Improvised Life » d-i-y + how-to http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:08:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Wood Scrap Room Partition Surprise http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/16/wood-scrap-room-partition/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/16/wood-scrap-room-partition/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:00:04 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45931

We recently stumbled on designer Olivier Dollé‘s very compelling room partition. Or that’s what we thought it was until we started wondering why he add the two horizontal pieces at the top and realized… they were LEGS!

It’s a table, turned on its side. Eureka! (more…)

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GIF of the Week: Escape Packing http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/gif-week-escape-packing/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/gif-week-escape-packing/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 22:01:57 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45019

The weather’s so beautifu, it makes us think of going on a road trip. Dave Hax’s fast-and-minimalist packing job begs the question:

What do we REALLY need to take with us?

via i.imgur

Thanks Holton!

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Clever Hardwood Board Uses (with Resources) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/bread-board-bird-feeder-cutting-board-resources/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/bread-board-bird-feeder-cutting-board-resources/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:00:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45301

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This clever bread board bird feeder reminded us of the endless odd permutations on the theme of bread boards we’ve written about before, and of the vast possibilities for using wood planks in general for household projects, from a ledge to perch on top of the back of the toilet tank to a low bookshelf bench set on stones… (more…)

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Vibrating Bed Mystery Contest Update http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/08/vibrating-bed-mystery-update/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/08/vibrating-bed-mystery-update/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 21:40:02 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45853

Sally Schneider

Several weeks ago, in desperation, we posted a challenge to our readers to come up with solution for our vibrating bed, which, shaken by some mysterious force,  wakes us in the wee hours of the morning. Until we find the source, we are hoping to find a way to keep the bed from shaking, so we can get a good night’s sleep.

Since then, quite a few readers responded, offering some really clever, but mostly not viable ideas, like suspending the bed. While we sussed them out and undertook a hopeful correspondence with an engineer that emailed us his thinking, we decided to keep trying fixes. (more…)

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Matisse Painted with Scissors (You can Too!) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/07/matisses-cut-outs/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/07/matisses-cut-outs/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:12:54 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45816


(Video link HERE.)  We readily admit to being spaced out, fogged, our mind on other things lately, so we deeply appreciate reader Zoe Komaransky putting herself in our shoes and coming up with an inspiring article:

I appreciate how challenging it is to come up with these posts. I bet there are days when complete ideas just show up and then others that require beaucoup research. This often makes me think, “Ha! I need to send this improvisation to Sally and IL.” Then that day goes on, I get busy and I don’t. But there’s one now that won’t let go so here it is—’keep your hand wide open’ as Abbey Lincoln proclaimed in her wonderful song.

I saw the The Matisse Cut Outs show at the Tate Gallery in London this summer and was astonished. I said, ‘Here’s a man who could not stop improvising.’ When he became so ill that he was bedridden or wheelchair bound and could no longer paint, he switched to making art with scissors and paper.

(more…)

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Non-toxic DIY Tip #10,833: PAM Fly Eliminator http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/non-toxic-diy-tip-10833-pam-fly-eliminator/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/non-toxic-diy-tip-10833-pam-fly-eliminator/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:03:44 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45649

Susan Dworski

We have an infestation of flies in this Southern California heat. Particularly in the kitchen. Having no screens no doubt complicate the issue. But, hey, we haven’t really had to deal with this before.

In a fit of rage I started shooting them down this afternoon with PAM oil spray wherever they landed. Overjoyed to see each little black bastard expire, coated in a morass of 100% natural oil.

A quick swipe with a (biodegradable, recyclable) paper towel towel–avert your eyes as they writhe–and bingo! Fly toast.

This ranks right up there for me with pouring lines of cinnamon over ant trails to divert them. (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/non-toxic-diy-tip-10833-pam-fly-eliminator/feed/ 0 Art Retreats as Career-Shift Catalyst http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:52:42 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44494

A classmate inspecting a freshly-poured silver casting in Penland's metals studio

A vacation for my soul,” “summer camp for adults,” “paradise,” “the one time a year I get to make anything“—these are all common phrases heard at summer arts workshops around the country. For many without home studios or careers in the arts, these short-term art retreats (way up in the mountains or shrouded by woods and river) are the only entry point into a totally immersive environment of making and ideation.

This July, I returned from a short summer session at Penland School of Crafts where I was taking a silver casting and ring fabrication class with world-class jewelers Tim Lazure and Jen Townsend, and I decided to (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/feed/ 0 Update on Vibrating Bed Solutions: Hanging Beds http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/24/update-vibrating-bed-solutions-hanging-beds/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/24/update-vibrating-bed-solutions-hanging-beds/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:30:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45666

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We were thrilled to get such a resounding and thoughtful response to our contest asking for solutions to keep our bed from vibrating, that is, to dampen the mysterious vibration coming through the floor. A number of readers suggested suspending the bed, which we WISH we could do. But as with any creative problem, we have some serious constraints to deal with. (more…)

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Cargo Bikes to DIY or Buy http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/cargo-bikes-diy-buy/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/cargo-bikes-diy-buy/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:29:57 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45636

(Video link HERE.) When we saw the image below of a hacked cargo bike Susan Dworski spotted on a Venice California beach, we thought of our old friend Peter Hoffman, chef of Back Forty and Back Forty West (formerly the great Savoy) in NYC. When his kids were young, he’d ride his odd-looking custom-made cargo bike to Union Square Farmers market; it had a huge front-wheel carrier, that allowed him to tow his kids AND a load of produce.  Although we’re happy to know about the iterations of custom cargo bikes you can have master bike-maker George Bliss of Hudson Urban Bicycles in NYC make you (check out the video), we love that there a multitude of other ways to go, as with the brilliant, multilayered and cheap bikes below. (more…)

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Embroidery Fix Redux: Disguise Rips with Images or Symbols http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/embroidery-fix-redux/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/embroidery-fix-redux/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:01:31 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45122

Recalling Virginia del Giudice‘s recent post on using needlework to cover holes in vintage garments, Susan Dworski alerted us to an inspiring iteration on the theme of embroidery fixes: (more…)

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Stylish, Cheap Socket and Shade Lighting Formula http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/stylish-cheap-socket-shade-lighting-formula/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/22/stylish-cheap-socket-shade-lighting-formula/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:00:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45577

After Remodelista touted the virtues of the vin ordinaire hardware store porcelain light socket, we were reminded of the one that ended up on our wall during the Laboratory’s renovation. Overwhelmed by the all the details we needed to get together to make the space livable, we improvised, adorning it with lighting designer David Weeks’ clever, inexpensive Lunette clip-on shade. Et voila! (more…)

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Contest: Solve the Vibrating Bed Mystery http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/19/bed-shock-absorbers/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/19/bed-shock-absorbers/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:00:25 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45046

Holton Rower

A few months ago, after a mysterious vibration coming through the floor started shaking our bed, and us, awake at night, we wrote about the improvised bed legs I’d made using yoga blocks and special thick rubber we’d researched. It worked for a while, but we are still plagued by the mysterious vibration that is keeping us sleep-deprived. (From surfing the internet we realize that THOUSANDS of people suffer from this problem). We have read endless technical papers on the vagueries of how sound and vibration travel. We’ve lost count of our attempts at damping the vibration, including the sculptural “bed shocks, above, my friend Holton Rower devised.

So we’re issuing a challenge to Improvised Life’s clever readers: help us devise a solution to keep the bed from being shaken by the vibration coming through the floor. The winner will receive a lifetime subscription to Improvised Life. Here’s what we’ve tried already (call us crazy but we can’t sleep): (more…)

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Extra Long Ribbon Book Mark to Mark Many Pages http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/extra-long-ribbon-book-mark-mark-many-pages/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/extra-long-ribbon-book-mark-mark-many-pages/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:00:51 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45555

Sally Schneider

Last weekend we bought a big fat book of Pablo Neruda’s odes for a dear friend’s birthday gift. Loving to improvise the presentation of our gifts, we went to our collection of found ribbons and wrappings wondering what would strike us.

A very long, thin green ribbon gave us the answer: it would become a 3-foot+ bookmark that could wind in and out of the book to mark the odes we wanted our friend to read first, so that they too would become a kind of gift. (more…)

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Surprising Painted Patterns on Floors, Walls, Ceilings http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/simply-paint-spartan-sublime/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/simply-paint-spartan-sublime/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:59:28 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45388

Jerome Galland via myscandinavianhome

Why buy rugs to roll out on your floors, when you can paint them? Why collect art when you can decorate walls, floors and ceiling, with found materials?

I’m smitten by these two wildly different, improvisational ways that artists have used paint to mimic and displace art in such disparate places as a house on the Cycladic island of Serifos in Greece, and a classroom in Bihar, east India. In Greece, the floors get the spartan treatment; in India, on walls and ceilings, the sublimely ornate and colored with suprising materials. Both are divine. (more…)

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