The Mighty DIY

So I’ve never been all that handy of a person. Creative, yes, but handy? No. Case in point: I bought 5 simple wooden shelves from Ikea in January that are still merrily leaning against my bedroom wall. It’s (sigh) May.
Perhaps it was the home culture I grew up in – don’t get me wrong, my family is wonderful and have no qualms getting their hands dirty. But they work on things that need fixing or maintaining. Ask them to invent something new just for the sake of it? They would much rather “invent” another cup of chai. Extra strong, please.
Mmm Indian Chai
I was 13 when I sewed together some rather hideous scraps of corduroy together and created my very first wearable article. It was a simple corduroy purse, and I had made it from cutting up a pair of baggy, equally hideous pants that I had bought from Value Village (or, as we used to call it then, the VV Boutique).
I paraded my purse (might I add that it was this terrible brown colour) proudly to my parents and brother. Instead of the exclamations of wonder that my ear was ready to hear, I heard stifled laughter instead. My mom couldn’t stop laughing. And my brother? A lost cause. If I could see the purse now, I’m sure I would laugh too. I’m fairly certain that the stitching would be quite uneven, and the strap would be wider one side than another. Like the pants from which it came, it too would probably be, well, hideous.
The Treasures of VV Boutique
All the same, it was my creation, and I loved it for what it was. I told my mom the other day that if she had encouraged my spritely talent, I might have been a famous fashion designer by now. She dissolved into fits of laughter at the memory of the purse instead. Is it any wonder that I can now make an amazing cup of chai?
Can't have chai without snacks
All this to say that I have chosen this summer to challenge my rather complacent attitude towards DIY projects. Carrying on with my commitment to do and not just think, I’ve decided to see what things I can create or reuse rather than buying everything new all the time. To help myself along, I’ve been checking out resources on campus that promote DIY adventures. My findings so far: U of T has an impressive array of places to go to if you want to learn a new trade. For instance, want to learn how to repair your bike? U of T’s Bikechain is the place for you! Stay tuned for next week’s post, as I delve into where to explore hands-on activities on campus, from cooking and gardening, to creating interactive displays and even android apps. As for keeping my commitment, I suppose I should begin with those Ikea shelves… -Aziza

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