Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Spelling Bee

Today the Belfast Newsletter published a story about the Times Spelling Bee - I have a team entered for this competition, so we had our picture taken and are getting ready to spell under pressure. How exciting/geeky/embarrassing (my chubby cheeks and hunched up shoulders ... oh well! Quite proud of the boys, so I'll ignore my posture for now).

Here's the link so you can check us out!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Garden makeover: Progress ... ummm... ongoing.

The back garden at my house has many problems:

  • it is on a very slight slope downwards towards the house
  • it faces almost fully north, which means little full sun
  • the small patches of moss of last year are now large swamps and cover about 80% of the area!
  • the garden is situated (along with the house) in Fermanagh - the wettest place on earth.
So ... goodbye grass. Goodbye moss. Your reign is ending. I know I could improve the drainage, tackle the moss, persevere, but ultimately this will result in weekly mowing all summer, a job I detest. So goodbye grass. Hello raised beds and home grown veggies! The plan involves building the raised beds, digging up the grass and laying gravel around the beds.

Here is the progress so far (by the way, pics make it look like he did all the work ... he did not!)

The beds aren't in their final resting place in the picture - they'll most likely be parallel. Still much work to do over the next few weekends. Next job includes digging up the lawn and using it as mulch in the bottom of the raised beds, with the goal of saving a bit of money when buying topsoil/compost.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ikea Hack - Noticeboard

In another 'Ode', I would love to make it onto a favourite website, Ikea Hackers so here is my hacked notice/bulletin board which began life as a Lindmon blind.
LINDMON Venetian blind brown Length: 155 cm Width: 60 cm

I have three of these in my bedroom and loved both the look and the price, and had planned on using one in my study too, but bought the wrong width, so had a spare. The spare lived in various storage locations around the house, mainly under the bed, until it metamorphosed into ...

... a notice board. It has a permanent home in my study, but against the wall instead of in the window.

It's very straight-forward: put the blind into the shut position so that all of the slats are lying flat, and lay this on the floor. Decide the size you would like your notice board to be: I opted for the easy size which is a square the same dimensions as the width of the blind, meaning no cutting or sawing needed. Gently cut the string at the top of the blind to remove the metal and at the bottom to remove the thick bottom slat, being careful to keep the rest of the slats in place.

Next, remove one slat to use as a measuring stick to decide the number of slats needed, and then remove any extra slats by sliding them out the side of the string.

With the spare slats removed, create a frame and glue together using 'No More Nails' or similar, as shown below.

Next, use a couple of extra slats to position down the middle to add support to the frame. Unfortunately I don't have a picture: excitement must have got the better of me!

Once the glue is dry, simply glue over the top of the frame and position the slats on top, ensuring all the edges are flush. Leave the string at the top and bottom hanging and then tie up when the glue is dry. I tied the string into a loop and use it to hang the board onto the wall. 

Enjoy placing your photographs, ticket stubs, invitations etc in between the slats or attach with drawing pins. The wood is nice and light so easy to get pins in and out of.

Leading the way on chalkboard clocks

Don't say I'm not ahead of the times ... here is a much plusher and more inventive version of my chalkboard clock. I'm off to get the duster and copy some formulae!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Weeds, weeds, nothing but weeds.

If anyone can tell me what these weeds are then please leave me a comment! They are torturing me.