Today I muse...about DIY and confidence...

Today I muse…mainly because not much is going on in the DIY front. As I mentioned here, I have “semi-retired” from the whole DIY-for-resale gig and right now I am enjoying some much need time off from “projecting.”

Finally bought a new “black stainless” dishwasher to match the rest of the appliances.

I hate buying something new when the old still works just fine…but I wanted all matching appliances and at my age…what the heck!

A few years ago I realized that most of my stainless eating utensils didn’t match…I still had pieces from 30 years ago and a whole bunch of other mismatched pieces. And I thought…WHAT THE HECK…at 50 you should have matching utensils. So I ordered myself several sets of new dinnerware and donated all the old mismatched stuff.

So the dishwasher is new.


Precious bride-to-be…they met in college and have known each other for nine years. They want a small wedding…family only…then they will have a “reception” at their house the next day.

Being the mother of the groom is pretty smooth sailing…UNTIL they ask you to make THE cake. I experimented with fondant TEN YEARS AGO and now they think I am a professional baker!

They want three layer cakes… a chocolate cake they can decorate with flowers, my strawberry cake with a fruit topping, and a funfetti cake with sprinkles…all covered in buttercream icing.

I have spent the last two weeks baking and icing “test cakes”…yes, I pretty much walk around in a “sugar coma” most of the time!

Since all the cakes need to have a “smooth” finish (and fondant is evidently so yesterday), I decided I couldn’t use the strawberry buttercream icing on the outside of the strawberry cake so I tried just using it between the layers. I watched a ton of youtube videos on how to ice a cake smooth with butter cream icing and the strawberry cake turned out AMAZING! UNTIL… it sat out and warmed up and the strawberry buttercream between the layers couldn’t handle the weight of the layers and “bulged” my perfectly smooth exterior! CURSES! But this is why you “test!”

Back to youtube to find out how to keep a buttercream iced cake from “bulging” when it warms to room temperature.

Problem solved…I hope…I tested the new process today…so far so good.

If all else fails, I know a few REAL professional bakers I can call on at the last minute! Fingers crossed!

This whole process got me to thinking about DIY anything…whether it be stripping and refinishing furniture, tiling, painting, baking…whatever!

My dad learned from his father how to build a house back when the builder poured the footings and installed the door knobs…and everything in between.

He grew up in construction and he learned how to “do it all.”

I was the only girl…but I was the oldest and probably the most like my dad…and both my brothers were typical “middle” and “youngest” children. So while Dad would start a project with one of my brothers, because, well, they were boys, his “Type-A” personality just couldn’t handle their “inattention.” Usually he would get frustrated with them and call on me to help.

Which is how I learned to do the “construction” and woodworking thing. I jokingly say I cut my teeth on a block of wood and learned to walk in a cabinet shop…but honestly, I’m not exaggerating.

Sadly, he didn’t have time to teach me everything.

But he did teach me several important life leasons.

First, if you want something done and don’t have a lot of money to hire someone to do it for you, you do it yourself. In today’s world it is super easy to turn to the internet and find a tutorial for just about anything…if we really want to learn how to do something, we have a huge resource at our finger tips…something my dad didn’t have!

Second, confidence. My dad didn’t actually teach me to lay tile or strip furniture or build a swing pergola…but working with him I gained the confidence to roll up my sleeves and do the work.

I often joke with my kids…just think of all the cool things we wouldn’t know how to do if we had tons of money to hire everything done.

It is tough to have “nice things” when you are on a tight budget.

But if you want beautiful throw pillows, learn to sew! Where? Most hobby shops, county extensions, a friend.

If you want a beautiful tile backsplash, learn to install tile! Where? On the internet, apprentice for a tile setter, take a class at your local home improvement store!

If you want a swing pergola, learn to build one! If you want a painted wall, learn to paint! If you want to change the look of a ho-hum piece of furniture, learn to strip or paint furniture!

If you want a beautiful wedding cake, well….do what I am doing…youtube and trial and error!!! (Just don’t do it the week of the wedding!)

DIY is a lot like “personal change.” If you want or don’t like, you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work…want to lose weight, do the work…want to refinish a dresser, do the work.

Where do you get the confidence….sorry, no one will give it to you and there is no specific place you can go to get it. There are a ton of self-help sites and books that tell you “how to get confidence.” But in a nut shell…. confidence comes from making a CHOICE to do something and putting in the time and effort to accomplish it.

Do you “get confidence” if you try something and fail?

Well, in my opinion, kinda-sorta…it really depends on how you CHOOSE to look at that “failure.” If you look at it and say “well, I guess I can’t do that,” then no, you didn’t gain any confidence.

If you look at the “failure” and say “well, I guess I shouldn’t do it THAT way, but I’ll try it another,” then yes, you have gained a little knowledge and a little confidence.

Failure doesn’t destroy “self-confidence.” The way you THINK about it, the way you PROCESS that failure in your brain, does.

I’ve probably over simplified it. But I have learned in my 55 years that MOST things are pretty simple.

This morning get up and look in the mirror and say “Today I am CONFIDENT that I will________.” (keep it super simple and positive) Tonight, if you did not fulfill that statement, look in the mirror and say “Today I did not _________, but I am confident I will TRY again tomorrow!” Congratulate yourself for something you DID accomplish…even if it seems silly and simple! Then smile at yourself!!!!

Looky there…you just gained a tiny smidge of confidence.