Story & Photos By Emily Smith
I am the textbook definition of a left-brained thinker. A true artist in every sense of the word, I use a multitude of mediums to express my artsy individuality. Cooking, photography, writing, painting, jewelry designing and shopping make up some of the many hats in my “do-it-yourself” headwear collection. These are skills that I have improved upon over the years and now reference in everyday living that allows me to think more creatively while calling upon my own attributes instead of someone else’s.
How unbelievably satisfying is it to cook your own five star dinners or to be the artist responsible for a majority of the artwork that adorns your walls? How invigorating is it to save your hard-earned money by organizing your own closet or painting your own bathroom? Plenty satisfying. Plenty invigorating. Plenty.
As far back as I can remember, I have always been a do-it-yourself type of gal. Actually, I was born into a family crawling with do-it-yourselfers! From my dad, who could build anything with nary a plan and who’s hobby involved constructing competition-size barbecue grills from scrap metal, to my mother, who could sew, draw, cook, plant, plan, organize or explain anything, I found much guidance in their independent spirit and “get your hands dirty” mentality. I am proud to say that, with somewhat brute force, this positive trait they shared has rubbed off on me.
The term “do-it-yourself” is one of those phrases that can’t be negatively misconstrued. I have always found that doing something for yourself, whatever that task may be, can be a hundred times more rewarding than if you didn’t do it. To “do-it-yourself” is to hone a skill, to save your money, to complete a task, and to take pride in personal accomplishments, all of which sound exponentially positive to me.
There are countless avenues to venture down while exercising the freedom of getting the job done your darn self … gardening, closet organization, painting, housekeeping, interior decorating, personal shopping, sewing, cooking and so on. When giving the middleman the ol’ heave-ho, you’ll find that many of these tasks are plenty doable with a little time and a slathering of elbow grease.
While a seamstress I am not, a skill my mother did not to pass down to this unfortunate soul, I enjoy taking old garments and making them new again by changing the hemline, sewing on buttons, and/or hand painting the fabric. And although the intricate workings of even a basic sewing machine elude me, I am not afraid to try my hand at sewing.
This month, I did it myself, without the use of modern technology, making the dresses in these photographs a little different and a little better, with my own two little hands. I cut here, I painted there, and the end result I’m quite proud. Hmm … It must be because I did it myself.
Now I challenge you to get out there and start using your skills, whatever they may be. If you are good at something, do it! Sharpen those “tools” you have kept in the shed for far too long. You will be so glad you did.