Ikea Idea - Wood Therapy

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This morning I was able to enjoy my usual (but belated) cup of coffee on my balcony at my new table and also my view of 3 Victorian houses and the gorgeous trees (well over 100 years old) opposite my building. Yes, I admit to being a treehugger, literally. Must have been one in my previous life. Maybe they're kinfolk!

Anyway, the houses sit in the canyon of high rises where I live in downtown Ottawa. This morning, amids the morning cacaphony of delivery trucks, police car and fire engine sirens, and other noises that never cease, I worked out my plans for my first Halloween workshop.

After my coffee intake, I took a gander over to Ikea's Livet Hemma hoping to find an idea I could share and luckily there was one if you're in the need of a coffee table, which I am.


The whiz kids over at Ikea built a coffee table using their own Knagglig crates (approx. $15 CDN each) and one of their tabletops. I like this idea because the bottoms of the crates serve as storage. However, I don't know about your area, but vintage or vintage reproduced wooden crates are like gold here - costing a small fortune, so the Ikea ones are reasonable in comparison. Of course, you can always go looking for wood and build your own. 

Once you've found your wood, this guy over at Woodworking for Mere Mortals has a tutorial you can follow to make your own wooden crates. As for the top of your coffee table, an old door, sanded and stained, would complete the project.

For the tutorial, click here.

Next trash day I will be on the lookout for an old door and more wooden drawers. 

Street Finds - Wood for Cutting Boards

Posted on August 13, 2016 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you ever find that you think about something you need, then put it out of your mind to find it arrives at some unexpected moment? It happens to me a lot and again yesterday. 

It was garbage day and across street from my building I spotted a some interesting materials put out ready for the taking. So, of course, I dashed over to see what I could pick through and found an Ikea chest of drawers that had been taken apart and set out on the curb. 

What a surprise. I've been thinking about Christmas and what to give my friends who have EVERYTHING already. There was a post on Ikea's Livet Hemma site about dressing up cutting boards with leather. Of course, they were flogging their own cutting boards but I thought, AH HA, there's an idea. Why not gift my friends this year with custom made cutting boards? All I needed was some wood. 

Et voilà! I dashed across the street and found a motherlode of wood. I nabbed one of the drawers (heavier than I thought but heck, it was pure pine!). Once home, I took the drawer apart and found I had enough boards to make at least half a dozen cutting boards. Now I'm just am waiting for a friend to bring over some tools I can use. 

To top off my day, I found esy-to-follow DIY instructions for making your own cutting board over at A Beautiful Mess. Yay! For instructions, click here. 

I'll be showing off my own cutting boards soon. First, I have to find a saw!


Earth Day Project - Wood Recycling

Posted on April 19, 2016 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I live in downtown Ottawa and it seems new building construction sites keep popping up here, there and everywhere. On my morning walks, I often find piles of leftover lumber left for rubbish at the curbside. Often the pieces are too big for me to take home (although I have upon occasion dragged a few home, much to the consternation of our building's concierge). It's a shame to throw wood into the landfill when there are so many other options. If you've just finished a remodeling or rebuilding job or just have a horde taking up space in the garage, rather than throwing out the wood, get creative and repurpose it instead.

Why not build a birdhouse, a picture frame, or make wooden toys for your kids?

If you're handy with a hammer and saw, build a bookshelf or clothes hanger.

Create a raised vegetable garden patch or put together a trellis for your garden. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you can use untreated wood for firewood.

If you’d rather get rid of it, donate your leftover lumber to Habitat for Humanity, a scrapyard, or a high-school woodworking shop; put it on Freecycle, Kijiji, or Gumtree.

You can also check with your city or your local recycling facility to see what any other options are available. Some facilities will put clean wood through a chipper and mix it with other materials to use as a soil enhancer.

These are only a few steps that can be taken to keep wood from piling up at landfills and save a few trees. There are tons of inventive and creative ideas all over the internet. Take the time to look and see what you can do with your piles (pun intended).

Micha Fohl Revisited - How to Recycle Wood

Posted on September 10, 2015 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Micha Fohl is a German designer who has an artist's intuitive appreciation of what most of us consider to be rubbish. For example, he takes the tiniest pieces of wood - leftover, perhaps from a renovation project - and instead of tossing those itty-bitty bits out, Micha transforms these into enchanting Lilliputian 'houses'. The little buildings he creates are adorned only with a nail and a bit of paper (forming a window) which only just adds to their charm. A child's imagination will take care of the rest.

He manages to transform even the teensiest bits of wood into a tiny village complete with nail and wire 'telephone' poles linking each building. What more could a little kid want? Heck, this adult would love this village.

For the little houses click here.

For the little wood village, click here.

To explore all of Micha's work here. You'll love what he does with a old key!

Hanging around - Upcycling Coat Hangers

Posted on August 20, 2015 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I seem to be all over the map these days - I think the heat wave we are in the middle of is affecting my brain. Anyway, something told me I had to organize my closet and I started to but in rummaging through it I got sidetracked and began to think about the many uses of clothes hangers, both wire hangers and wooden ones. I've posted a few ideas here and there, and today looked for a few more. And here they are:

Wooden Clothes Hangers

If you've got a few surplus wooden clothes hanger just hanging around in the closet, consider putting them to work with these ideas:

Cafe Table


Dish Drainer


Kid's Mobile


This kid's room mobile by Micha Fohl is definitely my favourite.

Manoteca Pezzo Unico - Door to Table Upcycling

Posted on February 21, 2015 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm a great fan of all things Italian from architecture to design to food and even Italian detective programs such as Il commissario Montalbano (especially the Young Montalbano series - only on BBC unfortunately), Il commissario Franco Soneri, Provaci ancora prof (a teacher who detects TV series). So, when I was looking for a work table to replace my wobbly Ikea ones, I was pleasantly surprised to come across Elisa Cavani's furniture site - Manoteca. She's a creative and gifted Italian furniture maker specializing in one of a kind (pezzo unico) items including tables and wonky but endearing tricycle 'libraries' with headlamps (Il Fausto - she also gives each of her creations a name).

Much as I would love to own one of these tricycle libraries, it is her Elisa's work/study desks/tables that caught my eye - each desk is a work of beautifully functional art. When opened, a desk features a hand-sewn leather pocket and a wooden drawer. When closed, the desk can function as a dining table. The pine wood doors, hinges, and latches are all authentic early 20th century pieces. Each completed desk is a one-of-a-kind item.

Here's an example of her latest work, the Windoor, a small work/study desk made from vintage wooden window shutters.

To find out more about Elisa, go here.

To see the entire Manoteca collection, click here.