Friday, July 24, 2015

An Unexpected Benefit


I discovered this morning that I can hook my colander on the edge of the new kitchen sink to drain my blueberries. Happy day! 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mini-Pantry Remodel (Phase 10) Completed!

Paul has really outdone himself on this one.  He took a small pantry area that had been constructed of painted, roughly cut pine pieces and constructed what is (at least, to me!) a fine piece of furniture.  Our mini-pantry is a bookshelf-sized area just off the kitchen, just before you traverse the basement steps.  Silly me, I did not get a before picture, although I do have one after I painted the backboard and before installation.  It is wonderful to begin to put everything back and organize.

The raw space with old structure removed, after I painted the backboard

While painting that, I was inspired to paint the basement stairwell 
(trim along that edge to follow later)

Paul, using the new gizmo he got from Rockler 
(a "Jig-It") to make the holes for the shelf support nuggies

Tyler "helping"

Paul made a total of 204 little holes, so I have optimum choice of shelf placement

Glorious: putting stuff back (lower shelves)

Upper shelves, including a gluten-free specific shelf up top, 
and a nice space for my cookbooks, 
and a little more room next to them for something else



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reclaiming My Harp Space (with a little tangent about water filtration)

For the past few months I have been in a harp slump.  A lot of it had to do with all of the kitchen cabinet boxes preventing me from actually getting to my harp.  But I was also in a slump in general.

A kitchen remodel is horridly stressful, my diet was terrible, we were unable to use our Reverse Osmosis water filter that I love (and I am very fussy about water - I don't like it to begin with, but having to do without the relative non-taste of RO water and instead drink bottled or tap water was very hard for me).  Incidentally, we did not get the RO filter because I am a fussy princess (!); we got it because I have a thyroid illness, and fluoride, which is in most tap water, is bad for this.  The RO is the only type that can get the fluoride out (at least, that is my understanding).  So I wasn't drinking well, and I am not sure how the exposure to fluoride affected me, if indeed it did.  The point is - my health has not been the best through this.  And when I don't feel well, or feel depressed, I don't play.  Ooo, what a tangent that was!

Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was inspired to play again by the harpist at The Drake.  But, Paul and I also finally were able to unclutter and clean our parlor, which houses my harp, making it accessible to me.  This was an icky proposition.  You see, we have three cats.  And three cats, combined with three sensitive kitty stomachs, combined with a room that humans cannot get real access to...well, you get the picture.  Vomit-palooza! We also had multitudes of storage boxes and cardboard cabinet containers to deal with. There is still a small amount of stuff to be dealt with, but it looks like a living space now, and, more importantly, a harp space.  I can finally practice comfortably and in clean surroundings.

My new music arrived, the Brahms Intermezzo.  It is a gorgeous arrangement in a Brahms collection by Daniel Burton.  I have begun working on it intently.  It is lovely.

The view from my harp:


Friday, July 3, 2015

Tea At The Drake 2015

Last week my "Tea Ladies" and I went to The Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago for afternoon tea.  It was so lovely.  We had a marvelous time.  The Drake even accommodated my gluten-free request.  My ladies and I agreed that it was a most splendid time, better in summer than during the holidays.

But the highlight was the harpist.  Her name is Lisa Marie Kahn, and she was wonderful.  She really lit a fire in my desire to get back to practicing (my harp has been buried in the parlor amongst all of the kitchen cabinets and other kitchen and house detritus - how's that for a word?!) that has been claiming the space (more on the reclaiming of my parlor and harp area in the next blog post).  In particular, the fact that she just happened to play Brahms Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2 just as I walked in - this is one of my favorite pieces, and I had no idea that there was a harp arrangement.  I managed to catch her later, just before she began another set.  She very kindly showed me the arrangement, and told me where to order it from.  I went home and ordered it instantly after I walked in the door.

Here are some of our photos.  You'll note that every one of us wore a hat!

That's me on the left, Barbara on the right

Barbara and Sandra

Pam, Kathy, and Colleen 
(Note the beautiful flower arrangement, and a bit of the harp in the background.)

All of us, in the Palm Court of the Drake!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Making Stock

Today I tried something I have never done before: making a vegetable stock. I wanted to make one that I was reading about (found while searching for the benefits of alkalizing mineral broths for health).  It was actually fairly easy - all of the vegetables were chopped via my Bosch food processor, dumped into the stock pot, water added, boil, then simmer.  Once cooled the broth is strained off from the vegetables.  It made a large quantity which I then divided up.  I froze two bags of broth, drank a mug of it, and the rest is in the fridge to be used for soup I will be making tomorrow or Friday. 



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pots & Pans

We managed to get all of our pots & pans organized (with the exception of our large stock pot that will be stored in the blind corner cabinet), along with a space for our cookie sheets and cutting board.  It was a tight squeeze getting both of the organizers in, but Paul did it!  We will have to always keep the pans facing the way they are below when we put them away (some facing east, the others west), and the large frying pan's lid is laid flatter than the others in the back (you can sort of see it in the bottom picture, below), in order to fit everything in.  This is not a problem, just a learning curve so everyone remembers which way things go when putting pots and pans away.



All tucked in, ready for bed!