How do you challenge yourself?

 Have you noticed a little theme that’s transpiring on my blog lately?

The weekend themed linkups basically dictate what the entire flavor of that weekend’s link party will be.

So what have I been doing?

two project

 Create something new myself with the new theme to really ring it in.

And last week I pushed it even further.

old crate stairs

Not only did I create my first wooden cut out to create something rather cool, I re staged the stairway AND created a new photo shoot.

And yes, it was alot of work. But the best kind. 🙂

What does that really mean anyway? Just making stuff for the house?

In a word,  alot.

Back when I was involved in the online contest, So You Think You Can Decorate?, the weekly challenges really pushed me in areas I didn’t know I was capable of. It was a grueling run to try and come up with something fantastical each weekend, but we all did it.  

Every one of us.

 I learned how to airnail in 10 min to make these screens

And some of those projects are what I regard as some of my biggest accomplishments to date.

All because I rose up to the challenge.

The themed linkups every weekend are in effect, offering the same thing. I’m personally challenging myself to go forth and create in the same style as if I were in a contest. But this time, the only win is my own achievement and experience. Something MUCH more valuable than a prize. (although prizes are cool indeed, I won’t lie!)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m just at a loss on what to play with. My house needs so much work and I’m not sure where to gravitate towards. Being careful with funds also isn’t helping.

I learned how to create a believable old finish

But chime in a theme with a deadline, and the direction becomes less hazy. Throw in a way to make stuff for free, and it’s a downright fight to the creative finish! 🙂

BUT what my self inflicted challenge is also doing is helping me to grow and explore where I haven’t gone yet. I’m trying something new I’ve never done before every single week. Some of those things work. And some fail. However I know without a doubt, the more I try, the higher my eventual list of accomplishments will become.

And don’t you worry about failures! A good friend of mine reminds me all the time how valuable his dumpster full of mistakes is.


 I learned how to make a tabletop sign

While I don’t desire to make 50 of any given item, (I commend those that can do it, but one is enough for me!), I DO desire to keep trying new things I’ve never done OR seen done before. And the themed challenges highly encourage me.

Remember the Success post? Some of the comments told me not only are we holding ourselves back, we’re not going out there in any set direction either. Because of fear.

Well, you have nothing to fear here! I officially challenge you to challenge yourself. Not sure what to do? Use the themed linkups to try new things and get that passion flicked back on HIGH if you aren’t able to coast this one on your own. You will not only have a blast, you will LOVE the finished result! And be very proud of your accomplishments. 🙂

No time? Me neither.  Remember the 10 minute rule? It’s my bet, you start playing for 10 minutes and perhaps you”ll let that once important TV show slide and produce instead. 🙂 This creating is very contagious you know.

Achievement comes from attempting, making mistakes, completing, creating, inventing.  Not from, “I can’t, I don’t have time, I’m too tired, I’m scared.”

my torn sheet lampshade project 

Next themed linkup this weekend is WHITE. Yep,  you can indeed enter an older white project, but why not whip up something brand new?!? I am! And I’m going to be learning an additional lesson in electrical this week too. 🙂

Consider yourself challenged! By me. 🙂

Oh. By the way… yes, photoshoots matter. Alot. I’ve had some media inquiries and have been asked for photos. So I pushed myself all last weekend to do just that. Click click click. (will tell you more later)

I get asked when I sleep. How do I do this or that. Where do my ideas come from.

I’m no different than anyone else reading this blog. EXCEPT for the fact that, when I feel it, I go after it. And just do it.

And no, I can’t do it all. My house may not be clean, but by golly the cool stuff hides the dirt! 🙂

It matters. Every bit of it.

Now go make something. And take the best photos you possibly can. And blog about it. If this is your chosen passion, it’s all for a reason. The puzzle pieces WILL fit one day, just you wait and see.

Just do it.

What do you think? 
If you challenged yourself, would you achieve more? 
How do you keep yourself challenged? 
Any tricks up your own sleeve to share?

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Categories: Inspiration

34 thoughts on “How do you challenge yourself?

  1. You create such beautiful things and I am so inspired. Being new to blogging I sometimes feel a lack of direction for creating something to write about. All of a sudden there is this pressure to perform! 🙂 I love your suggestion of deciding on a theme. This will help me a lot.

    And my photography is not where I want it but I am blessed to have a photographer friend who is mentoring me. Soon it will all come together. In the meantime, I am having a blast!

    You are a God-send to us newbie bloggers! Keep the wonderful posts coming!

  2. Great post! Your home and projects are amazing. I too “get in that groove.” Often when we are cleaning up for a party, my form of cleaning is really creating something…big or small. It’s a great stress reliever, and my own little form of therapy. Thanks for the challenge. I’m in!

  3. Thanks for the boost! It’s true, when inspiration strikes, you just need to go after it. Sometimes it’s scary because you don’t want to waste your precious time, but the more you create the more successes you have. I try to challenge myself by making something to post about each and every single day. It might not all be amazing, but sometimes I surprise myself!

  4. Hey Donna!
    I’ve been away for a while and I’m trying to catch up with all that I’ve missed 5 months from the blogsphere is like an eternity.
    I’ve think I’ve been in a blogging coma- since I was w/o internet.
    I NEEDED THIS POST! I need some challenges– I would probably do better if I had some deadlines, challenges, and direction. I’ve been thinking about a mission statement… That kind of locks you into why you created the blog in the first place. Otherwise– if you’re like me it’s just ‘willy- nilly’ …a random digital thought life.
    You’ve given me pause for thought- as usual.

    And! it looks like I got back from my internet coma just in time too. You created that THEMED LINK UP BUTTON for me, didn’t you?!!!!

    Now I can catch up!

  5. Great post! When inspiration hits me that is all I do, sometimes good, sometimes not so much! But I try. You are so inspirational and I love your pep talks! Thanks for boost!

  6. Oh my goodness, your stairs are adorable. This is my first visit to your blog. I arrived via Tales from an OC Cottage to read your post on blogging tips which I so appreciated. Do you have an older post where you show how you did your stairs? I love it!!

    Enjoy your day.

  7. “Challenges” challenge me. I’m setting up our ‘new’ 23 yr old home on limited budget and energy, so I love ideas about using what I have or inexpensive materials.

    But because I am working on home projects that are part of a ‘layer’ of gotta-get-done (like some really major purging/decluttering) sometimes I am at a point where I can not participate in a challenge… but it come up with an idea and get it done later on (like my robin egg blue lawn chairs I finished several weeks after the challenge). I’ve been mulling over and planning a twigs/sticks/branches project that I will work on in the new year.

    Each challenge is fun and exciting… even if I can’t pull it off in the week’s time!

  8. I like to challenge my self as well. I take on tasks that at first I am not to keen on but I know that it will result in something pleasing. Then I push myself forward!! Sometimes it works and sometimes I have to re do the entire project!
    Ha!! Oh well…that is how one learns!

  9. It IS difficult to fit everything in. Our house is on the market, so it’s got to be clean.

    Twice a day I choose 10 things to do. I either put away 10 items, or clean a toilet, etc It really makes it more like fun.

    I also take time each day to be creative. Some of my best ideas come while soaking in the tub.

  10. Excellent post Donna! I really don’t do enough to challeng myself, unless it’s crunch time (think 1 month before JunkFest)! That’s gonna change. Do you know how many people appreciate you and count on you and your blog? Please keep throwing out those challenges!

  11. Oh, Donna. I’ve been racking my brain this week for something white. You see, my walls are white and thanks to apartment living they will remain white forever. So I like to decorate with the opposite of white…color and lots of it! But I take your challenge and will come up with something white. Let’s roll! 🙂

  12. Your stairs just keep getting cooler and cooler. Way to go, girl. I’m challenging myself this month to add some architectural interest to our builder home with trim. Lots of trim to add to the kitchen. I started above the cabinets (soffit) and although it is only half done up there and needs to be caulked and painted, I love love looking at it. I work full time, Christmas is quickly approaching, but I just decided that there is no time like the present to jump in and get started. Okay, jumping in took eleven years, but I guess now is the right time. I hope to have more done this week so I can post about it. Taking pretty pictures? Maybe not this week (lousy weather and dark early evenings make yucky yellowish photos, oh well.)

  13. Oh, Donna. You are so cool! I have been pushing myself lately and I find that every time I do, I am soooo much happier and more proud of myself. Although, I have a huge pile of molding sitting in my garage ready to install on my kitchen cabinets, but I am terrified to do it! But I will. Thanks for the push. I’ll do it before thanksgiving. Wow, now that I said it, I guess I really have to do it!! Thanks again, Donna!


  14. Because of you, I have a new/old sign to hang over my dining room table this year!

    I’d love to show you how it came out, I’m so happy with it 🙂

    Thank you for your energy!

  15. I’ve been feeling super-challenged lately…and I LOVE IT!!! I feel like we did when we were in the decorating contest,like you said, and it’s super motivating to jump into projects. I’ve been busy jazzing up some areas in the house (finally!) and have lots more to do! Can’t wait to share. Now…off to think WHITE.


  16. Wow, I totally need to update my profile picture! Would you believe that’s real live John Deere green mottled around me…from an FFA convention of all things. hahahahahaha Now there’s a week theme challenge…Self Portrait. hmmm…

  17. Donna.. I simply love those themes.. But I think you are far too talented and you can truly take up any decor or DIY challenge that comes your way.. Although I’m sure Id definitely try and push myself.. and come back here all the time to be inspired and learn more.. I’m not sure the outcome could be as gorgeous as yours.. 🙂

    Your rock!!

  18. Hi Donna! Just wanted to say that I loved this post! And you couldn’t have posted it at a better time! I’ve had this project floating in my head for several months now but I’ve been a little scared to follow through with it. I guess I have been afraid of messing it up.

    Yesterday, after reading your post, all I kept hearing was “just do it!”. So what if I mess it up…This “thing” has been in my way for the last few months. I’ve threatened the hubby to get it out of here or I’m setting it to the curb.

    Anywho…yesterday, I started the demolishing part. Hubby came home and yelled “what the hell did you do to my “thing”…I explained what I was doing and he loved the idea! “Now” he’s wanting to help. Sorry big guy…this is my project!

    Thanks for the motivation Donna! You are the best! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

  19. I’m challenged on all fronts. But seriously folks! I ONLY clean my house when company’s coming over. That’s a tip for everyone out there, btw. Invite people over weekly. You will have a very nice clean house. You’ll thank me!!!

    I ONLY make slip covers, paint, re-organize my closet, etc. when YOU or MMS has a workshop or a challenge or a linky party. So I NEED you in order to get my creative life going.

    You think I’m kidding? NOT!

    Now, mine and EC’s music…well, that is a challenge. We have yet to figure out how to kick that into overdrive. I will think of something. Or maybe you guys could???

    Donna, you are the amazing kick ’em in the pants, get ’em movin’ QUEEN!!!!

  20. Donna, You are so awesome—inspiring, creative, and a junk diva. I love all your stuff and your ambition—I hope to get a couple of long overdue jobs done at my house. I would love to hear your ideas on Christmas decorating with junk—-thanks for all you do!

  21. This is an excellent post that sums up how I live my life. My creative projects are about exploration, personal growth and fulfillment. I find inspiration everywhere; however, it requires me to be in the present moment in order to see it. I live for the next challenge and when I see myself being held back by self-imposed fear, I dive in and repeat to myself “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. Not sure of the source but it works for me. Great post!

  22. I’m a little late to the party but – thanks for the inspiration! It is tough to find the time and juggle everything but DIY’ing is kind of a “feel the fear but do it anyway” thing for me.

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