When do you admit defeat? When do you realize you’re unable to complete a DIY ruffled shirt that meets your high standards and expectations? When do you put down the scissors and peacefully think, “I’m OK. I can’t do everything.” And how do you get rid of that little voice in the back of your mind that says, “Oh, you can do that!” or “Don’t give up, wuss! This is so easy to do!” I want to wave the white flag in surrender on a couple of projects, but that stupid little voice stops me.

Right now, I’m all about refashioning old clothes into something new. My few success stories have pushed me to try new projects or complete the forgotten. I have no issue buying a super cute ankle-length skirt on clearance and turning it into a nice knee-length skirt for me. Or taking a skirt that’s a teeny bit too small for me and creating a more forgiving waistband with elastic or drawstrings. When the final project makes me squee in delight, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.

But sometimes my little victories can led to disappointment and frustration. Last winter, some of Charlie’s old sweaters ended up in the trash after I failed to refashion the sweater into a cute winter skirt. But I know where I failed with the sweater-skirt projects – i.e. an obvious failed hem attempt, a new method using elastic, and dissatisfaction with the final look. Because of my awareness, the sweater-skirt project still hangs around the back of my mind.



That annoying little voice says, “You CAN accomplish this project! Don’t give up!” How do I get rid of that little voice? And how I can be completely satisfied with my failed attempts and just let certain DIY projects go? When will that little voice say, “OK, it’s time to wave the white flag in defeat. You did the best you could several times. Now is the time to move on and accept defeat.” I probably won’t hear that voice anytime soon as my mind continues to search for simple solutions.

Sometimes I just feel like I’m on a losing battle with all of these projects. I know I work on way too many projects as it is, but I’ve been in love with arts and crafts my whole life. I’ve always loved being creative and creating something with my own hands. I love looking at cute crafty items and believing I can create something similar. On the bright side, I am in the process of dramatically downsizing my scrapbook supply in the next few months to a year. So that’s progress, right?

I think part of my problem is I’m lazy and ambitious, which is a very dangerous combination. I don’t have patience to deal with irons and patterns, and knowing I’m not the only with that sentiment makes me ambitious to accomplish a project without step by step detail-oriented instructions. I’m envious of other bloggers who just wing a project and the results turn out fabulous. I want that ability or talent. I want the ability to take something ugly and turn it into something beautiful.



One blogger turned an old long-sleeve shirt into casual open sweater, using shoelaces as a cute drawstring. Another blogger just needed an old sweater and wide elastic to make a really cute skirt. I would love to be one of those bloggers who can easily crank out a super cute and fun sewing project in one afternoon. And I try to be one of those bloggers, but once again, when will that little voice say, “Hey, it’s OK to be a quitter on this project.”

While I’m on the topic of being a quitter, what possesses a person to excitedly start a new project – i.e. super duper easy skirt — and then procrastinate for months to complete it? The bottom is finished. I just need to decide on an elastic waistband or drawstring waist. Either option is pretty simple, but yet I haven’t taken a single step to complete the skirt. The thought that I’m not the only person who has half-completed projects laying around makes me happy and feel normal.

Before I start waving a white flag in defeat, I should really stop poring over other bloggers’ fabulous DIY ideas and complete or even start long-delayed projects. Right? After spending some time and effort with my many projects, I think the little voice will give me the closure I need – “It’s OK. You gave it your best shot. It’s OK to quit.” The key word is TRY. I need to TRY to complete my projects. I should TRY something new. I need TRY to let go of some things. I think I can do that.

Categories: Jennifer Elliott

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