Month: September 2017

Thirty-One: Shelf Desk

Living in a smaller house has its limitations. For instance as much as I would love to have a huge desk to put my computer and accompaniments on I really do not use them enough to justify the space it would take. So I set up on the edge of a shelf and it actually worked pretty good, except that there wasn’t enough space to have the mouse on the same shelf as the keyboard, which was a little awkward.

So I devised a solution.

Using scraps and timber reclaimed from past projects no longer in use  I was able to put together a shelf pretty easily and only needed a few bits of new hardware to get it built.

The design is pretty simple, with a single piece of MDF serving as the desktop and a length of sturdy timber running from left to right at the front and back. The back hooks onto some dowel in the holes on the shelf unit and the front is supported by a pair of adjustable arms.

The adjustable nature of the support arms made the connectors a little fiddly to make, but were totally worth it as I can now ensure the desk is level no matter what height I set it at.

A couple of cabinet hinges to attach the other end of the arms to the desk and it was done.

The result is not perfect. The main issue is that it bows a little in the middle as I did not brace it from front to back, and it could be improved aesthetically. But considering it is probably only a temporary set up it certainly does the job.

Thirty: Oh deer!

Many moons ago I purchased an AMAZING rug from Savers for $25. The rug is made up of a repetitive pattern of deers mid gallop set in oval frames surrounded by ferns and filigree. A combination of neutrals and a delightful green (which my google of ‘shades of green’ likens it to ‘pear’).

For a brief time the rug resided in one of my share houses loungerooms and while it brought me much joy, it also brought much dirt (and housemates dog’s pee) upon itself.  I spot cleaned the rug, removed it from the compromising situation and since then it’s been stored away. Originally, I had wanted to turn it into a wall hanging so when we made the move to Brunswick, I decided to make that happen.

One morning I got inspired to hang the dear thing. I found a piece of dowel in the shed, cut it to size and crocheted a some twine I had into a more fashionable hanger. I sewed tabs along the top of the rug, slipped the dowel through and then hung it up in our bedroom behind out bed.

  

To be honest, it doesn’t look as good as I imagined it would, which saddens me. I’m not sure if it’s because it doesn’t suit the space or because there’s inconsistencies in the colour because of spot cleaning or because the weight of the rug on the tabs I sewed have caused it to bow and sag along the top. Rather than writing it off completely I think I will get it dry cleaned, hoping the colour sorts itself out and fix my tabs up. Hopefully then, it will be as dear as I imagined it would be!

Note: Since making this wallhanging and getting around to posting it, I have taken it down and we’ve put up some other prints. Hopefully I’ll find a place for the hanging at our house, or find a good home for it.

Twenty-Nine: Ceaseless Cabbage

To simplify our grocery shopping and to eat more seasonally, Simon and I have started ordering a fruit and vegetable box from Ceres Fair Food. We’ve both been super impressed with both the variety and the quality of the produce. For about a month, each week there was cabbage in the box. After weeks of cabbage soup, stuffed cabbage rolls and even a cabbage curry (it is a thing!) we were pretty sick of this member of the brassica family!

So, when we received a wombok cabbage we decided to get our ferment on make some kimchi. Of course, it meant that we had to buy a number of other ingredients in order to make this Korean side dish, but I anticipate that the end result will be well worth it.

Simon and I made this one a team effort as we had a social engagement to get to, so we really needed to stick to the 20 minute prep time of our recipe. The process is really simple, mostly comprising of slicing and food processing. I found it interesting to see how kimchi gets its red chilli coating, its a mixture of water and rice flour which you head and turn into a paste. You then add in gochugaru (Korean chilli powder) which gives it spice and the colour.

We were surprised with how much the recipe yielded, filling one large jar and two small/medium ones. After sitting on the bench for a few days to get the fermentation process started, we’ve since popped it in the fridge so it can ferment to our liking. I haven’t yet tried the Kimchi, but Simon has and he said it’s pretty good. I look forward to sampling with some Korean cuisine.

 

Twenty-Eight: Boxes

A while back we bought a new bed. It’s great, but we immediately  found that the cardboard boxes we had previously stored things in under the old bed were just a little bit too tall to fit. Annoying, but fixable. Our first thought was to look for plastic tubs that would fit under, but after a fair bit of looking around the closest we could find was still a couple of millimetres too big. Then I thought: I could build that!

So I measured up the space and drew up some boxes that would fit perfectly and maximise our storage. They’re a very simple construction, using cheap pine lining board I chiselled off one of the edges of the groove to allow for the base (with the added bonus of making the finished product look a lot neater). I then made a simple butt-jointed frame from the boards before dropping in the plywood base and stapling it in place. Here’s a diagram to help explain how the base is attached:

 

They worked great but because I had made them such a precise fit they were very difficult to grip and slide out; they needed handles. I had a look at Bunnings, but to buy enough for the 8 boxes we had made would cost way more than we had already spent to build the boxes. As luck would have it, people throw these things out, and after a few weeks of scoping out our local streets for sets of drawers in hard rubbish I had procured the requisite handles.

From this point some time has passed. We moved house and in the move a few of the bases dropped out from some of the boxes (turns out the staples we used were not long enough) and the handles still had not made it onto the boxes. One night last week we had a spare half hour and decided it was about time we finished these off. So out came the drill and the longer staples I had finally got around to buying. We got a bit of a production line going with myself measuring and drilling holes for the handles, and Zara re-stapling and installing the handles.

The original cutting and assembly of the boxes did take quite a bit of time, but between the two of us it wasn’t too bad and we now have some very solid, custom sized under-bed storage. 

Twenty-Seven: Savoury Character

By the end of winter I’m pretty over soup and am craving food that has crunch or at the very least, that I can chew.

Earlier in the week I cooked a meal that had egg yolks and omitted the white. I’m not a sweet tooth so wasn’t keen on whipping up a pav or some macarons. Instead, I threw together a batch of savoury granola to both use the egg whites (as a binding agent) and add that long desired crunch to what feels like a predominately pureed diet.

I’m not a stickler for recipes, so did a rudimentary google and picked the first recipe that popped up to get an idea of quantities and ingredients. From memory I threw the following ingredients in a bowl (I didn’t measure anything, so my quantities are just guesswork!)

  • 1.5 cups of oats
  • .5 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
  • .5 cup sunflower seeds
  • .3 cup of pepitas
  • .3 cup of seasame seeds (black and white)
  • 2 tbsp of poppyseeds
  • 2 tbsp of flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Good grind of pepper
  • A pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2 egg whites
  • Couple of lugs of olive oil
  • One lug of maple syrup

I mixed it all together, popped it on a baking tray in an 180 degree oven for 30 minutes (stirring once halfway through), let it cool and popped it in a jar! Looking forward to sampling it with some soup in the coming weeks, or on top of some avocado toast.

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