Doing it Yourself

14 May

I grew up in a crafty family. Not the sinister kind of crafty.  The glue and fabric and paint and sewing needles, sculpey clay and beads and shrinky-dink and iron-on transfers kind of crafty. In the summers when my sister and I went to visit our grandparents in Florida, we would usually stay for about a month (mom and dad’s vacation as well), and one of our favorite things was helping Grammy with her latest and greatest craft project.  Sometimes it was Christmas ornaments made from beads to sell at the Christmas in July celebration at their church, sometimes it was puff paint on various materials, sometimes it was using her embroidery machine to embellish clothing or purses, sometimes it was… well, you get the picture.  There was always something new and fun to do.  And I loved it.

My mom is a really good seamstress – she used to make us dresses for Easter and Christmas every year.  Sometimes they matched.  I didn’t appreciate that part very much.  But I remember her staying up sometimes all night before the day we were to wear the new dresses finishing (and sometimes starting) them.  I probably didn’t appreciate that effort as much as I should have, either.  When we were babies, she even learned how to smock, which, I understand, is a pretty technical and tedious thing to do.  But she still has some of the cutest smocked dresses and rompers that she made for me and Rachel (I’m pretty pumped about my daughter getting to wear them soon, actually!).

Being a good seamstress made her very picky about buying clothes.  If the stripes on a shirt didn’t match on the seams, we absolutely could not get it.  It wasn’t made well.  And that eye for quality (shall we call it… perfectionism?) was passed on to me.  It’s probably part of the reason that I can’t manage to delegate tasks very well.  You know the old adage “if you want it done right, do it yourself.” Not the wisest of advice perhaps, or the most graceful to those around you, but I do tend to try to take everything on myself and never ask for help from anyone.  Marriage has tested that, and stretched me to learn how to ask for help.  It’s a bit of a learning process, but I think I’ve made some progress… Maybe you should ask Joel though, if you want the truth.

But it’s not just the women in my family who are crafty.  The men can hold their own in the area of handiness as well.  My Grandad loved trains.  I’m not talking about the big toy trains, but the serious, I-have-a-train-table-that-takes-up-half-of-my-two-car-garage kind of trains.  Also real trains.  But he had a special fascination with them.  He built said table, landscaped it, and even built and painted several of the cars he had.  They were electric and ran around the table (we wired the whole thing himself), and had tracks that could switch and a trainyard where you could drop off the cars and stuff.  We also loved playing with this when we would visit them, but he was always there to keep a watchful eye on his creation.

***Prepare for little-girl-like admiration of her daddy***
My dad can do anything.  Fix anything.  Build anything.  If my walkman wasn’t working or snagged a tape, I’d just run to my dad and he would fix it.  My mom would draw him designs for various things for the house – shelving units, entertainment centers, kitchen tables – and he would build them.  He’s run cables, put in additional outlets, fixed malfunctioning printers and computers… oh the list goes on and on.

Since we got married, Joel and I have tackled several projects at our house without the assistance of a paid professional.  I would say “on our own”, but we have had some help.  OK, we’ve had a lot of help.  We ripped out all the carpet downstairs and installed hardwood floors.  Joel’s dad helped with that one.  Well, I should say he really did most of the work.  He’s a machine.  We also repainted all of our kitchen cabinets, painted the entire downstairs (twice, because I hated the colors the first time.), and our master bathroom (also twice.  Yes, I’m that girl.).

With the baby on the way, I’ve been thinking of things that I can do to decorate the room with things I make myself.  I love to paint, so I’ve been working on this project to cover the walls in painted canvases with fun animals, scenes, or patterns on them.  That’s been a really fun project that has kind of been put on hold because of my busy wedding season (this year – April and May).  I only have time for so much, you know.  But there’s still time and I’ll get back to it.

I recently found several other projects that I would like to try – not necessarily baby-related.  I love what I do, but am excited to have a little bit more time to do fun projects.  Like these:

I would like to put these lights in somewhere in my house.  Maybe my office/studio space.  Or just make it to use for a shoot.  But with LOTS LOTS more lights.  See on Design*Sponge

I love jewelry, especially necklaces.  And I would totally wear this.  It doesn’t look that hard to make.  What do you think?

These flowers are so pretty.  I want to add them to a plain white t-shirt, or put them on a headband.  Seen on You Are My Fave

I think it would be really fun to send letters (yes, real ones) in envelopes lined with fun papers like this!  I have a whole bunch of scrapbooking papers in the attic…. hmm.  Seen on black pearl press

And I am definitely making these! Seen on Everyday Chaos

What fun projects are you working on lately?

2 Responses to “Doing it Yourself”

  1. Rachel Barker May 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Yay, you have a blog too! How did I miss this? I love love love the lights idea. For a shoot or for a dining room as a chandelier or really for wherever! So fun. I cannot WAIT to see the canvas wall for your nursery, too! Amazing.

  2. Ginny May 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Projects: Most of mine deal with photos or organizing so we can move ‘efficiently’ if there is such a thing. My craft right now is my Alaska scrapbook. The bummer is that I have to put it up anytime we show the house. Someday…I have this image of having a house like in “The Notebook” with a craft room like Noah built Allie 🙂

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