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.


Review: Upholster a Deep Buttoned Footstool

From time to time we ask our learners to review our workshops. Read Lucy Wadley’s warts and all critique of Upholster a Deep Buttoned Footstool. I have always been keen to add new crafty feather’s to my cap and was thrilled when my husband signed my up to the ‘Upholster…

In: News & Trivia Workshop Reviews
Meditation Bench Building for Veterans

Bench Building Veterans

In the middle of a busy week, I received a call from the MOD, which was somewhat of a surprise. Could they book a private workshop for a small group of ex homeless service veterans to make something amazing with wood at the centre? Oh and it needed to be…

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Carpentry Craftsmen

Getting Lost in Time

I loved this photo of the Carpentry class in Kilburn Lane Higher grade school from the early twentieth century. Of course, the gruff teachers with handsome moustaches and old fashioned block planes caught my eye, but it was part of the caption that stayed in my mind. The last sentence…

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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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