Archive for August 2009

OMG Beautiful Recycled Art

August 24, 2009

michellebrand1

 

These clear flower curtains are made out of water bottle bottoms!

article here: http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/05/28/recycled-water-bottle-cascade-chandelier/

artist here: http://www.michellebrand.co.uk/

T Magazine Retrospective

August 18, 2009

I, for one, am a nut for variations on a theme. That probably explains my love of shows such as “Project Runway,” “Top Chef” and “Food Network Challenge.” I love seeing what different people come up with when presented with the same creative challenge. So, I loved, loved, loved this post by the New York Times’ T Magazine, which is showing a retrospective of their commissioned covers in honor of its 5th birthday. Each cover was created by a contemporary artist or designer. There’s one from 2008 by Brian Dettmer, the guy who did the book autopsies. Here are a few of my favorites, and you can see them all by clicking here. Which one do you like the best?

T-Tubular

T-furnitureT-graffiti

Deadly Creatures

August 18, 2009

Deadly Creatures by THQ for Wii. Greatest game ever? maybe not. But if you find yourself watching arachnophobia safely under the covers with extra strength bug spray in hand, absolutely terrified but unable to look away, then you may find deadly creatures an interesting, if not frightening find.

Battle hairy tarantulas, aggressive scorpions, rattlesnakes, hornets, black widows and every other creepy, crawling true-to-life bump in the night creature you can think of, in a deadly desert setting full of bones, thorns, garden gnomes and Billy Bob Thornton.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, happy-go-lucky, save-the-princess wii game.

http://deadlycreaturesgame.com/

play as both a tarantula and scorpion as you fight through a world of creepy-crawlies.

play as both a tarantula and scorpion as you fight through a world of creepy-crawlies.

Bouncing Around the Blogosphere: {Toolmonger}

August 18, 2009

Previous Bouncing Around the Blogosphere posts and e-mails have featured design, weddings, home decor, art –things that I personally find interesting or that make me laugh. But this one is quite out of my comfort zone because, Jeremy, this one’s for you.

For me, reading Toolmonger is a little like reading Greek. But it seems to have a lot of good content that is very well organized and easily accessible. Featured tools are listed by brand,  type and retailer. Plus, I thought the blog had a lot of neat features: Submit a Tool, Tool Talk podcasts, One-Beer Projects, Hands-On, Project Garage and Budget Shop Truck Build. There are also how-tos, some of them about traditional projects like building bookcases and others… Well, let’s just say that I, for one, am majorly impressed that someone built their own custom, full-sized wireless Guitar Hero controller.

Now, only a true do-it-yourselfer who is much more familiar with the ins and outs of tool handling than I will know if this blog’s info is truly informative and useful. So I’m throwing it out there with blind hope that you like it. If nothing else, I hope it’s fun to look at. You’ll have to let me know what you think. They’re also looking for contributers, Jeremy. I bet you could definitely help them expand their Budget Shop Truck Build feature. 🙂 Happy reading.

ToolMonger

 

Why buy an engine stand when you can build your own?

Why buy an engine stand when you can build your own?

Now that's a nail gun! Toolmonger's Hands-On feature offers reviews of hands-on experiences with various tools.

Now that's a nail gun! Toolmonger's Hands-On feature offers reviews of hands-on experiences with various tools.

A reader-submitted photo of his workspace. I thought this was interesting because it shows the affinity guys have for their workshops.

A reader-submitted photo of his workspace. I thought this was interesting because it shows the affinity guys have for their workshops.

Why I love Hello Kitty

August 17, 2009

HKWhen I was a young lass, my brother and I had a “See and Play.” This was a toy in which you would pop cassette and pull out the corresponding booklet and press the red, yellow, blue or green button to guide the characters through the story. You could be a Muppet learning the ABCs, a kid taking a tour of NASA or you could be Hello Kitty traveling the world and learning about different cultures.

And so began my love for the adorable white cat. As an adult, I have come to realize she the epitome of “cute.” With few simple lines and shapes, a feeling can be communicated clearly. I think this is why she is loved by children and adults alike; she represents purity and innocence that is an archetype in everyone’s mind.

Another reason I think HK is great is because she can take on so many personalities. She can be a teacher, flapper, astronaut or punk rocker. Because of the simple design of her face, anything is possible.

According to Hello Kitty Universe, she was born in Japan in 1974 when Sanrio asked designer Ikuko Shimizu to create a character that would appeal to the girl in everyone. So, Kitty White was revealed (yes, Hello Kitty is a nickname) as a kitty that lives in London with her family and loves apple pie. Many people wonder why Hello Kitty has no mouth. It is because she speaks from her heart. Awwww….

The Portsmouth Project Post #3

August 14, 2009

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Summer cleaning helps get you ahead of the games this fall.

We all know Spring cleaning has been popular for a long time. It just makes sense. Winter’s harsh elements take their toll on our yards and home and we need to give everything a fresh start. Come August, prepping for Winter is still a couple months away, so right now is the perfect time to get a jump on some outdoor cleaning.

Over the years, I’ve honed my yearly home/yard maintenance schedule and cleaning techniques to maximize beauty, time, efficiency and money. Several factors have weighed into my summer cleaning routing such as school quickly approaching, football season practically being here, taking advantage of great weather and kids sports activities that typically pick up in August.

I’ve come up with a checklist of my seven key cleaning tasks outside your home that will be sure to give your family more time heading into the fall. In some cases these tips will save you money in the short term with most helping save money and resources over the long term. I’ve also called out environmentally friendly practices associated with these tasks and finished with an earth friendly cleaning solution personally endorsed by me. Let’s get to work…

1. Gutters – I know, I hate to clean them too, but it could be one of the best uses of your time since clogged gutters can lead directly to home damage and end up costing you thousands of dollars and future headaches. Start by removing all the debris you can by hand. There are a variety of tools out there to help make the process a little easier. I’ve found a cool scoop that fits very well into the gutter. It came with a long pole with an end piece that fits the various nooks and crannies of the gutter. Be sure to remove all shingle grit and dirt and don’t forget about cleaning the downspouts. Finish by hosing the gutters down until they are completely clean and water flows with no obstructions. Clogged gutters lead directly to water and ice backing up under the shingles and causing major damage.

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2. Dead Trees, Branches and Sticks – This is one of my favorite chores. Living in Bella Vista on a heavily treed lot, we produce wood like it’s growing on trees. Ice storm damage falls prey to strong Summer storms and branches and sticks start to litter yards. Dead trees pose a problem for heavy ice and snow in the upcoming winter so it is a good idea to get them down as well. I approach wood like an American Indian and utilize everything my yard produces. Small sticks and branches are harvested for kindling and large branches and logs are burned for warmth in the fireplace. Wood that is not good for fireplace burning is usually reserved for camping firewood, saving additional money and unnecessary stripping of campsites.

3. Tools – One time my wife made fun of me when she saw me washing off the lawn mower when I was through mowing the yard. She has since changed her mind after realizing how much we have saved by taking care of the things we already have. Mowers, weed wackers, shovels, pruners, etc. all need to be washed clean of dirt and dried before storing. Some tools like sheers and pruners should also be periodically lubricated to keep them in good working order. Clean tools last longer and make the work easier and safer.

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4. Deck and Fence – Timing is the main driver here. The summer months are dry and warm enough for deck and fence stains to be applied without having to look over your shoulder for storms or pollen. Decks and fences should be checked for loose screws and nails. Drive these back in to avoid accidents. This is also a good opportunity to check the voids for wasps and their nests. By this time they have reproduced so you can take out the whole nest and feel satisfied that your upcoming Labor day festivities will be pest free.

5. Lawn and Planting Beds – You’ve already cleaned up limbs and sticks, but there is still plenty to do. Take care of late summer weeds that have started to invade the yard. Remove grass that has started to grow into planting beds. Run through the planting beds  and remove all weeds and any dead foliage. It’s also a good time to refresh mulch. If there has been no rain for a while, a good deep watering followed by some periodic waterings will help keep the yard and plants looking great to finish out the summer.

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6. Air Conditioning Unit – One easy and very important cleaning tip to keep your air conditioner running strong in the summer is to clean the outside unit. The evaporator coils collect dust and dirt and can’t effectively radiate heat, thus the air conditioner struggles. Air conditioner plus struggles equals less money in your pocket. To clean the coils, spray them down with water from the hose. The coils are very delicate and care must be taken when performing this task. To much pressure can damage the coil fins. Clean dirt and debris away from under the unit and trim back any plantings at least two feet.

7. Grill – Now this final one is a touchy subject with me. I very rarely clean my grill. I’m a trained, professional, Texas born and bred grill master and will not be questioned on my tactics. Seriously though, a clean grill cooks more efficiently and is “suppose” to make the food taste better. Be sure to clean grates with warm soapy water, clean out ash and brush away all residue. For easier regular cleaning lightly coat the grates with oil before each grilling session and simply clean the grill more often.

And that’s it. Not only will you not have plenty of time to watch football, you’ll immediately reap the rewards as family and neighbors have surely noticed your haste and just might send some compliments your way. Think of it as a mini-makeover for the yard. I wanted to finish this post with a recipe for an environmentally friendly cleaning solution that I use outside. As you go down your checklist of chores you’ll encounter a patio chair, grill cover or toy that needs a little more attention than a stream of water. A solution of 1 cup of baking soda to 1 gallon of warm water mixed with some good old fashioned elbow grease should do the trick. Go Hogs!

Before & After: Wedding Shoes

August 12, 2009

I am getting married in 33 days. Yay me! After I found my wedding dress, I started the search for shoes. Since my dress is short, I thought a colored shoe would be great, and why not make it my “something blue” while I’m at it? While I adored these Manolo Blahniks, the price tag left a little something to be desired.

Luckily, I have a ton of information at my fingertips, since the lovely hashbrowncasserole just got married a couple of months ago. She wore these fabulous shoes in a gorgeous green. They were the talk of her nuptials and her guests were asking to see her shoes! She knew I was looking for a peep-toe with a kind of low heel, so she suggested I check them out.

As you can see from the before photo, the rhinestone buckle is pretty, but I thought I could find something even more special. I went to my favorite local store, Mae’s Emporium and found some vintage earrings. A little hot glue later, and I have my wedding shoes. I am pleased with how they turned out. Let me know what you think!

Before: Pretty but plain

Before: Pretty but plain

After: My blue beauties

After: My blue beauties

Vintage earring detail

Vintage earring detail