News & Trivia

Chips off the chisel. Tool trivia, historic gems and random ramblings from the creative cranium of Goodlife Centre founder and DIY historian, Alison Winfield-Chislett.

Rush Basket Making at The Goodlife Centre

First Look at Basket Making

Our second studio was strewn with long rushes on Saturday Morning, as expert and passionate tutor, Claire Murphy laid out everything we would need to begin making an elegant bread basket. The room smelt of a country walk and as the rush was misted to keep its moist pliability, the…

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The history of the humble rawlplug

Small but perfectly formed

Ninety years ago a small fixing problem in the British Museum is said to have led to founding of the Rawlplug Company Limited – the world first fixing company. The Museum needed electrical fittings fixed to walls unobtrusively and without causing damage to the masonry. This was difficult using the…

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Kingston Traditional Upholstery are looking for a trainee upholsterer

Upholstery trainee wanted

A wonderful opportunity for a creative and craftsman-like career path. Ideal for anyone that has been on one of the Goodlife Centre’s Upholstery Courses and yearns for a life of fabulous furniture and fabric. Only basic skills required – you will be given a full induction to the wonderful world of…

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Alun Heslop's table will be the inspiration for David Barker's class to make a green wood stool

Green wood peace

David Barker is going to teach a green wood workshop at The Goodlife Centre in July. He has shared with me a photo of a table made by his friend Alun Heslop and will bring the country into the city so that students can use the natural curves of tree limbs, strip…

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Something tangible

We are always  interested in why people are attracted to our workshops.  A high flying business man at our current set of workshops to ‘Make a wood stool‘ summed it up ‘ Success in my job is intangible- i want to learn to make something tangible’. So, tomorrow we meet again, to see the wood…

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News or filla?

Lets hear it for Polyfilla. In 1953, a Czech chemist working in England, invented the first DIY water-soluble wallpaper paste – Polycell. He set up the ‘Polycell’ company in London and the following year (1954) developed Polyfilla, the first cellulose-based plaster and wood filler. Until then, fillers for cracks in…

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Rain blog from the Goodlife Centre

The wettest drought?

It all started with a rush of optimism and we all put our garden furniture out during the warm spell last month. Now its pelting down and the tables and chairs are taking a beating. More than many other trivial pursuits in the garden, time spent making sure that all wood is…

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Bank holiday super saver news from the Goodlife Centre

Bank Holiday Super Saver

One of those private moments that end in a sinking feeling. The loo flushes but instead of emptying, the water rises in an alarming way. The Natural Law of of DIY is that this usually happens on that plumber call out fee -‘ triple Word score’ price hike of a…

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Upholstery news from the Goodlife Centre

Put your feet up

Jan Dodd brought me some just laid eggs from her South London hens when she popped into the centre yesterday.  She came to pick up the frame for an unusual upholstered footstool project. I have asked her to make an ‘exposed’ sample of what will be going on under the…

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Foot stools at the Goodlife Centre

Two sticks and a plank

Andy Nicholl arrived with the new stools. We had been waiting to see the prototypes for the new Wood stool making workshop so that we could share them on the web.They are elegant and comfortable. Andy had devised designs that can be made using simple hand tools from 2 broomsticks…

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