I'll forever be grateful to Debbie Stoller and her learn-to-knit Stitch 'N Bitch book for teaching me the surprising joy of turning a piece of string into a pair of socks. Upping the DIY ante, Bust magazine founders Stoller and Laurie Henzel compiled The Bust DIY Guide to Life, a kitchen-sink collection of 250 crafty and lifestyle how-to's in a pink hardbound compendium of deodorant recipes, T-shirt reconstructions, and business advice.
While the recently shuttered ReadyMade always had a crafty-porn feel (that's well and good, but it's pretty unlikely I'll be doing that in my bedroom), the Bust guide is hot to trot right out of the gate. Bust magazine's 15-year-run of DIY articles have always been fun, useful, and firmly tongue-in-cheek. It's easy to whip up some homemade sugar scrub with household stuff. (I did! It's awesome!) I'll definitely be infusing some booze and trying out a couple of the recipes (Isa Chandra Moskowitz's veggie chocolate chili) and trying to crack the calculus of my personal finances with their handy tips.
Because the book covers so much terrain, the lifestyle section can feel a trifle condescending at times—I grew up in the backwoods, so the learn-to-love-camping piece was particularly irksome. Who knows, though: I hate running as a fitness regime, so their running tips were of use to this girl and perhaps patronizing to hardcore harriers. Ultimately the Bust DIY Guide is designed to be a take-what-you need almanac, to sit on your bookshelf through the years, ready to whisper practical advice—like mom, but less judge-y.