Thursday, June 16, 2011

Left Brain, Meet Right Brain

DIY Whirl-It Lampshade via Pickles
I am not a very crafty person.  Not to suggest that I lack artistic merit or creativity, but I simply never learned to sew or knit or crochet; I was never great at using paper or glue or wood or ribbon or beads; I'm completely inept at painting and drawing, and I'd be at a loss if someone handed me a camera with more than two photo options.  It isn't that I'm incapable of learning, but the idea of it in the past has stopped me in my tracks.  Why?  My best guess is that it's because I am a chronic over-thinker and second-guesser.

While I have an eye for beautiful things, I can't seem to bring them into fruition on my own... you know, without a tutorial, using only my imagination, hands and a set of tools.  I'm astounded at the things I see online that people make, and always wonder how on earth they even thought to do it in the first place!

(Case in point << awesome-tastic pendant lamp.)

There's no question that I am equally right- and left-brained, which I think makes this particular issue especially frustrating for me.  I am such a day-dreamer and long to live my life being creative and artistically productive... but I also get bogged down in logic, attention to detail, and perfectionism.  Battling between these two aspects of my personality literally causes me mental strain, and as a result, I tend not to try anything at all.

The truth is, I'm feeling the itch.  The itch for freedom and space and money to finally take some risks and start making things.  This desire has made me realize the bright side to my affliction, such as it is:  I follow instructions really well, I have a good eye for balance and exactness, and I'm passionate and eager to create something that I can touch with my own two hands.  So what do I do?  Luckily, I actually have an answer to this question:


Earlier this year, through the maze-like world of design blogs, I stumbled across furniture-building genius, Ana White's Web site and it has literally changed my life.  It's changed my life, and I haven't even built anything yet!

Ana not only builds things, but she creates step-by-step plans on how you (meaning I) can build DIY furniture that costs next to nothing, and are comparable to the Pottery Barn/Restoration Hardware/West Elm pieces in which they are (usually) based.

What that means is that instead of paying $1,100 for this:

Furniture Factory Cart via Restoration Hardware

You pay just $75 and build this:

Factory Cart Coffee Table via Ana White

Considering my blooming interest in furniture and design (on the cheap!), I freaked out a little, and what I thought might be a passing phase has become a full-blown obsession.  The only problem is that I have a) no space, and b) no tools. 

As a result of this discovery, I posted a link all over the place knowing that someone would be as excited as I was.  Turned out, my friend Shane from down in Los Angeles was equally if not more excited and began taking on building projects right away.  I have been unabashedly living vicariously through her for months now, because she has the tools and the space and the house to really get her hands dirty.  Also, she is insanely talented.

Image credit: Shane Strickman

Outdoor lounger made out of IKEA bed slats, people!  Can you handle it?

When I grow up, I wanna be like Shane.  I want to see what I want in my mind's-eye and make it, with no hesitation and full confidence in my abilities to do it.  I'm getting more and more anxious having to wait for the ability to build something—anything—and I am counting down the days until I have a patio or garage all to myself so I can revel in seeing wood and nails and paint and saws all strewn about.  Safely, of course.

Until then, some pretty things I want to make or build in my dreams, from Ana White and beyond...

DIY sliding barn door via House*Tweaking

DIY woven pendant lamp via Poppytalk

Reclaimed wood headboard via Ana White

Leaning wall shelf via Ana White
Vintage yardstick side table via PatinaWhite

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