Screw Perfection!

So I completed a weekend project in a weekend….well kinda sorta. But for me to finish a personal project in less than ten days is a feat (woot woot, *pats self on back*) I painted a small wall in my bedroom with chalkboard paint so that I can use it to put up a calendar and write notes and lists, I love lists!

When I was putting on the first coat of paint I panicked because it was soooo streaky, and I immediately reread the instructions to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I waited the 24 hours as instructed then started on the second coat. By the finish of the second coat it was looking very good and I had a sigh of relief and feeling of pride in my work.

Lesson 1: just because something isn’t turning out exactly how you had in mind, don’t quit; continue on and it might just turn out to be exactly what you needed/wanted.

I had to wait a day between the coats and before I could use it. I set up the calendar grid with chalk paint markers and wrote in some things with a chalk “writable” (you can find it on Amazon) and sharpened some traditional chalk with a pencil sharpener to use them to write smaller. When my roomie came home after I finished writing all the days, dates and month on top she goes “why is Wednesday so much bigger?” I shrugged and said “I don’t know, climatic part of the week? Hump day?” She was not saying this out of malice, or harsh critique; my roomie/friend/”sister” is awesome, and very supportive and wanted this to be perfect to photograph; she pushes me to be my best.

Lesson 2 ( a little bit longer): “there is nothing exciting about being perfect” –Emma Watson

I have never strived to be perfect. Do I strive to do my very best? Yes. I think I do a very good job of setting my expectations, especially for myself. If I would have obsessed about every single line, every single letter height, every single number I would have lost the joy of something really awesome. My calendar is extra functional and still looks great even with the uneven lettering, lol. I learned at a very young age about letting go of perfection. When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I lived in Tucson, Arizona, and in class we were learning about the Hopi People, a Native American tribe and their traditional Kachina dolls. We were actually making our own versions in class, and I made a mistake or did something I didn’t like and our cultural instructor said, “it’s ok, the flaws let the evil spirits escape” How powerful is that?!?! That day I learned about the beauty of imperfection, and it has stuck with me. I think obsessing over perfection causes undue stress. I am not saying be lazy or have low expectations. Always work hard, do your best, but let go of the idea of perfection- there’s no such thing, at least I don’t think so!

What are your thoughts on perfection, or the lack thereof? Let me know!

Complicated Simplicity

I have another completed DIY project! This one wasn’t huge, but it still feels good to have something checked off the list while looking around at the other daunting projects waiting to be tackled. I had seen these simple wooden frames all around and like any other creative diyer “I can make that.” Of course there were available tutorials and I took a look and made some adjustments. I had already ordered and received my print from Society 6, and completed my shopping trips. What I thought was going to be a 3-4 hr project turned into days. I got these super strong magnets from the home improvement store, I tested them out, made sure I had them on the right side, and began to lay everything out.

I cut the wood with my circular saw, which was another feat; I wanted the frame pieces to be a little thinner, but could not do so with the saw guide and did not trust myself to free hand (if anyone wants to put me on their Christmas list, a table saw would be awesome J ) so that was the first adjustment to the project. I then drilled for where the magnets would sit; I wanted the wood to sit flush and not have space on the sides. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and I now have thought of other solutions that would have been easier, but: lessons learned. I used adhesive for the magnets and let them dry. The next day my magnets were fighting each other and me. I had to readjust, cut down the wood and restain the ends. The magnets were so strong a few times they caught my fingers between the boards and I couldn’t get myself loose for what felt like forever!

In the end, I am very happy with the results and it works well in my little kitchen nook. I am now deciding if I want to add seat cushions and/or pillows; nothing is ever finished for me it seems. But for right now I am enjoying the simplicity. I rarely sit in that corner because I like to stand and eat or sit in front of the TV (judge away lol). But I love seeing other people enjoy the special places in my home, which I designed to be welcoming, comfortable and easy on the eye. It really does make me so happy! What are some of your project triumphs? Lessons learned? Where are some of your favorite places in your home?

Let me know!

Fail So Hard!

I don’t market myself as a DIY guru because I am not. Am I creative and have the ability to make things from what seems to be nothing, yes (check out my tables). Do I dream up pretty things and then make them with my hands and tools? Yes! I actually used to make jewelry. Am I a master DIYer? Absolutely not! I have failed so hard so many times I should have a “nailed it” (sarcastic) meme library. But that does not discourage me from continuing to try.

My last major diy project was a concrete counter top for my kitchen island. I ordered all of the supplies, made several trips to Home Depot, and went over the instructions many times. I watched multiple videos, stalked DIYers and finally decided to get started.

I carried the four-50 lb bags of concrete from my carport downstairs to my basement. Then, by myself poured a bag at a time into the trough. POOF! Concrete dust everywhere! I chalked that up as my first defeat. Definitely a team lift/pour situation.  I moved on to adding the water and using my handy dandy power drill with a mixer attachment and began to mix. That was a serious workout, and I began to feel frustrated. The consistency wasn’t right (supposed to add gradually), it was laborious, and I was over it. But I couldn’t just give up so I continued the process and finally got to the point to pouring, and guess what I forgot?!?! A TROWEL. Seriously Erika?!? SERIOUSLY?!? I did my best with what I had.

But because I was so hell bent on doing this by myself, I ended up spending a lot more time and physical and emotional energy than I should have. So what did I learn from this semi-failure? Finished products don’t tell the whole story. That stands trues for so many things. Just because something appears beautiful definitely does not mean that some ugliness didn’t precede. And most definitely a lot of hard butt-kicking work went into that final product. You have to experience ugly to appreciate beauty. Another lesson- there is no shame in asking for help. I had some very kind people offer their services; from my favorite guy at Home Depot to my awesome roommate. But #becausePRIDE I declined. This is something I am definitely working on as I continue to grow as a “diyer”, a designer and a person.

What projects have you failed so hard at? What were the lessons learned? Let me know! Not really a failure if you can take something positive to the next project/endeavor/move!

*I hope to have some pictures from this project to show soon