"So there are Oliphaunts. But no one at home will ever believe me."
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Blatant Forgery

I can’t remember if it was right before, or right after, we moved from Georgia to the house on Lake St. Clair, but a few years ago I developed a strong and utterly inexplicable urge to take up a new hobby, blacksmithing. As I write about it, I’ve convinced myself that this must have been right after we moved, and the thought came to me because I saw the enormous workshop on the upper level of the land, and I envisioned using it as a temple for self-improvement and useful crafts. On the other hand, I remember looking for resources while holed up in Gig Harbor, so… hard to say when, or where, or why this fancy came to me.

I looked into it enough to research plans for setting up forges, which I read was the hardest, and obviously most important, part.

Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal PM’s home and auto editors took a weekend out to teach themselves how to heat and hammer metal the old-fashioned way. They started by ordering an anvil and making their own blacksmith forge. The sparks flew from there.

(From “Blacksmithing 101: How to Make a Forge and Start Hammering Metal – Popularmechanics.com“.)

My plan broke on the obstacle of obtaining a proper anvil. Yes, you can buy beginner’s anvils cheap (made in China, crack easily, full of toxic chemicals like lead), but my philosophy has always been, in for a penny, in for a hundred fifty pounds or so. That translates into hundreds of dollars.

In no way can the workshop be considered to have ever been employed for any useful purpose. It was used to hold our junk. Ultimately I wound up throwing my energies into making beer and wine. Yet the fire still burns and the dream is still alive.

May 5, 2010   Comments Off

Secure, Contain, Protect

This is fun: The SCP Foundation. A Wikipedia-style collaborative encyclopedia of made up facts about a fictional research facility dedicated to preserving—and preserving us from—strange, weird, occult, legendary, incomprehensible, reprehensible, harmless, supernatural and/or mysterious artifacts. Each entry describes a made-up object in the style of institutional paranoia that lends a touch of authority and bureaucratic madness.

It’s a bit of a mash-up, X-Files and the Twilight Zone rolled for the Web 2.0. It seems to be open to the public. I may have to add a bit of lore.

(Original article, via Evil Avatar – News Items.)

February 23, 2010   Comments Off

Wallpaper. Furniture. Two great tastes that… nevermind

I’m going through a backlog of posts from Cool Hunting. Here is a good one. This company refurbishes old furniture with wallpaper. First, they make wallpaper this awesome? Who knew? And secondly, I really like the style. I could see going crazy with this. My inner craftsman wants to know, how hard is this to do at home? The curmudgeon doubts that the surfaces hold up to anything more demanding than a glance.

Bryonie Porter Black

The handcrafted pieces aren’t just simple cut and paste jobs, but rather subtle and elegant pieces that dynamically engage simple furniture and enthusiastic prints. A black bureau with embossed black flowers elegantly boasts the clean lines of the piece, while a children’s bookcase displays a map of the world.

Bryonie Porter Map BookshelfBryonie Porter Yellow

(Original article via Cool Hunting.)

February 22, 2010   Comments Off

Matthew Albanese on the Behance Network

It’s amazing what you can do with a a couple pounds of paprika and some ash from the fire place. And a lot of time. Oh, and a camera. It’s hard not to admire the skill and patience to create these incredibly detailed terrain models. Take a look at both the landscape shots and the shots from the studio.

(Via Cool Hunting.)

February 20, 2010   1 Comment