This is my backyard. All of it. A roughly 4 x 4 1/2 ' patch of gravel and clay.
I think even the most blackest of thumbs can recognize that nothing's gonna grow in that soil. But, that's not okay with me. I want a garden. I want to be able to just walk out of my door, and grab fresh herbs, greens, and produce when I'm preparing meals. I want to participate in my food. I wanna weed, water, and scare away all those dang chipmunks that nibble at my plants.
So, as my first project for the True Value Blog Squad, I built a garden that allows my plants to thrive regardless of the soil condition, or the fact that the space is smaller than me.
And you can too! Here's how:
When the people at True Value got in touch with us about joining their DIY Blog Squad for 2011, we were psyched. Last year's group included some heavy hitters like DesignMom, DIYdiva, and The Lettered Cottage, so I knew we'd be in good company.
Chris and I have a list of fun projects lined up for the summer, including, but not limited to, so don't hold us to this list in court, ok?:
- A Nelson-inspired slatted bench
- Raised garden beds
- Etched copper plant labels
- A sloped garden re-lanscaping project
- Some other miscellaneous fixer-upper projects
Of course, if there's a particular project you'd like to suggest, please let us know in the
First, big ups to my mom who found this for me. She took photos with her new iPhone, and emailed me, like, every page from the Lowes circular from which they come. (The giant, 8.5MB versions. She's still learning.)
Anyway, I'm always into making cool stuff from hardware store staples. I think these could be made even more refined and contrasty with a higher grade, non OSB plywood. Edge banding optional.
I took a similar approach when I made this credenza:
Alex Braidwood is a clever fellow.
Using two retired books, he created this attractive laptop docking station for nestle his laptop and save desktop space when connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
"The selection of these two books
ManMade reader Sean sent in this cool link from Bolt Depot: an exhaustive chart of every type of fastener, including bolts, screws, nuts, and washers. It also includes a helpful description of drive and head types for screws and bolts.
This should be quite useful for anyone who regularly sorts through there hardware bins, looking for just the right piece, and especially helpful for folks who
Over the last few months, I've seen several sets of super cool lights created from plumbing parts at always reliable sites like Design Milk and Boing Boing. In the midst of redoing my own office, I realized I needed a desk lamp to shed a little extra light on smaller tasks. I went to the office supply and home furnishing stores, but I couldn't find anything that'd work. So, I recalled the pipe fitting lamp I'd seen, and decided to make my own.
It's amazing, really. You work with hardware pieces all the time - rounded tops of bolts, the strong facades of a flanged hex nut - and note them for the mechanical fasteners they are. But when a sculptor and avid chess player walk through the hardware store...well:
When I saw the little bin containing two different types of castle nuts,I immediately thought of rooks. At the time my three sons and I hosted a weekly chess club,so chess was on my mind a lot. With my boys in tow,I returned with graph paper and we computed what sorts of bits we might want (we didn't know for sure) for each type of piece and how many in total. An hour later, after poring over numerous bins and waiting for the clerk to saw the threaded rod into measured lengths (for kings, rooks,and bishops), we went home with about fifteen pounds of loot, including spray paint for the black pieces.
I mentioned yesterday that we'd just released the third Make It! publication, entitled Make It! Hardware Store Decor. It aims to help folks create home design pieces using only items from the home improvement store. So, as you might imagine, my eyes and ears have been tuned to looking for creative use of materials and hardware supplies.
So, I'm definitely digging this wall unit made only from black pipe and pine 1x stock. Inspired by a piece at the Ace Hotel, Morgan created this installation for around $200. "The other side of the living room needed something large. A statement piece I think real designers would call it. Well, I fell in
Over the past few months, I've been working on co-authoring the third installment of the Make It! Series, Make It! Hardware Store Decor. It features twelve, very ManMade-ish projects that show you how to create furniture and home decor pieces using only items from your local, big-box home improvement center.
Here's a peek at some of the projects:
To celebrate, we're giving away five free PDF copies! To enter, simply leave a comment in the section below. You could show us something you've created with home center supplies, tell us a favorite hardware store story, let us know why you'd love to win this prize, or simply say "Hi
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Peter Buchanan-Smith and Best Made Co., and I haven't been able to shake the imagery of their color-adorned urban axes since. I can't help but check out the ax and shovel handles at the hardware store and garden center. And while I have immense respect for Best Made Co. and their amazing work, I'm just not at the point in my life where I can swing investing in a high-end functional art piece.
But that doesn't mean I couldn't take a cue from their bold color meets wood-grain handles and deep silver blades - so I decided to create my own colorful high-end tool, using a claw hammer. And you can too.
I do indeed love the sights, sounds, and smells of a razor-sharp sawblade ripping through a two-inch block of hard maple, or a router-bit whizzing at 23,000 rpm creating a perfect 1/4" roundover.
But, for as much as I embrace the strength and speed of power tools, I find myself spending even more time with those tools that DON'T require ear plugs. Of course, you need hammers and screwdrivers and wrenches, but here's a list of ten items you can find in your hardware store that'll help you turn out great work, without the need for batteries or electricity.
1. All Sorts of Clamps. There's an old saying in the woodworking community..."You