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Monday, July 21, 2014

The West Wing Hallway

This hallway connects the living room, my office, the guest bathroom, the regular office and the East Wing of the house. It also has a door to our linen/bathroom supply closet. It is a pretty busy area. It is actually the perfect place to put a lot of our stuff. It has a built-in bookcase and we have filled it.

The before pics. That door at the far end connects the west and east wings. The office is to the right of that door. The guest bathroom is to the right of the office and the closet is to the right of the guest bathroom. To the left is the door to my room/office. 

Check out that weird thing on the floor that looks like a rug. It isn't. It is a floor patch. We didn't notice that because there was a rug on it. It is there because the original house had a chimney there. There is a door in my room/office that leads to the attic. And if you go up to the attic, you will see part of the chimney up there. Down below the patch was the old furnace. Before we moved in, Tom had the floor fixed and, let me tell you, our contractor did a wonderful job fixing it. If you look at the picture below, you will not be able to tell there was a patch. 

The after pic. 

Besides calla lilies and day of the dead stuff, I am obsessed by crosses. This is on one side of the hall tree. 

On top of the hall tree is our chicken. We bought the chicken at the Mountain Heritage festival where we used to live. I loved it. It is big and fat and made from a gourd. The weird doll beside it was bought by Tom when he went to China. He is old and a little demented but he is kind of cool. 

More crosses. 

More pots. This one is from Mexico. The paper flowers are also from Mexico. 

That weird box in the middle is actually our doorbell. How old is that? It is cool and sounds nice but hogs up the whole wall. So we decided to put up some of our masks. The one on the left is from Nicaragua. The one on the right is from China. The painting below is from our artist friend, MANO. You will see we have a few of his paintings. We love his work. 

The doll on the right is made by my friend, Zan. She is an incredible artist who mainly works in pottery but she also does other art. She makes dolls and when I saw this one, I had to have it. She is made of yarn. She is crocheted. It is a cat knitting and I love it. The angel is from Nicaragua. Tom bought her when he went there without me. 

On the top shelf: A cool tin we bought in Madrid, Spain.  We also bought the little bull in Madrid as well. There is a Frida Kahlo candle and a Frida Kahlo box. The jug next to that is made by Zan as well. The jug has three faces and it really cool. I also have an assortment of candles. mainly with Day of the Dead motifs and Frida Kahlo. 

As you can see, the Day of the Dead and Frida madness continues. The little bus and woman with little kids were gifts when I left my job in Santa Fe. They all knew I was crazy for Day of the Dead stuff. The doll on the right is from Jamaica. If you turn her over she is the day, right now she is the night.

On the bottom shelf is a paper mache devil. I loved him the minute I saw him. The middle doll is a Katrina. Katrina's are Day of the Dead icons. And lastly, is my little Frida Kahlo doll.

We bought this mask in Costa Rica. 

Of course, a calla lily switch plate. 

This is a view of the whole hallway. The mask on the arch is from Puerto Rico. And way in the background, you can see our giant paper mache Katrina doll. And that's our cool black front door. If you haven't noticed, all our interior doors are black. I love the black doors. It reminds me of the Rolling Stones' song: Paint it Black. 

I would be remiss in not highlighting our hardwood floors. They are oak and beautiful. They are throughout the house except for bathrooms. I am pretty sure the guest room has hardwood floors but it has carpet. And our master bedroom has carpet but since that is an addition to the original house, it probably does not have hardwood floors.

I love them and, for some reason, they are easier to clean than the hardwood floors in our old house.

Well that's another part of the new house. I still have to focus on the living room, kitchen and my room. Our bedroom is a snooze fest and out master bathroom is so 80's. We are definitely going to renovate the master bathroom at some point.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday!

Me and my sister decades ago. I think this was either in Costa Rica or Texas. I cannot remember because that was over 40 years ago.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Home Tour ~ The Guest Room

The guest room is nothing special. The only thing that makes it great is that it is huge! It is as big as our room. It must have been the original master bedroom before the addition of the Master in the back. I had it painted green because I have always wanted a green room.

Now this is the guest room as it is now. We are thinking of remodeling and switching things around so this room might turn into a den. It would be perfect for that. Plus, we actually have an East Wing and West Wing in our house.

No, our house is not a mansion but we actually can shut the back of the house off the rest of the house. Basically the front is the kitchen, dining room, living room, guest bathroom, my office and the other office. There is a door that closes off the guest room, our master bedroom and bath and the laundry area. Because of this, we named the front of the house the West Wing and the back of the house the East Wing. Yes, we are crazy that way.

Anyway, for now, this is the guest room. If we ever take it over as a den, the bed goes into my office and the guest room becomes a tiny space with just the bed, a night stand, a table and TV. Not much else will fit. I am hoping we actually do another addition to the house for a den but I will give up my room for a real den and a formal living room. I will just take over the office. We have no idea what we are doing there anyway, so it would work for me.

The before pic. This was the room to two little boys. When the furniture was out we noticed a lot of dirt on the walls and tape and stuff. We HAD to paint. The fan was also a space theme. While I like it, we had to change out the fan. The room looks small in the picture but it is huge. 

The after pic. 

We have an old desk that might go to the office. Above the desk is a painting by my mother! This was the first one she gave to us and it is very Costa Rican. I love it. And, of course, more calla lilies. 

Yes, that is Speedy Gonzales, Patrick and my teddy bear. I have had that teddy bear for decades. Probably over 30 years. Patrick is just cute. And he is cuter wearing a Patrick shirt. I won Speedy at Universal Studios in Orlando. Is anyone surprised I have a Speedy? He shares my last name and one of my nicknames is Speedy, although I am not. You can see the night stands do not match. That is because the two nice tables do not fit in our bedroom. So I gave mine up and took a tiny one and added the nice one to this room. It's weird but it works.  The print above the bed is Tom's favorite painting. It is by French artist, Gustave Caillebotte. It is called Paris Street; Rainy Day. Tom has seen this painting in person and I almost saw it when we were in Chicago but when we went to the museum, it was on loan. Boo. 

This painting is from the same faculty member, Clark Duncan, who did the painting in our dining room of the What Not Shop. This is his self portrait. He gave Tom this painting before he died. It is very nice and used to live in Tom's office at WCU. Now it lives in our guest room. Some guests might freak out at having him stare at them when they visit though. 

I bought the basin and the pitcher at an estate sale for $10. The painting behind them is also a painting by my mother. We actually have 3 of her paintings in the house. Two of her paintings are out for framing and we are not sure when they will come back.

These are the 2 switch plates in the guest room. More calla lilies and a Diego Rivera painting with calla lilies. I am obsessed with calla lilies.  

This last painting was done my my cousin, Cristina. Up close it looks like a photo but it is actually a painting. 

That's the guest room, for now. Who knows what we might be doing to it in the future. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gallo Pinto ~ A Costa Rica Treat

As far back as I can remember, I have eaten Gallo Pinto. Translated, it means Spotted or Painted Rooster. It is really just kicked up rice and beans. It is also probably the most well-known Costa Rican dish.

Because I have eaten it for over 40+ years, I love it. Usually it is eaten for breakfast with an egg, sausage or bacon, and buttered toast. At least that's the way I like it. I also serve it as a side dish. But pinto and eggs is the best thing ever!

When I was little my mom and grandmother would make it for us. When we traveled to Costa Rica, my other grandmother (my dad's mom) always made it. She would always cook up almost every traditional dish possible when we visited. I always remember the dining room table would be loaded with food and we could pick and choose what we wanted.

As I got older, I never made it for myself. When I moved to Miami, I had a burner for a stove and it was always so hard for me to make involved meals. When I met Tom, I never made it because it was a dish he wasn't familiar with. But as we traveled to Costa Rica, he developed a taste for my beloved Gallo Pinto. My mom would always make it for him in the mornings.

Now when we travel to Costa Rica, I make sure I eat it. This past trip, I think I had it almost every morning except for one. Even Tom will order it now. It is delicious. I have a recipe on this blog for Gallo Pinto but that was in my early days when I was really willy-nilly about posting. So I decided to do a more involved recipe and post better pictures!

So here is my version of Gallo Pinto. I made it in honor of the Costa Rica vs. Netherlands World Cup Soccer game. Costa Rica lost but they are still winners in my eyes. Here is my recipe. It's willy-nilly because for Gallo Pinto, you do not have exact measurements. You just toss it together and eat!

Gallo Pinto

2 cups cooked white rice
1 can of black beans
chopped red pepper
chopped garlic
chopped onion
A knob of butter
Salsa Lizano


Here are the ingredients you will need. Now Salsa Lizano is Costa Rican, so it would be tough to get but you can use Worcestershire Sauce.

Chop up the onions, garlic, red pepper and cilantro. I like mine finely chopped. 

Add the butter to the pan. 

Add the peppers, garlic and onions and saute. 

Saute until the veggies are soft. 

Add the beans. I do not drain them because I want some of the liquid to get into the rice. 

Add the Salsa Lizano, salt and pepper. 

Add the rice and mix well. Make sure all the rice is covered with the beans and veggies. 

Add the cilantro and stir.

Deliciousness. I LOVE this dish. It is an easy and delicious meal.