Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Good enough crafting

Okay.  I am willing to admit it.

I am long on ideas and short on some of the skills needed to execute them properly. 

This occasionally leads to DIY projects going just a bit wrong.

 Let's not talk about the room divider, for example.  And HWSNBN will probably get a little loud and agitated if you remind him about the mini-greenhouse.

Sometimes my projects go completely wrong.  Sometimes they work out perfectly.  But more often than not, they turn out just good enough.

I am therefore embracing a whole new style of DIY.  Good Enough Crafting.

Good Enough Crafting involves accepting that you are lacking in certain basic skills.  Woodworking, for example.  A sufficiently steady hand to operate a drill correctly.  The ability to measure something three times and get the same answer each time.  Little things like that.

Accepting you are lacking in certain basic skills.  And then doing it anyway. 

You just have to be comfortable with the fact that the finished item won't be perfect.  That there might be bits of it that need to be strategically hidden behind something.  That you have to look at it from a particular angle if you don't want to see the glaring mistake you made at a late enough stage in the project for you to be completely unamused by the idea of starting from scratch.  That you might need to stick a couple of extra nails in at a funny angle, to create a joint that would make any professional carpenter take to drink.

The thing is, an awful lot of my projects are Thomas-related.  And he is not the most discerning of customers.  So Good Enough Crafting suits us fine at the moment.

I have recently completed another GEC project.  I am pleased with it.  You can't see any of the shortcuts unless you lean over the top and peer inside, and you have to look pretty closely to notice the random bit of wood acting as a brace to stop the top from sagging.

I got sick of looking at the vast pile of multicoloured, plastic crap that has taken up permanent residence in the corner of our living room.  So I decided to do something about it.  I could, of course, have found places for it all to go, but I feel that would not be in keeping with the spirit of GEC.  So, instead, I decided to build something and hide the coloured crap behind it.

Off I went to B&Q, where I managed to purchase some pine strip wood, decorative trim, cheap cladding and two wooden bannisters without being patronised by any passing builders, making this a considerable improvement on my previous trip.

My hacksaw was a little blunt but after a bit of scraping and dragging I managed to get the stripwood and cladding cut into the right lengths.  I then constructed a wooden frame and nailed the cladding to it.  This woke up two snoozing children who regarded my efforts with their best unimpressed faces.

Undaunted, I pressed on, nailing a length of trim to the top of the cladding and the top of the window.  I then built a second, smaller frame to make the side, and hinged the two pieces together, before adding a door.

It didn't look terribly good.  I will admit this.  But a basic premise of Good Enough Crafting is if at first it looks a bit crap, add more stuff.  I therefore covered all the messy bits with more trim.

I painted it to match the living room walls and then screwed the bannisters onto the front, on either side of the door, and added a piece of cladding, nailed over the top.


Finally, I stuck things on it, added a door handle, and put it in place in the corner of the room, before sitting back to admire my deceptive handiwork.  It looked quite good. 

I felt smug.  Like a craft guru.  Or a good parenting example.  I had made something that Thomas would like.  I could hardly wait until he saw it.  I imagined his little face lighting up as he rushed towards it excitedly.

This morning he went downstairs while I was getting ready. 

There was a long pause. 

And then the wailing started.

I went to the top of the stairs and enquired as to the nature of the problem.  He appeared at the bottom of the stairs and opened his mouth for another bawl.

"Muuuummeeeee!  Move the house.  I don't liiiiiiike it."

He will like it.

Or else.

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