Thursday, January 31, 2013

Foodie Friday--February 1st



 Welcome to Foodie Friday.
I hope it isn't windy in your neck of the woods. 
A few nights ago, 100 mph winds slammed through middle Tennessee. Our creaky old fence was damaged (knocked flat in places). I found a gutter guard in the front yard. But our roof is fine, and so are the farm animals. 
As I type this blog post, the wind picked up briefly, beating against the windows, and a bucket is rolling down the driveway. It sounds like the end of the world. What strange winter weather!
If you were in the storm's path, I hope you and your loved ones were--and are--safe. 



Speaking of things that were knocked down, we're missing a wall--on purpose. It was Bandwidth's idea (younger son) to remove part of the wall between the kitchen and great room. The room (known as "The Cave") is so much brighter. In the distance, you can see the new kitchen window. 

The opening will resemble this:

Also, I finally selected a paint color for the master bath. I'll post pictures this Saturday, along with pictures of another missing-on-purpose wall.

Valentine's Day is almost here, and this week's "Showcase" features a sampling from the January 25th Foodie Friday. 
I know you'll be inspired! 

Death by Chocolate





Valentine's Day Oreo Brownies




Biscoff Bundt Cake with Espresso Ganache 

Butteryum





Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake





Lemon Pound Cake





Lemon Meringue Tart (with homemade lemon curd)
Thanks for visiting Foodie FridayYou are the highlight of my week! I can't wait to see what you've cooked! If you'd like to add your recipe to the Foodie Friday linky party, locate the blue Inlinkz frog (below); add your permalink and select an image. It may take a few seconds for the entry to process. The red "X" will allow you to delete your entry if you want to change the image or headline.The Foodie Friday badge is located on the right-hand sidebar if you wish to add it to your FF post. If this is your first time to participate in Foodie Friday, a tutorial is available.







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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Renovation Diary: A New Kitchen Window



Remodeling a house is like drawing a picture in the dark. You can't know how it will work out.
For the kitchen make-over, I used an inspiration photo from Houzz. The kitchen was laid out like mine, but it had a higher ceiling, and a large focal point window. So we blew out our ceiling. I'd had disappointing results with the window in the entry hall, so I decided to use Marvin Windows. 

Shortly before Christmas, their rep came out to the house and showed me several ideas. I'd planned to use a round top window like the one in the inspiration picture.



But I'd always loved Gothic arches. I wasn't sure how it would look, but I made a leap of faith. The rep and I decided on the height of the side windows, and I placed the order.
The window arrived, and I just love it. The kitchen had been dark, but even at dusk, the room was bright. (And I'm all about sunlight.)

Here's an exterior peek.

Now, work will begin on the cabinets and trim.
A new foyer window was ordered in early January--and double front doors. The glass will be edged with simple, beveled glass. I'll use the old front door on the glassed-in porch or in the garage make-over. So now, Gothic will rule at Rattlebridge!

Let me know what you think!
Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Foodie Friday, January 25th



 
Welcome to Foodie Friday, where great food is always on the menu. 
I'm still creating Downton Abbey-inspired desserts every Sunday.
 

I've also been cleaning the house for our Super Bowl Party. It's been a challenge! The good news is, I've found dozens of inspiring recipes on Foodie Friday and Pinterest. 

In other news, my little granddaughter won a state-wide contest for a story she wrote in her kindergarten class, and she's headed to Raleigh to receive an award. We're so proud of you, Annabel!

On the home-front, my husband swallowed a dental cap and ended up at the oral surgeon. Will's tough, but he almost passed out when the surgeon was prepping him for a transplant. 

Our arched kitchen window was installed, and I finally selected a paint color for the powder room. 
I can't wait to post the pictures. 
But right now, let's talk about food!

Here is a sampling from last week's Foodie Friday.


Chocolate-Strawberry Truffle Crepes by Sumptuous Spoonfuls




Birthday Cake Fudge by The Velvet Moon Baker.




Rapid Rise Rolls by Eat Cake for Dinner.

Thanks for visiting Foodie FridayYou are the highlight of my week! I can't wait to see what you've cooked! If you'd like to add your recipe to the Foodie Friday linky party, locate the blue Inlinkz frog (below); add your permalink and select an image. It may take a few seconds for the entry to process. The red "X" will allow you to delete your entry if you want to change the image or headline.The Foodie Friday badge is located on the right-hand sidebar if you wish to add it to your FF post. If this is your first time to participate in Foodie Friday, a tutorial is available.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tea Time



 Will and I have gained five pounds each since Downton Abbey returned to PBS. Every Sunday evening, we eat thousands of calories while we watch the episodes. Last week, I organized the kitchen and pantry (I would do a before/after, but the before is too horrific), and I ran out of time to make a proper British dessert. I picked up some berry-cream cheese pastries at Publix. 
They were scrumptious.

Today, I went back for more, but the bakery was sold out, along with itty, individual bread bowls that I'd admired. I bought the next-to-the-last loaf of artesian bread, even though I won't need it until Thursday. In this town, a hungry cook has to be quick!


I didn't use too many poisonous flowers this week. Before Will became a doctor, he was a biology major. He gets a kick out of my food gilding, though he's careful.

But I digress. After Downton Abbey ended, I put the flowers in water. They were still fresh tonight, so I gilded an inedible object (for a change).  


Don't you just adore lanterns?

On the homefront, I'm making a little progress with the powder room. The Restoration Hardware mirror arrived, and I've almost  chosen a paint color. 
source
And the huge, arched window will be installed in the kitchen this week (depending on the weather). I'll post pictures soon.
Hope you're having a great week!


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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Porch Talk: Screened, Open, or Glassed-In?


www.houzz.com

Imagine that you've arrived at a garden party, and all of the guests--yourself included--are Totally House Obsessed.

Eventually you will start talking about porches. 
Glassed-in advocates will add the word "sun" to "porch," elevating it to a light-filled space that can be used 365 days a year--and the homeowner never has to sweep pollen.



Open porch enthusiasts will sing the praises of curb appeal and year-round charm. These spaces are sunnier. Doric columns add timeless elegance. No windows to wash. No screens to replace.



Screened porch aficionados love simple pleasures: a billowing curtain; the smell of grass; the tinkle of windchimes. These porches have built-in charm. They're close to nature, yet they're protected from mosquitoes. Best of all, the owners don't have to wash windows. 



We can't decide what to do with our back porch (except we want to add skylights, so the interior spaces will be brighter). 


It's a narrow porch, with a pea-gravel floor.




The first time I saw the porch, I imagined it with arched, floor-to-ceiling windows. 
I imagined an outdoor living space beside the pool. 



When the remodeling began in other areas, I began to mentally carve up the porch. My mind's eye saw French doors in the dark breakfast room. They'd open onto the old porch, and we could enjoy red velvet pancakes in a sunny, roomier spot.



I wouldn't have to enclose the whole porch; we'd still have room at the other end for a small porch of some type, open or screened.
But we wouldn't have much room.



During the last year, I've imagined the space in many ways. 
Do I really want to cave up this small space? Would a wide open sunroom feel too wide? Would it be too hard to decorate? Long and narrow rooms are a challenge. 
I've also considered leaving the porch alone or adding screens. 

Back and forth I go, making countless lists. Studying the pros and cons of open vs. screened vs. glassed-in. All have virtures; all have drawbacks.
One minute I'm headed in this direction:


An enclosed porch could be a multi-purpose area. Now that Bandwidth is living with us, we need a bit more elbow room.
My mother has struggled with arthritis and illness; she has advised me to think about the future. Maybe Will and I need a porch that won't require constant cleaning.

Yes, a glassed-in porch is a strong contender. 


But I cannot ignore the virtues of an open porch.



My previous home was a turn-of-the-century "Four-Square," and it had porches galore. I would flop on the wicker sofa and read. But I also spent a lot of time cleaning these spaces. 


 


I love this space, but it's a good bit wider than my porch.




I can't overlook the charm of a screened porch. They are a part of my Southern upbringing, a place where memories converge. You don't have to drink lemonade and sit in a rocking chair to sense the romance on a screened porch. These cozy spots are the best transitional living places--you're inside and outside, all at once. The mesh protects against bugs and nesting birds. 

Lunch on a screened porch is magical.

Traditional Porch design by Richmond Media And Blogs Dear Lillie via Houzz

It's a place to just be.
But that's what porches do best. 



Motorized screens might be an option for some homeowners, but not for me. I have Bad Motor Karma. If an object requires electricity, I'll jinx it. 

Traditional Porch design by Other Metro Windows And Doors Phantom Screens viahouzz


Marvin Windows offers folding glass doors, but I'm sure they're beyond my budget. And I can't ignore my Bad Louvered Door Karma.


A quick search of www.Houzz.com  proves that many of us are porch obsessed. We put welcoming flowers in our urns and hang pretty wreaths on our doors. 
All porches speak to us and our guests. 
A front porch says, "You're home" or "Glad to see you!"
A back porch says, "Life is slower here. Put your feet up, dahlin. Rest a bit."


Which type of porch do prefer and why?
1. Screened
2. Open
3. Glassed-in
4. Combination

all images via Houzz

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Top photo source: www.houzz.com

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