Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tilly Whim

Remember that fabric I showed you that I'd saved all those years? The boat in the middle in the above photo is the boat that it came from. She was Tilly Whim, a Laurent Giles design, built in 1947. She had a unique type of construction with huge longitudinal stringers, but very light steam bent oak frames and iron floor straps. She looked rather like an airplane underneath her traditional cabinetry. She had several interesting features like roller reefing on the mainsail, low wide decks that were often awash, and the pilothouse-looking cabintop. She was quite fast and even sailed in the Fastnet Race. She was a joy to sail and moved in the slightest breeze. And she was beautiful and never failed to elicit comments wherever we took her.

Above you can see the Lord of the Manor eating lunch in the tiny salon. (Look how red his hair was then!) The interior cabinetry was beautiful old mahogany which the Lord of the Manor refinished. He made the drop-leaf table to match. And there's the fabric on the settee cushions.

How Tilly Whim came to San Francisco is anyone's guess, but we bought her from an old gentleman who had raced her on the Bay for many years. That was back in 1982. She was white and red when we bought her and we repainted her cream with green accents. That's why the upholstery fabric had green in it.

We did a total refit on her: all new mechanical systems, new galley, new rigging, new electronics, new sails and covers. We intended to sail away, but alas, we could never cure the garboard plank leak. So we finally sold her and that was the end of our cruising days. And just last year after neglectful owners let her sink, she was hauled out and CUT UP. So very sad. I almost cry thinking about it. But we have a few mementos, and I asked the boatyard owner for the mooring bitts when the boat was cut up. And now we have the fabric in the cottage to remind us once again of those magical times aboard Tilly Whim.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Painting Too

Remember our cottage/studio/guest house? Well, that's what else we have been working on here Amongst The Oaks. The Lord of the Manor has been painting, painting, painting. And it is now all Cottagey White inside.

Here is the dining area with the old table and the new green chairs.

And here is the china cupboard painted green.

And here is the other side of the room with the second hand sofa covered with an old quilt. And now the fun can begin: decorating, fluffing, and finally crafting! I can hardly wait.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chair Project

Some of you may have wondered where I've been. Aside from just being lazy and irresponsible, I've been doing some projects here Amongst The Oaks. Like painting and reupholstering these chairs.

I bought these chairs about 20 years ago and have recovered them many times as you can see. It was like an archeological dig taking the layers of fabric off. Each one was greeted with an exclamation, "Oh, I loved that fabric!"

But I took them ALL off and started from scratch this time. I also...

sanded and sanded on the chairs and repainted them green. I'm putting them in the cottage out back and the theme there is green and cottagey.

So here they are. It is Behr's Boston Fern and it looks very old fashioned to me. I also painted the china cabinet green. I'll show you that later.

For the new fabric I "shopped the house" and found this stuff that I've had even longer than the chairs! It was the upholstery fabric for the settee cushions on a boat we had back in the early 1980s. I'd saved it all these years because I really like it. It may not be "IN" but I like it.

So here are the finished chairs with their new fabric. I rather like the combination and I think it's going to look just right in Acorn Cottage.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Birds Amongst The Oaks

I spend a lot of time looking up here Amongst The Oaks because of all the birds. This morning after dead-heading the roses out front, I sat on the porch with a cup of tea. My tea break quickly became a bird watching session. First a hummingbird hovered 4' from my nose as if to say, "Why are you in my territory?" Then it flitted to the salvia for breakfast.

Next I noticed some hawks circling overhead which reminded me of the one I'd seen yesterday whilst surveying some signs.

I was at an apartment complex, trying to pull into a space in the carpark. But the space was occupied by this guy. Yes, he was sitting on the ground refusing to budge. So I chose another spot, got out with my camera, and then he flew up to a nearby redwood tree. I got a good photo of him showing his long striped tail, speckled breast, and dark back. I think he is a Cooper's Hawk. They can be confused with the smaller Sharp Shinned Hawks, but he was larger than a crow, so I'm pretty confident that he was a Cooper's Hawk. Isn't it amazing that he was so comfortable living amongst hundreds of humans at that apartment complex?

Most times we look up to see birds, but sometimes we look down. Like last Tuesday when this baby robin hopped up the driveway. His mother was softly chirping and encouraging from the trees. I hope he found a safe place to hide until he learns to fly.

Along with these birds we enjoy watching Doves, Scrub Jays, Mocking Birds, Starlings, Woodpeckers, Phoebes and Sparrows. I'd love to hear what sort of birds visit your yard.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Have You Seen It?

Have you seen it? Some people I know actually went to see it just after midnight on Tuesday, but I went to see it last night after work. And it was good. The characters are maturing, so there was infatuation, snogging, jealousy, and broken hearts, but that part was quite humorous. The plot basically followed the book, but of course it left out a lot of details. For those of us who've read the books, the movies can be a little weak, but if they put in every detail the movies would be even longer. And at almost three hours long, I'd say that's long enough. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince; highly recommended from Amongst The Oaks.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shane Dwight Concert

I've told you about our "Gourmande" Club here and here and here. We don't always have our get-togethers at our homes, sometimes we go out. Like last night we went to Jessie's Grove Winery for one of their concerts. It's a lot of fun to bring picnic food and sit on the lawn watching the concert.
Kim asked us to bring bruschetta. Since toasting the bread ahead of time just isn't the same, here is how we toasted it on site. I'm pretty sure the management wouldn't have approved, but we were very discreet and it all went well.

Marcella Hazan said to use pane integrale so we got this delicious whole grain bread from Podesto's Market. After toasting we rubbed it with garlic, drizzled on some olive oil and added a little pesto or tomato topping. And it was fabulous! This snack instantly transported me back to the dimly lit cave in Civita di Bagnoregio where we first tasted it.

Our meal was a delicious chicken salad, fresh fruit and sliced tomatoes. And we enjoyed their chardonnay. This morning I'm thinking maybe I enjoyed it a little too much. Haven't done that in ages.

But here's why we came: Shane Dwight. He was great as usual. We saw him last year too. He's a real crowd pleaser. There was lots of dancing and it looked like everyone had a real good time there Amongst The Oaks. Yep, Jessie's Grove is full of oak trees too.

For more information on Jessies Grove Concerts, visit their site.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Rose in the Bathroom

Look what I found in the bathroom the other day. Apparently the Lord of the Manor is trying to get in touch with his feminine side because he hardly ever cuts a rose and brings it indoors. But he is particularly fond of this red one and often tells me its bloom status.

A pleasant surprise Amongst The Oaks, don't you agree?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Berry Pie

I should have posted this on the Fourth of July because with my red and beige striped towel, and the bluish berries, this photo reminds me of our flag.

But it's not my Fourth of July post, it's my annual berry picking post. The Lord of the Manor and I picked these last weekend. The berries are always ripe here the first week of July so that's when we go berry picking. I'm following a family tradition. I can remember doing this as a child with my family and we would pick so many that my mom would make a pie, a cobbler, and several jars of jam.

Here is the pie I made.

Soon it was cooling by the window, but guess what? It was so late we didn't eat any. We left it for breakfast {yes, I had pie for breakfast} the next morning.

And boy was it good. As you can see I don't put any thickener in my berry pies. And the juice often bubbles up a bit, but I don't care, it still tastes good.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Overdue Project

I have been wanting to make this project for ever so long and I finally did it this weekend! Yippee!

You remember the old curtains from Teen2's bedroom, don't you? One was all rat chewed so I threw it away. (It was her pet rat, not some nasty vermin.) I used one for an ironing board cover, and the last two I am using for this project.

Can you tell what it is yet?

It's a pennant/banner thingie. (Will one of my UK readers please tell me what you call these things?) I see them in blogs and my magazines all the time and they just shout SUMMERTIME IN ENGLAND to me so I had to make one. Now when I go camping or on a picnic I can glam it up a bit.

I immediately ran out and hung it on the clothesline to get a good photo. And I am loving it. It's just perfect: pink, flowery, happy and totally summery. Now, where's the Pimms?

added later:
Thank you Sue for identifying my project! It's called bunting. I googled it and found this FUN site. Not about bunting, but charming artwork. I especially love the beach babes. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trofie al Pesto

Hey, Teen1, are you there? I fixed Trofie with Pesto last night and thought of you. I know you would have loved it. Maybe you can make some yourself? Here is the recipe.

I always use Marcella Hazan's recipe, but I don't add the butter. (Butter just doesn't seem right to me in Italian food.) I usually make three batches and use most of it on the pasta, but save the rest for sliced tomatoes.

First I collected lots of basil, then I washed it and left it to dry whilst I collected the other ingredients.

It's amazing how extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, garlic...
lots of basil, and salt...
magically turn into this.

Then just stir in the cheeses and it's done.

About two years ago I found this pasta at the Italian grocery store I frequent. It is wonderful and so authentic - it's made in Italy.

So here's a little taste of home from Amongst The Oaks. We miss you Teen1!