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October 2009

October 30, 2009

Wall Desk

via www.skiltools.com

I subscribe to the Skil newsletter. Sometimes it has killer-cool projects. This wall desk is one of 'em.

The idea is great and the design (downloadable as a free PDF) looks pretty easy. I haven't tried it myself but I may modify it to use as a countertop computer cabinet in the kitchen. I gotta do something. There are cords everywhere and it looks kinda ooogly.

October 23, 2009

50% of Homeowners with Garages Can't Even Park in There; Here's Why

This is a 4-minute story that took two days to shoot, but you'll quickly see how a few simple tools and some chick-energy can transform a grotty looking garage into a freakishly tidy, efficient work space. 

I want to use this stuff in my sewing room, my office and inside some of my closet doors.  Because vertical storage rocks.

October 22, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Norm Abram and his New Yankee Workshop - Fine Homebuilding

via www.finehomebuilding.com

BREAKING NEWS: It's the end of an era. Norm is leaving the airwaves. I wonder what's behind the decision - network market share, or did Norm want to retire?  We'll miss him dearly. 

Natural Root Stand for iPod

via www.etsy.com

This is just the kind of weird-ass gorgeousness I love to see in woodworking. Substrata also does beautiful wooden iPhone cases (without the psycho root action).

Design*Sponge » henrique oliveira

via www.designspongeonline.com

This guy is an insanely inspiring artist. What a cool thing to do with busted, peely, scrappy wood. My fave is the curly worm-hole fort. And the giant reconstituted tree trunk.

October 21, 2009

Vote for Design Egregiousness in Home Depot's Fall Makeover Contest

Picture 4
Picture 3

Thanks to ToolGirl Maureen Rice who sent me word of this ongoing Home Depot event,  to which she submitted her garish-beyond-belief bathroom as a late entry. 

Home Depot is giving away thousands of dollars in gift cards to the Canadian homeowner with the most sympathy-inducing photo of their home renovation needs.  You can vote online here.  Have fun.  Some of these scenarios are epic.  And Maureen's bathroom is right up there with stick-on linoleum tiles festooning the walls.  Hope she gets a ton of votes.

Wisteria and a Boring Fence

Boring country fence
In a far corner of our property stood the biggest, chunkiest, blankest piece of 10-foot fence you ever did see.  At the west end of it grows a wisteria, stymied by a lack of handholds for its curly, ambitious tendrils.

Pile of deadfall

So this weekend I took a heap of deadfall and recently-trimmed limbs and applied it to the bland pressure-treated fence using 3-1/2 inch screws.  Then I wove fresh, still-leafy branches horizontally through the vertical limbs to create the un-boring texture of wattle-and-daub without the daub.

Mag Ruffman's rustic trellis
Some would say I made the fence uglier, but they will need to rethink their opinions in May when the wisteria has something to clamber over in the riotous spirit of Spring.

Got a SIGG Bottle? Trade It In Before October 31st!


(Photo) On the left, my new OtterBottle.  On the right, my disgraced SIGG.

If you've got a SIGG water bottle you may have noticed the recent fracas about BPA leaching from the bottle's liner.  BPA stands for Bisphenol A.  In some U.S. studies it's been linked with early-onset puberty, prostate and breast cancers, as well as infertility in animals.  Ick.

I have a SIGG bottle with the old liner, so I'm taking advantage of their mostly free (you pay to ship your existing bottle back to SIGG) exchange program.  SIGG's new bottles have polyester liners.  Nothing wrong with polyester.  So far anyway.

Until I can taste-drive my new SIGG bottle, I've switched to a different product that I LOVE.  I'm using a liner-free stainless steel bottle. The water tastes sweet and delicious, even after a day or two in the stainless steel chamber.  Disclosure: A few months ago (before the SIGG crisis) OtterBottle's publicist sent me a complimentary sample of the .75-litre OtterBottle. That's how I found out about them.

My OtterBottle was invented and manufactured by a Canadian woman, Shannon Andrukow, an activist and environmentalist who couldn't find a decent BPA-free bottle a few years ago. 

So she created her own company OtterBottle Inc. to introduce a portable water container that was pure, healthy and cool.  (The name was inspired by the otter, a bright, elegant little water animal.) 

I now carry my Otterbottle on all of my car trips, plane trips, trips to the barn and any time I'm building stuff in my workshop.  Because the water tastes so sweet and not plastic-y, it encourages me to drink more water.  (Normally I avoid water.)

Also, the OtterBottle's compact size and shape is a great fit for me.  The SIGG bottle is a bit big for my purse and the circumference is slightly larger than comfortable for smaller hands.

Just saying; If you want to carry fresh water with you, why not do it safely, stylishly and Canadian-ly? 

October 19, 2009

A Canadian ToolGirl is Going to Mexico on CityTV, Baby

Okay.  A ToolGirl definitely has to win this.

What exactly are ToolGirls good at it?  Well, everything.  But especially dreaming.

So the spoils of this CityTV contest --- which will send you and 3 of your favourite people (2 rooms, baby) to hang out for a week at Mexico's drop-dead gorgeous Azul Beach Hotel and eat gourmet foods, drink cocktails and bask in “Canopy Beach Beds” admiring the surf --- is surely worth entering. And it’s even courtesy of (sing it with me) iTravel2000.com.

Picture 1

What do you have to do to qualify? Oh, taste the deliciousness. 

Simply build a model of your ‘dream home’ with popsicle sticks, particle board, foam-core, plywood, sugar cubes or whatever you have in your drawers.  Then snap a photo of your model and send it to CityTV (easy form and rules). 

There’s only a week left.  Citytv launched this online contest on October 2nd to encourage Canadian families (or 'GROUP of FRIENDS' if you haven’t procreated yet) to spend time together by building a small-scale version of their "Extreme Dream Home."

The contest was created because, in case you hadn’t noticed, CityTV is now running Extreme Home Makeover, so they’re letting you in on the camaraderie, speed, fun and crying of that very show. 

High-profile Canadian designers Ramsin Khachi, Janette Ewen and Samantha Sannella, who are participating as judges, unveiled their own designs. 

Here's an example: Janette Ewen's modular aquarium house

Janette Ewen - Maison Bobo[1]

Can you one-up a designer?  (To be fair, the designers didn’t get a trip to Mexico for their trouble.  But you will.)

The winning entry will be announced on www.Citytv.com on November 12, 2009.  I’m pulling for you.

October 13, 2009

BeJane.com - Web Portal for Women's DIY

BeJane.com - Home Improvement for Women BeJane.com has been around for a number of years and it's been going through some deep foundational changes lately.  I don't know what they've got up their sleeves, but it looks thoughtful and creative. 

If you're into shouldering your own home improvements, it might be a good time to sign up for their newsletter and let the projects roll.

By the way, here are some encouraging factoids from their most recent newsletter (today):

Singe female homeowners are estimated to nearly double from 17 million in 2005 to 32 million in 2010
Single women own nearly 1 in 4 homes in the US while single men own 1 in 8
Women drive 80% of purchases in the home
Women make 61%+ of all Home Improvement purchases in the US
Nearly 10.4 million firms are owned by women (50% or more), employing more than 12.8 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales.

So hey, if you've been wanting to whoop it up and yell, "Chicks rule!", today would be a good day.


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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie