Formulating and DIYing with Spreadsheets

Today I want to talk about something that really isn’t all that sexy or exciting, but it is super useful—using spreadsheets for your DIYing and formulating! Even if you don’t formulate I’d recommend stepping away from online recipe calculators in favour of spreadsheets. You can use them to calculate, re-calculate, and store all the recipes for everything you make. When I’m formulating I work out most of my formulas in spreadsheets, and use them to track my iterations and adjustments. Spreadsheets are incredibly useful for working in percentages, scaling batches, and comparing formulas, and you definitely don’t need to be an expert to do any of those things. I’d really like to encourage you to start storing the formulas for the things you make in a program like Google Sheets; that will make them easily searchable, and you can quickly review, revisit, and scale formulas as needed. It’s great!

Formulating and DIYing with Spreadsheets

 

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On Throwing Things Away

I wanted to take some time today to talk about something I find harder than it should be, but something that has to happen: throwing DIY stuff away. Be it past-their-prime ingredients, dubiously useable products, mystery bottles, or packaging you swear you’ll be able to safely repurpose someday; some things just need to be chucked as part of this hobby, and sometimes it’s harder to do than we’d like to admit.

On Throwing Things Away

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How to Scale Any Recipe

Recipe scaling is something I get a reasonable amount of questions about, so I thought I’d write out a how-to on how to scale any recipe so you can confidently make lots (or very little) of the things you love. I’ve also created a downloadable spreadsheet that you can input your data into, and it’ll do all the math for you (score!). Grab that, and the instructions to use it, at the end of the post.

How to Scale Any Recipe

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Research Red Flags & How to Learn About Your Ingredients

One of my favourite things about this community is the enthusiasm with which people research; the desire to learn more about ingredients, products, and processes is insatiable! However, as anyone who has done much poking about in this space will know, there’s a lot of dubious sources out there, so today I wanted to give a bit of an overview for things I look for when deciding if a source is trustworthy or not. Some of these “red flags” are bigger than others, and the presence of one or two doesn’t necessarily mean you should outright discard a source, but as always, think critically about claims you read and use common sense 🙂

Research Red Flags & How to Learn About Your Ingredients

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So, You Want to Sell the Things You Make

This hobby, moreso than many others, seems to have people opening up their own Etsy shops and stalls at local markets within months of making their first lip balm. And frankly, that’s a bit concerning. If you told a friend you’d just learned to make a great marinara sauce, they wouldn’t encourage you to open an Italian restaurant straight away, but it seems like as soon as you hand somebody some homemade body butter, they’re asking you why you don’t have your own brand and business yet. These words of encouragement are usually coming from a place of love and excitement over your new hobby (and their new source of super awesome lip balm!), but it’s really important to understand that selling your kitchen creations to the great wide world isn’t as simple as printing some labels off your computer and popping up a table at a craft fair.

This is by no means a complete list of things you should be considering when starting up your own business, but it’s a good starting point. Also: this is also not a warm and fuzzy “go for it, you can’t fail, what can go wrong!” sort of article, so consider yourself warned.

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Why Homemade Sunscreen is Never a Good Idea

Back in 2012 I published a short post on DIY sunscreen, the gist of which was “don’t make it, you can’t know if it works.” That post continues to get a lot of traffic and quite a few comments, many of which aim to convince me that DIY sunscreen is (or can be) a good idea. So, with warmer days on the horizon (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), I wanted to write a more detailed post on the topic. Today I’m tackling the arguments I hear from internet people who want to make their own sunscreen.

Why Homemade Sunscreen is Never a Good Idea

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