Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stamp collecting and Castles

I love both of these subjects and they nicely overlap as hobbies.

Stamp collecting seems to be experiencing a rebirth. People are getting interested in the hobby again. Woot! It is one of my favorite hobbies.

One of the things I like about stamp collecting is how it can enhance other pursuits. As an example I am a real big fan of castles. And well.. all over the world, and throughout the history of stamp collecting, there have been issues of many different castles on stamps. Got to love that!

Edinburgh Castle Stamp from the UK.

This particular style of collecting is called “Topicals” because the stamps are all about a certain topic. And just about any topic you can think of is covered from puppies to astronauts.

So, if you have been thinking about starting up the hobby give some thought to the idea of starting with topicals. It’s really a lot of fun.

My castle stamp collection is quite large and I keep it all in a special book.

If you want to learn more about stamp collecting I have a whole section of my website devoted to it right here. And I also have an article devoted strictly to the subject of collecting topicals.

Paper Castle and More Paper Castles

I have had an obsession with castles for a long time.

And this obsession took a peculiar turn when I got a Christmas present from a family member.

I had never thought about the possibilities of paper castles until I got the christmas present of a cut and make paper castle (Caernarvon Castle).

My first paper castle

And I was hooked! I absolutely love this kind of project. And since that first paper castle I have made quite a few more of them. But I also have expanded my love of paper castles into the realm of designing and printing my own paper castles. Yup… and they are all available for free right here on my website. So, if you want to make a paper castle but don’t want to spend any money feel free to either follow my tutorials on how to do it or even download one of my free packets that you can print up and make.

I promise lots of free fun.

Here are my paper (and cardboard) castle making projects for you:

Easy Paper castle for kids to make

Some paper, some glue and four bathroom tissue tubes is all you need to make this castle It’s very popular with kids and I have hundreds of pictures sent in from people who have made this project. You can do this project right here: Make a Paper and Cardboard Castle

Merry Mead Paper Castle

This is a pdf that you download, cut out and glue together. It includes everything you need. And it comes with all the instructions on how to make it. Download this free pdf right here: Merry Mead Paper Castle

Castle – in a box

This is a fun little project. You download it, print it up, and put it together. It is inspired by the Japanese art of Tatebanko which is a scene box. In this scene is a castle. Castle in a box

My latest project is a castle made out of a single cardboard box. It is a fun and easy box project. And the kids will love it. There are two benefits to this project. First you have the fun of making the castle; and second you and the kids have the fun of using the castle for play! I love it.

You can watch the video tutorial on my youtube channel right here: Make a castle out of a cardboard box.

The Amazing Growth of Mead Making

Modern Technology has had a profound effect on this Ancient Art

When I first started making mead (Some 15 or so years ago) the internet was young. Not everybody was connected, and Youtube wasn’t even born yet.

So, it was difficult to get information on the secret art of mead making. There were two books about it on Amazon and once youtube got going I could only find one video about it.

Since then the hobby of making mead has become very popular. And for good reason. It is an alcoholic beverage that you can very easily make yourself. SO, once a thing that nobody knew how to do… now has become something that everybody can easily learn how to do! Don’t you just love the internet for the positive things it brings?

And another by-product of this boom in mead making is the boom in small meaderies that are springing up all over the country. Fifteen years ago you had to really hunt around to find some mead here in the USA. I made a dozen phone calls and finally found some – that was only a thirty minute drive from my house.

I am building an interactive map of meaderies in the US. You can check that out right here: The Mead Map

It’s an interesting case for the internet being a modern day library of Alexandria! It’s really true and it is something that is growing exponentially on a daily basis.

I think it is amazing. And I am grateful for it.

Mead making is easy

If you want to make mead. It really is very simple to do. I have a tutorial for beginners right here: How to Make your First Batch of Mead

Some of my most medieval projects!

I love projects that have a medieval feel to them. It’s a bit difficult to describe what I actually mean by “Medieval” but once you look over these projects you will know what I mean. They all have a flavor and feel of arts and crafts from the middle ages.

And they cover a wide variety of disciplines so you are going to find something that you really like.

I will give you a link to the web page on my website where I have gathered together my favorites but first let’s take a look at some of them.

Make Medieval Paint – This is a really fun project that you will find very satisfying. All you need is some pigments from around the house materials and raw eggs. Then you can use the paint to paint! Just like they did it in the middle ages.

Make a sword – WOW! Yes, I actually show you how to make a real sword. You don’t actually need a whole lot of stuff.

Make chainmail – Ok, if the thought of making a sword is a bit much for you but you still would like to do some medieval metal work then you might want to try making chainmail! Very little is needed in terms of tools, and you just need to get some wire. I do it and show you exactly how to do it yourself.

Make a Stained Glass Window or other project – I absolutely love stained glass. It is a wonderful hobby and art. And you can do it too.

Make a medieval Wax Stamper – If you like to write you might love to have an official wax stamper that you can apply to letters or seal envelopes with. It’s a very fun thing to do and I have mailed many letters that I wax stamped! It doesn’t take a whole lot and I show you exactly how to do it.

Okay! These are just a few of the medieval projects I have for you to make. And the important thing is that I make the actual project and show you how to do it step-by-step. And each project includes a video if you like that way to learn.

So, if you would like to make something medieval then check out the web page I have for you right here on my stormthecastle.com website:

Medieval Projects you can make

Why I am so very proud of the worst book I have ever written

Odd title but there is a lot of truth to it.

I wrote my first novel a very long time ago. And since then I have gone on to write many other books. But that first one, is flawed, yet I am so very proud of it because of the way it changed the course of my life.

First off, here is the book: “Fulcrum Shift”

My first novel

It is available on Amazon.com right here

It’s been out a long time and a couple of years ago I re-read it. And, probably just like any other writer I had the urge to re-write it! There are things about it that I would definitely change. This includes sentence structure, grammar and even plot!

It’s not my best work. That’s because I am now a better writer.

But let me tell you a couple of stories that will shed light on why this book is my proudest book.

It was many years ago and I was working a very challenging job in a factory. The work was tough. Well, one day my sister called me because her gas cooking stove was not working right. It wouldn’t get hot. So I went and looked at it. The pilot light was off so I had to re-light it. So, there I was, with my head in a gas oven and struggling to get the pilot light lit! It wasn’t easy. And for some reason, maybe it was the gas fumes. I reflected on where my life was going. Particularly the struggles at a challenging job. And I made a promise to myself. “I am going to write that novel I have always wanted to write”.

Once I got that gas stove going I got in my car and drove right down to my local CVS and bought a spiral bound notebook and a package of pens. I went home, sat at my desk and started writing that novel. With this: “The figure walked quietly down the cobblestone alley with purpose.”

From there I wrote, longhand with pen and paper every night after work. It took me almost a year but I finished the book then self-published it.

Let me tell you one bit more before I finish off this article.

I talk to and meet with a lot of people. Because of what I do I get a lot of questions from people and lots of requests for help. And just last week I had two conversations of note. Two young men in their twenties. The first young man expressed the thought that he had a great idea for a film documentary. It was really burning inside him. And the second young man really was motivated to start his own sports podcast where he would mix humor and sports commentary.

They both lamented how they didn’t have the things they needed to get the job done. They both needed money and resources.

Well…. I didn’t agree with their lamentations. It’s that kind of thing that makes the difference between success and failure. And in both these cases it comes down to failure to even start.

I spoke to both young men this week and neither of them has done anything at all to move forward in their dreams. Nothing at all….

And you see…. this is why I am so very proud of that very first book. I actually found it within myself to get started. And then I found the fortitude to keep going until the goal was completed.

And it doesn’t matter that much that the book isn’t great. What very much matters is that the book is done. I learned a lot and gained in my abilities through writing that book.
You see, you can’t get good without first being lousy at anything at all.

If you have a big goal but have done nothing to move toward it. It might be because of the fear of being lousy. I say just move forward. Be lousy. It is the only way to get better.

Castles in America

I recently took a road trip around America. I visited all 48 states and logged over 20,000 miles. It was a wonderful trip that lasted over five months. To be truthful that trip was one of the highlights of my life.

I had several goals for the trip, one of which being to see as many castles as I could. And yup…. there are castles in America! Lots of them in all kinds of shapes, styles and sizes. And every one of them has a story to tell.

Well, if you are interested in the castle in America I have written all about them and all about my trip around the country on my website here:

http://stormthecastle.com/medieval-america/index.htm

Bishop Castle in Colorado