Friday, February 4, 2011

2011 Niagara Icewine Festival

A couple of Sundays ago, our friends and us went to the Niagara Icewine Festival. For those of you not familiar with the Niagara region or Icewine, this region of Ontario is an optimal fruit and grape growing area, thanks to the Niagara escarpment which extends for miles and offers a good protection from the elements. This with the right mix of soil creates the ideal condition for wine grapes. And somebody clever discovered some time ago that if you harvested the grapes after a deep freeze, you could make this wonderful, sweet, deep, syrupy nectar called icewine. Yum!!!

Most Icewines produced in the region are made with Vidal or Cabernet Franc grapes. This is a Cabernet Franc Icewine:

Don't you love this gorgeous, deep caramelly colour? It tastes heavenly. I find the Cabernet Francs to have a richer taste.

With the purchase of a Discovery Pass, we had the opportunity to visit 6 wineries. All participating wineries were offering food samples to create a pairing with their icewines. (Of course, we had a designated driver, who just had a few sips here and there.) The food pairings were heavenly, from roast pork to risotto to icewine marshmallows roasted over the fire pit (just divine!), to a delectable chocolate ganache tart. More yums!

Even if you're not into wine, it is always worthwhile to take a drive up to that gorgeous area, regardless of the season. There's so much to see on the beautiful countryside roads. In the spring, all the fruit trees are in bloom, in the summer, everything is growing, in the fall, the leaf colours are simply breathtaking. But as you can see, even the winter scenery is spectacular:

There's something peaceful and ruggedly beautiful about these dormant vines, all in neat rows.

All in all, we had a wonderful day, good friends, good food, good wines.


Speaking of grapes, I recently found this oddball. Yes, this is a grape! I figure it must have grown beside a pumpkin patch and as a result, it has an identity crisis. It doesn't know what it wants to be. A grape or a pumpkin? Make up your mind!

It came from this bunch. What a funny dude! If it was not such a perishable item, I would try to sell it on Ebay!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kitchen Reno so far

Yesterday, I showed you before pictures of the kitchen, all wired and ready for the cabinets and the new floor.

Here is what has been done so far.

The ceramic floor is in, as well as the cabinets, the island, the sink, the tap and the counter tops. The lighting is done except for the fixture that will go above the island.

We picked a traditional style, but not overly fussy. I love the contrast offered by the light cabinets and the dark island and countertops!

This is a little study off the kitchen. It too had dilapidated cabinets. We opted to have them replaced with matching cabinets. This will be handy to store all sorts of papers like bills, as well as recipe books and other odds and ends. A good place for my laptop too! I love the decorative columns, they add class, don't you think?

But the one of the main reason we fell in love with this house is this amazing feature:

Yes, it's an indoor pool! Now, we don't have a cottage and we don't get away very much, but we love to swim. Our present house has an outdoor pool and weather permitting, we swim everyday, but as you know, up here, it is a very short season.

Now we will be able to swim whenever we want to. Even on a blizzardy day like today! It will be our little cottage at home, our little oasis of peace.

Aaaah, Heaven!

Stay tuned for further progress!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thrifting Away and Renos at the New House

Thank you to all who have left such kind comments on my recent posts. I now have 6 followers! I am read! Yeah!

As I explained in my very first post, De tout, de rien means Everything and Nothing, as I want my blog to be about anything I feel like writing about on any given day. I realize though that since joining the Pyrex collective and reading the blogs of the other contributors, I am somewhat of a closet thrifter myself. So I will occasionally post my finds and share them with all of you.

Today, I was disappointed that I didn't find any Pyrex, just the same old scratched bowls that have been there for a while.

There was a Colonial Mist bowl in mint condition like the bigger one on the right, but as you see, I have one already:

But the whole day was not wasted. I did find a glass cloche not unlike the one Sherry posted on her blog here. I paid a whole dollar for it! (Thank to Linda at À la Carte for showing me how to post a link! See, I'm really good at it now! :^)

As I told Sherry, I love cloches because you can create cute seasonal vignettes with them. So there's another project for me. (That would be project number 1,567, lol!).

I have to show a lot of self control however while out thrifting, as my husband keeps saying that things should be going out, not coming in, since we are moving. Well, I still manage to buy here and there, I just sneak things in and hide the evidence, lol! He should be grateful I'm a thrifter and not a clothes horse, it's not like I'm spending $500 on a pair of boots or a Coach purse, I buy $2 trinkets!

Meanwhile, the renovations are going strong at our new (to us) house. Here's a before look at the kitchen:

These were taken a few weeks ago and there has been a lot of progress since then, however I am keeping you in suspense till tomorrow, as I haven't taken pictures recently. In fact, I am mad at myself for not documenting every step, but I am at times either too lazy, too busy or too forgetful.

This new house is just down the street from our present house. We are lucky to be in a position to still be able to live here while the renos are going on, which saves a lot of aggravation and stress!

We were not looking for a new house, but it came up for sale and we went to the open house and then I could not stop thinking about it! It was absolute insanity to even do so, as our present house is more than adequate, but the more we thought about it, the more we could see ourselves living there! And we did it, we bought it. Chalk it up to midlife crisis.

The kitchen was very dilapidated but I looked beyond that and saw the potential to build my dream kitchen.

Tomorrow: the almost completed kitchen and the main feature of the house will be revealed! Stay tuned!