Improvised Life » d-i-y + how-to http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Formula for a DIY Donald Judd-esque Sofa http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/08/formula-donald-judd-esque-sofa/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/08/formula-donald-judd-esque-sofa/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45005

Farrah Sit/Rebecca Atwood

Artist Donald Judd's austere, organic, ultra-simple furniture has been inspiration for lots of knockoff's and diy's and straight-out ripoffs. His iconic sofa, below, inspired the $6,000 Maple sofa, above, a collaboration of Brooklyn-based industrial designer Farrah Sit and textile designer Rebecca Atwood. Sit and Atwood have made improvments on Judd's design, from a practical comfort point-of-view. The sofa is definitely DIY-able.]]>
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Tomato Candy (Pilot Light Dried Tomatoes) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/05/tomato-candy-pilot-light-dried-tomatoes/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/05/tomato-candy-pilot-light-dried-tomatoes/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 08:40:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45244

Sally Schneider

Recently we received a trove of small plum tomatoes which are in abundance right now. Since we don't have the energy or space to can the tomatoes, we experimented with drying them in our ancient restaurant stove whose pilot lit oven is a constant 150'. We often dry our kale chips this way, and in the past have done sliced apples and pears. Why not tomatoes? Our experiments were a success. Here’s what we did. ]]>
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Lego-like Bricks for Building REAL Structures http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/lego-like-bricks-building-real-structures/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/lego-like-bricks-building-real-structures/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 21:00:40 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43996

(Video link HERE.) In addition to plastic snap together grownup legos we could make real things out of, we’ve long dreamed of big concrete Lego-like bricks we could build serious structures out of.  So we were thrilled to find this video of Kite Bricks, a patent-pending, production-imminent component brick that is very much like big concrete Legos meant for serious construction products. (more…)

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Huge Linen Shirt Becomes a TeaTowel http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/02/huge-linen-shirt-becomes-tea-towel/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/02/huge-linen-shirt-becomes-tea-towel/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 18:36:53 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45114

Marella Consolini

This just in from our friend Marella Consolini (whose daybooks with custom covers we love):

A new improvised project! Jimmy bought a gorgeous linen shirt on eBay for pennies, that turned out to be about a hundred sizes too big. But I fell in love with the pattern and the quality of the linen. Rather than send it on to the thrift shop, I folded it up and put it in my drawer, certain that I’d eventually figure out something to do with it.

Finally it dawned on me: the back was big enough to turn into a small pillow case or a towel — yes, a linen tea towel, which I love best! (more…)

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Lanyards are for Summer…DIY in Plastic, String or Leather http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/lanyards-summer-diy-plastic-leather/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/lanyards-summer-diy-plastic-leather/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:00:36 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44962

lanyardpatterns.net

Susan Dworski’s post about her granddaughter’s lanyard reminded us of our own lanyard-making pleasures in summers long ago. Somehow we’d learned a number of patterns from braids to boxes and make all sorts of useful things out of them.

But what we remember especially, is the dreamy hours spent making them.

That, of course, got us looking up how to make ‘em and if that material we called “gimp” is still available. It is, here, in beautiful colors..

It got us thinking about lanyards that would be useful in our current, grownup lives, as well as patterns kids we know might (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/lanyards-summer-diy-plastic-leather/feed/ 2 Cedar Planked Salmon for the Grill http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/cedar-planked-salmon-grill/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/cedar-planked-salmon-grill/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 00:47:37 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44899

Sally Schneider

Our friend Holton Rower has been learning about cooking salmon on a cedar plank on his Weber grill through trial-and-error, a method we totally endorse.  His first go wasn’t completely successful but it was clear that the cedary smoke is a perfect marriage with salmon. If you don’t have wood coals to cook over, cedar planks are a great way to achieve woodsmoke flavor. Holton learned quickly and his recent try was a huge success. Here’s how he did it (and what he/we learned). (more…)

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Why Not Sleep on the Roof in a…Sky Parlour? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/sleep-roof/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/sleep-roof/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:48:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44782

thomasjs.com/bivouac

We recently read that President Taft had a sleeping porch built (below) on the roof of the White House in the 20’s. On hot summer nights, the first family could sleep up there to cool off. It allowed the President retreat up there to chill and look out over Washington.  It was improved in 1927 when the third floor was expanded. Grace Coolidge called it the “Sky Parlor”.

We LOVE this for two reasons: that a man living in such straight-laced conditions as the Presidency would do something so personal and eccentric.

And that WE love sleeping outside as well, and often sleep out on our top-floor terrace, so we can look out at the giant trees in the park across the way and the stars, while listening to the lilt of Motown from the folks hanging out on the corner. (Nobody can see us as our ornamental grasses hide us.) We always preferred the tent guesroom our friends would erect when a crowd would emerge for several day reunions.

We’re always on the lookout for cool impermanent shacks (more…)

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An Embroidered Fix for Torn, Treasured Fabric http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/embroidered-fix-treasured-torn-fabric/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/embroidered-fix-treasured-torn-fabric/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:00:52 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44867

Virginia del Giudice

We recently received another inspiring fabric fix from Virginia del Giudice, photographer and co-owner with Alejandra Agüero of La Percalina, a fine vintage clothing shop in Buenos Aires. 

Alejandra and I had a beautifully made maxi skirt from the sixties at La Percalina. We worked on it for days to clean and restore it and when it was ready to be hunged we found a little hole at the front!  I had to do something to rescue this beauty!

This is what we did:

(more…)

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DIY Twig and Branch Fence http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/06/diy-twig-branch-fence/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/06/diy-twig-branch-fence/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 20:27:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44842

Sally Schneider

New York City’s Madison Avenue in the 70”s is among the toniest areas in the city. We were wandering there when we suddenly noticed this unlikely fence made of branches and twigs: a beautiful, unexpected DIY right dab in the middle of luxe (and a relief from the usual iron fencing!

Look close and you can see that it is simply branches and twigs of varying sizes woven and cross-hatched, with uprights secured in the soil, to form a stable fence.  (more…)

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Plywood Swirls via Jigsaw Make Surprising Tables and… http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/06/plywood-swirls-via-jigsaw-make-surprising-tables/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/06/plywood-swirls-via-jigsaw-make-surprising-tables/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44832

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We stumbled on this lovely side table at the ever-illuminating Aqqindex. “Paint and parchment side table” was the only info. We instantly envisioned plywood, one of our favorite materials for its possibility and accessibility. You could make a table like this with three rectangles and two flat sides cut with whimsical swirls. (more…)

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Annals of Bad Design: Swing Day Bed + Wilcox’s GREAT Swing Chair http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/d-y-arm-chair-beds-swings/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/d-y-arm-chair-beds-swings/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 20:00:41 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=10864

Emma's Design Blog

Years ago, we clipped this image from a design blog thinking: How lovely that looks, in its minimalist setting. Then we imagined lying on a swinging bed hung in a nook so near to a wall and could feel how jarring it would be if/when the suspended bed actually hit the wall.  Much better it be a hammock placed so its arc would miss the wall but you could use the wall to push off…

Then we stumbled on a“Another Use for Old Chairs: Turn Them Into Swings” in Unconsumption, featuring old chairs that people had  literally suspended, mostly from trees. And that reminded us of designer/inventor Dominic Wilcox’s Arm Chair Swing, (more…)

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Ornithology Wall Mural: Proseck’s Practice of Seeing http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/ornithology-wall-mural/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/ornithology-wall-mural/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44289

(Video link HERE.)  There is something enchantingly low-tech and intimate about artist James Proseck‘s painstaking process of making this wonderful, public wall mural: painting bird silhouettes a la Field Guide series of nature books. His technique is very interesting and could easily be applied to the walls of any interior or exterior space – bedroom, dining room, patio, pool house, you name it.

We’ve excerpted a saliant chunk of the rather long, slow video. It shows not only Proseck’s technique but delves into his view of what it means to “see” nature, a practice that can be cultivated. (more…)

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Intuitive Method for Organizing Stuff http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/organize-little-stuff-cool-plastic-boxes/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/organize-little-stuff-cool-plastic-boxes/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:19:49 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44784

(Video link HERE.) I LOVE this video! Filmmaker/designer Casey Neistat describes his great Intuitive Categorization Method for organizing his tools and little stuff. I’m loving it especially because it showed up right on time, in time, this morning. (more…)

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DIY or Buy: Attention Grabbing Geometric Headboards + Panels http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/31/diy-attention-grabbing-geometric-headboards-panels/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/31/diy-attention-grabbing-geometric-headboards-panels/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:00:59 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44746

urbanoutfitters.com

These distressed, pastel painted wood panels from Urban Outfitters are enchanting, but why not use the idea as a springboard for a summer DIY project to install anywhere in the house or garden? (more…)

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