One of the things we love so much about The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking is that Kate Payne always thinks to share the simple–but totally essential–skills that many of us manage somehow not to have picked up. A perfect example is the series of useful knots on her blog. Her tutorial for tying a bowline knot is perfect for setting up the clothesline she was making, but of course has an endless number of knot-securing-uses. Just one more reason why we’re excited to give away a copy of Kate’s book next month. If you haven’t already, leave us a comment telling us what project around the house or in your garden you’re most looking forward to tackling this spring/summer, and we will randomly choose a commenter to receive a free copy of this great book. Deadline is May 19. read more…
Now that spring has officially sprung, we find ourselves ready for new projects, around our houses and outside. We keep coming back to our friend Kate Payne’s The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, an all-purpose guide to doing-it-yourself in your home (and having fun, too) – for ANYONE, whether hip girl or not. (We think it would be a great book for guys setting up their first apartment.)
The books covers a ton of ground, from what you need to stock your home (and how to make your own resources) to the basics of easy, stylish home design. She has trouble-shooting options for virtually any common home mishap. It was Kate’s blog, of the same name, that we turned to last week when we needed instructions for how to hang pegboard in your kitchen.
Some of our favorite springtime gems from Kate’s guide include, her how-to on setting up your own bucket garden; read more…
The most inspiring article in last weekend’s New York Times was about Chris Hackett and his workshop in Gowanus, the epicenter of Brooklyn’s burgeoning underground of artists, inventors, chefs, carpenters, urban gardeners, hackers, fabricators, scavengers, repurposers, live-free-or-die,and prepare-for-the-shit-to-hit-the-fan proponents.
On Chris Hackett’s personal periodic table, the world’s most interesting, and abundant, substance is an element he calls obtainium. Things classified as obtainium might include the discarded teapot that he once turned into a propane burner, or the broken beer bottle he used to make a razor, or the 9-millimeter shell casings he acquired some time ago, melted in a backyard foundry (also made of obtainium) and cast into brass knuckles for a girlfriend.
Hacket has been described as a “ master improviser…It’s almost like he thinks with his hands”, and his workshop, an obtainium mine, rich with materials for making: read more…
Our intrepid friend Peggy Markel just arrived in India to prepare to lead one of her amazing culinary adventures, Tasting Royal Rajasthan. She sent us this amazing picture of an ironing board computer table and the story behind it:
“We’re staying with a new friend, Rajiv Jani, friend of a friend. It is his rig, was already here. I knew you would love it. I thought to call it ‘permanent press’. Here’s how it came about:
Rajiv lived in Atlanta for 10 years and had all of his stuff shipped back to Delhi. He set up the ironing board in a spare room for his ironing. But he found out that he could have his shirts ironed for 2 rupees each. (1/2 a penny.) 25 shirts? $1.00.
He was looking for a place to set up his home computer and set a few things down on the ironing board until he found the right place. His electronics started growing there as that was where the internet connection was and the wiring was getting too complicated to move.To buy a new table from Ikea would cost $150. Then you need a chair. read more…
At dinner parties these days, everybody seems to be drinking lots of water, in addition to or instead of wine. Rather than plunking a pitcher of water on the table that will undoubtedly need several refills, we’ve found another solution. We decant filtered water into great-looking wine bottles whose labels we’ve soaked off. We keep 4 or 5 of them in the fridge to have chilled water readily available. They look great on the table, and seem to make non-wine drinking guests feel like they are included in the pouring of something special.
During an ordinary day, we find them a simple, useful pleasure: chilled water to pour from a lovely vessel.
Once you start really looking at wine bottles, you’ll notice all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors, some more beautiful than others. We go for the most austerely sculptural we can find. read more…
On the lookout for an inexpensive bed frame, this shipping pallet bed caught our eye. It’s got a low profile rustic-modern look, though we’re not crazy about the overhang on the sides (easy to bang your shin on). It made us start analyzing and mulling what makes a really great shipping pallet bed.
Of all the brilliant artists we feature on ‘the improvised life’, Alexander Calder holds a special place in our hearts. In addition to his monumental artworks and legendary mobiles, he was a prolific creator of household objects for everyday use. If he or his wife Louisa or a friend needed something utilitarian, he would devise a solution on the spot, with whatever was at hand.
The trove of his improvisations is vast and inspiring; each invites rethinking of common objects we often take for granted: tin cans, pie tins, wire, bits of scrap wood. His creations were not only useful, but visually stunning.
Here is the artist telling how he created a barbeque grill out of an iron garden chair after his son-in-law Jean Davidson invited a horde of people over for a party: read more…
At the end of designer Reuben Miller‘s clever riff on the extreme repurposing movement, some readers commented that that a fly swatter face protector and a paint brush door stop were “stupid’; other’s thought Dada. Some, like us, dug the IDEA that you can make something out of just about anything.
But we fell in love with one repurposing idea for real: stamps as nail “polish”. We’d just come back from the post office where we’d bought some pretty groovy stamps: a tiny Edward Hopper sailboat scene: read more…
We never cease to be amazed at the uses people have come up for shipping pallets. Their boxy form naturally allows for building block type constructions of all kinds. DE-constructed, they afford an unpredictable variety of rustic, often beat-up woods, in roughly 2 or 3-foot lengths. The chicest application we’ve seen lately are these floors made by Arctic Plank.
Arctic Plank “upcycles” the salvaged wood boards, though doesn’t say exactly what that process entails. It looks to us like they sand, stain and finish the boards to create a unique patina. To deal with the short lengths of wood, they smartly cut the planks to make in zigzag, herringbone or parquet patterns. These look much more finished than aligning boards vertically, which makes for a rag-tag look that has a completely different kind of charm. Arctic Plank‘s floors got us thinking about just what the possibilities for shipping pallet floors might be… read more…
Spotted at Core 77: a floor-mounted Book Rail from the 1930′s. It’s an odd and beautiful thing that we never heard of before. It would make a perfect low-down display for objets or a moderne altar. Wonder where to get one or something like it… The one, above, is from Factory 20, a trove of vintage object in Sterling Virginia. It kind of reminds us of rough, low African stools that you can find on Ebay or at flea markets.
Dig this one-legged one we spotted on Ebay; it’s really a head rest but… what a thing to arrange things on…in perfect balance!! read more…
(Video link here.) Here’s a magazine idea we find compelling: called Makeshift, it’s about the ingenious solutions and inventions people all over the world are making with what they’ve got on hand. Right now it exists as a Kickstarter project. We see it as a quarterly reminder of possibilities in magazine form, an antidote to Martha Stewart Living, Wallpaper, Elle Decor…
What do you think? (Is this something you’d buy?…Are you buying any magazines these days?)
via Core 77
Our friend Linnae recently introduced us to Pat Ludwig, a “self-taught quilter” who blogs all of her projects so you can see the full process of making a quilt start-to-finish. Patwig’s quilts are made exclusively from old fabric scraps, including khaki and denim pants, childhood dresses, curtains, neckties, bedsheets, and even seat cushions.
Her two most recent quilts are particularly interesting. They started out as 35+ button-down men’s shirts, given to Ludwig by a woman whose husband had passed away years before. She wanted her grandchildren to have a piece of the grandfather they had never met and commissioned Patwig to turn his shirts into the Nine Patch and Log Cabin quilts.
We love everything about this, from repurposing old materials into fantastic and functional art projects, to the very idea of a memory quilt. Quilts and blankets are attached to so many comforting and visceral childhood memories; having one made of materials that remind you of family or friends strikes us as a powerful way to remain connected to someone’s presence (even in their absence).
…h-m-m-m…take a slat or two away, or pull the whole thing apart to build with the slats you like…it’s a simple configuration…
…there appears to be no end to what a shipping pallet can be.
Related posts: painted shipping pallet coffee table
led-illuminated shipping pallet bed
d-i-y shipping pallet vertical garden
d-i-y shipping pallet wine rack + flat storage
the scoop on safe shipping pallets (shipping pallets 101)