Exceptional Times

Here at Grow and Make we don’t usually comment on or make political statements, but these are exceptional times. So much so, that it seems we all have a responsibility to make clear where we stand and what we do not see as acceptable in terms of values. We do state our values as a business on this page: Company Values. We do not find it acceptable that parts of our government and our leader are enabling and encouraging extreme groups like the KKK, Nazi sympathizers and white supremist. We are taking a stand and do not want these groups business or their values associated with the country we live in and love.

Seeing the future through the lens of the past

I’ve been reading Sapiens and it is a truly great read. The author makes the story of human evolution fascinating through his excellent writing.

Bill Gates and President Obama both recommend it as a favorite read from the Summer.


If you have ever needed to mend a hole in your clothes, Part 3 in our Sewing Tips Series: Mending a Hole could prove useful.

The Waning Days of Summer

Will Johnston – Grow and Make Founder & Owner

Our camping trips have wound down and my kids are doing their back to school shopping. I feel the air and light changing toward Autumn. Here at Grow and Make we’re very busy as we approach the holidays.

If you ever lose a button on your pants, sweater or any other clothing garment, don’t despair. Sewing a button on is pretty straight forward, but sometimes it helps to have tips on how to best get it right. We have this simple article with photos on

Sewing a Button Made Easy.

This is a good time to start growing a culinary herb or tea garden on your kitchen counter. We have this article on how to get started with our Guide to Growing Tea Herbs in your kitchen.

The View from Portland Oregon

One week from today is the total solar eclipse. Since Grow and Make is in Portland Oregon, we’ll have a great vantage from which to view. If you’re in Portland to see it, drop by and visit.

I recently discovered this Oi Ocha green tea and have to say I love it. I’m trying to cut back on coffee and caffeine and while I love La Croi sparking waters, my stomach doesn’t like the carbonation. If you are a tea drinker, you might want to try our DIY Kombucha  and Chai Making Kits.

Food for Thought: Goat Cheese and Chocolate Truffles

In our September DIY Subscription we are providing subscribers with a complementary blend of Goat Cheese and Chocolate Truffle making. The combination is a popular blend and one we think you will be delightfully happy to have discovered.

Albert Wegner is a venture capitalist and also a humanist. He has a book which he is working on World After Capital, which looks at the coming changes to our global society and how we create a world which is better for all humanity. You can read the book by clicking the link.

This article by David Brooks on the recent firing of a Google Employee for his internal memo on why more men are engineers at Google is compelling reading. It seems that Google may have overstepped on their decision to fire James Damore.

If you are fascinated or curious about education for teens in our country, this TED Radio Hour on Rethinking School is a great one. It really is time to start re-thinking the way we educate our teens.

Today’s musings from Grow and Make founder and owner Will Johnston

Make Your Own Surf Wax

If you or someone you know surfs or rides a paddleboard, you might be interested to know that you can use our soap making kit to make your own surf wax or just follow these instructions. You simply melt some paraffin and beeswax in a pour pot and then pour it into the soap molds. The amount of beeswax you use will result in softer or stiffer wax (more for soft). If you desire you can use the colorants we provide in the kits, or the fragrances if you’re feeling bold. Let’s go surfing now.

I worked at Apple Computer right after Steve Jobs left the first time, so I never had a chance to meet him or hear him address the company. I found this video fascinating, watching how he addresses this question which is an attack on his character. He was a true business genius.

Daily Musings

On this day in 1977 Gerald Ford was golfing with Jackie Gleason. Check out the presidential pants…


I follow Tim Ferris on Twitter, listen to his podcasts, read his weekly email and now I’m watching his new ‘Fearless‘ series on television. Tim provides insights and ideas which you can’t find in many places.

I’m a huge fan of Sam Harris and his podcast Waking Up. Tim has a fascinating interview with Robert Sapolsky on the Biology of Good and Evil. I found the topic fascinating and the way that Sam thinks about determinism and free will is real food for thought.

Whether or not you are a fan of the Koch Brothers (I’m not), it’s interesting to understand what they are thinking with their political outlook and financial contributions to politicians and organizations. Radiolab has this interview with Charles Koch, which can allow you to come to your own conclusions.


I find that the word ‘phenomenal’ is quite often used inappropriately. Someone will say something like ‘this ice cream is phenomenal’. The definition is ‘very remarkable; extraordinary’. When I listened to this story this morning regarding a scientist editing the dna of a human embryo, I thought ‘this is phenomenal’.

Whether you agree with his position or not, the fact that an engineer wrote a memo questioning Googles hiring practices regarding women is certainly a tempest in a teapot. I believe it’s healthy for our society to ask questions about hiring practices and make them public. The challenge for a company like Google, which wants to encourage independent thinking and questioning of assumptoins, is how to allow it without indirectly encouraging a lawsuit from someone who they don’t hire and happens to be a woman.

Happy August!

heat relief

This week is going to be baking here in PDX with record temperatures expected.

BBQ Pizza

We recently made a pizza on the BBQ using home made mozzarella from our DIY Italian Cheese Making Kit. Making a barbeque pizza is pretty easy. Make a simple pizza dough and then roll out a few smaller and thicker sized pizza doughs for individual serving sizes. Put sauce on and add your cheese and toppings. If you are inspired make DIY Hot Sauce or DIY BBQ Sauce in place of pizza sauce. Be sure to use our DIY Italian Cheese Making kit for making some fresh and delicious mozzarella. Clean your grill and get your BBQ up to at least 350 F. Oil the grill and brush oil on the bottom of your pizza doughs. Put the pizzas on the grill and use both direct and indirect heat over 10 minutes. Move them around so nothing gets burned. Really tasty.

Watch our video on making mozzarella at home.


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