Friday, January 25, 2008


after making a big mess in the living room...

the shelf is done. well, except for the finish. i sort of like the raw look for now. maybe...i'll remove the paint, or paint it all white...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

a poem, an image and a recipe

The year's doors open
like those of language,
toward the unknown.
Last night you told me:
we shall have to think up signs,
sketch a landscape, fabricate a plan
on the double page
of day and paper.
Tomorrow, we shall have to invent,
once more,
the reality of this world.
- Octavio Paz
excerpt from January First
(from here.)

image found here. i love the drawers in the foreground, as well as the mix of pieces along the back wall that make up the work space. it's so much more interesting to me than uniform built-in cabinetry.

here's something good i made last night:

warm spicy pasta

cook 1 lb whole wheat pasta

in a saucepan, combine and simmer:
olive oil
1 can tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
salt & freshly ground pepper

when the pasta is cooked, toss it with the sauce and then add a cup of grated white cheddar cheese.

(all measurements are approximate.)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

image by tanya goodwin

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.

William Henry Channing
quote found via {A}

I'm interested in making a bench like this...with as little hardware as possible. The other day I found a little table in a similar style which I'd like to refinish.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

happiness is a beach full of pebbles

the other day i went to loews and looked at lumber for a long time. i left without buying any (although I bought a rasp and some other things). on the way home, i found this dresser, minus any drawers, on the curb.

i wedged it into my trunk and drove slowly home. later, i pulled out some of the pieces and repositioned others.

here it is with some shelves roughly in place. when it is done the shelves will be custom-fit and wider. a traditional bookshelf isn't usually this deep. this makes me think it might be better used as storage, perhaps for pots or other items.

i'd like to put it on wheels. i might even put in more shelves. i'm debating removing the back panel.

i have yet to rent a space for working in. i've found that if i restrict myself to working with hand tools, there is no problem doing this in my bedroom. my room is large, and i try to keep the sawdust away from the bed.

i'm psyched about the possibilities of working almost entirely from reclaimed materials. since i'm a beginner, it's good not to be spending much on supplies. keeping the overhead low means that i don't have to stress too much about the puny amount of work i've been doing.

oh yeah, and i used a vacuum today. it did the job fabulously. sigh.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

in support of low-tech

cost about $6 (a vacuum costs more than $100)
do not consume electricity
are easier to use (even a child can use one)
can be beautiful; do not need to be hidden in a closet
can be made from natural materials, not plastic
you could make one by hand.

if a hand-made broom were bought from a craftsman for $40, an artisan and his trade would be supported. instead of a factory worker supervising machinery, you'd cast your vote for a person who uses their hands to create something beautiful from wood and dried plant matter.

a broom is difficult to use on carpet, although if the carpet is not thick it can work. i kept a carpeted apartment clean with a broom for a year. it was a workout, though.

Monday, January 07, 2008

this is beautiful

these creations are from live wire farm. i want to make some myself.

what a vast improvement on a metal or plastic toilet paper dispenser!