Monthly Archives: May 2019

Hobbies = Passion

Have you ever created your own things out in the shop or somewhere in your home and felt extremely accomplished and proud of your work? To me, it’s one of the best feelings simply because you did it 1) on your own time and 2) with your own money. And the best part? It’s all outside of work, it’s usually something you really have been wanting to do whether it was an interest or for someone else, and it’s all YOUR work.

That’s how I got hooked on making my own cornhole boards. I never thought I’d enjoy it or be good at it, but the best way to get ahold of a pair of boards is to make your own. With a few old shipping boxes broken down and placed beneath you as you work, your cleanup will be much easier, from spilled paint or stain to lots of sawdust beneath your project.

In fact, despite only having made 4 pairs of boards, I’ve got a buddy who has made his own too, and I’m thinking about asking him if he’d want to set up a sort of side business for both of us where we simply met up, made a few pairs of boards every other weekend or so, and then sold them to people willing to pay $200 for a pair of well done, regulation boards.

That’s exactly how extra money is made and how you can become incredibly skilled at something. The more you do it, the better it will be. The more passion you put into it, the more skilled you’ll become because you love it. And the more you can get someone else in on it, the more you’ll stay committed to your craft and give it the time it needs.

Of course, this extends to things that you’re not selling, too. My mom has a wreath shop back home where she will send wreaths off with friends, family, and really anyone that asks. They’re seasonal, they’re holiday themed, and they’re for big life events in general. So, despite not making any money on her wreaths, she has grown a huge selection of crafts, wreaths, and other garland that she will exchange with people, and her wreaths seem to get better and better every single month. Because she’s passionate about them.

That’s really all this takes. Having the right materials and supplies, like the cheap wood you can get at your local department store or a few shipping boxes that you’ve used for easier cleanup. Whether you’re doing something for your home, gardening outside, making cornhole boards or wreaths, or even doing some sort of art or cooking for others, make it a hobby you love and a passion you don’t want to live without. That’s when the good stuff begins to happen.

Overnight Hiking Trips and Proper Supplies

This past weekend I made my first overnight backpacking trip at a local state park. I’ve been meaning to go for months now, but the stars finally aligned for me and my friends with good weather, an open weekend, and the right supplies.

I will say that it was one of the more taxing endeavors I’ve ever carried out. I underestimated just how much work it takes to hike 10 miles with a 30 pound pack on my back and lots of up and down hills to navigate. By the end, though, I felt extremely accomplished, and I was proud of everyone for having a great time, roughing it for a night, and getting up early the next morning to hike the last half of the trail.

Those sorts of trips are wildly underestimated in terms of the preparation needed. And I say this from a physical perspective and accounting for appropriate gear and things to bring along.

One thing I realized we could’ve used more of was supplies. Be it office or shipping supplies, we could’ve afforded to take some extra cardboard or paper for kindling. In fact, other shipping supplies like tape would’ve also been extremely useful in binding our food packs together for the night. We ended up tossing all of our open food bags and uneaten snacks into a sack, tying that sack to a string and a rock, and tossing the rock over a tree branch to suspend it in the air for the night, out of reach of raccoons and other critters.

But had we had some tape, we could’ve further sealed the bags in order to prevent any scents from escaping. Unfortunately, we did attract the attention of a few raccoons that evening (which impacted my sleep some). But overall, everything worked out quite well.

Going forward, another thing I’ll be keeping in mind is water supplies. We underestimated how much water we would need for camp, and that accounts for cooking and having something to drink with dinner while also having some water for sleeping at night (which I’m often found slugging water in the middle of the night).

So maybe I need to ration my water better while on the trail. Or perhaps we didn’t try hard enough to go out of our way to reach a water source to filter and have along the way. Whatever the case, packing more water from the get go isn’t the best idea considering your pack being weighed down is something you don’t want unless those things are absolutely necessary. And since we could get water out in nature, there’s no reason to carry more than needed.

When You Can’t Make It Home to See Your Parents

I’m often guilty of not seeing my parents as much as I could despite living just two hours away from them. The thing is, if I’m going to make a trip home to see them, I want to be able to stay for at least a night. A two hour trip there and back is absolutely doable in one day, but I just feel like that decreases my time spent with them while also increasing my stress of driving in a single day.

So when it comes to more “minor” holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I often don’t make it home since 1) I’m usually doing other things with my girlfriend’s family who already live in town and 2) there’s just not enough time in the weekend to dedicate 4 hours driving back home.

Deutschland, Neu-Isenburg, Familie, Windenergie

So, that’s why I like to usually pack up something small in some shipping boxes and send them to my parents for more minor holidays like these. It lets them know I’m still thinking about them while also saving me major time and stress in driving and planning out a full weekend.

The good thing is that my parents never mind and always understand that my schedule is busier than theirs, so they’re always accommodating and happy to see me when they can. The better thing is that I can still give them the time of day they deserve by showing I care and thought of them with a few gifts shipped to their home. They always appreciate anything unexpected like a new shirt I found or a book that made me think of them. It’s cheap and easy for me and pleasant for them without causing any sort of hurt feelings among our relationship.

Recently I’ve found that sending my dad a new hat or a tee shirt I thought he’d like is the best for him. He’s always liking more hats and wearing stuff that he knows I, myself, enjoy wearing (which is funny because I used to want to dress like him and now the roles are reversed).

As for my mom, she’s the reader in the family. So sending along a book or some sort of craft or materials for her wreath shop will make her day instantly. She’s always down to read something new, use something for her wreaths, or make something she hasn’t ever made before.

Ultimately, showing your parents you care is what matters most. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant or expensive. As long as they see you’re thinking about them, even if you can’t make it home, they’ll be quite proud to call you their child.

3 Packaging Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed

When it comes to being the most prepared you can be for a move or even just for transporting new furniture and decor back into your home, there’s nothing better than having the right shipping supplies available to make transportation of certain materials and items much easier, safer, and efficient.

The thing is, there are a lot of shipping supplies out there that some of you may not be aware of. While moving boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape may be quite familiar to you, would you be able to name off other products that movers use on a daily basis to make their job easier and more efficient? Probably not.

With that said, check out these three moving supplies to increase your knowledge on the wide variety of supplies out there for your own convenience.

Moving blankets.

These are some of the most handy things out there that have more than one use for your move. More than anything, moving blankets are like large, thick quilts used to protect bigger furniture from rips, tears, scratches, and more. Basically, they’re just cushioning and a material in between to help preserve the nature of your furniture and belongings so that nothing becomes damaged or broken. The last thing you want to happen when moving is add more to the stress of the move.

As another use, though, moving blankets are amazing for transporting heavy pieces of furniture without wheels across flooring that’s prone to scratching. Not only do the blankets protect your floor, they also make it a heck of a lot easier to move things around in tighter spaces.

Padded wrapping paper.

As an alternative to moving blankets, you can use padded wrapping paper instead. Basically, this looks like brown paper bags that have cushioning built in so that it can be wrapped around pieces of furniture to prevent any sort of scratching or tears. While this is more of a temporary, lighter weight material for moves compared to the permanent heavy duty nature of moving blankets, it can be quicker and easier to use in a pinch.

Stretch plastic wrap.

This kind of looks like Saran wrap and is available in different dimensions to fit your needs. They’re great for wrapping drawers so that they don’t come flying open in transit like you’re probably used to. This stuff is pretty great for protecting softer furniture from rips and tears, too. Heck, it prevents your furniture from getting dirty or wet, too.

Music & Tattoos

Last weekend I was in the mood to listen to my record player. So, I started going through some of my vinyl record collection, all housed in old shipping boxes, and I came across one of my favorite albums out there.

For me, being able to really digest an album in its entirety means a lot more than “listening to music” as most people do today. Songs are the moneymakers in today’s music industry, which has unfortunately driven a lot of artists away from the art that is making an entire album. While I may be generalizing some, pop music has taken off and stayed strong through the last few decades simply because those musicians are willing to sacrifice their art for far more money. You can’t even blame them, though, because who wouldn’t want to get paid more?

But some artists aren’t willing to sacrifice their artistic design and their own influence on a record. They know the process, the emotions, the creation, and the experience of it all is far too intertwined to compromise for fame and money. They’re the few who prefer to keep it to how it used to be. They want to make real music.

Sturgill Simpson is one of those artists, and he’s my favorite musician out there because of his take on the music industry. He’s too old school to care about fame and money and big lights. Instead, he forges his path through experimental country music. And if anyone ever fit the bill of against the grain, it’s Sturgill.

So as I listened to his second album on my record player, I got to thinking about life and expression and art, and I realized I finally came across the perfect image and idea for my first tattoo. You see, I’ve long been the guy to say “I want a tattoo, I just never can decide on something once and for all”. But that suddenly changed when I settled on a tattoo idea based off of one of Sturgill’s tracks on his second album.

Such introspection and deep thought (combined with my favorite artist’s classic voice) led me to a better realization of myself and being able to finally be decisive on a topic that I really do need to be absolutely certain about. If I had never dug through my shipping boxes to find a few records I wanted to listen to, I’m not sure I would’ve ever come to the decision that I know what I want for a tattoo now.