If you’ve ever told yourself you’re not creative or doubted your ability to design a gorgeous space, this one’s for you.
I’m sharing why experimentation is essential to becoming a pro DIY-er or learning to design a home you legit love. I also share some specific things your mistakes can teach you and offer encouragement for embracing your creativity even if you’re not perfect and falling in love with the process.
Cara hosts the Make Space Podcast and created Never Skip Brunch as an approachable space to empower women to DIY, tackle big projects, and design a home they love — without fear or intimidation.
let’s talk about it! ?
REVIEW + GET A FREEBIE!!
Leave a review on itunes – Screenshot your review before you submit it and send it to [email protected] with your mailing address and I’ll send you a FREE coffee scoop + clamp. I’m only mailing out 10 of these, so leave a review before they’re gone!
what i’m loving this week
Blown Away — A super amazing glass blowing competition show.
This show is SO entertaining to watch because the art of glass blowing is captivating and all the different artists they cast are so fun to watch — both their craft and personalities.
This show is SUPER great for watching the creative process of different artists and seeing how they cope with mistakes. It’s super encouraging to see even professional artists working through struggles and dealing with mistakes and failures.
If you don’t consider yourself an artist, this is a great introduction to the creative process and learning to give yourself grace as you make mistakes.
stuff we just need to talk about
National ____ Days are all a sham?!
Turns out most of the “National Something Days” have been created by businesses looking to bring their product into the national conversation.
They’re called micro-holidays, and they’re basically just here to get you to think about and go buy stuff.
let’s talk about it!
Did you know this!? How do you feel about the “National ___ Day” micr0-holidays? — are they a sham or do you shamelessly celebrate them all?
Leave a comment below or use #MakeSpacePodcast to share your response on social media
EP 16 TRANSCRIPT
…just in case you wanna read
Cara: 00:01 You’re listening to the MakeSpace podcast at the sewed number 16
INTRO: 00:23 Hey, welcome to make space a home design show made to inspire you to create spaces you truly feel at home in Cara Newhart sits down with amazingly brilliant guests for conversations that dive deeper than pin-worthy rooms. To tease out the essentials of creating spaces that feed your soul and inspire your creativity from home design strategies to decor, advice to interior design, tips and tricks. These conversations help you dream up a beautifully lived in home. Cara is the designer and chief creative enthusiast behind Never SKip Brunch. Her work has been featured in print publications like people style watch and Denver style magazine as an influencer, Cara has collaborated with brands like Amazon, H &M, Twitter and Thrillist. Here’s your host, Cara Newhart.
Cara: 01:21 Hello, happy Wednesday! I am really amped up for this episode because it’s all about getting you amped up about your house and getting excited about making mistakes and doing stuff wrong and learning. I have a lot of fun stuff to share, but before we jump in, I’ve got some stuff to tell you. So first things first, um, I talked about a few episodes ago, something I was loving, which was this coffee scoop and clamp in one. It’s super cute and gold and a lot of you bought them and are also enjoying them. So I thought it would be fun to give some away. So here’s how the next 10 of you can get a free coffee clamp. All you have to do is hop on iTunes and write a review, screenshot it before you submit it so it doesn’t get lost in the abyss. That is iTunes.
Cara: 02:14 Um, and then you send it over to [email protected] along with your mailing address. And I will mail you one. You get a free little clamp. It’s super cute — as the weather’s getting chilly and it is like coffee season if there ever was one. It also is a good gift. So if you are for some reason, amazingly prepared and you’re already starting Christmas shopping, you could check something off your list or you can self gift and keep it for yourself. Either way. Um, I’m giving away 10 so the first 10 people to email me their screenshot of their review, we’ll get one in the mail. I thought that was way more fun than like some kind of freebie that’s like an ebook or a printable. Like you want a little present and you want snail mail because it’s, you know, it’s fun.
Cara: 03:00 If you are new here, you’re gonna want to hit that subscribe button and stick around because I have super, super amazing guests coming up next week is HGTV star Leanne Ford of “Restored by the Fords” who was one of my all time favorite designers. And the interview is so good. And then we have Liz Marie Galvan who is the author of cozy white cottage. She’s also a blogger and a shop owner and an interior designer. And we get super real about home decor. Like, not only do we talk about her cute cottage style, but she dives in the lot about her life and some personal stuff. So if you like kind of the deep combos and connecting in that way, you are going to love that one. Um, so hit the subscribe button cause you don’t want to miss out because they’re really, really good. These are like amazing people really sharing what they’ve learned and they have a lot to, a lot to teach in a lot to share.
Cara: 03:52 So. Okay, good. So now that you’ve subscribed, let’s dive into what we’re going to talk about today, which is experimenting in your DIY and design journey and the perks of making mistakes. So this topic is kind of emerged out of, um, a lot of recent DMS I’ve been getting in kind of a lot out of the interviews I’ve been having because there’s kind of this theme of like learning to love the journey, learning to experiment whenever I asked these high caliber designers what their advices that usually as part of their answers. So I kind of wanted to dedicate an episode and dive into that topic more specifically. Um, this episode is meant to inspire you. So even if I sound like a little sassy, I’m just trying to be real with you and make your excuses sound ridiculous because they are, I want you to feel inspired and empowered and charged up.
Cara: 04:47 So here’s some examples of the things I hear in the DMS that I get that have kind of inspired this episode. So first of all is people looking at my DIY projects and saying, that’s amazing. I could never make that. Um, other people saying, I’m not creative people who say I’m not brave enough to use bold colors in my house. I don’t know how to pull a whole room together or I haven’t defined my style. So listen, if you are in any of those places and you feel like any of those statements, describe what you’re feeling. I don’t want to make you feel bad or like you’re wrong for feeling that way. I’m just letting you know that like don’t get stuck on that because those things of saying I’m not an, I can’t and I don’t know, um, are going to hold you back.
Cara: 05:38 They just are. So my goal for this episode is to take all of those and turn them around and let you know that you don’t have to be perfect yet, but it’s a journey and here’s how you get there. So creating a home that you are in love with essentially is done by filling your home with things you love. There’s a phrase I hear a lot of my favorite designers using, which is if you buy what you love, you can’t go wrong. But the flip side of that is that you can’t just buy random things you really love and expect the whole space to turn out great. Like in most things in life, there is a balance. So it’s not just about sourcing individual items you like, it’s about learning how you like them to go together to create that whole space that you love.
Cara: 06:27 So I really believe the secret to good design and designing a home that you absolutely love to live in is experimentation. I think experimentation is, is central. So the reason first is that experimentation is how you learn. Like literally the most formal learning process on the planet. I. E. the scientific method is based on experimentation. So our culture is focused on learning through reading, through lectures, basically kind of regular learning through school. But for real you guys, there are just some things you can only learn by doing, especially when it comes to hands on stuff. So a really good example, and I did not come up with this, I don’t remember why I first heard it, but is reading a book about how to learn to swim or even like getting a degree in swimming does not mean you know how like just because you literally know everything about it, every possible stroke, the, you know, best optimal way to breathe.
Cara: 07:31 Um, all of that does not mean that you’re a good swimmer and that is literally how design works. And that’s how DIY works as well. Like design is art and art is a super hands on thing that takes practice. Another thought on this is that when you are designing a space or building a DIY project, you’re going for what you think looks good and what you love. So no design book can tell you that. No, even if you know all the rules, I’m at the end of the day it boils down to what you like and what you think looks good, not what someone told you to put in your house, no matter how professional they are or how good of a designer they are. It’s what you love. And I really think like the before and after big reveal culture that Pinterest has showed us that HGTV has showed us, it’s really satisfying to see like a before and after.
Cara: 08:28 Like I love them as much as the next girl. I will sip wine on the couch and binge HGTV for hours. I love it. Like I love seeing big transformations, but the reality is there’s so much more that goes into that and our homes are not just big transformations. Like there are places that we actually have to live and do life in and I feel like it’s easy to gloss over the part where things were ugly and things were hard and there was problems. Um, you know, you can only do so much of that in a one hour episode or a 30 minute episode. So I don’t fault like HGTV and design shows for that. Like I feel like there’s a lot of production value obviously in the, you know, the big before and after and they show one or two problems. There’s always like, Oh no, a tiny pipe has burst.
Cara: 09:20 Or like we found something weird in the wall and we can’t do what we thought we could. Like they do show some of those problems. But really when you’re living in that moment and like dealing with that, you have to sit there for weeks in the, in between. That part’s hard. And, and not even like a big, you know, renovation, like just not having your house where you feel like it should be, where things don’t feel tied together, where maybe your budget’s tight. So there’s pieces you want to buy that you haven’t been able to buy yet. Um, but what I’m trying to say with all this is like, you need to teach yourself to enjoy the process because the process can be super messy, but it also is so much fun. Like you’re not going to decorate your house once perfectly and then be done forever.
Cara: 10:06 If you do that, it’s literally gonna turn like into your grandma’s house and become an outdated time capsule where everything just looks frozen in time. Um, but this also just plays into the fact that like living in our homes, our homes have to reflect our life and not just what we think looks beautiful. So your style is literally always evolving because as a person you should be growing. You’re becoming smarter with age, you’re going through different seasons of life, um, and your needs change, your life changes. So learning to get good at designing a home you love means learning to get good at adapting your house to fit your life as it changes. And that’s the part you guys, that’s so exciting. Like you don’t have to do everything overnight. You don’t have to like completely transform an entire room in a month. Like you have time and you have space that you can allow yourself to like experiment and bring different pieces in and then like, you know, hate it and that’s okay and like you get rid of it.
Cara: 11:14 And so falling in love with the process is how you learn the trial and error and that’s how you become a good designer for your own house. Um, so then the next phase of this is like if you experiment, you’re going to make mistakes. Like if you’re experimenting well there’s going to be mistakes. I think if you always love every single thing you make and you always love your work and you never make mistakes, like you’re not quite doing it right. Cause you’re not really pushing yourself and challenging yourself like mistakes. And occasionally hating your work is a fundamental thing of making art. And even if you don’t want to call yourself an artist or you don’t feel like you’re creative, you are, you are just creative in a different way than everyone else. And also maybe you haven’t nurtured that enough. Like creativity is a muscle that you have to use.
Cara: 12:10 You’re not just born innately creative and just able to just dream things up. It takes practice and that’s totally okay. But I feel like the reason it’s okay to make something and not be happy with it or have it turn out kind of crappy is either that you know, you can kind of like move on and make something better. Like it was maybe it was better in your head and it didn’t quite turn out, um, or the art that you created. You know, at one point maybe you loved it but then you don’t like it now is maybe because it was done during a certain season of your life that you’ve moved past. So that’s the thing with like making and being creative, whether that’s a DIY project or designing your house is that you’re not always going to love it and you’re not always going to feel like you know what you’re doing.
Cara: 13:01 But that is totally part of the process. Like, whether you are a beginner or whether you have been at it forever, like there’s always things where you’re like, mm, Nope, that doesn’t work. I don’t like it. Um, but learning to be okay with that is kind of like the key. So just to really encourage you, I’m going to share one of my best DIY project fails. So I have had many, many, many, many. Like even recently I was making these napkin rings out of clay and I tried to use air-dry clay when I usually use oven bake clay and I was like this is so great. It’s turning up good. I don’t have to spend time baking them. And they like totally cracked and turned to rubbish when they were dry. Like literally the, the ring burst open as it was drying because things can tract as they dry, which is something I forgot and those turned out terrible.
Cara: 13:54 So I had to remake them. But that’s not the worst project that I was going to tell you about. The worst one is there is this little corner of her kitchen and I w we don’t really have like a bar area. So I was like looking on Pinterest, like scrolling away and I kept seeing all these like cute style bar carts and I was like, man, like I need to get a bar cart cause they’re so cute. We could put like all our liquor on it and like get stuff off the counter and it could be like a little styling moment. So I like measured and I drew up this bar cart was very involved, like use a ruler and it was planning and I was like, I want it to be wood and then I’m gonna use copper pipe and I’m gonna like put the pipe on the side as like a little railing and it’s gonna be so cute.
Cara: 14:39 So prior to this I had built like a good amount of things out of wood. Like there’s a couple of projects I had done that just turned out great. I did like an entryway bench that everybody loved and um, a couple other things. So I was pretty confident in my skills at this point. It’s not like it was the first thing I ever made. I really thought I was good. I had all the tools I needed. I had my plan drawn out and I started building it. Things were going okay. And then finally, like I get towards the end and I look at it and I was like pissed. Like it looked so terrible, so terrible. I’m talking like totally crooked. Um, I had put wheels on the bottom and I like tried to hide the wheels under like a frame piece. Um, so they would like, I don’t know.
Cara: 15:28 So you want to be able to just see the wheels, like the thing would roll, but they’d kind of be hidden. Um, it wouldn’t even roll like the wheel. I don’t even know what I did wrong. I bought like caster wheels and like screwed them in and they did not even work. Um, the whole thing was super freaking ugly. And you guys, I was so mad that I wasted my time. I wasted money on these materials that were now crooked and I couldn’t make anything else with them. I so wish that I had photos to show you guys because I mean, of course I didn’t take any because at the time I was so mad and I was like kind of surprised. I was like, why did it turn off this terrible? I’ve built things before I measured, I did a whole plan, I know what I’m doing.
Cara: 16:12 I’m like, why is it so bad? But it was so bad. Like it literally looked, I don’t know, it looked like I gave LMI power tools and ask her to build a bar cart. Anyway, I, that was a really good learning process for me because I was really frustrated at myself for wasted time and money. Like that’s kinda what I got hung up on is like thinking of like all the other things I could have been making or you know, the way I could have used those materials to create something else instead of wasting them. Um, but what that really taught me was that, first of all, it’s okay to make mistakes. Like I learned a lot. I learned from that process that um, different furniture techniques and it taught me like when I literally saw what didn’t work, I then knew what I needed to know.
Cara: 16:58 Like a lot of times when I think you’re approaching a project, you don’t know what you don’t know. So until you try it and make the mistake, then now I know, okay, now I’m going to go to YouTube and I’m going to Google this type of joinery or I’m going to Google like how to attach these two kinds of boards. And so now I can learn because before I didn’t even know what to look for. Like I didn’t even know what questions to ask and now that I know how to ask, I can learn. So that’s the first huge key in making mistakes is like the lessons they teach you. And I feel like a lot of people that talk about like you learn from mistakes just mean like you learned not to do it again, but you learn way more than that. You learn what you don’t know and that’s the most valuable thing because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Cara: 17:45 Um, but the other thing I learned was to make mistakes strategically. Like I learned how to seek out information kind of at the beginning and also start practicing at a small scale with less expensive materials before diving in. So all of this terrible bar carts situation translated into when I did my first like really serious furniture build that was really technical, I then knew like what I needed to practice. Like there was a certain kind of joint that I had never done before. There was like peg holes and I learned like let’s get some scrap wood and cheap wood and let’s practice on that till I get it right. So when I go to build the actual project, I now have a wasted all this expensive wood. Um, and so just learning how to seek out information and practice like little things that are going to go into the bigger project.
Cara: 18:41 And for me, you guys, I am so impatient. I want things to happen now. If I have an idea in the morning and I’m like I’m going to make this or I’m going to do this today, you best believe that I’m getting coffee and I’m going straight to home Depot to get the materials to make it. Like I literally, I’m just so impatient cause I want things to happen now. But what it’s taught me is like investing yourself in the process, investing yourself in learning and being okay with mistakes and taking things slow is how you get good in the long run. So the whole gist of this is that you are not going to have the perfectly designed house overnight. You are not going to somehow find the right inspo photo or do the right project or put things together the right way where it’s going to fall in place.
Cara: 19:31 It is a long time journey and accepting that is how you can learn to be happy in your home the way you are. This is something also that I used to struggle with was like always wanting the next thing for my house. Like back when we lived in an apartment, I was always thinking like, you know, this doesn’t, this is my permanent home. Like when we buy a house I’ll be happy and I’ll spend the time to make it a home. And then we bought our first house and it was like we were always talking about how it maybe wasn’t our forever home. Like we didn’t plan to stay there forever. And so it was like, well I don’t want to spend so much time making it feel like home because it’s not our forever home. Like learning to experiment and make mistakes and be fine with it is going to help you be happy now in the house you live in now, in the room you live in now.
Cara: 20:25 If you don’t even have a whole house and it’s going to teach you so many good lessons for later. So then you can build upon what you’ve already learned. And this goes for if you want to be like a full on DIY or with like a full suite of tools in your garage or if you just wanna like be able to go to home goods. And not feel lost. Like you just want everything but also nothing cause what do you buy and how do you make it fit together and you’re just like trying to decorate your home. That principle is, it works whether you’re making things or whether you’re just like styling things and arranging furniture and pillows. Like it’s literally the same principle. So all of that to say learn to experiment. Like experimenting is so important in this journey of design. Um, and making mistakes are wonderful.
Cara: 21:15 Like of course they suck at the time. Like when you, when I made that bar cart I wasn’t like, Oh this is great that this bar car turned out so crappy. Like I can just learn from this. Like at the time I was mad and I was disappointed but now looking back like so worth it. I learned so much. And then the nightstand that I made turned out super great. Like my joints were so tight and it like looks so good on the corners, sort of the bark art. Another thing I want to mention is there’s an article that I’m going to link in the show notes. It’s called how to embrace mistakes without romanticizing failure. And it literally is a list of certain tactics. It says tactics you can use to renegotiate your relationship with failure. The reason I like this article is because I feel like there’s a certain strategic way to like learn how to learn from your mistakes and still be able to be real about them and the fact that they were sad and disappointing and messy and you didn’t like it.
Cara: 22:18 Like a lot of, I feel like successful people that are trying to tell us like, be okay with making mistakes. It’s like, well it seems easy for you to say because I see you up there being successful. So this article is great because it has specific advice for what to do with your mistakes in a productive way and the learn from them versus just saying like, mistakes are wonderful and that’s how you learn. Like that doesn’t really help me when I just screwed up this whole project and I’m grumpy, you know? So anyway, check that article out in the show notes. But seriously all of that to say embrace experimentation, learn to fall in love with the process and make mistakes because that’s the good staff. That’s the sweet spot of becoming a great designer. And for reels, designing a home you’re in love with. And when I say that, I mean you love living there, you don’t just love looking at it or it’s not just how you think it’s supposed to be. Like you genuinely freaking love it.
#OBSESSED: 23:26 Hashtag obsessed.
Cara: 23:32 So what I’m loving this week is amazingly on topic with what I just talked about in this episode, which was totally not planned, but I’m very excited. So it is the blown away show. Netflix, I love a good pun. It’s a glassblowing show and it basically is like, I dunno, like kind of like a food show or there’s a challenge and there’s a ton of people competing except that they’re doing blown glass art. I’m also, the group of people they picked is exceptional, like so many different characters and personalities. My personal favorite is Deborah. I don’t know how to say her last name, but she is just her own human and no one can get in her way. So it’s very inspirational. Just watching her like literally do her own thing without giving a crap what everyone else thinks. She just has her own plan. Like even sometimes the judges are like critiquing her work and she’s like, Hmm, it’s interesting that you saw that or like it’s interesting that you felt that way and I’m just like, man, like I don’t take criticism like that.
Cara: 24:36 If there was a judge in there like I don’t like this about your piece, I’d be like, man, I did it wrong. But she is just like, Ooh, interesting thought. Anyway, I really, really love her. The whole show is great and this really ties into what I was talking about because glass blowing man, there are so many mistakes to be made. It is a very hard art form. I personally have never tried it because, well I don’t, I just haven’t had a place that has like the giant ovens and all the things necessary. I would probably burn myself a thousand times, but it’s a really good show. I would say first of all, if you just enjoyed good art and you just enjoy like watching people’s creative process, but also if you are, don’t consider yourself an artist or you’re like my sister where one time a teacher told her she wasn’t creative and ever since then she just goes around telling people she’s not creative.
Cara: 25:31 Um, this is a great show for you because you watch like very top of their class artists deal with failure and deal with like dropping stuff and it breaks and stuff going terribly wrong and like, and they’re like amazing artists. Like they literally do this for a living. Um, so watching that process is a good intro to how you should approach art and approach design in your own house. If that’s not something you’re used to, if that’s not something you like ever took classes on or you tried to avoid like the plague cause you didn’t think you were artistic, this show is super good because you can just watch, you watch it play out, you watch it play out with people that are excellent. And so it’s really inspiring to know that like if these people are breaking stuff and making mistakes and everything’s not going good, then like you can give yourself so much more grace in the fact that that’s part of the creative process. And that’s totally okay if you do it too. If you break things or do projects that don’t turn out. So that’s what I’m super loving, blown away on Netflix. Go check it out.
WAIT, WHAT?: 26:45 wait, what?
Cara: 26:50 So my, wait, what for this week is that most of those national days we’re literally only created to get you to buy more things. So if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it seems like every single day on social media is national. Something day. There’s like national avocado day, national waffle day, national bowling day, national coffee day, national. Every single something day. And if you’re like me, you’re like, are all of these actual holidays? Are they officially celebrated? And do I have to be a part of them? So the answer is no. So there are some days that are recognized by the government. In fact, to be an official holiday, it has to be officially declared and traditionally required an act of Congress. However, now you have different businesses just for fun declaring a certain days in order to kind of bring their products into the limelight. And then there are weird examples like national ice cream day, which was actually declared by president Ronald Reagan because he said that ice cream was a nutritious and wholesome food to help the dairy industry.
Cara: 28:06 So overall these micro holidays are like a whole weird situation that I didn’t even know existed either. It’s the government condoning certain industries by like celebrating different products or its businesses just like celebrating the fact that they sell you something like national shape wear day. And I’m not trying to hate on it. Like I love myself a national waffle day. Um, I do never skip brunch after all, but it was just interesting to me because I didn’t really know the history behind these days and I didn’t know that it was kind of like a little capitalist slash marketing, you know, plan versus like an actually nationally recognized day. The other thing that’s super funny about this is there’s literally so many that no one knows what is what day — like, You could literally go to your friend or your husband and be like, it’s national Oreo day.
Cara: 29:01 And they’d be like, yeah, let’s eat Oreos to celebrate. Like no one knows what national day it is. You could literally just make it up. So next time you feel like doing an activity or eating a certain food, just tell you know the people involved that it’s national something day and there you go. You’re all set. But I want to know your thoughts. Like did you know that this is where this was coming from? Do you celebrate all the national days? Like I literally have a friend that all her social media posts, like I don’t think she skips a day. She like loves celebrating all the national days and I can’t blame her cause she’s literally always having a party for some reason like it’s a good excuse to just be happy and things all the time but it just seems like a lot to keep up with for me personally.
Cara: 29:46 So I want to hear your thoughts. What the heck do you think about this? Use hashtag make space podcast. If you want to share on social, you can DM me or you can leave a listener voicemail. If you go to never skip brunch.com/talk there is a form you can fill out if you don’t want to talk or you can literally hit a button and like leave a little voicemail because I want to know what you guys think are all national days to be celebrated. Is it just a capitalist ploy? What are your thoughts? That is it for this week. Thank you guys so much for listening. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss the really awesome guests coming up. And then be sure to leave a review screenshot before you submit and send it in. And I will mail you a little coffee scoop and clamp all in one that’s super cute and super gold and you will love it. So if you want one of those, the first 10 people to leave reviews, get a freebie. I will talk to you guys next week as I sit down with HGTV star Leanne Ford.
OUTRO: 31:07 Love this episode? Leave a comment on the blog post or use #makespacepodcast to share your thoughts. If this is your first time listening in, be sure to hit that subscribe button so you can stay updated with the newest episodes. If you’re a subscriber and you love the show, be sure to rate, review or screenshot and share your favorite episode on social.
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