Tuesday, April 30, 2013

John Shuttleworth's Out of Our Sheds review


We sent our theatre editor Lisa Thompson to review John Shuttleworth's latest touring theatrical extravaganza Out of Our Sheds and here are her thoughts:
I have disturbing news for shedworkers. John Shuttleworth is not happy in his shed.

He and his organ are in exile, dislodged from the lounge first to the garage where John, perched on an incrementally lowering 28-pack of Sprite from Netto, plays his organ on the deep freeze. Alas wife Mary’s repeated trips to the freezer for chicken nuggets drive him to seek sanctuary in the shed. He can find just two things to admire here: a picture of two hares boxing – ‘Naturally mind, no gloves’ – and the smell of white spirit, caused by daughter Karen’s failure to clean paintbrushes properly. Smells Like White Spirit follows. It is not quite grunge as we knew it.

At this point it also becomes abundant that as an audience we are a disappointment. Mr Shuttleworth claims to be happy playing anywhere with a trestle table, a nice tea urn and his petrol money paid but, while the faint gleam of teeth reveals lines of beaming faces in the dark, on stage, supported only by a bottle of Buttercup syrup, medicated sweets and a banana, Mr Shuttleworth’s attempts to get us singing along falls flat. In the prissy south we are far too self-conscious. It takes nearly two hours, before Austin Ambassador Y Reg finally stirs the audience to song. Behind me I can hear a man quietly whispering along, then with a roar it happens. Shuttleworth achieves critical audience mass, breaking through the Home Counties sound barrier.

But the sacrifices he makes to get to this point. He has shared with us his first bid on eBay, ‘watching a toaster with crumb tray, valuable extra bread width and a mid-cycle cancel button, and dreaming that we may soon be the owners’. It is followed by disappointment in the buyer ‘review’, with the seller falsely claiming willingness to be the Shuttleworths’ friends. A stakeout culminates with the Shuttleworths turning the full glare of the car lights on the house of the toaster sellers. The hand of friendship is not forthcoming. Just a twitch of the curtains.

He shares with us the fine art of acting: how to show distress while talking on a mobile. ‘My wife Mary’s been knocked over by a bus? What number?’. He sings of the trauma of everyday life in suburban Sheffield – a child wasting a perfectly good serving of cottage pie but John has started on his sweet. ‘I can’t go back to savoury,’ he chokes. Two tubs of spread inadvertently on the go. But all his singing and the anecdotes are mere distraction - this is a man hellbent on getting out of his shed.

‘I’m fed up with the shed,’ he says. ‘Why can’t I be in the lounge with Mary? It’s my lounge as much as hers.’ He brightens. ‘Of course, I can go in as a member of the public.’

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pop Up Teashed


The *TeaShed, a "design led tea, teaware and homeware company" has joined in the with the latest trendiness in retail by opening their first pop up TeaShed in Fenwick Food Hall, Newcastle, to serve breakfasts, lunches, afternoon tea, cakes and naturally a vast quantity of leaf teas. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shed Sunday: Business Jazz podcast


Business Jazz is a podcast about "how to be genuinely attractive in business today" featuring shedworker Jane Boyd in Canada and other shedworkers such as Christian 'Documentally' Payne which also has kind things to say about the Shedworking site. The whole podcast is worth a listen but the garden office section starts around the nine minute mark. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Transformation of an un-used garden patch into a garden office




This latest garden studio from eDEN Garden Rooms is located at the bottom of a terraced garden, which has a steep decline. eDEN were commissioned to dig out the area, retain the earth and create a level position for the bespoke garden room. Working together, eDEN and their customer designed an ideal space which fitted perfectly into the awkward garden shape.

The garden studio is broken into two rooms, one small room with a window, to be used for sewing and other creative pastimes and the other room is equipped with a sofa and TV for relaxing while viewing the beautifully-planted garden. Features include aluminium bi-fold doors (which are zero maintenance), underfloor heating, oak flooring, and brushed stainless steel electrical fittings with  Red Cedar Wood and aluminium fascias
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Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why a shed is an ideal place to start any kind of business

A great piece in the Guardian by Mark Williams who some of you will know from Startup Donut. We had a long chat with Mark and he has put together a brief but telling look at why "sheds are not just for your dad's gardening equipment" and talks to the shedworking entrepreneurs who are setting up their SMEs in back gardens. Well worth a browse. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Curved roof garden office


A new model from Warwick Buildings, now available for viewing on their show site. It is clad in cedar,and is fully insulated and lined along the same spec as their other garden offices. It comes in at £10,000 and is available in any size as long as you want it 3.8m wide x 3m deep. It's 2.5m to the top of the roof. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Suffolk Barn (video)

Short but pleasant video of Smart Garden Office's new Suffolk Barn range.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shepherds' hut safety - a cautionary tale


"As a keen follower of all things shed I would like to give your readers this cautionary tale," writes Kim Burdon. "My wife, an artist, has used her shepherd's hut as a studio creating lino prints, oil paintings and watercolours. The hut also became a focus for all her influences and likes. Collections of old china, wallpaper samples, treasures from the garden and books. Emily is a professional artist and had spent the last two years building up a body of work ready to exhibit. Imagine her despair and horror when, on the morning of April 16, she turned up at our plot to find the the whole studio had gone.

"Thieves had stolen a trailer from up the road then come down and broken into our plot and hauled the whole thing away, Taking Emily's work, equipment and personal possessions with it. We called the police and they are doing due diligence, but in all honesty it could be anywhere. The hut was in the garden of our new build plot in Medstead near Alton Hampshire and although there were fears that it may possibly fall victim to petty crime or vandalism, we had not anticipated the taking of the whole hut.

"We have a second larger shepherd's hut we have been building ourselves and have taken immediate action to secure it, We have removed one of the wheels and placed a trench and fence across our drive. You can never underestimate what thieves are capable of doing.

"As a consequence of this theft we are keen for any information or sightings anywhere in Britain. Not only the shepherds hut, which has green corrugated iron walls with dove grey roof. A small window to the rear and a larger window in the right hand wall. There is a fitted bed frame across the back wall and the walls and ceiling are painted off white with a mustard coloured painted floor. It also has polystyrene insulation pushed up between the floor joists from below.

"Emily is  desperate to retrieve the contents. They may have been dumped, or burned, or there may be a chance that someone tries to sell them on. Any work will have the monogram 'EF' within it. To see the sort of work that was present you can look at Emily's web site at www.emilyfeaver.com."

We asked Richard Lee from Plankbridge for his thoughts. "I would be very interested to know if the wheels were under the sides or set outside. If the wheels are outside the body of the hut it wouldn't fit on a normal trailer - we have adapted a trailer to take the extra width, which is one of the features of a genuine shepherds hut. It would take some doing to take a hut, they are very difficult to load and move usually.

"We often suggest, when people are worried, to put some kind of ground anchor in, and chain the axles or wheels to that. Overall though they are difficult to load on a normal trailer and it would certainly need a winch and a fair amount of time, unless the thieves had experience of moving shepherds' huts... One idea we have been given by a customer is to paint the postcode on the top of roof, which may help I suppose. It's a very sad tale, and I hope Emily gets it all back." -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shed Sunday - turning a shed into an audio recording studio

An interesting audioboo by Jane Boyd. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cube Haus


"Cubehaus is a beautifully designed eco-friendly building that can be used in ways only limited by your imagination."
Coming Summer 2013. ----------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ideas Shed events launched - includes exercise classes


We mentioned the special Ideas Shed at the Barnsley Digital Media Centre last month and are delighted to hear that it's all taking off nicely.

The 2.4m x 2.4m ideas shed, complete with planting and sculpture, is now installed in the foyer of the County Way building and aims to stimulate debate and generate ideas among the 43 businesses based there. A number of high-profile guests are sitting in the shed throughout April and May including entrepreneur Jonathan Straight and sales guru Nicky Pattinson, while Louise Wilkie of Think Create Move will be bringing the ideas shed to life with dancing and Barnsley not-for-profit organisation Team Activ will host Fit In The Shed, small exercise classes in the shed.

Jonathan Straight, chief executive of Straight Plc - Europe’s leading supplier of recycling containers - will take over the shed on May 1 holding one-to-one sessions with businesses and on May 3 Lee Bestall will be taking up residence. Lee is from Inspired Gardens which donated the shed. He’ll be running a "Sowing the Seeds of Enterprise" workshop for a Horizon school pupils who will have the opportunity to make horticultural products for sale and get an interesting and creative take on the business of horticulture. Other guests in the shed will include secret entrepreneurs on April 23 and 30 and a celebrity author and writer on May 2.

Businesses based in the centre can book the shed for meetings. Amanda Lennon, regional director at Oxford Innovation which runs the centre on behalf of the Barnsley council, said: “The Digital Media Centre is already a creative hub but we wanted to bring that creativity together and give it a focal point. The shed is a fun way of getting people talking and thinking differently. We will be renting the shed out for meetings, influential and successful regional entrepreneurs will be taking "surgeries" in the shed, we are running workshops for creatives, businesses and schools and will be holding book readings and signings. The shed is all about doing things differently and sometimes a different place or a different setting can help to move everyday patterns of thinking into the sublime." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sheds at Chelsea Flower Show 2013


We're only about a month away from this year's Chelsea Flower Show - last year was a particularly fine one for sheds, garden offices, caravans and indeed shepherds' huts, but at the moment 2013 doesn't look like being a classic shedlike year for the show, although the Trailfinders Australian Garden by Phillip Johnson (no relation), above, looks intriguing and features a studio structure.





Chris Beardshaw's Arthritis Research UK Garden features what is described as a "contemporary retreat" which sounds promising while the B&Q Sentebale Forget-Me-Not Garden should feature a shedlike round house.



Perhaps most shedworkingesque of all is Stoke-on-Trent's Story of Transformation Garden which takes in a massive pottery bottle kiln, see here bottom left.



Of course there's something for the children too. The NSPCC's Garden of Magical Childhood designed by Adam Woolcott and Jonathan Smith will have a treehouse.


 
And finally, An Alcove Garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara puts a traditional tatami room centrestage.



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Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shed overhaul (video)

The husband and wife team at fashion house Eley Kishimoto have had a go at refurbishing this shed for Cuprinol, sponsors of Shed of the Year. What do you think? To enter your shed to be designed by Eley Kishimoto, visit the Cuprinol Facebook page.

Green Retreats (video)

Although this is a promotional video for Green Retreats, it's also a useful introduction to the general whys and wherefores of shedworking and garden offices for all those considering going down this homeworking route, including some case studies of actual shedworkers. Well worth a watch.

Monday, April 15, 2013

8 million people operate an online business from home

According to new research from Direct Line for Business, one in six people in the UK (or eight million) are operating as an online business from their garden office or home, specifically purchasing goods to resell, or making their own products to sell for profit.

The research reveals that of these home businesses,  5.2 million are buying items specifically to resell on at a profit, while 2.8 sell home made products such as greeting cards, soaps and eBooks. Direct Line has termed these companies ‘home webtailers', retail operations selling goods direct from home using the internet. 

Analysis of trades on a leading online auction site (not specified but fairly guessable...) showed that a large number of online sales operations run by private individuals are actually sizable businesses, with the top 5% of private sellers generating an annual turnover of a very healthy £18,094. With the new personal income tax threshold of £9,440 now in place as of this month, Direct Line believes that a significant number of people selling products online will be unaware that their activities online mean they are actually running a business from home.  Those operating a business from home on top of other employment may need to pay tax on all turnover generated through online sales.

Jazz Gakhal, Head of Direct Line for Business commented: "A large proportion of people clearly don't view themselves as running a business, despite generating a sizeable turnover selling goods online to be dispatched from their home.  People should check with HMRC if there activities online mean they qualify as running a business.  Stock stored at a home will not be covered by a standard home insurance policy, so people are putting themselves at financial risk.  Indeed for those people transporting goods to and from home, insurance is also required to avoid damage in transit. We urge people looking to make or sell items from home on a regular basis to organise home business insurance from the start."

The research also revealed that when asked about how these online home businesses prioritised key actions when they first began selling items, sorting tax arrangements and organising insurance ranked sixth and eighth (buying more stock was first, followed by setting sales targets and devising a business plan). -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stan Cullimore: ex-Housemartin shedsinging

Stan Cullimore - probably best known as being a founder member of that most excellent pop group The Housemartins but who also has many other musical and writing strings to his bow - has been in session with Songs from the Shed. Here he is with something particularly appropriate. ----------------------------------------------------------
Saturday posts are sponsored by Warwick Buildings, manufacturers of outstanding quality timber buildings. Click here for more information.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How small can garden offices get?


Pretty small, as Dawn Jones of Hearts and Sparks Productions shows in this groundbreaking video. Via Treehugger ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Archipod in action

An interesting video from Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies.com who has featured various shedworking atmospheres before. This one is of an Archipod in action in Berkhamsted near Shedworking HQ, used by solicitor Nikolas Oldham. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Monday, April 08, 2013

Has the beach hut bubble burst?


Graham Norwood in The Independent [disclaimer: I work for the Indy] reports on what may be the end of the bonkers prices being paid for beach huts, partly the result of vandalism, arson and rising rents. "Although huts are still affectionately regarded by many," he writes, "their big price rises prior to the downturn deterred some potential buyers, as did restrictions by most councils banning owners from staying in them overnight. A further deterrent today is the high running cost." Well worth a browse. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Garden Office Week

It's Garden Office Week this week at Judy Heminsley's Work From Home Wisdom site. You can win a copy of the Shedworking book and read the first post of the week about how to design your ideal garden office with tips from Garden Affairs. Worth checking it every day this week to see what's new and more details about what's coming up are here. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday posts are sponsored by garden2office, the Swedish garden office specialists. Click here for more details.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Shed Sunday


Made of wood found in skips including a staircase and floorboards from a Victorian house conversion.
The Pallet Project -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunday posts are sponsored by Garden Spaces, suppliers of contemporary garden buildings, offices, gyms and studios, many of which do not require planning

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Ideas shed set to be unveiled in Barnsley Digital Media Centre


Taking inspiration from some of Britain’s finest shedworking creatives, Barnsley Digital Media Centre is to unveil its very own ideas shed in the foyer of the County Way building. The 2.4m x 2.4m shed, complete with planting and sculpture, aims to stimulate debate, generate ideas and boost free thinking among the 43 businesses based there.

Companies can book the shed for meetings and there will be philosophy, dance and business growth workshops within and adjacent to it over a two weeks period from April 18. Amanda Lennon, regional director at Oxford Innovation which runs the centre on behalf of the Barnsley council, explained the unusual installation. “The Digital Media Centre is already a creative hub but we wanted to bring that creativity together and give it a focal point. The shed is a fun way of getting people talking and thinking differently.

“Over a two week period in April some of Yorkshire’s leading entrepreneurs will be holding business clinics in the shed so the companies based here can bounce ideas around and examine alternative and innovative ways of working. The shed is all about doing things differently and sometimes a different place or a different setting can help to move everyday patterns of thinking into the sublime.

“All businesses can benefit from creative thinking and for years garden sheds have offered the perfect sanctuary. Dylan Thomas, Roald Dahl and Virginia Woolf were inspired to write their greatest works whilst holed up in their sheds. Now we’re in a truly digital age, the opportunities are limitless.”

The Digital Media Centre is a £10.5m landmark building situated in the creative heart of Barnsley and is a vibrant office and meeting environment, a creative hub for the digital and media industries and home to a growing community of creative businesses. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homestead Timber Buildings - Manufacturers of Quality Timber Buildings

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

ZEM: sustainable micro home



Jeffrey Greger's project is aimed at the tiny home market but would also make a great shedquarters. Here's what he says about it: "Reducing our impact on this planet requires efficiency. Shifting to smaller, sustainably designed living spaces is a necessity to secure our planet's future. Making a these compact homes affordable, comfortable, functional and attractive is going to be a key factor in their adoption. At this small scale, furniture, interior, exterior, landscape, and construction are deeply entwined." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

How a cup of tea saved a shedowner's life


A MAN last night spoke of his lucky escape after his shed he was working in exploded into flames – just minutes after he had gone inside to make a cup of tea. Nigel Todd, of Bixley Road, Ipswich, spent yesterday morning restoring his classic motorbike worth £1,500 in his shed, sanding the framework of his 1968 blue BSA Bantam. But just before 11am the furniture restorer cut his hand and went inside to treat it, stopping in the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea.
More details  about exactly what happened at the Ipswich Star. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
3rdSpace modular garden rooms
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Monday, April 01, 2013

Shed tax comes into effect


The government has became embroiled in a row with a coalition of builders and timber merchants over its claims that far-reaching cuts coming into force today are based on dishonest "myths" perpetuated by politicians about people who own - and work in - sheds.

The so-called "shed tax" comes into force at 11.59am today and will result in people losing 14% of their tax-free personal allowance if they are deemed to have one spare shed or 25% if they are deemed to have two spare sheds.
 
Labour has produced fresh evidence, based on information from councils about unused sheds, suggesting that 19 out of 20 families affected would be unable to work in a smaller shed even if they wanted to because suitable timber is not available in their area.

But the shed tax is just one of several landmark benefit changes coming into effect this month, making April 2013 potentially a decisive moment in the reshaping of the welfare system, as well as one having maximum impact on those most affected by the government's austerity-driven cuts. Other new measures include cuts for grants on lathes, cuts on shed-based insurance premiums and the imposition of a green roof benefit cap.

Avri Poisson, public issues policy adviser at the Shed Marketing Board, said the building coalition were concerned that the cuts were "a symptom of an understanding of people in sheds in the United Kingdom that is just wrong". Speaking to the BBC, Poisson said: "It is an understanding of people that they are somehow 'lesser', that they are not valued. We believe that they are valued and we believe that they should be treated much more fairly than they are being."

Poisson and other building trade members are promoting a report published recently by the four churches accusing politicians and the media of promoting six myths about shedworkers: that they are lazy; are addicted to drink or drugs; are not really poor; cheat the system; have an easy life; and that they caused the deficit.

Labour has repeatedly linked this week's cuts with the cut in the top rate of income tax from 50p in the pound to 45p.
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