Archive for the 'crafts' Category


Half-shelf-life and other furniture pimps

I finally got around to painting the rest of the kitchen furniture (I started with the dining table several months ago). I hate the birchwood coloured furniture that’s so Scandinavian, and the remaining three chairs continued to be an eyesore for me. Not to mention the shelf with paint stains and poorly finished sawing where I’d divided it in two! I don’t have a before-picture of the chairs, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that there’s a definite improvement with a price of a can of shiny black furniture paint.

First up were the two chairs the Significant Otter brought in: they got a layer of paint and that’s it (for now). Next, my eye fell on the third seat… It served its purpose as an emergency chair for my studio, but now it was just completely out of place and out of style. I hated the steel legs for being completely out of sync with the homey feel of the rest of the kitchen, so after I spray painted the plywood to match everything else, I dug into my scrap fabric heap and came up with some cheap Indian cotton strips. I lathered the legs with glue, pasted the fabric on and completed the deed by wrapping some deep blue thread to make sure it stays put.

Classic Scandinavian birch into… something a little less classic.

A definite improvement, but perhaps something still needs to be done to the garbage heap in the corner.


The worst thing in the kitchen (and for once, the Significant Otter agreed) was the half shelf with paint stains that was just sitting in the corner and acting as a kind of a junk station. A lick of paint, some crafty times with a cardboard box, a knife, a piece of dumpster dived shelf-back panel spray painted black and cut to size; a little glue, a few screws and an extra Ikea shelf piece later… Well, it’s still not pretty, but at least it doesn’t actively try to attack my sensibilities!

The bottom part needs a back panel, and some storage box type of things still needed for the middle shelf, but at least the garbage is out of sight and the paint matches everything else!


The best thing is that, apart from the paints, the project cost next to nothing. I love getting my hands dirty, and there’s that special feeling that goes with DIY… a satisfactory redesign and/or repurposing is good both for my conscience and for my account balance – not to mention that sweet glow when someone compliments on your work*. And finally, what happened to the other half of my formerly-studio-shelf? It ended up in the bedroom with a simple dark wood stain treatment:

Needless to say, the photo albums on the shelf match the bedroom deco, too.

*Of course, I can always find room for improvement.


Bad bad bed

Would you believe me if I told you that more timber was delivered as per instructions and the infamous bed has been built without further mishaps?

Well, more fool you!

The Significant Otter did indeed lend a van from his friend’s workplace, and they did deliver a sufficient amount of the right kind of timber for me to finish the bed. I laughed aloud when I realised all pieces were 10 cm (about 9 in) too long! Nevertheless, I put the bed together, changed the sheets and vacuum cleaned the bedroom, and it all looks very nice now. Even the extra length will probably work out in the end, too: I’ll build a shelf or a headboard on it later. We can has a bed!


Bed of Fails

So, we’ve been meaning to buy a new bed since the last catastrophe, or to build one. This week we finally got around to it: I was confident that I would have no problem whatsoever building a raised bed-like thing for our nice recycled-cotton mattress. So we rented a van, bought some timber and lo – this morning I build a bed. Thing. (We also went shopping for things like shelving, carpets and various home-related stuffs. I caved in and opted for shelves from IKEA. Yes, you may punch me in the eye now.)

The problem is, I overestimated the hardness of the mattress and what I ended up with instead is a bed with slalom jumps installed. OH THE FAILS!

The gaps between slats are too wide, and instead of a nice ergonomic bed we have a very special kind of a torture device.

Timber doesn’t cost all that much, and there’s a place not four kilometres away from us… But we have no car, and renting one just to get five pieces of wood is hardly cost effective. I feel like such an idiot. But live and learn… Now, to put together the new shelf for my studio.



Lately, the Significant Otter has been bringing up the fact that we’re paying too much rent, and after a year or so we should look for something cheaper. It’s usually dressed in the form of “don’t buy stuff”. Well! Instead of buying new shelves to house my DVDs (our combined shelves were only enough for both our books and his DVD collection), I’ve spent the last couple of days rearranging the living room furniture so all bookshelves (the Ikea Expedit kind) can be accessed on both sides…. Ergo, more storage space! I’ve successfully managed to arrange all books and all DVDs and all…most all comics on the existing shelving. Phew! Unfortunately, that still leaves my studio (the junk room) short of shelving… I’m looking at the possibility of building my own vs. buying shitty cheap stuff from Ikea. I may yet end up breaking my oath never to buy any furniture from them again!

Pay no heed to the crappy paintwork. I was feeling lazy. (I’ll probably fix it later.)

This weekend has seen a magazine rack for the bathroom (above), made of a piece of cot we found in the garbage (this is just 1/4 of it. one half i in use at the balcony as a drying frame, and the remaining 1/4 is probably going into my studio for more storage, if not as a towel rack for the bedroom door…). Last week, I took a sanding machine to my old kitchen table (it already had a long life as a kitchen table, drawing desk and a balcony table at my friend’s house before making it to my kitchen about seven years ago). I painted it with “semi-shiny” black furniture paint, using just one layer so the wood grain is still visible.

Next project: The chairs.

As for the colour-themed crisis I previously blogged about: the Significant Otter took the pics down, and we talked about it, and I apologised, and he still puts up with me, and I promised to cook a dinner for him for Saturday. I wanted to try this thing (source unknown) that’s been making rounds in Facebook lately:

Top: Inspiration from an unknown origin. Bottom: My version.

My theory is that the pan has to be really hot so when the egg hits the pan, it congeals immediately and doesn’t spread all over the pan. The peppers aren’t heavy enough to contain runny egg (as a lot of people trying this have learned)! I’m allergic to raw egg, so I cheated by making scrambled eggs first — with a bit of milk added to parsley-garlic-black pepper-salt-oregano eggs. When the scrambled egg seemed thick enough to stay still, I poured them in the paprika molds. I also used the oven grill on some thick slices of pork, and we had some nachos with cheese on the side. Kitchen Experimental result: dry. Some creme fraiche and salsa might have worked wonders.


Ninja Cat Does Not Approve

I couldn’t sleep, and after sorting out all my socks and putting away all clean laundry that managed to dry since yesterday’s crazy laundry spurt, and with no one on Facebook, I was bored. This is what happened:

Ninja Cat Shows Off His Butt

You can buy these (plain, un-illustrated) fabric bags for about 1€ at the checkout counter at grocery stores, and I usually get one if I’ve forgotten to bring one from home. I only get plastic bags when we’re running low on binliners.

Update! I made another one. But it’s not very clever.

Oddunout fails funny.


Vintage, punk!

I’m hopelessly in love with steampunk. There’s just something about the style that says “Yes indeed, old fellow, we are jolly well going to kick exterior on this here airship. Tea?” For a long time, I’ve been pining for a pair of good old pantaloons to go with my frilly petticoats – winter is approaching, after all. Last week, I got my wish as I turned an old bedsheet, some lace, an old skirt and an old men’s shirt into three pairs of pantaloons and a frilly skirt!

Steampunk skirt

All set for the airship adventure

Yes, that’s me in the photos. I also shot them. That cloning machine came in handy, after all… I can’t walk three metres on those shoes, though.

This is a first for me on a lot of things: sewing projects*, complicated skirt design**, wearing something this extremely styled in public and feeling fairly comfortable with it. Well, OK, except for the bit that the skirt ended up being a bit too large, and since it’s fairly heavy, it tends to slide southward. Some sort of a corset part, or failing that, an elastic band, is in the plans. I’ve always been more comfortable with a hammer and a blowtorch (and man do those midgets run!) than thread and that tiny pointy metal object… And now I’m all for getting a sewing machine of my own! Mum’s carefully ecstatic***: first I learn to crochet, then to knit, and now sewing! Who knows, maybe I’ll get a husband next!!

Ah, steampunk. Urban Dictionary (which is like Wikipedia only without moderation. I thought I’d do something different for a change!) has several useful definitions for your perusal:

Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.

UD acknowledges Steampunk as a fashion statement:

Often characterized by modifying one’s electronic gadgets to make them look a century out-of-date.Not to be confused with Renaissance re-enactors, who claim to eschew technology entirely; steampunks love fiddly gears and shiny.

And my favourite:

A former goth who suddenly discovered the color brown.
Well, I never was a goth, and I still don’t wear brown, but you get the idea. I do love fiddly gears and shiny things, and I love the grease- and copper smell of adventure, mixed with a sense of jolly well doing whatever one wants to do, while minding our manners. Impeccable ruggedness. Mixing genres. I think steampunk appeals to my sense of romanticism and my love for history. And of course, airships are awesome.
* I made a skirt once from a pair of trousers, but that doesn’t count.
** Really I just made it up as I was working.
*** I ask her for help/advice a lot. I make no plans beforehand. She’s an old lady. I mostly work with black. Figure it out. :D

Heard it through the grapevine:

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It Has Been Written:

July 2019
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And guess what!

Give me all your money: