“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Photo by Ron Lach on

I have been unapologetically AWOL.

As always, with SLE, there are health problems that pop up semi-unexpectedly and most definitely unwanted. I say semi-unexpectedly because you KNOW it will happen with weather changes, stress, lack of sleep, a change in wind direction, sunlight, dietary changes, etc — you just don’t know WHEN it will happen.

Between trying to stay functionally healthy and trips back home to see family, I’ve been working my regular job but also working on my shop. I cannot function well in chaos — I thrive in chaos but my work area has to be somewhat functional. My tools being here, there and everywhere, stacked upon each other or dropped in buckets was driving me bonkers.

I made a game plan for the layout of the work space and the office area and I’m excited to finally have concrete goals which I can work towards. I had to blend the following elements:

  • a little bit of femininity
  • a whole lot of functionality
  • a hazard collection system
  • a comfortable seating area for clients
  • a working kitchenette – I have to be able to stop and eat w/o leaving
  • an office area
  • and all of it needed to combine historic appropriateness with modern approach

and I DID IT!!

One of the highlights (that won’t be seen by many) is the custom height worktable built by moi, repurposing original porch posts from the house into table legs.

One of my pieces of pride is my desk which is actually an antique vanity – very feminine, old and petite to suit myself.

There have been mishaps amongst the hard work. Tearing down the water damaged sheetrock in the kitchen/office area led to the discovery of a hornets nest between the ceiling joists. Helloooooo!!!!It had been built onto the insulation which made removal fairly easy and straightforward. Bomb that thing with a Raid fogger positioned less than 3 feet underneath it, then come in EARLY the next day with a trash bag positioned directly below it (just in case any of the little buggers were still active, I hoped the cold and grief would deter them). I tore the insulation in half and with a big yank pulled it out and dropped it into the garbage bag quickly tying it up and placing it outside.

Do-it-yourself is somewhat of an obsession. One of the best examples of this is David Giffels, author of “All the Way Home.” I had read this book many years ago, finding it quite by accident at the library. After hearing him speak on a podcast recently, I chose to order my own copy. (That’s how much I LIKE this book — I want my own copy so I can read it repeatedly over the years.) David and his wife, Gina, were looking for “just the right house” to make their home. With a young son and another on the way, the countdown was on. Needless to say, the house that felt “just right” to them was a condemned home of grandiose proportions in Akron, OH and the rest . . . is history. David relates that as they worked on procuring and restoring the home, the concepts of “growing up” and what “home” really means, became a project in and of themselves.

As a single mom with teenaged kids, the going is slow. I am not independently wealthy, I have health issues, I have a full-time job and on my off days when I want to accomplish soooooo much, it seems sooooooo little actually gets done. I do believe that learning the capabilities and strengths of my DIY-ness makes me a stronger, more confident woman.

WHAT is the biggest DIY project you’ve tackled? I’d love to hear from you!!

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