Friday, April 20, 2012

Doing it yourself... because you can

When my house was being renovated with the help of an amazing team, I remember feeling so relieved. I didn't have the know how to do what they were doing nor the funds to hire for help.

I even remember a comment I made to a friend. "I'll never move again! I could NEVER do what these amazing guys did for me."

But my friend had another take and replied: "If you ever did move again, it would be when you had the ability to do these things for yourself."

I remember laughing back in total mock style! Um... me install kitchen cupboards myself?! Tile floors? Fix drywall? Remove walls? Plumbing? Electrical?! I don't think so!

Since saying that, I've managed to:

tile floors - in patterns no less 

How to remove a wall - with video

remove a wall

fix plenty of drywall

remove and reinstall a toilet, as well as sinks

Also, something I never EVER thought of myself being capable of was building furniture from scratch.

So what brought this on? I received a random call from a real estate agent today and just for fun, told him what my dream home looked like. He shot me two pictures, and upon glancing at them, I admitted it was a whole lotta work... 

BUT that I was grateful I would have been able to do much of it myself. Then I smiled. :)

I haven't done it all by a longshot. But isn't it nice to know, if something doesn't require great strength, that 'us girls' really can do nearly everything we set our minds to?

What's something you want to learn to do yourself?


  1. You're right! It feels GREAT! Thanks for your encouragement, your tutorials, and your example to all of us. You ROCK, Donna!

  2. You have done amazing things Donna! I tip my hat to you. Your blog was one of the first that helped me feel I could tackle home improvement projects myself. Today I am knee deep in projects and am loving it! Thanks for sharing your skills and your world with us.


  3. Hear, hear! Being on your own pushes you to try more things and I think that is the most valuable byproduct of it. I cannot believe some of the things I've learned to do myself, only to discover how simple it is to learn how to do them. You've been an inspiration to me and I, too, have been surrounded by people who are more knowledgeable and willing to lend a hand for free. Wonderful people are all around us, all of the time...


  4. Being a DIYer runs deep in this independent blood of mine. Can.Not.Stand feeling helpless, waiting around for a man to do it, when I want the know-how to fix it NOW. The list is long of things I'd like to do myself, but a week ago, I desperately wished I could fix my own car. I finally got my mechanic on the phone, and he walked me through some things to do under the hood to troubleshoot. I learned some things I hadn't tried before, and as silly as this may sound to some, I felt incredibly delighted and liberated. There is just nothing more satisfying than learning how to do something that you'd normally have to hire (or ask) someone to do for you.......

  5. The biggest joke in our home is "what did mom learn to do on You Tube today" and that is fine with me. I would rather supply and lifetime of giggles to my family than pay someone else to do something I can do myself. Although, I did raise a few eyebrows last month when I announced that I cut my hair with the help of a YouTube video and I learned how to crochet via YouTube. But I would say as far as DIY around the house would be tiling floors and laying hardwood floors. Our scariest DIY was removing the french doors that go out to our patio area and replacing the damaged door frame. But it got done. I even hand chiseled the hinge insets into the door frame because we couldn't find our router. Of course I've learned a ton of stuff from you... by the way, thank you! We think you're amazing and we are so blessed that you share so much with your readers.

  6. There are so many things I'm trying to learn right now! My husband is so talented and always does the "man" work for me. But with his new job, he's always working and I don't get the things done that I want. I find myself wanting to learn to install molding, use power tools, and tear down walls lately. It's going to be amazing to finally learn to do it for myself.

  7. I agree. When we bought our first fixer-upper I was really intimidated by all the work, the more so because my husband worked on a ship and was gone for weeks at a time. It turned out, though, that in terms of learning home improvement skills, his absence was a blessing. I had no choice but to learn how to do things myself. Learn them I did, and I experienced the pride that comes from "doing it yourself" and doing it well. We fixed up two more houses after that, and I acquired more new skills every step of the way. Sometimes it was hard at the time but, looking back, I'm so glad to have had the experiences. The finished products meant much more to me than they would have had I hired someone else to do the work.

  8. I am in love with that pallet table. I love how you reuse and upcycle. The wooden ironing board holds a plant and acts as a lamp. The Coke crate works as office gear. It is so organized. When I grow up, I want to be you. Did you do any sanding on the pallets? They can be splintery little devils. What type of finish did you use?

  9. Wow... amazing tile work! Haven't tried that yet, but it's on the list!

  10. Power tools. I'm afraid of them. I reallllly, realllly want to learn to use them so I don't have to wait on the hubs, who works long hours. Congrats on becoming so accomplished!

  11. I would like to know how to tile and how to cut wood. I would like to know how to make a frame and a few other things. Like a box. I have in the past wallpapered, stripped 23 colors of paint off a 1920 built in kitchen cabinet, refinished floors by hand, and refinished furniture. I still don't feel capable because I can't take apart a faucet or work a Dremel tool. Ann

  12. Hi Donna-
    I want to learn to use the router! We have one - but I've never even laid eyes on it, let alone used it! And by the way, I'm VERY strong and I can even do things that require "great strength" !! All I need is a little more knowhow and I'll be unstoppable. Still haven't figured out what to do with my pallets though. . .
    breida with a b.

  13. Very well said Donna. Doing things myself gives me a special sence of pride. If I don't know how to do something I know I can probably figure out how to do it.

  14. Yes we can! One of the best things we can do for ourselves is learn how to use the basic power tools!! I feel your pride and confidence!

  15. I find living on my own I have learned to put the fear of the unknown behind me and try to tackle whatever comes my way.

    Like you I didn't know one end of a tool from the other or what they were used for. In the six years I have lived in my house I can't believe the amount of tools I own now... let alone know how to use them "my way". I might not do everything perfect but it is sure fun learning.

    There are so many resources out there for everyone there is no excuse not to try new things.

    You have been such an inspiration to all us women Donna and I thank you for your time and effort. You continue to wow us with every post.


  16. You've come a long way baby and inspired many of us to do the same thing. Thanks.

  17. After years of DIY, I want to learn how to hire a contractor wisely! :-)

  18. Donna, I'm slowly learning how to do all these things, too, and it's largely because of your inspiration! Your post on the 5 tools, and seeing all that you've accomplished has empowered me! (I have a similar post titled "Turn your can'ts into cans" about all the projects I've done that I never thought possible!)


I love your comments and read every one of these! For more interactive feedback from me, I'd love it if you'd join my FJI Facebook page where communication is always current and incredibly fun! Thank-you!