We received so many impressive entries to our DIY contest. One woman stood out in particular. A Texan… a natural-born DIYer… a smart, savvy, creative, hands-on bitch whose willingness to take on big home projects really impressed us. Ladies, meet Shaelyn Neal.

Her job title? Chief Creative Chick.

That’s our kind of woman.

Here’s how she describes herself:

I’m good ol’ Texas girl, mother of 4 awesome kids and married to an amazing man who cooks 🙂 My mom was the QUEEN of budget bitches – and I mean that in a good way. I have money saving in the blood.

I was a corporate event planner for 15 years until I started my own invitation design and photography business. So now I commute 10 seconds upstairs to my studio and have lots of time to shuttle my kids around and truly do what I love. I also get to hire stay-at-home moms who are super artistic and crafty to help with my production – which gives them a chance to earn money AND stay home with their kids. Win-win all the way around.

And here’s her wisdom about doing it yourself:
I think so many women are a little intimidated about taking on home improvement beyond hanging pictures and setting up their shoe racks. A few years ago, one of my co-workers was telling me about how she was rebuilding her entire porch – HERSELF! All I could think of was – holy crap,  I’d never be able to do that. So I’d ask her about a few repairs I needed done around the house and she told me she knew I could do it. Well, she gave me enough confidence that I figured I probably could (and of course I kept her on my speed dial in case I totally screwed it up). Well, what do you know – I installed my first light fixture without electrocuting myself, and I never looked back.

Here is the message that I think all good DIY bitches need to know. The main thing you have to do is just stop being AFRAID. Take on a small project first. Once you get a taste of success, than put on your big girl panties and try something a little harder. I figure that I might as well try it – if I screw it up too bad, then I’ll call the repair person I was going to call in the first place. So far I haven’t destroyed my house and I’ve saved over $700 in installation fees – and that’s a big chunk of change sista! I’ve installed my own garbage disposal, kitchen faucet, dishwasher, and new lighting and sink fixtures in almost every room of my house. Let me tell you – the absolute thrill I get every time I turn on my garbage disposal or run my fabulous new dishwasher is better than a shoe sale at Macy’s! Not only have I saved a ton of money – but I’ve learned something new and shown myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.

A lot of my friends tell me they have no idea how to start a project. In this day and age there is so much information out there—it’s amazing how easy it can be. My first major install was my garbage disposal – granted, it took me three hours to get it put in, and I’m sure my plumber would have laughed his ass off if saw me. I am sitting under my sink with the instructions from the disposal, printouts from an online guide, and my laptop with about three YouTube videos queued up. But hey – I saved $200 and had a pretty good time doing it.

My next project is re-tiling my master bath shower and bath- that one is a little scary so I hired someone to do it AND teach me at the same time. – I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Yes, stay in touch Shealyn. You’ve inspired us, and probably lots of our readers. One question: Can we keep you on speed dial?

Check out more of Shaelyn’s work at her shops: