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Today I am Busy …

… getting my hands dirty.

 

Dirty Girl

 

Today I am fixing my dryer.  Again.  Last time our dryer conked out it was a matter of replacing a fuse.  THIS time a belt is broken.  It’s been broken for a week or so but I only got time to finally take it apart to see what the problem was last night.  The dryer was coming on and we could hear the motor running, but it wasn’t spinning.

No party in the drum.

It was just sitting there.  Still.  Like a monk.  Nothing like the whirling, drum of fun it normally is.  Because of this I figured it was probably the belt that turns the drum that was broken. I  mean that would be the logical assessment to make.  But once I got the dryer apart I found it was a different belt that was mangled.  I don’t even know what that belt is called, but luckily the parts store could decipher my stammering description of where the belt was and what it looked like.

I’m going to pick the mystery belt up today and by the end of the day our dryer should be running circles around our jeans and tee shirts again.  And p’jamas.  The fella seems to think I have an inordinate number of  p’jamas.  And I suppose I do, but I’m always on the hunt for the perfect pair.

He claims to know what the perfect pair is.  Apparently the perfect pair of p’jamas for me are made of lace and feathers.

I’m leaning more towards plain white men’s p’jamas with navy piping.  Or navy pjamas with white piping.

But I’m getting off track here.  The point is my dryer broke and I’m gonna fix it and I’m pretty proud.  Whenever people ask me why I do things like fix my dryer myself, make my own yogourt, or grow my own vegetables the immediate reaction is to say because I’m cheap.  But that’s not really it.  If I were to really look into my DIWhy, I’d say  the reason I do things myself is because it makes me feel good.

Special.

I’m not sure what I’d say I’m most boastful about but it’s probably installing  my own central vac.  It wasn’t the biggest job I’ve done, but it I’m impressed with myself every day for it.  And that was 10 years ago that I installed it.   At a rate of feeling proud of myself for it, once a day for the past 10 years, that means in the past decade that central vac has made me feel good 3650 times.  And that’s a low estimate.

So.  That’s why I do things for myself.

And you?  What have you done to impress yourself lately?   Or what have you done that you’re most proud of?  Giving birth is not allowed as an answer because although it is possible, for the most part you don’t hire someone else to give birth.

Lemme know.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have a dryer that wants to tumble for me.

Have a good weekend!


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104 Comments | Filed Under: Everything Else | Tags: , , ,

104 Responses to Today I am Busy …

  1. I DIY for that sense of accomplishment, and to feel connected to the things in my life. It’s why I garden, bake/cook most of what we eat from scratch, make my own clothes, work on my own car.

    I’m experiencing ever fraction of my life that I can. Rather than just sleepwalking through it.

  2. Alisha says:

    I know it’s ridiculous but I once changed a flat tire without ever having been shown how or even where to put the jack. I’m proud of my success and I’m proud that the jack didn’t break. I was so proud of myself, karma threw another 3 flats that month and a coworker got a flat tire that I fixed for her. I’m a flat pro.

  3. Sky says:

    Karen, Can I please send you my New Home Sewing Machine to fix? Please. I’ll be nice. I took it in and the man said “stepping error message” wtf
    he cannot fix a $2,000 machine. Granted its 10 years old but man what a machine. It could embroder. To fix it he said it would cost well over $200 with no warranty, meaning it could break again tomorrow, super. Stupid simple machine cannot be fixed and goes to the stupid simple machine graveyard. Not without me first tearing the machine apart. Me and my 11 year old that is.

    • Karen says:

      Well … think of how proud of yourself you’ll be if you fix it yourself. I honestly think you’ll probably just end up breaking it more … but WOW what an accomplishment if you don’t, LOL. $200? I’d get it fixed. If it breaks again within the next year … THEN I’d look into buying a new one. That is me and my advice. Or shoot it with a gun. ~ karen!

  4. caryl says:

    I feel bad that noone seems able to be proud of what they’ve done. Is this why Romney is running in America ladies??? I’m proud of my white anglo ability to make kick ass tamales. I’m proud of picking the most valuable junky looking thing at an estate sale. I’m proud of being old enough to admit that maybe cooking well being crafty and being sexy at 62 is not all that. Just give me some caldo pollo or himalayan food i don’t have to slave over and I’m good-same with the sex! Love you Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Caryl – You like Himalayan sex? ;) ~ karen!

    • MJ says:

      Caryl,

      You’re rockin! As are all of the women/men/children who think of DIY – and Karen, I love your DIWhy – before they think of waiting for a phone machine to tell them all the options that will waste yet more of their time and money.
      It’s hard to think of one thing I’m most proud of, maybe I’m most proud of living a life that makes paying for someone to fix/make something for me the option of last resort.Himalayan food sex is on the ‘gotta check that out’ list.

  5. Jackie H says:

    Now I have a Culture Club song stuck in my head :)

  6. jamie lynn says:

    don’t laugh.. but i’m proud that i’ve learned how to cook, and love that i’ve found out how much fun it is. i’m single with no kids so sandwiches, cereal and takeout have been my meals for years. until a few months ago when i started getting into pinterest and found recipes for everything. now every day i am excited to make dinner! even breakfast outside of cereal and toast is fun! :)

    • Karen says:

      Jamie Lynn – That’s not laughable at all. A lot of people don’t know how to cook. And it’s a good skill to have and a GREAT skill to love. ~ karen!

  7. Allison says:

    I’m totally stinking proud I read a PHP and SQL Ecommerce book and made my own site. I used to be a project manager/web producer and the douchebag CTO kept telling me to stick to writing specification docs about user interface and not to worry about the programming and that I was “no good at that stuff.” After I quit to be a stay at home mom it took me a year to read this insanely thick manual — twice to figure it all out. Now every time I work with the site I am so proud of myself … first for not listening to that douchebag CTO and on the other that I had the persistence to figure it out. Never EVER listen to someone who tells you that you are no good at something!

    • Karen says:

      Allison – I once had a boss tell me maybe I wasn’t cut out to be on camera. That I might want to think of being a producer. She didn’t like me. I quit and went to another station. That year I was nominated for a Gemini Award. (Canada’s equivalent to the Emmy’s) for best host. I saw my former boss at the event and she asked what I was doing there. I told her. And then I walked away. Douchebag. ~ karen

      • Allison says:

        I love stories like that. Congratulations. What an awesome moment. :)

      • Meg says:

        that is so excellent. how rare and refreshing it must be to just coolly trump someone’s expectations of you.

        I have an art teacher I’m waiting to not thank, someday, during an awards show. (He still talks with all my old classmates, except me…because I’m either a girl, or because I succeeded.)

      • nicole d says:

        thats beautiful. :) good for you! <3

      • Melissa says:

        I just lived a vicarious victory through that anecdote.

      • Pati Gulat says:

        THAT’S FABULOUS, Karen ! I know all of us loyal followers ( I hesitate to use “worshippers”,LOL!) would have GIVEN every hint you ever gave us to have been there and seen that woman’s face ! BRAVO !!

    • cred says:

      Good for you. Allison.

      Sometimes condescending d-bags make me more determined to do something they’re sure I can’t.

      In you face, douchebag CTO!

  8. Kat says:

    I think lately it would have to be the day I made my own 5 gallon bucket of laundry soap, it cost me under $2.00 I use it at least every other day and I know exactly what is going in to the sewer and our water system. It really makes me proud every day that I did this. It has lasted me 8 months and I still have 2 liters left!!! Oh and I feel the same about jammies I found the perfect pair of bottoms at Value Village, they are the perfect length (I hate them too short) and the inside feel like flannel while the outside feels like satin. But I have no idea where to buy more!

  9. Meg says:

    Impress myself lately? Well I work in film. So, having my VFX supervisor tell the rest of the team to do what I did. Twice in the same week. (I’m pretty happy with myself, to be honest)

    Proudest? Well overall I guess I’m proud of myself because I’ve worked harder than most people I’ve ever met. Sometimes just to get to the same place as everyone else. Consequently I finally feel I live an excellent life, in my dream job, with very smart and interesting people, where I get paid to be an artist every day. DIY for one’s self. It’s the best DIY you can do.

  10. Mary says:

    I’ve always been an artsy fartsy crafty sort of person. I love trying to figure stuff out and learned at an early age that if some man can do it, well, I can do it too. One thing I was bad at was self confidence in a why would anyone want what I make kind of way. This year at the ripe ol’ age of 56, I discovered wood working. My fella showed me how to use the tools (they were his tools and he didn’t want me cutting off a finger or anything). Anyhow, I’ve been making cutting boards and selling them at craft fairs. Who would have thought?
    Side note i- saw a pair of blue and white pin stripe pj’s at Tilley’s last weekend. They were a tad expensive, but nice.

  11. Karen Duke says:

    Most recently I’m proud that I grew my own tomatillos. I’d never even eaten one but the seed packet intrigued me so I brought them home, germinated them, managed to get 3 sturdy little plants that I moved into my garden boxes. The plants got tall and the plants got bushy but all summer long, no fruit. Then some little green lanterns appeared on them in September. I squeezed some, and it felt like little marbles inside, so I left them alone. This week I went to my garden to see what I could salvage before Superstorm Sandy arrived and voila! Nice sized little fruits were hiding in the lanterns. But what could I make with them that I’d like? I found a recipe for Roasted Tomatillo and Green Olive Salsa. DELICIOUS! I loved the first tomatillos I’d ever tasted and it made me proud that they went full cycle, from seeds in a package to yummy in my belly.

  12. Stefanie says:

    Even though I have pages of magazine clippings (and DIY pinterest pins) of projects I’m going to make/fix- I’ve never made any of them. Though I now feel ready to tackle the job. A couple of months ago I removed and replaced all of the caulk in & around the shower. Though the instructions claimed it should take a few hours, it took me almost three days. I don’t care. I’m still so damn proud every time I look at it. Bring on the power tools!

  13. Natika33 says:

    Thanks to you Karen, I learned how to make Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese from milk. As luck would have it, I then stumbled upon a cheesecake recipe that called for those two ingredients instead of cream cheese.

    I also happen to work at a school that throws out gallons of milk (among other things) a week and no one seems to have an issue with this. Well, it did until I started making cheesecake and bringing it in for everyone to share. I’m proud that I saved the milk and maybe just a wee bit happy I’m contributing to weight gain in a bunch of… well, let’s just say I’m also rather proud of myself that I haven’t gone postal yet…

  14. Cindy Marlow says:

    I’m proud that I have a short attention span and have a hard time remaining focused on one thing for very long. It has allowed me to learn MANY different things and then teach them to others because that is the only way I seem to stay on task. I’ve become a teacher because I was always more interested in helping everyone else than I was in doing my own thing.

    “Each one teach one.”

  15. Beth says:

    I’m just new to this Ms.Fix-It idea in the last few years. Sure, I liked to help my Dad when I was growing up, but having my own house is a whole different adventure. My rule is, if I have to call in a repairman anyways, why not at least TRY it myself… because it’s already broken, right?

    I have replaced snow tires, have some furnace tricks for annual maintenance, can drywall (ugh), do wood framing, and most recently, fitting a 2012 toilet to 1939 plumbing through a couple “yah that works, but it’s not the technically perfect way” fixes. The best thing (and scariest thing) I’ve ever gotten was a Black & Decker “How to fix 305 things” book… with pictures. It makes anything seem possible.

  16. Stephanie says:

    We had a 15 year old dryer and the last time it broke we decided on a $100 parts limit. New roller bearing and belt? $97. Dammit.
    The old man now lives with the son. Still going round and round 7 years later…

  17. ev says:

    Eons ago my mom told me it was “unladylike” to help my boy friend work on his ’57 chevy. All of his so-called buds disappeared when he was changing out the tranny. I DID drop it on his chest, though. Hey, he told me to release the jack–I didn’t know he meant gradually! Anyway, we got it done and a few other things as well….
    Anyway, we’ve been married since 1967. And I am still “unladylike” and a DIY kind of woman!

  18. Anita says:

    When I moved into my townhouse the light switches and outlets grossed me out. They were the almond coloured yucky old ones. Plus the previous owners did notbknow how to clean and they smoked. So imagine the yuckiness. As I started painting each room I learned how to replace them. I have changwed all of my outlets and light switches to the nice white rectangular ones with the plates that don’t have the screws on the outside. Nothing has given me so much pleasure then looking at my switches. Hell Electricity iis a scaring thing. And I am cheap to. Wouldn’t dare pay some to paint.

  19. Carolyne says:

    Installed our dishwasher. But that was because I am cheap.

    • Karen says:

      Carolyne – Uch. That’s why I installed ours. I *hated* installing the dishwasher (twice) for some reason. Good job to you! ~ karen

  20. Debbie says:

    I am proud of myself that I have learned to bake our bread. It tastes so much better, so even the kids complain when I buy bread. And seeing those loaves come out of the oven, cooling on the counter, just makes me feel connected with generations past of women who knew how to DO things, rather than BUY things.

  21. nicole d says:

    i made my own deodorant… which is better than any deodorant i ever bought at the health food store! (not to mention, a fraction of the cost!)and i gave some to my friend, who was on the hunt for the perfect stick, and now she and her husband both use it, and now she’s been making it too… i love DIY. :)

    i also made my own area rug… by obtaining all kinds of carpet tile samples (i work in the architectural field)… and it is PERFECT for the space, and is now my pride and joy.

  22. SuzyM says:

    What an inspiring group of women. I love the self-reliance and wear the badge of “strong woman” quite proudly.

    Me, well, my husband closed his office to work out of state and left his entire office for me to take care of, from office furniture liquidation (Which is a joke because no one wants even great office furniture in this economy.) to files, to paper shredding contractors and disposal and distribution of tons of crap! It was overwhelming and the last two weeks have been among some of the worst of my almost 60 year old life, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have my eye on the prize. I’m buying myself a great expensive gift when I’m finished and taking everyone who helped me out to a special dinner.

    I love my pj’s too. My favorites are ones from Pine Cone Hill. The cotton is amazing.

  23. Langela says:

    I am most proud of putting siding and stone on our home. Neither my husband nor I had ever done stonework before and it turned out great! I love it every time I look at the house. I also feel good when I can produce and meat, make all our soap, make laundry soap, garden, do landscaping, and make unique lights and furniture out of repurposed auction finds.

  24. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I tend to want to say I’m cheap too, Karen. But the fact is I’m a perfectionist. I’d say about 95% of the time I hire someone to do something in my house, they never do it well enough (I can find something wrong every time and I have to fix it). Then I get mad and think, “See, I should’ve just done it myself.” I also love the sense of accomplishment and pride that goes with it. I’m not sure I have one thing that I’m most proud of, but I am proud that I have figured out how to change light fixtures, replace a wax seal on a toilet (and re-seating it), I can paint and caulk like a bitch and I’m a pretty good cook (if I say so myself). It’s not hugely impressive but it’s way more than most of my friends or family do. I’m constantly doing some little thing. And you, my friend, are always an inspiration!!

  25. Kipley Herr says:

    From the picture of your palm, it appears that you have a simian line. As do I. It occurs 2X more often in men than in women. many medical sources have described that a true ‘simian line’ in both hands, is usually observed in about 1% of the population – though in Asian populations it is more often seen! Believe it or not, there is even an online forum for those with simian lines. I participate in none of that, but rarely see it on others…

    • Karen says:

      Kipley – I do indeed have a simian line. I thought I only had it on my right hand, but if you see it on my left, I guess that means I’m a 1 %. The one on my left doesn’t *quite* connect. The one on my right is a definitely straight, single line. ~ karen!

  26. Rachele says:

    I’m pretty proud of learning gluten free baking. When my kid was diagnosed with celiac, I had never even thought about it before. Now I have a small army of moms begging me to open a shop. In the past couple of years I’ve also built a wall of bookshelves, reupholstered the hundred year old, channel-back couch that belonged to my great grandmother, and designed and sewed a costume that won an award.

  27. Kim says:

    Google is my best friend when it comes to fixing things. With Google, I firmly believe there are few things in life that can’t be fixed…or at least patched up to hide the problem!

    My husband replaced the motor in our clothes dryer a couple of years ago. Big $$$ savings. BIg satisfaction.

    I’ve re-programmed two vehicle remote key-fob-thingies using instructions on the internet. Not a big savings, but still satisfied! After all, who wants to have to resort to opening their car door *manually*? Sheesh, not me.

    Recently our dishwasher had been draining when it should’ve been washing and I was pretty tired of washing dishes by hand. My husband is very handy and he’d done all the troubleshooting he could. He was ready to buy a new dishwasher but, being cheap…although I prefer being called thrifty, I continued to google and found an awesome site, ManageMyLife.com, and I posted our issue and two guys gave us their advice. I don’t even know if a service person would’ve been able to nail the problem so quickly, so I’m sure we saved a few hundred dollars.

    My husband isn’t that computer savvy and I’m not at all technically inclined, so if we want to fix things on the cheap, we figure we better stick together.

    Now I figure I can go shopping with all the savings…

    • Donna T says:

      Kim… those remote control key-fob thingies would cost us $200 each to replace in our neck of the world… unless of course we wanted to go back to opening car doors with a plain old key! Good job!! I’m impressed!

  28. Julie says:

    I’m learning how to upholster and I love it! Traditional upholstery with tack, hammer, horsehair and cotton. I have 5 chairs in various stages of completion, now I just have to get them finished.

  29. tracy says:

    We just built a 16×13′ pergola:-)

  30. Deb J. says:

    Why do I DYI? Lots of reasons. I am a tight wad and resent paying people to do a job I can do better myself. I like the unusual and DYI is the way to get that. I like to learn things and there’s nothing like a project to teach you things. DYI is a way to be creative. Etc etc etc. so I paint my own house, do my own gardening, sew my own curtains, cushions and duvet covers. I build my own decks and docks, weld (with my husband’s help) my own TV wall unit, recover my own furniture. My kids all laugh when the hear ‘look what I made’. My latest proud moments – the deck I built from scratch on our sleeping cabin this summer, the pouffe I made from two rag rugs and an old bean bag chair (that my cat loves) and an infinity scarf I made with a leftover piece from another scarf I was making and that took about 20 minutes. It looks really cool and is my fave by far (and I have probably 15 or more infinity scarves – good gifts). And Karen, it would probably have been cheaper to buy a new dryer than to pay someone to replace the belt. Been there. I HATE throwing out something with life still in it just because it is too expensive to fix. Sorry for the rant:)

  31. Erika says:

    I’m restoring a 1932 house, that had been in the same family since it was built and hadn’t been redecorated, except maybe new wallpaper in a couple of rooms since then, by myself. Okay, I did have a professional electrician do the rewiring, but I did the chandeliers and I can rewire lamps, and I had to fix the holes that he left behind. And I let a professional plumber tackle the 80 yr old pipes when necessary because if they break, then it will be HIS fault, and he’ll have to fix them. But I did flush the water heater and the hot water lines myself using only a garden hose, and a dime inserted under the kitchen faucet washer. I just repaired a hole in one of the closets caused by the previous owner’s furnace installer not lining the chimney before they put in the new furnace. I’m currently in the middle of redecorating the master bedroom, including stripping wallpaper, fixing cracks in the plaster, replacing broken glass in the windows, refinishing the window sills, et cetera. I try to fix everything I can myself because I AM cheap. And usually broke. My friends say “ask Erika, she knows everything, and I’m usually the first person my parents call on to fix things because I usualy can, and my stepbrothers always have a reason not to. I installed my own insulation in the attic, and fixed the heavy wooden gargage door so it isn’t falling apart and opens and closes smoothly. I built raised beds behind the garage for a veggie/herb garden, and next spring I’m going to build a green patio using materials that I salvaged. When I can’t work on the house, I sew and knit, and I just learned how to quilt. And I’m a halfway decent cook, but I can’t make fudge to save my life. :)

    • Erika says:

      Okay, and this is a totally smug brag, but my very first quilt top won 1st in “Unquilted Tops” AND the Viewer’s Choice award at the summer quilt show in our area, and was mentioned three times in two local newspapers! :)

    • Karen says:

      Erika – You can’t make fudge? Well. You obviously aren’t very good at any of this. From your comment I sense you’re probably just lazy. Yeah. Lazy … lazy … lazyyyyy. ~ karen!

      • Erika says:

        I AM a fudgy failure – I can’t even get microwave fudge to set up! It’s actually very frustrating and traumatic for me! :)

        http://itseamstome.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/erikas-hobo-quilt/

        This should be the link to my local quilt store’s blog that has a pic of the quilt. If you click on the picture it should enlarge.

        • Karen says:

          O.K. I absolutely LOVE your quilt. Good job! Hobo quilt huh? I’m gonna look into those. ~ karen

          • Erika says:

            Thank you! The author of the book was giving a talk to a women’s group a couple of towns away recently, about the stories behind the blocks and the book, and I took my quilt down there and she very nicely consented to sign one of the blocks.

            • Sara says:

              Erika, I have no idea where you live, but if you live in the mountains, is it an elevation issue with the fudge? My niece just did a science fair project looking at several baking tricks related to their high elevation in Colorado. The tricks definitely made a difference.

      • Deb J. says:

        Erika. I can’t make fudge either – usually comes out more like brittle. But the best success I have had is with fudge recipes that use marshmallow fluff. You know that stuff that comes in a jar and kinda grows out of it when you open it. Such fun to use:). Anyway, do a search on fudge recipes with marshmallow fluff and pick the easiest. I can’t find one I used but I don’t remember having to ‘soft ball stage’ or anything. And it makes a pretty yummy fudge – something I am preferring to NOT make ‘cos I will eat it if it is in my house.

        • Dee says:

          So close to the holidays you “Need” fudge. Google Nestle’s site or Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk for their fudge recipe….should be essentially the same one and uses Marshmellow cream in a jar. NO fail version of fudge. Basically melt, heat, beat/stir like there is no tomorrow and pour. I promise this works.

          • Erika says:

            I live in east central IL, so no elevation issues. I’m just inept. I’ve tried some of the no-fail versions, and they still fail to set. The goop tastes pretty good, but still goopy. I’ve pretty much given up, but I haven’t tried the marshmallow fluff version, so maybe I’ll try one more time. :)

  32. Dawna Jones says:

    I enjoy always trying to do something myself before I ask for help. I along with my husband have been building homes for over 17 years and when asked the other day by a magazine to give a list of the trades and artisans I couldn’t. It has only ever been us that does everything,we build it from foundation up do our own roofing siding flooring tiling stonework cabinets electrical! Our homes are actually built by us not a list of trades people and I would never trade that for anything! This is what life stories are made of,so I applaud you Karen!
    http://www.dawnajonesdesign.com/

  33. Bobbie says:

    When we first bought our home and had more kahonies than brains or cash, I installed and wired a double oven–and while it “felt” scary in a “what if I burn the house down and insurance inquires about who installed oven” kind of way- it works perfectly! I also cut holes and installed glass in our custom sized kitchen cabinets (after getting an estimate for $600.00!) It cost me exactly $29.00 for the glass and is without-a-doubt my biggest bragging right. I LOVE telling people this during our dinner parties, folks look absolutely startled! HA! All that and can make tiramisu!
    I just adore my sisters who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty! If we lived closer I would convince you to be my new BFF! Should you be waffling on this idea, let me assure you, I make poop for a living…..(the hook).
    B-

  34. laura gerber says:

    My husband and I built 3 terraces of retaining walls in our front yard – only 4500 pounds worth of stones. It went so well we have plans for more. And I can tile bathrooms too. But I’m terrible at cooking except for a delicious pumpkin bread recipe I’ve mastered. Some things were just not meant to be.

  35. Sarah A. says:

    I am proud that I grew my own tomatoes and made fantastic marinara sauce from those tomatoes without a recipe. I am also proud about how much money I’ve saved since planting a garden – fruit and veggies can get expensive! This money saving is part of a larger project of saving to completely remodel my kitchen… which we are doing ourselves, because we are cheap. Hopefully I can be proud of that once its done too!

  36. Rebecca says:

    I was pretty proud of myself that I noticed a spelling mistake IN FRENCH on my peanut-free peanut butter container yesterday!

  37. Lani says:

    i try. that’s what i’m proud of. the results are often uninspiring, but it really is the process-

  38. Kathy Hartzell says:

    Proud that I know how things work, and strive to fix it before calling in the troops. Is why I adore you, Karen, even if you use that yucky (d.b.) term.

    And I absolutely love a killer pair of jammies…for me the perfect pair would have piping, be never pilling flannel, and have a pocket on the right side, as well as the ubiquitous left, so I could tuck a tissue in and wear them even to the front door, and not scare people with the missing boob bump on the right side. I suggested to the famous local Jammie maker that her factories mix it up with the pockets, but clearly she didn’t listen. Yeah, I know, I could sew them, but where can you get lovely flannel these days. The fabric stores just carry good stuff, or good stuff just ain’t out there for the sewing crowd.

  39. Laura says:

    We have notoriously bad luck with dishwashers. Our new one started to clean badly after about two years. I took it apart and picked out all sorts of junk from the holes in the spray arm. (Himself puts those little vegetable stickers wherever he wants, and uses the sink as a garbage recepticle for plastic, and sometimes bits of plastic and stickers ended up getting cycled through the DW.) It was very time-consuming, and now I am more diligent about odd bits stuck to dishes before washing.

    We have a niece who was raised like a princess. When she married, she became little Martha Stewart. She has a garden, she cans, cooks, decorates, and plans to learn how to sew.

    There have been studies that show how endorphins are released into our systems when we accomplish something creative or self-supporting. I started cooking when I was seven, am always quilting and love having a vegetable garden. My endorphine addiction started young.

  40. erica says:

    Great topic Karen! The thing I’m most proud of fixing lately is the rear window wiper on my subaru forester. it just stopped, so instead of taking it in to be fixed, I remembered what my dad said about trying WD40 to get mechanical stuff working again, so I soaked the heck out of where it attaches to the car and incredibly its working again. I smile everytime I turn it on and that I avoided a trip to the dealership…simple but satisfying!

  41. Heather B. says:

    I DIY a lot of things. Mainly because it sounds fun (in the beginning) I have screened in a patio, helped build a cabin at Little Hawk Lake (it was a 3 “man” job) and fixed my car. I always tend to fix my car. As of last week I have changed 3 starters, changed 1 alternator,installed 1 set of brakes, completed an entire tune up, about a million (may be over exaggerating) oil changes and oil filters, 15 flat tires, 7 batteries, 8 headlights, 1 clutch, 1 timing belt, fixed 1 air conditioner, installed 1 radio. <— that is all I can remember but I'm sure there is more and this has been over the years on multiple cars. I was not taught by my father how to fix cars. I learned how from repair manuals, Internet, and mainly by asking questions to people that have the knowledge. I always feel that the labor charges at auto repair shops was too high an figured I could do it if they can (except for that transmission and radiator).

    I am proud to have my male and female friends come to me for car advice :-)

  42. Heather B. says:

    Oh and I’m in the process of making my very own brooch bouquet for my up coming wedding 12-12-12. I have also made many a quilts by hand next one I will use a machine because I just got one. But cooking or baking ..yuck! I try and try and fail almost every time. Luckily my FH is great in the kitchen!

  43. karol says:

    Considering the amount of pain-in-the-ass people I am surrounded by because of fate, and by fate, I mean I either married or birthed them, my biggest accomplishment that makes me proud is getting up every morning and not killing a single one of them.

    • karenagain says:

      Yes, this is a huge accomplishment. I second this and also add the people that conceived me and the nagging, spoiled, demanding, impatient animals that insist on residing with me.

  44. Debbie says:

    My husband was in Italy with a friend (that’s another story, I’m in California) and the water line burst from our water tank to the softener. I actually fixed it. Got soaking, dripping wet from when it was shooting 30′ in the air but it was working at the end of the day. Nothing like that. Great question and impressive comments.

  45. Kristin says:

    I built a pizza oven all by myself, I made camembert and rebluchon cheeses, I fixed my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I made a pair of earrings shaped like a chef’s knife and a whisk, I canned all the tomatoes that I grew and now use them to make pizza sauce for the pizzas I make in my oven, I have five chickens that I love, I cook really well, I always make all the Halloween costumes, I managed to get my African violet to bloom, and most recently:

    I’ve torn out the shabby wooden pre-fab deck and built a brick patio all by myself. And I’m currently building river rock pilasters to surround the pergola legs (I didn’t build the pergola; we hired a handyman for that.) So it’s a big, beautiful brick patio, with river rock pilasters and two pergolas. Next up: I will build a little decorative pond, complete with water lilies and goldfish.

    I am happy when I have a project. I think the key to happiness is to have something to do now, and something to look forward to.

    P.S. Just now a property assessor was here and commented on the pilasters, “I see your husband is building them himself–how ambitious!” and I said, “Actually….”

  46. Lin N says:

    I like to problem solve stuff, try it myself and fix things because the accomplishment makes me feel proud and good. My biggest accomplishment to date has been designing and being co-contractor of my new home. Never thought I would do something like this at age 60. I’d do it again because it was a really good experience. One of the last projects was clearing out the workroom and putting down the new floor. I love your blog. You make me laff and sometimes I even learn stuff! LoL

  47. Scouty says:

    It is nice to be in great company, so many like minded DIYers – Karen brings out the best in us.
    My most proudest is a deck, I designed it, order the material, built it and it turned out level too! I love to putter.

  48. Spokangela says:

    I make my 4 kids’ lunches and home cooked meals every day. And I work full time! It takes time and effort but I am proud knowing that they eat nutritious meals. It probably also helps that I consider cooking my hobby, so I am happy to try out new recipes and slave away in the kitchen. I also garden & preserve.
    Thank you Karen for the inspiration to fix things myself! I tend to want to let my hubs fix things for me, but the end result is always “not what I would have done” so I have learned to just do it myself. A lot less arguments that way, plus I am so happy when I manage to fix something and it works! Victory!

  49. Pam says:

    I cook,sew,garden,can freeze,raise chickens, DIY because I too, am cheap.My biggest DIY was siding my house (hate painting) It took me 6 years doing a side or section at at time,but it looks great, made the heat bill go down and NO PAINTING ANYMORE! I just love your web site.All of us women DIYers, all we can do is try,if we can’t do it, THEN call the repair person.

  50. Pati Gulat says:

    Two of the things I’m most proud of are my end table I made from an electric wooden spool and the entertainment center I made from an OLD TV cabinet I pilfered ! They are BOTH gorgeous and my husband,eho complained about the fact he didn’t want the old TV IN our new house, has changed his tune about my projects. THAT is my BIGGEST accomplishment…getting him to hush !! LOLOLOL !

  51. Karen says:

    I want more info on installing this home vac system. Did u do upstairs and down and how hard was it to do???????

  52. Raymonde says:

    I really had to think about this one! I think I’ve always needed to make stuff, It’s like an addiction, I just cannot sit still without something to do! When I see a prison scene on TV, I always wonder how I would be able to survive without, at the very least, some yarn and knitting needles! Yep, so you probably guessed that I knit, but I also crochet, embroider, sew, can, cook, make my own house paints from dry pigments and either lime, dry milk or flour, make my own cleaning products, build stuff, bake bread, etc… The only thing I haven’t attempted is repairing my car… It doesn’t interest me, I don’t know why…
    What I’m most proud of, is that I gutted and restored my 353 year old house to its former glory (it’s been 8 years and it’s almost done!), using historically accurate methods, products (that I had to make myself) and colours, while hiding all the necessary modern amenities. It’s my dream home and I get to enjoy it every day!!!

  53. karenagain says:

    One evening about ten years ago I was at my neighbour’s drinking all her wine. She was complaining that her dishwasher wasn’t working. I told her to start it up and we’d see if we could fix it. When it got to the whirly around water part, that didn’t happen. I layed down on her kitchen floor, reached underneath and spun something. Then it started working. I don’t know what I did or why I did it. I know NOTHING about any appliances. I had never even owned a dishwasher.

  54. Linda says:

    Wow! I was shocked when I made a list of everything I’ve taught myself. Cooking,sewing(clothes,curtains,stuffed animals,pillow covers,penny rug),knitting,crochet,counted cross stitch,embroidery,ironing,doing the laundry,cleaning,driving,raising children,gardening,canning tomatoes,pickles,peaches,grape jelly,doing all manner of crafts,photography,refinishing/painting furniture. Since becoming single again I’ve added: painting walls,doors,stairs,ceilings,repairing holes in walls,wallpaper,installed ceiling fixtures,fix toilets,replaced various fawcets,install curtain rods,bought a compound mitre saw and cut and installed trim and then sold the saw and made back most of the money,tiled a kitchen backsplash, installed floor tiles, rewired lamps, made lampshades,caulked windows and around bathtubs,added extra insulation (not the itchy pink stuff!),bought and sold 3 homes (made money each time..yay!)so I had to learn to deal with bankers and lawyers and real estate agents on my own. I do my own yard work summer and winter (I live in the Ontario snowbelt..ugh). I also work full time, sheesh, no wonder I’m so freakin tired!
    I’m proud of everything I do! :-)I wonder how many men do as much as women in a day?

    • Karen says:

      Linda – None of them do. None of them do as much as we do. And any smart man will agree. ~ karen

    • Barb says:

      Absolutely Awesome! I too do almost all of those things, and I can add farm work with tractors and horses and splitting firewood and soon I will be able to add using a chainsaw! Once I get the proper protective equipment, that is… since my husband left, I have found out just how truly independent I am, and I am so proud of myself for landing so squarely on my feet. I just love the look on people’s faces when I tell them some of the things I do that most women would rely on a man to do, or call in a “professional”.
      Here’s to strong, independent women! WE ROCK.

  55. Aleesa says:

    Of all the projects I’ve done myself and with my own fella (since producing offspring is disqualified), I’m most proud that I overcame my fear of all things electrical. In our 18 years together, we have constructed…many things. But I balked when it came to wiring. I/he/we replaced three decrepit ceiling fans and two ugly-as-hell light fixtures. Our latest installation was a ceiling fan with a 40 lb (18 kilo) motor that I had to balance on my head while he made sure the connectors were properly twisted. That’s right. I did it wrong, and he had to fix it. (We are still married, and still alive to tell the tale, hallelujah!)

  56. Jack says:

    This morning I managed to bend down far enough to cut my own toenails………a very proud moment!!!!!!!!!

  57. Dawn says:

    Ooo. I love being able to do things myself. My top two proudest things to date are:
    -Plumbing in my new bathroom suite (I did that about seven years ago, but I’m still really proud of it :D)
    -Repairing the clutch on my husbands motorbike (which decide to die 70 miles from home on the day we were heading of to tour Germany – we got on a ferry to France 24 hours after the one we were supposed to get. I was so proud of myself I nearly burst something :D )

  58. laura says:

    How about a post on how you installed your central vac? I am thinking about tackling that myself pretty soon.

    I have fixed my oven, microwave and refrigerator! I also want to be proud of doing some plumbing – it’s next on the list.

    • Karen says:

      Laura – I’ve thought about doing the post on central vac, but it’s pretty hard what with having installed it already. My set up was particularly easy. Put the central vac in the basement and was able to run the lines straight up through the 1st and second floor closets, with the outlets just outside of each closet. Perfect. One straight shot up. ~ karen

  59. mommynearest says:

    Before I knew of this blog, and you, I built a chicken coop, all by myself just by looking at a picture on a webpage. Then my oldest daughter ran across your webpage and chicken coop build, and I was elated! I felt like I found a soul sister, and I wish we were neighbors. No one gets my need to fix things, or build things. I know you do!!

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