29 minutes | Dec 8, 2019
How to Make a Christmas Album
Episode Details Photo credit: Rebecca Shamblin, Life Remembered Air date: December 8, 2019 Guest: Jen Tierney! Runtime: 29 minutes Summary: In a special Christmas episode, Jen remembers a special gift she made for her father many years ago and how it has helped her since his passing.
48 minutes | May 27, 2019
How to Make Nerd Nostalgia
Episode Details Air date: May 28, 2019 Guest: Adam Volpe Runtime: 48 minutes Summary: In episode 6 of Season 2, Jen sits down in her home with a fellow resident of her town, Adam Volpe. Adam talks about how he came to create fantastical metal weapons and other pieces of welded artwork. Links of Interest: Adam on YouTubeAdam’s business (PrettyHateMachining) on FacebookPrettyHateMachining on EtsyBoston Voyager interview with AdamThe New Jersey Italian Accent Explained What I Made This Month From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this month. It was quite a long process because of how fine our chosen yarn was, but I was able to finish knitting the new baby’s blanket just about a week before my due date. The pattern and yarn match nicely with the two previous ones I’ve made for Emma and Joey. But this blanket is made with a lighter yarn since this is a true summer baby. I’m excited to use it for monthly baby pictures and as a daily sleep surface for my new little one as we lounge on the porch and in the yard. I hope that your summer is filled with lazy afternoons with cold beverages and happy memories.” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello, and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and my guest this episode is a fellow resident of my town in Massachusetts, Adam Volpe. A few years ago, Adam posted a picture on our community Facebook page about his side hustle of welding metal sculptures, artwork, and weapons. It took me some time to get up the courage to ask him to come be on the show, since he was a complete stranger before he walked in to record with me a few months ago. But my concerns about having a 6’2″ stranger who welds giant metal weapons over for a chat about making were quickly dispelled when I discovered that Adam is one of those people who you can talk to for 5 minutes and feel like you’ve known your whole life. A quick note before you hear our conversation. We make reference to a game called WoW on several occasions throughout the episode. Wow is short for World of Warcraft, which is a popular massively multiplayer online role playing game that we both played for several years in the 00s. There are other references to video games, televisions shows, and conventions that some of you may not be familiar with. All you need to know in order to enjoy this episode is that Adam and I share a love for some specific pieces of gaming pop culture from 10-20 years ago. The specifics aren’t super important. Conversation Jen If you want to introduce yourself a bit because all I know about you is that you live in my town. Adam Okay. Jen And that you occasionally post pictures of these very impressive pieces of metal work that you do. And that’s it. That’s the extent of my knowledge of you. Adam Good. That’s a good start, right? Yeah. So, my name is Adam Volpe, this side thing that I have – metalworking, metal artwork, weapons smithing, whatever you want to call it – It’s like, basically just a little side hobby that just kind of kept growing. And people got interested in my stuff. I didn’t – I never even started it with the goal of having a business or making money even or anything like that. So it was just for fun, something to do. You know, at best, I hoped maybe one day I could just make my money back on the materials, you know, whatever. It just – I started posting this stuff online and it just kept growing, you know? It started with Facebook and Instagram, and then the YouTube videos. And it just keeps going. It keeps on going. I’ve got a shop on Etsy and everything. Jen Really? I didn’t know any of that stuff. So that’s cool! Adam Yeah, it’s probably been… It’s been almost four years now. What happened? Jen That’s great. Oh my gosh. Oh, wow. That’s awesome. Yeah. Adam I actually started doing – I don’t know if I would call it artwork, but it’s probably the closest thing. Like, I would make – I made a scale model of the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. It’s sculpture I guess you might call it? Something like that. Jen Yeah. Adam But once I made my first sword, everybody was like, “That’s awesome.” Jen Yeah. Adam And people were like, “How do I buy this? How much do I gotta pay you? I don’t really care.” You know? So. “Oh, okay, this could be interesting,” right? Jen Yeah. Adam Like I said, at the beginning, I just, “okay, let’s just make back the material and consumables cost and so forth.” And then it’s just kind of gradually rolled into a second job. Jen That’s great. Adam It’s my second job now. Jen Okay, that’s awesome. So, I see a lot of the sort of like, cosplay version of that kind of stuff. Every year my husband and I go to PAX. Adam Yep, I went this year as well. Jen There’s a ton – Yeah, it’s, we love – I don’t think we’ve missed a PAX East yet. We’ve been to every one. We may have missed one, but yeah. Adam Really? Okay, so you’re more hardcore than I am. Jen I mean, we really love it. But we’re not – we’ve only gotten dressed up once. So we just go to like, enjoy all the dress up. And we play a lot of Magic the Gathering. And we like to play test a lot of the indie games. Adam Really? Okay. Jen And we go to a lot of the panels and stuff like that. So we like the full PAX experience. But the one time we went and we got dressed up we… Are you familiar with The Lego Movie? Adam Yes. Everything is awesome. Jen Yes. So my husband went as Emmett, and I went as Wyldstyle. And Emma was like, three months old. And we dressed her up as the Piece of Resistance and put her on Joe’s back. It was very cute. So people really liked it. So yeah, so I’ve seen a lot of very intricate, beautifully made weapons in that context. But obviously, no one brings metal to that. Like, that’s a thing. You can’t walk into PAX with like something that could really be a weapon. Adam Yes. And honestly, that’s something that has kind of held me back in a way because I would love to go to one of those events. Comic Con or any kind of anime convention or whatever and have a booth or something. But, completely out. You know, they said, “Not even a chance of this happening.” Jen Yeah, yeah. Adam It makes sense. Large groups of people and giant dangerous weapons is probably not… you know… Jen I’ve made things in the past that I’ve been like, “I’d love to sell this at PAX.” But I certainly don’t make at a level where like, I don’t mass produce things. You know, I make like one or two things here and there. So I’ve thought on a number of occasions of making a business card with the kind of things that I make. Like, I make a lot of hand knit dice bags and things like that. Adam Okay, cool. Jen So I wonder if you could like go and just have a card with you and be like, “I make giant swords. I see you have a giant sword. If you’d ever like a real giant sword, let me know.” Adam Just have posters of them up. “Here ya go. This is what I sell.” Jen You could wear one of those big… you know, one of those boards you see outside sandwhich shops. Adam A sandwhich board! Jen Yeah, a sandwhich board, exactly! Adam I could. Jen You could. “I make giant swords!” Adam Interesting side note. For whatever reason – and I’ve never been able to understand this – But I try to spread my stuff online everywhere. I mean, obviously, I want more people to see everything. I post on you know, Reddit and every Facebook group. Everything. And I have found that 99% of cosplayers are not interested in my stuff. In fact, I would say that, that’s where I get most of my negative reactions. It’s like a totally, it seems like it should be such a related field. But it’s totally separate and the two sides don’t even like each other. I totally was expecting to get a lot of support. And that’s where I get like all my down votes and everything. The cosplay subreddits and everything. I guess, if you’re into cosplay, and this is the best I can, you know, assume. If you’re into cosplay, you’re into it for a specific reason. You know, you want to go to these conventions, and you want to dress up and you need something that you can carry around for eight hours. And you know, and you have no desire to be swinging these things and smashing free Craigslist furniture and so forth. That’s not… That’s not what these people are into, basically. Jen I totally get that part of it. The part of me that thinks that people would be into it is like the part of me that – I could do cosplay. I just don’t, it’s not where I put my energy. But I would totally do it. However, the part of me that loves video games and movies and all those incredibly intricate, cool worlds, when I see the things you make I go, “That’s so cool. It’s like from the thing I love. I could see that as a piece of art in my house, not as a thing I’m going to carry with me, but as a thing I want to own because it looks just like x.” Adam Right. And so this is actually where most of my customers come from. The stuff I make largely is technically functional. You know, if you can swing a seven foot long sword, you know what I mean? It’s technically functional. It will hold up. It’s sharp. It will cut through
36 minutes | Feb 21, 2019
How to Stand Out in a Family of Makers
Episode Details Air date: February 21, 2019 Guest: Jo Lager Runtime: 35 minutes, 54 seconds Summary: In this episode, Jo Lager joins Jen as they discuss their mutual love of knitting and bread baking. They also find themselves in a deep conversation about sibling rivalries and creating a distinct making footprint. Links of Interest: Jo on InstagramKing Arthur’s Sourdough Baking GuideSourdough Pancakes What I Made This Month From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this month. I was inspired while editing this episode and made the pretzel dogs that Jo recommended. And the dough recipe is so forgiving, that I was even able to get my 4-year-old in on the action. She loved all of the steps and helping me time out the baking soda water bath part of the process. I didn’t have any hot dogs on hand, but I did have some marvelous Ginger and Garlic Sausages from a local farm that were perfect. We snuggled up to enjoy our pretzel-wrapped sausages and introduced the kids to the 1986 Don Bluth classic An American Tail. It was a perfect evening.” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello, and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and my guest this episode is Jo Lager. She is an accomplished knitter and bread baker and I am lucky enough to be related to her by marriage. She is my father-in-law’s cousin and somehow we’ve always missed each other at various family gatherings. And since she lives close by, this past Fall I invited her to come by for a meal, to meet my kids, and to record this episode. Jo is a pleasant conversationalist and I found that in no time at all, we were touching upon some similar sibling dynamics that we’ve experienced in our own immediate families. Conversation Jen Thank you for coming and visiting me at my house and coming to be on the show. So this is the second time we’re meeting, I think. Jo Yes. Jen But the first time seems like we mostly missed each other. Jo Yeah. At a big family gathering. Jen Yes. Jo So, my mother told me that you were slightly fanatical about knitting. Like me. She considers me to be slightly fanatical about knitting. Jen You are excellent at it, I’ve seen your stuff! It’s much better than mine. Jo So, I was interested. And I think I actually saw something that you had posted on Ravelry one time and I was like, “Hmm, I think I know that Tierney.” Jen Yes! Seriously, Jo is a very talented knitter. You can peruse through her many projects over on Instagram @sojolala. I’ll include a link in the show notes. Jo So, I’m happy to be here. I think I consider myself, as a maker, primarily a knitter. I really enjoy knitting and I always have a knitting project going. I learned to knit when I was five. At the time, I knew how to do some embroidering. My mom taught me how to do some embroidery. I made some little embroidered flowers and things like that. And I had a friend coming over from school and when we were planning what we were going to do, she said, “Do you know how to knit?” And I said, “Yes.” And then I was like, I had some inkling that maybe sewing and knitting were not the same thing. So I asked my mom, “Do I know how to knit?” And she said, “No, but I can show you.” So she taught me how to knit then. And I did some knitting when I was growing up. When Cabbage Patch Kids were a craze I made Cabbage Patch Kids sweaters. Although, I think it’s funny because my mother, you know, like we got to the collar and I left the collar on a stitch holder for a really long time because my mom was like, “Oh, you probably can’t do that part.” And, I probably could have. Jen Yeah, yeah! Jo Anyway, and then when I went to college… My older sister had gone to college and decided she was going to make a quilt while she was in college. And she made this beautiful, hand sewn quilt while she was in college. And so I was like, “I’m going to college! I need a project. And neither of my older sisters did knitting. So it was kind of like it could be my thing. So I started out making a blanket, which I think I got halfway through and decided I didn’t like the yarn. It wasn’t fun to make. So that eventually went to a yard sale. But then my oldest sister got pregnant. And I was like, “Ooh, baby clothes!” So I made lots of things for my first nephew. And since then I’ve really continuously been a knitter. Although, when I had my son, I didn’t knit a lot when he was little. Jen It changes a lot of things! Jo Yeah! Jen Yeah, I’ve had so many projects that I’ve started and I’ve sort of committed to and I talk to people about it and they’re like, “You’re not going to work on that for another 10 years! Just calm down about it. It’s okay. You’ve got little kids!” So trying to come to terms with that is hard. Especially when you make so ferociously before you have kids. Then all of the sudden you can’t anymore. Jo Yeah, but my son is now 13. And then you can again! Suddenly they’re doing their own things. And you have a lot more time to do your own things again. Jen Yeah, you’re own stuff, yeah. As someone who is constantly overextending, over promising, and over committing to a variety of projects, I so appreciate this glimpse into the future. This light at the end of the tunnel. I’m getting ready to welcome a new little infant into the house in just a few months, so “me time” seems further away than ever before. But Jo very kindly puts it in perspective for those of us who need to remember the impermanence of our young family. Jo I at one point took up spinning, before I had [my son]… but I realized that I was buying yarn and I was buying fiber. And it just was like compounding the problem of having too much stuff and not enough time because I didn’t want to just make yarn. I also wanted to buy yarn and I actually realized I liked buying yarn more than I liked making yarn. And then I sold my spinning wheel to someone a couple years ago. And then I was like, “Oh, all these people I know are spinning and it looks so cool!” But, I find one of the nice things about knitting is that it’s so portable. I don’t have a lot of time to just sit in my house and do things. I like to sew, and I like to spin. But I just… And when I’m there, I’ve got lots of other things to do. So I like that I can grab my knitting and go out. Either go to a cafe and meet friends and knit together or knit while I’m commuting or, you know, while I’m waiting. While I’m going to my son’s hockey games, you know, waiting for the game to start. I can do it then. Jen Most of my projects, unless I’m working on like a very large blanket that’s far along, most of them get done outside of the house. It’s one of the great things about it is: it’s got a modest amount of gear for a hobby. There’s some hobbies that just have such a colossal amount of gear and they keep you really tied to… Jo Yeah, planted. Jen I mean, I have a 30 minute walk as part of my community. And I knit while I’m walking now, which is great. As long as you have a pattern that’s easy, right? You just do a while you go! It’s really great. I originally took up knitting because I was spending way too much time watching TV on the couch and getting nothing done. And I was like, “If I’m just gonna sit here watching TV, I might as well do something my hands.” It took me a long time to get good enough to be able to watch TV while I did it. But now I can just listen to a podcast, and I can do whatever. You know? Great. Jo One of the things that’s changed what I like to do in my spare time is what I’m doing while I’m working. When I was working in the hospital and on my feet all the time, then I liked having that sitting in fron tof the TV doing… But when I spent my whole day sitting at a desk, then I was like, “Yeah, I can’t do that when I’m home.” And then I was doing more baking and other things just because they’re active and on my feet and not sitting there like a lump. Jen Yes, absolutely. I spend very little time now watching something or listening to something while I knit. It’s mostly like active time or outside of the house time. But I used to have blankets that I made that I called like, “Oh, this blank. It was my Buffy blanket.” Like, I watched the entire series of Buffy while I made this blanket. I’d tell people when I gave it to them, like, “This is your marriage blanket, or your house warming blanket, but also it’s the Dexter blanket.” You know? Jo If you see any blood splatter, don’t be surprised. Jen So it’s fun to be able to sort of think about projects in that length for me, because, you know, I can sort of be like, “Okay, this is gonna take me about eighty hours. What is about 80 hours long that I can watch while I do this?” I don’t really do it that way anymore. But now I think about it in terms of like, “how many trips back and forth from work is this project?” Jo I recently… in the past year – I commute from New Hampshire to Cambridge, which is a long commute. And I recently found a van pool, which is awesome! Because most days, I can sit and knit and listen to an audio book or… It’s awesome. I’ve had so many different commutes over the years. I recently read that the average American commute is 40 minutes. Which is
33 minutes | Jan 22, 2019
How to Make Good on Your Resolutions
Episode Details Air date: January 22, 2019 Guest: Ariana Sheehan Runtime: 32 minutes, 53 seconds Summary: In the fourth episode of Season 2 and the first of 2019, Jen welcomes back Ariana Sheehan to speak about her resolution successes and misses from 2018. What made the exercise better than previous years? And what did she learn about making as a result? Links of Interest: Ariana on MediumRocketBookThe Miracle MorningWriting Helps RecallImposter Syndrome What I Made This Month From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this month. Since the winter months turn so many of us into homebodies, I’ve been spending so much more time on the living room carpet with my kids. This means making bracelets, train track villages, puzzles, and countless abstract art pieces. Sometimes the making shifts to the kitchen and my kids help me with a simple meal or a few loaves of sourdough bread. I’m proud of how creative they are and I love watching them beam after a project is completed. They challenge me to suppress my perfectionist brain and find joy in making for making’s sake.” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello, and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and for this episode, one of my favorite guests from Season 1 is back to give us an update on her resolutions from 2018 and what she learned along the way. Ariana reached out to me just before Christmas and we made some time during the last week of 2018 to talk about goal setting for the coming year and her previous resolution successes. Conversation JenI was really thrilled that you reached out to me because I’ve had a couple folks from like my childhood who I’ve tried to reel in, and like they’re all excited to be on and to talk to me. And then they just flake out. And so I’m just like, oh, you’re back. This is great. Perfect. ArianaI’m back because I’m so proud of how I did with my resolutions this year. JenI’m so glad you’re I mean, that’s so nice. Because I try really hard to be proud of what I accomplished each year, even though it isn’t like all the things I wanted to do mostly because I overextend myself. So it’s nice to hear that you did well! Every year, I enter into the exercise of setting resolutions with all of the best intentions. But by February, I’ve either forgotten or given up on them. Ariana had my attention. What had been the secret to her success last year? ArianaSo it’s so funny because in preparation for this, I was talking to my friend, I actually had – I know we talked last time about I had a notebook that I wrote down my resolutions. And I truly believe this made the difference because all year – a couple of times, I went back to the page and looked at them, but I remembered what I wrote down. So I reviewed with my friend in preparation for this. And he laughed because I was like, 50/50, but he was like, Ariana, the ones that you missed, like they should be lower weighted than the ones that you hit. So this year, I think that’s what I’m going to do. I think I’m going to assign points to each resolution. And like not folding my laundry should not weigh as much as like completing graduate classes. JenYes, of course. Ariana’s reasoning makes so much sense here. This is something I’ve known for a long time – the act of writing something down helps with our ability to recall and understand information. So no wonder this was part of her success last year. And I love the idea of weighting goals. It gives you more control and decision-making power throughout the year without leading to a feeling of defeat. In order to better understand where and how Ariana succeeded through the past year, I asked her to recount the resolutions that she told us about in her first episode on the show a year ago. ArianaSure. So I broke up my resolutions into professional resolutions and personal resolutions. For professional ones, they wouldn’t even make sense if I shared them with you guys. Other than one of them, which actually was a big one, which was to become a better public speaker. And I’m often in front of a room full of people. And I really struggle with kind of getting in a groove of talking about things like I know what I’m talking about when I actually do. So I’ve picked up some strategies throughout the year. Namely, this is a good one for all of you who have to deal with this challenge, asking the crowd a question to kick it off. Whether it’s like an icebreaker or, you know, “what do you think about this thing we’re talking about?” and get a couple of answers. And then that little period where people are answering you can take a breath and catch yourself. I’ve done that. It’s worked. I’ve become a better public speaker. Some of my personal one’s – a big one that I really have not overcome yet is to look at things more positive first. I’m… I’m a pessimist. And it’s hard to just kind of, you know, not jump to the negative conclusion. And I was still struggling with that. So not there yet. And a couple other big ones were to explore adjunct teaching. I explored and then later on the list, I realized and then added to it that to become an adjunct teacher in my area, you really need a master’s degree. So I had on here, number seven, take at least one master’s course, to help lead to goal three eventually, and I completed a whole semester of them. JenWhoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, ArianaYeah, really never thought I would do that when I made this list last year. This made me stop and think for a few minutes. How many times have we all done this very thing? Created a goal for ourselves and then wildly exceeded it. I’m sure that I do this regularly, but I don’t even realize it. Without writing down and revisiting my original goals, how am I to remember a year later that I exceeded my original plan? So much changes in a year, including our expectations for ourselves and our goals. ArianaAnd then I have one – since I revisited this list this weekend – I have one that I’m actually going to chip away at today. Which is, when I was in the hospital and I lost my baby, I was given this box. I can’t exactly remember what it’s called. I want to say it’s just called the Memory Box. And in this box were a lot of little trinkets and handmade things. Some things were more meaningful than others, but there were little like bracelet and candles and all this stuff. So I have on here, “Make something with Zoe, my daughter, for the baby boxes for Albany Med Infant Ward.” JenOh, that’s great. Ariana So today. We’re going to make little bracelets. JenYeah. ArianaYou want to hear about the small ones? JenYes, yes, sure. Of course. ArianaUh, buy less coffee: Fail, fail. Be less fat: for a few weeks, I was 10 pounds down. Those were the big small ones. Oh, bring lunch to work more and not buy it. I failed at that too. JenBut I mean, you tracked them all. And the ones that you failed at, if you really feel like, “I gotta get this right,” it’ll go on the list next year. And if you’re like, “No, that was a dumb one. I don’t need that in my life.” Then it just goes away. ArianaYeah, funny you should say that, because I have started my list for this year. And I have re-added some of them. But I’ve made a little twist. So, “be less fat.” Instead of “be less fat” again, I have “no eating after 7pm. Except on Friday nights. Because everyone needs a treat.” JenOf course. Of course. Ariana Yes. Or like, “Don’t quit school, even when you want to.” JenYes, yep. ArianaDrink more water is on my list every single year. And I think like everybody’s list. Before our conversation moved too far along, I wanted to go back to something Ariana had said a few minutes earlier. As someone who is constantly struggling to balance the pessimistic and optimistic voices in my head, I wanted to dig a little deeper into Ariana’s self-proclaimed pessimistic nature. JenYou were saying that you have an issue being more positive. And it’s funny because, you’re… The way that you present – the way that you speak, all that comes off very positive. So it’s funny that what’s hiding below the surface is a pessimist. Who’s just got a smile on. ArianaYeah, so you know what? I get to the positive. Positive is the destination. But the journey is mostly negative, or at least starts negative. So like, here’s an example. Like, I hear good news, right? Say, I got like, a promotion or, I don’t know, something exciting happening for my kid. I start with like, “but what about?” you know? So, I don’t know, I think I just want to start with the positive if I can. But I don’t know if a cheetah changes its spots. JenI know, I think this is the case for a lot people. My boss and I, we commiserate over having this very specific, fun character trait which is suffering from imposter syndrome. And he’s like, you know, a 45 year old man who’s the CTO of a major company, and very successful and I’m… I mean, I’m nothing to sneeze at. I run information security at a very successful company, and I know what I’m doing, but because both of us are sort of, like, self taught over time, in the things that we are professional at, we constantly feel like, “Is this real? Are you sure I should get promoted right now? I don’t know.” Ariana Mos
35 minutes | Dec 16, 2018
How to Make a Budget
Episode Details Air date: December 16 , 2018 Guest: Joe Tierney Runtime: 35 minutes, 18 seconds Summary: In the third episode of Season 2 and the final episode of 2018, Jen invites her husband into the studio to talk about the best thing he’s ever made for her: their family budget! Joe explains why the budget was made in the first place, how it’s changed over time, and what it’s given to their family. Other topics include making family traditions for the holidays and the motivation behind making. What I Made This Month Getting these three sweaters made in time for the big reveal on Thanksgiving day was challenging to say the lease. I knit up all three in two weeks. From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this month. I started making it a few months ago and will keep on making it until June of 2019. And to be fair, it’s something that my husband and I are making together. We’re growing our family and having a third child! this makes our budgeting even more critical heading into 2019 as we move around numbers and figure out how to make room for a fifth member of our family. This means so big changes ahead for the Tierney family. And I’m so excited to have one more tiny person to share all of these inspiring and empowering stories with. Thank you for continuing to take this journey with me!” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello, and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and today I have a very special guest in the studio. I see him every day but so far he’s been spared from having to sit down in front of my microphone as the subject on one of my episodes. Jen: I’m excited you’ve decided to sit down with me, because… Joe: Thank you for having me! Jen: (laughter) because it’s helpful and its exciting because I know you better than anyone alive on the planet. I feel like we could potentially have a very good conversation. Joe: You probably know our kids better. Jen: Than I know you? That’s true. Because I’ve know them their whole lives. Joe: And they don’t have very long lives. Joe: That was me being judgmental. Jen: Yes, that’s right. I do know them very well, that’s a really good point. Jen: You’re being helpful, right? You’re helping – correcting me! On my own show. Thank you husband. That’s right, my husband Joe is here to talk about the single greatest thing he’s ever made for me and our family. Conversation Joe: I make spreadsheets. I know, this sounds like we’re taking a one-way trip to Nap Town. Once upon a time, I would have thought the same thing. But spreadsheets can tell astounding stories. Joe: I make lots of different spreadsheets. Today we’ll be talking about my family budget spreadsheet, which has been ongoing since before we got married. Before we dive into this shared budget and all that its brought to our life together, I asked Joe to give me a little history into what inspired his love for spreadsheets, statistics, and tracking. Which is particularly impressive considering this all began in a pre-wearables world. Joe: My love of spreadsheets really started with tracking time and really just tracking things. Even in high school, I tracked what I did every day for an entire summer. But not in a diary way, just in a “where was I and for how long?” And I concluded that I spent more time at my friend Seth’s house than I spent at my own house that summer. Then I took that love of spreadsheets to professional life as a structural engineer, which was more profitable. (laughter) But I’ve also kept track of different things along the way. As just a personal love and passion. Like gas mileage and D& D sessions. The turn-to-turn dice rolling I kept track of for entire campaigns. So now that you understand Joe’s humble spreadsheet beginnings, we can get into where I come into the picture and how spreadsheets became a critical part of our relationship. Joe: Then it developed into a financial hobby because we moved in together right out of college. And with that, we needed to start sharing expenses. Jen: Yes. Joe: And we were both confident and adamant that we kept everything straightforward. Not with the expectation that we weren’t going to be together. But in the case that we didn’t, we knew to the dollar how much each one of us owed the other. Jen: At any given time. Joe: At any given time. It started off also because I was unemployed right out of school in 2008, right before the stock market crash. And I was in the negative. Jen: Yes, by a lot. Joe: You were paying rent and then I went on a trip to England with my bros. Jen: Your “bros”? Joe: (laughter) By the end of the summer, in which I still owed you a good amount of money. And then I got a job. But we kept up the spreadsheet. And then it got to a point when you owed me enough money that I needed to make the decision that “Oh, we’re going to be together so I should stop holding you to this…” Jen: Unimaginable amount of money. Joe: Not unimaginable. It was a lot for then. Jen: It was a lot for then. For now it’s not so bad, but for then… Joe: That was fun. So anyway, then we started budgeting for our wedding. which was our first real collaboration on… Jen: Oh yeah. On a budget. Joe: Yeah, and a big one, as well. Jen: Yes. Joe: And that, we had a lot of fun with. And you kind of gave me the reigns to decide what could fit in the budget and how it would work. And that started our initial – that tug-of-war of… Someone in a couple – someone’s going to want to spend more than the other. It could be different on each transaction. It could be in general. But there are going to be things that one person wants, and… Jen: Yeah, there are certainly parts of our budget that you spend more on than I do and vice versa. Joe: And through those conversations you kind of figure out how all of that is going to work. Jen: Yeah, it’s all a negotiation, like a relationship negotiation. Joe: And just learning how to communicate that without being overly judgmental (laughter). Or being able to do that without hiding things. Being able to do that without feeling overly criticized. All of these were challenges that came up. And once we got married, I started the Family Spreadsheet that lives to this day. So we got married, our expenses truly combined, and things were going pretty smoothly. But what was the point of the budget now? What was all of this for? Joe: So each month I had a – well each year, I set out yearly expectations on how much we would make and how much we would spend on each category. And then each month I would adjust it based on upcoming expected expenses. And the reason that became important was because we were saving to buy a house. Jen: Yes. Joe: And saving to put 20% down in the Boston area is a lot of money. Jen: Mmmhmmm. Yes it is. Joe: And so to do that, we needed to be pretty knowledgeable about where our money was going and were it was coming in. So as you can probably tell, my husband is a pretty level-headed guy. And his version of making is very different from my previous guests. So I wanted to dig a bit further and see if he is more like my previous guests than he lets on. Jen: So you’ve given a very thorough description of what the budget looks like and all of that stuff. And I think that its good for you to go through that because it gives people an idea of the level of detail you go into and your personality in that it is very detail-oriented, that you’re very realistic and reasonable and how you plan these things. You want there to be reasons. You want there to be goals and all of that. But I think that the part that’s most interesting to me and the part that we don’t necessarily talk about as often is the “why” behind that. The podcast is very much about “You make a thing. That’s great. Tell me a little bit about why you make that thing. And why it’s important to you and why it’s important to other people.” And I think that we just sort of started to touch on it in that we were saving for a house. And the budget, to me, is valuable and important because of everything it has allowed us to do. And because we’ve been frugal and thoughtful and smart about what we’re doing now and where we want to go into the future we’ve been able to do a lot of things that I don’t think we would have been able to had we not been planning and thinking critically about what we were doing on a day-to-day, month-to-month basis. So I’m interested in the “why” behind the budget for you personally. Joe: Yeah, so personally, it’s a personal challenge. And there’s nothing I love more than a personal challenge. Something that I’m excited about and it makes me excited to not only to reach the goal. Actually the goal isn’t really as big of an excitement for me as the process of “how can I – how can we better manage our day-to-day expenses or how can I better manage our monthly bills so that we can be the most efficient we can with the money that we have?” And that challenge is something I really enjoy. Which is why I do it and it’s why most people don’t. Because it’s not rewarding in itself. Unless you enjoy that challenge. Unless you enjoy that puzzle. It can be very daunting to look at your past spending. To have discussions about what that spending means for you and your partner and your family. It can be daunting to have to – one of my personal challenges i
36 minutes | Nov 5, 2018
How to Make a Transformation
Episode Details Air date: November 5th, 2018 Guest: Samantha Cheevers Runtime: 36 minutes, 18 seconds Summary: In the second episode of Season 2, Jen has a more interactive interview with her hair stylist, Sam Cheevers, who dyes Jen’s hair while also recording the episode. The two talk about making someone’s outsides match their insides, being your authentic self, and the difference between valuing time versus money when gift giving. Links of Interest: “Meet Trailblazer Samantha Cheevers,” Boston VoyagerSam Cheevers on Instagram What I Made This Month From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this month. And no, it wasn’t Halloween costumes! For every year in recent memory, I have created our family’s Halloween costumes, but this year I was completely buried in October and ended up buying my kids their first store-bought costumes. I have to say, it was much easier and I was happy to spend a little money to save the time this year. But while I saved time on costume creation, I spent that time making a Celebration of Life for my father. My Dad passed away in July this year and on October 13th, my family held a special event to remember his life. I made paper flower centerpieces, which also included copies of books he read with special commemorative bookplates. I made a slideshow with pictures from throughout his life. I made programs for attendees. My dad and I didn’t share all that many hobbies, so I was so glad that I was able to use my love of making to remember him while I grieved.” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello, and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and today I’ve got a fun, hands-on episode to share with you. A few months ago, I recorded early one Monday morning with my hair stylist Sam. The previous weekend, she had posted a rainbow of colors that she had dyed onto a younger client and I had been struck with the desire to add some fun and funky color to my own hair. She agreed to meet with me while the shop was closed so that we could record my visit. She’s been so supportive of my show since I began a year ago and was a really fun guest. We got to talk about what she makes while she was actually making it. Conversation [Transcript forthcoming] Conclusion It’s been a few months since Sam dyed my hair, but as promised, it still looks great! The color has faded to this lovely teal green that compliments the colors I tend to wear regularly. Sam has a great eye for color and hair, but an even better eye for people and what will help them to be their most authentic selves. I’m so grateful for empowering and supportive friends like her. And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this month. And no, it wasn’t Halloween costumes! For every year in recent memory, I have created our family’s Halloween costumes, but this year I was completely buried in October and ended up buying my kids their first store-bought costumes. I have to say, it was much easier and I was happy to spend a little money to save the time this year. But while I saved time on costume creation, I spent that time making a Celebration of Life for my father. My Dad passed away in July this year and on October 13th, my family held a special event to remember his life. I made paper flower centerpieces, which also included copies of books he read with special commemorative bookplates. I made a slideshow with pictures from throughout his life. I made programs for attendees. My dad and I didn’t share all that many hobbies, so I was so glad that I was able to use my love of making to remember him while I grieved. Well, that brings us to the end of this month’s episode. You can find show notes and other extras for all of the show’s episodes over at htmamcast.com. Find us on Instagram @howtomakeamemory. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please consider heading over to iTunes to rate and review so more folks like yourself can find the show. “How to Make a Memory” is a member of The Geekend Legion podcast network. Our logo is by Becky Carpenter, our music is by Chuck Salamone, we get system admin support from Greg Thole. Now, go make something for someone you love.
35 minutes | Sep 30, 2018
Bonus: Happy International Podcast Day!
Episode Details Air date: September 30, 2018 Guests: Belinda & Matt Mitchell Runtime: 34 minutes, 37 seconds Summary: In this special bonus episodes, Jen, Belinda, and Matt collaborate on a celebration of podcasts for International Podcast Day 2018. Get ready to take some notes as they rattle off a list of highly recommended shows form all different formats and genres. Links of Interest: My Brother, My Brother, and MeWelcome to Night ValeThe Adventure ZoneSawbonesSerial PodcastConversations with People Who Hate MeMy Dad Wrote a PornoThe McElroy Brothers Will Be in Trolls 2You Must Remember ThisHarry Potter and the Sacred TextThe Hilarious World of DepressionThe Longest Shortest TimeSleep With Me PodcastThe MothLevar Burton ReadsCriminalCrossover Appeal Episode Transcript Introduction Hello, and welcome to How to Make a Memory. My name is Jen Tierney and today I’m excited to share with you a special bonus episode in celebration of International Podcast Day. Last year, How to Make a Memory joined an independent podcasting network called Geekend Legion. The two founders, Belinda and Matt, made some time to sit down with me this past week to talk about the podcasts that have influenced our shows and what we love about podcasts. We had a great time geeking out over the shows we’ve come to love over the years! We hope you enjoy this special episode and learn about some fun new podcasts to listen to. Conversation [Transcript forthcoming] Conclusion It was lovely to collaborate with Belinda and Matt on this episode. And I’m happy to announce that in conjunction with International Podcast Day, Belinda and Matt are launching their latest podcast. It’s called Snark Tower and you can find it right now on your favorite podcast app. Their first episode will feature the same content that you heard in this episode, as well as some other fun material that will make their show engaging and not to be missed. Check out Snark Tower and all of the other shows we mentioned today! Well, that brings us to the end of this special bonus episode. You can find show notes and other extras for all of the show’s episodes over at htmamcast.com. “How to Make a Memory” also has a page on Facebook. Find us on Instagram @howtomakeamemory. The show’s Twitter handle is @How2MakeAMemory with the number 2. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please consider heading over to iTunes to rate and review so more folks like yourself can find the show. “How to Make a Memory” is a member of The Geekend Legion podcast network. Our logo is by Becky Carpenter, our music is by Chuck Salamone, we get system admin support from Greg Thole. Now, go make something for someone you love.
38 minutes | Sep 13, 2018
How to Make a Difference from 7,600 Miles Away
Episode Details Arletta Charter Air date: September 13, 2018 Guests: Arletta Charter Runtime: 38 minutes, 5 seconds Summary: In the first episode of Season 2, Jen is joined by Arletta Charter, a Hungarian national living on Martha’s Vineyard by way of Serbia, who takes some of the most stunning pictures you’ve ever seen. Arletta tells Jen all about a project she is working on with Photographers without Borders in South Africa. Links of Interest: Photo to Table, Arletta’s photography business website Arletta’s Photogarpher’s Without Borders donation page Arletta on Instagram What I Made This Week: From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this week. Knitters face a bit of a slump every summer as the warm weather discourages hands from working with heavy materials like wool. But for those of us who have big projects that need to be completed before the end-of-year holidays, there isn’t much of a choice. During the show’s hiatus, I started and finished so many different projects, but the one I am most proud and excited about is my daughter’s Christmas stocking. I love the pattern that I picked out and am looking forward to having 4 finished stockings hung on the mantle. I hope to get my son’s finished for this year and then my husband and I will have our own the following year. Unique, handmade touches like these are the cornerstones of some of my favorite family tradition.“ Episode Transcript Introduction Hello and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and after a short hiatus I’m back with Season 2! I have some great guests lined up with some incredible stories about what they’ve been working on. I was particularly glad to secure some time with today’s guest, Arletta Charter. I’ve known her for many years and am proud to call her part of my found family. She has taken some stunning photographs of my children and has a unique and thoughtful eye that she views the world through. A few months ago, Arletta announced that she had been chosen to work on a project with Photographers Without Borders. She is traveling to South Africa in October and I reached out to her to learn more about her trip. I was lucky enough to record our conversation when my family was visiting Martha’s Vineyard over the summer. Conversation [Transcript forthcoming] Conclusion As you can see, Arletta is a charming, earnest, and tenacious woman. I’m so glad to have her in my life. And I’m thrilled to be able to support the important work that she is doing this year. If you would like to support Arletta, she has created a fundraiser to help cover some travel costs. You can find links to donate and see her photography in the show notes at htmamcast.com. I’ll provides links on the show’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages as well. Help her to make a difference and realize this incredible dream! And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this week. Knitters face a bit of a slump every summer as the warm weather discourages hands from working with heavy materials like wool. But for those of us who have big projects that need to be completed before the end-of-year holidays, there isn’t much of a choice. During the show’s hiatus, I started and finished so many different projects, but the one I am most proud and excited about is my daughter’s Christmas stocking. I love the pattern that I picked out and am looking forward to having 4 finished stockings hung on the mantle. I hope to get my son’s finished for this year and then my husband and I will have our own the following year. Unique, handmade touches like these are the cornerstones of some of my favorite family tradition. You can find show notes and other extras for all of the show’s episodes over at htmamcast.com. “How to Make a Memory” also has a page on Facebook. Find us on Instagram @howtomakeamemory. The show’s Twitter handle is @How2MakeAMemory with the number 2. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please consider heading over to iTunes to rate and review so more folks like yourself can find the show. “How to Make a Memory” is a member of The Geekend Legion podcast network. Our logo is by Becky Carpenter, our music is by Chuck Salamone, we get system admin support from Greg Thole. Now, go make something for someone you love.
51 minutes | Jun 20, 2018
How to Make an Arse of Yourself
Episode Details Air date: June 20, 2018 Guests: Mac Young Runtime: 50 minutes, 47 seconds Summary: In the final episode of Season 1, Jen breaks her 20-episode streak of family-friendly, curse-free content. Her guest is Mac Young, a scenic designer, talented actor, and dear friend. They discuss his current show, the sets he has designed in the past, and why Shakespeare was kind of weird. Links of Interest: Shit-faced Shakespeare, by Magnificent Bastards Productions The Crazy Locomotive by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz The Jimmy Fund’s Annual Scooper Bowl What I Made This Week: From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this week. I made a contribution to the Jimmy Fund in their efforts to support adult and pediatric cancer care. And what I received for this donation was a ticket to the Jimmy Fund’s annual Scooper Bowl. This year, a dozen vendors donated their ice cream for the country’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival. Turns out that my limit is five scoops. But as I walked around, I could see that I was a light-weight compared to many of the other attendees.” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and here we are, at the final episode of Season 1! After 20 episodes of family-friendly content, I’m ending the season with some saucier material. When I first told this week’s guest that I was making a podcast, his eyes lit up. He’s a lover of podcasts and is a professional maker of the theatrical variety. I knew that I had to get him on as a guest to talk about the sets he has designed and the productions he’s been part of. But as you’ll soon find out, there is no way to speak with Mac about his current venture without letting a few curse words fly. We recorded our conversation immediately after my husband and I went to see Mac’s show. The cast was kind enough to let me set up my recording equipment in the theatre so that I could share some of the performance here on the podcast. I hope that it adds a fun dimension to your enjoyment of this episode. Conversation [Transcript forthcoming] Conclusion What a way to end Season 1! It’s been wonderful celebrating makers and making with you this past year. Thank you to Mac and all of my other guests from Season 1 for sharing their stories and helping me to realize a dream that seemed wildly out of reach a year ago. If you’d like to be part of the magic, I’m lining up guests for Season 2 right now. Please email me at email@example.com if you have a creative endeavor you’d like to explore on the show! And finally, thank you so much for listening and taking this journey with me. I’ll be back in a few months with lots more stories to share. And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this week. I made a contribution to the Jimmy Fund in their efforts to support adult and pediatric cancer care. And what I received for this donation was a ticket to the Jimmy Fund’s annual Scooper Bowl. This year, a dozen vendors donated their ice cream for the country’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival. Turns out that my limit is five scoops. But as I walked around, I could see that I was a light-weight compared to many of the other attendees. You can find show notes and other extras for all of the show’s episodes over at htmamcast.com. “How to Make a Memory” also has a page on Facebook. The show’s Twitter handle is @How2MakeAMemory with the number 2. And on Instagram @howtomakeamemory. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please consider heading over to iTunes to rate, review, and subscribe. “How to Make a Memory” is a member of The Geekend Legion podcast network. Our logo is by Becky Carpenter, our music is by Chuck Salamone, we get system admin support from Greg Thole. Now, go make something for someone you love.
33 minutes | May 30, 2018
How to Make a Garden of Memories
Episode Details Air date: May 29, 2018 Guest: Rachel Runtime: 32 minutes, 35 seconds Summary: In the 20th episode, Rachel comes back for her third visit to the podcast to talk about the garden she has been growing for the past 6 years. But, as she explains, the garden is far older and more diverse that it appears. Listen in as she explains why her garden is so special and what it brings to her life. Links of Interest: The American Rhododendron Society Black Parrot Tulips Refurbishing Wicker Black Oil Sunflower Seeds What I Made This Week: From the transcript: “And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this week. I made an old wicker patio set look brand new. Last summer, someone had set out a set of wicker furniture on the road near my house. It wasn’t in great shape, but I was looking for furniture to put out on my porch and I couldn’t argue with the price. I’ve never restored a piece of furniture before, so a few weeks ago, I began researching wicker restoration. I bought new rattan to replace the pieces that had fallen off or been damaged. I washed and deglossed all of the pieces, repaired the various areas that needed mending, and put on a new coat of bright sea foam spray paint. I absolutely love the result and am glad to be able to say that I’ve restored a wicker furniture set.” Episode Transcript Introduction Hello and welcome to “How to Make a Memory,” the show that explores the items we make for one another and how they impact our relationships. My name is Jen Tierney and this week Rachel makes her third appearance on the podcast to talk about her garden. In many ways, it looks like a fairly average garden. But, the story behind its creation and the role that it plays in Rachel’s life prove that it is anything but ordinary. Rachel has a practical and very present approach to living. It’s one of the things that makes her such a good friend. This frame of mind allows her to provide great perspective to me and the other young parents that we know. You’ll get to hear some of that in the way she talks about her garden and the space that she has created for her family and friends to play, relax, and be together in. Conversation [Transcript forthcoming] Conclusion I loved this conversation with Rachel. Like many such chats, it started off being about a project or craft but ended up giving me some more serious things to consider. What sort of childhood do I want to provide to my children? How can I provide them with opportunities to connect with the world around them, especially in their own back yard? Am I setting realistic expectations for myself and what my life looks like today? My own garden has certainly improved since I met Rachel. And the origins of the plants in it now extend far beyond our local garden center. I love that my garden has become its own collection of stories that I can tell my children as they grow up surrounded by it. And now I’d like to tell you about something I made this week. I made an old wicker patio set look brand new. Last summer, someone had set out a set of wicker furniture on the road near my house. It wasn’t in great shape, but I was looking for furniture to put out on my porch and I couldn’t argue with the price. I’ve never restored a piece of furniture before, so a few weeks ago, I began researching wicker restoration. I bought new rattan to replace the pieces that had fallen off or been damaged. I washed and deglossed all of the pieces, repaired the various areas that needed mending, and put on a new coat of bright sea foam spray paint. I absolutely love the result and am glad to be able to say that I’ve restored a wicker furniture set. Before I wrap up, I have one last thing to share about the show. In a few months, it will be a year since I began making this podcast, and I’ve decided to move into a Season format. So the next episode, which will air in two weeks, will be the final episode of Season 1. Then I’ll be taking off a few months to line up guests, record some new episodes, and enjoy the summer months. Then I’ll be back with Season 2 in the fall! Well, that brings us to the end of this week’s episode. Thank you to Rachel for being on for a third time and cementing herself as a real fan favorite in the process. Find show notes and other extras over at htmamcast.com. “How to Make a Memory” also has a page on Facebook. The show’s Twitter handle is @How2MakeAMemory with the number 2. And on Instagram @howtomakeamemory. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please consider heading over to iTunes to rate, review, and subscribe. “How to Make a Memory” is a member of The Geekend Legion podcast network. Our logo is by Becky Carpenter, our music is by Chuck Salamone, we get system admin support from Greg Thole. Now, go make something for someone you love.
36 minutes | May 2, 2018
How to Make Nothing in Your 20s
Episode 19 brings some much needed levity after last week's episode. Danielle works at Jen's local library and stops by to talk about a "How To" program that she recently coordinated. Eventually, the two devolve into giggles as they come to the realization that their 20s were a bit of a joke.
35 minutes | Apr 18, 2018
How to Make It Through Depression
This episode is a bit heavier than most. This week, Jen's friend Jess joins her to talk about using the act of making as a way to cope with depression. They discuss the things that stand in their way when undertaking a new project and the challenges of starting a brand new hobby.
32 minutes | Apr 4, 2018
How to Make a Podcasting Family
In episode 17, Jen invites two fellow lady podcasters on to talk about making their show, Geekend Amazons. Jen also has a special announcement about the future of her show!
34 minutes | Mar 21, 2018
How to Make Italian Easter Pie
In our 16th episode, Jen sits down with her Mom, Kathy Salamone, to gush about their love for Pizzagaina. Listen in to get some history on this family tradition from the ultimate Italian matriarch.
34 minutes | Mar 7, 2018
How to Make an EP
In episode 15, Jen is joined by another podcaster, Mark Steadman, to talk about creating an EP. Mark discusses the technical side of this task and then dives into the stories behind each of the songs.
38 minutes | Feb 21, 2018
How to Make a Legacy
In our 14th episode, Jen has a conversation with her sister-in-law, Diane, about the loss of her Mother. It's a difficult topic, but one that Diane explores with grace and sincerity.
29 minutes | Feb 7, 2018
How to Make Makers
In our second episode with Bronwyn, we start off talking about making plastics, but quickly get into how to encourage our children to become makers.
30 minutes | Jan 24, 2018
How to Make Digital Art
This week, Jen sits down for a chat with Bronwyn Burns, the "Pixel Wizard" of an application called Playsets. Bronwyn talks about how the game was conceived, meeting a childhood hero, and what inspired her to be a maker in the first place. This is the first episode of a two-part series that will feature Bronwyn. Join us next time for the rest of the conversation, where we dig into Making Makers.
30 minutes | Jan 3, 2018
How to Make a Resolution
It's our first episode of 2018, so we're talking about resolutions! Jen is joined by a childhood friend to talk about the exercise of setting goals each year. This episode also comes out on the day that How to Make a Memory is being featured on #2PodsADay. Find new independent podcasts like this one by visiting 2PodsADay.wordpress.com. Content Warning: In this episode, we discuss pregnancy loss.
28 minutes | Dec 13, 2017
How to Make Holiday Traditions
Our tenth episode is the second in a two-part holiday series. In episode nine, we spoke about making gifts. This time around, we're talking about making traditions. Also, in January, "How to Make a Memory" is being featured in a campaign from #TwoPodsADay. Find new independent podcasts like this one by following #TwoPodsADay on Facebook and Twitter.