Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DIY? Do I?

I would like to consider myself a crafty person, but truth be told, when it comes to crafting, my eyes are bigger than my stomach (erm, figuratively speaking; stomachs have nothing to do with crafting. unless you're crafting cookies. oh god, this is turning out to be an awful introduction).

Let me start over.  When it comes to crafting (and all things DIY), I have big ideas.  I have tons of projects I'd love to do, from scrapbooking to artfully hanging photographs I've taken, to refinishing or staining furniture, to building a raised bed/planter out of recycled get the picture.

"So many ideas, so little time" is a phrase I utter more frequently than I'd like to admit, because if I am being completely honest (and isn't that what a blog is for?), I totally have time.  I just choose to spend it doing other things, like walking around the apartment looking at things I want to do. Or watching HGTV.  Or bookmarking recipes I'll probably never make. Or reading blogs written by people who are not only DOING these things, but meticulously photographing and blogging them.  Who are these people (I know not all of them can be full-time-DIY-bloggers)? And why am I not more like them?

My wonderful friend Patricia has been blogging the progress she and her husband have been making on turning their new rental apartment into a personalized, cozy, wonderful space.  I can admit to sometimes feeling inadequate; when I look at the amount of change their place has seen in just a few months, I become angry with myself for not doing more.  It's easy to get down on myself when I realize that we've lived here since August, and our walls are still mostly barren.  I felt such accomplishment when I first hung a picture here, a mirror there...but now it's time to really settle in and take care of the big, blank walls in a deliberate, artistic sort of way (I want to do this in our dining room) and make it look like we didn't just move in.  Says I, anyway.  Will doesn't care too much.  He's a dude.

The current state of things...
(click photos to enlarge)

Living room: facing the couch/tv area from the dining "room" and facing the dining "room" from the couch. 
We still have a ways to go...

Oh, and bonus! A picture of the last 6 boxes in the bedroom!

But this kind of stuff takes work.  It takes more effort than the tidying-up, putting things away, just trying to find a place for stuff kind of housestuff that I say I barely have time/energy/effort to do. I sometimes feel like I need a spring extended weekend...a "staycation," where I can just take a few days to fully unpack, organize, and put everything away so that I can focus on the fun stuff.  The fun stuff that is a little overwhelming to me because it requires so much work.

I am planning to do a little bit of this in August, when Will is gone on his 2-week-ish backpacking trip and my awesome friend Reed comes to visit (fingers crossed!).  Reed is one of those people who knows how to motivate me - or perhaps I just like doing crafty things with her - whether it's making my first knit-in-the-round hat, baking bread, or doing a mad rush of cleaning before a last minute party (ok, that last thing is not so crafty). Perhaps it's because she's known me for oh, about 24 years, and can get inside my head, perhaps I want to be as crafty as she is, perhaps it's just fun to do things together, but I always feel a surge of Can Do Attitude when we're hanging out. Yes, we will go to the spa and perhaps a winery and watch chick flicks and eat junk food...but I love that she also has a thing for crafting and nesting and doesn't mind helping me move boxes and such.  Side note: I need to invite my crafty friends over more often - I like doing stuff, but I also like having help when it comes to actually getting going. Especially when Will is out of town. Side note part two: Hey Tricia, want to come let your craftiness rub off on me visit for a few days in early August?

The point is that I'm good at making excuses.  That I say I don't have time, when really I don't make time.  That it's easier to say "but I'm not like those DIY gods and goddesses" and watch them on TV/read their blogs than it is to pick up the paintbrush or the measuring tape and just do it already. And yeah, ok, maybe I shouldn't rely on the motivation of friends to light the fuse.

What our apartment looked like the morning after we moved in.
Ok, so we've made considerable progress since August 2010.

I'm going to try to be better about this.  Try to dedicate time (an hour? 30 minutes? some amount of time, no matter how little?) every day to making our apartment closer to the way I want it to be. We have spent about an hour for the last two nights straightening things up, cleaning and sorting and all that, and it truly does make me feel better.  I feel a sense of accomplishment, even if it's just emptying the shredder so we can shred some more papers or consolidating boxes of magazines. Every thing I do, no matter how tiny, takes me one step closer to Total Nesting Happiness (and yes, I do know that it's always a work in progress, there will always be things I want to do/change, yadda yadda yadda).

I look at beautiful houses (oh god, can I please just have this one and not have to do any of the work - no seriously, look at it) and I wish they were mine, but I think I'm finally tired of whining about my lack of DIY-ness while I watch other people do it.  I may not be as skilled or experienced, but I can sure as hell clean my apartment and hang pictures.  And I think it's time to start taking action.

But first...a few dream house pics.  It's my reward for the straightening up (and extension cord setup) we did tonight.

I mean, hello?
When I look at this tile, I literally have
a physical reaction. My heart beats
faster, and I think "oh, that is so lovely".
I'm a woman in love.
Wait, they installed a pot filler?
I honestly had no idea that existed.
I had to look it up.
Now I want one.

For more dream houses, click here. But I warn you, you might start to drool. Expect more home-updates around here in the coming months. I vow to be more active, and to do my best when it comes to blogging about my progress. Because as much as I don't want to hold myself to any superhigh blogging timeline standards, it's fun to share, and I'm sure I'll be needing some advice. And ok, maybe a little encouragement.  :)


  1. Oh good Lord - what have you done?! I just spent the last hour reading through that DIY blog. I'm totally addicted!! Very cool, and definitely the newest blog in my reader.

    PS - I think you're making great progress on your place!

  2. Yay! You're apartment is beautiful. Those shining hardwood floors give me a physical reaction, I swear to Goldfish. And I LOVE those green curtains! How beautiful! Also love the New Yorker print and the funky mirror. You have wonderful taste Kim, and the fact of the matter is, you are incredibly creative and talented and absolutely able to do all kinds of crafty DYI stuff. I cannot wait for the coming pictures.

    And my lordy I would love to visit in August! We'll have to talk more about that at a later date. :-)

  3. Haha, yeah, it's massively addictive. Pretty houses...I'm like a zombie. And

  4. Thanks, lady! The floors are actually laminate, I think, but close enough
    for me! Thanks for the encouragement :)

  5. I kinda wanted the title of this post to be "DIY? Do I, Yo?"

    As with all DIY undertakings, just remember the key factors: Am I equipped to do this properly, Can I get it done without inconveniencing my neighbours for more than a few hours, Are there any safety concerns that I might be overlooking? While I wouldn't expect you to fill out a risk assessment form for scrapbooking or hanging pictures, laying tile and installing pot fillers may be best left to a professional. If nothing else, tile cutting saws are expensive and very, VERY loud, and plumbing usually involves fire (and alarmed landlords.)

  6. I'm completely in the same boat! I've started (or, at least, strongly considered starting) like 10 projects, but I haven't worked up the energy to finish any of them! Maybe there should be another "Craft Night" where we have to bring an unfinished DIY project and work on it together! I will volunteer my place! I've got a sewing machine, a Silhouette (die-cut machine) and TONS of other craft tools!

  7. Haha, That's a good title suggestion, dang! Don't worry, I'm not planning on
    doing any tile or plumbing in our rental. Perhaps someday when we buy a
    house and re-do a kitchen...oh, the reno's of someday. I may need to use a
    saw of some sort to cut my cord-hiders to side, but that's just cheapish
    plastic and should be pretty easy to cut. Thanks for the tips - I do
    sometimes for get the "will I be bugging my neighbors?" part when I get an
    urge to hammer at 11pm. Usually I remember though...usually.

  8. That sounds like a great idea, Dana! I would love to do a craft night at
    your place! I could bring my hard drive of photos to sort to see which ones
    to print, and I could bring photos of my blank space for ideas on how to
    fill the walls...

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  10. I'm terrible with projects. I start many or even think of doing many, and then I go buy the stuff for it, and then I don't actually get to it. :/ Ugh.

  11. That's no good. But I totally understand it. Oof.

  12. ha ha - I was testing anonymous/guest comments to see what the avatar looks

  13. Let's do it!! When?

  14. I actually did a version of that picture frame wall in our place. We went to Aaron Brothers during the "Buy 1, Get 1 for 1 cent" sale, grabbed all the frames we liked and laid them out on the floor of the store in patterns to figure out which would go where. We didn't do all the same color - our frames are different colors and textures, which is more my style than Ryan's (hehe). Now they are all hanging, most with pictures and I am just trying to figure out what to put in the rest.

  15. Ooh, do you have a picture? I'd love to see what it looks like with all
    different frames - I was just going to go with one color/style, but it would
    be much easier for me to mix n match with what I already have. Was it hard
    to execute the plan once you'd picked frames?

  16. It sounds great. It is a nice job. I would love to appreciate that. This work will be fruitful to lots of users.

  17. I will take a picture and email it to you. It wasn't too hard to execute (I didn't use the genius tape-up-paper-cut-outs plan) so I had the frames spread out on the floor and my mom helped me position and nail them into place. I would def. recommend that you design how you want it to look either on the floor or with paper on the wall before you start hanging.

  18. Thanks! I'd love to see it! And yeah, I'll definitely have to do the
    positioning before the hanging. But what I don't know is whether I want to
    plan a layout before I pick out a bunch of pictures and frames, or get
    everything I want to use together and then figure it out (I think the