Cleis Press, $15.95, 265 pages
Many of us could use a how-to guide for life. Billee Sharp has assembled a Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) guide to help readers live a rich life without breaking the bank. Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It is a handbook packed with inspiration and ideas for living the good life. Sharp first puts forth a strategy for “revolutionary budgeting.” Especially useful for readers are her suggestions for finding free items and practicing extreme thrift. In the chapter “Health Is Wealth”, Sharp features great kitchen cabinet cures. She teaches how to be handier around the house and how to grow your own food. Readers need not have experience. Sharp explains the basics of gardening equipment, composting, and how to plant all types of herbs and seeds. The chapter “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry” has instructions for making wholesome and affordable food including bread, yogurt, salads, dressings, jams, entrees, salsas and desserts. The most entertaining chapter is “Homemade Holidays” which has gift ideas, party games, decorations and plans for theme parties. Sharp’s writing style is conversational and user-friendly. Every reader is bound to find a useful bit of advice and many of her DIY tips are eco-friendly. Sharp’s creativity is contagious!