Friday, January 29, 2010

Re-purposed Cake Supports

Did you see this candlestick that Alchemy Junk featured this past week?  Love this!

Made me think of the ways I have used flanges and threaded pipes in some of my projects. 

Stephanie at Alchemy Junk used black iron to construct her candlestick.

I used galvanized to construct these cake stands.

If you have ever planned a daughter's wedding you know the stress. Just imagine when she insists that you make her cake and the groom insists that he have one too!  WOW and Double WOW!

With my kitchen at the farm under construction, my patient sister opened up her home, which was a blessing as many hands helped complete these cakes.

A few days ago, I hinted at my first non-construction project.  It is inspired by my childhood memories of growing up with one of these cook stoves in our farmhouse kitchen. I indicated that I would love to have one in my farmhouse kitchen, but have no room.   

This project will include the pipes and flanges that I used for my cakes, here is
a sneak peek of some of the other materials I will be using.

I bought this stove base at a flea market, the previous owners had tried to make a coffee table out of it.  Topped it with a cheap grade plywood, which hid it's true beauty.  

Hoping to spend the weekend at home, cleaning it up, adding flanges and pipes, and a few other materials to create........


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A day in Shoes...

Inspired by Donna's post at Funky Junk Interiors.
Her day job..  I love Donna's blog.
I will share a sneak peek into my day through...

My day usually starts with a walk.
 One of my goals for 2010 is to make
it a daily given.

Love these boots.  Think I may be shocked to hear myself say that.
Just a few short years ago,
These were way too pratical for my stylish feet.
MY, how times have changed!
 My mornings start off in these boots,
feeding the chicks, dogs and doing my chores around the farm.

I am usually in black chef pants
(someone really needs to redesign the style of these,
do you see the amount of material that just mutiplies from the knee down)
and black chef coat.
I needed a splash of color - fuschia did the trick!
These shoes are great for getting me through some long days
or evenings in the kitchen.

Yup, I probably have dozens of pairs of these babies
packed away in storage.  When we moved, I was just not ready
to give up on that chapter of my life.
When I do unpack, they will be given to my daughter.
She has an office job and can use them.
Me, not so much! 

Donna of Funky Junk Interiors is featuring a workshop series on
creating a workshop.  At this point, our house is our workshop.
Oh, the joys of living in a workshop!
We do not yet have a room or buidling that can be used for a workshop.
So I am going to share my dad's workshop/tool rooms.
Yes, he has more than one.  He has more square footage in workshops
than most people have in their homes.
7 different areas of this old farmhouse are dedicated
 to his workshop/tool rooms.

I believe my siblings and myself are the 11th generation to grow up in this farmhouse.

Have any idea how much stuff generations can accumulate?
This past Sunday, a group of us got together to help Dad reclaim his workshops.
We made a dent in the organizing. 
Will share more photos when we return to do some more decluttering on Sunday.

Yes, it is a lot of work... Yet...
I can not express what a wonderful feeling it is for us
to watch dad as he rediscovers something he had been looking for or
the stories he shares about something that brought
back memories of his childhood or ours!

Monday, January 25, 2010

"The Loft"


We have nicknamed it our cocoon.

So easy to clean: Dust and make the bed!

I love our loft.
Mr. Norm has mentioned constructing our bedroom a few times

At this point in time, I really don't want to move from this room.
When we do construct our bedroom, it will be built with no
closets and it will be sparse like this little loft.
It gives me such peace.

(I will share our design for our closet/changing/laundry/bath
 room in an upcoming post.- finally put an end to the schelpping of clothes)

Have the perfect antique in storage to make a very unique headboard.

The comforter and bedding are the ones that Mr. Norm bought our second night in the camper.
 They may not be my choice in color or style, but it does my heart good
to have them. One day I may replace them with some
 of the vintage ones I have stored away.

We made the railing from scrap wood used in the framing.
The flooring is hemlock decking we used in another building.
I stained it a mahogany and love the way it came out.
Added to my list of projects:
Headboard and wall decor....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Edited: Oh Truffles!

It was a tough day at work.
A job not for the weak of heart.

Today we played with CHOCOLATE!
Becky of B.Potter Wine Chocolates was our Guest Chef  at the Winery.
What a fun day.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries sprinkled with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
paired with an Apricot Sparkling Wine.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Truffle with crushed Hazelnuts
paired with a Blackberry Port.

Yup it's a tough job!

Came home to this. 

(online at Life)
Mr. Norm has been busy!

(ok, total exaggeration)
 After spliting and stacking our pile
it sure did feel that big!

Ready for some comfort food!

Made Soup for dinner:
16 dry bean mix, soaked over night
Beef stock from the freezer
bay leave
garlic - from last falls harvest
2 jars of tomatoes from last falls harvest
carrots from last falls harvest
onion, celery, broccoli, baby spinach, and farfalle.
note: if using stock from the market
purchase the small jars of better than bouillon
Your not paying for the water and you have control of how rich your stock is.
I like mine rich, so I use quite a bit and allow it to reduce
prior to adding the other ingredients( I add the bay leave while the stock is reducing).
add beans to the stock.
Sweat the onions and celery toss into stock.
Lightly caramelize the garlic and add to stock.
Add tomatoes, carrots(sometimes I will caramelize these to add a hint of sweetness)
broccoli and baby spinach.  I precook the farfalle to al dente and add right before serve.

While I got caught up with my favorite blogs:
  Rosemary Popcorn.
Crushed Rosemary - from my rosemary bush
add to oil and butter in covered pot - allow flavors to infuse.
Add kernals to pot, cover and pop.  YUM!

Will be with family for the day.
Monday is project day!
I am excited to start this project.
Cast Iron, Rust, Wood, and Burlap!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is it just a Mid-Life Thing?

We were caught in a whirlwind.

Our house, no our home, sold.
Deed to our 128 acre dream in hand.

Now, where are we going to live?

Our girls were beyond themselves...
proclaiming that their mom and dad had lost total sense of reality.
Looking back, we probably had.
but it felt SO good!

In the same time span,
dear friends had sold their family business,
sold their home, bought a glorious motorhome,
and started on their adventure.
 Living their dream.

One of my closest friends,
left her family and married a childhood sweetheart.
I pray that she has found her happiness

Another couple, with their two older children
 getting ready to leave for college, had another child.
Both of their older children are now married and they are
having the time of their life with the youngest.
Living their dream.

Could it be?  No!  Were we?

March 17, 2007
The day we closed on the sale of our home.
That beautiful home, we built,
when I was still in my 20's!
Was I ever in my 20's?

If you've ever sold a home after raising a family,
living your life there for over 20 years.
You know!
It didn't hit until the night of the closing.
We had to go back to the house to pick up the dogs.
 There were people in my house.
People moving their stuff into my home.
At that point in time it didn't bother me, not really.
Wait, It will!
We pulled into what is now "The Turner Farm"
and we got stuck!
 We were in the middle of a blizzard!
22" of SNOW! 
I in my danskos and Norm in his mocs were in for a long winters night...


Yup!  This was now home.
All because I am frugal. No, I am cheap!
Mr. Norm wanted to rent, while we built.
Oh, no!  We had this and it would not cost us anything to live.
I blame it on the hormones, the state of fog!
Our girls concern that we had lost all sense of reality,
was probably justified.

Our first night in our new home was one made of

Did I tell you Mr. Norm has a thing with keys.
Like a crow,  if it's shiny, he's got to have it.
The problem is he always (no exaggeration) looses them!

Well, this was no exception.
My car was back at his office, because he
had taken it to work and then promptly lost the keys.

After a 1/4 mile hike, in the dark, in the snow.
(wish I could say uphill both ways,
but that would be an exaggeration).
I prepare to go to bed and it hit me.

Me:  Norm where is all the bedding?
Norm:  hmmmmm.  in your car.

By this time, the shock of what we had done hit.
Complete numbness blanketed me.
Something had to keep me warm.
I vaguely recall slipping into a pair of fleece pjs
followed by 2 pairs of workout pants
a t-shirt, a sweater, a sweatshirt, hat, mittens
my bathrobe and finally wrapped up in afghan.
Sweet Dreams... somebody please wake me!

Mr. Norm picked me up from work the next day.
He had been shopping:  blankets, pillows, down comforters, and
He looked at me and said:
I know that each color of  rose stands for something,
so I got you one of each to say:
I'm sorry, I Love you, Forgive me, I'm sorry, I love you!

If this a Mid-Life Thing, I can honestly say
that I have never been happier.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Home Sweet Home...

My first non-construction project at the Turner Farm
has roots from my childhood memories of growing up in
this wonderful old farmhouse.

And the memories of huddling around one of these
on cold winter mornings.
 It was always a race to see which of us kids would get the premier spot.

Both my parents and Mr. Norm's brother and sis in-law have one.
I covet them every time I enter their kitchens.
They scream welcome home!

Our new farmhouse has no room for one.
We built the kitchen around my new stove.
Really, we did!
 It was delivered right after the framing of the outside walls were done.
Discovered that it wouldn't fit through the door.
Luckily, we had not started the roof rafters yet.
So we called a friend who happened to have a boom truck.
My stove was air lifted into my kitchen.
Want to know how much fun it is to build a kitchen around a 7ft crate?

 I am headed to Bangor today,  to pick up my project.
Be back soon.....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions....

I love to cook....

Family Reunion Cooking Class - 8/09

These pictures were taken at a private cooking class I held at the
Winery where I am the Resident Chef.

See that countertop?
I know it's hard to see beyond the food.
I think that may be my point.
I think?

I love working in this kitchen.
It's beautiful.
It's efficient.
It's organized.
It's Chef friendly!

One would think the countertop selection choice for
my home kitchen would be easier.
A no-brainer!
It has been the most difficult decision to date!

#1. Have you seen the selection?
I shop at Farmers Markets and Small Family owned Businesses for two reasons:
Because I want to support the local economy
(It's a Big AND)
I get so overwhelmed with choices!

A little glimpse into what I go through:
I knew from day one that I wanted
cedar shingles on the house and all other buildings on the farm.
I knew I wanted a unique trim on these buildings.
Then I went to work finding the colors.
This was in March of '07.
By March of '09, Mr. Norm had constructed the
main house, the chicken coop, the boiler house,
the dog kennel,  and the wood shed.
We had also driven every road it Maine
color stalking other homes.
(slight exaggeration).
I had collected every paint chip known to man.
Taped them to every building.
Slept with them.
(again, slight exaggeration)
Still no decision!
Want to know what happened?
It isn't pretty!
Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Norm had a plan,
off to Home Depot we went.
Directly to the paint department.
Mr. Norm had a cart!
What? Wait a minute!
He started loading the cart!
He's putting in One..
No, two....No, three....
He had four different colors in that cart.
I can not breath!
Did something happen to my hearing?
I can't hear!
What is happening!
Mr. Norm is laughing..
rolling on the floor laughing...
all the way to the check out ..
I scrapped myself up off the floor and I followed...

 Here we are today, a decision needs to be made.

This is what I do know.
I DO NOT want my countertops to be the focal point of my kicthen.
They need to be food safe, durable, and efficient.
While they are rustic, chic and unique.
The workhorse dreaming to be the show stud!

Oh, and yes I love the colors WE chose for the shingles and trim.
All four of them!
A true Maine Farm.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Just completing week 3 of my lifestyle plan.
Doing pretty good. 
Only eating when my body signals that it needs fuel.
But Today I needed CHOCOLATE!
And I enjoyed CHOCOLATE.
I am feeling great about it.
Because this was a healthy, gluten free, high in protein treat.

cooks illustrated

Trust me, this is the most decadent chocolate cake ever!
And so easy.
A quick in a pinch kind of cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line round cake pan with parchment paper and spray sides.
Melt chocolate - 70% chocolate bits are what I use
Add the following to your food processor and puree
1 (19 ounce) can of garbanzo beans, rinsed well
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
add melted chocolate and combine well.
This cake will tell you when it is ready  
The top cracks and cracks alot.
This is why you use the parchment paper.
I serve it upside down
Once cool, flip cake out of the pan onto cake plate.
Cut like you would a pie.
Makes 12 servings

Our Kitchen...

3 years ago, while living in a beautiful home.
A completely finished, well organized,
 construction zone free home.
We hatched a plan.
Sitting in the hot tub, discussing this plan, it sounded PERFECT!
They always warned us against having a glass of wine,
while in that kind of heat.
 Does something to your sense of reasoning or something..
Our plan was set in motion the very next morning.
2 months later, with a contract signed on our house,
we bought our 128 acres and the seeds were planted.
I will share with you some of the adventures along the way,
and there have been MANY!
Right now, I'm focused on organization.
You see, my kitchen is, do I even dare say it?
My kitchen is almost ready for stocking, organizing, decorating.
It's almost ready to make it my own!
With odles of empty cabinets, drawers, shelves and pantry,
the possibilities are endless.
Did I tell you that everything we own, well with exception of construction tools,
has been in storage for this entire time. 
Yes!  Everything!
Words escape me, as I try to describe the excitement.

My stove - 10 burners, 2 ovens of glory!

Yes, I'm excited

It is oh so close.

no space is wasted space!

Nothing has been hired out.
From cutting the tree down that once stood where my
wine rack now resides,
 to hefting 8ft sheets of plywood up 16ft to reach the peaks.
We scoured every bargain bin out there.
I think you'd be amazed with the $$ we have from ground to completion.
Once we have the final tally, I will share with you

We did it.
With our money.
Not the banks, not the savings.
It was purchased as soon as we had saved enough for it..

 This is our kitchen.....

We've Got Mail!

Fate: destiny, an inevitable course of events.

Don't you just love TJ Maxx?
I do!
Strolling the isles
it caught my eye.
On the shelf sat a mailbox.
A funky little mailbox.
I picked it up.  Put it back down.
Picked it up.  Put it back down
Then walked away.
Woke up the next day and knew I had to have it,
that funky little mailbox.
By now 24 hours had passed and I live 40 minutes away.
Would it still be there?
Frankie-our now son-in-law. (wasn't at the time)
who lives just around the corner from TJ's came to my rescue.
A few days later that funky little mailbox came home..
Mr. Norm loaded up the truck with all the neccessary tools,
we were going to have a mailbox.

Do you know that I had never opened this mailbox up!

Look what I found inside!


Isn't that the cutest funky little rooster!

Nothing in either direction for over a 1/2 mile!
This mailbox has become a land mark of our town.
We've overheard the following on different occasions.
"Well, 8 miles after the rooster mailbox"
"The right 2 miles beyond the rooster mailbox"
We introduced ourselves as the proud  owners of
"The Rooster Mailbox"
Gotta love it!

This little rooster stands post at the end of our driveway.
Marking the beginning of "The Turner Farm"

We maintained our P.O. Box, 26 miles away,
for over a year waiting for our town to issue us an address.
It never bothered us, the fact that it took so long.
We were too busy - building.
 Well maybe once!
When I called to order satelite tv. 
Operater:  Mrs. Turner, can I have your phyiscal address?
Me (instant deer in the headlight look): well it's on the River Road
and it's located at "The Rooster Mailbox".
Operater:  Mrs. Turner we need a legal physical address.
Me: hmmm...(thinking- don't you know the rooster mailbox?)
 I'll have to call the town office.  I will get back to you.
I wonder if she is still waiting for my call.
We've discovered a better form of entertainment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Grammie T. turns 84!

I pray that I am like Grammy T. when I turn 84
Grammy T. is Mr. Norm's Mom.
Oh, how I love this lady.
Here are a few things that Grammy T. has done just in the last 6 months:

Her Bedroom
Stripped wallpaper.
Repaired the plaster.
Painted walls, ceiling and trim.
Made new curtains.
This room is beautiful.

Note to self: Get pictures.


Her Kitchen
Pulled up old linoleum.
Pulled nails.
Prepped the under floor.
Hired someone to install the new floor.
Stripped wallpaper
Filled holes.
Painted ceiling, kitchen cabinets, walls, and trim.
Hired someone to install a new counter.
Rehung clock collection
(that alone made me tired)
Made new curtains

This lady is rusty crusty junk royalty.

She was junk sophiscated back in the 40's and 50's.

This sassy, firey one of kind lady is 84 today.

Happy Birthday Grammie T.

The Beginnings:

Mr. Norm has a problem.
An addiction really.
I have come to believe that this
may torment him in his sleep.
It happens every August.
The scent drives him.
He must have them.

Our girls and I, we've become co-dependents.
This August day was no different.
The moment I opened my eyes I knew.
I could sense his desire.

Blackberry Season....

Laden down with bug repellent
and every container that we owned,
 the berries didn't stand a chance.

That warm day in August,
with the smell of berries in the air,
the eerie sound of coyotes in a distant calling out my name.

The wheels were set in motion.
It was those freaky coyotes that really did it.
The circling!
The howling!
They were closing in on us.
I, the brave soul that I am, retreated to the safety ness of the truck and pulled out:
"Uncle Henry's".
Opened the page to Livestock and there it was.!

That simple little ad.

"Free to Good Home:
 2 Chickens and a duck."
"Must go together!"

And then the next ad read:

"2 yr. old Jenny."
"Jenny is a sweet soul, a loyal and trusted donkey."

Be still my heart!

The day that changed our lives forever.....