MCM Furniture, part II

We consider ourselves a bit eclectic when it comes to style but both love the mid-century modern aesthetic.

We purchased our second set of MCM furniture from when we moved to Oregon and highly recommend them. (We previously had a huge sectional and two large chairs from Joybird that we left as part of the sale of our cabin in the UP).

They build to order and it takes a while (three months or so) but we’ve been quite happy with the quality for the price.

The book shelf in the first photo is also a Joybird piece. All the furniture is Stella approved.

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How Many Orchids?

Are too many orchids? That is a question Paul keeps asking as I continue to bring home more orchids.

Phalaenopsis orchids (aka ice cube orchids) are widely available in grocery stores and garden shops and are relatively inexpensive. I’ve always loved fresh flowers and have spent hundreds on bouquets. But after my first orchid re-bloomed a few years ago, I’ve been hooked on these long lasting bloomers!

Most of my orchids (how many?!) are phalaenopsis. But I did pick up two zygopetalum orchids that were pretty spectacular while in bloom (though more expensive.) I’ll be a huge fan of them if they produce more flowers.

Some of my currently blooming orchids

How many are too many? I guess I will know when I don’t have enough time in my life to care for them, or if we have to move to a bigger home to accommodate them, or we can’t get to the kitchen without walking over them. Right now, I feel pretty comfortable with 27!

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Spice, Spice Baby

How old is too old for spices? “Experts” suggest many spices and dried herbs lose their potency after just six months. If you are like us, you have several go-to spices that you use often so replace regularly so they are always fresh. But we also have those spices we like to have on hand but use maybe once or twice a year (looking at you marjoram).

I guess you could say we have been collectors of spices …not wanting to throw anything out in case we needed it and continuing to buy new spices on the off-chance we would need it ASAP. We found ourselves with a large spice drawer and 8 stacked trays of spices, some over 10 years old. (Trays which rolled and Susan knocked over twice!) Several of our bottles also got moisture in them causing them to solidify.

So we decided to purge most of the old spices and treated ourselves to new spices from

We investigated several spice companies but liked Spice Walla because most spices come in small tins (one ounce or less) so we aren’t sitting on huge amounts of spices. They also come in tins which prevent light exposure which also decreases quality and shelf life.

A local kitchen store carries some of their spices so bought what we could there. The remainder we ordered online. Somehow we ended up with two kinds of fennel seeds so I guess this whole new spice philosophy is still a work in progress …

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Famiglia Martelli Pasta

So last Christmas Santa brought us a little sampler box from an Italian importer called Gustiamo. In that sampler was some dried spaghetti pasta from Famiglia Martelli in Lari, Italy (a small mediaeval village near Pisa).

At first look, it seems like just a fancier dried spaghetti, but yowza, is it a game changer! The ingredients are simple: Italian durum semolina wheat flour and cold water. It’s extruded through a bronze die and then hung over dowels to dry in the cool air for 50 hours. The process results in a u-shaped noodle with a rough surface that just sauce clings to.

It takes a while to cook, but the taste and mouthfeel are incredible. We use it to upscale a simple weeknight pasta meal to a whole new level. We make a simple sauce with a can of actual San Marzano tomatoes (oregano, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar), cook up some of this pasta and toss in some handmade Italian sausage from Coastal Cutters down highway 101 from us and a simple meal becomes sublime.

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There’s Weather Out There!

For the last four years, we’ve used one of those remote temperature sensors to know what the temp is outside (and if we dipped under 20 below in the UP!). Our second unit gave up the ghost a few weeks ago so we decided to upgrade to a full-on weather station.

We bought a Logia station on Amazon and after some wrestling with batteries and connections, the station came alive. We mounted it with zip-ties on the railing on our rooftop patio.

I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty cool to have all the weather data at our fingertips, especially as we get used to Oregon’s windy, rainy winter. What we didn’t anticipate is how cool it is to hook it up to the Internet via Weather Underground. It stores our data, graphs it and lets us see other weather stations in the area. Total weather-nerdy fun!

On our sidebar you can see the “Damn Weather” widget – click on the graph image and you’ll be taken over to our station on the Internet. Now you can nerd-out with us!

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