Monday, February 28, 2011

Maker Monday: CFL with Style - The Plumen

Photos from Plumen website
[Charles] As I read discouraging politically charged posts about how phasing out incandescent bulbs is an assault on freedom, I am well... discouraged. I think of how people reacted to the idea of their whale oil being pulled off the hardware store shelves or how life might be if we just burned all of our trash to light our homes. Progress is inevitable and instead of just whining about it, some designers are actually working to make it part of a more beautiful world.

I'll admit that I've marveled at the fine details of an antique filament on bulbs I've found and replaced. They are beautiful in their insect-wing sort of detailing and I'll certainly wonder at movies that used them when they no longer exist on our store shelves. The thing is, they've got these things called CFL bulbs which are much more efficient and are probably the simplest thing in the world to do besides perhaps actually turning lights off to save energy indoors. Samuel Wilkinson a UK designer decided to take the long tubes of CFL lights and instead of spinning them tight so they can be hidden in a fixture - he's uncoiled them in a ballet dance of curving shapes. The bulb takes its name Plumen from the showy plume of a bird's feathers. These, to me, are the new romantic bulb and they look great in a room with no shade just throwing the maximum light. Let me know what you think of them. They managed to win a Brit Insurance Design Award for 2011 so I can't be the only person that finds them intriguing...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Friday Forecast: Greenland Dude Fest

[Charles] Friday Forecast is a weekly series that I write to give a few ideas on how to spend the weekend. I lean heavily toward music and arts but you just never know what you'll find. This week I'm getting a jump on it today because I've got a schedule conflict tomorrow which basically means I'll have to hammer it out during today's lunch break and not tomorrow's.

The other reason I'm writing it on Thursday is because one of my suggested events is tonight. Don't miss Greenland is Melting with Tim Barry tonight at The Orpheum! I can't go so you suckas best get out there and represent TPA aight?! Greenland is Melting is a fantastic little bluegrassy sort of band from Gainesville with a nice mix of good musicianship and sarcastic lyrics (at times). After that - which would be plenty to justify heading out on a school night - stick around for the amazing Tim Barry. I'll give you a recommendation from Autopsy IV on who says "Every time I see him live, I walk away with my belief that a man with good songs and pure intentions can still do something in the music world."

How do you follow that up? How about a whole weekend of Lebowski Fest?! The Dude Abides! in Tampa as a matter of fact! We somehow have managed to attract the fine folks that bring Lebowski get togethers to bowling alleys and parties all over this great land to celebrate all things El Duderino. That's right there will be bowling, white russians, women in viking helmets, angry vets, guys in jumpsuits and hairnets, and maybe even a rug that really ties the room together. I don't know how to explain the draw of the Dude - either you get it or you don't but its definitely gone beyond a movie to be an entire philosophy of dudeness. Friday night is the movie party with newly formed band The Lambasters with none other than local hero Ernie Locke in full effect. Saturday night is the bowling party at University Lanes with the actual inspiration for the Coens' Dude - Jeff Dowd in attendance. Apparently the guy is really fun to hang and bowl with. Sounds like a fantastic time. Don't worry, if you don't make it through the weekend, I'll make sure your ashes end up in a coffee can.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Maker Monday: DIY Plywood Coffee Table from MAKE

Photos reposted from MAKE
[Charles] I'm a fan of MAKE magazine for sure. Definitely this and Readymade are the go-to mags for me as a maker for ideas and cool projects. Through a bunch of random links, I ended up on this project today that is very similar to one of my concepts. I've always liked the idea of slanting the legs of a table with slots and allowing the weight of the top to hold it together. I like this one and with a little tweaking to lock in the top with another slot you could get rid of hardware all together. I love gypsy furniture that can just lay in the back of the car when you're ready to move. Let me know what you think...
Here's how they cut the slots - definitely good work for a router if you've got one...

Here's the base - supported just by locking into the slots that were straight in the legs and angled in the cross support. Pretty simple right?

Check out the entire how to on Make if you want...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Forecast: Fair Baker Cupcakes

Dueling Ferris Wheels from the awesome Elawgrrl's photos of the Florida State Fair this year.
[Charles] Friday Forecast is a fun little recurring blog post that I write every Friday at lunchtime to help plan three awesome things for the weekend. My recommendations often lean heavily on my neighborhood of Seminole Heights with music, art, and getting out the main thing. Thanks for checking it out.

Tonight at New World Brewery there will be a band that I've heard some pretty solid recommendations for and I'm excited to see how they sound in Tampa's favorite small rock venue. Hank and Cupcakes are a duo from NYC that remind me a little of an indie rocker version of Matt and Kim. They have really great beats but in this case the female drummer is doing the singing duties as well. Replace Matt's frenetic keyboard with a guitar and this band still manages to skirt the edge of dance and rock. Definitely this is one of the do-not-miss shows at New World this year. Plenty of hype around this group will keep them from playing a venue this small next time around.
Forecast: 75% chance multiple people might actually dance at New World tonight...

Saturday is probably the perfect day to check out the Florida State Fair. The weather should be awesome for trying such new fried food ventures as Maple Bacon cupcakes and what I'm really excited about - Red Velvet Funnel Cake! Right?! Gotta try this! The other thing I like about the fair is some of the more old-fashioned exhibitions you can check out. Apparently in Cracker Country on Saturday a guy is going to teach how to make a banjo out of a gourd. Also they have horse riding demonstrations and plenty of ag-related animals to visit. One year I saw an entire room of flower breeding competitions. Its an interesting part of Florida that you can see at the State Fair and I always try to catch it. Also, one of my work buddies is in a Southern Rock band called Boss Hawg and I promised I'd try to see them play the beer dome from 1-4. Turn it up guys...
Forecast: 90% chance you will see someone carrying a ridiculously over-sized stuffed animal from winning on the midway.

Looks like you might as well accept Sundays in the hood as a tradition at Ella's and get on over there. Sunday you'll hear local artist Kaleigh Baker who has a solid bluesy sound and storytelling style that is hard not to like. This should be exactly the perfect soundtrack for sipping beer under the trees and hanging with friends. The opening band is Shak Nasti who are described as a funky fun big band with influences of jazz, afro beat, pop, and funk that should definitely get the party going. They are well known to Florida audiences as they have played tons of shows and festivals in the area.
Forecast: 75% chance you'll completely lose track of time at this one and will have to call and have somebody pick you up...

Have fun out there!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maker Monday: Wax Floors vs. Poly

Photos from Christopherson Wood Floors

[Charles] This morning's post on Apartment Therapy got me thinking about our wood floors at home. A few years ago when we first bought our home, we were in love with the wood under the floors. We first uncovered our beautiful antique wood floors that were hiding under years of carpet, glue down tile, and lots of black nasty glue and found amazing heart pine wood.

Almost every book and Home Depot guy out there explains how to sand and polyurethane your floors. The thing is, I really don't like that nasty stuff and wrapping my floors in shrink wrap that scratches and stinks up the house with VOCs just didn't seem like the way to go. Amazingly enough, one guy that did recommend oil and waxed floors as an alternative was Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover Home Edition (back then he was the carpenter on one of TLC's makeover shows). Anyway, I did some more digging and decided oil and wax was for us. If you want to do it, first off you have to sand your floors just like every other floor job.

The good news is that if you treat them right, you'll never have to use that sander again. We opted for Tung Oil although I've heard of plenty of alternatives with some truly eco-friendly options out there for more cash... You basically have to wipe down the whole floor with mineral spirits to get rid of any left over dust then you pour the oil on a soft cloth and wipe it on the wood. You need good coverage but you don't want it to build up to any real thickness. After a couple of coats of oil, you can wax the floor with floor wax and steel wool. Polish the wax and you'll have a completely different look to your floors. An oil and wax finish looks more matte and more antique to me. The other nice thing is that it can be scratched, but a little sanding or often just a little re-application of oil and wax can cover it right up. With polyurethane, when it gets scratched, it is hard to cover the damage without taking the whole finish off and starting over.

Now I read about how to clean up the wax finish from Apartment Therapy today and they were showing how to fix and clean up scratches and ground in dirt on cork floors. I didn't even know you could use the same stuff for cork, but why not? It's gorgeous and I'm still in love with our oil and wax floor after all these years...

Cork floor cleanup Photo from Apartment Therapy

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Forecast: Satellites Seance Sunday

Actual photo of the sun from Nasa this week - apparently all those photos before were fakes...
[Charles] Friday Forecast is a little ditty about Tampa and weekends. I'll riff on three great things to do that I would do if I could fit them all in. If you don't know where to go this weekend and happen to like music, art, and exploring the city - you've come to the right place.

Friday night kicks off with some live music at Ella's Folk Art Cafe from Signals From Satellites. It looks like the shows at Ella's have gone from hit or miss when they opened to do-not-miss as they get into their second year. I love Ernie and Mel and think they have fantastic musical taste so it's nice to see bands getting over there and spreading the love around for the neighborhood. This Tampa band Signals From Satellites is a rockin trio with indie rock roots. They say they take influences like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. and mash them with more modern bands like Explosions in the Sky. Definitely head over and check them out tonight with opener Brahm Bones
Forecast: 80% chance of cool weather on the patio with smokin guitar inside - grab a Cigar City brew if they've got one on tap tonight.

Before you head to Ella's, I'd recommend checking out the show at Tempus Projects called Seance for No One. It's got new work by Joe Griffith and Kym O'Donnell who have been around for years working on their own and through the art group Experimental Skeleton. I have no idea what to expect which is sort of the draw with shows at Tempus. Tracy, the curator, is happy to bring in fascinating and interesting art of all types. I love that we have a gallery that will push the envelope here in our very neighborhood and I'm happy to walk down there and take a chance on something amazing.
Forecast: 90% chance you'll discover something strange and beautiful at Tempus tonight.

Get all your projects done on Saturday because Sunday is the next installment of the Sunday Morning Market in Seminole Heights at Hillsborough High School. The weather should be awesome - cool and no chance of rain which is just what we need after all these dreary days of late. I know with all the snowstorms around the rest of the country we don't seem to be able to complain, but as my buddies at work remind me "They make up for my crappy pay in Florida with sunshine and I intend to take my share." Get out and enjoy it folks - as a bonus in the Forecast - after you finish up at the market and enjoy a nice bike ride in the hood - head over to catch D'Visitors at Ella's. This world music / reggae local group is by all accounts really fantastic.
Forecast: 70% chance of amazing bike conditions at the market this weekend.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Maker Monday: A Modern Line @ New Shop Kaleidoscope for the Home

Photos from A Modern Line

[Charles] It's hard to ignore the draw of beautiful mid-century chairs like those in the photo. We love mixing things like this into our modern and industrial style, but sometimes you find a piece of furniture that you just want restored exactly to its original glory...

Our neighborhood is getting a fantastic new addition this week with the design store Kaleidoscope for the Home. It's a joint venture of Sherry King from Sherry's Yesterdaze, designer Karen Brown, and Sherry's husband David Call. I wanted to feature them in Maker Monday because as you'll see from the photos they have some beautifully restored Heywood Wakefield pieces mixed in to their staging. One type of maker that often gets overlooked is the restorer. This shop a mix of creative talents from the area and one of those is David Call who owns A Modern Line . His business specializes as a refinishing and rescue service for Modern Line Heywood Wakefield furniture from the 40's to 60's.

Looking at the blog for A Modern Line, I can see that he also handles other brands of furniture from the period, but he really shines with some of the most amazing restorations of H/W I've seen. Most of you know we are not restorers and have our way with furniture that often makes our antiquing friends crazy, but I can appreciate the delicate and painstaking work that goes into beautiful restoration.

Also, if you're going to restore something - make it something truly worth the work like these pieces. I've attached a few photos, but be sure to check out the new shop if you are in the area. This Thursday they are having an opening from 6-9 pm at 6415 N. Florida Ave and it will definitely be a great day for the neighborhood to see another design business move in and draw traffic from all those "other" parts of town. Good luck David, Sherry, and Karen and keep up the great work!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Forecast: Infinite Marley Modernism

Photo from St. Pete Times
[Charles] This is a regular feature I write every Friday where I pick three things I'd like to do in the area and talk a little about them and hopefully pass along enough info to encourage readers to check one or all of them out. It can be overwhelming to find things to do in a pinch so I try to just stick to three...

Tonight at Ella's Folk Art Cafe there is a band that I don't know much about. The Infinite Groove Orchestra is what this spacey funk groove jazz group call themselves and it definitely sounds interesting. I read their interview with CL and they seem a bit more cerebral and studious than say bands like Phish which I just can't really get into. I bought a cd of the String Cheese Incident once and I liked it for a while but now I can't seem to stand putting it back on. I would say you've gotta be in the right frame of mind for this type of stuff and well that's not always me. That being said, a lot of folks think these guys are great and I listened to the one track I could find and it was cool. I'm not sure about three hours of it, but I'm willing to give it a shot anyway.
Forecast: 80% chance of man-made clouds at this one.

Also Friday night, the Tampa Museum of Art has found a law firm sponsor to pay the admission for folks to get in and is calling it Art "On the House". Since I am happy to take a law firm's money (as opposed to giving them some) and get some art in the process, this seems like a win-win. Hopefully I won't have to sit through a condo style hard press where they try to explain to me why I need a lawyer on retainer to protect me against car wrecks or slip and fall injuries. I'm thinking I'd like to just check out the new exhibit on Modernism in America. I love going to an art museum without the pressure of a ticket price. It is amazing to me that so many people never get exposed to this great art because of the cost of shows. I know it costs less than a movie and trust me I think it's worth it - I just think it gives a lot of people an excuse to do something else instead of switching their brains on and soaking up some creativity. Anyway, just check it out, here's the link to an article in the Times about the modernism show. Also, the show coincides with another cool show about jazz photography from Herb Snitzer in the sixties with some great shots of legends like John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
Forecast: 50% chance of having entire rooms to yourself at the museum to really soak it up.

Saturday night at New World Brewery is the "Bob & Tosh Fest" celebrating what I think would be the 66th birthday of Bob Marley. This should be much more than just another Marley smokeout - these bands are working to show tribute to both Marley and his collaborator Peter Tosh from the Wailers. There will be local bands Tribal Style, Badda Skat, D'Visitors, Ras Kana, and DJ Blenda playing and giving tribute to these reggae greats. The weather and chilled vibe of New World on the patio under the trees should definitely make this a great event.
Forecast: 75% chance of catching some fresh takes on classic tunes from some of the freshest bands in town.

Have fun out there!