applesteamdream


From Pallet to Sink = Renovate + Recycle + Re-use + Re-purpose

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Well…..what a time we’ve been having. Our dream is beginning to really come true. The interior design, build and maintenance business are doing well and customers seem to really love what we are doing and what we stand for. The above sink unit above was made from part of an old telegraph pole, lengths of 3″x3″ timber was used to build a base for the basin to sit on. the back, where the tap is fitted is made from lengths of pallet. The whole thing was sanded, painted with very dark varnish, sanded, stained with browns wood stain, then sanded for a last time and three coats of tinted beeswax polish was applied and rubbed to a mid-sheen finish.

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Another sink unit we made. The top is made from marine ply, sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of pallet wood and edged in 2″x 1″ edging. All sanded and triple waxed to a high level finish. This was fitted into two posts made from 8″ x 8″ Douglas fir, with rubber feet sotted into the base. The storage is provided by a pull out soft-close deep drawer. The drawer has a high gloss finish and is topped with a quartz composite. The tap is a waterfall type set onto the bowl.

 

We have some other items being designed for the bathroom to go with the first sink unit, to be added here soon, alcove shelves and a cabinet made from pallets.

Renovate + Recycle + Re-use + Re-purpose

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Our Culnady Dwelling.

We’re both hard at work in every department of building our applesteamdream, Ric has accumulated many recipes and ideas inc samples of eco roof tiling (made from recycled bottles).

Eco-slate

Eco-slate 2

Here is a couple of photos of the tile’s, as you can see the difference  in look to standard tiles is very little though they are so much better insulation dew to the proses of weathering, the tiles bond together expelling all air gaps and crate one solid membrane.

We have been searching for an architect to help with the straw bale build and have found Tagarts of Belfast, they designed the Ecos building in Ireland and have taken our project on with wonder and enthusiasm  (at first I think they thought we were bonkers but after the full plan was unfolded they have come round to our way of thinking that everything is possible,  or at least excepted or madness).

All of the land paperwork has now been completed thanks to the hard-working solicitor (J McNally’s) of Magherafelt, we are the proud owners of the land appointed to Culnady Road, Upperlands, its taken six years in total so as you may imagine we are delighted.

Next thing will be a January trip back over to clear and survey the land fully, the house will be built on a platform to take into account  the natural slope towards the river and help protect the straw bale construction. Lots of planning to be done.

Well all for now, Happy days –  Richard & Ric.

 



Season’s Greetings………..”Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas…….”

Well we are into December at last, and our tree has gone up…..still got the hallway to decorate though….just like Narnia Winter wonderland…..watch this space.

As you can see below the wrapping idea worked a treat, we’re really pleased with the way it looks. No sticky tape means the brown paper can be re-used, as well as the cloth red ribbon, 25 mtrs for less than £3, from E-bay. Next year we might use newspaper and string…..what about using gift bags that can be used year after year, try and wrap ecologically and don’t waste paper.

If you use commercial paper, don’t use sticky tape. That way you could buy a recycled paper “log Press” and make eco-logs out of the old paper: add water in a bucket, add paper, place lots of the wet paper into the log press and Hey presto: Eco-log. They take a bit of time to dry out, so do a few at a time.

The eco log will burn slowly on the open fire, what about having a fire pit in the garden….for Boxing Day treat?

On another note, we have just tried a mincemeat recipe that was given my mum, by a lady that was 100 years old, the recipe was given to her by her mother. Its at least 200 years old, the recipe that is not her mother. For our American readers, this mincemeat recipe is a sweet mix of dried and glace fruit, with sugar and brandy etc. Here is a treat….the recipe in question, (bake in little individual pastry cases for delicious mince pies)

1/2 lb currants

1/2 lb sultanas

1/4 lb candied peel

2 oz ground almonds

large cooking apple

1/4 lb suet (we used vegetarian)

1/2 lb soft brown sugar

rind and juice of  1 orange and 1 lemon

1 or 2 teaspoons ground, dried mixed spice (cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, clove, pimento, ginger)

10 glace cherries sliced in half.

Method

Clean fruit, peel and chop apple into small pieces or slivers.

Remove rind of orange and lemon, and squeeze juice, removing pips and pith.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, add two or three tablespoons of brandy or whiskey or dark rum (optional).

Then stir in well. Cover and stir two or three times a day for a couple of days. Then keep in sterilised jars till needed.

Make some individual short crust pastry cases, fill with mincemeat, add pastry lid and bake in line with your pastry recipe.

These are gorgeous served with ice-cream, double cream or custard…or cold with a nice coffee.

You could go the whole distance and serve with double cream mixed with some pouring honey and whiskey….delicious.

Have a lovely time preparing for the festive season,

Ric and Richard xx



Season’s Greetings and the three R’s

We haven’t posted for a while, its been a bit mad with family stuff, but it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy.

The latest batch of Applesteamdream Apple and Cinnamon jam is ready, been put into jars and the labels are now on, ready to go into friend’s Christmas Present boxes. This year we are making as much as we can for presents, this traditional approach suits the Applesteamdream way. So our friends can expect homemade things like: Egyptian Dukkha; jams; brownies; chutneys; lemon curd; as well as other non-edible delights. It seems to give a whole new dimension to the run up to the winter holidays.  Presents will be wrapped, this year, in brown paper with coloured ribbon. Ribbon can be re-used, and because there’s no sellotape, the brown paper can be used again, following the 3 R’s mantra: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. Jam jars can be bought but why not save jars after use. We save all our glass jars and sterilise them, wash, then in bicarbonate of soda and hot water, then in the oven for a few minutes, usually when the oven is already hot from baking….waste not want not (even the heat in the oven is re-used).

By making many of the presents ourselves we have also managed to reduce our carbon footprint, by not buying things that have been shipped all over the world. The apples were from a family friend’s tree, which would have dropped to the ground and be lost. Its amazing when you start on this journey, how much fruit you see going to waste in people’s gardens. Next year, I am going to walk around the neighbourhood and offer some pots of jam or chutney in exchange for the fruit.  It’ll save them having to clear up the windfall from their gardens too.

This afternoon we are putting the trimmings up, usually they go up on December 1st, but all this prep has put us in the Christmas mood. The cake that was baked a few weeks ago will get another drink of Brandy…..MMMmmmm WARNING: “Please Don’t Eat Christmas Cake and Drive”…not ours anyway. It’ll be another couple of weeks before the marzipan will be made and the cake covered. Please have a go at making your own marzipan, its easy and tastes so much better. TIP: leave the marzipan covered cake for up to a week to settle, before adding the icing.

Looking forward this afternoon: to mince pies, cappuccino with a sprinkling of cinnamon on and Christmas music as the flat takes on its winter festive mantel.

Season’s Greetings

Ric & Richard xx

Applesteamdream