Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stuff My Husband Made

My husband, genius engineer-turned-businessman that he is, loves to organize and optimize. He considers "home optimization" one of his legitimate hobbies. Whether it's reorganizing my kitchen, packing our closet to perfectly utilize every last cubic foot, or cajoling me into committing to a shoe placement system, Nathan loves order, systems, and Bluebell Cookies 'n Cream ice cream.

Nathan is also a master jimmy-rigger, and through unconventional means he has successfully repaired our food processor, my laptop power cord, his desk, the car (numerous times and in numerous places), his glasses, and more.

And now, an exhibition of my husband's handiwork. In this first series, his medium is an assortment of paper, cardboard, and packing tape.

Dynamic Door Stop (ads, packing tape): Nathan made this little beauty after discovering that our bedroom door wasn't hung correctly and wouldn't stay open ("The hinge axis is not vertical" -Nathan). To keep the door open, we simply have to open it all the way, pushing past the soft hump that deflects as the door passes over it. "The force of gravity pulling the door closed is very small, so it can't deflect the paper spring out of the way. But, pulling the door closed with your hand is effortless and almost silent" -Nathan.  Bonus: This is a compliant mechanism. Nathan researched this technology for his Master's thesis.

Top view

Side view
Flatware Organizer (cardboard): We moved into our Houston apartment and found, to our dismay, that our kitchen contained only four drawers, none wider than ten inches. No traditionally manufactured utensil organizer could fit in a drawer with such sylph-like proportions. So Nathan constructed a beautiful divider from organic cardboard (adding the word organic makes anything more legitimate. This blog is organic, for example). This divider utilizes the depth of the drawer, provoking in the user a sense of excitement as they contemplate what else the drawer may reveal. Bonus: This flatware is 18/10.

Divider for Graham's Clothing (cardboard, Sharpie): Before these were in place, I'd ask Nathan to get me some piece of clothing for Graham, and he'd find the drawer full of organized stacks of cute baby clothes, but to his inexperienced eye, they were all indistinguishable from one another. How was he to discern shirt onesies from underwear onesies? Pajamas from one-piece outfits? Behold: the solution. Labeled cubbies. Bonus: Now I can just stuff the clothes in their assigned areas, no neat piles needed as you can see.

Lamp and Lampshade (fabric, iron-on interfacing, wire, apoxy, clay, glaze, lamp hardware that we broke free from a D.I. lamp by throwing it off our balcony): Nate sweetly agreed to take a pottery class with me. It was put on by the city's department of recreation or whatever it's called, and it was so much fun. Our teacher was very earthy. She didn't have a driver's license because she grew up as a Navy brat in Asia and "never saw the need." Too bad she's in suburbia now and her husband has to drive her everywhere.

Nathan must have remade this vase three or four times. It fell apart while drying. It exploded in the kiln. Something else exploded onto it in the kiln. Poor boy, he never gave up. Bonus: He made the lampshade! Isn't the lampshade awesome?

Custom shade
This is only a small sampling of the wonderful things Nathan has made. I love being married to such a clever and creative guy.


  1. Can Nathan please come to my house and help me organize? I need it...

  2. Those things are awesome! I was expecting ghetto when you were describing the silverware organizer, and then I saw the picture, and was totally impressed! I should have known he does not do ghetto. Also, love the business portrait Nate. I have a funny story about business portraits that I will email you because it's too long for a comment. Luvs.

  3. Jessica--I'm so excited that you have a HOUSE to organize!!

    Steph-Hahah, business portrait ... it's from our bridal/groomal pictures. Also, it's okay if you think the drawer dividers are ghetto, because they kind of are. But not the silverware organizer, never that.

  4. You guys are so funny!! I just read this out loud to Louis and we really enjoyed it! You make me contemplate starting a blog, but I don't necessarily want to compete with your funniness. If that wasn't a word before, it is now.


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