Category Archives: decor

The problem with carpentry and how it differs from IT

It is near impossible to learn how to do carpentry from either books or the Internet. I know because I’ve tried really hard.

Let’s say you decide you no longer want to buy bookcases from Ikea but you want to make you own. You decide a book case is simply a box and decide you want to learn how to make a box with a few tools and some simple instructions.

If you go search for help with your box, you may very likely come across instructions like this: www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/g1591/how-to-make-a-box/

It makes assumptions that you have lots of tools and you can do hard things like cut joints. After a few hours of searches, you will find most sites are like this: tailored to woodworkers making wood pieces that are hard to do and not anything near modern looking.

IT is different. For any technology out there, you can search for the name of the technology and “tutorial” and find something. You can be up and running using the technology in the time it takes you to give up looking for carpentry skills.

I am not sure why that is. Maybe there is more interest in IT so there are more tutorials on it. You could argue carpentry is harder but I have done both and I disagree.

I especially disagree because there is one site I could that actually does make it easy to make furniture and that is Ana White’s. Because of her I have made a wide range of furniture with basically a hammer, a jigsaw and a drill. The furniture isn’t fancy but it was cheaper and better and as modern looking as Ikea.

I think that is a problem with a lot of woodworking sites. They assume you want to do fine woodworking. Find woodworking is fine, but for people starting out, they likely want to make a simple table, a bookcase or set of shelves, perhaps a storage chest. A good joint may be best, but most Ikea furniture is held together with dowels and screws. If you make a book case with dowels and screws and glue, it will last and hold lots of books.

I wish there were more introductory sites on the internet that help people who wanted to learn how to make furniture and do carpentry, like there is with IT. Right now all I have found is Ana White’s site. I highly recommend it.

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A few thoughts on Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning up are very hot now, likely due to her TV show. This hotness sparked a number of discussions about her, such as this: “Tokimeku” Means So Much More Than “Spark Joy” in Japanese | Apartment Therapy. It also sparked other, more extreme discussions, such as how it is racist to not account for the deeper Shinto meaning in her works.

I read her book when it first came out and I admired it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I liked her approach to life and the things we own. I got the Shinto aspect of the book, but I don’t recall that  it was emphasized, so criticizing people of missing that who are unaware of Shintoism is a ridiculous criticism.

There have been shows like Marie Kondo on before. It makes sense. We are driven in North American culture to accumulate, and shows like hers provide us with an antidote to this. When Marie Kondo is forgotten, another home organizer will come along.

I have read more extreme versions of Marie Kondo, like “Goodbye, Things”, which promotes a very minimal life style. I bought it the way I buy other books that have subjects to aspire to but will never achieve. I guess others have too.

There is something to be said for a minimalist lifestyle, a maximalist life style, and something in between. In the end, what counts is that you have positive feelings towards the place you inhabit, however much you have.

One thing Marie Kondo misses is the notion of a room as a workshop. If you have a hobby, be it cooking or woodworking or gardening or reading, you likely have a room where all your tools and supplies are. If you are good at your hobby, you likely have alot of them. That makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of them just because you want to have less things. Have what you need to do the job when you want to. You could still trim back: do you really need 10 cutting boards or 3 screwdrivers that are exactly the same? But otherwise keep the tools you need or may need.

I think Marie Kondo is great because she encourages us to live better with some simple guidelines. Even if you don’t follow them all, you will live better if you consider her message and try to apply it. In the end you’ll have a better home, and you will have a better idea of what you consider a better home.

Image from the NYTimes article on her, here.

 

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Why people love certain Benjamin Moore’s colours

Can be found here: Why I Love Benjamin Moore’s Tundra Paint Color | Architectural Digest,  as well as here and here.

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If you are looking to set up or improve your home working environment….

Then you need this. Top 40 Tricks and DIY Projects to Organize Your Office. Quite a few good set ups and tips there.

I thought this was clever:

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The William hotel in NYC, or how to use bold colour in your home.

I have not stayed at the William, but I don’t need to in order to appreciate the beauty of the place (shown above). Regardless of your travel plans, if you have decorating plans, it’s a great place that illustrates how to effectively use bold colour in your home. For many, using bold colours can be both desirable and intimidating. Some concrete examples can help you achieve your bold colour dreams and overcome your bold colour fears.

For more, see this:  A Bold, Colorful Hotel in the Heart of Manhattan – Design Milk

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Alternatives to Cloud White: two other Benjamin Moore white paints to consider

If you want an off white paint for your interiors, you can’t beat Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. However, if you do want to consider alternatives then these two articles agree that you want to look at either White Dove or Simply White, also by Benjamin Moore. These two pieces also go into detail as to when you want to use them (e.g. trim, kitchen cabinets). Before you start painting, check them out:

    1. Colour Review: Benjamin Moore 3 Best Warm White Paint Colours
    2. The Three Best Off Whites By Benjamin Moore – Warline Painting
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What makes a house a home? IKEA has the answer (no, it’s not a new Billy bookcase)

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This is a really good study put out by IKEA: IKEA Feeling Of Home Study – Emotional Needs At Home | Apartment Therapy.

According to the summary piece in Apartment Therapy, what makes a place feel like home are:

  • privacy
  • comfort
  • ownership
  • security
  • belonging

It makes sense. Sadly, those are feelings that people may not have towards the place they live. People struggling to pay rent, or sharing with others, may not feel like they have privacy or ownership or security. People always moving lose that sense of belonging.

It’s a good thing to read, and a good thing to contemplate about your own living space. Here’s hoping you have all those feelings about where you live right now.