I am chronically DIY challenged. It's so bad that every time I announce I'm beginning a project, my husband has moved beyond the “Are you sure?” questioning phase to the small smile, “If you must” phase, because he realizes there's no hope. This ship is always, always going to sink.
My house is filled with slightly awful creations of my own making: paint-covered canvases masquerading as “art,” slightly burnt and nearly always crumbling cakes, a “God Bless Our Pad” embroidery attempt that I started on two years ago and have yet to make it past the “d.”
I don't know why I do it to myself –- I think that part of me thinks if I just keep imagining that I can make what I see in my head, then one day I'll be able to. I think a larger part of me is aware of the fact that anything I try to make with my hands is never going to come out the way I hope it will, but I just can't quit.
There are five big things that I almost always do when creating, and they, along with my inherent inability to make what I see in my head come to life with only the two hands I have, basically ensure the failure of every project:
1. IGNORE ANY AND ALL DIRECTIONS.
Every time I begin a project, I usually go online and see if I can find some kind of guidelines. Take the “God Bless Our Pad” wall hanging –- I originally saw a finished example in a vintage shop three years ago. After Googling I found a pattern to use to make my own, but as soon as the pattern came in the mail I promptly glanced at it once and RECYCLED IT. Like -- I suppose I was under the impression that I had suddenly developed a photographic memory, but unfortunately my memory remains as foggy as ever, and I have no clue how to move forward with this thing. I could wing it, and I have been. But the results aren't pretty.
2. ALWAYS ICE THE CAKE BEFORE IT'S COOLED.
I have made exactly one beautiful cake in my entire life: the one I made for my son's third birthday. I will forever be proud of this cake, because it was both exactly what he asked for (strawberry lemonade, blue icing, sprinkles) and for once I was able to reel in my excitement over CAKE!!! and let the layers cool before icing them. I realize this is like Cake Baking 101, but I can never wait the entire amount of time it takes a cake to cool off. As a result, my cakes always crumble and look awful, but they do taste super delicious.
3. MAKE A BIG, GIGANTIC MESS FOR A SMALL PROJECT.
It's common knowledge in our house that if I'm “crafting” something, I need, like, an entire room for it. Never mind if the project in question is small and would take your average DIYer 20 minutes –- I'll need all day, and pretty much the entire living room. I will also forget to throw away or recycle trash as I go, and I'll probably end up with paint in my hair and on my eyelids, precisely because that doesn't seem like a place where paint would end up.
4. INJURE YOURSELF.
I've fallen off counters and sprained my wrists, stumbled over more tools than I count and right before I started typing this I cut open one of my fingers on the glass that goes with a frame I spent all morning painting. The sad thing is I didn't realize the blood running down my finger was in fact blood –- I assumed it was paint because I was already so messy from the experience. It's a sad thing when you don't realize you're bleeding until the blood is on your keyboard, and THEN you freak out.
5. CONVINCE YOURSELF YOUR PROJECTS REALLY MATTER, AND CRY WHEN YOU DON'T SUCCEED.
Despite each of these challenges, I'm still committed to DIYing the hell out of everything around me. After all, I left out my one BIG TIP that probably impacts all of these ways I fail: If at first you don't succeed, pour a glass of wine and start again.