22 August 2011

The Real Life Realities of A DIY Enthusiast

It's Monday morning and I'm all about the DIY reality check today.  I will say first that the majority of my DIY projects turn out just as hoped. But they sometimes take more time and money than hoped. Sometimes I hurt myself in the process. Sometimes they just don't work out.

In January I accidentally stepped backwards on a screw head. It went into the edge of my heel so it was not very painful, even though it cut very deeply. But it took months until it was totally healed. Last week I stuck my leg with an Exacto knife. It's not uncommon for me to jam, pinch or smash toes and fingers while totally focused on a project. Not a lot of damage, but I start getting irritated with myself about distracted mistakes like this.

Some projects become way more frustrating than expected. These pelmet boxes I've made were easy for the first 90% of the project, but the part that has been very frustrating is getting them up on the wall. The bathroom seems to be fine now but I still have another trick to try to get this bedroom window box up.

Also frustrating is that once I saw the box up I hated the vertical blinds more. But I still don't want to take them down, store them and have to put them back up. I just don't know how much longer I am going to be here in this apartment, so I don't want to be doing a lot of wall patching & blind hanging.

Sometimes DIY projects require a total redo. There have been times when I've painted a piece and then had to strip it again and repaint because the paint just looked abominable. Sometimes things cost more than expected when you have these kinds of little frustrations.

Other times people around you tire of your DIY antics. This is a frequent problem for any DIYer in a relationship or living situations where the other party is not a DIY type. I see a lot of comments in social media about bothered spouses who've tired of future DIY projects taking up space in the garage or projects not getting done in a timely manner. But I believe that in the long run those same people appreciate the smart and usually money-saving applications so many DIYers are known for and so good at.

Every once in a while a dream DIY project just never comes together. Some things just can't be fixed like expected. An impossible DIY becomes DRW - Didn't Really Work and can be sent back to the thrift store or if necessary the recycling bin or trash can.

Having said all this, I will always love a good DIY. Most often there is a lot of money saved, old things are rescued and repurposed, sometimes simpler, less expensive materials can be maximized and best of all it's totally personalized. What you DIY will never be available to anyone else in a store. It's a pure expression of your vision, style and talents.

Plus you learn so much along the way. Pouring through magazines and web sites is just the beginning of the fun as you find things that inspire you. You must trial and error your way through each new project. Then you get a nice collection of fun tools: staple gun, paint brushes and rollers, drill, sander and saws. Even though things don't always work out as planned, lots of times they work out even better than planned. It's fantastic when you love something more than expected, it looks better just where you planned it than expected and you end up getting great use out of it for years longer than expected.

It's lovely to have a totally unique home. As I've been deep cleaning my home the past few weeks, spending lots of time looking around at every corner of the place I have come to see and appreciate my handiwork all over. There are window treatments I put together and hung myself, refinished and painted furniture, upholstered dining room chairs, big blackboards I made, art I've created and curated spaces I've put together with things I've collected and that I love. I'm really happy with my space right now. This home feels more cohesive, lived in and full of life and love than any space I've put together in the past. This is the pure joy of DIY.

What are you DIYing and loving these days? Do you have an old treasured DIY that still makes your heart sing? Hope you have a very happy Monday. It's a really big week for us here, so I'm doing all I can to keep the light and love shining brightly. Hope your world is full of light too. Thanks so much for coming by. I treasure my associations with you. -k

images by kalanicut

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