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March 25, 2015
bitsofthepast

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Outdoor Kitchen

Our outdoor kitchen has mad quite a bit of progress since I last posted and I wanted to share it with you all.

The last time I gave you an update, it looked like this:

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The cinder blocks were laid and the counter was being framed out.  It was the summer and it was hot!  While we were in Portugal, we had a handyman come over and tile the counter.  So, the kitchen tile was covered all winter long to avoid to many elements affecting them all at once.  Thank goodness it turned out to be such a mild winter for us, because we have been able to stucco the kitchen and insert the grill.

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We have placed barn wood around the grill to finish off that area.  We are going to use the rest of the old barnwood to make doors for the two openings you see on your left.  The opening furthest to the lest will have an ice box, then the other opening is for the sink drains.

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This is the sink that will be placed on top of the counter instead of being an insert.  We thought it would add some visual to what might instead be a completely flat surface.  Plus, I love the sink.  It is a black onyx sink we picked up from the want adds.  The person redid their house, and had one too many of these fancy and durable sinks.  What would cost $300 brand new, only cost us $60! That’s right!  60 bucks!

In the unfinished corner, we are going to poor concrete.  This will be the future home of our pizza/bread oven.  I say future because we cannot afford to build one this year, but the concrete will be poured so it will not look unfinished for another year.

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Finally, we had a small area that we planned to place a little charcoal grill on.  We found these southwestern tiles that were perfect to fill the space so it would not just be bare concrete.

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So there is the kitchen so far.  Not done, but very close!  This whole patio has been a five year project.  Little by little it has become a great place to entertain.  When the kitchen is complete, I will do a post on the patio so you can see what it looks like.  When we moved in, it was the past owners garden, and we instead saw relaxation!

Hope you are all doing well! And getting ready to enjoy your outdoor space!

Love,

Suzy

March 23, 2015
bitsofthepast

4 comments

Scenes From The Weekend

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It was a pretty laid back weekend.  All of us had another cold sweep through the house.  Full of coughing and feeling yucky, but the show must go on, and we did our best to do all that was needed.  It was a full weekend of scouting.  We had Scouting for Food on Saturday, followed by a puppet show, followed by cleaning out the trailer and camping supplies to get ready for the summers trips.  Sounds as if they are going to the most grizzly infested camp this year.  I thought they went to the most grizzly infested camp last year, but no, there is a worse one.  I will try not to worry.  Besides, its not the actual camp that is infested, it is the area, but still.  Freaks me out just a little as a mother.

I found a sewing machine and desk at ta thrift store a few months age for $20.  The sewing table is art deco style, and come to find out, my grandmother in law has one just like it!  So cool!  I finally had a moment this weekend to open it up and work with it.  Trying to figure out how to thread the machine is painful without a manual, but thank goodness for the internet.  Finally got it working, but I think it needs a good cleaning.

Hopefully we can all start to feel better by this weekend!  Off to San Francisco to see my sister and her family.  Would hate to take this sickness with us!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Looking forward to seeing what you all have been up to!

Love,

Suzy

March 22, 2015
bitsofthepast

2 comments

Sunday Storytelling-Changing the World, One Cup of Coffee at a Time

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When I was in Portugal last November, I was a part of something life changing.  I had the opportunity to participate in afternoon coffee break.  I was in Portugal for ten days with my husband, who was there for a business trip.  He would go to work during the day, and I would tour around. For the first few days, I toured around by myself, which was great, but I really wanted someone to show me the ropes since I was the only spouse who came.  The second full day we were there, we went to dinner with my husbands coworkers and another couple who lived in this part of Portugal.  They were American, but could speak the language fluently, and lived in a small village outside of the bigger city.  She offered to show me around the next day, and we hit it off immediately.  What was supposed to be one day, ended up being everyday I was there.

I was fortunate to meet people from all over the world during the days.  Yes, she would show me the amazing sites, but we would always have a coffee time arranged with people in the afternoon at about one o’clock.  Each day it would be someone different.  Almost everyone we met with had to work, but the whole city would stop for three hours just for a cup of coffee.  And it was not just any old cup of coffee, it was truly the best cup of espresso I have ever had the opportunity to drink.  I have been to Italy, and the coffee there was amazing, but Portuguese coffee, was life changing.  It was amazing not just for the flavor, but for the reason we were drinking it; to talk.

I went in to each coffee break not knowing the person I was sitting across from, but by the end, I felt like they were family.  Portuguese, Belgium, French, American, did not matter where we were from, we could communicate through broken English and lots of hand gestures.  But what was even more amazing is that none of them had a phone on the table.  You guys know exactly what I mean.  You know when we meet with friends, and all of our phones are on the table, so we can receive text messages, Facebook updates, etc.  So we can keep track of the time to make it to the next event that we can hurry through.  Oh no, there was no hurrying here, just a sense of what you have to say matters.  Slow, meaningful and beautiful.

When the coffee break was over, there was no hurrying of the jackets, running out the door and waving frantically goodbye.  There was kissing of the cheeks, walking out the door together, and in some cases, walking them back to work.  I felt as though I mattered, little old me, in a foreign country, with people I have never met.

Upon returning, I could not help but notice the rush of our world.  The meetings I had with others seemed fast and furious.  I missed the cups of coffee and the meaningful talk, when people would actually answer the question of how they were doing.  One Sunday during our Bible study, I made the comment that if we just took the time to talk to others, not worrying about the time or circumstances, then we would see God and maybe so would the other.  I am not saying that we need to forget our responsibilities, but instead schedule a time to sit down with someone when our schedules are not booked.  We put down our phones, hide them , and not worry about the next thing that we are going to be late for.  As I suggested this, people looked at me as though I were a little nuts and nodded there heads.

But something happened after that class that changed me again.  An older gentleman, who is a Ph.D in philosophy, came up to me and said, “I will take you up on that offer for coffee.”  My first thought was, “I do not know if I am smart enough to talk with him!” And my second thought, “Here is my opportunity , so don’t piss it away.”  We ended up going to coffee, and again, it changed my world.  The thoughts he brought in were amazing, and I even gave him some things to ponder as well.  In fact we ended up shutting down the coffee shop!

I have walked away from this experience realizing that if we all just took the time to show each other that our differences and opinions matter and are cared for, the world can be changed.  A time with no interruptions, looking at the other individual in the eye, seeing their hurts, their cares, their life experiences, this  grows compassion and love. This opens the doors for change. More than any like on Facebook could ever do.

Here’s to coffee.

Have a very relaxing Sunday everyone!

Suzy

March 21, 2015
bitsofthepast

no comments

Betty Update

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I know these pictures do not show actual work on Betty, my 1964 Jet trailer that I am restoring, but believe me it is a huge step.  Before I cleaned out this section of our shop, we had no space to put the walls of the trailer when we want to take it apart.  I spent all day yesterday rearranging wood piles, getting rid of wood that is not worth using any longer, braving the big spiders and all the mouse droppings,  sweeping, and just plain old lifting heavy stuff, so that we could move onto the next step of Betty.  Taking down the walls, so new walls can go up! I am so excited about this!  She has been in our shop, half taken apart now for two years, and she is more than ready to start her makeover.  Get ready Betty, we are coming for ya!

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend working on projects or simply enjoying spring!

Love,

Suzy

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