I admit it: I have a bit of a thing for kamikaze decorating shows. The drama, the glory, the train wrecks! And my favorite of all is the BBC delight Changing Rooms.
It’s always a bit of a knuckle-gnawing experience to hand over the reigns to someone else to do something extreme to a piece of your world, and I’m not certain I could ever have participated. I know darn well I couldn’t have had anything to do with the American version, Trading Spaces. The decorators went off on their own ignoring not only all advice about the family they were creating the room for, but reality as well. 500 halogen watts in a Florida kitchen where they’ve just removed the ceiling fan? Seriously? And you’re going to hang wine glasses from it? A dismal grey prison scene mural and a bench set on toilets for a romantic bedroom? Doug, you’re killing me!
No, no, I much prefer Changing Rooms where the designers – for the most part – thought about how the rooms were going to be used and by whom in even some of their most extreme flights of design fancy.
But no matter what the show, there’s one thing I really enjoy about watching them: that moment when some unsuspecting civilian who thought all they were going to have to do is paint and maybe hang a little wallpaper gets drafted into a Project.
Mosaic, sewing curtains or pillow cases, string art, clay sculpture, decoupage… whatever the Project, there’s always someone who starts out thinking ‘I couldn’t possibly’ who still manages to master the basics in a ridiculously short time, and that’s the moment I love. More than the reveal of the plan, more than the finished product, more than the arguments between designer and team, it’s that excitement on the face of someone who would never consider him or herself ‘crafty’ when they get it right. It’s the way the dread panic melts into confidence and pride. And, okay, I admit it, it’s also the moment when everyone figures out that while it was a nice idea to put the newbie on this, it Just Isn’t Going to Work.
But even when people have learned in a sudden lump that perhaps they don’t have a great future in the DIY snow globe market, there’s usually a bit of self-deprecating humor involved. There’s that spirit of ‘at least I gave it a good try.’
So what about you? Have you ever found yourself thrown into the deep end of the crafting pool? What was the project? Did it work out? Did you find a new passion? Did you at least get a good story for your next knitting circle out of it?