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

Telling Phyllis to Move On

Now I don’t often swear, and rarely swear on here but today I’m going to make an exception, so if you’re likely to be offended then please just skip this post. I hope you don’t though, because it’s about cancer which quite frankly is offensive and indiscriminate.

Sadly cancer isn’t a stranger in my family, or yours too I suspect. My parents have both had their own battle with the disease (which they both won) but unfortunately my FIL wasn’t so lucky and we lost him last summer. I’ve friends that have encountered cancer, with mixed success, and I’m sure you have too.

One of those is Emma from Island Living 365 who has recently been diagnosed with Bowel cancer and who is bravely sharing her cancer journey online. Despite her recent post entitled Running away from Bowel Cancer she’s doing far from that. Instead she’s planning to run - or as she would say - plod, in the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK in Jersey at the end of May. While she’s already smashed her fundraising target, it would be great if we could add to her total, if you’re able to, to help beat cancer for everyone sooner.

Emma has named her cancer Phyllis and her updates regularly include #PissOffPhyllis - today many of the blogging community are showing our support for Emma and encouraging Phyllis (and her friends) to move on, as they’re really not welcome. Anywhere. Any of them.

We’ve all got badges with the #PissOffPhyllis message (thanks Lucy and the BlogOn team!) and we’re wearing them proudly and hitting our blogs and social media to show Emma our support. If you’re able to share this post, or any of my social posts for this on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then I’d really appreciate your help.

April is Bowel cancer Awareness month

So it’s only fitting that we’ve managed to get this arranged to sneak in to the end of this month, and appropriate that I include some information about Bowel cancer too:

  • Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK claiming more than 16,000 lives a year, that's over 44 people every day.

  • Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, after breast, prostate and lung cancers.

  • Every 15 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s almost 42,000 people every year. Every 30 minutes someone dies from the disease in the UK. 

  • More than nine out of ten new cases (94%) are diagnosed in people over the age of 50, and nearly six out of ten cases (58%) are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over. But bowel cancer can affect any age. More than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year.

  • 1 in 14 men and 1 in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread. If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.

The symptoms of Bowel cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo

  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit 

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason

  • A pain or lump in your tummy

So Phyllis, it’s time for you (and all your friends) to move on

You’re most definitely not welcome. In fact I’ve struggled to find anywhere where you are welcome.

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If you would also like to support Emma beating cancer you can follow her updates on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Or if you can spare a pound or two then a donation to her fundraising page for Cancer Research UK would be appreciated.  Thank you.

PoCoLo