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Mar 30, 2017

How to: Make a Gigantic Solvent Transfer

created at: 10/24/2011

I've been on a "big art" kick lately. And when I say "big", I mean gigantic (check out The World's Largest Wood Type for further clarification). There's something about a traditional art or craft done at a mind-blowingly large scale that just tickles my magic beans. So I'm going to file this 15' x 10' solvent transfer sign + tutorial in my enormous folder for all things awesome.

The creative folks at The Mandate Press applied this Beatrice Warde quote to a big ol' sheet of canvas that is, hands down, the largest solvent transfer I have ever seen. If you're not familiar with solvent transfers, the process is actually quite simple:

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Mar 29, 2017

Essential Skills: How to Cook the Best Steak of Your Life

Here's the thing about beef: it's expensive. And it should be; it's a part of a huge, expensive-to-raise animal. So, when you've invested in a high-quality piece of meat, especially a nice thick one, you don't want to screw it up. This recipe is the only way I cook it, partially because it's so darned easy, but mostly because it's the best steak I've ever tasted. Here's how to do it. 

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Mar 28, 2017

These Are the Current Contents of My Pockets. What Do You Carry Every Day?

Yesterday afternoon, I was putting a load of laundry together, and I took out all of the various bits and items from all my pockets before placing my clothing in the basket. By the time I'd doubled checked everything for errant tubes of lip balm and bonus dollar bills, I had a pile sitting on my dresser that, when I looked down, simply ignited this thought in me: 

Yep, there's all my stuff.    

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Mar 28, 2017

7 Things I'm Totally Obsessed with This Month (March 2017 Edition)

Photo: Oscars.org

These are thoughts, the artwork, the news stories, the tools, the food, the conversations, and whatever else we just can't get out of our heads this month.  

    

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Mar 27, 2017

Drink a Tree: How to Make Pine, Spruce, or Fir Needle Syrup

During spring time, pine, fir, and other evergreen trees grow by producing new tips at the end of each branch. The new growth is a lighter, vibrant green, and you can (and should) eat it. The tips have a wonderful citrus-y, woodsy flavor that tastes awesome in all kinds of sautes, seafood, and roasted dishes. But the easiest way to preserve their flavor is steep them gently in a syrup, which will last in your fridge for weeks. 

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Mar 27, 2017

Weekend Project: How to Make a Custom Knife from Scratch

Kitchen knives, pocket knives, craft knives....a creative guy who likes to make stuff simply has to cut things up on the regular. Here's the ManMade list of the nine knives every man should own, but if you're interested in crafting your own from raw materials, it's actual relatively straightforward and requires fewer tools than you might think.    

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Mar 24, 2017

Hey Dads: Here's What to do With Your Kids this Weekend

What to do with your kids this weekend. Just BE with them.

Let's start here: I hope a lot of you don't need to read this. I could be wrong, but I assume that, because you're ManMade readers, you already know what it takes to devote some quality time to your kids, and you know how important it is.

That said, this is how I feel about it, and at the risk of sounding preachy, I want to share my thoughts:

Get up on Saturday morning, early. Don't start by checking e-mail, don't start by watching Premier League highlights. Pack a few snacks and some water in a backpack. Scramble up some eggs and make toast. Feed your kids breakfast and then put them in the car.

Drive somewhere. It doesn't

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Mar 22, 2017

A Pocketful of the Good Stuff: How to Choose the Perfect Hip Flask

A good flask isn't an essential piece of gear, but it's pretty close. I toss a flask in my pack to share around the campfire, or to toast the top of a mountain. Trim, compact, and classic, the hip flask is also a great way to bring a little of your own along to make sure those drinks are always on point.

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04590

Mar 21, 2017

DIY Skills: How to Loosen a Stuck Bolt With A Blowtorch

We've all come across the stubborn bolt. You know the one. That bolt that needs come off, like, now, but for no visible reason, the nut won't turn. Turns out, there's a simple trick: add a bit heat and get it turning quick. Here's how I make it happen.

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Mar 21, 2017

How To: Make Super Simple Tree Branch Magnets

Last summer, in the midst of the August showers, a neighboring building lost a beautiful maple tree in a major thunderstorm. It was quickly disassembled by the electric company, presumably so it wouldn't fall onto the power lines. And there it sat. For weeks.

Then, a month or so later, I heard a loud grind out of my open windows (horray for open window weather!), and spied a big truck with a wood chipper in their yard.

"Surely," I thought, "they're just gonna grind up the small stuff and use the trunk for something." But, they just kept throwing in big, beautiful chunks of pure hardwood, turning it into mulch. I immediately rushed out and asked if I could have what hadn't been chopped.

The guy was very hesitant (apparently no one had ever proposed such a crazy thing), but allowed me to escape with an armful straight limbs and branches (sadly, no trunk segments) as long as I promised not to tell anyone. So, don't repeat that.

My branches have been seasoning and drying all fall and winter, and are now ready to be turned into all kinds of fun "bring the outdoors in" projects. First up, these playful tree branch magnets which cost a mere $1.00 and some glue to make, and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.  

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