Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fireplace Remodel is Finally Complete!

Our fireplace remodel is finally complete so here is a little tour of our living room.  And a picture of the fireplace before and after.  It was converted from wood-burning to gas.  Much more light in the living room now!

A little close-up
And going to the left - the valances in the living room are made from tobacco sticks and wood with a fabric insert

To the right of the picture below is the door to the kitchen - the art piece is some sort of gaming antique with a VERY loud clacker
This is the foyer on the left side of the front door

And then the rug hooked picture as you turn towards the hall - with a snoozing Shadow below

To the left of the hall - this is an old painter's ladder that I painted multiple shades - next to the chair is a vintage wooden wagon that Jack gave me on our first Christmas together 31 years ago; the gumball machine in the wagon holds marbles

Sorry this one is a wee bit blurry but I just love the artist who painted and collaged these pictures and have collected a few over the years

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Another awesome Spring Tonic - #3 - at Crack In The Sidewalk Farmlet was enjoyed last night.  As usual a scrumptious meal and drinks - farm-to-table - some of it foraged; all locally grown or raised - four fantastic chefs - two amazing mixologists - and a volunteer crew of servers from Empire State South that took wonderful care of everyone!!!  So here we go.

First was the Crack In The Sidewalk Spritz - white wine with herbs foraged and grown by Crack In The Sidewalk Farmlet sweetened with local honey.  along with hors d' oeuvres called Lazy Day triple cream gougeres - spruce tips, blackberry capers, lovage, and Kimball House garden honey - OMG - I just wanted to grab that tray away from the server and have them all to myself!  However, I took a bite out of mine before I thought to take a picture, thus the wild-eyed picture of Mr. Jack LOL


 Next was a rum drink with lemon balm and herbs and tiny pink flowers floating along with the first course of wild Georgia duck shumai, lardo, morel confit, fermented mushroom glaze, and shiso - kind of like stuffed pillows of spicy rice over greens - YUM!  Unfortunately I ate mine and so did everyone else before I thought to take a picture LOL

Then came a foraged Crack In the Sidewalk green salad with handmade ricotta from Decimal Place goat's milk with wild ramps and spring pea tendrils - I could eat this every day!

Now it was time for the All Spruced Up St. George Terroir Gin, spruce, pine, rosemary, lemon, and bitters along with the next course of blue catfish stew, crosnes, alliums, nettle dumplings, and funions - it was so good!

Then a wild boar and venison Sharma with sunchoke Rita and pickled salsify and fresh naan with sumac - AND - along with that a dish of morels, lacinato kale, divalia onion, flying dragon citrus, cured goose egg yolks, and - AND - yes, there was more - couscous, stinging nettle, burnt garlic, swine cress, oxeye daisy, and tabouli - are you full yet?  LOL

Here comes the Wild beer from the Wrecking Bar:  A black saison brewed with local honey, mugwort, dandelion root, dandelion leaf, ale hoof, yarrow, and stinging nettles from Crack In The Sidewalk Farmlet.  To top it off was a gorgeous - almost too pretty to eat but nah - we went to town on it - Mille feuille, with wood sorrel and elderberry creams (i.e., a handmade puff pastry filled with a bright green cream that was so light and tasty) - I just wanted to keep eating!

Thanks so much to Kellie Thorn and Shanna Mayo - mixologists supreme, and Angus Brown, Jeffrey Wall, Ryan Smith, and Terry Koval - the best chefs in Atlanta, for making this evening memorable.  Also thanks to Melonie Tharpe for hunting our wild boar and venison part of the meal.  And of course to our daughter and son-in-law, Isia and Chris from Crack In The Sidewalk Farmlet - we could not be more proud of what you've accomplished!!!

This yearly event helps the double SNAP program at Community Farmers Markets as well as the Giving Kitchen.  This is always a fun event and I hope if you're ever in Atlanta during April you'll be able to attend.  Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's a bright beautiful day today on Earth Day and as promised, I took some pictures of my backyard garden today.  We used vintage windows that had been removed from a craftsman style home, fastened them together with flat brackets, and put stakes at each side of the windows. Because we had a little opening at each corner, we used pieces of a roll of white wooden fencing to tie the corners together.

So left to right shots here with a garden "gate" between.
We sunk two posts and hung a screen door for the "gate".  I painted the top of the screen but didn't realize that it wouldn't show unless we had something dark behind it.  So I painted a thin piece of wood black and nailed it to the back of the door.


 So what have I planted?  Two inch Strawberry corn (for making popcorn on the cob right in the microwave!), Blue Jade corn and Patisson Panache (pattypan) squash, Fin de Bagnol string beans, Green Arrow shell peas, several types of eggplant, several types of peppers, and about eight kinds of tomatoes - small and large.  Everything organic of course.

And...I'm trying straw bale gardening for the first time (some eggplant and peppers planted in them).  Let me tell you - the ants LOVE those straw bales.  When I am pulling the wheat straw that is growing, I have to be really careful!
And just for good measure, we have a beautiful Japanese maple in the front yard that has been a haven for birds (and squirrels) for several years.  Four bird feeders, a bird bath, and their very own chandelier LOL  So I had to make a sign to hang in the tree (not that any of them, especially the squirrels, need an invitation)!
So I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Cooper garden and I'll post some updates when everything grows (you notice I'm having an optimistic day LOL).  Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

So where in the world did the last year disappear to?  Beats me and I won't even try to explain my absence. 

Many new and wonderful adventures happened though.  In June, 2014 I became acquainted with Isagenix and that has completely changed my life for the better!  For the first time in over 20 years I have energy to spare and my new healthy lifestyle has given me better health than I thought I could ever have again.  I truly believe that it saved my life.  If you would like to get fit, lose weight, age with better health, and find financial freedom - click on the link above and contact me.

With that energy, I then could look forward to retiring - which happened on March 31, 2015!  Yippee!  Bells and whistles going off all over the place!!!

My backyard garden (which I might add grew beautifully last year) has been expanded and we are just about done with the fencing and gate - pictures to come in the next post I promise.  It's a most whimsical and wonderful garden.

I'm just now beginning to get used to the fact that I'm free to do what I want when I want and not rush through every weekend doing chores so that I can be ready for a work week to begin on Monday.  I have so many ideas and plans that I'll be sharing with you as soon as my mind gets them a little more organized.  HA!

And with that - I'll leave you with this thought for the week

What will you do this week to be of value? 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Work of Art from a Bald-Faced Hornet

 According to Wickipedia, the bald-faced hornet actually belongs to a genus of yellowjackets in North America, but unlike many congeners it lacks yellow coloring.   Instead, it is called a hornet in the American sense of a wasp that builds paper nests.  It is best known for its large, football-shaped paper nest, which it builds in the spring to rear young.  The bald-faced hornet is protective of the nest and will sting repeatedly if it is disturbed.  This wasp is more aggressive than most yellowjackets of Dolichovespula and the genus Vespula, and the nest should be observed only from a distance.

Uhmmmm - had I known this yesterday I probably wouldn't have been sticking my camera under the hose hangar in my backyard.  And unfortunately, since this is near a water spigot that I will probably be using daily to water my vegetable garden, it's going to have to go.  Or at least Mr. Hornet is.


am of two minds on this - while I don't want to be stung, this hornet "home" is absolutely a beautiful work of art.  Isn't it incredible how even a small insect can create something so delicate and colorful with only wood and saliva?  It's about the size of a tennis ball or maybe just a little smaller.  Most nests are much bigger than this one and oval-shaped so it makes one wonder - was Mr. Hornet was just making a condo for himself? Not only that but it appears to have a double wall for protection from the elements.  And I wonder how it's attached to the hose hangar! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

January - oh my -  you'd think I'd gone on a trip around the world it's been so long since I blogged.  Let's just put it down to winter blahs.  Now that we're having a few warmish days in between the cooler ones, my mind is starting to defrost.

Warm enough this afternoon after work to paint the front of this

a light blue.  Step one of getting ready to plant when I'm sure no more freezes are headed our way - can you hear Mother Nature laughing  as I say that?  I'm thinking succulents this year since it gets so hot in the summer that most flowers don't last very long even watering every day.

We've had the back yard polished a bit - three trees cut down and all the brush around the fences cleared - well mostly cleared.  So we're moving this from the mostly shady front yard

to the sunnier back yard this year and I'm giving it one more year of producing some gorgeous tomatoes and beans and whatever else I can come up with that my black thumb doesn't kill.  What's that old saying?  The fourth time is the charm - bwahahahahahaha!  We'll see what happens.

Two art retreats so far this year.  The first in January at Serenbe  - about 30 minutes from me - sponsored by Jenni and Tiffin and it was really a bunch of fun.  I was able to re-connect with a wonderful friend from Washington state and her lovely daughter as well as meet lots of great people from neighboring states.  The projects were totally out of my box so it was really nice to try some different things.  Then a few weekends ago, a friend and I took two classes in Cindy Wunsch's fabulous Studio Be in Nashville (I met Cindy at the first art retreat).  Be still my beating heart - what a great place!  There was art everywhere and her studio sink looked just like mine - totally splotted with paint LOL  There was also the biggest Goodwill store just down the street that had lots of treasures - so that was just an added bonus. 

And.....ta da......I repainted my studio over the winter, added a new table that I built (and Mr. Whimsey decided to "help" with) and FINALLY got some storage units that would keep my treasures from getting so dusty.  So here is a look at the studio before I goobered up the table with projects last weekend LOL

Well that about catches you up on me.  Now if we could just catch up to spring!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Cardinal Hotel

Yes it's snowing in Atlanta.  When I got home from work today the bird feeders were looking a little empty.  There were a couple or three cardinals as well as Carolina red-wings and finches feeding.  So I added some seed to our triangle feeder, the bowl on the pole, and threw some on the ground. 

Well - they called their friends!  At one point there were 13 male cardinals here along with most of their spouses.  Mr. Whimsey is out right now putting more seed out.  It's snowing like the dickens and since birds need much more food in these conditions to keep their energy up and keep warm, we're opening the hotel kitchen.  LOL
Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm!