Friday, September 16, 2011


It's sauce making season here in King Township, and the tomato harvest was amazing this year!
The San Manzano tomato's I buy from one of the local Italian farmers were the sweetest I have ever tasted.
This weekend I will join my neighbours, and pitch in with the sauce making party they have every year; but I couldn't resist making a little advance sauce for myself.

I don't have all the bells, and whistles, of my Italian neighbours well oiled production; but I have picked up a tip or two, over the years.

It's all about love.   Love of the tomato.

My sources' tomato crop this year is so divine;  I've been eating them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snacking on them in between.

I had eaten so many from the first bushel, I just had to finish it off, and put up the rest.

I made some into sauce, and put the remainder, whole in freezer bags.

My Sauce Master, makes short work of sauce; but I prefer whole or diced tomato's.

This is how I do mine.

After washing the tomato's, I blanche them in small batches, by boiling them for a minute, before plunging them into ice water.

After cutting off the stem end, I squeeze them out of their skins; reserving the cut ends and skins, in a separate bowl, to process through my Sauce Master.

I put the tomato's into two sizes of freezer bags, label them, and I'm done.   Well done for today, anyway.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our First Dinner Party

If I waited until this house was finished, before entertaining the idea to entertain; I fear I would never have a party.

Dalton had gifted us with a personal chef catered dinner party for ourselves, and eight friends.

It was a great evening, and it was so wonderful to welcome friends to our home.

I didn't even think to take photos, so I was happy to receive a few, from a friend who is never without a camera.

Now that summer's over, I really need to get a move on decorating, and furnishing this house.

removed identifying pics, as requested.   FYI  I'm  the one in the multi colour dress.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


That's about the only good thing the rain brought to Hillwood last weekend.
It's been raining relentlessly since Saturday morning, and finally stopped just short of sunset tonight, just long enough for a rainbow to appear; then disappear in another downpour.

We had turned on the hot tub/spa Saturday afternoon, hoping that it would (a) work,  and (b) stop raining. Well,  I guess we can't complain too much since it actually worked; but it was raining too hard to go out and use it.

I didn't just sit around wishin' and hopin' and waitin' for the rain to stop, I had more important business to attend to; like wonderin' why the CatGenie litter box wasn't workin'?

Now usually when it comes to electric or technical problems I just hand them off to my husband and I don't have to give it a second thought.
This time I knew I would have to at least try to troubleshoot it myself. The stackable washer/dryer is pulled out from the wall, (the only 220w power source  access) until the floors are cleaned and polished.
I can barely even get into this closet;having to do contortions every time I do a load of laundry.
There is no way my husband would ever fit in, let alone take apart this cat toilet!

Anyway, after  one complete dismantling, two glasses of wine, several hours, and multiple curse words later; I amazingly got it back up and running!
I'm sure all the time I saved not having to scoop litter from a regular litterbox for the past 4 1/2 months, was blown in the time it took me to understand the complicated instructions in the manuel.
This GatGenie is a feat of engineering, that's for sure, and when it works it's worth every cent and more.
If only it could also grant me three wishes.
( T,  I know you will get a laugh picturing me cleaning the litterbox in this getup.  They've  become my latest obsession.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


It may be a bit unseemly to do a post on lavatory fixtures; but since I haven't had much to praise lately here inside Hellwood, it's amazing how a functioning toilet can help flush away a bad mood.

It's great that the electric issues are getting straightened out, and now I no longer have to use a pail of water to flush the toilet.
I love the design of the Kohler Hatbox toilet; but it does require an electric connection in order to activate the flushing mechanism.
Ours was defective (what else is new?) and Kohler had to send a rep, to switch out some parts.

What I love about this toilet, is that the simple and elegant style not only makes it easy on the eyes; it makes it easy to clean! At the risk of being indelicate; it's also the most comfortable model I have ever encountered. And being that I'm also concerned about our guests comforts, I put one in the main powder room too.

The Hatbox toilet is certainly a splurge, so it was great to have saved a on another important fixture; the sinks.
I had practically driven myself crazy looking for the perfect sink. I couldn't make a commitment; but upon learning the cost of the Quartz counter material, I made up my mind pretty darn fast.
I couldn't be happier with my choice! This sink is an absolute pleasure to use. It is such a great design; I can't believe this "Ledges" sink,is one of Kohler's lower priced models.
The ledges come in very handy to place your toilette articles while you carry out your various routines. I can imagine someone who wears contact lens, finding this sink a dream.
It's large enough that you don't find water splashing all over the place, and I never have to wipe up the counter afterwards.

Every time I use this sink, I never fail to say to myself, "I love this sink."

Too bad I can't say the same about this house!

The photo below was added for my friend, whose wonderful blog; Architect Design, has given me much information, and inspiration. I took his good advice and had the column bases painted back to black.
Thanks, AD!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


through our ceilings! This week we're having the floors in the office, living, and dining rooms refinished for the third, and final (hopes) time. For some reason the floors were scratching like mad, and the finish seemed to feel soft, as if it wasn't quite dry. This was the reason we had to redo the floors a second time, and it only seemed to get worse! I have never seen anything like it and it was clearly not acceptable. This third time we chose a different refinisher and they seem to be doing a good job. Well no good job goes unpunished, here at Hellwood. No sooner was the stain put on, when it started to rain, and we noticed the ceiling leak in the office, and morning room, has not been fixed.

Back to trying to find the entry point, for the fourth or fifth time. I have always felt it was coming through the upstairs windows rather than the upstairs balcony floor, but it appears now to have come in through the thresholds of the
balcony doors.
It finally appears to have been the correct source, as it rained throughout last night and today, and so far no more signs of a leak.
I'm peeking in the rooms every hour, and it's crazy, that I'm so happy not to see a puddle of water on the floor!
I won't even get into how unhappy I am about having to deal with all the casing on the morning room door that has to be replaced because of this leak.
Well I wanted a house that looked like it had been here for a hundred years, and I'm getting my wish. This house will have more coats of paint on everything than most people put on in two lifetimes. I just may be Sherwin Williams, and Farrow & Balls biggest single purchaser.


I haven't been posting due in part to being in Florida, and also dealing with some very threatening and worrisome comments directed at me personally, my son, and husband. I don't mind people commenting on me; but when their evil lies involve my child and husband, it crosses a line. I refuse to live in fear of the lunatic fringe; although I have taken action.

I'm not going to allow anonymous(as so they believe)individuals to curtail my freedom, or intimidate me from posting on my blog; but I will prevent them from their anonymous cowardly comments.

I blog for my myself, my family, and my friends. If anyone else chooses to read my blog, I'm very surprised and pleased.
I appreciate the readers who openly follow me, and I appreciate my friends and family whom I've asked not to.

Blogging has been a real eye opener, to say the least. Some people need to get a sense of humour and lighten up.

My closet is almost finished, and my scarf display got up and running last week. I'm happy to finally get some use out my scarves.
They look great when the display light is off; but they look amazing when they're lit up.
This is not the fixation kit sold at Hermes.
I was fortunate enough to be gifted with the actual hardware that Hermes uses in their boutiques. It has little hooks that secure the scarves, and I haven't had any damage to thme since I secure them right at the corner of the rolled hem.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Well, silver leaf anyway. Things are moving along slowly, due in part to the trouble we have been having with the humidifiers.
It's been a very cold, dry, winter which has made it even worse.

We need to have a number of wood floors refinished, and they can't be done until we reach 30% humidity. I'm not even moving over the remainder of my furniture until the humidity can be controlled. Thankfully I didn't have my piano moved here yet, it could have been a disaster!
My carving board that is older than me split in half, and ended up as firewood. I hate to think of what could have happened to my beloved Steinway.
We have hygrometers in every room. For some reason we can't get the humidity up over 20%?

The only silver lining in this desert dry, cloud is that we're not selling the farm, so I have the luxury of moving as time and climate allows. I am however getting of tired of camping, and would like to be able to get at least, one room set up!

The painter was in today starting the silver leafing on the columns. They will look a little softer once they're glazed and varnished; and I'm still deciding if we should leave the bases black. The black shading on the column is only a reflection. I really can't take a good photo. I'm going to silver leaf the little niches where I placed this Bernardaud limited edition celadon porcelain piece; number 12 in a series of 100.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I haven't had much to post about lately, having spent most of January in Florida.

I arrived home, and was surprised to see the counters, and tub deck had been installed. I chose a new material from CaesarStone. Concetto Semi Precious surfaces are both beautiful and durable and when I saw a sample of the pink quartz 'Rosado', I couldn't resist it.

I named our pink house in Florida, 'Castillo el Rosado'.  Rosado for both the colour and the first two letters in my husband's, son's, and my name.

I love the crystal sparkle and depth of this quartz. It's not easy to photograph.
It's not easy to fabricate either, so I had to be content with a very simple edge profile.

My remaining cabinetry, and plumbing should be installed next week. I can't wait to take the protective film off of the cabinetry. I tore a bit away to see how the pearlised finish turned out. It was hard to photograph; but it looks good from what little I saw. photo below taken from the CaesarStone Concetto web page.