The Upcycled Garden

This is the last of the garden room sets from this year’s Ideal Home Show, and I’ve saved my favourite until last. And in true me-style, I had quite a good chat with Max McMurdo who was hanging around the garden he created trying to eat his lunch and have a conversation with someone who thought he looked familiar, but thought nothing more of it. Until I actually read the leaflet I picked up and realised who I’d been chatting to over the upcycled pallet.

A pallet as a planter in the Ideal Home Show

It is a particularly good use of pallets, and one I wished I’d thought of when in my first house dad and I put up a front fence made of pallets. Just adding an extra plank to keep those pots in, would have added some interest. I was clearly way ahead of my time, although looking back I think I’d have had to nail the pots in as a plant that was on my open porch, which took two people to lift disappeared one day. It’s not actually the sort of thing you can phone the police for is it?

“Yes, hello Officer, yes my five foot money plant, that’s extremely heavy is missing.”

“Where did I leave it? Well on my doorstep, it’s too heavy to move you see.”

But anyway I digress, although that is how and when I got my yucca plant, which is still going strong despite a small accident with MOH falling onto it recently. These doors too reminded me of the “shed-that-dad-built” which I shared on here a couple of years ago. That post is worth a look for the old-fashioned photos alone.

old doors and a suitcase put to good use in the Upcycled Garden at the Ideal Home Show

Back to my chat with Max. It was the real Max I got to speak to, not the statuesque one that perched on yet another pallet. Max is a designer and upcycler and has gone “back to his roots” according to the leaflet with this Land Rover inspired garden, reusing ideas from his book “Upcycling Outdoors”. The leaflet goes on to say that upcycling items has “previously been associated with items within the home” but that this garden shows what you can do with your outside space. I’d just like to say, pop back to the post with the “shed-that-dad-built” there was much upcycling going on there, mostly through quirkiness and need, rather than driven by a reuse mantra, but it was the early nineties…

More pallets, a pizza paddle and a self-portrait
A suitcase planter on legs at the Ideal Home Show

It’s true though that suitcase side tables are more often used indoors, but they do make a lovely planter too.

A landrover put to good use in the Upcycled Garden

That old tool trolley isn’t what it seems either - it’s a barbeque of course. And while storage is always important everywhere, so is having a functional and attractive dining area. Some planks laid across a wooden frame have easily sorted that - that’s definitely something to remember and reuse at some point.

Storage in a garden is always important
Planks forming  a stylish dining space

You didn’t believe me when I said it was a barbeque did you? Here you go…

Can you spot the double Max McMurdo profile?

It was definitely my favourite garden, and while the planting is quite subtle, it’s there thought, and as we know all good gardens are based on a good structure.

What do you think? For me, there’s memories, inspiration and so many things to see in each and every one of these photos. I’m only sorry there wasn’t more time to enjoy the space and take full advantage of the hospitality laid on!

PoCoLo

Three of Kevin's Green Heroes

The Green Heroes part of Grand Designs Live has become one of our favourite parts of the show. It’s a place where innovation is on show, and the often incredibly clever solutions demonstrate the best of human behaviour.

1. MusicCloth, a hand-woven cloth made of discarded cassette and video tapes

The tapes, which are collected for various sources, and which would otherwise be considered a waste material due to the metallic coatings. It’s woven in a basket weave pattern, which gives it stability and durability and each has its own unique colour and pattern.

MusicCloth - cloth made from old cassette tapes

The resulting material is lightweight, sound absorbing and highly water resistance and has a multitude of uses from the practical to the ornamental, as this picture shows. Also on the stand was a tote bag made from the material, which you can imagine would be super strong and of course, much better than the plastic bags that are still so evident. For more information see https://www.rehyphen.org/

A picture using MusicCloth

2. Eoacoustic material, that’s noise-canceling and based on spruce needles

Yes, intriguing but as Kevin himself likens it to standing in a remote pine forest and experiencing the magical silence, which can be recreated with this product. It’s a name that’s unpronounceable though, which may not help, but the thinking behind it is sound (sorry).

The panels are a natural porous material that absorbs sound reflections, regulates humidity and temperature, and creates a comfortable and healthy atmosphere. You can still see the shape of the needles, and their natural texture remind you of what they’re made from.

eoacoustic materials

There’s much more on their website: https://www.eoacoustic.com/ and it’s well worth a look, prepare for your mind to be blown!

3. Moss Tiles which encourage moss growth to improve air quality in urban environments

They help absorption of carbon dioxide and so addresses and environmental issue faced by people that live in cities. The tiles are made of terracotta and would be installed on exterior walls in public spaces. The multiple indentations and textured surface are designed to help the moss thrive.

Moss Tiles by Poppy Pippin
naked and mossed moss tiles

These are my favourite so far, not only their design when they’re naked terracotta, but also their touchability when the moss grows. I agree with Kevin, who says they’re “cool, green and tactile.”

There’s more about the tiles, and other projects on the Polly Pippin website: https://www.poppypippin.com/

So all quite different, but all innovative, clever and inspirational. I’ve some more to share from this part of the show, but as you’d expect, there’s also plenty more photos to edit.

PoCoLo

Reflecting on my week #78

I ended last week’s post saying that I might be in the market for a pouffe, and while that was tongue in cheek, I think it might not be such a bad idea.  I had some good news at the doctors last week; my vitamin D which had been scarce back in December has hung around following that course of tablets, and I’m back in the normal range.  The recent blood tests also showed that whatever is making my hips ache, isn’t polymyalgia - which having read up on the symptoms, I was never convinced about.  But it’s not that, which is good news.

The less good news is that I still have the hip pain.  And so after trying to explain how and why, and if anything I was doing could be causing it (I don’t think it is), and the doctor moving my legs around in all kinds of ways, and in some ways I had forgotten they could move, he thinks the joints and the areas around them are inflamed.  So now I have a course of anti-inflammatories which he hopes will knock it on the head.  He’s not the only one!

The trouble is any tablets only work if you actually take them, the hardest thing seems to be remembering to take them three times a day.  Luckily they’re to be taken with or after food, so that’s less of a problem.  Imagine if they had to be taken before food, I’d really be struggling.  As it is, I’m jumping up about 30 mins after I’ve eaten and once I’ve remembered, hopefully it’ll become more usual before the course ends  

I hope they will do the job, and my hips will be on the mend, as in unrelated news we’ve booked a walking holiday.  This might not be the most obvious choice for someone with aching hips, but as I regularly walk 4 miles and 10,000 steps plus on weekdays, it’s not such a leap of faith. The longest walk day, and an optional one I think is 18.5km, so about three times as far as I’d normally walk. But when you’ve got the whole day to do it, and are enjoying the scenery along the way it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  I hope.

And I’ll finally get to Lisbon.  I think everyone else in my family has been, and said how good it is, and yet I’d still not been.  We almost got there, but it was too tricky to tag onto our Porto and the Douro Valley trip.  We’ve had a few holidays in Portugal, we’ve been to the Alentejo region a couple of times too, so it's a favourite of ours, and I have high hopes.

I’ve also finished my crochet basket made from old t-shirts, it took about twelve in the end, but is a big basket. I think it looks much better in real life than in this photo, and I’m happy with how it turned out as it was a bit of a “suck it and see” project.

A completed crochet basket made from around 12 old t shirts

The lumpy bits you can see in the photos are the seams of the t-shirts, and I think add character.  Of course, if you were using bought t-shirt yarn you wouldn’t have this.  But you’d also have about 12 t-shirts too!

I’ve just watched the recycling challenge on the Sewing Bee (don’t tell me who won, I’m still behind - although I think I might not be surprised when I do find out!), and I was shocked to hear how much unwanted clothes go into landfill.  I can’t remember the exact amount, and daren't google it in case I stumble across the winner, but it was a shocking amount, and an amount that my twelve t-shirts will hardly make a dent in, but every little helps right?

it fits well into the cubby hole in the wardrobe

It fits well into the cubbyhole of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too, and was quickly full of some of my vintage crockery which had previously been in much shallower storage which didn’t make good use of the space. 

The basket is stretchier than I anticipated, but it’s doing a good job of holding things together. I’ve plenty more old t-shirts and will be making more, but not just yet as I’m keen to get back to my Vintage Sweetheart blanket, and make some progress with that. It’s good to start new projects, but it’s even better to finish some of the ones you’ve started! 

Looking ahead to this week, I’ve some time away from work on Wednesday as I’m off to brunch with Heston Blumenthal, like you do. The event is to celebrate Everdure by Heston and the launch of the 4K, which the invite says “is the next innovation in outdoor cooking” - it sounds interesting, and I’m sure I’ll share more here - and on my instagram stories on the day - when I know more.