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The Most Popular and Clever DIY Projects of 2012

The Most Popular and Clever DIY Projects of 2012

With the economy in the hole, many people have been finding new, innovative ways to enjoy life, home, hearth, and the like without shelling out needless armfuls of cash. DIY projects are all the rage these days,  so I’ve collected a few of the most popular ones for your creative pleasure.

DIY Pallet Garden, via Apartment Therapy

small space pallet garden

    From their “gardening without a garden” series, this is an ideal way for renters to create their own little garden spaces on patios, porches, or even outdoor walls. This project is made by up-cycling a pallet (easily found behind a grocery or hardware store), and arranging the plants of your choice within it so they grow outwards and upwards once the pallet is secured against your wall. It’s an ideal way to grow fresh culinary herbs like thyme, basil, and parsley (to name a few) within a few steps of your kitchen, or to deck out your entire balcony space with cascading greenery and beautiful flowers.

    Speaking of greenery…

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    DIY Terrariums, via Inhabitat

    Terrariums

      Now, this article is centered on the idea of creating these terrariums as gifts for others, but there’s no reason whatsoever why you can’t make them for yourself! Terrariums are fabulous to have around the house, as they add beautiful touches of lush greenery, but are so low-maintenance that they practically thrive on neglect (especially if you create yours from cacti and succulents that draw the water they need from moisture in the air—you won’t even have to water them!) They can be made in all shapes and sizes, from miniature scenes inside magnetic spice containers to 40 gallon fish tanks, and the variety of plants you can use in them is enormous.

      You can also get super-creative with these planters, and with the combination of some interesting plants and accoutrements (such as railroad miniatures), you can have small-scale gardens all around your home.

      Hey, while you’re enjoying your indoor garden, why not dip into…

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      A DIY Starbucks Latte, via Mom Advice

      caramel latte

        There are now Starbucks cafes in 61 countries, so people all over the world are shelling out oodles of cash for venti-frappa-whippy-drinks that can be made at home at a fraction of the cost (and sugar/fat content). The lovely ladies at the Mom Advice blog have put together DIY recipes for Pumpkin Spice, Salted Caramel, Gingerbread, Peppermint Mocha, and Butterbeer lattes (as well as several other drinks on the Starbucks menu) so you can whip up your own drinks whenever you like. If you find that you miss the surly baristas, I’m sure you can find some nice, scathing clips of their witty snarkings on YouTube.

        Another ridiculously super-cute project is this one:

        DIY Felt Elbow Patches, via HonestlyWTF

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        DIY Felt Elbow Patches

          Whether you’re a fashion-savvy hipster sort looking for some new way to upgrade your wardrobe, or someone who’s just looking for a way to reinforce the elbows and knees on your kids’ clothes, this is an exquisitely easy, fun project that can be done in a single day, with great effects. All you need is a woolen sweater, some wool roving, felting needles, cookie cutters, a felting mat (or piece of dense foam) and an iron. That’s it. You can use any cookie-cutter shape you like to create the patch of your dreams, and after stabbing the roving through the sweater until it’s formed your shape, you just iron it, and voila: felt patches of soft, colourful loveliness.

          Note: you don’t have to limit these patches to elbows, either: you can use all different sizes of cutters as stencils and add felted prettiness all over your woolens. How fun is that?

          Last, but certainly not least is:

          The DIY Chalkboard Wall Calendar via Curbly

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          DIY Modern Chalkboard Wall Calendar

            Isn’t this bloody brilliant? With some tape and chalkboard paint, you can create a perpetual calendar on your wall that never has to be recycled, and can just be wiped clean whenever it needs updating.  Chalkboard paint comes in a variety of different colours, so you’re not stuck with either black or green on your wall of choice: you can choose the hue that best suits your decor, and then just use complementary chalks on it to write down everything you need.

            Instead of creating a wall calendar, you could just create a giant chalkboard panel on which you can make notes about projects, and keep yourself organized. You can also use this paint on a wall in your kid’s room so they can draw on that wall to their heart’s content, or paint the insides of your kitchen cabinets with it so you can make notes about needed groceries, or even write down often-used phone numbers.

             

            Do you have a favourite DIY project that you created this past year? Feel free to share it!

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            Catherine Winter

            Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on July 10, 2020

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

            Boundaries are limits

            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
            • When do you feel disrespected?
            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
            • When do you want to be alone?
            • How much space do you need?

            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

            Sample language:

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            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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            Final Thoughts

            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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