A Look Back at an Old Book, Made by Hand

Made by Hand book by Mark FrauenfelderWhen I announced that much of my posting in 2013 would involve looking back to posts published over the last 8 years, I didn't realize it would be so easy. Case in point: earlier this month while at the American Library Association conference where I had a display in their Maker Showcase with my newer blog, The Maker Mom, I was pulled aside and asked if I wanted to introduce Mark Frauenfelder, Editor-in-Chief of Make Magazine! He's also the author of a book I reviewed in 2010, one that first planted the notion of keeping backyard chickens and bees in my head.

It was a thrill to chat with him before his talk and let him know that I still think about his book, especially now that there's chatter in my town about doing away with the backyard chicken ban.

Mark is coming out with a new book either later in 2013 or early next year about dad + daughter maker projects. When I mentioned this in the intro, I had to pause given the loud communal "awwww" that came from the audience. Sadly, I didn't get to hear his talk. I'd left the Young Maker Teen in charge of my booth and felt a need to return as quickly as I could.

Here's a book review I wrote nearly three years ago in September 2010:

Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World by Mark Frauenfelder, Founder of Boing Boing and Editor in Chief of Make.

I received a review copy of this book, which is part of a trendy DIY, getting back to basics wave. It seems to me that the kind of thrifty, bootstrappers who adore this genre are more likely to check books out of a library than purchase them outright, but that's a story for another day.

We haven't thrown away most of our possessions, but in the last couple of years, we have stored, donated or sold much of it, and it really does make a person think. Think about our stuff. Realize how much of it we have and how unnecessary and meaningless much of it is. It's actually been a rather freeing and enlightening process (she says until she realizes she has a very empty new house).

So this book came to me at a good time. I was intrigued Frauenfelder's efforts to slow down and unplug. I enjoyed reading about his exploits keeping chickens and bees, making kombucha, carving wooden spoons, and whatnot, though admittedly I was curious what his wife and kids were doing while he spent an afternoon carving spoons.

His efforts were not always successful, but Frauenfelder always walked away from a project with a new appreciation and a few lessons learned. I liked that.

I don't think I'll be carving spoons for teacher gifts this year ("Thank goodness," sigh the ones who read this blog), but I just might turn our (theoretical) new lawn into a vegetable garden and if I could figure out a way to keep keep chickens, I'd do it.

This book is an interesting read, especially for an aspiring DIY-er.
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