September 6, 2011


improve. In the advent of HGTV, I've watched hours and hours of home decorating and improvement projects played out beautifully on the TV screen. They make it look so flawless and easy, not a drop of paint is splattered and all of the construction projects (even the ones they need to "scrap at the last minute") all look straight out of a furniture store. Each episode the designers become flustered and panicky, as if worried they're not going to finish in their 23-minute time slot. 

Now I'm trying my hand at DIY projects in my new house but I am doing them much less glamorously than on TV. Last week I bought a very cheap Ikea desk off of Craigslist. The top was damaged, but the design of the desk was exactly what I wanted. Putting my creative hat on, I decided it would be cool to cover the desk in newspapers and cover the top with a clear resin.

Pike Place Market has a fantastic newspaper stand that sells papers and magazines from around the globe, so I snatched up Thai, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, Italian, and English (The NY Times) newspapers for my project. I went to the art supply store in my neighborhood and bought a huge bottle of Modge Podge and a few paintbrushes and set to work.

My hands had forgotten what it felt like to have glue on them. And I hadn't used a paint brush for anything in years. But back in my tween days, I was a decoupage queen, covering shelves, tables, and stools in whatever I thought was neat. Each summer, I brought 4-H projects to the county fair that showcased my talent (or lack thereof) for the creative world of crafts.

As I've gotten older, I suppose my hobbies adjusted and I became a little bit intimidated by my friends who have real talent. Among my closest friends I have a graphic designer/sketcher, an architect/print-maker, and a singer -- those are just the artists by profession. There are plenty of other hobby painters, photographers, creative writers, and visual artists that I call my friends. It's scary trying my own project when I see so many incredible things they create, mostly because I'm concerned about their critiques.

But today when I was elbow deep in Modge Podge, tossing around cut out stories from papers I can't read, I forgot about the constraints holding me in and I reconnected with the 12-year old version of myself and embraced the stickiness under my nails.

Tomorrow I'll put the finishing coats of lacquer onto my desk and will have created something that I think is pretty dang cool. As far as my friends who know how to reupholster furniture? Well, I'll still be seeking their advice and assistance when it comes to doing projects that involve more than a paintbrush and glue.

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