Monday, February 7, 2011

Top 3 FREE things that EVERY DIY-er should own

I am a fan/follower of Grosgrain and lately she has been doing a series on her blog about the top 10 big-ticket items every DIY-er should own.  So far she has listed a sewing machine, a d-SLR camera, and Photoshop, together costing thousands of dollars, and we are only on day 3.  I am sure that punctuating this list of expensive "must-haves" will be the Sizzix cutting machine that she has been whoring out featuring on her blog lately.  p.s. If you are looking for a cheaper Photoshop alternative, download GIMP, its a free, open-source photo editing program.  You can also download Inkscape, which is a free vector editing program, comparable to Adobe Illustrator. I didn't have any Adobe programs until only a few months ago and these free versions worked just fine!

I understand that these items are "big-ticket" and therefore will be expensive, but I disagree with Grosgrain's approach them that every DIY-er should own them.  I think that these are GREAT items for any DIY-er to own, and many of us probably aspire to them own someday, but just because you can't afford a $2,000 camera and a $700 computer program you shouldn't feel like you can't DIY something and be proud about it and have a professional result. So, in response to Grosgrain's list, I wanted to post my own.

1) Imagination

The best thing you can do when you DIY is to get creative. Get creative with finding materials, think of new ways to use things you already have.  Have a vision of what you could do with a dingy, scratched up table you find for a few bucks at the thrift store.  Imagine what you could do with a box of old scraps you have in your craft room.  Think of a clever way to photograph your finished project using your cheap digital camera, an old sheet as a drop cloth, and a desk lamp as your lights. The whole point of being a DIY-er is doing things your own way, not spending a ton of money because someone says you HAVE to have something.  If I have to spend a ton of money to have something I might as well just buy it in a store and save myself some trouble.

2) Motivation

This is a little harder than imagination.  Now that you have a great idea you actually have to follow through.  I've been struggling with this one lately, I've been wanting to make some plush to put in my etsy store for FOREVER, but it always seems to get pushed to back of my to-do list.  To do anything that you're really going to be proud of, you actually have to DO it, I guess that's my point!

3) Good Attitude

Lastly, you need to have a good attitude and a sense of humor when it comes to your projects.  Lots of times you'll have a great idea and the ambition to go through with it, but it won't turn out as you expected.  You're going to get disappointed.  But rather than forget about your crafting/sewing/cooking/creating days, analyze your project.  Try to find what went wrong, what could be done to make it better.  Everything has a learning curve, but once you keep practicing something you'll get better and better at it.  OR you can take a step back, look at your project and say, "Hey, it didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, but I'm still proud of doing it all myself!" and just be HAPPY!

Anyway, I didn't mean this as a big pep-talk, but I don't think that we should feel like we are second class DIY-ers if we can't afford all the right toys.  If you got the creativity, you can do it, no matter what the elites have to say!

Happy Creating!



  1. Imagination is huge- if you think outside the box maybe you could borrow or craigslist or freecycle or collaborate instead of shelling out all of your money! (at least for now or to try things.)
    Even if it is a pep talk, I like it!

  2. lulz. nice work. i like your list better than hers. :)

  3. I've been following your blog for a while, and I love it. By far, I think this might be my favorite post!
    I thoroughly agree with everything you said, and I'm definitely going to try those photo editing ideas because I too want good software, but don't want to spend so much on Photoshop.
    The most wonderful thing about crafting is that I've learned that ANYTHING can be fixed. If you sew something wrong, undo the stitches and just try it again.
    Thanks so much for a great post. :)

  4. Thanks guys! :)

    And Amy, I highly recommend GIMP. You can find it here, if you haven't already:

    It does just about everything Photoshop can do. I was even using it AFTER I got real Photoshop because I was so used to GIMP that Photoshop seemed confusing and hard to navigate.

  5. Thank you for posting this, I too have been put off by Grosgrains expensive list, there are so many excuses we can find to put off being creative, giving people a big list of expensive items is so uninspiring. That's why I too like to keep things cheap and cheerful, sewing machine, dollar store seam ripper, pair of scissors, thread, job's a good'n!

  6. That's so true about buying it yourself, DIY is not meant to be expensive, it's the antithesis of expensive, that's the reason why you're making it yourself, if an anthro knock off cost me twice as much in materials, tools, equipment etc would I bother, nope!!