It would be so nice to be handy

JamieFebruary 7, 2013

When I was in High School, they were still teaching home economics. Didn't take it, though. (I learned to type and sang in the chorus instead).

But boy would it ever be nice to be able to do things!

Hang stuff, for example, or figure out draperies, or have knife skills.

Not only did I not learn these things, but I learned other things which became a career and sucked up the spare time I could have spent learning some home-oreiented skills.

Decorating just seems to me like something I'm supposed to be able to do, yet I can't. Is that like a guy who can't play baseball? Is there such a guy?

There's a monetary cost as well as a personal cost to all this.

I've been selling some things due to downsizing.
Here's a table that's finally got some interest on Craigslist because it's practically free. It has a small ding from moving that someone with a tiny bit of skill and a tool and a place to make sawdusty could fix.

Once fixed, it will easily sell for three times what I'm getting for it

My computer skills with computers and databases have given me a living, but a not a home life.

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That's a really sweet table! Don't give it away on CL! I'd rather give it to a charity to auction off or sell at a decent price in a thrift store.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Beautiful. Is it a phone table?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:44PM
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I looks like a phonograph table to me. Pretty!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:50PM
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I don't know what it really is, but could be for a phone - ? I used it in the odd place in my previous homes, but this house doesn't have any spare odd places. Someone is coming for it tomorrow, I believe, someone who can fix the ding, someone HANDY, someone who can DO STUFF, unlike me.

Some day people won't know what a phone table was, I guess.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:59PM
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But boy would it ever be nice to be able to do things!
Hang stuff, for example, or figure out draperies, or have knife skills.

You can learn to do all those things. You can learn just about any skill on the internet.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:02PM
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jamies, that table has lovely veneer. The small piece of trim of the front would not be hard to figure out how to splice in and glue a piece of wood or expensive to have repaired, so I'd echo graywings' encouragement.

You can always fix and keep it or or donate it unless you just need to part with it right now. Giving it away for a song makes me sad. Best of luck with your decisions and downsizing, though it could easily be tucked away next to almost anything or placed in a powder rm or .... or... or.... sorry, I guess I'm not helping you to downsize.

This post was edited by abundantblessings on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 23:51

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:00PM
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My DH and I are like you - one of the ones who can't. My mother was a Home Ec teacher and I can't sew but I can out of necessity cook well enough to feed my family. (I took drafting and Economics instead). The only DIY thing I can do is paint but I figure if I can do it anybody can do it. And the monetary cost of not being a DIY'er is, as you stated, a reality.

The rooms and kitchens that I am always, always, always in awe of are the ones that are DIY.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Many handy skills can be learned and if not perfected, certainly made better over time by repetition. The first room I painted looked pathetic even though I loved it and now I can paint a room and trim and be proud. Same is true of many other handy skills that I've just kept at over the years - sewing, light upholstery, furniture refinishing and on and on. There's a big point of pride in not needing to call someone for every little maintenance, repair or update, to say nothing of the money saved. Put your mind to it and pick a project with little risk - you'll probably surprise yourself!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

A lot of the "handy" folks learned by doing, so look at it this way. If you're going to be almost giving it away anyway, why not try to fix it? What have you got to lose?

I've learned to do a lot of "handy" things on the internet and you can too.

As Christopher Lowell always used to say, "You can do it!"

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:01AM
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In the 70's I taught myself to hang wallpaper. I was good too. The gentleman who used to clean my carpets was a professional wallpaper hanger, painter, and carpet cleaner. He told me he had never seen wallpaper hung as perfect as mine by a DIY'er.

I have taught myself to sew simple things. Hate it, but do it out of necessity. My biggest hurdle is the sewing machine - I don't self-teach mechanical stuff. By the time I get through battling the bobbin winder, I have a splitting headache. I can hem a pair of khakis or jeans, I can mend a seam, I can hem a curtain panel, I can make a pillow.

I did a perfect (if I say so myself) paint job on a BR vanity - learned how to do it here on GW. I feel confident enough to do my kitchen cabinets when the time comes.

I finished my own new HW floors in my LR (did not do the sanding/prep). Researched it thoroughly here on GW and other flooring forums. Didn't have to worry about grit and dirt in my finished product and I KNOW they have the proper sanding between coats and the right amount of coats.

My retirement bucket list includes learning to strip and refinish a piece of furniture, piece a quilt-top and learn to do hand quilting, and learn to paint interior walls better.

I have the desire and motivation - just don't have the time to do all these things.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:57AM
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We are major DIY'ers. We call ourselves 'The Design a Night' team because we often decide as we go.

So far, I love everything we have done together and we get lots of compliments on our home. We love details. I research how to do it, e plain it to DH and watch him closely to make sure he is doing it right. LOL.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:50PM
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From what I see on our CL, you should be asking about $3500 for that little table, chip and all, lol.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Oh, snookums, the table left the building 36 hours after I put the littler price on it. Funny how that works. The market is an amazing organism. I do think those patient $3500 people get more in the end. But I don't have patience and it's very crowded here.

I would do much better if I could barter. Like if I could have gotten this buyer to pick up a headboard for me and bring it when he came to get the table. He could have had the table for free. But most people see their small amounts of money very differently than their small amounts of time. Which is weird, because he had to spend the time driving to get the table from me anyway, and it wouldn't have cost him much time at all to pick up the headboard. But he would have to "deal" with me, and it was probably much more comfortable just to give me a little money and run with the table, rather than getting involved with a transaction between me and somebody else. But it would have been so worth it to me. I would have given him 2 tables.

My paypal balance is another funny thing. Because things have to sell so cheaply, I don't really feel like I'm getting any money for them. So when I go to buy something on Ebay, and paypal takes payment our of my balance I'm always like "What balance?". I think they count on that.

I am really looking forward to being done with all this buying and selling, shopping and retrieving, hiring and paying. I just hope I have a comfortable enough space that I can relax in. Then I'm going to learn how to thread the bobbin - is that even what you do? - and make pillows.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:26PM
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I hear you. I NEED to develop those skills. My husband is really good at what he can do in terms of home repair-- like hanging pictures. I watch him and ask him questions, but when I do it . . .it takes me a million tries and he is still way better, so I give up and let him do it.

There are so many things I want to learn, but my time comes in snippets of 5 minutes here and there during the day, and only more than an hour straight once it is past 10 p.m. Plus, messing up also costs time and money, and I have little of either.

It is a problem.

I sort of wish my mom taught me home repairs skills instead of Spanish.

PS For those of you scared of sewing machines, get a Janome. I have a fake Janome-- Sears used to slap the Kenmore name on Janome machines and sell them for about 50% less. Sadly, they stopped selling these recently, but they are SO EASY to use. Measuring, cutting, and pressing are chores, but the actual sewing is easy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Janome

This post was edited by anele on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 11:47

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:53AM
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I have a Janome. Bought it used off EBay and it is great. The biggest trick to sewing is making sure you use the right needle for the fabric.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:31PM
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My college roomate made a little money by sewing, and she loved an Elna. I have used no name machines and I do not understand how one would be easier than another for someone who is straight sewing simple things likepillow covers - ?

Today I am hemming sheers with either sticky tape or fabric glue.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:47PM
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I am in awe of DIY skills too. I have found that knowing how things are done has saved me a lot of times even when I am not doing it myself. Just because a sub contractor shows up does not mean he has throught through things. Being an informed consumer is the best. I also find that as my professional life is so cewrebral, I really relish hands on tactile projects. I am learning new handson skills and have found community colleges and adult schools a great place to learn everything from woodworking to gardening to upholstery.

This post was edited by GWlolo on Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 13:40

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:39PM
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At age 70, i'm still one of those people who will try anything! At the moment i'm wallpapering my walk-in closet~i'm turning it into a fancy smancy dressing room. LOL I ws going to make the shelving for my shoes, but found some nice metal shoe racks and sprayed them gold~i'm using 2 mirrored dressers to hold folded items. I'll also be hanging a chandelier, have wall mounted lamps on the back wall w/a huge mirror in the center. It's not a huge space, but big enough that I can add a little Hollywood glamour and glitz!

I sew and have made Roman shades as well as bedspreads, but it's been awhile since i've done anything that large. I mostly hem.

I've upholstered using a glue gun and fabric glue. Not only DR chair seats, but a Bergere style chair. You would never know is was glued and not sewn! Even when my 18 year old GS plops down it it there hasn't been a burst of a seam, which also amazes me!

I'm still afraid to use an electric saw, but am getting closer to trying! With a big enough project I won't have a choice. ;o)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:12PM
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Jamies, re: "I do not understand how one would be easier than another for someone who is straight sewing simple things likepillow covers - ? "

I think if you are just good at machines, it is not a problem. But, I am not! I used my mom's very sturdy Singer for yrs (VERY sporadically). I was afraid to get another machine, but I did. It is night and day. I know how to easily change the feet on my new one. The threading is super easy-- I tend to forget how to do it, and the Kenmore/Janome has instructions printed right on the machine. It is so smooth, too. So, sure, I COULD use the Singer, but my new machine is just far more of a pleasure.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 2:30AM
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We are lifetime DIYers here. No project too big and there is no job we won't tackle. We design, build, do electrics, plumbing, roofing, landscaping, painting, woodwork, tiling etc etc, in fact once the builders had 'dried in' our house, we did all the rest.

I sew most of our drapes and pillows though sewing is definitely not my favorite activity! About 20 years ago I bought my first sewing machine in the USA. The owner of the sewing machine store convinced me that the old machines were of much higher quality and built to last. True! But also they are also much more complicated and weigh a ton! I am strong but I needed to be a body builder to lift that thing in and out of my closet, and when it went wrong I often couldn't figure out how to fix it. It drove me craaaazy! Consequently I would resist doing any sewing. Eventually I conceded defeat and bought a basic little Kenmore machine for less than a hundred bucks. It works well, and is so light I can lift it with one hand rather than needing a hoist! Sewing is so much more enjoyable now.

DIY brings a lot of satisfaction, can be fun and saves a lot of money. One downside to being the total DIYer though is that it can be very time consuming and there is ALWAYS something that needs doing!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:21PM
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