diy: guest post from Tori @ The Ramblings

I am honored that newly-married, uber-funny, super-mama Tori, of The Ramblings, agreed to do a guest blog on her experience with DIY-ing in honor of The Home Tome’s Home Improvement (HIMP) Month…She just moved to a new house: based on what she recently tackled with her Very Bloggy Wedding, she’s surely going to do wonders with the place, or seriously harm herself…or both. Whatever the case, it will certainly be entertaining.

***

Come Hell or High-Gloss Paint

It took fourth degree burns, some spray paint, and a wedding to teach me a valuable lesson about decorating our new home. Seems random, and if you know me then of course it is, but there’s some sense in here somewhere. See, over the past year I decided to let readers of my blog plan our Spring wedding. Week after week they voted and brainstormed until their efforts formed a perfectly funky and sweet little shindig. Armed with a list of decor concepts the clever bloggers had developed, I headed to the local Target to, in essence, “get ‘er done”.

Only Target apparently doesn’t sell personalized cross-stitch artwork or distressed blue cowboy boots or even framed signs welcoming guests to the April 14th Nashville wedding of Tom & Tori. I was shocked. My whole game plan was to go to Target and… go to Target. It occurred to me then, in those aisles so desperately lacking in retro-rockabilly-meets-hipster-meets-granny-chic wedding decor, that perhaps I’d backed myself into a corner. Just months before the big day I was expected (with a loyal readership watching) to pull off these extraordinary ideas they’d so graciously drawn up for me. This doesn’t seem like a huge deal. There are millions of brides who craft by hand brilliant design elements. How hard could it be?

Attempt at making a Valentine’s gift… from leftover children’s gift bags & a suggestive cigar box. This was not successful.

Well, you don’t get nicknames like The AntiCraft by being a pro with the staple gun. Watching my artistic process is akin to handing a drunk baby with knuckle arthritis a paintbrush. This is to say that I lack the eye/hand/brain/paper mache coordination to craft without serious injury to myself and myself. Nevertheless, I couldn’t look those hardworking blog readers in the computer screen and tell them all their decor plans were for naught. I had to try. I did try. And….

It turned out eight shades of awesome. Using just a glue gun, a slew of online tutorials, and some spray paint, I was able to shed my bad girl-crafter reputation and bring the Very Bloggy Wedding ideas to life. The journey was a long and arduous one that resulted in the following: 10-foot ribbon wall, three fingers super-glued to carpet, twenty hoops of personalized cross-stitchery, singed eyelashes, brooch & bedazzled fabric bouquets, cowboy boot & guitar floral arrangements, buckets of fresh tears, burlap and doily pillows, hand-stamped signs, and exhaustion tremors.

And now here is some advice from my first Do-It-My-Own-Self experience (which you may or may not take… as I have just told you that I burned off a few good lashes and left a hand-shaped glue burn on the floor):

1. Craft for your lifeeeeeee!

The threat of doom works wonders for the newbie DIYer. It’s kind of like when your uncle shoves your three-year-old self in the deep end. You didn’t think you could swim, so you didn’t. Uncle Jim Bob ups the ante, and in this sudden sink or swim situation, you are pleased to find that you CAN swim. You just needed your life to depend on it. The same could be said for this wedding decor. On an average day, there is nothing that a bargain bin at Target can’t handle. I didn’t have to make things, and- still scarred (literally) from earlier attempts- I always would take the path less crafty. When faced with the threat of drowning our tiny budget and breaking the spirits of blog friends, I crafted almost against my will. I bejeweled and stapled and jumped into a 10-foot tub of ribbon, and after the heart attack wore off, I was pleased to see all that I could do.

Running… or DIYing for my life… as a wife.

2. Hot glue is actually incredibly really hot!

3. Fake it ’til you (hand) make it!

Once up to your chin in chlorine water craft projects, it’s best to just keep chugging along. I started each project with the lowest of low expectations. Mostly, I expected only to ruin things. As I finished up one cross-stitch, one chunk of ribbon wall, another and yet another, signs that I had no clue what I was doing started to show. The backs of every hoop were a knotted mess of thread. Boots painted blue were accidentally chipped and scuffed and just sloppy enough to prove that I have a hard time taping in a straight line. When guests at our wedding commented how lovely and unique all the hand-made aspects were, I realized that I had gotten away with acting like a crafter. The dents and scrapes and snags were just hidden enough to let the good parts of my haphazard artwork shine. The point? Maybe I’ll encounter fewer mishaps next time. Maybe not. Either way, you can wing it and make something with your own two hands, your own, two drunk baby/knuckle arthritic hands, that isn’t altogether awful.

4. Safety scissors aren’t all that safe.

5. The Little Crafter That Could.

My mom gave me lots of great advice growing up like “Stop licking outlets!” and “You gon’ hurt thyself, girl!”, but really the only tidbit I paid attention to was the old “If at first you don’t succeed” mumbo jumbo. She was absolutely right (on all counts). If at first you sew your lip to a pillowcase? Well, get an icepack, but then, then, try again.

Spurred with all of this newfound DIY inspiration, I was able to turn our new home into this just a few short weeks after the wedding:

I carved that desk out of one oak tree… bare handed.

Ah ha ha ha! I’m messing with you. In truth, our new home’s walls are as naked as a newborn. But when the time comes for me to tackle decorating this blank canvas (about 4-8 weeks for the Super Glue to dissolve and free my fingers, another 2 weeks for my eyelashes to grow back) I’ll know from our wedding day that I can, despite all that I am artistically lacking, craft this home by hand.

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Indeed. Thanks for the guest post, Tori! Can’t wait to see what you end up doing with your space! (Maybe you can re-purpose some of those wedding doo-dads?)

Check out more of Tori’s equally ha-larious ramblings here.

19 replies

      • Anyone who knows me describes me as serious and absolutely not one to go messing with others. That is all false. I think the important lesson I learned was that I actually can make some really pretty crafty things. The process though? Was not nearly as safe and tidy as most of the DIY shows/blogs make it look. At the end of the day, I will glue a body part to an odd surface and maybe burn the house down!

  1. That collage at the end SLAYED me. Initially (for about .5 seconds), I had a pang of jealousy at your mad skillz and then I got wise. I’m no fool! (At least I’m only a fool for half a second…)

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