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September 2012

September 21, 2012

Today is National Tradesperson's Day - thank someone handy!

 

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Two young tradespeople in training - Photo by Photo Dudes on Flickr


 

Irwin Tools has declared that today is National Tradesperson Day in the U.S. and Canada.  I'm heading out to join CHCH's Bob Cowan to celebrate this morning.  Please tune in to CHCH at 9:15 if you get the channel where you live.  

When I get back from Hamilton I'm going to publish thank you notes from approximately 200 readers who sent me details about their favourite tradespeople.  

In the meantime, show some appreciation today for the people who keep our world humming - carpenters, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, welders, machinists, ship builders - by buying them a cup of coffee, calling up to say 'thanks for all you do', dropping off cookies at a local job site, or hugging a tradesman in line at Tim Horton's.  

For more info, visit Irwin's salute to tradespeople everywhere.  If you're a young person with a great 3D aptitude, visit Skills Canada to explore careers that'll let you use it!

 

 

September 18, 2012

Just got my 'nails' done for @HabitatToronto and @HomeShowsTO's #UpcycleChalllenge

ToolGirl Mag Ruffman's #UpcycleChallenge welded garden art
2,498 masonry nails, 3 wrenches, and 3 handsaw blades plus 11 pounds of MIG wire and 50 hours of welding!

The lovely folks at Habitat for Humanity Toronto and Toronto's Fall Home Show have come up with the most fantastic contest this year.  They asked 13 designer/DIYer/blogger types to go shopping at one of Toronto's 5 Habitat for Humanity ReStores (where they sell amazing building supplies and archtectural salvage for 50-80% less than retail).
We were each allowed to spend up to $100 to get something to repurpose into a household item.  The entries are fantastically creative. (You can vote for the project that you like best, or better yet, go to the Fall Home Show or place an online bid for your favourite piece.  All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity to build more great homes for great families.)
Re: the sculpture above:
The first panel (far left) is a plain rectangle and is the first geometric thing I've made since my math debacle in Grade 10 (I got 11 out of 100 on my geometry final).  So I've officially made peace with geometry.  
The middle panel strays into a more organic shape, and the third panel is full-on entropy in the shape of a female form (or two lovebirds according to my Facebook friend Moe).  
 
P.S. Here's the 'Before' shot!
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I seriously love welding.  I bought a Hobart Handler 125 for about $300 a few years ago and it's become my favourite weapon of mass construction.  
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Last week I taught Oli, my niece-in-law, to weld.
Mag Ruffman and her niece Oli; welding lessons
Welding, the most popular activity at Ruffman reunions (besides eating)
I also gave my sister a few lessons last week and she went straight home and bought her own welder - a classy Lincoln package that included a helmet emblazoned with red flames!  She's making sculptures out of farm implements. 
Gillian on her first day with her new Lincoln MIG welder
A metal artist at work


 

September 11, 2012

Super-easy decoupaged mirror frame to build with your favourite kid

My friend Shyenna (7) has an eye for colour.  When there's paint around, she cuts loose.  Her choices are instant and fearless.  I love watching her because it inspires me to go with my own instincts, even though I've always doubted them.  

And this project isn't just about decorating with fabric and paint.  We also built the mirror frame from scratch.  It's a simple, fun project that any beginner can accomplish.  (Plus there's a monster who lives in the mirror!)

 

FUN

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ToolGirl

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