The last of the summer produce

Well, summer is officially gone, and with it goes my garden. I have to say I really lucked out with my first stab at growing real food in my own backyard. Every single thing I planted (well, except my doomed-from-the-start strawberries), whether from seed or started, flourished. My basil plant has pretty much taken over an entire corner of my garden and I'm guessing I harvested upwards of 30 cucumbers this summer. I've picked plenty of jalapenos and too many banana peppers to even count. The bush beans provided us with some really delicious late-summer side dishes. But the thing that surprised me most (mainly because I didn't even figure out what it was until August), was my watermelon plants.

Sure, the watermelon ship may have sailed for the summer and most people currently have pumpkins on the brain, but a couple of watermelons from the garden have finally matured and, boy, was it worth the wait.

The first watermelon we picked was a big boy, and I think we jumped the gun by a week or two. It still tasted good, but nothing about it blew me away. This second watermelon, however, is knocked me back a couple steps.

In a good way.

Ruby red, sugar-sweet and extra juicy, this watermelon is absolutely delicious. It's definitely not seedless, but I'll take the time to spit out the seeds (or, you know, swallow a few) to get to the mouth-watering fruit they grow.

I honestly can't believe how well these watermelons turned out. I was bracing myself for them to begin growing and just die prematurely, but they're turning out just fine. And even if they did come in a little late, it's better late than never, in my mind.

What was your biggest success/surprise in gardening this year? Any embarrassing failures? It's OK to share - we're all friends here!


A Wet Weekend in Door County

Last Friday, Eric and I could hardly contain ourselves before heading up to Door County for the weekend. For those of you unfamiliar, Door County is an extremely popular vacation spot in Wisconsin; a totally gorgeous area filled with quaint little towns, plenty of wineries, fish boils and boating on Lake Michigan. If you look at a map of Wisconsin, Door County is the "thumb" of the "mitten."
Wisconsin Clip Art
We took off around noon and drove straight north, along Lake Michigan. And when I say "along Lake Michigan" I mean "Oh hey here I am sitting in the car and, oh look, Lake Michigan is like 20 feet from my seat belt buckle."

We had plenty of time to kill and it was a gorgeous day, so we stopped off in a few little towns for pictures and pretty views.
 An adorable bay in Kewaunee.

At one point, right after we crossed the Door County line, Eric turned off the road to check out a little country park.
We parked the car and walked down to the shore. 

 But we weren't the only ones there! A couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary had the same idea as us. They asked us to snap a photo of them, and then they offered to take a picture of us. They seemed so happy to be on their little anniversary getaway.

 After enjoying the view for a bit, we hopped in the car and continued north.

 Upon seeing the still bay waters in Fish Creek, we had to stop and get some more photos. The clouds' reflection on the water was spectacular.

The entire drive up was filled with "Oooohs" and "Ahhhhs." Door County is an incredibly gorgeous area, especially in fall. 

When we got to Sister Bay, where we were staying with Eric's sister, brother in law and niece and nephew, we had a late dinner at a local diner, came back and had some wine and watched the Brewers clinch the National League Central Division Championship. We were ecstatic - the first division championship for the Brewers since 1982! After some celebrating, we hit the sack fairly early - after all, we had a lot of fun activities to tackle outside all day the next day.
Or..... not.

The rain was coming down the moment we woke up. Unfortunately, we had big plans to bike in Peninsula State Park all morning - the gravel bike trails weren't going to make a safe ride for us, especially with the kiddos riding along. Disappointed, we were sure things would clear up after a breakfast at the Sister Bay Cafe. Two scrumptious waffles and a mug of coffee later, the rains were still coming down.

So what do you do when it's raining in Door County? Well, we all hopped into our respective cars and took a drive, taking in soggy, but pretty sights. Finally, we stopped at Orchard Country Winery, where they were doing their best to keep "Harvest Fest" alive, despite the dreary conditions.

Harvest Fest had plenty of autumn-inspired food, drinks and games for kids. While Eric's niece and nephew enjoyed their Spiderman and kitty balloon animals, Eric took over on pumpkin bowling. While he bowled well, he also broke both pumpkins he hurled down the hay-bale-lined lane. We all decided it would be better to leave the bowling to the kids.

We didn't last long at the festival, thanks to the cold and rain. However, seeing as how we just happened to be at a winery, we figured one little wine tasting wouldn't be such a horrible idea.
 We each chose six wines to taste - most of them were a little too fruity for our tastes, but the two winners were Cherry Blossom and the Nathan John.
 These grapes just happened to be the ones used for Nathan John wine. It was Eric's favorite by far.

After we'd finished our tasting, we got in our cars and drove around a bit more. By that point, the kids had been up for hours and it was time for a nap. Eric and I slept in a bit later than the rest of the group, so we had something else in mind...
Hey, when there are about eight wineries offering free tastings all within 15 minutes of one another, you've got to take advantage. 

At the Harbor Ridge winery, we chose four different wines to taste. My favorite was definitely their Knockin' Heads Red - in fact, I ended up buying a bottle of it to bring home!

Next, we headed over to Door Peninsula Winery, which was by far the biggest and most crowded winery we stopped at. It had a huge gift shop and a ton of samples of dip, salsas, olive oil, cheese and sauces. I'm still thinking about a sample of spicy barbecue sauce I tried there. I'm kicking myself for not buying a bottle! This girl likes her barbecue. 
 At Door Peninsula Winery, you're unlimited on the number of wines you can taste. By this point, I was getting a little wined out - I was also feeling slightly buzzed, so I thought I'd stop myself after three different wines. I'm not sure which I liked most out of the three wines I tried there, but I did enjoy the Hallowine for its festive name and the fact it was served warm - it tasted like fall in a glass!

After all that wine tasting, we developed a pretty good hunger. We both had a hankering for burgers, so I attempted to Google "Door County's Best Burgers" on my iPhone. Unfortunately, service was spotty. We drove through Fish Creek once again and I noticed an unassuming, dive-bar-looking establishment on a corner. Usually, the more divey-looking a bar, the better their burgers are. 
 While not exactly a diver bat, the Bayside Tavern definitely did not disappoint. I ordered a mushroom-swiss burger and Eric had a bacon cheeseburger and we were both impressed by their quality. And not being frequent wine drinkers, we needed something a little more our taste to wash it all down.
We sat and watched a little college football, then drove back to meet up with the rest of the gang. The rain was still coming down, and with my belly full of burgers, beer and wine, I ended up crashing back at the motel for a while.

I woke up with Eric telling me the skies had parted! There was blue sky peeking through out there! We threw on our shoes and loaded the kids up in their stroller and took advantage of the few fleeting moments of sunshine we'd seen all weekend.

Unfortunately, the sun waited until about 4:30 to actually appear. We walked around by the lake for a bit, looked at all the impressive boats and yachts in the marina, and headed home just before sunset to partake in a delicious home-cooked spaghetti and meatballs dinner. Sadly, the hearty meal was originally meant to replenish us after a day of biking outside; while I needed no replenishing at that point, it was still tasty.

The night ended with Eric, his sister Kimber and I popping out for a couple drinks at a corner bar for a bit, but then getting tired and catching the beginning of "SNL" when we got home. Rainy weekends really wipe you out, folks.

While I was bummed about the rainy weather, we were still able to take in a little of Door County's popular spots. I would have loved to be able to enjoy the outdoors a bit more, but you can't control the weather and it was still nice to get away for a weekend. Plus, I mean, free wine galore! You can't really complain about that.

Have you been to Door County? What's your favorite place to go or thing to do there? We really wanted to see the goats on the roof at Al Johnson's Swedish restaurant, but I think the rain scared them away - they were nowhere to be seen. :(


Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week of pins. Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week.

[This room caught my eye instantly. There's a lot going on, but I think it's done well. Mismatched frames, prints and mirrors. I love the bold rug and that red chair, and even though there's kind of a Fahrenheit 451 thing going on with that fireplace loaded with books, I think it's a cool, quirky touch.] 

[I love the color scheme of this room - the deep mustard yellow paired with that dusty robin's-egg blue? So pretty. Those curtains are fabulous, and I love the unexpected zebra-print rug; it keeps the room from looking too prim.]

[This adorable, sunny nursery almost makes me forget about my paralyzing fear of babies.... almost. Is it bad I kind of want this to be my room?]

[When I first saw this painted antler, I absolutely loved it. Then, when I saw it was a piece of work from Milwaukee artist Cassandra Smith, I loved it even more. So unexpected and full of personality. On top of it all, this is something I could probably do on my own!]

[I didn't discover the absolute mouth-joy of bread pudding until earlier this year, but now that I have, every time I hear about it, my mouth waters. This recipe for croissant-chocolate bread pudding sounds sensational, and a snap to make!]

Whoa! Fairly certain this is impossible at my house, but - awesome!
[I'm convinced whether you live in a studio apartment or a 12-bedroom mansion, your home is just never going to have enough room for storage. This idea for stairway drawers is brilliant - what a way to tap into unused space! I know I couldn't do it in my home, but it doesn't mean I can't dream about it...]

[I'm not so sure I could pull this outfit off (ruffles around the neck just doesn't suit me, it seems), but I'd sure like to try!]

[What is this dress color? Jade green? Teal? Whatever it is, I love it. The real clincher, though? That little waist-cinching belt. Love all around.]

What have you pinned this week? I'd love to see!


The Guest Room (in Progress)

Time for another room reveal, gang! It's been fun giving you all little sneak peaks at our house, room by room, for the last few months - I figured out I've shared a new room once every month since June, so I'm not about to let September get by without showing you another in full. If you missed any of our other room reveals, make sure to check out our kitchen, "French" room and living room. We've been trying to wait until each room feels "done" enough for a decent impact, though no room is ever really "done." We're always going to be making changes because, hey, we're fickle like that.

Though I like to wait to reveal a room until I'm satisfied, I feel like with our little quick look into our guest room last week, I needed to show you the rest. The guest room is definitely the least complete room on our main floor - heck, it's even lost furniture since we've moved in! But I thought I'd share what we have going on in there right now, and hopefully ask some advice on how to fill a rather large, blank space on one of the walls.

So, come on in and take a look at our guest room without even having to brave an overnight in our home!

Here's what it looked like on our very first walkthrough of the house:
Seriously. Purple may have worked for the "Friends" apartment, but not in this little space...

And, here's what we've done so far:

The room's paint color is Behr's "Cucumber Crush." The bedding is from Target. You saw how I made that very simple headboard last week. The unfortunate curtains are the very same ones you can see in the "purple" photo above. The previous owners left them, and I've just been too lazy to make new ones. Don't worry - those will come!

I've had this dresser since my junior year of college - and it shows. I originally was going to paint it a grass green color to match the green leaf color on the bedding, but I think I like the wood look better - although it does need a good sanding and refinishing. This puppy has seen better days (though I'm not sure I would refer to myself ages 20-21 as "better...").

Also relics from college Rachel are those fake Calla Lilies. Sigh... And all those glass vases on the right? I didn't intend to group them there like that. The dresser kind of became a holding spot for them because I didn't know what else to do with them! From time to time, one or two will disappear when a new bouquet of flowers makes its way into the house. The globe was found by Eric at his magical thrift store, and the lamp  lived in our old apartment's living room. The blue mirror was also scored at a thrift store; in its original state, it was a really ugly reddish-brown color. Thanks to Krylon's "Blue Ocean Breeze" spray paint, it's been given a much prettier second life.

Sitting atop of the dresser are a couple of completely awesome vintage placements we found at a Salvation Army a few months back. Again, their placement on the dresser is mostly just due to the fact that we didn't know where else to put them. They also happen to match the room's color scheme! Aside from the San Francisco mat, the one sitting below all the clear vases is a really rad-looking whimsical map of Florida. We've got to find somewhere to display these more prominently.

Next to the dresser, you'll see a little red chair that used to live in our apartment, too. Atop that is a basket I received as a bridesmaid's gift from my friend Lauren's wedding last spring. I thought it fit nicely with the rest of the light, breezy, springtime decor of the room. The pillow used to sit on our old couch in the apartment.

Next to the bed is another piece of furniture I'd had since I was 22: A little white nightstand. 

Topped with a colorful bird tray, a vase of silk flowers and, of course, an "I Can Haz Cheezburger" I won from some Internet giveaway once. The Internet is so awesome, guys.
Below the nightstand sit a few books whose color schemes match the room. You know, Worst-Case Scenario books, two books poking fun at dreaded hipsters, and of course, two of my favorite books of all time (Cat's Cradle and Love is a Mix Tape).

The guest room, in my opinion, has one of the best views in the house. Our visitors get to wake up and look out the window into our sunny backyard.

The window also has a sticker emblazoned with our neighborhood's name. It was on there when we moved in, and I don't intend of ever taking it down. Neighborhood pride, y'all!

Now, you may have noticed a framed picture on one of the walls near the bedroom door.

Hold on to your hats, folks, because you just may not believe that this is an original work from Bradley 3-F. I'm not sure of its title, but we always refer to it as "Bradley 3-F." Bradley may have called it "Leaves in a Puddle," himself.

Eric found Bradley 3-F in a thrift store a couple years ago and was just sort of intrigued by it. Who is Bradley? What happened to make his parents take the time to frame this piece of work, only to donate to a thrift store later? Is Bradley aware his work was given away? Does he know a young, slightly odd couple cared enough about this watercolor to hang it in their apartment and then move it to their new house? If Bradley 3-F is out there, I'd sure like to see if he ran with his raw artistic talent.

Now, below Bradley 3-F used to sit my sewing table, which ultimately became a part of our dining table. I really need to get another small sewing table - if not to eliminate lugging the sewing machine into the French room to sew, just to fill up the awkward empty space below the painting.

And speaking of awkward, empty spaces, what in the heck should I do with this??
The wall by the bed and the back window is just one vast "Cucumber Crush"-colored barren land. I've got a few ideas saved on Pinterest, but I'm not in love with them all. I'd love your suggestions on how to fill this space! It seriously eats at me every time I glance over at the guest room. Something's got to be done! Something that doesn't involved a black-and-white poster of Elvis....

So, as you can see, the guest room is no where near completed. It's got some decent stuff going on in there, but it's got a ways to go before I'm satisfied. But, it's got a bed, and a nice window and a place for visitors to put their things if they feel like emptying their suitcases for an extended stay. Does anyone actually do that when staying as a guest at someone's house anymore?

And, just in case you were worried, Mr. Pancakes has approved this room, and he definitely did not make himself scarce throughout this photo shoot (You don't know how many photos I had to delete because he popped into them at the last second). When the DSLR comes out, he can smell it from a mile away.

Got any ideas to fill a large, empty wall? Shoot 'em my way! I just may put your idea to work!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...