Wendy and I are excited to let you all know that we've been invited to be the guest speakers at an upcoming workshop on DIY projects and tips that is taking place on April 26th at Red Barn Mercantile here in Old Town. Red Barn is one of our favorite local home decor stores and have been great supporters of our blog since very early on.

We'll be taking questions, sharing stories, and trying our absolute best to use our hard earned DIY knowledge (and awareness of our many mistakes) to help your projects along. If you're in the area and want to participate, you can register on the Red Barn website's DIY Workshop page.

If you're in the area, we'd absolutely love to see you there! But even if you can't make it, we'd love to answer some of your DIY questions.

It's a little bit of a shock to us that we're doing this sort of thing since we never really consider our DIY skills particularly unique. When Red Barn's owner, Amy, started talking to us about the possibility of doing a seminar a little while ago we thought, "Great, we'd love to help people out and try to convince others they are completely capable of taking on big time projects." Amy typically does these types of themed events every so often with local shop owners and bloggers. We attended one before Christmas on gift wrapping tips that was put on by Dawn from Idle Hands. As a result, we've been trying to think of what makes us somehow uniquely suited to answer people's questions when it comes to DIY home renovation and home design/decoration items.

To be completely honest, we're just a tad bit intimidated to host this seminar, but at the same time, we're both excited for the opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences. Ever since we committed to the date for the workshop I've had this feeling of intimidation and excitement, and that's when I realized it, this is the exact same reason why our participation in this DIY seminar has any value.

When Wendy and I decide to take on a project we make a commitment to ourselves to see it through, no matter how little skills or experience we have with what we are setting out to do. At the onset, we're always a little bit intimidated by the idea of tackling something new or time consuming, but we have enough determination to ensure we're going to do the job right (even if it takes years). From start of the project and through to completion, we also have great sense of anticipation and excitement for what the end result will bring. Personally, I have the same feeling whether we're patching a crack in the wall as I do if we're taking on a major bathroom or room renovation.

The thing is, when we purchased our home, we didn't have any significant DIY experience under our proverbial DIY tool belts. Rather than experience, we had drive and anticipation (and a significant dose of naiveté) in our corner, and we were excited to learn and to try our hand at creating and reinvigorating things on our own. Though our initial reasons for taking on projects rather than hiring out had to do very significantly with cost savings (we were broke homeowners), we soon learned that there's nothing quite like the quality, pride, and excitement of a job done yourself. As we've slowly transitioned from DIY out of necessity to DIY out of desire, our basic goals of every project have remained the same. Do our research, do it right, do our best, and be proud of what we've done. 

Over the years our determination, Wendy's eye for design and overall vision, our appreciation for the history of our home, and my ability to figure out pretty much anything as long as I can find an online resource to guide me, have positioned us for many years of successful projects that we've completed on our own. Over the last nine years we've pretty much done it all. From structural to electrical, plumbing to plastering, roofing to siding, and windows to woodworking, there's almost nothing in our house I'm not confident we can take on. That being said, I'm still intimidated when we start a project, but I'm always excited for the outcome, no matter how hard or disgusting the process of getting there may be.

This combination of intimidation and excitement helps to keep my interest and our desire to see the work through to completion. We're still the same people who bought our house with a desire to "fix it up", but our goals and skills have changed tremendously along the way. It's out hope that our experiences can be useful inspiration to readers on this blog, and to the people who attend out first ever DIY seminar at Red Barn on April 26th

What are your reasons for and feelings on DIY? Do you do it out of necessity or out of desire? Do you have any similar senses of intimidation and excitement like I described? Or do you have any burning questions you'd like to ask us if you were able to attend (and we really hope you can attend if you're in the area). Let us know, we'd love to hear your take on everything.

Comments 4


4/17/2012 at 9:18 AM
Too bad it's on a work night, or else we'd be there. Good luck! Hope you get a good turnout!
Sorry you'll miss it, but I can understand work night conflicts :-)
4/17/2012 at 6:03 PM
Not a question, just a note to encourage you to share your enthusiasm, as you do in this blog, as well as your well-earned hands-on knowledge. This sentence from your entry is key: "Though our initial reasons for taking on projects rather than hiring out had to do very significantly with cost savings (we were broke homeowners), we soon learned that there's nothing quite like the quality, pride, and excitement of a job done yourself."

Also, remind people who are contemplating an extensive, long-term string of DIY projects, such as you've undertaken, that not everyone can see your vision and there will be doubters. People who are not that obsessive about the quality of workmanship, or can't tolerate chaotic conditions while parts of the house are torn up, or don't do well with multiple simultaneous projects -- or all of the above -- should probably recognize that the stress of working on an old fixer-upper house might might outweigh the positives.
Thank you so much, we really appreciate the encouragement and excellent advice.

Boy did you hit the nail on the head with your second point. It has to be a valuable enough endeavor overall to justify the various sacrifices. When we're knee deep in several projects we still question our sanity and dedication. Luckily we're there to pull each other through. I think that's as important as anything, everyone who's involved has to be equally involved, otherwise it all falls apart.
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