De-Stress With Homemade Scented Play-Doh

Good folks of the Internet, the last month and a half have been ROUGH. I’m working as a therapist at a high school right now and my clients just seem more scared every day. See, the school where I work is full of brilliant Black and brown kids who aren’t sure what the government is going to do to them and their families. Between the (overturned and forthcoming) Muslim bans, rescission of protections for trans kids, and anti-Latinx sentiment going strong, we’re all more than a little worried.

Scented Play-Doh -

To help, I’ve got a Saturday afternoon project that’ll get your mind off the state of the country for half an hour and help you cope with it when real life comes back into focus. Because while we keep fighting, we’ve got to sustain ourselves with moments of joy and silliness. Making playdough is one tiny thing you can do today to give yourself a break from the darker stuff.

I use playdough in sessions with my clients all the time. The shy kid and I play together until they’re comfy enough to talk. The anxious kid gets a ball to take with them to squeeze in class when they get called on. The angry kid smashes playdough instead of plates when they can’t handle their dad’s yelling anymore. The kid who finally feels a little better asks for playdough to share with a friend who’s going through a rough time. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it helps.

There are tons of ways to use your playdough therapeutically, but fidgeting, smashing, and observing are three of my favorite places to start.

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Chocolatey Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

Valentine’s Day means chocolate. Lots and lots of it. With all the sweet people in your life sure to have eaten enough chocolate to last them for the next month, now’s the perfect time to make them a different kind of chocolate kiss.

Cocoa Butter Lip Balm - Mamoot DIY

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Leatherwork Some Handsome Luggage Tags

It’s a well-known fact that making presents for people makes the world a better place. Not only are you taking time to create the perfect gift for your mother, brother, or girlfriend, you’re making sure there’s one fewer person at the mall and lessening the chance that someone will get trampled to death by the shopping masses. If you’ve got a little extra time and want to use your very own hands to show someone you love them, this is just the miniseries for you.

For lots of people, the holidays means traveling. For my family, it means pulling out our suitcases with out very fancy luggage tags. You know, the one my dad got for free from his job because they’re plastic and emblazoned with his company’s logo. Which is to say, I decided that this was the year we needed some new luggage identification.IMG_1090

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Wrapper’s Delight: A Guide to Beautifying Your Gifts the DIY Way

On Christmas morning, after we’ve opened up our presents and after my dog has sufficiently torn the wrapping paper into the tiniest pieces possible, we get out this massive garbage bag and throw away all the paper that spent weeks just hanging out under the tree. And every year, I can’t help but think about how wasteful it is. When you think about it, wrapping paper isn’t much more than really expensive toilet paper (and I hate buying toilet paper). I mean, what else do we throw away as soon as we use it?


This year, though, I’m not buying any wrapping paper. I’ve got all kinds of stuff around my house that’s going to be thrown away anyway, so why not use that? With a little bit of tape and some string, any package can look pretty. Wrapping presents creatively doesn’t even have to be a big thing, either. Choose a theme, wrap them all the same and change a decoration here or there. We’ve got three guides — one for boxes, one for paper and one for decorations — that’ll convince you to kick the wrapping paper habit once and for all.

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Burn Some Beautiful Spoons (Then Spice Up Your Life)

Do you know someone who loves to cook or wants to learn? There’s no such thing as too many spoons. You can use a wood burner to transform cheap spoons into beautiful art things that might just be too pretty to use. That’s nothing a little inspiration can’t fix. Encourage them to use their new tools by making a spice mix or two. Whether you’re crafting for a seasoned cook or a novice, chances are they would enjoy a new flavor in their armory. We’ve got five spice mixtures that can be easily incorporated into a snack or a full-blown feast.



You will need:

  • A Woodburning Pen
  • Wood or bamboo spoons or other cooking utensils
  • An extra spoon – To practice on the same kind of wood you’ll be using
  1. Sketch out some ideas. Keep it simple; a woodburner can be kind of unwieldy. Don’t forget that you’ve got the whole spoon (including the tiny little tip at the end of the handle) to work with. You might want to stay away from the actual spoon if you’re worried about food being hard to wash out or you might not. It’s your call. Go for lines, animals, words, swirlies, or whatever you’re best at doodling.
  2. Practice your plans on the extra spoon.
  3. Take a deep breath, you’re ready for the main event. You can either draw on the spoon with a pencil to give yourself some guidance or dive right in.

Spice Mixtures


European and Latin American spices are typically easy to find in any grocery store. For spices that aren’t used as often in those cuisines, stay far away from places like Whole Foods – you’ll find them there, but they’ll cost you a fortune. Instead, head to a Middle Eastern (for sumac) or Indian (for turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, mango, black salt, and ajwain) grocery store. Indian store especially tend to sell large bags for much more affordable prices, which is great if you’re making a spice mix for more than one person. They’re also usually fresher because the typical customers at a cuisine-specific grocery are more likely to buy foods that would sit for ages at a generic grocery. Not to mention: you’re supporting a member of your community by shopping at a local store.

6 T Salt
6 T Granulated Garlic
4 T Oregano
2 T Black Pepper
2 T Turmeric
2 T Onion Powder
Uses: Anything and everything

Chaat Masala
3 T cumin
1 T coriander seeds
1½ t fennel seeds
4 T mango/amchur powder
3 T black salt/kala namak
1½ t black pepper
1½ t ginger powder
1 t mint
1 t tumeric
1½ tsps ajwain/carom seeds
Toast and crush the mixture in a mortar and pestle/pilón or grind it up in a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder
Uses: Sev puri, add to fries, salads, and mangoes

Herbs de Provence
5 T dried thyme
3 T dried savory
2 T dried marjoram
5 T dried rosemary
1½ T dried lavender flowers
Uses: Add to omelettes, pizzas, popcorn, vegetables

2 T Thyme
1 T toasted sesame seeds
2 t ground sumac
½ t salt
Crush the mixture in a mortar and pestle/pilón or grind it up in a (well-cleaned) coffee grinder
Uses: Pita chips, add to olive oil for dipping bread, add to popcorn

Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 T ground cinnamon
4 t ground ginger
1 t ground cloves
1 t ground allspice
1 t ground mace
1 t ground nutmeg
Uses: Hot buttered rum, add to pancake batter, winter vegetables (anything orange), vanilla ice cream

Grow a Family Tree

Are you in close proximity to several family members at this very moment? Perhaps for the whole week? This is a great time to talk to relatives about where you all came from. Then take that info, work some homespun magic, and turn it into a beautiful, meaningful piece of art.

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Craft A Bow Tie With Your Own Two Hands

58_party-1Ahh ze ineffable necktie. First we have the traditional tie. That utterly incomprehensible piece of silk worn around the necks of men and bois everywhere. Next, we come to the ascot. Seen at polo matches, horse races, and on the uniform of one Mr. Fred Jones (of Scooby-Doo fame), the ascot says “I have money and I’m not afraid to use it” unlike anything else. And the bolo tie. Who could forget the bolo? Once the domain of cowboys and their southern counterparts, vaqueros, bolos are making their sartorial comeback with the rockabilly set. Finally we arrive at the bow tie. While skinny ties and scarves each have their place in a dignified queer’s wardrobe, it’s the bow tie that lends a certain je ne sais fab to any outfit. But where does one find a bow tie? How exactly does one procure a properly sized and attractively styled cravet? Thrift stores, to be sure. Perhaps at the shop of a gentleman’s clothier. But there is another way to go about the selection of a bow tie. It is, of course, to create one with your own hands.
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