Here’s Why I DIY No Matter How Long It Takes (Plus, Some Studio Updates)

I’ve been writing this DIY and decorating blog for about 17 years now. I started it in 2007 when we lived in our tiny little condo over by Baylor University. Once I started remodeling that condo, there was no turning back for me. I had done plenty of decorating up to that point, and was even working as an interior decorator when I started this blog. But once I started tearing out kitchen countertops and replacing them, tiling backsplashes, putting down new bathroom tile (even the peel and stick kind), building banquette seating, and on, and on, I knew that from that point on, I was a DIYer. I would hire things out when necessary, but I’d do as much as I could.

I found so much satisfaction in the whole DIY process. It was equal parts technical and artistic. And even though I’ve never been mathematically-minded, when I’m building, the numbers just seem to “click” in my mind, like a puzzle that just makes perfect sense. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a fair share of frustration along the way during my DIYing journey, but the process of learning different skills was thrilling to me. The constant desire to push just a little bit beyond my comfort zone had me doing thing that I never thought possible. And the payoff of getting a project finished, stepping back to look at it, and thinking to myself, “I actually built/made/sewed that with my own two hands,” was so satisfying that it became addictive.

There were a lot of things in that tiny little condo that I was so proud of. There was the kitchen remodel. It was so tiny, but I loved this little kitchen. (That’s the same color as my kitchen cabinets in our house. I’ve loved that same cabinet color for well over a decade now.)

And then there was the breakfast area with the banquette seating that I built…

There were so many other projects in that condo that I loved — projects that helped me learn and grow as a DIYer. But that condo really taught me a lot about who I am and what I love. I am a DIYer, and I love making and creating things with my own hands. So for the last 17 years, I’ve been DIYing everything I can. If I think I’m at all capable, I’m going to do it myself.

So that’s why, for the last 17 years, it has driven me a little batty every time someone questions why I’m doing something when I could have just gone out and bought something. “You could have saved yourself so much time,” they say. I cringe a little when someone says something like, “Why are you wasting all this time making this when you could have just bought one, saved time, and moved on?” I always think those people must be new here, but surprisingly, they often aren’t new here. And I just want to say, “Do you not know me AT ALL?”

I don’t know that I could even find the words to express the absolute, immense joy and happiness I get when showing someone my house for the first time, walking them from room to room, and pointing out all of the things I’ve done myself. When I walk them through my front door, after they’ve walked up the front porch steps (that I built myself) and past the front porch (that I built with the help of my brother), I walk them into this…

…with the fireplace that I built, and a room filled with trim that I installed, and curtains that I sewed, and a faux marble coffee table that I painted, and pillows that I made.

I get to show them the credenza that I built, and the ottomans that I built and upholstered, and the lampshades that I made, and the frames that I customized…

Then I get to show them the music room, with the ceiling that I installed, and the walls that I stenciled (that people always mistake for wallpaper because of the black accent that I painstakingly added), and the artwork that I made using 6400 tiny wood pieces, and the tables that I remade, and the pillows that I remade, and the floors that I sanded and refinished.

And then there’s the doors that I made, and the bookcases that I built, and the wainscoting that I installed, and the tryptic that I painted, and my spinet piano that I stripped and refinished.

You get the point. I love that almost every surface in my house is a result of my own blood, sweat, and tears. I love that there are so many things in our house that are totally custom to our house, and that have been built and/or customized by my hands. I love that I get to live in these rooms that are a product of my creativity and vision. It’s an amazing feeling.

So when I have a vision for a one-of-a-kind thing for my house that I want to make, it doesn’t matter to me how long it takes. Don’t get me wrong. Part of me does wish I could snap my fingers and have things like my pendant light done in a moment. But that’s not reality. I had a vision, it’s taking way longer than I thought it would, but I’m pressing on. There is no part of me that thinks, “Wow, I could have just bought a light and saved time.” Saved time? I’m not in any kind of race, but most of all, spending my days in creative endeavors, using my hands to make things, and getting to create one-of-a-kind things for my home, is not something I would ever consider a waste of time. I don’t care if I have to do a project over ten times to get it to look like what I envision. Time spent DIYing and creating is never time wasted. That’s precisely how I want to spend my days, and I thank God every single day that He has given me the ability to spend my days doing what I love. Not everyone can say that they get to do that.

When I get my pendant light finished, it will be a one-of-a-kind light. No one else will have one like it. It will be a conversation piece. It will have a story behind it that I can laugh about (all of my trial and error) and remember fondly (those hours painting spoons with my mom and my friend around my studio work table). And I really do think it’ll be beautiful. I contrast that with my kitchen light…

That’s a light that I bought online. I didn’t make a quick decision. I really shopped and shopped to find something that I thought was completely unique — something that I hadn’t seen in any other blogger’s or Instagrammer’s house. But since then, do you know how many times I’ve seen that light in other people’s rooms on Instagram? Countless. I thought I was buying something so unique, but that light seems to be ubiquitous. And every time I scroll by it in yet another person’s home, it makes me want to take that light down and find (or make) something else to go there. I’d much rather have something unique, created from my own artistic vision, and made by my own hands, than have a common, ubiquitous item in my house, even if it takes me a month and countless trials and errors to have that unique, custom, one-of-a-kind thing for my home.

If my main goal was to just have a finished house, I could have paid someone to do everything, used all builder-grade products, and had a finished house eight years ago. But that’s never been my goal. DIY is my goal. Putting my own creative stamp on everything in my home is my goal. Seeing my creative and artistic vision come to reality by the work of my own hands is my goal. And having a completely unique home that is totally unlike anyone else’s is my goal. And while a finished room is always a great reward, the process is the fun part. The process is the part that energizes me, excites me, and fulfills me. While I have my fair share of store-bought items in my home, there’s nothing about buying an item and putting it in my home that energizes me, excites me, or fulfills me like DIYing something unique does.

With all of that said, here are a few updates on the studio. First up, if you’ll remember, when I finally put my pendant light together, I realized that I needed double the amount of spoons than I had prepared. Here’s how it looked originally…

Even if I had taken the time to spread them all out the 3/4-inch spacing that I had planned, they still would have looked really sparse.

So far, I’ve gotten the rest of the spoons on the last five rings. I started at the bottom and I’m working my way up. You can see what a difference it has made by doubling the number of spoons. Five rows down, ten to go. They’re not perfectly placed/spaced yet. Every time I start on a new row, everything shifts. I’ll have to wait until they’re all attached before the final placement/spacing of the spoons, but you can get the idea…

For my desk, I decided to do a white base with the walnut top. I ordered the walnut veneer, and it arrived yesterday. I’m always so anxious to see the veneer and see what kind of grain pattern it has on it. This one has some very stripy grain patterns in it, but I think once it’s oiled, it’ll look very pretty.

And I’ve made my final decision on the office chair fabric. This is the one decision that has made it very obvious that there’s no one decision that will please everyone. 😀 People have very strong opinions about the color of my chair, but this is my final decision. The fabric has been ordered, so there’s no turning back, and no second-guessing. I’ve decided on…

Yep, it’s dark red. Not pink. Dark red. I just couldn’t bring myself to do a contrasting color (green, eggplant, teal…no, no, and no). I really wanted a dark pink, but my mom encouraged me to try out some dark reds since there are reds elsewhere in the studio, like the dark red in the floral mural and fabric, the dark red in the pendant light, and the dark red on the huge calendar. So I ordered five dark red velvets, narrowed it down to three, and then my mom came over, and we both agreed that this is the one. So it’s ordered. And since I’m going with dark red, I won’t be doing white piping or a white monogram. Dark red with white trim is a little to Santa Claus for me. But I’m still going to do a monogram. I just need to find another color.

So those are the updates so far. If all goes as planned today, I hope to have a finished pendant light to show y’all tomorrow. But if not tomorrow, it should for sure be Thursday at the latest.



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  1. Can I borrow your mom to help me make some decisions for our home. She always seems to know what will work best when you are stuck!
    You are selling yourself short to say you are a DIYer. You are a professional in so many fields. I admire the fact that you don’t let not knowing something stop you. You research and try – admirable qualities. And look what you’ve accomplished!!!

  2. I would never have chosen red, but I believe it will be stunning! I am also curious about the color of the monogram. I know you will surprise me and that it will be perfect!

      1. Just me but l think the monogram in metalic gold would be beautiful. I do machine embroidery
        And love the look of the gold on stuff like a hassock l recovered for a dear friend. I embroidered her favorite bible script in a corner in gold and its beautiful.
        Just my opinion as usual.

  3. Kristi, your DIY skills dwarf anyone out there that thinks they can do anything because they wallpapered their bathroom, once. I think what you do is amazing, and I love what you wrote today, boy I needed that, sometimes I cannot see the forest for the trees sort of situation, large old farmhouse lovingly being restored, and polished up to what she should have been since the beginning and 250 acres that call to me to keep the trails clear, plant crops in fields, plant food plots for wild turkeys and deer, take care of my chickens, and the never ending stream of “it’s always something” that needs taken care of. I have an able-bodied husband who is often away on business, it pays the bills. So, I remember this lovely young lady in Waco, and I put my big girl panties on and go forth and conquer. When we are finished, if ever, you will be able to run your hands over everything here on the farm and know that we were here and made things like we wanted them to be. Time is what you make of it.

  4. Love your choice for the desk chair! I love pink and red together. I am building a fabric collection in the two colours. (not a typo am 🇨🇦😊)
    One day I will have enough to make a quilt.

  5. Love the chair fabric color choice!
    Different subject – what are the jar like lanterns that are sitting on the counter under the window going to be used for?

    1. Those aren’t for decorative purposes. Those are our solar-powered lights that we use when our electricity goes off. I need to find another place to put them. But we’re going to get a whole-house generator soon, so we may not need them after that.

      1. How and where did you acquire your woodworking skills? I can plumb, wire and do trim with my eyes closed. A table saw scares the hell out of me! What kind of table saw do you have? Small portable? Large woodworkers size?
        So far, I am in love with my two electric miter saws. But I’m lusting after a 12″ Dewalt Compounding, sliding miter saw!
        Why do you have 2 miter saw, she asked? Inherited one after I bought one. I’ve got a fine tooth blade on one and regular blade on the other. Mostly because I’m lazy! Same reason I have more than one serger! LOL

  6. I have bragged about you to so many people and directed them to your blog! I feel a sense of accomplishment, too, when you successfully finish a project! I cheered you on from far away!!

  7. I understand the DIYer effect! I don’t think I’m as infected as you are! LOL! But I am all about doing creative projects and getting exactly what you want.
    I love your kitchen light. Just happy you didn’t take the fast contractor way and stick a boob light up there! My daughter has those and I cringe every time I see them.
    I once took an iron/wood 40 lb light fixture I found at a second hand store for $16 that was Italianate in design and turned it into a hobnail globe, farmhouse light. Got to have the vision and figure out how to get there from here. You have that ability in spades!
    I think my only cringe-worthy moments are when you go back and redo something before you are finished with the other rooms. But you gotta do you!
    Keep up the good work! You are an inspiration to all of us.

  8. Oh I’m excited for the red chair! I don’t know how you are going to do the monogram, but can you do the monogram in the same red color but raised slightly, so it’s tone on tone? Or same color different fabric? I just love a good tone on tone moment. 🙂

  9. Your work is amazing and superb. Never apologize for “doing it your way”. There are very few people that I admire and I want to say that you are on my list of people I admire the most! I really wish that I had your incredible skills and were a few years younger as I think that I would copy some of your designs. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to reading when you post!

  10. Did ya ever stop and really thing about why you’re seeing that light fixture that you bought (not DIY) everywhere now? It’s because YOU used it. The only reason you don’t see more of your original designs is because they’re too difficult to copy…not all of them certainly, but many of them.

  11. I get it!! I am the same! I love to look at the projects that I did. I am no where near your level of skill and know-how though. I’m also not artistic, but that is OK! Thank you for taking us along your diy adventures!! I learn so much and get so inspired.

  12. PROV 31:17
    She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
    18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
    19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

  13. I totally get the satisfaction looking at things that you made yourself! I’m sometimes walking through our house looking at all the projects (far fewer and mostly smaller than yours, but still) that I made and feel this intense sense of happiness and satisfaction. Some years ago, I took up sewing clothes again, after not having done that since my teenage years. And again, there is this feeling you describe so well of being so happy about the uniqueness of the things I wear. I cater to my own taste and do not follow fashion trends. And it gives me tremendous satisfaction (and a sense of self-sufficiency) that I can even make my own t-shirts, tank-top-bras, even socks 🙂 I agree with another comment that you belong among the people I admire a lot, for your vision, creativity, ability and tenacity. Thank you that not only do you do all that but you share it with us!

  14. Way to go,Ms Kristi! I hope someday to work on things I love, even though it’ll be different than what you do. I want to piece quilt, crochet, maybe knit, or embroidery. Right now I need to work. I grew up doing my own sewing, making/ piecing quilts and quilting. We learned to embroider, but not crocheting. I only learned some from my mother in law and YouTube video 😂. I have a granny square afghan started, but not finished. Circumstances keep me busy otherwise, but hopefully one day! I’m definitely not a carpenteress 😃. I wish 💜

  15. I love everything you do. I am so envious and wish I had just a few of your skills. You should be so proud to show others your home. I can’t wait to see the light fixture, chair and desk.

  16. I guess people really don’t understand a DIY’er and a blogger. There is nothing more satisfying than see your own vision to fruition. Puts a smile on the face!

  17. I don’t think of you as a DIY-ER. I consider you a creative artist who also knows construction skills. DIY to me means you see something you want and figure out how to make it. But YOU dream up a totally new concept of an item, and figure out how to make it. That is an artist! I would only suggest that you purchase something to get you to the finish line, and that is a purely selfish thing for me to do, so I can see the end game of a big project and the start of another. ( Like the front yard that you hoped to at least get started again.) I just get excited to see what is next for you!

  18. I once but up board and batten all by myself in my home office. You would’ve thought I had built a 2 story mansion out of sticks with how proud I felt of myself.

    I LOVE doing projects myself…but I also have ADHD and struggle when things take a long time to complete and too often give up. I have SO. MANY. TOOLS. that it is a miracle my husband still lets me live here with all of my unfinished products and barely used tools.

    I love your blog!!!

  19. I have followed you since the start. Do I always agree with your choices? Nope, but dang I sure do appreciate how you get to the end result which is perfect for you and Matt. I love your “yeah that decision sucked so I’m gonna do this” attitude!
    I too am naturally inclined to be a DIYer, and can only explain it as “feeding the beast within “.
    Keep feeding your beast… this gal will continue reading and watching!

  20. I love your blog and seeing just how talented you are! I am only slightly crafty and love the little DIY things I do and love showing them off so I totally understand. I wish I could do the things you do! I also love how transparent you are when things don’t work out, are messy, etc. and then you work through it.

    You’re also a full time caregiver and I don’t think we really have a clue as to how much you do every single day for your husband while doing all of the other house “stuff” and DIYing!!

    You are an amazing woman and an inspiration to many of us.

  21. I enjoyed reading every word of today’s blog. I’ve read it three times. I love that you enjoy showing your home to friends and feeling good about it. If I lived close to you I would be begging you for a walk through of your home with you showing me everything. My goodness Kristi, your list of DIYs is longer than most other DIYers I’ve ever read about or seen. You have the perfect right to be so proud…..heck, you even have to right to feel smug about your achievements.
    AND….I would say 99.9% of your store bought items are things that you completely custom remade to Kristi style. There is no way those cabinets in your studio can be labeled IKEA. They are all KRISTI.
    I will mast likely read today’s blog a couple more times before the day is over.

  22. Do you or your mother do hand work? If it would even appeal to you, could a needlepoint or embroidered monogram be done on that fabric? There are so many options, silk thread tone on tone or variegated, metallic or ombre effect. My aunt did a monogram with a very fine wire, it was beautiful. Maybe kind of old fashioned but unique.

  23. Just curious, do you have an embroidery attachment to your sewing machine so that you can do the monogram yourself, or are you going to have it done by someone else?

  24. Kristi I have followed you since the condo days. It has been a very interesting journey. I have never always agreed with you choices but in the end I realize I love it. When you first bought this house I was so surprised. It looked horrible. It looked like nothing but tearing it down was a solution. But I still followed and when you got your first room completed I could see how you visualized it from the beginning. I cannot wait to read your post and see your pictures. I am too old to do this kind of thing myself so I live vicariously through you. And I am so happy I found this blog way back when. Your house is a show case. Some magazine should showcase your home. It is gorgeous and onoy getting better.

  25. AND the electrical outlets. AND the wallpaper. AND the…. (insert your personal touch).

    I read a comment on a YT channel that I casually check in on:
    You are paying THEM (Big Food corporations) to NOT make your own meals, bread, desserts, et al.

    That has stuck with me, all spring.

    YOU, Kristi, have saved so much money on your own unique visions. You aren’t paying them. You march to the beat of your own drum. Don’t stop! Your visions and projects only help the rest of us to understand the thought process of what and how to achieve stuff we’ve never done, but wanted to.

    PS: Shout-out to Lori for helping the spoon project. And that dehumidifier! Yay for Matt! (I’m doing my weekly recap of your blog)

  26. I am in awe of your talent-design AND DIY and I LOVE the red fabric choice. I cannot wait to see it on the chair!

  27. First of all, let me say I want to be like you when I “grow up” (I turned 55 today – 😂). I love reading your blog – especially when you write about your thoughts and the whys to the process! Your grit and determination to get things done is inspiring. (I tend to get overwhelmed when a project takes a long time to complete.) Thanks for sharing your journey with us!