Friday, May 1, 2009


I've always been a DIY-er. I'd mend my own clothes. I'd make my own cards. I'd decide that it's a good idea make all the flowers for my up-coming wedding out of paper....

Not sure why, maybe it's genetic. I come from a long line of crafters and people who had to make everything they needed - gardens, woodworking, sewing. Or maybe it's just because I'm a total control freak and it's just more reliable to do it myself :).

But, I'm not alone. The DIY movement is living the high-life right now. Martha Stewart on daytime TV, "Handmade Nation" (screening this weekend at the Summit of Awesome in DC) being attended by thousands, and major craft shows like Crafty Bastards, Art Star Craft Bazaar, Spring Bada-Bing, and Bust Craftacular, and Renegade are popping up across the country and inspiring many more.

So why do we "DIY?" I figure some people are simply born with a natural propensity to create. Some call it creativity or control-freakism. Others see it as a way to "stick it to the man." With consumerism getting higher all the time, stores are competing more and more to cut their costs and claim to be the "lowest price this side of the Mississippi,"it's satisfying to know that something you made from scratch has love and care put into it. Others do it to be environmentally friendly or to save money. Whatever the reason, I fully-support the DIY movement.

So I thought I'd try my hand at the top ten reasons you should DIY:

(poster by BoldandNobel)

1. It helps save money. If you look back through history, recessions, etc. are always followed by a resurgence of the handmade movement. Buying fabric for a dress is cheaper than a new dress, gardening is cheaper than going to the grocery store. Plus, people may not be able to pay to have things mended :).

(photo of EtsyLab class, via EtsyLab Flickr)
2. It's fun. Everyone needs a hobby and making things is a great one!

(bag by ShaggyBaggy on Etsy)

3. It's environmentally-friendly. I'm sure it's not coincidence, but there is also a huge green movement in the crafting community. The amount of recycled materials available are not only earth-friendly, they're cheap (see reason #1). Recycled materials also encourage you to be creative, "What could I make with that old coffee sack."

4. It's a community. I've met so many wonderful people through crafting! Above, are some of the awesome people I've met *cough* the Mafia! Mary, Erica, and Shayne talking crafts and more, I'm sure. There are bitch and stitches, kitting groups, quilting circles, and even the Etsy Forums! People everywhere are getting together over a love of handmade.

5. It reduces your consumerism. Well, I guess that's not entirely true. You can still be a consumer of handmade items, and if you really get into it, will probably buy more than you would at the mall. But, at least your new items will be made by hands, with love. Either way, you're staying out of the Mega-Marts that are taking over the world.

6. You get exactly what you want. Being able to make what you want, also lets you make it however you want. Even if you're working with someone else, having something handmade for your gives you ultimate control on the outcome - colors, shape, size,'s up to you!

7. It's personal. Nothing says I love you like a handmade gift. Remember making cards and pasta necklaces for your aunt's birthday? She loved those more than all the Hallmark crap in the world. She may still even have them. Being able to give a gift that you made yourself is the ultimate way of showing someone how much you love.

(photo from emmegab via Flickr)

8. It's tradition (or could be). So many of our craft are handed down through family traditions. For example, I learned painting from my grandmother. People used to hand make things out of necessity - sewing clothes, knitting blankets, etc. Today, that necessity is overpowered by readily-available, inexpensive merchandise, people don't *need* to learn to make things by hand. However, it's a wonderful way to bond with family and friend. It gives you a chance to spend time with your grandma, mother, father, uncle, etc. and learn something new from them. It's also something great to share with your children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc. Pass the craft on!

(photo from Say Llama on Flickr)

9. It instills confidence. It's so satisfying to hold up something you've worked so hard on and know that you put your love and time into it. Whether it be a necklace or a pie, making it yourself teaches you that you can do things for yourself.

(nesting dolls from sherla on Etsy)

10. It exercises your creativity. One of my firm beliefs is that creativity is not based on having all the supplies you could ever need at your disposal, but just the opposite. Creativity comes from being forced to use what you have....what can I make with green paper, glue, and old wire? Exercising your brain like this will help you see ways out of any situation, or give you new ways to solve problems at work, or thing of new products that could end up of Oprah's favorite things.

Why do you DIY?

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