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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Upstairs Hallway Painted

Hallway painted in Pittsburgh Paints' Aqua Bay

It's been a long time since we did any house projects. We have been busy buying things to decorate the finished rooms and have neglected bigger renovations such as the kitchen. However, a couple weeks ago, we painted the staircase and upstairs hallway. As always, we ran into some issues which have hindered us from finishing the job.

When we first decided to paint the hallway, we couldn't agree on a color. M wanted something light while I wanted a darker tone since I was sick of staring at white walls. After many squabbles, we settled on Pittsburgh Paints Swan Lake color. Once home, we dabbed some on the walls and to our horror, the color didn't match the light airy blue that was on the paint card but was more like a bright powder blue in a 50's diner. When we first bought the house, we promised that we would go with whatever color paint we got and see it as a challenge. This Swan Lake color was beyond what we could work with so we went back to Menards and were thankful to learn that they do free retinting. On top of that, if we weren't happy and didn't want to retint, we could pick out a new gallon and color for free. Deciding to not waste our gallon, we retinted it in a new shade: Aqua Bay.

When we dabbed the Aqua Bay onto the walls, we were very pleased with our choice. The paint, in different lights, would go from green to blue, making the stairs and hallway seem like they were two different colors. This shade complemented our other rooms, being a mix of the turquoise and blue in the master and office. We were able to achieve a soothing, relaxing color scheme for the upstairs.

Though we have the hallway painted, we only painted part of the staircase. Having no ladder at the time, we weren't able to reach the tall ceiling. From the lowest step up to the ceiling, we were staring at a 17 ft difference. We recently bought a Werner Multi-position Ladder but have yet to find the courage and time to traverse the 17 ft gap in order to finish the job. For now, we have a partially painted staircase to tackle.

 BEFORE

No new carpet or paint

Carpet but no paint on walls

AFTER


L: Aqua Bay R: Swan Lake; we are much happier with Aqua Bay


Hallway painted in Pittsburgh Paints' Aqua Bay

We have not been able to paint the upper half of the staircase

Unfinished

17 ft high ceilings that we're having trouble reaching

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Raspberry Fruit Tart

Raspberry strawberry tart


INGREDIENTS

PASTRY DOUGH
1 cup flour, +2 tbsp for rolling
6 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk, save egg white for later step
4 tbsp cold water

FILLING
2 cups frozen raspberries or any other fruit
1/4 cup of sugar
1-2 tbsp flour

TOPPING
2 tbsp flour
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350-375. Mix the pastry ingredients in a bowl until dough is formed. Once dough is formed, place dough ball between two sheets of floured saran wrap. Roll the dough until 1/4 inch thick. Pull and straighten out the saran wrap when rolling out the dough.

Once dough is formed, pour fruit into middle and fold over the edges to cover all the fruit so nothing leaks. Place on parchment lined baking pan and use brush pastry edge with egg white. Sprinkle the topping on top of pastry. Put in oven and bake for 25 min or until fruit is bubbling.

*Can cut dough into smaller pieces (quarters), fill with fruit, and fold into any shape desired. Can also fill dough and fold in half, forming a stuffed pastry like an emapanada.

Apple pie pastry/empanada

Various shapes of pastry


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Grand Portal Point to Mosquito Beach

Mosquito Beach at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

September 14, 2013


We left Grand Portal Point after taking a few pictures and continued hiking 2.9 miles to Mosquito Beach. The trail was close to the edge of the cliffs, full of foliage, and at times, hard to find. We had to backtrack when the trail split and we took the fork that led us to a lookout. With no where to go, we turned back and took the correct fork, leading us inland. Besides that mishap, we were able to hike quickly through the overgrowth and relished the shade as temperatures rose to the mid 60's F. The trail was more sandy on this part of the trail and as per usual, I kept tripping over the tree stumps that were cleared for the path. After a couple more lookouts, the elevation decreased and brought us from 200 ft to the water level. 

The sand was more prominent along the route and the woods changed from maple trees to hemlocks and pines. We passed Mosquito Campground which was situated a couple feet from the rocky shore and being accessible only by a 2 mile hike from the trail head, privacy was key in its formation. Past the campground was Mosquito Beach. The terrain leading to the beach was no longer tan sandstone boulders but an impressive array of undulating eroded rock, mimicking the ebb and flow of the waves. The layers of eroded sandstone was cut off by a smooth dark shelf-like underwater cliff, rubbed smooth by the waves lapping over it. We lunched on the shoreline and watched the plume of kayakers float on top of the choppy waters before heading to Mosquito Falls.

On North Country Trail, looking back at Grand Portal Point

A lookout on the North Country Trail

Hiking along cliff edge, leading us to a dead end

Back on the correct fork

Sandy trail conditions on the way to Mosquito Beach

North Country Trail to Mosquito Beach from Grand Portal Point

Baby chipmunk on the trail

Looking back at one of the lookouts

Getting closer to the water level still next to the cliff edge

Varying forests along the hike

Varying forests along the hike

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, North Country Trail

Another different section of woods with ferns

Gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor)

Getting closer to the water, going downhill

View to our right along the North Country Trail

Another change in the forest views, getting closer to Mosquito Beach

North Country Trail heading to Mosquito Beach from Grand Portal Point

Mosquito Beach, the eroded shoreline

Kayakers littered the water surface at Picture Rocks

Mosquito Beach at the background to the left at Pictured Rocks

 Views from the North Country Trail

M hiking on the sandstone

On the beach heading back to the North Country Trail at Mosquito Beach


Friday, February 7, 2014

Baking Frenzy

Apple pie pastry

I recently picked up the hobby of baking. Those who know me, know that I am great at burning cookies, baking dry cakes, and making breads that look nice on the outside but are doughy in the middle. Besides trying to heat the house by cooking and baking, I have put my gas oven to good use by baking the following pastries:

Enjoy and have a great weekend!


Varied strawberry and raspberry filled pastries with a crispy brown sugar topping

Raspberry strawberry tart with whip cream

Strawberry banana streusel cake

German Apple Cake with cream cheese frosting

Strawberry cobbler

Banana bread with brown sugar rum glaze

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Retro Revolution

It's been a long while since I last posted anything about the house. We have finished many projects and I am currently on the hunt for items to decorate. While shopping for home decor, I recently came across the store Retro Revolution. The store sells vintage home furnishings such as vases, lamps, typewriters, glassware, vinyl records, and art. They are reasonably priced and stocked with many unique pieces. I bought some cameras, a weather gauge, and a cute little bird box for $20. Definitely worth checking out!

Purchased these from Retro Revolution

Purchased from Retro Revolution and other stores

Vintage bird box

Vintage bird box