Monday, March 28, 2011

Hoop House

After my experiment with a hoop house last fall we decided to build a a better hoop house that we'll be able to use and reuse to extend our growing season. So, our Sunday project was to build a hoop house. We did some research on-line and based our design on what we learned. 

We used 3/4" PVC pipe, connectors, 3.5 mil plastic to cover it

first we attached fasteners to the inside of the beds to hold the pipes

we cut the pipes to size

and put the pipes in the fasteners and bent them to the middle and attached them with connectors

once we had the three hoops on we attached the spine 

then it was time to get the plastic cover ready, we got a single sheet that we cut in half, stapled to a thin piece of wood on either side, stretched it over the hoops and screwed the wood into the beds for a tight seal on the sides 

we used 1"PVC pipe and cut it to 2" pieces and cut about a quarter of the pipe out, filed it down and used those to clip the plastic to the hoops

the view from inside 

After all our hard work yesterday I went to check the house this morning and discovered that it was warm and moist inside. 

Some of the seeds I'd started inside have been coming up so I moved them to their new hoop home. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

birthday thanks dinner

I was taken out to two birthday dinners this year. My partner took me out last night to this wonderful restaurant that I've been wanting to try, so today I decided, since I'm babysitting tonight, that I would leave him a nice dinner in thanks for the lovely dinner we had last night. 
I made mushrooms stuffed with smoked oysters, bread crumbs, sauteed onion & fennel, mixed with a little cream cheese
fried eggplant that I then stacked with mint and cheese between the slices
sauteed chard with garlic
fresh pasta with homemade sauce - tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, onion, little olive oil 
lamb ribs, seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary, and pan fried 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tenant search

Our tenants are moving out, their family is growing so they want more than one bedroom... we decided to make an attempt at renting out the apartment ourselves. 

We started by putting a posting on craigslist last night. But so far today all we've gotten is inquiries from realtors asking if we want them to help us find tenants... hadn't anticipated realtor responses. Hopefully we'll get responses from interested individuals too. The last apartment we rented we went to multiple realty agencies but ultimately found the apartment we took on craigslist, so we're our experience is not the exception. 

Looking for an apartment?


Monday, March 21, 2011

boiled dinner

Paddy's Day seemed to be more of a week long adventure, bookended by 5K races and the infamous South Boston parade yesterday. 

Even with the week long adventure we didn't have boiled dinner. So, today snow was falling again - welcome spring - it seemed like a good day to make my first attempt at corned beef and vegetables (since I didn't have cabbage). 

I got a package of grey corned beef, the smallest one I could find which was about 4lbs and looked up a recipe. I slightly modified the one I found at Simply Recipes.

Put the corned beef in a large pot and cover with water. 
20 peppercorns
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
cover the pot then let simmer about 4 hours until meat is tender

Remove meat from pot and add vegetables to broth 
I used what I had on hand
12 small potatoes
1 bunch of collard greens
two onions
portabella mushrooms
cut veg up in large chunks, add to the broth and cook on a high simmer for half an hour or until potatoes are tender

serve with horseradish and mustard

Saturday, March 19, 2011


"Yoga will change your life."
"Ummm... sure it will" I replied skeptically. After years of trying to persuade me to give it a try with no success my sister tried a different approach. A birthday gift of 2 individual lessons for myself and my husband. So I scheduled them and we had our first lesson....
Yoga is hard. It's not just some stretching, it is working all your muscles, pull your calves in while you push your thighs apart, arms reaching into the air, fingers extended, feet planted and pushing down... every muscle engaging together... sweat pouring out... and at the end of it you lie down, on your back and let every muscle relax, let everything go and just breathe... 

One class. And now my body is asking for a kale salad and not a cookie. And I somehow feel lighter and more connected to the universe. 
I think it may be true. 

Yoga will change my life.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

a day in the yard

61 degrees here! I have spent the day in the yard. 

I made some new friends & was serenaded 

I turned the dirt in our beds and planted some seeds that said they're good to plant when there's still a chance of frost so we'll see how they take. 

I also carved out part of the yard to plant flowers and planted a heirloom ladybird poppy as well as a songbird mix. 

We have some protection to keep the birds from eating all the newly planted seeds. 

And we still have some rubble piles to get rid of but I managed to use some of it to lift up an old sink that used to be in the house that we're hoping to repurpose. I think it'll be a great for bbq's - fill it with ice and beer. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

an inside start

It is snowing. Now that all the snow had melted from our yard and we had some warmer weather and I started gearing up to get digging in the dirt... today it snows, flurries, off and on all day so far... 

But it is mid March now and if I can get some seeds started inside - which is a new adventure for me - then when they're ready to go outside in about 6 weeks we should be free from snow. 

I looked at the seed packets that I had and planted the seeds that said to start indoors around this time. I filled a tray of peat pots with dirt and made a chart to list which seeds I planted where, then filled in the chart as I planted the seeds. I've done some food and some flowers. Then I sprayed it all down with water and put the dome on top and now I have to wait and hope I'll see some growth soon. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

magnetic souvenirs

I am flattered to be asked to help people with things for their wedding - from invitations to souvenirs. Today I've been working on glass tile magnets for a wedding. I've used photographs that the bride took during the trip when she and her fiance met in Paris. 

I printed the photographs on matte photo paper (I had attempted this with the photos on glossy paper and had many problems with air bubbles, the images on matte paper worked much better) and used a punch to crop the photos out.

Then I placed glaze on the glass, turned the glass over and placed it on the cutout image, the weight of the glass is enough to smooth out the glaze over the image. I aligned the glass over the image and held it for a few seconds so it would not slip. After about a minute I wiped off the excess glaze and cut the excess paper off so the paper was only under the glass. Then I placed the tiles on tinfoil so they would not stick to the surface they were drying on due to excess glaze. 

After they dry I'll flip them over and cover the back with glaze and place magnets in the center, using the glaze to adhere the magnets and seal the paper. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

gnome sweet gnome

Instead of buying a wedding card I decided to make one and since I need to start working on my gnome line I decided to try my hand at sketching a gnome couple. 

Friday, March 4, 2011


I made three cake type deserts for tomorrow's engagement party. 

1 - chocolate dipped cake bites
with guidance from Bakerella, I bake a box mix red velvet cake, once it's cooled mixed in a can of cream cheese frosting, shape (I did toadstools, hearts & balls) and put in the freezer for 2 hours, then melt chocolate, dip into melted chocolate, place on wax paper and put in fridge for chocolate to harden into a shell

2 - s'mores mini cupcakes
I did a search for recipes and ended up using the cupcake recipe from Bakerella too
and frosting recipe from eat my Charlotte, although I also did a few with the crumble on top

3 - hummingbird cake
I used this recipe from Saveur, baked the cake in a glass rectangular pan then cut it in half to and then sliced each half through the middle so there would be 4 layers