The “Less is More” Series, Part I: Have Yourself a Merry Little DIY Session

For holiday purposes, I needed his address. My brother sent his address with this message:

Remember, less is more!

My brother lives in the woods, somewhere across the highway from the world’s prettiest Park. He works for the U.S. Forest Service. For half the year, he rides the trails of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, packing in supplies and letters from home, and packing our garbage and letters to home. He believes in the simple life. His warning haunted me on the eve of Black Friday.

You wouldn’t know it, but I, too, believe in the simple life. Two years ago, I praised REI for their #optoutside campaign. I participated. This year, in the same spirit, I indulged again in something other than shopping: DIY projects.

If you’re cringing and reeling at the aforementioned acronym abused on a million or so blog sites, hang with me.

“We need a wreath,” I told Zach.

We really did need a wreath; I had punted for years on splurging for one of those one hundred dollar beauties. It’s hard to spend such a chunk of money on something you can make. And I love to make things. Still, I went searching the online Black Friday deals. It’s not bad to skip to the finished product, right? Especially when you’re low on time and energy, right?

Minutes later, I flung wide-open the cedar chest, pulled out rolls and rolls of holiday ribbon, tore apart a wreath from another DIY session (that died during our move), found the silver craft wire, the scissors, flowers, feathers, a funky ornament, and went to town. During Abigail’s afternoon nap, I quietly and proudly placed this humble piece on the front door:


“You can’t buy that in the store,” I told Zach.

By the time the wreath was hung, my crafting fever had not yet peaked. I stopped to innocently take up my 2017-2018 planner. When the house is a mess from the changing of the seasons and the aftermath of a spontaneous project, a good planning session does the heart good.

Not long into my planning session, I went searching on Etsy for cute, unaffordable planners. Just to have a look. They offered downloadable versions, and I almost did it.

Instead, I found myself on Word, piecing together my own planner.


Because, dang it, if you can save money, do it. If you can do it better, make it.

Or, if you can buy someone else’s “I can do it better” item, go for it. With my crafting fever long gone, and a seven-month-old in the house, I can barely crochet a dishcloth, or the surprise I can’t yet reveal because Zach may read this. But, I can buy handmade online .

In fact, I had already purchased a handmade item for my brother before requesting his address. You see, I know his “less is more” policy by heart, even though I need a good reminder every once in a while so I can have myself a merry little DIY session.

If you’re low on time and energy (or supplies, check out one of these lovely shops: 

Image-1Sarah Spano Arts: My art teacher friend in Germany crafts rad hand-blow glass piece and paints custom orders. Affordable, beautiful, personal, and priceless. I can hardly wait to receive my own custom order!

IMG_0718-2Knit One, Whine Two: My friend in Texas crochets and knits up a beautiful storm with speed and expert skill, as demonstrated above by the teddy bear hat Betty crocheted for Abigail.

IMG_9976.JPGKennedy Claire Couture: When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted a girl so I could buy this from Kennedy Claire. The onesie and bow did not disappoint.

IMG_0721The Last Buffalo Shop: Okay, so this shop is currently closed, but I promise to return soon with eclectic pieces like the crocheted baby hat pictured above, which was personally liked by Monte on Instagram.

Featured image: a handmade heirloom from my childhood home. That’s another thing about the handmade: it’s worth hanging on to. 

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