So, I live in Vermont (aka Brrr-mont), and now that it's February, I'm completely pasty. Ugh. However, I'm too cheap (and skin-cancer shy) to hit the tanning beds. I discovered in the NYTimes Style magazine on Sunday (the 20th of Feb) that you can use coffee grounds as a scrub/self-tanner! What you do is take 1 cup of used coffee grounds, and mix them with 1 cup of olive oil for 5 minutes. Get in the tub and scrub away and leave the mixture on your skin for 10 minutes before rinsing. According to the Times, if you do this twice a week you'll turn a lovely golden color.
I've only tried it once, and while I didn't become tan, I was no longer glow-in-the-dark white, and my skin felt great. And I didn't smell too strongly of coffee. So I'm going to keep trying and see what happens. Even if the tanning part doesn't pan out, my skin will be in better shape, and maybe I'll even tone down on some of that pesky cellulite.
I found this funky little DIY paperback waaaaay back just after I graduated from college and was determined to make everything from scratch. It's not specifically or strictly crafty, but it contains all kinds of tips and ideas for everything from building a cold frame for cold-climate gardening to making cosmetics from the contents of your fridge. I'm not DIY all the time anymore, but I still love flipping through this paperback. It was originally published in the '70s when the back to the land movement was really being embraced. Don't know if what you can get from Amazon is the same, but if you see this red and yellow paperback in a used bookstore or at a yard sale, snap it up! Here's the link to the little info Amazon offers. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0553200690/qid=1105725823/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-3489579-6972668?v=glance&s=books
On a related theme, the Foxfire series of paperbacks conceived in the '60s to preserve the Appalachian way of life are full of all kinds of old ways of doing things -- like quilting, caning chairs, making cornhusk dolls and brooms, and making moonshine! Not uncommon finds in the used book stores. There are at least 10 in the series, plus a few more related books (Forfire Christmas, Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery, etc.) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385073534/qid=1105726438/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/103-3489579-6972668
We call it a Yankee Swap, folks from different places probably have other names for it, but it's when you bring an anonymous gift to put in a pile at a party, and everyone there takes turns picking a present -- and then swapping for something you might like better that someone before you has already chosen. Depending on your group, it can get pretty cut-throat, and pretty funny.
So, I have a Yankee swap coming up next week ($20 limit, with people I like but don't know very well), and I'm curious what your favorite swap gifts to give and receive have been in these kinds of things. I'm always stumped on what to bring because it's so wide open, and there are about 16 people who take part -- and what gift is perfect for almost anyone?? I'm thinking about knitting a hat and mittens, or maybe making a food basket (cookies, spiced nuts, cocoa mix, etc.), but more suggestions are very very welcome!
These are two fantastic books originally written in the late 1800s. The Boy's book was written by the man who helped found the Boy Scouts, and the Girl's book was written by his sister. They're great sources for all kinds of old-fashioned ideas and crafts. For instance, the Boy's Handy Book tells you how to make everything from an aquarium to boats and canoes, how to do basic taxidermy, and make puppets and carve animals. The Girl's Handy Book has things like how to embroider and paint, make dolls, preserve flowers and make a hammock. I love them both, even if I'm just flipping through. They've both been reissued in facsimile editions, so you even get the wonderful old illustrations.
Anyone have creative ideas for Christmas tree toppers? My husband and I aren't religious, so angels don't really appeal to us. Right now, I'm thinking of trying to make a giant beaded star or snowflake, but I'd love to get other suggestions. Maybe covering starfish with glitter and glass beads would be pretty, or even doing the same with a giant pinecone and then somehow wiring it to the top. Hmm, the wheels are (slowly) turning...
There are lots of great baby ideas on this board, but how about for a new mom? Moms out there, was there anything you really appreciated receiving (or desperately wanted -- other than sleep) once your new baby came? One of my close friends just had a baby two days ago, and I'd like to get something just for her.
If any thrifty crafters in central Vermont are looking for a great resource, go to the ReStore in Montpelier. They have all kinds of fun, sometimes weird, often unexpected but always useful bits and pieces at the best prices ever (like yarn, fabric, office supplies, wood shapes, tiles, containers...). They're a non-profit and you also can donate stuff you've got that might be useful. Here's a little more info if anyone's interested: http://www.cvswmd.com/resident_services/reuse-business.php?b=90