Why We Love DIY

February 28, 2017 / No Comments on Why We Love DIY
Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

6682450721_cc676aea66_zsource: Natalia Wilson

A friend of mine gave me a window cling set the last week. It came with four outline-printed window clings and a set of puffy paints.

At first, the set reminded me of coloring I did as a child, and I thought it juvenile. But later that evening, before going to bed, I tried it out.

Two minutes in, and I was completed addicted.

For the next three days I spent all my free time working on the project. The result, when completed, went proudly onto the front of my fridge.

As much as I enjoyed the project, it got me thinking: Why would an adult enjoy such a mundane activity? In fact, why do adults enjoy DIY at all?

This is what I realized –

  • DIY offers us an opportunity to be creative. Even the window clings, with their pre-chosen paints, was an opportunity for creativity. I chose the color combination to use on each cling. I decided where the colors would be placed.
  • DIY offers us an opportunity for problem solving. I had only the palette my friend had chosen. I didn’t love the colors but I wasn’t about to purchase more. I had to deal with the problem of making something beautiful from very limited resources (Solution: I blended the puffy paints).
  • DIY offers us a way to relax. Once the colors were chosen, there was something very mindless about applying them to the clings. I felt myself drifting into a kind of alternate state.
  • DIY offers us a feeling of accomplishment. I felt good that I was able to keep the paint within the intricate line drawing. I enjoyed feeling that I had very steady hands. It’s a small ability, but it still makes me feel special.
  • DIY allows us the opportunity for social approval. I placed the clings in a public spot. I have already received compliments on them several times and I expect to get quite a few more. Even as an adult, compliments feel nice.

Why We Love DIYsource: Kat Stan

Why is any of this important?

It’s useful for DIYers to realize that there are ways of increasing the enjoyment they get from their hobbies. Hobbies, by their nature are fun, but there are things we can choose to do that can make them even more fun.

Here a couple of basic principles:

1 – Make sure the project has at least one creative element. Even if you are following written instructions, or a pattern, there is always something you can do to put your own distinctive “signature” on the project.

I once made a lime green tunic shirt from a purchased pattern (back when that color was still popular).  I didn’t know enough about sewing to alter the pattern, but I did choose to go against the pattern suggestions, and use a contrasting trim. I chose black fabric for the pockets and collar and black buttons for the closures.

2 – Add a problem solving element to the project, if it doesn’t come naturally. To do this, make artificial restrictions on either materials, time frame, size, etc.

My favorite class in college was 3D Design. Instead of just giving us projects to complete, the teacher would assign parameters that required real thought to work around. For instance, a sculpture couldn’t be touched with human hands; only with plastic bags. Or, an art kite had to actually be able to fly.

Other crafts, especially on the internet, focus on using found objects or recycled materials only.

3 – Pick a project that varies levels of difficulty throughout. This way you alternate periods of hard work, moderate, and easy work, during the same session.

That’s what I like about ceramics. You start by pounding the clay. Then you build a rough basic form. Only at the end, does the clay require real detail and thought as you put on the finishing touches.

4 – Use your skills. You’ll feel better about your work if it uses some level of skill.  Notice I said skill, not talent. Usable skills can consist of the ability to follow intricate directions, to measure and cut wood accurately,  or in my case with the window clings, simply to stay within the lines.

5 – Allow others to view your finished project. I once made a needlepoint for my son and his new wife. The kit itself was probably only a 20-30 dollars, but I spent over a $100 to frame it.

The reason? I didn’t want the needlepoint shoved into the closet and forgotten. Instead, I wanted it on a wall, where it could be admired.

Why We Love DIYsource: J. Feist

What tips did I miss? Please share your tip by adding a comment below!

Read More: Good Reads or Home

Stocking Up

February 15, 2017 / No Comments on Stocking Up
Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

Stocking Upsource: jjkbach

Our apartment is about the size of a bird cage, and yet we’re meticulous about stocking up on bargains. Why? Because running out and paying full price the minute you need something is a tremendous time and money waster.

Instead, we buy in quantity as we come across a bargain.

For instance, when cat food was on sale, we bought ten big bags.  I kept them in our basement storage room and we used them up over a period of 8 months. Yes, it was a large initial outlay of cash, but it was also a large savings.

We buy clothes the same way.  Because we live in the Middle East, local clothes are both expensive and poorly made.  Therefore, when I went to the US this summer, I came home with boxes full shirts, pants, night gowns, underwear and socks…enough to last till my next visit.

What are some other ways we stock up?

  • When we make a trip to the local farmer’s market, we don’t just buy fruits and vegetables.  We also check out the prices for less perishable items and take those home too.
  • When the library had novels on sale for 4/$1, stacks of new books showed up on our shelves. We knew that even if we didn’t read the books for a year, it’s was still worth it to buy them.
  • When the grocery store has cases of tuna on sale, we buy enough to last close to a year. My husband only likes expensive white tuna, so good sale prices are vital to us.
  • When I found a source of inexpensive scrapbooking supplies, I bought a complete selection of papers and embellishments. Years later, I don’t do much scrapbooking, but I still use the supplies for packages, greeting cards and art journaling.
  • When a neighborhood store was running a 50% off sale last month, I bought small boxes for food gifts at rock bottom prices. I bought enough for several years, because I use these boxes a lot, and I knew I would never find prices like that again.

Here’s a story about what happens when we don’t stock up!

Years ago, we purchased a dozen Staples brand mouse pads for a buck each. We had so many stored up, we didn’t think to keep an eye out for other bargains. Today, when my last mouse pad was ruined, my husband had to make an emergency run to the office supply store.  Instead of costing $1.00, the new mouse pad cost $7.50, because we didn’t shop ahead. So much for careful planning!

7627955892_65033c60f0_zsource: Travis Juntara

Tips for stocking up

  • Don’t buy a lot of something you’ve never tried. 12 boxes of cereal, that your family decides they hate, is a complete waste of money no matter how cheap they were.
  • Make sure the last of the purchase will be used up before the expiration date. A friend once offered me a fantastic deal on potatoes, but most of them spoiled before we were able to use them.
  • Remember, quality does matter. The enormous case of tissues at the warehouse store isn’t such a bargain, if the rolls are only one ply instead of your usual two ply.
  • Do your math to make sure the super cheap price is actually a bargain. I once bought a half dozen large boxes of Mike and Ike for what I thought was an amazing price, and then found them cheaper at the dollar store.
  • Designate storage space before making a large purchase. Under the bed, inside the sleep sofa, down in the basement and up in the attic are all good if at first you don’t appear to have room.
  • Review your budget. Be sure stocking up isn’t going to stop you from having enough money for the rest of your expenses. Unless you know you will have enough money for food and bills, consider passing even on a great bargain.
  • Don’t limit your bulk purchases to just food and clothes. When my kids were young, I bought birthday gifts at great prices throughout the year. I stored them in my car trunk till they were needed.

A Word Of Warning

Though stocking up can save you loads of money, do be careful. I have made some major. I’m going to share three, so you don’t repeat my bad experiences.

1) I once bought enough discounted price printer ink to last for 5-6 years. The sale was amazing, so I figured, why not? Six months later, the printer broke and was impossible to repair. We wound up giving the ink away.

2) Last year I stocked up on enough cheap frozen broccoli to last for years. I figured if it was kept in the freezer, it would be fine even if it passed the expiration date. I was very, very wrong. Now, only a year later, the broccoli is freezer burnt and unusable.

3) When my daughter was twelve, I once stocked up on about $60 worth of good quality used clothes at the thrift store. The clothes was beautiful and identical to the styles I always bought her. However, when I got the clothes home, she decided she hated every piece and for now on wanted to pick out her own clothes.

Did I leave anything out? Please hare your best tips, mistakes, or stories by adding a comment below!

Save

Save

Save

Women’s Wellness Retreat In Nahsholim

Digg thisPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on LinkedIn

9532506182_048a0d456d_zsource: Orientalizing

I’m a yoga dropout.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I used to go every Thursday, but I stopped for a few weeks to visit my daughter  in the US. I meant to start back again when I returned to Israel, but apathy took over, and I never did.

Luckily, my yoga teacher is a woman with a merciful and forgiving nature.

When she and a few of her colleagues put together a yoga retreat in Nahsholim, dropouts were allowed to participate too.

Nahsholim, for those few of you who are not experts on Israeli geography, is located on the Mediterranean Sea. It was important during ancient times for it’s ports.

As you can tell by the photos, the place is gorgeous. The beach is spotless.  The water is a deep blue-green color. And, there are so many interesting shells, it’s almost impossible not to crunch them as you walk.

15369698450_a772de871a_zsource: Dany Sternfeld

Classes

There were a number of activities, some being offered several times, so that you could design your own schedule.

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Guided Beach Coves Walks
  • Chair Yoga on the Beach
  • Creative Writing Workshop
  • Massage (optional)

All of this was offered at a set price of 200 shekels (about 45-50 US dollars) except for the massage. There was an extra charge for the massage.

Between the unbelievable view, the classes, and the new friends, the retreat was an amazing experience!

15531628546_5c45c2abd8_zsource: Dany Sternfeld

The Takeaway

I learned a new form of meditation. I don’t know what the official name for it is, so I’ll just repeat the instructions.

First locate a beautiful view. We had the ocean, but I think a park, the sun shining on snow or your front yard would be fine.

Next close your eyes and just listen. Hear everything for 1-2 minutes.

With your eyes still closed, feel. You might feel the sun on your skin or the breeze in your hair. Continue for 1-2 minutes.

Now smell. Take a deep breathe and smell the air.

Finally, open your eyes and look. See the beauty of nature. And realize that you are a part of it.

I found this meditation extremely relaxing and plan on continuing it on a regular basis.

If you try out this mediation, please send me a comment. I’d love to hear about your experience with it.

Read More: Living In Israel or Home

  • General
  • Food
  • Thrifty Living
  • Interests
  • Homeschooling
  • Meta Information