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.

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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Greenwood spoon carving at the Goodlife Centre

Barn the Spoon

Barnaby Corder sized up The Goodlife Centre when he came by this week. He seems a little out of place away from the woods he loves. His spoons put a whole new meaning to ‘green’, as he fashions the bowls and handles as soon as the wood has been cut…

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Handmake a lampshade at the Goodlife Centre

What’s the difference between a hat and a lampshade?

Talking with Ian McQueen is entertaining and  very informative. He is a City and Guild trained lampshade maker amongst other talents and he knows his history too. Milliners undergo the same training as lampshade makers and judging from some of the Ascot hats, the results can be very close cousins. Ian’s lampshades begin to…

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Nail news from the Goodlife Centre

Nail news from ancient times.

I came across the word ‘clinching’ in a 19th Century book called ‘Carpentry for beginners’. It is a process used in making a Scullery mat one of the first projects in the book. A simple nail can be made into a secure join by bending the sharp end over after driving the…

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DIY cakes on a DIY course at the Goodlife Centre

Thank you Annabel

A lovely treat from Annabel who completed our 10 week DIY course. We were treated to bespoke cupcakes bearing The Goodlife Centre logo. It’s a reminder that everyone who comes to our classes thinks they are a bit pants at DIY, but we all have our own individual  skills in…

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