I was glad to be rid of these things and to lose the changing table, but those seem to have been replaced with lots of toys.  We try to buy more books than toys but somehow they just accumulate between grandparents and holidays. 

Up until this point, we managed to store it all reasonably well in 3 places. Our basement which rarely looked like this anymore was one place.  I'll spare you the frightening reality it had become but the shelves were empty on daily basis and the contents where strewn everywhere.

We kept a few things in a basket in our living room.  Again, the basket was so full it barely fit under the table and it was typically emptied daily with the contents scattered everywhere.

This was a not-so-bad area. 

And this ...

The first thing I did was to go through the toys for a long overdue trashing of broken or useless toys and donated toys that were perfectly good but the kids had outgrown or lost interest in.  Next, I decided that it was time to put more of these things in the kids' rooms and less all over the house.  They aren't babies anymore and they like to play in their rooms.  The room above is pretty small and probably better suited to a twin sized bed, but we've got what we've got so I had to work with it and find a way to make the room flow reasonably well without constantly having to trip over things that had no home.

This is how the bedroom ended up. 
Most of what is here was in the basement and the blue bins have plenty of space to store things. The trunk is filled with dress-up clothes. These shelves aren't anything fancy, but they're inexpensive and, well, they work great for storing toys.

I can't remember where I saw this idea but these are actually planters with the liners removed and painted white.

Nothing changed on the other side of the room, but here's a view looking that way.  I just noticed that a certain someone added a Mickey embellishment to the bed.

I'm still working on rearranging the basement and Zoe's room but this has already made a huge difference.
To be continued ...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spring Garden

One benefit of having had a strangely warm spring was that everything had grown in a month early and we've had the opportunity to really enjoy it before the mosquitoes arrive.

As beautiful as they can be, gardens are very hard work.  My climbing roses are blooming now, but what you can't see is that the arbor needs to be replaced.  The bed on the right has irises and lilies and needs to be dug up completely since they are not blooming well anymore.  And, this is but a tiny area in my yard.

Geoff Hamilton rose is in bloom.  This rose is so pretty, but it's so hard to control the blackspot on it.

Abraham Darby ...

On the bright side, the hostas off my patio are looking better than ever and there's little work involved here this year.

For Mother's Day last year, I got 2 oak-leaf hydrangeas. They didn't bloom last year since they were newly planted, but this one is starting to bloom.  (The other needs to be transplated to a sunnier location.)  The brown spots on it worried me, but apparently, it's common and I think all I need to do is remove the affected leaves and it should be ok.

We also added a veggie garden that I'm really excited about.  I've had 3 homes but I've never had the best veggie garden because my yard has always been shaded.  After seeing neighbors use their front yards for veggie gardens we decided to do the same.  I think it's pretty concealed from the street by the forsythia and tree on the right.  My wonderful husband did all the hard labor removing the sod and adding soil for planting. 

I've never planted potatoes before and decided to give it a try.  Of course, I planted them wrong!  They should be planted in a trough and covered as they grow.  I guess the potatoes grow up along the plant but care must be taken not to expose the potatoes to light or they will turn green (and poisonous!).  Since we'll have to add soil several times while they grow, we're going to build a frame around them.

I dedicated our old veggie garden location to herbs.  You can see tomatoes to the right that seeded from last year's plants.  I removed quite a few, but didn't have the heart to pull them all out.  We're going to have a lot of tomatoes.  Sauce, anyone?

I have some organizing under way inside but with so much to do outside and with perfect weather forecast, I think I may spend the day in the garden. 

Happy Thursday! 
Edit:  I was featured on Hometalk for my Shed Makeover.  It's been fun perusing all the projects there.  Take a look!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

8 Years Ago Today ...

It was 95 degrees and there was no a/c, but at the end of the day, I was married to my best friend.
What a lucky lady I am. 
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