It’s Cold Outside-Time to DIY!

Ah, wintertime. Whether you are mid polar vortex or unexpectedly washed out on the west coast, the weather does seem to shout- stay indoors! Cocoa and curling up with a good book are delightful pastimes, but cabin fever starts to set in quickly- what to do? Pick a project!

C’mon, you know you have one- at least one. A project that’s been on your mind for some time, perhaps something you’ve saved material for, bought supplies for, or doodled about. Maybe it’s a shelf that would revolutionize your storage, maybe it’s a storage unit that would clear your shelves; maybe it’s a bed spread, hand washing, lavender salt, a pearl sunglass strap or even double-pearl earrings. Whatever the case, break out your tools and get started!

Other than the fun of doing-it-yourself, research supports task-completion as boosting self-esteem, while some DIY ideas are geared specifically towards health. With a few of these projects under my belt, I can attest to feelings of satisfaction and pride, along with some lessons about how I might do it even better next time…

This year, my inaugural winter DIY was re-covering my couch- a task 5 years in the making. For five years, I looked at my couch and thought, “I need to recover that cushion.” For five years, I have saved fabric that might be suitable (through 3 moves!), rolled up in a bag and never measured. Finally, the winter weather inspired a frenzy and out came the needles, thread, and falling-apart-at-the-seams silk robe from that now-gone thrift store in the East Village, in all its blue-gold splendor. Measuring, cutting, patterning, hours of pins and perfectionism gone in the blink of an eye.

I admit to a slight hiccup when I remembered I’m no seamstress-I elected metal shop and woodwork over Home Ec-but a save from the great wide web, along with the voice of a colleague reminding me “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good,” and I decided to dive in. The end result of a few evenings of less-than-perfect stitching? Success! A customized, silk-covered couch that brings me a multitude of joys. Sure, the first seam looks like I let my nephew loose with a needle and thread, but no one has noticed it but me.

The final bonus? Along with a beautiful new conversation piece comes a bump in house-pride, and thus hosting opportunities come to mind again. Now, not only have I ticked off a few to-do’s and upgraded some rusty skills, I’ve also revamped my social calendar, driven away the winter doldrums, reorganized my sewing kit and cleared out storage space. DIY for the win!

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