Tuesday, December 1, 2015

TownKid Etsy Site

Monday, January 28, 2013

Memorable Links Clearing House

I'm cleaning up some fairly pointless posts that link to some memorable web sites.
This is my link clearing house:
D.E. Sellers - Great flat packed furniture
GamFratesi - Furniture. Ultra clean and minimalist.
Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Home (Google Affiliate Ad)  
Architectural Watercolors - by Andrew Zega & Bernd H. Dams (gorgeous, intricate, detailed architectural renderings.)
Snowglobes as fine art - by Walter Martin & Paloma Munoz
Nicebunny - paper toys, cool edgy illustration and design
Wikipedia list of furniture designers
Artnet.com - buy original art online
Takashi Murakami
Yoshitomo Nara
Moleskine notebooks
... to be continued.

I suppose this clearing house fits with my original mission for this site.  This was my first blog from Sept 11, 2007
What I like. Remind me.
I keep finding these interesting web sites, or interesting designs, or interesting designers, or, just a small bit of culture or knowledge that is worth taking note of. I, of course bookmark them. The problem is I'm starting to get way too many bookmarks. AND, I want to compile a sort of road map of what I am interested in, from month to month, year to year. I'm curious what the common threads are... what is the common connection that links an interest to me? Frankly, it seems like I'm all over the place. I suppose good, is just good, but I want to try and figure out why, "it" is "good". Mapping my thoughts on "what is good," seems to be a good place to start.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

$20 Cardboard Box? Worth Every Penny.

Having drawn my three year old nephew's name for Christmas, we, of course, began the search for the gift that was thoughtful, educational and a little bit creative. My wife found a gift in a mail order catalog called Uncommon Goods that we thought was a huge (thinking refrigerator box size here) fire station box that he could set up, play with, crawl around in and paint. It got good reviews. We ordered it up. It shipped promptly, and we were promptly disappointed. No crawling around inside this box. Maybe we should have looked a little closer at the dimensions, but honestly looking back at the picture in the catalog, it appeared large...in the end, the size was less than impressive. We paid $20 for a cardboard box! Needless to say, we decided against giving it to my nephew for Christmas.

Fast forward to February. My son turned three himself and since this "box of disappointment" had sat in the corner of our closet since December, we just decided that my son would get it as a gift from his little sister... Well, I have to say, we honestly didn't give this $20 box a fair chance!  My son and I spent a memorable Saturday morning painting away on this box together.  The cool thing was, the crazier he got with the paint, the better it looked.  I filled in some of the details and I have to say we ended up with a finished product we could be proud of.  We let it dry and my son promptly filled it up with his toy firetrucks. I guess the old joke about giving kids toys and they'll just play with the box holds true... even if the box is the toy!  Brilliant!

Here are a couple boxes you can paint with your child:
Imagination Box 4 Paintable Barn from Sturdy Double-walled Corrugated Board (Google Affiliate Ad)Imagination Box Paintable Schoolhouse (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Big Obsession with Tiny Houses

Don’t tell my wife, but I’ve recently stumbled upon a new obsession.  One might argue, a big obsession, with tiny houses.  Why would my wife care?  Can you imagine telling your wife that you are selling everything and moving your family of five into what amounts to the square footage of a camper?  Yeah, like I said, don’t tell my wife.  She already thinks I'm a bit insane.  Her shoe collection alone wouldn’t fit in 100 square feet.  So, potentially disapproving wife and all, what is so interesting to me about these tiny houses? 

Much like the grungy Seattle Sound of the 90’s prompting the response of Britpop, I can only assume growing cultural interest in tiny houses is directly tied to the gross prevalence of the McMansion of the pre-housing crisis bubble.  What is a tiny house?  You said it, its a tiny house.  Usually, big enough for one person… (maybe two if bathing is a frequent occurrence.)  But the tiny houses that really interest me are the ones built on a trailer.  It’s the best of both worlds.  Tiny character filled houses.  Hand built, but portable, like a camper!  They don’t come with a mortgage, or even yardwork if you don’t want.  Physical and financial independence?  I can see why this “trend” is gaining a mainstream following.

From a practical standpoint, my family of five could never live in a 100 square foot dwelling… We live on a five acre farm and our house is considerably bigger than that… and there are days where we feel like we are on top of each other.  Five people? 100 square feet?  Is that even sane?  Sanity is relative.  Cleaning, maintenance and yard work can all make our expansive abode feel like a prison work detail.  But just imagine, in its simplest form, having a house that you are able to hook up to and move to a different part of your own five acres?  Closer to the road in the winter to avoid plowing so much driveway.  Closer to the creek in the summer to take advantage of the cool water and views.  Closer to the shed when I wanted to have family over for a birthday party.  Now that is taking advantage of owning five acres! 

Maybe it is the feeling that you could pick up your house, like a turtle, and move where a whim might take you.  Maybe it is the sense of independence it appears inhabitants of tiny houses enjoy every day.  I know I love the details and character one can pack into the framework of 100 square feet.  So, is there a tiny house in my future somewhere?  Sadly reality is knocking.  Three words: Family-Of-Five.  In the meantime, I’ll have to live vicariously through the internet.  Dreaming of the day when my kids have driver’s licenses and can join me in pulling their very own tiny houses to our next port of call.

The unofficial voice of the tiny house movement:  www.tumbleweedhouses.com
A like minded blog on tiny houses:  tinyhouseblog.com
Documentary on tiny houses, "We the Tiny House People":  YouTube Video
I just like the look of these architect designed "pod houses":  Greenpod Intelligent Environments
Nice aesthetic, using reclaimed materials in a tiny house format:  Reclaimed Space

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2011 Garden Season: Seed Choices

Seed Potato: 2 varieties (Yukon and ?)
Yellow onion - seed bulbs
Garlic seed bulbs
Strawberry: Quinault
Spinach: Blomsdale Longstanding
Lettuce: Buttercrunch
Swiss Chard: Bright Lights
Kale: Dwarf Blue Scotch Curled
Brussels Sprouts: Long Island Improved
Kohlrabi: Early White Vienna
Cucumber: Straight Eight
Beans: Cowpea - California Blackeye
- Pencil Pod Black Wax
- Gourmet Green
Peas: Little Marvel
-Sugar Snap Pole
Carrots: Nantes
-Little Finger
Radishes: Sparkler White Tip
Beets: Detroit Dark Red
Tomato (Seed): Chocolate Cherry
Squash: Zucchini Dark
-Mammoth Table Queen/Royal Acorn
-Early Prolific Straightneck
-Yellow Scallop Bush
-Waltham Butternut
Pumpkin: Jack O'Lantern
-Small Sweet Sugar/Pie
Watermelon: Sugar Baby
Corn: Kandy Korn
-Peaches and Cream
-Ornamental Indian

Nothing in the ground yet. Weather is cold (mid 40's) and WINDY!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Quest for Easy Green

About two years ago, I was really into a show called, "It's Not Easy Being Green". It was about the experiences of the Strawbridge family, located in Cornwall, in England. (I know, I sound very American.) Anyway, it was on the Green channel, when the Green channel actually played shows about green living. I moved, canceled the Green channel and stopped following the show. Recently, I was surfing the internet and decided to look the Strawbridge family up to see what they've been doing. While it appears James and Dick have gone on to make additional seasons of the show for the BBC, the two ladies of the household have decided to pursue other endeavors. I found the show to be charming, and frankly, their quest to live a greener life on a farm was an influencing factor in my decision to move to a farm. It just looked so fun and interesting.

I don't regret the decision to move to a farm, but, I will admit I haven't had time to pursue some of the cool projects they have tackled in their time on their farm, which they call Newhouse Farm. I suppose I'm writing this to add a reminder to my written documentation that I do need to renew my efforts to look at things like solar power, wind energy, greenhouse gardening, etc. So there you have it. Abrupt huh?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cucumbers On a Trellis and Other Updates From the Garden

I seem to be in the habit of choosing direct titles for my posts as of late. As the name implies, "cucumbers on a trellis" is something I want to talk about in this post. While I had a overgrown bed of weeds in the garden this year, one of my grand successes was deciding to grow my cucumbers on a trellis. Here is a quick video on the basics. What I really appreciated about the trellis, was the cucumbers were easier to find, and they didn't get discolored by laying in the dirt. I had plenty of cucumbers (and thus refrigerator pickles) this year. I highly recommend cucumbers on a trellis.

What else was good? I started picking raspberries this year. Very tasty. If you look back in my posts, I planted these roots in 2009. For as much stressing as I did about whether I planted too early or not, I can say, "Why did I worry?" Raspberries are obviously resilient. Even though most of the vines died off, one plant managed to make it through the season. It came up this past spring ready to perform. It tripled in size and, I have to say, as advertised, these rapberries were as good as any you would buy in the store. One vine, does make a crop because they multiply so quickly. I should have plenty of raspberries this next year if the wildlife of the countryside don't get wind of them.

I planted sweet corn, summer squash, zucchini, acorn and spaghetti squash, and the previously mentioned cucumbers, in a new garden bed I tilled up this season. For the most part, it remained weed free for the bulk of the year. Because the soil was relatively virgin, everything performed very well. I got a nice crop of corn, though I'll choose a different variety next year... not very sweet. I planted 7 rows. I hear having a good number of plants is key in performance of sweet corn. It needs to pollinate. The squashes all did well, though I probably won't plant these as close to one another next year. The cucumbers were great, as previously mentioned.

So, once again, for as much as I dealt with weeds, I did have some success. This past year helped me realize that plants, if I want to be dramatic I say, life, wants to survive. Even though I could have helped my gardens thrive more this year, I had the lesson driven into my head, and underscored by the fact that even the most neglected garden will give you something... just because it can.