DIY Dos and Don’ts

Do you ever feel like we’re living in a do-it-yourself world, but you are not a do-it-yourself kind of girl?

We have a saying in my family to “call the man” (from the Andy Griffith Show) that basically means just go ahead and pay somebody else to do something for you instead of trying to do it yourself.

For the most part, I am all in favor of this. But sometimes I branch out and give a project a try. (I blame Pinterest.)


As I was bemoaning my latest in a recent string of failed attempts (homemade refried beans this time), I decided to establish some guidelines for tackling a DIY project. If I’m going to fight the impulse to “call the man” and try to do something myself, there are three areas I will evaluate first.

How likely is it that I can even do this?

I don’t have a working sewing machine, so it’s unrealistic to think I’m going to make my own curtains. I have no plumbing experience, so I’m not going to start tearing out my pipes.

Different people will, of course, have different areas and levels of expertise (and you can always learn something new), but, with limited time and resources, the feasibility factor is a big one for me.

Doing a cost-benefit analysis is actually what started me down this DIY road. I saw frames with quotes in stores for upwards of $24.99 and thought, “Pshh . . . I can make those for a fraction of that cost.” fwmb_diy1 According to the friends and family who received them as gifts, those were actually a success!

But the homemade hummus?IMG_0115If my kids could talk, they’d tell you that it is well worth the $4.29 for the convenience of someone else cooking, blending, and processing the chickpeas and garlic. Especially when the store brand tastes so much better than Mom’s.

The feasibility and finance factors above don’t really matter if I’m not going to actually enjoy doing the project.

This one, for example?fwmb_diy3Feasible, financially-friendly, but oh-so-frustrating.

I won’t be doing my own matting-and-framing again anytime soon.

Despite the frustrations, it’s been fun learning my strengths and preferences. I’m willing to try my hand at painting something before I will tinker with the car. I enjoy making stationery, but please don’t try to get me to sew anything more than a button. While I will never buy pre-mashed bananas, I’m also not ever going to make my own crayons.

Feasibility, finances, and fun. For me, that’s what any DIY project has to involve.

What about you? Are you a “call the man” kind of girl or a DIY diva? What guidelines do you use when you’re trying to decide whether to tackle a project yourself?

Tiffany is an Alabama expat who has been married to Jason since 2005 and has called Fort Worth home since 2007. They welcomed Catherine in 2012 and Nina in 2013. Tiffany recently retired after 10 years of librarian life to focus full-time on doctoral work at the University of North Texas and part-time on health and fitness coaching. In her spare (ha!) time, she enjoys blogging at, tweeting (@mrsmcbookworm), podcasting (, watching sports (Roll Tide!), and walking with Fred, their Bichon Frise. You will rarely find her without a cup of coffee, and she is a big believer in the one-minute dance party.


  1. The problem with making hummus from scratch is the lack of good recipes. 99% of recipes are incredibly bland and the consistency is never right. I’ve found exactly one recipe that is 95% accurate but still needs adjustment for consistency and a couple ingredients need an extra helping.

    It’s also a food that requires a good food processor or immersion blender. I’ve never had good luck using a stand blender.


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