If you’re committed to greatness in your craft, there’s no better way to improve than to mimic the masters. But if you need general inspiration to help you keep going in your pursuit of excellence, it’s helpful to watch any kind of expert at work.
In 2014, the newsreel archive British Pathé released 85,000 high resolution historic films to YouTube. Among these are a fantastic collection of newsreel footage from postwar factories all around Great Britain. It’s mesmerizing and, if you’re a maker, a bit humbling to watch these skilled men and women exercise their trade with such aplomb. (Not to mention, the peppy English narrators, using that classic clipped 1950’s news reporting style, are really funny.)
Thanks to the wizardry that is the Internet, there are hundreds of them available at your fingertips today.
For the sake of this article, let’s just assume for a moment that you’re convinced of the merits of listening to bluegrass and old-time string music...
“… my landlady, by the way, doesn’t like the Germans because when some playful Nazi pilots lived in her house some months ago, they threw a hand grenade into her chicken coop, and they had to eat the winter’s supply of chickens all at once.”
This is one of my favorite lines from our family's treasure: my grandfather’s back-and-forth correspondence letters during World War II. Frank T. Waters was an editor of the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. At several instances during the war, he sent correspondence back home to his mother, family, and friends sharing daily life overseas and fighting the biggest war of the 20th century.
Going through these letters is a truly amazing glimpse of a soldier's life during war-time Europe in the 40s. I counted 207 letters, official correspondence, orders, postcards, etc, so far. Reading these, I discover my grandfather was smart, curious, and pretty funny. Here are some of my favorite bits:
You've built the bookshelf, covered it with great books, but it needs a little something more. Some classic records perhaps? Why not treat yourself to this essential guide to the greatest collection of jazz albums in the history of recorded time – bar none?
Legacy Overland restores and rebuilds classic off road vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers, Range Rovers, and Land Rover Series & Defenders. We sat down with founder Robert Madeira and team to find out more about who they are, and what it takes to preserve such iconic machines while maintaining functionality for the practical uses for which they were intended.
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.
I've had a generally mobile office for years. What this looks like to me is a laptop, random notebooks, and a mass of cables. While I've set up my "office for the day" in a variety of spectacular locations, I've always lusted after the campaign desks of old, which adventurers carried along to pen notes, history changing letters, and likely stash a bit of liquid courage.
A few weeks ago I got a text from a buddy. He had just moved and was setting up the new house. He told me "I think this time around I want to make sure my sword has a place." By his sword, he meant his 1865 Union Artillery Saber that had been with him since the 1st grade. (Talk about high expectations when the parents give you a sword at age nine). But the issue was that he didn't have a good way to display it, and the cheaply made, $30 online holders just didn't seem fitting. That's why he called me up, and asked if I could help. I gladly accepted the challenge, and came up with this beast. Here's how I did it.
There is nothing like a long day of hiking or horseback riding to get you in the mood for some good, hearty eating. And so the American West's roving cattlemen and cross-country venturers created a long tradition of fantastic, simple meals meant to fill you up on the trail. So bust out that cast iron skillet and prepare yourself for some authentic cowboy eating.
So... I like this project. I really like it, and I'll tell you why. First, it's made entirely from off-the-shelf parts from the home center. Then, because the parts are readily available, the only tool you need to make the entire thing is a cordless drill, which is awesome. And lastly, the attention
Autumn is the perfect time of year for camping, pumpkins, crunchy leaves and hurricane lamps. Ok, maybe it's just me, but I love these lamps. They bring a certain sense of camp-like nostalgia to my heart and I have a couple around the house.
As the adage about trash and treasure goes, this dude literally found this rust-covered meat cleaver in the trash and decided to restore it to what I'm sure is more than its former glory. If you look in these up-close "before" photos you'll see that the rust is so thick it looks almost like soft moss. Not so by the end...
As a kid, I shared a bunk bed with my younger brother and every night we'd argue about who had to turn off the light and make the frightful journey through the dark to the safety of his own covers. Eventually our parents bought us The Clapper which was swiftly taken away from us due to the racket we made every night for fun...
Old tape players are abundant, and cheap. Many have solid speaker sets, perfect period styling and design, and handle-equipped portability. So, what to do with 'em? Play music through them! Oh, tossed your mixtape collection in the late 00s? Then, I guess you gotta make that music yourself.
Summer markets are still buzzing with fresh produce and local goodies - but what's gonna happen when they're gone? Well, maybe you can score a few wooden crates to use as planters.