Sunday, July 31

Drink this.

We love us some Bobby Flay around here. Dave has an official man crush, and while I don't exactly share his sentiments of, "oh, he is a beautiful man", I will say, the man can cook. Last weekend, in the midst of a record heat wave, we remembered a recipe from one of Bobby's books...

Watermelon Martinis


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
5 cups watermelon, seeds removed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups vodka
2 ounces melon liqueur, optional
8 lemon twists, for garnish


Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let cool.

In a food processor, puree the watermelon flesh. Add a little of the sugar syrup to sweeten, to taste. Pour the pureed watermelon into 2 empty ice cube trays and freeze for at least 4 hours.

In a blender combine the frozen watermelon cubes, more simple syrup, to taste, lemon juice and vodka, melon liqueur and blend until smooth. Pour into 8 frozen martini glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.

YUM. As we were cutting and pureeing the watermelon, Dave had the genius idea to try adding some fresh basil to the mix. Oh. My. God. Extra Yum. It was so good we've taken to having virgin versions of the watermelon and basil cocktail with breakfast. Instead of freezing the watermelon each time, we just toss chopped watermelon, a few leaves of basil and ice cubes into the blender. Much faster, and oh so refreshing.


Tuesday, July 12

Hold me back.

Phase II of the retaining walls is *finished. I'm giving that finished a little asterisk because we still need to put the bricks in the treads of the stairs, but the major work is done. I can't believe how long it took, and how much wood we used. The stairs are huge!

The final phase will include two additional walls behind the low wall in the foreground. One low wall will run parallel to the existing wall, creating a (hopefully) protected bed for plants. Another wall will run perpendicular to that, creating a 90 degree angle, and raising up the far end of the upper lawn. Those sections should be easy to make, once the digging and leveling is done. After working on the stairs a few nice, straight walls will be a cinch.

I'm going to hold off on planting too much in the new beds created by the retaining walls. The sand is terrible for the plants. I'll have to mix in a good amount of potting soil, mulch, compost, etc to get some decent dirt going in there. Between the sand and two rambunctious dogs, my ferns, hostas and astilbe are having a rough time hanging on. I am however, determined to have a lush garden back there.

I was pleased to have a few daylilies bloom this year. Last year I had a whole heap of lilies grow up, but nothing even close to flowering.

I wanted to share my pots of annuals. Coleus was hard to come by this spring, so I opted for a different look.

Thursday, July 7

Catching up.

I discovered a fantastic antique store recently. I was running an errand for work and saw a sign across the street, Antique Sale Today. (It turns out there is a sale nearly every day of the week) I stopped in quickly that day, but didn't buy anything my first time in. I was eyeing a lovely gold mirror, but talked myself out of it and scurried back to work. Of course I sat and thought about it all day, so I stopped on my way home and purchased it.

I can't even remember what I paid for it. $40, $60 maybe? This was obviously before I had a chance to clean it. I also picked up the hat for a cool $10. My photo did not come out as I'd planned. I couldn't get the angle right, I kept missing the shot, and Andre insisted on climbing all over me as soon as I plopped down on the floor. I have about 10 more reject photos, all with Andre in them, with either his tail in my face, him chewing on my hair, or sprawled out like this. Funny buddy.

As luck would have it, I was in the area again a few days later. I took a stroll through, and eyed a few possibilities, but scoffed at the price tags and went along my way. On my way out I realized that one booth in particular was having a 50% off sale. Hmmmm.

There was a small side table that was a lot more interesting at half off. Once again, I went back. At the back of an overcrowded booth, underneath a larger table, and with half a dozen smaller items piled around it, I spotted it. Still there! I carefully moved everything out of the way, and pulled it from its hiding spot. It was dusty and dirty (actually, it still is), but it was fantastic! Even more spectacular than I'd remembered from my earlier visit.

I think this is my most fabulous find EVER. At the very least, it's in my top five. Faux bamboo, little tri-pod legs, the carved handles... I've seen something very similar to this in a design magazine somewhere, but who knows when and where. I tried to Google it under every possible combination of details, and couldn't find anything close. This is a prize. With the sale price it was $60. Looking at it now, I would have gladly paid the full $120.

It is so filthy I'm thinking of just putting it in the tub and hosing it down. The glass is dirty, but it is a really thick, nice quality glass. I'm resisting the urge to paint it blue or yellow. I bought an ivory spray paint and a can of lacquer spray to make it nice and glossy, as it should be.

I think it will sit nicely next to these...

The map of Wellesley Island was a gift that we finally got around to framing. We love how well it turned out, and think it fits this space nicely. It's funny how the more things we put in the corner, the emptier it looks. I thought the two chairs would fill it right up, but it didn't. We have a small chest of drawers to sit in between the chairs, and will need some accessories to dress it up. There is an enormous palm tree currently living on the deck that will be moved into the corner after we get around to painting this room. And then there are those throw pillows I've been meaning to make.