Dog Kennel

The latest big news here at Ingle Pingle is that a new member of the house has moved in. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet, Henry!

(image from Ceri Burrows Photography)

Every dog needs a home, and so I have been set with the task of ensuring Henry has somewhere to stay while I am out at work. Dog kennels are expensive, and standard, so obviously, a normal one wouldn’t fit in the garden! I popped down to the local wood recycling centre and picked up some pallet wood. A bit of sawing and screwing later, and voila! I think this cost me about £30 in total. 10552371_258209217722376_2929015119196851492_n10600422_258209224389042_8940516124000728141_n

Henry seems to be warming to it, though it does have some finishing touches to be made to it to make it fully weatherproof. For now, he is enjoying the dry weather with next door’s cat, Ace.


Green Roof Update

As the winter approaches, I need to face up to the neglected “green” roof that sits on top of the building. When the stormy weather hit over the last winter and early spring, the decking got battered, and it was a real repair job to sort it out. Yesterday I ordered the last bit of decking I need to finish the job, so I’m hoping this weekend, I can finally call it finished!

A couple of months ago I did get a chance to do some more work on it, here is the three raised beds I finished. These are now sprouting all types of greenery with no help from myself, so I’ll have to take an updated photo and post it.

Green roof almost there!

I also got around to fitting a chimney on the roof for a wood burner inside. Hopefully this winter should be a bit less chilly inside if I go up there!
Wood burner!

More to follow. My facebook page is often updated more, so if you want to see regular posts, like it there!




Medal Hanger from Pallet Wood

Recently I’ve realised I have no where to hang my medals, and as a result, I’ve got a pile of them in a spare room doing nothing. This isn’t good enough!

On my way around Reseiclo in Newport, I found a pile of long pallet wood that was just the solution I was looking for! Hey presto, I managed to make a nice wooden frame with gaps in between the planks to fit the ribbons from the medals. It’s gone down so well, I’m now making them for other runners in the running club.


On the back of the frame, I can stick in drawing pins to hold the medals in place. It’s now taking a nice spot in the living room, and I can add to it as I complete more events!

Clay Oven Update

Weather, and work on my other project has meant getting the clay oven done has taken longer than planned, but it’s slowly getting there!!

After finishing the base, we chose a cracking Sunday a fortnight ago to get the first clay mix done. Mixing the clay with feet was a very fun, but tiring task! Still, 3 or 4 bags of sand, and two buckets of clay gave us the mix we needed to pile onto the dome. The newspaper will ensure that the clay doesn’t stick to the sand inside, and it will be easily removed when hollowing out.

The dome ready for the first coat of clay!

The dome ready for the first coat of clay!

We made the dome 15″ high, so from that, I know that the door needs to be 10″ high. (approx 63% height is the ideal ratio). The inside walls of the oven were built to be 4″ thick.

When laying the clay, it was obvious we mixed it with a little too much water, as the form began to slump on itself. Giving it some time between layers helped, but I would urge caution to those doing this, make sure your clay mix is not too wet – it’s easy to add water, not so easy to take it away!! As you can see in the later photos, the bottom layer looks a little bumpy as a result. This is something that shouldn’t cause any performance issues, and it will be covered up by the insulation layer, but still!!

Beginning the hollowing out. The brown thing is a log we used to save on sand for the dome.

Beginning the hollowing out. The brown thing is a log we used to save on sand for the dome.

Given the awful weather, I gave it a week before cutting the door opening. Slowly, I dug out the sand and stones we built the dome with.

The rain was due on the Monday after our initial building work, so I got some old timber and built a quick shelter to help protect it from the worst. Once I’ve got the two layers done, the final layer will be lime render, so it should be a bit better protected, though I think the shelter is going to be a permanent feature.

A little shelter to save it from the rain!

A little shelter to save it from the rain!

Here it is with the inside hollowed out! Exciting isn’t it! Now it’s time to start a small fire, and begin to dry it out completely before contemplating the insulation layer around the dome!

The clay oven begins!

Finally the weather has been good enough for me to kick on with the next project in the garden! I started the foundations of the clay oven walls last year, but had to wait for the spring so I could use the lime render I had spare to build the walls.

The base gets started!

I calculated the blocks needed and got a delivery from the local merchants. I would have rather used some natural stone, but with the space I wanted to keep underneath the oven for wood, and the limited stone I had in the garden, I went for the more engineered solution.

Joining the two walls with 4"x2" beams.

Once the walls were on the final course, I spaced the blocks to fit in the beams. The overhang on the right is going to be a space for plates & other things when cooking.

Platform for the oven

The cover was 18mm structural ply which I had spare from my roofing last year. I knew if it was strong enough for my green roof, it would be fine for the clay oven! Unfortunately, all I had was offcuts, so I didn’t quite cover it all in one go!

Finished platform

Small scrap bit to complete the plinth. This was then covered with waterproof membrane to ensure the wood stays dry in the worst of the weather!

The first layer.

The brick square shows where the oven will be. On the right will be a herringbone pattern of bricks for the plates and cutlery when cooking. I’m currently trying to figure out how to hold these bricks all in place!

One day down, hopefully I’ll be working on the rest of the platform by the end of the week!

Dressing Table from Scaffold Boards

I don’t want to think about how little I’ve updated this blog over the winter. Safe to say the weather has been horrendous and I’ve just tucked myself away in my house and focused on running and swimming and generally avoided building!

The better weather this spring has given me the kick up the backside I’ve needed to get my bedroom finished and the house looking like a house!

Step one for this was getting rid of the excess scaffold boards in the house and making a nice dressing table for the bedroom. Here’s the progress.

The backboard for the table which will hold the mirror and lights.

The backboard was just 3 boards pinned to some 2″x1″ battens which were then attached to the base to hold it upright. This backboard will hold a mirror and lights.

Two scaffold boards is the perfect depth for the dressing table.The base of the table which will hold the drawer.

The base was two scaffold boards with a drawer space built underneath. The draw space was made from a scaffold board which I narrowed using a circular saw.

Picked up this awesome mirror for £15 in Ikea Attaching the mirror to the backboard.

The mirror was purchased from Ikea for a bargainous £15. (

The drawer was just a simple structure, and I used laminate flooring to build the base later.

Finished base!

The drawer was made from a scaffold plan which was narrowed using a circular saw, and the rest of the frame was using a 4″x1″ board. To make the base later I used some spare laminate flooring which was screwed to the frame on the bottom.

The finished item before the mirror is attached. Finished product, just needs staining and lights!

The finished product before staining. I almost didn’t want to stain it because of the beauty of the bare wood!

The woodstain applied

Once stained, the wood looks very different, but I love the way the stain brings up the marks and dinks of the wood.

Lights fitted and mirror attached How it looks with the lights on.

Installing the lights for the backboard was simple. I got these from Ikea ( and they really make a difference to the look of the table!

Next up, getting my wardrobes finished!


Upcycled scaffolding board Headboard for Bed

Since finishing the floor of the drummer house, I had some spare scaffolding boards left over, which I used to build a nice headboard for my bed. The bed was made by myself a month back and I hadn’t got around to finishing it off. Here are two photos taken as part of the build. Some 3″x2″ and 4″x2″ I had lying around stuck together with some bolts I had left over from making the trusses on the shed roof.

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With my planer, I took a few mm off the surface of the scaffolding board, and then used a sander to smooth it down. The result is a really nice finish. I stained the board to make them the same as my bed frame, and sealed it with two coats of varnish. The photos show it before I put the varnish on, but it looks very grand in the room, and really makes a cool statement. I’m planning on using the remaining scaffolding to make chunky shelves which will go in the alcove to the side of the bed. Here are the finished photos



Making Clay Paint

Only a few weeks ago, I was looking at paint for the clay plaster walls in the shed. Earthborn paints are the standard, apparently, and only after looking at the £60 (roughly) price tag for 5L did I try and think of alternatives. I was overlooking the obvious – making my own paint.

Fortunately, I found a recipe for paint in my recent purchase – “Using Natural Finishes, Adam Weismann & Katy Bryce” So I set about trying it out. The results are amazing! This was done with minimal cost – 60g of flour, 15 min spent boiling water made enough sample to cover about 4 square metres all I need to do is add some clay and paint pigments.

Making the paint is in two stages. First you make the flour paste, then you combine the flour paste with water, clay and clouring pigments to make the paint.

Flour paste (makes about 500ml paste)

60g flour (plain, white)
200ml water

600ml water (boiling in a pan)

Combine the two ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir with a whisk. You want the flour well mixed in. Don’t expect the mixture to be thick, it will be a creamy consistency. Whilst doing this, your pan of water should be heating up. Once the water is almost at boiling point, or is boiling, add in the flour mix and stir constantly.

You will notice the mixture thicken quickly, (despite the extra water) and I gave mine about 15 minutes before deciding it was thick enough to allow to cool.

Once you are happy with that, pour the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool. Over time, it will pretty much turn in a jelly. You have your flour paste!

Clay Paint

Once your flour paste has cooled (it’s a long wait if you want to do it the same day!) You can make the clay paint mix. For this you will need paint pigments, which you can get from suppliers over the country. I got mine from Ty Mawr – (here) but just search paint pigments on google and I’m sure you’ll find a local supplier. Earthborn paints do sell their own pigments too, so go on their website and look for their stockists.

1 part flour paste
1 part clay
2 parts water
1 part fine sand (optional, for base coat)
paint pigment

Combine the flour paste and the water in a large bucket so that the paste thins out. Add the clay and stir to remove all the clay lumps – if you use powdered clay this will be a lot easier. If you are using lumps of clay, like I was, you will be best off soaking the clay for a few days before making the paint, as stirring out the lumps is tedious work!

The fine sand is for a base coat and gives the paint a bit more volume to fill any cracks and even out any marks on the wall. In my photos above, I didn’t use it.

Once you have stirred all the parts together, measure out the pigment and add it in. The amount of pigment you add is your call, but be consistent between mixes! For a rough idea, in the photos above, I added 30ml of pigment (measured using a measuring spoon) to every 250ml of paint mix.

Once you have mixed in the pigment, apply the paint!

The paint should keep for a few days, but you will need to use it fairly quickly. Mist the clay plaster down before applying and apply liberally :-) Good luck!

Scaffold Board Flooring

Finally the bulk of the work is out the way. I received the scaffold boards last Thursday and managed to cut and plane them, finishing yesterday. My cold was not helped by the sawdust, but it is nice to sit back with an ever-shrinking list of tasks left to complete.

The photos below show what I’ve gained from the work. A weekend of sanding and varnishing and I’ll have a beautiful, weathered floor to look at!

The boards arrive in the back.

The boards arrive in the back.

This shows the difference between the planed and unplaned boards. It really does make that much of a difference!

This shows the difference between the planed and unplaned boards. It really does make that much of a difference!

The window seat.

The window seat.

Entrance is finished and planed!

Entrance is finished and planed!

A close up of the floor.

A close up of the floor.

The boards around the tyres was the hardest part to cut.

The boards around the tyres was the hardest part to cut.