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Life Hack Wary
Over the past year I have seen Facebook virtually explode with “life hack”, craft, and food blogs. I have been watching and waiting. Some entries are mind blowing brilliant BUT they can’t all be. To keep viewers you have to make multiple posts daily. At some point you see a dud or two go by and shake your head. Lately the frequency of duds on my news feed has made me not just wary but concerned for their followers.
The first round of pages that started showing up on Facebook was a mix of fan pages for well known shows and pop up newcomers. The ideas ranged from brilliant to so-so. With the need to make multiple posts they can not all be winners but there were enough winners to keep the “likes” coming in.
Now I see new pages starting up with a few brilliant ideas followed by round after round of ideas just thrown in to keep things popping up on your news feed. For the most part they are just harmless annoyances. Every once in a while I see one that really makes me shake my head and think “someone got paid to test this out, film it and make this post”.
Today was not the normal day. I saw two different ideas on my feed that made me stop and go “what the what?!”
One idea was from a very reputable fan page while the other was from one of the newer pop up newcomers. Both are items that need more explanation then a quick video with catchy music however that was all either had. As one was a craft idea so I quickly took to my artsy fan page, theartfulseamstress. There I shared the video and gave a few tips help guide interested friends and fans.
So why am I so freaked out by the video? The craft idea is about using bleach and a bleach pen to create one of a kind cloth napkins and a table runner. The video does not provide a time duration to leave the bleach on but suggests to use cotton. Here is a HUGE tip not mentioned by the video: bleach is a caustic chemical. As such it will eat through most fabrics given enough time. That time duration differs for each fabric. The more delicate the quicker the bleach will erode it.
Then why do we use bleach in our laundry? Well we don’t use straight bleach we dilute it. This project however doesn’t say to dilute it. Nor does it say that really the user should be using gloves and to be careful where you choose to create this project.
Two of my college friends may just kill me for sharing this story but use it as a cautionary tale. They were trying to create a cool but inexpensive present (we were poor college kids). The idea was to create a unique tie-dyed shirt in reverse. Several of us were huge fans of tie-dyed items. It was a marvelous gift idea. They bought several 100% cotton t-shirts and a bottle of bleach.
After trying multiple times to create the project and failing, they brought me the remains of the cotton t-shirts they used. As I worked in fabric they wanted to know where they went wrong. When I told them they felt silly but I was glad they didn’t do themselves harm.
As a young costumer, I once had to go to the hospital with chemical burns from bleach fumes in my nostrils and down my throat. You can easily google the effects of bleach fumes. Here is one article to note: Are Bleach Fumes Dangerous?
With these tips and cautionary tales, I hope you will be as wary as I am with all the new life hacks, crafts, and cooking trends. Sure some look like duds right from the get-go but others pull you in and make you think “oooh even I could do that!” Trust me I have been there and done that quite a few times. Sometimes it takes more then just common sense to make us take a step back and think that maybe, just maybe, this cool idea is not the greatest one.
Here are several good rules of thumb when assessing a life hack, craft project, or food trend:
- If it is asking me to add chemicals and dyes to food that I can not pronounce it might not be that healthy for me. When I say healthy I mean maybe it could cause digestion issues. All of these rainbow dyed recipes look cool but to much of any one thing is never a good idea. Rent-a-Dad can attest with some stories about interesting colored pee our nephews had.
- If I need a license or permit to buy something maybe I should leave it to the professionals.Rent-a-Dad will always tell you that’s a good idea for anyone as our neighbors once almost set our house on fire.
- If it involves chemicals of any kind do a little research on the chemicals before just buying them.Doing the research will at least give insight on what protective gear, if any, is needed to use the product.
- Think your project through from start to finish and when in doubt see what your friends think.
A little research is never a bad thing. Polling friends and getting their insight is also a good idea. If you decide to create something crazy having a friend with you can either make the event more memorable or at least provide you with a ride to the hospital! Sometimes both! One year Rent-a-Dad lost an argument with a box cutter while trying to create planters for my mom out of plastic cheese-ball tubs. I provided the ride to the hospital. The planters did turn out well after a bit of soap and paint!
Enjoy the ideas that go by on your Facebook feed. Create when the whim strikes. Be a little wary at times, and use caution, because not all ideas are for the best. And more then anything have fun!