Sunday, October 31, 2010

1st Place Christmas Tree

The holidays are a time for counting blessings, cheerful acts of kindness and mandatory well wishing.  But love towards your fellow man aside, it's the perfect time for you to be the champion holiday host with this competition-ready Christmas tree.  Sure, Aunt Trudy has the best stuffing, and Gramps wins best holiday sweater hands down, but wait till they get a load of this stunner.

I have recently developed an obsession for old trophies, collecting them for the last few months with no intended purpose.  Then the obvious hit me: turn them into a Christmas tree.  Well, okay, maybe not obvious, BUT when you take one look at this tree you'll never look at a trophy the same way again.

Here's how you can make your own.

First off, you'll need some trophies that you can disassemble.  I found mine in various places (i.e. thrift/junk shops, ebay, garage sales, etc).

You'll also need some wood cut to a variety of sizes and shapes, a slender dowel rod, a drill, some screws of varying lengths, a tape measurer, a hammer, a pen, paints and brushes.  The cost of this project can vary widely depending how cheaply you can acquire your trophies and if you're able to find some free wood scraps.  Recycle, recycle, recycle!

Creating a sturdy, wide base ensures that your trophy tree (which is very top heavy and awkward in terms of weight distribution) will not tip over on you.  I used a piece of salvaged ply wood that looked to be a good size for the size of my tree.  I then used a salvaged piece of 4x4 for the base of my tree's trunk.

I made small trophies using the scraps of wood that a friend gave me.  Then I tried stacking the wood in different combinations to get a feel for the shape that my tree would take.

I took the pieces of wood off my trunk and began assembling my first branch.  I used a dowel rod to create pegs for the underside of the branch and drilled holes into the trunk.  This allowed me to easily assemble and disassemble the tree later for easy transport.

I continued making branches, each one shorter than its predecessor.   Note: make sure that the trophies on opposite side of the branch are fairly equal in weight, using the center of your branch as a fulcrum.    This will help keep your tree from tipping off center as it grows taller.

Now most people would probably want to paint their tree prior to assembling it, but I didn't think that far ahead.  Secondly I knew that I was using two tones of green and that I wanted a gradient effect that would have been hard to paint prior to making the full thing.

For the final touch I added some some fake spray snow. 

Voila!  Now your Christmas caroling set-list can include a little "Eye of the Tiger" and "We Are the Champions."  No one will question whether or not you're top dog this holiday season.

One Cozy Tote

Rogues Gallery is my new favorite store.  I had the wonderful pleasure of exploring their shop on Commercial Street while visiting Provincetown in October.  These guys truly understand the rugged, retro, and refined man.  Aside from clothing their accessories run the gamut, cataloging everything from jewelry to bags, scarves to ties, boots to belt buckles.

What immediately caught my eye was this Blanket Bag, created in a limited edition of 50.  I was a bit chintzy on this trip and resisted the urge to splerge, but I'm trying my darnedest to justify this $270 purchase.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's a Boy!

A good friend of mine recently became the proud papa of a handsome, strong, witty, and wonderful bouncing, baby boy.  My heart is filled with tremendous joy for them, bringing back memories of me and my own dad.

It's no secret that I was an active boyscout (since I mention it at every opportune moment),  and the kind of boy who came home half naked, covered in mud, after digging my own swimmin' hole.  Building forts, climbing trees, pretending to be a superhero, causing general destruction!  This was my modus operandi.  Never far off was my dad, always there to assist me if I needed his engineering expertise or scientific knowledge of creatures both flora and fauna.  He was the go-to-guy for whittling my first walking stick/ninja weapon, and he lassoed and hoisted my first tire swing.

Dads have a tough job.  Fun, but tough.  If any of you need a little help entertaining your cantankerous lad or adventurous tom-boy I have a handy manual just for you.

Chockablock full of projects, some of them even useful to parents.  Utensil caddy, anyone?

What boy doesn't want a sailbike?

The perfect paper airplane.

Great Mother's Day gift idea!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Packed Away, Nice and Tight

Space is at a premium in my 196 sq/ft apartment.  Since I have a tendency to fill my dwelling with frivolous interior decor (clutter and knickknacks) even less real estate is available.  In short, the cute-and-cozy aesthetic does have its draw backs, and sacrifices must be made.  Forced with a difficult decision I often choose to eliminate the more sensible furniture pieces rather than lose my precious collectibles.  But I recently hit a new low; rock bottom in pack-rat-ism.  I chucked my dresser.  

But not to worry!  I didn't do so without having a backup plan.  My clothes aren't hiding under the bed, or shelved in my closet (it's pretty cramped there, too).  I opted for the slimmer, vertical storage possibilities of an antique filing cabinet like this.  

My antique Weis filing cabinet with tshirts neatly folded.  
The drawers are surprisingly deep and hold a great deal more than 
you'd expect at first glance.


And now, with proper labels, I'll never forget where I put these...

Other filing cabinet-dresser styles come in various 
compartmental arrangements, materials, and colors.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mr. Moneybags

There I was, nine or ten years old, leaning against the glass display case at Farm and Home, a rural boutique for hard workin' folks.  Face pressed against the glass I slowly scanned the folded pieces of leather.  Some plain and smooth, others embossed with horses and livestock.  I had, perhaps, owned other wallets prior to this point.  Maybe Snoopy or Felix the Cat's face was on the outside.  But I would have dismissed those as childish toys when compared to the dark, stoic nature of their adult counterparts. They were serious, and they meant business.

I felt I had arrived for duty, manned up, was ready for the world when I bought my first wallet that day.  I had my allowance money to stow inside, along with a Cub Scout card that I slid in one of its pockets, and finally, my Pepsi Generation I.D. card that my parents had made in case I was ever lost or kidnapped while on a shopping trip to Wal-Mart.  Ever since that day the right side of my rump has had a constant companion, and I think most men can relate to the warm fuzzies produced from first-time-wallet nostalgia.

Ahhh, but gone are the days of Farm and Home, Cub Scouts, and the Pepsi Generation.  However, one thing remains and that is my appreciation for a sturdy and stylish pocketbook.  

My new prize pig is this nautical themed beauty by Jack Spade, a men's clothier known for creating classic designs that are inspired by various male perspectives throughout the 20th century.  And... brace yourselves... it comes in three colorways!  Guys never get color options, so kudos to you, Mr. Spade.  Get yours here!

Dangerous sailor tattoos line the interior hiding a wild side behind 
that traditional, preppy anchor pattern.  A great, unexpected twist.

 Light Blue colorway

Navy colorway