DIY Dynamo Bonnie Rush Reveals How She Does It All
“Do it yourself” projects are more than just a hobby for Bonnie Rush; DIY is the essence of how she experiences the world. “It’s just in some people’s blood to create or try to make thing better,” she says matter-of-factly. A mother of three in San Diego, Bonnie’s passion for creativity extends from food and mixed drinks to gardening, kid crafts and home decor. Her nine Flipboard magazines reflect those interests, with titles that include Modern Entertaining, The DIY Home, Backyard Homesteading, Handcrafted Cocktails and more.
All her mags are amazing, so we gave Bonnie a ring to figure out how she has the energy to get so much done.
So… yes, the obvious question: How do you find time to do all your DIY projects?
People ask me that all the time, but I never know how to answer; I just do it. Right now, we’re working on our garden, and building a chevron-patterned trellis for the yard. I think people who love DIY just have it inside them, and at the end of the day you can’t explain why you have the urge to build a table or a chicken coop.
Where do you think the DIY impulse comes from?
For me, some of it definitely came from my mom. Some of my earliest memories are of refinishing the cabinets in our garage when I was little. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so DIY wasn’t really a choice; if you can’t hire someone to refinish your cabinets, you just do it yourself. My mother didn’t really teach me specific skills, but DIY was her general attitude toward life, and she set a good example. It’s also the same same example I try to set with my kids: The idea that, yes, you can do it yourself.
You get your kids involved in your projects too?
I have a daughter who is 8 and two sons, 6 and 4. I try to teach my kids a lot of the skills my mom taught me. It’s fun to do projects with kids, but it’s hard because they want to be involved and often they just want to do it themselves. I’m very deliberate about explaining process to them, to show them how things work. Part of being a parent to DIY-minded children is teaching them about the balance I’ve had to establish between being creative and focusing your energy. My kids force me to be even more organized; to define the projects they can help with, and the things I just have to do myself.
How would you characterize your design style?
My mom created a lot of vintage-style things, and I grew up going to garage sales with her, so I’d say I have a vintage-modern sensibility. I try and find a balance between the two. I often prefer vintage; not because it’s trendy, but just because older things are often so well-made. For example, when I designed our kitchen, I knew I wanted some older pieces, because I tend to like things that are going to last for a long time. But I also knew I didn’t want my kitchen to look like the houses I see at estate sales — that old, outdated grandma’s-house style. I wanted it to feel contemporary, with light colors, open shelving, marble subway tile and modern touches to balance the older items I planned to have on the counters.
How did you begin chronicling your projects?
I launched my blog, A Golden Afternoon, when the man who’s now my husband was traveling a lot. I started blogging to keep myself focused. There’s something about blogging and writing and following a process that makes you fine-tune your thinking.
That’s one reason why I’ve really enjoyed working on my Flipboard magazines; they help me refine my focus. I get distracted from one DIY project to the next very easily. I can be all over the place, creatively. To combat that, I’m very list-oriented — and Flipboard magazines are like a list for me, in that they help me organize my interests. Because they are so visual, they’re also easy to reference. I use my Flipboard magazines to keep myself organized and inspired.
So your magazines are intended to be inspirational?
Sure, but I also think it’s important to go beyond inspiration; we also have to act. We have to act on our ideas. I don’t think my magazines are about making dreams; you need to make a list of your dreams, and you have to start checking them off. There are so many great tutorials out there now, and so many people who have taken the time to explain how things are done. Frankly, it’s a shame if you don’t actually do some of those projects.