Nite fire small (3)

I am going to set fire to a washing machine.

I have wanted a fire pit for some time now but have not wanted to commit to a permanent site.  There are plenty of commercial free standing ones out there, but I have been looking for something, robust, mobile and cheap and so far in the looking, nothing has hit bullseye.  Time to upcycle.  I am going to use a washing machine drum. The drums are perfect, with the holes allowing good airflow, good shape and size plus minimal skills needed, depending on how far you take it.  Mine will probably sit on bricks and be used as a BBQ, allowing for toastie feet and marshmallow conversations in the cooler evenings.

I will draw inspiration from these two sources, as they appealed to me, there are however plenty of other options. Get a professional look  from house and fig or copy the mobile atomic version shown in the clip at the bottom of this page. Look up fire pit washing machine and be inspired.  Everybody’s doing it!



The drum could also make a  side-table with lights inside, paint it or cover with fake grass for an outside seat option.  The very light modern drums can be made into impressive light shades.  Who knew there was so much life left in an old washing machine.

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Découpage – Bless you, now pass the paper.

Voices are being raised, shouting global warming.  We are ever aware of the vulnerability of our planet and it’s resources.  My son, made me cry at the dinner table, telling me that Polar bears are drowning because they start swimming to old icebergs, ancestral hunting grounds etched in their memories, in search of food.  The bears do not understand that these ancient pieces of ice, have long since melted, so they die of exhaustion searching. My daughter urges me away from products that contain palm oil and checks out my coffee for the fair trade sticker.  Why then, are we all such greedy consumers, with drawers full of old phones, game consoles, and clothes that are no longer the latest fashion. My suggestions of, “we could cover them in paper, don’t throw that table out, or can’t you just cut the ends off and make shorts”, are met with icy, don’t you dare, stares. 

broken wing (2)
Patience, glue, blue tack and time will mend this broken wing.

I am just as guilty, often my first response, if something breaks is, go buy another one. Gone are the days that we fix things that are broken, remove the stubborn stain, or sew the hole.  My son was recently outraged when I darned a two-week old pair of shorts that he had ripped, yet I remember my friend’s nan, unpicking an old jumper and using the wool to make another one.  I sat for an hour or so while she wound the itchy yarn around my two hands, held in a ‘fish was this big’ pose.  Both sets of grandparents had an Aladdin’s cave, not a just a shed for storage, in their gardens.  I remember jars that screwed to the ceiling their bellies full of screws, nails, washers and other things I was forbidden to touch. Garden tools made from two or three other things jostled with old biscuit tins, containing bits and bobs kept just in case. When I left the U.K., 8 years ago, it was actually cheaper to buy, wear, throw and replace clothes, then to wash them; who can be bothered with laundry?  We live life fast and are losing the knowledge and will to recycle and try to fix things.

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Continue reading “Upcycling”

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