Friday, October 30, 2015

A Freshly Painted House

The house is painted. Yippee! It looks so much better. The slightly darker green we chose is really nice -- a subtle change, but it's fun to have something different. For those of you who haven't seen my previous posts, the color is Meadow Trail by Sherwin-Williams. In the photo above, it looks more grey than green. It's so hard to get colors to represent accurately on computer screens.

The trim, Sand Castle, is a match of the existing color from a different brand (MAB, which S-W bought out).

There's no getting around the rough texture on this old house. It would have taken a very long time (and a lot of money) to scrape and sand the entire house down to the wood. We don't mind the bumpy texture. It's an old house after all.

Here are three of the pretty pumpkins we bought at the farmers market in September. I love the non-typical ones that are green and deep red-orange in color! The funky shapes are fun too. The stair treads are painted in S-W Messenger Bag (7740).

Have a happy, safe Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Cocktail

I popped into Williams-Sonoma the other day and went right to the sale table where I found a few different cocktail mixers, all of which sounded delicious: pumpkin punch, pumpkin spiced hot toddy and mulled pear. I asked the sales associate if she had tried any of them and she enthusiastically told me the pumpkin punch was her favorite, so I bought one. She was right. It is really good! I think it's one of my favorite cocktails ever.

And doesn't it look pretty in this Waterford crystal glass? It's one of two remaining glasses my parents brought back from Ireland in 1967. The others were broken over the years; my parents didn't have a dishwasher and the glasses met their demise during hand washing. The pattern is Clare, one of Waterford's original patterns. Replacements Ltd. has some of the old fashioned glasses, like mine, for $110 each. My parents also brought back a beautiful pitcher and some sherry glasses in the same pattern, which I enjoy using.

Now, back to the cocktail recipe. Mix 1 ounce of the pumpkin punch mixer with 1 ounce of rum, 2 ounces of sparking white wine and 2 ounces of sparkling water. I left out the sparkling water and used some ice cubes instead. Better yet? Use bourbon or whiskey instead of rum; my choice is Knob Creek. This is the perfect autumn cocktail, both in looks and in flavor.

I found this handy measuring beaker at Crate & Barrel recently. It's perfect for measuring all cocktail ingredients at one time, rather than using a smaller shot glass. I find it really handy for making this cocktail. Just a quick stir to combine the ingredients, then pour over ice into a cocktail glass. Cheers!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Japanese Maple to Remember Our 20th

My husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this week. To commemorate our special day, I thought it would be a lovely idea to plant a little Japanese maple in our back yard. I'll always think of our 20th anniversary when I look at it.

We've wanted to add a Japanese maple to the garden for quite some time. It has been a few years since we had the scrubby bushes and chain link fence removed (see post here). We just haven't gotten around to landscaping yet. We have a blank slate to work with, which is nice. 

The lady at the nursery said this maple -- a "Dissectum Viridis" variety -- needs plenty of sun. This maple isn't supposed to grow very tall. Rather, it is a wide, weeping type of Japanese maple. We may need to keep it pruned back, depending on how it grows.

I'm looking forward to watching our little tree grow over the years. I'd like to take a photo of it each year on our anniversary to see how much it changes. Hopefully I'll remember to do this!

Update, 10/28/15: The maple, a week later, is turning a beautiful yellow tinged with red. I love fall colors.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Painting in Progress

Painting on the exterior of our home began over the weekend and things are looking great! We chose Meadow Trail (SW 7737) for the siding, and had Sherwin-Williams match the existing trim color using an old can of MAB paint from the last paint job. Meadow Trail is a little darker and slightly more brown than the existing sage green. We really like it! Here's the south-facing side of the house showing the previous color on the right and the new color on the left.

Lots of scraping and priming has been done on the east side of the house. And the side door looks so much better with a fresh coat of paint! We're really pleased with the quality of work being done. A friend of my husband's from work and his crew are doing it. They are putting a lot of care and effort into their work. The whole house is being painted by hand, instead of spraying. It takes more time, but using a brush produces better results.

My husband bought Sherwin-Williams Duration exterior acrylic paint. The painters were pleased that they were getting to work with a high quality paint. They say it's a lot easier to work with than cheaper paint. I hope we get many years out of this paint job.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

Autumn, with its abundance of fresh apples at the grocery and farmers markets, is the perfect time to make homemade applesauce. I adapted the following recipe from Epicurious. It is very tasty -- nice and sweet and "cinnamony." It pairs well with a PB&J sandwich. 

Before now, I'd never made applesauce. Now, I'm a convert. Sure, purchasing prepared applesauce is easy, but homemade is soooo much better! I would like to experiment with flavored applesauce like this recipe for cranberry applesauce, which would be perfect at Thanksgiving.

Making applesauce is easy. The most time consuming part is peeling, coring and dicing the apples, which, to be honest, is not my favorite task. What I like to do when I have this kind of task is to turn it into a meditative moment by giving thanks to God for the blessing of having food to prepare and a home in which to prepare it. For me, this makes the task more enjoyable and fulfilling. I also view cooking as a creative outlet and an expression of love. It's nice to have a husband who is so appreciative of my efforts, too. Now, for the recipe ...

Cinnamon Applesauce

3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used McIntosh)
1 cup water (this much water never evaporated; try as is, or reduce water to 3/4 cup or less)
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1) In a heavy, large saucepan, combine diced apples, water, cinnamon stick and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 6 to 12 minutes until almost all liquid is evaporated (note: in my experience, the water did not evaporate, but I just forged ahead and the end product was great). Remove pan from heat.

2) Stir in lemon juice and ground cinnamon. Stir well. Let cool 30 minutes, then mash with a fork or potato masher, leaving chunks or mashing to a smoother consistency.

Do you make your own applesauce from scratch? Is it plain with just a little added sugar? Do you add other fruits? As I was searching online for a recipe, I saw several that didn't use any water, only a small amount of lemon juice. But I thought the apples would stick to the pan, so I avoided those recipes. If you have experience making a no-water-added recipe for applesauce, please let me know how it turns out. Thanks for visiting My Little Bungalow!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

We're getting ready to have the exterior of our house painted, yet again. This will be the third time in 17 years. Does that seem like a lot to you, or is having to paint an old house every five years or so fairly normal? The photo below doesn't show it, but the paint is cracking and chipping pretty badly in spots on the south and west sides of the house. This photo was taken on the north side front porch. We're also having a problem with mildew, so a fresh coat of paint with mildew inhibitor will help.

The last time we painted, we used MAB paint, which was bought by Sherwin-Williams, but I don't think we can get it at our local SW store. So, we're choosing new colors from the SW line. We like the sage green/off-white color scheme we have now, so we'll stay in that family. They suits the Craftsman style of the house, and it will cost less to have it painted in the same colors rather than changing them up. I stopped by the SW store recently for some swatches. 

Here's our bungalow's current color scheme (looks a little greyer in this photo than it actually is) ...

And below are the colors we've narrowed down to for the siding. This photo was taken in the sunlight, so the colors look more yellowy than they actually are (I tried to color correct to the best of my ability). Colors will also look quite different from one monitor to another, but this gives you the general idea.

Left to right: Meadow Trail (SW 7737); Olive Grove (SW 7734); Garden Sage (SW 7736).

I think the closest to what we originally painted the house is Meadow Trail on the far left. Garden Sage, on the right, is a bit lighter, while Olive Grove in the middle is a bit darker, which I kind of like.

We've had the house gently "power" washed to remove the dirt and mildew. The painters will scrape and sand before painting. In some areas, they'll be able to scrape down to the wood, but on the majority of the house they won't. This means there will be bumpy, uneven surface over much of the siding, but that's okay with us. The house is 93 years old. Just imagine how many coats of paint are on it! We don't expect our old house to look perfect. In my opinion, it's the imperfection that gives it character, charm and personality.

This is Sherwin-Williams' exterior historic colors booklet. The second photo shows a Craftsman style house painted in Olive Grove.

The next color palette shows the Garden Sage swatch as part of the "Global Spice" collection. I really like this color, and the trim color, Canvas Tan, above it. 

I'll let you know what colors we choose. To be honest, I will leave the final decision to my husband. As I've mentioned before, he works in the printing industry and has a trained eye for color matching. I gave up years ago trying to argue with him about color (though it was hard -- after all, I am a Capricorn). I totally trust his paint color choices (except for that one mess up recently on his first color choice for the mudroom floor, but we'll let that slide). Stay tuned for more on our exterior house painting project. As always, thanks for stopping by.

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