I took a break from constructing my garden gate to attend the annual home studio sale of ceramicist Christina Cohn. Christina started making plates, mugs, planters and jewelry a few years ago, using a kiln in her basement. It has been a delight to watch her work mature and to see her confidence grow along … Continue reading My Favorite Mistakes
Thank you to the Nashville Scene for featuring Buttercup's reflections on being a middle-aged mom in construction college with a bunch of men. Boys will be boys, but what happens when the blue humor in the workshop goes beyond the pale? Find out in this week's "Vodka Yonic" column.
These days, there is no shortage of discourse on the merits and shortcomings of founding father Thomas Jefferson. On the one hand, he was a champion of the rights of man; on the other, he had a complicated relationship with unpaid labor. Far be it from me to sally forth into an exegesis on Jefferson's … Continue reading Meditations on Monticello
Building products can be surprisingly beautiful. For example, I have an affinity for stainless steel drywall mud pans, which make sleek containers for floral arrangements. A tool caddy of old wooden bubble levels occupies a place of privilege in my house, alongside my favorite local art. And there's a stretch of half-round gutter floating around … Continue reading Mind in the Gutter
The more time I spend working on the repair and maintenance of houses, the more I see firsthand that water is the enemy. Water is sneaky. It trickles from chimneys and drips from plumbing hoses. It scoots under flashing and slides down walls. In certain cases, it has the audacity to enter through the door—especially … Continue reading Pitch-Perfect Porch
What a delight it was to walk into the Building Construction Technology classroom at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville -- my alma mater where I spent 16 months with a herd of men -- to find the workshop filled with girls! Organized and led by the women of Turner Construction Company, the inaugural … Continue reading Introducing Girls Who Build!
I went back for my 25th college reunion this weekend, which reinforced my belief that college is wasted on the young — or, at least, that the young are wasted in college. Anyway, unlike Undergrad Me, Alumna Me actually attended a class inside a science building. The topic was vertical farming, an innovative practice of … Continue reading Growing Up: Vertical Garden Tour
I ordered a rain barrel for my Mother's Day gift, and last week I installed it in a corner of my yard where it has always been difficult to drag a garden hose. I pretty much can't shut up about how much I love my rain barrel, which makes it a snap to water beds … Continue reading Roll Out the Rain Barrels
You might remember last fall when Buttercup was busy making wooden games -- including Build Me Up Blocks and Build Me Up Battle -- with the very talented woodworker Pat McFadden. Since then, Pat has been putting her considerable carpentry skills to work on a gorgeous hexagonal garden bench, to protect the base of a … Continue reading Garden Variety Carpentry
If you feel like everything in the real estate and construction market is really expensive, it's not your imagination. In April, The Tennessean reported Nashville real estate prices were 13 percent higher than a year earlier. Meanwhile, lumber prices are at record highs. A Nashville lumber yard recently circulated a letter citing research that says the … Continue reading Timber! When Lumber Supply Falls