Mar 19, 2018

Crafting Yourself: Why the Stoics Will Help You Become a More Productive and Creative Maker


“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” – Seneca


The Project

Suppose you are getting ready to start a really big project––a project that will require an immense amount of time and effort, a project that has so many parts and components that you are certain that you will lose your way and make mistakes. It is just that big. And yet the one thing you can be certain about is that the materials for this project are precious and you will not be able to re-start the project once you begin––you'll have to keep forging ahead even if you make mistakes. It will be the summative production

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Mar 13, 2018

Yes, Every Man Needs A Journal. Here's Why.

I spent some time last week making a few DIY journals, and it made me think a bit about why I always have a stack of them filling my shelf. After looking through a few in the pile, I decided yes, they're definitely worth the effort. Here are a few reasons why.  

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Jan 24, 2018

18 Essential Cookbooks That Belong In Your Library from Now Until the End of Time

Let's start with this: I like to eat. Really, really like it. I have all the respect in the world for people who can live by the adage "consume for nutrition, not for taste," but I will never be able to count myself amongst 'em.

I'm a level-10 introvert who works from home, and often, the process of procuring food for myself is the only thing that gets me out of the house during the dark days of winter. I live in Portland, Oregon, one the greatest food cities in the country, and I have a list in my phone of to-be-visited food establishments a digital mile long. It's updated almost daily. 

And, because I like to eat, I like to cook. I'm a full-time DIY blogger who gets to make cool stuff, photograph and write about it every single day, and, yet, a Tuesday night dinner compiled from whatever's in the fridge often feels like the most creative thing I do all week. 

So... cookbooks. They're fantastic, and they provide both inspiration and a depth that you can't find on food blogs or Pinterest. (And I love food blogs.) You don't have to buy all of these, but you should definitely check them out from the library or peruse next time you're at the bookstore. Because they read as well from cover-to-cover as a novel, and they'll actually teach you how to eat better.    

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Jan 16, 2018

8 Things I'm Totally Obsessed With This Month (January 2018 Edition)

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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Nov 27, 2017

The Best IKEA Hack I've Ever Seen

Laura and Craig from The Makerista take these Billy bookshelves that we've all seen before and transform them into what looks like an entire built-in wall unit. This really is the most impressive DIY IKEA renovation I've seen yet.   

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Nov 06, 2017

What Cultural Icons Did You Experience Too Late to Appreciate?

I burned out early on Halloween movies this year. I watched mostly duds with a few mediocres sprinkled in, and realized I'd spent enough time in shakycameraland for one season. Not being even remotely ready for the annual sacrament of candy cane-fueled holiday classics (it's too early, even for me), I decided to spend this season of limbo - cold enough to need to be inside at night, but too early for Christmas merrymaking - raiding the public library, and watching that list of films I've been meaning to see for twenty years, but simply hadn't gotten around to it. 

It hasn't gone as planned.    

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Sep 17, 2017

Okay, Let's Talk: What's Your Favorite Stephen King Novel?

So... I realized something over the weekend. I was listening to a podcast that had intended to have a conversation about the new Dark Tower movie, but since it was, apparently, completely boring and not worth discussing, they decided to chat about their favorite Stephen King books, movie adaptations, mini-series, etc. And it hit me:    

I have never actually read a Stephen King book.    

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May 17, 2017

8 Things I'm Totally Obsessed with This Month (May 2017 Edition)

 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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Apr 04, 2017

Five Shakespearean Speeches Every Man Should Know

created at: 02/19/2016

So, I'm gonna throw down and get controversial for a sec: William Shakespeare was the greatest playwright and poet who ever spoke English, and I'd relish a comment-fight-to-the-death in the comments anyone who disagrees (not really, but I encourage the conversation).

To argue the man's merits feels redundant; the work speaks for itself. The Bard's plays are so influential that he's taught us how we understand storytelling and character development in the modern and post-modern world. His words have become so ubiquitous that I'd bet good money everyone reading this knows unique phrases from at least 4 of the 5 speeches below (also lots of movies take their titles from his phrases). I challenge any man considering himself an educated member of our society read these speeches and attempt committing them to memory. You'll find them helpful in more than a few settings. 

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Mar 30, 2017

6 Awesome Audiobooks You Should Be Listening to in the Workshop

Truly one of my all time favorite experiences is engaging in a methodical, creative activity while losing myself entirely in the world of an audiobook. As a kid, I’d listen to sci-fi / young adult books while building dioramas or piecing together big puzzles, and as an adult all that’s really evolved is my taste in literary genres. Here are some of my all time favorite audiobook recommendations that I’ve actually listened to in the woodshop.   

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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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Oct 28, 2016

What's Good for October 2016: What We're Reading, Wearing, and Thinking About This Month

What's Good on ManMadeDIY - October 2016

Hey ... welcome back to What's Good. In case you're new here, What's Good is our monthly series where we (the ManMade guys) get to talk about what we're currently into. This month, it's media, clothing, and wonderment. Yeah, you read that right. Wonderment is a thing too. Read on to get your monthly dose...



Chris: In honor of Halloween this month, I'm immersing myself in the whole of the Hannibal Lecter world, in all formats: books, movies, and TV. I've read the first three novels, seen both the Red Dragon and Manhunter films, and am on the third season of the Hannibal TV series (which is streaming on Amazon Prime.)

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Oct 19, 2016

Seven Modern Classic Books to Put Hair on Your Chest

created at: 10/08/2014

Alright, so you’ve built the bookshelf, now it’s time to fill it out with some masculine reading material. Rather than attempting a comprehensive list of books all men ought to read, this list is specifically designed to get that testosterone pumping through your veins. With that in mind, we proudly present...   

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Sep 28, 2016

Libraries of Famous Men: Jefferson, Douglass, Roosevelt, and Hemingway

created at: 03/15/2015The Cabinet of Invisible Counselors is a term coined by success-guru Napoleon Hill referring to the great thinkers and authors whose work he found influential, whom he would summon in his imagination to consider their opinions on the tasks before him. Similarly, you may have heard the statement that, "You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time." Combining these two ideas has been one of the great decisions of my life.      

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Sep 23, 2016

Five Presidential Biographies Every Man Should Read

created at: 09/22/2016

Six years ago, my father decided he wanted to read one biography of every American president before he dies. He’s fallen a little behind (I think he’s currently on Madison) but it’s made it easy to think up go-to presents when gift-giving holidays come around. Scouring the internet for the most definitive biography of each president has rubbed off a little and now I’ve got some serious must-reads to recommend…   

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Sep 23, 2016

What's Good for September 2016: What We're Reading, Wearing, and Thinking About This Month

created at: 09/23/2016

Hey ... welcome back to What's Good. We're switching things up a little bit this month. I think you're going to like it (I know I did). In case you're new here, What's Good is our monthly series where we (the ManMade guys) get to talk about what we're currently into. This month, it's media, clothing, and wonderment. Yeah, you read that right. Wonderment is a thing too. Read on to get your monthly dose...

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Aug 29, 2016

What's Good for August 2016: What We're Reading, Watching and Listening to This Month

What's Good - August 2016

We're back with some of our favorite media for you to devour as the summer draws to a close. Here's what's good:



I'm about two-thirds of the way through A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. It's a fictional exploration of the shooting of Bob Marley in December 1976, and the following decades of political, social, and criminal aftermath. I won't lie - it's intense. It has 50+ characters (and one of those little dramatis personae keys at the beginning, which I reference about every three pages). It feels like reading Joyce's Ulysses ... Biblical in scale, and I'm looking up some fact or reference (or rocksteady

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Aug 15, 2016

Good Reads: 5 Money Books That Will Change Your Life

Money ShotIn a world full of exceptions, we still have some unifying traits. This is one thing I can say for certain, you handle money almost every day. It's a constant flow, either in or out like a steady tide. I have a small but powerful set of money books on my shelf, and you should too. This list is probably not new, but I know there's something on this list you need to grab today to up your money game in the very best way.   

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Jul 25, 2016

A Dying Industry? Welcome to the Last Bookstore

BookstoreThere's something special about the printed word. As the digital age quietly kills those musty hardcovers, there is still a place where ink is alive. Watch it now.   

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Jul 21, 2016

Five Poems Every Man Should Know...and Reference

For the last couple years, I've had a framed tattered page I tore out from an old book of poetry (pictured below) that I picked up at a garage sale in Minnesota when I was a boy. I've taken it with me wherever I've moved, usually displaying it on my desk, although occasionally on a shelf or bedside table. The poem is titled SEA-FEVER and came from a poetry collection called Salt-Water Poems and Ballads by John Masefield, first published in 1902.  created at: 12/14/2014 The poem expresses the yearning for the grey seas from the perspective of a presumably landlocked rover, and was one of my initial inspirations for rafting the Mississippi River.

I must go down

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