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I have an insatiable thirst for learning new skills. I love to know how something is built. I love learning new techniques. I love trying new things to see if I can do them.
DIY has always been a learning experience for me. With the exception of painting and sewing, which I am more experienced with, all my other DIY projects are learn as you go affairs. Sometimes I do extensive research before starting something new and other times I wing it. Either way I am learning as I go.
I was sure to caveat the DIY Tools: Upholstery and DIY Tools: Wood Working posts with a disclaimer that I am not an expert in those areas. But I had enough interest and motivation to tackle some basic upholstery and wood working projects. I am still learning in those areas.
The one thing I am careful of is making a big investment in something I have never tried before. When I wanted to cut wood for my framed mirror and console table, I did not run out and buy a compound miter saw. I also did not ask them to cut it for me at the home center, because I wanted to learn to do it myself. Instead, I borrowed my dad’s compound miter saw, to see if I would like working with power tools. Borrowing tools is one way to take risk out of trying something new.
When I am not able to borrow tools or supplies, I do a lot of research. I read blog posts on similar projects. I read product reviews. Anything that will give me insight. I know myself pretty well and what I like and do not like to do. For example, I know I tend to be a perfectionist and some projects would be trying for me. This first time I got the inkling to tuft an upholstered piece, I did a lot of reading first. In the end, I decided it wasn’t for me. For me, the perfectionist, the stress level to get perfect tufts was not worth it.
For projects where I can borrow tools or have done enough research to be comfortable going forward, I treat them like learning experiences. My goal is to learn how to do the project, learn from any mistakes along the way, and learn it well enough that I can turnaround and share the project on the blog. As a blogger, one technique I have found helpful both for my blog writing and DIY projects, is to outline my project steps in advance. By pre-writing the approach I plan to take, I force myself to actually do some planning. If the project works out as I planned, then I already have the blog post drafted. If I make adjustments along the way, then I just have to make minor updates to the draft post. It also helps me recall where to put tips to help others avid the same mistake.
Good learning means making mistakes and learning from them.