I love to DIY. I think my love for DIY projects stems from participating in OM for 8 years.. where we had to do everything by ourselves and start from scratch and fit everything in a $150 budget.. and what better way to show off your creativity than by making things yourselves and putting your own spin on it? I thank OM for really teaching me how to sew and make costumes (and other odd things on a sewing machine), how to create art masterpieces from sample paint chips, and how to use a power drill. Skills for life.
DIY is also (generally) a good way to save money – and being the budget-savvy person I’m trying to be, I figured, why not try some simple projects since I have the time? I sort of consider my baking experiments to also be a sort of DIY, because why buy cookies if you can make them at home?
Here are some of the things I’ve tried in the past few months! I wish I had the energy and creative writing talent (as well as better photos) to write a post about each one, but I figure… a list is good enough for now.
1. Baking is a big thing for me. (And cooking is starting to be too!) Earlier I made butterscotch blondies and banana bread, and I decided to venture into a new thing: making my own protein bars and granola bars! I eat one almost every day and they can get pretty expensive – about $0.90 for a Nutrigrain one and $0.99 for Clif bars. I tried these two recipes, one for protein bars and one for granola bars. I have to say, I liked the granola bar recipe, but maybe that’s because I got tired of the peanut butter taste of the protein bars and I didn’t use rolled oats so the texture wasn’t as interesting. For the granola bars I used more brown sugar and oat granola that my friend had made for me so it was definitely more flavorful (in other words: sweeter) and had the crunchy but chewy texture that I wanted. Will definitely be trying this more again!
2. Lately I’ve also picked up crocheting again, and am starting to crochet a new headband by using this pattern. I saw another girl in my class wearing one the other day, which makes sense because you can pop it over your bun and keep your hair up while still keeping your ears warm! Ingenious. I feel like I look even more stupid wearing a headband than I do wearing a hat (which is pretty stupid indeed) because the bald effect is amplified, but if it does the trick of keeping my head warm and keeping my hair intact, then I will endure looking stupid for a bit. Maybe the more I wear hats and headbands the more normal I’ll look!
3. Cards – I love making cards for people and with my job at Paper Source I am constantly surrounded by resources and creative ideas for making cards. It makes me a little intimidated, actually – I feel less creative every time I see someone else’s designs and compare them to my own ideas. But, I feel like the best way to challenge my own creativity is to practice, practice practice! – and not be afraid of things not looking perfect. We have a 40% employee discount coming up this weekend and I have my eye on some stamps and ribbons that I’m going to use to decorate my holiday gift wrapping… while I’m home for the holidays I might as well spend some extra time to make my gifts look nice! Giving gifts is my love language and hopefully people will appreciate a prettily wrapped gift as well. Even if they are just going to unwrap it. But at least they can appreciate it when they receive it!
4. The winter air has been drying out my skin lately, and I’ve been looking for things to exfoliate as well as keep my skin hydrated. I walked in to the soap and lotion store that’s next to my dance studio today, and as a first time customer they gave me a free hand treatment – which basically means they just let me use the products. It felt super, super nice, especially the Dead Sea salt body scrub. It made my hands feel so soft and smooth… it felt so nice that I wanted to buy it for myself. But looking at the price – $33 for the price of one jar! Although you don’t use it often which means a jar could last about 4-5 months – I decided not to. Good thing I have a phone and a brain, though, and reminded myself that I had seen recipes for DIY body scrubs online. I ended up making a brown sugar body scrub and my skin did indeed feel soft and glow-y after.
Generally, I do enjoy the process of making these things for myself and the money I save is definitely a bonus. But sometimes – sometimes it’s not even fun anymore. In those cases, I figure that the DIY is not worth it, even for the money I save! Knowing what goes into your products – a plus. Saving money – a bonus. Having fun – a must!