Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

When DIY Projects Drive You Mad

My relationship with DIY projects tends to follow a very predictable pattern:

Stage One: Pure Excitement
I love the brainstorming phase. I love conducting research on Google to read how-to tutorials (I usually undertake projects I have no experience with). I love searching for ideas and sorting through pictures of other people's amazing crafts.

Stage Two: Self-Doubt
Sometime during the brainstorming stage, I look at everyone else's stuff and wonder if I'll be able to make something half as good. I start to get mired in all my ideas and flounder a bit because I'm a perfectionist and I'm always striving for the one perfect thing.

Stage Three: Commitment
My Jiminy Cricket voice reminds me that there's no such thing as "the one perfect thing" in arts and crafts (I haven't gotten to the stage in my development where I'm willing to admit that about everything else in life...hmm...). I decide on an idea and I commit to doing it.

Stage Four: Pure Fun
It can be relaxing and meditative to do crafts. Sometimes I reconnect with friends or family while I cut or sew or embroider. Sometimes I just think through the day. Other times I just let my mind go blank and sing along to the stereo. I think, "This is fun! I'm so glad I started doing this." In my highest moments, I start scheming ways to turn my crafts into a business. I start thinking through the details of making millions of them.

Stage Five: Regret and Frustration
Sometime in the middle of all the fun I'm having, I start to realize that I have undertaken something that requires way more work than I realized. And it's hard. And it stops being fun. And I'm making mistakes. I even play a little game with myself. It goes something like this: Self, "How much would someone have to pay you to get you to make one of these for them?" Depending upon how deep into the stage of regret I'm in, my answer is usually along the lines of a thousand or a million dollars (that's how frustrated I am!).

Stage Six: Sheer Pride
And then the damn thing gets done. And it's not perfect. It's crooked or smaller than I anticipated or not as comfortable as I thought it should be. But I am so, so proud of producing something useful with my own two little hands. I end up feeling more connected to myself and the world around me. The best part is I get to re-live the sheer pride stage over and over again whenever I pass by the aforementioned craft.

I'm in Stage Six right now (having gone through Stage Five last night) with this cushion for our porch swing. Our neighborhood potluck is tonight, and I wanted folks to have a comfy spot to sit and connect with each other.

If any of you are out there DIYing it (for your wedding or otherwise) and your own relationship with projects follows a similar pattern (and you happen to be frustrated or regretful), I hear you!

I wish you a speedy arrival at Stage Six.

P.S. I'm in Stage Five with my very tedious Scrabble costume for Halloween. Quilting a dress from small squares? What was I thinking!?!

A review of the DIY projects from our wedding in case you're interested:
  1. Our life story together embroidered along the bottom of my dress
  2. Matt's tie
  3. Hoss's bandanna
  4. Invitations
  5. Flower pins for the wedding party
  6. Name tags for the Welcome Picnic
  7. Program fans for the outdoor ceremony
  8. Wedding favors
  9. Wedding quilt
  10. Cloth napkins
  11. Wedsite
  12. Ring pillow
  13. Ceremony script
  14. Video of our life together
  15. Thank-you cards

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Brittany said...

The porch swing looks fantastic! I want to curl up on it with a book and some tea! I agree with you on the DIY phases. I go through those exact same phases! I especially love the stage where I think I can make this a business. HA!

Heather said...

I love the porch swing cushion and think that it looks great!

Pretty much everything we can diy for our wedding we are doing, invites, save the dates, sashes for BM dress, jewelry, flowers, decorations, and anything else I can come up with to do.

I have a hard time in the middle as well, especially if I happen to see something on Martha Stewart that can't possibly be hand-made by a normal human, but I brush that thought apart and go on. I figure someone will love my quirkiness, even if it is just me and The Man!

Jess said...

I think your cushion looks great!! Sewing is definitely not a DIY area I'm good at. You are dead on with your phases. When I got to Phase 5 I was laughing remembering how I stayed up until 2 am hand-stamping invites for my best friend's bridal shower. In the end they turned out great, but I sure wasn't thinking that as I got tired and kept making mistakes.

My fiance and I are also trying to take on a bunch of DIY for our wedding to try to save money. We just had a friend take our engagement pics for free, we're doing STD postcards through Vistaprint & waiting until they have one of their free offers, DIY invites, flowers, decorations, centerpieces, etc. Also, my mom is planning on making my gown. So hopefully we won't go too crazy with all of our DIY projects!

Selfish Jean said...

The porch swing looks wonderful! Thanks for the DIY tips!

Anonymous said...

DIY projects can drive you crazy, but the satisfaction when they are done is worth the hassle.

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