source: Matheus Swanson
source: Chris Weber
source: Russ Allison Loar
source: Matheus Swanson
source: Chris Weber
source: Russ Allison Loar
source: 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 –
source: 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.
source: J. Feist
What tips did I miss? Please share your tip by adding a comment below!
source: US Dept of Agriculture
I love quiche but the fat count makes me feel guilty every time I bite into it. The eggs and cheese are bad enough, but even the crust is full of calories.
Thankfully, David Joachim’s Brilliant, came to the rescue again.
According to Brilliant, hollowed out vegetables can be substituted for the crust in quiche. Mr. Joachim recommends potatoes, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, but I’m sure plenty of other veggies would also work. What about large mushrooms for instance?
To try this tip out, I made a spinach quiche in a whole onion.
First, I combined a small amount of cooked spinach, a beaten egg, shredded cheese, a heaping tbsp. of 5% g’vina lavana, and salt in a bowl. Then, I grabbed a large onion, remove the skin and roughly scooped out the inner layers with a knife. When I only had 2-3 outside layers left, I spooned the quiche mix into the onion very carefully. I baked the onion at 350 degrees till done.
The dish tasted different from the quiche I’m used to, but extremely delicious. I ate the onion as I devoured the quiche and I loved it. This tip was a real winner.
By the way, Brilliant is quickly becoming my go-to book for kitchen tips. You should definitely check it out.
source: Annette Young
There are probably as many ways to make deli wraps as there are people who eat them. However, I got the basic idea for this versatile deli wrap sandwich from my friend Michal. I like it because it looks fancy, but can be made in minutes.
2 slices deli per wrap
Mix together a ratio of 2 parts mustard to 1 part ketchup.
Place wrap on a plate. Spread mustard/ketchup mixture over wrap, using slightly less than you would use on a typical sandwich.
Layer on the 2 slices of deli (I use turkey roll), overlapping where needed.
Roll sandwich up. Cut into thirds or fourths. If needed use toothpicks to keep rolls from coming apart.
Variations: Instead of the mustard/ketchup sauce, try garlic dressing, honey mustard dressing, or even a mix of mayonnaise and mustard. Or, add lettuce, vegan cheese, thinly sliced pickles (as pictured in the photo above).
My favorite is the series Best Food Writing edited by Holly Hughes.
This series has been published yearly since 2000 and includes articles from many of the most famous food authorities of our generation. To name a few: Amanda Hesser, Alice Waters, Madhur Jaffrey, Nigela Lawson, Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin.
There are generally about 50 essays in each book and they usually run 5-6 pages. As to the subject matter, it runs the gamut from restaurant articles, to recipes, to famous cooks, and everything in between.
Vegetarian Turkey by Fran Gage. When the kids all became vegetarians the parents work courageously to find a vegetarian turkey that wouldn’t detract from Thanksgiving. After much thought, they rent the movie Big Night, and duplicate the timpano by rewatching the kitchen scenes.
Dinner For 7 by William Grimes. William and his wife decide to create an authentic Alsatian meal for a group of select guests. However, since Mr. Grimes is a food critic, the bar must be set very high.
The Cook, Her Son, and a Secret by Maya Angelou. The story of how a non-cook surprised her friends (with the help of Craig Claiborne) with a unexpectedly gourmet meal. The writing is almost poetic, just as you’d expect from Maya Angelou.
… And $300 Fed a Crowd by Eric Asimov. Mr. Asimov sets off Ginza Sushiko to discover if any restaurant meal is really worth 300 dollars. Sushi lovers will drool over the descriptions of the food.
A Day In The Life by Anthony Bourdain. An insiders view of what really happens in the kitchens of our favorite restaurants. Anthony Bourdain tells all, and it’s both scary and funny.
The Waiting Game by Ruth Reichl. Ms. Reichl can never resist an unknown food stall with a long line in front. The surprising dish at the end of the line is a perfect example of how simple but perfect ingredients create delicious results.
The Magic Bagel by Calvin Trillin. Dad wants his daughter to move back to New York. She agrees, but only if he can find the perfect New York bagel from her childhood. Beautiful story of nostalgia and love.
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?
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!
source: Travis Juntara
Tips for stocking up
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!
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.
source: Dany Sternfeld
There were a number of activities, some being offered several times, so that you could design your own schedule.
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!
source: Dany Sternfeld
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.