I love getting Christmas cards from all our friends and family this time of year. It’s nice to see what everyone has been up to and see which kid is making the best/weirdest face in the picture. Since we don’t have kids yet and neither of us will ever use the phrase “fur baby,” we don’t usually send out cards. This year, however, we decided we would just share what we’ve been up to in the most applicable way—via a demonstration of the type of thing we do for fun.
In this case, that meant finding a 40-year-old Popular Mechanics article about lino printing your own Christmas cards, buying a kit from Hobby Lobby, and making postcards.
Gordon got his first subscription to Popular Mechanics because he had a call center job and subscribed to ten different magazines to stave off the soul-sucking boredom. Turns out, it is now the only one of the ten we still take. We made our first PM project after getting serious sticker shock while looking for a meat smoker and then finding plans in the magazine to build one out of a 55-gallon drum instead. We were hooked.
A couple years later, Gordon found several old (we’re talking 1950s) issues at a thrift store and discovered he likes the magazine even better when it’s pretty out of date, so when he discovered Google books had an archive of old issues going back to 1905, he was thrilled. Especially in earlier years, the magazine was full of build-it-yourself projects of varying difficulty. And until October, 1960, the subtitle for each issue was “Written so you can understand it.” It’s every ambitious amateur handyman/electrician/carpenter/boatbuilder/mad scientist’s dream. Continue reading
We really don’t like to show up empty-handed for parties. This means whoever isn’t driving to the event is usually either juggling a hot pan full of (usually cheesy) food or listening to said pan slide around the back of the car and praying we won’t find a huge mess when we get there. It’s not a perfect system.
Fortunately for us, Popular Mechanics solved this problem forty years ago, and fortunately for me, Gordon likes to peruse forty-year-old issues of Popular Mechanics in his spare time. Continue reading
Last week’s post is all about the things you should do in Colonial Williamsburg. And really, you can find plenty to keep you occupied within the Revolutionary City itself. But there are also a lot of really cool things to do nearby.
Here are a few things we did this trip around Williamsburg that we recommend:
We are a bit infatuated with Colonial Williamsburg. Since spending our honeymoon there, we have followed their programs, bought Williamsburg Christmas ornaments every year, and checked their job postings just in case. Gordon would love nothing more than to take an apprenticeship in Williamsburg and spend eight hours a day pretending he really was born 300 years ago.
Visiting from Utah takes some planning, so we haven’t gone as often as we’d like. But when we found cheap plane tickets for this fall, we talked Gordon’s parents into coming with us to our favorite place.
Our obsession makes us feel entitled to offer advice, so here are the the things you really should see and do if you’re Williamsburg:
We have a serious book problem at our house. We both came into our marriage with large collections and an obsession with books. We stop at every bookstore and library sale we pass. Add to that an inability to get rid of any (I have so many college textbooks and anthologies that I just can’t bear to part with. What if I NEED them later?) and we quickly filled several bookcases and still had more in boxes.
Gordon decided that for my birthday last year, he would build a bookcase into an entire wall in our front room. He said it was boring once it was four feet tall, so he got distracted. But with my birthday this year fast approaching, he figured he’d better finish it so I couldn’t accuse him of stretching it out just to avoid picking a gift this year. It took late nights, many trips to Lowe’s, and the whole house smelling like stain for awhile, but our little library is now my favorite part of the house. Continue reading
I think Augusta National must be the Narnia of golf courses. First of all, Augusta manages to make golf exciting at least once a year. Second, and more important to someone as terrible at golf as I am, their food is legendary. This is impressive because the sandwiches are made on white wonder bread and there is nothing on the menu that anyone with even rudimentary cooking skills couldn’t just make at home. But somehow, pair it all with the biggest golf tournament of the year and price the food like its 1969, and you’ve got magic. Continue reading
Pysanky sculpture in downtown Kyiv
If you’re ever in Eastern Europe around Orthodox Easter, you should stop by Kyiv, Ukraine for the festivities. The whole city is full of flowers, people wear their traditional embroidered shirts, and everywhere you look you see pysanky (Easter eggs) and Easter bread (honestly, you should go to Ukraine for the bread alone). I have always wanted to make pysanky, but they seemed so much more difficult than the typical American version with stickers and cheap tablet dye.
This year, we decided to go for it. Gordon ordered a kit from bestpysanky.com that included the wax pens (kistki), wax, and dye in several different colors. Continue reading
Amazon Prime has added a series of vintage food commercials, and they are amazing. In honor of Pi Day, we watched Johnny Carson make a Jello Ice Cream Pie (circa 1957) and then made our own. We loved how easy it was, and using our favorite ice cream meant we were guaranteed to like the pie. Continue reading
If all you really care about is how to make a powder horn, go read the other post. If you want to learn the word “scrimshander” and find out pretty useless trivia about Nova Scotia, while seeing more pictures of the powder horn with designs etched into it, you’re in the right place.
Thanks to the Reader’s Digest Back to Basics book, Gordon decided his powder horn wouldn’t be finished until he did some scrimshaw. Continue reading