Thursday, May 31, 2012

PVC Inspiration

Having just successfully finished my tool shed organization project using PVC pipe, I decided to explore other inspiring uses of PVC and there are many. I have posted on this topic previously but will just add new things that have crossed my radar to this post. I find seeing these ideas helpful to the creative process. Although solutions may not fit my problems, they give direction to thinking up new solutions.

First more organizers....

This one is a definite DIY project. I am sure I have a place for this. (Maybe multiples!)

 via

If you don't want to go the DIY route, you can purchase PVC solutions as well. The following organizer is Stash from Booninc and comes in a variety of vibrant colors.


There is a lot of funky furniture built out of PVC and most of it looks like Tinkertoy projects. The following, by Lithuanian Designer Vytautas Mauras, adds a great sense of design to the concept.


Because it is weatherproof, PVC has many applications for gardening. Here is a vertical strawberry garden.


How about office solutions? No doubt about it - the bright yellow makes this design below. You can easily spray paint PVC with spray paint designed for plastics. I wonder how well the black light bulb works? Anything for a smashing photo, right?

 via

Here is a lighting design using PVC from the design studio Materious ...

Or a DIY sunburst mirror.... by Thrifty and Chic

And we can't forget Holiday applications! 
Here is Halloween. (I just had to put this in for laughs! Whimsey is good!)



And - Christmas Wreaths - of course!
 source • via

source • via

Hopefully you can find a PVC inspiration with all this variety. Especially a giant spider!

Previous Posts of Interest:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Organizing Garden Tools with PVC

I love the "Keeping it Real" posts that fellow bloggers post. We all know that we share the best photographs and that often the other side of a room is a disaster. I will be showing to you the disaster that I spent the Memorial Day weekend rectifying. That would be the tool shed. It was embarrassingly disorganized and non-functional. But thanks to bloggy inspiration, today it is not! 


Today, our garden tools stand at attention in organized (and labeled) fashion. And I used PVC pipe to achieve this task. But first here is the before photo.


There is utter chaos in here. The floor is piled deep with tarps and tools that have no home. There are many tools we just can't find anymore. So I started by emptying out the entire tool end of the wood shed. I organized it all on the driveway. It seemed to stretch for miles. Job number one was purging and identifying the trash. I had no problem there.


Then I started planning, arranging, looking at the space. I determined that it would help a lot to add an additional shelf for storing tarps so I started there. As you read this post understand that there is no light in the tool shed. I brought in a little clip lamp so I could see but photography was absolutely a challenge. I was doing this project from salvaged materials, reclaimed wood, etc. The tools shed is part of our woodshed, it has a dirt floor, no windows, spiders, mice and an occasional squirrel. This is not a place for fine woodworking!


Next I had to deal with the garden tools. This project all started from an inspiration in a post I had pinned previously. It is a sketch from Living the Country Life. The suggestion is to use 12" lengths of PVC pipe to create a tool holder. 

I knew a variation would work in our tool shed. I had some PVC left over from a sculpture project posted here. (Side note- following that link is worth it if you don't know about our sculpture week. Risk it and take a look!) Instead of the suggested format, I cut the PVC scraps at an angle (approx. 30ยบ) into 6" pieces and mounted them at the mid point and bottom of my shed wall. Here are the cut pieces. I saved the short end pieces and I was glad I did.


First I cut the pieces to length at an angle on the band saw. A band saw isn't required but because I have access to one, I used it.


We have a lot of tools so I made a lot of PVC holders. After cutting, I sanded off the plastic shreds.

I then drilled holes into each end. The reason for cutting the pipe at an angle was to have clear access to a drill hole for attaching these to the wall. 

When I emptied out the tool shed I found an old piece of 3/4" plywood from a project from 35 years ago (I can't believe I have saved it for 35 years - I finally found a second use!) With the help of David I screwed that to the studs to separate the wood storage area from the tool area. That gave me a new wall surface to store tools.


I next started arranging the tools in an order that maximized use of the space. It took almost no time at all to screw the PVC holders into the plywood divider. And I popped those tools in there just to get a peek. Oh,yes!


I still had all the small tools to deal with and decided to make use of some of the space between the studs on the exterior wall.  I cut a scrap of wood to serve as a face plate and, to the back, I attached some of the smaller PVC rings left from cutting. We had always used this space for the hand tools but they slid down and got lost in the darkness. My goal was to create a grid that would hold them in place. Here are the rings attached to the back side of the board. The spaces are where the studs will be.


Here it is in place. I screwed it into the studs and...



Moved in some tools......



I continued moving in the tools and the items needing to be stored on the shelves.  I was very pleased with how well everything fit, and how accessible it would all be. 

But, I have learned. Spaces only stay organized if everything has a home and that home is labeled! So out came my collection of colored duct tape.  



I decided to use yellow because of the lack of light. Hopefully it will be readable in the gloom. So here is the tool shed in all its organized glory......

The new tool wall - with labels! 



The original tool wall, thinned out, reorganized and labelled....


I used more of the little rings for odds 'n ends. Here are some arranged for brushes. I didn't even know we owned these!


And here is a detail shot of how the angle cut at the top and bottom of the PVC allowed easy access to screw these hangers to the wall.....


And for the curious, the outside view. David is about 1/2 way done with getting in the wood for next winter. The verticle lumber helps with the cord wood stacks and keeping an opening to the tool area. The tool storage area is to the right behind the solid wall.


If you have been following my blog for awhile you might notice the similarity to another project on a smaller scale. Check out my Measuring Cups and Spoons post, too. See the PVC?




It was a very productive weekend! Did you find time for any projects?

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©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Garden Maintenance • Chores

Not everyday can be new projects. Some days have to be used to maintain previous ones and today was a day for garden maintenance. I have explained before that, because our front yard is very shady, we have failed multiple times to get much grass to grow. Several years ago we visited Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA and since that time we have be modifying our front yard to be a woodland garden. It is now established but this winter was hard on it. I am not sure why but that which thrived last year, isn't this year. Here is a photo taken almost one year ago today. Note the beautiful mounds of  green waterfall grass (Carex Appalachia). It has been beautiful since we planted it 2009.



This year, one of the five plants looks like this.....

Two look like this.....

And two like like this.....

Last weekend we visited Garden in the Woods and purchased 3 replacement plants and today, I replanted them. The garden is a much prettier site. And my dancing sticks (DIY here) are happy again!




Previous Posts of Interest
©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Robin's Egg Blue

Today was a special day because I found not one, not two, but three robin's egg shells along my woodland paths as we went on our afternoon walk.  Each was in a different spot and each showed evidence of have recently been pushed out of the nest by a new robin. That is the kind of thing that can bring unexpected joy to my day!



Any surprises in your day?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Harvesting Birch Bark for Crafts

A recent storm left me with another birch bonanza, this time  birch bark. I have been collecting birch ideas from some time in my Pinterest board labeled Birch and some of them are for using just the bark. A standing dead birch tree fell recently and I went out to save the bark for a as yet undefined project. But in the DIY world you gather supplies when they are available, not only when you need them! Yes, we as a group are furthering the hoarding crisis! Here is my new collection of birch bark sheets, shortly after harvesting.


And here is how I harvested them:
1. I located the recently fallen dead tree. It was bridging our back trail.


2. I identified sections that have large expanses of unmarred bark.  Many places had already seen the attention of a wood pecker and families of bugs.

3. Using a sharp single edge razor blade (utility knife would have been better) I made a sliced along the length of the tree working to cut through the top two layers, both the paper bark and the layer beneath.

4. Using a broad blade spackling tool, I worked the corner under the cut and started prying the bark away from the tree.


5. The bark peeled off the tree as I pried with the spackling tool. Work carefuly so as to not cut holes or create tears in the bark.


6. Once you have separated the bark all the way around the log, it will drop off in a curled sheet.


7. These can be washed and dried and then pressed to flattened.  This takes time.

While that happens, start collecting ideas for how to use this special material.  Here are a few that I have in my Pinterest board.






Here are some of my previous posts of birch as a theme:


©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy