Endsleigh specialise in Home Contents Insurance for people in the UK

The do-it-yourself spirit


I’m an obsessive do-it-yourselfer. When I needed a big tote bag for the gym, I made one out of canvas. Instead of picking out nice printed invites for our wedding, I designed them – then printed them, embossed them and cut them myself. I like to get my hands dirty. I feel accomplished when I see the finished product and can say “I did that”. Teague is the same way. He repairs our cars, mends his own pants, and draws beautiful pictures to hang on our walls.

I got to thinking – what makes us so interested in DIY? Partly, it’s the money we save. Partly, it’s curiousity – we both like knowing how and why things work. But mostly, I think it’s upbringing.

My father was always out in the garage coming up with creative solutions to everyday problems. Remote controls getting lost all over the house? A piece of leftover wood, velcro strips, and an old cabinet handle became a handy holder for all 5 remotes. No cupholder in your car? A tuna can and some double-sided tape will do the job. As a kid, I loved his workbench and all the coffee cans full of bits and pieces. As an adult, I’ve called upon his expertise hundreds of times. If he wasn’t out rv’ing in Florida, I’m sure I’d have him trapped down in our basement every weekend! Because of him, I am not afraid to get involved in the “manly” types of projects we’re encountering around the house. Thanks, Dad!

Teague’s father is also a creative genius when it comes to repairs. His solutions are McGyver-like in nature. I love watching him and Teague strategize before leaping into a project. They become so focused and single-minded that everything else around them becomes background noise.

Teague’s parents built a log cabin from the ground up, including cutting their own logs and pouring their own foundation. They resurrected a cottage that most people would have bulldozed, and made it seem cozy. So it’s pretty obvious where he gets it from.

I’m glad we’ve been blessed with the DIY spirit. Given the state of our house, it means we’ll never stop learning new skills!

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Alex had this to say on 01.26.05:

You have what I consider a gift and what others consider a true curse. I would much rather spend the time and sometimes even the extra money to make something DIY than ever to send something out for someone else to do. I am a web application developer and this same concept goes for anything at work. I would much rather build my own from scratch (Content Management System, BBS system, whatever) than ever buy someone else’s pre-made, because I know I can do a better job to better meet my needs. Sure it may take a little, or much, longer, but it will be done the way I want it done. (That is also why I don’t have a blog for my house yet and have a partially functional system for my journal Every day I have to fight my own urge to use movabletype to do my site, but it looks like it has worked so well for this and so many other sites.)

I do think it is something that is in your upbringing. But the thing that you have working for you is your ability to respect, accept, and embrace technology in every day life. Then you begin to move beyond the general DIY spirit that our parents know. You get to use your DIY knowledge and ability to do things for yourself that other advanced DIYers would balk at. The internet is perhaps the single best resource that could ever exist for a DIYer, and your ability to understand it and how it works will lead to more successes than failures by learning from the mistakes of others. While a DIYer does do it themselves, what they are doing has typically been done before, and most likely someone has also wanted to post their experience online to share. Good luck in all that you do yourself, and keep up the good work on your house and website

mindy had this to say on 01.26.05:

Alex –

Definitely a blessing AND a curse – sometimes even I think we’re crazy. Your networking project is truly humbling – I love the idea of having such a wired home! Best of luck with that, I can’t imagine the amount of planning that went into that.

You’re right; the internet has been from the start our greatest informational resource. Before we purchased the house I used the web to research neighborhoods and school districts, look up tax records, read advice for first-time buyers, check interest rates, and view local real estate listings. I am a web designer and developer by day, so it’s natural that I would look to the internet for answers. We have a great advantage – previous generations had to rely on the experiences/knowledge of only those around them, while we can submit a question on a support board somewhere and get twenty solid answers in 2 days.

On a side note, Movable Type has it’s issues (it’s buggy at times and has some limitations I don’t like) but it’s fairly flexible, and with all the other projects on your plate it may be the best way to get up and running quickly. If I had unlimited time I would customize our blog alot more, but this’ll do for now.


Jenne had this to say on 01.26.05:

Teague’s Dad sounds like Rob’s Dad…he built a big cabin in the woods all by himself and that’s where Rob grew up. Rob’s parents come out here and help us with scary projects from time to time, and it’s always great!
Thanks for you web help yesterday. I get overwhelmed sometimes…:) You seem to have it all under control!
Thank you, for everything.

Kristin had this to say on 01.27.05:

I’m the same way. I see cute painted martini glasses,etc. and think, “I’m not buying that when I could do it myself.” Of course, I often never get around to doing it, but the point is I COULD!

I, too, come from creative stock. My mother anyway. She was a stay-at-home mom when we were growing up, and she always had some crafty project going. She sewed and crocheted and painted, etc. We always had the best projects in class because we were creative and had a mom willing to get creative with us.

My poor DH didn’t have any creativity in his family growing up. But he did have a DIY dad in the more practical arts. Darwin and his dad did a significant remodel and add-on of their house when he was 12. Darwin knows all about tools and can figure out how to build or fix anything.

Jane had this to say on 02.21.05:

Ha! I have the same kind of Dad and I have trapped him in the basement…….Since we are adding an apartment for my folks in our house he is there everyday working on all the Dad things he does so well.

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