Grow and Make DIY Maker Blog

Owner’s Corner: We need more Agnotology

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

I had never heard the word ‘Agnotology’ before yesterday. After looking up the definition (the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data) I am hopeful that this area of research has growing attention and recognition. The propagation of mis-information seems to be rampant and technology and social media have only amplified people’s willingness to believe lies, conspiracy theories and fake science.

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: With two teens who spend a lot of time on screens, I was surprised to see that these results from recent studies emerged. ‘All those warnings about screen time before bed being bad for teenagers might have been wrong after all. The same study also busted the myth that social media is responsible for making teens unhappy.’

Owner’s Corner: Freak Brothers are back in Denver

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

Denver has legalized hallucinogenic mushrooms. It will be interesting to see how this experiment proceeds. The amount of evidence for applying hallucinogenics for treatment of a range of psychiatric issues is gaining a lot of momentum. I suspect the key will be to make sure it doesn’t become a green light for recreational abuse. There is probably a lot of potential for treating trauma if properly managed. Read the BBC Story

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: I’m a huge fan of Scott Carrier and his podcast ‘Home of the Brave’. The most recent episode is a slice of American life as he interviews uber drivers in the American South. Listen to Getting Into Cars with Strangers.

Owner’s Corner: DIY Mixology

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

We have this fun article on DIY Mixology and Making Your Own Infused Spirits at Home. Check it out if you are looking for inspired cocktail recipes, infusion recipes and how to make bitters.

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: Probably not something that interests everyone, but being in Portland we are following our Trailblazers in the NBA playoffs. Go Blazers!

Favorite DIY Kombucha Recipes and Flavorings

Here are some inspired ideas for how to flavor your kombucha

When using fresh fruit it is best to juice it, before adding. The fresher the juice is the better your results will be. Add one cup of juice to 1 gallon of kombucha. Then add in spices or natural flavorings and extracts to taste. When adding fresh herbs, be sure to strain the herbs before serving or after a couple days of soaking in the flavors.

Our Favorite Kombucha Flavoring Combinations

Blood Orange and Cinnamon

Fresh mint and candied ginger

Berries and grated ginger.

Strawberries and basil.

Cherries and almond extract.

Pears and vanilla extract.

Apple juice and cinnamon.

Rosehip and fresh ginger.

Lime and basil

Lemon and Honey (lemonade)

Ginger and cherries

Pineapple and lemon

Coconut water, fresh mint and lime juice

Almond extract and apple juice

Hibiscus & pear

Owner’s Corner: DIY Growing Your Own Tea Herbs

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

It’s a good time of year to start growing tea herbs. This article will help you to get started with recommendations on herbs which are wonderful for tea. DIY Guide to Growing Tea Herbs

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: I found this Joe Rogan interview with CT Fletcher to be eye opening. I didn’t know who CT was and I am not interested in power lifting, but his story of having a heart replacement and a new lease on life is powerful.

What’s happening at Grow and Make: We’ve updated our DIY Kids Garden Kit and we’re super excited about it. Check it out

DIY Kids Gardening Kit $29.95

Owner’s Corner: Create your own meditation retreat

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

I recently have been doing my own version of a meditation retreat. It didn’t require flying to an exotic location, spending a lot of money or working with a guru. I just found a place I can go to, in my case a home I have access to in the country side, and spend a few hours a day there working on meditating in silence. I’m imagining that my wife and I will plan to do a trip in the near future with a similar emphasis. The key is intention.

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: This 2 part NY Times Daily Podcast on the State of Chinese Surveillance was fascinating and frightening.


Owner’s Corner: Standing is the new sitting

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

Recently a physical therapist told me that ‘sitting is the new smoking’. Meaning that it’s an unhealthy habit we all need to do a lot less of. I try and spend more and more time standing, as it seems to give relief and stability to my lower back. After spending hours of sitting, my spine feels compressed. A standing desk really helps and also taking walks is a great way to keep my back feeling good, as well as a way to spend time reflecting and thinking.

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: This NY Times article on the gangs and violence taking place in Honduras is a spectacular piece of writing. Inside Gang Territory in Honduras

What’s happening at Grow and Make: We’re so excited to role out our new Sugar and Salt Scrub Kit.

Owner’s Corner: Turn-off the outside world

Musing from the owner of Grow and Make: Will Johnston

I recently started using noise-cancelling headphones at work, because sometimes the background noise, music, etc.. can be distracting. I’m pleasantly surprised to discover what a great job these Boltune headphones can do at cutting out noise.

What I’m reading/watching/hearing: Great New Yorker article on growing up in a cultish commune. My Childhood in a Cult

What’s happening at Grow and Make: We have a new DIY Bath Bomb Making FAQ


DIY Bath Bomb Making FAQ – How to make bath fizzies

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make Bath Bombs at Home

DIY Bath Bomb Making Kit $29.95

Many of us love the idea of soaking in a hot bath with a scented and revitalizing bath bomb melting into the water. Now you can make your own at home using our DIY Kit. If you don’t want to use our kit though, we try to help you get started on doing it on your own with this list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Making bath bombs is easy, but it takes practice and there are many ways you can go wrong. We want to help you to be successful and make your bath bombs special.

Bath bombs are made from baking soda and citric acid. When introduced to water you get the fizzy reaction. The recommended ratio is 2 parts baking soda to 1 part citric acid. After combing well, add enough water to create a moldable paste. After you have created your base you can add fragrances, colorants, herbs and lotions to enhance your results.

You will then take your paste and place it in a mold to create the desired shape for drying.

Q: Why are my bath bombs crumbling and breaking apart?

A: Your mixture does not have enough moisture. You can natural oils (coconut oil, almond oil) to create more cohesive results. If your bath bombs are cracking as they cure they may have too much moisture and you will need to add more dry ingredients

Q: Why are my bath bombs soft and squishy. 

A: Here again the problem is too much moisture. You will need to add more of the dry ingredients to achieve the desired consistency. Also, keep in mind that a high humidity location may yield softer results.

Q: Why are my bath bombs lumpy?

A: This means that you probably didn’t not combine the ingredients well enough to create a consistent paste. Use your fingers to get the consistency to be fine and not course.

Q: Why are my bath bombs not fizzy?

A: Typically this is because your ratios of baking soda to citric acid are off. Adding more citric acid should solve the problem. Another culprit is that you have added something extra which has cancelled out the fizz (essential oil, colorant) because you used too much. This may require some experimentation.

Q: Why are my bath bombs expanding as they cure?

A: This means that the fizzing is happening pre-maturely due to too much moisture. If there is a lot of expansion and fizzing, you’ll need to start over and have less moisture in your mix.

Q: Are there certain colorants that are recommended?

A: Yes, beware that some colorants can stain your tub. Be sure to purchase colorants which are glycerin based, so that they don’t stain. Also, you can use natural colorants like micas, but the results may be less than desirable.

Q: How should I add fragrance and what kinds should I use?

A: The best approach is to start out with a small amount and see what you think of the fragrance emanating from the mixture. The amount of scent that you can detect in the open air is a good indication of what the bath will smell like.

Q: Can I add a moisturizer to my bath bombs?

A: Yes, absolutely. It will greatly enhance the experience of the bath bomb for the user. After you have blended the dry ingredients add the oil in place of the water.

Q: How long should my bath bombs cure (sit in the mould)

A: 2-4 hours typically. You should visually inspect them to determine if they are looking like they have cured properly.

Q: Do my bath bombs have a shelf life?

A: Typically around 4-6 months. Any longer and they dry out and lose their potency. If you are going to be storing them, try to do so in an airtight container.

Easy Salsa Verde Recipe for your Cinco de Mayo Celebration!

We are gearing up for Cinco de Mayo this year with a quick and easy salsa verde recipe! This Mexican salsa recipe is the perfect addition to any Cinco de Mayo menu and only requires a few ingredients.

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 6 tomatillos
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 of a white onion
  • 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/2 a bunch of cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper

Start by preheating your oven to 400° F. Peel the husks off your tomatillos and slice in half. Trim the stems off the jalapenos and slice in half, you can take the seeds and veins of the peppers at this point if desired. Coat the tomatillos, jalapenos, and onion in olive oil and roast for 30 – 35 minutes.

Take out of the oven and let cool down. Put everything in a blender, along with your garlic, lime juice, and cilantro. Blend until you reach the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips, tacos, burritos or chilaquiles!


Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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