On Best Laid Plans, Slow Progress and Finishing Already


One of the things I quite often have a whinge to the husband about is his tendency to start a project and then not finish it.

We’ve had words

Many of them.

And I have to say that finally he IS improving in that regard – we both are.

See  I’m quite good at the starting and not finishing gig myself

In fact I’m excellent at starting and then getting distracted and wondering off, or losing momentum or getting overwhealmed because it gets a tad more involved than I originally thought. Not all the time but often enough.

Anyone else?

Another reason I dither about with finishing things is good old “fear of failing”.

There’s always the risk in finishing that it won’t turn out the way I had hoped for, or dreamed of  or imagined it would and then there’s the risk of feeling like a bit of a ninny. When  things stay in the planning or half done stage, perfection is still a possibility, we’re still fabulously clever in our own minds and there’s no disappointment with the final outcome to contend with.


The reality is – there’s every chance it won’t  turn out the way I imagined

It might turn out better

It might turn out different but just as good

It might need some tweeking

Or it might be a complete flop

And I may indeed feel like a bit of an idiot

but at least I’ve given it a whirl

Everything we do is a risk and at any point despite all our planning and good intentions it can all go sideways – our four week toilet installation saga that should have taken three hours max is a perfect example. But there are few things you can’t come back from if you just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

Having a project completed and enjoyed outweighs the risk of ending up with a complete shambles I say and you will hear yourself  saying over and over “why didn’t I just finish it before”.

I started on a gallery wall – possibly the smallest gallery wall ever.

A year ago

Its an example of microscopic proportions but a good one and makes for prettier pictures that the toilet incident.

I have a small wall on the left as I walk out my bedroom door. Its tucked around the corner from the front door. Perfect place for hanging keys  as you come in the door and thats what we used it for. I hung a basket thingy there to put random things in a long time ago.

It ended up looking like this.



Why is it if you have a handy little basket to pop the odd thing in you end up shoving the most incredible amount of rubbish in it.

I took the basket away as  we obviously  cant be trusted with this type of random storage and planned a gallery wall. It was going to be  very pretty – floor to ceiling maybe with frames  and other interesting or textural items thrown in.

Something along these lines

So I  gave my minuscule wall one coat of Antique White USA. It was a bit of a test to see if I wanted to paint the whole hallway this colour. I covered a canvas frame with some map paper to fit  over the now defunct security pin pad – – – – –

and thats how its stayed FOR AT LEAST A YEAR !!


Why I didn’t just do the second coat is a mystery even to me BUT  I think maybe it was the white colour that frankly looked kind of bland rather than all fresh and clean as I had hoped and the map covered canvas that didn’t look quite as charming as I’d hoped either. So what do you do when you hate the look of something?

Just leave it that way for a good year is probably not the right answer.

Oh I’m easy put off my game aren’t I.

So what got me motivated?

I was OVER looking at the ugly wall

I unearthed a stash of lovely things In my bedroom cupboard that I wanted to hang up.


I had a 20litre tin of antique white USA sitting in my laundry with maybe one litre of paint left in it. I wanted rid of that tin.

Took 15 minutes to paint the wall and amazingly after  the second coat it didn’t look bland but  all fresh and clean like I hoped for.

Pays not to throw in the towel half way through.

Now you know how I mentioned when you start something it sometimes gets a bit bigger than really wanted it to be. This is a perfect example. Even to me this project looked like it should have taken two hours  at the most. Paint the wall, let it dry, hang pictures, done.

Not so

  • The paint went on with what looked like a grey tinge to it – maybe due to age and not been stored airtight – who knows? So that involved a lot of standing back and staring and wondering if I was imagining the grey or was it the light and then wondering why for the love can’t I have paint that behaves normally. Anyhow it dried the right colour. Relief all round.
  • I decided then to pull off the key hanger and the security  pin pad which took off some of the plaster board  which I had to patch  and then paint over again.
  •  Then I had to attach hanging devices to the back of some of the items I wanted to hang and lets just say they weren’t very cooperative and that too involved overnight drying times
  • Then  I positioned and repositioned the hooks etc maybe ten or twenty times till  I was happy with it.

So moral  of  the story – don’t be all put off when things don’t go quite go to plan or get a bit more complicated than expected or you hit a few snags here and there –  they’re par for the course and nothing is ever ever as simple as you think it might be.

Slow progress it was –  squeezed in between work and cooking food and washing clothes and dance classes and various other of the kids after school shenanigans. The thing about slow steady progress though it gets you there in the end just the same as fast furious progress and beats the heck out of no progress at all.

Photos were taken at various times of the day with varied light so some a bit dodgy but you get the overall idea.

Here’s how she came together

Heres how she looked on completion.



Here’s how I felt about it.

What I didn’t think about when I was gazing at my inspiration gallery walls from Pinterest is their location – at the ends of hallways or part of a large room where you could stand back a ways and enjoy them from a suitable distance. No such luxury at my place . Tiny wall is part of a tiny section of  hallway and there’s no seeing it from a distance – it’s a right up in your face as you walk past and anything hung too high or  too low is going to hurt your neck to look at.

I worked this out when I was finished.

You live and learn.

I left it a couple of days without changing it but as it turned out there was just way too much going on on that little wall for my liking.  My eyeballs  hurt and my stress level increased just looking at it which wasn’t quite the effect I was going for. It looked stressed too like it was trying way too hard.   I like quirky interesting things and I like colour but I’ve realised what I also really like is not too busy, not too contrived and lots of white space. My head gets confused otherwise.

So there was nothing else for it but take a few things off  (and patch the holes 😥). An easy fix really as most of them are.

It immediately  looked better to me. Altogether more relaxed. Simple and restful and one big hook to hang our keys.

So not really a “gallery” wall at all now and not at all what I had originally planned  but it makes me happy looking at it  and remember

DONE is so much better than perfect.

One project down

Four hundred and fifty to go

Any projects happening your way. Anything your right in the middle of.

Would love to hear.

Linking up with #porchstoriesChasing CommunityCreate With JoyBloggers Pit Stop, and Grandmas House DIY Wednesday Link Up




14 thoughts on “On Best Laid Plans, Slow Progress and Finishing Already

  1. Love your humor, Tracey. 🙂 — I still have so many bare walls from when we moved in here 7 years ago! Life’s been so busy, it’s hard to focus on the little details. Your wall turned out great. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. (And, I hear ya with the basket thing. We redid our youngest son’s bedroom (15) while he was at camp this summer, and I put no baskets or bins in there, quite on purpose!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think your final wall looks lovely, Tracey! I know exactly what you mean about “best laid plans of mice and men” (BTW, I love Steinbeck!), it seems like everything takes three times as long as you plan to get finished, twice as much money, and half the time I am not pleased. Ugh! But I have learned that sometimes the task is what makes it fun and not the final results. Of course, it has taken me 60 years to realize that! Thanks for visiting my blog. See you again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Please don’t get me started on the man and his never started or half-finished projects. My house is falling down around me and he does nothing. I would pay someone but the man is so capable that I hate to spend the money. Of course, if I fall through the master bathroom floor… I’m pretty good at judging what I can handle and what I can’t so I rarely if ever start and don’t finish. I have been known to think about it for a long time before starting, however. I love the way your wall turned out! It’s just perfect! And I really enjoy the way you write! So glad you stopped at Empty Nest! Lovely to ‘meet’ you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Trace,
    How are you? I have been avidly reading your blogs but don’t have so much time to think and write a reply.
    Good to see you persist with stuff and a nice finished product. I laughed at the frowning cat photo!
    You are great at the hands on project. And having a go at painting, repairing walls etc. Can’t say I’ve ever done it! Apart from I did re spray paint my Grandmas old fridge for our first flat share. Thinking of that Grandma comes to me a lot lately. I’m finding it quite odd….. I didn’t know her that well, she died when I was about 11. She was a really religious Catholic lady and her house was full of little veneration shrines to saints and vases of plastic flowers or so it appeared to my child like eye. Today homes don’t look like that as I assume being that Catholic is no longer popular. As a weird homage to her I found a hand made object at Vinnies I should probably photograph it rather than describe it. Its a fancy frame with picture of Mary that lights up AND has a heart beat sound effect. Its a sound AND light show as her halo goes around her head and it has a clock set into one side. I love it so much because I’m enthralled at the hard work some one put in to lovingly craft this thing! From Vinnies I have also bought 2 paintings one with a very green theme and one small one of a landscape AND I couldn’t go past a hand crocheted rug NOR could I pass up the hand cross stitched table cloth and matching serviettes. Anything hand made, I’m loving it!
    On the other side of this buying stuff I am cleaning out our cupboards and de cluttering for our future move. No date set yet.
    On a sad note our little rabbit died and we are all heart broken. We just found him lying dead in his hutch one morning. Anastasia cried every night for a week. We are trying to help her understand the joy of love and the excructiating pain of loss. Love and loss. No plans for another pet yet. Maybe when we set up our new home….
    Hope you and your are all well.
    Love Jen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jen – always love your long newsy comments. Well I am sorry to hear about Bullet – yes the price of having pets and loving them is the sadness when they go. We’ve had a few losses here as well – always distressing to the kids but they learn something about life from it don’t they. I remember when you painted that fridge Jen – you did that long before it was popular – always a ground breaker. More than anyone else I know. Interesting your thoughts turn often to your grandmother. I think as we get older we relate more to them as adults and wonder at there lives and decisions they made at a similar age. Lovely how that quirky clock has a link back to her. Love to you and thanks for your encouragement as always xxxxx.


  5. You hit a lot of nails on the head in this post. We can identify with the fear of not perfect, getting sidetracked etc. Your basket would not work in our house either, we have a couple of places that collect al those junky pieces. In the end your wall looks great, I love the penguins.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

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