Conquering YOUR DIY Demons

You. Guys.  I am having the best time working on Cara’s Office this week, if have you ever questioned her genuine-ness, let me tell you, this girl is the real deal.  I don’t know if I have ever met a nicer person in my life.  We have talked about everything under the sun,  and one of my favorite chats was about YOU!

Have you ever heard the expression Too Far Down The Tunnel?  I feel like every project/room that I do is bigger and better than the last.  I LOVE trying new things and rarely do things more than once.  The problem?  The stuff that I am doing is WAY down deep in the tunnel of DIY skills.  I just think (even though I know that this is SO NOT THE CASE) that everyone of you have read my blog from the beginning.  Travelling the same DIY journey and acquiring the same skills.

So.  Chatting with Cara my eyes were totally opened to the error of my ways when she said “I love looking at your projects, but I don’t think I would ever attempt them.”

Ding! (That click was the light bulb in my brain FINALLY understanding  a few things that have kept me up at night.)

Basic DIY Series

So I am going to be sharing a post with you every Friday called Basic DIY.  It may be something from a room project that I am working on, or my favorite tips, or a project that you can execute in less than 10 minutes.  Its all about the basic skills that you need to get started working on your own fun projects,  so that you can follow your gut intuition when it comes to decorating for yourself (remember no PB catalog should dictate how your house FEELS.)

Are you as excited about this as I am?  Are you ready to start walking into the tunnel of DIY love?!

I want to know what YOU want to learn.  It could be something as simple as my trick for getting paint off of outlet covers (because sometimes/all the time, I am too impatient to track down a screwdriver and think that it will be fine…)

So speak up, what Basic DIY skills do you need to know to conquer your DIY demons?

Love Your Guts


  • Kilee Nickels 12.07.2013 at 07:41

    This is my kind of series. I am ALL ABOUT basic DIY – it is the only kind I do! My hubby can do the intense stuff, but I love quick and easy. Can't wait- and I love that you and Cara are friends- my two fav bloggers. Makes me want to visit my in-laws just to be near your awesomeness. :)


  • Hannahbelle 12.07.2013 at 08:00

    Mandi do you ever work with plaster walls? I'd love to know some tips for decorating in older houses, because I have plaster walls and I can't just go riddling them with holes and putting in heavy floating shelves and all this stuff! Also maybe a why and how on where to place stuff like shelving — obviously it has to do with the studs and all that but I need to know more rules about how to handle that kind of thing… And maybe some stuff about how to correctly prime hardwood floors for painting or re-painting! I have a hardwood floor that I want to re-paint and I know the steps (clean, sand, prime?, paint, seal) but I don't know what to use. It was great that you did Dylan's room but it's not hardwood, it's concrete, and I'm sure the steps are different!

    Also some tips about accenting a room would be great. Like, how do you plan your room's color schemes and put everything together (have you seen Domino magazine's book for decorating, maybe something like that where they show you the final room and then show you what the jumping-off point was) — I feel like I get 'ideas' but then I don't know how to make them affordable or my own or what kind of textures to do….

    And I think that you have a pretty good 'budget' sort of outline for rooms — it doesn't seem like you spend thousands and thousands of dollars to get the look that you want. Maybe a 'basic budget' price for a bunch of different items (like, what you'd pay for a couch + diy costs, max, or what you would get a chair you were going to re-do for, max. I loved your Craigslist series on negotiating!)

  • the Danosaur 12.07.2013 at 08:10

    Tools! Whenever I'm reading a how-to and a tool that I've never heard of or don't already own (which is basically everything beyond a circular saw and a tool kit–I know, pretty basic) gets mentioned, that's my immediate "don't think I can do it" switch. So it would be super helpful to hear what a tool does, how much it costs, how hard it is to learn to use, whether there's an alternative to buying said tool, etc. And I think a basic DIY series sounds great!

  • Becca 12.07.2013 at 08:13

    Super cool! I would also love some tips on plaster walls and would love to see some quick fixes to brighten up the room. Working full time and living by myself I don't have a ton of time for major projects, but I would love to do more to liven up my house.

    I'm looking forward to this series!

    Ladyface Blog

  • 12.07.2013 at 08:40

    I'd really like to overcome my fear of using power tools so I can do more then just painting and furniture redo projects… I have a half finished half bath and a jigsaw still sitting in the box and the only thing stopping me is I'm afraid I won't know how to use the jigsaw, or I won't understand how to cut the angles and I'll feel stupid. Which is insane since I have no problem building garden walls, ripping down wallpaper, and hauling furniture from the side of the road into my living room.

  • Ashley Hansen 12.07.2013 at 09:07

    Making a lamp! I know it can be easy but it looks intimidating and I know you are great with making new light fixtures and lamps. Although maybe that's not such a 10 min project. haha.

  • Heather Feather 12.07.2013 at 10:29

    I would love anything simple, temporary, and maybe for renters. I'm really excited that you're doing something in a rental right night!

  • Alissa 12.07.2013 at 15:25

    Is it weird that my answer is "I want to learn proper cleanup"? What do you do with your paintbrushes after you paint? Do you throw your roller out or clean it? How do people make their paintbrushes look like new after using them? I've attempted cleaning rollers after using them and just seem to make it worse. Also, I usually don't have the energy to go through another multi-step process after I just finished painting a headboard. Is it horrible for our environment to throw those little supplies and brushes away?

    Sometimes I don't attempt a project because the cleanup gives me anxiety. Plus, I know that I am super impatient when it comes to painting, and cleanup is even worse. I should also mention that I am a messy creater. I have to clean the whole kitchen after baking…paint is a lot more permanent than flour.

  • Lisa 12.07.2013 at 16:37

    Ditto! I've tackled the jigsaw a time or two, but anything else quite frankly terrifies me. I really want to be able to do some nice molding on my own…

  • Gwen, The Makerista 12.07.2013 at 18:12

    gosh, i love this! what i think would be fun is if you would show us some of the tools you use the most and what you use them for. i think sometimes the scariest things in a supply list are the tools. if someone doesn't have a tool they feel like they wouldn't know how to use it or they think, "well, when would i ever use that again?"

    this sounds fun!

  • Cindy 12.07.2013 at 20:34

    Something that is really interesting to me right now is the idea of coherence. It's not really a project, just an idea that those with the "designing gene" just seem to "get," but then the rest of us end up with a house with each room looking completely different from the last. Or in one room: what is the difference between a room that just seems to come together, and a room that looks like a swap meet?

  • McKenzie @ Girl Loves Glam 12.07.2013 at 22:02

    This is a great idea! I totally chicken out over some projects and I think it is because I am afraid of failing too hard! I will love this series!

  • Jamie Austin 13.07.2013 at 06:23

    This is an awesome idea! Can't wait to see what all you come up with! I am in the process of buying an old building on Main Street in my little town. We have plans to live upstairs and I will have a party planning business downstairs. Both areas need a lot of work. I'm not sure yet what I'll need help with, but I'm sure I'll come up with plenty. :-) If you have any ideas up front, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!
    Jamie @

  • Brittany Helen 13.07.2013 at 07:07

    Painting furniture. What types of paint work best and can vs. spray paint. Then, what finishes to do? I'm always afraid to paint furniture and then realize I used the wrong paint or that the finish makes my paint yellowed.

  • mbolke 13.07.2013 at 08:16

    I just finished my very first DIY furniture project, thanks to you, Mandi! I scored this classic hexagon table at the Salvation Army for $20! and refinished it using your "clean glazing" technique. Now I'm hooked!

    You can see before and after pics here:

    I'm so excited to see your new tutorials!

  • Draven 13.07.2013 at 10:27

    Power tools are my biggest obstacle as well. I can only read up so much on what certain tools do and how to work them, but putting them into practice is a DIY killer. I see so many free how-to's for building my own furniture, but I'm afraid they'll end up looking like a 2nd-grader's wood shop experiment, lol. I'd love to see videos demonstrating these tools. Oh, and second the fear of cutting angles!

  • Sarah McK 13.07.2013 at 10:29

    Yay!! I love this! Considering how I just painted a room for the first time ever I am a DEFINITE beginner.

  • Queen E. 13.07.2013 at 20:20

    Sewing! There are so many DIYs that involve sewing and I usually just skip over them (or attempt to use a hot glue gun instead which really doesn't work too well in case you were curious…)

  • k.dority 15.07.2013 at 09:00

    What a fantabulous idea! When I first saw you on Nate you did a DIY yarn lampshade. I loved it! I would love to see some simple DIY projects that bring color and Mandiliciousness to a room. I follow your blog for inspiration. I love seeing your projects and room makeovers. It gives me courage to say, buy a leather couch to make leather pillow covers lol. Because I would totally do that now. You have inspired me to ask myself well why not? Why not switch out my dining room table? Why not get a new rug? Why not paint my front and back doors black? I may not do some of your projects but your creativity and tenacity are inspiring! Love you Mandi!

  • Laura Holte 15.07.2013 at 18:41

    I love this idea! One of my biggest hangups for DIY projects is how to attach items to walls. Any type of walls. Any item to any type of walls. Another hangup is sourcing items. I just moved to a VERY small area and rented a house. We do not have a Home Goods store within 100 miles. :( Where do I go for that great rug, or fabric, or cool stencil, or an orange couch?? Another issue is that we are just getting started. Do we come up with a plan for the whole room and then try to figure it out over time? Do I just keep doing stuff I like and hope it one day coalesces into a great room? Clearly, I am a big DIY chicken.

  • AnnaPK 17.07.2013 at 19:34

    I would love some tips for actually getting it all done! I have tons of great projects and even some skills to do them, but I am having trouble managing the must-do stuff (dishes, laundry, cooking, child bathing, etc) with all of the want-to-do stuff. I see great stuff by the road or at the thrift store but I often pass it by because I can't figure how I would have the time to actually do something with it. I have two awesome chairs in the garage that need to be recovered but have been sitting there for years. :(


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