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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

William Morris stained glass

Wm Morris stained glass in Walthamstow (this beautiful photo, by Barry Lemmings, can be found here)

A sketch by Wm Morris for a stained glass (Tate Gallery, London)

 Some simpler designs by Wm Morris (above, detail from his home Red House; below, detail of panel in Victorian and Albert Museum, London).  "Si je puis" or "If I can" (on window above) was Wm Morris's motto.

More of his incredible glass work can be seen here:

Monday, October 26, 2009

You're never too young to learn how to use a crowbar

Thanks to kate and charlotte for pulling nails out of the old floorboards---they will be recycled into a fence in my neighbor jay's back yard.

The deck progressing....

The last two weekends had pretty crap weather but i've gotten in about 2 more days of work on deck.  Using the lumber from the old deck the corners were framed in (these will eventually be shingled) as well as the lower sides (to provide nailing surface for trim boards).  The corners were also clad with exterior-grade plywood.  The mahogany decking was sealed with a product called Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish and a cement pad poured for the bottom of the stair stringers to rest on.  With the help of a small assembly line of my brother Dan, sister-in-law Jodi, and my dad we cut the diamond design in the side rails (to match front of house) and started filling in the sides.  Can't wait to find another sunny day to do more but, in the meantime, back to my day job....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Think local.....

I'm sure if Wm Morris were alive today he would be all over the modern locavore movement.   He would undoubtedly be in communications with Micheal Pollan, author of  The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, the best book about food i've ever read.  In the late 19th century, Morris and his colleagues led an analogous revolution in architecture.  "It is not until we get back to the work of the earlier builders that our hearts are touched and thrilled by the strange charm of the building art as then practiced," wrote M.H. Baillie Scott.  Scott and his colleagues, including Voysey, Webb, and Morris, "chose to make their buildings from indigenous materials and strove above all to follow local traditions" (P. Todd, The Arts and Craft Companion, 2004).  And from E.P. Thompson's biography of Wm. Morris, "To-day Red House may no longer excite wonder: but in its time it was revolutionary in its unashamed use of red brick, its solid, undisguised construction, and absence of fussy facades and unfunctional ornamentation."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sidewalk owl, Bremen

This little owl was randomly stuck in the sidewalk at the university in Bremen.   Cute.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Falling Water, PA

"All artists love and honor William Morris" --- Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, October 16, 2009

Clay pots - Alhambra, Spain and my porch

Clay pots---classic, simple.  Plants all moved inside last night...snow today.  Not looking good for deck carpentry tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rebuilding deck, part 2

deck with new corner posts and mahogany decking (bought on craig's list).  two people, a nail gun, and a chop saw.  later in project i will use a circular saw to cut the edges on sides the same length.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rebuilding the world's ugliest deck

This is the back deck of my house which probably dates to the seventies.  That's right, there are no steps to the yard!  When my kids were younger we had a slide from the deck to grass.  Yesterday, i used a hand sledge to knock all the railings off, used my sawzall to saw off posts and lag screws, then pulled up all the decking.  The framing is sturdy and today i added blocking between joists (cut from pulled up decking) and dug two holes at outer corners which were filled with gravel and cement.   Tomorrow i'll put a prefab cement footing from home depot in each hole and add two more vertical posts which will tie into framing at corners.  Here is deck after a few hours of demolition:

Thanks to my neighbor Jay and houseguest Mick for help!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

William Kamkwamba, extreme DIYer

Wm Morris was a champion of the handmade.  He was also an influential socialist who fought on behalf of the working classes.   He would embrace this William!  William Kamkwamba of Malawi just published an amazing book about his life called "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind".

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Wm Morris Quilt


I used Wm Morris print cotton to make this "strip" quilt.  Really easy pattern and relatively quick (for a quilt) as you can cut and sew long triple and quadruple strips together before cutting them to patchwork length and sewing them together.  There are a few places to get these Morris cottons on web (for instance, The Quilted Fox, Old Trinity Schoolhouse Quilt Shop, or  I used a navy blue flat sheet for backing, added some batting between, then "stitched-in-the-ditch" to pull it all together.  The homemade headboard was copied from a similar headboard in the Stickley-Audi furniture store and is made out of cherry and mahogany.