I've been learning a lot from watching my favorite Food Network shows. (Particularly Iron Chef and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef) My knife skills are improving, and I have mise en place pretty much down. A neato skill I saw the other day was turning your kernel-like spices (like peppercorns, mustard seeds, or coriander seeds) into a fresh powder without a spice mill or electric grinder. It's really simple. Observe:
This works really well on a wooden cutting board. I don't own one, so I had to do the best I could on the plastic one. But it makes very fresh and fragment spices for your dish on the spot.
Here is another technique to try if you find that the first technique is not quite giving you the fine mill that you desire for your dish.