Friday, April 27, 2012

spring soup recipes

As is typical in New Hampshire, just when you think spring is finally here, cool weather returns, so I'm thinking about making soup.  Here are a couple of great recipes I'd like to try - not too heavy, perfect for spring.
Click on the photos for complete recipes.

Creamy Asparagus Soup ~ Simply Recipes

...and Curried Potato and Vegetable Soup ~ Simply Recipes

Saturday, April 21, 2012

LA BOHÈME - Juliette Greco

I first heard this song in a Paris cafe, and hearing it takes me right back to that's perfect with Sunday morning coffee.
For the English translation, visit this link.

artist Nini Violette

I could look at this amazing artist's work all day...check out her blog here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Poires Belle Hélène

One of my favorite blogs, Fabulously French, has a delightful french food post every Friday.  While going through some of her older posts, I discovered this delicious recipe.  I had this dessert in France years ago, and they're heavenly...not to mention very sensuous to look at!  I just make these this weekend for The Fabulous Boyfriend.  ;-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The House of Boucheron

Founded in 1858, the House of Boucheron is a luxury French jewelry line.  I've always drooled over their exquisite designs - below are some favorites.  
They also have a very good perfume line (Trouble is wonderful - click here to read my review).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Burn the Floor

Anyone else remember when the Burn The Floor phenomenon began in 2000?  I bought the original DVD (still available on Amazon - click here to purchase) and became...well...obsessed!  I saw them live, too, and that was a treat.  Visit their website for tour dates here.
This is a clip from the finale.  Just a little something to heat up your Saturday night...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mixed Media Journals ~ Lovely Fever

I really like these journals made by the talented Jessica at Lovely Fever on Etsy.  While I haven't journaled in a long time, owning one of these would inspire me!

Baryshnikov ~ Don Quixote

I love how he performs this variation!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

When in doubt - bid it out!

I am asked quite frequently the question - How much does it cost to build this house?

Unfortunately the only way to know how much a home costs to build is to have it bid.  This is because there are simply too many variables that have an effect on construction cost.  For instance:
  • The construction climate (supply and demand) in your particular region
    • Labor costs in your region
    • Material costs in your region
  • The quality of your builder
    • The construction quality desired
    • Level of service desired
  • The complexity / sophistication of the design
  • The quality level of the materials and finishes that you select
  • Issues pertaining to your building site
    • sloped or flat lot
    • quality of soils
    • proximity to utilities
  • Proximity to suppliers / materials
To illustrate the complexity I used a free online construction cost calculator (from and plugged in identical data for two separate locations - Chicago, Illinois and North Platte, Nebraska.  I assumed a custom designed 2500 square foot two story home with a 1000 square foot finished basement, two car attached garage, one fireplace and a pretty high level of custom design and construction quality.   The numbers I received were as follows:
  • Chicago, Illinois - $871,000.
  • North Platte, Nebraska - $672,000
Next I took the exact same specifications but just reduced the quality level by one category.  Here are those numbers:
  • Chicago - $636,055
  • North Platte, Nebraska - $491,800
Now the same house but reducing quality level by one more category resulted in the following:
  • Chicago - $473,929
  • North Platte, Nebraska - $367,513
A pretty brief glance at the numbers above illustrates my difficulty in answering the "how much does it cost?" question.  So how do I answer it?
If you want to know the construction cost of a specific home design you need to have it bid by one or several professional building contractors.  Go ahead and purchase the plans.  The dollar investment and time commitment are very minimal compared to starting a design process from scratch, and in the end you will have a realistic number you can work with.

If prior to purchasing a plan you want to gain a general idea how much construction costs are in your area; then you need to do some homework.  Visit the model homes in your area and talk with the builders.  Compare the level of design, the construction quality, size of home, amenities, exterior finishes, interior finishes, etc.  After a while you will begin to gain a better understanding of the costs for the kind of home you want.  In this process you'll also be narrowing down the builders to those that are best suited for you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A White Farmhouse Plan

I just published a new exterior animation of our Hudson Farmhouse Plan on You Tube.  Check it out.

The design features a modern open floor plan and a main floor master suite within a classic farmhouse exterior.   You can see more at the following link:  Hudson Farmhouse

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Joscho Stephan Trio - Playing Minor Swing

Django Reinhardt's Minor Swing is one of my favorite jazz pieces.  I've heard a lot of great versions, but this one is amazing!