Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wine, Sweet Wine.

I have an obsession with dessert wines. I fall head over heels for a sweet wine over a dry wine every time. I have found cheap plenty of cheap moscato varieties that I adore, but my true love? Ice wine.

We bought a case of wine (for the discount!) a few months ago and I got to pick half of the bottles myself. I had to get an ice wine. Yes it was a tiny bottle and more pricey than I would normally pay. But I love it. So I saved it for months. Every time it seemed like the right night to crack open the bottle I changed my mind. I couldn’t bear the thought of drinking that tiny bottle when the moment wasn’t right!

This week it happened. I bit the bullet and opened that sweet bottle. One word: luxurious.

Ice wine in a glass

So what is ice wine? It is a dessert wine that is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The water in the grapes freezes allowing for the flavor to be extremely concentrated when the grape is pressed.

Cork

Why is it expensive? Ice wines can only be produced when the conditions are perfect, meaning that they are rare (in comparison to other wines). They are labor intensive to produce and can only be made in small amounts.

What to pair them with? Well, I am not expert, so I just go with my own judgement here. I am sure there are professional sommeliers that would disagree. I prefer a strong cheese with my dessert wine, but have read that rich desserts, nuts or fruit also pair well.

Jackson-Triggs Ice Wine Bottle

The bottle we drank this week is from Jackson-Triggs Winery in Canada and is very creamy and rich. It is too sweet (in my opinion) to go with a dessert. It could stand alone as your dessert or would go perfectly with a strong cheese. I suggest a Chevre – my favorite being the Three Peppercorn Chevre from Redwood Hill Farm. Chevre is goat cheese, so it is soft and tart balancing perfectly with the acidity in the ice wine.

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Inspiration for the day

in·spi·ra·tion Noun/ˌinspəˈrāSHən: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something

I am constantly inspired by ideas that I see around me and am often thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?!” A trip to a lake house in Michigan was no exception. While a lot of the décor was too woodsy for me, I found some ideas that I will definitely be taking home or filing away for my dream home.

I have been searching for new light fixtures to replace our dated, matching glass chandeliers and I am absolutely in love with these:

This captures all of my favorites in decorating: French? Check. Bead board? Check. Weathered? Check.

Can I move to a house near the water? These oars are to dive for. Okay, that was a stretch I know (corny jokes are my specialty, stick around long enough and you will start to see them coming), but they are to die for!

Amazing details, these oars have stories to tell.

These pieces keep me coming back to the casual, elegant, slightly country feel for my own home. I will be adding this same “vibe” in to our home with similar accessories soon!

Lists, lists, and more lists.

So I thought I would start things off by listing my never-ending to-do list; it may serve as motivation but it will definitely overwhelm! Some of the projects, like the upstairs bathroom, have been ongoing since we bought the house (over three years ago!). Not something to be proud of.

We have had a few things working against us since we bought our home: we are not very handy, have little experience doing home improvements and a very limited budget, just like most new home-owners. The limited budget means we have to learn to tackle these tasks on our own versus hiring someone, so bring on the self-help books and how-to-do-anything for idiots!

Now that we have successfully accomplished a few things (with family members’ help of course) we have a little more confidence that we can do bigger projects on our own. The key: on our own. We have also learned the hard way not to count on someone else to complete our projects (read bullets one and two below!)

Without further ado, here is the list!

House To-Do List:

  • Finish bathroom trim (upstairs)
  • Finish basement bar built-in
  • Fleur de lis wall decal up (where?)
  • Bathroom sign
  • Paint bathroom (upstairs)
  • Refinish stairs
  • Motorcycle gear storage
  • Replace bathroom light fixture (upstairs)
  • Replace bathroom mirror (downstairs)
  • Fleur de lis hooks up (bathroom? Kitchen?)
  • Organize built in bar in dining room
  • Carpet up on landing
  • Organize/decorate desk in guest room
  • Closet doors in bedroom
  • Re-do mantel (round mirror, matching candle stick on each side?)
  • Make laundry room not scary (finish wall, ceiling, re-do shelves)
  • Decorate front stoop (topiary, new numbers, rug)
  • Refinish railing on porch (rust spots)
  • Cork ball project (Pinterest)
  • Mail organization (wall hanging, binder, bin/bucket)
  • Media Console for upstairs living room – DIY apothecary console?
Stairs to be refinished

Lovely hard wood stairs to be refinished!

After running my first 5k in April I got home feeling like I was on top of the world, I had done it! So naturally this made me rip up the carpet on the stairs. Weird, yes. But it needed to be done! The carpet was from the previous owners and looked disgusting, not to mention the pet hair stuck in it. So I did it. But never finished the project…

Built-in bar in the basement, needs a lot of work.

This was started, well, I have lost count on how many months ago… we were considering putting in a built-in under the basement stairs (it was just a regular wall) and next thing I know we are hammering our way through the dry wall, just to see what is inside. So far so good, tons of room under the steps and we even found a cabinet that had been dry-walled in! Now we need to finish painting, build the wine rack for the left side, and get a small fridge for the right side. The top shelf will be for wine and beer glasses. Party room!

Upstairs bathroom trim, still not done.

The minute we got in to our new house (three years ago) we gutted the upstairs bathroom. Completely re-did it. Looks great, except we never finished the door trim. Lovely right?
So, now you know some of the projects we have cut out for ourselves! I promise we will work on it and share the progress.