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84Instructables3,218,732Views869CommentsBrooklyn, NY
I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-purpose cleaner, hand cream with fresh herbs from the garden, or a new summer dress. I hate following recipes so I make them up instead, then write about it. I am collecting these for a book called Make Anything: a handbook for saving money, living green and having fun with trash. I love e... Read More »

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Contest Finalist Runner up in the Toy Contest
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Contest Winner Runner Up in the Low Water Gardening Challenge 2016
Contest Winner Runner Up in the Home Remedies Challenge 2016
Contest Finalist Runner up in the Homemade Holidays Food Contest
Contest Finalist Runner up in the Father's Day Contest
Contest Winner Runner Up in the Humana Health Challenge
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Contest Winner Runner Up in the Reuse Contest
Contest Winner Second Prize in the Urban Farming Contest
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Contest Winner Runner Up in the Papercraft Contest
Contest Winner Runner Up in the The Teacher Contest
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Contest Finalist Runner up in the Epilog Challenge
Contest Winner Runner Up in the Tandy Leather Contest 2016
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Contest Winner First Prize in the Concrete and Casting Contest
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Contest Winner Third Prize in the Indoor Gardening Contest
Contest Winner Runner Up in the Cardboard Contest 2016
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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution4 days ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    Yes, technically, according to that article, this would be sunblock. But I'd hesitate to use the term for (admittedly) subjective reasons. "Sunblock" feels much stronger and robust than "sunscreen" and I wouldn't want anyone to use this sunBLOCK and become complacent about too much exposure...

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Basic moisturizer6 days ago
    Basic moisturizer

    What matters is not quantities but relative proportions. I've never used cinnamon bark oil, papaya extract or aded honey to moisturizer (though I like it in lip balm), so I'm afraid I can't help you -- you just have to experiment. Once you're done, share your results in these comments so we can all benefit from your experience!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Basic moisturizer2 weeks ago
    Basic moisturizer

    Yes, exactly. You can add a little extra water and it will thin the cream out. Glad you enjoyed making it!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Modeling clay out of laundry lint2 weeks ago
    Modeling clay out of laundry lint

    Love that idea!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Make lipstick with crayons2 weeks ago
    Make lipstick with crayons

    Doesn't happen so much with the lipstick (since it contains no water) but the creams can get visibly moldy and/or start smelling a little funky. If you're using vitamin C as an additive, it starts out a bit orange but when the orange deepens (which can happen in a matter of a few days) it's time to throw it out. On occasion with visible mold I've scraped it off and used the "clean" cream (like jam or cheese) but I would not recommend that if you have sensitive skin or any sort of abrasions.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Scented Bath Salts1 month ago
    Scented Bath Salts

    I didn't see this comment till today... PM me about your project if you're still looking for help!

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  • belsey commented on alreed's instructable No-sew Shoes1 month ago
    No-sew Shoes

    Thanks, I'll PM you. It would be easier to modify your file than to try to re-create it from scratch, so it will be very helpful.

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  • belsey commented on alreed's instructable No-sew Shoes1 month ago
    No-sew Shoes

    I'd love to try to make these but I can't find a link to your vector file patterns. These shoes are so beautiful "as is" and you've written such good, clear instructions, so I'm not sure why you'd share so much but hold that part back. Did you simply forget or did you omit the pattern intentionally? Or did I just miss it in the instructions?

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  • belsey commented on davebodnar's instructable An Inexpensive Smoke / Fog Generator1 month ago
    An Inexpensive Smoke / Fog Generator

    Very nicely done and documented... I am assuming that if you tested this for 6 hours, you must have set up a system to automatically turn it on for 30 seconds and off for 60. How did you do that?

    Couple more questions... you don't mention cutting the glycerin with water... are you supposed to use it pure? Also, where does the glycerin or glycerin/mix go?

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  • belsey commented on yueshi's instructable 3D Printed Stained Glass Light Decoration1 month ago
    3D Printed Stained Glass Light Decoration

    Beautiful result... Though having made real stained glass, it almost seems like this might be MORE complicated and time consuming than glasswork. It's probably cheaper though... Have you ever worked with glass? Any idea how this compares (time-wise)?

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  • belsey's entry No-sew leather pencil case is a winner in the Tandy Leather Contest 2016 contest 1 month ago
  • belsey's entry No-sew leather pencil case is a finalist in the Tandy Leather Contest 2016 contest 1 month ago
  • belsey's entry No-sew leather pencil case is a winner in the Cardboard Contest 2016 contest 1 month ago
  • Flawless geometric designs made with tape

    These are beautiful, and the instructions are equally clear. I wish I had the patience to make this type of design, I've always loved tesselations .

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  • belsey's entry No-sew leather pencil case is a finalist in the Cardboard Contest 2016 contest 2 months ago
  • belsey commented on stumitch's instructable The Ultimate Super Hip Sandals2 months ago
    The Ultimate Super Hip Sandals

    It's the "no-sew leather pencil case"

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Make your own glue2 months ago
    Make your own glue

    If that's all you've got you can try using it. The extra baking soda won't increase adherence properties, but I don't think there's enough of it to be detrimental either.

    (Shhhh... not so loud....)The sugar increases the adherence properties... Haven't you noticed how sticky a table is after you've spilled some soda on it and it's dried out?

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  • belsey commented on stumitch's instructable The Ultimate Super Hip Sandals2 months ago
    The Ultimate Super Hip Sandals

    Yeah, I voted for you even though I'm in the same contest... and even though I'd really love to get my hands on that sewing machine I'd be fine loosing to this instructable!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Make lipstick with crayons2 months ago
    Make lipstick with crayons

    Hi Sonal0! You PM'ed me with additional questions, but I thought I'd answer here because other people might be wondering the same things you are. Regarding the moisturizing cream, and adding mineral powder to make it a foundations: Yes, you can add mineral powder to the moisturizer. The quantity is up to you, and you'll have to experiment to find the right balance and get the texture you want.Regarding shelf life: Shelf life is not an absolute... it will vary depending on the freshness of your ingredients, how well you have sterilized all your equipment, how well you sealed your containers, and probably also what's floating around the air in your kitchen. I've had some batches go bad after a few weeks, others last a couple years! The most I can say is anything with water will spoil fast...see more »Hi Sonal0! You PM'ed me with additional questions, but I thought I'd answer here because other people might be wondering the same things you are. Regarding the moisturizing cream, and adding mineral powder to make it a foundations: Yes, you can add mineral powder to the moisturizer. The quantity is up to you, and you'll have to experiment to find the right balance and get the texture you want.Regarding shelf life: Shelf life is not an absolute... it will vary depending on the freshness of your ingredients, how well you have sterilized all your equipment, how well you sealed your containers, and probably also what's floating around the air in your kitchen. I've had some batches go bad after a few weeks, others last a couple years! The most I can say is anything with water will spoil faster than a purely oil/wax based formula like lipstick -- but oil will still go rancid over time, so lipstick will eventually go bad too. Also adding water-based organic ingredients (like infusions or juice) will shorten the shelf life compared to using plain distilled water.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Make lipstick with crayons2 months ago
    Make lipstick with crayons

    Thanks! Just scroll through my other instructables, I have a few other cosmetics recipes (as well as a wide variety of other projects you might enjoy).

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  • belsey commented on stumitch's instructable The Ultimate Super Hip Sandals2 months ago
    The Ultimate Super Hip Sandals

    Clearly written and photographed... this is great! I also appreciate how you credit and link to the original. But your instructable and experience adds tremendous value as well: when you're a newbie and clueless at a craft, it's sometimes easier to learn from someone who's been there and asked themselves the same silly questions rather than from the expert. This is inspiring!

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  • belsey commented on robot_boy's instructable Mirror icing3 months ago
    Mirror icing

    It's quite easy to update the instructable with that info... Just click the "edit" button on the right of the screen (next to your first step) and then you can add a "C" next to all the temperatures you gave.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Modeling clay out of laundry lint3 months ago
    Modeling clay out of laundry lint

    I'm not sure what a compo doll is... so I'm afraid I don't know if this would make a suitable patch.

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  • belsey commented on Pa Lemur's instructable 3D Printer Part Recycling Grinder3 months ago
    3D Printer Part Recycling Grinder

    I have a meat grinder, but it's a hassle to set up and clean... that's why I was thinking it would be nice to have something like a fairly simple, like a rough grinder with a hand crank, set above a bucket, which could be hosed down every once in a while. But it's not really worth the expense and effort to make, especially since, and BambiB said, the worms don't complain about the extra chewing work.

    True, that works, but it does go faster when everything is chopped up...

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  • belsey commented on DavidA207's instructable Micro Shelter for the Homeless3 months ago
    Micro Shelter for the Homeless

    Thanks so much, that's a big relief -- I felt terrible when I saw your first reaction to my comment. Clearly I expressed myself very poorly, but I'm glad I was able to convince you I didn't mean to be mean.

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  • belsey commented on not-bob's instructable Make a Paper-based Animation3 months ago
    Make a Paper-based Animation

    No worries! Your instructions are actually quite clear without it, but I thought you might want to know the link was bad.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Modeling clay out of laundry lint3 months ago
    Modeling clay out of laundry lint

    And I thank you for the tip! In my house (since I bake regularly) I'm a lot more likely to have lint on hand than spoiled flour -- but I can easily imagine (especially in a hot and humid climate) that spoiled flour is easier to come by than laundry lint.

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  • belsey commented on DavidA207's instructable Micro Shelter for the Homeless3 months ago
    Micro Shelter for the Homeless

    Yes, I have a very dark and evil soul... but seriously, for the record, I admire the author's generosity and intentions which are as impeccable as his building skills. My comment had merely been a sincere and heartfelt question about the reason behind his design choice of a low ceiling. I couldn't figure that out, which makes me stupid, I guess, but does not really identify the state of my heart and character.

    Thanks, your experience was very illuminating. No matter how much you think and plan ahead of time, nothing beats actually seeing how your project functions in real life and learning from your mistakes (some of which you might see yourself immediately, some which might be pointed out by others -- as I see it even negative criticism is positive). I couldn't wrap my mind around this one because the author had said in the description he wanted to make it a micro home rather than a simple micro shelter, and I didn't realize it was supposed to be mobile... but of course if it has to move it must be a small as possible -- besides the building expense, mobility and heat issue, a tall structure not attached to a proper, level foundation would be dangerous, it could easily flip during high winds.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable No-sew leather pencil case3 months ago
    No-sew leather pencil case

    Nice! Yours turned out beautifully, and I'm glad to see how well you were able to adapt it for your supplies. Thanks for posting the picture!

    Since you're the first to post an "I made it" photo, I just sent you a PM with a code for a 3 month premium Instructables membership...

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable No-sew leather pencil case3 months ago
    No-sew leather pencil case

    Thank you, glad you enjoyed looking around!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint3 months ago
    Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint

    That's true, there are plenty of clay recipes without lint... However you don't need to have a dryer to collect it. Any laundromat (or friend with a dryer) would give their lint to you for free (though they might look at you funny when you ask for it).

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  • belsey commented on Thistlemile's instructable Poplar Secretary Desk3 months ago
    Poplar Secretary Desk

    Hard to believe you were able to do such a nice job after just one beginner class! Really nice.

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  • belsey's entry Build a Community Garden is a winner in the Low Water Gardening Challenge 2016 contest 3 months ago
  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint3 months ago
    Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint

    Don't get me wrong! The experiment was definitely a success (if I didn't think the material was great I wouldn't have posted it...) I do think the particular cast I made lacked certain esthetic qualities I generally strive to achieve -- that's all. I'm also a big fan of making mistakes. My projects are invariably much better when I've had to overcome obstacles and failed a couple times along the way.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint3 months ago
    Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint

    Yes, that about sums it up. But at the risk of being flagged as "not nice" to myself, I have to admit my initial result was closer to garbage than art. However it was good enough to see this material has great potential for art. Please post pictures if you make anything with this modeling clay! I'm sure it will be much nicer than what I made. I'll give a free pro membership to the first person to post an "I made it" photo!

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  • belsey commented on DavidA207's instructable Micro Shelter for the Homeless3 months ago
    Micro Shelter for the Homeless

    I'm sorry you took my question about the shelter's height as criticism -- I had tried to word it carefully, because I truly didn't mean to be insulting (and I did not call it a glorified dog house). I did say it's quite obvious given the time, effort and expense you put into this that your heart is in the right place. However I was honestly curious about the size, and why you (and others who have built similar projects for the homeless) opted to build a shelter too low to stand in. All the micro shelters I've seen which people build for themselves are tall enough for a person to stand in... and all those I've seen built for the homeless seemed to be very low. Clearly there must be a reason for this I couldn't understand. Since you put so much thought and effort into this, I thought you...see more »I'm sorry you took my question about the shelter's height as criticism -- I had tried to word it carefully, because I truly didn't mean to be insulting (and I did not call it a glorified dog house). I did say it's quite obvious given the time, effort and expense you put into this that your heart is in the right place. However I was honestly curious about the size, and why you (and others who have built similar projects for the homeless) opted to build a shelter too low to stand in. All the micro shelters I've seen which people build for themselves are tall enough for a person to stand in... and all those I've seen built for the homeless seemed to be very low. Clearly there must be a reason for this I couldn't understand. Since you put so much thought and effort into this, I thought you'd be the best person to explain this. I'm surprised that 2-3 extra feet of head room would double the construction cost -- maybe using marine grade plywood rather than the beautiful cedar you bought would have helped for that? But the weight and mobility issue makes perfect sense. Is this shelter on wheels, so it can be pulled by it's user wherever they'd like? It's hard to see in the photos. I also thought maybe the reason to make it as small as possible was for heat, since for safety (and power) reasons I'm sure you couldn't put a heater in there. And really, no criticism was intended, on the contrary your project made me curious. Which is a good thing, don't you think?

    I guess the mobility is the part I misunderstood -- it's so well made, with such nice materials I thought of it more like a permanent structure which you would be putting out on the edge of your property or in an authorized public area. Then it would just stay there... And again your plan for solar power and TV also made it seem like it would be a semi-permanent structure for someone rather than a one-night rain storm stop-gap. With that assumption the size was hard to comprehend. It looked too big to be pushed around, but it seemed too short to be a comfortable long term refuge for someone. As a designer, I was intrigued by the social, architectural, and design questions this structure poses. Who is it for (the homeless are a very diverse group of people...and maybe you had a specific ...see more »I guess the mobility is the part I misunderstood -- it's so well made, with such nice materials I thought of it more like a permanent structure which you would be putting out on the edge of your property or in an authorized public area. Then it would just stay there... And again your plan for solar power and TV also made it seem like it would be a semi-permanent structure for someone rather than a one-night rain storm stop-gap. With that assumption the size was hard to comprehend. It looked too big to be pushed around, but it seemed too short to be a comfortable long term refuge for someone. As a designer, I was intrigued by the social, architectural, and design questions this structure poses. Who is it for (the homeless are a very diverse group of people...and maybe you had a specific person in mind)? How would it be used? What is the specific problem, and how does this design solve it? (these are rhetorical questions, the type of thing I ask myself when I'm designing). So I hope you understand now that I was in no way criticizing your work or motives. It's a complex problem, and there are no simple solutions.

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  • belsey commented on Rachael K's instructable Secret Garden 3 months ago
    Secret Garden

    This is great... and amazing that you were able to pull it off as a surprise!

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  • belsey commented on mikeasaurus's instructable Corner Lamp3 months ago
    Corner Lamp

    Nice! I agree the red cord works better... it's clearly intentional, whereas the white cord looks like you wished the light could have been hard wired. This reminds me of some light installations I saw ages ago (at the risk of dating myself, this would be the late 80s) which were designed to make corners vanish. Floor to ceiling lights facing the corner, which made the corner of a room look like a portal into another realm. I wish I had a clear space in my house I could make that it, but in the interim this could be a very nice, much more practical solution.

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  • belsey entered Modeling Clay Out of Laundry Lint in the Clay Contest 2016 contest 3 months ago
  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Build a Community Garden3 months ago
    Build a Community Garden

    Absolutely... Sharing the garden makes it so much more enjoyable, and interesting and motivating!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable No-sew leather pencil case3 months ago
    No-sew leather pencil case

    Thanks! I'd been wanting to make one of these for years (literally) and only finally got to work on it thanks to the additional motivation of Instructable's contests. Hope you make yours soon!

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  • belsey commented on DavidA207's instructable Micro Shelter for the Homeless3 months ago
    Micro Shelter for the Homeless

    Can an adult stand in this space? I've seen similar projects which showed that people inside would have to stoop, and it looks like your design isn't tall enough to stand in either... which I have a really hard time understanding; why go through all the expense and trouble of building something which forces a person to stoop down? If you can't stand up in the space, being inside must feel like being in a really fancy dog house -- you literally can't hold your head high. Please don't take this the wrong way (I'm not trying to criticize, I just would like to understand) but is there any reason why you built it to be so low? Was it a construction cost issue? A zoning issue? Clearly your intentions are great and you thought this through, so there must be something I'm missing.

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  • belsey entered No-sew leather pencil case in the Cardboard Contest 2016 contest 3 months ago
  • belsey's entry Build a Community Garden is a finalist in the Low Water Gardening Challenge 2016 contest 3 months ago
  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Make a grand piano in minutes3 months ago
    Make a grand piano in minutes

    Thanks for letting me know about this! Whoever posted it never asked for my permission (which I would never have granted... I only allow people to link to my site, not to copy and post my designs!)

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  • belsey commented on Pa Lemur's instructable 3D Printer Part Recycling Grinder3 months ago
    3D Printer Part Recycling Grinder

    Yes, that makes sense... but then I'd have to hate myself that much more to work with stainless rather than a piece of good old scrap steel! I guess there are no shortcuts (besides just buying a food grinder, but where's the fun in that?).

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  • belsey commented on Pa Lemur's instructable 3D Printer Part Recycling Grinder3 months ago
    3D Printer Part Recycling Grinder

    I can see what you mean in your intro, when you cautioned would-be makers about the stamina needed to complete this project... I admire the super human patience your grinder required! I've been thinking of something like this, a bit bigger, for food scraps to feed to worms or compost piles. Either to be attached to a mixer or with a hand crank, but instead of steel, those blades would be made out of glass or ceramic which could just be thrown in the dishwasher every so often... However I think that project will have to remain a dream for the foreseeable future.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Extra special fancy moisturizer for eczema4 months ago
    Extra special fancy moisturizer for eczema

    Lanolin is a "natural" ingredient (i.e. produced by a plant, mineral or an animal other than a human) which would have a similar function in a lotion, but from what I've heard more people can become sensitized to that than to dimethicone. You can also simply omit that ingredient. For me the distinction between "natural" and man-made is not particularly meaningful. Of course natural ingredients have been around much longer, so theoretically we know a little bit more about them... but I'm not sure if that is necessarily the case. If you're going for skin softening though, I recommend mixing in an extra portion of soy lecithin. You will really feel the difference with that!

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  • belsey commented on Vyger's instructable Turning a Trashed Mobile Home into a Shop4 months ago
    Turning a Trashed Mobile Home into a Shop

    It's been said before... but great job on this instructable (and on your shop!). Thanks for letting us all participate vicariously!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution4 months ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    I've used Agar Agar in my vegan egg recipe, but I've never tried it in a lotion. It will make a good gel with a water solution, but I don't know how good it is at emulsifying oil and water -- that's what the Ewax is doing, in addition to thickening the cream. You 'll just have to give it a shot! And post a comment with your results!

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  • belsey commented on darbinorvar's instructable How to Build a Shed4 months ago
    How to Build a Shed

    Beautiful job... Just out of curiosity, how much did the materials cost?

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Build a Community Garden4 months ago
    Build a Community Garden

    Thanks... and you're right. Of all the things I've done, this project has been by far the most gratifying.

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  • belsey entered Build a Community Garden in the Outside Contest 2016 contest 4 months ago
  • belsey entered Build a Community Garden in the Summer Fun Contest 2016 contest 4 months ago
  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution4 months ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    Yes, ewax is emulsifying wax

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution4 months ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    Funny how the pop-up cards always inspire people in different ways... I've had so many people tell me I should make them life-size (and then tell me I should give them half my profits for their original idea...). You see my designs and think: "3D printing and color!" -- but the reason I am so drawn to OA style pop-ups is because they are so low tech (paper) and pure (no printed image). I love the fact that a whole world can come out of a single completely blank sheet of paper simply by cutting and folding this ancient, wonderful material. That said, of course I use color expressively as well, and I've designed plenty cards with images -- but my favorite are those you seem to find uninteresting and in need of enhancement.

    Though I truly value intelligent and courteous debates with people of differing opinions... I would like to ask you to refrain from starting a whole government conspiracy theory/anti-vaccination rant in this instructable comment section. Besides the fact that this is misinformed, it is completely off topic. This is neither the time nor place... thanks for your understanding!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution5 months ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    All good points, some of which are already discussed in the instructable, others which I omitted in an effort to keep things simple and concise -- but still definitely worth mentioning here in the comments... So thank you for listing these additional pointers! I should add that if done properly, this cream does last longer than a week in the fridge, but I made the recipe intentionally small so that it can be used up in a day or two of sun for a family. It will definitely not last all summer though, left in a car's dashboard. Even if you add a preservative it wouldn't survive long with that treatment!

    Oh, and one more point... measuring ingredients by weight rather than volume is absolutely more accurate, easier and also more sanitary (the ingredients come in contact with fewer containers) -- so by all means if you have a small scale use the gram measurements, which are included in the PDF download.

    I apologize, I did not mean to be annoying. I was trying to point out in a light-hearted way that chemicals are not poison. And since you commented on a recipe which contains only zinc as the main active ingredient, I assumed (erroneously) that was the chemical you were referring to. My bad!

    I admit I do not share your low opinion of chemicals... I consume huge amounts of H2O daily, I sprinkle small amounts of NaCl on most of the food I eat, and on a few occasions I've even swallowed a thin sheet of Au on a piece of chocolate. Chemicals are the best! Baking in the sun without them can be harmful in both the short and long term -- but as the saying goes, "pick your poison." Go for the sunburn instead of covering your skin with ZnO, if that really makes you feel safer.

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  • belsey commented on doodlecraft's instructable Homemade Deodorant!5 months ago
    Homemade Deodorant!

    The link between aluminum and alzheimer's was based on an old, flawed study which has been debunked many times, over many years, but yet somehow this myth just will not die. You can do your small part to prevent fear and ignorance by editing your instructable (which is a really nice recipe, by the way) and removing the reference to that outdated and incorrect "scientific" tidbit. Don't take my word for this, just a small amount of research (from reputable journals) will confirm what I'm saying. Misinformation is spread when it is repeated over and over. Don't perpetuate this myth! Thanks.

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  • Sweet Potato, Turmeric & Coconut Soup with Chickpea Croutons

    Oh man... I don't even need to make this to know it's delicious...Can't wait to try it!

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution5 months ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    Thanks for taking the time to answer. I had to look up allopathic medicine (which is how homeopaths refer to science-based medicine) and also laetrile (#1 search result had an interesting story about the substance on Quackwatch). To be honest I'm not a huge fan of alternative medicine, even though I will say that when homeopathy started in the late 18th, early 19th century it was arguably much safer than the traditional medicine of the time; the placebo effect it provides was definitely better than the harm caused by bleedings and various medical horrors being practiced then. As a rule I tend to favor large double blind studies over anecdotes, I try not to confuse correlation with causation, and I prefer getting my information from mainstream sources like the WHO, CDC, NYT or NPR. I'm n...see more »Thanks for taking the time to answer. I had to look up allopathic medicine (which is how homeopaths refer to science-based medicine) and also laetrile (#1 search result had an interesting story about the substance on Quackwatch). To be honest I'm not a huge fan of alternative medicine, even though I will say that when homeopathy started in the late 18th, early 19th century it was arguably much safer than the traditional medicine of the time; the placebo effect it provides was definitely better than the harm caused by bleedings and various medical horrors being practiced then. As a rule I tend to favor large double blind studies over anecdotes, I try not to confuse correlation with causation, and I prefer getting my information from mainstream sources like the WHO, CDC, NYT or NPR. I'm not big on conspiracy theories or talking about "Big Pharma" like it's an evil dictator (it's just a for profit industry which must to be regulated carefully). Nor am I anti GMO (if golden rice can save millions of people from malnutrition and pest resistant crops can eliminate the need to pour tons of pesticides on our crops, I consider that a net positive). Science is not perfect, and what we think today can be proven wrong tomorrow -- but it's the best we've got. All this to say I'll continue using sunscreen and encouraging others to do so too. All things considered I believe it will lower, rather than increase an average person's risk of getting cancer.

    The trouble with Google University is that the internet will tell you whatever you want to hear. You'll find "proof" that Obama is not a US citizen, that climate change is a hoax... you name it, it's there! However, it is true that the science is evolving and that we are learning more, every day, about how Zika spreads, and how it relates to microcephaly. We definitely don't have all the answers yet, but the latest from scientists, as reported by serious newspapers and media (NYT, NPR), is that Zika does cause microcephaly, and that Zika spreads via mosquitos (and possibly also sex).

    Thanks for the link... It's reassuring, actually. It's just like any other substance, if you ingest too much it will make you feel sick. Whatever my dog manages to lick off my legs won't be enough to harm him. Luckily he's still quite hairy (even though I sweep up hair balls daily) so I don't need to slather it all over his body.

    That is, I must admit, the reason I asked for the source... though I was curious if there was some anti-sunscreen organization out there putting out misinformation. Regarding your previous comment questioning the wisdom of DYI for health, as for most decisions we make it's a matter of balancing risk. My husband suffers from eczema and his skin reacts violently to all sorts of chemicals, including the active ingredients in commercial sunscreen. But he really needs to use sunscreen because he burns very easily. That's why I formulated this particular recipe. I could make sure only to include ingredients I know his skin can tolerate -- and even though I don't know the specific SPF, I do know that it works. Obviously other precautionary measures need to be taken (hat, avoiding mid-day sun a...see more »That is, I must admit, the reason I asked for the source... though I was curious if there was some anti-sunscreen organization out there putting out misinformation. Regarding your previous comment questioning the wisdom of DYI for health, as for most decisions we make it's a matter of balancing risk. My husband suffers from eczema and his skin reacts violently to all sorts of chemicals, including the active ingredients in commercial sunscreen. But he really needs to use sunscreen because he burns very easily. That's why I formulated this particular recipe. I could make sure only to include ingredients I know his skin can tolerate -- and even though I don't know the specific SPF, I do know that it works. Obviously other precautionary measures need to be taken (hat, avoiding mid-day sun and lengthy exposure, etc) but at least this allows him to go out without either burning from the sun or the chemicals meant to protect him from the sun. I added the bug ingredients as a bonus... and it absolutely helps in a city park, though for a hike in tick infested woods I would prefer to use something stronger. Others, however, (including some in this comment section) can't tolerate those strong commercial chemicals, so for them a scent/oil-based repellent is the only option. Once again, it's about balancing risk. They'll need to be more cautious in where they go, what they wear and how often they apply the weaker repellent, but this type of repellent will at least give them a choice, and DIY will give them control and help save some money.

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  • belsey commented on belsey's instructable Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution5 months ago
    Sun & bug lotion: one simple solution

    Glad you like this. Regarding water, it is 100% correct that any formula which contains water will spoil faster than a pure wax/oil combination (aka a balm) -- that's because all living creatures on earth need water to flourish (including bacteria). However water generally improves the "feel" of a product, and also it is needed to be truly moisturizing (a balm will only block moisture loss by evaporation, it does not provide moisture). So I'm not ready to give up on water in my products! But if you want to avoid all preservatives and don't want to keep making small batches of products for yourself than the balms are your best bet.

    True -- but it's not a business I'm interested in starting (I already sell pop-up cards). There's already a lot a stuff like this out there, and even though I tend to like my concoctions better, manufacturing, marketing, distributing and selling actual physical items with expirations dates is an enormous enterprise which requires a lot of money. You're also supposed to back up any claim you make (SPF, insect repellent properties, etc) with actual lab tests. That's why when you buy it the stuff is so expensive, even though the ingredients don't actually cost that much. I'd rather help people save money and share my experiments with others for free, but with no guarantees beyond my own anecdotal testing.

    I had never heard about the 500% increase in skin cancer corresponding to sunscreen use... What is your source? I'd be interested to learn more. Were the reasons you gave part of the study or your own conjecture? Because I know skin needs to breathe, but I also know rubbing oil on your skin does not prevent it from doing so (possibly being entirely submerged in a vat of oil WOULD prevent your skin from breathing, but luckily that's not a very common occurrence!). Anyway, I'd be interested in checking out your sources. Thanks!

    Yes, it can't be said enough... pregnant women must always use caution... and they have to balance relative risks constantly, there are no easy answers. Neem should not be used during pregnancy either, but it could be the lesser of several evils. And besides the usual mosquito/tick born illnesses, now there's Zika, which might tilt the scale in favor of more effective but also more risky chemicals like DEET.

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