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 - MamootDIY.com

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DpevnLCNYc

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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Recycled Aluminum Can Ginkgo Leaf Earrings

My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Gunn, had a thing for ginkgo trees. And since Mrs. Gunn was the kind of teacher you couldn’t help but love, we all developed an affection for the old, stinky trees.

Recycled Ginkgo Leaf Earrings

Almost ten years later in college, my friend – a biology major – taught me more about ginkgos. Like how they’re living fossils (they may be 270 millions years old) and that single trees can live for thousands of years. Ginkgo trees all turn the same brilliant color yellow in the fall because they’re so ancient. While younger trees evolved so that their leaves have more pigments, ginkgos only contain a single yellow pigment that we see when the chlorophyll dies. Ginkos’ fan shape is prehistoric as well. Most plants have veins that diverge and come back together to form complex networks. Not ginkgos; two veins at the base of the leaf split into two over and over in a simple but effective process called “dichotomous venation.”

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Wood Butter: For the Care and Keeping of Your Wooden Tools and Surfaces

During my last semester of college, I lived with a woman named Brenda. I had just gotten back from a semester abroad and all my friends already had homes, so I took to craigslist and found myself a sublet. Brenda had a 3-story row house filled with beautiful things in the Italian Market section of Philadelphia. Her basement (which you entered through a trapdoor in the kitchen) was filled with power tools that she taught me to use and a kiln that she used to fire pottery she made in her studio. In her turquoise kitchen she had a collection of wooden spoons from all over the world and a heavy wooden cutting board that I loved.

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Brenda’s kitchen is all about the details: her friend made her hand-poured concrete counter tops and used real leaves used to make imprints in them

I haven’t seen Brenda since I moved after graduation in 2011, but I made this wood butter thinking about her kitchen. I had always saved pretty things for special occasions, but Brenda used her Japanese spoons and hand-thrown bowls every day and taught me to do the same. Life’s short; use the good china, you know? Using things is part of what makes them special. On a shelf, they’re cold and impersonal, but use them every day and they become part of you: something worth passing on to people you love.

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In the spirit of using the good china every day, I’ve been working on balms and salves that will keep my pretty things pretty, even through lots of use love. This wood butter will keep cutting boards, spoons, hammers, awls, butcher blocks, and whatever else you can throw it at good for years so that one day, you’ll be able to pass them on.

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Design Custom Labels (Or Just Learn How to Make Vector Graphics)

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said that I finally figured out my printer problems? Well, now I can make all kinds of pretty labels for my soaps, salves, and lip balms.

Since it’s taken me over a year to figure out all the steps to successfully making stickers, I thought I’d take the guesswork out of it for anyone else who wants to label their stuff.

You can make your own custom labels using this handy – if not brief – tutorial that covers everything from downloading software, to making vector images, to buying sticker paper, to printing without ruining your sticker paper.

From this... to this

From this… to this

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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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Sew a Silky, Lace-Tipped Scarf

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.


The thing is, just about everybody likes scarves. Whether you rock a soccer/football scarf, a pashmina, a keffiyeh, or a wooly plaid number, chances are you’ve wrapped a bit of cloth around your neck, head, or waist a time or twelve.

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This scarf falls on the feminine end of the spectrum and is a good gift for anyone whose idea of gay apparel is pretty and shiny. Continue reading

Make a Handy and Cute Tea Wallet

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.


Maybe you need a little extra something to go with the tea you bought your friend. Or maybe, like me, you happen to have a roommate who loves tea, appreciates a good sense of organization, and travels a whole lot. Enter the tea wallet.

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This little guy holds four tea bags so that your tea-aficionado friend is never stuck drinking boring-but-ubiquitous Lipton.

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