Thursday, October 14, 2010

Growing Garlic with My Pyrex Delphite

During a summer roadtrip to the Okanagan area, I purchased some locally grown Russian Red garlic. It had large cloves, a great taste, and a beautiful purple hue to its papery skins. I have seen fresh garlic at Farmer's Markets sell for between $2 to $2.50 per bulb, which is a bit tough to swallow for a thrifty buyer like me. The solution: Grow your own garlic!

I enlisted the help of my trusty Pyrex Delphite casserole bowl. The first task is to break apart the bulbs and select the large cloves. Large cloves will turn into large bulbs and have a higher success rate. Most gardeners recommend simply using the smaller cloves in your kitchen instead of the garden.

Of the four Russian Red bulbs that I had, I got about 20 cloves to plant.

Prepare your soil by loosening the dirt, and plant the cloves with the pointed ends up. They should be about 5" apart, and about 2" deep. Garlic is a heavy feeder and needs nutrient-rich soil that is well draining. Throw in some compost if you have it on hand.

I understand that during a cold snap, the garlic cloves turn into bulbs. These little guys stay in the ground till summer. The tops of the plants can be cut in the spring and used in various recipes, as these garlic "scapes" can be used for anything from pesto to stir-fry's. Later in the summer, when the stalks brown, they are ready to be pulled up and dried for use! Make sure to get these in the ground soon, for a garlic-y bounty in July!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tools from the Thrift Shop

The best thing about hunting for goodies at the thrift shop, is finding practical things that you would otherwise pay full price for. Further, some vintage goods are of higher quality, and certainly more interesting!

We do a lot of tinkering around the household, and were quite excited to come across a display case full of old tools at a local Church Thrift Store. The prices were not bargain-basement but the quality was there. My husband noted that the old Made in Canada screwdriver looked a lot like one that belongs to his Dad, so of course we picked that up for a couple dollars. The red-handled Stanley pliers were in such good shape we had to take that home with us too.

There was also an old vintage set of pliers with a beautiful pattern on the handles. We piled our goods on the counter and a little boy next to us said, "Boy, you sure love tools!" We just grinned back. =D

Happy Thanksgiving fellow Canadians!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Behind the Cupboards

To close out the chapter on my trip to Greece, let's get to what we found behind the cupboards, in the pantry, and stowed away in trunks. One of my first places to explore was an old pantry. See that 80s green Tupperware jelly ring mold? Classic.

Also peering out at the bottom was a nice stack of colourful Tupperware containers, they were all in great shape with really nice colour, although the photos didn't turn out too well.

Of course there was some Pyrex too, although in the form of a perfect condition, complete set of Old Orchard store and serve casseroles, boo hoo!

There was also a red restaurant-ware piece which nicely displayed the tasty grapes and other local produce.

I really liked these nice drinking glasses and plates, and got a lot of use out of them.

This ouzo liqueur bottle is shaped like a Greek statue.

I also liked this dusty old Vaseline with the metal lid. They don't make 'em like they used to.

We came across some lovely fabrics as well, some made with beautiful handiwork.

Well, being back in the swing of things at work sure helps me plant my feet back on solid ground at home! It was a great trip full of memories and I can't wait to go back and bring that KitchenAid mixer home... Until next time, Greece!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vintage KitchenAid Mixer in Avocado Green

Yes, I said it: Avocado. KitchenAid. Mixer. This old house with all the stories has room for a few more yet. When I arrived in the old kitchen, there was a strawberry-print tea cosy type cover, and underneath was a beautiful vintage piece in my favourite colour - avocado green.

The photo just doesn't do it justice! It is in pristine shape, and had the old Hobart tag on it as well. When we got back home, I learned from my mother in law that she purchased this in Boston in the late 70s. They lugged it over to Greece but it did not make the return trip home. Now that I am clear headed and not distracted by the beauty of Greece and all the wonderful things to do while on vacation, I can't believe I didn't pack it up and bring it home with me! Or at least take a few more pictures in better lighting conditions!

Sigh. Our suitcases were already stuffed to the max; in fact, we paid overweight luggage charges as is. Maybe on a next trip, this gem can be retrieved and put back to work!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Frozen in Time

We stayed at this heritage home in Mytilini, the capital city of the island Lesvos in Greece. It belongs to my husband's family who made this house a home from 1984-1989. I learned that there are several families who emigrated to Canada, then missed home and brought their children back to the old country. Some families realized that their "new" life was in fact better, and made a more permanent move to Canada.

This has meant that some family homes in Greece are stocked with "vintage" North American goods from the 70s and 80s. Because the homes remain in the family but are not necessarily occupied full time, much of the kitchen wares and textiles are preserved in great shape, and not thrown out and replaced.

I love the attention to detail that you see in older homes. Even the mouldings around a door are something to stare at in appreciation of the work that was put into it.

Speaking of work, my father in law spent countless hours in the 1980s restoring the interior of this house. He tells me that the woodwork on the staircases and interior doors were painted over and over like an old boat. He used a torch and scraped all the paint off by hand to recreate and salvage the natural beauty of the house's staircases, banisters, and interior window/door frames.

We stayed at the house for about two weeks, admiring the details and using appliances from the 80s. The North American washing machine for instance, had a mailing address for any customer service enquiries to the General Electric company - these days we'd pick up the phone toll free or just email!

It was a great experience to live like a local in a place that felt like home and was full of surprises and delights behind the cupboards, in the attic, and in the travel trunks. The view outside our windows of the orange and lemon trees out back is something I won't soon forget.

Thanks everyone for indulging me in my vacation report - next post will take a look at what I found behind the cupboards!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's All Greek to Me!

Hello Readers, I'm back refreshed from a great trip to Greece! I've missed home, and of course, blogging and visiting everyone's websites. We have lots to catch up on.

There are certainly beautiful sights in Greece - from the clear blue waters to the bustling markets, my trip was like a feast for the eyes. There were also vintage treats in old kitchens, with colourful pieces like Tupperware and Pyrex!

These shots of the Aegean are taken on the island of Santorini, formed by volcanic activity. It is amazing to see the villas, hotels, restaurants, and pathways carved into the cliffsides.

The beautiful streets were lined with vibrant flowers, and the markets bustled with fresh fish and produce.

There were modern features to be seen at the HeliExpo in Thessaloniki, like this solar tree:

And not so modern features at the White Tower!

Most of our time was spent on the island of Lesvos where we stayed at a heritage house with a vintage kitchen full of beautiful pieces and lovely textiles. More on those in an upcoming post!

Goodnight for now!

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