Tuesday 12 March 2013

Food Safe Style Solar Inverter Cover

I haven't been happy with the look of the solar inverter on the wall of my shed ever since we had solar electricity installed about a year ago. It didn't fit in with the look that I was trying to achieve. And to make things worse, it's right next to my office door so it was right in my face every day. Something had to be done about it.

I am trying to decorate the side of my shed (where the inverter is) with grocery store and domestic collectables. The inverter is non of these. It needed a cover so a hanging food safe seemed an appropriate solution. My reasoning for this choice was that a food safe of some sort would often be seen hanging on a verandah just outside the kitchen door of an old house, keeping food fresh and cool. I even imagine that they would have been seen outside some early grocery stores. The mesh sides would also allow for ample ventilation around the inverter. The photos below show the result.

The side verandah of my shed showing some of my grocery store advertising signs
 (and our inappropriate looking solar inverter)
The food safe cover in place on the side verandah of my shed.

I built the food safe out of some Western red cedar that I have had lying around for years.
 The top and bottom are cut out of an old piece of  plywood.
This resulted in a very light construction which was simply screwed to the wall.

The mesh sides are old aluminium fly screen cut out of one of our old window screens.
 I was hoping for something darker to disguise the inverter but couldn't find anything suitable.
 Maybe I will someday replace the fly screen with something like perforated zinc sheet similar to that found on many old original food safes.

This teal green colour is one of my favourite colours. Bright colours such as this are often found on old food safes.
 I used a navy blue (looks a bit purplish here) as the  interior colour and overall base coat.
 This was then finished with a top coat of spearmint, sanded back a little to allow some of the navy and natural wood to show through to give the food safe a lightly distressed and aged appearance.

The simple swivel toggle catch works well and is in keeping with the style of original food safes.
 The spearmint, navy blue and natural wood can be seen clearly here.

Overall, I am very pleased with the way the food safe came up. It certainly softens the look of the inverter and adds a splash of bright colour to what is, after all, a rather drab colour wall.

Sunday 10 March 2013


Found this great old book late last year at an Aladdins Fair. It's called "The Concise HOUSEHOLD ENCYCLOPEDIA" and contains everything you would need to know to run a household in the 1930s. I know it can't be any earlier than 1930 as it refers to a 1930 Traffic Act in the section about maintaining and driving an automobile.

It was in extremely good condition for a book of its type and age. Generally these books look rather tired due to the many fingers thumbing through them for advice over the years. Not sure if fingers can actually thumb through anything but you know what I mean. Maybe the previous owner of this book knew everything and didn't need to refer to it very often.

It's the sort of book that could appeal to anybody as there are not only articles on household management but also on all types of hobbies, pets, cars, etc.. It even tells you how to stuff a squirrel. This is the sort of book that many would remember seeing at their grandmother's place.

 Below is a random selection of pages from the book.

Details on how to make arches for the garden. I like the rustic one made from branches.

Typically English house plan. It always amuses me how they put hand basins in the bedrooms. I suppose this is  a legacy of the days of having a washstand with a jug and bowl in the bedroom.

Lots on how to look after baby. This page interested me as I am an avid collector of Baby Feeding Bottles and accessories. This baby feeder looks like an "Allenbury's" feeder. Allenbury's were the first to really make the double ended boat shape or banana type feeder. This type of feeder could be hygienically rinsed out under running water, unlike many of its predecessors.

Even a section on which is the best chicken for your situation. And in colour too!

Plans to make a nursery or playground swing. And even a short note on what to do if your pigs get swine fever.

How to maintain and repair your mangle. And we complain about doing the washing now. By the way, I am looking for a mangle to go with my kitchenalia and laundry collection. Please let me know if you know of someone who wants to get rid of one.

How to build a practical and pleasing dining table.

Another colour plate. Suggested colour schemes for you house. I suppose this page would have lost its impact if it was in black and white.

And of course, how to stuff a squirrel (or taxidermy). Just what everyone needs to know.
There is so much more in this book to look at. I hope you liked the small selection that I have shown you. Oh well, it must just about be time for me to make a cup of tea, settle into a comfy chair and go through the book from cover to cover to see what other gems I can find.

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