A DIY Tale

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Quarantine has been the first time a lot of people have spent the majority of their days in their houses.  I have seen so many DIY projects being completed, my family included.  If you are curious about my DIY journeys, read on.  My insights on these journeys will be coming next.   

On Tik Tok, there have been so many DIY videos that I was inspired to try it myself.  I was using these drawers that were my great-grandmothers in my apartment, but they were not cute.  I decided it couldn’t hurt to try and spruce them up a bit. 

The project took longer than anticipated.  I had to sand them.  Then, fill in all the holes.  Next, I pre-conditioned the wood.  Finally, I started staining them and realized they would need two coats.  Lastly, I put a coat of polyurethane on it to seal them.  Most of these steps required at least 24 hours between and on top of that, I needed to wait for days that were not super humid to allow the stain to dry properly.

Thinking the hardest part was behind me, I was excited to put on my new drawer pulls.  Little did I know, in 1910 when these drawers were created, there were no standard sizes for pullers.  My dad had to help me drill new holes and because of that, we added washers to cover up the old holes.  In the end, I am happy we added the washers because it adds style to an otherwise ordinary drawer set.

My second project was redoing our basement with the help of my dad and younger sister.  Walking past it more frequently, we realized what a wasted space it was.  There was a time when we would hang out in the basement, but over the years, it just became a storage space.  Our first thought was to give it a fresh coat of paint over its hideous wooden paneling and sort our childhood toys.  There were definitely toys we wanted to keep to share with our future children, but the number of toys that we still had occupying the basement was way too high… especially when all three of us are in our 20s.   

Once we cleared out and sorted our childhood toys.  We wanted to re-organize the furniture to make it a multi-use space.  We created an office section with a desk.  We created a sleepover section with a twin bed and drawer set.  Most importantly, we created our new hangout section with a couch, futon, and tv.   

After beginning to paint and seeing how easily our space was transformed, we decided to put in new flooring.  The basement was still going to be hideous if we could not cover up the tile.  My dad started doing research on floating floors and we had them ordered shortly after.  Once the floors came, we realized how big of a project we just took on.  We first had to learn how to connect the floors properly.  After we completed a full row, we noticed we were doing it wrong and had to start over.  The flooring came in boxes so a lot of the patterns repeated itself.  We had to be certain not to put two sections that were the same right next to each other.  We also started cutting the boards to create a staggered look.  

For a project that was supposed to take a week that turned into months, I am really happy with the results.  Our space is transformed into a cute hangout spot and I have a place where I can retreat to get my work done.    

After getting in the groove of working with my hands, I took on my second solo project: refinishing a dining room table.  To give you some context on how the project went, I wish I had started smaller.  When I bought this table, I had no concept of what makes a great piece to refinish.  The legs and sides were solid wood, but the top was a veneer.  Also, it had a herringbone pattern.  At first, I thought this was a plus, but you are supposed to sand with the grain.  It is really difficult to do that when the grain is going in four different directions.  To make matters worse, the finish that was used on this table was coming off on my sander which kept ruining sanding belts.  

Since I started this project, I have looked into all of these problems and have found easier solutions than what I had done.  After trying to work on this table in countless methods over countless days, I decided to spray paint it instead of re-staining it.  I should mention that I have never used spray paint before.  Even though the paint cans say “no drips”, there are drips.  I worked tirelessly to try to make this table look beautiful, but I had to come to the realization that my first try would not be my best.  

I am confident that my next attempt will go a lot smoother, but I wish all of these learnings had happened on a small set of shelves.  I am sad to say the dining room table was left at the curb for free-cycle day.

CHALLENGE: Try something new.  This is the best time to find a new hobby.