Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fun with Solder

So I am making it a point to set time aside each day to play around in the studio and have fun! 

Since I don't like to work with a plan I am always curious to see what the outcome will be.

With this wavy copper coin focal I randomly added solder.
Distinctive result letting it go crazy with the flux!
It is quite unisex too.

Here I had a mess up glob of solder.
It was too neat to toss so I found this agate focal in my stash and here is the final look!
I am trying some different finishes and textures to come up with pieces that speak to me. This one has been cleaned off completely.
However sometimes I think a pre-cleaned piece is really cool like this one below. The solder and copper are a little burnt and the coloring from the torch is beautiful. I will be trying out a sealant in hopes of maintaining such a finish!

I was also playing with this ring shape. I am loving it as is, all rustic.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed these free form funky pieces! ~Val

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Cliff Walk in Maine

This cliff walk is located in York, Maine.
There was an "enter at your own risk" sign! It has seen better days but I suppose it would be quite costly to repair.
Although overcast, it was a stunning walk.
As it went on it became treacherous, particularly with no more guardrail and a rocky terrain to prevent one from falling off!

There are some cool homes on this walk that make you feel as though you are in Europe rather than the US.
There were even a couple of cannons used as lawn ornaments. A unique choice for decor!
I found this yellow moss to be quite gorgeous!
You can't even see the ocean in that last one since it was so grey outside! It was there though. The sea was gentle that day but there was still the beautiful sound of it in the air.

I hope you enjoyed this walk. The coast of Maine is stunning and highly recommended to checkout if you have the opportunity. ~Val

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Garden Update

Summer is looking pretty!

We have some lovely echinacea. Something has been nibbling on these petals!
Hydrangea pom poms.
Vibrant butterfly milkweed.
English lavender. These are babies but when they get bigger I would love to dry some of them!
This super sweet oenothera bloomed weeks ago.
Its mid summer leaves have a luscious red so even though the flowers are long gone, the plant left behind is quite pretty!
Irises bloomed back in the spring!
Salvia in its intensity. 
We added rocks that were lying around the property to our hosta garden. So now it looks a little bit (unintentionally) like a pet cemetery with the stones standing up!
We decided to put the hummingbird feeder here too away from the big bird feeders. They do show up but they are so tiny it is difficult to see them from where we sit.  At least we know they are being well fed. 😁

I hope you enjoyed this garden update! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, July 15, 2017

City Art Walk

It is official. We now have an art walk in our city! 
My other half and I checked it out after its recent unveiling to the public (yes that is Jim heading towards the trail).
It runs along the river in the old railroad bead that used to go to Boston between 1851 until 1931 (the train is now located on the other side of the river).

It starts with a gigantic wind chime featuring the city scape on top.
This trail is being used by walkers, runner and bikers.
Cameras and emergency boxes are located along the trail for safety and to keep the bad guys out.

This piece below symbolizes Haverhill with its nearby bridge, a sturgeon (a river resident), its founding year of 1640, and a shoe. This city was a shoe manufacturing hub back in the day.

This is a peaceful walk away from the hustle and bustle that would be a relaxing place to read a book (which we witnessed a gentleman doing).

The river here is not all that picturesque however if you stop and take a moment, you notice beauty. I do love fuzzy things that grow by water.
I hope you enjoyed our little outing. We love seeing improvements like this to our city which has been making quite a comeback in recent years!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Kitchen Floor

Since doing a crazy amount of work in a short period of time, it is taking a while to get things back to normal in the house. We were both physically and mentally drained.

The kitchen and half bath floors have been completed for weeks now but we just finally installed our new dishwasher. 

Here is the loveliness we enjoyed while tearing up 2 layers of ancient nasty flooring.
This flooring was the thing that bothered me most in the house and it is the last thing we have replaced! The top layer was probably about 40 years old and completely disgusting. 

Check out the super retro layer underneath! Maybe 1930s or 1940s?!? The gold specks are glittery.
Original hardwood is still here but this would have been too much work to unveil being under a sub floor and not knowing what to expect. 

So we went with this lovely, elegant tile!
It is a perfect compliment to the granite since it is understated.
Yes I am constantly sweeping its lightness. But we are very happy with the choice. We still don't have the heater cover put back on yet. That was one of my project, painting it white (it was a very tired brown before).
This choice is so perfect with the espresso stain of the cabinets and the white walls. We need to add some base trim along the floor below the cabinets. I thought the new flooring would cover where the stain ended, but not quite!
We thought we would have to have custom thresholds made but the 2 pieces our wood guy put in were perfect! Just the right height.
I also love it against the old radiator that I painted silver (another thing that was a tired brown)!

I just know you wanted to see a toilet photo today.  😉
We haven't done any updating in here except my painting of the heater. Luckily we have this odd wall sink so an attractive cabinet with sink can be added at any time. Luckily the tiled walls are still in perfect condition and in a pretty neutral tone.

We say we are done with renovations now particularly since we still have a long to do list of all sorts of small DIY projects.  Time will tell if we end up doing any work with the bathroom. 

The floor under the toilet has been rebuilt though! That was an entertaining day before the install date. We knew the floor had issues (probably from a leaking toilet 20 years ago and was never repaired properly) so Jim had a fun day of rebuilding that part of the floor.

After he did his work, I had to follow behind him to paint the heater since it could not be done with the toilet in place.

Best part of this project? This grouted tile is not real! It is called luxury vinyl tile (LVT). It is fascinating. The tile goes down and then the grout is added afterwards just like traditional.

It looks and feels like real tile! 

If we went with porcelain or ceramic we would have needed to remove the old sub floor because it would have been way too high. We realized this early on when shopping and were told of this type of flooring by the shops we went too. 

It is apparently really catching on. More people are choosing it over the real stuff because it is softer on the feet and you never have to worry about cracking it. This installation took 1 day but if this was traditional tile it would have taken 3 days.

I hope you enjoyed viewing our new floors! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Celery, Cheese, Apple Snack

I came across this simple, delicious 4 ingredient snack/appetizer/light lunch idea while watching an episode of Lidia Bastianich's show. Original recipe here.

The recipe calls for gorgonzola cheese but we are not blue cheese fans. So I thought smoked gouda!

Anyway, I think any cheese one loves with fruit can substitute here.

I first cut up celery into snack sizes.

Then diced up half of a granny smith apple and equal parts of the gouda cheese. I simply eyeballed the amount to work with based on the amount of celery chopped up.

The other cheese is mascarpone which helps to hold it together. So this gets all mixed up.
Then put the filling in the celery!
Messy, but total yum! Next time I am going to try cheddar with cream cheese as the binder. I think that will be equally tasty, yet different.

I use organic celery which tends to be really small so it is hard to fill. Regular celery would work better but this is one of those high pesticide veggies in the U.S.! 

I hope you try this snack if you like celery, cheese and apples.  I don't think you will be disappointed. Thank you for stopping by.  ~Val

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hosta Garden

Some of you may remember we started a hosta garden back in the fall.
It detracts from the ugly chain link fence that goes between the properties. 
This corner was so sad when we moved into the house.
It was a depressing area of dirt and weeds.
Now it is alive with lush, flourishing plants.
We added this sedum in the fall too which acts as a ground cover. As you can see it is starting to catch on with little bits sprouting up at random!
 5 years from now the area will probably be covered with this pretty lime green.
These hostas had lined our front walkway but did terribly last summer with the drought. Now they are super happy with a balance of sun and shade throughout the day.
 We planted 2 holly back here too last fall which are equally content. 
We are quite pleased with the result. We are going to leave it as is since these plantings will all get larger each year.

It also camouflages the telephone phone which is what you see in the back of the photo below.  Our street was developed in 1900 and the utilities were put in the backyards of this street only. No one seems to know why although I suspect we live on what was once a city trolley road since it is much wider than all the other area streets.

This corner has come a long way since we transplanted the hostas! (a before photo below) The holly and the sedum were to tiny.  The hostas were cut back as I read to do in order to move them properly. This did not effect their health at all. 😀

We have also applied grass seed which has made a huge difference in outlining the garden.
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed our cozy hosta garden. ~Val