Wednesday, January 30, 2013

EPIC Grilled Cheese!

Hey y'all, Luke here.

Here's a recipe crafted from years of testing, experimenting, and grease burns. It's basically garlic grilled cheese.

Start with 2 slices of bread for each sandwich (2 sandwiches is ideal for most skillets), cut them a little bigger than a half-inch thick.

You may notice these seem encrusted with raw grain; they are, but the only other option was cinnamon bread. :)
 Hmm... 8 grains, but no bacon?!
For a typical 12" skillet, you need about 1.5lbs of butter. Put half in right away, set the other half aside for now. Set the heat to... eh, about medium-low.

 Once the butter's mostly melted, add garlic. Level 3: Powdered garlic or garlic salt. Level 2: Minced garlic. Level 1 (ULTIMATE): Fresh cloves, minced into the skillet. (I didn't have any, but trust me, they're best.). Put what seems reasonable to you in (A heaped tablespoon looks right to me)
 If you're not using powder, add the garlic slightly before the butter's all melted, put it on one of the lumps to help it blend with the butter better.
 Grab the skillet and jerk it side to side a couple times to smooth out the butter and garlic.
 Next add the slices. All four slices (for 2 sandwiches, not 4, go on at the same time.) Don't add the cheese yet either.
 While those four are sizzling, put your cheeseset together. If you only use 1 slice, easy. If you use homemade bread, fold and rearrange them into the shape of the bread (more rectangular, less square).
 Check the slices on the skillet impatiently, when you're happy with them, take them off and set them on a plate.
 Put the cheese on the grilled side (uncooked side down!)
 Finish assembling the sandwiches, dump the rest of the butter in the skillet (note: grease may spatter here, have the cold water off so you can turn it on while squealing in agony if you're like me. Otherwise, watch out for spatters)
 In go the sandwiches. Check them agitatedly until they're almost, done, flip them, decide they're not done enough but you'll wait anyway so the other side soaks up more butter. Flip them again when the other side's done, realize other side was shadowed and are barely crisp, and continue flipping them until they're both done.
 Like that.
 Set on plate, lightly salt if you used minced garlic, pray, and eat. Make sure to ask God to bless the food you're about to eat, because health scientists would never dream of approving of it. Finally, don't enjoy it, love it.

:) Till next time,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pleated Slip

Saturday I had fun working on a project I’ve been wanting to do for a while - a slipcover for the ottoman.  Glenn made our ottoman years ago, and I had made a slip for it then, but last year, I was ready for a change.  Since the work on Kenilworth made sewing projects a luxury, I’ve been doing a lot of catching up lately.  I’m having fun doing some of the things that have been floating around in my mind. 

Here is the finished product.


Nothing tricky, just a big square piece of dropcloth, bordered with pleats spaced at about 3 inches or so.  To make the pleats stay down and look a little neater, I folded the seam on the underside away from the hem and top-stitched all the way around.


I also finished the curtains for the family room.  I just did a simple drape style, using a shiny dupioni silk I bought for a steal just after Christmas.


Because the silk is lightweight, I lined them with white cotton sheets.  Glenn bought me 3 King-size sheets, which I then cut in half to use as the liners.  You can buy drape lining, but it was less expensive to get the sheets, and they were so easy to cut and fit to the panels of dupioni.   I chose the silk because of the shiny quality of the fabric, and because I love the way they hang – like a beautiful dress. 

Next, I’m keeping an eye out for something to re-do the gold chairs.  I’m planning to bring in a blue color to the family room, too, in the way of throw pillows and the chairs.  I’m thinking of a blue like this:


or this:




Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy this picture I took of Olivia.  She is already showing the tell-tale signs of being a computer geek. 


Glenn is so proud.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Have Heat!

Although the thermostat this morning showed a definite decrease in the house temperature since last night, 


I am happy to report that two prompt and friendly propane employees have already been here.  The tank is full and our heat is slowly increasing.


                                            Here is a shot of the truck just after it arrived.


IMG_5567 “Jim” is checking things out and setting up the tank for the fill.


I thought a nice cup of hot coffee might be a convenient way to thank him for his promptness, but since I didn’t have any thermal cups, I improvised.  I cut the elasticized portion of one of Glenn’s old (but clean!) socks and wrapped it around a clear plastic cup.  A sort of coffee cozy.


Jim seemed a little surprised at the cozy, but he politely took the coffee and ended up pouring it into his thermos out in the truck.



Here are the girls, looking a little cold this morning just before the propane company arrived.


But don’t worry!  Little by little, things are warming up! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baby, It’s Cold…. Inside!

It’s been a little chilly in here the last couple of days… take a look..


This is our thermostat.  You can see it is set for 68 degrees.  But…. we’re not quite there.  Apparently, a hybrid furnace also needs gas to work.  And of course the propane tank is empty.  As of Friday or thereabouts.

I am pretty sure, although there is no digital confirmation, that our house is as cold as the inside of our refrigerator.


But no matter!  This is our Kenilworth home!  We are facing it with courage, comedy, and coats!


Cold weather didn’t stop our forefathers… so school must go on!  But it’s ever so much more fun next to a warm fire in our new fireplace.


The boys’ room is actually feeling balmy in comparison– although not quite warm enough that Luke wanted to throw off the warmth and comfort of his sleeping bag.


Our room is kind of cozy, thanks to the space heater, but Kate was still more comfortable in her coat.  Plus it gave her a chance to wear the hat she knitted for herself last year.


Olivia is warm-blooded, so although her nose is pink, she’s happy with just a shirt and sweatshirt.      (as soon as I took this picture she told me her toes were cold)


Noah tossed aside his socks and decided a medicine ball workout would help keep his temps up.


He and the girls just watched First Position last night with their Worley cousins. I think he was little inspired by the young boy ballet dancer who is his age.

And of course, after watching him, Kate must have her turn.


As for me… here is a look at my pajama pants, underneath I am wearing my ballet leggings, 2 pairs of socks (the top pair are Glenn’s).  You can kind of see the bottom part of my winter coat.  It’s purple.  Hey!  I match!


And I have on 2 shirts underneath my coat.

But we’re thankful anyway – especially when we consider that some folks don’t have a place to escape the freezing temps. 


It could be worse!

(but hopefully not tonight)

Don’t worry, the propane company will be here at 8:00 am. Smile

Sunday, January 13, 2013


We’ve had a lot of snow the last few months!  Even though the warm temperatures of the past few days have melted most of it away, we’ve had some beautiful days so far this Winter.

Luke took most of these pretty pictures – Enjoy!











Here is our fluffy Lion, hoping for a chance to rush in!  Don’t worry, their heated kitty house is keeping them snug.  Most of the time, we see them sitting on a stump by the cobhouse, or admiring the winter scene. 


Have a restful day!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Turning a Chair into an Ottoman-ish Thingy

Earlier in the fall, I was telling a friend about my idea to make an ottoman to put in the big girls’ room.  They’re both teens now, and they love having friends over.  Although they are mostly here, there, and everywhere around the house when that happens, they do spend some time in their room talking and playing.  So I was thinking an ottoman would be great for them to have for sitting on, hanging over, or setting fun stuff on.  

My friend is a fantastic decorator, who has a great eye for re-purposing things, among her other many talents.  She had a spare chair without a back, and some foam and batting she thought would make a great ottoman.  She very generously gave it all to me!  

I love her.

I spray painted the chair base one day in the fall, when I was also painting several other things white.  Then I sprayed a few coats of polycrylic polyurethane over that for protection.  But after that, things got a little dicey around here between school and ballet and people wanting to eat meals at least 3 times a day, so the ottoman was put on a back burner.

Finally – it found itself at the top of my to-do list.  See what we did with it…

Here is the chair base:


You can see pretty much all the pieces I used for the project strewn around it. 

The foam and batting my friend gave to me fit great on top, and it even curled down a little around the upper edges, but I knew I needed a little more padding for the lower edges of the seat.


So I went in search of my garbage bag full of batting – which the girls are constantly using for different projects of their own (mostly related to Barbies, 18 inch dolls, or Calico Critters). 

I turned the chair over, and grabbed long strips of batting to wrap around the corners.   The batting needed something to help keep it from shifting, so I wrapped 2 old towels over the top and sides and then tucked the batting under the towels really tightly.  I have to admit, I don’t remember if this was Glenn’s idea or mine.  Smile 

Then Glenn helped out with one of his power tools, his pneumatic stapler.  I have a smaller stapler, but we (Glenn) thought the seat would be too thick for it, so we used 1/2” staples and his stapler to staple the towels to the underside of the seat.

I laid out the fabric wrong side up on the floor and we carefully situated the upside down chair with the towels and batting, etc. in the middle of it.


After that, we wrapped up the fabric around it as tight as we could, carefully folding it over at the corners around the legs.  Stapled the fabric in place.  And voila!  That was it!


                     Here’s Glenn smiling for me afterwards.  Pneumatic stapler at the ready.


                                                     He’s so cute.


                                        And here is the finished ottoman!




Alix and I decided it would look nice in front of one of the windows.




She was the first to try it out!


           She’s adorable.  Just look at that sweet smile…


Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy a peek at what goes on around here when I’m busy with a project. 

The girls had hauled the Barbie House down to the family room, along with a whole bunch of their dolls, and were playing.



I’m not exactly sure why, but I was asked especially to take a picture of these particular dolls doing these particular dance moves.  I think it had something to do with the one named “Ken” lifting up one of the Barbies in an astonishing display of strength, while most of the others cavorted happily. (except for the one that looks like she’s either taking a nap or swooning)



How could I refuse?

And here is Alix – nearby, but working on beading projects.  (notice those cute ballet socks, which are also from the friend)




And the boys? 

One guess.

Yep!  You’re right!



Such handsome boys…

Have a great day!