Archive for the ‘Linda Bodo’ Category


Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo 
June 2010

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The next best time is now.            ~ anonymous

It can be modified to almost any degree; coaxed into a magnificent manor or a leaf so thin we can wrap a package in it. Organic and renewable, this substance harvested from the stems of trees boasts an impressive portfolio of accomplishments… including the ability to generate fuel to take the chill off a blustery winter’s day or toast a S’more to perfection.
I have been known to drool over a mid-century chair coaxed from a single piece of teak or weep at the sight of a monumental grain elevator gracing our prairie landscape. But, I also appreciate the diverse properties of wood in the raw—that hard fibrous lignified substance veneered in bark, logs, branches or twigs. Although these leftovers often meet their fate in a pile of firewood or in a chipper, they can be morphed into objects d’art for the home and garden with a little imagination.
Here are a few favourite raw wood projects from my books, columns and to-do folders. I use a pair of sharp pruners to cut smaller branches and a jig or table saw for larger units. When working with natural timber, be sure to dry it for several days to prevent finished pieces from warping or shrinking after completion. Alternately, soak branches or twigs in water overnight to keep timber pliable for shaping if you will be adding decorative elements to your finished project. Use exterior wood glue for adhesion if the finished product will be subjected to the elements; otherwise high-strength hot glue is perfect for wood-on-wood bonding. Finally, seal surfaces with beeswax or furniture wax to add a subtle sheen and offer protection.
So, before you put another log on the fire, consider the possibilities.

You don’t have to sap your pocketbook to create these groovy garden gadgets. Thin branches or willow reeds can be transformed into obelisks for climbing vines or veggies… or al fresco privacy screens.

Stop barking up the wrong tree. Organic furniture does not have to cost a branch and a trunk. Fashion these stylin’ stools from leftover logs or branches. Cheap and chic.

Dramatic lighting is the root of all good decor. Whittle up a chandelier, pendant or table lamp by dressing up a lamp kit with branches or driftwood.

If your thumb happens to be evergreen, you’ll love assembling these crude tables from sticks and stems.   

Leaf traditional hardware behind and construct natural hangers, hooks and rods from unprocessed materials harvested from your own backyard.

Spruce up existing furniture or accessories with twigs or branch discs. Awesome for a cabin or lakeside retreat.

Yew will love these candle holders, simple to make and easy on the pocketbook.


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Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo 
May 2010

" A Friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway." - Christi Mary Warner

An oxygen machine pumps a line of air through a slender tube. He rests on a sheepskin-covered chair with a heating pad on his legs and an afghan on his shoulders. He is perpetually cold yet craves icy cold popsicles. An IV hangs above him, filling his veins with hope. Med bottles line the counter and a box of disposable gloves is nestled in a reserve of needles. I look into his shiny blue eyes and see him a year ago, when we worked on DIY projects together, shared secrets and clinked our way through happy hour. I remember how he loved to slow-cook dishes and the fab meals we prepared together. Now, he has lost his taste for food. I give him a hug but my heart is filled with guilt. Why has it taken me so long to reconnect with my dear friend? 

We can have a bad hair day, spill our guts over a break-up, forget a special occasion, or embarrass ourselves routinely; yet true friends remain loyal and compassionate. They make us laugh when we feel like crying, hug us when need sympathy and make setbacks temporary. Much like pets who offer unconditional love, these dermis-clad two-legged relationships are often regarded as the thread in life’s fabric; an extraordinary gift to be respected. Companions, buddies, pals, soul mates… no matter how you phrase it, there is nothing as comforting as the company of a friend.
Friends lower our stress levels. They enliven our days with humour, answer us honestly and keep embarrassing secrets to themselves. They celebrate with us, encourage us, support us; but can enjoy a silence that means more than words. Friendships get better with age and good friends go that extra mile—even when wearing heels.
Unfortunately, the same daily demands that make friends necessary, also infringe on our time to spend with them. When our lives include a partner and a job, young children and aging parents, a house and a yard, a car, pets, and the need for a little solitude, friendship seldom gets the ranking it deserves. So why do they do it? Why do they stick with us and continue to offer companionship? The reasons for giving vary as much as the people who do it. Compassion, duty, love, guilt, all motivate us to share time, money, and energy. But what they get in return as the giver reaps the biggest payback.
Time zones, hectic schedules or pressures from the daily grind should not take their toll on our relationships. The friends we hang on to—the ones we visit even if it requires a prop plane or a four-wheel-drive vehicle… the ones we call first when something goes slightly or tragically wrong—are absolutely priceless.
Make the time to call, text, e-mail or visit a close friend soon. Friendship. Where would we be without it?

Surprise a chum with these über-cool gifts
on Friendship Day, the first Sunday in August. 

"A friend is omeone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else." - Len Wein

Moët & Chandon’s ‘Bucket of Bubbles’ set includes four mini champagne flutes (simply place on opened bottle for sipping) accompanied by four mini bottles with a carrying case that doubles as an ice bucket. Perfect for celebratory get-togethers. Available at www.luxist.com

Digital Photo Frames are the
perfect gadget to reminiscence with friends. A picture frame wrapped around an LCD screen displays multiple photos in a slideshow format to recapture shared memories. Available at electronic or photo suppliers. 

“It is the friends that you can call at 4 A.M. that matter.” – Marlene Dietrich
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Share this new generation of greeting cards with a fellow green-thumber. These magic beans sprout in two weeks with special messages for that unique friend. Simply add water. Available at www.wrapables.com 

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Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo
March 2010 Edmontonians

Here is one of my favourite projects from the Art of Upcycle, ideal for DIY aficionados and virgins alike. It is an easy undertaking that requires few skills and a just a bit of patience. I showed these little vases to my Goddaughter, Ashton (VP of public relations and marketing for absolutebodo.com) who morphed them into table centrepieces for a conference she was organizing.
Take bottle recycling to a new level and repurpose glass and ceramic containers into playful stacked vessels perfect for showcasing small bouquets. Think coloured glass: water, juice, soft drink, wine, booze, sauce, oil and vinegar bottles with metal lids. I like to leave the more interesting labels on the bottles.
Create a series of these vases to display single blooms in profusion. Using found materials is perfect for the budget-conscious gift giver.

Level: Simple                Cost: $1.00 – $2.00                 Time: 1 hour


Emptied, washed bottles with caps
Small ceramic or porcelain vases
2” x 2” or 4” x 4” tiles


Rotary tool, diamond tipped bit and fine grinder bit
Gloves                        Goggles
Mask                           Measure tape
Felt pen                     Porcelain adhesive or gel super glue

The most challenging part of this project is drilling the opening in the tile or vase. Be sure to don goggles, gloves and mask as shards of porcelain tend to spray during the process. Take your time while drilling: Applying too much pressure could cause the porcelain to break.


  • For the top, turn vase upside down and drill hole in bottom with diamond bit. Start rotary tool on slow speed and gradually increase speed until you have penetrated through porcelain. Enlarge opening slightly to accommodate grinder bit and expand opening until it matches the aperture of the bottom bottle mouth. Wipe clean.
  • Measure center of tile and mark with felt pen. Repeat drilling and grinding process with tile, starting on unglazed side. Drill coordinating hole in bottle cap.
  • Adhere vase, tile and cap together with porcelain or gel super glue.
  • Cure 24 hours before using.

Look for The Art of Upcycle and Enjoy Life Outside at a store near you or at www.absolutebodo.com. Join me and the BodoBoler at the Regina, Edmonton and Red Deer Home and Garden Shows where I will be sharing inspirational projects from both books—some of which have appeared in this column. √


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Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo
February 2010 Edmontonians

I spent a great deal of time talking to hands this past year. You know the kind I mean—arms extended, palms waving, usually accompanied with rolling eyes and a scornful ‘tsk-tsk’… “Who has the time?” was the phrase I heard over and over again.

 After my first do-it-yourself book, Enjoy Life Outside, hit the stands I went on tour to spread the word: redefine leisure time’. I campaigned that DIY wasn’t just about saving money, it was about stress relief and creative achievements, guaranteed to promote well-being and good health. I crusaded that this hobby offered a diversionary outlet from the demands of life while creating posh accessories for the house and home. I was all about using the hand to create—not to demonstrate.  

Bubblewrap + old jeans = totebag

Let’s face it. We all need to switch off from the daily grind to avoid going mad or clogging more arteries. Some of us do it in different ways, that’s all. We read a book or solve Sudoku puzzles… we watch Idol or surf the ’Net… we jog… we garden… we do yoga—all in the name of stress management. I’m just saying is that DIY should be considered an outlet as well, one that builds muscle for the soul.  

Wire hanging basket + old utensils = Kitchen light feature

Now, don’t get me wrong. Not everyone greeted me with the hand; there were those who revelled at the prospect of DIY and enthusiastically shared their passion for the handmade movement. From these people, I listened and learned. I found that the DIY culture was genderless and ageless. I learned that there were those who took pleasure in working with their hands. I heard that many were concerned with protecting our environment. And yes, I also learned from the hand-wavers. Free time is precious and DIY virgins need to be gently guided into the world of do-it-yourself with easy projects that don’t take a lot of time.

Old ottoman = new home for pets

With this new data, I compiled a list of DIY concepts designed to improve lifestyles with a simple mandate:

  • Short and sweet crafts, easy to accomplish in a few hours or a week end;
  • Repurpose everyday objects into posh accoutrements at a fraction of the price of high end accessories; and
  • Environmental savvy, self-fulfillment and stress relief are fundamental values.

My second book, The Art of Upcycle, is dedicated to exactly that. It takes DIY to DIWise with 32 projects for every level of do-it-yourselfer. So, before you toss a bottle, bubble wrap or bedsprings in the trash, consider giving them a second life. Upcycling is about repurposing—a baby step toward reducing your footprint on our Earth.
Look for The Art of Upcycle at a store near you this spring or at www.absolutebodo.com. Join me and the BodoBoler at the Regina, Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton Home and Garden Shows where I will be sharing inspirational projects from both books—some of which have appeared in this column. Hand-wavers welcome. √

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The Bold and the Boler

Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo

January 2010 Edmontonians

Boldly, I stuck to my guns. Amidst all the flak from family and friends, I refused to falter. What do they know, I reasoned. I have a vision. Even my husband, “H” offered no support.
“They’re so old… it’ll cost you a pile of money to fix it up.” 
“Why can’t you buy something new –something made in this millennium?” 
But, I had this vision…
I fell in love with the little egg-shaped trailers during our RV travels and vowed to acquire my very own Boler someday. My dream was to Bodo-fy the unit into a sexy leopard skin ensemble that would accompany me to presentations and book signings. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. I was a woman possessed.
When H headed south for a few days to golf with the guys, I knew I had a small window of opportunity. The plan was to purchase my dream trailer before his return. I knew the only way I would become the proud new owner of a Boler would be if the darn thing was already parked in the driveway when he got home and maybe, just maybe, I lost the receipt.
I sourced a 1974 beige-on-beige number and wasted no time contacting the owner in a sleepy little town an hour away. It was still available and I raced out there immediately. As I drove up the mile-long driveway through acres of canola, I wondered what kind of shape the Boler would be in. It didn’t matter, as soon as I rounded the corner and saw her nestled in the yard-high grass, it was, well, love at first sight. Despite the stench of pee and 35 years of dust and grunge, I plunked my cash on the dash before the vendor could say “BodoBoler”. A few days later, my acquisition was delivered. I giggled uncontrollably while rummaging in forgotten drawers and creaky cabinets, and began plotting the makeover. I could already see us bounding down the highway and taking the west by storm.
As I peeled back layers of material and memories, I envisioned the family vacations once spent in my little egg: warm summer days of sandcastles and triple-decker ice cream cones between dips in the lake… evenings of toasted marshmallows and shooting stars before falling asleep to the hoo-hoo-hoot of the great horned owl.
Sadly, the little trailer that was, was no longer. Years of neglect, hostile feral takeovers and the dawn of the super-sized RV seemed to have stripped away any dignity the Boler once enjoyed—never mind the fact she was fathered from a septic tank blueprint. Armed with rubber gloves and a respirator, I stripped away the upholstery, carpeting and curtains, and scrubbed every crevice and orifice with high-octane cleansers. Slowly but surely, the odour gradually dissipated; any lingering aromas were chased away with lavender essential oils.
Before performing any cosmetic surgery, I took my baby into the RV hospital for a full check up and spa treatment. She spent three weeks at the infirmary before she was considered road worthy. Tires, repacked axel bearings, kitchen taps, regulators, a POW-R-SURGE battery, a fridge and a myriad of seals and gaskets brought her up to snuff—along with an invoice that surpassed the original bill of sale.
Then came the process of decorating and skinning. A few minor technicalities intervened: Cracked hoses, a rusted hitch, broken lenses and a warped door were beginning to take its toll on my patience and my pocketbook. Oh, and then there was the time I was working in the Boler in the garage and she moved, just ever so slightly. But, it was enough to prevent the door from opening and I was trapped. It would be hours before H was home and I had left my cell on the work bench. Gently, I began rocking the trailer back and forth, finally gathering enough momentum to roll out the garage door. I watched in horror as we picked up speed and sailed into the wrought iron fence. Fortunately, damage was minimal.
Well, she’s been prodded, poked and pelted for six months now, but the BodoBoler is finally almost finished. I still have a little tweaking to do but she will be ready to hit the road in the New Year with the debut of my second book: The Art of Upcycle. Look for us ambling by to a location near you, or at the Edmonton and Calgary Home and Garden Shows.
Oh, by the way, H finally got his head around the whole issue so now I’m thinking maybe I can acquire a second unit and decorate it in a zebra motif…Did you know?
The Boler ultra-light fibreglass trailer was invented in Winnipeg in 1968 by Ray Olecko, a car salesman and inventor. An interest in fibreglass led him to patent a septic tank design with tapered ends. The invention was a hit, tanks to its ease of transport when compared to its concrete and steel cousins. While camping with his family one summer, Ray came up with the idea of tweaking the tank concept into a light-weight camper that was easy to tow and move around. The prototype reminded him of a hat… more specifically a bowler, and thus the Boler was born.√

Nook before and after

Bench before and after

Kitchen before and after

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Santa is a Star

Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo
November 2009 Edmontonians

Santa photo final resized
Dear Santa:

Please enjoy the customary gratuities placed on the mantle. I took the liberty of placing the wingback by the fire to tempt you to take a short break between stocking stuffing and aerial deliveries. Take no notice of the growling terrier wearing the fake antlers; she’s just guarding the bone under the tree which she unwraps routinely. I understand Rudy’s allergies are acting up again so I’ve left some Ho-Ho-Hotrivin on the hearth which should get that nose glowing again. Heard about the low elf-esteem issues at the workshop and trust you managed to resolve their concerns without compensating production.
So, the Missus put you on a high-fibre, low cholesterol diet after the unfortunate incident in the neighbour’s flue last year? And you have backed off eggnog and given up your pipe? Delighted to hear you have been looking after yourself Santa—Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without you. You are, after all, the star of the season.
Thanking you in advance for the exotic package parked on the driveway (you overlooked that request last year). Hugs to the Missus, and best wishes for an environmentally conscious, low stress and healthy celebration during the winter solstice holiday.



.5M of 150cm fabric (body)
.25M of unbleached cotton (face)
Washed mohair/doll hair
.8M ribbon
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Large brass bell, 4 small bells
Wood star
Craft paint (optional)
Tassel or loop of cording
1 wreath (3” diameter)
Hot glue sticks
Blush and small brush or Q-Tip
Fine felt pen
Paper (tracing pattern)


Sewing machine
Glue gun
pattern resized


  • Enlarge pattern as outlined onto paper.
  • Cut two star bodies from fabric and one face from cotton.
  • Sew stars together with 1/4” seam allowance. Trim tips off excess on each star point and cut into each inside node.
  • Position face on wrong side of body and outline. Cut slit inside marked face profile slightly smaller than outline.
  • Turn star inside-out through slit. Stuff body firmly and hand-stitch slit closed.
  • Apply blush to face for cheeks and felt pen for eyes as illustrated on pattern. Do not press too long with pen on fabric as ink will bleed.
  • Hot glue face to body over stitched slit.
  • Sew large bell at top of star and small bells on remaining points.
  • Hot glue hair around face for hair and beard.
  • Slide wreath onto ribbon and tie around waist to create belt. Insert cinnamon stick into belt and glue star on top with hot glue.
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Fabulous Fungi

Posted by Linda Bodo of Absolute Bodo
October 2009 Edmontonians


They attend conventions in the round on manicured lawns or slumber in the rich loam of oak tree roots until rudely awakened by well trained snouts. They’ve been used for culinary, ritualistic and psychedelic purposes since prehistoric times. They can be stuffed, sliced or sautéed to complement recipes… or slyly recruited as murder accomplices. Who would have known that the gilled fungus we refer to as the mushroom has such a varied and colourful résumé?
While not all varieties of mushrooms are welcome in our yards, concrete replicas can lend a whimsical statement to any landscape. The vermiculite content and detachable cap produce a lightweight ornament simple to relocate and store.

MATERIALS for 12 mushrooms
Hollow plastic baseball bats 14” – 26”
6” – 12”-plastic bowls of various shapes/depths
2 large bags Vermiculite or Perlite
4 – 25kg bags play sand
40 kg bag type 50 Portland cement
Duct tape and electricians tape
24’ rebar
3’ – 1 /2” PVC pipe
Spray silicone/vegetable oil (release)
Acid stain
Concrete sealant
Plastic pails

Drill with concrete paddle
Cut-off saw with metal-cutting blade or angle grinder
Tape measure
Utility knife or band saw

2 parts water
3 1/2 parts cement
3 parts sand
3 parts Vermiculate or Perlite
Cement becomes caustic when mixed with water: Wear long sleeves, gloves, eye protection and a respiratory mask when mixing ingredients together. Work outdoors when possible, or in a well-ventilated area inside.


  • Remove grip and top of bat, cut bat in half lengthwise. Hold both pieces together and hinge with duct tape along outside seam of one side of bat. Open mould and spray interior with release. Close mould and duct tape along other side.
  • Seal top of narrow neck of bat with duct tape and cut a small slit in centre of seal to accommodate rebar needed in next step. Wrap bat mould with electricians tape.
  • For each stem, cut rebar with cut-off saw or angle grinder 6” longer than mould. Insert rebar into mould, pushing 1 1/2” through slit at sealed end. Demark rebar with tape to indicate alignment to correct any shifting when cement is poured.
  • Fill bucket with sand and bury neck of mould.
  • Cut PVC pipe 1/2” shorter than a bowl’s depth to create mushroom caps. Seal one end with duct tape. Spray bowl interior with release.
  • Mix up concrete recipe in pail, starting with all the water first. Add dry ingredients one cup at a time and blend thoroughly with paddle until mix resembles coarse oatmeal. Spoon mix into bat mould and massage into neck by gently churning rebar until concrete has fallen into place, adding more if necessary. Position rebar in centre of mould and tape into place.
  • Pour concrete into bowl, press PVC pipe into centre taped-side down with 1/2” of concrete between the bottom of the bowl and pipe. Ensure pipe is level and keep concrete mix out of PVC opening.
  • Cure 24 hours. Remove stems and caps from moulds and apply acid stain according to manufacturer’s instructions. Use mild detergent to rinse and scrub off residue. Repeat stain/wash process until desired effect is achieved.
  • Dry 24 hours, apply two coats sealant. √

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