I like engaging in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. It’s an occupation that I really enjoy. Research* shows that people typically have an average of 15 personal projects going on at once, whether they are thinking about doing them or are actually in the process of getting them done. That is definitely true of me. And just like the research shows, the attributes of this meaningful occupation are significantly related to my perceived well-being. For example, I can gauge my level of perceived well-being by looking at the current state of my personal projects. If am not presently engaged in some part of a project, then that indicates to me that I am probably overly stressed and have been drained of my naturally overflowing creative energy.
While I am not artistic – I could never paint anything worth being impressed by – I am a creative thinker. I like to look at items and imagine how I can make them more unique or functional. I also like to learn. Sometimes my projects involve cutting and sewing. Sometimes they lead me to try to make an item from scratch that I’ve always taken for granted, like ketchup. Regardless of the project, if it requires a dose of creative thinking and a splash of artistry (minus the artist’s paintbrush), then I’m all for it. Listed below are DIY projects I have completed, from most recent to most distant. Let me know if there’s something new I should try!
*That research was published by Christiansen et al in the January/February 1999 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. The article was titled: Occupations and well-being: A study of personal projects.
4. custom headband — pearl purple (october 31, 2010)
3. pillowcase purse #2 (october 31, 2010)
I was at Bed Bath & Beyond recently, and I discovered a gem that I simply couldn’t resist.
A 12″x12″ zippered pillowcase that, for $9.99, would make the perfect base for a homemade gift. Because it was only the pillowcase, I didn’t have to feel guilty about wasting any stuffing. As soon as I purchased it, I immediately headed over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to grab a few accessories that would soon turn this fun pillowcase into a handy purse.
So, here’s what I did.
Step 1: I pinned and sewed under (with brown all-purpose thread) the edge of the one-inch belting material that I bought from Jo-Ann’s so that it made a square at the bottom. After doing this for all four ends, I then pinned the straps in place on the pillowcase.
Step 2: I sewed the straps onto the pillowcase with the brown thread, making sure to fasten it securely with both a square and an X shape.
Step 3: I then used red dual duty thread to sew a rusty gold made-in-Italy button over each of the ends of the straps. I decided not to make it look perfect because . . . well . . . who really is?
Step 4: I tested it out . . .
. . . and then passed it along to a friend!
2. homemade ketchup (july 31, 2010)
This recipe was SO easy (I got it from this website). Granted, I used the tomato paste version rather than the spend-12-hours-standing-over-a-stove-and-using-lots-of-fancy-equipment version. Here’s what I did.
Step 1 – Place the following ingredients in a small mixing bowl:
Step 2 – Mix together the ingredients. I alternated using a thin rubber spatula and a whisk to make sure all the parts were really well mixed.
Step 3 – Taste ketchup to make sure it suits your preference. Then transfer it to a clean, dry, airtight container and refrigerate it.
Step 4 – Use the ketchup within about one month (less preservatives = faster spoilage) to flavor your favorite foods!
1. pillowcase purse (july 28, 2010)
I inherited a pillowcase from a neighbor and used materials that I already owned, so this new carry-all purse was free! Here’s what I did, step by step:
Step 1: Assess pillowcase. Make sure that the zipper works and that the case doesn’t have any significant rips or holes anywhere.
Step 2: Identify bag that would be willing to sacrifice its straps for the greater good. I knew I could count on my husband’s school for something. Remove straps.
Step 3: Pin straps onto pillow case and hand sew them on using a back stitch in the color of your choice and in a crafty, non-uniform manner.
Step 4: Make sure the zipper is still accessible.
Step 5: Fill bag with stuff and rock it in style.
Voila! Now what else can I cut apart to turn into a new creation???