Friday, December 21, 2018

It works! Counting our blessings

You know what it feels like, when you have had a dream, and take the plunge and try to carry it off?

You know the struggles, the disappointments, the way you have to call on all your resources of patience and diligence and optimism?

You know how things go unexpectedly wrong but somehow it is OK?

All of that and more has brought us to this week, when in a rush the tiles were done on Sunday, the electricians swooped in a frenzy on Monday to connect everything up and the plumbers wrangled all the taps and stuff into place so that by Tuesday evening we had our kitchen returned to us in all its pristine glory!  (of course it can't stay like that!)

The whole place is just wonderful. We love the natural light the new big window lets in. We love the view over our patio and into the back yard. 

There are little moments:
  • DH comes in and announces that 'unpacking the dishwasher is so easy now" as the drawers are much more conveniently situated and don't require kneeling down to reach into the nether corners of the bottom shelf of some cupboard or another. 
  • I take something hot out of the oven and plonk the whole thing straight onto the stainless steel bench next to the stove.
  • We stand at the sink and marvel at how lovely everything is
  • We can work in several work areas without getting in each other's way

From this wonderful space, I made this: our first sourdough loaf in our new kitchen. 

It has been a learning curve -getting used to the induction cook top and the electric oven and the new combi microwave in particular. The instruction manuals are pretty daunting. Many features I suppose I will never use.

We had invited friends over for a solstice party on Friday, so my new kitchen got a workout,  and some admiring comments, when they came over. I made a vegetable quiche and a tarte a l'oignon (from Elizabeth David's book on Vegetables, which I found in an op shop) and a cake from Nigella's Book "Simply Nigella"- I served it with our mulberries.

Our last bottle of Kalamata olives was opened. I had seen an Instagram post of someone who made a spiced marinade for their olives, so I gently fried garlic and cumin and then tumbled the olives in the pan and warmed it all through with a bit of chilli flakes added. I guess there are other flavours I can try now I know how popular they are!

Now that is done, we can settle down to think about Christmas and the fact our son, daughter in law and the 3 grandchildren will be over in Perth for 2 weeks just after Christmas. We need to oil the bikes, find the toys we packed away, set up the train set and make the place a bit toddler-proof by putting up anything low enough for him to reach!

From me to you, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas time, from our corner of Perth Western Australia.

This is where I intend to spend a lot of time in the near future.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nearly there, with a few delays

There has been a lot of painting this week! Lovely DH worked hard on painting the half-finished kitchen so that when work did proceed, we were ready for it. We used our favorite colour "Antique White USA" which is a sort of eggshell white. He replaced the door furniture on the door which leads to the laundry, and painted doors and door frames white. 

The stainless steel top for the area around the oven and induction cooktop was delivered.  We wanted stainless steel because it is the kind of thing which doesn't mind you taking a hot casserole from the oven and dumping it on top of it. It will get worn in over time -and I think that the scratches will add to the look of my working kitchen. 

The utensil jar you can see is one I found this week at a new St Vinnie's op shop near me. 

The outside wall which was patched when the new window came in, was sealed and then painted to match the rest of the wall around out patio. Our home is built in mostly dark browns and red bricks, and some years ago we painted the patio walls to brighten things up out there. Turns out it was a good move, as you can't get these coloured bricks any more!

The patio is now back in business again, ready for our summer.

We had a bit of bad news, with the tiler reporting in sick so they couldn't come to work on the kitchen last Friday. This would put all the other trades back too, and this close to Christmas things were getting difficult. Fortunately the kitchen building company was able to get a tiler to work on Sunday. The only problem with that was that, when he came, we realised that he did not have the tiles we had chosen, and neither had they been delivered to our place! We managed to find some plain white tiles in the local hardware in sufficient quantities to enable the tiler to complete the job yesterday. 

We are now hoping to see the kitchen finished, if the plumber and electricians will only return for the final pieces of work.

Stay tuned! 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tradie on site!

In Australia we call tradespeople "Tradies". There have been a lot of them in our home this week, as it became a building site.

First there were the super organised and professional building tradies who demolished the old kitchen and took out the windows. That was a very noisy couple of days! They were well organised and they cleaned up after themselves. The big surprise was that the replacement window was installed on Day 1 instead of Day 3 as we had expected, so we could immediately see the effect. 

The transformation that the window has brought is amazing -we have much more natural light and a lovely view over the patio and back garden. I just know this will make me happier. 

We lived with a partly boarded up room and a but of a mess for several days but gradually the hole where the old vertical window had been was replaced with fastwall bricks and faced off ready for the big transformation when the cabinets were installed.

These are even better than I imagined they would be!

DH painted the ceiling before the cupboards went in, and will paint the walls next week as we wait for the stainless steel benchtop to go here -around the new electric oven and induction cook top. 

I have one working power pint, and  sink which is not plumbed in, so no taps either. Never the less the fridge is working and I have a kitchen bench and drawers so I have moved the camp kitchen to the new kitchen and cleared stuff from the rest of the house.

This feels more 'normal'. I have been trying hard to do some basic cooking -one night I made a very old fashioned chicken dish -the one where you put chicken pieces in the slow cooker with a can of apricot nectar and the contents of a packet of french onion soup. With my rice cooker to make the rice it was a simple and tasty meal. DH and DD were happy to make its reaquaintance -it was probably a staple in the 1990s, I am guessing! We have also cooked sausages on the barbeque, and I have found out that you can make pasta in a rice cooker too. With a jar of pasta sauce and some cooked meat stirred through it is another meal.  I can cook baked potatoes in the slow  cooker- we served them with home made coleslaw.

So we are getting along nicely. DH is happy that most of the appliances which were clogging up his shed are now gone and sort-of installed. The cat is happy that every few days she gets a normal quiet house and can feel normal. DD and I will be happy to finally get to our Christmas decorations boxes and be able to get more festive. 

I hope to have more progress to report next week!