It's no secret, I SUPER LOVE TO MAKE STUFF. And after many years of DIY (do-it-yourself) projects, I have learned a few things. This, fellow DIYers, is what I know to be true:
Would I buy this? This is the question I am constantly asking myself throughout a project. If the item I am attempting to make isn't something I would pay money for, I probably won't love it long term. Please understand, this is not to be confused with the question "could I sell this?" I don't care if anyone else wants to buy the stuff I make for my own home, but I do care that I would. "Would I buy this?" is a simple way to ask: do I love this? Is this project something I can successfully execute? Is this going to look awesome and/or be functional? Am I going to be proud to display this in my home? I have made (and shared!) many a lame project, but the ones that I LOVE for longer than a season are the ones where I look at them and think they are awesome for more reasons than just the fact that I made them.
If you're curious these are a few of my favorites : chevron headboard, hairpin leg coffee table, big script art, foldover clutch, Ellerie's quilt, quilted floor pillows. I totally would have bought all of these, but I am so thrilled that I was able to make (and customize!) them instead.
You have to enjoy the process of making as much as the end project. DIY isn't just about having handmade stuff in your house. It's about enjoying the time spent making the stuff. I have learned that nearly everything (even with a perfectly written tutorial to follow) involves a ton of trial and error. I don't mind this aspect at all...in fact, I LOVE that part. I love figuring things out. I love gaining insight about a new craft. I am prepared to make the mistakes. Paul, on the other hand, is a perfectionist (which is awesome considering his job) and struggles with DIY projects because he doesn't love the errors that come between point A (conceptualizing) and point B (the end result). Over the past few years I think our personalities have rubbed off on each other for the better...I've become more precise and wasted less raw materials and he's become more willing to embrace the process and accept the flaws.
Making breeds making. The more you do, the more ideas you have. I used to think that there were a limited amount of ideas out there and it was in my best interest to hoard them for a rainy day (which in San Diego basically means forever). The very best thing that has happened for my business, life and blog is that I realized the opposite is true. The more you experiment and the more you share, the MORE ideas you have. Every time I learn something new (like how to stain wood or how to sew a zipper) I think of 15 new projects that incorporate my new skill. This is why I set so many random craft challenges for myself. Making from scratch is inspiring. You get something customized. You gain an appreciation for well-crafted handmade. You learn something. You end up with something special. And more than that, you earn inspiration for more projects.
This week on ELISE GETS CRAFTY I'm having a small business discussion with Ann-Marie Espinoza. We chat about a bunch of different things, but the focus is on bloggers and brands working together. Click here to subscribe or stream the episode from your computer here.