Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gone to the Dogs!

Help! My house has been overrun by dogs!

I've always wanted to collect dog figurines, but never knew where to start. So when I saw this "instant" collection for sale at La Dolfina, I bought them!
All 23 of them!

They say, be careful what you wish for!
I think I need to hit the "edit" button!

I really like displaying them all on my living room bookcase though.
They're all classic breeds like pointers and beagles.

I thought if there are just too many, perhaps I would give them as gifts to my dog loving friends.
That is, if I'm able to part with them!

Acquiring the porcelain dog collection was a sign of things to come.
A few days later, I acquired two more real dogs when Ashley came home for her wedding and Christmas.
Meet Tiger, a 6 month old Rottweiller mix.

Tiger and his brother, Bear. They're inseparable!

Dexter is not amused! Although, he gets along with the boys, probably because he is the elder.
Indeed, my house has gone to the dogs!

Be sure to check out Terri's blog, La Dolfina here, and her online boutique, Il Tuo Tesoro here.
She has a talent for finding the most amazing treasures!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Candlelight Welcome

For Mr. A's big 60th birthday bash, I welcomed our guests with these lanterns on the front porch.

I bought them from Pottery Barn and plan to use them to welcome guests for the evening wedding in December too.

Nothing says welcome more than candlelight.
And a welcome wreath.

Decking out the front porch is kind of a big deal for me, since we never use this door.
We're back door people, and our friends know to come in through the back door.

But this night was special, and I wanted to create a festive atmosphere.

I like it so much, that I plan on keeping the lanterns out there and changing the flowers to white poinsettias for Christmas. Oh, and the wreath too.
Which reminds me, it's time to start decorating for Christmas.
I'm in denial....

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Friday, November 25, 2011

A Thanksgiving Retrospect

Looking back on Thanksgiving Day, I realize how impromptu the preparations were, both the table and the dinner.

I finally set the table a few hours before dinner using the same plates as last year, and flipped the tablecloth over to the reverse side.

I took the tired succulent arrangement off the kitchen table and added small birch candles in the spaces where some of the plants were struggling. Voila! An unexpected Thanksgiving centerpiece.

I like how long and low it is, allowing for conversation.

Although the table was set for twelve, we ended up having fifteen!
We all managed to fit.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the turkey was sitting in brine.

With so many cooks in the kitchen, the dinner somehow made it to the island for an informal buffet.

Besides the classic turkey...

...we also had ham.
We have never had ham before, but it was a real hit.
Thank you Rachel for requesting it. It will probably become a tradition in our house now!

One holiday down, check that box.
Looking forward to Christmas now!
I'm thinking that succulent arrangement works even better for a Christmas centerpiece, don't you?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The 35 Day Bathroom Remodel Reveal

Behold, the 35 day bathroom remodel reveal!
Have a look at the before and after photos:















This bathroom is the only full bath on the main level, providing both access to the outdoors and for overnight guests. It was badly in need of an update, which I've been dreaming about for 12 years!

My favorite improvement has to be the floor! Ever since my daughter had this honed black marble hexagon tile installed in her bathroom, I knew it was what I wanted for mine.

The half inch thick glass shower surround was saved and reused.
The tile was replaced with white subway tile from Daltile, and the wainscot is tongue and groove paneling. All plumbing fixtures, including the sink and toilet are from American Standard.

The standard issue overhead vanity light was replaced with a single, chrome sconce from Restoration Hardware along side the oval tilt mirror from Pottery Barn.
I ended up keeping the original cabinet and replacing the tile with carrara marble and an undermount sink.

The walls above the wainscot were smoothed out and painted Benjamin Moore's "vapor trails," a soft gray, which is a new color in my palette

Once again I'm thankful that Ryan the Contractor came in on time and under budget.
Yes, it took a few days longer than the upstairs bathroom, but that is because the floor tile didn't come in on time and the bathroom faucet was backordered and only came in today.
Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Thank you Courtney at French Country Cottage for featuring my upstairs bathroom remodel.
I'm joining her again for Feathered Nest Friday. Thankful is appropriately the theme for this week, so be sure to check it out!
I'm also joining Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.
Meg and Mums is having her first linky party, so I'm joining her for Saturday Splendour Party.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making Tourshi

Traditionally, this is the time of year for pickling local seasonal vegetables. That way, they would be ready just in time for Thanksgiving.

Tourshi is the Armenian word for pickled vegetables, which is also Ashley's company name. Last week, she decided to experiment with various veggies and made about eight jars of Tourshi.

Pickle making has become a lost art. But locavores and foodies everywhere are rediscovering what their grandmothers always did: preserve summer's bounty in brine for the upcoming winter months.

I find it interesting that almost every culture has this tradition.
The Polish have sauerkraut, Koreans have kimchi, and the Indian culture has green mango pickles, or achar.
I remember Mr. A's mother always had Tourshi in the refrigerator to snack on.

Since Ashley has an opportunity to pickle and preserve produce next year while working for a farm in New Mexico, she has been experimenting with different versions and combinations of vegetables in the jars. I particularly like this one. It's a work of art!
She even made a combo that she calls the "Bloody Mary Mix!"

You can pickle just about any vegetable.
The basic Armenian recipe for Tourshi is as follows:

Cauliflower florets
Cabbage wedges
Carrots, pealed and sliced
Green beans
or any other veggie to your liking

The Brine:
3 quarts of water
1 quart of white vinegar
1 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons of tumeric

Sterilize jars and lids
Prepare vegetables and divide among 4 quart jars with wide mouth lids.
Put one sprig of dill and two cloves of garlic with a tablespoon of pickling spice in each jar.
Add one or more hot peppers if you like your pickles spicy!
Boil water, vinegar, salt and tumeric. Pour into each jar to fill and seal.
Store in a cool, dry place for four weeks.
Or keep in the refrigerator.

Ashley made her own version with white vinegar, water and white wine
She did not add pickling spice, and opted to store her Tourshi in the refrigerator.

You can visit her Tourshi Catering website here, and her blog here.

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