Wednesday, 26 July 2017

WOYWW 425

No change on my desk, apart from a bit more clutter making it generally more untidy and neglected, but I have been quite creative in organising my now complete walk-in pantry. The final step was for the electrician to fit the light on Monday, and I put some things on the inside of the door. Over a couple of days I made labels for all my recycled coffee jars containing dry goods, and these are now displayed where they are most visible when you open the door. I am beyond thrilled with it all.

47 Gen View Including Door

50 Labelled Jars

55 Inside the Door

Full description of the finished pantry here.

How quickly the time flies! It seems only yesterday that we had a whole month to wait to pick up our new kittens, and suddenly the Great Event is happening tomorrow! We are both so excited about it.

We have been busy preparing the place for their arrival, with my hubby working hard in the garden to kitty-proof the perimeter. It all looks pretty good, but if there’s the smallest cranny, our little escape artists are bound to find it! They won’t be let out for quite a while though. I have got the sitting room and kitchen in the flat cleared ready for their arrival – for the day or two, they will live exclusively in there so that they can get their bearings. The pantry was finished in the nick of time and I am now fully back in my own kitchen, and the small one in the flat is now cleared and cleaned.

We are hoping for fine weather tomorrow because we are making a day of it, having a meal out and visiting another National Trust house in the area where the kittens are, before going to collect them at about 6 p.m.

There will be photos of our new babies next week, I can promise you that!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Walk-In Pantry–Complete!

This morning the electrician came to fit the light in my new pantry. After he had gone, I finished putting the food in, and added the things to the inside of the door, so the job is now complete.

46 Pantry Complete - Gen View 24-7-17

Here’s another view, standing slightly further back.

47 Gen View Including Door

Here is the new light. To the right of it you can see the sensor. This detects movement, and turns the light on, so it comes on when you open the door. If you don’t keep moving, the light goes off again. There’s something you can adjust on the sensor to set this time interval.

48 Top Shelf and Light Off

The light switched on. In the photo it looks very dark beneath the top shelf but in reality the light illuminates the entire space very adequately.

49 Top Shelf and Light On

All my jars with their labels. I am more than delighted with how they look!

50 Labelled Jars

The marble slab. This feels lovely and cool. When I was growing up, my mum had a huge walk-in pantry with two vast slate slabs, and a ventilator window to one side. Every pantry should have a slab! My hubby and I chose this light colour, thinking that it would reflect the light and keep the interior of the pantry nice and bright. You can see I’ve got my water filter, the egg rack, some tomatoes and cherries, and the butter, keeping cool on the slab.

51 Marble Slab

The spice rack on the right-hand side of the pantry.

52 Spice Rack

Before replacing all the spices, I cleaned them all with a sponge and warm soapy water. When the spice rack was in the utility room, they got very dusty. The jars are now all in alphabetical order, making them easier to find. I have had to put the larger jars in the shelves at the bottom, and there are also some spare ones down there too. This rack was made for me many years ago when I got my first place, and it’s been with me on every move since. The top part of it has two rows of hooks for hanging utensils on, but I haven’t filled these yet. It will be good to free up a bit of space in the utensil jar beside the cooker, which is bursting at the moment – I will be hanging the ones I use less frequently on the spice rack, and now it’s in the pantry it is much more accessible.

Here is the left-hand side of the pantry. There are tins at the top, and the taller spaces are occupied by things in constant use.

53 LH Side

The temporary arrangement under the bottom shelf.

54 Temporary Floor Layout

I have taken one of the moveable shelves that I made from the top and put it under here for the moment – I can’t have it on the top shelf because if I do, there isn’t room for the really tall jars of pasta etc. The right-hand side of this space under the bottom shelf will eventually be occupied by the wine rack, which will be reduced in size to fit, but in the meantime it will be used by the new kittens as a climbing frame! Two previous generations of kittens have used it and they have all absolutely loved it.

Underneath this moveable shelf I’ve got a couple of plastic baskets with miscellaneous things in – these will occupy better places once we start munching our way through the huge number of duplicates found when I sorted out that horrible old cupboard!

Inside the door.

55 Inside the Door

This afternoon I put the finishing touches to the pantry by fixing the three metal mesh magazine racks to the inside of the door, for storing my rolls of paper etc. The top one holds greaseproof paper, baking parchment and foil – packets which are open and in current use. The middle one holds the centres of rolls of kitchen paper. Each one holds different sizes of freezer bags, and I’ve written on the top of each roll what it contains, e.g. “LH,” “M,” “S” – “Large with Handles,” “Medium” (without handles), “Small” etc. This was a storage tip I picked up years ago and it’s brilliant for keeping your freezer bags organised and tidy. Unless the bags have been used for meat, I wash them and re-use them. I used to keep these rolls in one of those red plastic baskets, but this way, they take up much less room. The bottom rack holds unopened rolls of baking parchment, cling film etc. To the right is a hook on which I have hung my apron. All this stows away tidily when the door is closed.

I thought long and hard how best to attach these racks to the door. I got this idea from Pinterest, and it seems that most people attach them with Velcro, but I didn’t want to do this. Because the racks are so thin fore-and-aft, there was no room to insert a screwdriver to screw them to the door. I drilled holes in the door where I wanted the fixings to go, and wrapped a cable twist around each screw, which I then screwed into the door. I marked the positions of the screws on each rack with a thread tied through the metal mesh, and lined these markers up with the screws, threading the cable twists through the mesh, and twisting them together to secure the racks in place. It was an awfully fiddly job but it works a treat! The racks had to be placed with plenty of space above them, in order to be able to get the paper rolls out.

The rest of the kitchen is still somewhat chaotic. Now that lots of things have migrated into the pantry, I’ve got the chance to free up space in the rest of the kitchen and get things organised better, which will mean having fewer things out on the tops, and the whole thing will be a lot tidier, and easier to keep clean. Positives all round!

Finally, a review of the journey from chaos to order, with some pretty horrendous stuff in between (dry rot!).

What the space originally looked like. When we moved, I had asked the kitchen fitters to leave this cupboard as it was part of the character of the old house, but this proved to be a mistake because it was a complete pain to use.

01 Original Cupboards Closed 25-3-17

You can see from this photo of the top half that it was absolutely full of stuff, but what I wanted always seemed to be at the back, and I had to take everything out all the time. My hubby put the intermediate shelves in for me which helped a bit, but the whole thing was absolutely awful and it made me tear my hair with frustration on a daily basis! I used to dream of a walk-in pantry but couldn’t envisage how it might work.

02 Top Cupboard Open 25-3-17

The bottom half of the cupboard, cleared, and with the old heavy duty sheet of lino on the floor removed, revealing the dry rot underneath.

03 Bottom Cupboard Open and Cleared 25-3-17

What a total nightmare!

04 Rot in Bottom Cupboard 25-3-17

05 Detail of Rot in Bottom Cupboard 25-3-17

It turned out that the rot had only invaded two short joists, and once these, and the rotten floor boards above had been removed, it was just a case of replacing what was lost. In order to do this, the whole of the old cupboard had to be taken out.

During the time the work was done, we decamped into Mum’s tiny kitchen in the flat. It did us fine! How fortunate we are to have access to two kitchens! (You can see how long ago this all was – there are primroses growing on the bank outside!)

08 Decamping into Flat Kitchen 1 8-4-17

The old cupboard and rotten timber removed.

09 Cupboard and Rotten Timber Removed 18-4-17

New joists going in.

14 New Joists 19-4-17

New rendering on the walls after the old had been hacked off – they had to remove quite a lot of material to make sure the dry rot hadn’t tracked up into the wall.

16 New Rendering on Walls 19-4-17

New floor boards.

18 New Floor Boards 19-4-17

The repairs completed, waiting for decoration and the construction of the new pantry.

20 Work Completed 20-4-17

The old defunct ventilator blocked off, and a new one installed.

09 Ventilator Plaster Completed

New flooring.

01 New Flooring and Skirting Board 4-7-17

The frame of the new pantry being constructed.

03 Frame 5-7-17

New shelves installed. When this work was finished, I applied several coats of linseed oil to seal and protect them, and finished them off with a coat of beeswax polish.

18 Shelves Completed 7-7-17

The door with the side panel made from spare laminate floor pieces. The cornice from the side of the double oven unit has been put along the top to complete the finish.

16 Finished Pantry Door Closed 7-7-17

Making additional free-standing shelves.

31 Shelf Factory 18-7-17

The additional shelves completed, and waiting for the slab to arrive.

38 LH Side with New Shelves

My beautiful new pantry all fitted out and filled with food and lit up!

47 Gen View Including Door

I am beyond thrilled with it. It probably sounds silly but to have a walk-in pantry like this is a dream come true for me. I am going to enjoy my cooking so much more now.

The whole project has been finished in time for the arrival of our new kittens on Thursday. This is a fresh start in so many ways!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Walk-In Pantry–Making Labels

The pantry project is well-nigh finished. The slab arrived on Friday and it fits perfectly, according to the template the carpenter made, and I have got everything moved into it now apart from the spices on the spice rack, which I will deal with after the electrician has been tomorrow to fit the light.

Yesterday I brought all the spare storage jars down from my studio where I’d been storing them since we moved here, and transferred various bits and pieces into them from miscellaneous jam jars, packets and containers, and had quite a job getting everything to fit nicely in the pantry. I am very, very glad I made all those extra shelves! There are quite a few duplicated items (some even quadrupled or more!) because it was so difficult to manage the old cupboard and there was a lot of stuff at the back that I’d forgotten I’d got. Eventually things will get used up and the pantry won’t be quite so full.

I also spent some time transferring everything from the tiny kitchen in the flat back into my lovely big kitchen. I’ve still got quite a bit of sorting to do, and things are ending up in new places now I’ve got the pantry, but I’ll get it all sorted in the next few days. I also need to clean through the flat kitchen now that the cupboards are all clear.

This evening I made labels for the jars. Yesterday I found some very attractive vintage labels on the Graphics Fairy website – free downloads, and you can print them out whatever size you want. I made three different sizes for the various sizes of jars I’ve got. Most of my jars are coffee jars with nice glass lids with a plastic seal – I’ve used this brand of coffee for years and have always saved the jars, which are designed for other use after the coffee is finished, which I think is a brilliant idea. In Serif PagePlus, I created several sheets of labels, adding the text in each frame, and then I printed them out on 100 gsm copy paper. I sprayed each sheet with a fixative spray to stop the inkjet printing from running.

41 Some of the Printed Labels

I brought all the stuff down so I could work from the comfort of the recliner while watching TV with my hubby.

The first job was to cut the labels out roughly, and then fussy-cut them with fine scissors.

41 Fussy Cutting the Jar Labels

42 Labels Cut

I stuck them onto the jars with PVA adhesive, using a brush I’d already ruined with gel medium some time ago. I wanted the labels to be the same height on each size of jar, and my hubby suggested cutting a strip of card for each size, to hold up against the jar and apply the label level with the top of the strip – a quick and easy way to avoid having to measure each one. I have saved these strips of card and will keep them with one or two spare labels (waiting for more coffee jars to become empty!) – having saved the PagePlus file, I can print out any more labels I need in the future, knowing that the design will be identical.

43 Sticking On the Labels

Here are some of the jars with their labels attached.

44 Labels Stuck On

Once this was done, I painted a layer of regular matte gel medium over the front of each label to seal it, and carefully wiped the surrounding glass clean with a piece of kitchen paper. I want to be able to wash the jars without the labels coming off or getting damaged, and the gel medium should protect the labels from getting dirty in use. The last step was to remove all the slips of paper inserted in the jars to tell me what the contents were! So nice that they are no longer needed. For the first time, I have got everything properly labelled, and not only that, but they look stylish and attractive, too.

The jars are all now back in the pantry on the shelves and they look great!

I shall photograph the pantry again tomorrow to show it complete. It will be easier to do it once there’s a light in there. I still have the magazine racks and hooks to attach to the inside of the door, but won’t do this till the electrician has finished fitting the light.

It looks as if I shall get all this finished before the arrival of the kittens. Today was the first day I used the kitchen again properly, and it was such a joy! My hubby made me laugh because he was on auto-pilot and kept going into the wrong kitchen! I haven’t done this once – probably because my mind is so full of having my own kitchen back, and enjoying the pantry. Having a walk-in pantry, complete with a slab, and manageable shelving, has been a long-time dream of mine – I’ve never had one before and it’s absolutely brilliant.

More photos after tomorrow!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Walk-In Pantry–Starting to Stock with Food

This morning I started to stack the shelves of my new pantry with food.

When I had my old cupboards it was impossible to see what I had in there without taking everything out, and this meant that I often bought stuff when I already had it. I’m also a bit of a special offers junkie and tend to stock up when things are reduced in price. I have therefore got far too much stuff, and I’m really glad I made all those extra shelves! Now I’ve got the opportunity to organise my supplies better, I should be able to reduce the amount I have to store, and in the meantime, I am going to try and use some of it up with some judicious recipe choices.

40 Starting to Fill the Pantry

I can’t complete the job and get properly organised until the stone slab arrives, but I’ve managed to fill the top section (the baskets need sorting) and the small fitted shelves on the left.

Even with so much excess stuff, it’s going to be a lot easier to manage, and to know exactly what I’ve got, than it was before.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Walk-In Pantry–Shelf Factory Complete

Against my best expectations, I managed to finish making the extra shelves today. I thought it would take me at least another day. OK, I’m exhausted, but triumphant!

Here are all the shelves in the pantry. Of course, the stone slab isn’t there yet, so I have put stuff on the bottom shelf for now.

36 All New Shelves Complete

The bottom shelf. The four small shelves stacked up are the side shelves for the slab. I have balanced the two long slab shelves on the battens which will eventually support the slab, to show how they fit in.

37 Stuff on Bottom Shelf for Now

On the bottom shelf on the left is my new bread bin, which fits quite nicely that way around. It is larger than we need for just the two of us, so I will be storing something else in there with the bread – not sure what just yet, but there’s room for perhaps a container for an opened bag of bread flour.

I am happy to have some deep shelf space for things like my hubby’s cereal packets.

At the back of this bottom shelf you can see a single narrow shelf. There won’t be any side shelves on this shelf. I have a plastic shelf unit on order from Ebay for storing smaller items, and this will sit alongside the bread bin.

The left-hand side of the pantry. You can see I’ve put one or two things on the original shelves. The bread bin is designed with a flat top for storing jars or canisters. I’ve put my two jars of bread seeds on there for now.

38 LH Side with New Shelves

The right-hand side, showing the new shelves and the spice rack.

39 RH Side with New Shelves and Spice Rack

The electrician called round today to discuss the light for the pantry, as well as one or two other jobs that need doing. He is hoping to fit the light on either Monday or Tuesday, depending on how this week’s work schedule goes for him. We discussed different options for a sensor light, and he is going to fit one that detects movement, and comes on when you open the door.

Still no news about the slab, but I am hoping for a phone call before the weekend. I also have to fix the magazine racks for my paper rolls.

In the meantime, I am going to start bringing things in – I won’t put the spices on the spice rack until the electrician has done the work as they might get knocked off, but things further in shouldn’t come to any harm. All he’s going to do is run a cable up the right-hand side from the power point near the floor on the right, and run it into the middle of the pantry ceiling, where he will mount the light and sensor. He will put a fused spur for the light, beside the power point.

My hubby has mended the section of the wine rack that he removed in order to make it small enough to go under the bottom shelf. He has re-affixed it temporarily, bringing it back to its original size, so that the kittens can use it as a climbing frame. Once they have finished with it, he will remove the extension part and store it in the loft, and I can have the reduced sized one to go back in the pantry. This is what I originally intended.

I am very, very pleased with how it’s all looking, and I’m pleased to have been able to use up pretty well all of the left-over timber from the construction of the pantry. My hubby has used other bits of it for his garden kitty-proofing project, which is also nearly finished. Only a few days now before we’re fully back in the big kitchen, with a fully stocked walk-in pantry!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Walk-In Pantry–Shelf Factory!

I’ve started making some additional shelves from the wood left over by the carpenter after he had finished building my pantry. I decided to keep it simple and make free-standing ones that can be removed if necessary. They are of very basic construction – just a shelf with uprights at either end, glued and screwed, with a triangular metal bracket across the corners for reinforcement.

I say “I” am making them, but my hubby very kindly cut the wood up for me. I worked out how much I needed and what measurement, and marked all the pieces in order to get the maximum out of what was left. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough decent timber left (my hubby had raided the pile before I decided I wanted more shelves) so some of the bits are made of less attractive plywood, but once they are filled with stuff I don’t think it will matter.

After he’d cut them I applied a couple of coats of linseed oil and finished them with a bit of beeswax polish to seal them, as I’d done on the ones the carpenter fitted, and today I began assembling them, completing the ones for the top shelf.

31 Shelf Factory

The ones on the right are made from the Conti-Board offcuts from the shelf pieces which are going in the bedroom for my books. They stick out a bit further than the uprights but I’m not too worried about that. I just had to use them in the pantry because they were exactly the right length to fill that space!

32 New Top Shelves Complete

They’re a bit rough and ready but they will serve their purpose. I should really cover all the end-grain to make it look nicer… Not sure if I can be bothered, though!!!

Here’s a view of the pantry showing the new shelves installed on the top shelf, and the wine rack now under the bottom shelf.

33 New Top Shelves and Wine Rack

It was falling apart because the wood had shrunk and if there had been any glue on it in the first place, this had dried out. It had to be reduced in size to fit under the bottom shelf in the pantry, and we decided not to bother with the rest of it – it is a bit smaller but the kittens won’t know the difference, and they will enjoy using it as a climbing frame while they are tiny.

On the right-hand wall you can just see my big spice rack. I am so delighted to have this in the kitchen at last – until the pantry was built, there was nowhere for it and it was in the utility room.

34 Wine Rack

The other day I bought these three wire magazine racks. They are going to be attached flush to the inside of the door and will be used to hold my rolls of kitchen foil, baking parchment, freezer bags etc. This was an idea I saw on Pinterest. It will free up one of my kitchen drawers which will be useful.

35 Magazine Racks

I shall also fit a hook for my apron to hang on, and somewhere to hang the clipboard with my shopping lists.

Still no news on the stone slab, but hopefully that will arrive this week. Also, I heard back from the electrician who was supposed to call round to see me to discuss the work today but he didn’t turn up – no doubt running late on his last job. I’ve decided to press on and if I have to move everything back in before he comes to fit the light, so be it – I don’t suppose he’ll make much mess. I really want everything to be back before the end of next week when the kittens arrive.

It’s really starting to come together now!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Walk-In Pantry–Planning the Finishing Touches

Looking at what has been done, and thinking about just how much stuff I’ve got, it occurred to me that there might not be enough shelves in my new walk-in pantry. There are a lot of off-cuts left by the carpenter, so I have worked out a way to utilise these by making some stacking free-standing shelves. I have marked out all the timbers and my hubby says he will cut them out for me. Unfortunately there isn’t quite enough of the pine left so some of it will have to be made from the remaining plywood (of which there is plenty) but this doesn’t look quite so nice.

28 Reclaimed Timber Marked for Additional Shelves

Once he’s cut out the pieces, I will treat them as I have treated the rest – with linseed oil and a final buff up with wax polish. It shouldn’t take long to assemble them as they are very basic – just a shelf with a couple of uprights which will be glued and screwed in place. They will be removable if I find I don’t need them, but having 3 large shelves at the back which are quite high, I think there will be a fair amount of wasted space. The new moveable shelves will stand around the 3 sides of the space, leaving plenty of room in the middle for larger, taller things. I shall store things I don’t use very often at the back – spare supplies etc. – and it will be quite easy to access them because the shelves are at most only 5 3/4 inches deep, and the ones at the sides will only be 4 inches deep.

We went to B&Q the other day and I bought some long lengths of Conti board to make more shelves in the bedroom for my books – the existing shelves are fairly widely spaced and there’s room for two more, which I need as I am starting to lay books horizontally on top of the ones on the shelves! We got B&Q to cut them to length for us, and the off-cuts are exactly the right length to fit in one side of the pantry, and will make a nice pair of shelves once they’ve got their uprights attached.

29 Conti-Board Off-Cuts for Shelves

I’ve also got some wire magazine racks to attach to the inside of the door, for storing rolls of kitchen foil, baking parchment, etc. This was an idea I found on Pinterest. I also need to fix a hook inside the door, for hanging my apron, and another one to hang the clipboard that has my shopping lists on it.

The wine rack is in a sorry state. It’s a wooden one, made of square section pieces connected with fluted dowels and all the joint have dried out so it’s falling to bits. My hubby is going to mend it so that it’s ready for the kittens when they arrive – two generations of kittens have already used it as a climbing frame and they love it! After our new little ones have decided they are too grown up for it, it will go on the floor under the bottom shelf of the pantry and be used for what it was originally intended for!

30 Wine Rack Awaiting Repair

I am hoping that the stone slab will be ready for collection at the beginning of next week.

I have not heard back from the electrician after leaving a message so I think he must be away on holiday. I expect he will be able to fit the light once the pantry has got stuff in it – I really don’t want to wait too much longer to get things moved in, and to move back into my kitchen, because this needs to be done before the arrival of the kittens at the end of the month. Doing the job would be a nightmare with them under my feet!

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