Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday before the wedding....

We wanted to have our friends over, before the Sunday when their daughter gets married. It is a stressful time, and we wanted to have them over for a simple relaxing evening before more festivities...
So, I cleaned and swept and mopped...and started decorating for the Fall....



I am more into simplistic almost rustic looks these days, and though totally rustic can't work with the furniture we have collected over the 35 years together, I can say simplicity works best....
I set the table for our friends with a nod both to rustic and simplicity....

This shot is the dresser behind where I sit, I wanted to show you that....
And then the livingroom, well it needed a little Fall...


A pumpkin here, a squash there... and burlap sprinkled in between....When Halloween comes and goes not much will change I have to admit, but there may be a few more pumpkins to show...
Hope you all have a great evening and day tomorrow....
Nancy

Monday, September 24, 2012

What a find!

Those of you who know me, know that I go "treasure hunting". 
Well, every once in a while, there is a find that causes the heart to skip a beat. It is silly to some, but there are many of us who like the thrill of the hunt and the occasional super find.
There are times when the find gets to stay, and others that there is no room at the house. Such is the case here. I almost didn't buy this china set, just because I don't have room. It needs to be seen and used and loved.
Welcome this Haviland limoges set. It was produced in the early 1900's (verified by the largest limoges china dealer in the US). There is in this set, 2 dinner plates, 10 salad/dessert plates, 6 cups and saucers, 10 berry dishes, 1 small covered veggies dish and a covered butter dish. The pieces are in perfect shape! No chips or cracks that I can see. Beautiful and rare, this will up for sale and for you my readers I will be taking bids. The best offer gets it plus whatever shipping will be...
Otherwise, we will be consigning it. There just isn't room here or at the girl's homes. So, my treasure can be yours!




The sweetness of this set is something extra ordinary...not too much gold used, just a touch and it appears in great shape. Anyone, who loves French antiques and even "Shabby Chic"...will love this. It is timeless and classic.
Contact me if you are interested.
wildoakdesigns@gmail.com
Thanks,
Nancy

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Smokin.....

I gave my hubby a smoker for his birthday. He has been interested forever. I don't mind mentioning that we often watch "triple D"....Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives.....
Well, we all know how many BBQ and smoked meats he samples on that show....wellll......
My hubby was more than interested, and being his birthday, I gave him a Brinkman smoker.
Well, last night he "seasoned" his smoker and afterward, he lowered the grill and cooked two large bone-in pork chops and well, as they say, the rest is history!
Today, he fired up the smoker at 12:30 and when the coals were ready, he put on a pork shoulder roast.
Picturing dinner about 6:30 we figured that would work.
However, the butcher told me "4-6 hours of constant heat"....well, it takes practice.
It smells fabulous around here. But, it is 6:30 and the main event is still smoking....
It's ok, no company present waiting, just us so we can experiment....
Meanwhile, I cooked up some fresh fava beans (nothing better!) and an assortment of chantrelle, oyster, and another mushroom that  Whole Foods had the wrong name on......with a different Parmesan on....oh well, we had crackers, cheese, the Fava dish and dessert of fig crisp! Pork roast for pulled pork tomorrow!! Yummmmmm


Not a bad day at all....we explored the new Whole Foods in Fashion Island, Newport Beach and then started smoking....
As the butcher told me, it is a learning curve and a world of wood and flavor....
Thinking about an Oktoberfest!
Nancy

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The pasta connection...

With the change of seasons, I start to crave carbos. Yup, it puts on pounds, but it is so yummy.
Last night, I was in a creative cooking mood. I wanted pasta...but what was I going to put in it?
I had chicken tenders in the freezer (not the breaded kind), and pasta. What else would I put in....hummmm.
Well, I went out to the garden and found I had lots of baby zucchini, which frankly won't grow much bigger with the change of light...so I picked them. Leaving a few with great hopes that they might grow.
Then I picked some baby peppers, oregano, parsley and of course, basil. Sounds good so far.
I cut up the zucchinis, & peppers and put them in a baking dish with basil oil and the chicken and popped that into the oven.
While that cooked in the oven, I cut up a onion and sauteed that in more basil oil. While that cooked to a light brown, I put on the pasta pot. I had bowtie pasta, but you can use whatever you'd like.
When the onion was done, I created a cream base using....wait for it, garbanzo/fava bean flour!
I do have a tendency to be sensitive to wheat so why overdo it, right?
Anyway, that flour is fabulous for substituting where you need regular flour.....a little heavy for bread, but great in this.....and it adds a bit more protein!
When I had a cream base, I added what I had, I used smoked gouda!
When the pasta was done and the chicken cooked, I cut up the chicken and the cooked veggies into the sauce and when it was a bit stiff and too thick, I added a bit of the pasta water.
I served it on top of the pasta.
When I served it, I topped it all with the fresh chopped basil and parsley and a touch more grated gouda.
It was really, really good.
Simple and filling. Yup, change in the weather signals the change in menus...
Here's to a cool weekend.
Nancy

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Planting

Today was a fall day. Even though it got warm when the sun came out, it was Fall.
There is a light in the morning that triggers "the gardener" in me. After a couple of cups of coffee, out I went, tearing out the sunflower stalks, and pulling out the sunchokes. I had dirt in my hair by 9 am!
I dumped out the washtub that I had planted and reveled in the worms that had multiplied in there. So, they along with the dirt were dumped out in between the raised beds to help the grass grow back.
Then, in the afternoon, after taking the dogs for their annual shots, I went to a new nursery and bought some started broccoli plants and lettuces, and seeds.
Again, the dirt went flying....


Sorry it is a little fuzzy, but I wanted to show you that I used the Detroit Dark Red Beets. I prefer them. I have tried other colors and varieties, I just like the sugar content of these. Oh so good when freshly plucked from the ground!
The French radishes are equally yummy. Sweeter and not as hot as other radishes, and oh so good with cream cheese.
I am off to water.
Have a great weekend.
Nancy

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Elderberries for health

Not too long ago, my Hubby came down with a yucky cold, the kind that creeps into your chest and lasts for weeks.....I was NOT going to get it.
I have been reading a great deal about elderberries, and they apparently grow wild in many parts of the US. But, they do not grow wild here.
Many years ago, a friend that I worked with gave me a jar of elderberry jam. It was fantastic. Little did I know that it was so healthy.
When my Hubby got sick, I went to the health food store and bought a jar of elderberry extract in a capsule and followed the directions, and proceeded to give it to Hubby as well.
I did not get sick, and about the time he said it was going into his chest, it stopped. He never coughed during the night and it just simply stopped.
A year ago, when I started reading about elderberries, I started looking to buy a plant. You cannot buy elderberry plants in CA. Don't ask me why. No nursery carries them. So, I got one on ebay.
The man who sold it to me gave me instructions, I followed them...it died.
So, I contacted him and he sent me another.
It is now about 8 feet tall. From a 2 foot stick, to a very large bush/tree.
I have enjoyed watching it grow all summer. The flowers are a healthy boost too and can be used as a tea.
Now there are also many cautions to use only the one black berry, never the red berry elderberry. So, before you get out there an harvest or buy, be sure to study up on it.....
However, we now have a cold therapy pharmacy in our backyard.
Sambucus
It has been used in cough syrups for centuries and the American Indians used it before we ever got here.
It is not recommended to eat it raw, it must be cooked or infused in some way....mostly because it is incredibly bitter raw. Red ones are poisonus, be sure it is black.

Here are some pictures of the parts I cut off. Those little green berries turn the most delight shade of dark purple/black.
See the one little berry?
On one of the blogs I came across, she puts the little clusters in the freezer until she has enough. Putting them into the freezer makes it much easier to get the little tiny berries off without totally staining your fingers and wasting the fruit.
Now, this is the first year of berries for us, and not as many got fertilized as we hoped, but there are some and they are being collected.
It is, I have to admit, one of my many garden experiments. I know so little. It was first put into a pot (because I was told it was a bush) and it has successfully pushed its taproot into the adobe soil through the pitiful pot. So, in short I will keep you posted as learn more.
Bottom line? Elderberries are important for keeping us healthy. Good for tea, jams, and cordials as well as cough syrup.
Here is to a healthy year!
And as I learn more, I will share. Isn't that what blogging is about??
Have a great day.
Nancy

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saving more than pennies....

Well, the paint on the cupboards has cured enough to finally have the knobs put back on.
But, I didn't want to put back the brushed nickel knobs, I really wanted oil rubbed bronze. However, we purchased all these solid brass with brushed nickel knobs and though they were a bargain, it still would be $$ to replace. What do we do?? I bought a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint! Yup, set up my spray booth in the garage and spray paint them! All 8 of them. I went to Home Depot, I could replace them with something similar for $3 ea. Cost of the can of paint? $7.69.

This is a picture down the hall at one set of linen cupboards...There is another by the bathroom door with the other 4 knobs....I think they are lovely!
Then, since there is more paint in the can, I decided after shopping online this AM at door levers and knobs and shopped at Home Depot, to do the same for the closets in the hall....


Here is what they looked like before...yup, brass...
Not bad for a day....
Now, I just have to tackle the hinges that show....but everything in time.....
Off to change the laundry...
Nancy

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday's Dinner

For dinner tonight we had lamb meatballs with Quinoa and tomato/basil puree and applesauce.
I took all the rest of the apples that didn't get into the freezer and made applesauce. It is an easy and quick thing todo with leftover apples...they don't have to be perfect, just yummy.
In our house, we like it chunky and filled with cinnamon...So it is basically apple pie minus the crust!
The lamb meatballs, they are yummy. We got a lean ground lamb which I mixed with an egg, panko breadcrumbs and tomato jam, which we made earlier this summer.....
Served with quinoa, yummm, all it needed was a "tomato sauce"...well, the last of the tomatoes from this year's crop got chopped and pureed and simmered with fresh basil, red wine and seasonings and then poured over the lamb meatballs and quinoa and then parmesan on top....yummmm
It is the end of our harvest...apples are done and put up, tomatoes are done and put up in some form or another....the figs are done and put up, and harvests are almost all done...all that remains is doing something with the limes that we have so many of and a small crop of quinces (3) from a baby tree that is two years old.
Summer is leaving...fall is well under way.....time to plan for next year....
Here's to summer harvests...
Nancy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sale!

We are having a sale at WildOakDesigns!
If you use the coupon code "Acorn2" you will save 15% on your purchase!
That is everything in the store!
Things like this!



And like this....


Lots of things to see for your home or for gifts...
Enjoy!
Nancy

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bucketful of limes....

Our lime tree has been dropping its limes, about a month early.
Yesterday, I went out and collected this bunch in a darling little bucket that I had aged...
It used to be a shiny galvanized bucket!
How to age a galvanized bucket and give it a great patina is simple.
Get a spray bottle and fill it with bleach.
Spray the bucket with bleach (I did this on my little potting bench outside inside of another big bowl). Leave it in the sun to dry.
Keep spraying over time and let the sun and time do the rest!
It took a few days and many sprays later.
The darling brass tag with the patina came from the Groves Antique Fair in Irvine from a vendor at the end of the first line of "booths".  I tied the tag on with the selvage from some linen fabric.
(I always keep the selvage from fabric, it comes in very handy as ribbon, ties for plants and of course tying brass tags!)
Hope you have a great treasure hunting day!
Nancy

Friday, September 14, 2012

The softer side of gray...

Well, I am sorry I didn't post last night, but I was too tired....
The painters finished, and I must say, the hall and livingroom are completely transformed!
I feel like we completely remodeled....but it is all just paint!
Here is the room as the painters are finishing....


I was trying to get the gray my eyes saw... but it still in the picture looks beige. And you can sort of see the "whisper" of the color on the ceiling. That color on the ceiling is ever so subtle, I almost wish it was a touch more, but one doesn't really want someone saying "oh, you painted your ceiling"...You just want it to feel cozy....
The painters were great in moving the furniture back, although after I put china away and hung my pictures, I realized that the hutch needs to move over about 6 inches....hummmmm.
Anyway, here is what I have now....

 I think you can see more of the gray in this picture.....

And the camera caught the touch of color in the ceiling....
See what I mean about moving the hutch?? Yeah, I should have hung the pictures first before putting china back, huh?
But the feel of the house is so much better, and I just want to sit in the room. It is a soothing color.
My youngest daughter, (who just turned 29), said it isn't really gray...but then again she hasn't seen it in person.
The color "plays" nice with everything and even the blue carpet (someday gets changed) doesn't scream at me so much any more....
The hall looks wonderful too, fresh and clean....
I did however, decide that the little French mirror could no longer be brown like it was, so while the guys were painting, I painted....

I tried to get a finished picture, it didn't show it well enough, here is a part of the finished mirror...
It is layered with three colors and two waxes....
I made brown with olive and primer red, then applied that, letting just a bit of the deep brown from the previous paint to show through. Then, I dry brushed Coco on. That took a while to dry....
Then, when it was dry, I lightly dry brushed Old White over raised areas....
When that was dry, I put on clear wax, let that dry and then the dark wax....The unique part of the process is the wax lifts color oh so slightly, so it looks even more aged.
Funny. Coco is very similar to what is on the wall...hummmm. the "stone" color is tonal to coco and French Linen....they both look great with it! Isn't that fun?
The color behind the mirror that you see is "stone", see it? That is gray! Ha, so there I caught it!
I love how now the new color changes with the light coming through the window, and leads you gently from room to room.
Have a great day and weekend!
I will be dog sitting for my daughter, so I will be a bit busy....
Nancy

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Painting the hall and livingroom

Well, those of you who have been following, know that we have been picking colors for the livingroom and hall.
Yes, our hall is connected by a "pony wall" and is just off the livingroom, so it would have been odd to paint the one room without including the hall.....
So, we went with "Stone" from Restoration Hardware, however, after conferring with the painter, we had Vista mix it for us. He has had trouble with Home Depot's mixing paint as of late and when he brought the sample from Vista of "stone", the Home Depot mix had green in it....not what I wanted....
So, yesterday, he started. All Day, he sanded, patched (we had lots of cracks in our plaster walls), and primed and began painting....
Here are some before pics...



You can see samples painted on the walls, "stone" is a light gray....
Then while he working....

 This is the new color.....

I am loving the color. It gives me the gray I have been craving, but it is a "taupey" gray, so it isn't too jarring from the rest of the house. And, it changes color with the day. There are times when it is gray...a lovely "mouse" gray and then there are other times of day, which is most of the day, where the taupe comes forward and one would think that it is the same color as the rest of the house.
We have made changes to the old paint scheme that I thought I'd mention....
We painted out in the new color the old base boards that were the original 2" base boards...they were not architecturally interesting or pretty....
We also painted the linen cupboards in the wall color, instead of the white they have always been, again because they are not pretty. It makes the hall seem longer and yes, a tad darker, but cleaner....
The "pony walls" which used to be white and color, are now all color....they make more of a statement and lead one into the livingroom....(someday we want to remove them entirely and have seen it done...they are apparently not load bearing, but it is still more $$ to remove.)
In the livingroom, which gets finished today...we are doing something very different....
The walls are the "stone"...the fireplace is a 50% mix with white so it comes out a definite soft gray, the crown moldings are "sierra blanca" as are the windows...and the flat ceiling is a 10% mix to give a whisper color of the "stone".....can't wait to see all back together...
Anyway, regardless of the colors.....this area has not been painted in ages...the livingroom alone not for about 15 or more years...so everything feels very fresh and clean. (Wish we could redo the carpet at this point, but it is not to be at this time.)
I woke up early today, the painter is coming at 7:30 am, and I needed to get a jump on the day.
Because I woke up early, I made yummy quiche muffins and feel ready for everything to get going....
Stay tuned for more pics!
Nancy