On DIYs and Knowing When to Stop {Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World}

Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World | A Simple Haven

Welcome to “Keeping it Real in a Pinterest World,” where Breanne from This Vintage Moment and I explore what it means to live purposefully in a world that bombards us with a million good things.

We’re just two moms on a journey toward being ok with not being able to do it all and fully embracing the season of life that we’re in–with all of its joys and limitations.

Here, we share about our crafting fails, what we’re currently saying “yes” and “no” to, and the beautiful reality of daily life. Won’t you grab a hot drink and join us?

have a complicated relationship with Pinterest. I love that it helps me organize ideas and search for new projects. I don’t love how overwhelmed I can feel just looking through my feed of other people’s pins.

It’s the DIYs and kids’ crafts that get me. 

I hop on Pinterest to search for white painted fireplaces and end up wondering if I should paint my (brand-new) kitchen cabinets or if I’m a slacker mom because I’m not doing 101 fun and educational things with my preschooler.

Thankfully, I’ve mostly resolved my angst about preschool activities.  We read a ton, Bun paints and colors, we build stuff, we play outside. We do crafts as mommy’s sanity allows.

And when anxiety creeps in, I just remind myself that Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t follow a pre-K curriculum and she turned out just fine. 

Through a series of monster DIYs, I’ve also become more discerning about what DIYs I tackle.  Despite my love of the handmade and the joys inherent in making your own 26-step custom picture frame, I have come to realize that not all projects are worth my time.

Now, I ask myself these questions:

What To Ask Yourself Before Starting a DIY

Do I have time for this?

Because, after all, what it takes Ana White 5 steps to make takes me 15.  Hubs reigns me in a lot here. There are several projects that I’d love to tackle right now, but Hubs has gently reminded me that I’ve already in the middle of about 5 others.

In reality, I have two small children, a husband in grad school, a love of reading and writing, and the desire to maintain my mental health. My time is limited and valuable.

How much happier will the DIY version make me than the store-bought?

Often, the answer is “lots more.” But not always.

Bun’s tent makes me really happy: I had a really specific idea of what I wanted (certain dimensions, dark stained wood) and I’m completely neurotic about fabric. Building my own let my customize it and I let Hubs make the fabric call (woohoo, I’m growing in flexibility!)

The burlap ottoman I recovered and then fell apart at the seams did not make me happy. Turns out when it’s something your two small children repeatedly throw themselves on, it’s worth it to pay an upholsterer.

Is the DIY version really more cost-effective?

I am pretty frugal and used to assume the handmade route was automatically more thrifty. Not necessarily.

Now, I make a list of materials and add up costs. Chalk paint ain’t cheap, yo.  If it’s just as expensive to make it as buy it, I may just buy it.

Unless the answer to question #1 is “lots more.”

Do I really need to do this? Or is what I have better than I think?

I had to ask myself this when I was tempted to chalk-paint my kitchen cabinets. I love painted cabs, but mine have a dark espresso stain.

However, I only like two colors of paint for cabinets: white and a particular shade of mossy/olive green. Neither would look awesome in my existing kitchen.

My kitchen is new, pretty, and more than functional. 

I can’t justify a new backsplash and we aren’t changing our floors.

So, the question was settled: no painting cabs.  What I have may not be my ideal, but it’s perfectly good. And frankly, once I decided this, it was a relief to know I wouldn’t be tackling the project.

What’s you relationship with Pinterest like? Do you get energized or overwhelmed by DIYs?

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Victoria@MommyMarginalia

    I love, love, love this post! I have a very guilt-based relationship with Pinterest, for the most part. And although its gotten better with some time management reality checks, I could use to ask myself these questions more often!

  • brenda venable

    Don’t use pinterest, I have enough projects listed up on my board to keep me going all year long. Using pinterest would only prolong each job’s time frame. I just dig deep and do the best w/ what I have around my craft room to successfully complete any project. I have learned over the years that expectations about an ongoing project can change way before it is finished. So, adapting to that change is how any project gets done and how I stay sane. Not everything you try and create will be a success, but enjoying the journey with it is always a positive thing.

  • Life of an Expat Parent

    I’ve been thinking of this a lot lately because we are re-doing our bedroom and I’ve been using Pinterest to give me some inspiration.

    It can really easily give a false sense of what other people are doing. I am so tempted to do a post on my unpinnable life, starting with the shelves in our bathroom that Layla destroys every.single.day. xo

  • Love these guidelines! I really like the idea of DYIs, but also get sucked into thinking I’d have to do them all. So I don’t start anything. Good to keep in mind that doing a little can be worth it in the right circumstances. Now if I can just find a space to keep unfinished projects where my preschooler won’t “finish” (read: innocently destroy) them. . .

    • No, you don’t have to do them all! Although, it seems like I’ve tried… 🙂

      Now, like you said, for me it’s all about the right circumstances. Good luck with your pre-k’er. I’ve got one of those helpers too :).

  • Helen Archer

    I love this post! My husband is good at balancing out my thinking when it comes to this (“How much would it be to buy it? You can buy it, but if it would be more fun to make it yourself, go for it.”) but I definitely fall into the “I’m going to make ALL the things” trap. Thanks for sharing this!

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