Who else feels like a bit of a failure after reading the latest edition of a Martha Stewart magazine? On the one hand you can’t help but love all of her clever, lovely DIY ideas. “Good things” she calls them. And her attention to detail is bar-none. Issue after issue of her Weddings and Living magazines feature crafts well executed. Hers aren’t those second-rate crafts your did in second grade. While I haven’t heard her say it, I’m sure her motto is: anything worth doing is worth doing well.
On the other hand, who hasn’t fallen in love with a Martha craft or project, tried it, and had the whole endeavor end in tears because it’s just too hard? I mean, do you have to have a freaking art degree to pull off one of Martha’s crafts?
Um, yes. You do.
Martha employs hundreds of crafters to help her create the best and most amazing crafts. On a recent blogger tour of her offices I saw amazingly talented crafters (read: art school graduates) working on and testing a myriad of crafts for features in upcoming magazines. Crafters were toiling away like little elves finding the best technique, chefs were working wonders in the huge test kitchen, curators made selections in a giant collections room filled antiques and tableware, and photographers snapped away capturing the most lovely compositions for every recipe and craft. It is truly a production.
There’s a lesson here: It’s not that you suck or that Martha’s a fraud for employing 500 of NYCs most talented artists, chefs and photographers to create her stunning projects (though both thoughts have crossed my mind in my occasional fits of frustration when I attempt certain Martha projects.)
Rather, the lesson is this: Martha has a vision. (As do you for your wedding.) Martha wants everything to be perfect, and lovely. (As do you for your wedding.) Martha knows that she’s only one woman, and cannot possibly do everything herself.
Crickets? There shouldn’t be.
Martha relies on others to help her execute her vision. She does not feel compelled to kill herself over every DIY project.
Martha works smarter, not harder.
While I have no proof, I suspect that some crafts must be taught to Martha, that she must practice them in order to master them. I suspect that just like you, Martha needs help—lots of help—to execute her grand vision of perfect entertaining.
So if you have your heart set on a craft and are having trouble executing it, reach out to an artist friend for help. Work through it together. Perhaps you friend can teach you techniques that will help. Or perhaps she or he will simply take the lead on your project and do it for you.
The point is DIY doesn’t have to be about doing it all by yourself.