Saturday, July 23, 2016

Crystal Gorge Conservation Area

The Crystal Gorge Conservation Area is in our city bordering New Hampshire. It is perfect living in a place that is as much city as it is country!
Consisting of 65 acres, there are plenty of woodsy trails to enjoy for a peaceful nature walk.
I would not recommend this walk in the summertime like we did due to all the bug action! This is a mistake I seem to make every summer craving a nature walk.
So our walk became partly a jog to keep from the pests.
It is very hilly and rocky making for a great workout!
An uprooted tree. I love how woodsy it is.
Part of these trails are on ledges overlooking the gorge. I attempted to photograph the gorge for effect but the photos just don't do the land formations justice!

I would love to come back in the Fall or explore another area of this conservation land. 
This is part of Crystal Lake where some of the city's drinking water comes from.
The part near us was covered in darling lily pads and water lilies!

 I hope you enjoyed this little bit of New England. Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, July 16, 2016

House Update

We haven't done anything major recently to the house. Just little things.

This was our ugly brass front door plate before:
We replaced the old brass lockset with this one. 
Here is the plate after painted with Rustoleum Painter's Touch oil rubbed bronze.
As you can see, close up in the light you can tell its painted but the reality is I am probably the only one who would notice! Unfortunately it wasn't something that could be spray painted so it took a bit of tediousness.  2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint were used.

Overall it looks great compared to the old beat up brass. Since this is a custom plate on the 116 year old door, painting was the most logical choice. I plan on keeping the door as is where you can see that there was on old decorative plate at one time. It just adds more historical character!

This same paint comes in a spray version so I plan on painting 3 old brass ceiling light fixtures with it for a better flow.

This was a little thing that annoyed me. The old door stoppers in various conditions of yuck! This one didn't even have its stopper anymore.
Now we have new ones for only $2 a piece.
At some point I need to touch up the paint around them.

I painted some of the cool twigs left by the tree service the electric company sent to our property.
I also made over an old lamp that looked like this before:
Now it looks like this:
While I liked the original look of this vintage piece, it never went with anything.

I went a little crazy with the crystals upcycled from our old chandelier. It is a bit tacky so I may remove them or just have less embellishment.

I also made pull chains for our new ceiling fans with some of the large chandelier crystals.
I hope you enjoyed seeing these tweaks! Next will likely be the replacement of our basement windows and 2 of the exterior doors (not the front door of course). We are in the estimating process right now so hopefully soon!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, July 9, 2016

An Antique Chair

I am really enjoying my latest inheritance, this antique chair.
It had belonged to my great aunt and then to my grandparents.
Grandpa just passed at age 101 after a long happy, healthy life.
The chair has wonderful details and is in amazing condition.
Even the bottom of the legs have a cutout.
It would be great to have the wood refinished but I also love the look of wear showing its age.
This would be a fun piece to bring to Antique Roadshow!

I hope you have enjoyed viewing this relic of the past. Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Shabby Chic Craft

We have this hook over the bathroom window that I had an urge to decorate. So I saved a can.
I did make a trip to the craft store for a big fluffy white flower. I cleaned off the can and punched 2 holes on opposite sides for hanging.
I taped off the can so it would be ready for painting as well as cleaned off the hook which was a clashing black.
After spray painting I put some natural rope through the holes tying inside. 

This was not easy since it was fraying the rope while trying to get it through. I probably should have used an awl to smooth it!  Since the ends would not be visible and the piece would be lightweight I didn't worry about perfection. I added some glue to the knots for security.
I pulled some goodies out of my crystal stash and made stems by twisting the wire. These did not need to be perfect either. Lastly I arranged the crystals around the flower to hang.
Now we have a cute decoration when looking up at the window! The cost of the craft was only $2.99 (for the flower) and the rest of the supplies were on hand.

Thank you for stopping by! Have a great week ahead. ~Val

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Mexican Polenta Dish

According to Jim, this was a homerun so I had to blog it! 
This was my first time trying to create something Mexican like with polenta and I must saw it was quite tasty!

First I whipped up a batch of polenta adding 1.5 cups of cornmeal to 5 cups of boiling water using a whisk while pouring to prevent clumps. If you have never made polenta before you simply stir it until the bottom of the pan is clear when you move the spoon over it. It can take approximately 15 minutes. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of the following: chili powder, salt and black pepper to spice it a little.

Then this is spooned into a 9" x 11" pan, smoothed out and left to cool. Then the oven was set to preheat at 350f.

For the topping I diced up the following:

1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 cups of frozen corn (thawed)
3 tomatoes
a bunch of jarred jalapenos (I bet fresh would be great too but the jarred are a staple in our house. The more you use the spicier the dish will be)

Then I tossed the veggies with with approximately 3 tablespoons of avocado oil along with 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: chili powder, cumin, salt and black pepper. Once the veggies were evenly coated they were spread onto the polenta.

Lastly I covered this with tons of shredded cheddar cheese. Then baked for 30 minutes (broiling the last 2 minutes or so to brown the cheese).

This is a fun one to play around with ingredients. No measuring required except for the polenta! I tossed black beans over the leftovers making a great addition.

Well I hope I have inspired you to try something new in the kitchen. Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tattersall Farm Part 2

As a follow up to last week's post here is a bit of the nature trails to enjoy at Tattersall Farm in Haverhill, MA.
It starts in a field with mowed portions to walk through. It doesn't look like much but it is so peaceful. All you hear is birds!
It is a sea of buttercups and dandelions. Also these things:
Anyone know what those are?

Then there is the peaceful woods. The trail looks like this in parts.
Now I love trees. However this old oak is one of those creepy looking ones that looks like it will come alive!
There are streams.
And my favorite woodsy thing besides moss, ferns.
Coming back out of the woods to civilization behind the farmhouse.
I hope you enjoyed this New England nature walk!

Thank you for stopping by. ~Val


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tattersall Farm Part 1

Tattersall Farm is one of the many peaceful places in our city. This 150 acre farm was donated to the city back in 1999 by the former owners and to be kept as conservation land to enjoy.  
Being a lover of old stuff I was intrigued the by various old farm equipment on display in their rusty weathered state.
Many of the pieces here were horse drawn back in the day.
It is like a farm museum. There are posts to explain how the pieces of equipment were used.
Here is an old hay wagon frame below.
Of course the place needs to show an old John Deere!
I love the seriously corroded horseshoes! 
The horse drawn hay rake is quite cool. Although I have no interest in old farm equipment I really enjoyed checking out these pieces.
Particularly with envisioning them being horse drawn with an uncomfortable farmer on the seat.
I hope you enjoyed my little vintage farming tour. 

I will be back next week with the trails this farm has to offer! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, June 4, 2016

House Update!

We had another big thing done to our house. This was the boring job of replacing some remaining old electrical wiring. Something great resulted unexpectedly. Sconces!
Before we had this hideous broken light fixture overhead on the front porch.
This was on old wiring and the electrician thought he would be able to replace the wiring. We purchased a new light to replace this one. However when he attempted to do so, he realized it was near impossible to get through some beams. 

Then he said he could do sconces are each side of the front door. This looks way classier and goes with the period of the house beautifully! 

Another thing that concerned us was electrical wires outside with tree branches sitting on them. If we lost power, I would be out of business! So we called the electric company and they sent out their tree service to clean it up. 
We did get left with the trees since their only job is clearing the lines.

Luckily they came out when they did because a problem of burnt wire was discovered due to the friction of the branches on the lines. So the same day the electric company came out and replaced all our wiring outside. This work was all free to us. Well not really free since we pay quite a bit for electricity each month! 

No more electrical worries inside or outside! 

We added flowers for some color. I'm so happy with the black and white porch!
Jim has been super busy with ceiling fans. A total of 5!

This is my office one. I'm not a huge fan of the exposed bulbs (kind of ugly and a dust magnet) but I need as much light as possible to come from the fixture.
Then for the bedrooms we chose to put the same one in each of them.
The brushed nickel goes perfectly with the radiators' finish combining antique with modern comfort.

I am impressed by everything we have done so far since we have only been here for 5 months. This includes the roof, chimney, electrical, ceiling fans and lots of little projects.

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a great week ahead. ~Val