Friday, August 2, 2013

Skate-able Coffee Table and Scratching-Post Seating


This piece was custom-made from salvaged wood by a friend of the skater. It's designed to be carried outdoors.

The sofa behind it is a prime candidate for tacky remediation. It looks like a good piece that's road-weary. The quickest fix would be a high thread-count putty-colored cotton drop cloth from a hardware chain. Better would be to have the piece cleaned first. Secure a loose cover with rolls of newspaper tucked firmly into the crevices between seat, back, and arms. The cat attack on the left arm can be remedied with a hot glued patch to secure the integrity of the upholstery. With that in good condition, reupholstering with hot glue is a snap. A flat seat like the one on the sofa in question is often of a modular size, 24x72". I find a super-deluxe self-inflating air mattress with a memory foam layer makes a good substitute for cushions. More after the jump.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Task Light


I set up this little clip light to augment the ambient light in a coffee shop. The light came from the Great Big Northern European Home Furnishings Chain, and I wish I’d bought a dozen or two when I bought several to fill Christmas stockings. The LED light is warm and comfortable to the eye, and the battery is powered by a windowsill charger that will afford me a free ride in low-level illumination. The Great Big Hiking Co-op sells the charger, which works even on a dismal February windowsill, as long as I'm not in a hurry.

The design of this house precedes electricity, and the rooms are at their best when lighted with numerous small, low sources that replicate candlesticks and oil lamps. The little clip-ons are a safer, cheaper, more efficient alternative.

-30-  More after the jump.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Compost Pitcher


Photo courtesy Flickr

Since 1980, every bit of compost generated in this kitchen has been buried in the garden just outside the back door. I’ve stumbled through many iterations of collection devices. The one that works best is an ordinary plastic two-quart pitcher that sits on the counter close to the sink. It takes a couple of days to fill it, and the handle makes a convenient one-handed job of carrying it to the midden.

Once it's emptied, I carry the pitcher to the sink, rinse it, squirt a dash of rubbing alcohol into the bottom for odor control, and it’s good to go. Then I rinse and sanitize the sink with another swipe of alcohol, my favorite disinfectant and degreaser. Cheap vodka works, too, if you want an even more multi-purpose colorless fluid.

-30  More after the jump.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Just Enough

Photo courtesy Flickr

Azby Brown published a book of that title about lessons in living green from traditional Japan. The cover suggests contents with the usual shallow avalanche of eye candy, but page three of this Tuttle title reveals deep scholarship, a passionate commitment to sustainability, and charming graphics that appear to be from the author’s own hand.

There are at least a dozen blogs in this book, and I’m only on Chapter Two. Revelation the first is the history of the engawa, the sleeping room in a traditional Japanese farmhouse. The space was originally a small room with a wooden floor and a deep sill across the door. The space was filled with hay, and the family slept together in their daytime work clothes huddled together for what warmth the hay could provide.

European castles had a similar arrangement for the fighting men on their staffs: a wooden box on wheels was filled with hay and a dozen or so troops would sleep in it. Presumably the wheels made it easy to support field missions. The photograph I saw showed the wagon parked under a medieval roof of some kind. 

The most memorable nap of my childhood was taken burrowed into a pile of maple leaves under a glowing October sun.

We take a lot for granted. Tacoma’s Fort Nisqually restoration displays a pallet of blankets inside the base of the defensive blockhouse surrounded by a perimeter of sharpened logs. One of the troops slept there, and I have no doubt he was glad to sleep out of the rain.

-30-  More after the jump.