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!

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



Anyone want Clay for a Pizza Oven in South Wales?

As my plastering goes on, it’s becoming a little obvious I’ve got too much clay here. At least I know I won’t have to run out and source some, but when I finish the project I’ll probably have about half a tonne of clay left over!!
I’m likely going to make a clay oven in the garden once I’ve finished, so I’ll get rid of some that way, but I thought I’d post on here in case anyone in South Wales or nearby is looking for clay for a pizza oven (a growing craze!) and can’t source any. If so, give me a message below! [contact-form-7 id=”735″ title=”Contact Page”]

Clay Plastering. FUN.

This week I managed to find some time to get my first coat of clay plaster on the straw bale walls. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was looking forward to not having to wear gloves and safety goggles like I had to with the lime render.

I soaked the clay I had for 24 hours and hand mixed it into the sand per bucket. For my ratio of sand to clay, I went for a high clay content and didn’t worry too much about accuracy or consistency between mixes, as this is the first coat and the primary aim is to get it keyed into the straw well, rather than smooth and crack free. In fact, cracks will help the second course stick well to the first.

My initial reaction is that clay is very fun to work with! It’s messy and sticky, but mixing by hand is nice and relaxing and easy. It’s also very fast, at least for the rough coat I threw on. I managed to get the inside of the studio done in two days, where as the lime render took five days, with help.

I’m letting the render dry over the weekend, and as it’s inside, this is going to be a slower process than the lime render, but once it’s done I’ll get some test patches completed and start thinking about my specific mix for the thicker coats.

By the way, I got my information on clay plastering from here –

The power of the phone call

As the lime plaster goes on in increasing layers, I’m turning my thoughts ahead to the inside and the clay render. Managing time is important to keep things moving and I need to see if I can get the clay render here for my half term so I can take the time to mix up what I need and try it on the walls.

As it is, I’ve come up with a lot of trouble of trying to source clay render for straw buildings. It’s not something that’s obviously available, and you have to bear in mind, lime is the primary material for rendering straw, so when you do a search, most clay that is sold is not advertised as “clay render for straw”.

My lime suppliers at Ty Mawr ( sell a daub, which can be used as a base coat for render, and I also found a number of links at Low Impact’s website (here)

I have found that to save a bit of cash, clay requires a little more work that lime to put onto straw. The easiest place supplying render for straw is Clay Works, however when quoted, their cost of materials was far higher than I was willing to pay – whilst for a home, it might be OK, I’m just building a shed in my garden effectively, so I’m hoping to do this for a small sum of money.

Fortunately, I started phoning people, and got a lot more information when I was able to speak to someone. As a tech geek, I’m so used to finding stuff on the internet, it’s easy to forget that a phone call is faster, and easier to get information. As a result, I’m waiting on quotes for clay powder which should prove much cheaper, and easier to transport, which I can then mix on site to my desired texture and get onto the walls! We’ll see how this goes..