Floating Architecture

Over the holidays, we caught up on a number of Grand Designs episodes from the past. In case you’ve never heard of Grand Designs, it’s a British TV show where the host, Kevin McCloud visits families building their own homes, sometimes with their own bare hands. Design ideas are usually very unique to what the family wants from a house, and not always a great idea considering the landscape and environment. One such house was a house built on an island only accessible by foot, right along the river Thames, and it was called “the first amphibious house in the UK“.  As expected they were met with plenty of problems due to the location of the build, but the end result was a spectacular floating home, the first of its kind in the UK! During the show the host visits Waterwoningen in Amsterdam where a whole complex of 75 homes float completely on water, and go up and down with the tide.

This was an eye-opener for us, but turns out people have been building on water and finding creative ways to cope with the unique challenges of the tide, salt water, erosion and wind through many years of experience. Not only are they coping with it, they are mastering the art of living on water! From Thailand to Canada, you will find floating architecture that are evidence of masterful design and innovative engineering through and through.

5 things NOT to make when you’re considering DIY gifts for friends and family

For this holiday season, we decided to take a “macation” instead of a “vacation”, and come up with thoughtful gifts that will be appreciated by friends and family. It will probably take longer than we expect, but why do gifts have to be given at a certain time? Why not give a gift when you feel like it? John Ruhlin, who’s an expert on corporate gift giving says, give gifts when it’s least expected to make more impact, and a few other tips that are worth paying attention to.

Considering these things, here are 5 things that we SHOULDN’T consider as a DIY gift.

  1. Outer clothes of any kind (socks are ok) – Once you give a handmade clothes gift, the recipient feels responsible to wear it when meeting you, and you feel hurt if you never see it on them. Relationships can go sour from there…
  2. DIY cosmetics of any kind – People are usually very picky and allergic reactions are hard to predict. Better to steer clear of topical solutions.
  3. Anything with doilies. Because doilies.
  4. Items that are obviously recycled or damaged – remember the Seinfeld episode when George gave a stained cashmere sweater to Elaine??
  5. A newly published book that you wrote.

What do you think? Any good or bad DIY gift ideas?