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    created at: 12/05/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.    

    Saturday, December 12th: "Snow Falls Down" by Good Old War 

    If you listen to lots of holiday music, you'll notice some lyrical themes. The most dominant is probably the "the lights are on, the night is quiet, everyone is happy, I'm saying a bunch of four word phrases that describe things that happen at Christmas, I like Christmas" version This is one of those, but the chorus is so head-stuckingly catchy that you'll want to listen to it three times a day anyway. If you set the right tone, then you've done your job. These guys nailed it. 


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    created at: 12/05/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.    

    Sunday, December 13th: "River" by Joni Mitchell

    It's one you and your mom can both agree on, and both of you will end up in tears by the time its over. Listen to it twice, and go tell someone you love them. 

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 


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    created at: 12/09/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.       

    Monday, December 14th: "A Change at Christmas (Say It Isn't So)" by The Flaming Lips

     You know those bands that just "do" Christmas? The ones that you just happen to come across your radar, season after season, as an act that just have decided to make the holidays part of their creative palette? 

    The Flaming Lips are most certainly one of those groups. They've released numerous seasonal singles, EPs, and B-sides, completed an original feature length holiday film called Christmas on Mars, and frontman Wayne Coyne appears as a key figure in the Christmas music documentary,Jingle Bell Rocks. They're also the only band or artist that will appear twice in this countdown. 

    "A Change at Christmas" captures that, you know, thing that comes along with a celebration of light during the darkest time of the year and the end of one year and hope for the next. That sense that maybe peace of earth and goodwill and all that stuff actually might be the thing that moves us to be cool to each other the other eleven months of the year. On top of that, it's just damn good music. Listen often. 

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 

     


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    One of my favorite truths about woodworking is: it really hasn't changed much in the last few centuries. Sure, there are table saws that won't cut hotdogs now, but if you look at the hand tool design, they're nearly identical. (In fact, most modern high end tool makers are doing their best to emulate historic tools from the 19th century, albeit with newer materials). All of this is to say - this is a good thing, people who make stuff! It's good for your wallet, cause you can easily find these old tools and bring them back to life. And it's also good for your wallet (see what I did there?), because it means you can find loads of old books, magazines, and other instructional materials, all of which will be valid.   And some, of course, will be free. Like this guy, Joseph Moxon's 1703 Mechanick Exercises, the oldest known book on woodworking published in English. And check out this subtitle:

    The Doctrine of Handy-works. Applied to the Arts of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklayery. To which is Added, Mechanick Dyalling: Shewing how to Draw a True Sun-dyal on Any Given Plane, However Scituated; Only with the Help of a Straight Ruler and a Pair of Compasses, and Without Any Arithmetical Calculation

    Dope, right? It's got lots of interesting things to say about joinery, workbenches, lumber selection, and contains lots of helpful plates that detail how woodworkers were working on these pieces of historic furniture, millwork, and other items. 

    One of the more well-known details is the "Moxon vise" a two-jawed, twin-screwed device that is not mentioned in the text, but visible in the illustrations. Look familar?

    Being 300+ years old, it's in the public domain. Google Books has it here, for free.

    Christopher Schwarz provides another link here. Check it out!


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    created at: 12/14/2015

    There are times to try new things. Times to taste different flavors, experiment with products, seek out something you've never encountered before...And sometimes, you just want to know what the best option is. The easy choice. The go-to. The everyday variety you know will work when you need it, and rely on every time.      

    Throughout the next few months, ManMade is seeking out the best affordable bottles of a variety of spirits that work well in your home bar, but know you can grab at the store the next time you head to a friend's house or a party.   

    And with that, we'll conclude our series with brandy...since tis the season. Of course, this is a value series, so we're not looking at fine French Cognacs or Armagnacs. We're sticking to American brandy, made by distilling American wine from American grapes. It's a different category altogether from the fine European brandies, just like inexpensive Bourbon is a different from single malt Scotch. Doesn't mean it doesn't taste great.

    What is does mean, though, is that you don't have to worry too much about getting carried away here. There are lots of cool small craft distilleries doing interesting and delicious brandies, like my local Stone Barn Brandyworks, who are producing great stuff within walking distance of my house (Hi guys!) But, if you're sticking to American brandies, you can afford some of the best and still not break a twenty spot.

    created at: 12/14/2015

    Your friend here is E&J XO Extra Smooth. Yep, that one. The XO label is big step up from the brand's standard VSOP and VS labels (which still aren't bad). And it only costs, like, $14.

    E&J is owned by E & J Gallo Winery, a mega winery in Central California, so it's an economically way to use up all those extra grapes and wine. When you drink it, it's sweet. It's brandy, after all. But it's almost candy sweet, and tastes a bit like that melt-y liquid that drips down you arm while you're eating a popsicle...but in a good way.

    Again, this is American Brandy, and it doesn't taste like Courvoisier or Hennessy. The Ladies Man would not approve. But mixed up in a Sidecar (one of our faves) or spiked some egg nog or hot apple cider, it holds its booze-y own. It was recently rated the top American Brandy and given a 91/100 at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. And the XO is a fine step up from the $10 and $12 VS and VSOPs.

    Oh, and it costs $14. You caught that, right?

    created at: 12/14/2015

     

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    created at: 12/09/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.      

    Tuesday, December 15th: "Wonderful Christmastime " by The Shins

    Fact: Paul McCartney's original is one of the most universally (or at least North American-ly) maligned seasonal tunes. There went one of popular music's most amazing songwriters, a consummate performer, reduced to the utmost of flatness. The song is all chorus; no structure, no movement, no tension, notable only for its delay-y synth patch and those ever-present sleigh bells. 

    Then, James Mercer and The Shins get ahold of it, and make it 10o times catchier, giving it melody and harmony and interest and modulation and all the stuff you actually expect from a pop song. And now it's great and amazing and truly reminds you why the holiday season can be one of change. And you wish Paul would have just done it right in the first place, but happy someone figured it out eventually. And that's certainly what Christmas feels like in most families...

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 

     


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    created at: 12/15/2015

    With the holidays nigh upon us, now is the perfect time to take advantage of your hard-earned vacation days and learn those simple DIY skills you’ve been meaning to master. Go ahead and perform some household maintenance like fixing basic plumbing problems or tending to your heating and cooling system, or opt for more exciting prospects like using a soldering iron or learning to sew.   You can even try tackling some woodworking with a family member and spread a little holiday cheer. Thanks to this article of links from Popular Mechanics, there all sorts of things to keep you busy with your down time.


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    created at: 12/16/2014

    Egg nog is a divisive libation, loved by its proponents and eschewed by any means from its haters. Many think the idea of warming wine and adding oranges and cloves and such is a waste of perfectly good wine, and many of us are happy to simply take a black coffee and a glass of whiskey, rather than trying to Irish up anything.    But, filled with the cheer of the holidays, we can all hold hands and gather round the yule log to sing the praises of the Hot Toddy. We're naming it the perfect wintertime drink - not just because its warm, but because every single component is conducive to the season. 

    Here's why: 

    Aged Spirits. Whether it's bourbon, dark rum, brandy, Scotch whisky, even añejo tequila, a hot toddy is always (or should be) made with barrel aged booze. It's the mellowing process whether the alcohol mixes with the toasted wood in the barrel that produces those warm, vanilla-like flavors that work so well when it's cold out.

    It's hot. As in Hot Toddy. The drink is hot, and in winter, you are not. Enough said.

    It's full of spices. The reason Christmas smells "like Christmas?" In addition to bringing in a tree from the outdoors, it's those warm, winter-y spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. Before total globalization, these exports from the Middle and Far East were precious commodities, used efficiently in special occasion dishes, like for, say, the holidays. Remember, it was spices, not oil or gold, that fueled world exploration and international conflict for centuries. 

    It features winter citrus. Know that old tradition of getting an orange in your stocking? For generations, like spices, for those who didn't live in citrus-growing climates, a citrus fruit was a rare treat, available for export when they were at their most hardy, in late fall through winter.

    It's salubrious. That is, it's good for your health. And who couldn't use a little booze-filled boost during cold and flu season? It's like when your grandma gives you hot tea with lemon and honey, except, you know, there's whiskey in it. 

    created at: 12/16/2014

    Convinced? Let's make one. 
    These can easily be sized up to make in batch and kept warm in a slow cooker. In that case, simply add the spices directly to the crock. 

    • 1 1/2 oz bourbon or Scotch whisky (or Irish whiskey, rye, or brandy, or rum, etc, etc)
    • 1 oz. honey or 1:1 raw sugar simple syrup 
    • 3/4 oz. lemon juice 
    • 1 2-3" cinnamon stick, 1 clove, 1 allspice berry
    • Boiling water
    • Garnish: orange or lemon slice or peel

    Combine spirits, sweetener, and lemon juice in a mug. Crack spices and add, then top with boiling water. Add orange or lemon and enjoy. 

    Cheers!

     


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    created at: 12/09/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.      

    Wednesday, December 16th: "Christmas at the Airport" by Nick Lowe

    It took a bit of calculus, but I'm comfortable is saying so: Nick Lowe is my favorite songwriter of all time. And here, his pop misanthrope personality does what it does best, seasonally. 

    The whole holiday album, Quality Street, is a solid, later-Lowe blend of originals and songs you might have heard once or twice but sound better here anyway. It's exactly the record you want a white-haired, but still superbly dressed, rock star to make. Though mostly covers, it's free of the same damn standards, but it's originals that shine best. The Ry Cooder co-written "A Dollar Short of Happy" is the perfect blend of Christmas blue and tongue-in-cheek Christmas-is-supposed-to-be-blue. But it's the obvious single, "Christmas at the Airport" that will make its way onto playlists for the next twenty years, and they'll be better off because of it.

    Nick Lowe is actually coming to Portland tonight, backed by masked surf rockers Los Straightjackets, and I've tickets to the show at the Aladdin Theater. Cause your favorite songwriter playing Christmas songs on the day your mom flies across the country to spend the holidays with you (she's coming to the show) is a mighty fine way to spend a Wednesday in December. 

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 


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    Pickles are great even if they are a luxury on most sandwiches. In fact any Whole Foods type store is bound to be full of jars of hip and artisanal pickles, many of which will cost a small fortune. If you’re game to save some dough and more imporantly go on an AMAZING flavor adventure, then this IPA Craft Pickle recipe is for you.   The recipe is constructed from common kitchen ingredients and surprisingly the pickles are ready to eat the next day!

    Click here to view the recipe from Cool Material.


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    Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day.  

    created at: 12/16/2015

    Okay, friends. Here's the thing with air nailers and compressors, at least for creative woodworking, every day DIY, and casual weekend use: they're amazing. Optional, sure? But the amount of time and frustration they can save is immense, and in most shops, worth every penny. 

    And here's why: "nail guns," unless you're framing a house, are not a replacement for hammer and nails. Instead, they're most useful as an extra pair of hands, or four, for aligning and registering parts and keeping things in place while adhesives dry. They're incredibly useful for trim work, installing cabinets, stairs, carpentry, and woodworking. They don't only hold things together; they hold things in place while something stronger holds the parts together. And that's even more useful.   created at: 12/16/2015

    So, where to start: if you don't have any pneumatic tools, you'll need a compressor. Our advice is this: don't look for a medium-sized, middle-of-the-road model for general use. Middling options are too big to be portable, and quite large to store. And they're too small for high volume work, such as spray finishing or running a larger framing nailer. So, our vote is, get a portable, very lightweight option, two gallons or less, for running 16-gauge or smaller tools. Sure, they'll cycle more, and be a bit louder, but for casual use, it's usually not a big deal.  And because they're easy to manipulate, you'll actually use it. Then, if you really want to get into spray work, pneumatic mechanical tools for auto work, or heavy-duty construction, get a large, high SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) that you'll hopefully move as infrequently as possible. 

    Most of your average home-owner tools (brad nailers, staplers, etc) only require ~.5 - 1.5 cfm at 90 PSI. So, even some of the smallest oil-free compressors can handle it.

     

    created at: 12/16/2015

    Then, you'll need some pneumatic fasteners. If you have none, this is where I'd start:

    • First, get an 18-gauge brad nailer. This is a general purpose, good for almost any holding task size that can handle fasteners up to 2" in length, which is long enough for use with standard "two-by" framing lumber, which is 1 1/2" thick
    • Next, treat yourself to a 23-gauge headless pinner. These are a fairly new option on the market and they are wonderful.  They're perfect for avoiding splits on lumber up to 1 1/4" thick, which makes them great for cabinets, trim and molding work, and woodworking. The nails are about the size of a regular sewing needle, so they're practically invisible when countersunk with the grain. They don't have a ton of holding power, but work great to keep parts in place while the wood glue or construction adhesive dries. 
    • Supplement those two with an 18-gauge narrow-crown stapler. These beat the pants off your standard staple gun, and are super helpful with working with mesh or screens, poultry netting, and upholstery work.
    • Lastly, if you find you need it (or it comes along in a kit), get a 16-gauge finish nailer. This is the largest size these small compressors can handle, but can fire off fasters a bit longer than the brad nailer. This is helpful for coarser construction, such as installing siding, building two-by-four frames, installation through drywall into stud work, or holding things in place when building a deck as you drive in the screws.

    created at: 12/16/2015

    As usual, you get what you pay for. These type of tools are often the first thing to go on sale at home improvement stores around Father's Day and the November/December holidays, so you can often get a good deal. Expect to pay around $100-175 for the compressor, and between $75-150 for the nailers. You can often find boxed sets of a compressor and three nailers for significant savings. These are a great deal.

    Oh, and don't forget to pick up a blow gun for helping to clean off tools and sawdust. These beat the pants off those hand-freezing cans of compressed air. 

    ManMade Recommended: 

     

     

    created at: 12/16/2015


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    created at: 12/13/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.       

    Thursday, December 17th: "Goodbye England (Covered in Snow) " by Laura Marling

    Laura Marling is a personal favorite who's been responsible for some seriously amazing songs since she was just seventeen. And she's been nailing it for the last seven years, releasing four killer albums (check out her latest Once I Was an Eagle).

    "Goodbye England" mixes seemlessly inside the sequence of Marling's 2010 I Speak Because I Can; it's a winter tune, not a Christmas one. But it works just like "Winter Wonderland" and "Sleigh Ride" and "Jingle Bells" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside"; take place in winter, and it's gonna start to be associated with December.

    Which is fine with me. Every time the track shuffles up on my holiday playlist, I'm happier for it. A truly talented songwriter, regardless of age. Nice work, Laura. 

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 

     


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    created at: 12/18/2013

    It's not that hot chocolate is hard to make...especially if you go for the little packets of powder. But there's definitely something seriously straightforward about making a fresh cup with only two high-quality ingredients that makes it much more likely to enjoy a cup every night between now and the new year.   

    The MerryThought came up with this clever recipe to create some seriously addicting hot cocoa from a bit of Nutella warmed in milk. One, two, done. Christmas cheer. 

    Nutella Hot Chocolate [The Merrythought] 


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    Wooden Blocks Here's a simple and awesome looking idea for a family calendar that will actually look good on the wall in our house. Made from reclaimed shop wood and painted with a clear chalkboard paint, this simple weekend project will have plenty of use for years to come.  

    The schedule in my home is a chaotic mess. With two adults and a few kids all crossing paths throughout the day, it's a full time project to keep it all organized. To keep us all sane, there has to be a central spot in the house where we all can check in and see what's happening for the day. 

    Cutting to Width

     

    The design of this calendar is great, small blocks of wood that are easy to make in bulk, simple staining techniques, and a clean border to clean it all up. The stenciled letters can be as complicated or simple as you need.  Stenciled Letters

    One of the many benefits of making something yourself is the ability to customize. The finished project here looks a bit too scrapbook-y and shabby chic for our white and cherry kitchen space so we'll be brightening up the wood finish to match the grey walls a bit better, and using a stronger, less curly typeface, etc. But overall, the easy to follow instructions will get you a custom designed wall calendar you won't feel like hiding away. Here's the link to the full article with step-by-step instructions and the final reveal picture.

    Did you make one of these? We'd love to see it!


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    Finished FlaskWith the holidays right around the corner, we set off to buy a relatively cheap, but meaningful gift for a friend. What we found was classic flask designed by the same guys who made your grandfather's thermos, and filled it with a little holiday spirit. This awesome flask is encased in a handmade, fire-charred box for a custom touch that will likely find another life as a dresser-top catch-all. 

    ManMade Recommended:

    1. Stanley Classic 8oz Flask $20

    This was the first project I've done the charred finish, and I'm really a fan. It's important to note here that fire safety is really necessary, so have a fire extinguisher close at hand, keep the work area clear with flammable materials moved a safe distance away. The area should be well vented to keep fumes from building up as well. I used a plank of wood under the box to protect my metal worksurface, which I know is a bit misleading, but the heat source is very focused and the base never even started smoking.Fired Up

     Materials:

    • 20" of 1 1/2" wide by 1/4" thick pine board
    • 7" x 5" (approximately) piece of 1/4" plywood for back
    • Nail gun (18 gauge, 3/4" nails)
    • Wood glue
    • Blow Torch
    • Sandpaper/Steel Wool
    • Finish WaxMaking a mark
    1. Measure the flask - I laid out the flask and measured it along the wood to make the sides of the box. Make it about 1/8" taller and wider than the flask to make it easy to get out. The sides should be tall enough to be flush with the flask.Nailer
    2. Cut the pieces - I cut pieces for the sides, making sure to be careful cutting small pieces. If you need additional support for small pieces, hot glue them to a larger backing board for safe cutting.Gluing Up Box
    3. Glue and nail - I adding a bit of glue and nailed the sides together in a rectangle. I made sure the box was square while nailing by measuring from corner to corner to make sure the measurements matched up.Measuring the Back
    4. Cut and attach back - The 1/4" plywood back is easiest to measure by setting the box on top and tracing around the edge with a marking knife. Once it is cut out, put a thin bead of glue on the edge, line it up to the corners, and tack it on with a few nails. The nails are really only necessary to hold it together until the glue dries, so don't put too many into the piece.Sanding the Box
    5. Sand and smooth - I used a stationary belt sander to smooth edges and sides, then finished rubbing smooth with steel wool. It's important at this point to get the box as smooth as you want, because after charring it's a bit messier to sand it.Charring Box
    6. Char it - Using a simple propane torch, I slowly and evenly heater the edges until they were just starting to discolor, trying to keep the wood from actually flaming up as much as possible. The key to that is a slow and steady heating while moving the torch back and forth until the wood starts to change color. The amount to burn is a personal preference, but if you burn it too much past the char phase the ash will get messy when handled.Polishing the Box
    7. Final sand - After the piece was sufficiently charred and the finish was a consistent dark color with the grain really featured, I let it cool then polished it again with some fine steel wool. The final step was a thin coat of furniture wax to keep the black from getting on hands when handling the box.Flask Box

    After the box was completed, I put a thin layer of shredded bark in the bottom to support the flask. This simple gift cost about $20, but it really comes across as a thoughtful package. With the custom touches, it is going be something they'll enjoy well past this holiday season.


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    created at: 12/13/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.    

    Friday, December 18th: "Someday at Christmas" by Remy Zero

    I'll admit it: that whole Christmastime "peace on earth" thing writ literal? It gets to me. I find the idea of war stopping and violence ending simply because Christmas is a season where people decide not to act like idiots is really touching. Those old stories of soldiers choosing to take a break from battle because it's Christmas? Whoa. Hits me where I'm most tender. And songs like "I Heard the Bells," that "pray for peace people everywhere" line of the otherwise pallid "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and Lennon's idea that war can be over "if you want it"... they move me. They warm my Christmas heart, flat out.

    Stevie Wonder's original is near perfect, and Remy Zero's version doesn't make many changes: the tempo, arrangement, and tone are nearly identical, save for a few electric guitar textures added. But the modern recording gives it a higher fidelity that makes it mix nicely with the rest of the tunes on this list. Singer Cinjun Tate's voice handles this as well as Little Stevie's can, but there's an extra flair of solemnity, because it's been another thirty years, and we're still killing each other.

    Maybe not in time for you and me, but someday at Christmastime. Amen. 

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 

     


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    Hanging Beam LightTired of the boring lights hanging from your shop ceiling? Why not take the time to make something that reflects your personality a bit more. Here are three inspirational designs that will give you a new outlook on shop lighting.   Our shops are our escape from many things in life. They are our retreat, creative space, and a place we can pretty much call our own. So we carve out a corner of the garage and make it slowly reflect our character with a solid counter, a few tools, and a dream of what we want it to look like down the road. Lighting is an integral part of a good workshop. Enough light is as much a function of safety as it is style. Finding the cut line shouldn't be the focus once you fire up a spinning blade. A lighting project is a great way to put a bit of personality into your corner of the world while delivering light exactly where it needs to be. Here are three inspirational lights to get you thinking outside the boring garage ballast box.Hanging Light

    1. LED Lights In Scrap Wood Beam - I love the look of these lights, integrating LED into a scrap wood beam is a great use of shop resources. There is plenty that can be done to make it as rustic or modern as your personality, with different size wood strips, finishes or paint. Keep in mind the light must have LEDs or florescent for heat consideration, so pay attention to that detail when putting together your own. I will likely be building an L-shape version to hang above bench once my shop is finally finished up.Hanging Can Lights
    2. Can Lights In A Wood Beam -This idea is a bit more solid, and would be suited for task lighting over full shop illumination. The cans installed in the beam should have a fire rated insert, and should be vented on the top to make sure the heat dissipates properly. I would love to see some rustic color on this one to make it really stand out.Plumbing Light Fixture
    3. Industrial Pipe Fixture Light -This light is made from simple black metal pipes and can be customized to match the need. Keep in mind the weight is a bit of a consideration on this one, so make sure it's anchored well at the install point. Exposed bulbs may look good, but be sure you have enough clearance to keep them out of swinging distance of lumber and other objects you move around the shop.

    Do you have any lighting ideas that you've done to make that space your own? We'd love to hear how you've lit your space!


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  • 12/18/15--11:00: How to: Memorize Anything
  • created at: 12/18/2015

    The art of the memory palace (or method of loci) dates back to Ancient Rome with rhetorical treatises on how to memorize anything based on the art of visualization and associating the things needing to be remembered with those imagined spaces. Believe it or not, this is still one of the most famous methods used by Memory Champions today (yes that is a real thing).   Surprisingly your chances of success have very little to do with innate intelligence or IQ and are actually the byproduct of engaging regions of the brain specializing in spatial learning. Check out the video below as former USA Memory Champion Joshua Foer explains how he memorized the first 100 digits of Pi.


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    credit: MMortah [http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmortah/8395365738/]

    Freaking out because you haven't finished everything you need to do on your list? No worries! We have some last minute tips for you.

    Cause...it's okay. It happens to the best of us: we get caught up in the holiday frenzy and, you know, we forget. So, we're sharing some last minute ideas and tips that will help you (and us!!) get through it with minimal damage.

    1. Decor: Either DIY it or wait 'til the very last minute:

    It's kinda late to go on a ornament shopping spree and chances are you'll get stressed out and spend more than you need to so, you have 2 options. DIY IT: Go to the discount store, buy plain ornaments and spray paint them. Done, or WAIT: Stores have HUGE sales close to Christmas Day, so you may leave your tree ready and go hunting for ornaments a few days before...it'll be hectic, but it'll be affordable. 

     

    homemade smores

    2. No time for a feast! Just make one mighty dish.

    Cooking a turkey from scratch? Preparing the gravy? Roasting the veggies? Ain't nobody got time for that! Well, you would have, if you prepared. But you didn't, you're not spending the whole day in the kitchen. So, here's an easy way out of that: make ONE mighty dish that'll drive everyone nuts. The rest you can buy it from the store and dress it all fancy in a plate.

    Try this recipe of homemade s'mores - it's wintery, easy to make, and a crowd pleaser! Make sure you feed your guests that dish right at the end so it's the last thing they remember. Happy memories for all!

     

    DIY mugs

    3. No time for gift shopping! Just dollar-rama-it

    Oh crap, you haven't even started with your list, have you? Ok, don't panic. Just go to the dollar store, pick up a few mugs, grab a stencil and some paint and follow the instructions in this easy DIY mug project. Stuff it with chocolates or tea and you're done! Best of all, you can make a big batch of these mugs so you can be done in one evening, rather than having to drive around the city hunting down for last minute gifts.

    If you want to get extra crafty, you could even make some rustic tote bags for all of your friends (considering that you are good at working with fabric and you know what you're doing). Here's a good tutorial for bags.

     

    Candle DIY

    4. If you're expecting company, make some quick goodie bags to lessen the blow of "I forgot to buy you a real present"

    This idea is for A: people that forgot to get something for their friends and/or B: people that didn't think of bringing a hostess gift.

    Get a few paper bags and fill them up with goodies - include some candles (even better if you can washi tape them to look more custom), chocolates, coffee, and some cookies. You may not excel at getting all the details together, but you are a pro at making people feel awesome.

     

    DIY printed tree

    5. When everything else fails, create a distraction! Like this super cool DIY printed tree

    Dang son, you didn't get a tree, which is quintessential for hosting a holiday party, what were you thinking!? 

    You should be thankful that there are some people in this world like Molly from Almost Makes Perfect that have some great ideas to save the day, like this DIY printed tree! How cool. It costs no more than $20 bucks and it totally brings the holiday cheer into your place. There, done and done - oh and bonus points of this project: no messy clean up!

     

    cocktail recipe

    6. Get everybody really drunk and be responsible about it

    Not that we advocate drinking like a fish, but hey, if that's the thing to save the occasion, then why not do it?! Make sure to stock up your bar REALLY well and ask your friends before hand if they'd like something in specific. A few cocktails make a big difference! Remember though, you have to be responsible about it, after all, you want to enjoy yourself, right?! 

    Here are a few tips to take care of your friends:

    • Reserve a few cabs in advance so your friends don't have to drive
    • Get your inflatable mattress out in case a couple friends need to crash your place
    • Pick a designated driver if someone brought their car
    • Use apps like Uber to schedule any additional transportation
    • Know when to say "that's it for you, buddy"

    Make sure to figure it our BEFORE you get your cocktails on, that way you can all enjoy the holiday buzz in a responsible way. 

    7. Getting bored? Play a game!

    If you notice your party is slowly turning into a snooze fest, then get a game out and bring on the laughs! Obviously we recommend something for multiple players than has lots of replay value, such as Bang! or Ticket to Ride.

    And don't forget that you don't NEED to buy a gift for everyone, you can instead give a donation in their name and get good karma points! Check out Scatter Joy for some wonderful E-Cards that will help children get the education they need OR purchase some art to help people affected by the typhoon in the Philippines on Artists Heal PH December pop-up shop

    Games, good karma, food. I think we got you covered! Now go enjoy the holidays and have as much eggnog as you can possibly drink. 

    Happy holidays!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    created at: 12/13/2015

    Look - there's no shame in admitting it: we at ManMade love the holiday season. The lights, the smells, and, most importantly, the sounds. No, not the soft rock mall music or the umpteenth crooner cover filler track, but the good holiday songs. The ones that give you energy, make you feel festive, and happy that it's December.

    And so, in 2015, we're sharing our ManMade Musical Advent Calendar, where we offer a new favorite holiday song every day, by bands you actually care about.       Saturday, December 19th, "Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland" by Grandaddy

    This completely lovable, totally bizarre-o gem originated on an unreleased compilation album, Windfall Varietal, sold only at live shows. Non-believers might question the connection, but general fans of Grandaddy's blips and bloops and whisper vocals will find no problem in making the leap to building a snowman and pretending he is Alan Parsons. The actual origins are unclear, but a band who uses the recording studio as an instrument doing that very thing to pay homage to a great audio engineer and electronic music pioneer certainly makes sense to me. This is the song Grandaddy would make if they made a Christmas song, and, boy, is it catchy. 

    Check out all the songs in the ManMade Musical Advent Calendar here! 

     

     


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