Tag Archives: flat-pack

Um…remember that greenhouse?

I am so contrary.:(  As soon as I published that post about not being able to put the flat pack greenhouse together, something went click in my brain and suddenly, I couldn’t rest until I beat it.

There are some parts left over, and I don’t think it will last for long, but here it is, getting the once over from Golli:



Ooooooh......what is this thing?

Ooooooh……what is this thing?

...smells funny...

…smells funny…

Could it be a new litter box?

Could it be a new litter box?

Without resorting to four letter words again [I had a major tantrum just before dinner ] this has been the worse project I have ever attempted, and I swear I’ve learned my lesson. If I so much as  mention the word ‘flat pack’ in the future, you are all authorised to slap me until I come to my senses.

End rant and good night!




Resolutions – yes, no, maybe?

I know my northern hemisphere friends are still busy bringing in the New Year, but here in Australia we’ve been there, done that. And no, I’m not bragging. It’s just that I’ve already let my New Year’s resolutions slide, and it’s only January 1. 😦

What did I resolve to do? Just two things, both ‘completers’ that have been hanging around the house for over six months.

The first is a flat pack, mini-greenhouse [apologies for the terrible photo]:

I did make a start...

I did make a start…

I bought the greenhouse off the internet in the hope that it would be easy to assemble. You’d think I’d know better by now. The damn thing has a million parts and the instructions are, as you’d expect, rat shit. But I can deal with all that. What I haven’t been able to deal with is the sheer physical effort involved in making the parts fit together. And before anyone asks, yes, I am trying to put the correct parts together. Those two things that look like small windows are panels for the greenhouse. Unfortunately, there are so many more to assemble. 😦

The problem seems to be one of gender. I’m reasonably strong for a 5′ 3.5″ tall, 63 year old woman. Unfortunately, everything seems to be designed for a 6′ tall, 30-something man.

I have absolutely nothing against 6′ tall, 30-something men. I think they’re gorgeous…but they have these very strong hands. Wait. That doesn’t sound right.


Things that come in flatpacks seem to be designed for people with lots of muscle and very strong hands.

But what about me?

I don’t want to beat the feminist drum, but really, would it be that hard to design flatpacks for the other half of humanity? You know, the women who have small hands and don’t look like plumbers?

At the risk of sounding sexist, all the gentlemen out there can go do something macho now while I talk about project number 2.

So…my second incomplete project was to turn a lovely sarong into a simple top. I do know how to sew, but this project has proven to be more challenging than I thought.

Mistake number 1 was that I thought I could whip something up without a pattern. Mistake number 2 was that I neglected to test the fabric before reaching for the scissors. Sadly, that lovely fabric frays like you would not believe, so every seam has to be hemmed first. Plus the fabric has a pattern that should match up…

Anyway, these two projects have been lingering like a bad smell for a very long time, so last night, as the minute hand neared 12, I resolved to complete them…first thing in the morning [January 1st, 2017].

So far today, I’ve mowed a great swathe of the back garden [because it was nice and cool]. I’ve also done some washing, tidied the kitchen, made a start on the floors, had multiple coffees and spent some time on social media. Now, I’m writing a blog post. In short, I’ve done anything and everything except what I swore I’d do last night.

-sigh- I am so tempted to throw both the top and the flatpack into the nearest bin. Why are New Year’s Resolutions so bloody hard to do?

Or in my case, ‘not happy, Meeks!’

Am I alone?



Interlocking furniture design

My Dad was a mechanical engineer, and while I did not inherit any of his math ability, I get the spatial beauty of things that work because physics makes it so. I think even Dad would have loved furniture that slots together with just one key part to hold everything securely in place. I know I do. 🙂

For the complete article you can visit:




The saga of the flat pack bicycle

Back in January of this year I mentioned that The Daughter had given me an exercise bike for my birthday. And then there was silence.

The reason you heard nothing more about my exercise bike was because it sat in its box, unopened, for a month before I found the courage to unpack it. Then it sat for another week or so, in pieces large and small while I tried to decipher the instructions that came with it.

Exhibit A – the diagram for Step 1.

bike instructions 2

Exhibit B – the instructions for Step 1.

bike instructions 1

Getting the two pedals on took ages because I had to screw them in counterclockwise. Yes.

Now, before you start thinking I’m some helpless female who doesn’t know one end of a spanner from the other – no! My Dad was an engineer and a hobby carpenter, so I grew up as more of a handyman than most boys. Not an expert, mind you, but not a neophyte either.

The problem with flat packs is that they usually come with the most useless tools imaginable – allen keys, and these toy spanners.

Exhibit C – the ‘spanner’

bike spanner

Exhibit D – the allen key

bike allen key

I circled the allen key in red in case you men didn’t recognize the sewing tools also scattered about. For the ladies, an allen key is a six-sided piece of bent metal with flat ends. The flat ends exactly fit six-sided metal ‘holes’. Think screwdriver with a different shaped tip, and no comfy handle.

You insert the allen key snuggly into the hole and then turn it to tighten up the bolt. It should work, so long as the allen key doesn’t shred your hands first. I’m sure allen keys would be a great addition to a Swiss Army Knife, however they suck as a general purpose tool. Unfortunately ALL flat packs are designed around them.

My biggest problem with flat packs, however, is that they are designed for your average sized man. At something under 5’4″, I do not have the same musculature as the average man. This means that tightening screws and bolts to a safe degree – i.e. so the bicycle or bookshelf or table or whatever doesn’t wobble and collapse – requires enough effort to make me want to collapse! But where there’s a will there’s a way.

After struggling with the flat pack’s dinky tools for two days I finally went out and got – tah dah – a real tool!

Exhibit E – an adjustable wrench

bike the wrench

The beauty of this lovely tool is that it will grip anything. You can adjust it to grip bolt heads [so you can tighten them]. You can even adjust it to grip allen keys so leverage takes the place of big, strong, man-sized hands! My new, favourite tool.

Even with the adjustable wrench, however, I still took another day to finish the job, but as you can see, it’s done.

Exhibit F – The Bike

bike finished

That big bag of rubbish in the foreground is bits of packaging that came with the bike. Weren’t we supposed to be reducing the rubbish we throw into landfill? I guess they didn’t get that memo.

Snark aside, I have now been using this masterpiece of flat pack engineering every second day for a few weeks, and it still doesn’t wobble! I wish I could say the same for my legs, but Rome wasn’t built in a day so I retain the hope that one day I’ll run a marathon… or maybe just sprint to the letter box and back. 😉

So ladies, don’t despair. If you’re the one cursed with putting a flat pack item together, just march down to the hardware store and invest in an adjustable wrench. Once you have one, you’ll never look back!



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