#03-08 Putting It Together - Building a Better Built-in

Hello people, and welcome to another episode of the vidcast. This week we begin construction. Last week we demolished the dining room, this week we’re delving into the desk. It’s a big job but we’re up to it!

Construction can be daunting, but it can be made easier with a few tips:

Soap your screws – Screws will slide in more easily if you soap the threads.

Pre drill your holes – I can’t stress this point enough. Wood has a tendency to split when you drive screws directly into it without pre-drilling.

Consider using MDF – Medium Density Fiberboard is a composite building material that is comparatively inexpensive, sturdy, strong, doesn’t warp and has a beautiful surface for paint. It’s what we used to build the desk and it looks great!

If you don’t have the luxury of a shop you can have your lumber precut by your lumber yard. It makes for simple assembly on site providing that you are accurate in your measurements. Remember, measure twice, cut once.

#03-07 Breaking Up is Hard to Do - The Ins and Outs of Demolition

Hello people, Brini here with the further adventures of my apartment renovation! This week we’re demolishing the dining room. It’s a very simple process of removing screws and taking the built-ins apart, but the larger issue is change and how we deal with it.

Accepting change in our lives can be scary. The key is detachment. If you’re able to remain detached from objects and outcomes then you’re much more likely to be in a position to welcome exciting new experiences into your life. It’s not as easy as it sounds, however. Letting go of our past, whether it’s in the form of material possessions, relationships or situations can be a daunting proposition. The important thing to remember is that, ultimately, we’re not defined by these things. The more we’re able to derive our sense of self from inside the less we’ll be likely to form limiting attachments to our surroundings.

I’ve found that this can be accomplished with reflection. It’s helpful to keep a journal and record your thoughts about the events in your life that are challenging. These journal entries can serve as a map of your psyche which will help you understand your attachments and see that they are unnecessary. If you’d like to explore these concepts more fully I recommend a book: The Marriage of Spirit, by Leslie Temple Thurston. She has some extremely simple exercises that can help you let go of limitations and live more fully in the moment. As Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living?. Explore your possibilities fully!

#03-06 Come Out of the Closet - Or at Least Make it Pretty!

This week on the show we’re beginning our renovation in the closet. We’re making the closet a joy to open and a delight for your clothes. Most people paint their closets white and there is a practical consideration for that – white closets make it easier to find what you’re looking for, but if your home is nice and bright you can indulge in a flight of fancy and make a statement with your closet. I used colorful paint that was left over from other projects so, for me, it was a thrifty project as well. But you can brighten your closets with pretty paper or other paint schemes as well. Make your closet pretty enough and you may never want to leave it!

#03-05 Bovine Blessing - Marvelous Mac and Cheese

Hello people, I’m back with a new episode! This week is the beginning of our renovation series featuring the renovation and redecoration of my apartment. This time around we’re talking about how to fuel that renovation. We’re making a delicious mac and cheese and I have a tip for you! If your house is going to be torn up you won’t be wanting to cook much, but the work you’ll be doing requires good nutrition. Before you begin your renovation, prepare a few casseroles to cook when you’re knee deep in debris. Line your casserole dish in heavy weight plastic wrap, then fill the dish with your casserole and wrap the plastic over the top. Freeze the casserole in the dish, then pop the frozen casserole out of the dish and put it back in the freezer. Your casserole dish is free to use for other purposes and when you’re ready to eat the casserole just unwrap it and pop it back into the dish, let it thaw, then cook it normally. You can prepare several of these uncooked casseroles to tide you over until your home settles down again. Brilliant, no?

Now, what to make? Why not this stunning gourmet mac and cheese recipe? Here’s how:

You’ll need:

1 lb farfalle (bowties)
1 stick of butter
2 shallots, minced
6 Tbs. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne
4 cups buttermilk
3 cups grated extra sharp white cheddar
1 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Fresh seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter (or line with plastic wrap) a 3 quart casserole dish. Cook the pasta until just al dente, drain and set aside in a large bowl. In a heavy sauce pan melt seven tablespoons of the butter and sauté the minced shallots until transparent. Add the flour to make a roux and whisk until well combined and all the lumps are gone. Whisk in the mustard and cayenne, then add the buttermilk in four parts whisking in between. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, whisking occasionally. Pour the sauce over the pasta, add cheddar and one cup of the parmesan and mix well. Fill your casserole dish with the mixture. Combine the breadcrumbs and the rest of the parmesan then sprinkle it on top of the casserole and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and golden brown, or freeze to bake and serve later.