Monday, August 22, 2016

Common Grounds

I have not yet, nor will I likely become, a Keurig fan.  Yes, I've used them -- the break room at my old office had one and I would bring my own K-Cups in.  But with each cup I brewed, I died a little inside.  It's not just the cost, it's the wasteful packaging.  More than that, it's the flavor. To me, the best brew comes out of a percolator -- the older, the better.

Those who have read my past blog will probably recall my percolator obsession.  My motto is "When you see an old percolator, buy it."  The newer models don't brew as well and will only do if there is no alternative.  The specimen shown here came from a garage sale in Williamson, NY.  When I saw the sign for the house sale on the way to our camp, I knew I'd come by the next day to look for a percolator.

This particular style is my favorite -- set the brew to "Stronger" and you'll get a rich cup that is piping hot.  These old versions brew a very hot cup and the aroma is out of this world.  Chez Petite has about five percolators at this point.  The one currently in use is an avocado green version of the one shown today.  While it will probably last forever, I need replacements to fall back on.  Since the supply of these old things is not unlimited, I buy them whenever I see them.

A good price for one of these is certainly no  more than five bucks.  This one cost me a buck.  Always check to be sure the cord is in good condition -- it's the part that is most likely to go first.  Keep the cord dry and check it regularly to be sure it's not falling apart.

Aside from the storage space they take up in my basement, once a unit is put into use, it is easy to store in a cabinet -- unlike a Keurig, which generally takes up counter space.  A one pound bag of coffee takes up half the space of a box of 12 K-cups -- but makes about eight times as much coffee.  Aside from taste, the economy of space is the reason I love percolators.  That, plus you can keep multiple cups warm for an extended period of time.  When we are entertaining, I can get two going -- one with regular and one with decaff.  Guests always love the taste of perked java.

And when it's all said and done... there is a cool factor to a percolator that you don't get from a drip machine!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Give Me the Bone!

China, that is.  For dinnerware, bone china is my first choice.  In it's purest form, it's white, translucent, streamlined, durable and neutral.  Are you looking for an everyday dinnerware solution that can be dressed up, dressed down, put in the dishwasher and microwave, that looks good on just about any table?  Then consider going with white bone china for your tabletop.

When we first moved to our small house, I enjoyed eating on our fine china on a daily basis.  The big drag was that it couldn't be cleaned in the dishwasher.  Our formal pattern has a silver rim which makes it impossible to microwave and unsuitable for the dishwasher.  In order to save space in our cabinets, I moved on to clear glass plates, bowls and mugs.  That made sense at the time because they were affordable, durable and essentially "neutral" in color and design.

While glass dishes can be durable and functional, they still chip.  They also always look casual.  I wanted to "upscale" our everyday tabletop but didn't want to sacrifice in function and utility.  White bone china fit the bill.  Alas, it took some searching to find a set that had no metallic embellishment and would also not break the bank.

This Zoe Couple service for four was what I finally decided on.  It came from Overstock and you can find it here.  There were a few simple criteria for choosing it: size, price & shipping.  The Big Guy wanted bowls that were big enough for a healthy portion of cereal and also insisted on mugs rather than cups.  My budget wanted to come it at around $50 for a 16 piece set and I did not want to pay shipping.  This service for four came in at around $55 so I purchased three sets.

Similar styles can be found at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond -- and I don't get a kickback from any of these sites.

So far, we are very happy with our new dishes.  The worst part was getting the individual bar-code/inventory sticker off of each piece.  Goof-Off helped with that.

The dishes take up very little room in our cabinet and the full three sets can be done in one dishwasher load.  The bowls are plenty big for stew, cereal, etc.  This style will fit in nicely with our "fine" set of Mikasa which we've had for years from our wedding.  I look forward to having the opportunity to find mix-and-match serving pieces from lots of sources, both retail, on-line and second hand.  With such a simple look, this set will be easy to match or complement.

If you're in the market for a new set of everyday dinnerware, consider the durability and versatility of plain white bone china.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Taking Off Again

Changing course can be a scary thing.  Conventional wisdom and human nature favor risk avoidance.  But at what point is risk avoidance an obstacle rather than a strategy?  It's an obstacle when it is an impediment to growth.  Being willing to toss out and move forward, common sense be damned, can be tough if you're a comfort junky.  I like to be safe and comfortable but am too ambitious to live my life that way in the long run.

The old LTSL blog had a lot of good memories for me -- and I value everyone who has come over to welcome me back.  The old posts and comments weren't lost. They were intentionally deleted.  Since moving forward with new images meant getting rid of old pictures, the old posts would have been missing visual references.  That meant deleting the images, the posts and the comments.  Reading old comments made me realize that good communities evolve around this medium.  That was the reason I decided to return to blogging rather than just working on a professional website.

Clearing out the old took some time and it made the break from old to new final, however, there was no real tangible value in the old material and I have faith that I will build something just as useful going forward.  Leaving things or getting rid of them all together is a scary prospect for some, however I see it as a "safe" way to take a risk.  It's a way to commit to moving forward.

Being the forward thinking girl that I am, I'm looking forward to moving forward.  In this effort, I'm also trying to free myself of some of the old attitudes that gave me security.  Don't be surprised if some of the things I post about seem contradictory to beliefs I held in the past.  Time off has given me a new perspective -- and it's good to be back!

Monday, August 8, 2016


It has been quite a while since I've posted to my blog and appreciate those who noted concern over my absence.  Having lost the ability to store more images as well as a major change in life direction, it would seem the old blog was no longer a representation of the type of life being led at Chez Petite.

One of my major goals of this year was to recover from a few orthopedic surgeries.  Convalescence and disability leave provided time for professional reflection.  In an effort to market myself and my skills, I spent time creating a professional website:  Building the site took time and effort which prevented me from attending to this blog.  The time paid off -- I start on a new career path next week.

An updated look and a slightly different view on life will be evident going forward.  I still hope to cultivate and retain blogging friendships from the past.  The past four years of blog material have been wiped out and I'm starting with mostly a clean slate going forward.  If anyone's sticking with me, thanks for your patience, I'm working my way back!