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  • Writer's pictureEllen Frances


Updated: Mar 28, 2020

Greetings, my beautiful humans, here we are, on social-distance lockdown… (how’s that for a new term), and it’s Spring, the start of a new season that usually brings hope & renewal. It’s not the usual ‘snow day’ hibernation, ole’ man winter beating us down. No!! we are on a Pandemic Lock Down, Quasi Quarantine, Social Confinement… because of the threat of a virus epidemic that has kind of run ramped…

Well, let’s cheer up and make some lemonade out of these sour bunch of days we have looming ahead of us.

Let’s DIY some of those half-done projects once and for all! It’s times like this that brings out the Design*Sponge in us all... get your Flea Market Flip on.

Who has a chair they promised they’d recover? That wall that you envision as a focal point with the dramatic paint or wall paper. Bring out Gramma’s old chest of drawers and finally refinish it, turn it into that buffet or that wine cart or bar for that entertaining you always wanted to do. Sand it, stain it or paint it, add wheels and knock out a drawer.

I know I’ve been stock piling fabric, tiles, used wood planks, plywood and other special goodies to make that special piece or cover the wall or ceiling. Remember that YouTube video you watched that inspired you to someday make that tufted headboard for your master bed... this is ‘someday’ ladies and gentlemen.

And I’m here to be your DIY Coach, your guide into the unknown and finished projects, the facilitator you have been secretly hoping inspires you to... ‘Just Do It’.

Let’s start with some great custom toss pillows or large meditation pillows. I’ve been collecting my old denim jeans and some new yards of denim fabric that I scored for a song at a flea market. I planned to make patch pillows, bags and other interesting things, with or without zippers. If zippers are too much how ‘bout Velcro closings or decorative buttons that came off a treasured coat or jacket that you just couldn’t part with. Or perhaps taking the buttons off that piece that you need to part with… now you can salvage a part of it. I also have grand ideas about patch-working my jeans or jean jacket. How ‘bout you? What have you been collecting in the treasure chests. How ‘bout making new seat covers for those bar stools. Or maybe adding some useful pieces to the kiddo's rooms. Cover things with denim, canvas, ultra-suede, vinyl or some interesting pattern that will add texture to your room… or… animal print! It’s all the rage and contrary to popular belief it is not a trend… animal print has always been an interesting addition to any décor. It has been a primary print in some designs but you can tone it down or play it up… the possibilities are endless. Yes… that's it, who doesn’t love a good animal print and seat cushions or pillows are just enough to show interest and style. Just enough of an accent that you won’t feel too much like growling but just enough to sooth your wild side.

Now let’s Get Jiggy With It. How about revving up that backsplash. Some back-splash maneuvering. What… don’t be scared—it’s just tile, mortar and grout… or…if you're still apprehensive, how ‘bout there is a plethora of peel & stick tiles… yes… just like the wallpaper (which is the old contact paper, remember?), which comes in amazing tile patterns and textures, brick, subway, marble and granite that will blow your mind. If it leaves you a little flat for your major areas, consider it for the powder room and other not-so-major areas that you could save those coins on but still get that pizzazz. That’s one of the great solutions in designing your home. Use the coins in the prominent places and save in other areas while still bringing things up a notch.

Now don’t feel like ‘I just can’t do this on my own…’ or I started it last year, I didn’t get too far and now I’ve just lost steam’. Well, that my friends, is my lane, not only can I help you come up with the project but I’ll steer you to spaces and places where you can score the materials & sometimes the greatest deals… I’ll be your private DIY Coach, to get you through and not leave you high and dry. Sure, you saw it on HGTV or DIY but they did it so fast and made it look like such ‘magic’ that it left you flat & intimidated. I’m talking about getting it done like a Pro and not looking homemade or like your little kids helped you with it. Your fam and friends will be envious and begging for the name of your contractor & designer.

So let’s talk about art, baby! The artist in us all wants our homes to look like we had it personally curated. Do you have those grandeur ideas about collecting original pieces by significant upcoming artist? Some you’ve admired from afar or close up. Well, you probably have some pretty amazing pieces in your collection already that would look great framed and hung in gallery arrangements… your own Wall Galleries. One of my favorite DIY design concepts is wall galleries. Wall galleries can be comprised of family photos in matching frames, grouped in four or six, or more. Same frames, same size, with matting. Some black frames or all white frames. Reprint some in black & white… and Bam!!! Great look!

Then there’s the eclectic style of prints, fam pics, and interesting collectable pieces from your travels, some big, some small, different colors… Pow!! And let’s not forget those talented little artist (or not so little) in the fam. I’m sure there are pieces that you just can’t part with, that piece they made that mimics Picasso, Jean-Baptiste or Matisse. The prints you picked up from that last trip that you just never got around to framing or couldn’t decide or couldn’t figure out how they would look framed. Well my Curators… this is the time… bring them out and frame away.

Ikea, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby have the greatest stock of frames in all shapes and sizes that will proudly display that collection. All the framing needs, hanging accessories to make you proud. Art Galleries… here we come! Let’s do this thing! And I want to see pics!

Need to keep the kiddies busy during this social confinement period… that may last for who knows how long…? Bring out those arts and craft supplies and have at it. Who knows, you may discover a new side hustle while you’re at it… can you say Design*Sponge. Those little crumb snatchers may turn into mini entrepreneurs and pay for their own snacks and movies. At least it will keep them busy and bring out the creative side of those little brains. I know we all feel that bringing out the creativity in our kids will certainly benefit them in their academics. And you will have maybe more art to display or you could work on other little functional projects.

Is the self-containment over yet…?

Well then, let’s keep going, dig deeper. How about your own as-is section you've got stashed in the corner of the garage, closet or basement. Those mistake paint colors you bought from the yard sale last summer. Refinish that piece of furniture you dragged all the way home. Or your kid’s furniture to redo their room to move them into the tween or teen years. While you’re at it pull out the masking tape and make geometric designs on the walls and doors or patterns on the furniture redo. How about stripes or polka dots or use those stencils that you have been hoarding. Paint the window sills while you’re at it after you do a little spring cleaning. This is a great way to add texture and depth to a space that is eye-catching and popping. You can even paint a headboard on the wall in the guest room or the kids room over a day bed or the twin beds that don’t have one. It will look fabulous.

Speaking of headboards, you could use left-over boards, wood or a door to screw on the wall and paint as a headboard. Have you ever seen those wooden pallets at the back of warehouses or deserted lots? They make great additions, side tables, headboards or even a base for a gigantic pillow you can make out of the fabric you’ve been collecting. And just a side note…those big pillow cases make great storage for extra blankets, pillows and linen for guests or slumber parties when you need extra storage. You could even make the cases vinyl for extra sturdy pillows and kid proof.

Ok boys and girls, hopefully this little DIY inspirational blog from Ms. Handy Dandy DIY has sparked the creativity in you and awakened your inner Flea Market Flip side. This too shall pass and when it does, you will be able to show something for this time and you will feel very satisfied that you finally tackled that to-do wish-list, that dream DIY collection of some-day projects… this is Some Day, says so on the calendar right under… self-confinement ‘til who knows when.

So, roll up your sleeves and have at it… and… if you feel you need some direction, cheering or just a little push, just let your fingers do the walking to my Website or IG page and message me with your questions and let me help you through this madness.

We will conquer it together and you can take all the credit!! Wink-wink.

Here’s a list of suggestions for other projects;

-Newspaper your walls

-Wrapping paper for lining drawers

-Paint or wall paper a closet a bright color

-Replace drawers or door hardware

-Add hooks for extra convenience everywhere

-Add a suction shower curtain rod in the shower to hang hand washables to dry

-Change swinging doors to barn doors or sliding doors for extra room space

-Paint or wall paper the back of Ikea or other bland shelves

Ok guys, hang in there...let's get passed this together... I'll see you on the other side.




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