Friday, July 31, 2009

A White Compulsion

Hubby and I have been hard at work getting the downstairs guest bed ready for his parents' arrival on the 10th. Theirs is the room that was left with the gaping hole in the ceiling (which Hubby is here busily stuffing with insulation):

as a result of the great window sill fiasco of last fall. I'll share that project when it's a bit more completed.

In meantime, the fact that we're finally finishing the ceiling means that I will finally be able to paint and properly decorate that room. Which sent me into a bit of a furniture painting tizzy.
First I thought I'd just slap a little white paint on this old dresser:
Which had this dark brown finish on it before I took the power sander to it:

Besides I figured this would be a good test subject before trying anything on the mahogany monsters in the master bedroom!
So I sanded and primed, and decided I liked the super-matte finish of the primer, so instead of switching to paint I added a little water to the primer and kept going with that!
Once I had the dresser drying I thought, "Well, if I'm doing the dresser I ought to paint that unfinished wood bookcase while I'm at it..." and then a bit later, "And that old nightstand in the basement... We'll need a nightstand in there..."

Next thing I knew there was a trail of white painted furniture running through my garage from one door to the other!

Well, I love how it looks in there... brightens things up nicely, I think. Hopefully it'll look this good in the actual room!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The New Kitty

I couldn't resist.
He was calling to me.
So I brought him home!

All right, I confess that it wasn't as spontaneous as all that. I'd seen him months ago in Target and wanted him, but I HATE paying full price! (Even though he was quite reasonable at $35.99) But then, two weeks ago, I saw him with a red tag! $24.99 was all that much of a markdown, but it was good enough for me!
I brought him home planning to put him out front, but with all the rain I was afraid he'd wash away! So he's spent the last two weeks in my bedroom.

But we've had four days this week with more sunshine than rain (still rain, but less...) so I figured I'd risk putting him out.

Isn't he just darling?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vegetable Seduction

You know, sometimes I'm mystified by the things that advertisers feel the need to label as "low fat". Like a water bottle once. Really? Are there people out there that don't know that already? I'm guessing it didn't help sales much because I only saw it that one time.

I had to laugh, though, the other day when I noticed a new label on my bananas. (I took a picture, but I'm afraid I deleted it.) The label looked just like the Chiquita label, except it said, "Peel Me, I'm Low Fat"!
I couldn't help myself. I peeled that label right off those bananas and stuck it on my own forehead. I walked over to Hubby and gave him one of those deep, soap-opera-worthy seductive looks.
He, quite appropriately, burst out laughing.

You've got to appreciate those absurd little things sometimes, you know?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Deal of the Century!

In a very sketchy basement-of-the-liquor-store deal Friday night (literally, I had to go into the basement of a liquor store!) I became the proud owner of...

Two unbelievable hand-carved wood chairs from India! (pay no attention to the fabric, the fabric will be changing!)

Let's take a closer look at these, shall we?

The story: I saw an ad on Craigslist for hand carved wood chairs recently imported from India. They were listed by an Indian food and spice store in Cambridge that we are quite familiar with. The pictures looked intriguing, though they were mostly fuzzy, so I wasn't sure. But I couldn't stop thinking about them!

So I casually mentioned to Hubby once or twice (an hour) that maybe we should check it out. After a few hours he finally said, "Fine, give me the phone and I'll find out what the deal is." So he called, verified that they are indeed normal sized dining chairs, and in fact were being sold for less than the original listed price! So we got all dolled up and headed into Cambridge for a little dinner and shopping.

When we arrived at the Indian grocery store and asked about the chairs we were redirected to the store next door. The liquor store.
In the liquor store the clerk had someone lead us through the wine racks into the back room, around the corner and down the stairs to where they were storing probably 30 or 40 of these chairs, all stacked up on each other. So we dug in and started sorting through the different colors, different designs, wobbly chairs and chairs missing pieces altogether and finally came away with these two matching beauties in (almost) perfect shape!

Okay, so the punchline? I acquired these babies for $20 apiece!!

YES!!! Hee hee hee...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nancy's Airfield Cafe

Just about twenty minutes north on 495 there is a charming little restaurant called Nancy's Airfield Cafe.

Hubby has been going there for lunch for a couple of years since his office is only about 10 minutes away, and he's been telling me how good it is all that time. I must confess I doubted him.

I think I was thrown by its being an airport. I mean, airport food is hardly anything to get excited about, generally speaking. But boy was I wrong!

I ordered the Vermont Country Club, which I promptly ate half of before I remembered I was supposed to take a picture. It was taken out of the ordinary level of sandwich fare by the addition of sweet pickled red onions- YUM!

Unfortunately no planes came or went while we were there, though we did see the helicopter take off.

But between the excellent food, the handsome company, and the lovely garden out front, this is a place that I will definitely be returning to!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Brimfield 2: July 2009

Last week it was off to Brimfield again for another day of sun, dust, and antiques! As I headed off I thought to myself "I must remember to take more pictures this time for my blog!"

Oh what a failure I am!

I did get one shot of the garden section, since garden sculptures were on my shopping list.

Though I didn't find anything that quite fit what I wanted. At least not there. I did bring home some really lovely white painted iron... portraits?

Wall hangings?

I'm not sure what to call them! But they are a pair of lovely ladies dolled up in a sort of Victorian meets Art Deco style. (I'm sure if I pulled out my period costume books I could pinpoint it a bit better, but that combination describes them well enough!)

They are a facing pair, which I thought might work on either side of the dining room door.

I would like to make that wall symmetrical (the table normally runs down the center of the room, this was moved for a party!) But I think I need a bit more color on that wall than the ladies provide.
I admit that I suspected before I bought them that they wouldn't suit that spot, but I figured I could find someplace in my home for two such charming gals!

Check back to see where they end up!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Backyard Blackberries

Do you love farm fresh blackberries?

Try backyard blackberries!

Since this was only our second summer in the house, we hadn't quite figured out everything that was going on by berry season last year. We found this tiny patch of berries right by the path to the backyard:

A bit hard to see, but there are three meager bushes around those stakes. They are right in the sun and gave maybe 5 stunted berries last year. (and this year, so they'll be coming out!)

There was also this patch right by the basement door:

Which seemed to have promise, but a turtle living under the ferns regularly beat me to the ripe berries, so I was under the impression that maybe this bush was a kind of bad raspberry bush (because, of course, under-ripe blackberries do look a bit like raspberries.)

But this year Hubby found a new stash!

Which we completely missed last year because it's over in the wild part of the yard, which is the part where the mosquitoes live. And when I say that, I don't say it lightly. If you step under those trees with no protection other than bugspray, you will be eaten alive. They don't stop to sniff you before they attack!

So I put on my jeans, galoshes, trench coat and hat and headed out for the harvest!

And what a bounty!

All last week I got at least one little bowl full of berries a day.
I thought, "How cool would it be to make a dessert with berries from our own backyard?"
Of course as I was thinking this I was munching away, and by the time I was back to the sink to wash the sand off the berries from the low branches, I'd munched away 3/4 of the catch! Oops...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sail Boston: Tall Ships Festival

I was pleased as punch this past weekend when the stars aligned to allow Hubby a free weekend day, the sun to shine and an event to happen all at the same time!

It took only a little convincing to get Hubby to agree to a day in Boston with the Tall Ships instead of a day on the lake with our own little boat, so I grabbed my hat and off we went!

Many of the ships were open to tour, but the lines were incredibly long and the sun very strong!

So we opted to view them from the boardwalk in the relative shade!

The Harbor was strewn with flag covered ships from the pier at the aquarium down to the Convention Center, and across the harbor in Charlestown.

I was a wonderful walk FULL of people! The crowd started thinning out down around the ICA, though!

Which is just about where we tired out, too!

Hubby's brother had to take off early to bike back to Newton, so Hubby and I had dinner with a friend over in Charlestown.

Dinner on the deck at Tavern on the Water...

Sipping Mount Gay and Tonics while watching the sun set over the Boston skyline...

It was just like old times! And a wonderful way to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of the real summer weather!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Las Vegas 2: Red Rock Canyon

Hubby was sent out to Vegas for another week this month, so I tagged along to keep him company. Not sure quite what I was thinking since I didn't really like Vegas much the first time around, and you know, it's JULY... and Vegas is in the DESERT... but I do like actually seeing my husband occasionally, so off I went.

This time I at least had the advantage of choosing our hotel (last time the office put us WAAAAAY at the north end of the strip in Circus Circus, which was awful) so I picked Paris because it has the advantage of being right in the middle of everything. Which was good for the time I did spend tromping up and down the Strip sightseeing:

To the MGM Grand to see the Lion Habitat (there were two lions and about 200 people trying to see them!)
The other was asleep...
NY NY just across the street:

And down to Luxor via mercifully shaded skybridges and shuttles:

Frankly though, I spent most of my time here:

By the pool, in the shade, slogging through Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra (my mother loved it, I wouldn't recommend it myself.)

The absolute, unquestionable highlight of the trip was Red Rock Canyon.

The landscape was gorgeous! And I realize it's just a tiny taste of what is there to see if you have a few days in that area, but I'll take this for starters!

There I am in my little safari outfit (my hat is trying to blow away.)
I got to see a Joshua Tree!
Otherwise known as a Yucca... which I have eaten fried and found quite tasty. (I'm sure it was the salt and oil!)

Before seeing this I never had much of an urge to do a proper vacation touring the canyons and national parks.

But after seeing all this in person,

(Purple mountains' majesty...)
I want to see more!!

This area was fed by an underground spring:

So there were flowers, and grass, and butterflies:

And even a jackrabbit!

Can you see him hopping away there in between those three bushes? He was FAST!

We also went to see the Jubilee at Bally's (that's the topless review), which was actually a little depressing because while there certainly were some very talented people in the show, 98% of the people on stage just looked bored! But those headdresses were pretty spectacular...

So this trip was a great improvement over the last, and hopefully if you hear I'm headed out that way again it will be for a vacation to the Grand Canyon!