I'd like to believe Kim Davis and I have a lot in common, but that's mostly because I want to be her.
For example, she tracks her DIY pathway back to making friendship bracelets as a kid, and I once set up a stand on the side of the road selling friendship bracelets (plus God's eyes, Pet Rocks and the longest crocheted rope in the world, fact-checked against the "Guinness Book of World Records," which did not actually have such an entry, thereby making mine the winner).
I sold zero things, not even to my mom. Not exactly like Davis, who runs a successful online DIY shop, http://ohsweetjoy.bigcartel.com. But the spirit is the same. Right? Right, mom? (Say yes; you owe me.)
Davis, of Boulder, is an icon of modern-vintage style. First, she was a personal shopper at Anthropologie, which tells you everything you need to know about her cred. Second, she teaches sewing classes at Common Threads, one of Boulder's hippest DIY centers, which tells you everything you need to know about her skills.
Davis also runs a popular (50 thousand views per month) lifestyle blog, ohsweetjoy.com/. Here, she shares DIY tutorials, fashion inspirations, recipes and the beauty in the simple things of life. Best of all, the projects on her site are easy enough for beginners (or the craft-challenged, like This Girl), yet awesome enough for, well, Davis.
"More than anything, I want people to see living a beautiful and inspirational life isn't difficult and should be attainable," she explains. "I try to make things that aren't fussy."
That accessibility is why we picked Davis to be our springboard into a smarter 2013 -- one where we spend less money, value simple pleasures, become more self-sustainable and inch outside of our comfort zones.
Here are three ideas to add to your 2013 bucket list, courtesy of Davis.
Resolve to: Try
something new and
Last year, Davis wanted to push her kitchen skills to a new level, so she began experimenting with the ever-challenging French macarons. On her website, she lists recipes for mint dark chocolate macarons and gingerbread macarons.
If these fickle cookies leave your boots shaking, try to just focus on a favorite type of dessert, Davis says. Last summer, she did an ice cream series in which she experimented with different flavors and spins on the cold classic. Two years ago, she did a "summer of pies."
"Hone in on something you want to learn to perfect, whether it's because your grandparents were good at pies or just because you love ice cream," Davis says. "But go outside of your comfort zone."
Resolve to: Save money
"Any time I see a big trend, I try to replicate it myself," Davis says.
Recently, that's faux taxidermy. You can find brightly colored fake animal heads everywhere from Nordstrom to Target, often pushing hundreds of dollars.
Instead, Davis bought a standard fake deer head on eBay for $65, primed it, spray-painted it blue to match her house and glittered up the antlers.
"My family thinks this is the silliest thing I've ever done," she says. "But it's a trend. It's quirky and something you can do yourself. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars at Nordstrom, personalize it and make it any color you want."
Check out the easy, step-by-step instructions on her blog.
Resolve to: Learn
A great place to start is with making your own fold-over clutch (detailed instructions on Ohsweetjoy.com).
This was another trend that Davis noticed and decided to tackle herself: oversized, fashionable, colorful clutches for your iPad. After she got an iPad for Christmas, she decided to create her own clutch, using fabric she already owned.
"Fabric choice is huge in creating something you'll love for a long time," Davis says. "My style is retro and classic, with a little bit of modern color thrown in."
Davis gets her fabric at Fabricate (2023 17th St., Boulder); at hawthornethreads.com; or Jo-Ann Fabrics (2440 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder) for solids and basics. Tip: Always use a coupon. Always.
If you feel anxious about attacking a new sewing project alone, she invites you to take some beginner classes at Common Threads, 2707 Spruce St.
But no matter what, Davis recommends, resolve to at least try to make more things yourself, and you will start off the New Year with a new confidence and satisfaction.
"Just being able to see something and make it yourself is the biggest satisfaction -- knowing you didn't pay full price and it's 100 percent you," she says. "Then, it's a reflection of your style. It's yours."