We caught up with Sara from Birdz Of A Feather to ask her about her DIY experience!

Where are you from?  
The city I’m from was most recently popularized by Drake as ‘the 6ix’, otherwise known as the 4th largest city in North America – or Toronto, Canada!

When did you start DIYing?
I’ve been DIY’ing since I was a kid; I learned how to knit and crochet from my grandmother. But then I got into hard core DIY and construction just after I entered the workforce. I hired someone to build a craft studio for me in my parent’s basement and unfortunately he turned out to be a scammer. I had to take matters into my own hands, cut my losses and move on with the reno on my own. That experience was the motivational turning point that prompted me to learn how to renovate and do it all myself.

What is your DIY motto?  

That’s a two-part answer! I focus on two areas on my blog: DIY (home and garden makeovers) and crafts (under my Craft Rehab banner).

My DIY motto is “Feather the nest – one room at a time”. I say that because it can be overwhelming to take on big DIY projects (whether you are a newbie or not!). If you break it down into manageable chunks and concentrate on only one room, it becomes doable, and within reach, to tackle it yourself. Sweat equity is its own reward.

Where crafting is concerned, I’m all about sustainability. My ‘Craft Rehab’ projects are unique, fun and easy to accomplish but they always use unexpected recycled or upcycled materials. Because of that, my DIY craft motto is “Good planets are hard to find”! I want to encourage people to go green when they craft (or DIY for that matter) and keep the environment top of mind – without compromising on a beautiful outcome.

Is DIYing your full time job?

No, but it could be!! My husband and I are working through every room in our house at least once – if not twice! DIY takes up most of our free time.

How do you find inspiration for what to DIY?  

When we were first married, my husband and I would visit new housing builds and tour the show houses – but not because we wanted to buy a new house. We were there to mine them for inspirational ideas. The same goes for Home and Garden and Design shows; they are chock full of brand new materials on the market and there are ideas down every isle. Being able to touch and see everything in one space is a real time saver when you’re on the hunt for inspiration. Open houses in your own neighbourhood are great to attend too; it’s interesting to see how other homeowners have remodeled houses that are similar to your own. Maybe they’ve done something you never thought of that would add convenience and/or value to your own property!

I also find a lot of inspiration from my husband’s exploits. For instance, he restored a vintage car. I took a picture of his car from our wedding day and turned it into an awesome one-of-a-kind storage unit I get to enjoy every day in my craft studio.  He’s also the one that came up with the original Blue Jean Planter idea (I just tweaked it a bit). I guess a lot of other DIY’ers took inspiration from it too; it was the first video I ever made and it’s still going strong at over 11 million views after it was posted on Hometalk’s FB page.

Lastly, I find inspiration from other Hometalkers. I’m an avid reader of Hometalk’s website; it really is a community that empowers you to DIY.

What’s a project that stands out in your head and why?  

Taking down a wall in our living room stands out because it was the biggest payoff. It brought light into a once dark and gloomy space… and I got to kick down the wall. There’s nothing more fun than demo day (other than the end result of course)!!

What is your worst DIY fail?  

We built a stunning water feature in our backyard and made the huge mistake of testing out the pump outside of the pond and then leaving for the day. We came back that night to a scene that looked like it was out of the titanic: The liner was heaving toward the sky and all the water had leaked out of the pond, then back under the liner and dislodged it; plants and all.

Just as we were sorting our way through the mess, my dad and sister paid us an unexpected visit. We did what any DIY-loving relative would do: we gave them some tools and put them to work! In the end, the pond was beyond saving; we had to dig it all out and start over again (check it out below!).

The pond disaster probably ties with the flood we had after finishing our brand new basement reno, but you’ll read all about how to prevent that soon on Hometalk. Did you notice a theme running through our DIY fails? They all involve water where it shouldn’t be!

Despite all the blips, it always works out in the end. We end up laughing about our fails and can chalk them up to lessons learned.

What do you like to do when you aren’t DIYing?

Besides DIY, cooking and writing are my second and third passions. I like to develop gluten free recipes so I just started blogging about that too. Although my husband is the trained chef in the family, I stole his moniker and dubbed myself “The Unknown Chef”. When I’m not DIY’ing with my husband, we love to scour antique flea markets.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you?  

I didn’t start blogging until soon after a near-death experience a few years ago. The Hometalk community is so amazing that posting on Hometalk turned out to be the best medicine. It was positive vibes and support from Hometalkers and staff alike that contributed greatly to helping me heal. I’d like to give a big shout-out to Hometalkers and all aspiring DIY’ers out there: keep up the positive energy!

If you are giving advice to a new DIYer what would it be?  

A few things:

First and foremost, safety first! You need to dress for the occasion like I did in the photo that accompanies this spotlight! Buy the best goggles, mask, gloves, knee pads etc. that you can afford. The tools and other gadgets will come in time but if you injure yourself because you haven’t taken the right precautions, you won’t be needing those other things!

As the saying goes, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start small so you can develop your skill set and build confidence as you learn.

Like anything, DIY is a process so most importantly, have fun with it. Of course, DIY’ing goes even faster – and is much more fun – when you have a few helping hands. I’m blessed to do all my reno projects alongside my husband.

Once you develop some skills you can even involve the kids in the process (with the easy and less dangerous stuff of course). Make it a family affair and pass your love of DIY on to the next generation. You’ll be doing them a great service by making sure they are self sufficient when it comes to maintaining their own home one day.

But what if you don’t have helping hands? Don’t feel like you have to go it alone: the Hometalk community has got your back. All you have to do is ask and any number of Hometalkers are ready, willing and able to provide advice and expertise (even me on occasion!) so check it out here: http://bit.ly/2AIJQ5x!

 

Sara from Birdz Of A Feather is such an inspiration to the hometalk community! Be sure to check out her hometalk projects here.

For more, visit her blog here!