Apr 28, 2011

Bathroom Shelf Project

Image: Casa Com Decoração

Have you ever found yourself thinking "God damn, I've just got so many chairs in my life right now but what I really need is a good bathroom shelf" ?

Well this just might be the post for you!

Here's a really clever idea to turn an old ladder back chair into a bathroom shelf.

Ladder-back chair
4 Anchor Screws and 4 regular 2 inch screws (which you can get in any DIY store)
Old Tap handles (you could probably find on eBay for a few quid)
Piece of wood that's the width of the chair and about 3 to 4 inches wide.

Step 1: Cut off the legs and about 2/3rds of the seat.

Step 2: Attach the piece of wood, using the regular screws, to what will be the back of the top of your shelf
This will give more surface area when attaching the shelf to the wall.

Step 3. Drill a hole at either end of the front of the top of your shelf for the taps. Drop the taps into the holes securing them in place with superglue.

Step 4. Paint your chair, shelf and taps.

Step 5. Finally attach the chair to the wall. To do this drill 4 holes in the wood that will be facing/attached to the wall. Line the shelf up against the wall and using these 4 holes as a guide, mark the wall. Sink the anchors into the wall. Line up the shelf and sink the screws through the wood attached to the chair and into the anchors.

That's it. Now you have an upside down chair as a shelf.

But don't worry, if you start feeling like everything is getting a bit topsy turvy at least you might be able to give this a try.

Apr 27, 2011

Eat only Irish for a Week Project

Is it possible to eat only Irish produced food for one week?

Well, that's the challenge Brendan Allen from Castlemine Farm has put to the people of Ireland.

Starting with an innocent comment on Twitter, Brendan asked if it  was possible to live on just Irish produce. A response came back with a challenge. Why not try it for a week?

But what is the reality of that?

No rice, no pasta, no curries!

Pizza maybe, but the flour, tomatoes and garlic would have to be Irish and is it possible to get Irish anchovies?

Would chocolate biscuits be allowed? And what about Tea?

How hard can that be?

The Rules are this:
7 Days x 3 meals per day plus snacks and treats.
That's 21 different meals.

Starting May 9th until May 15th, Brendan will be eating ONLY Irish produce for the week. He has chalked up a large group of followers worldwide through Twitter and he will be posting his progress on the website Eat Only Irish.

As part of the support for Brendan some Irish food producers and well known Restaurants will be offering special offers to participants in the challenge so check out the website and see if there are any in your town.

If you would like to join Brendan click here or if you want to just show some support and suggest a few recipes for him to try using only Irish produce click here.

I'll leave you with a few words from Brendan.

"And while we have a bit of fun let's get a debate going about what Irish food actually is and how it should be labeled. Let's discuss what supporting local farmers and producers actually means. Do we really want local food, or do we just want good food? And if the food is good shouldn't it be exported as well?"

Apr 22, 2011

Easter Project(s)

It seems to be that Easter is the most recycled event in our Calender's history.

What we know about Easter is this.

For most of us it's about eating lots of Chocolate Easter Eggs.
Full stop.

For the rest of us, Easter Sunday is the day that marks the end of our 40 day self imposed prohibition.
Whether you have given up sweets, sugar, crisps, cigarettes, swearing, junk food, lying, caffeine, chocolate, salt, alcohol, texting, ice cream, television, the internet, shopping for expensive clothes, complaining, Xbox, biting your nails, or making long lists. Now is the time to indulge.

But these 40 days of abstinence are based on the Christian tradition of Lent.

In the Christian calender Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting and prayer. A period of preparation which commemorates the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus, which happened to take place on or around Passover.

Passover of course is a Jewish festival.

Passover  begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian Calender. This is a spring festival, so the 14th day of Nisan begins on the night of a full moon after the vernal equinox. This also means that Easter takes place on the first Sunday after a Full Moon and therefore has become a moveable feast.

Christianity has about 25 more moveable feasts in it's calender but they are all based on when Easter falls.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't observing lunar cycles very much a pagan ritual and ...
....really, we could just keep on going down this rabbit hole, couldn't we?

So you get it. Easter is recycled and this is a really tenuous link to post a few ideas on Easter.
But hey, it's a long weekend and I've got a few days off work, because that, for me, is what Easter means.

So if you find you have some time free over this weekend and want to try your hand at a few ideas here is what I've found around the pages of the internet.

First up is a simple Origami Easter Bunny.

If you have a bit more time on your hands and are a bit crafty also why not try Bunny Bowling and make these Bunny Skittles.

The tutorial can be found on Etsy courtesy of Ellen at thelongthread.com

If that all seems like too much hard work check out the Martha Stewart website that has tons of last minute Easter Ideas.

Some of the easier, little to no cost, ideas are:

Easter Egg Ballons (link broken)

Flower Shoes

Bunny Folded Napkins

 Jelly Bean Carrot

Eggshell Candles

Apr 15, 2011

New York's High Line Project

Photograph by Brandon Baunach

The April issue of National Geographic has an interesting article called 'Miracle Over Manhattan' about a project in New York that is one of the most  innovative ideas in the City's history.

Originally destined for demolition The High Line is a former elevated section of a railroad line which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan and has been redesigned and transformed into a 1.45 Mile aerial Greenway.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

The Park was created by landscape architect James Corner of Field Operations, the architecture firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Piet Oudolf a Dutch garden designer, and Buro Happold (who was also involved with the design of The Cork School of Music)

It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. 

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
Have a look at the website of The High Line for more information on the History of the Park and some wonderful photography of the Park before & after.

And if you want to read the full 'Miracle Over Manhattan' article in National Geographic just click on the link.

Apr 8, 2011

Old T-Shirt Project

T-shirts say a lot about a person. It's probably the most personal item of clothing you are ever going to wear.

Whether it's a simple black or white t-shirt that says 'I don't take too many risks' , or one emblazoned with your favourite band/singer/film or maybe the ironic tee with witty slogans showing off your comedic prowess. It tells the world who we are.

The above infographics comes from Nick Foster and shows us the T-Shirt Life-Cycle.

Over the years I've found myself, on a number of occasions, sitting cross-legged on the floor with a variety of t-shirt piles laid out in front of me.

First of all there's the keepers. That's the easy pile.
Relatively new. Still in ok shape. Not too much fading.
(of course this category has a few subcategories of 'Special', 'Regular' and edging towards 'Undershirt' as detailed in Nick's Infographic)

Next up is the 'It doesn't fit me any more but I loved this t shirt so much that maybe if I lost a bit of weight I might be able to fit...ah who am I kidding' pile. These always end up going back in the drawer until the next clear out where I'm always surprised I still have it and excited that I never threw it out...that is until I try it on again..

Maybe between those 2 piles there's a 'When did I buy that and Why did I buy that and What made me think I'd ever wear that - so I might as well just give it to the Charity shop - but wait, what if I could sell it on eBay, get some of my money back - oh, but then I'd have to take pictures of it and open an eBay account - where is the nearest Mrs Quinns charity shop anyway?' pile. This pile hangs around for a day or two but always, always leaves the house without a second thought or glance.

Then there's the 'I love this t-shirt and the way it looks on me but it's falling apart at the seams and I'd never be allowed to wear it out of the house so unfortunately must go into the bin but I bought it on that wonderful holiday and in that great second hand shop we found and it's so great and I just can't bear the thought of throwing it out' pile. This is the most difficult pile to deal with as there is so much sentimental attachment to them.

I then got to thinking, what if you don't have to throw out these beloved old t-shirts. What if there's a way to reuse or recycle them?

Here's a few ideas that I've found around the internet.

T-Shirt Cushions  - This is a great way to reuse your favourite t shirts that hold so many memories.

 T-Shirt Pet Toys - Why not make a fun toy for your pet. Maybe put in a squeaker as well.

T-Shirt Wall Art - Similar to the cushions. Check out Urban Outfitters for some great 12" Album cover frames that would be perfect to show off your favourite t-shirts.

Now, if none of those ideas take your fancy check out Hide Your Arms where there are 5 pages of ideas for you to trawl through.

Now, I've got to go through my 'Archive' pile of T-Shirts that don't fit anymore and figure out which ones I'm going to allow my son to wear when he grows up. He's only 8 months at this stage so I've got some time to decide.

I might even have one or two more for him by then.

Apr 2, 2011

Mother's Day Project

I recently watched the film 'Nowhere Boy', the untold story of John Lennon which focused mainly on his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.

There is a wonderful moment where Mimi, while filling out a form, asks John "Where do I sign? Where it says "parent or guardian. But which am I?"

John replies "Both."

It's a tender and very touching moment that reminded me sometimes the Mother we may have might not be a Mother but might be a Grandmother, or an Aunt, an older sister, or family friend.

Whatever your situation, this Sunday is the day to celebrate that special woman in your life.

Here is a nice little idea that I found over on The Creative Place.  
It's a book of "10 Things I Love about You" and it's an easy little project to complete.

My wife created something similar a few years ago for her own Mother. She wrote down 50 reasons why she loved her, on simple blank business cards gift wrapped in a small box and tied with ribbon.   

It was a truly beautiful Birthday present. 

This idea allows you to make a little key ring so you can carry it around with you.

1. Card to print the numbered cards on
2. A hole punch
3. A binder ring(available in DIY shop or craft/art shop)
4. A pen
5. Pictures/Photographs or scrap decorative paper.

Time: about 1 Hours

Cost: Less than 2 Euro. 

Step 1: Click on the images below, save them to your computer and then print. 

Step 2: On each card write a reason why you love the person.When all 10 are complete cut them out.

Step 3: Go through old papers, old magazines, and photos to find images to cut out and go in the book. 
Find images that relate to memories of that person or relate to some of the reasons you've written down.

Step 4: (optional) If the pictures you have selected come from thin pages maybe think about sticking them to a piece of left over card to strengthen them.

Step 5: Punch holes in the top left corner of each card and alternating card and pictures place the binder ring through the holes.

And one final note. 

Make sure you don't just celebrate that Woman for only one day out of the year. 

Tell them you Love them whenever you can and as often as you can.

Apr 1, 2011

Irish Government Recycling Project

The Irish Government has this morning announced that its recycling program will be expanded to include the pickup and processing of the broken and discarded dreams of South Dublin residents.

"It's a huge leap forward" said Environment minister, Phil Hogan, "This new scheme to help reduce and recycle the dashed hopes of approximately 1/4 million upper middle-class Dubliners will finally give us a practical way to regulate the ever increasing overflow of crushing suburban disillusionment."

Under the new system, dreams that are outdated or unreachable must be broken down into manageable rectangles, bundled with twine and set out on the path next to the large Green Bins.

Dreams that have been shattered into hundreds or thousands of small pieces must be tightly bagged and marked with special industrial orange "FAILURE" stickers in order to ensure the protection of Bin collectors.

Reactions have been mixed.

"I was a partner in a top Architects firm," said Greg Masters, 46, of Foxrock. "But when my firm hired a young, hot-shot school graduate who was willing to work twice my hours for half the pay, I was put out to pasture. Then my drinking started getting out of control, and my wife took the kids and left me. I'll be glad to see my wasted dreams put out on the curb next to the bottles."

Dalkey resident Hugh Cronin agreed. "I wanted to raise my son to be a doctor, but he wasn't interested. All the money spent on private tutoring and college prep courses was for nothing when he dropped out of school and became a musician," Cronin said. "At least now I feel like I'm doing my part to help the environment."

Under the new program, though recycling of dreams will be mandatory, exceptions will be made for those who have nothing else to hold onto. Residents with no other coping mechanism in their lives — no extramarital affairs, no obsessive shopping habits — will be excused from the recycling program if they should so request.
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