Or…How I went from Depressed to DIY Queen!
I recently shared my personal IG story and many of you may have read it already! If you missed it click here to read 3 Keys to Instagram Success: My Real IG Story
In brief the story reveals how while dealing with our family’s financial crisis I fell into a very isolating depression. Eventually it was through the urging of my sister that I started my Instagram account in the Home Decor niche and found hope and joy again.
Real Life: How we began
Um. Confession time. Julie and I began as neither professional designers nor professional photographers. Gasp!! It’s true! Up until 2 years ago neither of us had worked professionally or taken any courses in either of these fields! The truth is, Julie and I have worked very hard to create pretty pictures, and trust us when we say they weren’t always pretty.
We have spent a great deal of time and energy honing our photography skills over the past couple years. Most of it has been trial and error. Lots of error! It’s amazing what you can learn when you struggle long enough at something….if you just keep plugging away and don’t give up sometimes wonderful things happen.
I still use my camera phone (because I can’t afford a “real” or DSLR camera, not yet!) Julie bought a DSLR camera last summer but hasn’t mastered the manual mode yet. Baby steps folks. Baby steps! However….we have gotten pretty good using different editing apps to improve our pictures. (A blog post is coming which will detail the best apps to use.) Our story is one of trial and error, persistence, and PASSION!
We’ve also spent a lot of focused effort on our decorating skills! Julie has become a paid decorator, developing her skills as she works with clients, but this is fairly new to her as well. We have learned and improved our photography skills and our decorating skills from practice, practice, practice. We’ve enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) the process, so we really do consider it a labor of love. When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem so much like work!
Real Life: Behind the Shots
First of all….things you probably didn’t know:
My “money shot” couch which is part of some of my best IG posts is actually 13 years old, has lived through 2 babies and 2 dogs, and has the stains to prove it!
The green “grass” pictured out my window in my back yard and in some of my outdoor table scapes is actually just weeds. We didn’t have a budget to landscape or even add grass to the back yard. Every year after the winter rains weeds grow and turn it (mostly) green for about a month before everything turns brown and dies. Taking this pic and creating a pseudo “Al Fresco” dining look gave me a lot of joy!
All of the curtains in my home I made with drop cloths I purchased from the hardware store and hemmed with a glue gun. True story.
DIY Takes Over
Because I was “forced” to get creative and busy I actually found some unexpected rewards! I have found greater fulfillment than I ever experienced back when I was shopping my way through life. Do-it-Yourself projects have empowered me and given me a new sense of pride and self-confidence. It sounds cliche, but I now have a can-do spirit. DIY has brought me intrinsic joy that I didn’t expect. Whether you are driven by budget constraints like me, or embrace the challenge and joys of creating something yourself, I just know you’re going to love my collection of DIY projects.
No-Sew Drop Cloth Curtains
One of my earliest projects was creating Drop Cloth Curtains. Visit the post HERE. I had lived in my house for 7 long years without one window properly dressed. We had shutters but no finished curtains…not on one window. I longed to have custom-made gorgeousness adorn my many windows but tried not to think about it. Once the thought of custom made curtains faded away I began dreaming of store-bought, but even those seemed out of reach. I don’t sew…I mean at all! I don’t own a sewing machine, so anything hand-made seemed impossible. Finally, I decided to try these no-sew drop cloth curtains on one window and see what they looked like. The rest is history. I did each window for under $50 and that included hardware and everything.
The amazing part is the look! They look elegant and suit my home perfectly. My husband loves them so much that this project alone sold him on my ideas. After this he started to say, “Ok, honey!” instead of looking at me suspiciously every time I had a “crazy idea”!
Industrial Pipe Shelves
The story of my Industrial pipe shelves is a long one–if you include all the months I spent dreaming and plotting to make it happen!! I started my obsession with these shelves about a year before as photo after photo caught my eye on Instagram and Pinterest. I started researching how-to posts and regularly showing pictures to my husband. Typically he would briefly glance at the pictures in a “that’s nice honey but I’m not really interested” kind of way.
I knew I would need his help, and I became more and more convinced that this project was worth campaigning for. He was very busy building his business, but I knew it would be worth it. (I told you this was a LONG story). Finally I found a tutorial and read the how-to steps aloud to him. And he finally said yes!
Convincing my husband and getting him on-board was definitely the hardest part. Once we started mapping out our plan, writing down measurements and making our shopping list things went smoothly! Well, besides the part about the hubby taking 8 trips to the hardware story, things went very smoothly. Click HERE to read the whole story and how you can make these too!
Chalk painting is the budget decorator’s best friend!! One of the very first things I did when I started focusing on home decor a couple of years ago was to go out and buy some chalk paint. Sure I was nervous at first. I watched as many how-to videos as I could find. I read and researched the topic over and over, and the basics eventually started to sink in. In the end you have to just “go for it!” Remember what I said about failing! You learn an awful lot!
I couldn’t afford to buy NEW furniture but I could afford a bucket of paint (I started with cheaper brands than Annie Sloan)! I was able to transform my master bedroom by painting my old nightstands and dresser and give them new life! To read about all the chalk-painting tips I learned along the way click HERE.
Turning a negative into a positive
There really is nothing more satisfying than struggling through adversity and making it through to the other side. I love, love, love sharing my triumphs (and challenges) with you all. If openly sharing my struggles can positively affect just one woman then my journey is worth it. I know God’s purpose for our lives is manifesting every day, as He places before us so many amazing hearts and souls here and on Instagram.
A Special Community
The message Julie and I want to always convey is, you are not alone. And we all have to start somewhere. We always talk about how one of the great things about Instagram is the training ground it can provide. Don’t worry if your pictures aren’t yet “perfect”. Focus on learning and improving and enjoy the process!
We are on this journey together…to lift one another up during the challenging times and to help celebrate each other’s victories as well. And when we open up and share with one another this once big world becomes a small community. We hope our Instagram feeds and our blog feels like a place where you are welcome, a place where our lives become knit together like a well-loved blanket (that maybe you happened to arm knit yourself 🙂
Welcome to our world. We’re so glad you’re here!
Jodie & Julie