Sunday, 9 February 2014

Amontillado the Upcycled bookshelves

Despite our vow of simplicity and giving away 365 unwanted items last year we seem to be in dire need of bookshelves. How does this happen? Probably because books are a close second to art when it comes to possessions that feed the soul. But we are also chronically short of cash and don’t feel right about buying something cheap made of plastic just because we need more shelf space.

Sometimes in this life it just takes the guts to ask. You might be told NO, but you don’t know until you ask.

I saw these wooden wine boxes at school in the basement. They were lovely, unfinished wood with interesting names of the types of wines burned into the sides. But what were they doing in the basement? A quick word with our caretaker Steve (the only person at my school to have more tattoos than me) told me they were earmarked for the skip. That’s the dumpster to all my American peeps. You can’t keep flammable wooden boxes in the boiler room, can you? Health and safety and all that jazz. So I asked our head teacher if we could have them instead of Steve destroying them  He said yes and Spiderman was round there the next day to help me carry 7 lovely wooden wine boxes back home.


The six that were the same size we stacked to make a cracking set of shelves.

Aren’t they gorgeous?


The one slightly larger one I turned into a box for organising my music stuff. So Tallulah, my sheet music and instruction book on how to play the ukulele are all together in a neat place, not lying on the floor.


If you look carefully in the last picture you can see my hat shaped like a giant piece of poo. Because everyone needs a poo shaped hat. It’s so I can dress up like the Little Mole.

But how did you come up with the name, Spidergrrl? I hear you cry. It was the Amazing Spiderman who thought it up. We were standing in the checkout queue at Waitrose discussing names. I was musing as we stood by the wine display maybe we should call it something like Pinot grigot when Spiderman said, For the love of God, Montresor! And I laughed and replied, Yes, for the love of God.


If you do not catch that literary reference, please do not trouble yourself. It is from the short story by Edgar Allan Poe called The Cask of Amontillado where one man lures another to the catacombs on the promise of some fine amontillado stored down below and then walls him up alive in there. Hence the pleading at the end.


Before you launch into me and say that amontillado is technically a sherry, we knew that. But it is alcohol nonetheless and literary alcohol at that. What other name would befit bookshelves made from discarded wine boxes?


So Amontillado is the name of the new shelves. You have to name your shelves so you know where to search. Is it on Ozma? Lizzie? Mama bear? Papa bear? Baby bear? How can you give someone directions on where to find a book without getting off your lazy arse on the sofa if shelves don’t have names?




  1. I was wondering when you were going to write about this. I loved the shelves and they were indeed just perfect. So glad I got to see them. I know which shelves are the 3 bears, and I know there are 2 more behind the couch, but which is Ozma and which is Lizzie, and who is Lizzie named after???? Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. Those are truly wonderful shelves! And the name is perfect! That is one of my favorite Poe stories!