Dec 31, 2012

Make One Change Project

Image: Shift Wallpapers

It's New Year's Eve and for most of us, that means it is a time for reflection, to look back on the past year and take stock of what we have achieved - or what is more frequently the case, what's left to be achieved.

Image: This is confusion, am I confusing you?
It's ironic that in a world obsessed with making everything twice as fast as it was last week, it's getting progressively easier to say - "I just don't have the time".  In truth, we have exactly the same number of hours in a day that were given to Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein.
So why do we claim to be far too busy?

Dec 6, 2012

Christmas Decoration Project

Image: A Little Hut
And so it begins.....

There has been much discussion in our home about when Christmas starts.

Is it when everything from windscreen wipers to organic fair trade coffee becomes available in gift baskets?
Is it when twinkly lights appear on the neighbours house and seem to be powered by a mini nuclear reactors?
Or is it when you start taking photos of your dog wearing reindeer antlers?

In truth, it's actually when all the shops start to sell an eclectic range of elastic pants with special re-inforced waist bands.

Oct 22, 2012

Halloween Lantern Project

Each year, millions of households around the world, carve scary faces into shop bought pumpkins and then place them in their windows and on their doorsteps as part of their Halloween decorations.

From the distinctly traditional...
Image: Woodward Design
Image: Puzzle-Games

Oct 11, 2012

Security Envelope Project(s)

Image: Eco_Monster

Security envelopes hold our lives in the balance.

When the post arrives, we are greeted with one envelope giving us money, or at least telling us that in theory we have money, but not for long - because the next envelope will take it away from us in the form of a bill or bank charge.

It's ebb and flow. It's yin and yang. It's Russian roulette with window pane envelopes.

More importantly, it's a total waste of paper.

Sep 27, 2012

Build Your Own Office Organizer* Project

*As much as I would love to begin this post by leaping into the world of science and lay out plans, schematics and diagrams for building your own robot to aid you with the organization of your office and life, this task, much like having to 'build your own' robot, effectively rest with your very own capable hands. 

Also, it's just made from a cereal box. So there's that!

Image: A Little Hut

With shops like Staples, Ikea, Tiger and what appears to be the Daddy of them all The Container Store, being disorganized looks to be a thing of the past. 

Sep 20, 2012

Piggy Bank Project

Image: the little red house
Is 1985's chart topping hit,  "Money's Too Tight (to Mention)", a frighteningly accurate prophesy of the economic climate, or is it simply just an obvious reminder that all this has happened before and all this will happen again*.

Either way, it's time to save our pennies and this little projects, from the little red house, which utilizes recycled newspapers and discarded egg cartons, will help you do just that.

Sep 13, 2012

Lamp Shade Project #3

Image: Under The Sycamore Tree
Lets look at the rule of 3.

Good things come in 3's - as do the bad. Films, books and plays have a 3 act structure. You could be 3 sheets to the wind or as phony as a 3 dollar bill. It is always: Ready, Steady, Go and after 3 strikes, you're out. Art and photography use the rule of 3rds and any novice interior designer will gabble profusely on the benefits of grouping in 3's. Goldilocks offended and annoyed 3 bears and there were 3 blind mice, 3 wise men and 3 little pigs.

In short, 3 is the magic number. 

Sep 3, 2012

DIY Jet Pack Project

Image: Doodle Craft
The three greatest words any child needs to hear should be - 'I love you', but I'm pretty sure most of them (well mostly boys, probably) would easily swap them for  - 'homemade jet pack.'

If you have a young kid in your family, plus a few recycled soda bottles, then this incredibly creative idea from Doodle Craft will propel your once measly status of older brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, or grandparent into & beyond the stratospheric position of  'coolest older brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle or grandparent ever'.

Aug 30, 2012

Lamp Shade Project #2

Image: demilked
Continuing my quest for the perfect lamp shade, I have discovered the designer Edward Chew, who makes these stunning lamp shades from discarded tetra box drinks cartons. The design is an incredible example of how a waste product can be re-purposed into something that's amazingly funky and looks like a disco ball light for the 21st Century - and lets face it, who doesn't love disco balls?

Aug 27, 2012

Homemade Art Supplies Project

Images: Chalk - minieco, Watercolour - Oh My!, Glue - minieco, Clay - Etsy{New York} Street Team

The kids are back in school.

That means your child will need to get pens and pencils and pencil sharpeners and rulers and erasers and pencil cases and folders and copy books and school books and a school bag and a lunch box and a school uniform plus a hundred and one other things, adorned with either Spiderman, Batman, Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank, The Hulk, Dora the Explorer or Hello Kitty that magically, will somehow make your kid, in their own mind at least, amazingly cool to all of their other classmates, and for you, there is the added bonus of a headache in trying to achieve that impossible task.

Aug 23, 2012

Lamp Shade Project #1

Image: Lowe's Creative Ideas
They say the key to good design is the marriage of the old with the new, and so in my search for a funky lamp shade for a great but old fashioned floor lamp in the corner of our room, I have stumbled upon some weird and wonderful ideas, amongst the nooks and crannies of the Internet - some of which I will share on these pages over the next few weeks, hence the #1 in the title of this post.

And so on with the first.

Aug 16, 2012

(Tangle Free) String Wrapped Earphone Project

Images: Pinterest
Most of us are familiar with the story of the king and the poisoned well.

Everybody in a town, except the ruling king, drink from a poisoned well which was the only water supply. They all go mad and think the king is acting strange and unfit to rule. As they begin a rebellion, the king drinks the water and joins them in their madness. The people rejoice, for their king has regained his reason.

There have been a number of times that I've tried my best to avoid 'drinking from the well' but sadly, certain situations dictate that I must at least dip my toes in it from time to time.

Aug 9, 2012

DIY Bowling Pins Project

My brain has turned to mush.

How do I know this? Two simple reasons.
1. It's one year to the day that I took a years leave to become main carer to my one year old son.
2. My son turns two tomorrow.

That sounds like I'm blaming him and in truth, I really am. It's okay though, he's totally unaware of it.
He's only two.

Aug 6, 2012

Coat Hanger Coat Rack Project

Image: bhg
Just over a year ago I posted this article about repurposing an old ladder back chair as a bathroom shelf.

Image: Casa Com Decoração
It's one of those great ideas that lead to the term upcycling. The art of reusing unwanted items by converting them into something better. 

Jul 30, 2012

Chess Table Project

Image: instructables
The 2012 Olympics are in full swing and I can't help but wonder why chess is not included?

They say chess is the sport for the mind but what qualifies a sport to be in the Olympics?

Between 1984 and 1992, Solo Synchronized Swimming was a sport at the Games.
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't solo synchronized swimming an oxymoron?

Jul 26, 2012

Paper Mache Elephant Project

Image: Ultimate Paper Mache

Why do people collect the things they collect?

Apart from the obvious motivations such as nostalgia, social interaction with other collectors, appreciation of beauty, investment and a need to posses a small part of the world, there is the personal pleasure of it.

I have one visible collection and it's not even really mine.

Jul 23, 2012

Sand Bowl Project

Image: Leetal Rivlin

"Oh, hear this Robert Zimmerman I wrote a song for you  
About a strange young man called Dylan  
With a voice like sand and glue"

These are the opening lines to David Bowie's 1971 song "Song for Bob Dylan" and if you've ever wondered what sand and glue looked like, now is your chance.

Jul 9, 2012

Fire Lighter Project

Image: The Telegraph
You might think it's a bit strange for me to suggest a project that involves having to light a fire in July. Then again, it is summer, so obviously I'm thinking about barbeque's. Now you are thinking it's a bit strange because if you were to only look out the window, you're first thought would be - soggy burgers.

It's almost mid July and it's still raining. Not only is it still raining but I'm sure our house is not the only one to have had the "Will we give the heating a quick blast" conversation. The idea of summer is this. You use the money put aside for heating bills and spend it on holidays and ice cream. Simple. We shouldn't have to do both but it looks like this weather is here to stay.

Jul 2, 2012

Cardboard Box Toy Project(s)

There is a common rule we must all recognise, that when presented with an expensive toy, a child will quickly disregard that toy and play with the box instead. Their imagination being used to portray the box as an infinite number of objects. Taking them on adventures and helping them explore imaginary places in their minds.

So why don't we just cut out the middle man.

Almost everything we buy these days comes in a box. So, whether it's small or big, here are just a few ideas for you to make if you happen to have some laying around.

Portable Cardboard Parking Garage from La Factoría Plástica

Image: La Factoría Plástica
Image: La Factoría Plástica

Jun 28, 2012

Superhero Project

Image: IGN

The world is full of superheroes.

Well, superhero movies.

Hollywood has spent the best part of three decades perfecting the 'Superhero Franchise' and with successful movies like X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers and the soon to be released The Dark Knight Rises, Amazing Spiderman and rebooted Superman, (along with sequels to all those aforementioned movies) there seems to be no hint of slowing down.

They've hit on a successful formula, which simply put, is this. The good guy always wins.

In that case, if you can't beat them - join them.

Jun 25, 2012

Make Do and Mend Project

Image: green LA girl
Buying jeans has become a bit of an ordeal for me.
I know that might sound a bit extreme when put into context with the real issues of the world today but I feel I'm not alone in this torment.
Like most people, I have a few eccentricities, which seem to bubble to the surface with quickening pace any time I find myself buying new jeans. In particular, I have two - let's call them - "quirks".

Jun 21, 2012

Starburst Clock Project

So today is the longest day of the year.
And it's raining...again.

They say this is the longest day of the year but I think you'll find it's pretty much exactly the same length of time as every other day in the year. The only difference is - from tomorrow, we start the countdown to winter, which judging by this weather should hit around the middle of next week.

If you had wonderful plans for today, maybe heading out to the beach, or possibly a picnic in the park and now you find yourself stuck in doors staring at the clock or staring at a place where there should be a clock, fear not. I can solve those two problems. Right here. Right now.

Starburst Clocks are enjoying a bit of a comeback in the world of Interior Design.
Image: Patent Pending Projects

Now you can design and make your own version.

Jun 18, 2012

Personalised Mug Project

Why does tea and coffee always taste better out of your favourite mug?

Drinking tea or coffee is often a very ritualistic exercise and people become quiet addicted to the way they make it. Black, no sugar. Weak, lots of milk. Honey instead of sugar. Herbal, decaf and never instant - only filter. Whichever way you make it, you genuinely think it tastes better out of a particular cup.

So why not have the perfect cup?

Image: Lemonade Makin' Mamma

Jun 14, 2012

Father's Day Crafts Project

Image: gettyimages
Father's Day rolls around again this Sunday and personally, I find it hard to define what that actually means.
But I'll try.

Growing up, one of my favourite TV shows was MASH and even as I type that sentence, I feel the need to restrain myself from parroting out a long list one liners and favourite scenes. I will share one scene that might help with my definition.

Jun 11, 2012

It's A Wonderful Project

This is my 100th post.

That sentence sounds a lot like self congratulatory back slapping and in a way, it is. When I started this blog I never thought it would last more than a few months and now, just over a year later and 5,000+ views a month, I feel ready for another 100 posts.

So for #100 I wanted to pick something special.

In trying to figure out what this post should be about, I created a mosaic image of some previous posts, to see what I had done in the last year. I used Flipcard, which allows you to view any site powered by Blogger in one of five different ways: Flipcard, Mosaic, Sidebar, Snapshot, or Timeslide. Click Here to test it out on Patent Pending Projects. You can see what other blogs look like too, all you have to do is go to the address bar and replace the "" with another URL.

Image: Patent Pending Projects

This image got me thinking about when I was a teenager and I'd covered my bedroom wall, as so many of us did, with images of singers and movie stars, film posters and art work. I'd rip pages from magazines and arrange them into a massive collage on the wall. Spending hours piecing them together like a giant jigsaw and in doing so, subconsciously try to paint a picture of who I was.

Jun 7, 2012

Cable Spool Table Project

Image: Halligan Smith
Step 1.
To build this amazing table, designed by Halligan Smith and made from a repurposed wooden cable spool, you should search a salvage yard for the spool.
You’ll also need at least 12 three-quarter-inch-thick wooden dowels that measure as tall as the spool when it’s lying flat on either wheel.

Jun 4, 2012

Trashy Wallet Project

Here is a fun project that turns an old paperback into a wallet.

I don't usually suggest ideas that involve tearing up books but in this case, it seems the cheaper the book, the better the look. Try a bargain bin somewhere or local charity shop for a trashy novel with an interesting cover.

Also, it seems to be easily transferable to other paper media like magazines or prints so it doesn't have to be books, that's if you feel the way I do about ripping them up.

Trashy Novel Wallets
Image: ReFabulous

May 31, 2012

Pallet Jack Project

Image: Tres Chere

Why has the Union Jack become such a fashion icon?

Well, because it's iconic.

Fashion designers and now interior designers (across the pond, I might add) have embraced Cool Britannia and emblazoned everything from painted furniture, art prints, clothing, rugs, and pillows with a blast of bold red, white and blue.

May 28, 2012

Jar Lantern Project

For the first time this year we have been able enjoy sitting outside at night and not freeze our socks off.
And so, as we all recover from a weekend of late night BBQ's, we take with us a few lessons learnt.

A. Always have enough beer.
B. Burgers taste so much better from a BBQ.
C. Candles, candles, candles. Hanging candles everywhere.

To find out how to make the hanging jars in the photo below, check out TheBeatThatMyHeartSkipped
for a simple tutorial.

Image: TheBeatThatMyHeartSkipped

May 24, 2012

Textured Planter Project

If you are into your gardening and are tired of all the same old boring planters that are available commercially then this is a really simple way to transform the ones you have with a few bits and pieces of recycled materials.

Image: Design*Sponge

May 21, 2012

Wine Cork Noticeboard Project

Ryan Gosling might have revved the engines of most women, and admittedly some men too, in the feature film 'Drive' but I left the movie with only one thing on my mind.


I've seen lots of ideas for projects using recycled corks and one idea in particular keeps cropping up and wouldn't you know, but there it is in the movie Drive.

In one scene, Goslings nameless character talks on the phone to a bad guy and offers him an ultimatum. In the background of the said bad guy's restaurant - 'Nino's Pizzeria', is a noticeboard made out of wine corks.

Image: Drive

To be honest, I've not thought much about making one, mainly because you need about 200+ corks to do it.
But why should that stop you?

May 17, 2012

Soda Can Box Project

Image: Atomic Shrimp

The aluminium can, invented in the late 1950's, launched a revolution in the beverage industry and planted a seed of environmentalism in the mindset of the World. 

Today, when we think of recycling, drink cans are usually at the top of our list which makes them the most recycled beverage container, at a rate of 69% worldwide.

May 14, 2012

Weathered Wood Project

My obsession with making things from pallets continued this week when I made these vintage style crates and display trays for the Honest2Goodness market, which takes place every Saturday and Wednesday in Glasnevin.

Vintage Crates
Image: Patent Pending Projects

 Display Trays
Image: Patent Pending Projects

The 'vintage style' element of the crates was pretty easy to achieve as the the wood used was fairly weathered already. However, what if you are using relatively new wood and need to create that old worn look?

May 3, 2012

Stencilled Table Project

So it's time to get a new dinner table. Or is it?

Unless your table is on it's last legs, literally and figuratively, then I urge you to consider all possibilities before posting it on Free Trade, abandon it in a skip, or in my case, reclaiming any wood worth saving.

There are lots of tutorials and how-to's when it comes to restoring furniture but this idea is one of the simplest and more effective ways to help revive an old piece of furniture, saving you the need to replace it.

Stencilled Table

Image: Design*Sponge

Here's what you'll need:

Apr 30, 2012

Make Your Own Board Game Project

It's another cold and dreary day in cold and dreary Ireland but hopefully, with today being the 30th of April, that's the end of the infamous April showers. If not, here's fun idea to help keep the kids entertained indoors on  rainy day #120.

Check out these websites for ideas and inspirations when making your own board game.

Try alphamom
Use Lego pieces, recycled colour paint chips and add instructions like 'make a funny face' or 'do a silly dance'.

Image: alphamom

Or how about... One Crafty Mumma
Make your way to the fabulous farm house, picking up treats along the way.

Apr 26, 2012

Plastic Cap 'ABC' Magnets Project

Image: The green art classroom

Most plastic soda, water and milk bottles are made from Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET #1 plastic and their caps are most commonly made from polypropylene, or plastic #5. These two different types of plastic melt at different temperatures during the recycling process and therefore, need to be processed separately.

If you are a dedicated  recycler and find that you have a pile of bottle tops at the end of the week, then this easy craft will have you putting them to even better use and help your child learn the alphabet.

Apr 23, 2012

Cardboard Shape Sorter Project

This project, found over at play and grow, appeals to 3 of my ongoing obsessions.

Image: play and grow

To start with, Evengy Kudryavtsev recycles cardboard, mostly Pampers boxes which I have in abundance, into educational toys for toddlers. That's two out of three obsessions right there. Thirdly, he's Russian, which you may or may not have guessed from his name.

When I first saw this I just felt so stupid that I had not thought of it sooner for my own son. I've looked at different wooden shape sorting toys and made plans for making one myself but this is such a wonderful idea that has just been staring me in the face. I guess that's the thing with the best ideas, they're just so simple.

Apr 19, 2012

Cereal Box Notebook Project

I'm constantly finding little scraps of paper in my back pocket with hastily scribbled notes on them.
Anything from shopping lists, phone numbers and silly ideas that pop into my head.

The worst part about this is not really the finding them in my pocket but my more my filing system for them.

Normally, at the end of each day, these scraps end up in a haphazard pile on my bedside locker where my son can, and usually does, find them the following morning and then spends the day depositing them around the house only for my wife to find them stuffed behind pillows, under seats, inside the washing machine and once surprisingly, inside a sandwich.

So, this project manages to achieve 2 of the favourite pastimes in this house. My wife's love of organising and my obsession with reusing cereal boxes.

Image: SCJohnson

Apr 16, 2012

Raised Garden Project

This is a perfect project for those of you who want to grow some vegetables and so far, the only thing stopping you was lack of space.

The best part of this project is, about half of the material you need, could probably be found  just by walking to the end of your road.

Image: Poppytalk
Here are the materials you will need:

Apr 1, 2012

Yes, But Can The Steam Engine Do This?

Image: Enjoy The Random
Sometimes, for great ideas, all you need to do is look sideways.

What follows is a brief biography on The Earl of Sandwich. A man, whose immense dreams and hopes (coupled with an awareness of the obvious obstacles) propelled him into inventing the very first sandwich.

Words courtesy of Allan Stewart Konigsberg

Mar 22, 2012

Newspaper Pot Project

Image: A Heart For Home
It's all doom and gloom really, or that's what the newspapers would have us believe.

This morning there is report that the Banks are going to start charging us for not having enough money.
What's next - a toll for using the footpath outside their door?

Week in week out there is a constant flow of financial mumbo jumbo across the airwaves, through our TV screens and rubbing off on our very fingertips from the daily newspapers. If it's not about bank bailouts, new government plans, bigger bank bailouts, restructuring of finance, yo-yoing interest rates, ginormous bank bailouts, increased unemployment or the astronomical bank bailouts, then it's the usual peppered attempt at bluff nonsense, reporting on the 'green shoots of recovery'.

Mar 12, 2012

Playdough Project

I made a choice, when I first started this blog, that I would never post articles about food or recipes.

There are a 101 different blogs out there, that each week, mix up a measure of crafts, a dollop of DIY and a pinch of seasonal produce to create that perfect blend of delectable, guilt free, bite sized blogging content.

So you won't find any of that here.

Saying that, this post requires you to use:
1 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 cup of water, 2 tsp. tartar powder, 2  tbls cooking oil, 1 cup of water dyed with food coloring.

Image: Hammer & thread
Mix everything together in a Non-stick pot. (The site makes a point of saying "Seriously use non stick." so, you've been warned!)
Stir over medium heat. It will look really soupy when you start but then suddenly it will come together. When it clumps into a ball dump it onto a cutting board to cool.

If you want to try out some natural dyes and festive scents then pop over to mini eco for their great tutorials.

The link for natural dye, using raspberries, rose petals, beetroot, blueberries and turmeric can be found here.

Image: mini eco

The link for the festive scented playdough can be found here.

Image: mini eco

Mar 8, 2012

Mothers Day Project(s)

In 1985, The Breakfast Club posed the question, "Are we going to be like our parents?"
There was a time when I wholeheartedly agreed with the answer.
"It's unavoidable, it just happens. When you grow up, your heart dies."

The adult part of me believes in that first sentence. The second part belongs to every generation of teenager - and what do they know?

It's a little over a week until Mothers Day and I recently read an article which stated  - "There's a lot more to being a woman than just being a mother, but there's a hell of a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect". This was made even more clear to me while reading a bedtime story with my son.  The Wolf And The Seven Young Kids . In the story , a mother goat, leaves her 7 young kids at home while she goes to the woods to find food. She warns them about a nasty old Wolf who may try and trick them into letting him in and thus getting a chance to eat them up.

Of course they get eaten up, it's the Brothers Grimm after all, and the Mother goes on a revenge rampage against the Wolf, armed with a scissors, sowing thread and a bunch of stones, literally and metaphorically.

The Wolf gets it in the end.


It made me think about a incident in my life that I've tried to bury for the longest time. Something that happened to me in childhood that really should remain in childhood but maybe now is the time to finally admit it.

I stole money from my Mother.

I was around 8 years old. I had a crazy fixation about Magnum P.I. the tv show. I wore a brown corduroy jacket and I believed I was Magnum (Magnum never wore a brown corduroy jacket. I was 8, OK?)
I use to love the candy cigarettes that were probably only one ingredient away from chalk. The red tip giving the impression it was lit. I would hold it in my mouth for what must have seemed like hours, but was probably only 5 or 6 minutes, before eating it, tiny nibble by nibble, smoking it down to the butt. Now, I really was Magnum. (Magnum NEVER smoked cigarettes. I WAS 8, OK?)

One day I found £10 Sterling. £10. STERLING. This was a fortune to me and in 1982 was nothing to sniff at - but I found it. It was mine.  Think of all the sweets I could buy. I found it in an envelope. Think of all those candy cigarettes. The envelope was in a handbag. I could have candy cigarettes for the rest of my life. The handbag was in a drawer. I could BE Magnum for the rest of my life. The drawer was in my mothers room.     I ran.

I was 8 years old.

My mother found my stash of candy cigarettes under the bed along with a wad of money. She asked me where I got it and I told her. I've never been more embarrassed in my life. My mother explained to me what I had done and I understood finally what it meant. I had let her down and lost her trust. She still loved me. She was still my mother.

Now it was time for her revenge rampage. She took the money and candy cigarettes in one hand and me by the other and marched me back to the shop, not just to get her money back, but to protest at the shop owner for 2 reasons.
1: selling all those sweets to an 8 year old - with that amount of money & minus a parent and...
2: not giving the correct exchange rate on the sterling. You see, my mother would not be taken for a fool. The shop owner had treated the £10 sterling as if it was £10 Irish and in 1982, £10 sterling was probably worth £20 Irish. On this day my mother had been ripped off twice and she was very pissed off.

I just remember my Mother walking into that shop with her head held high and walking out with her head still high, plus £10 Sterling in her pocket.

Mothers do the most incredible things. For this, we must thank them and if we forget to do it day in and day out, then at least we have this one day in which we can praise them, before ultimately falling back into our old pattern and taking them for granted once more.

Here are 81 Handmade gift ideas for Mothers Day.

Some of my favourites are:

Mothers Day Newspaper
Honor Mom by publishing your own Mother's Day newspaper.

Image: Martha Stewart

Homemade Body Scrub
Make Mom her own all-natural body scrub filled with salts, sugar, and lemon zest.

Image: Martha Stewart

Tea cup lights
Antique teacups that have lost their saucers still make sweet gifts when fitted with candles.

Image: Martha Stewart
Stamped Book Bindings
A good read always makes a nice gift for Mother's Day, but why not make it good-looking, too? Use rubber stamps to decorate the edges with a design or message
Image: Martha Stewart

So back to that question posed by The Breakfast Club "Are we going to be like our parents?"

If that means seeing them as you want to see them, in the simplest terms and in the most convenient definitions: A teacher, a friend, a provider, a listener and a disciplinarian.

Then yes it's unavoidable, it just happens.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...