Thursday, July 30, 2015

Child's Play!

While waiting for this virus to go away.....I decided to sit and paint the crate that the "kids" gave me for Mother's Day. It is a wood crate that you can get at Target and Michael's and probably JoAnn's too.
I had been wanting a toy box for the toys I had accumulated for Royce (and any other future babies).
So, it was time to paint it. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and decided not to use any wax at all, since babies have a tendency to put everything in their mouths.

I did paint inside and out and only one coat.
Originally I was going to put casters on, but decided since he isn't walking that casters will come later when he is older...for now I put felt glides on the bottom.
It fits nicely under the coffee table too!
Does Royce like it??

Yup! Sheer joy!
Now, we have to teach him to put everything back!
Have a great day!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sick with a Bug

Well, I've been incredibly heathy for the last two years. Hardly a sore throat even. I used my XClear and avoided those bugs. But this one, it is unstoppable! (Yes, they tell me it is just a virus and must ride it thru)
My Sister and her daughter do those essential oils from DoTerra and even those haven't helped!
I've thrown every "tool" at it and it keeps coming.
I have sore stomach muscles from coughing.
I have thrown my neck out or maybe that was due to the tower of pillows to hold me upright so could get some sleep. Sleep, what's that?
I've been running a low grade temp for three days....up and then down, but always a temp.
I see slight glimpses that show I'm getting better...but they are so slight....almost apparitions in the night.
So, forgive me for not writing....I'll be back when I'm really better.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Bit of This And That

Yesterday, though I was fighting a bug of some sort with swollen glands etc., I still needed to get some things done. I had purchased the day before some huge and delightful apricots, to turn them into jam. Not wanting the expensive purchase to rot...I got up and made jam and canned it. Yeah, I did!
But before you picture me a slave to the stove, remember, I have help.
 Here is the Ball Jam/Jelly maker...still loving this machine! It pretty much just makes the jam or jelly for you. Which is good....I could sit while that was going on.
 Then, into the canner to make shelf stable jam to store away. This canner is a hybrid and does all the work with only about two cups of water!
Well, I canned four jars of jam, but I had two more that I put in the fridge. I noticed this morning that the jam was a little loose. My bad. I didn't measure the fruit....they were really large apricots, not the usual size, so always remember to measure. No harm though. Most of the time I like apricot jam for a finishing sauce or on pancakes anyway....This would be the first time it didn't set completely. And over time it could still set a bit more. In any case, I now have jam in the little extra pantry I made in the craft room closet. At this moment I need a bigger part of that closet! LOL.....

Oh, and this week, I made a table runner top. Yup, I did manage to get some things done. Before I got sick, I made a good long runner for a gift...
Isn't it cute?? It is a pattern by the Missouri Star Co. and it uses their template and a layer cake of fabric.  One layer cake will easily make two or three runners depending on how long you want them. The idea is when it is on the table, everyone is looking at a tree right side up. Its a simple pattern and really takes little time....There is even a video of her making one....that's what got me hooked...I ordered their template and a layer cake and it was here in three days...awesome....
Anyway, time to take some Advil and rest.
Have a great day.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

We're Back!

Well, we've been you noticed...
We left before the 4th of July for a family reunion....small though it turned out to be.
We had a great time, even though the temperatures outside were around 110 degrees!
Yeah, air conditioning was our friend!
On the 4th we were at my niece's house where they cooked up hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken and then everyone brought yummy salads and munchies......
The next day we met with our other niece and her family and went to Whiskeytown lake. One of the only lakes in California that has no trouble with drought! It is spring fed and simply wonderful!

Then, after leaving Redding, CA, we journeyed to our main vacation spot....Sunriver, Oregon!
It was our first time here and I have to say....WOW!!
We rented a house for the two of us and it was so well equipped! All we had to add was food.
What a wonderful way to vacation!
 This is the view from the Sunriver Lodge....across the golf course and out to Mt. Bachelor.
 This is the stable....they have trail rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter....
 This is the wonderful "cabin" we rented.....
 An early morning visitor....
 This is the Deschutes river....there is some kayaking, canoeing, rafting and of course fishing....
 Hubby went out with a guide to his first ever fly fishing experience on another river....he came home triumphant with two lovely rainbow trout that we had late...oh that was tasty!!

I pan fried it in coconut oil (my favorite now for frying fish...makes it crispy without a coconuty flavor).
We had a great time, wonderful place.....and all too short...5 days went too quickly with all the Sunriver resort has to offer!
Well, I'm back. Laundry calls....

Monday, June 29, 2015

Garden Harvest

Our limited watering is definitely hurting plants.
I am loosing the blueberries, and soon I will be pulling those out and saving the pots.
My little cherry trees have some bacterial thing that seems to be killing them.
The tomatoes are wilting faster, but not without giving their all.
So, the other day I harvested 8 lbs. of tomatoes from out front.
I gave a few to a friend and we are quickly consuming the rest. Yummy.....
Shown here are Big Rainbow, Cherokee Purple, and Mortgage lifter....
Then the next day I harvested a big basket full of Casady's Folly....a plum variety that is so pretty and prolific, but they have thick they really have to be skinned.
So, I pierced their skins and dunked them in hot boiling water and then when they cooled a bit I was able to peel the skins off...they went into the freezer for future sauce....
I also put some in the dehydrator....but I didn't skin those....They will be quite chewy when hydrated in a sauce....
I also harvested a bunch of peppers. This year I dedicated an entire raised bed to peppers, jalapenos and sweet peppers so I would have enough to make my family's favorite pepper jelly. These too have done extremely well...and I harvested a bunch to chop and freeze.
Then, I found some beans that were ready, and blanched them and froze them. Not many, but enough for a meal....later.
Our weather has gotten quite warm due to monsoonal moisture. It's early this year, and it will be time to dine outside tonight.
I fear that with the drought I will lose more plants. I have also lost my lavenders...both those not in sprinkler proximity and those in sprinklers. Can't figure out why. Anyone know why my lavender is dying? Some in the ground, some in pots, there is no common answer. Is there a virus that attacks lavender??
Anyway....take care...stay cool.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Oh what a bit of paint can do!

Long story short.
We bought a "fixer" condo, 2 bedroom/2 bath as an investment and to use as a rental. One tenant is our eldest daughter, who after a year of housesitting found she needed a place to live. The other is for another girl our wonderful Realtor found for us.
Rents here in Orange County have gone through the roof. We would have had to help financially either, why not buy and then rent? It seemed like a good idea, if we could find one. Well, we did.
A 1125 sq ft, full two bath condo...with a dining room area to boot!
It still needs some things done, mostly minor...the most important to get done so our daughter could move in was paint. So, our fantastic painter was able to get the whole thing (I mean everything, including the interior closets and linen cupboard) done in 2 1/2 that she could move today!
Before I show you the before and after, I have to say that doing this was not easy...and definitely not for the faint at heart (which I am)...but wonderful Hubby was able to get it all pulled together. Of course, now we have a mortgage again.....
When we first saw this place, it was hard to visualize what it could be. It had resistant tenants with plenty of stuff. Lots of stuff.
But once they moved out, it became a little easier to see....
 First thing we wanted to do was address the dark original 1963 cabinets in the kitchen. We don't have the budget to buy new and do a complete overhaul. So, we all agreed that painting the cabinets white would make a huge difference.

 It is a nice feature to have a real wood burning fireplace.....
but really this boring shiny beige they had painted is pretty dreadful.....

So, here is the kitchen now....bright, white, and grey....The color grey is called Apparition by Benjamin  Moore....

Now, one of the things we all wanted to do first off is tear down that cupboard that runs across the top. But we decided, that we need to leave it, at least for now, because they are so few cupboards. Our daughter is a bit disappointed but agrees, that one needs to live in it for a for now it stays.
This is a view from the living room...The ceiling fan was replaced with a flush mount ceiling raised up the fan by 6 or more one doesn't feel like their head will be chopped.
Do you like the color?? It looks blue-ish here. It isn't though. Just a lovely soft grey.
The whole condo is this color with white trim....perfect.
Oh what a dash of color can do!!
Another thing we did??
Well, the tenants had used mixed light bulbs...some fluorescent, some incandescent and then odd spot lights here and there. Weird.
So, we put in all soft white LEDs! Not only do they show white light, but they are easier on a budget too. They claim they will last 14-22 years! Well, even if they didn't, they are cooler running, so they won't heat the room and its a safer light as well.
So, today was moving day for her from our house, where she has had to live while waiting for another home. At the age of 34, she wasn't so fond of Mom telling here to "do this" and "do that"....
Tomorrow, all her stuff comes out of storage where it has been for 1 year and a week. That house sitting/dog sitting job was only supposed to be about 6 months....guess she did it well...
So, that is what I have been up to....
What do you think of the paint? Pretty remarkable what paint can do!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!
To the special people in your life and mine...