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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.