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    I'm digging this rustic, cabin-look wall hanger DIY project, which adds some vibe, visual interest, and plenty of storage. The how-to comes from The Effortless Chicwho gave the whole thing a pseudo-feminine vibe, but I say forget the gold paint all together, and either leave it off, or choose a Scandinavian-style all black. Secondly, 

    iAlso, when sourcing materials, consider other options besides "driftwood." I'm actually not totally sure this is a piece of driftwood at just looks like a birch tree limb to me, so keep that in mind when searching. 

    But, the look is sharp, useful, and would work quite well in many masculine-style decors. Get the full how-to from The Effortless Chic: DIY // DRIFTWOOD WALL HANGER



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    created at: 06/17/2014

    The DIY blogosphere is rife with dresser makeovers. Like, completely full of them. And most involve some rescued thrift store piece, dinged up and the wooden finish too 70s to bear, which gets sanded, painted, and perhaps something graphic or colorful applied to the drawers. It's a great trick, practical, useful, and affordable, and you can find a million tutorials on how to go about it.   So, though the idea of hacking IKEA furniture is nothing new, this revamp-style dresser makeover on a new IKEA piece yields some pretty novel results: 

    The process involved a little painting, a little finishing, and some light DIYing on the base to accept new legs. The whole thing gets a nautical, New England or even Scandinavian vibe; full of personality, but basic enough to match nearly anything. Clever. See the full process:

    Before & After: A Basic Dresser Gets Dressed Up []



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    Around here, we've moved past the short glass: the whiskey in a tumbler, the shaken 3 oz. cocktails of spring, and opting for the long and tall. With sunshine comes all-day drinks: those mixed with plenty of ice and fresh ingredients to keep you cool.

    How to make flavoured ice cubes

    Of course, it's ice that keeps 'em cool, and when your glass sits around in the heat...well, ice melts. So, this summer, make that a good thing. We're sharing our technique and recipes to allow the ice to actually contribute to the flavor of a drink or cocktail, not just its temperature or dilution. Check it out!   

    How to make flavoured ice cubes

    The Basics:

    First off, making flavored ice cubes is super easy. It's like making regular ice, but, you know, with not just water. The process is simple: flavor a liquid, and freeze it. Good to go. 

    For tools you'll need:

    • Measuring cups and/or spoons
    • Sauce pan
    • Ice cube trays (we recommend silicon trays as they are easier to handle and won't break your ice cubes to pieces)

    For ingredients:

    • Liquid (e.g. juice, water, wine)
    • Flavoring/infusing agents (spices, tea, aromatics)
    • Sweetener (agave syrup, rice syrup, honey) 

    how to make flavoured ice cubes


    The Method:

    1. Infuse: heat or boil liquid with add-ins, or let them sit together in the fridge overnight for 24 hours.

    2. Cool liquid, strain, and place in ice trays.

    3. Enjoy!

    So... easy, right? Now here are a few extra tips:

    • Ice is only good as the water it came from. Consider using filtered water, spring water, or boiled water to remove cloudiness. Don't go crazy - the 80¢ gallon jugs from the grocery store work perfectly.
    • For ice cubes you want to infuse the liquid as much as you can. The cold makes the flavors harder to detect, so if you're gonna do it, go big. 
    • Taste the liquid before freezing and make sure it's strong, and we mean STRONG. Since it's going to slowly melt you want the flavour to really come through. So don't be shy!
    • If using spirits, heat them up for to remove most of the alcohol so it can freeze. Spirits with high levels of alcohol should simmer longer. And, of course, choose something with flavor...Vodka-flavored "ice" is really only cold vodka. If you're gonna reduce the liquid, make sure there's something besides ethanol and water. 
    • Always strain your mix before freezing, as sediments could settle at the bottom of the cubes making them gritty.



    Dark Chocolate Ice Cubes

    How to make flavoured ice cubes

    These cubes are the perfect companion for a cold-brew coffee, a white russian cocktail, or even with plain cold milk! Super tasty, and all homemade.


    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup agave syrup


    1. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottom pan and whisk until combined. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
    2. Let mix cool completely and place in ice cube trays.
    3. Remove from trays and serve with your favorite drink (or even munch on them!)

    How to make dark chocolate flavoured ice cubes


    Cinnamon, Anise, and Cardamon Ice Cubes 

    How to make cinnamon, anise, cardamon infused ice cubesThese flavourings are perfect for straight up cocktails like an Old Fashioned, a manhattan, or even a whiskey on the rocks. You can also add them to your favourite iced tea to spice it up.


    • 2 Cinnamon sticks
    • 1 Star anise
    • 8 Cardamon pods
    • 2 cups of water
    • 3 tablespoons of agave syrup


    1. Brew all ingredients for about 5-10 minutes, until fragrant.
    2. Strain, let brew cool down, and place in ice trays. You can add a cardamon pod in each cube as garnish.
    3. When ready, remove from tray and immediately place in your drink.

    Angostura, Black Tea, and Thyme Ice Cubes

    Use in everything. 


    • 2 cups water
    • 2 black tea bags
    • 20 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 5-6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked 



    1. Heat water to a boil, turn off the heat, then add tea and bitters. Allow to cool a bit, to 150-160° or so, then add thyme leaves. Cool to room temperature. 
    2. Remove tea bags, and pour into ice trays to freeze. 


    There you have it. Let us know your ideas for flavor combos in the comments below. Enjoy!



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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.

    Sometimes, you're out and about, and you realize: you're not really looking your sharpest. An unexpected spill, a weird hair thing happening, or perhaps you're not smelling so fresh. In those cases, and plenty others, consultthis guide from Valet on how to sharpen your look on the fly. [Photo by Time & Life Pictures, from At Home with Steve McQueen: Newly Released Intimate Photos from 1963]

    created at: 06/18/2014

    Holiday Matinee makes some of the best monthly mixtapes... here's their June edition. 

    Speaking of mixtapes, I'm intrigued by Roadtrip Mixtape, "a clever app by Echo Nest developer Paul Lamere that generates a Spotify playlist of local artists to listen to while you’re on the road. Enter your departure and arrival points and the application generates a playlist of musicians from between those two spots." Learn more on Laughing Squid 

    Esquire staff writer Tom Chiarella reflects on How to Give a Eulogy

    An interesting look at one of the most used typefaces in the English-speaking world, Times New Roman:


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    created at: 06/18/2014

    Good news! Your body has built-in, uh, "app" to help you maintain or regain focus, stimulate creativity, and remain engaged in whatever tasks are at the top of your to-do list. 

    The trick?   Take a walk. That's it. Or, climb a hill. Do some pushups. Dance. Twirl a hula hoop. Just make sure you get up, and move around a bit. It's true, and it works. Trainer and consultant Beth Kanter discusses the importance of movement and productivity...namely, that just toughing it out at your desks is one of the worse decisions you can make if you actually wanna get that project done.  

    She says,

    I came across a brain scan by Dr. Chuck Hillman from University of Illinois Neurocognitive Kinesiology Laboratory. The lab does research on the relationship between physical fitness and cognitive function. The scan shows a comparison of the brain after sitting vs walking for 20 minutes. There is more red in the walking scan which shows more connections in the brain and more ability to concentrate and that is good for learning. The sitting brain is really disengaged.

    Note: you don't have to stop working when you're moving. It's not about taking a break; it's about not sitting still in the same place. You can have walking meetings, walking phone calls, pacing about the office brainstorm sessions, anything...provided that you simply move. 

    So, for how long can stay stationary? 20 minutes. That's it. Kanter says,

    As a trainer, I've seen first hand the power of movement and how it helps wakes up a disengaged audience. I watch participants' body language like a hawk, and every 20 minutes or so I make sure that the delivery mode changes. You begin to pick up a second sense of feeling when people in the room are getting tired and have lost their focus. That's when you can add a brief stretch break, energizer, or incorporate an exercise that requires getting up and moving around. Movement does not distract learners... When participants move, oxygen to the brain increases, thereby enhancing both learning and memory. People can’t be as focused on content when they been sitting longer than 20 minutes.

    And with that...I'm going outside. See you in 20 minutes. 

    Why Movement Is the Killer App for Nonprofits



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    How to make your own shorts

    Quick! There are only a few weeks left of summer, and clearly, you're not going to spend money on buying a brand new pair of shorts. So today we present you a super easy, super affordable, super badass way of making your own. This project is awesome (if I do say so myself), 'cause you customize the length to your personal preference, and you don't have to know how to use (or have access to) a sewing machine.

    This project will take you only a few minutes, and you can wear them for many warm weathers to come. Best of all, you don't have to visit any of those dreaded teenage-infested shopping centers. 

    Let's make 'em!

    How To: Make Your Own Badass Shorts


    • A pair of old pants
    • Scissors
    • 1" fusable webbing tape (found at any fabric/craft store)
    • Iron
    • Pins (optional)

    Make it:

    1: Put on the pants, and determine your desired length. Add two inches (you can mark with chalk or a white penci), then cut the pants. NOTE: always leave extra room in case you want to fold them, it's better to trim any excess than end up having some 70's looking speedos. Also, angle your cut slightly (15° or so) up towards the inseam. This will make for an even seam. 

    how to make your own shorts

    2: Choose your style: folded or raw.

    - Raw: leave the shorts as is, they'll start to frill overtime. You're done!
    - Folded: there are two versions, inside and outside fold. If you don't like the "rolled-up" look, then do it from the inside and they'll look like regular shorts. Either way, glue the folds using the fusing web and a hot iron.

    how to make your own shorts

    That's it! You're ready to get some extra vitamin-D before your sun-deprived legs go to hibernation. Remember to play with the length!  As long as you are comfortable and look good, your shorts are good. Summer only lasts so long, so make the most out of it.



    This ManMade how-to was originally published on August 13, 2013.

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    created at: 06/19/2014

    Popular Mechanics takes on accidental death, and how to avoid it. Interestingly, the majority of the tips don't presume mountain isolation or post-apocalyptic bug outs, but a variety of outdoor activities, from mowing the lawn to attending a baseball game to drinking too much water. 

    So, it's more of an article about surprising ways to do, with a little "how to avoid it" thrown in, rendering the "must know" somewhat tongue-in-cheek. A bit fun facts, a bit practical, and a bit humor. Worth a read: 

    How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know [Popular Mechanics, via]


    [Top photo from the ManMade Instagram account]



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    During grilling season, it seems that a lot of coverage illuminates a high/low dichotomy: humble foods like chicken breasts, tough-to-eat ribs, even hearty vegetables, get elevated to something else entirely through the application of open flame, rendering them somehow newly desirable. Or, investment foods like fresh fish or the ubiquitous steak demand a seasoned griller, so as to not reduce their luxury.  But, done properly, few foods also occupy that perfect middle ground - those who could be cooked inside but simple taste better with some char, and those that are deserve special attention since they're not actually that inexpensive and can be tough to cook properly. A prime example, and one of my very favorite foods to cook on the grill in the summer: the pork chop. 

    As Daniel Gritzer points out, "Grilling pork chops seems simple enough. It's a cut of meat that's available just about everywhere, and it's tasty even with just a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Still, there are grilled pork chops, and then there are unbelievably juicy, charred-on-the-outside, rosy-on-the-inside grilled pork chops."

    Serious Eats grill expert Joshua Bousel offers a sure-fire approach for getting 'em just right on the grill, with nothing more than salt, pepper, water, sugar, and the right technique. 

    The Best Juicy Grilled Pork Chops [Serious Eats]



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    The gathering of nations for the 2014 World Cup has many, as often only international sports competitions actually can, learning about the cultural traditions of other nations.   And, while watching the games and commentary will alert you to how others behave at football games, Aaron Goldfarb of takes a look at what they like to drink...which probably also affects how others behave at football games.

    created at: 06/20/2014

    Aaron says, "While everyone else is busy today studying the 32 countries to figure out who their best players are and how far they might advance in the 2014 World Cup, you have a more important task on your hands:  learning what to get drunk on should you find yourself game-watching at a non-American bar. Don’t be a rube and order an ice cold lite beer, but instead, join in with the locals and learn just how very diverse this world can be.  (Very diverse of drunks that is!)."

    Who knows how official the selections actually are, but it certainly is a worthwhile read anyway. 
    The (Mostly) Official Drink of Every World Cup Nation []



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    I've gone on before on ManMade about my love of simple machines that work well, and that the bicycle is the most perfect and useful example. And for years, cyclists have been trying to figure out safe and efficient ways to move more than just human bodies from one place to another. Backpacks, frame bags, panniers, baskets, etc, all work well, but what about seriously larger-scale stuff that needs to stay off the frame lest it interfere with the trip. That's when you need a cargo trailer. 

    Mike Cheung from Tinkering Monkey took a stab at building his own on the cheap, using the frame from a Schwinn child-carrying trailer and outfitting it with rigid sides, and a new, more solid wooden arm that attaches similarly to a tractor trailer. 

    Mike's post is more of a narrative about his process of creating the trailer than a straightforward how-to. So, if you're looking for actual step-by-step details, Instructables has a whole collectionof DIY articles and efforts on the subject. 

    How to Make a Cheap and Easy Bike Cargo Trailer []



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    created at: 06/19/2014

    Popular Mechanics takes on accidental death, and how to avoid it. Interestingly, the majority of the tips don't presume mountain isolation or post-apocalyptic bug outs, but a variety of outdoor activities, from mowing the lawn to attending a baseball game to drinking too much water. 

    So, it's more of an article about surprising ways to do, with a little "how to avoid it" thrown in, rendering the "must know" somewhat tongue-in-cheek. A bit fun facts, a bit practical, and a bit humor. Worth a read: 

    How Not to Die: 20 Survival Tips You Must Know [Popular Mechanics, via]


    [Top photo from the ManMade Instagram account]



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    created at: 06/23/2014

    Surf photographer Clark Little didn't start out as a photographer. Instead, he was an avid surfer of the culture. He wanted some unique images to put up in his own house as display art. 

    So, he began to look at waves as an enthusiast, not as a sports photographer, and you'll notice something unique about his images: no surfers.   

    created at: 06/23/2014

    In fact, many of the waves he shoots aren't right for surfing at all, or at least not when they get that close to shore. He explains, "I was there are the right time capturing pictures that nobody wanted to get involved with. People saw it and it was unique because nobody was doing it - they're shooting pipe and trying to get the cover shot for the next magazine. And that's cool, but I'd rather go out in heavy shorebreak with nobody out and capture some heavy, four-lipped monster throwing over with the sand sucking up."

    created at: 06/23/2014

    The Inertia recently created this video about Clark and his new book, "Shorebreak"

    Learn more about Clark's work at his site, Clark Little Photography



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    hairpin table DIY

    I love the interesting texture and rustic approach to this natural side table. In fact, I could put one in every room, except for the price of buying four or five could get pretty steep.

    So, I'm digging this DIY take by Upcycled Treasures. The rusty hairpin legs add another layer of rustic, though, if you buy them new they may not look like this, it's always worth checking out craigslist for a true vintage set that you could use - for this tutorial, Upclycled Treasures shows you how to make your own, which is even better!

    You'll need a sturdy sander for to tear up the wood, but the technique creates a fun, natural edge. 

    No, it's not the same stool, and the finished product is quite different, but the techniques here are interesting and provide some awesome inspiration towards creating your own furniture with character.

    To see the full list of materials and step-by-step photos, visit Upcycled Treasures: Small Rustic Stool with DIY Hairpin Style Legs


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  • 06/24/14--12:00: Journeys
  • Over the past few weeks, I've really been enjoying "Journeys," a photo essay series from Experiment with Nature, the blog of Shwood Eyeware.    created at: 06/24/2014

    The latest installment features images from photographer Jess Bianchi, who drove his van from San Francisco up the 101 through the California and Oregon coastline. "Jess and his friend Emily drive his van along Highway 101 on the way up– pulling over to camp, search for waves, explore the redwoods, and truly experience the majestic stretch of coastline. Jess offers an interesting perspective on the changing of climates and the unique beauty of the Pacific Northwest having grown up on the island of Kaua’i."

    Other Journeys in the series Sentinel Dome, CA, Revelstoke, BC, Glenwood Springs, CO, and Kaua'i, HI. See them all at Experiment with Nature.


    [all photos by Jess Bianchi]



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    Winter is gone, friends. Time to put that fireplace to sleep for a while, without losing the vibe! And this clever wood facade is just the trick.

    Whether you have an active, working fireplace that just collects dust six or eight months out of the year, or you have one of those dreaded non-functioning fireplaces that just sit there looking non-functioning, this guy will bring in a serious outdoor vibe to your insides.

    Pepper Design Blog created this tutorial as part of her Winter Pinterest Challenge, but it comes in hand all year long, especially if you don't use your fireplace ALL the time.

    Get some logs and head to Pepper Design Blog to make your own.

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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.

    Photography team Floto+Warner created a new series "Clourant," which captures colorful liquid splashes at a speed of 1/3,500th of a second.

    They couple says, "Colourant is a series of events that pass you by as an imperceptible flash. A fleeting moment, that blocks and obscures the landscape, a momentary graffiti of air and space. Creating shapes of nature not experienced by the human eye, these short-lived anomalies are frozen for us to view at 3500th of a second. Transforming the non-discernible and ephemeral to the eternal. The essence of photography—immortalize the transitory." See and learn more about the series at Colossal: Colorful Liquid Splashes Captured at 1/3500th of a Second Look Like Floating Sculptures

    I'm intrigued by this vacuum-insulated French press from Thermos. It'll keep your coffee hot, and won't break like the glass carafes. Considering for next time I bust a Bodum. 


    So...should you really be drinking eight glasses of water a day? Valet takes a look at the adage and comes up with a new formula based on your specific needs.


    I'm totally making this for dinner tonight. Extra Veggies = Extra Flavor: Stir-Fried Lo Mein With Charred Cabbage, Shiitake, and Chives



    I actually do hope to read Piketty's (surprisingly?) best-selling economics book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, but while I wait in line at the library, I'm appreciating Cory Doctorow's I-read-this-so-you-don't-have-to -style summary.  



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    Hardcore fan of your state? Or perhaps it just has a pleasing, graphic shape? Or perhaps you're simply looking for new awesome art to hang on your wall? Either way, check out this idea. 

    home-state art DIY

    This project makes a cool alternative to the family photo gallery, providing some personalization without getting too, uh, family photo gallery. 

    Plus, the whole idea is made from scratch, so you can customize the look and build things to scale for your space. If you don't dig the white on medium brown look, consider black on natural wood, or turquoise on a walnut stain, etc. 

    If you're not so much into states, then perhaps go for countries, neighborhoods in your city, or even planets (perfect for the kids' room). 

    Waste no more time, grab your tools and head over to Make it & Love it for the full tutorial: “Home State” Scrap-Wood Art

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    Chivalry isn't dead in 2014. It's just, you know, different. In the era of smart phones at dinner and social networking breakups and Google glass and streaming media and cigarettes that aren't really cigarettes but still kinda are, the be-a-good-guy rules still apply, they just need to be updated a bit.    

    Wired magazine teamed up with social observer Jerry Seinfeld to offer a whole new set of rules on "How to Not Be a Jerk in the Digital Age."

    The piece begins, "as technology pioneers, we are inundated with new gadgets, services, apps, messaging, games, and media. We’re dosing, vaping, and Lyfting. And that means there are new rules for how to behave. Is it OK to answer an email during dinner? Is Google Glass ever cool? We got some help from Jerry Seinfeld, keen observer of social mores and foibles, on how to cope with modern technology."

    It's a fun, and accurate, and pretty smart. The whole piece is online now: How to Not Be a Jerk in the Digital Age


    [photo by Dan Winters for Wired]




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    For Werner, it all began with a trip to the lake. He recalls, "We were lured by a friend who had a sailboat with the promise of a nice lake with sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and a nice camping site. Everything was true but the wind, the frogs, the huge biting flies, and a massive category-five thunderstorm that soaked us inside the tent. My wife said that she had had it with the tent and unless I found something else to camp in, she was out."

    created at: 06/26/2014

    So, Werner hit the internet to see if he could devise a solution to protect from the creatures and the natural elements while still enjoying the experience of outdoor recreation.   His research led him the classic, 1930s style teardrop camper, and he set out to build one, more-or-less from scratch, big enough to house three people but still light enough to pull by a mid-sized car. The results?

    Boom. It's pretty cool to see that this can be built from a modest set of tools and easy-to-find materials. The real trick was simply ingenuity, creative problem-solving, and some hard work. 

    See the entire build process, plus a materials and tool list, at Make:Projects - Teardrop Camper Trailer



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    It's always a special day when a guy moves on from Folgers Crystals and a drip pot and steps up the homemade coffee game. And the truest of brew fans know that the way to get the most of their beans is via the pour over method, which helps to extract the most flavor.

    Why? Nick Cho explains, 

    Pourover coffee (unlike some other methods) continuously replenishes the liquid surrounding the coffee grounds with new, fresher water. This promotes a faster, more efficient brew. On the other hand, that fresh water also has a tendency to extract more from the surface layers of the grounds...

    Pouring one stream of water, rather than a dozen or more little streams from a coffee-maker's shower head, results in a brewing environment that's a few degrees higher, just from reducing the surface temperature loss from those narrow water streams. Temperature and water quality affect the overall reaction rate of our little coffee chemistry set (hotter, cleaner water generally means faster).

    So, since science is at play here, Nick dissects the specific equipment and techniques that will allow you to get the most from your pourover setup. It's a different way to think about making coffee, and requires an attention you might not be willing to give everyday, but when it's time for an extraordinary cup of homemade coffee, it's the way to go.

    Coffee Science: How to Make the Best Pourover Coffee at Home [Serious Eats]



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