Jun 30, 2011

Wood Crate Project

I've spent the last couple of days painting shelves in my house. Why am I writing about this?
Well, I'll tell you.

Nearly every single one of the shelves or bookcases in my house have been made from reclaimed wood, disassembled wardrobes, chopped up tables or any bit of straight edged wood I could get my hands on. I haven't taken any pictures of the shelves to post up here, well, because...life's too short to be posting pictures of my shelves made from reclaimed wood, disassembled wardrobes, chopped up tables or any bit of straight edged wood I could get my hands on.

But the fact of the matter is clear. We all need shelves.
(or am I on some kind of crusade to lift everything in the World at least 2 feet off the ground?) 

For some, a plain old plank of wood with a couple of brackets and you're done.
For others it can only mean the finest quality, limited edition, Baltic birch plywood shelves, hand carved by 8th generation craftsmen of some South American village.

I like to think somewhere in between is you and me.

Unless you're first choice is to get the IKEA catalogue out and you've got a little time to think about what you want, maybe it's time to try something different.

How about some old vintage wood crates.

Image: Living Room Interior Design

Image: baileys home and garden

I've always loved the look of this and I'm not sure I have the confidence to persuade my wife to allow me to stick a bunch of old wine crates on our wall...saying that... I have one issue if anyone is willing to try to achieve this 'look'.

And it's a pretty major issue.

These are the sort of wood crates you get in Ireland!

Image: William Murphy
Not exactly the same thing is it?

You could go shopping on eBay for Old Wine Crates but apart from the glaringly obvious 'it's vintage that's why it's expensive' price tag I find it increasingly more annoying that anything I type into eBay and set the search for IRELAND ONLY always comes back with 0 results.

Do we not sell anything on eBay??  Do we throw everything away??
Actually that's not accurate. We don't throw everything away. We do sell stamps and Des Bishop DVDs.

So, sometimes you have to make do with what you've got.

As nice an idea as these are,

Image: poetic home
Image: DiMeo Blueberry Farms

There's always the option of outdoor storage.

Image: GAP Photos

And if sturdy enough (with added support from screws) and with the right kind of paint why not try a simple storage unit for the kids room.
Image: ohhdeedoh (click link for how-to)

Another idea is you can always hide the quality of the crates by loading them up with everything you have in your house. (an idea I'm quite partial to if you were to ask my wife)
Image: theselby

Nothing like a bit of misdirection to hide the joints and cracks in your book shelf.

Which brings me back to the paint and why I've spent the last few days painting every square inch of reclaimed wood, disassembled wardrobe, chopped up table and every bit of straight edged wood that I now lovingly call our 'bookcase'.

Jun 18, 2011

Father's Day Project

 It's Father's Day tomorrow - June 19th - and it got me thinking about what the role of a Father is.

   Being a Father starts with 'Two o'clock Feed.'

Image: Norman Rockwell

        and probably ends with 'Breaking Home Ties.'

Image: Norman Rockwell
                                             And in between there's lots of 'Going and Coming'.

Image: Norman Rockwell
I've only been a Father for less than 1 Year so I have all that ahead of me but I wanted to get the celebrations off on the right foot.

So lets start with the obvious.

Please Please Please stay away from the following.

1. Anything with "World's Best Dad" on it. T-Shirt, Cap, Mugs, Pens, Cuff links and Socks.
These will just illicit an momentary "Aaahhhhh!" before being stuffed into the back of a drawer.

2. A Tie. This says "I spent about 3 seconds thinking about your gift"

3. Anything that sings.

It's not funny. It's not ironic. It's simply a waste of good batteries (now that's the Dad in me talking)

If you are going to give a gift for Father's Day. It's the simple things that stand out. The homemade and you can't get any more simple than this idea.

Image: Martha Stewart
All you need is some cardboard. (Maybe use an old cereal box.)
Some photos you are happy to cut up.
2 paper clips
Poster paint or left over paint from tester pots.

All you have to do is print out this template and then cut it out.
Place the template on a piece of cardboard trace around it and cut it out.

Paint the frame.

Select a couple of photos and trim them to fit the openings, making them slightly larger than the holes in the letters. Tape them behind the frame.

To make the frame stand up, bend open two paper clips and tape the small sides to the backs of the letters at the very bottom.

And that's it. A lovely homemade personal gift and it shouldn't cost a penny.

On a final note.
If you really must do the whole "Worlds Best / Greatest / #1 Dad" thing then at least have a look at this.

Here's a bunch of free printable images that you can use to stick around the house or to make your own cards.

                                                               Click HERE for Card 1

                                                                       & HERE for Card 2

Next up is Banners. Click Here

And finally HERE for a whole range of tags, flags, bottle labels, napkin rings, tented cards, party tags and banners.

My own personal opinion is that homemade is better than shop bought. I don't mind the bumps and crumples, the sellotape and glue, the tears and scribbles and fingerprints.

I know that time and effort and most of all love went into it, but saying all that, if all I get is "soap on a rope" with #1 Dad engraved on it I can be sure of one thing.

A Father's role is to pretend it's the best soap on a rope ever!

Jun 16, 2011

Bloomsday Project

Image: Maxf

Today is Bloomsday.

To those that don't know it's a day of celebration for all things James Joyce with events around the city of Dublin and in countless other cities around the world.

It's a huge day of cultural significance that involves readings and dramatisations of Joyce's work. People get dressed up in Edwardian clothes and go on pub crawls with crowds of people retracing the journey of Leopold Bloom, the main character in Joyce's novel Ulysses, which takes place on June 16th.

As much as I'd like to suggest recycling the pages of the book for numerous projects (and when I say numerous I mean copious. There are over 1000 pages) but I can't quite bring myself to advise you to destroy a perfectly good book.

So in the spirit of Joyce who set the events of the book on June 16th, the date he went on his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, and also taking the main character of Bloom as an inspiration, here are 2  romantic ideas that won't break the bank.

First up is an idea I found over on How About Orange

Image: How About Orange
Pop on over to the site where it gives you a template to download. All you need is some old newspaper or magazines. Follow the very simple instructions to complete this effortless project and end up with some nifty recycled paper flowers.

Image: How About Orange

Image: How About Orange

If that looks like too much work then you can't get any easier than this next idea that I found over on Family Chic

Image: Family Chic

All you need is a small glass and a balloon. 

Image: Family Chic

                                                   Cut off 1 inch at the mouth of the balloon.

Image: Family Chic

              Try and keep as much of the narrow part of the balloon as this will be the neck of the vase.

Image: Family Chic

Slip the balloon over the glass and depending on your preference pull the neck out or push it into the glass.

Image: Family Chic

So there we have it.

Two romantic ideas for what is possibly one of the most romantic cultural days in Irish literature.

And to sign off here is a third idea from the man himself.

"I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."

Jun 2, 2011

Lollipop Stick Project

Image: DormSlate

Do you work in an office?

Are you looking out the window right now?

Can you see the sun bouncing off the shimmering windows of the office block across the street where an entire floor of people can be seen happily munching away on ice pops bought by some good natured colleague?

Do you wish that was you?

Well why not take that leap and be that good natured colleague, eager to please their co-workers - but more importantly wouldn't it just be great to have an ice pop right now.

Over the course of the summer, various staff members will take it upon themselves to go buy the treats and this normally works on a 'who's turn is it now?' type rotation.

There are 2 ways you can go about this.

Option 1. You go around the room and make a list of who wants what.
2 x Brunch, 1 x Mint Chocolate Feast, 1 x Wibbly Wobbly Wonder, 2 x Cornetto (one chocolate, one strawberry), 3 x Almond Magnum, 2 x Loop the Loop, 1 x Choc Ice and on and on and on...
(The problem with this is there's a very slim hope of finding all those ice pops in the one shop.
Therefore, multiple shops, longer journey, melting ice pops and nobody wants that.)

Option 2. Everybody gets the same.

Either way you are left with a big old pile of lollipop sticks.
Now, if you grew up in the 70's like me then you were surrounded by the likes of this and one look at it will either stimulate your nostalgic synapses or send you screaming away from your computer screen and into the nearest dark corner to cry.

But fear not. This is not about lollipop stick bowls or houses. There's no lollipop stick bridges or chairs to be built here. This is about War!

War against the Zombies. Or so I keep getting told!
Apparently it's inevitable that we are going to be attacked by Zombies. It's only a matter of time!
So until then - get some practice in.

click to enlarge and then print
Image: John Austin Books

click to enlarge and print
Image: John Austin Books

Having watched the video you can see that all you need are your lollipop sticks and a few office supplies.
Elastic bands, bull clips, plastic spoon, sellotape...all of which can be found around the office.

As for the pegs...well, you're off to the shops to buy ice pops anyway - you might as well pick up some pegs too!
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