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Block Prints

I picked up some new art for my office the other day.  Our friend Dave who owns the Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar does some pretty awesome wood block prints so when I caught up with him recently I made sure to get a couple.  The coolest thing about these is that they’re both test pieces that he did before attempting to carve them into 4×8 sheets of plywood.  There’s an event on CB where artists have a steamroller drive over their giant carved sheets of plywood to print the image onto huge canvases.  So rad!  Anyway, I don’t have enough wall space for the big ones so I got these instead and just pretend.  Now that the weather’s getting nice, head on over to Ocean Grill and try the Crabcake Sandwich, and if you see Dave, buy some art too!

The Leather Lanyard

I’ve been using these swivel snap hooks as key chains for a while now and was inspired to make it look a little cooler than just a hook I picked up from a hardware store.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I just wanted a reason to use more leather and rivets I guess.  I didn’t come up with the design — they’ve been around for years (it’s pretty classic), but I may play around with it depending on what materials I come across, so they may evolve.  I like that it’s understated, versatile and nice and at the same time manly.  If you’re interested in seeing how many different ways you can use one of your own, go here.  And by the way, most of the photos on this blog are taken by my wonderful and talented wife, Jen.  All the bad ones are mine.

Old Wallet, New Wallet

About 8 or 9 years ago I picked up a simple leather wallet because it had one of my favorite japanese wood block prints embossed on it and would fit in my front pocket just fine (because I don’t really like sitting on a wallet).  I’ve been carrying it ever since.  I’m an avid lover of simplicity and quality in design, and this has fit the bill for close to a decade without showing any signs of wearing out.  However, Jen ends up with lots of leftover leather and the other day while wondering what to do with all these scraps, we decided to collaborate on making one of my favorite carrying companions I’ve ever had.

Here it is.  My new wallet, even though I didn’t need it because I think my old one is made of some kind of super leather.  It’s minus the wood block print of course, but it’s actually lower profile and softer.  Probably means it won’t last as long, but I won’t know for a while.  Can’t wait to see how it breaks in.

Computer Sleeve

We don’t usually do anything too crazy to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  It’s a good thing too because Jen’s birthday is in just two weeks followed shortly by our anniversary.  Since it looks like it will be this way forever, Valentine’s will have to remain a warm up to the serious celebrating.  Which is why I was a little surprised by this super awesome computer sleeve Jen made me.  (She knew I’d been wanting one.)  I have the best, most thoughtful (not to mention beautiful and talented) wife in all of the whole wide world.   Thanks for setting the bar high love!

Roll Tide

Tie One On

So I made a neck tie.  I’ve always enjoyed dressing up and haven’t exactly “needed” to since my job is a casual dress environment.  But with the cooler weather I’ve welcomed the opportunity to fancy up a bit.  Jen got me a really sweet vintage skinny tie while in Brooklyn last month, and it inspired me to try my hand at sewing more than just buttons and the occasional repair.  I rifled through all her scrap fabrics until I found some manly wool suiting material, searched online for some direction, ruined a perfectly good tie (not the vintage one) to make a modified pattern and 9 hours later I had a custom handmade tie.  It took longer to make the pattern than the actual tie.  So my second effort, which is this one, only took 3 hours, and I’m kind of stoked on it.   Also, now I know why nice ties are so expensive.  If you find a cheap one, don’t buy it — it’s made by slaves.  Now that I’ve forayed into the realm of sewing, apparently nothing’s off limits.

It is Finished

About 2 months ago I started working with a buddy of mine who builds custom homes. Nice custom beach homes. The million dollar kind. So when he said the project I was going to help him on was a detached garage I should have known you’d be able to fit my entire house inside it. It’s been one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever been involved in for a few reasons. First, I’ve never built a structure like this from the ground up. I can now check that off the list of life, and it really is a good feeling. I have mad respect for builders like Brian Shelton who take their time and do things right, even when it costs more. Second, I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned on this job site. It’s funny how much you think you know going into something only to be humbled the first day. I gotta thank Brian for pouring years and years of knowledge into me and being patient while I got the hang of it.  It’s cool how when you allow yourself to be taught by forgetting you know anything at all, you can look back after a while and see serious growth.  It doesn’t hurt when the teacher is a master carpenter.  I started off soft physically too, and have felt the benefits of hard labor. My skinny fat left around week 6 or so. The homeowner we built this garage for said hard work never hurt anyone. He would know too — he’s a tug boat pilot on the cape fear river, the kind that maneuver the huge cargo ships in and out, through the bridges with a foot of clearance on each side. I could write a whole blog on this dude alone. If anyone complains about their job or that they work too hard, just have one conversation with him and you’ll walk away feeling weak. I promise. Can you imagine being on call 24/7? Not being able to leave town even for a day? Enjoy a beer after a long day because you might get a call any minute for an all nighter, or even an all weekender? Like I said, what I learned on this job has benefitted me where I didn’t even know I needed it.  Besides that, it was also just plain fun. I’m sad to see it come to an end, but like all good things . . . Here are some pics of the process; you can fit his 40 ft. RV on one side, regular cars and motorcycles and workshop on the other, and a finished apartment upstairs.  Can’t wait to find out what God has in store next to work on.


p.s. Yes, it’s getting painted barn red in case you were wondering.

American Muscle

I meant to blog about this last week but my commitment level has been low.  Last weekend we went to a car show here on the island with some folks.  It was no Rims on the River, but it didn’t disappoint.  My good friend Drew and I always try to pick our top 3 whenever we go.   I’m not going to bore you with all my picks but in case you wanted to know, this is my dream car.

The 67 Chevelle Super Sport.  Something about 1967, Chevrolet was doing everything right that year.  This guy did a good job with his, I really liked the color.  Do you think our kids will grow up and go to car shows to see a sweet 98 Lumina?


I got a call from a friend of mine this week who lives in Charleston, SC.  He builds wooden boats for a living and needed to come to Wilmington to update his captain’s classifications.  It’s been fun catching up considering Jen and I haven’t seen him and his wife since last summer.  The most recent project he and his brother built was a 50 foot wooden catamaran.  She’s a beautiful vessel with a lot of time (over 2 years) invested in building her and we had the pleasure of hanging out on it for an afternoon.  Very impressive.  So back to catching up — do any of you remember a news story of a Coast Guard rescue about 200 miles off our coast last December?  Well, it was this million dollar boat, Kekoa, who took over 2 years to build, and was supposed to be under way to it’s new port in the Virgin Islands!  My friend wasn’t on it, thankfully, because they hired a crew to sail it there for their investors.  Long story very short, the weather turned rather quickly and the captain apparently didn’t heed a few warning signs.  They didn’t haul in a sail before the winds got to 40 knots and by then they couldn’t get it in at all.  Because of this they were forced northeast instead of south and had to withstand 60 foot faces for 48 straight hours sustaining a hole in one hull and some lost railings and rigging.  A boat made of fiberglass, I’m told, would have been in pieces after just a few hours.  After the crew made the call to abandon ship and were rescued, Kekoa drifted for 5 days through more storm before she could be salvaged.  When they found her she had only taken on 1 inch of water.  Did I mention I was impressed by this boat?  First, let me say how thankful I am that everyone survived.  I think it’s safe to say we’ve all missed warning signs along our own paths and paid some serious consequences because of it.  Second, what a testament to the designer and the builders of this boat.  They took so much time for a labor of love, didn’t cut any corners, and used the best materials available for creating something that will outlast conventional boats by 150 – 200 years.  Kekoa, though beaten and battered, withstood this storm and proved, in my opinion, that she will stand the test of time.  What kind of material are you made of?

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You

I knew it would take me a while to get the hang of blogging.  I’m only three weeks after my debut though — I’ve seen worse.  I have a friend with a great ability to see analogies of our walks with God in everyday, seemingly mundane things.  I think it’s rubbing off on me.  I’ve been learning to play the drums as of a few months ago.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 15, but never made the opportunity (I can only blame myself).  Well since one of my passions is to continually learn new things, and apparently I’m not getting any younger, I decided to stop putting it off.  One thing I’ve found about the drums is that they are actually a musical instrument and not a sport.  They have notes to learn to read and everything.  I thought the hardest thing to learn would be the coordination, but it turns out simply keeping time is one of the hardest and most frustrating of all.  It struck me that in our walk with God the Holy Spirit is like our metronome.  In my life it’s easy to be impatient and want to rush ahead of where God wants me.  I’ve also found when that happens I get out of step and things around me seem to be out of rhythm.  What I end up having to do, just like when I’m practicing the drums, is stop and listen closely to get back on tempo and continue putting forth the effort to stay in time.  Sometimes I can drag and need to catch up.  The beat is always there — it’s up to us to listen for it and stay with it.  Here’s to making the music God intends us to by staying in time with His rhythm.  I know my neighbors are praying the same thing for me.