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Nov 17, 2011

How to: Make a Mod Holiday Wreath from Trash!

created at: 11/17/2011

Okay, play along. Take a look at this space-y, sputnik-y wreath above. It's made from stuff likely in your trash can. 

Figure it out? Got it? Good.    

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Nov 09, 2011

How to: Add a Paper Texture to Vector Graphics with Photoshop

created at: 11/09/2011

Whenever I'm aiming tocreate an illustration or a graphic, I go straight to Adobe Illustrator. It is, hands down, my favorite program to design in. The only problem with Illustrator, however, is that the vector graphics you create sometimes look too clean and flat. Personally, I like a little bit of texture in my designs. Computers are great, but there's no reason no to mimic the amazing feel and appeal of paper or fabric.

So today I'll be showing you some basic tips on how to add textures to vector graphics or text using Photoshop. The thing about Photoshop, as you may know, is that there are 100 different ways to achieve the same effect. Some people may use completely different techniques to create textures, and that's just fine. My process isn't necessarily the best, but it's what I like to do. 

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Jan 10, 2011

One Last Holiday Post: Pranksters Gift Wrap their Friend's Entire Home

created at: 01/10/2011

I know, I know. The holidays are over...even I took down all my seasonal decor over the weekend. 

BUT! This kind of awesomeness is worth watching, year-round. Plus, we figure these guys actually completed this after Christmas, and grabbed all that terrible gift wrap when it was 90% off.   

created at: 01/10/2011

Click through to watch the video:    

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Dec 23, 2010

World's First Eel-Powered Christmas Tree

created at: 12/22/2010

Even with newer LED string lights, nearly all of our electricity bills go up during the holiday season. Of course, that wouldn't be the case if you had an eel that sent an 800 watt zap to power your tree each time it moves.

See how it works in this video:

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Dec 23, 2010

Falling Water Gets the Gingerbread Treatment

created at: 12/22/2010

It was bound to happen: the U.S.'s most famous architectural accomplishment meets the holidays most beloved architectural tradition. 

Melodie of Garden Melodies reworked the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece for the 2010 Gingerbread Festival in Orem, Utah.

created at: 12/22/2010

Unfortunately, she lost to this guy, "Candyland":

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Dec 22, 2010

Free Download: Mod Holiday eCards and Desktop Backgrounds

created at: 12/22/2010

True, it's a little late to be worrying about sending  Christmas cards through the mail at this point, but how about a sweet e-card with no animated gifs or cheesy MIDI soundtrack?

The folks from Fossil are offering an updated take on the e-card, perfect for passing along to that friend that you won't be able to connect with this season.

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Dec 21, 2010

Tell Us Your Favorite Christmas Movie, and Win Free Stuff!

created at: 12/21/2010

This year, I've watched a total of twenty-one Christmas movies and Christmas specials. So far. There are still three essentials to come in the next few days.

I don't normally watch that much TV in three months, but there's something about seasonal specials that turns me into a couch potato, with a candy cane in my mouth, festively lit by my spinning light wheel.

I guess like I feel it's okay, cause I presume everybody does it. 

So, I'm hoping you'll prove me right, and I wanna give you something to say thanks. So, between right now and 11:59pm on December 25th, 2010, just tell us your favorite Christmas movie or television special, and you'll be entered to win one of five free copies of one our publications, Make It! Hardware Store Decor.  

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Dec 21, 2010

How To: Make Icicle Candy in the Microwave

created at: 12/21/2010

As much respect as I have for the handmade traditions of the past, old fashioned holiday candies don't do much for me. My family is famous among their friends for their peanut brittle, but I can't stand the stuff.

But these bright blue glittery twisties!? No, this is candy making I can get excited about! And even, better it's made in the microwave, so no fancy thermometers or dropping stuff in water needed.  

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Dec 20, 2010

How To: Lots of Ideas to Make DIY Luminaries

created at: 12/20/2010

One of my favorite holiday memories is of making luminaries to light the walk on Christmas eve. We'd gather with the other kids from our church, and fill paper lunch bags with sand, and then set a candle and light up the sidewalks of the entire block. I was always amazed that the bags didn't catch on fire, but mostly, I was amazed they'd let me play with a lighter, which I was definitely not allowed to do at home.

But, paper bags and play sand aren't the only option for these holiday traditions, so here's a roundup of DIY luminaria with a little something for everyone. There's LEDs for the geeks, a wax for the crafty folks,

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Dec 17, 2010

Christmas 2.0: The Digital Nativity

created at: 12/17/2010

I hate all those email forwards that try to update folk tales and ancient narratives into contemporary language. I mean, I hate email forwards in general, but those ones in particular. The cheesy clip art, the fact that Snow White and Moses always say "OMG", the repetitive jokes...and mostly that they aren't funny.

But, for some reason, I find this take to be clever. I appreciate the various approaches to the social networks and digital tools, love that Melchior checks in with Caspar and Balthazar to see what they got the baby, and think the message is clear: "Times change...feelings remain the same."

Really, you want to watch the video:   

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Dec 16, 2010

ManMade's 2010 Modern Rock Holiday Mixtape!!!

created at: 12/16/2010

Over the past few years, I've sorta developed an obsessive hobby of trying to find non-Andy Williams or Nat King Cole Christmas songs to soundtrack the kind of holiday that I've come to love as an adult.

I've now got a collection of almost 400 (nearly a day's worth) of holiday and winter songs by indie and modern rock artists, as well as a few classics that get ignored by soft rock stations, that have come to sound like Christmas to me.

I've assembled a free playlist of some of my favorites; just click the play button below and settle in for a long winter's rocking out!  

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Dec 16, 2010

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly Take on Bing and Bowie's "Little Drummer Boy"

created at: 12/16/2010

Sometime in the early 2000s, some genius low-level worker at RCA decided it'd be a brilliant idea to re-release the "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth" collaboration by David Bowie and Bing Crosby from Crosby's 1977 holiday television special in the US. In the last five years or so, it's moved from a mostly unknown gimmick to, dare I say, the standard pop rendition of "Little Drummer Boy" on holiday radio.

Comedians Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have re-created the entire scene, shot for shot, and play it straight for a full five minutes, proving that there's plenty of humor in staying small.

See both videos below:    

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Dec 15, 2010

Sketchy Santas

created at: 12/15/2010

PerhapsWandering through the shops, scurrying to finish your gift list, you've no doubt stopped in front of the line of families, looking at that guy in red, and wondered, "What sort of person has the time or motivation to play the mall Santa Claus?" Or, perhaps you're a parent, and the question becomes much more serious: "Would I let my kid sit on that guy's lap?"

created at: 12/15/2010

We've all seen some great Santas in our time, and we've seen some absolutely terrifying ones as well. Your new favorite Tumblr blog, Sketchy Santas, captures those in the later category, reminding all of us just how vulnerable the holiday season can be.

Comfort and joy?!    

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Dec 14, 2010

How To: Quick and Easy Hand-Printed Wrapping Paper

created at: 12/14/2010

I'm still keeping up with my handmade only Christmas gifts this year, which, if you ask me, means I also gotta create my own wrapping paper. I added a typographic punch to brown craft paper, and made a super fast hand drawn snowflake paper, but decided I needed a little color under my tree. Not wanting to spend a ton of time, I whipped up several sheets of mod hand-printed paper in under an hour. 

Here's how to do it:  

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Dec 14, 2010

Holiday Download Freebie: Typographic Gift Tags

created at: 12/14/2010

After completing my typographic gift wrap tutorial, I randomly Googled the term to see what else might come up. I found lots of weird, and surprisingly expensive, specialty paper sheets, but also came across this cool holiday freebie.

created at: 12/14/2010   

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Dec 13, 2010

WTF is Wassail?! We Figure it Out , and Show You How to Make Some

created at: 12/13/2010

Sugar plums... Figgy pudding... A Dickens goose...

We all know these things exist, and have something to do with Christmas, but in the days of multl-flavored candy canes, pre-cooked hams, and eggnog from a carton, their actual meaning is beyond most contemporary celebrations. But we can guess a bit: we know sugar and plums, figs and pudding, geese. 

But no old-school, carol-inspired foodstuff is more perplexing than that we know from:

 

Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green;Here we come a-wand'ring, so fair to be seen.

Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too;And God bless you and send you a Happy New YearAnd God send you a Happy New Year.

So, WTF is wassail, and why would you ever want to make it? Well, here's a hint: it's beer! AND wine!

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Dec 10, 2010

How to Make 3D Paper Snowflakes

created at: 12/10/2010

Three or four years ago, these 3D paper snowflakes exploded all over the how-to and home decor blogosphere, and they've been an essential part of my holiday season ever since. I love the methodical tape slicing and paper cutting that perfectly matches a viewing of Christmas Vacation or Scrooged. This year, there's a total of sixteen hanging all over my home, and in case you haven't seen this how-to somewhere, I thought I'd share.

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Dec 09, 2010

A Gift Guide for Guys

created at: 12/09/2010

This year, I promised myself I wouldn't make an official ManMade gift guide for guys. Not because I don't know about all kinds of cool stuff that a fellow might want this Christmas, but because presuming that you can suggest what to buy someone based on their gender goes against the reason ManMade exists in the first place.

But,

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Dec 08, 2010

How To: Make Mod Sparkly Snowflakes

created at: 12/08/2010

Rebekah Greiman of Potholes and Pantyhose is all kinds of fun. Her website is a neverending collage of witty images, random bursts of energy, and pretty clever crafty projects.

Like these super sparkly snowflakes, which look like a cross between Sputnik and some dangerous weapon from either 1350 or 3350. One or the other.

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Dec 07, 2010

How To: Make Typographic Gift Wrap

created at: 12/07/2010

This year, I vowed to only make or buy handmade holiday gifts for my friends and family, and I've kept to it so far. But wrapping these gifts in commercial paper didn't seem to make much sense, so I wanted to create some handmade gift wrap to match. I happen to think a gift wrapped in newsprint is actually quite attractive, and love the look of text on a package, but wanted to put in a little more effort. So I came up with a cool option that's clean, masculine, and maintains the typographic look of the newsprint. Plus, it eliminates the need for any "to:/from" tags, as the recipient's name is right there in tasteful type.

Once I figured it out, it was actually quite easy and quick - less than ten minutes per gift. The unbleached brown craft paper is only $1.25 per roll, and the book pages came from 25¢ war novel at the secondhand shop. To me, this beats the pants off of any mass-produced "Ho Ho Ho" paper in both price and style.

Here's how to do it:  

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