Lessons from A Failed DIY Project {creativity, life, passion & purpose}

Lessons from A Failed DIY Project {creativity, life, passion & purpose}

It is time for some reflection on creativity, life, passion, purpose. Shall we? So, let’s get right to the tough questions we all ask ourselves. Are you living the life you want? Have you found your purpose and are you pursuing your goals with focus and passion?

I am pleased and beyond excited to say I am living my dreams, for the most part, but I admit that I still flail around and lose sight of where I’m going and what I should do with my time. It is hard to stay on course with priorities.

Take my faux fireplace project, for example. Now before I begin, I’m updating this to remind everyone that the photo below is NOT decorated to my liking. The fireplace is NOT finished. It is just tacked together because I didn’t have the right tools. Now, let’s see what I learned from this.

Lessons from A Failed DIY Project {creativity, life, passion & purpose}

Remember this project? I was really excited about this little DIY fireplace mantel project.

For about a day.

I got only so far into it, before I stopped in my tracks and gave up in frustration. If you’ve forgotten about this project, I don’t blame you. It was AGES ago. And I’ve been too flustered to talk about it ever since. I didn’t want to disappoint you, myself, or bring DIY scorn upon myself {hangs head in shame}.

The nutshell situation was I had a real fireplace mantel that I wanted to use as an architectural piece in my entry. The wall I thought it would work best on happened to have one of those poorly placed air return vent things on it, so I didn’t want to restrict airflow, but I of course wanted to disguise the vent if I could.

So I reached out to you to see what ideas you might have that would fill up that huge area including the vent without looking silly or restricting airflow. I had ideas of my own, but I still wanted your ideas because you are pretty smart. And you didn’t disappoint.

Y’all gave me some fabulous ideas and I really appreciated your suggestions. Well, most of them. Heh heh. One of my readers told me you thought my mantel belonged in a showroom and not a home. What? OK. That one made me laugh and kind of made me feel a little sad for sharing my idea. But I got over it. I guess I’m a rule breaker and feel that if I like something enough, I can find a way to use it in my house. I happen to like architecture so I’m going to keep it, if that is OK.

While I was capable of doing something super simple here and could have finished this project long ago, I decided to try something a little beyond my normal DIY skill level, something requiring wood, sawing, nailing into solid wood, measuring and all that DIY kind of stuff. Stuff requiring special tools. Stuff I normally avoid like the plague. Hello.

I know.

What was I thinking?

Lessons from A Failed DIY Project {creativity, life, passion & purpose}

You see, I wanted my fireplace to look like THIS (above). Awesome! One of my readers found me this perfect inspiration photo and it was settled in my mind, I (as in ME, MYSELF, with my own two hands!) was going to recreate that lovely chunky architectural fireplace. So I did what all the super-DIY bloggers do, I took a little trip to the hardware store and found some wood slat shelves that seemed like the perfect way to recreate the look. SCORE.

I was pretty pleased with the whole idea, in my head, but ladies, once I got started, I remembered why I dislike projects like this. It was pretty much a FAIL and a FRUSTRATION after that. I didn’t have the right tools. Nothing came together as easily as I had hoped.

I had no patience for the process. I asked my husband for help (looking for a rescue for my bad decision) and he reminded me this isn’t his gift either. We both stared blankly at all the wood and our insufficient tools and and we might have even had a little fight about how we were or were not going to get this done. We are no power DIY couple.

So, now I pass by this wall every day thinking I should finish it, but I just loathe the idea of going back to it. I don’t know how to proceed and I don’t care to figure it out. I don’t want to get the right tools. I just want it done, but I don’t want to be the one to do it. There. I admitted it. It was a project FAIL.

Let’s stop right there and back up a bit.

Was it a mistake to try something beyond my skill level?

It is not a mistake to take a risk of failure or to try something you have never done before if it is something you know you need to do or grow in or want to learn. I have to stretch myself ALL THE TIME in order to grow as a person, to grow my business and to achieve goals. I do things I don’t want to do. I try things I’ve never tried before. That is how we learn and that is how we succeed.

We can’t give up too easily or too soon or we’ll miss out on the reward of persistence and hard work! You can’t reach goals without a lot of hard work!


Another way to look at this is we need to learn what our own strengths and weaknesses are and decide for ourselves WHICH ones we want to grow in and spend our time on, and which ones we can accept and be content without doing. We don’t want to run out of steam before we achieve the goals that really matter to us.

No one can be skilled in everything, but all of us can be pretty good at what we need to do or choose to do — and what we put our minds to. You can achieve your goals and enjoy almost every hardworking minute of it, as long as you are going after goals you are passionate about.

We can’t do it all. I KNOW that this type of DIY project is not really my thing. DIY is not OUR thing as a couple. We don’t own fancy tools beyond the basics. I know I would much rather pay someone to do it for us so I can just focus on being a wife, a mom, decorating, nesting and fluffing my house and my husband can do what he is gifted at. He is amazingly supportive and helpful around the house and with the kids and he is good at what he enjoys in life, he just doesn’t like to build stuff with tools.

But, I lost my mind for a little bit and set aside what I know and what my priorities are. I thought I would try to do it myself in spite of what I know about myself, my husband, and this season of my life. I set myself up to be discouraged and frustrated over something I really didn’t HAVE to do.  It wasn’t essential to our survival or happiness in life.

And so, there it sits. Undone. Mocking me. Stealing my joy. Zapping my creative energy.

Projects involving tools or unnecessary frustration are NOT my passion. I need to write that on my mirror. I could save myself some trouble.

Obviously we can’t all hire out everything we don’t like to do. I’m sure some people do that, but most of us can’t. That isn’t reality. Sometimes we just need to get tough and do it ourselves. And we’ve had to do that many times in our home.

But we definitely can to learn to figure out when we should push ourselves to grow, learn and do more to achieve our goals and dreams, and when we should simply accept how we are wired and what our abilities and capabilities are in this season of life and make smarter choices about how to spend our time.

Even super heroes have their limitations.

We need to figure out the life we want to live and go for it with GUSTO and not waste a bunch of time on things that are unnecessary or don’t propel us towards our goals. Things we might even like, but don’t fit with our goals or passion in this season of life. Things we are just not cut out for or that zap us of our creative energy. And certainly we need to let get out of the comparison game. I can gladly let someone else be the superhero of mastering tools and complicated DIY because I know my own goals and purpose.

I just have to remember my priorities and goals every day. By saying no to one thing I don’t really have to do, I’m saying YES to something I love even more.

We only have so much time in a day, how do we want to spend our daily allowance of minutes?

And in that balancing act of what to do and what not to do, we start to figure out how to live an authentic life. We can learn to THRIVE in our PASSION and LOVE what we DO in life. We just have to make DAILY choices about what we are NOT going to do with our time and the kind of life we WANT.

Lessons from A Failed DIY Project {creativity, life, passion & purpose}

We don’t all have to be DIY (do it all, ourselves) divas merely going through the motions of juggling life like everyone else does it, we can creatively THRIVE with our own unique style and way of living our dreams {with a little humor, a little grace and compassion and a creative purpose and style all our own.}

Do you struggle with the DIY syndrome? Thinking that you have to do it ALL yourself?
Are you sabotaging your own happiness and success because you don’t focus your energy on your own unique passion and gifts, and end up exhausted and worn out every day distracted by things that are not priorities or that you don’t even love doing?

It is so hard to stay on track with priorities and goals. But you’ve got this. You can do it! I believe in you!

So many good life lessons to be found in a failed DIY project! And no, I’m not sure yet how this fireplace saga ends. 


  1. Wow, you said much more eloquently what I just blogged about yesterday. I was bein pulled in so many directions by inspirational blogs I read, that I was becoming miserable.

    I realized that I needed to step back and focus on my passions, which in my case, are handcraft related. My blog is entitled “Afford Your Passions” – take time in your life to do what you are passionate about, not what everyone else is doing.

    Thank you for the affirmation!

  2. Marianne says

    This was just the post I needed to read today. I spent the day hating everything in my house and thinking of a long list of projects that I would need to do to make it even liveable! Now, I have a perfectly lovely home, no project skill, and a limited budget…however, for today, I made myself downrght miserable thinking of all the things I should be doing…Sigh. Be gone unreasonable expectations!

  3. I had to learn this the hard way too. I have chronic pain, so even the things I CAN do, are sometimes beyond my reach. We moved into an old home (which I did up and showed on my blog), but there are still things to be done. I’ve learned that I could be happy with what I already have (which is such a blessing and looks great) or worry about the things I have to do – which are far fewer than the completed jobs.

    Have a great week-end.

  4. Sometimes blogland is a blessing and a curse – there are just too many fabulous ideas floating around out here and we can’t possibly do them all (or at least, not all by ourselves!) Melissa I wish I lived close by so I could help you – you have the designer’s eye and I have a passion for power tools! Ahh well. Thanks for sharing when things don’t go as you envisioned – it’s nice to know I’m not the only one! :)

  5. Wow, beautifully written & I think I really needed to hear that, TODAY:)! I have that syndrome, I just recently I paid someone to make slipcovers, what a freeing feeling to put in someone elses hands. I have a new home & 2 boys, 7 & 2. The balancing act is a little touch as times, thanks for your honesty, it’s was soo refreshing! Have a great Friday!

  6. Amy in PA says

    Thanks for the encouragement. Reminds me of the other day when I thought I would do a ‘simple’ task of changing the bulb in our outdoor lamp post – only to discover the the screws were stripped & I had no idea of how to get them out. Even googling for suggestions didn’t help. My husband’s not that handy either, so I put added pressure on myself. After awhile I just gave up & decided to do something I’m really good at to make myself feel better (We’re not all gifted in everything, right?) so I came inside & baked cookies. And when my husband came home, he got the screws out asap, changed the bulb & put new screws in. I’ll certainly be more willing to ask for help – or just skip to the baking cookies part – next time!

  7. You’ll be amused (I hope) to know you were the inspiration for my most recent challenging DIY project! I loved your darling office chairs with the buttons from World Market so much, I decided to recover a bench in the same style (it was a steal of a deal from the Frontgate outlet, but covered in white muslin). I bought all of the various fabrics to recover the cute buttons — and they’ve been sitting in my craft room ever since. I’m so afraid that once I start it won’t work and I’ll be stuck with no bench at all! Maybe this summer . . .

  8. Holly S. says

    You again have wrote about things that make you my favorite blog to read. I like the statement, “we are no power DIY couple”. I have been learning/accepting this about my husband and myself as well. It is easy to get caught up in the DIY world and feel like less b/c my spouse and I cannot do DIY projects. BUT, that does not define who one is as a person. God gave each of us unique gifts and accepting what is/is not your gift is a blessing to stop comparing. Thanks for keeping it real!

    • Absolutely! We all have our strengths and it is so easy to envy someone else’s! Especially when projects look so effortless online! In my world, trial and error and accepting limitations are mixed in with the successes.

  9. Cheryl Thornton says

    a wonderful post…and I would say a valiant attempt at re-creating the fireplace in the picture…koodo’s to you for even attempting that – I have no carpenter skills so you got alot farther than I would have…I wouldn’t take this as a failure at all – failure would have been not even attempting it – I think this should be a success, since you clearly knew that your building skills might not have been up to that level and you tried it anyway – good for you!
    Cheryl from Ontario

    • Thanks, I definitely am looking at it as another step towards what I really want. Not every idea works out perfectly in the real world!

  10. Sometimes it’s good to know you’re not alone. I have been struggling with transferring image onto painted furniture for about a month now. I follow the instructions perfectly, have bought the materials, downloaded the images and yet my success rate is 0% – The poor piece of furniture has about 10 layers of paint on it right now trying to figure it all out. Darn, darn, darn. Why can all the others in blogland do it and I can’t? Frustrated.

    • My guess is that most of us fail many times before we succeed. We just leave the failures out and show the successes. It isn’t pretty to show how things go wrong, but the reality is not every project is a perfect before and after with no mistakes or awkwardness in between!

      Keep on trying! You’ll get it!

  11. Amen sista!!!! I love this…”go for it with GUSTO and not waste a bunch of time on things that are unnecessary or don’t propel us towards our goals.” I am so guilty of getting lost on time-wasters. It can be anything – “Squirrel!!”. :D Thanks for all the little nudges.

  12. This is, by far, the most relevant, pertinent post I have read in ages! Thank you so much! My husband and I are neither super DIYers, and I have often found myself ashamed of the way I envy those couples who can whip out gorgeous, intricate projects on the weekend and still be happily married afterward. ;) We have all been endowed with God-given gifts, and it is only in accepting and appreciating our strong suits, and not dwelling on the things we aren’t as good at, that we can live happy, content, fulfilled lives. I truly appreciate the reminder this morning, and the beautifully articulated post!

  13. Wow. What a fantastic post. Love your way with words. So inspirational. Thanks.

  14. Melissa,
    You had no problem hitting the nail on the head with this well written post. Thank you for the reminder.
    Your Friend,

  15. It is so disappointing when I think I have a brilliant idea and it does not turn out as envisioned. Sigh. Personally maybe the fireplace mantel should just be retired. Sometimes more isn’t better.

  16. Hi Melissa, I have had my share of DIY vision-did-not-match-outcome moments (never say failed!) That’s to say I feel your pain. The sentence “So, now I pass by this wall every day thinking I should finish it, but I just loathe the idea of going back to it.” feels so sad to me. So now, your project is taking up space in MY head, me wanting a solution to INSPIRE your room :-) I looked back at your house tours (old & new) and your inspiration pix. I’m going to jump here & make some suggestions. Whenever a situation is defeating me, I find it useful to step back & go ‘big picture’. Kinda like those pictures where you have to defocus to see the embedded image. Maybe look at the inspiration pix and decide what was appealing to you–was it the chunky fireplace or the abundance of white architectural detail? I think the faux fireplace “failed” because all the focus was on the ‘hole’ (which seemed to suck the energy right out of this project!) I noted your current ‘working’ fireplace and your solution of old doors to hide the TV niche. I think you have inspiration already there–I say carry that idea to your faux fireplace. You could use white paneled bifold doors/shutters mounted on wall, connecting space between mantel & ceiling. That would provide beefed up architecture and connection between fireplace surround & space above. IMHO, right now there is a disconnect between painting, wall color, accessories and fireplace. I even thought of your using the painting in the hole as a ‘screen’ (brainstorming, yes!)–but I think a backdrop of white “paneling” would make the painting really shine. Hope this helps–now off to do MY ‘to do’ list :-)

    • I think all your suggestions and observations are excellent. I agree! The paneling idea was definitely part of my original plan so I am totally on your wavelength! This is an incomplete project and not staged correctly, I know, but I’ll get my steam back and turn this fail in progress to a success, I hope!!! I must! Ha! Thanks for taking the time to offer thoughtful ideas!

  17. I use to do a lot more DIY when I was younger, not so much now. I have a very handy hubby so he does most of my brainstorm projects. I am right there with you Melissa. WE know our strengths and weaknesses by now. Have a wonderful weekend!!
    I am still tweaking my newly organized closet and enjoying the process,

  18. Kim Moore says

    I think you just need to tweak it– replace your lattice effect with real lattice. That will give you some diagonal lines. Right now you have a very up and down thing going. The evenly spaced candles add to this effect. Make some mantel magic with your skillful grouping of unlike objects. The painting is dark, and the light over it more dark, which adds up to dark dark over a static faux fireplace. If you love the painting, remove the light and add lighter, brighter, more fun things to the mantel. Just some thoughts. You’re supper. Don’t forget that.

  19. Kim Moore says

    You’re not supper….you’re super…

  20. It looks to me like you need to trim out the wall, like the one in the picture, to set it apart from the rest of the wall! And also do a new mantlescape.

    You helped me a few years ago with my HUGE mantle and I continue to follow your advice. It has made my mantlescaping so much easier!! Love your blog.


    • Oh yes, this is no where near done or how it should be! I agree!

      Glad the mantel tips helped! I’ll be sure and use them when and if this mantel is done!


  21. Thanks for the post. Blog land is great and a lot of fun but can really make you feel INADEQUATE! Taking the “home tour” on blogs is my favorite thing to do. But it can be the one thing that can ruin my day. Everything is in perfect order, beautiful rooms, no dust in site. It is everything you think you want. What you don’t see is any sign of children living in the home. No sign of a loving husband lingering over a lazy breakfast. When these bloggers tell the real truth, they show you laundry piled so high in that beautiful laundry room that you couldn’t get in the door even if you wanted to. When they show their real life photos, they admit their toddlers dress themselves….clothes are mismatched, hair in their faces, sitting on the countertops etc. They admit they have neglected the other areas of their home and life to create these perfect pictures everyday. I’ve tried to do the DIY’s everyday and knock these wishes off my never ending wish list. It didn’t take long to figure out everything else suffers. My house is a mess, my kids are a mess and I am a mess…but I have a picture of a perfect project in a small clean corner of the house. I am frustrated when these bloggers call themselves a stay at home moms. Some of them are moms who stay home and spend their days in chaos trying to get all these projects done. In my opinion, when you are a stay at home mom, most days revolve around the kids, not them trying to find ways to amuse themselves in the chaos of your projects. As I write this today, my beds are made, my home is clean, we have all eaten breakfast, we are all dressed (I even have make up) on and the laundry is done and it is only 11:00 am. What to do know. Enjoy the order of my life (at least the order of today) and maybe plan a DIY for a day when I have time to really love doing it and if I get frustrated, I’ll put it away to go back to or……not. It doesn’t matter because this is supposed to add joy to my life…not suck it all out because I feel inadequate! I have learned the hard way that life is really short and unless you love spending all day everyday on these projects, you are wasting time. If you are trying to keep up with the perfect bloggers and their perfect looking homes and lives, it will always leaving you feeling inadequate and frustrated. I don’t know anyone who can do everything perfect and do it everyday. If that is what you are striving for, you are going to realize you have put unrealistic expectations on yourself and missed out on the simplicity of life!

    • We all need to find peace with ourselves and the life we have. We all have the same number of hours in our day and get to choose how to spend them. Different seasons call for different priorities and while I don’t enjoy construction projects :-) in this season of my life, I know many do! And they can still be good moms! None of us are perfect or can do it all, we just have to do our best with what we’ve been given.

  22. What if to offset the dark (as noted by Kim Moore), you applied “beadboard” wallpaper on the wall between the mantel and ceiling? and trim it out with simple molding? The painting would look good against white ‘beadboard’. Fixture style would go well with that, too. Wallpaper is easy to apply around light fixture. I’ve used a product from Lowes, about $20 a roll and it works great!

  23. Melissa, I LOVED this post. I, too, am DIY challenged. Having said that, I wondered if Liquid Nails would work on this project??? Rather than hammer and nails? Like I said, I don’t have a clue–but I love your home, and your blog inspires me. Thanks for keeping it real!


  24. I am not a blogger but I am trying to become a good DIYer. I love all the ideas I see out there but sometimes get overwhelmed by all of them that I want to do. I am in accounting and have learned from my ever stressful, constantly behind job that you have to just take one thing at a time. That your inbox will always be full. I am trying to apply this to all the projects in my house now as well. I have also learned to ask for help when I need it (from someone who has a bit more skill than me) It is okay to say, I’m not good at this part.
    This post really spoke to me. To remind me I’m not the only one out there with triumph and fails :) Thanks for being so honest.

  25. Fantastic post. I can totally relate sometimes. I do like DIY, but sometimes I try to do things that aren’t within my skill level and then it stresses me out. Thanks for your honesty!

  26. Are you kidding me? I am The Queen of DIY Screw-Ups! Look at my post from 10 days ago when I was up half the night trying to paint “nautical-looking” stair steps (only 2 mind you!) and painted myself into a corner by using oil paint. And this was after I’d spent a ton of cash on 4 different color paints – and I still don’t like it. After I asphyxiated myself by running the heat and a fan all night, I was able to cover it with latex paint, so I decided to paint a “runner”, only I was rushing to at least get the background painting done and when I ripped up the tape, yes, lots of slate blue bleeding into the white. So….maybe next month I will be able to attempting try number 4.

    As for your fireplace, why don’t you get a wooden trellis from the lumberyard, the type they use for screening and under porches, cut it to size and put it over the slats? I think it would give you just the look. I would paint the slats and the trellis a darker color than the mantel so it recesses and doesn’t compete with the pretty mantel. Perhaps a deep coffee color or gray? It’ll be great!

  27. Amen! We are no DIY couple either. That’s why we have “Handyman Dave.” :)

  28. I feel your pain BUT…. I think you are on to something with your faux fireplace. I just think it would have more impact if you painted the slat shelves a deep charcoal to simulate an iron grate. And attach the cross slat support on the back of the mantle instead of the front. Or you can keep the support flush with the sides of the mantle by attaching a small piece of the extra board from the back side mantle to the back side of the support. Then you could paint that charcoal as well.
    Just a suggestion. :)

  29. Karen Mary says

    Oh boy. I just psyched myself into buying hundreds of pickets, thinking I am perfectly capable of making my own picket fence. Do I have any carpentry skills? Nope. A carpenter friend? Nope. I do have some solid posts already in place to get me started! Some days (the days I buy pickets) I think I can do anything. About an hour into the project I might think otherwise. Wish me luck!

  30. This is the most moving and authentic post that I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you. I will be re-reading thisost a couple of times. Wish we could meet up for coffee to discuss further.

  31. There is a half finished desk that has been in our garage since Dec of last year. It is stripped and has been waiting to be re-sanded, primed and painted for over half a year now. I can’t even tell you how looking at it now makes me want to list it for free on Kijiji. It seemed like such a great DIY project at the time. Now that desk in many ways has robbed me of time to do other projects or spend time with my family and it’s taking up space. Sometimes, time is as valuable as money and in this case, I would have been better off either buying a new desk or at least finding a less complicated piece to refinish. So you’re not alone at all.

  32. ” If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again. And if at first you don’t fricassee, fry, fry a hen.”
    Loved this post and am glad to see I’m not alone with this compulsion (oops, I mean passion). You made an excellent point about attempting projects without the right tools. Most of my failures are a result of trying to make do with what I had. It’s like trying to make fried chicken without the bird. That being said, I’ve learned from every failure, and like brainstorming, these have often lead to even better ideas.
    I’m about to attempt to paint a piano (which is how I found your site). No solid color for me. I’m attempting an animal print! It worked on a planter, sooooooooo………….
    Even if this doesn’t work, I know how to cover it (always have a back-up plan). Would hate to keep looking at that thing and wondering “what if”.
    Adding your site to my favorites. Keep up the great work!

    • I agree! Most of these “in process failures” lead to better things! Thanks for adding me! And good luck with that animal print piano, now THAT I can’t wait to see! :-)

  33. Am I the only one who thought it looked pretty good as it is? Not perfect, perhaps, but it looks better than the air vent. So pretend it’s done, and no one will be the wiser? And maybe some afternoon the power tool fairy will show up and finish it like you wanted! It turns out that I really don’t enjoy painting, so the pieces of furniture I bought along the way to paint “like I saw on a blog” are not painted like I had hoped. But life continues on, and the furniture is still usable, and my non-blog-reading family doesn’t really care! My teenage son says he likes the orangey-pine color of his bed. I am still planning to change that color someday, however!

    • Ha, well I’m glad you think it looks OK in the picture. It is barely tacked on the wall because I didn’t have the right tools. :-)

  34. Well said.

    We all have strengths and weaknesses. No one person can (or should) be able to do everything. Good for you for trying, and for learning in the process. I’m sharing this post on my Facebook page.

  35. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I am getting ready to tackle a yard project that is out of my league. I know it. My husband knows it. The fact that i am 6.5 months pregnant has nothing to do with it. Seeing the end project for any space just isnt a gift i was born with or encouraged through the years. We are moving in August and the top half of the tree in our front yard was knocked down from 80 mph straight line winds. The tree has to go and we desperately need curb appeal. The most I have ever done in my yard is a vegetable garden that yielded only beets and corn. So… After talking (asking tons of questions and probably annoying) to a professional at a nearby nursery, I have a plan. I feel good about it too. Just nervous. So again, thanks for encouraging us.

  36. You are good at painting and using the tape to get straight lines, cutting the lattice would be an easy task, so why not just paint the vertical stripes as in the photo you like so well on the wall and then just add the lattice over the top? I bet at one of the thrift stores you could find a large frame the size you want then paint that and lay it over the lattice. Part faux and part real of the original idea you had? You can do this! And if that would seem too flat/shallow all you would have to do would be to put some little wood chunks behind the lattice and attach the lattice to the frame with a staple gun would work to fasten that together. Then just a few small paneling nails to hold in place…….. Easy

  37. Or to make it even more simple use hard as nails instead of staples, on the lattice only to attach to frame, use the small paneling nails on just the corners to hold in place and touch up the nail heads.

  38. deniseinark says

    Bless your sweet heart. Here I am on (sort of) the other side of this thing. LOL I just started to write that we are a DIY power couple. Actually – *he* is the one who knows how to do everything. I get -ideas-….He said he just THOUGHT HGTV brought him grief and then along came Pinterest! In any case, between the two of us we can do almost anything. Our issue is that I have ADD and boink around between ideas so fast that things seldom get finished. If I hit a snag, there are a jillion other interesting things waiting for attention. I completely understand the frustration of looking at that thing and being stymied. I also understand feeling as though it is *your* project and *you* need to finish it. But what about this… what if you gave yourself as the idea person here (hey, designers do it all of the time!) and hired the rest of it. It looks like a small enough job and as long as you made good communication with the handy person and his tools, you can have the fireplace you want. Furthermore, if you can get past that engineering/tool snag, your own creativity might kick back in right away. It’s just a thought. You sound like this thing drags on you every time you walk past and a hundred or so dollars might not be a high cost to put an end to that nonsense.

    • :-) Thanks for the encouragement, I think you are right and that is one of my takeaways…should just hire out when I get these ideas instead of putting us in the position of doing something that kind of stresses us out! Too bad you are not our neighbors :-)

  39. deniseinark says

    Rats, I meant to say, “what if you gave yourself credit as the idea person here…”

  40. I heard about your e-book and stopped by to see if it’s something I need to read. Evidently it is, because this post was right on target with what I’ve been trying to teach myself for the past 8 months. I want to stop pretending I live an artistic life, and live it. I feel like I’ve made progress, but post is the bit of encuragement i needed today. Thanks.

  41. Melissa, First, I want to say I really enjoy the Inspired Room. I look forward to its arrival to my IN box!
    I was quite surprised to read your disparaging comments about yourself. You are incredibly gifted and I hope you continue to see that in yourself.
    Maybe you could see your mantle project as “not quite complete”. Your inspiration photo showed a dark, contrast wall. Perhaps you could incorporate that to help complete the project? Keep up the good work

    • Well thank you, I just feel it is important to be real … and construction is just not one of my things. At least for now! Maybe someday I’ll get more into it.

      Thanks for your kind words! ;-)

  42. I simply want to say thank you for your honesty. It makes me feel better about my “failed DIY burlap Roman shade” that I ended up hanging in my garage. ;)

  43. I stumbled upon this as I searched for inspiration to complete some projects that I just never seem to finish. Your words spoke to me even better than any how-to or tutorial guide ever could. I am going to re-analyze many of my DIY projects, and determine which ones will give me the most joy & satisfaction to complete without overestimating my skill level. I just might finish something, and shock the heck out of my husband at the same time!

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