Hewn & Hammered is changing!

No, we're not becoming an ad farm. But things are changing around here, hopefully for the better.

I'll be giving up my singleminded focus on homebuilding, furniture, and the Arts & Crafts Movement, and incorporating more and more on my other interests - other aspects of craftsmanship, mainly, including typography, calligraphy and graphic design; textile design and technology; painting and other forms of visual art, and more.

I hope you find the little bits that I post here useful and interesting! - JLT

A New Focus for Hewn & Hammered

I want to start out by apologizing for the infrequent posts here in the last six months. Family responsibilities have kept me (happily!) very busy.

Thus, in an attempt to increase the amount of interesting, useful, readable content here, I've decided to change the focus of the site somewhat. While we will still focus on architectural and design issues, we'll expand a little bit - we'll still include content related to old homes & the modern and historical Arts & Crafts Movements, but I'll also be posting regular articles on more contemporary, non-A&C work.

Modern furniture, architecture and design objects - still, always, with an emphasis on the wood, the hand-made, the product of skilled craft - will become a big part of this site. I know some of you are not nearly as interested in this sort of thing, but I hope this will bring a large number of new readers here. I promise to keep posting things that fans of Arts & Crafts will appreciate, though!

A Sad Day for H&H: Ebay Hates Us

I had hoped to be giving you some good news today, but unfortunately I can't. I had been part of the Ebay affiliate program for several years, and had just hired a really excellent web developer to build us a gallery of Arts & Crafts items available for sale on ebay, with links to each item (the developer had previously built a similar gallery system for The Mid Century Modernist). Unfortunatelty, I just found out that Ebay has denied my third application (without explanation) to rejoin the affiliate program, and they won't accept a new application. Coincidentally, that website just received notice that they were no longer welcome as part of the program, either!

My plan was for two content streams here: editorial content on the left, a constant stream of interesting, hand-selected furniture items, metalwork, ceramics and other related items in the Mission Revival and Arts & Crafts styles on the right.

Well, now I have to pay the developer, without the income I'd hoped to have from the Ebay affiliate sales. Hopefully you can all visit our sponsors on the right and maybe that will go a tiny way toward my recouping this loss.

And if anyone else has suggestions for other affiliate programs that carry these types of items (I can't think of any!), let me know.

Finally, I've heard that a number of other blogs and websites that rely on the money they make as Ebay affiliates/partners are also starting to be dropped from the program. If you are a member of their program, beware.


The main reason things have been slow around here - and I don't just mean as slow as they've been for the past year since I became a daddy, but really slow - is that I've been working on interviewing folks for Qu3stions.com, a new short-form interview blog. So far I've talked to technologist Anil Dash, journalist Chandler Burr, and typographer Gerald Lange; today's interview is with Thy Tran, a chef-instructor and food writer in San Francisco.

Know any especially interesting folks who would make a good interview? Post their names in the comment below, or drop me a line at the email link above.

redesign in progress

As anal-retentive as I am about type, you'd think I'd iron out all the bugs before dropping the new template into place. This time, however, I've decided to be a bit more experiential. I still can't get the ads to work right (saving typelists and the custom html widget seem to time out upon trying to save the google ads code, but nothing else causes this odd behavior); I need to tighten up the 2-line headers, although I'll try to keep those to a single line in the future (any idea on the best way to do this via css?).

I'm open to additional suggestions for improvements - please do let me know what I should change, but remember that my level of technical expertise is not especially high, and I do need to lean on more-experienced friends for much of the implementation.

new baby; Hewn and Hammered languishes

There's a very good reason for the less-than-regular posts that have dotted Hewn & Hammered since New Years. We came home from Korea on 12.31 with this wonderful holiday present, whom I am happy to say is presently (and pretty much for the foreseeable future) going to be taking up all my time.

So it was pretty much the most awesome Christmas / Chanuka / New Years ever.

Hewn & Hammered forums

Our redesign is still a few months away, but we're slowly introducing new features which we hope will make the site more useful and interesting to you. Chief among those changes is a new forum where you can ask questions and hopefully get advice  on a variety of old-house and design issues.

Up at the top of this window, on the left hand side, you'll see a small text link to the forum. Go ahead and click there and post a sample question, show off a recent project, for example, or plans for your dream house, or ask our other readers for advice or feedback. Right now the forums do not require any kind of registration, but if we're overrun with spam we might require you to register.

getting out the vote

You know what I'd really like for my birthday this year? I'd like to get an award. Any kind of award. I'm not sure we'd qualify for "best local blog" or website, given that while we do have a disproportionate number of entries on Sacramento-area homes & architecture, we're certainly not nailed to my own hometown, but that's the category closest, since there's no "best website about the Arts & Crafts Movement" category.

If you all wouldn't mind too much, I would be so appreciative if you'd visit the Sacramento News & Review's Best of Sacramento poll and vote for us. In exchange, I promise to write a really interesting article on John Hudson Thomas next week.

site additions and changes

Hi there. I'm midway through a redesign of the site, and have been thinking of incorporating a forum - a simple bulletin board. Do you folks think that would be useful? Any comments on features I should have or that I don't need? Please let me know in the comments of anything you'd really like to see.

I tried to incorporate a house registry and calendar into the last version of Hewn & Hammered, but they weren't that well-thought-out and people didn't use them (and I hardly ever added events to the calendar). But people are always emailing me questions about remodel projects, or asking to identify a particular maker's mark, things like that - I thought maybe the forums would be useful. But I'm open to suggestions.

new houseblogs - they just keep coming

Browsing through bouseblogs.net (their new community section is terrific, and I think we are aggregated somewhere within it, although I can't find out where - there is so much to read!!), I was struck by how many new houseblogs have sprung up since I last did any kind of comprehensive search - dozens related to Craftsman homes in just the last year and a half. Here are some of the most interesting:

Hi-Fi Bungalow - "musings on a 1925 bungalow in Northern Colorado"
Prairie Rose House - Lebanon, IN-based Ben and his Prairie home
Foxcroft - "a record of our restoration of a 1928 Craftsman."
Our Charmed Life - "bungalow addicts head to Texas to start a new life"
Big Orange House - "a 1922 California Craftsman and the people who love it"
Bungalow Blog - "Ron & Mary Ann's owner-builder journal"
Chicago Two-Flat - "Steve and Jocelyn's adventures renovating a Chicago-style two-flat"
1919 Craftsman - "ongoing restoration of a cold-press cement block Craftsman"
Renovation Rants - "renovating our 1916 Craftsman style home, one room at a time"

Just remember, these folks are making the mistakes so you don't have to.

Bungalows in the News, continued

It's kind of pitiful how little original content we have had lately - and I apologize very much for this. My own schedule has precluded me from taking pictures of local bungalows, something I've been intending to do for months, and a few other small projects. To tide you over until next week, here is a rundown of recent (and recently-discovered) articles from various newspapers and magazines which you may find interesting or useful.

As always, contributions are appreciated: tell us about your house, send us a picture of your new project, or alert us to interesting work you've seen recently!

our Amazon store is beefed up

While we continue to build the Hewn & Hammered Home Store, where you'll be able to buy handmade items from a dozen of the country's greatest craftspeople, you'll have to be content with our Amazon and affiliates shop, accessible from the "shop" link above. We've recently beefed up the Astore with new categories - videos, calendars, a special selection of gifts for the 2006 holiday season, furniture, books and more - and it's definitely worth a check-out.

shop update

Hi there. I'm still working on integrating our new store - with unique furniture, wood, glass, ceramic, and textile items from a number of craftspeople whose work I really respect - but until then I just wanted to let you all know that I've dropped in an Amazon store at the "shop" link above. Their affiliate store system is still under development and leaves a bit to be desired, but it's a halfway decent way to pull together some good books and a few bargain furniture items that they currently have available.

Subscribe to Hewn & Hammered via email

Folks have asked for a way to subscribe to Hewn & Hammered by email, and while I certainly hope that everyone does come to the site from time to time - clicking on our ads and visiting our sponsors pays the bills - I can certainly understand that it can be a pain to return to the same site several times without any new content being posted.

By subscribing to our feed via email, you'll only get a message when a new article is added; simply fill out the form below, and you're set. Alternately, if you use an RSS reader or a web browser that is RSS-aware, you can subscribe to our regular rss feed, which also includes photographs from our Flickr stream and lots of other goodness.

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We're in Print

The current issue of Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival - #2, Summer 2006 - includes an article on A&C-related weblogs. Mary Ellen Polson is kind enough to mention us in her article, along with plenty of worthier sites; she suggests getting started at houseblogs.net, which aggregates articles from over a dozen houseblogs (that is, weblogs not just about houses but about a particular house or remodel/restore project). Houseblogs is run by our good friends Aaron & Jeannie from House in Progress, and also includes an advice column and plenty of other useful goodness.

Polson also suggests Bill Champman's enonhall.com, housemade.blogspot.com, run by an Oakland couple who are coming along quite nicely with their Spanish Revival bungalow, and prairiemod.com, an excellent and relatively new site devoted solely to the Prairie movement to the ideas and ideals of the Prairie School and its application to today's modern life (thanks for the correction!).

The New Look

Welcome to the 80% finished almost-all-new Hewn & Hammered. The shop is not yet online, but please do explore some of our new features - bigger & better photo albums, a calendar (which doesn't yet much much content, sorry - please send in events!) and the home registry, which we hope you'll add your own house to. And remember - visiting our advertisers pays the bills. Let us know what doesn't work - I'm sure there are a few things (at least!) here and there. And if you have some constructive criticism regarding the design, please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for returning again & again - knowing that we now have several hundred regular visitors makes this worth doing.

2006 Bloggies

Hello. It would be really terrific for our traffic and would be a great late holiday gift to me if you, dear regular readers, would take 2 or 3 minutes and nominate us for a Bloggie Award - that is, if you think we deserve one. I assume we would fit into the craft or topical subject categories, although I'm unsure of which of those best applies.


Sorry for the weird hiccup today. Temporary service interruptions have become de rigeur with our host in the last several months, but this one seems to be over now and we're back up and running - hopefully for the forseeable future.

Craftsman Home Registry

Along with the redesign to be implemented within the next few months, I'm thinking about creating a interactive registry of Craftsman homes across the US. People would be able to add their name and address (or simply city, since I'm sure folks won't want more personal information floating around out there) and upload pictures if they'd like. Does this sound interesting or useful? I think I could integrate it with Google Maps to show locations of homes around the country (general city locations, not actual street addresses), and Flickr so that folks could upload pictures of their homes. Is there a need or want for something like this?

House in Progress: Houseblog Map

Our friends over at House in Progress / Houseblogs have merged Google Maps with a comprehensive (and growing!) list of houseblogs to create a wonderful clickable map showing the locations of the most vocal (or at least fast-typing) home remodelers and do-it-yourselfers in the country - and a few elsewhere. So many of these are great sources of inspiration for owners of Arts & Crafts Movement homes. A quick selection:

Greetings WSJ readers!

Welcome to those of you finding us for the first time in today's Wall Street Journal print and online editions. We are always looking for new voices and would like very much to hear about your own Arts & Crafts home - please forward photographs and stories to the Editor. Additionally, we'd like to run a series of features on architecturally interesting neighborhoods, like some of those in our photo albums. Please drop us a line if you have suggestions in that area as well.

I hope you find something that interests you here. Feel free to visit our sister site, Urban Cartography, as well.

photo album additions

We have a few new additions to our photo albums, including some photographs sent in by Christopher Campbell in our Westwood Park album. If you can supply a few photographs of interesting historical homes in your area, we'll set up an album for your neighborhood too! I would really like to feature photos of interesting interiors, remodel / restore projects and interesting external detail; please forward such images to us! OK, I'll stop harassing you about this now.

Hewn & Hammered wants you!

Hewn & Hammered, in our relentless pursuit of interesting content, would appreciate the following:

  • please send us photographs of your home, furnishings, woodworking projects and other crafts for our photo albums; and
  • if you are at all interested in contributing a short article or note on almost any subject within the purview of the site - there's no time commitment at all! - please drop me a line and I will set you up with an author account!

thank you & good morning

Wow, more new people. I'm feeling really special this morning. Mr. Dash likes us, and Typepad made us a featured site today; I've noticed a huge upsurge in traffic. Thanks, Anil! But what would be really great would be if those of us with multiple weblogs could split up our photo albums between sites (and assign multiple levels of permissions for co-authors and editors in group weblogs). Speaking of which, check out the albums; some great pictures of Brian Lee's doors over in DOORS.

Hello new readers!

Most of the many new readers visiting us today saw our advertisement in this month's Style 1900 magazine. Welcome - and please, if you have any interest, don't just be a reader: we are always looking for folks to contribute short articles, links, notes on events and businesses and products, and photographs! Please send us a photo of your own home, furniture and design treasures and anything else you'd like to share with the other readers of Hewn and Hammered. If you would like to contribute, drop me a line and I will set you up with an easy-to-use author account.

Welcome to Hewn & Hammered

While we won't actually add much in the way of content or have any kind of official unveiling until August, I wanted to write a short introduction, specifically for the various authors who have been invited to contribute and for the few folks we're trying to get a bit of free advertising from.

Articles posted on the site will address any in a very wide range of A & C-related topics: individual architects and designers; personal renovation or restoration projects; hobbyists, craftspeople and furniture manufacturers, historical or contemporary, and their work; painters, sculptors, textile and metal artists, graphic artists and bookmakers; and general articles or short notes on the history and philosophy of these movements.

Just as my other weblogs [Typographica and Moco San Francisco] focus on a particularly narrow topic, so too will this site: all manner of art and craft as they relate to the Mission, Craftsman and Prairie movements and, to some extent, other related styles.

Everyone else: please email me if you'd like to be set up with a posting account, or if you'd be interested in designing a masthead for the site - I'd like to set up a rotation with a dozen or so thematic mastheads, 770 pixels wide x 100-200 pixels tall. To see this kind of setup in action, I again suggest taking a look at Typographica.