Monday, May 28, 2012

DIY Project

I don't know what it is about a holiday weekend that inspires me to do projects around the home, but it always does.  I thought about doing the kitchen back splash this weekend, but then my car's radiator sprang a leak and had to go to the shop.  I knew the back splash would probably be a multi-Home Depot-trip project, so I put it off in favor of this quick and easy one.

Before and After
All you need is a lamp or two that don't quite match your style, some painters tape, a drop cloth and one can of spray paint (Rustoleum Textured Metallic silver).  I covered the electrical part on top with aluminum foil and stuffed the cord in a ziploc bag, then taped the little bit that was sticking out.  Once I got the lamps all prepped and dusted, it only took about 10 minutes to do this, which is good, since it was hot as all get out today.

I am going to change the harps from gold to silver and I need to get new shades for them, otherwise I'd show you a picture of them back in the bedroom.  The old shades are not the bright white I want, but I think the bases came out great. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Philip Carter Winery

 You may not know this, but Virginia has some really world class wineries.  There 206 wineries in Virginia, basically running in a line along the edge of the Shenandoah Mountains.  Seventy-one of them are within about a one hour drive from our home.  Because of the seasons we experience here, Virginia produces a wine much more in the style of European wines that the very fruity wines that you get from California, where they have a much more consistent temperature and rainfall.

Baby Grapes
It's difficult to produce wine here.  They started growing grapes here 400 years ago.  Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both had vineyards and never produced a single bottle.  You have to survive the winter, the potential for an early spring followed by a sudden frost (which is what happened this year), pests, animals, and then harvesting all the fruit before it freezes again.
This weekend, we drove out to Hume, VA to visit Philip Carter Winery.  We got a Travelzoo voucher for a guided tour of the winery, a tasting of seven wines, picnic with cheese, meat and chocolate, souvenir glasses and a 10% discount on whatever wine we purchased.  We bought a bottle of Viognier, a grape that I had never heard of until I moved here.  Last year, the viognier was named Virginia's official state grape.  Viognier grapes make a dryish white wine and Philip Carter's wine has flavors of lemongrass, citrus and tropical fruits.  Their Viognier is aged in stainless steel, which I much prefer over oak-y wines, like chardonnays.  This bottle is going to be great with Maryland blue crab latter this summer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's a bird, it's a plane...

This shows how close the park is to the runway

Or a lot of planes.  Jim put me in charge of planning "something outdoors" for us to do this weekend.  I immediately thought that a picnic would be great, and I could cross something off of my 101 goals list.

Gravelly Point is a park on the George Washington Parkway, right along the Virginia side the Potomac, across from D.C.  However, it's main claim to fame is that it is located a few 100 feet from the north end of runway 1/19 at National Airport.  It is one of the best places in America for plane spotting and it has been on my list of cool, free things to do for a very long time.

We packed up a lunch of hummus and crackers, asparagus, mozzarella and tomato salad, turkey, cranberry, spinach and brie wraps and oatmeal-raspberry bars and headed on down.  It was a cloudy day, but no rain, and the park was full, but were able to find a place to park on the grass lot.   

Once we staked out a place, we ate lunch and then spent some time trying to catch good pictures of planes that are moving very fast with my little point-and-shoot camera.  After many, many tries and many bad shots, I figured out that using the setting for sports worked best and we got these pictures.