How to DIY on the other side of the country

All week long I’ve shared my decorating adventures on the west coast. I had a lot of fun, but it wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be. In blog land, we often show the fun, pretty parts, but tend to leave out the frustrating, not so pretty parts. There was a lot of reconfiguring on my side to make this cross country experiment all work out. Since I know that we don’t all have the same resources, I thought it might be nice to share how I changed my mind {a LOT} to make it all work out.

Problem 1: I didn’t have all my tools. In my barn we have a table saw, a circular saw, a miter saw, a scroll saw, a jig saw, a planer, a reciprocating saw, sanders in every shape and size, a band saw and more drills than you can shake a stick at. At my friend’s house I had a drill. That’s it. I had to think outside of the box to figure out how to do my DIY magic with no tools. I knew that Lowe’s would cut my straight cuts for me – but there was not going to be any fancy-schmancy scrolly work going on in her house.

So I sketched out the two big items (the mirror and headboard) and did the math on how to get them out of one sheet of OSB board. Since both were long and skinny, I knew that I would be able to get both parts out – so a very nice fella at Lowe’s did all the work and cut them to the sizes I needed – for free! {He’s my newest crush – shhhhhh…. don’t tell Mr.SCC.} Cutting crisis averted!

Problem 2: I didn’t have all my old stomping grounds. My go to shopping spot for all things crafty is Hobby Lobby. Oh how I love The Hobs! I can find fabric, wood stuffs, any and every thing crafty, as well as some great deals on pretty décor, all under one roof. But, California obviously doesn’t believe in them. Or San Diego didn’t. I just know that it was outside of my realm of possibilities. So I had to defect to other stores. {Don’t feel bad for me, I did have Ikea across the street, after all!}

Not only did I not have The Hobs, I also had a tiny Walmart with a one aisle craft section. Strike two. I had fully planned on buying chair padding to create the headboard, but when that was obviously not going to happen, I did a GPS style “re-route” and used a twin size egg crate mattress instead. And it was even cheaper. Ah-ha! Even the fabric that I would have bought at The Hobs wouldn’t have been as perfect as the curtains I used from Ikea. See… it all works out for a reason!

Problem 3: No run-go-getters. It was just me and Kristen – the whole time. In my every day world, I have a handy-dandy builder hubby, and two run-go-gettin’ kids. They “run” to the barn to get a tool. They “run” to the other side of the house to get whatever thingamajig that I need. They “run” to the store to go get something I forgot to buy. Even though nobody is Speedy Gonzalez, they go find the appropriate whatever and bring it back to me, so I can spend the time they’re run-go-gettin’ to work on the actual project. And, bless her heart… Kristen was GREAT run-go-getter – but she was only one girl.

In addition to the runnin’ and gettin’ – I usually hand off some of the work to the other folks that live here. Since her hubby was off on a training exercise, it was just the two of us… and we did every single step ourselves.

From an outsider, this may seem normal, but in my hyper-speed, make over an entire apartment in 3 days kinda world, it was the biggest obstacle. In the end – it all worked out beautifully – so all the scrambling, 2 a.m. projects, and running, going, and gettin’ made it sooooo worth it!

We ALL have obstacles every single day….

what’s yours?

In case you’d like to see them, here’s the room by room:
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About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. Thanks for taking us along for the ride, and for keepin it real! It’s been amazing to read each day and watch you work your magic!

  2. Time is my biggest obstacle!

    • I understand that one! I just work on stuff either a little at a time over a long period…. or I keep at it all in one big chunk (in which my kids may or may not have Cheetos for dinner!)

  3. My biggest obstacle is time, but sometimes it’s my indecision to make a commitment. Is this the right color paint? Will these fabrics work together? I spend too long trying to decide what to do instead of doing.

  4. Love that pantone chip chart on the wall! Wow such a cool idea!

    xx Missy

  5. No money, no time…
    That’s all!

  6. Money and time are my obstacles. But, I love the challenge of it all. Glad you shared the up and downs along with the solutions.

  7. Heck, you thought that was hard, try moving to the middle east! No Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Michaels, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby… and no tools! Now that’s a challenge! 🙂

  8. Gina – You did a great job with what you did have!! I know your friend was amazed at what you did without all of your usual equipment.

    Good job!!


  9. Thank you so much for sharing the process of the make-over apartment. It was so much fun to follow along on the projects.

    Also, Cali doesn’t hate Hobby Lobby. It’s just slow getting here. There’s two (I think) in Northern Cali and then one in Southern Cali (in Ontario). Only a few hours away from where you were! You could have totally made the run! lol.

  10. You actually had a Hobby Lobby about an hour from you in Temecula, Ca! We just got it several months ago! 🙂

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