>Somewhere between home-made and hand-crafted there lies the realm of “home-crafted”. To me “home-made” hints that the product is in some way amateurish, unsophisticated, homey. “Hand-crafted” means made by the work of hands, but to me implies at least a modicum of skill and artistry, even a touch of professionalism. So I use “home-crafted” to describe some of the things I make at home with my own two hands, that often elicit one of two responses; it’s either “Where did you buy that?” or “Gee, kid, you should sell these!”.
For example, my Death By Chocolate cookies are not just any old home-made cookies (ask anyone who has eaten some). Neither are they artisanal hand-crafted sweets. They are home-crafted with pride and obsession from a recipe hybridized from Marcel Desauliniers‘ Deep Dark Chocolate Fudge Cookies from his book “Death By Chocolate” and Christopher Kimball’s Double Chocolate Cookies from Issue number 40 of Cook’s Illustrated magazine (September/October 1999). In case you were wondering, each batch of 36 calls for two and a half pounds total of three kinds of chocolate.
Another example is my home-crafted beauty products, which involve no art or skill, just the right high-quality ingredients and a bit of experimentation. I discovered I can make face gack that rivals, even out performs many pricey brands for a fraction of the cost. How easy it is to mix equal portions of commercial witch hazel with some heavenly fragrant Moroccan rosewater for a facial toner. For an eye pick-me-up, soak cotton pads with it and place on closed eyes to refresh and reduce puffiness from those hazy, crazy conference after hours marathon pajama parties. I’ve also taken a run at lip balm with varying success.
But my favorite target area for home-crafted improvement is my hands. Juggling housework, a stinky lap dog, chocolate, computer keyboard and yarn requires frequent hand washing. I’ve learned to take care of my assets by keeping my nails well groomed and applying hand cream as often as I breathe. Here’s part of my hand cream stash, call it Defense Against the Dark Arts:
As you well know, certain fibers will catch and split on anything not perfectly smooth, like stitch markers, fine hooks and needles, zipper pulls, jewelry, rough cuticles, hangnails (OUCH!) and chewed fingernails. OK, I admit I used to be a nail-biter. When I would split or break a nail, making it ragged enough to impede crochet progress, I would immediately worry at it, usually with my teeth. Bad bad bad. Today there are emery boards and tubes of Perlier hand cream scattered all over my home at any of the places I might choose to hover or land. It’s scary.
But that little glass bottle in front is my secret weapon against yarn snags. It is home-crafted cuticle oil, a mixture of jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed and hemp seed oils with a touch of mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) and a few drops of rose essential oil. I like to keep it in roller bottles for mess-free easy application. Heck, I never knew it was necessary or desirable to fuss over your cuticles. But let me tell you, if you gently push back your cuticles when they are soft, like after showering, and then roll on some cuticle oil, then slather hand cream, you’re good to go.
I have become a cuticle oil pusher. Yup. I got several of my friends hooked on using their little roller bottles every night. You’ll know which friends right away; they’re the ones with the beautiful hands!