I never thought of myself as a creative person. Don’t get me wrong, I made my share of macaroni necklaces and construction paper cards as a kid, along with some not-so-priceless works of art on butcher paper.
Similar to my childhood masterpiece:
Not bad, right? However, my drawing ability stalled at the level of a four-year-old with Parkinson’s, well into adulthood. Needless to say, art isn’t my “thing.” So what IS my thing? You know, what you’re supposed to talk about when people ask what you’ve been up to, and you start thinking through all the things you might say to sound super interesting: that big report you just wrote for work? The 5 loads of laundry you did on Saturday? The accomplishment of drinking two glasses of wine AND staying awake for the WHOLE movie?
So instead of answering the question, I would stare blankly and glassy eyed, mouth slightly agape, my mind now starting to question what kind of person I am, why I don’t have some incredible adventure to relate, or even some mundane hobby to talk about, and just about the time I start to internally ponder the meaning of life, the person asking the question awkwardly shuffles away to find another drink, because wow, they’re going to need it at this party.
Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little.
In actuality, I was at a work retreat listening to a very interesting speaker discuss work-life balance. As a part of an exercise, the speaker had us partner with another person, and tell them one thing we had accomplished in the last six months that we were very proud of. I thought, “No problem. I have been working like crazy and have so many successes to share, I just have to pick which one!” The speaker continued, “however, the success CANNOT be work related.”
Ugh. Cue the awkward glassy-eyed staring. The reality was, I was 27, married, and had already accomplished a great deal in my career. But when it came to developing any other interests beyond work, I had nothing else going on. The thought alone depressed me. But the idea of picking up a golf club just to have something to do besides work didn’t appeal to me, either.
A few months later, this showed up in my mailbox randomly:
Intrigued, I pored over the pages, amazed by all the creative, inexpensive design magic laid before me. At this point, I need to tell you that my house was sorely lacking um, Everything in the design department. My office at the time (the saddest room in the house) consisted of two large rolling, ripped faux leather chairs, a hideous particle board desk, a very ugly particle board cabinet with the modem sitting on top, and a (matching) ugly particle board bookshelf complete with bowed shelves and a flimsy back that wouldn’t stay on, no matter how much glue/staples/nails we used.
“But Laura,” you say, “why didn’t you just buy everything you thought looked incredible and amazing from Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn and Sur la Table?” The reality is, until the day I’m swimming around in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, it’s just not in the budget.
So when I saw Ana White‘s furniture feature in Fresh Home magazine, I’m pretty sure the heavens parted and angels sang. It all made sense… I could BUILD the furniture I wanted! I promptly found a circular saw on Craigslist for a great price, and did end up building two large bookcases. More on that in another post.
After looking at Ana’s blog, I was suddenly aware of all the other incredible blogs out there in the world of DIY. From there, I couldn’t be stopped. I started thrifting, going to estate sales, discovering chalk paint and milk paint and chalkboard paint … and some regular paint, too. I’m still having a blast transforming all kinds of things in my home on a regular basis. However, after about the millionth time I started telling my husband about this AMAZING paint technique, or AMAZING serpentine solid wood dresser… he said, “maybe it’s time for you to start a blog.” Which, translated out of I’ve-been-married-long-enough-to-know-what-to-say man-speak, means, “holy hell, I’m sick to death of hearing about paint and furniture, please go find someone who actually wants to hear about it!”
So, that’s just what I did. I hope you’ll find some inspiration here for your own home, and tell me about what you’re working on, as well – if for no other reason than to give my poor husband a break.
Because life is too short for particle board furniture,