I adore DIY! It's such a great way to express yourself creatively while also getting something useful out of the deal! And it definitely makes it easier to get that new "something" JUST the way you like it, and for the most part for far cheaper than you would've paid in a store. Not to mention the added benefit of not having to browse through a dozen stores trying to find what you want at a price that you can actually afford!
Here's a few examples of my projects! The picture to the left is of some pillows I made for my parents house over Christmas! Behind the pillows in the picture is a pair of frames I got on clearance. I don't have a picture of the final product of that project, but basically I used the same fabric I used for the pillows as the backing for the picture frame, then I combed a couple of beaches in Maine for a TON of tiny pebbles (roughly matching in size) and hot glued them into the frame in a swirling pattern. It was VERY cheap and turned out quite cute (not all of the projects I come up with do!). The pillows were cheaper than store bought and it wasn't hard to find clearance fabrics. Also I prefer the pillow stuffing rather than the pillow forms because it gives me more control over the size and shape. This is especially convenient when you're not entirely sure what you want to do yet, which is nearly always the case with me! Plus the stuffing can be REALLY cheap. You can also find some very expensive stuffing, but, for me, I don't find it necessary!
The picture on the right is a rug that I also made over Christmas for my parents. It is made with rug canvas, long strips of fabric and a locker hook. It is not the most cost effective project unless you're able to find fabric that you like (this one took 10 yards) for VERY cheap. If you're just looking for a low cost rug then this is not the method I would use. It also takes quite a chunk of time to make one of these, depending of course, on the size you choose to do. However, that's not a problem for me since I enjoy doing them as a mindless activity when I'm watching tv, etc.. This rug is also quite useful if you're trying to match it to specific things. It's also a great way to use up leftover materials as you can change the fabric print whenever you want. I would point out, however, that the rug is substantially easier when all of the fabric is the same type. Cotton seems to work the best, but I'm wanting to try one with jersey, because I think it would be super cozy! let me also point out that the lighting in the picture was terrible and the rug is MUCH more attractive in real life! :) Oh, and did I mention that these can be washed?! Yep. Throw 'em in the wash machines when they get dirty (you should obviously still pre-was the fabric before making the rug, as well!)!
The hat shown below was made using a pattern that I got from a store on Etsy. Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop. It's such a fantastic way for original designers, artists, and, well, pretty much any type of creative person you can imagine, to showcase their work, and, hopefully, make a little cash while doing it. The store that I bought this pattern from is here: http://www.etsy.com/people/pixiebell I can't say enough good things. I believe that this pattern was called the "Seed Beret". The pattern was straightforward and simple once I got the hang of it. Especially considering that I had never crotcheted anything before in my life (may I recommend youtube instructional videos for learning how to do just about anything)! And whipping out one of these hats is ridiculously fast (last minute gift idea, anyone?!). I just loved the way it turned out, and my friend, Jeanine, didn't mind it at all either!
Well, that's enough DIY talk for one day! I just love how popular DIY has become, and how simple it is to find great ideas for just about anything online! I'm always looking for my next project or inspiration! I think if everyone did a little DIY then the world would be just a little better!