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May 17, 2017

Get Ready for Summer: How to Calibrate Your Grill Thermometer in Time for Barbecue Season

created at: 05/24/2016

Turning out perfectly grilled foods in your own backyard requires balancing two important variables: time and temperature. Too hot, and the food gets overly blackened and burnt before it's cooked through. Too short, and the surfaces don't have enough time to caramelize, brown, and develop that characteristic charred flavor that makes grilling worth the effort in the first place.

A solid grill thermometer can help, but here's the bad news: standard bi-metal dial thermometers, the kind present in almost all backyard grills and smokers, can be off by as much as 75° F in either direction. Which, if you're going for low and slow cooked flavors of barbecue, is enough to totally ruin your meal and your day. Here's how to fix it. 

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May 16, 2017

The 7 Best Apps for Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, and Other Outdoor Adventures

Most of the time, the whole point of going on a hike or camping trip is to get away from technology. We couldn't agree more. But the truth is, most of us still carry our smart phones for emergency calls, wayfinding, and camera possibilities, all in a single package. Our vote? Turn off the email and the Twitter alerts, and take advantage of the way your phone can enhance your trip. Just make sure your protect it from the weather. 

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May 15, 2017

Make This: A DIY Sophisticated Leather Mouse Pad for Your Office

If you’re looking to make your leather work look a little classier, one of the easiest ways to do it is by adding padding.

Think of the watches you own or have seen that have a leather strap. Those straps will either be flat and made up of two pieces of leather glued together, or padded made up of two pieces of leather stitched around a thinner piece of leather, creating a raised looked in the middle. Almost always, the padded strap will look more refined.

This leather mouse pad is an excellent way to figure out how to add padding for the first time. And, what’s more, you’ll end up with a classy leather mouse pad to keep or give

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May 15, 2017

Seriously, This is the Best Way to Close a Paint Can

created at: 05/16/2016

It's a problem we can all relate to. Anyone who has ever opened a paint, finish, or stain can knows the problem: if you don't use it all, you have to close it again. Hammers provide too much direct force, and can bend the lid, the lip, or the can itself. A rubber mallet is better, but you could shoot paint or finish out at you, and you'll cover the mallet in the material, which could get transferred to another project. Plus, if you're like me, the mallet always seems to be in another room.

So...    

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May 12, 2017

Weekend Project: How to Make a Ring from a Quarter

The coin ring is an internet DIY classic. I remember seeing an old video (on Makezine, perhaps?) on creating a nickle ring way back in the early days of the DIY and craft blogosphere. Like, 2006.

But, most tutorials simply harvest the coin as raw material, banging it and beating it until it looks like any piece of cool-colored metal. These pieces by Nicholas Heckaman, however, fully embrace the ring's origin, showing off that recognizable texture and type, giving the ring plenty of personality.      

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May 11, 2017

How to: DIY X-Style Trestle Table

Here's the problem many intermediate-level woodworkers face: you want to take on a big project, a truly ambitious one. Say, a dining table that will be the centerpiece of your home and can fit eight to ten people. And you do the research, figure out some techniques, and they're a little bit of a stretch and you'll be trying them for the first time in the middle of a big project. And then you start shopping for the wood, realize how much it's going to cost, and all of a sudden, that next-level project doesn't seem like the best place to test out some new joinery.    

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May 11, 2017

Bedroom Inspiration: 3 Ideas to Create a Statement Headboard

Credit: ST Interior Design [http://www.tollgard.co.uk/]

Need to spice things up in the bedroom? (not like that). Adding a statement headboard to your space can help you revamp the look in your bedroom by making it look "full" without having to invest tons in other furniture pieces. Take a look!    

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May 10, 2017

How to: Make Your Own Iced Coffee Soda

coffee soda

Now that the days are warming up the thought of a hot latte with milk and cinnamon sure adds a drop of sweat to my brow. It's usually this time of year, I swap my typical addiction to hot coffee to sweet, syrupy iced coffee. I just can't get enough of the stuff!

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May 05, 2017

How to: Make Your Own Shiplap

There's corner of my yard that is a bit of an eyesore. It used to hide my pool pump, but the cheap stapled grid surrounding it fell apart in the sun. I wanted to replace it with something that would hold up well, and also contain a bit of the pump sound. Of course, it had to look great, too. Take a look at what I came up with.   

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May 03, 2017

Clever Cocktail Presentation Trick: How to Make an Ice Wedge Glass (for Free!)

A few weekends ago, my wife and I went out for a special dinner to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. (Hi sweetheart!) We opted to enjoy a few beers with our meal, but the table next to us had ordered cocktails. They each showed up with the glass half full of color - slanted, and with the liquid on the top. Initially, I thought it was simply a triangular shaped glass, where the bottom angle was simply solid, but as I looked closer, I realized, in fact, it was a frozen wedge of solid ice, attached to the glass so it maintained the effect. 

I asked the server how it was done, and she told me the bartender had a bunch of little rubber molds that fit the glass, and the whole thing goes into the freezer. She said they were cool, but only fit the certain glass they came with; so only a certain number of cocktail recipes are served in them, and they run out each night.

A few days later, I looked it up to see if I could pick up one or two. I found the product - it's a glass with a custom silicone insert that freezes the ice at a perfect 45° angle, cutting right down the center. They cost about $20 each, and are kinda cool.

But - they're also unnecessary. Because you can achieve the same effect without spending a dime, using any rocks glass you already have. Here's how to do it.       

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May 02, 2017

How to Roll Your Shirt Sleeves Like You Know What You're Doing

I am a committed non-cuff-buttoner. I'll do it when I wear a jacket or a sweater atop a shirt, but if it's just me an a button down (oh, and pants), then my sleeves are rolled up 99% of the time. Sure, it makes for a less formal look, but really, it's more practical. I'm a doer, and my hands are constantly doing stuff, and keeping my sleeves out of the way means they won't end up in the garden soil, dishwasher, bike grease, spinning table saw blades, or whatever else I'm digging into that day.    

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May 02, 2017

Make This: Zen-Inspired Succulent Desktop Garden

I spend a lot of time at a desk. Many of us do. It's a space where we learn, create, work, and play. I'm not saying all that sitting is a good thing, but if it has to happen then make the space as clean and relaxing as you can. Here is a quick project to add a bit of green, texture, and peace to you space.  

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May 01, 2017

Make This: Protect Your Computer with an Easy DIY Leather Laptop Sleeve

Trace & Cut Out

If you getting a ton of use out of the cord taco you made with the last blog post, my guess is that your probably going to get even more use out of this DIY leatherworking project.

As always, if you don't feel skilled enough to pull off any of the steps below, you can check out this beginners guide to get you going

Story Time: 

I — admittedly — was in the habit of just grabbing my computer and carrying it around. Its home was wherever I left it...unprotected. Stupid, I know. I’m pretty careful with my stuff, especially when it costs as much as a laptop, but even if you can control you're behavior, you can’t always predict what

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May 01, 2017

Make This: Old License Plate, New Box

created at: 06/16/2015

Vintage pieces are always fun to work with. Aside from looking great, they tell a story through dents, scratches, and a style that once was. Here's a quick tutorial on how to turn a vintage license plate into a great snack box for the mancave.  

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May 01, 2017

Try This: How to Make Your Own Red Wine Vinegar

Make your own Vinegar

Right now, you can find more tutorials on how to use vinegar to clean your toilet than you can find to use vinegar with a delicious dinner. This is a travesty for such an amazing and delicious liquid! Unlike most condiments, vinegar is one that you can make yourself and will taste better than anything you can buy in a store. I guarantee it! Here is a simple tutorial on turning leftover wine into homemade vinegar.   

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