Why Do We Love DIY?
Prepping (as in puff painting glass vases) for the Q Ideas Women's Event gave me time to reflect on why I love DIY. I realized that DIY has become really accessible over the years. There are tons of blogs, sites, magazines and shows out there that help make us all capable of doing something ourselves. On one hand this is AMAZING. You don't have to be a professional to make something great! Anyone can try their hand at DIY - just tap into the loads of How-To content on the web and you're set!
On the other hand, though, because of this accessibility, suddenly EVERYONE's an expert. What was aspirational and approachable has now become really noisy. Maybe it's just me, but even as a DIY'er, I think it's easy to get overwhelmed by the loads of inspiration online and even easier to compare ourselves to all the unbelievable projects and crafters out there - don't even get me started on everyones ridiculous photography skills. All this noise takes away from from the sweet and simple reality of what DIY is. It's making something with our hands. Learning by doing. Being inspired to create our own version of something. When we push the noise aside, there are actually wonderfully simple sensibilities to be learned from Doing it Yourself.
Rather then focusing on beautiful before & after photos, our favorite Etsy shops or even our own crafting skills, we should reframe our perspective to see through the lens of potential. The lens of potential opens us up to a world of creative possibilities and even life lessons! Whether you have lots of DIY experience or not much at all, I have three insights I've learned over the years that I want to share with you:
DIY challenges us to use what we have.
The start on any good DIY project begins with taking inventory. What do you have? What needs changing? What's the end goal? Starting with evaluation rather then action taps the brakes on impulsive buying. Growing up, my mom developed a serious habit of rearranging furniture. I remember coming home from school on numerous occasions to a living room that looked completely different. It wasn’t until becoming an adult, that I really understood and appreciated what she was doing. She was making the best of right then. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff, she changed the way she looked at her home, spruced it up using pieces she already had, and chose to be content. Challenging ourselves to use what we have pauses the “buy new, buy more, buy now” mentality that our culture encourages. Lets simplify, organize and take care of what we do have and we might be surprised by what happens.
DIY guarantees a perfectly imperfect result.
There is no such thing as flawless in the world of DIY, and you know what, that is OK. We were created to be creative, not perfect. Listen, I know how great it feels when a project turns out JUST as you had planned. But more often than not, we have to roll with the punches, and embrace our happy mistakes. Thankfully, there is lots to be learned in the process of making and it doesn’t just depend on our final product. Process is good for our soul. I was a painting major in college and one of my drawing professors would never let us erase our work when we felt we had made a mistake. Instead, she wanted us to layer over our beginning sketch as the drawing developed. So I’d have layers and layers of charcoal as I continued working on the piece. Initially, I didn’t really get it, but overtime I grew to love the imperfections left on the white of the page and the remnants of where the artwork started. It was a reminder of the process, not the imperfections.
DIY projects give us the opportunity to try something new.
I know that sounds overly simple, but I think it’s important that we take time to try new things. If we’re honest with ourselves, it’s really easy to only do what we’ve done before. Lucky for us, though, the world of DIY provides a safe little landscape to escape the monotony and try something new. I know this from very experience. In the past 5 months, I’ve transitioned from being a married girl working in New York City, to a new mom, who stays at home with a baby and lives in Franklin, Tennessee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful and such a blessing, but it is QUITE a change! As I’ve slowly gained confidence as a new mom, I’ve realized how important small successes are. For me, trying a new project during naptime has helped me feel like I’ve done more with my day then empty the dishwasher and change the laundry over. I’m sure you all know what I mean - it’s that feeling of being busy all day but never really accomplishing anything. I really believe, that sometimes we need to start a new project JUST so we can finish it! We need small wins! Learning a new skill or trying a new project could be just the shift your normalcy needs.
All this to say, We don’t love DIY because we like keeping up with the trendy crafts on Pinterest. “Doing It Yourself” has more relevance to your life then you think. It’s a practice of choosing to be content with what we have, celebrating imperfection and boldly trying new things.
Stay tuned for the DIY that accompanied this talk!