Friday, February 24, 2017

Finish with Vegan Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Been really enjoying having the kind of life where if things get side ways I can just stay at home and work on my projects! Finishing the kitchen counter tops.

 Fitting everything in place. I tried to cut these small tiles with a glass cutter, to break them neatly over a piece of wire. Well, that took way too long, and so I ended up just smashing lots of the extras and picking out ones that fit into the spaces nicely.
 Lid for the stove recess, so if I'm not using the stove top I have a more counter space.
 Making a mess in a small space.
 Cut away a section to allow the faucet to pass through, and building a cedar trim plate to mount the faucet through and cover up the gap between the counter top and the nose cupboards.

 Plumbing access hatch in the floor and the long narrow counter, (perfect place to roll out pasta), with the little arms to hold a basket for storage.
 Everything all fit in place with a first coat of read paint.

 Copper finishing the underside of the stove lid; been saving these pieces of copper for years too. So gratifying to finish a project that I have had in mind for so many years, saving things, sitting and looking at the place and thinking about how it will be...and in so doing proving that I am not a hoarder!!! I collect things to use, and even if it takes me nigh-on-forever, I use them!
 In preparation for the final step, the mortar and grout for the tile work, I made a double layer vegan chocolate cake and home made, vegan "buttercream" frosting..just to get my mixing and spreading technique down pat!

Boom! In Place, dry over night. Next step, mix up grout, not as thick as peanut butter.
 Spread grout over everything and make a big mess. Let is set for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle more of the dry grout over the surface of the mud and rub in a circular motion to work the grout evenly in to all the spaces between the tiles, and to help build up an even layer, cleaning the tiles as you go. Let this dry for about 2 hours, and then wipe all the tiles again with a wet rag, making sure that all the clumps of grout on the tile are removed. There will be a thin film over the tiles, but that wiped off with water in a few hours more after drying has progressed.

Finished with a couple coats of grout sealer. It's kind of amazing how finishing such a simple project can make such a HUGE difference in my daily life! I almost can;t remember what it was like to cook everything on my little Super Cat camp stoves, and my little plastic folding table. There is still lots to do: FINISH THE SOLAR SYSTEM, build the final work cabinet, finish connecting the bathroom and kitchen  plumbing at the faucets to the drains, and other small tasks...but this project feels like a real accomplishment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Vegan / Fossil Fuel Free Kitchen

I am starting to work on building counter tops for the kitchen. Now that I have a new culinary adventure to embark on, veganism, and a new alcohol oven/stove, I need some room to work. First place to start: gathering supplies @ the local coffee roaster, Jittery Joe's to glean some clean pallet wood to recycle.
Never underestimate human power and bike power! I really like to use the pallets that their cans ship between, but they only have a few available at a time. After 2 trips to pick up what they had (bringing my hand saw with me to cut them apart) I had enough wood to build the frames.
Next step: some scraps of 1/4" plywood for the bottom, cut to fit and with a layer of Kiltz paint.

I cut pieces of the pallets to frame the outside edges. Working with hand tools may take a bit longer, but I find myself less apt to make mistakes, less apt to possibly hurt myself, and best of all: no electricity required!  I picked up a few sheets of this octagon and diamond tile years ago at the local Habitat ReStore, and have saved a bit of mortar and grout from a tile job, in red, thinking to use it somewhere. Putting tile in a tiny house on wheels, where weight is an issue, seemed crazy, but considering that there will be so little, and a slab of wood would be just as heavy, I am going to inlay the tiles in the frames made from the pallets.

I have been saving these last few Steve Keene paintings for use in the backs of these cabinets. Glad to be nearing the completion of a long planned project.
Speaking of long anticipated project completion: I collected this steel tubing and welded the frame for this pot hanger 4-5 years ago, and finally, a few weeks ago found a small bike wheel in the scrap metal recycling bin at the local CHaRM. The finishing touch: some shower curtain hooks from the ReStore yesterday! It looks like a crown!
My new adventure into veganism is motivated not only by my concern for the environment and desire to alleviate suffering in the world, but also practicality. A plant based diet is healthier for you, costs less, and I find that I eat fresher foods as a result. Not having a big refrigerator means I don't want to be in a position where I am storing large qualities of food that need to be refrigerated, so I decided to learn how to make my own vegan staples as I go. Making your own vegan butter, tofu and other protein substitutes makes a lot of sense also because a lot of typical vegan products contain a lot of gluten or palm oil, they are heavily packages and expensive. I bought a copy of The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner, and so far everything I have made has been awesome, cheap and easy. I bought an old fashioned hand crank meat grinder to use as a food processor. Pictured is the onion garlic tomato spice slurry for italian not sausage- the main filler of which is bulgar wheat. The texture when finished was amazing. More small steps to a fossil fuel free future!