Monday, December 19, 2011

The Latest Projects

We were kind of forced in to our latest renovation project. When our tenant in the cottage of 8 months moved out in the middle of December it made us take a good hard look at the place. And we decided we could not show it to a single person in the shape it was in. Who ever would put up with that mess would not be a good person to have in your backyard. So Jake and Brian went to town.

 Hard wood floors in the whole house. 

French doors in one of the bedrooms leading to a deck and new siding.

A deck that incidentally has a better view than us really. 

Whoever built the cottage did a good job but forgot which way the mountains were. The porch is on the wrong side. We are also putting siding on the outside and to please the insurance company - a new roof. With all these improvements in place we just had to do something about the bathroom. New shower, toilet, vanity and floor. And to top it off a washer and dryer and a new efficient gas heater. SO! If you know someone who's looking for a country getaway starting in February send them our way. I will post pictures as soon as all the work is done.
The other project is a little film I'm creating with Nathalie Handal, amazing poet and just an all around fascinating global citizen. The film is going to accompany one of her poems and I think we succeeded in creating a haunting, dreamy tone. I finally got an opportunity to use the barn for a location. The light in there is better than I ever thought! 

These are stills that I have pulled from our video. In the last couple of days I've been setting up time lapses in the barn to create filler in our film. I'm having a blast. I made the first part this morning, up at 6 setting up the camera and then I went back to bed. Fun fun!

We hit up our first Midnight Ramble a few weekends ago. It was a total blast and we will definitely do it again soon. The ramble is a concert held in Levon Helm's barn in Woodstock. Levon was the drummer and singer in the Band. If you haven't seen The Last Waltz you should make it your weekend movie, it's one of the best concert films ever made and is filmed during the last show The Band ever played.

Friends from the Vineyard came down to go to the show and I took the opportunity to make French onion soup for the four of us.

I made killer stock from our Thanksgiving turkey and decided to use it for the soup. I chopped 5 sweet Texas onions. First I sweated them for about 15 minutes with some butter and olive oil. Then I added salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar for the carmelization. I let them sit in the pan for over 40 minutes but they never changed into that brown color I see in all the pictures. I decided I was done and added 3 tablespoon of flour and cooked for 3 minutes. Then I added 1/2 cup of sherry and 2 quarts of stock. I diluted mine a lot because it was so rich but after 40 minutes of simmering I took a taste and thought it was bland. OK Linda - take it easy now. What do you always do? You add salt when this happens and then you ruin everything. Soooo - what would Rosemary do... add a splash of balsamic vinegar. So I did, along with a healthy dose of thyme and saved the soup! To serve, we toasted ciabatta slices in the oven and then sprinkled muenster cheese over the bowls. About 5-7 minutes under the broiler and BAM - better than any restaurant!
The easiest breakfast to make with a crowd has got to be a frittata. And you can make it with anything in the fridge. Here's my Mexican version. I let the eggs soak with chopped up tortillas and then I add whatever may be hiding in the vegetable drawer. Onion, peppers, tomatoes... I cook it in the pan until the eggs on the are bottom is solid and then top it off with lots of cheese and in the broiler for about 5 minutes. We eat this one with the Mexican chipotle mayo I brought home from Chiapas last year. 

With all this work in the going on in the cottage, the house gets a rest. We are dressing it up for the holidays and we can't wait to get the tree ready. Put our feet up with a fire in the fireplace and a glögg  in our hand.

Merry effen Christmas BABY!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Before and sweet afters...

Again, our 2 year homeowner anniversary came and went without big fanfare. I did a solid recap after the first but just as much has happened this past year.

(I'm liking the new picture viewer function in blogger. Just click on any image and a slide show will pop up including all the pics in the post!)

In the beginning we showed this picture PROUDLY. Yikes. People must have thought we CRAZY!!!

And we probably were. But we stood by our crapcastle, our diamond in the rough, our ugly duckling. And look at it now!

First fall. Dead knot weed in the land fill pit. Ugh. 

This fall! Green grass. (with some bald spots...).

We tackled our dining room first. Some paint and some (HEAVY DUTY) scrubbing.


In the living room we tore 3 layers of wall paper down, painted and sanded down the floor.

Kitchen needed scrubbing, paint and some up-to-dating. Fixes are temporary here because we have a mega plan in mind that involves tearing it all out.

This is the only photo that exists of the dead zone that is now our master bath. It's how it looked when we moved in and we didn't do a thing until we tore it all apart. That window is behind the tiles in the shower.

 Bedroom was gutted, reframed and insulated.

Yea uh huh that's the same corner. Minus kermit green, drop ceiling and corner closet. We rule.

The pastry shop was dark blue when we moved in. We liked the wall paper very much and decided it was always going to return to a dark blue. Serious gutting and reframing was done here as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blue room and green house

I am due for a post. Just in time for turkey day! The bird went in the brine around 12 today and will get a solid 24 hours in the bath. I've been looking forward to this like crazy. We had a very successful Thanksgiving dinner with friends 2 years ago. Seems crazy that the house was in any kind of shape to house guests but we did it. Last year I was stuck in Mexico and the closest to turkey I got was to learn how to say it in Spanish. Took a day for it to stick. Guajalote... Guajalote... Or pavo. I have no idea what the difference is. Rosemary is here already and today we finished the curtains for the blue room. 

Our 1 month wedding anniversary came and went and our 2 year house anniversary did the same. Summer is gone and we've already had a snow storm with a for us record breaking 24 hours without power. 

The house is no longer PINK but has 1 healthy coat of green on it.

This is the last little bit that needs paint. Hopefully this weekend stays warm so we can get it done.

One movie has been followed by another and I've been lucky to be on exciting projects. The latest being an adventure in the forests of Arkansas where I was shot at more than once and spent a good chunk of time up to my ankles in mud where 15 minutes earlier 10 (tame) snakes had been crawling around. It was awesome. The film is incidentally named Mud and is the 3rd movie by director Jeff Nichols. His 2nd film, Take Shelter, is in theaters now and I highly recommend it. 

The film business is so glamorous.

A busted up camera crew after our last day that started at 6pm and ended at noon. I was only there for 2 weeks - the others did it for 10. God blessem and we enjoyed every minute.

Things are really happening with the projects I've done so far this year. Rich has found editors for our dance film, now called Fractures. Here are some stills I pulled from our footage. Rich is the idea man, choreographer and director and I shot it on my 7D. Andrea and Amy are our talented dancers.

Also our Caligola music film has become public. LINK! We are massively proud of it. If you want to be in the club you have to watch it. I dare ya. Here are some stills from THAT project. Lovisa Inserra directed and I shot it on a Red with Nikkor primes. Our guest is played by Peter Eggers.

Caligola is a band consisting of members from Mando Diao plus the Salazar brothers. We shot this film and 2 music videos during a crazy 2 day period in a mansion outside of Stockholm this past June. So excited about the outcome.

That was more about work than the house I guess. But that's where the focus has been lately. And the house has been just what it needs to be - a place to relax and come home to. Our big project in the next few weeks is an overhaul of the cottage. It kinda sucks and the timing is bad but our tenant of 10 months decided to move out on a whim and it seems like now or never. Jake is getting started on the wood floors on Monday.

But first...

Another very successful Thanksgiving feast. The turkey was ridiculously juicy and tasty. I used the same herb rub from 2 years ago and the same stuffing with sausage, dried cranberries and apple. We packed the bird very lightly with stuffing and shoved some lemons in the hole as well. It cooked about an hour at 450 with the breast up to brown it. Then we flipped it and turned the heat down to 375. It was a 15 pound turkey and it took about 3 1/2 hours in the oven. We also had mashed potatoes, baked mushrooms and corn. We made gravy from the turkey neck and from spillings in the pan. Whoa. Killer. So good.