By Erin Conroy, AP Business Writer
In the months that Make magazine editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder lived on a remote island in the South Pacific with his family, he found that the most memorable and rewarding experiences involved collecting, extracting and cooking coconut with his young daughter.
When he returned to Los Angeles, he promised himself he would find an equivalent to "coconut day."
Slowing down your busy life to make your own food or work on a special project is the stuff life is made of, says Frauenfelder, author of the recently published do-it-yourself book Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World.
"For too long, my family had been outsourcing and paying for convenience, such as ordering takeout, while at the same time losing the connection and the fun that comes with making something yourself," said Frauenfelder, who is also a founder of the popular blog BoingBoing.net. "If you can make these small but meaningful projects a daily ritual, it can improve the quality of your life."
Frauenfelder suggests working on small DIY endeavors such as carving a wooden spoon that you would appreciate with every use, or making your own sauerkraut or yogurt. The mistakes you make along the way and imperfections embedded in your final product only add to the value and character of what you've created.
His DIY passion? Building three-string guitars out of cigar boxes and old wood.
"Like many other things, musical instruments can seem really mysterious because we might not know how they're made or why they are the way they are," said Frauenfelder. "When you make one yourself, though, it has a unique sound and personality. It becomes a part of you."