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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MEDITERRANEAN MADNESS

mdina

It’s quite a while since we last posted on here and life has taken many different turns since then. We are still in the villa we found when we first moved over, but haven’t developed the garden at all, we just haven’t had time.

Moving to a small island (Malta is only 17 miles by 9) means that you have to become very adaptable, A lot of the ideas we had when we moved over here have changed. The jams, chutneys etc are made rather infrequently at the moment. We lost a lot of the grapefruit crop due to high winds as they were almost ready to harvest.

Our interior design business that we had in the UK is now thriving over here as well as the maintenance part of the business. We have an ever-growing client base and word of mouth is getting us plenty of work.

Now we are starting to move into the furniture up-cycling and re-design part of the business that we always wanted to do. We have several projects on the go, two sink units, one from an old telegraph pole the other from big wooden posts. An old wooden slab used to be the footing for scaffolding is being turned into a designer side table with built in table lamp, (photos to follow).

We have many design ideas coming together, some with re-cycled materials, some from scratch.

We thought we’d share the bed that we made for ourselves first, out of 8″square beams and 3″square posts.:

bed 2

bed 1



The Journey
June 15, 2012, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Dad, Life, love, Smile | Tags: , , ,

For Jack Sharples and Michelle Gray

 

Life is a strange old thing, you think you know where you are heading, what you will be and how you will live your life…..then BANG! you realise that life is never as simple as that. As many plans as you make, more forks in the road crop up to steer you a different way. Sometimes objects, people or things take our attention, some for a moment, some for longer, sometimes for a lifetime. Sometimes the road is smooth, sometimes rocky. Every now and then its uphill, seeming to go on for a lot longer than the reality, but with the promise of a time of free-wheeling down the other side to a more relaxed time.

Along the way we may lose people we hold dear, whether they move away, lose touch, fall out with us or something more permanent, leave this physical world behind. Through all the hurt, sorry, recriminations and blame, we are all on the same journey, just following different routes. When we meet someone on the way, that makes us feel the journey is worthwhile, we should hug them close with all our hearts and share what we have found with others.

Always remember to share a smile, a few kind words or a helping hand with others can make all the difference. Who knows what trials of life others are experiencing, when you meet. A smile, like dropping a stone in a pond, can send ripple effects to many, spreading kindness and joy to what can be, at times a dark world.

 

 



Its a Home-Made Christmas at Applesteamdream…
December 12, 2011, 9:22 am
Filed under: baking, Christmas, cooking, sustainable living | Tags: , , , , ,

With the world in recession still, its been lovely to return to a time when gifts were handmade, when preparations for Christmas involved lots of quality family fun in the kitchen. Though preparations started in October, it makes the season all the more special when it draws closer. We’ve found happiness in the day to day things, not in financial gains. The contentment to be found cooking together, whether it is something for a special occasion, or for dinner, is amazing. Sharing tasks makes them more fun, and becomes a way to bond instead of a chore.

Preparations for the coming festive season have been fun, we’re trying old and new recipes for chutneys, cakes and the like, for Christmas presents, but also going forward for our own store cupboard and the forthcoming Applestaemdream cookbook.

Red Onion Marmalade bubbling away.

Red Onion Marmalade took quite a lot of onions, 1kg and makes only a couple of small jars when ready, but it tastes amazing and works out a lot cheaper than the shop bought variety. A great accompaniment for cold meats or cheeses on Boxing Day and beyond.

Marrow Chutney with our labels on

The first chutney we’ve ever made is now in jars to mature over the next few weeks up to Christmas. Chutney is a great way to preserve the excess of fruit and vegetables from the garden, and make sure you have produce throughout the winter season. The vinegar and sugar act as natural preservatives. Why do commercial companies feel the need to add all those colourings and additives when it looks and lasts so well without? All the flavours will infuse nicely and would normally be ready to eat between 2-4 weeks.  Tonight we will be making some apple and cinnamon jam, and some apple chutney.

The Christmas cake is due to be turned over tonight too, the marzipan will be made and added too. The marzipan needs to be on the cake for up to a week before icing, so it should be ready for this coming weekend.

Marzipan Recipe

350g ground almonds

175g castor sugar

175g icing sugar

1 medium egg beaten

juice from 1/2 a lemon.

Method: all dry ingredients into a bowl, mix well, add lemon juice, then enough beaten egg to make a pliable paste. Coat the surface of the cake in apricot jam, roll out marzipan and cover your cake. Don’t worry if you can’t cover it in one go and need to patch it up, it’ll be covered in icing.   As a special treat make another batch of marzipan,  roll into balls and dip in melted chocolate, allow to cool and wrap a few in cellophane with a red ribbon as a Christmas treat.

Next, the home-made sweet mincemeat will be going in the little buttery pastry cases ready for Christmas guests to have a mince-pie with a brandy or whiskey coffee.

Have a lovely Season and enjoy the journey, and don’t get too stressed.

Ric & Richard

xx



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.

 



Christmas Smile

A deep breath is what it takes,

time to bake the Christmas cakes,

feel the cold of winters flakes,

a deep breath is all it takes.

A bright smile for all to see,

no cost involved as smiles are free,

the warmest gift from you to me,

the way our world shall always be.

A glass of wine to drink your health,

in your eyes I see loves wealth,

our love for each is never stealth.

Richard x



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