Friday, October 29, 2010

one more Halloween photo...

My youngest baby girl, Schyler, and her friend, circa 1991 (ish?).  I wish I had a scanned photo of the older baby girl, Kendra, from that same year - she was a perfect Alice in Wonderland.  I got this photo via a friend on Facebook!

I don't know about you, but I don't think it gets any cuter than that.  Unless there was a puppy in the picture.  Then maybe it would be even cuter.  But not much.

a trick? or a treat? you decide...

No...not my house.  I'm afraid I'm just not that into decorating for Halloween.  Someone (with a great sense of humor and a little more time on his/her hands) who lives on one of the busier streets on my route to the grocery store, does this every year.  I always laugh when I see it.  Thanks unknown neighbor!  And speaking of neighbors, I'm looking forward to handing out candy to the neighborhood kids.  Some of them I only see this one time a year, and they're always so much bigger than last year!  Happy Halloween everybody, and watch out for little ones in the street!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


We are still enjoying what will probably be the last little bit of summer around here.  So as a salute to summer, there's this...

How cool would that be?  Pretty huh?  This beautiful house is on the market in Australia.  Photo via Oliveaux.

Monday, October 25, 2010

the best laid plans...

It was a gorgeous weekend and I had plans.  Good plans.  But as is so often the case, things went a little off course.  And sometimes, if you're lucky, what takes the place of your best laid plans turns out to be awesome.  I had planned on spending Saturday morning at the Farmers Market and yoga, but my boss called me and asked me to cover for him for a couple of hours at the office.  We were one of the sponsors of a "Downtown Lifestyle Tour", where people could walk around downtown and see what other people have done with some of the lofts and other living spaces that are "above the store".  Because we are one of the more "outside the box" and creative working spaces downtown, the tour organizers asked us to be in the tour as well as sponsor it.  I happily agreed to come in for a few hours and it was fun.  We had lots of visitors, and everyone loved the space.  When my boss came in around noon he gave me a ticket to go on the rest of the tour - something that I thought sounded interesting and fun, but hadn't planned on spending such a beautiful day actually doing.  But I thought "why not?"  So I toured a couple of apartments and lofts, all of which were beautifully redone.  Original 150 year old brick walls, original wood floors, windows from the floor to the 11 or 12 foot ceilings. You know.  I was about to call it a day when I realized that one of the lofts on the tour was special and I had to see it.

A little back story, first.  Wilmington is the third largest film industry town east of the Mississippi, after New York and Atlanta.  There is a lot of  movie and TV activity going on around here, and it's not unusual to see movie stars hanging around.  In fact, several of them live here, at least part-time.  Back in the 80's Dennis Hopper and David Lynch made a little movie here, called "Blue Velvet". The movie is so bad it's a cult favorite, now! They actually give tours of all the different places around town that were in the movie!  Anywayyyy...Dennis Hopper loved Wilmington so much he bought a building downtown - the old Masonic Temple - and built himself a huge loft.  Now that Dennis is gone, gentleman - well known for rehabbing/remodeling old houses and lofts and doing it beautifully - here in town has bought it and is in the middle of remodeling it to live in with his family.  I couldn't wait to see it!

You enter the loft from a freight elevator original to the 1850's building.  Straight ahead is Dennis' original kitchen - hasn't been remodeled yet.  This was supposedly "top of the line" in 1987!  All the cabinetry is stainless steel. The remodel  is only about 1/4 of the way done - much of Mr. Hopper's original stuff is still here.  I wonder if he ever actually cooked here?

These are new.  I like them. Not sure what was here before, but maybe we'll see...later.

This is the living room - huge.  Just to the left there is a glass "garage" type door that opens to a huge balcony, and those skylights (original) are about 8x10 feet!

I would so love to have one of these!

They displayed a photo of Mr. Hopper himself, in the living room as it looked when he lived there.

The original 80's, stainless steel cabinetry with black fixtures, bathroom - disco!  The new owner is installing these opaque glass doors throughout.
A different bathroom. This is the direction the new owner is going in.  Love this!

I thought this was interesting and fun.  All new.  This is going to be the new owners son's bedroom.  The platform will hold a mattress, and the area above it will also have mattresses (and a ladder) for sleepovers!  The niche at the head of the bed will be a bookcase.  The area below the bed is head room for a stairway leading downstairs.  Interesting use of the space.  I think the son is about 8 or 9 and I'm pretty sure he'll love this room .

Breakfast area - obviously all new.  Can't wait to see how this will be finished!

This was the original entry.  How 80's!  I'm guessing Mr. Hopper was single at the time?  Because this place must have looked like a nightclub!  Now it's being used for storage.  I wonder what the new owner is going to use the space for?

Maybe these are the old kitchen light fixtures!  This space had about a dozen of these assorted 80's style fixtures, and a bunch of big old metal signage letters - you can see a "t" at the left of the photo.

I ended up spending a good part of the afternoon here and it was fascinating.  So I'll plant the daffodil bulbs next weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

ahhhh...Friday's Friday!

I am so looking forward to this weekend.  It's supposed to be absolutely gorgeous here, for the entire weekend, so I'm looking forward to spending a little time putting in some more daffodil bulbs for spring blooms, as well as lots of other outdoor activities.  I'll spend some time wandering around the Farmers Market, and we'll probably take the tandem out for a spin around the lake - maybe bring a picnic?

One of the picnic gazebos at Greenfield Lake (in the background).  We are so lucky in this town, to have this lake and this park.  The lake is surrounded by the park, which has an approx 5 mile long walking/biking path that goes all the way around it.  We sometimes kayak in the lake, where we see lots of turtles.  In the spring we see baby turtles.  Talk about cute.

And a long walk on the beach, Sunday morning, before breakfast.  Fall is my favorite time of year for the beach.

Wrightsville Beach, in the fall.  Crowds have gone home.

 My youngest is coming into town over the weekend, too!  It may be the last time I see her before she leaves for NYC.  She'll be moving up there for a few months, and will be leaving the first week of November.  I know I'll miss her, but guess who might go to NYC for Thanksgiving?! Yep, me!

So, I'm looking forward to a beautiful weekend.  I hope the same for you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

an odd little space...

The first time I saw my house I fell in love with a couple of features.  One of those features was the hallway.  Weird. I know. But I'd never seen a hallway like this one.  It's square, for one thing, sort of like a very small room with lots of doors.  And no windows.  And it has floor to ceiling bookshelves!  Who has bookshelves in the hallway?  But I'm a sucker for bookshelves, wherever they may be.

The bookshelves!

The floor is hideous.  I love the rug, but because of the heating grate in the floor, it can't be any bigger.  Boo.

A portion of the solid wall.  That. Is. Red.  And yes, I do know that there is some baseboard and door molding missing.

Not just red.  High gloss red.

The hallway was painted blood red, and I kind of liked it, so it's still there.  And coincidentally, I love red.  There are small amounts of red in almost every room of my house, so it kind of fits.  But back then the opposite wall from the bookshelves (the "picture gallery" wall - sorry, I know some people hate that, but I happen to like it)  had a doorway into the former dining area of the kitchen, leaving not so much wall space.  That doorway was closed off when we remodeled the kitchen, so now it is a solid blood red wall, and it seems sort of over powering, not to mention a tad dark for a "room" with no window.  In my continuing attempt to neutralize, I'm thinking about a natural color grasscloth...what do you think?

Obviously there is some work that needs to be done here.  We will be replacing that god-awful tile on the floor, which is why we don't have baseboards and some of the molding in there yet.  Since there is hardwood in the entire house, we're thinking it probably has hardwood under it, but obviously it won't be in good shape, so that will be an undertaking we're kind of not ready for at this point.  Another someday job.  This house will keep us busy for years!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


My kitchen is being featured on Small Place Style! Right now!  Y'all are probably used to seeing your lovely homes all over the blog world, but this is my first time.  So, go look!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

and I'm back...

Wow.  Wild couple of weeks I've had.  After all that rain we had recently we woke up to find two feet of water in the basement.  We have our gas water heater in the basement, so that meant no hot water.  For eight days.  EIGHT days y'all.  Good thing I go to the Y pretty much every day anyway.  I got hot showers.  Not so the bf.  He had cold showers.  For eight days. It took eight days because, as so often happens in this old house, the water heater had to be replaced (couldn't be fixed - no, that would be too simple), and it is a special size.  We first tried to replace it with a tankless water heater, but - surprise! - our vents are a special size as well, and it would have ended up costing several hundred dollars more to replace those, on top of the cost for the water heater.  So we ended up ordering a new special-sized water heater. It took some time to get here, but only about 30 minutes to install it, thanks to the never-ending skills of the bf.  Yes, I am lucky.

So we got the new water heater installed just in time for the big party.  The party was a lot of fun.  Really.  It was the first time I'd met most of the family members, and the first time many of them had met each other, but everyone was so gracious, and so happy about the wedding that it was one big love fest.  The bride was radiant and relaxed and the groom couldn't stop smiling.  The bride wanted Mexican food and simple, so the menu  was ceviche, guacamole, and salsa with chips.  First time I'd ever made ceviche.  Surprisingly easy and it was a big hit!  Cheese enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, black beans, pinto beans and a fruit salad for the entree, and home-made mini flans for dessert.  Again, it was the first time I'd ever attempted flan, but it was so easy and SO good, I'll definitely be making it again.  Top that off with Margaritas and it was definitely an easy and fun evening!

oops - sorry for blurry pic!

Really Easy Flan
2/3 C white sugar
1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 C heavy cream
1 C milk (I used 2%, not that it would make a difference with all the other calories!)
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla (use the real stuff, preferably Mexican)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a small non-stick saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat.  Shake and swirl occasionally until sugar is    dissolved and begins to turn brown.  I found out it's important NOT to stir the sugar - that will cause it to harden, and you don't want that! Lower the heat and continue until sugar turns a light golden brown, but is still liquid-y.  Pour caramelized sugar into a 1 1/2 quart casserole (or, to make mini flans like I did, use a muffin pan made for extra large muffins - I got about 18 mini flans from this recipe), and swirl in pan to cover bottom of pan.
3.  In a blender, combine all other ingredients and blend on high for one minute.  Pour into pan over the caramelized sugar.
4.  Put 1 inch of HOT water into a pan large enough for the flan pan to fit inside of.  Add flan pan and bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes for the casserole sized pan, and about 35 minutes for the muffin pan, or until set.

And on another note, the newest addition to the backyard - just before the party started:

There will be a beautiful new gate here one was supposed to be here in time for the party, but the water heater fiasco kinda took priority.  Sad.