Posts Tagged With: re-purposing

ScrapHappy January 2020: Mirror Bawl


Seven years bad luck for the courier

First off, I hope you all have a good 2020, and much ScrapHappiness!

Sorry – this ScrapHappy post is a bit angranty*!

A friend of mine is doing up a house, by which I mean he has been living in a building site for two years because doing a full-time job and renovating an old property are two largely incompatible tasks. As part of this, he bought himself a mirror to go in his bathroom, when he has actually put in the important stuff like a bath, or a wall. This mirror was a really fancy one, with LED lights around the frame and a de-mister heating pad on the glass itself.

As you can see, the first delivery was not as successful as it might have been. The company my friend bought it from did replace it and instructed him to bin the defunct one. So I offered to take that and see if I could replace the glass, as that was the only thing broken (as far as I could tell). What I discovered was that:

With the exception of the box of electronics, every single component in this mirror had been glued, with something that appeared to turn into concrete once set.

This means that replacing the glass or, indeed, the LEDs or the heater pad, is effectively impossible! And it wasn’t as if this product was manufactured just after WWII, when the world went “yay, we’re-off-rations” crazy and the throwaway society was born. This was made about six months ago, when to deny that climate change is a real thing happening now meant you were leader of a country.


Everything stuck to everything else

Like I said, a ranty post. I managed to salvage the power supplies (for the LEDs and the heater) but couldn’t remove the LEDs, the heater pad or the polycarbonate surround because of the weld-like glue the manufacturers used.


What I managed to rescue from landfill

Grr. A very angry Grr.


* Angranty (adj): Part angry, part ranty as in, er, <thinks of example> “this ScrapHappy post is a bit angranty”.

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked a non-fabric-based ScrapHappy in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out: KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon (me), HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie and Bekki

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments


From this...

From this… this in four easy steps.

…to this in five easy steps.












As regular readers of thesnailofhappiness will know, there are four chickens who take delight in trying to escape from their end of the garden in order to wreak havoc in the vegetable beds. Indeed, now Purdie seems to be having a holiday from laying eggs (perhaps she has reached the henopause, I don’t know), half our hens appear to have formed an escape committee.

To thwart their attempts, we had put a makeshift barrier across the path, between the house and the fruit cage. However, the chicks have become more and more resourceful and were making use of their returning flight feathers to scale the ever-increasing height – we were in an arms race (a wings race?) with the hens!

The barrier, as you can see, had become completely unwieldy to move and was also slowly falling apart. Time to build Barrier 2.0!

Here's one I found lying around earlier

Here’s one I found lying around earlier

In the good traditions of re-purposing, I decided to use a pallet to construct the gate. The only things I ended up buying were a set of hinges, some fence staples and a large bottle of whisky (I hate DIY, it always goes wrong for me and that’s before I have even started on the alcohol).

This pallet came from the builders’ supplier down the road, and had already been reused as a step (into the raised area where the chickens live) and a piece of decking (well, OK, I left it lying around but it could’ve been decking if I had chosen to view it that way). Then I decided to put some shelves in a cupboard in my office and used the middle strut of the pallet as a shelf support. I was pleased I had done this because it cut down the overall weight of the finished gate whilst not detracting from structural integrity*. It was like I had planned it or something.

The mesh came from Perkin’s old aviary/building-of-a-million-and-one-uses at High Bank. We already know how good it is at keeping in the chickens, as there are five sheets along the front fence protecting the outside world from Esme and her beaky gang (a.k.a. “Beaky Fliers”).

So, in five easy steps (and a million little, really difficult ones)…

1. Attach hinges to pallet

Attaching the hinges. Note the spirit level - it told me I needed another whisky.

Attaching the hinges. Note the spirit level – it told me I needed another whisky.

Having removed one of the slats, there was nowhere really to attach the hinges so I replaced the slat (it had only taken about half and hour and a bruised thumb to remove so, hey!) just slightly to the left, nearer the middle. I still can’t use all the holes but the worst that can happen is the hinge can bend if it isn’t thick enough.

2. Drill holes in the wall of the house for the hinges.

I hate this bit. I like to think I worked hard to earn the money to pay for that wall (well, buy it off the mortgage company) and the thought of removing a piece of it, however small, makes me very nervous. The fact that I might hit the water pipe or an electricity cable is also kicking around my brain somewhere, but frankly it is eclipsed by the idea that, by drilling 6 holes in the wall, the house might fall down.

As you can see, it didn’t. Still, if it did, I know how to put up a yurt!

3. Make sure that the gate opens fully as intended.

Here, because there is a window sill one way and a pipe the other, positioning the gate so that it can hit both is very important. OK, it isn’t. The pallet is just too tall to fit under the window, but that doesn’t matter too much, as long as there is enough room to push our SmartCart** past.

4. Attach mesh to pallet and fashion an anti-wobbly device (Patent Pending***)

The mesh is so tall that it is prone to wobbling in the lightest of gales so I used another slat from a different pallet, removed the nails (having prised it off with a combination of a screwdriver, a jemmy and some interesting Anglo-Saxon) and cut the end into a T shape to fit between the slats. A few nails later and hey presto! No more wobbling. Well, not much anyway.

Stapling the mesh to the pallet

Stapling the mesh to the pallet

Fashioning an anti-wobbly device

Fashioning an anti-wobbly device









5. Attach gate to wall, fashion a latch arrangement and make a cup of tea

Look! It even opens!

Look! It even opens!

Note the strange bit of wood just below the top on the right-hand side. This is a latch-thing that goes behind the not-very-upright upright of the fruit cage. It’s just a bit of wood that fell off the pallet when I removed a slat (I think it was a spacer or something) that I kept because “it might come in use one day”. It’s good, because I have a million other bits of crap whose days have yet to come.

After a cup of tea, I went back to admire my manly handiwork. The gate opened but…now it was dragging on the ground. I could see the problem immediately – the lower hinge had bent because there wasn’t enough support for it. I removed Gate 2.0, replaced Gate 1.0 and went in for a large glass of wine****.

I swear I could hear the chickens laughing on the other side of the barrier.


* As a Star Trek fan, I know just how important structural integrity can be. It even has its own field, for crying out loud, and usually goes wrong just minutes into an episode.

** A posh two-wheeled wheelbarrow. We have had ours for years and apart from a bit of a crack in the buckety-bit (I don’t know the technical term), it still does sterling service.

*** Pending the Patent Office regressing to 1852.

**** Or a bottle, as I call it.

Categories: Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Blog at