Tuesday, December 31, 2013

shoestring reno: kitchen – ikea cabinets + kitchen construction plan

This, friends, is what an ikea kitchen delivery looks like. 25% of the boxes not shown. Number of pieces match - will be going through boxes and checking stuff off in the next day or so. #moving #newhome #kitchenreno

Hi folks, Happy New Year! I didn’t think I’d post until later in the week, but I really wanted to get this post out. I started writing it as we were making incremental progress, and this morning, fueled by yesterday’s stresses over having to readjust our kitchen budget upward (with the money we don’t have – yay!), I was propelled into completing the post today! Getting it out and published will feel very cathartic – so here goes.

This is the second installment of my “Kitchen Renovations Diary”, so to speak – it’s a long one, so bear with me. I know that it might get boring to read after awhile, but if you’re thinking of embarking on kitchen renovations in 2014, I highly recommend you read this to the end, or bookmark it for when you have some time. You might even want to print this out and highlight those parts most relevant to you. I tried to make this as comprehensive as possible and hopefully didn’t skip over anything. However, if any info seems to be missing or is unclear, please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer it right away.

Continue reading shoestring reno: kitchen – ikea cabinets + kitchen construction plan.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

shoestring reno: kitchen appliances

Currently in our future empty home. We move next week. Not sure when construction starts. Fridge sits in the living room til kitchen construction (when?) is over as it can't fit into its spot. #kitchenreno

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the afternoon catching myself looking out the window. Our view right now is nothing spectacular – Atlantic Avenue in all its glory, a Trader Joe’s across the street. But the sunsets, people, the sunsets!! We see such an expansive swath of sky in our Brooklyn home. I realized I’m going to miss this view starting in a few days. By Friday afternoon, there’ll be a different view. Kensington, we’re coming – hope you’re ready.

Our soon-to-be former home is ready to be rid of us. In the last three days, I’ve lost three out of four light-bulbs in the kitchen, and since they’re those expensive $9-a-piece affairs, I decided I’m not spending money on something for just a few days. The third light went out yesterday morning, the day after I finished testing recipes in this kitchen. Even the kitchen wants us out, I thought. It’s time.

With six recipes left to go I figured I could definitely make them in the next few months even with my kitchen being out of commission for a few weeks. In the meantime, I can focus on getting a lot of writing done for the two books. I’m looking forward to hunkering down.

We move this Friday, which is also winter solstice, i.e. the shortest day. I look at it as a good omen – things can only get better from here. Days will be longer; we’ll be settling into a new space; we get to explore and bond with a new neighborhood.

The day that we closed on our new home, we did a final walk-through in the morning. I looked at the kitchen, not yet realizing the scope of work that we would eventually decide to do. I peeked in the kitchen and inside the fridge. And then I realized that with the kind of rigorous recipe testing that I’ll be doing, the size of the fridge wasn’t going to do it for us. We needed something bigger. And so while hoping not to have to buy appliances, we sort of fell into that rabbit hole.

Continue reading shoestring reno: kitchen appliances.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

gruyere black pepper cookies

Gruyere Black Pepper Cookies

It kills me how early the sun sets this time of year. I’m particularly sensitive to daylight and the lack of it renders me almost comatose. I can’t wake up early and by ten pm I’m practically asleep.

Meanwhile the days seem to be asking a lot more of me. Slow down, I keep thinking, there are only so many hours in the day; I’m doing the best I can. But the best-I-can doesn’t seem to be cutting it these days, unfortunately. There’s packing and moving logistics: forwarding your mail, alerting friends and service providers of your address change, ordering new services; there’s work to be done, deadlines to be met, recipes to be tested and written up (not to mention the rest of writing concerning a book); there are seemingly endless edits of things; there’s a matter of getting some exercise (lest you start losing your mind); and so on, and so forth.

Slowly, our apartment is turning into a storage unit. Boxes are beginning to pile up. Things I’d normally put away are strewn about – I’ve all but given up on the place. I get that way before I move. My normal inability to digest clutter forces me to be constantly cleaning, tidying-up, curating so to speak, so the apartment doesn’t become a pig stye. But right before I move, I lose the ability to stay on top of it. Laundry, if it’s not easy to put away, starts to pile up in a messy lump. Right now, in our bedroom, a fold-out chair is groaning under the weight of unfolded sheets. Does it bother me to look at it? Oh, yes. Do I do anything about it? Most certainly, no.

Continue reading gruyere black pepper cookies.