DIY or Pay Someone to Do It For You?

drapes_1

I have a guilty secret. I must come clean. Several posts back, I blogged about my little-used sewing machine, and the piles of fabric I’d purchased, with every intention of sewing some fabulous curtains just like the ones I saw on Pinterest.

Well, the sad truth is, upon seeing similar print curtain panels at Target that I liked, at $24 a piece, my slacker tendencies kicked in. I decided to take the path of least resistance and bought my curtains instead.

Yes, I admit it. I did not DIM (Do-It-Myself.)

However, before I tattoo Pinterest Wannabe to my forehead, I have decided that sometimes it’s okay not to be able to do everything.
As much as we’d like to believe that, given the time, we could tile a kitchen backsplash that would make Michelangelo weep, some things are just better left to the professionals.

Luckily the advent of a thriving online marketplace has made it easier than ever to hire talented, ethical, reliable and professional service, craft and trades people.

Sometimes we want to attempt to tackle projects and repairs ourselves, whether our motivation is saving money or exercising our DIY-muscles.

But, it’s also perfectly okay to say, “I don’t have the time or the patience right now to do this on my own.” And that’s when you can dive into the ever-expanding and incredibly customer-friendly world of online home service providers for everything from sewing projects and repair work to painting, landscaping – there’s a professional for just about any task you need done. You can even hire a grazing goat service. Seriously! See Amazon Home Services under Other Services.

So, who are the key players?

Well, of course there’s the venerable, subscription-based Angie’s List with its convenient mobile app, Snapfix, that lets you snap a quick pic of whatever needs doing, such as having a retaining wall built or blinds installed, and you’ll receive multiple bids back for your project.
Thumbtack_-_Accomplish_your_personal_projects_-_2015-04-14_16.03.39

But, there are also many newcomers on the home services scene that do all the legwork of finding a professional for you for free, from TaskRabbit, pro.com and ThumbTack (who received a $100 million dollar vote of confidence from Google in August 2014) to the just-launched Amazon Home Services.

Dashboard_-_Thumbtack_-_2015-04-14_12.37.37Thumbtack has been around since 2008 and is the company I have used myself, most recently to find a pet sitter in my area within my budget that could meet my specific needs, caring for three dogs in my home, a 6-month old puppy and another with a LOT of issues.

When working with one of these companies, you’ll provide a summary of the service you need, whether it’s a fence installation or pet-sitting. Then they will analyze the request and provide you with bids on the project. Some companies like pro.com will charge a flat hourly rate. You don’t pay for the service of Thumbtack or Amazon Home  Services. Their Pros pay to bid on your job, or pay the company a percentage of the total job cost. That’s how Thumbtack and others make their money.

TheifWorking with Home Service Providers (HSPs) can eliminate the “meeting in a dark alley,” fear you get when dealing with Craig’s List, or a stranger off a supermarket bulletin board. All of the companies I’ve mentioned conduct thorough background checks on their pros, including scouring court records, sex offender registries, national and local court filings and criminal databases, and bankruptcies, judgments and liens. All customer reviews are verified to ensure they were written by actual human beings who received the services.

Amazon Home Services (AHS) has a clear advantage over its competition, solely based on the outstanding reputation of its parent company. If you buy a flat-screen television on Amazon, there’s now a button right there online to hire an installer to mount it for you with AHS, sparing you the hassle of having to find a contractor on your own. It’s the proverbial one-stop-shop.Amazon_Home_Services_Amazon.com_-_2015-04-14_15.58.59

Then, is there anything worse than taking time off work to meet a repair person and be stood up without so much as a phone call? The likelihood of that happening to a provider listed with Amazon is slim to none, as anyone who has experienced Amazon’s amazing customer service can attest.

Amazon.com_Happiness_Guarantee_-_2015-04-14_16.10.03Amazon’s services are covered by an A-to-Z guarantee and a price match. Plus, their providers must meet ongoing performance targets, including responsiveness, quality and ratings. I personally love Amazon. I am a proud Prime Member and I’m anxious to try their services. But I have to be honest, in my service area the search results were pretty slim pickings right now.  The majority of categories had no providers available within my zip code. However, they just launched, and integrated with TaskRabbit in March, so I’ll check back in a couple of months when I’m sure the service offerings in my area will be more robust.

The other drawback worth mentioning, from my experience is that for emergency repairs, say your hot water heater goes out on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, you’re probably not going to want to wait around for estimates. That’s when you may want to turn to Mr. Google for assistance.

110a46832bb3764a2e87ad55fc3d1651

My Secret Garden by Marjorie Wallace

And there  you have it. I freely admit it. While I would love to devote my every waking hour to recreating an amazing stone garden path that looked like it came straight from a storybook myself, I have a garden that needs tending, books that need reading, and dogs that need a rigorous round of tug-of-war or two. So maybe when it comes to that romantic garden path, I might just swing over to the online marketplace and see how much  local landscapers would charge. What have I got to lose?

– MB, Smart Perks blogger, crafter, gardener, reader, cupcake lover, social media junkie, shopping enthusiast & dog mom

Spring Home Decor Trends, Pinterest Envy, and Delusions of Grandeur

m.style-Bloom-Polyester-and-Cotton-Shower-Curtain

Source: Shower curtain from Wayfair.com

It’s been two years since I invested in my computerized Janome Magnolia 7330 Sewing Machine.

I guess I imagined that by computerized, Janome meant the machine would magically do the sewing for me. Like Cinderella’s birds and mice, I would simply push a button and my magical new sewing machine would instantly produce adorable throw pillows, darling handbags, charming rag quilts, and new Roman shades for the whole house.

Sadly, however, this did not occur.

janome_7330

So these past few weeks, after completing project declutter, and inspired by my good friend Yvette, who’d recently made some really fantastic curtains from Pinterest Tutorials, I decided to pay my friend to sew curtains for me!

Luckily Yvette is a non-judgmental friend and  agreed to help with my project, which I assumed meant she would sew them for me, and I got to bypass all the measuring, ironing and cutting, and go straight to the fun part -Shopping for fabrics!

First stop; the place I always go for inspiration, Pinterest.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” John Lennon once said, prophetically referring to the advent of Pinterest.”

Pinterest is chock-full of beautiful photographs of the recipes we hope to prepare, the clothes we hope to wear, the parties we want to throw, the exquisite gardens we want to grow, and the bathrooms with the freestanding tubs of our dreams, even if we’re shower people, born and raised.

f9e3d780fc0cb783cefed45ac681bb71

Source: hellobrielle.wordpress.com 1. Target 2. Premier Fabrics 3. Bedbuggs 4. Pottery Barn via Real Simple 5. Amy Butler 6. Colorbee 7. She Likes Purple

My friend Yvette and I created a shared board on Pinterest that we could both contribute to, and pinned all the fabrics we found that matched the current color and pattern trends. Bright! Bold! Big! paired with soft neutrals. 11046403_1084724708220366_2618078523814373780_n

We searched Google, Etsy, and other boutique fabric stores, and pinned all of our favorite fabrics to the shared board, writing down the names of the ones we liked best.

Then we visited onlinefabricstore.net, where you can typically find the yardage you need of the fabric you want, versus some of the smaller boutique shops that have limited quantities at a higher price. Plus, shipping is free on orders of $50 or more.

And finally when it was time to get down to brass tacks,Yvette found a great step-by-step tutorial on Pinterest from Midwest Magnolia, that she followed to make new drapes for her dining room, living room and bedroom.

1924704_10152674317673589_5414340233889026763_nOf course she got a lot of help from her beagle, Lucy.

Here are two of the completed sets. 10957760_10152674523588589_6307927056989610494_nzBold, clean and fresh with a slight nod to mid-century modern.

The big splashy prints are perfect for Spring. 10608568_10152376386808589_6530551657542804450_oz And then Yvette broke the bad news to me…she wasn’t going to sew my curtains for me. It was time to dust off that brand new Janome, and conquer my fear of sewing. Time to quit my Pinterest-day-dreaming and just do it. Sigh…that’s what friends are for, I guess, pushing us to do the things we think we can’t do. Wish me luck!

For more great decorating ideas, visit the Smart Perks Spring Decor board on Pinterest. No sewing required.

 

-MB

When she’s not blogging for Smart Perks, Melanie is staring glassy-eyed at Pinterest, her Pin It finger splinted from overuse. Besides crafting, gardening, shopping and cupcakes, the loves of her life are her three naughty terrier pups, the smartest and best-looking dogs in the world, and her husband.