A while ago I decided to have a go at building a coat rack. I wanted to use all recycled timber, so pallet wood but also plywood from an old wardrobe and shelving from a demolished bookcase. These projects are about trying out new things and finding how wood ticks, etc. I like to experiment. I am going to let the pictures show what we ended up with. I am very happy. Things could have been done differently but I used what was available and this project has cost very little – basically screws and hooks!
I am very excited in writing this post. I have finally ordered the Cargo Trike and it is currently being built. The person doing the building has been sending me photos to keep me up to date on the progress of the build. And so here they are for your perusal.
As many of you reading this blog will know I built a bike that powered a blender a long time ago. Whilst, it worked it kept failing on a single nut that was used to secure the blender to the rotating wheel which created the drive for the blender.
Hence the cargo trike. I will be using this to hopefully cycle to and from work to get fit and lose some of the weight I gained whilst recovering from cancer. However, I will be also using it to power a motor which will generate electricity to power a blender. The long term aim is to build a bike that will have 3 types of off-grid power.
- Pedal power
- Solar power
- Wind power
I want to connect up a meter that will show the amount of power generated from each method. I will have display boards that will then give ideas on how this power could be utilised around the house and how you might run an off-grid house.
So, thank you Malcolm for building the cargo trike, you are fulfilling a long held dream. If you would like to contact Malcolm about building a bike, please place a comment below and I will forward your details on to him.
Some of Malcolm’s further projects….
It is definitely time to get fit and time to cycle to school. It would save mileage and I have already had some folks saying go for it. But should I convert the bike below or maybe buy a trike?
We have spent a lot of time trying to make slime with no success and finally found a recipe which works. We have made several batches at youth club and now Abi has gone into slime production, so if you don’t want to make your own, she will do it for you for £1. Heres the recipes we’ve used and some pointers we have picked up on the way.
The basic recipe has come straight from The Steam Powered Family. I strongly suggest you go and check it out along with their safety tips, its worth reading their whole post to get it right first time, or you will most likely hit the same snags they did. Having said that the recipe is pretty forgiving, (I will put the amounts in a recipe below as UK measurements are a bit different). If you are in the UK however some of their branded ingredients are not so easily available. This is what we discovered works and a couple of things which don’t …
PVA CRAFT glue you can substitute any craft PVA Glue for Elmers glue
*Make sure you buy craft and suitable for children PVA as the builders grade has some extra nasties in.
Local to us glue from the craft section of Trago mills or Penhaligons work brilliantly.
Bicarbonate of Soda NOT Baking Powder. You can find this the baking section of any grocery store.
*If you put too much in the slime can become a bit lumpy
Buffered Saline Solution (must contain Borate/ Boric acid) -Our best brand so far is Superdrugs eyewash, it comes in a squeezy bottle so its easy to control the amount in your slime and on your hands.
Optrex also works well but you have to be careful when you pour it not to use too much and end up with non stretchy slime.
*Supersavers large bottle of buffered eyewash does not work, they sell a smaller one with borate in which would be fine.
Tempera Paint I used the food colouring listed on steam powered family and got blue hands, maybe I used too much? So we switched to Tempera paint,it didn’t colour our hands or anything else, washes off and is non toxic, win win. Also with a few prime colours we could make whatever colour slime we like.
*The only thing to note is that the colour intensifies as the slime is played with so factor this in when choosing your colour.
100g PVA (we found a large dollop in a bowl or on a plate works well).
1/4 tsp Bicarb
Paint to colour
Add a small squirt of buffered saline and mix,
It needs to start to ball in the middle of the bowl, a bit like this:
See the spoon ghost, she wouldn’t stop mixing to let me snap a photo, this stuff is addictive…
When it reaches this point you need to mix and play with it for about 5 mins. Put some saline on your hands before you pick it up and knead,it will me sticky but as the steam powered family say if you want the stretchiest slime this step is important. If you cut it short or add more saline to reduce the stick, your slime will not stretch so well.
After about 5 minutes you can add a tiny bit more saline to your hands and work it a bit more
Then when its not sticky any more you can call it done…
and its time to play,
Variations we have tried
Sparkly Slime – Glitter can be added with the PVA or after it has been made
Textured/ Crunchy slime – Polystyrene balls added after it has been made.
Fluffy Slime – equal amounts of with shaving foam with the PVA you will need to add a bit more bicarbonate of Soda and saline to balance the added volume.
Many colours – we found the more paint that was added the more saline/ bicarb needed to get to the ball stage.
How long does it last?
We found that the stretchier it was to start with the longer it retains its stretchiness.
Temperature affects it, if it gets cold it becomes harder then loosens with play.
Fluffy slime looses its fluff after a day and becomes more like the original slime.
Thats all for today folks.
In typical brown family fashion the costume ideas changed on a daily basis from Secret Princesses, to the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. My tactic is to wrack my brain for what we have that can be used, I would rather spend our time creating something that can be taken apart and re used or made up of what we already have than creating or buying something totally perfect that is a one trick pony. I was also concerned that she would be warm enough, the days leading up to World Book Day this year were the days of the Beast from the East. She is not a child who likes layers under a costume and to cover it up with something warm would cause her major problems.
So Wednesday night, we finally pinned it down to Lucy from Narnia. We looked through some googled images and then perused what we had, in terms of fabric and existing clothes. I then narrowed it down to this costume
I found a couple of linen skirts; an old favourite skirt of mine that had a rip near the top (originally destined for some visible mending) and another small adults skirt that was in the fabric pile (it was Boden :\, felt a little bit bad about this one but it wasn’t being used, it was this style, different colour though).
We also pulled out a red cardigan and a vest top. She wore the cardigan under the vest top for warmth and the sleeves, the vest top then functioned nicely on top as the bodice (layers, comfort and warmth win win win).
Heres how we put together the rest of it….
The top of the costume was great as is, so we looked at the skirts and checked the length, the natural linen coloured underskirt was cut just bellow the tear and elastic added to the top. I measured the elastic to fit comfortably on Mias waist the zig zagged it to the outside of top edge of the underskirt. The Boden skirt had a floppy contact hem which we cut off, cut up the middle of it till a couple of inches from the waistband then hemmed the slash and bottom. It was only slightly big for her so I attatched both skirts together just bellow its waistband with straight stitch, easing the waistbands together by pining and matching each quarter. The boden skirt fastened with a button, loop and zip, but there was enough give in the elastic of the underskirt to make this work.
The ruffle at the hem matched her cardigan quite well so we turned it into two cuffs. I measured some elastic to fit comfortably round her wrist and then cut the ruffle slightly larger than the elastic, big enough to go easily over her hands. I gently stretched the elastic to fit the short end of the ruffle and stitched it on then sewed up the sides.
That evening as I was sewing the skirt to the costume as my phone pinged, a message to say school and therefore World Book Day one was cancelled because of snow. I finished it up and called it a night. She was pleased with it when she woke up in the morning then it got put on one side, snow fun was waiting to be had. She looked more like the white witch that day with icicles in her hair….
Monday night, the news came that World Book Day was on the next day. Mia and I got it into our heads that “Lucy” needed her dagger and medicine for her belt, I’m pleased I did it I think it helps complete the look.
We had an old belt and added some gold tape to make cover the cut end. We cut a dagger from cardboard, with a vague lion head shape for the handle, covered the tip with metallic silver 3M tape, some masking tape in the middle and the handle with gold tape.
Then we needed a holder for it. I had some white pleather left over from her rock star outfit. After a little bit of experimenting I discovered that a brown sharpie marker worked well to colour it. I cut around the dagger with a 1cm seam allowance, added a long band on each side to fix it to the belt and stitched the sides together and bands together.
For Lucy’s medicine we found a bottle of coloured sand so I made a small pouch, it was basically a long rectangle for the back which folded over to thread on to her belt and a square for the front so the medicine could be easily taken in and out.
I’m assured that the medicine was used to heal and the dagger used to cut someone free, so it was definitely worth making them.
Heres Mia being Mia dressed as Lucy.
I recently made some key tags for a couple of special girls birthdays.
I’ve written a more concise how to at the bottom if you want to skip my waffle ;).
True to many girls at the moment they love unicorns and mermaids. I had bought some cutters from lakeland for my daughters birthday cake, she wanted a merry go round with mermaids, unicorns and a snail! on instead of horses.
Back to the tags;
I had some PVC in the form of a bag that a blanket had arrived in (a wedding present! yes its that old, just shows plastic stuff lasts a long time). I folded a section of it in half and drew round the cutters in biro. I was going to stitch over the lines so wasn’t bothered about the lines showing.
I discovered that by cutting the PVC on the fold and wetting it slightly, the two sides stayed together well enough for cutting. (Trial and error, the unicorn is much better than the mermaid, it was cut second).
I cut the drawings out roughly at this stage.
These were then sewn along the biro line. I decided on areas which would be more densely filled with glitter and areas where the glitter would be sparse. The denser areas needed filling before being completely sealed. For example the unicorns mane, horn and tail and the mermaids hair and tail. I used complementary thread in a straight stitch with a stitch length of 3mm, which seams sufficient to hold the glitter and not so close that the PVC splits. A note on PVC/Vinyl Its sticky- similar to oil cloth, so I used a walking foot. Other options are a teflon foot or masking tape on the bottom of your presser foot. I have used tissue paper to sew with oil cloth its great and you can tear it off afterwards but as these tags are so small and detailed I would avoid it so you can see the line you need to sew clearly.
So the sewing plan for the unicorn was as follows: Up the front leg around the face, horn and mane, down the back, tail and back leg.
I sewed very slowly to follow the biro line and hand turned the foot around the more awkward areas for accuracy. Once the majority of the outline was stitched. I used a paper funnel to pour in some glitter.
The PVC can be sticky so I used a “pokey thing” (aka a loop turner, but a chopstick would probably work very well too) to prod the glitter into the tail and mane area, then stitched them closed.
As you can see the glitter floated around everywhere else too, I stitched the remaining outline, which sealed some of the glitter to the body.
There is some glitter outside the stitching line, don’t worry about that because as you cut round the piece (about 5mm outside the stitching line, with a bigger margin where you would like to attach your rivet) you this will fall out. Well actually do worry, unless you want glitter everywhere, (including in your pants and the freezer, don’t ask me how I know) you might want do do this on a peice of paper that can be used to funnel the excess back in the pot or straight in the bin.
Next I added a 7mm metal rivet, Im not sure where it came from Ive had the kit for ages and lost the packaging but I understand that prym make some good ones.
Finally I added part of a chain and a jump ring to attach the silver glitter unicorn to a keyring. My only advice here is that make sure you open and close the jump ring properly or it may snap. By that I mean do this.
How to in Steps
Cutter or other shape for template
PVC/Vinyl (Upcycle option-old packaging)
Keyring (Upcycle option)
Something to attach the key tag to the keyring (Upcycle option-I used an old necklace chain)
- Choose your cutters or print/draw a shape you would like to sew. Hint: try and keep it quite simple, the unicorn was easier than the mermaid for example.
- Cut two pieces of PVC/Vinyl a bit bigger than your shape.
- Sandwich together, a bit of water between pieces helps hold them still as you don’t want to be using pins, clips or masking tape would work too.
- Draw around your cutters or print/draw a shape you would like to sew. Hint: try and keep it quite simple, the unicorn was easier than the mermaid for example.
- At this stage I roughly cut around the shape, but as long as you can manoeuvre it under your sewing machine its not entirely necessary.
- Stitch* the outline (I used a sewing machine with 3mm stitch length, but you could do this by hand) remembering to leave gaps for filling with glitter. The fabric is quite sticky so the gaps I left were quite large (compared to say if I was stuffing the shape) this was to enable me to get the PVC pieces to seperate and allow the glitter to go where I needed it.(*I believe Ive mentioned before -Its sticky- similar to oil cloth, so I used a walking foot. Other options are a teflon foot or masking tape on the bottom of your presser foot. I have used tissue paper to sew with oil cloth its great and you can tear it off afterwards but as these tags are so small and detailed I would avoid it so you can see the line you need to sew clearly.)
- Add your glitter. I used a scrap piece of paper as a funnel.
- Manipulate the glitter to areas you would like to be densely filled, use a suitable blunt pokey thing, (of course that is the technical term) for this.
- Sew up the areas that you have densely filled.
- Check you are happy with the amount of glitter in the rest of the shape, add more or not and sew up.
10.Cut a margin around the shape leaving a big enough area where you would like to attach your rivet and dispense of the excess glitter.
11.Add a rivet, chain and ring.
12.Give to a sparkle loving person and enjoy your accomplishment.
The cake…..Just before she was one I discovered this book, Birthday Cakes for Kidsin my local library, I bought a copy and have used it every birthday since. She is now 9. Everyone enjoys the taste of the cakes and they are so simple but always look effective wether the girls have had a hand in the decorations or not. They did in this one
Since the popularity of my previous leggings post I’ve used another technique which has become more useful as my girls have grown as you can lengthen the leggings at the same time as getting rid of the hole.
As mentioned before it is important to use material with the same amount of stretch as the leggings. You can test this be holding the two fabrics together and pulling, if they both stretch about the same amount that is great. A more technical way is by working out the percentage stretch, place the fabric next to a ruler, grab it and the ruler at zero and then take the fabric at 10cm or inches and pull. the measurement that it stretches to can then be compared or even converted into % stretch (if it stretches to 11cm or inches (keep to the same scale) that is 10% stretch 12 is 20%….15 is 50% and onwards). The wonderful thrifty stitcher has a link to a pdf you can download to keep it simple.
Heres my first mini video showing the stretchy thing. This example goes from 10cm resting to 13cm therefore it has 30% stretch…..
Anyway onwards, note the direction of stretch some fabrics have a two way stretch and others 4 way, you really need the stretchiest part to go around the leg rather than down the leg as this is where it will be needed the most. Although bear in mind the knee could do with 4 way stretch to be most comfy.
Instead of patching the hole I’ve cut the legging right off above the hole and again below the hole then used a piece from another pair or of similar weight jersey to sew back in. I have an overlocker which makes this job mega easy but it would also work on a normal machine using a stretch stitch or even by hand with a stretchy stitch such as a catch stitch (clear tutorial for this here).
You can also experiment with non symmetrical leggings, I like this look, one of my girls was less keen oh they would not stand still for photos so I had to sneak them whilst they were washing up.
Im afraid all my photos of these leggings are old as my girls are no longer making loads of holes in their knees, those day are sadly over. As you can see by this photo those first leggings didn’t last long before she made new holes and her legs grew again…
Hope this is useful to you, enjoy and have fun….
I recently started converting a piano. The piano used to be my wife’s mum and it had stopped working. A piano tuner wrote it off and suggested buying another piano. It seemed a shame to throw it in the bin or burn it and so it was repurposed to a new use.
As you can see we have progressed on significantly. It is still a work in progress. I want to mount the TV so it can swivel out of the piano. The drawers need painting and finishing. Cable management is an issue. The doors on the bottom cupboard need some work….. It will be finished soon!
A drawer with sound and motion….
I love any projects involving pallets and I am finally completing my workshop so I can start building my own pallet furniture. One day I think it would be cool to build a house and use pallet wood to provide furniture and much of the house’s internal space. In the meantime enjoy this post on instructables.