The BUST DIY Guide to Life, which might be more aptly titled the BUST DIY Guide to Life and Death, as it also covers a DIY funeral, may be the most useful book I’ve ever had in my possession. Understand that this is a remarkable claim as I love books, and have been exposed to a wide array of literature including hand drawn survivalist volumes weighing 15 pounds (I had a roommate in college who loved that sort of thing). I do think identifying edible foliage and making an outdoor shower are useful skills, but I only cling to that knowledge in a paranoid, worst-case scenario sort of way. But, the BUST DIY Guide feels like a survival guide for everyday. It’s perfect for any girl on a budget, or anyone that has any interest in homemade butter, managing a rental property, styling a beehive (like the one pictured above), or making basic home repairs.

Recipes, home remedies, and beauty tricks abound- each with simple, straightforward instructions and a witty intro.

The BUST DIY Guide contains 250 projects from BUST magazine’s archives, organized by category: beauty and health, fashion, food and entertaining, career, finance, travel, and sex. Right now you can get your own copy for less than $20, which will more than pay for itself when you start your own business, skip a trip to the salon, or brew your first batch of beer.

– June



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  1. Eric Larson

    My wife and I planted our first garden this past year, just 8′ by 3,’ but it produced some really nice tomatoes, squash, and okra. 2011 also was the first time I shucked, battered, and fried my own oysters, and made my own verde salsa. Recently I picked up, “Indian Light Cooking” by Ruth Law. I’ve always wanted to learn to cook Indian cuisine. We’re finding that being more involved in the food we eat helps us appreciate the food — and live — a lot more.

  2. Martha

    This summer I challenged myself to eat vegan for a month. I learned to make green tea cupcakes and dynamite vegan brownies with flaxseed meal substituted for eggs, plus three really delicious ways to cook kale. I learned a lot about my own eating habits, plus was introduced to the vibrant online vegan community and met a lot of vegans in my own backyard. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of the BUST DIY Guide to Life.

    1. Mary Simmons

      Well, I am always doin it myself. This year my daughter Katy was getting married. First it was to be a May wedding, then she bought a summer white dress. Very cute. Ok,. then she postponed the wedding till December. So I cut it off and stained it with green tea to “antique” it alittle to make a winter white. Perfect . So I used the left over to decorate the edges. We had so much fun, repurposing that dress! Now she will live happily ever after…… I think I’ll get some goats to eat my wild vines next :}

  3. Summer

    I have had many of these moments throughout my life: My parents lived without electricity, running water or central heat (we warmed twice: once by gathering the firewood and once by burning it), had a huge organic garden and raised assorted animals to eat or gather eggs from (or both!). Later in my life I headed off to become an Outward Bound Instructor and found many moments dealing with 21 days living in the wilderness with 15-adult age students. These days I find my moments with my two children, husband and a cat on our 74 acre farm where I try to have my organic garden (I tend to watch my children more than garden), make homemade bread from wheat I grind, make my own yogurt, Kombucha, cook whole foods from scratch, raise a few animals and run an herb and herbal products business.

  4. Susan

    We made coq au vin from scratch for Christmas Eve dinner. It wasn’t entirely planned. We had two roosters who were getting along, but one was after my daughter, who is 8. He chased her and really pecked her and drew blood and made a huge bruise, so I had had enough. I picked him up, and talked to him, said a nice goodbye, and then did the deed, which was harder than I make it sound. My husband got out his mother’s 1940 something copy of The Joy of Cooking which tells you how to dress a chicken and 1 1/2 hours later we had a rooster cooling in the refrigerator.

    Later that day, I chopped onions and garlic, fried bacon and sweated the onions, browned the pieced chicken, poured in the wine and let it cook for several hours. It was a wonderful dish that everyone loved. We raise Buckeye chickens which are an endangered heritage breed, but never had an extra rooster before, we either sale them or just have the hens. It sounds cruel, but my rooster didn’t have to ride to the slaughter house on a big scary truck, had a great free range life on our farm. And, he provided my family with two good meals.

    1. Sara Crystal

      and you showed your daughter that bullies will not rule her life and that you protect her and will let anything harm her. if only all parents would defend their daughters as fiercely. well done. love sara

  5. Vickie

    Love that photo! Every once in awhile I pick up an issue of Bust at our local bookstore and although I think the target audience is a younger woman I always enjoy the content and end up searching for the monthly DIY. Recently I’ve been putting together my own wedding from scratch and am lucky enough to be with a man who enjoys the same…. we just completed the photo booth for our wedding and I think that we are going to end up enjoying the process of getting to the wedding as much as the wedding. Certainly we’ve made some great memories.

    1. Karen K.

      Two invaluable short-and-sweet BUST-inspired recommendations: learn to make your own butter (delicious and super-easy) and make your own soap. I took the latter quite seriously for awhile and ended up with a soapmaking business that sold to Bed Bath & Beyond! You may not want to get that crazy but trust me, it’s easy, fun and over the cost of a lifetime will save you enormous sums of $$$$$$$$ while doing your skin a HUGE favor.

  6. Patti

    My Bust out moment for 2011 was participating in a local organic farm share. I have enjoyed every aspect of it: touring the farm, farm to table banquets, meeting other folks like myself that were involved, the idea of keeping it local, and mostly, our weekly baskets of freshly picked organic produce. The taste surpassed even our best organic farm stands. It was a delight figuring out how to prepare our grab bag of goodies, different each week (except the ever present heads of cabbage. By week 10 I was stumped).
    Next year the farm will be raising Thanksgiving turkeys, selling eggs, and milling their own flours. I can’t wait to keep supporting such a wonderful endeavor.

  7. Marisa

    This sounds like my life- but I was the one who thought it would be “fun” in an adventurous, life experience kind of way- to live in a 1920’s house with out heat for a year in Alabama, replace a hot shower with a claw foot tub, grow a garden, take apart a dryer, make my own bread, make my first quilt, and/or all of the above- sew a dress to wear 2 days before an event. But in the year 2012, it makes life more interesting! But I could have probably used this book for the dryer…

  8. Amy Hall

    The evolution of our marriage has brought my husband and me to a place where we are quite self-sufficient. This is a relatively new experience to two people who used to eat out almost exclusively due to our work schedules. I have always loved to sew but had to do it in the middle of the night to have time. We have now slowed down so that we can be busy doing important things: growing almost all our vegetables, preserving many of them for later, providing our neighbors with vegetables, making cakes and candy for others, re-purposing things with life still left in them, etc. We’re always looking for more things we can do to be more self-sufficient.

  9. Linda Selby

    Wow. Some great stories here! Must look into making my own soap… Anyway, I busted outside yesterday to enjoy the beautiful weather. I decided to rip the old alarm system wire out of the back windows, pull up the wire trellis from the front flower bed & use them both to build 5 tomato cages. They’re ready for the garden!

  10. india flint

    well i’m doing my best in terms of spreading the DIY dye gospel but i think the best story belongs to a friend of mine, living in the Redwoods some thirty years ago. it was a cold winter and he was having a chat about the weather with an old-timer…whose memorable comment was “there’s a lot of warmth in that axe-handle, son”

  11. Faun Bonewits

    My husband and I had a year of hard luck after 911, we started with a nice apartment and everything fine in Chicago. our car caught fire with our bikes in it, ended up, loosing the apartment & moving north, we ended up living in in 3 season cabin year round, learning about chainsaws and living with out running water when it got cold enough to freeze pipes. wood cracks better when its below 0’F. then we found a house from 1860’s. we re-roofed the place , evicted the bats and gutted and renovated the house using as much found and green building supplies, as we could. I’ve not found bust up in the north woods of wisconsin.
    It would be great to have a copy of the DIY guide as we continue to renovate our life.

  12. Jill S

    I bought this book and loved it, however, I’m interested in AC’s take on page 108-109, where they advise to NEVER knot your thread, and instead use a “tacking” method (sewing back over the initial stitch 4 or 5 times). Would this work with AC’s patterns, or would you advise against it?

    1. Alabama Post author

      Any method that will keep the thread from moving out of the seam is appropriate. I would test any method thoroughly by washing. Since our buttoncraft thread has a coating (and has been loved with the oils of the finger), it is more likely to slip out. Let us know what you find out! We quite like our knots… smile.

  13. Mary

    Growing up, whenever I would want to buy something, my mama would always say “We can make that.” So she is my original DIY inspiration. When I was in junior high, I saw an ad in the back of a magazine for an amazing “potato clock,” which didn’t use any batteries. And of course, when I wanted to send away for it immediately, my mama replied “We can make that.” So we did and she even taught me the science behind it. I ended up winning a prize in a science fair for experiments in electrochemistry 🙂