I Did it with my Own Two Hands 22


Sometimes I surprise myself. Sometimes I surprise others. I surprised myself and my family when I recently did two do-it-yourself projects.  I have never been known for being a do-it-yourself kind of woman.  I never met a check I wouldn’t write to get something I wanted doing, done.  Growing up, I swept up the fabric and threads and pressed the seams when my mother sewed.  I didn’t sew and still don’t.


Aside from crocheting several items over the years and cooking, I don’t do things from scratch.  Well, that seems to be changing.  I have recently completed two projects on my own!  I am so darned proud of myself I just have to share it with you. (Thank you for indulging me.)

I am a Craig’s List and Freecycle (freecycle.org) junkie. The first project was repainting a wooden art deco umbrella stand that I got from Craig’s List for $20.  I painted it bronze. I took four coats to cover.  Then I realized I needed to paint the inside, too, because it looked too tacky not to.  (Yeah, I admit it, I was trying to take a short cut.)


The second project was painting two bookcases.  Now, my being frugal in these tight economic times paid a role in this project.  I bought the bookcases from an unfinished furniture store in Quincy.  It was going to cost nearly as much to have them painted as it had to purchase them.  “I can paint,” I thought to myself.


Let’s just say that I now have great respect for the painter’s art.  I had to prime them and put two coasts to get them the antique white color I desired.  Each of the five shelves has five sides inside and two outside.  I worked up a sweat despite being down in the chilly basement.  My goodness!  But I’m so proud of myself.


I’ve done another do-it-yourself project but I can’t take credit for it because my friend, Nayo, actually did it.  That project was to reupholster some dining room chairs that I purchased from Craig’s List.  I was planning to help, I really was, but you know how it is when someone knows what they’re doing?  They take off and get it done.  She did and I’m so grateful.  (Actually, I did help stretch the fabric on the chairs while she stapled it but that’s really not much of a contribution after all, is it?)


I take my hats off to people who do faux-painting projects and who build furniture and sew.  I will say that there is quite a bit of satisfaction to look at something you’ve transformed and made better.  There is a deep satisfaction in creating something with your hands (and your heart).  There is a sense of completion that doesn’t often happen with my paid jobs.  Do-it-yourself projects aren’t quick or easy – at least not for me.  But then, again, nothing worth while ever is.  I’m scouting around for my next project now.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.


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