Monday, July 21, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Eat Fresh Tomatoes

Summer is upon us and my family is enjoying the bounty of fresh tomatoes.  We don’t have a garden but we are blessed to have friends and co-workers who share with us.

fresh tomatoes in the pie shell

Actually, I don’t eat tomatoes unless they are fresh.  Grocery store tomatoes have no appeal to me.

Have you seen Jane and Leo’s garden at Cottage at the Crossroads? You really need to see it.  It is absolutely beautiful and just look at all of those tomatoes! They have enough tomatoes to supply their whole community!

Our #1 favorite way to eat fresh tomatoes is to slice them. We love a supper of fresh garden vegetables but regardless of what we are eating for supper, you will almost always find a slice of tomato on our plates.

fresh veggie plate

Our second favorite way to eat tomatoes is on a tomato sandwich. Nothing says summer like a tomato sandwich!

Our third favorite way would be on a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. How could anything not be good with bacon on it?

Fourth on the list is spaghetti sauce made with fresh tomatoes.

Our fifth favorite tomato dish is tomato pie. Tomatoes, cheese, bacon, and onions are a no fail. Click here to see the recipe that I use.

ready to eat tomato pie

Another favorite tomato dish that we love is Cornbread Salad. It has a layer of cornbread, pinto beans, and fresh tomatoes topped with cheese and bacon. Need I say more?

We also love fresh salsa. Rhoda at Southern Hospitality just shared her recipe and it looks delicious.

Although we don’t eat it as much in summer as we do in winter, we love vegetable soup made with a tomato base. I usually start with fresh tomatoes then throw in all of the leftover vegetables from the refrigerator! It always turns out delicious.

If you are entertaining, you need to try Yvonne’s Caprese Towers. Click the link for her recipe.

They look so elegant and delicious!

We also love fried green tomatoes but our friends usually give us ripe red tomatoes. When we do get green tomatoes, I slice them, give them a light coating of cornmeal and fry them in a little vegetable oil. Yum yum!

Finally, when we have so many tomatoes that we can’t eat all of them, I freeze them to use later in sauces and soups. I know it sounds crazy, but even frozen tomatoes taste better when they come from my freezer rather than the grocery store!

I hope that you are enjoying your summer as much as I am!

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I’ll be linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Updating the Guest Room

For a while I have wanted to add a little more color to the guest room at our summer cottage and recently I was able to do just that.  I had seen a “bed in bag” at a local department store and decided to think about it.  While I was thinking about it, I received some reward bucks from said department store and as I was strolling through the store I just happened to notice that the bedding I was thinking about was reduced to half price and it just happened to be almost the exact price as my reward bucks! As you can imagine, I didn’t have to think anymore! I snapped up the Waverly bedding and headed to the check out.

guest room re-do

And here is a picture of the “before.”

Guest room 1

Here is a little closer look.

guest room re-do close up

I also updated the drop cloth window treatments by switching out the top and bottom accent fabric.

guest room re-do

As an additional detail, I made new “slip covers” for the lamp shades in coordinating fabric. You can see how I made them in this post.

guest room lamp shade

The existing settee and artwork stayed the same.

Settee and floor lamp

You can read the story about the settee by clicking here. You can read the post about the floor lamp by clicking here. You can take a little tour of the summer cottage here. This was a very quick and easy project and was very budget friendly!

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I will be linking to the Scoop at Worthing Court and to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Click the links for lots of inspiration.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Adding a Pantry to the Refrigerator Cabinet

I recently marked another project off of my to-do list. I added a pull-out pantry to both sides of the refrigerator cabinet at our summer cottage. I had to figure it out as I went along and made several trips to the store to fine tune the hardware but I got it done and am so glad that it is behind me. It adds a considerable amount of storage in an otherwise unused space. Big disclaimer here: this was not my original idea. I saw one at my friend’s house that was built into her custom cabinetry and I thought I could probably do that. So, I copied hers. (Thanks, Stacy!) Because my husband sometimes gets stressed when I am in a very messy project, I waited until he was out of town to complete this project. Thankfully, he was gone for two days so that it was completely finished when he got back home.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 1-16

It was hard to take photos because the island is in front of the frig but I think you can get the idea.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 5

I started by measuring the space inside the cabinet on each side of the refrigerator then I used a handsaw to cut the trim piece of cabinetry on each side of the refrigerator. I did cut 1/8 th inch from the trim piece so that it would slide in and out without dragging the floor.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 6

I slid the refrigerator out to allow some workspace and I used a hammer to pry off the piece of cabinet trim.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 7

I purchased 1 x 3 poplar boards from my local home improvement store and cut them the appropriate lengths to construct a simple bookcase type structure.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 8

refrigerator cabinet pantry 9

The photo above is the basic box laying on one side. The other shelves were then added. I used wood screws for construction and I did not think that I needed to use glue too.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 10

The photo above shows the finished shelves and you can see that I added three casters to the bottom. Those were fixed casters, not the swivel kind so that the shelf would slide straight in and out. I also added aluminum strips (3/4 inch wide) to hold items on the shelves. The aluminum strips were purchased at the home improvement center too and I used a handsaw to cut them to the appropriate size.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 11

Next I used wood screws to attach the trim piece to the front of the shelf. (The screws were put it from the back so that they don’t show.) I attached a cabinet slide to the top and the bottom to keep the shelf in place as it slides in and out.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 11 A

refrigerator cabinet pantry 12

The photo above shows the unfinished part of the cabinet where I pulled the trim piece off. The photo below shows where I painted that little piece to blend in with the cabinet. It only shows when the shelf is pulled out.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 13

We have the same hardware in the laundry room and the kitchen so I used the pulls from the laundry room cabinet so that the pulls would all match and attached them to the fronts.

refrigerator cabinet pantry 14

refrigerator cabinet pantry 15

refrigerator cabinet pantry 1-16

I am thoroughly enjoying summer and am looking forward to the Haven conference this week!

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I’ll be linking to the Scoop at Worthing Court, to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, and to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Click the links for lots of inspiration!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blanket Chest Built From Piano Parts

I am continuing my quest to repurpose many of the parts and wood from my Grandma’s old upright piano. My latest project was a blanket chest. It turned out very well.

blanket chest from piano parts Almost all of the wood came from this old piano that my son helped me disassemble.  If you look closely at the top part of the piano you will recognize the wood for the front of the chest.

Grandma's piano

I also used the bottom part just above the pedals and the very top of the piano. All three of these large parts come off very easily without breaking down the actual piano.

top and bottom openings of piano

For the sides of the chest, I actually used one of the sides of the piano and cut the length needed for two sides of the blanket chest.

assembled box 1

Because the two big parts were so large and they were not the same size, I did cut them down a little before using wood screws to assemble a simple box. I pre-drilled holes for the screws so that I could use “buttons” to cover the screws. I used a scrap piece of plywood for the bottom.

assembled box 2

The photo above is another view of the assembled box.

adding bun feet

I added bun feet that I picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents each.

before adding trim

I also purchased a piece of decorative trim to use on the ends.

trim added to each end

Slowly taking shape. You can see in the photo below that I added the top using the original screw holes and added the buttons to cover all of the screws.

box with top attached

I did not like the dark crackled finish so I used citrus stripper to take the finish off. Next I added a very light coat of stain to provide a uniform color and added a thin coat of satin polyurethane. The actual building of the chest was very quick and easy. The refinishing was quite an ordeal waiting for the stripper to work and waiting for various coats of material to dry. I think it was worth all of the effort.

blanket chest from piano parts

blanket chest close up side 1

The photo below shows the other side which used the bottom part of the piano.

blanket chest side 2

blanket chest end

I left the original label on the inside of the top.

original label

I did not take a picture of the inside but I did line it with felt since some of the wood was  a little rough.

You may enjoy seeing the other projects I have completed using other parts of the piano. Click on the picture to see the complete post.

table from piano parts 

                  Entry  Table

piano headboard 1


upholstered headboard 1

                              Upholstered Headboard

towel bar 2

                Towel Bar

I am having a fun and productive summer!

Looking forward to the 4th of July and then the Haven conference!

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I am linking to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life, to The Scoop at Worthing Court and to Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Handmade Pewter Church Plates–Another Found Treasure

I’m taking a break from the travel posts to catch up on some other posts as I have recently completed several projects on my long term to-do list. One item I checked off my list was polishing and hanging the antique pewter plates that I found at an antique sale. According to the seller, they are hand hammered church plates that came from an old church in Charleston, South Carolina. They were a great price (I think $15 for all 4!!). I purchased them more than a year ago but temporarily misplaced them. Actually they were in the cabinet on top of a stack of white porcelain plates with silver edges so I thought they were more of the porcelain plates. I have searched high and low for them and finally ran across them by accident! I guess that means I have too much stuff!

handmade pewter plates close up

The photo above is a close up so that you can see the hammer marks.  I hung them on the wall between the sets of patio doors.

wall without accent plates -1

Now, the same photo with the plates.

wall with accent pewter plates

They reflect a lot of light.

handmade pewter plates

I used Disc Plate Hangers purchased here to hang them and I am very pleased with the outcome!

I will be linking to Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality and to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll thru Life and to The Scoop at Worthing Court.

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