Improvised Life » materials for making http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:50:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Save Your Wishbones for the Wishbone Project http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/save-wishbones-wishbone-project/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/save-wishbones-wishbone-project/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 23:00:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44972

Sally Schneider

Recently, several readers wrote to say they’d saved a pile of wishbones to send to Holton Rower for his monumental art work made of thousands — maybe hundreds of thousands— wishbones. Since we first announced it, our crowd-sourced Wishbone Project has yielded Holton a lot of wishbones. In return, the errant wishbone collectors/donaters receive a thank you gift from Holton.

The last batch he received curiously had a button in it.

Here’s a reminder to SAVE  YOUR POULTRY WISHBONES and become part of a sure-to-be wondrous art work.

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/11/save-wishbones-wishbone-project/feed/ 0
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/ 0 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…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/cedar-planked-salmon-grill/feed/ 1
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…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/sleep-roof/feed/ 0
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…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/06/diy-twig-branch-fence/feed/ 0
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…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/d-y-arm-chair-beds-swings/feed/ 0
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…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/31/diy-attention-grabbing-geometric-headboards-panels/feed/ 0
Back to Basics with Homemade Household Products http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/back-basics-household-products/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/back-basics-household-products/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:00:07 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44484

GreenMed

Here’s something to put up on your refrigerator door: a chart showing 72 practical uses of common “core” ingredients that make up our (far more expensive) store-bought soaps, lotions and surface cleaners. The idea is that all of the countless “new and improved!” drugstore potions lining our cabinet shelves are really just permutations of six or seven simple active components (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/back-basics-household-products/feed/ 4
Go DIY and Fly a Kite! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/go-diy-fly-kite/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/go-diy-fly-kite/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:00:49 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44621

Fredericks & Mae

Fredericks & Mae‘s beautiful Floralia – Fighter kite is meant to hang a wall to IMAGINE flying in air. Made of bamboo, rice paper, pressed flowers, waxed cord, and gold thread, it’s a “ceremonial kite…in honor of the ancient Roman holiday Floralia…a predecessor to May Day, a festival in honor of the titan Flora…goddess of flowers and the season of spring.”

But for us, it is inspiration for diy kites you can fly, like the one we saw the other day being flown from a Harlem rooftop.

Made by Joel has a great tutorial, one of many kite plans available online. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/go-diy-fly-kite/feed/ 0
Amazing Makeshift, Human-Powered Mobile Home http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/portable-house/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/portable-house/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:00:36 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44134

Liu Lingchao built a makeshift dwelling to house himself as he walked back to his hometown in China. He has carried it on his shoulders daily for five years as he walks home. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/portable-house/feed/ 0
Industrial Materials for DIY + Home Improvements http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/28/reduce-vibrations-machinary-furniture-beds-among-things/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/28/reduce-vibrations-machinary-furniture-beds-among-things/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:00:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=39544

Sally Schneider

Even though we are complete laymen, we have a thing for industrial materials: the mysterious raw materials used by various industries that were traditionally off-limits to the public. Years ago, we learned that if we could find a source, we could buy them like anyone else. In those days, we used a Business-to-Business phone book to find zinc fabricators for an kitchen island top, or a guy to forge a table base out of steel angle irons. Recently, we had an adventure and lesson in the vast possibilities of rubber products (and made some big discoveries we didn’t expect). (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/28/reduce-vibrations-machinary-furniture-beds-among-things/feed/ 0
Freeform Architecture LEGO Kit in Monochrome White (+ D-I-Y Alternative) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/freeform-architecture-lego/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/freeform-architecture-lego/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44412

LEGO

Having long been enamored of building blocks both miniature and life-sized for their cool modularity and open invitation to improvise, I find this jumbo building kit from LEGO is the perfect thing for adults to play/plan/build with. Whether to envision a real-life project in small scale or simply get out of your own head for a minute, these blocks are great as an office toy or something to share with a curious, independent kid in your life. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/freeform-architecture-lego/feed/ 0
Concrete Block Planters and Raised Beds http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/concrete-block-planters/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/concrete-block-planters/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:00:25 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44369

Zac Benson

In addition to a cool shipping pallet table, we found another great DIY at Urban Garden Center: a concrete block planter (below). We’d seen images of them before like the one above that houses succulents and at this Pinterest devoted solely to concrete block gardens. The basic idea holds lots of possibilities, some rough, some curiously sleek. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/concrete-block-planters/feed/ 0
Rough-stitched Ripped Linen Pillow Covers http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/rough-stitched-ripped-linen-pillow-covers/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/rough-stitched-ripped-linen-pillow-covers/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:00:11 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44375

IKEA

Just as we were wrapping our head around learning to use our new sewing machine, we noticed these big pillow covers on IKEA’S blog Livet Hemma

…which sent us hunting around Ikea USA to discover that it is selling 100% linen by the yard for 7.99 a 59″ yard in white and gray.

We’ve long been fans of washed, shrunk, ripped linen and these couldn’t be easier: (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/rough-stitched-ripped-linen-pillow-covers/feed/ 0