Improvised Life » repurpose + reclaim http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:54:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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:

(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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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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big shipping pallet and concrete block outdoor table http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/21/big-shipping-pallet-block-outdoor-table/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/21/big-shipping-pallet-block-outdoor-table/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44323

Sally Schneider

Last weekend, we walked down to the Urban Garden Center to check out the pig roast they hold every Saturday in the summer. You many remember that the garden center is directly across from the two buildings that collapsed in Harlem last winter after a gas leak explosion. It was practically decimated and we wondered if they’d come back. We’ll they made it through and we bought ornamental grasses for our planters from them a couple of months ago. Ever industrious, they rebuilt their rough-and-tumble party pavilion and launched a weekly Harlem Seoul Pig Roast, serving a mashup of Korean/Southern Barbeque. The pavilion is made of all sorts of found and rustic materials, including mismatched chairs and junk store finds.

We especially loved the huge table made of shipping pallets and concrete block, two of our favorite building materials. It could easily seat twelve AND weather the elements.  (more…)

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Our Search for Lego-Like Adult Building Blocks http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/search-lego-like-adult-building-blocks/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/search-lego-like-adult-building-blocks/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:00:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44011

Amazon.com

We have been so hungry for “adult” Legos with which we could actually make some home projects that we’ve checked out all sorts of possibilities, including giant plastic storage boxes in the shape of Legos, with “Lego” embossed loudly on the top. NOT.

The closest we’ve come is TogetherFarms modular blocks made from recycled plastic and food-safe. They are being marketing for use for making planters and raised beds. (more…)

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Shipping Pallet Transport Vehicle http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/09/shipping-pallet-transport-vehicle/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/09/shipping-pallet-transport-vehicle/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43858

(Video link HERE). Shipping pallet creations are among our most popular posts and we’ve featured A LOT of them over the years. Tomáš Moravec‘s re-purposing of the simple pallet may be the most inspired of all:

“A new transport vehicle brings change into the spatial perspective of a passenger in motion and generally changes the life of the city, through which the pallet can run, guided by a map of the city lines.”

 

Check out other big fat pallet ideas here.

 

 

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