Friday, July 21, 2017

Hydrangeas 2017


The hydrangeas are blooming! I always look forward to seeing their flowers and I am always hopeful that the recently planted bushes might flower. This year one did!
(I know I go a little crazy with pictures, but it is so fun watching them grow from year to year!)

Two weeks ago it started out like this, pale green centers that slowly turned pink. I think this is a "Peppermint Swirl" variety, but I will have to double check. The other small hydrangea I have is an unknown, it has never bloomed and was a gift. But I think this is the one that I bought, I will have to see if the label matches.


 And this is the flower this morning, all pink and twice as big!


It is lovely to have a bit of beauty to gaze at when going in and out of the house.


The hydrangea on the corner is going strong. It was covered with flowers two weeks ago. I am glad I took a moment to snap pictures when I did, as all the storms we have had have left it looking a bit bedraggled. It also isn't as heat tolerant as the others and fades quicker.
I hadn't realized how large the hydrangea is getting until I looked at last year's pictures!


I love all the shades of pink it goes through!

We have been busy doing a bit of damage control on one of the brother's houses. All things considered, my little cottage made it through the storms quite well. I only got a few small rivers in the basement, but they dried up quickly and there was no damage.
Goodness how the summer is flying by!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Summer Afternoon Tea

Back in March, Patti at the Emilie Loring blog invited all her readers to share an Emilie Loring inspired tea. The thought of warm days with dappled sunshine, dainty cakes and a lazy summer day sent my imagination swirling! Especially since it was a windy dreary not-quite-spring day!

If you have read any of Emilie's books you will know she loved tea. Elegant teas with silver, tea in the garden, tea on the terrace, tea in cabins and castles, formal high tea to cozy fireside tea and toast; she wrote about them all.

"Sure, Miss Di, with springs of mint as you told me. I put 'em in every day. Miss Merry's sure to have callers. Gee but she's popular." "That's because she makes people realize that she is interested in them. Get some lemons, quick. I'll mix a drink. When Merry rings, bring out the filled glasses and a plate of thin cookies on the silver tray. We won't serve tea." ~ Where Beauty Dwells

Since it was July and a lovely warm day, I choose strawberry lemonade instead of hot tea, with an assortment of sandwiches and cakes. (Besides I have a lovely glass pitcher collection that needed to be put to use!) I think Emilie would have approved!


I had great fun reading up on how to serve a proper tea. According to Ida Baily Allen's Modern Cookbook paper doilies on all serving dishes is a must!
For Strawberry Lemonade: Allow the juice of one lemon and a tablespoonful of sugar to each person. Pour enough boiling water on the sugar to melt it, combine with the lemon juice and a half glassful of crushed ice, fill with plain or charged water, shake in a cocktail shaker if possible. To each serving of lemonade add from two to four tablespoonfuls of crushed strawberries.
Ida Baily Allen's Modern Cookbook c.1935


Chicken or cucumber sandwiches?

 "Aunt Ellen, Phil and I are famished for our tea. I've just come from a day in Camp...." She ignored her Aunt's annoyed frown and smiled at Maury when he set tea and a plate of sandwiches on the white wicker stand she had drawn in front of her chair...." ~ Rainbow at Dusk

Chocolate Pinks, recipe is here, made dairy free for Mandy.



 The classic British tea cake, the Victoria Sandwich cake, has been on my to-make list for awhile. A tea party was the perfect time to whip one up! It is a sponge type cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries sandwiched between the layers. This is similar to the recipe I used.


 I think I had more fun planning this tea then actually sitting down and partaking. I must admit I was a bit tired out from making all the lovely things to eat. It was so fun to comb through my vintage cookbooks for inspiration and I loved getting out all the old glassware and dishes. Some of the pieces I had forgotten I had!


Thank you for joining me for tea, do drop in again!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bathroom Trim

Well, here it is! Trim! I can't get over how much it has changed the presence of the window. And it is so pretty and white now! I know they say all white bathrooms are not in favor right now, but I love all the clean whiteness.

 I don't think I ever shared our latest window covering. I decided it was time to get something lighter then the picture frame we had propped in the window. After much thought and discussion, I finally decided a simple piece of fabric in the window was what we needed. After combing the fabric store for something to co-ordinate we finally settled on this black and white print (which is actually flannel, but who can tell?!). I ironed heavy weight interfacing (for extra stiffness and privacy) onto the back, hemmed up the edges and stuck Velcro in the corners to hold it in place. It has worked perfectly!

 Oh how I love the new window sill!! After looking at exposed framing for close to four years it is so nice to have clean painted wood.
I really was just hoping to get window sills here and in the kitchen this summer and possibly work on the rest of the trim this fall. But one thing led to another and before we knew it, it was an all out carpenter's shop for a week. Of course, replacing (and replicating) 1920's trim is not as simple as going to the home improvement store. We had to do it like it was originally done, custom made. Fortunately, my brother specializes in custom milled trim. He milled the baseboards out of 1 x 8 boards, the window sills were cut out of 5/4 x 4, the window trim was just standard 1 x 4 with a custom milled back bend (corner piece) out of 5/4 x 3. That is a lot of wood around the window!

It took Mandy and I a full Sunday plus mornings and evenings for three days to get is all installed. (Mitered corners are tricky!) It might not be the most professional job, but it is done! And we are rather proud we did it.




The baseboard doesn't have as much of an impact on the room as the window trim. Or maybe I should say the window trim out shines the baseboard? But it is lovely to have it finished off. Though I hadn't thought about the trim being 3/4" thick and sticking out more then we are use to around the tub (to the left in the above picture). I have already cracked my toes three times on it! This picture shows very well how snug everything fits in the bath. Cozy isn't it? 



Another picture showing just how cozy the bath is. The raw wood just behind the tub wall is the linen closet. I have thought long and hard over how to finish it off and finally come to the conclusion it is working just fine the way it is now and adding a curtain or door would just complicate things. And since you can't see the linen closet from the doorway, it doesn't glare out at us. I will just need to get a trim board and get it in and that should be done.

We also got the back bend on around the outside of the doorway and the baseboard on either side. I am so excited to have finally got this project done! There are a few more windows to restore and then, I think all the original projects will be done! Amazing!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy Summer!

 Happy Summer friends!
The summer busyness is in full swing around here, lots of comings and goings and lots of projects getting accomplished. We are still hard at work on the trim, but very close to having it done, we are on to the painting!

In the mean time, how about a garden tour in honor of the first day of summer?

We always have fun trying new combinations of annuals in our large flower pots. This year's choices are petunias, marigolds, dusty miller, snapdragons, alyssum and celosia.


 With all the warm weather in the last two weeks, they have really taken off! We are loving all the colors!

 The garden seems to have gotten a bit of a slow start, but is finally coming along nicely. The usual carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, beans, lettuce and peas. Oh and dill that re-seeded from last year!

 Our one raspberry plant has gone a bit wild, it is the taller plant in the front of the box. Mandy is trying to decided what we are going to do about it, in the meantime, it looks like we will get a nice crop of raspberries!

The strawberries are going strong! A bit on the smaller side because of the warm weather, but oh so good.



I have been working on my "cutting garden". Trying to decide what to plant and what would be just enough. I was so excited the peonies bloomed this year, but missed the chance to pick any or get pictures.


 It is amazing how much all the bushes have grown! You can't quite see them, but there are two more hydrangeas behind the boxwood and they look like they will also bloom this year. I am so looking forward to it!

After last years renovations of the sidewalks and flower beds, I am finally happy with the way this side is shaping up. Because I took out the bit of a sidewalk that curved around the house, I was able to make the bed bigger. I think I might need another plant or two, but while I think on that the bleeding heart fills the space. The bleeding heart loves it here and I am not sure if I want to move/replace it. It does get a little wild, but because of the shade it stays green for most of the year.
Well, there you have it! That is what is growing at the little cottage.
How is your garden growing this year?