Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mr. Narwhal

Since our baby is going to be born in July or more likely August and I've already knitted a collection of hats, sweaters, and blankets for he/she, I decided to knit a few toys. I love Rebecca Danger's pattern and her Big Book of Monsters, they look hard and really aren't. I knit a monster for my nephew's birthday last fall and loved it so much. I started knitting this gal from the Big Book of Monsters for our little guy or girl, the body is done but it needs legs and arms (have to get on that) and her mouth needs glued on.
I also found Rebecca's pattern for Napoleon the Nervous Narwhal and had to knit him. He was super easy to knit and took very little time and yarn. I used some of that Lion Brand Martha Stewart yarn for his body and some leftover Madtosh DK for his tooth. I bought the safety eyes last year from Etsy and they came in a big bag so I have plenty. His tooth support is a chopstick, per Rebecca's instructions. My fins/seaming don't look as nice as they could but I think it's alright. I'm pretty sure though that Mr. Narwhal will be a shelf toy for awhile, at least until the baby learns not to maim himself/herself with the tooth.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kitchen update

Our kitchen is still missing it's sink, countertops, cabinet hardware, island, and new dishwasher. I am most concerned about the lack of sink and countertops. Last week the countertop guy came to measure and then as he left told me it would be another *three weeks* before the countertops would be installed. I'm ashamed to admit I cried a little after he left, which was stupid but I blame it on hormones and the fact that no one prepared us for being without a sink/countertops for five weeks. I wish the nice sales people had been a little more clear with us as to how long that would take. It's so silly to be upset about I know, we have two other (small) bathroom sinks and two bathtubs and we have clean, running water and we're gainfully employed, etc. etc. I just miss a working kitchen, I'm already tired of takeout/eating out/frozen food and disposable plates. Our new dishwasher is in, but can't be installed until the countertops are so until then it's sitting at Lowe's. My baker's rack came, we got a new trashcan, and my island is being delivered sometime tomorrow so that's all progress.
I got one of the piece I ordered off Etsy from Old Schoolhouse Stationers, I love it!
I went ahead and moved the items that go into the upper cabinets in so they wouldn't get dusty sitting out in our makeshift kitchen area.
We're still waiting to here from our electrician/plumber/handyman guy about how much rerouting the dryer vent is going to cost us, I shudder to think....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Under construction

So technically there's not really any actual construction going on but my kitchen is still pretty inoperable right now. After five years of living in this house we finally decided to bite the bullet and update our kitchen (that fit of nesting I'm in helped kickstart it too). We ordered cabinets and countertops, a new microwave/vent for over the stove, a new dishwasher and we decided to paint too. 

Last weekend we emptied out our kitchen (except for the appliances) and on Monday morning a very nice team of two guys came and removed our old cabinets, range hood, and countertops. Doug was home with them and I think it took them around 2 hours to finish.

This is the kitchen before (sans the cabinet hardware which we removed to donate to the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore). The cabinets may look fine but looks are deceiving, they were a mixture of original metal cabinets (hello rusty insides) and refaced painted doors, probably from the 80's. The countertops and backsplash were some type of natural stone. They looked okay but the surface was not ideal for say rolling out dough.

 I really wasn't a fan of storing my utensils in here, it was much grosser in person.

And here is the after the tear-out, slightly horrifying.

On Wednesday our plumber/electrician came to move the electricity/plumbing for the dishwasher over six inches (because the new cabinetry was slightly smaller than the old) and replace that sheet rock mess/hole.

Then it looked like this:

Wednesday night Doug and I painted the whole mess back there with Kilz Clean Start so it would be less scary.

Thursday I took the day off to supervise the cabinet installation (supervise meaning I sat in my recliner watching tv and knitting until the guys needed me to decide something). They started at 8AM and were done by 4PM. They also installed our new over the range microwave/vent, which I am madly in love with. Total upgrade. Our old microwave was one my aunt bought me in 2001 when I moved into my first apartment. It still works, but will now be going to live at Goodwill.

The kitchen looked like this during the installation:

Saturday, Doug and I again got our the paintbrushes and spent nearly the whole darn day taping, priming, and painting the kitchen.

Before: (green is the tape)


We used Sherwin-Williams Harmony paint, the same paint we used in the baby's room. The color is called 'Watery' and it's somewhere between a bluish-green, a little darker than these pictures let on. Our paint job isn't perfect but we'll touch it up later.

Now we have to wait for everything else. The countertop people are coming tomorrow to measure and supposedly it'll take another week after that before they're installed. However, I'm crossing my fingers for a minor miracle in hopes they can come before then. Our sink is going to be an undermount one so it doesn't get installed until the countertops do. I really miss my kitchen sink. We also ordered a new dishwasher which will not arrive until after Memorial Day and I ordered this island from Crate and Barrel, which will arrive in 2-4 weeks. There are also some other project/kinks to work out. We have to figure out a new way to vent our dryer and I've asked Doug to build some open shelves for me to put on the wall by the door to display some things. It's going to be great once it's all done but until then it's just a tad inconvenient. Stay tuned for more updated pictures.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Another type of chocolate chip cookie

I can't say that I have a favorite kind of chocolate chip cookie. I mean really I don't think I'll ever turn down a chocolate chip cookie. Usually I make smaller, more cakey cookies, just a personal preference but like I said I'll try pretty much any type of chocolate chip cookie. I saw this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies on someone else's blog and was intrigued. These are not pretty cookies by any means but they are delicious and addictive. They are super buttery and crisp but not hard-crisp. They might be my new favorite cookie recipe! (sorry for the crappy iPhone pics)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

White Chocolate-Coconut-Oatmeal Cookies

I make a lot of cookies, they're usually pretty easy to throw together, especially on a weeknight when you're just craving something sweet and uncomplicated. I tend to make a lot of the same cookies, typically involving bittersweet chocolate. I was at Whole Foods on Friday and I saw a table of Callebaut chocolate blocks and pieces for baking. On an impulse I grabbed a block of white chocolate, not really having an idea as to what I was going to do with it. Once I was home I Google-d recipes, found none to my liking, and then perused Pinterest, where I found a really great recipe. This recipe is from Taste Food and is adapted slightly from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen. It also used up some of the oats and shredded coconut residing in my pantry. Also Doug really likes coconut and I probably don't make enough coconut recipes for him.

This is a buttery cookie that's crunchy on the outside (the butter) and chewy on the inside (the oats/coconut). Also there's a sprinkling of coconut and sea salt on top before you bake and we all know that a little salt really adds something nice to sweet items.