Making It

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (Rodale Books, 2011)

ISBN-13: 978-1605294629

Buy it at:  Amazon Abe Books • Barnes & NobelPowell’s

Making It provides you with all of the tools you need to become a producer instead of a consumer and transform your home from the ground up. Projects range from the simple to the ambitious, and include activities done in the home, in the garden and out on the streets. Provides step-by-step instructions for a wide range of projects, from building a 99-cent solar oven to making your own laundry soap to instructions for brewing beer. Making It is the go-to source for post-consumer living activities that are fun, inexpensive and eminently doable.

Our goal in this book was to provide really stripped down, simple projects that use only inexpensive, easy to source materials. We also tried to use the same materials and ingredients over and over again, to save you time, money and storage space. The moral of this book is that it doesn’t take much more than creativity to live well.

This book, written by a husband-and-wife team of die-hard DIYers, will leave you thinking you can take on the world and win.Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

My favorite of all these recent books by far… — Kirkus Reviews

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8 Comments

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  2. I read and enjoyed “Making It.” In fact, I cut off the binding, had it punched for a three ring binder, and am using it as the base for my book of knowledge. But, I wish you had organized it differently. The organization is fine for the first read-through, but annoying afterwards, as things are never easy to find.
    Also, why did you not include yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, and cream cheese in your recipes? These are all easy to make but with the potential to have a big impact on people’s lives. Plus, they make a good first project, as they are easy, foolproof, and have yummy results.

    • Hi Tiffany,

      Thanks so much for trying out Making It. I’m glad it worked for you in most ways.

      We don’t have yogurt or similar recipes in it because we included yogurt and many other simple dairy projects in our first book, The Urban Homestead. The publishers of Making It wanted, naturally, that our projects for our second book be quite distinct from the first book. And as regards the organization — well, any organizational system you choose for a how-to book will have its advantages and disadvantages. We thought about many, but went with this one because we wanted to give some idea of the flow of work around the house, and the variables of time investment — some stuff is daily/instant, some stuff you have to renew monthly, some stuff is a lot of work, but permanent. You choose what level of involvement you prefer.

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  5. Heya, Kelly and Eric…

    Love “Making It” for starters. I’ve tried the soap making, your quick/blender method, and three weeks later, have a question: Any idea why there’s a dark circle in the center of the resulting bars? I used the suggested quart paper container, all went well (I think) during the process, it set up in less than the 24 hours, but this dark circle does not fade. It is hard to the touch, exactly like the rest of each bar. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks! (I made a plain version, and a herbal/lavender one; both have the circle, although the herbal one is more pronounced.)

    • Hi Elizabeth! I’m glad you like Making It. As to your question, you’ve got me stumped. I’ve never experienced that problem before. I checked the troubleshooting guides in a couple of books I have, and none of them mentioned dark circles as being a common flaw. Soap making can be a rather mysterious process! I’m afraid I don’t have enough “soap hours” under my belt to help you. :( My only thought is to let the soap cure more and see if it changes.

    • Thanks for your reply anyway! The spot seems to have solidified early on, since it was present at cutting into squares. It did not shrink over the curing time. It doesn’t look awful…sort of like a Zen circle, when I look at it, the Stillpoint. Anyway, I’m happy to try again…maybe it was the herbs I used. Trial and error! All the best.

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