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    created at: 03/14/2014

    The older I get, the more I'm convinced by the "but the right thing once, use it for the rest of your life" approach to supplies. Yes, it might mean waiting a little longer and saving up to get the best option, but it's a better investment of not only your money, but your storage space and your time. This rings especially true for tools: woodworking and DIY tools, kitchen tools, art supplies, etc. Getting the right one first guarantees you won't outgrow it later, unless your needs change.   Of course, once you get the best option for you, you need to make sure you take care of it, particularly tools with movable parts, sharp edges, rustable surfaces, etc. 

    This article at Lifehacker explores the basics. They say, "Good tools can be quite an investment, but if you take good care of them, they'll return the favor. Keeping your tools properly stored, cleaned, and maintained will save you time and money and make your DIY endeavors that much more rewarding. We're mostly talking about hand tools, power tools, and garden tools in this article, but much of the same advice applies whether your tools of choice are kitchen knives, crafting tools, or whatever else. Store them well, keep them clean and well-maintained, and you won't be sorry."

    It covers the basics of storage, cleaning, repairing, and maintaining, and though you'll certainly want to look up specifics for each kind of tool, it's a great place to start.

    Check it out: How To Take Care of Your Tools


    Happy Weekend!


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    Spring is the time for taking a break from your boots and embracing something much lighter and easier to wear: sneakers. Or tennis shoes, or whatever you call them where you're from. 

    The trick, however, is that while spring is a little less snowy than winter, it can still be pretty wet and muddy. Plus, as the line between "dress" and "casual" continues to blur, sneakers can actually be an acceptable option to wear with chinos and a sport coat...if they're clean. 

    With that in mind, GQ offers some tips for keeping your sneakers in sweet shape: " We're thinking that once you've got your hands on some sleek kicks, you might wanna know how to care for them. That's why we consulted GQ creative director Jim Moore, sneaker cleaning expert Jason Markk, and a few other sneaker fiends about how to keep your coolest shoes looking (and smelling) as fresh as possible." The tips include everything from cleaning to protecting to eliminating as much foot funk as possible.

    Check it out: 8 Expert Tips for Taking Care of Your Sneakers []

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    created at: 03/17/2014

    No more eating your dinner on the couch. Even if you can't afford, or have space for an heirloom quality dining table, you can outfit what ever space you've got with a proper eating space, DIY-style. 

    And Then We Saved is site dedicated to making awesome projects that are totally affordable, including this dining room table and bench. They're projects don't presume you have a ton of tools or woodworking knowledge, either, so it's a great starting point. According to the editor, Anna , the whole project cost her and her hubby around $150 bucks. Not bad.

    created at: 03/17/2014

    To get the step by step, pop by And Then We Saved

    PS. Also make sure to peruse around Anna's blog, she has LOTS of amazing money-saving tips on all kinds of good stuff,

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    created at: 03/18/2014

    Protect your tablet from dust and scratches (or pet attacks) and make this super snuggly, stylish sleeve.

    Molly from Almost Makes Perfect is a master of minimalist DIY projects. One of her latest projects is this iPad leather sleeve that's super easy to make. We call it "tablet sleeve" instead of "iPad sleeve" as you could change the size of it to fit your device, no matter the brand.

    Molly opts for white here, but we say go with more natural medium brown, or even raw vegetable-tanned leather. I actually just popped by the fabric store on the weekend and they had a bin full of odd-shaped leather trims that are super discounted, some for even $3 bucks per piece, which would totally fit this project, so be sure to check your local crafts/fabric store.

    Once you gather your materials, head to Almost Makes Perfect to read the full tutorial.

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    created at: 03/18/2014Like many things, the world of spirits and liquor is a spectrum. On one end, there's the only-there-for-ABV stuff that college kids drink, on the other, the collections and high-end bottles of fine connoisseurs, with plenty of options in between. And while there are the days when something special is the only way to go, there are also plenty of time when you want a budget bottle that works: something for mixing, something to bring to a party, or a good-enough bottle to share with guests.    

    So, here's my pick for the best budget bottle: Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey. 

    created at: 03/18/2014

    At the store around the corner from my house, this retails for $15.89. And? It's delicious. It's got a nice rye flavor with plenty of spice and can stand up to being mixed in a cocktail but is pleasant enough to sip neat. It's distilled, bottled, and aged at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

    Of course, I'm not saying its the best whiskey out there. It can be a little thin, like it comes pre-splashed with water...which is fine with me, cause whiskey should have a little splash of water. But for under $16.00, it's a no brainer. I'd even say it's my favorite whiskey under $20. It works particularly well with cola, in an Old Fashioned, or a Manhattan, which I say should always be made with rye, not bourbon. But it beats the pants off certain best-selling whiskeys with white and black labels that are named after their original distillers, and costs a bit less as well. 

    It's also very widely available, likely one of the few rye whiskeys you can find almost anywhere. So, next time you're headed to gathering or are having someone over that will drink whiskey cocktails if you make them but would never order one out, grab a bottle or two to share.

    Learn more at its site: Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey 



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  • 03/19/14--13:00: Note to Self...
  • created at: 03/19/2014A Note to Self: March 19, 2014:  

    You don't have to go out of town to take a break. Or rather, I don't have to go out of town to take a break. 

    Over the last six months, any time I've left town has always been filled with 1) an actual event that I spend all my time of 2) a break of sorts, but also always involved my laptop and working while I was away.

    So, in the interest of practicing good self care, I set aside the latter half of this week to rest. This spring and summer are shaping up to be quite full of big events, and I haven't really been "off" since summer. So, for the rest of the week: no plans, no agenda, just rest. The only thing I know is gonna happen is plenty of bike riding, and lots of reading while lying on the sofa. Other than that, I have no idea what the days will bring.


    And that's the point. I'll see you on Monday. 


    Photo from the ManMadeDIY Instagram account. 

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    created at: 03/24/2014

    Most of us have one: that big blank wall that you're saving for just the right piece to add some color, texture, and a bit of personality. 

    The Caldwell Project recently posted this super cool DIY project to make a geometric photo display using your own images - from your Instagram account, a collection of landscapes you love, etc.

    This idea could also work great with post cards (instead of just dumping them in a drawer). It's perfect for renters who can't hang heavy frames on the wall. Plus, let's be honest: framing photos can be expensive,so this saves some bucks while adding some design. 

    created at: 03/24/2014

    For this tutorial you'll need a few supplies:

    • Hammer
    • String
    • Nails
    • Pencil and paper to sketch your design

    That's it! Since you create your own design, you can place this display anywhere in your house (and in any shape you want!). Just be sure to test a few different patterns before hammering your wall...

    created at: 03/24/2014

    For the full tutorial, visit The Caldwell Project: DIY Geometric Photo Display 

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    There are times to add new make investments, to research, to spend a couple hours in the dressing room. (Turn, turn, turn.) And then, there are times to get creative with what you already have, and improve your wardrobe and own personal style without spending a single cent.    GQ offers some solid tips for free ways to work with what you already have. Some are skill-based, such as learning how to sew (ManMade alert); some are about switching up components of your standard sets and outfits, and others are more inspirational, inviting you to try something new. 

    Not everyone will apply to every guy, but the info's free, the tips are free, and the results are free, so there's no reason not to check them out.

    10 Free Ways to Improve Your Style



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    created at: 03/24/2014

    A beer "head" of foam is, like most things in life, an example of perfect balance; too much and its undrinkable, and if not enough, you can't full experience the unique compounds of a given brew. 

    I learned this technique through working my way through college as a server, but I've seen it go awry enough (especially after a glass or two already) that I'm happy to share this helpful how-to from The Art of Manliness.

    Jeremy Anderberg says, " When properly poured, the beer produces aromas and flavors that can only be present at the right conditions, and with the agitation of a proper pour...The process for pouring beer into a pint glass is the same whether you’re doing it from a bottle, a can, or a tap. It’s also the same no matter the style of glass."

    Check out the photo tutorial in full at The Art of Manliness: How to Properly Pour Beer 



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    created at: 03/25/2014

    There's nothing new to say about LEGO: they're awesome, they're fun, and they're surprisingly long as you don't ask them to bear much weight. So, they're a perfect pick for simple, tongue-in-cheek style organizers, like this utensil caddy spotted on a home tour on Since the organizer's job is simply to keep the tools contained, the LEGOs are a perfect fit, adding a bit of personality and color.

    This technique would also work equally well for a lightweight, multi-compartment desk organizer, a place to store your daily carry items (wallet, watch, phone, etc), and the like. Post your ideas in the comments below.

    See more at The Kitchn: A DIY Utensil Holder Made Out of LEGOs 




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    London-based sculptor and illustrator Camille Barnard created this hand-carved "Pencil case collection," featuring wooden versions of her commonly used and carried art supplies.   

    I actually love that these aren't hyper-realistic. The intentionally hand-colored design itself serves as a reminder of the inaccuracies and manual nature of the process of making.

    "This mix of skill and imagination—and her ability to render the overlooked into the exquisite—have earned Barnard widespread recognition and an ever-growing fandom among an international collectors and galleries." Fun project.  A labor of love, I'm sure.

    See more at L'Arco Baleno: Pencil Case Collection - Camilla Barnard

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    industrial lighting

    Time to come out of the dark ages of winter and shine some light in your home with some sleek, yet guy-friendly lighting options.

    It's easy to forget that lighting is one of the most important aspects to set up a space at home. If a room is too dark, it feels unbalanced and even depressing, while inappropriate use of light can make you feel like you're at the dentist office. It's all about finding the right balance.

    You can get some of these awesome pieces or you can use them as inspiration for a super cool DIY project. Most of them are pretty affordable so they can fit your budget. A little bit of extra light can go a loooong way, so take note!

    sleek lighting

    1 Wooden Block Lamp $55.96

    Less is definitely more. This minimal wooden block lamp can be used on any space; on your desk, shelves, by your night stand, you name it. The clean design and neutral colours will match your decor without a problem.


    sleek lighting

    2. Ledge Light $130

    Another take on simple design, this ledge light is the sleekest of the collection. The white bulb adds texture and scale, plus it comes with some built-in storage. The red cord ads a touch of color for a subtle statement.

    sleek lighting

    3. Edison Lighting Sconce $49

    This one is super cool. Check it: the board is made out of reclaimed maple wood from Thomas Edison's Wisconsin phonograph factory. It even comes with an engraved plate with the factory location and serial number. Whoa! This is a piece of history plus an awesome lighting choice.


    festival lights

    4. Festival Lights $36

    Festival lights can add a bit of a "marquee" effect. You can bring them inside and make your own marquee, or you can place them behind a book shelf to add some diffused light. Also, don't forget that since Spring is right around the corner you'll need to spice up your patio/garden, so these lights always come in handy (don't wanna dine in the dark!).


    industrial lighting

    5. Factory Light $279

    We love this industrial light! It could certainly add a masculine/vintage vibe to your home. Thought it is a bit more pricey than the others, this could be an investment piece. Mix if with other modern pieces to achieve a sleek loft look.


    origami light

    6. Moth Origami Lampshade $132

    Go big or go home! This shade is definitely a bold statement. Mind you, the intensity comes from its cool design and shape rather than the color, which is in a muted gradient grey. If you look closely, there's also a bit of texture which will add to your overall decor.


    As mentioned, some of these lights can be used as inspiration for a DIY project, but since they are pretty affordable, you could simply get them and use your energy to decide where to hang them.

    Happy lighting!



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    Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.

    I have no idea what the torque conversion is on these smiley face screw heads (nor am I entirely sure what torque conversion is or if it's the right term here,) but I dig 'em for lightweight projects with personality. And, yes, of course they come with a matching screwdriver: 

    See more at DesignBoom 


    A unique "sea-aged" whiskey
    uses the motion of waves to agitate and speed up the interaction of spirits and the barrel. 


    A clever trick that allows you to use YouTube as a unlimited free streaming music service from Business Insider

    How to: Make a DIY Paper Record Player


    An interesting guide to "smoking" a can of tuna with toilet paper.




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    gruyere romesco grilled cheese sandwich

    This recipe to make a gooey, crunchy, grilled cheese sandwich is the exactly the kinda thing we want to eat on an early spring Saturday. Or, um, any day. 

    I may be tempted to eat my screen... This recipe to make a romesco gruyere grilles cheese sandwich is perfect for a beer night with friends, a relaxed movie night, or....ok there's no time that we wouldn't go for one.

    The ingredients are simple and easy, so you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen. And who knew a bit of romesco sauce and some spicy heat could up this standard so significantly?

     Say no mo, now let's go eat before we start chewing our keyboard. 

    Romesco Grilled Cheese with Gruyere + Watercress [A Better Happier St. Sebastian]



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    I'm digging this one: by embracing very affordable materials (OSB subfloor panels, pine 2x4s and 2x6s), this project pulls off a high/low aesthetic that actually benefits from its low cost.    

    Cool, right? Two composite panels are wrapped with molding and spaced out by 2x4s with angled 2x6 legs. The double desktop provides for plenty of storage to stash commonly used or fragile items to work on bigger projects. 

    The designers are using as a conference-style table, but you could eat on this thing, build stuff, make prints...all kinds of good stuff. Approved. 

    DIY: Our Office Desk[A Beautiful Mess]





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    created at: 03/27/2014

    Most have heard, and can quote, the famous line attributed (probably inappropriately) to Benjamin Franklin, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And plenty of us have likely created our adages to remind ourselves of experiences with tequila, wine, or some other overindulgence. But, throughout the last few hundred years, many of our greatest writers, thinkers, and humorists have dedicated their lines to that most aged and crafted of spirits: whiskey.   First We feast has gathered twenty-five homages (and eulogies?) to the spirit, and assembled them in this worthwhile collection. Some standouts:

    • "Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” - Mark Twain
    • “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” - W.C. Fields
    • “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” - Raymond Chandler

    Check out the full post on First We Feast - 25 Quotes About Whiskey from the Famous Drinkers who Loved It Best

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    If you've been in the craft store during the last few years, you've seen the walls of chipboard or basswood letters. Which are cool, except for one thing: the typefaces are, at best, limited, and at worse...awful. (Curlz MT?!?!) So, I'm diggin' this process to make custom 3D paper letters from any font your choose, in whatever size you like. 

    Jimmy Diresta doesn't really provide a "how-to" here, but if you watch his technique of print, cut, glue, and paint, you'll be able to recreate your own set in no time. I like the spray paint technique, which not only covers glue joints and adds color, but also strengthens the paper, making the project a bit more durable.

    Watch the video below: 

    See more at Makezine - DiResta: Paper Letters

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    created at: 03/28/2014

    Iconic designer and graphic artist Milton Glaser - the mind behind the I ♥ NY logo, that Bob Dylan poster with the colorful hair, and the co-founder of New York Magazine - takes a look at the bottle and can labels of contemporary beer art. 

    Spolier alert: he has good and bad things to say about most of them, though he's kindest to the Left Hand Milk Stout, the Flying Dog Gonzo Porter, and the Ommegang Witte. 

    The New York Times piece begins, "When it comes to craft beer, Glaser, who also designed the Brooklyn Brewery identity, believes that it comes down to creating a label that looks quirkily amateurish — if not downright unprofessional. 'The one thing you don’t want to look like is Budweiser,' Glaser says. 'This creates a paradox: How do you deliberately create the illusion of not knowing what you’re doing when you actually do?' As he notes...some companies do it better than others.' "

    Check out his thoughts in full: Milton Glaser Critiques Modern Beer Art 

    [Photographs by Gabrielle Plucknette/The New York Times] 



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    This weekend project combines the best of both worlds: it's functional, providing plenty of space to grow small culinary herbs or succulents or a safe place to start seeds indoors while it's still frosty outside, and its large scale allows it to fill a whole wall, providing color, texture, and a bit of pattern.    

    The materials are affordable and the tools basic: crosscut saw, electric drill with hole saw bit, and some sandpaper. 


    See the full how-to and video at Homemade Modern: EP 29 Hanging Garden



    For a ManMade take on a similar project, check out our original tutorial - 

    How to: Make DIY Wall-Mounted Succulent Shelves



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    created at: 03/31/2014

    The key bulge. That tangle of metal in your pocket that does no one any favors, and is usually more hassle than its worth...until you're out and you actually needthat key you almost left at home. 

    Instructable-r Stuartcom came up with this clever solution: hack a flip-out bike multitool to house your keys with a much more efficient packing ratio than the standard ring.  Plus, Stuart only looks to be 15-years-old. It's awesome to see such creativity and DIY ingenuity at such a young age. We love it. 

    Get the full how-to at Instructables: Bike tool key set (MOD) 



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