Thursday, February 18, 2010

Investing in what you love

I have a few priorities in my life. There are the obvious – obviously. ;) Our children, my husband, my family and friends. And our house.

I have always loved our house, but I adore it because of the effort I have put into making it what it is. What it will be. I love it because I have invested in it – not just with money, but with my time. My sweat. (And YES, many times, tears.)

Today the Bub was at a friend’s house for a few hours so I could get some more work done on the stairs. There are certain parts of this project that I just haven’t done with him around – most of them actually. (For safety reasons.)

I turned on my music (LOUD!) and got to work. I realized something about 20 minutes into staining the stairs…something very important.

I was having FUN.

Like, pure, simple, I-am-in-a-DIY-mode-and-loving-it, FUN.

Perched precariously on each step, working with stinky stain, doing the monotonous job of staining the treads…and I was having a BLAST. The music kept me moving, the stairs were looking absolutely gorgeous and I was thoroughly enjoying it.

I am willing to bet staining stairs is WAY down on the “fun” list for most of you. Call me crazy. ;)

Part of it was the transformation I was watching happen. Part of it was the fact that I was alone and doing something that I enjoyed. Sometimes when I talk about my projects I realize many of you must be rolling your eyes and thinking “Shut. up. That must take forever.”

Or “Oh GOOD LORD that girl needs to get a LIFE.”

The thing is – making our house our home is part of my life. My investment in our home is my time. Do we have the money to buy a piece of art instead of me making it?

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Sure, most of the time.

Do we have the money to pay someone to paint a room?

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Probably.

Was I tempted to just call a handyman to finish up our stairs in a quarter of the time it’s taking me to do it?

Absolutely.

But I LOVE doing what I do. Other than being a wife and a mom, there is NOTHING more fulfilling to me to take a before and turn it into a beautiful after. And if I can do it for little money, that makes it even better. Fo sho.

Does that mean you will love doing it? Oh my goodness gracious, NO. You may try a craft project or a molding project or try ripping up some carpet and think “That Thrifty Chick has gone and lost. her. mind. This sucks.”

(Sorry about that if that’s happened to you. Oops!)

BUT. I’m guessing if you complete one project, you will be so proud of yourself. Not like I studied for hours and got an “A” on that test, proud. Or I got the entire house clean today, proud.

More like…

I am woman.

Hear me roar.

I am ROCKIN’ it.

I LOVE what I just did.

PROUD.

If you get nothing else from this blog – I hope each and every one of you feel that way at least a few times in your lives. It’s why I’m here sharing what I do. I love doing it. I love sharing it with you.

I love investing my time in our home. Working on our home is an investment in me.

Every woman and mother should find time to do something that makes them happy and fulfilled. I don’t care what it is. I know 99 percent of the time, life gets in the way and makes that impossible.

But once and a while, when the kids are in bed, or when hubby works late, or when the grandparents can take over for a few hours…I hope you do something that you love and that makes you PROUD of yourself.

If you invest in yourself and what makes you happy, everyone else around you will be happier for it. Ask them, they’ll tell you. ;)

P.S. I have another fab giveaway coming up tomorrow! Can’t wait to share it with you.

86 comments:

  1. The ART! I must make the art! It would be perfect for my home. Do you have a post about it?

    Thank you for the inspiration!!

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  2. Couldn't have said it better myself...I am soooo with you girl! I just wish I had more time to invest in the DIY stuff! It is my therapy!

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  3. Sarah, I love this post. I know I said we look like sisters, but we act like sisters! I cannot tell you how many times I have read your posts and thought, "yes! that's me!" Like tonight, nothing would make my soul happier than to be alone, staining steps. Seriously. It's the transformation of something ugly to something divine that brings me pure joy. Then I can stand back proudly as people "oooh" and "aaah", and I can say, "I did that!"
    You have a great spirit and attitude! I wish I lived closer so we could work on some projects together! Too fun!
    Can't wait to see your stairs! YOU ARE WOMAN!

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  4. You were totally speaking my heart in this post! My hubby doesn't get why I love doing projects and making things beautiful so much...why i'll stay in our freezing cold garage for half the night sanding a dresser...why I'll paint our giant armoire until my back is killing me. Because at the end of it I have something not only beautiful but useful to show for it! And it definatly makes me proud...heck ya! I can look at those projects and say...that was ALL me! I rock! lol can't wait to see your purrrty stairs...i bet they look fab!

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  5. I love this post SO much because it IS a wonderful feeling to do a project or create artwork or write a blog post! For me, it gives me great creative satisfaction and has added to making me a more fulfilled and happy person for myself, and my family!

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  6. Amen sista friend, AMEN! Can I get an alleluia?

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  7. Well now I really want to see the stairs, if they gave you that much happiness!! I can relate, there is something about being absorbed in doing something you love that is indeed pure joy!
    Janell

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  8. i heart how fiercely creative you are.

    you inspire greatness.

    word.

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  9. True Dat, Sista!!
    I painted some ugly tile today and thought "Who in the world would be enjoying themselves so much painting tile, but me?"....well YOU I suppose! ha
    (BTW, my 1990 flowerpot-tile-turned black-and-white-damask worked out great.) Wish I had a blog to post my purdies! Seems like a lot of work to blog so I'll just enjoy yours. :) Can't wait to see those stairs!

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  10. oh wow. you are such an inspirational writer. blogger. crafter.
    what a great and motivating post.
    i could not agree with you MORE!

    keep on keeping on!
    LOVE what you have done.

    xo
    ashlina
    secretsofdomesticbliss.blogspot.com

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  11. This post inspired me to do more crafty stuff because I am capable and I enjoy it, but since I have a creative job already I sometime just decide eh, I'll buy this target version instead - what a waste of money! Thanks for posting this!

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  12. so that's how you do it.... I was just contemplating painting while my toddler takes his nap and a hour is the most time I can get. I need to get someone to entertain / take Buddy so I can get my craft on!

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  13. I completely agree with you. I love nothing more than a good before and after picture of my own hard work! Thanks for all the great ideas. Just know that there are lots of other women out there like you (at least one...me!).

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  14. Sarah, this is why I love you and your blog...you are a DIY women after my own heart!! I so agree nothing better than to work on something alone and loving it. I always say, "I am my own best friend"! lol I love projects and wouldn't be happy if my hands weren't doing something to create. I don't have beautiful nails because of it! lol Gives me much happiness! Can't wait to see your stairs and wish I lived closer...we would have so much fun doing projects together!
    Have a great weekend!

    Hugs and love friend,
    Victoria

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  15. Thank you for taking the time to write this! I LOVE your blog and couldn't agree with you more! Working on my house to make it OUR HOME and scrapbooking is my therapy. We do everything ourselves too and love doing it. We also have the opportunity to teach our children to be proud of what we accomplish and not let people tell them they can't do something. We are in the middle of a HUGE renovation and our kiddos help as much as they can while remaining safe. Our house is built like a lodge with the living area, including kitchen, upstairs. That was great when the house was originally built and "they" could see the city.... but now we're flipping it right side up - moving the living area down and the bedrooms upstairs. Their loss and our gain!!! Our project house :)

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  16. I completely get that. Accomplishing something yourself is a great feeling! I got an old truck to work on *myself* and today I unbolted the seatbelts from the floor using a wrench (so I could rip the nasty old carpet out). I cheered when I got the first one out! Probably not what most women want to be doing but I was feeling pretty good about it! I should say I'm feeling good attitude-wise. Muscle-wise is a whole other story. ;)

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  17. I am so with you on this! I love creating, being able to make something with my own to hands. I spend enough time sitting and thinking at my day-job. And I have never felt that sense of accomplishment there as the one I get after a project turning out exactly as I had envisioned it.

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  18. After reading about you and all the other crafty folks out there, I decided I was going to tackle some of my own projects. Evidently I don't have what it takes. I wouldn't say it's FUN, but I feel so proud to be doing all this on my own. I just don't seem to have any luck. I made curtains out of the painters drop cloths. They turned out fine. I painted my dining room table, six chairs and the china cabinet. It's been too cold, too rainy, too everything to spray paint, so I painted it with a paint brush after sending e-mail notes to bloggers, researching on-line, etc. The table looks horrible. You can see all the brush strokes (even after I bought that super-expensive paintbrush that the store assured me would be the solution), and yesteday I painted the front of my fireplace with the high heat spray by Rust-oleum. I followed the directions to a "T". I sanded down the rusty spots, cleaned with soap and water then rinsed with clear water. Let it dry overnight. Painted that baby. Not pleased with the results. Not at all. I've put so much time and effort into all of this and I'm not satisfied with the results. I'm on somewhat of a timeline on all of this because I've got new den furniture that's waiting to be delivered and I don't want it delivered until I've got all the surrounding area completed (fireplace and attached dining room). All of you bloggers make it sound so easy. You buy a piece of junk at Goodwill, bring it home, lightly sand, paint it that night and it's in your house the next day. I have no area outside to use for painting (I live in an apartment complex that was converted to condos), and the weather never cooperates. So no spray painting for me. And I guess very few DIY projects either that involve paint. I'll just live vicariously through all of you wonderful DIY Divas. LOVE reading all of your updates, and get all giddy and excited when I get an e-mail that you've done another post.

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  19. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Im loving working on my blog for Army wives and I visit your site daily for inspiration. Please stop by! www.householdsapper.com

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  20. I agree; just that feeling of "Hey, I did this!" is enough. Could be a simple little project or something I finally did after procrastinating.

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  21. Totally get it!!! We're gearing up to redo our master bath, and I'm finding a little difficulty choosing the tiles/colors I want. I want a few styles/color that will coordinate. I thought about calling my friend who is just newly starting up her decor business after graduating. But, I really wanna do it myself! Even though it's feeling a little daunting. I want that immense satisfaction of "pulling it off" with just me.

    So, we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  22. I love this post! I feel the same way when I'm working on something. It's literally therapeutic for me to just be in the zone and making my house better and my own. The non-therapeutic part for me is finding the money to accomplish things, but once I'm working on them, it's great. Rawr! lol

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  23. My friend introduced me to the blog world and it is amazing to find a place where so many people exist that remind me of me. I use to think I was unique! I love the new ideas and inspiration I get especially from your blog. As a working mom I don't have as much time to devote to my hobby, but I sure enjoy the times I get to create!

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  24. Yes!I feel the same way as you. I always want to try it (anything) myself first not for saving money purposes, because it usually ends up costing more..lol,

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  25. This post was pure awesomeness, Sarah! :) I finally hopped on the drop cloth drape bandwagon this week, and as I was pressing a hem to sew up one very veeeery long side where I had to cut the drop cloth...I realized I was having fun. :) Why should parts of homemaking be fun?? :)

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  26. This is SO well said!!! I can't tell you how many times I've felt so small among such talented friends & family & often forget to be proud of myself. I have lots of quirky talents & gifts that I wish I could use more or share more of even though they may not be the most "popular". I actually started writing a post on my own blog about one of my favorite craft I like to do but was to afraid to share it for fear of being the "odd man out" so it's been sitting waiting to be posted & I think I'm inspired enough to do so now! :-) Thanks Sarah! I love this post & your blog so much & look forawrd to reading it as often as I can. :-)

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  27. I feel the same way! I've been slowly working on fixing up my 90 year old house and it is really satisfying to look at the dining room and know I put up that wallpaper or to look at the floors and know I painted them and made them look good. The process isn't always fun but the final result rocks!

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  28. There is NO equity like SWEAT equity!Its a whole other level of return on investment. So now you can congratulate yourself only not only having fun and doing a great job, but also on being super SMART!!!! Woot Woot!!!

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  29. Lovely post that says it all so well. I work out of the house full time and as soon as I get home I get right to my projects! Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann's have seen a lot of me lately! I could buy new things or pay someone to do it for me, but it's the "I did it myself" that is so rewarding. ~ In regards to your stair project..I have pets and carpet which together is not a good mixture. I showed my husband your stair post and as soon as I wrap up our bath/bedroom makeover, that carpet is coming right out! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  30. Yes, ma'am!! You hit the nail on the head with this one.

    A few years ago, I had an interior designer friend do some work for me. And I learned an important lesson about myself. I'm good with getting a consultation, but when it comes to the real work, I want to do it my OWN self. Having someone else do it took all the fun out of it.

    A great post, Sarah!

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  31. This post is just one of the reasons I love reading your blog! Thank you!!

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  32. Great post, Sarah! I so, totally know that feeling. :)

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  33. Woo hoo! I totally understand this and I haven't even completed nearly the amount of projects you have. So since you like doing the stairs so much, you wanna come do mine when you're done? hehe

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  34. I have to agree with you. Decorating is my passion. My family comes first, of course, but if I have time to spare I will always choose to create something.
    Love the artwork, can you tell me about that?
    Brooke

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  35. I also agree with you. I love to decorate and get projects done around the house. My weekend plan is to organize the office closet, and I'm actually excited about doing it.

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  36. What a great post! I can't wait to see your stairwell. That is one of my projects this fall (after our last little mohican goes to Kindergarten.)
    Have a super duper day!!
    Jennifer

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  37. I can't wait to see the staire once you finish it. I share your feeling, I feel the same way, really enjoy your blog everyday, you're my idol!

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  38. I read your blog everyday and this post seals it... you are my long lost Decorating Soul Sister! I find myself nodding along in agreement with every post you do. Thanks for the inspiration and I can't wait to see those stairs!! :)

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  39. this post definitely get two thumbs up! can't wait to see the finished stairs! keep up the good work!

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  40. Amen sista. I wish I had more time to try some of these projects. The one big one I did I was SO proud of myself.

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  41. You go girl!!! YES! Whoo hoo! Amen! NICE! You did it!!! Word up! Muah!

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  42. Unfortunately we no longer have a home, so all the projects I had planned die there. But now, I am finding myself thinking of all the things I can do to make my house a home. Like putting shelves up, organizing the closets, getting rid of the junk etc. And yes, I feel mighty proud. Even when I do cleaning, and I see our place smelling so nice, all clutter free, it makes me feel like I accomplish something that day. Well said Sarah, well said!

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  43. Wonderfully, encouraging post. I love that YOU love what you do. It is inspiring to me!!

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  44. I am in such a rut because I LOVE to invest in my home, but there is an 80% chance that we will be moving in two years. There is so much I want to do but don't feel that it is worth the investment. So you better never go away because I will be digging into your archives when we do end up moving!

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  45. Love the post! I also love do-it-yourself projets. Most people around me don't seem to understand the passion I have for my home. It's so fulfilling to tear something apart and rebuild it. I can't wait to see the finished project.

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  46. Very very well said, I feel the same way myself...but could not have put it into words like that. I am inspired to get a sitter and finish some projects!

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  47. Amen, Sister! I totally agree. That's what makes life fun. Love this post. :-)

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  48. If you invest in yourself and what makes you happy, everyone else around you will be happier for it. - Well said.

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  49. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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  50. I love it. Thanks. I feel totally the same way but no many of my friends understand it. In fact, most don't including my husband. He does, however, understand the feeling his relates to music and not home improvement. Blogs like yours have given me more motivation than I already had to tackle the untackleble (is that a word) and do things myself instead of waiting for my hubby. Today, however, my baseboard DIY project is not going so well. Getting a tinsy bit f r u s t r a t e d. So, thanks for sharing.

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  51. This post was fantastic. Thank you!

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  52. Amen and amen!!! I love walking through my house and seeing the projects I have done. I made a sofa table following your instructions and have had NUMEROUS compliments on it. Everytime someone comments on it I beam with pride and practically shout "I MADE THAT!!! LESS THAN TWENTY BUCKS!!" My husband just thinks it's funny!

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  53. That is so funny you posted that because last night I was saying to my husband how I miss our weekends of diy projects since we sold our house and moved into a rental. His response, "I don't".

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  54. I agree! I don't think "homemaking" is just cooking and cleaning! Hard work and effort SHOW so much in a home!!

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  55. I really love you.

    We recently bought a major fixer upper and cried when I first walked in after the people moved out. But now, a couple weeks after a lot (I mean a lot) of hard work, I love it. I agree completely with what you said, creating something and making something beautiful is an accomplishment. I have lots and lots left to do and Im going to love it. Your blog really inspires me. Thank you.

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  56. you have me so tempted to rip up my stairs and start staining away! Now if I could just get my husband on board! Maybe he needs to start reading your blog!

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  57. Totally feel the same way! There is nothing like the feeling of creating something beautiful with your own two hands! :)

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  58. I love reading your blog. You are always so positive, enthusiastic & funny. I feel the same way about blogging as you do about DIY.

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  59. Awww shucks! That brought a tear to my eye! Turning a house into a home one project at a time. That's my goal and it is great to see that other people feel that way too. Thanks for inspiring me to get back to what I love!

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  60. This is so true! Creating something is worth far more than buying it :)

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  61. Thank you Sarah! You are always such a great inspiration to me! This post is a great one, and I can learn a lot. I can't wait to be doing what I love! I work at an office doing paperwork, and it's boring. I also do hair on the side, and I don't absolutely love that either. I am trying to learn what I love. I love fixing up my house, and wish I could do that instead of work. Right now I am working to save up money so I can stay home when we have kids, and then I can spend more time doing what I love, with our children I can't wait to love! Thanks again, you really are an amazing person!

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  62. I recently discovered your blog and I love it! After 20 years of DIY, we were finally at a place financially were we could hire a builder to do some major renovation work on our home. And though I'm totally thrilled with the work they did, everyday I would come home and think, well I could have done that! Truth be told, there were many parts I could not have done...but I like to think I could have hung in there with the construction guys! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  63. I also feel that everyone should do at least one thing that makes them happy! My book club makes me truly happy and because I was inspired by you, I started a blog about it...YESTERDAY!

    www.bookflairbyamanda.blogspot.com

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  64. I will tell you that I could have written this post! (I am just not that good) Anyhoo, I feel the exact same way. I take a lot of pride in what I do. I don't do a lot of diy things but I paint, decorate, clean & organize, and cook. I take a lot of pride in those things. It brings me great joy to keep our home and MAKE it a home. I have been doing it for 17 years and I never tire of it.

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  65. Amen, sistah! Isn't it crazy the joy we can find in doing work..HOUSE work? It's the right kind of house work though. And I am still laughing that you said FO SHO!! Now I'm saying it out loud...

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  66. I am the same way about my house. I love investing time and sweat into my house and have been doing that for over fourteen years. I have done all the painting in this house except the top of the real high walls my husband cut in and the high ceilings were sprayed when we built the house. I did all the other painting of every room and all the trim. It has all been painted again with changes I have made over the years and I still need to make some more changes. Now at my age I really would love to hire someone to come in and paint, but I am married to a man who believes why pay someone to do what we can do and they usually don't do a good job anyway. This is my home and I love fixing it up and improving it as it ages. I have a list of things that I need to do and will start tackling those things.

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  67. Sarah,

    I love this post. You are always so open and honest about who you are and what you want. It is validating to so many of us who feel exactly as you do in our lives. Keep up the good work!

    PS - I literally gasp at how similar we are sometimes... right down to our love (or is it hate?) of Dave Ramsey! We are about 19 months away from being debt free! YAY!

    Thanks again for your inspiration!

    Sarah

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  68. Love your enthusiasm! It brightens my day, thank you! I love my home so much too-- it's such a part of the family. Love that feeling of painting a goodwill find and making it fit my personality and knowing it cost so little; so REWARDING! I had my stairs done a year ago just like you want yours, (but I did pay someone to do them) and they're GORGEOUS! You're going to love yours-- they already look awesome. Thanks for a GREAT blog!

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  69. We are addicted to ORB too!! I found the Rustoleum online and ordered a case (6) from www.hardwareworld.com

    We have painted door knobs, hinges, and lamps. My husband started painting the bath fixtures today! I can't wait to see the finished product =))

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  70. Thanks for the reminder! I feel so similar - that it would be easy to just pass it off on someone else, but I love DIY projects and being creative. Thanks for your enthusiasm - it's really inspiring!

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  71. I think that is why your blog is so great, because when we read about your projects we can hear and feel that excitement!!

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  72. I just found your blog and started following it, and I LOVE this post. I was actually thinking about the concept of loving & enjoying something so much that difficulty, inconvenience etc recede into the background, and you just do what makes you happy. Cheers!

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  73. Sarah, I feel exactly the same way ...thanks for posting this. Now I don't feel like I'm crazy for feeling this way about the need to do DIY projects! LOL!

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  74. Totally agree! For me right now, it's quilting. I just can't get enough! I love the feelings that come with each new project: feeling inspired, picking out the "perfect" fabrics and tools, designing my plan of attack, getting started, enjoying the fun parts, learning from the hard parts, and staring with pure joy at my finished product. Such a good feeling!

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  75. I love this post. I had a time in my life when I realized I had lost myself. I had just had my fourth child and my oldest was barely eight and everything I did was for someone else. I decided to change and have been working out early in the morning almost every day for two years. It's my time. Sometimes I run or ride my bike alone, sometimes I am at the gym with my friends but I always come home recharged and ready to take care of my family because I am taking care of myself. I am a firm believer that every mom needs to find one thing that she does in her day just for herself. Thanks for your blog. You are totally inspiring to me!!

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  76. I love this post lady. I agree with EVERYTHING u said. U are 150% correct!

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  77. Ha ha you hit the nail on the head, sorry had to! I love your blog. It makes it even more worthwhile when we find other women out here who share the same passion! Thank you for taking the time you do to share with us. You really rock. <3 dleahy23@aol.com

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  78. you are so right! i have had that feeling after a few projects and it's a great one! life often does not allow us enough time but when it does, it's sure is magic :) great post! susan

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  79. This is so me! My hubby tells me I'm crazy, that I should just sit down and relax sometimes, but I'm truly happier getting my hands dirty with my latest craft or home improvement project. As satisfying as it is completing a project, I always dive straight into the next one.

    P.S. Want proof your blog is loved? I discovered it a few days ago and am currently going through your ENTIRE archives and loving it! Feeling super inspired, if only I could drag myself away from reading post after post...

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