DIY-ing for another weekly challenge

Creative expression keeps the world spinning. Everything created stems from the wood of a tree, dirt, water, light and other elements of nature mixed and matched like a game of Minecraft. 

On a smaller scale, crafting is one way to exercise the mind and resort back to our cavemen roots. For one week straight, I decided to challenge myself with a DIY, or Do It Yourself project each day to find out the positive impact it has on a stressed-out brain. 

Starting off strong, I tackled a project to solve one of my bedroom pet peeves: lost and tangled jewelry. I took a framed canvas, some paint and push pins and let creativity take over. I painted the canvas and frame, let it dry, and carefully measured and placed each push pin in even rows. I hung it up on the wall, decked it out in necklaces and bracelets and — voila! A jewelry holder. 

The next day, I noticed my beautiful jewelry holder was looking a little empty. I have a thousand necklaces, but so many were broken, old or out of style. I decided to play  jeweler and take apart the pieces I didn’t care for, and turn them into statement pieces I will wear and enjoy for longer. I reworked about five different necklaces and they look rather dashing hung up on my canvas masterpiece. 

Straying away from jewelry, my third craft of the week was another wearable piece — only a T-shirt rather than an accessory. I’ve had some practice with a needle and thread, mostly for fixing rips and holes. I keep a bin of scrap fabric around in case I need to  patch something up, but this time I decided to upcycle the recyclables. I cut old denim fabric into the shape of a star and stitched it onto a white T-shirt. It sounds so simple yet it took two hours, a few pokes in my fingers, and a couple of mistakes here and there to pull together a trendy new top. It was worth the blood, sweat and tears to be able to wear something I made myself. 

One of my most toxic traits is starting a hobby I never finish. One of these hobbies includes journaling, which I constantly pick-up and drop throughout the year. One of my resolutions for 2024 is to stay consistent with a nightly journal entry, and sprucing up my journal may help me stay motivated. 

I took an old magazine and ripped it apart, cutting out cute designs, words and phrases. I layered mod podge on top, placed each unique cutout together and topped it off with more mod podge, sealing a collage on the front of the journal. So far, seeing a cute design I created has attracted me to pulling out my journal every night, and I’ve kept up with my resolution so far thanks to crafting. 

By the time I got to the fifth craft, I was exhausted from painting, cutting, gluing, and concentrating. I decided to make something I have made a hundred times: a woven bracelet. This was a hobby I picked up during my summer camp days, and it felt like second nature to pick it back up. However, the process to weave together a finished bracelet with many strings takes days — and I’m still not done. 

On the sixth day, I failed. I attempted to create a bouquet of flowers out of paper, but … I simply couldn’t master the intricate folding, and I gave up. (If someone would like to donate an authentic bouquet of flowers to help me grieve this loss I will gladly accept them with open arms.) 

Finally, my last project was an upcycle to my pill container. I have daily vitamins I often miss, as well as a codependent, toxic relationship with Zyrtec (an allergy pill). However, I never use my container. I took the same idea as my journal’s inspiration and painted it so that I would feel the want to use it more, and so far, it has worked out in my favor. 

After a week of feeling like an Etsy seller, I feel so much more mental clarity. Taking the stress of preparing for the second semester and putting it toward a craft helped me relax and focus on something else. I ended up creating six unique projects I’m proud of, and it helped me feel productive and overall, happier.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Pictured above is a collection of multiple DIY projects I completed in a week including a jewelry holder, collage journal, woven bracelet, and an embroidered t-shirt. (Mercedes Kauphusman/The Reporter)

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