Excerpt: 'Do It Gorgeously' by Sophie Uliano

Over the past couple of years it's astonished me how much I can actually make from scratch, how easy it is, and how much money I can save. Being thrifty is becoming a rather thrilling exercise. Making a beautiful sugar scrub for pennies, instead of buying the exact item in a department story for the same cost as a meal for five, gives me a bit of a high. Like many, my bank balance has seen better days, and environmental concerns aside, it just makes sense to cut corners wherever possible. Each time I nudge myself to get resourceful -- dare I say,crafty -- I realize that I 'm putting the green back into my wallet as well as my life.

Making things from scratch is pretty much second nature to me. I think it has a lot to do with my mom, who has an amazing work ethic. If I ever needed anything, she'd roll up her sleeves and have a go at making it first. She's taught me how to cook from scratch and how to garden, and those two passions led me to learn how to make skincare products. I spent years in my twenties studying homeopathy, aromatherapy, and botany -- always yearning for a completely natural solution for most any health or beauty problem. Making what I eat and put on my skin from scratch, is tremendously empowering. I don't have to interpret complicated ingredient lists and marketing claims; and I get to keep a bunch of packaging out of the landfill.

When it comes to full-on DIY, I must confess, I've rather enjoyed playing the ditzy blonde when it came to matters that hitherto seemed beyond my skill level. I depended on the hope that someone would eventually come to the rescue and fix that leaking pipe, jammed window, or peeling grout. I relied on the kindness of strangers to make sure that my car tires were pumped to the correct pressure. Hardware stores were fun if they had cute garden furniture or beautiful plants, but the nuts and bolts aisles left me cold. Don't get me wrong, I've made all kinds of half-hearted attempts at making and fixing things -- clothes for my daughter's American Girl doll to avoid the sweatshop thing, and a ballet skirt because I erroneously thought it would take two minutes to whip up. Both had disastrous results, especially the former -- my attempt at a sequined ball gown for the grinning doll had to be swiftly transformed into a fraying bandana (when in doubt, bandanas are the way to go). However, my efforts to live a more earth-friendly life has forced me to be more self-reliant. I've realized that it's no longer cool to be clueless. It's time to step up to the plate and learn the skills that my grandparents had to learn. If I get it wrong the first time, it doesn't mean that I need to ditch the entire project and call myself "useless". Self-deprecation is fun, but it can also be a cop-out. It's far more satisfying to pick myself up, brush myself down, and make a second and a third attempt. I've always believed that success is in the trying.

Deep down we all are infinitely resourceful -- our latent skills are waiting to be honed. You can do anything that you put your mind to. Perhaps it's time to experiment, and to discover what you may be really good at. If you've found yourself commenting over the past few years that you are either "terrible at baking" or that you "can't sew to save your life" -- the time has come to remove that scratched record from the turntable and replace it with a snazzy mental application that will have you believing that anything is possible.

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