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ONE PROJECT—AND 3 WAYS TO GIVE IT

About 30 days ago I posted the first of, what was supposed to be, a series of gift projects great for holiday giving. The snag was, 25 days ago I busted my pelvis—sort of negating the “series of gift projects” idea. Some day soon I’ll cover the “How to screw together a busted hip” project (definitely NOT a DIY thing) but for now here’s another gift project.

0-tic-tac-toe-jpegIt all got me to thinking there are 3 WAYS TO GIVE GIFTS LIKE THIS: 1) You can build the actual project and give it, 2) You can give the gift of time by offering to build the project with a kid, grandkid, friend or spouse, 3) You can give the gift of know-how by wrapping up the book in which the project first ran. All ways are good ways. Today we look at a simple TIC TAC TOE shelf featured in “Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects.” Stay tuned for more (unless I crack the other hip.)

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A simple woodworking gift for holiday giving (#1)

Okay all ye DIYers, woodworkers, crafty people and gift makers, here is the first in a series of holiday gift project ideas for your perusal (and construction); from the pages of “Ridiculously SImple Furniture Projects.” It’s pretty straight forward—and as long as you’re gearing up to make one, you might want to think about making several. There are even printable plans at http://www.ridiculouslysimplefurniture.com/ridiculouslysimplefurniture.com/Home.html 

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HAPPY sawdusting! (And if you want a signed copy of any of my books for gift giving, just give a shout.)

GIRL SCOUTS RULE (and build)

HERE’S A WONDERFULLY UNEXPECTED NOTE & PHOTO I RECEIVED FROM A TROOP OF GIRL SCOUTS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. VERY COOL, VERY INSPIRATIONAL—AND THE “NOMAD” DESKS LOOK GREAT. (Project and “IN USE” photo from the “Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects” book I did with Bill Zuehlke (miss you man!))

Mr. Carlsen,
When our local school district removed shop class from the middle school curriculum, the girls in my little troop were disappointed. They saw their older sisters come home with napkin holders and lamps and knew they would never get the chance to make anything. Instead of just accepting their fate, they asked my co-leader and I if we could do some sort of woodworking project as a troop. We handed them your book, Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects, and told them to pick something that interests them. They decided on the Nomad Laptop Desk. They had a great time using power tools (and simple tools) and learning about measuring, cutting and staining.

I have attached a picture of them with their desks. Thanks for writing a great book of simple projects!scouts

Thanks,
Stacey McCracken
Girl Scouts of Southern IL Troop 370

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THE BIRTH OF A BOOKCASE (actually 4 of them)

I was asked to build a memorial bookcase for the Stillwater Library in memory of a long time library lover—Mabel Linquist. The mission was to design something to display new fiction books in the original rotunda area of the 1905 Carnegie Library. I began doodling—and my pencil kept drawing round things (hey, it’s a rotunda!) Another goal was to have the bookcase(s) flexible and movable. I began doodling with the idea of four “quarter slices” of a circle. As I circled in, I wound up with the preliminary design (below.)

 

4 bookcases

I ran the sketches by the folks at the library and all seemed to think it was worth pursuing. I built little foam core models to begin with, then went ahead with a full size mock up as shown below1) bookcase 3:4 viewIt seemed like a historical library needed bookcases with some history to them. So Librarian Carolyn Blocher and I rummaged through some old storage rooms and found two really cool possibilities: 1) Some shelves from the original 1895  library (Stillwater’s first) and 2) some cast iron brackets also from the original library. I goofed around with the shelves (turns out they were yellow poplar) and realized they might make the perfect raised panels for the sides. The brackets could become “back rests” for the books on top. It also seemed, since Stillwater was founded on white pine, that using that wood would be cool. I contacted Conrad at Forest Product Supply and discovered he had some slabs of white pine from a tree in Marine that had been downed in a storm. That’s be a good top, eh. So I went at itDSC_0891 I wound up bending wood every which way: Cutting curves, laminating thin pieces to make curves, and just outright bending stuff to make it curve. Twas a labor of love: Love of books, love of woodworking, love of the idea of a memorial bookcase.DSC_0882

A few weeks ago we installed them. And here’s how they look. The plaque below also gives a rundown of what the bookcases are made from.IMG_4310

The plaque:

1) Mabel plaque

Go check them out, while you’re visiting the library, checking out books. (One of the bookcases even has a magnetic panel with magnetized cars and animals that kids can play with while their folks are browsing the fiction area.

 

5 Simple Raised Bed Gardens for SPRING!!!!

Spring is around the corner (or at least down the block), so I’m going to start posting “get ready for spring” projects on a regular basis. Most come from “The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects!” Going the raised bed route, you can grow great veggies even if you live in the ‘burbs or heart of the city. Get going!
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HARVEST TOTE holiday gift (think warmer weather)

Here’s a do-it-yourself Christmas gift you can make for the gardening (or foraging) lovers in your life—a harvest tote. Great for hauling stuff into and out of the garden (tho you’ll have to wait a few months if you’re a Minnesotan.) All you need are a few boards, a few fasteners, a few hours and maybe your belt. This and other projects both large and small featured in “The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects,” by Spike Carlsen (Storey Publishing.)

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A GUY CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY CLAMPS

clamp 3 loWorking on an arch top cabinet as part of an all-in-one changing table—dresser—closet—storage chest for our soon-to-be-born 6th granddaughter. Lot harder than building square stuff, but more fun and educational, too. I’ll keep posting photos as things progress. Due date? Early May. Gonna keep cranking.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS & ME: We go WAY back

In 1989 Mother Earth News published the first article I ever wrote—one on building an ArcHome. Today, 26 years later, in the Feb/March 2015 issue, Mother Earth News is excerpting a project of mine from “The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects” — on building a pasta drying rack. We’ve got some longevity going on here! More information at 

"Mother Earth News" article from September 1989 about the "Arc Home"

“Mother Earth News” article from September 1989 about the “Arc Home”

Cover of the Feb/March, 2015, issue of Mother Earth News (with an excerpt from "The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects"

Cover of the Feb/March, 2015, issue of Mother Earth News (with an excerpt from “The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects”

Pasta Drying rack as it appears in the most recent issue of Mother Earth News

Pasta Drying rack as it appears in the most recent issue of Mother Earth News

http://www.motherearthnews.com/ and www.spikecarlsen.com.

SIMPLE HOLIDAY GIFTS ON KARE 11

Spike is gonna be on KARE 11 this Friday (Dec. 12th) at 4:00 demonstrating how to build a few simple Christmas presents including the always-entrancing “Houdini Wine Bottle Holder” and a few other projects from RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE FURNITURE PROJECTS and THE BACKYARD HOMESTEAD BOOK OF BUILDING PROJECTS

from RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE FURNITURE PROJECTS

from RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE FURNITURE PROJECTS

How to Build a Leopold Bench—even in the winter!!

I recently finished shooting some instructional videos with Storey Publishing to promote “The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects.” Here’s a link to the video on how to build an Leopold Bench—one of my all time favorite (and easiest) projects.

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