DIY blogs repurpose for a purpose
We use, recycle, repurpose and redesign are all factors of the Do-It-Yourself movement and all help to keep cash in the wallet and trash out of the dump.
Many see the DIY movement as a money-saving, self-empowering hobby. However, many craft projects begin as redesigns or repurposing of items already in the home. This is especially true for interior design and fashion DIY projects, which have recently become popular in the blogosphere.
Making headlines since the economic decline, the DIY movement has found multiple platforms to share ideas and projects with the public. There is now a television channel, DIY Network, dedicated to home projects. However, the Internet remains the fastest growing platform. DIY blogs, from fashion to farming, are innumerable and their readerships continue to grow.
A CNN article on DIY fashion blogging noted two readership bases: those who are frugal in their purchases and those who can never find the right fit or style in stores. This is true for home improvement, gardening and other DIY projects. Homemade projects allow for personalization and cost-savings, as well as the self-satisfaction of saying “Actually, I made it,” when someone compliments that ‘new’ dress or throw pillow.
Brittany, author of the popular home improvement and DIY blog Pretty Handy Girl, said the self-satisfied feeling is a component of her continued dedication to the blog.
“The sense of accomplishment you get when you complete a project is huge,” she said. “It’s like a mini adrenaline rush. I want everyone to have that experience and to be able to learn something from my tutorials.”
Emma and her sister Elsie maintain the blog A Beautiful Mess. Elsie introduces the blog’s purpose in the About section of the site as: “a Style blog that focuses on creating a beautiful life. My goal is to promote an inspired lifestyle through fashion, handmade and pretty things. I believe in making everyday life special, so that’s what I try to inspire through handmade projects, fashion tutorials, hairstyling tips, recipes and more.”
Emma said their motivation behind the blog was the ability to test out new projects and share them with their readership.
“We have a passion for learning new things, experimenting, approaching problem solving with an excited and creative attitude,” she said. “And we like that the handmade life can be quite budget-friendly.”
Emma said beyond the self-sufficiency and budget-friendliness of DIY projects, it allows for a distinctive and personalized style not found in strip mall stores.
“We love unique things, things with a story behind them, and we adore giving new life to old items,” Emma said. “That’s part of where our love of all things vintage comes from, but also just the idea of using something that would have gotten thrown out for a new purpose is exciting.”
For example, repurposing projects featured on A Beautiful Mess have included: an old sweater to a knit hat, a paper shopping bag to crafty mail packaging, vintage thermoses to flower vases. Beyond those, Emma and Elsie also have sewing tutorials, which can be done with new fabric or old sheets and clothing.
Brittany also said she thinks that the U.S. is a disposable society, and noted that landfills will be shut down simply because they are full.
“How many landfills do we have fill before we are wisened up to our throw-away ways?” she asked. “I always try to throw away as little as possible. I prefer to give worn out or tired objects a new lease on life.”
In the CNN article on DIY fashion, the blog P.S. – I made this… was featured. Erica Domesek, author of the blog and book of the same name, told CNN her motto is, “Re-imagine, reuse and reinvent: I see it. I like it. I made it.” Domesek focuses on education through her tutorials and inspiring readers that any beautiful bag from the runway can be easily recreated.
Many home improvements can be accomplished without the assistance of a contractor, and Pretty Handy Girl takes on everything from painting projects to bathroom remodels. Brittany began her blog after realizing she didn’t have the time to help her less-handy friends with projects. Her blog is not just an outlet for project ideas, but also an educational tool to inspire others.
“My mantra is ‘If a human being can do it, then there is a 95 percent chance that you can do it too,’” she said.
Kacey Deamer is a junior journalism and environmental studies major who transformed her jeans into jorts. Email her at kdeamer1[at]ithaca[dot]edu.