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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 September 16, 2019

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

            We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

            The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

            Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

            1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

            Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

            For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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            • (1) Research
            • (2) Deciding the topic
            • (3) Creating the outline
            • (4) Drafting the content
            • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
            • (6) Revision
            • (7) etc.

            Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

            2. Change Your Environment

            Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

            One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

            3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

            Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

            Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

            My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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            Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

            4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

            If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

            Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

            I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

            5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

            I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

            Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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            As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

            6. Get a Buddy

            Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

            I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

            7. Tell Others About Your Goals

            This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

            For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

            8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

            What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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            9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

            If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

            Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

            10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

            Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

            Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

            11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

            At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

            Reality check:

            I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

            More About Procrastination

            Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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