Improvised Life » repurpose + reclaim http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Found Magazine Page Envelopes Redux http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/06/found-magazine-page-envelopes-redux/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/06/found-magazine-page-envelopes-redux/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 18:00:15 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46536

Sally Schneider/Pamela Hovland

Our friend Pamela Hovland is an extraordinary designer who helped us create the original look for Improvised Life. Our first year in business, we wrote about her clever use of ripped-out pages from magazines as her envelopes. Recently she sent us this beauty with the message “this wrapper had your name all over it“. Indeed it did.

We held back from opening it until we could photograph it; it is an enduringly good and charming improvisation.  (more…)

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8+ Strategies for Redecorating an Ugly Hotel Room http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/05/redecorate-hotel-room/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/05/redecorate-hotel-room/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:00:13 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46404

Being very sensitive to spaces, we have long been big on tailoring hotel rooms to our own sensibility and personal feng shui. Photos of the newly renovated Hôtel Baume in Paris made us think of the many strategies we’ve developed over years of traveling to shift the feeling of not-quite-right, often OVER-decorated hotel rooms and make them more comfortable. Where many folks think they have to live with the dictates of the room they find themselves in, we are great believers in improvising on what’s there to make it more comfortable for our minimalist sensibilities. Here are our tricks and tips, with examples:

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Adjustable Rolling Table for Matisse AND Us http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/teak-desk/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/teak-desk/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:04:33 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43959

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When we looked closely at images of the invalid Matisse sitting in bed or in a chair making his beautiful paper cutouts, we realized that he used an adjustable bed table similar to one we’ve had for years.

We came across ours while trolling Ebay for mid-century furniture nearly 20 years ago. Billed as a Danish Modern Teak Rolling Tray Table, it looked mighty useful so we bought it. Over the years, we’ve found it to be astonishingly versatile: (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 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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Urban Taxi Farmers 2014 http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/urban-taxi-farmers-2014/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/urban-taxi-farmers-2014/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:00:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45261

David Saltman

Five years ago we began profiling an intrepid group of urban farmers, all of whom have the day job of taxi driver.

They’ve “borrowed” pieces of unused open land in various corners of New York City and turned it into bread and butter – or rather into corn, beans, tomatoes, grapes, herbs and whatever else they can plant on tiny scraps of earth along abutments and train tracks: wherever their peripatetic profession spies land that no one else is interested in.  The are high on our list of smart, fearless urban improvisers.  (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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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.

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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:

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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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Stylish Repurposed Tables from RioEtc http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/stylish-repurposed-tables-rioetc/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/stylish-repurposed-tables-rioetc/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:00:59 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44701

rioetc.com

When we start poking around the google translate version of rioetc.com.br, a site meant to show the stylish side of Rio, we found, over several separate posts some compelling mashups of tables. The first, the coffee table, above, which appears to be made of mismatched crates, some with wheels, some not, and a cubist hunk of…is it foam rubber…with a glass top; curiously works.

Then we spotted this table made out of painted boards that had been stripped and affixed to the wall by what appears to be black pipe, (more…)

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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…)

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Annals of Bad Design: COS Lightweight Backpack + Our FIX http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/annals-bad-design-cool-cos-backpack/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/annals-bad-design-cool-cos-backpack/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:01:02 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44522

Sally Schneider

When we looked at images of the COS Lightweight Backpack online and read the product description we thought PERFECT. Just what we’re looking for:

Made from a lightweight technical fabric, this cotton-lined backpack has an all-over print and fastens using a magnet and wide drawstring. Multi-functional, it can also be worn as a tote bag using the two top handles.

We ordered one and the harsh realities set in. (more…)

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Sea Shell Salt Cellar http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/sea-shell-salt-cellar/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/sea-shell-salt-cellar/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44353

Virginia del Giudice

Our friend Virgina del Giudice sent us a lovely vacation email with the subject line: “Improvising“:

We were on vacation in La Pedrera, Uruguay (very beautiful place!)

My husband and I rented a forties garage converted into a cozy little appartment for two. The kitchen was small but perfect for improvising nice recipes like croquettes with the seeweed across the street. But we did not have fancy stuff, so I improvised this salt little dish with a shell. I was happy when I used it!

Sea shells indeed make lovely vessels, often with memories attached! (more…)

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