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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Mr. Crow Builds His Dream House

Posted by crowbiz on September 24, 2009

No, it wasn’t Cary Grant toiling away in our backyard all summer, it was Mr. Crow, living proof of back-busting, hard-ass German heritage.  




It all started so simply.  SonWon mused that it might be nice to upgrade the boys’ years-old “playhouse” (more of a play platform with a death drop slide) and cheerfully drew up a few outlandish sketches for improvements.  We had to reject the three-story plan and go with something that would fit the confines of our wee lot, but Mr Crow did manage to use one of the ideas.  Perhaps the biggest fuel was a borrowed book on treehouses, some humble and many stunningly sumptuous.  Using the existing playhouse he built six years ago, he began the reconfiguration in July.














Working with only his own sketches and some kind of Lego gene, Mr Crow managed to whip up a pretty fab launching pad for the boys’ – and possibly adult – fun.  Minimal help came in the form of a boy or two bracing a board, hauling lumber, or handing over a drill, but it was largely a solo job.  I stayed almost entirely clear, other than to dictate where the reaches of the structure could not go.  Oh, and I did the metal roof with him.  During construction, an unknown neighbor in the next-door rental called out to Mr. Crow, “Do your kids call you ‘SuperDad’?”  Windows and doors are salvaged – the house was sort of made to fit around them.  All cedar.  Two ladders.  Deck.  Driftwood railings.  And ~ drumroll ~ a trap door! (a great anxiety engine for mom, who has seen a fair share of clunked heads and pinched fingers already). 

Treehouse3   To everyone’s dismay, I keep threatening to gussy it up with a few window boxes or planters next year, which I fully realize will spoil the intent of a boys’ playhouse, but still, it is an awfully big wooden rectangle.  Soon enough, there will be drawings, carvings and homemade weapons of torture peppering it, but I’m determined to sneak in a few garden touches when no one is looking.  



It was christened on Labor Day with the first sleepover.  Ridiculously, four boys actually managed to fit and sleep inside after fashioning wall-to-wall sleeping bags and cushions, but at 7 and 10, they’re young enough to still be satisfied sleeping like puppies in a pile.  Cleverly (I can’t imagine this was accidental), Mr Crow scaled it to comfortably accommodate two adults in a horizontal position, but the house has yet to endure a trial run.  For the time being, I like to eat my lunch on the deck.

Hats off and bottoms up to Mr. Crow!


Boy den, ready for accessorizing.  Girls allowed.

Boy den, ready for accessorizing. Girls allowed.

Posted in Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments »

Clever Recipes for Savvy Folks

Posted by crowbiz on June 17, 2009

We’re all busy, so who couldn’t use a few helpful tips around the cucina?

Crappacino Automatico


Preferred in blind taste tests

Preferred in blind taste tests

No time to hit the local coffee venue today?  Fear not, a premium drink is seconds away.  Take 8 oz of any coffee you have on hand – even old stuff, ’cause you’re going to whip it into something new – and pour into a significantly larger container.  Add milk or any milky substance.  Insert straw and blow like you’re 8 years old and trying to make as many bubbles as you can before mom scolds you.  Blow again.  And again.  Harder, you wuss.  Decant into a smaller cup.  Charge yourself $4.75 and go sit at a wobbly metal table.



Sloth Pot Pie


The other two-toed meat

The other two-toed meat

This will bowl people over like you can’t believe.  Good for upscale potlucks.  Travel to a tropical locale in the Western Hemisphere and catch one sloth, either two- or three-toed variety.  This should be easy, as sloths are one of the slowest-moving creatures on earth; you could knock one out of a tree, or if you’re especially lucky, catch one on the ground, as sloths can barely crawl and wouldn’t even stand a chance against a pursuer in a nonmotorized wheelchair.  Dispatch and skin.  You can save the hide for Halloween gags or dry it in the sun to make one of those doorside boot-scrapers to get the mud off your shoes.  Dice and bake with blah blah ingredients for blah blah etc.  Since “tastes like chicken” has been hopelessly overdone, pass it off as “free-range, organic wild boar” and you’ll be legit for the first three descriptors.  This will also garner you plenty of yuppified brownie points (“exotic ingredients, yet a humble preparation!”).  I don’t suggest you actually eat it, unless you find yourself in an Amazonian prison camp and manage to bag a sloth that wanders on to the premises.  Anyone who’s eaten sloth is welcome to leave a comment.


Virtuous Snack Bait-and-Switch


Why?  Why?

Why? Why?

This isn’t so much a recipe as a strategy.  It was inspired by a real life episode at a party of odd factions.  Someone brought a bag of “Tings,” a pitiful puffed food product intended to be a healthy version of Cheetos for people with no sense or tastebuds.  One disappointed party-goer opened the bag with resignation when suddenly she spied Cool Ranch Doritos across the room.  “Fuck the Tings, there’s Doritos!” she cried, flinging the pretenders aside.  Here’s how to make yourself look good and score better snacks for yourself, although it does involve risk.  Purchase an overpriced, “natural” or organic snack food to bring to a party.  Assuming you aren’t beaten up at the door, you’ll be highly regarded as healthy, concerned, wealthy, or all three.  Make sure you are seen opening the bag, and if you must, eat a little of the contents to provide authenticity.  When others are not looking, abandon the healthy snack and eat your fill of all the other good, junky snacks that everyone else brought.  Sure, the initial investment could be high, but you can easily eat three times that cost in junky goods.  Leave the party sated and basking in eco-sensitive glory.  This can work at most social functions, but I caution against trying it at your next Crips meeting.

Posted in Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »