I’m a DIY’r from way back. The first time I remember taking on a job probably best left to the professionals was when I was about seven years old. My mother and I decided to service her sewing machine. We took it to pieces on top of the dining table, cleaned and oiled it, then forgot how to put it back together. I don’t remember what happened to the sewing machine but I do know that it lived to sew another dance costume so it can’t have been that bad.
My mum has always had a ‘can do’ spirit. If a wall needed painting, she painted it. I have memories of her mixing plaster to repair a hole in a wall, hanging wallpaper, changing lights. We were an all-female household who just ‘got on with it’ – something I’m grateful for. As an adult, it has never occurred to me that I can’t do whatever task is at hand on my own.
Most of the time, I can do it. A couple of months ago, I built one of those flat pack kitchen pantries on my own. I’ve assembled barbecues, a guinea pig hutch, and more Ikea furniture than I care to admit to. I like working on cars as long as I have someone around who knows what they’re doing (engines are not my area of expertise).
I am not good at knitting.
This sometimes shocks people because I’m a good sewer and all round crafty person. I even wrote a successful blog based on DIY. You can check it out here. But try as I might, I can’t cope with the numbers and codes on knitting patterns and I’m forever losing my place.
A year ago, I tried to fix our billy kart for the school Billy Kart Derby by myself. I went to the hardware store no less than five times in one day. It got embarrassing around visit 3 and the wheel still fell off on the day of the race.
I’m not good with electronics but I will give it a good try and usually succeed through dumb luck or by a process of elimination.
I discovered I’m quite good at editing together movies by teaching myself and now I make one for each of my kids every year.
The point is, we’re all good at some things and not good at others – but how will we know which is which unless we give it a try?
My DIY hero is my sister Rosie. She makes things all the time. Sometimes they work brilliantly and even if they don’t she’ll still post a photo on Facebook and laugh about it.
I want to be like that.
I want that spirit.