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    Executing a well-designed project doesn't always have to involve high-end materials, elegant shapes, and complicated techniques. Sometimes, the most affordable wood will do, and to bring it together: just a little math.   

    created at: 11/10/2014

    This quick-and-simple DIY decor project reads like much more than the sum of its parts. It's really just some 1x2s, cut to 30° on each end, and glued together. By staggering the joints, the sides form a perfect equilateral triangle. Hang 'em up, and go.

    Get the full how-to at The Merrythought: DIY Wooden Triangle Shelves

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    Bee Hive Assembled

    My family loves honey. The natural sweetener is either on or in just about everything we eat, so it was just a matter of time before we started looking into "making" it ourselves. This basic bee hive is the perfect start to getting natural honey right from the source.   While it may be a bit daunting (dangerous) to think about raising bees, after reading about it over at Bees and Beekeeping I felt a bit more comfortable about keeping hundreds of flying needles around my house. With a bit of room and a DIY mindset, keeping bees is safe and the sweet reward is worth the effort.

    Bee hive Assembled

    The project includes box joints for strength, but overall it is straightforward and easy to follow with plenty of pictures of the process and a few tips on how to put it all together. The site also has articles on placement, and resources on getting the actual hive bees delivered right to your door. 

    So if you have the space to raise bees a bit away from your house, this project may be worth the time, with plenty of sweet rewards in the future.

    Build a Bee Hive: An Illustrated, Step-By-Step Guide

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    Safety RazorsAlright men: the votes have been cast, and the safety razor is the way to go. I got my first one as a gift from a buddy and have used it ever since. They're significantly cheaper, easier on the environment, better for travel, and generally make you feel like a badass...   

    Parker 99RThat said, they do take quite awhile to master and I'm still unconvinced that they actually give you a closer shave. But upon mastery, you will have greater control to get just as close of a shave; and although it'll take a little longer, you'll spend more time feeling incredibly manly each morning. If you're interested in checking one out but haven't inherited one from a grandfather, check out this convenient guide from HiConsumption



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    created at: 11/09/2014

    Have you ever pulled out your cutting board just before dinner to find a rather large crack running up the middle of it? When you pay a fortune for a good board, problems like this can make you hesitant to want to throw them out for another one. Frank Howarth recently posted an inspirational process video for a repair job he did on some rather large sushi cutting boards for a local restaurant.    Now, you might not find yourself needing to repair such large boards but you can definitely apply his method to any size board you may have. All you need is a good table saw and a decent amount of clamps to get the job done. You won't have to worry about is using biscuits to align the joints since your boards are likely much smaller than a sushi board.

    created at: 11/09/2014

    Subscribe to Frank's page too, he posts some really intriguing and genuine videos frequently. Including this enthralling stop-motion process video he made for a pair of bookshelves.


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    Grilled TurkeyWe've still got a couple weeks yet, but why not check out these recipes now and prepare yourself for the manliest Thanksgiving yet? The dinner menu features "a turkey smoked over sweet applewood and corncobs, ember-cooked potato packets..., a grilled fig and dried fruit chutney; and grilled green beans with shallots and hazelnuts."   

    Grilled Thanksgiving TurkeyThe recipes were created by Ben Ford, chef at Ford's Filling Station in Los Angeles, and each recipe sounds incredible and relatively straightforward. There's even an alternate method for gas grills that still creates the smokey flavor. Oh and just to reiterate: Winter-Fruit. Chutney.Winterfruit Chutney

    View the full recipes from Popular Mechanics


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    Hand-Eye Supply, purveyors of fine work inspired goods, tools, and gear, recently released their new collection of awesome workplace photos, and the people that create there.    

    They say, "Our fresh fall project From the desk of... pays homage to the diverse and under-appreciated world of the desktop. Featuring 21 of the most talented desks in town, we focus on tools and spaces that inspire joy and productivity. Our visits took us to famous offices and off-the-radar home studios, and we chatted with big personalities and elusive workers alike."

    Check out the whole series on



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    Here's a clever use for leather: Josh used some nice thick 12-14 oz leather to create a thermal sleeve for a mason jar to prevent warm drinks from burning your hand, and then he added a swell leather handle for functionality and some serious style. 

    This is a straightforward build that doesn't require a lot of specialized leather working tools, and would make a great beginning project. Josh says

    Are you looking into getting into working with leather? I have been wanting to for a long time now. This mason jar sleeve is a perfect way to dive in and learn a bit about the craft. We have a great leather store here in Springfield, and the supplies and possibilities are endless. If you don't have a sweet leather store in your area, there's always the Internet, which has everything. This project was super easy, didn't require many tools, and would make a great gift! I'm already looking forward to trying other leather projects. Sorry, family and friends, you're all getting leather stuff for Christmas. I'm not really sorry.

    Nice. Get the full how-to at A Beautiful Mess: Leather Mason Jar Sleeve



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    created at: 11/10/2014Five years ago I found a tiny grant through a journalism fellowship so that I could shoot a documentary short about sex-trafficking in South Africa during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Four years ago I found some small financial aids to help me study the Lakota language, and three years ago my brother and I found a grant through his college that helped fund our dream of rafting the entire Mississippi River.  

    I had very little experience in any of these fields beforehand, but in each case I was able to realize the dream through extensive research and grant applications. In that vein, here is a roundup of suggestions, travel grants, and links to help you plan your next adventure. 

    Huckberry Grant

    Huckberry Explorer Grant - For the past two years, Huckberry has offered a cash prize of $1,000 along with tons of cool gear from their favorite suppliers to help applicants realize their dream adventure. The application for this year just closed, but it pretty much just consists of explaining what you want to do and why in a paragraph or two. Read about the application process or check out some previous winners.

    created at: 11/10/2014Study Abroad - If you're still in school and your program is somewhat flexible, you should absolutely check out the study abroad or foreign exchange programs. Generally speaking, it's much cheaper to live abroad in student housing than as a normal traveller, and it's much easier to attain a visa. Not to mention you'll get a whole new perspective on education and you'll be able to absorb a new culture over many months. 

    WWOOFWwoof it - TheWorld Wide Organization of Organic Farms is a loose association of national organizations that help place volunteers on organic farms and has been around for about 40 years now. Volunteers (often known as wwoofers) put in an average of 4-6 hours of farm work in exchange for a full day's worth of room and board. According to their website, "You may be asked to help with a variety of tasks like sowing seed, making compost, gardening, planting, cutting wood, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing, making mud-bricks, wine making, cheese making and bread making." It's an incredible way to see the world and work alongside locals in such a way that will cost you very little while you're doing it -- and you get to work with your hands. What's not to love? Most wwoofers stay an average of 1-2 weeks, although you work it out individually with your host and many people say as short as a few days or as a long as 6 months. While I've never done this personally, I have a number of friends who have, all with positive responses. Read more or sign up on their website.

    InterExchange VietnamConsider Teaching English Abroad - If you're ready for a more long-term adventure, there are so many organizations that facilitate this that it's hard to narrow down the list. Most programs don't require previous teaching experience, but of course require you to be in the country for at least a full school year. Good programs to check out include InterExchange, CIEE, Language Corps, or even something like a Fulbright Scholarship.

    Road Trip NationRoad Trip Nation Travel Grants - Road Trip Nation offers two types of unique grants for people who wish to roadtrip across America, and a film crew tends to tag along. The Green RV Program places three people (either applying together or separately) in a structured summer roadtrip to interview a successful person about their journey to success. The Indie Program can be done any vehicle at other times throughout the year. The program tends to attract college age guys and post-grads, but are open to anyone of any age or level of education. 

    Pulitzer Center on Crisis ReportingThe Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting - Don't discount yourself just because Pulitzer is in the title. The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting helps fund international trips generally between $2,000-$10,000 (but sometimes as much as $20,000) to report on issues of global importance. It's open to writers, photographers, journalists, videographers/filmmakers, and reporters. There's a hearty emphasis placed on multimedia reporting, so it might be worth talking to your artistic buddies and coming up with a group project. 



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    created at: 11/12/2014This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.

    I use a lot of sharp things in my projects ... and I have the scars on my hands to prove it. See, most of my creative work involves taking some raw material, cutting it, shaping it, and then putting it in relation to other cut and shaped materials. A piece of hardwood through the table saw, paper cut by scissors, a carrot chopped by a chef's knife, a linoleum carving block sliced away for printmaking. Each uses different techniques, but are all, at their core, intentional material manipulation.   

    Hey, don't forget to scroll all the way to the bottom to learn how you can win your very own Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer!

    But I'm interested in a variety of media and approaches to creativity, and I'm fascinated by the idea of making something in an "additive" technique ... rather than a subtractive or collage one. Drawing and painting follow this approach (I wish I trusted my freehanding skills more), but I like working in three dimensions ... you know, like 3D printing.

    So, when I got the opportunity to collaborate with Dremel and The Home Depot with Dremel's new Idea Builder 3D printer, I knew it was definitely the kind of tool that I wanted to learn more about, and incorporate into my creative process. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    I'd never used a 3D printer before in my life, and honestly, I don't think I'd even seen one in person, nor a printed piece up close. I was aware of the technology, sure, as anyone who spends time in the craft and DIY blogosphere would be. But - full disclosure - the process kinda intimidated me. I have no experience with CAD or 3D design software, nor any sort of robotics or programming, and I didn't really know where to begin.

    The folks at Dremel know this, and they've found a way to make an easy-to-use, fully functioning 3D printing solution out-of-the-box, no kits, assembly, or soldering required. 

    Opening it up, I really had no idea what to expect. But the unboxing and setup process was quite straightforward, and as I made my way through the Quick Start Guide, it became pretty fun, and I got that whole "Christmas morning" feeling and became excited about learning more. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    The unit is about the size of a large microwave, and very lightweight, making it easy to move from storage shelf to bench top. I used the guide to add the filament spool, and run it through a series of guide tubes to attach to the extruder. If you're not aware, 3d printing works like this: the PLA thermal plastic is run to a "printing head" where it's heated up. The extruder head is attached to an X-Y plotter, which moves over the build platform, just like your inkjet printer. The extruder makes multiple passes over the design, and the build platform raises and lowers itself along the Z-axis to create the third dimension. 

    Cool, huh?

    Once the filament was installed, I used the on-board menu (hooray for touch screen) to complete the setup process. It's super straightforward, and easy to use the included card to level the platform for an even print.

    With everything set up, I wanted to see what this thing could do. I inserted the include SD card, which comes preloaded with lots of designs. For my first print, I choose the T. Rex head, because, well, it's a T. Rex head. I pressed go, and headed out to run some errands with my wife.

    created at: 11/12/2014

    When we got home, there was a freaking T. Rex head sitting on the platform of the printer. It was textured, and solid, and surprisingly complex in its shape and detail. I was completely sold. 

    The next day, with a sample print under my belt, I wanted to create a custom project. As I mentioned above, I have no experience with 3D design, but I'm always willing to learn, so I downloaded Dremel's recommended AutoDesk 123D software, and opened it up. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    I love working with type and letterforms, so I decided to try out a 3D version of the ManMade logo. Because, well, who wouldn't want a 3D logo of their man craft blog? I used Adobe Illustrator to type out the font, and then merged the letterforms to create a solid shape with overlapping edges, so the design would print out as a single shape.  Then, I exported that as a SVG into Autodesk, and used the Extrude tool to bring the flat shape into the third dimension. From there, I exported the design as an STL file to open in the 3D Dremel software, which creates the file the Idea Builder can use.

    created at: 11/12/2014

    Using three pieces of software sounds complicated, but it came together without any hiccups in less than 20 minutes. I preferred to do it this way, since I was able to use the tools I was already comfortable with, and each step allowed me to use each app to its potential - Illustrator for 2D design, the Autodesk 123D for 3D, and 3D Dremel to handle the final sizing/dimensions, and to create the print file. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    Then, it was time to print. The Idea Builder comes with a USB cord to use, but I didn't want my laptop to be tethered to the printer during the print time, so I exported the design to the included SD card, and plugged it into the Idea Builder. The menus made this totally easy, and I struggled not a bit. 

    I attached some easy-to-switch fancy red filament for this piece, and used the Load Filament feature of the menu to get it ready. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    Speaking of which, here's a good tip: use the Load Filament feature a few times to allow any remaining filament to extrude out of the tip before starting your new project. There was a little bit of pink medium where the older white and the new red had heated up together, and this allowed me to get a nice, solid color print. 

    I found my design under the Build menu on the touchscreen, and pressed go. The menu included a total print time - four hours, which matched the estimate from the 3D Dremel software, as well as a status bar to let you know what's up. The menu also includes nice big stop and pause features; I pressed the pause icon a few times throughout the process, just to see what would happen, and there were no hiccups in the final print. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    About the printing process, I'll say this: watch it. It's neat, and it's sorta mesmerizing. It was also awesome to see the ManMade logo, something I've been looking at everyday for the last four years, and which obviously means a lot to me, begin to take shape among all the whizzes and whirs of the Dremel 3D Idea Builder. And it's cool to see how the printer makes its choices - outlining the edges for strength, and then filling in the shape with an x-patterned to provide structure while minimizing material use. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    So, to state the obvious - 3D printing is awesome, and the Dremel Idea Builder is an easy, user-friendly option that you can find at your local Home Depot, and it excited a pencil-and-paper, handsaw-and-chisel traditionalist like me to make new things.  I'm also impressed by the community aspects of the Idea Builder. Besides the included models on the SD card, the Dremel web site has all kinds of downloadable 3D models, project examples, and a super helpful support system from Dremel Experts. 


    created at: 11/12/2014


    I'd definitely like to learn more about the 3D design aspects, so that I can incorporate the ability to craft original project parts from scratch. I'm intrigued by the precision of the manufacturing here, and once I learn more, look forward to "machining" some of my own parts for projects.  I also 100% plan to develop the 3D type angle more ... honestly, the ability to create a physical object in the font of my choice will never get old, and I'll definitely be making some typographic Christmas tree ornaments this year. I'm interested in incorporating a model in printmaking to create my own little letterpress plates, and I've been checking out community aspects like Dremel's own Maker Gallery and the free resource Thingiverse

    Oh, and next on my list? One of these printed bottle openers that use a penny for leverage. It's included in the Autodesk software, and I'm learning how to customize it. 

    created at: 11/12/2014

    Now for the best part: ManMade is pumped to partner with The Home Depot to give away a Dremel Idea Builder. That's right - you can win one, for free. Just check out the details below for a chance to win. 



    Pin this image to enter to win our 3D printer giveaway!

    This blog post is sponsored by The Home Depot. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow ManMade to share free original content with our community. 

    I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer program (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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    Pixel Art Chopping BoardEvery man needs a cutting board and a good, solid one always ups the ante of the kitchen's quality. Inspired by the impressive designs of 1337motifthis step-by-step guide from Instructable's community member 1up Living shows you how to create your own cutting board with some vintage video game inspiration.    Pixel Art Chopping Board

    The project itself is pretty extensive and requires A LOT of sanding, but I'm sure you're up to the challenge (and if not you can purchase his pre-made cutting boards here).

    Pixel Art Chopping Boards []


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    Sure, it's a bit of a novelty, but doesn't anything served in a shot glass fall into that category, too?   Cheri from the Watering Mouth figured out this interesting technique, made even more tempting cause you don't really have to do anything other than toast the marshmallows.

    After they're blistered, the 'shmallows will actually collapse in on themselves after the cool. So all you gotta do is warm, wait, and pour. 

    Watch the whole technique in the video below...


    ... and read more at The Watering Mouth



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    Aluminum Prints

    With the holidays right around the corner, the search for perfect gifts is underway in force. Spring for something memorable like these aluminum printed photos from PostalPix.   Almost every year we print up photos for the family of our 3 girls, and it's so much fun to visit throughout the year and see those gifts prominently displayed throughout their homes. While we generally get them snazzy frames or find a creative way to display them, this year we're going to get them printed on aluminum. There's something impressive about a print on metal. It conjures up thoughts of class and style, and feels like something I want in my home. 

    Aluminum Printed Photos

    The folks over at take memories and turn them into something more tangible. Their site has resources to grab your photos via app, or upload from a computer. While the prints are spendy ($15 for a 5x7, $25 for an 8x10) the unique medium and no need for a frame bring that number into reasonable territory.

    So give them gifts they love this year, and spring for a few memories ingrained on a sheet of metal. Looking at them a few years from now, you'll be glad you did.


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    Nettle Cordage

    Nettles grow just about anywhere that's left alone long enough, which is why it's great to learn about their multiple uses. This photographic tutorial from Nature's Secret Larder shows you how to easily weave tight cords in the wild for things like twine and fishing wire.    

    Nettle Cordage

    Because nettles grow so tall and thin in their search for light, their stems are incredibly resilient and make for perfect natural string you can rely on. 

    Nettle Cordage

    Check out the full tutorial at  Nature's Secret Larder

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    created at: 11/16/2014

    Have you ever had to cook dinner at a friend's kitchen only to find out they don't even own a cutting board? Not only have I had that happen for me, I've noticed this kind of thing happening in my friend's workshops. It's easy to get caught up in making things and overlook some essential tools that can really help you get things done right.    I thought I'd share a few tools I use almost every time I work on a new project. Some of these are almost laughable, but I guarantee some of you are going to read through these 6 tools and think to yourself, "Oh yeah, I need one of those." 

    created at: 11/16/2014

    1. A Pocket Multi-Tool
    I love my Leatherman Wingman. It has pliers, knives, screwdrivers, and my favorite, a package cutting hook. I could go on and on about why you should have one of these, but the main reason is it's a small product with a many uses. I keep in my my pocket everyday. You never know when you're going to need to pull a MacGyver!

    created at: 11/16/2014

    2. Box Beam Level

    Not only can you use this tool to make sure things are level and plumb, its machined-flat edge makes a fantastic guide rail for your circular saw. You can also use this tool to check for straight cuts on the board edges. I have levels sizes ranging from 1-6 feet that I use on a regular basis. 

    created at: 11/16/2014

    3. Painter's Multi-Tool

    Man, I love this tool. Some brands claim this thing can do 17 different things and I believe it! It can scrape off old debris, pry open paint cans, cut old rags, clean off paint rollers pull out small nails, chisel out caulk and more! I keep it hanging above my work station so I can grab it whenever I need it, which is often.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    4. Speed Square

    I use this tool to get straight lines for most of my DIY projects. It has a flat lip on one end that will sit against an edge so you can transfer 90 and 45 degree lines to a surface. It also can help you find square in corners of boxes and frames. When you go to purchase one, inspect the edges for bumps or dips. It's important that these edges are clean to make sure you always have perfect lines.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    5. Carpenter's Pencil

    I love these pencils because they're flat. That means they won't roll off your workbench! This shape also allows you to make really fat lines, or rotate it 90 degrees and you can make really sharp, thin lines. To make a really sharp point, I rub flat sides on a sheet of sandpaper. These pencils are also engineered to hold up when you're making lines on rough surfaces. 

    created at: 11/16/2014

    6. Hand Broom and Dustpan

    This product may be a no-brainer, but when you have a small shop like mine, hauling out the ShopVac for simple dust cleanup can be a pain. I use this hand broom every day to clean off my work surfaces and gently dust off my tools. Not to mention, I like to work quietly on some projects and vacuums can be so loud! 

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    Fall Grilling

    Even though summer has run it's course, don't put away that grill just yet. We've come up with 5 exceptional fall recipes that are sure to bring out the best of this fall weather. Cold weather eating should include hearty portions, thick sauces, and bold flavors that inspire a long evening nap next to the fire.

    1. Grilled Margherita Sandwiches

    Grilled Margherita Sandwich

    This grilled sandwich combines exceptional flavors into a crispy seasoned spread full of warm melted cheese, spicy basil, and tart tomatoes. When I have people over, I generally set out some fresh mozzarella and basil with a oil balsamic vinegar dip; so wrapping it up in a sandwich really bumps it up a notch. The prep time on this meal is about 25 minutes, so keeping these ingredients handy would be a great idea for an impromptu get-together. 

    2. Grilled Jalapeno Stuffed Burgers

    Grilled Jalapeno burger

    Juicy Beef wrapped around spicy jalapenos with cream cheese. You heard that incredible combination right. This burger can be customized for each guest depending on preference, we substituted ciabatta bread for a bit less bun with all the taste. Keep in mind - the burgers tend to fall apart if you get too generous in the stuffing, sometimes a bit less really is best.

    3. Orange Ginger Grilled Salmon Steaks

    Grilled Ginger Salmon Steak

    If you're out there enjoying the fall Salmon run then this is an excellent way to share the wealth with your friends. Salmon steaks are thick and juicy with plenty of flavor to balance out heavy seasonings and a bold ginger spice. The steaks cook fast so not too much time has to be spent out at the grill missing all the fun inside. Marinade the fish for up to 2 days for a deep flavor, but anything over an hour should be enough to get a great taste. 

    4. Grilled Chicken Tacos

    Grilled Chicken Tacos

    Although this could be called a late summer meal, it still has enough flavor to hold up to the cool evening weather. One of the great things about tacos is the ability for everyone to serve up their own meals, and I love how it tends to keep the conversation going while  assembling all that grilled goodness. Firing up the onions and chicken together brings a real smoky flavor to the tacos which balances well with the lime juice and cilantro. Prep time on this meal is about an hour, so be sure to plan ahead to avoid last minute rushing before the meal.

    5. Grilled Oysters On The Halfshell

    Grilled Oysters On The Halfshell with Grilled Proscuitto & Mignonette

    Ah, the wonderful oyster. If you happen to live in a place where oysters are plentiful this is a must for the fall. While this feast isn't for everyone, grilled half-shells are an easy way to enjoy this bounty of the sea. Grilling up the shellfish adds a clean smoky flavor, while adding in the proscuitto gives a solid heft to the taste. Pair this heady meal with a romaine lettuce salad for a well-rounded cold weather meal.

    So don't stow away that grill just yet, just grab your jacket and get back to cooking up some exceptional outdoor meals.

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    Weekend Drive Gear

    This time of year, I almost always find myself looking for a reason to drive.  There's something exceptional about the fall foliage, misty weather, and changing of the seasons. I like to keep a simple bag of gear packed up in case my wanderings turn into an overnight trek.   

    1. Polarized Sunglasses

    Having a set of polarized sunglasses makes the road easier to see, and the fall colors really pop. Polarized glasses take the edge off of glare, and also block out the UV rays. This means by the end of a long day, my eyes feel less tired and strained. The polarization seems to shed a layer off the surface of water, so it becomes more detailed and fish don’t tend to blend in. The reason I love my Switch lenses is twofold, first they are exceptionally clear, light, and look good. Second, they have magnetic interchangeable lenses that are easy to swap out for different light conditions. I have a set of blue polarized and some low-light amber lenses to match the weather.

    Messenger Bag

     2. A Nice Warm Blanket

    Having a great blanket just tends to be a good idea. A Roadside picnic, impromptu bonfire, or just getting close while watching the sunset is always a bit easier under a warm blanket. Stay away from woven blankets since they tend to pick up stickers and grass more so than a solid fabric.

    3. Messenger Bag

    My STM messenger bag is one of my favorite weekend bags, it’s big enough for the essentials with a few tech pockets but still has the classic brushed poly fabric that feels more classic than trendy. It’s a great carry-on piece with space for a laptop and magazines as well.created at: 11/17/2014

    4. Vintage Chrome Flask

    Keeping a little nip close at hand generally seems like a good idea. Finding a quality spirit while on the road is a hassle, so bringing some along for a nightcap avoids the need to suffer through a thimble of rotgut. My flask has been around since it was legal to fill it so the dents, scratches, and general character really hold a lot of memories for me. Taking it along on any adventure I'm on is just second nature.

     5. Merino Wool Layer

    I’m a fan of merino wool. It’s soft, durable, and provides some good insulation without bulking up too much. The benefit of the merino wool is the finer size of the materials, resulting in a much finer weave, with all the benefits of traditional wool. Look for some great shirts at Smartwool, Ibex, and Woolx.

    Sanuk Casa Barco Shoes

     6. Comfortable Shoes

    I've been wearing Sanuk shoes for a few years now and I have become a fan of the style, and lightweight materials. They are the most comfortable travel shoes I own. The canvas exterior is durable enough to hold up to my abuse, and I almost forget I’m wearing them within minutes of slipping them on.

     7. Personal Journal

    Don’t forget to bring along something to gather those thoughts. One of my favorite parts of taking a drive is the fact that I have time to gather my thoughts. The very activity compels you to think, plan, and dream. So it’s no wonder that what I would call my most essential tool I have my journal.  A few years ago I was given the gift of a very nice Moleskine journal, and it’s been close to me ever since (well, it’s been filled by now, but the new one has been).

    So take a few minutes to gather up your own essential kit, and let me know what it looks like. Then start planning a last minute escape to enjoy some of those amazing places close to your home.

     8Clothes and the Rest - You know what you wear. Just grab enough for a few days, and don't overthink it. We recommend wool socks here, which wick moisture and dry quickly, and an extra pair is highly recommended. Grab a few shirts, a single pair of pants, and get out there.

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    Reclaimed Wood Holiday Card DisplayWhen I was a kid, my family would try multiple times a year whenever we were dressed up for something to wrangle all my siblings together in order to snap a family Christmas card. As a result the thought of holiday cards always carried the feeling of minor annoyance that I was being kept from a very important game of freeze-tag.  

    I've since found the light upon growing up and even enjoyed sending out ridiculous holiday cards with my roommates in college. So in prep for the holidays, check out this masculine and homey holiday card display made out of reclaimed wood from Tim and Mary Vidra.

    Reclaimed Wood Holiday Card Display

    The display will also function as an awesome photo display in general – not necessarily limited to the approaching holidays. Reclaimed Wood Holiday Card Display

    View the full tutorial on

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    Ceiling Upgrade

    Adding character to a room can take quite a bit of work, sometimes it's crown moulding or new windowsills. Then there are the bold upgrades that make a room stand out. This project turns a plain ceiling into something worth showing off.   The Ashmores have some great projects highlighting their work to make their house into a personalized home on their site. What really caught my eye was this bold ceiling upgrade that they did while also installing wainscoting. 

    Installing Ceiling Moulding

    The grid pattern is a combination of a few different pieces of wood that end up giving some interesting depth. With the added lights and finish work, it really makes the room come together.

    Installing Ceiling Moulding

    Head over to their site to see the process on this project and plenty of others as they upgrade their home room by room. 

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    created at: 11/16/2014

    Don't you hate it when you're ready to plug in your phone for the night and the dang cable has fallen off your night stand and into the void between your bed and the wall? Yea, so did I until I invented this lovely walnut Phone Throne!    

    This project is so quick and easy, you could start this project on a saturday afternoon and have it ready to use that evening.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    Here's what you need:

    • A small piece of wood. Mine was 10x8" (the size will depend on the phone you have)
    • Danish Oil
    • Xacto Knife
    • Peel-n-Stick Cork drawer liner
    • A rag for applying oil

    created at: 11/16/2014

    Measuring how large your throne needs to be will depend on how large your phone is. I have an iPhone 5 so I want the top surface 4" x 5.5". I want to make this throne a bit more interesting than just a block of wood, I'll be cutting a 45 degree miter on the longer ends. To account for that, I want the entire piece to measure 4.5" x 5.5"

    created at: 11/16/2014

    After you make your initial 4.5x5.5" cut I set my blade at 45 degrees and my fence at 4" to cut the miters on the long edges of the block. Make the first cut, rotate the block 180 degrees and cut the other side.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    After I made my miter cuts, I felt like the edges were really sharp to the touch. First, I reset my blade to 90 degrees. Then, I moved my fence in 1/8" and cut the edge flat.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    Now you want to cut a groove up the middle of the rest by passing the block over the blade. With a speedsquare or measuring tape, raise your blade up .25".

    created at: 11/16/2014

     I made three passes to cut the groove up the center. The first cut was up center. For the second, I moved the fence 1/16" to the right and cut. Finally, I moved it 1/16" to the left of center and cut.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    Now, you want to check and see that your cable will fit in the groove. If it doesn't go back and cut another 1/16 inch kerf. When everything fits nicely it's time to sand!

    created at: 11/16/2014

    After you've sanded it down to at least 220 grit, rub in a nice dark oil like this walnut colored danish oil. I love using oils like this because I don't have to go back over with a clear coat of poly. Also, the oil really brings out the natural colors of the wood.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    I found a roll of cork liner with an adhesive back. You can certainly use some sort of rubber or sticky feet if you have those lying around. For this step, set the rest on the cork and cut along the edges.

    created at: 11/16/2014

    Make sure the base of your throne is clean. I wiped it with a bit of water before I applied mine. Use a lot of firm pressure to apply the cork to the back. 

    created at: 11/16/2014

    Next, use an Xacto knife to make marks in the cork on each end of the block. I then used a ruler to align the notches to make a clean, straight cut. 

    created at: 11/16/2014

    After everything is cleaned out of the channel I placed the rest cork-side down and cut around the block at 45 degree angle. This cut back the cork just slightly so it hides under the block. 

    created at: 11/16/2014

    And your finished! All you need to do now is lay your phone cord down and place the block on top. Now rejoice, because whenever you unplug your phone, the throne holds the cord in place. Never again will you go fishing for your lost cable! 

    created at: 11/16/2014

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    You know that big empty wall in your house that needs a nice "pop" of art and color? We say fill it up! And you're gonna go for it, might as well go big.    

    Lana had a bare space in her L.A. apartment, so she added a bold, graphic Lichtenstein image, complete with customizable talk bubble. The comic-book like image lends itself well to a transfer like this, as there's only solid blocks of color, and no gradients or brushstrokes to replicate.

    created at: 11/20/2014

    Check out her full how-to on Instructables: DIY Wall Pop Art

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