During a recent round of hiring interviews at MUD I noticed a very strong theme developing. Almost every applicant we spoke to at some point credited their mom for inspiring them to take on DIY projects ranging from gardening to building to painting. It made me realize what a special gift a supportive and creative mother can be in empowering their children to be more self-reliant, to overcome challenges, and to not be afraid to experiment with new projects. May seemed like the perfect time for the MUD crew to think about our own mothers and how they’ve inspired and encouraged us to be a part of the DIY community. 

I was fortunate enough to grow up in the home my dad built, surrounded by furniture that he made, often at the request of my mom. My mom may not have been the woodworker in our family but she was and still is a DIY enthusiast. From the most beautiful flower gardens surrounding our home to taking on any craft project imaginable (Sewing! Crocheting! Knitting! Jewelry! Painting! Scrapbooking! Refinishing furniture!) my mom quickly filled our space with handmade signs of love. As I grow in my own motherhood journey, I’m often thinking about how I hope to encourage my own 2 (soon to be 3!) kids to face challenges, try new things, and see the limitless potential in a piece of wood, bare patch of dirt, or blank wall, just like my parents did for me. – Casey Valencia, Executive Director

When I was a teenager, my mom decided she and I would remodel her house together. I would come home from school every day and she would have a list of remodel projects for me to do after I was done with my homework. Together, just the two of us, we turned her dream home into a reality. Now that I’m a homeowner myself, I feel empowered and capable of doing all my own home renovations! – Adrienne Ellsworth, Board Secretary

My mom was (and still is!) a big instigator of my love for DIY’ing many of my projects at home. When I was little she let me and my siblings paint our rooms whatever colors and patterns we wanted. Eventually one bedroom became covered in lime green with a rainbow spectrum of feather duster prints splotched all over the wall; another room was painted hot pink and orange with a 5 foot wide hibiscus flower on the wall; and another room was mural-ed into a forest where stamps of cats, dogs and horses crossed hand-drawn bridges. The freedom she gave us allowed my imagination to run wild. Even though I’m still learning to clean my paint brushes out after a big project, I appreciate that I was able to practice “project management” from a young age. – Rachel Reaves, Board Member

I had some pretty wild ideas as a kid when it came to crafts and hobbies. Whether I was crafting some character with an outfit out of the costume box, or meticulously constructing a leprechaun trap on St. Patrick’s Day, my mom was unwavering in her support. She’d be the first to run to the store for whatever supplies I’d needed, that is if the extensive craft bag didn’t already stock it. Moving into adolescence, my mom fostered my curiosity in building things with wood, as I often admired my Dad’s work. Simply suggesting that I ask some questions and get involved pushed me to find my love of carpentry. I maintain that honest curiosity about almost everything. My Mom helped me realize my capabilities and eye for DIY projects. I wouldn’t be teaching carpentry classes at MUD without her! Thanks Mom! – Kathleen O’Brien, Tool Librarian and Workshop Coordinator

I 100% have my mom to thank for my DIY gumption, and she, her mother before her. Call it courage, or often for me, recklessness, I have come to realize what a gift it was to grow up with such bold DIY role models. My mom is an artist by profession, and her mother a skilled seamstress, so it’s no surprise that they both are/were gifted makers. However, I never cease to be amazed by my mom’s ingenuity and creativity. Whether it’s building a 5-foot long wooden fish sculpture, making her own renditions of the latest in designer fashion, or bringing a scene from her dreams to life through paint on canvas, my mom has long instilled in me the joy and possibility of creating with one’s own two hands. When friends commend me on a recent DIY project, I am reminded of the crucial lesson my mom and grandma both taught me: You must be willing to try. In my experience, every DIY project goes off-script at some point, and sure, it can be frustrating but there is nothing quite as empowering as finishing a project, stepping back, and saying to yourself, “I did that.” That’s a feeling my mom and my grandma knows/knew well, and it’s one I’m often seeking to recreate. – Erika Berglund, Board Member


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