Friday, 29 March 2013

Minky Monkey Moo meets Woodworking for Mere Mortals

'Friday's Features' has been created to cover articles, ideas, websites and interviews that compliment 'Monday's Makes'.

Our first interview is with Steve Ramsey of Coupled with his YouTube site:; a novice can create fabulous items for their home! Steve's love of wood and creating is evident and infectious and you will be hooked after one try! So, before you embark on your first easy to follow tutorial from Steve, ask yourself, 'can I fit a workshop in my garden shed?'

I have only posted 3 'Monday's Makes' to date and already Steve has featured in the very first one, with a beautiful Redwood Doormat!

MMM   So we know a little about the man behind the talent, what are your influences in life?
SteveTwo-reel comedies from the 1920s and 30s, Shakespeare and Monty Python. I guess, I'm influenced by entertainment.

MMMAre there any blogs that you follow?
SteveThere are a lot of great woodworking blogs. I have links to them on my site. The one blog I read every day though, has nothing to do with woodworking: Rex Parker, who blogs about the day's New York Times crossword puzzle.

MMMWhat made you start your blog and what were your initial ideas for the content?
SteveI began my blog after making videos for a while, as a way for me to provide more information about my woodworking projects. I have to cut a lot out of my videos to keep them short.

MMMI like the idea of posting your viewer's makes; is this one way in which your blog has evolved over the past 3 years?
SteveYes. There are woodworking blogs by authors with lots of great articles on the details of woodworking. I am neither an expert, nor a teacher, so I learn by looking at what other people have made and they give me great ideas for projects. Posting their projects on my web site is a great way to inspire other people to build something.

MMMFor us 'mere mortals', who have started following your blog, what basic tools do you  think we should kit ourselves out with?
SteveAnyone can do woodworking with a limited assortment of tools. If you have a limited space, a hand-held jigsaw is a great tool that will let you make just about anything. If you have some space and really want to dive into woodworking, a table saw is the most useful tool to own.

MMMYour features cover a wide range of topics, what inspires your creations?
SteveI often create something based on a need. We recently bought a new TV and need a stand for it, so I made one. Many of my ideas also come from viewers.

MMMDo you have a vision in mind or do your designs develop after you start?
SteveI usually have a picture in my mind of what I think something should look like when it's finished, but it is very common for that to evolve in the shop. I recently started designing projects in 'SketchUp', which has helped enormously to speed up my process, but it's always curious what can change when I'm actually building

MMMYou have included posts for woodworking with children, would this be an area that you would consider featuring more of?
SteveI think it's great to see kids woodworking. I try to showcase them whenever I can. Woodworking is not something that appeals to many kids and fewer and fewer kids are given the opportunity to try it. Shop classes are largely extinct, and many parents have no interest in woodworking themselves. I believe I am the last generation of guys whose fathers commonly had small workshops and regularly used tools to fix things and build things around the house.

MMMThere are lots of posts that I really like on your blog, including: the Redwood Doormat as featured in my first post, 'Beginning Woodworking Intarsia' (dated, 5 October 2012), 'Springtime Woodworking Projects' (3 April 2012), 'Advent Calendar & Other Gift Ideas' (12 November 2012) and many more; which posts have been your favourite to date?
SteveI am not sure. I rarely look back at any older blog posts. I like to think of a blog as a very immediate medium. Once a post drifts down into a second page, it's pretty much gone. Posts featuring my videos are an exception because I have a page listing them all. That's what visitors are looking for, and most new blog visitors go directly to the video tab on top.

MMMI have to ask a cheeky question! Having young children, your 'Race Car Toddler Bed' guest post (dated, 24 November 2010), was amazing. Any thoughts for an alternative for a girl?
SteveGet her interested in race cars. That was a viewer project sent to me by Laney Shaughnessy. It's one of those projects that is inspiring because when we see it we tend to imagine ways to adapt that spirit of design to our own needs. A cool toddler bed for a girl would be a princess castle. I can imagine an enclosed palace with lots of draping fabric and secret nooks for keeping treasures.

MMMIs there any other advice that you could offer to newbie bloggers, like myself?
SteveTry to post twice a week. If I look at a blog and see that the most recent entry is a few weeks old, I assume the blogger has lost interest. At first it can be discouraging because you wonder if anyone is reading it. Include a call-to-action to get people to comment, follow you on Facebook, or whatever.

MMMYou have been up-and-running for a while now, how have you managed to grow traffic to your site?
SteveMost of my blog traffic is due to the fact that I produce weekly videos. Many people find their way to my blog via YouTube.

MMMWhat are your visions for your blog's future?
SteveI'd like to create a better web site eventually and have the blog as one element of it. With over 200 videos, I'd like to organise them into categories, too.

Monday, 25 March 2013

10 Key Holders to Make

Nowadays, we seem to have so many keys for different things.

There is nothing worse than running late in the morning and not being able to find your keys! A key holder (located out of view and reach from letterboxes), is the solution.

In our 'homemade home', we are also looking for a practical solution that radiates beauty too; the 10 solutions below tick both boxes.

DIY Wall Mounted Wooden Hotel Key Rack by Remodel Aholic

Remodel Aholic have recreated Mothology's stylish key rack for a fraction of the cost.

Key Rack by Martha Stewart

A smaller option than the one above but just as attractive. Look at Martha Stewart's Key Rack.

Key-Shaped Key Hanger by Guyzo35 on Instructables

Guyzo35 has posted this chunky wooden 'Key Hanger' on Instructables.

Hand Key Rack by M3G on Instructables.

This key rack by M3G on Instructables is not wall mounted but is a unique option that would make a great decoration, if nothing else.

Key Holder DIY by Shanty 2 Chic

This beautiful key holder by Shanty 2 Chic would look gorgeous on any wall.

DIY Key Hooks by My Sweet Savannah

Using your children's letter blocks, you can create this fun-filled holder by My Sweet Savannah.

Key Rack From Old Keys by Wendy Becktold on Sierra

A fabulous way to reuse keys that are no longer in use. Wendy Becktold has posted a lovely rustic option on Sierra.

How to Make a Designer Key Rack by DIY Maven on Curbly.

This is a chic 'designer key rack' by DIY Maven on Curbly.

DIY Key Holder (Yellow Love) by Cherished Bliss.

A 'happy' and colourful key holder by Cherished Bliss.

Going Postale by It's Just Me.

A rustic 'French' style key holder by It's Just Me, that would charm any wall.

Friday, 22 March 2013

The Basic Tool List for DIY

Okay, so I have my basic set of crafting tools, that keeps being added to with each project that I take on, but I am not sure what tools I should equip myself with to 'make a homemade home'.

Obviously, if you research the basic tools to have, the list varies from person to person. However, there are some common tools, which are recommended by professionals and experienced renovators.

It is highly recommended that you purchase quality tools that will last you a lifetime; otherwise you may pay more in the long run, as cheap tools may need to be replaced constantly.

The basic tool list comprises of:

There are many types, that are best suited to different projects. A 'Claw Hammer' may be a good one to start with.

Again, there are numerous options. Combination pliers should do the trick but it may be worth investing in a set which also includes long nose pliers.

Your set should include: a flat-head screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver.

Spirit Level

An adjustable wrench is the best starting point.

5m Retractable Tape Measure

Retractable Utility Knife (and blade pack)


Kit yourself out with a battery-powered cordless drill with bits and nut drivers.

Assorted screws, nails and washers



Safety Equipment - masks, safety goggles and gloves.

Combination ladder

G Clamps

Paint brushes
Kit yourself out with paint brushes of various sizes.

Miscellaneous: Painter's tape, bucket, large sponge, duct tape, old toothbrush, wood glue, sandpaper of various grits, pencils and notebook

This will be an expensive outlay but hopefully once you have 'made a homemade home', you will have well and truly broken in your tools and got your moneys worth.

For reference, there are other tools that are listed as essential for your tool kit. Should you wish to add to the above, the list continues with:

A small and large flat-head would benefit your kit. Also, a Ratchet screwdriver and socket set, may benefit.

It may be beneficial to include a pair of locking pliers and groove joint pliers to your set.

A 16 ounce rip model can assist you, particularly if you are dealing with floorboards.

A pipe wrench may be the next addition. A set may be the best option as they will include various types and sizes.

Mitre Box

Painter's tool

Crowbar and/or Prybar

Circular Saw (corded)

Skill saw (corded)



Voltage Tester

Table Saw


Cut-off Saw

Teflon Tape

DIY Manual

Box Cutter

Roller brush, pads and tray

Monday, 18 March 2013

9 Noticeable Coat Racks to Make

Following on from my first post about doormats, logically, I need a coat stand or rail to hang my guest’s outer-gear on!

I have always loved the idea of owning one of those beautiful ‘old fashioned’ style coat stands, like the ones featured below by 'Better Farm' and 'This Old House' and was so excited when I found sites that detailed how to make one. As soon as I actually get a hall, I will definitely be making one!

I have also found some other amazing alternatives that would do the job-in-hand beautifully. There are a range of options below, which, hopefully, suit your hallway and the permitted space.

Roaring Rack
By using toy animals that you may have loitering around your rooms, you could create a coat rack that would be a fun addition to any room and in particular a child’s bedroom. Apartment Therapy offer the 'Amazing Animal Coat Rack', a DIY version of one that is available to buy elsewhere.

Kate's Rolling Coat Rack by Grace Bonney at Design Sponge

Rolling Rack
Reusing steel pipes and fittings, you can create an elegant rack that can also store your shoes and bags. Grace Bonney created 'Kate's Rolling Coat Rack' on Design Sponge.

Rustic Peg Coat Rack by Esprit Cabane

Rustic Rack
This simple yet pretty coat rack would look fabulous in any house but particularly in a country house. Created by Esprit Cabane, the 'Rustic Peg Coat Rack' is a must see.

Handsome DIY Coat Rack by Better Farm

Handsome Rack
As described by Better Farm, their 'handsome DIY Coat Rack' would look wonderful in any hallway.

DIY Yardstick Coat Rack by Save it for a Rainy Day

Ruler Rack
Recycling old yardsticks, this 'DIY Yardstick Coat Rack' by Save it For a Rainy Day is a great first DIY project for her blog.

Beautiful Coat Hanger Shelf by Remodelling Guy

Razzle Dazzle Rack
Remodelling Guy shows how to make this 'beautiful coat hanger shelf', which featured in Ralph Lauren’s paint brochure. A useful rack as not only can it hold your coats and bags, you can also display pictures, photos or any other memorabilia on the shelf.

How to Build a Coat Rack by Jennifer Stimpson for This Old House Magazine

Corker Coat Rack
Jennifer Stimpson for 'This Old House Magazine' showcases this stylish 'coat rack', which would be a fabulous feature in your hallway.

DIY Hardware by The Family Handyman

The Unusual
For anyone with a passion for building 'stuff', the 'DIY Hardware' coat rack by The Family Handyman is the perfect compliment. It certainly would gain admiration for its quirky style!

7 Tips to Liven up the Entryway by Apartment Therapy

A really quick, stylish and cheap option is featured in Apartment Therapy’s ‘7 Tips to Liven up the Entryway’. This assortment of coat hooks on your wall would liven up any wall.

Of the many DIY options, the above, would definitely brighten up any hallway and suit all shapes and sizes. Which one will you try?

Friday, 15 March 2013

12 Fabulous Easter Gifts to Make

Besides being on a never-ending diet, for me the prospect of chocolate from everyone I know is not appealing (but for my husband, he is in second Heaven!). With this in mind, I am going to give the adults in my life something more than a chocolate egg - although I certainly do not intend to spend 'the Earth'.

Out of interest, I was keen to find out why we, traditionally, handover bunnies and eggs. In summary:

Rabbits and Hares
Bunnies symbolise fertility and as they litter in Spring, together with birds laying eggs, they became the symbol of new life.

Painted eggs represent the colours of Spring and the rebirth; in Greece, for example, they paint the eggs red to represent the blood of Christ shed during Easter, whilst elsewhere, eggs are painted green to represent new foliage.

The light of a candle symbolises the light of the risen Christ.

After trawling the net, I have sourced my favourite gifts, including: a pillow, a glass bowl, prints, candles, a wreath, eggs and fabric birds.

Molly's Sketchbook: Little Lamb Pillows by Purlbee

Perfect Pillow
Personally, I am in love with 'Molly's Sketchbook: Little Lamb Pillows' by 'Purlbee'. These pillows are fabulous and would be a wonderful asset to any home.

Easter Silhouette Plates & Bowls by Hostess with the Mostess

Gorgeous Glass
Glass bowls are lovely either on display or being used at the table. 'Hostess with the Mostess', detail how to make a gorgeous Easter Silhouette glass bowl that can be proudly presented all year round.

Plush Birdies by Bird's Party Blog

Bright Birds
'Plush Birdies' from 'Bird's Party Blog' would look sweet as an Easter decoration and would surely be admired by all who see them.

Spring Baby Grass Wreath by Patty Schaffer's blog

Wonderful Wreath
For me, this is an unusual present but it is always good to give gifts that are different than the norm! Patty Schaffer explains how to create a 'Spring Baby Grass Wreath'.

A Soft and Thoughtful Easter Printable by Madigan Made

Perky Prints - one..
This simple and elegant print by 'Madigan Made' would look fabulous adorned on any wall. This free print is available in 3 colours.

Meet my Peeps & Hippity Hop by Spunky Junky

.. and two
'Spunky Junky', offer 2 prints - 'Meet my Peeps' and 'Hippity Hop'. These prints are sweet and would brighten up any Easter decorations.

Graphic Printed Candles DIY by Crafty Scrappy Happy

Eye-catching Candles - one..
'Crafty Scrappy Happy', guide us through the process of making their beautiful 'Graphic Printed Candles DIY'.

DIY Easter Candles by Imparting Grace

.. and two
'Imparting Grace' make 'DIY Easter Candles' that would be welcomed by anyone who receives them.

Easter Surprise Eggs by Not Martha

Elegant Eggs - one..
'Easter Surprise Eggs' by 'Not Martha', are a colourful gift that offers a cheeky twist on the standard egg!

Papier-Mache Easter Eggs by Not Martha

.. two
'Not Martha' also offers 'Papier-Mache Easter Eggs' which, as suggested, could hide a multiple of goodies inside!

French Decoupage Eggs by Confessions of a Plate Addict

.. three
'Confessions of a Plate Addict' present 'French Decoupage Eggs'. You could surprise your friends and family with chocolate treats inside.

Silhouette Easter Eggs by Le Papier Studio

.. and finally
'Le Papier Studio', have created beautiful hard-boiled 'Silhouette Easter Eggs' that would be admired by everyone and are almost too good to eat!

With so much inspiration, which project will you make first?

Monday, 11 March 2013

9 DIY Doormats to Make

A doormat is not something that I generally consider when I am crossing someone's threshold but when I started thinking about the many that I have seen (for this blog), I cannot recall any catching my attention (for all the right reasons).

Personally, I consider all aspects of my interior decoration but I do not think about the simple elements, like an attractive and practical doormat - in fact, currently I do not have one! As this is the first thing that friends and family will see before they enter my house, perhaps I should pay it more attention!

In an ideal world I would have two doormats - one inside and one outside. There are factors that need to be considered when choosing a doormat:

  • An outside doormat needs to be able to cope with all sorts of weather, particularly rain and many a muddy boot; therefore, the material needs to be very durable, drain easily, able to cope with the change in temperatures abd weatherproof.

  • An indoor mat is designed to not only absorb the last remnant of moisture and dirt from shoes but to look pleasing. Consider a material that will do the job in hand but will also blend into your interior design scheme and can fit comfortably under your door.

How to Create Custom Doormats by eHow

Personalised Doormat
Using an existing fibre mat you can create a funky feature that will make your visitors double take. Using only alphabet stencils, paintbrushes and waterproof fibre paint, you can create a monogrammed doormat. For instructions, look at 'How to Create Custom Doormats' by 'eHow'.

Besides the quick and easy option of personalising an existing mat, I have found nine attractive doormats that are bound to gain admiration.

Pebble Mat by Lilybee on Curbly

Pebble Pleasing
By simply using a rubber welcome mat, bags of river rocks and contact adhesive you can make a fun-filled welcome. Created by 'Lilybee' on 'Curbly', this is a great outdoor mat - 'Pebble Mat'.

Garden Hose Doormat by Mark Kintzel Design

Gorgeous Green
'Mark Kintzel Design' offers a fabulous alternative to your usual exterior doormats. Made with a garden hose - 'Garden Hose Doormat'.

How to Make a Wooden Doormat by Recycle Reuse Renew Mother Earth Projects

Four Wooden Wonders
There are four great external offers from 'Recycle Reuse Renew Mother Earth Projects' - 'How to Make a Wooden Doormat'.

Make A Wood Doormat and Make Money by Woodworking for Mere Mortals

Redwood Beauty
Steven Ramsey offers this attractive option to compliment any exterior door - 'Make a Wood Doormat'.

Crocheted Sisal Rug by Scoochmaroo on Instructables
Sizzling Sisal
This pretty option has been conjured up by 'Scoochmaroo' and is displayed on 'Instructables'. A welcome addition to any home - 'Crocheted Sisal Rug'. This mat is best suited for inside or under a shelter, if outside.

Braided Doormat by Martha Stewart

Martha's Magic
There has to be at least one option from Martha Stewart, the Queen of makes! This braided doormat would be loved by all and would suit any interior - 'Braided Doormat'.

I hope that, like me, you will find these options irresistible and will enjoy making your 'first impression' doormat! Which doormat will you be tackling first?