Saturday, May 23, 2015

A "French" Brunch This Morning

A "French" themed brunch on a lovely May morning.
What a wonderful way to start the Memorial Day weekend with a "French" brunch courtesy of our friend Jeanette.  She brought the most beautiful and delicious croissants that we warmed and served with Bonne Maman strawberry preserves.
Jeanette arrived with a basket of goodies.

"French" croissant with strawberry jam.
Bonne Maman jam.

Jeanette had stopped by the Lyon Farms Strawberry Stand to get a basket of beautiful and tasty fresh strawberries to which I added blueberries for a fruit cup. 
Fresh strawberries from Lyon's Farm.
Jeanette and I made coffee using the new Verismo coffee maker out in the guest suite---once we figured out how the machine worked.  Dan and I aren't coffee drinker, in general, but with this new machine that will make a cup at a time I may become addicted.

A cup of coffee hot from the machine.
In addition to providing brunch, our friend brought us a selection of tea napkins.  The Carolina ones for when I have one of the UNC grands over, and the Keep Calm and Carry On ones that are appropriate as I frantically prepare for a trip to Ireland.  The others are reminiscent of France. 
Cute collection of tea napkins.
Dan particularly enjoys visits from Jeanette who is fluent in French.  He can have a bit of conversation in French when she's here. 


Dan and Jeanette enjoying brunch.
After brunch, we sat out on the back patio, and it was a near perfect May day.  By mid-afternoon, we decided to have another cup of coffee (I enjoy my new toy) and I happened to remember I had these little chocolate crepe cookies that carried out the "French" theme for the day.

These are delicious little cookies.

Thank you Jeanette it was a perfectly delightful day!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A May Wedding

The bride, the groom, and the groom's mother.
This has been a great spring for weddings among my friends and family.  There was an April wedding, this May wedding, and there will be a June wedding.  At this stage of my life, I am attending weddings of my grandchildren's generation.  And it is quite a bit of fun. 

My friend Boguska's son Kamil married Sarah on Saturday night at The Sutherland in Wake Forest.    What a lovely venue for a wedding. 
The Sutherland in Wake Forest (Photo from their website.)
Seating of guests. 
Ceremony.
The wedding was outdoors and the ceremony was performed against a lovely green background.

Drinks and hors d'oeuvres were served on the patio before dinner in the pavilion. 
The patio.

After the bride and groom's first dance, the bride danced with her father and Kamil danced with his mother. 
Boguska dancing with Kamil.
Boguska was beautiful, and she and her husband enjoyed the festivities. 
Leslaw and Boguska parents of the groom.
Boguska with the bride and groom. 

The after dinner music was a mixture of American and Polish, and there was a lot of dancing. 
One guest removed her high-heeled silver shoes and switched to something a little more comfortable as the dancing began. 
High heel shoes taken off before dancing.
These are more comfortable.

Boguska and Leslaw were lively dancers to a Polish tune.  I didn't realize Boguska was so talented.

It was a fun wedding, and I wish Kamil and Sarah the very best of happiness.   






Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Homemade Lemonade Weather

Homemade lemonade.

It's been hot here in Raleigh this week, over 90F one day, so it was time to make some refreshing homemade lemonade this evening when Patrick was grilling dinner for us---a belated Mother's Day treat. 

One of the kitchen gadgets that is my favorite is the lemon juicer.  For many years I used a reamer and picked out the seeds from the juice, and then I discovered the right tool for the job---the lemon (or lime) juicer. 
Lemon squeezer or juicer.

Cut the lemon in half and put the CUT side down into the well of the juicer and then press the juice out, the seeds stay in the rind.
Cut side down.  I usually cut off the pointed end of the lemon to make it easier to squeeze.
 
The seeds stay in the rind and not in the lemon juice.

So easy, and tomorrow when I make guacamole I will squeeze lime juice over the avocado using this gadget too.

Here's my favorite lemonade recipe:

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of lemon juice
6 cups of water

1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.

2. Remove seeds from lemon juice, using lemon juicer (or reamer).  In pitcher, stir together the chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 5 cups of water.  Serve over ice.

Makes 8 cups of lemonade.

I also made Southern sweet tea, because we also like Arnold Palmer's (half lemonade/half sweet tea).

I can't remember where I got my lemon juicer, but one like it is available here,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Our New "Garage" Living Room/Kitchen


Renovated garage.
We have finally put the finishing touches on the garage renovation where we converted our two-car garage into a WOman Cave or guest suite.  On what had been "my" side of the garage where I stored "stuff", we now have a living area and a "kitchen-like" area (no real kitchen). 

One of the first things we did was to install a nice television.  It is super for watching sports and cooking shows.  The TV we have in the house is quite old, and we have never upgraded it. We don't watch a lot of TV, but it is nice have a better TV in the garage..  The entertainment console has an electric fireplace which is a comfort in cold weather.  It puts out a good amount of heat. 

Electric fireplace.

I have always been fond of this 1930s chest of drawers that belonged to my Aunt Jewel.  Patrick had it in his townhouse, but was happy to let us have it for the garage. 

Aunt Jewel's 1930s chest and recliner from our bedroom.
The green recliner had been in our bedroom, but we needed to get a safer chair for Dan so we moved the recliner out to the garage.  The green became one of the accent colors in the suite, and it just so happened when I was in LAZBOY looking for a chair  I spied this beautiful vase with the perfect colors..  Kelly and Brian, our neighbors, of  Kelly Odom Florist, designed the arrangement in the vase---I particularly like the use of "open cotton bolls" because I grew up in cotton country. 
Interesting piece of pottery from LAZBOY.
In the front corner I used a photo screen to obscure the broom, mop, dustpan, etc.  that sits in the corner. 

Photo screen hides items in corner.
We had looked at love seats and even sofas, but decided the space would be too crowded so we settled on a nice cushy chair with ottoman.  The ottoman adorned with a tray makes a nice coffee table, but when I'm out there I use it for a footstool. It can be used for extra seating as well.

Great place to watch tv or read.
At the back end of the room we already had a fridge and by adding a microwave and a coffee maker the "kitchen" makes a nice place for a continental breakfast.  I also keep microwave popcorn in the fridge for popping when watching basketball. 
Kitchen area at end of living area.
Coffee maker.
To keep the kitchen area separate from the bedroom, we hung a painter's drop cloth over the doorway between the two. This is very nice fabric and I was thinking what pretty curtains it would make. 

Painter's drop cloth serves as curtain between kitchen area and bedroom.
The bookcases are cast offs from Patrick.  With all the books, we can retire to the garage and spend a rainy afternoon reading. 
Lots of books to read.
Finally we decided to install a bamboo Roman shade that could be used to close off the bedroom from the living area. 

Roman shade (Select Blinds) that separates living area from bedroom.
Texture and color of bamboo Roman shade blend nicely in the room.
All in all, this has been a delightful project---harrowing at times---but we are quite pleased with the result.  We now have extra room for company---we had a couple staying there for the weekend.  And when we need to have a live-in-caretaker, the suite will provide supplemental living area.

Should we sell our house and move to an assisted living facility, the garage suite should be a plus for someone needing a mother-in-law suite or a suite for a grown kid.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Our New "Garage" Bedroom

Our garage "guest suite".

In renovating our two-car garage, which never housed a car, into a guest suite or WOman cave, we turned what was Dan's workshop into a bath and bedroom. 
Queen size bed.  Bedspread colors greens and browns determined the color scheme for suite.
The tall cabinets that store items we rarely need to access serve as the headboard for the queen size bed.  The bed was one in Patrick's place that he was no longer using, and the bedspread was one I had on hand.  The colors in the bedspread were used as the color scheme for the entire suite. 
Screen that hides water heater made of stockade fence pickets.

In order to hide the hot water heater, Steve built a screen from stockade fencing washing it with a thin coat of wall paint to let the grain of the wood show through.
Garage door track exposed in room.
Gear clock fits right in with the "industrial" look of the place.
Since the very front of this side of the garage serves as a tool shed, the tracks of the garage door are exposed giving an industrial feel to the room.  To continue the industrial theme, I found this wonderful gear clock that is perfect for the space over the HVAC unit. 
Shelves added where Dan's tools once hung.
Shelves perfect for displaying baskets, pottery and books.

The wall that formerly housed many of Dan's tools, was converted into shelves for books, pottery and other collectibles. 
Clothes hamper and basket of towels handily within reach of the bathroom.


At the entrance to the bathroom door, a basket on top of the clothes hamper contains towels and bath mats. 
This wall canvas has the perfect lime green and rust browns to complement the color scheme.

Not only did I find the towels for the bathroom at Big Lots, I also found this wall canvas (for $12.00) that carries out our color scheme perfectly. 
IKEA lamp with shade sprayed black. 

The lamp is from IKEA.  It had a gray shade, but Steve sprayed this black and it fits nicely into the room.

We are expecting two couples for a visit this coming weekend.  One couple will be housed in the guest suite.  I hope they like it.