D.I.Y. Experiments: Earth, Fire, Water, ...and Alcohol?

This week taught us there is a DIY tutorial for any project you'd ever want to tackle, both useful and useless. This week, we chose some relatively useless DIY projects. (Because...why not?) Here's the list:

  • DIY 1920's cocktails ("Drink with Great Gatsby")
  • DIY stump planter boxes
  • DIY tiki torch garden decorations
  • DIY completely clear ice cubes

Here are the results.

Great Gatsby Cocktails

This was a win! I made these with my friend, Cami, for Girls' Night. We successfully made a Tuxedo No. 2 and a White Lady. We also made a Classic Manhattan Cocktail from another D.I.Y. recipe we found. They were all delicious. WIN! WIN! WIN!

Stump Planter Boxes

These are all over Pinterest, and everyone's results always look fantastic. Ours, not so much. Chuck tried removing the middle with a hole saw, spade bits, and by drilling several small holes close together that he thought would eventually form a big hole. After all of that failed, in a moment of desperation, he stuffed a piece of paper into one of the crevices of the log, poured on lighter fluid, and lit the stump on fire. After a brief explosion of flame, it petered out, and the stump was still a big, solid stump with a lot of goofy shapes on the top. This was a definite FAIL. (I think we need to find a log that already has a hole in the middle.)

Clear Ice (Full Hearts. Can't Lose.)

Our friends, Leon and Amalia, wanted us to try making completely clear ice. They swear by it. (If you read the literature, there are theories that ice without impurities melts slower and keeps your drink from watering down. I'm not sure I believe any of this.)

Our friends already had the ice-freezing contraption and all the tools. Plus, they'd successfully made flawless, see-through ice before, so we thought this was a guaranteed win. The idea is to freeze boiling water in an environment that makes all the impurities sink to the bottom of the ice. Then you chip away the layer of impurities and you're left with perfectly clear ice. Well, we forgot to boil the water, so it took a lot more chopping than it should have. And the ice turned out to be clear-ish. Even though the ice wasn't perfect, we got to relieve some stress with ice picks and ice forks...so WIN!

Here's the chopping and shaping process:

And here's the result:

Tiki Torch Planters

Awhile ago, I picked up some old tiki torches from the reclaimed materials store. I thought some day I'd be able to turn them into an outdoor creation. DIY month is a perfect excuse to finish this project. I spent several unfulfilling hours on Pinterest looking for ideas for my tiki torches. I finally found someone who had created mini planters from what appeared to be some kind of tiki torch containers.

The problem was that my tiki torches were not in great condition. So I had to zip-tie the bottoms to keep the dirt from falling out. Despite that small flaw, I think they look pretty cool. (Maybe they'll look better when the ivy grows down and covers the hillbilly zip-ties.) 

Tiki Torch Win.png

The takeaway from this week: DIY projects are rewarding when the result is something you're proud of. When they don't work out, you still learn something from the process. Now on to the next set of bigger, better DIY experiments. This coming week, we're upping our game.