Improvised Life If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:13:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Insta-Meditation + Anxiety Antidote: The Endless Ocean Tue, 27 Jan 2015 08:13:19 +0000

(Video link HERE.) On the East Coast, our attention is on the monster blizzard heading our way and the constant notices of road and transit closings and a general feeling of… DANGER. On the West Coast, Susan Dworski in Venice, California reported “80 degrees with a weird red sky and bed sheets pulled off to wash are shooting blue sparks in the dry, electric air. ‘Earthquake weather’ we California natives call it.”

For a break from whatever vague anxieties or States of Emergencies you may be experiencing, allow us to “beam” you to the deck of a ship to simply sit and watch the ocean, (more…)

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Display Art with VINTAGE Binder Clips Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:00:06 +0000

Davide Lovatti

We’ve long been fans of binder clips for all sorts of uses, including hanging unframed artworks. But we NEVER considered how beautiful vintage binder clips might be put to this and other uses, until we saw Remodelista’s recent article. They are prominently featured in the home of art collector and mid-century furniture dealer Demetrio Zanetti.

He uses stylish vintage metal clips as his art hanging system, nailing the clips into the wall and then gently affixing the clips to the art.

They got us searching Ebay and Etsy for possibilities, and we found a trove. We fell in love with vintage (more...)]]> 0 Music for Monday Morning: Fast Forward Plays Mixed Metals Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:58:59 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Fast Forward* performing his Works for Mixed Metals seems like a perfect way to start the week. In a paint can factory in London in the summer of 1988, a young Fast shows us the music you can make with different metal objects, from paint cans to pipes.

For us, the perfect morning wake up is the lovely steek pan drum section that starts at 2:35.

*Fast Forward is one of the many EXTRAORDINARY friends we’ve made through Improvised Life.

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Improvisation-Inspiring Cookooks + a Fab Close-Roasted Meats Technique Fri, 23 Jan 2015 08:49:19 +0000

Maria Robledo

In the past week, I received two three affirmations that cookbooks I wrote years ago —The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook —are still resonating strongly. Both encourage improvisation, while giving the thinking and logic behind recipes and techniques, understanding that is the essential jumping off point for improvising. Curiously, TWO emails raved about The Improvisational Cook‘s technique of “close roasting” tough cuts of meats, in which they are tightly-sealed with flavorings in foil or a heavy, lidded pot and left to slow-cook in a low oven. I use the technique weekly (more…)

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Gifs of the Week: Mindblowing 3D Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:00:50 +0000


Animated gifs have gone mind-blowingly 3D. It had to happen…



via Studio 360

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Vibrating Bed Fix Headway: A Wood Bed + Hockey Pucks Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:00:19 +0000

Sally Schneider

To date, I’ve published four lengthy posts about my desperate attempts to quiet the mysterious vibration that shakes me awake every morning. I lost count at twenty; the latest was making four 80+ pound concrete block legs to support the platform, which was a grid of wood on a frame of steel angle irons.

The real problem, I discovered, is ME. According to readings of the vibration taken by an acoustical engineer, I am 10 to 100 times more sensitive than “normal” folks. The vibrations exist, but at a level most people don’t feel. My sensitivity is most likely due to a medication I take (on top of my being a very sensitive person). That said, I still needed to find a way to sleep. So I continued on my iterative, trial-and-error  journey to create a bed, or a system, that would allow me to sleep. Here are some recent successes. (more…)

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Hand as Note Pad, Art Material, Tool, “Thundering Channel” Thu, 22 Jan 2015 07:49:53 +0000

Sinnae Choi

The other day at Artists and Craftsman, we noticed the cashier’s ever-ready note pad —his hand — and were reminded of the many ways we’ve used our hands. We mentioned this to Sinnae Choi, Improvised Life’s brilliant aide-de-camp, and she wrote some seriously powerful words about just what hands can do, and be. (more…)

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Blue Painter’s Tape Labels for Pantry Staples Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:14:36 +0000

Sally Schneider

We’ve long been fans of blue painter’s tape, which we’ve used to plan our space, not to mention make unexpected artworks (our favorite being this visionary abstract work created on a window). Now we’re smitten with the labels Maria Robledo made for her jars of staples. Her walk-in pantry houses a lovely collection of vessels, wine glasses, cookbooks, standing mixer and pantry staples. The blue tape adds a curiously charming touch, (more…)

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David Foster Wallace: ‘You Get To Decide How You’re Gonna See’ Wed, 21 Jan 2015 07:56:25 +0000

(Video link HERE.) We are KNOCKED OUT by this brilliant video of a thoughtful excerpt of the commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College in 2005. It’s watching every bit of the 9 or so minutes, even if you have to do it in chunks throughout the day.

His message is essential. We’ve included a short bit here. (more…)

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Chalkboard Paint for Adults, Redux Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:38:48 +0000

Ashe + Leandro

Early on in Improvised Life’s posting days, we published quite a few articles about the wonders of chalkboard paint. Then it began to seem a trend of the past. Not so, we realized on seeing this room by interior design firm, Ashe + Leandro. It is a swell material for transforming an adultish space, inviting all sorts of ad hoc or planned images and designs: a opportunities for art making and self-expression.  (more…)

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015 Mon, 19 Jan 2015 20:13:44 +0000

Barry Blitt for The New Yorker

This is the first year in some time that Martin Luther King Jr. day was a disturbing day, rather than a purely hopeful one. In light of the recent events in Ferguson and elsewhere, the message in the air, sadly, has been that Dr. King’s dream was not as far along as we thought. It seems as though it might be in dire straits.

Then we saw two images that showed us the light that resonates still in King’s work. (more…)

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Little by Little, Fill Yourself with Good: Rick Hanson’s TED How-To Mon, 19 Jan 2015 08:09:03 +0000

Rick Hanson

Psychotherapist Chris Eldredge sent us this powerful TED talk of neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson‘s simple technique for transforming our hardwired negative patterning (also known as Negativity Bias). We thought 13+ minutes might be too long for our busy selves, but Hanson’s talk flies by, and we found ourselves with a useful practice we can do anywhere, anytime.

The gist: People more readily TAKE IN negative things that happen to them; incorporating the positive takes a simple 20-second technique. Although the back story is illuminating, you can cut to the chase at 7:12. (Video link HERE.) (more…)

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Celebrate Saturday with Spanky and the Little Rascals Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:10:11 +0000

(Video link HERE.) In need of a rest cure? During this wintry weekend, we recommend indulging in Little Rascals espisodes from the 1930’s (available on YouTube) for inspired moments like Spanky’s celebratory Saturday dance. The motley gang of neighborhood children figure out endlessly inventive ways to live, play and find huge adventures in the everyday. Not to mention, doing a little impromptu chiropractic. (Video link HERE.)

If you want to dose right now, check out this 7 minutes of brilliance as The Little Rascals Improve a Cake filled with prizes (which would be another great weekend project….)

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Le Corbusier’s Iconic Chair in Pallet Wood, Concrete, Pipe Thu, 15 Jan 2015 18:00:49 +0000

Martin Leveque on Behance

Of all the shipping pallet creations we’ve come across, this has to be one of the most stylish. It is curiously reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s famous chrome-and-black-leather Grand Confort chair. In pallet wood!

It is one of the many brilliant hacks and revisions we’ve seen of the iconic, now-uibiquitous chair…

…since we came across interior designer William Diamond’s version which he had an auto-body shop coat with white enamel and then upholstered in bright red boiled-wool flannel.

We also love architect Stefan Zwicky’s concrete interpretation….

This drawing gives insight into the basic elements of the chair: a frame holding four or five volumes…

It (more...)]]> 0