It has been such a treat this week to come home and see a new splash of colour in the house. We moved into this freshly built house almost 8 years ago and hadn't painted a thing - to see bright colour instead of old builder beige paint has been such a treat.
Bill has done a brilliant job!
Today he finished the family room, breakfast room, and the kitchen. I think I like this colour the best. It isn't the kitchen of my dreams (sigh) but it is a sight better than what we had!
Tomorrow Tony is starting the exterior painting and Bill finishes up inside. If all goes as planned the painting will be finished by Friday - yeah!
The drenching rainfall that I 'enjoyed' in Sault Ste Marie last week has made it to southern Ontario. Needless to say nothing was done with the exterior painting or the concrete.
Inside Bill was BUSY. He finished a second coat on the dining room, living room, front entrance, hallways and stairwells. He started the trim. He painted two of the bathrooms. He is doing an amazing job!
The hardwood guys come tonight to measure for the floors.
Tomorrow normal weather returns so the exterior painting should start and the concrete should be near to completion.
Inside, Bill is supposed to paint the kitchen and family room.
More rain today so concrete and outdoor painting guys weren't able to come and do what they have left to do.
The interior painters were busy - I figured that they would have the living room and dining room done today. They did those rooms and also roughed in the paint for the stairwells and halls. Our house is pretty open concept so we need one colour for the main part of the house.
I felt a tad guilty when I left for Sault Ste Marie last week. A tad. I knew that Paul would have to deal with all of the reno/construction chaos on his own. I also knew that if I didn't work we wouldn't be doing it so the two things sort of evened out in my twisted mind. As it turned out, not much happened while I was away.
The concrete guys were awaiting two days of nice weather to put the protective coating on the walkway, porch, curbs, and patio. Of course the weather turned cool, the rain came and they weren't able to do much.
They have pretty well finished most of the coatings on the front of the house:
They started on the back part of the job but had to stop because of the rain. I think that there is one coat on it.
In side Tony had been busy and repaired all of the dry wall 'issues' they cropped up over the years. He even did a great job of repairing the repair that the builder had done when we first brought some concerns to their attention 7 years ago (after the mess they made of the repairs we learned to stop bringing concerns to their attention).
The repair he has done on the decorative wooden pillar in the living room is nothing short of brilliant. The cats had used it as a scratching post and the gouges were almost 2 cm into the wood! Yes, we do have a plan for keeping them off of it once it is painted.
So what is up this week?
Tony is supposed to come and pain the porch pillars, front door, garage door, and all wooden trim (if it doesn't rain).
Bill is supposed to paint the front hall, closet, living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, powder room, stairwell, upstairs hall, master bathroom, and guest bathroom.
The concrete guys will come and put the final coatings on all of the concrete and clean everything up.
The hardwood floor guys come to measure and make an installation appointment on Tuesday.
Today Paul and I popped into the designer district in Toronto to look at bathroom fixtures. $1200 later we had three new bathroom light fixtures, and two towel racks. I saw the lights I want for outside but they were $ 395 each (and we need 4).
At this rate we won't have any cash left for California and Vegas! ACK
I'm on the road in northern Ontario WITHOUT my camera right now. Who the heck travels withour their camera when the leaf colour is at its best. Really, I should be banned from the photo hunt forthwith.
This week's Photo Hunt theme is natural. This picture was taken yesterday with my new BB (which seems to have a far better camera than my old BB but it is still just a phone with a camera function). Anyway. I am working with a group in a remote, rural location. We are surrounded by nature's beauty . . .
I felt a twinge of guilt yesterday as I packed up and headed to the airport leaving Paul to deal with the renos. A twinge. Then I recalled that it was work that was paying for them so off I went . . .
I'm in Sault Ste Marie to work with one of our largest and most northern locals. Large in geography - not teachers. In fact, it takes 8 hours to drive from one area of the local to the other. This clearly presents all sorts of challenges.
This area is beautiful in the fall - so much that the hotel is full of tourists from Japan who are hear to see the leaves. Sadly I left my camera at home but I managed to snap these shots with my BB.
Not the best shots I've taken but you can see why they've come from Japan!
I for one an happy for a new TV season . . . for no other reason than it means the return of Rick Mercer to the waves. Canada's favourite funny man has a brilliant and cutting wit - which is often directed at misguided politicians.
In this video he takes aim at the Harper Conservatives . . . and their long list of broken promises . . .
Now the only question is how do these idiots get elected?
I can remember a few years ago, having recently fallen in love with figs, I went to the store looking for them and left disappointed. Store after store, it was the same. Finally I asked and the clerk looked at me as if I had two heads.
Flash forward a few years and they are EVERYWHERE. It is painful to be ahead of the food curve.
I brought two boxes home last weekend and decided I wanted a fig tart to go with the veal stew with mushrooms that I was making for my Pomodori e Vino recipe challenge. I ended up making this fig frangipane tart by Jamie Oliver.
Frangipane is an almond custard, or pastry creme, which turns slightly cakey and oh-so-buttery once baked. The top takes on a pleasant crunch. As with many French pastry names, it's sounds much more difficult to make than it actually is, as it consists mostly of butter, sugar, eggs, and almonds.
This tart is intriguing because of the fresh thyme and orange zest sprinkled over the top prior to baking. I worried that the flavours might compete with one another to the point that they drowned each other out. I could not have been more wrong.
Paul declared it to be one of the best desserts he has ever had. High praise.
This fantastic tart is one of the things that really sums up Tuscan desserts for me. It's a great way to use ripe figs or stone fruit, with a dusting of cinnamon to bring out the flavour.
Jamie Oliver's Fig Tart (Crostata di Fichi)
15 whole figs, washed 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons water 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked zest of 1 orange
for the shortcrust pastry: 9 tablespoons butter 1 cup icing sugar a small pinch of salt 2 cups all-purpose flour optional: 1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds removed zest of a lemon 2 large egg yolks, preferably organic 2 tablespoons cold milk or water
for the frangipane: 10oz blanched whole almonds 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 14 tablespoons sugar 2 large eggs, preferably organic, lightly beaten 1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds removed 1 tablespoon grappa
First you will need to grease a loose-bottomed 28cm/11 inch tart tin with a little of your butter.
To make your pastry, cream together the butter, icing sugar and salt and rub in the flour, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and egg yolks - you can do all this by hand or in a food processor. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the cold milk or water. Pat and gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, then flour it lightly. Don't work the pastry too much, otherwise it will become elastic and chewy, not flaky and short as you want it to be. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove it from the fridge, roll it out and line your tart tin. Place in the freezer for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and bake the pastry case for around 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 170°C/325°F/gas 3.
To make the frangipane, blitz 9oz of the whole almonds in a food processor until you have a fine powder and transfer this to a bowl with the flour. Now blitz the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add this to the almonds with the lightly beaten eggs, the vanilla seeds and the grappa and fold in until completely mixed and smooth. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up. Remove the stems from the figs, score each one on the top in the shape of a cross, then using your thumb push up from the base to open them out.
Spoon the chilled frangipane mixture into the pastry case, then lightly push the figs into the frangipane with the scored side up. Heat the sugar with the water and drizzle this syrup over the figs. Roughly chop the remaining almonds and sprinkle over the top with the thyme leaves and orange zest. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the frangipane mixture has become firm and golden on the outside but is still soft in the middle. Allow to cool for about 30 to 40 minutes. Lovely served with a dollop of mascarpone or crème fraîche.
Today the guys came and cleaned off all of the concrete surfaces - revealing the pattern and the colour. We were impressed with how they created the perception of depth/texture by adding some grey colour to the terra cotta colour. I am also pleased with the dark colour they used for the face of the steps and the front porch. Originally it was suppoed to all be terra cotta but this looks much better!
You can really see how it will look when it is all done now.
Tomorrow they are supposed to come and lay on 4 protective layers. We asked them to put a special non-slip surface on the steps - this will require their adding silica dust to the protective coating. It will be invisible but will protect from slips and falls.
Inside we have packed up everything that can be packed away in the rooms to be painted. Moved furniture into the basement. Cleaned all of the walls. Removed all curtains and curtain rods. Removed all switchplates.
We're ready for the painter.
Tomorrow we meet with the carpet installer.
The hardwood people called today. It's coming together
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.