D.I.-whY?

“Why do you do it yourself? Why not buy it instead?”

“Yeah. What’s your why?”

During Monarch Workshop, I was asked this, and I started overflowing with answers to the question. I thought I’d share some of my reasoning.

I’ve been a maker for as long as I remember.

When I was a child going through chemotherapy, I spent much of my time in the local children’s hospital, where they had a well-stocked toyland of a playroom on every single floor. Every time I was recovering from my latest treatment, all I wanted to do there was use their canvas and paints, and I could care less about any of the other toys.

The women before me were makers.

My Granny owned a business selling her pies. My Meemaw taught me how to embroider when I was five. One year, when our mother asked what we wanted to be for Halloween, my sister aInswered, “a princess on a pony,” and I, “a flower in a pot,” and that’s precisely what we were.

I have expensive taste.

Good design isn’t cheap. By the time lower-end manufacturers catch on to trends, their attempts at creating something “just as good” often falls short of the mark. (Not to mention that you have to consider HOW things are made cheap to begin with.) With a few tweaks and a fraction of the cost, I can get the look for less without breaking the bank. And who doesn’t love that?

I want to reduce my environmental footprint.

I’ve got serious guilt issues when it comes to throwing things away. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot, so I always wanted to keep what I did. It’s like the old ladies that survived the depression and hide money everywhere, I guess. When I was older and learned about how our consumerist culture is affecting the planet, it gave me fuel to my thrift-and-adjust or change-don’t-toss ways of life.

It is all mine.

Don’t you love the feeling when someone compliments something you’re wearing or something in your home? When you’ve got an awesome story about a great deal you got on it, it’s even better. But putting your BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS (or, more often than not, just a little bit of effort) into something and getting kudos without the other person knowing? Knowing that they can’t go out and buy it? Golden.

It’s the climb.

Cue Miley Cyrus when she was still a doe-eyed teenager. Yeah, it takes more time than heading to Target and making it happen. I find making things fun, though. Like prefer-it-over-a-Saturday-night-rager fun. Not that I’m invited to those anyway, I’m a cool mom, but not that kind of cool mom.

Pride.

I could finish projects a lot more quickly than I do. And it’s not because of piled up housework, responsibilities as a wife and mom. It’s not because of procrastination, or because I’m second guessing my creative choices. Though the latter plays a role in the time frame I start a project, what slows me down during the process is the roughly one hundred or so times I step back, admire what I’m doing, and get overwhelmingly excited about what I’ll be looking at upon completion. It’s the pause, the thought, “This is going to be so awesome,” the bask, then resuming.

 

I’ve heard of people saying before that their hobbies are like breath, they can’t live without it. It’s not that way for me–I can live without being a maker. I just wouldn’t chose to.

Why do you DIY? Leave your answer below in the comments.

Why do people Do it themselves when they can buy it in a store

 

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The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Meeting Friends in a New Town

Disclaimer: this isn’t a cohesive guide. I’m still navigating how to figure out this one, and I’m definitely not ready to write the book. Just the blog post. 😉

Back in Houston, my friend Kellie (who has a blog about running and yoga and is a Houston transplant) once mentioned that meeting friends in a new city is a lot like dating. Now that I’m going about the effort myself, I couldn’t agree more: I put on makeup and dress smart-casual, worry over what we’ll talk about beforehand, obsess over “should I have said that?” afterward, along with “does she like me?” and “when should I call her to hang out again?”It’s an overly self-conscious matter, and for someone like me, who was very traditional in dating, it’s much more of a challenge than dating ever was. The fact that I don’t work outside of the home is just another obstacle in meeting people.

The house has been coming along, the weather has been warming up, and I’m finally putting myself out there more than ever. I’ve gone on a few “first dates,” so I thought I’d share a few ways I’ve met people in my new town. Continue reading

New House Project Plans

I’ve been a shopping, cleaning, box opening, credit card swiping fool for the last couple of weeks, but I finally cleaned up and cleared boxes enough to share some progress pictures.

I have so many DIYs in store for this house, and my little head was going to burst if I didn’t go ahead and map some things out. The first room(s) I have cleaned up are the living/dining room combo and the kitchen. We have an open floor plan for these rooms, so they’re pretty much one space. (The way I figure, it’s only a different room if you can’t see its mess from where you are. hah!)

In my previous post about the new house in Connecticut, I showed you how the home we bought is a completely blank slate. We received the keys two weeks ago from this afternoon, so don’t expect any magic to have happened. In fact, it looks less like my Scandinavian + colorful  intentions, and more like a crummy apartment in need of therapy. In due time!

Continue reading

Homemade Sushi in Houston: No Class Required!

I’ve failed to mention it thus far, but Mark and I have our honeymoon booked. We’re heading out to visit his father and extended family in Manila and a couple of other Philippine Islands, but on the way we’re stopping for five days in Kyoto, Japan.

In my research for things to do in Japan, I found classes on how to make sushi. It seemed like an awesome idea: I’d learn how to make it the legit way, from REAL Japanese people. How cool, right?! But come to find out, I don’t need a class at all. And neither do you! We have resources here in Houston, and it is SO simple to make sushi, the hardest part is stepping out of your comfort zone. Continue reading

Drop the Drama

I have a lot of feelings.

Ever find yourself watching Teen Mom on purpose? Lifetime movies? Crying over songs Justin Timberlake wrote for Jessica Biel? Super Bowl commercials?

It can get a little embarrassing, but I do. When people open up about great loss, when they open up over great triumph, when they make something beautiful, when they display any degree of passion in any direction–I cry. I can face it: I cry a lot.

Past

As a kid, my mom and other relatives would call me a “drama queen,” and it caused me great hurt. My feelings felt so real to me; how could people who love me devalue them like that?

When I grew into an adolescent, I rebelled against my feelings. I hated that I was emotional, so I took on a persona of  “hippie” and “chill”. Drama free, care free. I wanted to be Cool Girl, and I steered clear of all people who were always fighting about who knows what, in favor of others who shared the same carefree careless attitude toward life. I wanted to be strong.

As an adult, I embrace my feelings, and take pride in the empathy I have for others. I learned that strength comes from knowing yourself, expressing yourself fearlessly, and inspiring others to do the same. I steered away from the drama-filled people and the careless, and confide in people who are emotionally aware. Now, I’m really drama free, right?

Present

Not quite. A little perspective I gathered from my 40 days meeting today:

Just because you steer clear of unnecessary conflict and people who are always wrapped up in it, doesn’t make you bulletproof from drama.

How often do you think, “Well, I really want to _______, BUT _____,” where BUT is some aspect of life that you allow to limit your growth?

  • “I really want to lose weight, BUT I can’t make the time to work out.
  • “I really want to eat healthy, BUT I hardly know how to cook.
  • “I really want to blog everyday, BUT I worry that there’s nothing valuable in what I have to say, and no one will care.
  • “I really want to simplify my life, BUT first I have to tend to my to-do list.

These are limiting beliefs I’ve let control my actions–my life even. I bring drama to things like going for a run because I haven’t done the laundry yet. I bring drama into cooking because I might fail again, I bring drama into blogging because “Oh no, I posted a link to my blog on Facebook and now people who I know could read about how I really feel and things I do that no one probably cares about and I’ll be vulnerable and they’ll judge me and my writing isn’t good enough and and and!” 

I bring drama into finding misplaced objects: “Where is that f*cking thing?” and as I continue to look, “Damn it! I can’t live in this mess!” and I bring drama into laundry: “I’m going to fold some laundry, but first I need to find a movie on Netflix to watch while doing that.” Then later, “Ugh! Why does Netflix keep messing up, I’m trying to focus on getting this stuff done!” 

Future

Now that I’ve noticed these thought patterns, I can bring ease into my daily life. I can stop thinking about what could limit me, and just BEGIN. I can think to myself, “Where is that useful object?” and replace the word “f*cking” with “delightful” in any situation. I can glide over the hurdles effortlessly if I’m focused on the finish line. All I need to do is see and drop the drama.

Is there something simple in life that you add drama to? Let me know in the comments!

 Featured image found on https://myfitwitjourney.wordpress.com/

Oh yeah, about those 2015 resolutions.

No matter how soon before Christmas I begin to consider it, I never seem to hammer out my resolutions until at least the end of the first week of January. With Christmas decorations on top of the usual mess to clean up and New Year’s Eve and Day plans with travel, I don’t quite have the sanity to envision the next 365 358 351 days. I’m okay with being a few days late, with the right intentions, rather than not following through consistently with my goals.

This year, though, it was even harder. Continue reading