January in Northern California is a double whammy of organizing inspiration. First, of course, is the motivation of the new year. The second is the fake spring that occurs at the end of the month, making spring cleaning instincts
I've been planning on reorganizing our pantry for months. It must be admitted that my Charles and I are food hoarders. Since we work in natural foods, we receive lots of samples as well as dented cans that are given to the staff. It's wonderful to have so much back stock, but it gets too difficult to deal with. It's very easy to forget what we have.
To make matters worse, I had squirreled away food in the kitchen cupboards, in the shelves of our kitchen cart, and in the pantry itself. First, I had to take everything out. Then I put everything on the counters, checking expiration dates as I went along. Unfortunately, there were quite a few outdated cans. Fortunately, I found a lot of stuff to take back to work to donate.
Then I organized the foodstuffs into categories -- tea, sugars, dry goods, beans, canned fish, ethnic foods, tomato products, pastas, and canned fruits and jams. Once I had sorted everything, I filled the shelves, keeping to my categories to prevent losing track of the food supply again. Nothing went back in the cupboards or cart. If it didn't fit in the pantry, it got donated.
I feel so glad (and accomplished) that I got everything in its place. Now I can actually find my supplies and know what I can throw together for something tasty and quick or what might be a great addition to a meal I'm planning. Have you done any new year organizing?
Ten groups gathered around two tables, one within the winery and one out in the glorious sunshine. In front of each group sat five glasses and a beaker. The challenge was deceptively simple -- combine Sangiovese, Barbera, Teroldego, and Primitivo to create a compelling blend. At least 40% had to be Sangio, no more than 10% could be Barbera, and all four had to be used. We had one hour.My Charles and I started with what we called the, "Mathematical Blend." It was nice but wasn't quite right. Onward we delved, creating six blends within the space of that hour. We were the most satisfied with our fifth blend. It had just enough fruitiness to be enjoyed on its own but with enough backbone for personality. Plus, it would go great with food. We had enough extra time after creating our favorite blend for what we called, "Charles' Extra Credit Super Tuscan," which we didn't enter but also thoroughly enjoyed. It was 75% Sangiovese, 2% Barbera, 15% Teroldego, and 8% Primitivo. Try it out the next time you have a wine party. It was quite nice.Then the competition commenced. Everyone brought enjoyable blends to the table. One didn't have much structure. One was very fruity. They were all nice. When we got to our wine, Mark, Mr. Winemaker Extraordinaire, poured everyone our blend. Not to start any rumors, but I MAY have witnessed him taking the extra from our offering and stashing it away. In the end, we didn't win the competition. The blend went to the creation for which we voted. (We weren't allowed to vote for ourselves.;)) It was very nice, and the lady who won was very surprised and honored that hers was the most popular.If all of that wasn't enough, my Charles and I and the rest of the blenders got to try Mark's newest creation, a sparkling rosé. Full of strawberries with just enough dryness to please the palate, it was the best sparkling wine I've had in a long time. I can't wait until it's bottled!As the day wound down, we realized that we needed to get home to the pup. We said our goodbyes and left our entry's recipe with Mark. As we drove away, my Charles and I looked at each other and smiled. He looked back at the road and said, "This is the most fun we've had since we moved to Nevada County." I couldn't agree more.
Today my Charles and I are doing something fun & exciting -- we're going to participate in the creation of a wine blend
. We're so stoked!I've also been participating in the many things that others are doing -- tons of new year organization. I'll post more about that later as well. I'll fill you in on what our blend becomes and if we take home the prize.
Get thee over to The Bowie Bride and answer this question. Plus, reading the other comments is interesting in both a sociological setting as well as just plain enthralling.
I was asked to donate a piece of art to a silent auction to raise money for a shelter for abused women and children. A very mature young man is raising funds for the shelter as part of his senior project. This is very dear to my heart, as a million years ago when I was majoring in psychology, I did my internship at a shelter like this. I've decided to donate "Dreams of Gulls." I hope it raises some cash.
P.S. I wish I could get a decent photo of this painting. The white background, multiple layers, and shiny silver bits don't translate well to a camera -- even my awesome one.
Now that I’ve gotten to gloat about my floor a bit, I’ll outline how we installed it. It’s a laminate with the click and lock feature, so it basically floats on top of the subfloor. It came with the pad already attached to the underside, so that eliminated one installation step as well as saving us money since we didn’t need to buy a pad.
With the subfloor down, we put in the vapor barrier. We already had a roll of vapor barrier paper, so we used that. Once that was down, we started to lay out the floor to figure out a pattern so that the reoccurring marks in the planks wouldn’t be on top of each other. We then figured out where our cut planks would go and how they would fit together, since any time you cut a click and lock plank, you create a flat side that no longer clicks together. (This is also when we discovered that the double planks could separate from each other. Hey, it was our first floor installation. Sometimes those aha moments are actually more like uh duh moments.)
Then it was all about layout. We clicked and locked like mad. We set a spacer around the perimeter of the room at each plank, making sure that we had a gap. We quickly ascertained that when we cut a plank, we could use half of it on the right side and half on the left and eliminate any wasted planks.
The room’s alcove is not square, so as we got to the final row of planks, we had to get even more creative with our cuts. We played with layout and ideas until we came up with the best option for the space. Then I pulled up all of the spacers, swept and mopped the room, and moved in my desk. Hooray!
We still need to install base boards, and like I mentioned in the last post, paint the ceiling and create a built-in bookcase for the alcove. Plus, my Charles mangled the bottoms of the door frames, so we’re probably going to have to redo those as well unless I can figure out a way to fix the lowest couple of inches that he cut away at weird angles. Then we need to get a sleeper sofa of some sort for guests, and I’m waiting for another Bruce Campbell painting from my friend Chris. This time, Chris is going to paint me a current, Burn Notice looking BC. I’m so excited! He’ll hang next to my young, Evil Dead II BC. Finally, we’ll replace those old, leaky, sliding glass doors with pretty French doors, and my office will be a thing of envy-inducing beauty.
Sunday was the day. My Charles was set to lay down the floor, and who was I to stand in the way? We went down to our local hardware store and rented a chop saw, came home, laid down a vapor barrier, and started adjusting the floor. The laminate came in double planks. I was a bit bummed, as there were two planks with the same seam, but the minute we cut one in half, we discovered something...
They didn't have to be in double plank form! They were a click and lock system, and they had just been locked into doubles to fit in the box. We took the planks apart and started fresh, staggering the seams. My heart began to pitter pat, overwhelmed with the glossy splendor that was the growing floor.
It came together rather quickly, about four hours all told. My Charles used the chop saw. It looked fun, but he was enjoying it so much, I didn't want to slow the momentum. We laid the planks as you would a traditional wood floor. The deep red partnered with the dark edges gave it a pretty convincing no-really-I'm-wood look.
If you stare, you can find the planks with the same pattern scattered about the room, but it's just so darn shiny and purty, I'm ecstatic. I have a floor! It's been so long since my office could boast that.
I still have a lot of work to do. I need to paint the ceiling and make a built-in bookcase for the odd, little alcove in the space, but my desk is moved in, my Bruce Campbell is hung, and I can close the door and work -- on my art, on my photos, on my blog. It really is glorious. Waiting so long to get my space back has taught me not to take it for granted.
We worked non-stop. We wanted to get 'er done, and we had only rented the chop saw for the day. It went quickly, but it was tiring. My mid-thirties bod is still sore. But it was oh so worth it!