Important Lessons for DIY

After doing quite a few projects there are a few important lessons I have learned.

Important lessons from DIY projects

Lesson 1: Test runs are your friend

Lesson 2: It’s probably the project and not you

Lesson 3: There are things that can’t be done

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DIY Racerback Tank Top

Ever since I really got into working out my biggest problem is finding the right clothes to work out in. The material for regular T-shirts is to hot to work out in and I refuse to pay 40 bucks for a tank top made of some crazy material that removes sweat. So I was ecstatic when I found this project.

Here are the original instructions: http://www.blogilates.com/blog/2012/04/05/diy-racerback-workout-shirt-tutorial/

Materials needed for this project are:

An old T-shirt

Scissors

This project starts like every other T-shirt DIY. I cut off  the sleeves and collar of the shirt by following its seams. But for this shirt I had to cut the front of the collar a little deeper than the back of the collar. This is important if you want to get the proper racerback effect. After all the cutting I had this.

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After this I flipped the shirt over and cut the racerback shape into it. I did this by cutting a deep v into the back and cutting down the outer part of the sleeve. I start my cut shallow then get deep to get the look I want. This was the result.

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The back part of the straps should be thinner than the front. After that was done I took the cut off hem of the shirt and stretched it out.

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I took the stretched shirt hem and tied it at the bottom of the V in the back of the shirt

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I then wrapped it up the shirt criss crossing the tied hem. I did this till I reached the top opening of the shirt. I had left over hem when I reached the top so I tied it into a bow. The end result was this.

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Here is the final product of the project

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Not to bad for a free shirt! I still might save up for a store bought one but this will do for now.

Overall this project was fairly easy and fast. The results may not be as perfect but it definitely passes the DIY test.

 

 

Cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Strawberry cheesecake is one of my favorite things. But since I grew up eating cheesecake from Juniors bakery in NYC, my standards for cheesecake are pretty. So when I saw a pinterest recipe for a healthy cheesecake alternative I was extremely skeptical. Can the deliciousness of cheesecake really be properly replicated with half the fat? Well there is only one way to find out.

Here is the link to the original project: http://www.thesweetslife.com/2011/08/cheesecake-stuffed-strawberries.html

Material I used for this project:

1 lb large strawberries

1 package of cream cheese

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

graham cracker crumbs

Few drops of lemon juice (its not in the original recipe but balances the sweetness)

 

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I started this recipe by preparing the strawberries. The instructions say to cut the tops of and hollow them out with a paring knife. It made this process sound so easy…but it wasn’t! Whoever came up with the idea of hollowing out strawberries for anything was some kind of sadist because this was torture. I butchered two strawberries beyond repair and nearly did the same to my hand. Plus it took like 20 minutes to do 13 strawberries. I had these after completing this horrible task.

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My recommendation would be to use a melon baller it you have one. It will be so much easier.

After that torment I was happy to move on to something easier like mixing. I put the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a large bowl to combine. The instructions say to use a hand mixer to blend this and I agree, you should use a hand mixer. I know this because I chose not to listen to the instructions and mixed the filling by hand. It was horrible. The only upside was that I got my arm workout for the day.

Once the cheesecake filling was done place I placed it in a ziplock to make a piping bag. I then started filling the strawberries.

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This was the easiest part of this project. I started from the very bottom of the strawberry and used a swirling motion to make the tops. After the strawberries were all filled, I dusted them with graham cracker crumbs. This was my end result.

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This is the first food project I’ve done that looks as good as the original. But the real test was the taste. I bit into one and it was DIVINE! The strawberries natural tartness was the perfect contrast to the fillings sweetness. The graham cracker crumbs even kept me from missing the traditional cheesecake crust.

Overall cheesecake filled strawberries Pass the DIY test. My only suggestions would be to follow the instructions, use the tool change I recommended and be aware that these are extremely labor intensive. But totally worth it.

 

 

Rainbow Cupcakes

After weathering the storm called senior year everyone deserves some kind of reward if they manage to make it through. Since my housemates and I have seen a category five senior year, I felt like a rainbow was needed. I found the best kind of rainbow in cupcake form.  Since rainbows represent new beginnings and since cupcakes are awesome, these were the perfect way to say goodbye to the semester. The rainbow cupcakes of Pinterest always looked so cool but seemed quite impossible. But if I’m not going to try something in my last year of college I’ll probably never try it at all. So I searched for the most approachable recipe and made my attempt.

Here is the original recipe: http://thepapermama.com/2014/03/rainbow-cupcake-recipe/

Materials needed for this project are:

Food coloring- you will need red, orange,yellow, green blue, purple Or you can make some to the colors if you know your color wheel well

White cake mix

Some kind of white frosting

One large bowl

Six small  bowls

I started this recipe by making the cake batter. I just followed the instructions on the box, well most of the instructions. (I didn’t use a hand mixer again. I dont know why I do this to myself…)

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Once the batter was done I took a 1/2 measuring cup and pour that amount into each bowl. I brought all the colors of dye because I’m really bad at those color formulas. I only know how to make brown. The instructions say to put 15 drops of one food color into  one bowl for each color. But I found that some colors like red need a few more drops and some colors like purple need less. Once that was done I had these.

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The purple is in the pan because I forgot to take the picture before I poured it into the cupcake wrappers. I distributed the batter into the wrapper by one teaspoon measurements. There was leftover batter after all the wrappers were filled so I just kept filling by the teaspoon until it was gone. The instructions said to pour each batter in layers to get the rainbow effect. So after the purple batter was gone I layered on the blue.

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After the blue was used green was next.

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Then yellow and after that orange.

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Red was the final color to go on. This whole process was extremely time consuming. I spent at least forty minutes doing this if not more. I would not recommend this if you have any kind of time limit. One of my housemates made this time a little better by reading me a story.

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Following the cake boxes instructions I popped these guys in a 35o degree oven for 23 minute. While the cupcakes were baking, word spread through the house about these miniature rainbows and the oven became a very popular place.

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Finally I relieved everyone of the suspense and pulled these out of the oven.

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While they were in the pan I was sure the original author had confused her rainbow cupcake recipe with a psychedelic one. But when took them out and frosted I saw this.

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Definitely some kind of rainbow and it got more distinctive when they were unwrapped.

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The rainbow even left its mark on the wrappers.

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The insides were more psychedelic than rainbow but who cares! They were still really cool.

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Just like a real rainbow these cupcakes brought a smile to everyones face.

I calling foul play with the original recipe because there is no way to keep the batter s from blending together. But even though they didn’t come out like the original, these were fairly easy to make and came out awesome. So in my book they Pass the DIY test.

DIY Tank Top

With summer quickly approaching now is the time to stock up on summer staples! At least it is for me since I don’t really own a lot of summer clothing. I used to be a bit of a hermit and there was no need for shorts or tank tops when I sat inside with AC all day. But times change and since I plan to spend some time in the summer sun I will need the appropriate clothing. I was originally planning to buy my summer wardrobe  but Pinterest showed me another option. I could make some of my summer necessities. It is also a great way to reuse old T-shirts.

Here is the link to the original project: http://somedreamingtree.blogspot.com/2012/07/summer-tank-diy.html

Materials needed for this project are:

A old T-shirt (an old oversized one is best)

Scissors

I started this project by laying out one of my old T-shirts. I have learned from previous T-shirt project that giving the shirt a quick glance over really helps with measurements and cutting.

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I then cut off the shirts collar and arms by following its natural seams.

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After the collar and sleeve were cut off I flipped the shirt over  to cut the back. The instructions said to cut up the shirts side seam right to where it reaches your hips. I had no idea where that was so I had to pop the shirt on real quick and make a mark. Once that was done I cut up the sides of the shirt and cut across it right were the mark was. I got this.

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The next step was cutting the longer part of the shirt into a triangle. I flipped it over and cut down the side of each shirt at an angle. Apparently it should form a perfect triangle but mine came out like this.

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I’m not quite sure how the original author got hers to be perfect triangles but I guess its not that big of a deal. The last thing I had to do was cut down the middle of the long part right up to the back of the shirt.

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It comes out pretty good! I would like to know how people get their shirts to cut so clean but I guess a few rough edges don’t matter. Plus free tank top! I have seen the same thing in store for 20 dollar. I will take a few rough edges for that.

This project passes the DIY test with flying colors.

Egg Baked in a Tomato

There is a sandwich at a local bakery I’m obsessed with. Its so simple but so perfect. They roast plump tomatoes and put them in a sandwich with boiled eggs, basil and a parmesan cheese. It’s divine but I unfortunately don’t have the money to go there everyday and the sandwich is a little messy. So I wondered how I could combined these flavors in a convenient way. I found my solution  on pinterest. The egg baked in tomato recipe has everything I love about that sandwich minus the bread.

Here is the link to the original recipe: http://www.cookforyourlife.org/recipes/eggs-baked-in-tomatoes

Materials needed are:

2 large  tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic (I just used garlic powder cause I was feeling lazy)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 eggs

Parmesan cheese (I used a lot)

Fresh basil

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To start this recipe I had to hollow out the two tomatoes with a spoon.

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This is easier said than done. I felt like I was trying to dig through cement with a spoon. I would recommend using a paring knife instead. Here are the results of my labor.

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Once they were hollowed out I drizzle them with olive oil and season them salt, pepper and garlic. Once the tomatoes were hollowed out I placed them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees. I left them in there for a little more than twenty minutes. You want to leave them in long enough to develop a roasted flavor.

After they came out of the oven I cracked an egg into each tomato.

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I then placed them back in the oven. The original instructions say the egg cooks in 5 minute but I wasn’t surprised when it was raw five minute later. I have learned from other projects that there is no exact time on baking an egg in something else.

So placed them back in the oven and check on them in five minute intervals. After fifteen minutes I ended up with this.

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It tasted just like the sandwich  I loved. This was so good I didn’t even miss the bread.

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So overall this recipe passes the DIY test. My only complaint about the original instructions is the timing of the egg is a little off. Other than that this project is what a DIY should be. Simple, repeatable and delicious!

Eggs in a Bacon cup

I think anything wrapped in bacon is a good idea so a bacon wrapped egg muffin recipe seemed like a great idea. They seemed like such a good idea that I decided to make them for mothers day.

Here is the original link: http://www.food.com/recipe/bacon-wrapped-cheddar-egg-bites-486479?scaleto=8&mode=null&st=true

The materials needed for this recipe are:

4 -6 eggs

8 slices bacon

Cheese (I used cheddar)

Some kind of veggie (I put in chopped scallions)

Preheat the oven to 375.

I started by scrambling all of  the eggs then mixing the cheese and scallions. I added salt, pepper, garlic  powder, cumin and paprika to the mix. This wasn’t in the original instructions but I felt like it needed some extra flavor.

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Once this mixture was done I sprayed a muffin pan with cooking spray and lined it with bacon. Yay bacon cups!

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After that all I had to do was pour the mixture into the muffin pan and it was good to go! This project was so easy

….until it came to cooking

The original instructions said to cook these for 25 minutes.

I had to cook mine for 45…

This is because the bacon refused to cook at the same pace as the eggs.

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So I would have fully cooked egg muffins wrapped in under cooked bacon. Even after 45 minutes a lot of the because still wasn’t done. By the time I got everything to an edible level the eggs looked like this.

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The original recipe made no mention of this potentially being a problem or how to avoid it. So I ended up serving this

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The egg part did come out pretty tasty. My mother and grandmother understanding enough just peel the bacon off so bunch wasn’t completely ruined.

So this recipe pass/fails the DIY test. The egg part was great but the instructions give no warning about the bacon failure.

The main thing I learned from this project is to not try a new recipe or project when you have company.