Made by Hand: My Adventures in the World of Do-It-Yourself

Overview

"It's not merely good, it's foundation-shaking." -Seth Godin

From his unique vantage point as editor-in-chief of Make magazine, the hub of the do-it-yourself movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes readers on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY.

Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of ...

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Overview

"It's not merely good, it's foundation-shaking." -Seth Godin

From his unique vantage point as editor-in-chief of Make magazine, the hub of the do-it-yourself movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes readers on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY.

Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering deeply satisfying alternatives for spending time together. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.

Frauenfelder also profiles fascinating "alpha makers" leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights. He offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding than another trip to the mall.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this overwrought ode to doing it yourself, Make magazine editor Frauenfelder attempts to “forge a deeper connection and a more rewarding sense of involvement with the world” by making more of the things his family uses and eats. His DIY projects are varied—organic gardening, building a chicken coop, constructing cigar-box guitars, keeping bees, tutoring his daughter—and not uniformly successful: chickens get devoured by a coyote; the bees subsist on sugar-water handouts; his daughter fails the big math test. (Not to worry, he insists, since accepting mistakes is foundational to the DIY ethos.) Frauenfelder’s hand-making procedurals are engaging, but, for him, practicality takes a back seat to spirituality, to living authentically, to grokking “the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, the beauty found in an object’s imperfections.” He often presents DIY as a form of therapy: spoon-whittling isn’t about spoons, it’s about “the calming and focusing effect of spoon-whittling.” (And like most therapies, these projects often require lots of disposable income—a thousand dollars for a load of mulch!—and spare time.) People have hobbies because they are interesting and fun; by inflating hobbyism into a belief system, Frauenfelder doesn’t add much to their appeal. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
An amateur craftsman is inspired to tackle a laundry list of obscure projects. Hobbled by the dot.com bust, Frauenfelder and his wife began to think carefully about how to maximize their space and resources. A propitious if misguided move to a South Pacific island "paradise" proved short-lived, but their time there instilled a new perspective on working with their hands, the importance of down-time and how to utilize raw materials in new and beneficial ways. Frauenfelder's immensely popular gadget-centric blog (BoingBoing.net) garnered attention from a contemporary interested in launching a periodical focused on "how to make, modify, and repair things." Born in 2005 with Frauenfelder as its editor-in-chief, Make magazine highlighted enticing projects using "tested, step-by-step instructions." The author went a step further by incorporating DIY home-improvement concepts into their Southern California lifestyle and created a wish list of projects he hoped to accomplish. Frauenfelder wittily chronicles his varying degrees of success in making everything from fermented kombucha yogurt to a chicken coop. Replacing persistent Bermuda grass with mulch proved an exercise in patience, as did adventures in coffee, chickens and bee colonies, but the rewards were great after the author constructed several homemade multi-stringed guitars from cigar boxes, whittled wooden spoons and tutored his daughters. Throughout the narrative, a host of eclectic characters emerges, including 80-year-old Picasso lookalike Alfie; "Mister Jalopy," a secretive, brilliant tinkerer; a gay Tennessean who believes fermented foods keep his HIV infection in check; and two nonprofit organizers who assisted with the cultivation of the author's bountiful vegetable garden, one of his proudest achievements. Frauenfelder gained much self-confidence throughout his clunky experimentation, though he admits that along with everything else, "you have to live with the mistakes you make."A utilitarian motivational booster for DIYers. Agent: Byrd Leavell/Waxman Literary Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591844433
  • Publisher: Portfolio Trade
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,430,085
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of the most popular blog in the world, boingboing.net. He is also the editor in chief of Make magazine. He has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and The Colbert Report and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, and CNN. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
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    Good read

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