Annual Gardening Fun – The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous

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Every spring, the local gardening centers fill up with enough plants to tempt even the most jaded gardener into impulse purchases. While some of the specimens on offer are workhorse perennials that will last for years with the right care and growing conditions, most of the available plants are annuals that are doomed to die once the temperatures start dropping. Some of them are worth buying as transplants but others can be easily grown and are worth attempting to grow from seed. Here’s what I’ve learned on that subject. [Read more…]

18V Ridgid Gen5X Combo Kit Rocks!

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For some reason, as I unpack the new Ridgid “Gen5X” tools, I started humming an old song by the 1970s punk rock band Generation X called “Your Generation.” Their vocalist (a young fella known as Billy Idol) snarled:

There ain’t no time for substitutes
There ain’t no time for idle threats
Actions are rather hard to place
Cause what you give is what you get

Okay, so it may be a bit of a stretch, but as far as cordless power tools go, Ridgid’s new 18 volt Gen5X lines are pretty punk rock! They are a little futuristic looking, but they combine both older and newer cordless technology. Above all, they perform with A LOT of power. Also, like Billy Idol, they seem to go forever! [Read more…]

Mason Jar Vertical Garden – Or Votive Candle Display

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After a winter of back to back blizzards, all I want to be is warm and horizontal. While achieving this lazy goal, I’ve found myself thinking about vertical gardening. The thought alone has been enough to get me vertical and moving again. As I often do in the midst of a cabin fever, I headed to my garage this winter just to see what wonderful old wood might be available. The right piece of wood is like an unfinished sculpture waiting to be developed. Sure enough, I found a scrap piece of old fencing left behind from a previous project that inspired me to create rather than wallow. [Read more…]

Vacageddon – The Battle Of The 12V Vacs – Blue And Red Go Head To Head!

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In our relentless quest to keep you informed AND entertained, we’ve never hesitated to put our own safety and mental health at risk to cater to the DIY bloodlust in all of us. One way we do this is by providing occasional thrilling head-to-head battles between various products. Previous smackdowns have included the gripping Painter’s Tape Wars, and the epic Klein vs. Channelock vs. Milwaukee Battle of the Bottle Openers. And who can forget being floored by the white-knuckle moments in the classic Redwood vs. Pressure Treated Decking comparison, or being blown away by our explosive Propane vs. Natural Gas Grill?! Stay tuned, though; those were only the preliminary bouts. The main event is about to begin. Get ready for the Clash Of The (Tiny) Titans, as Bosch and Milwaukee duke it out to see which of these 12V Vacs Sucks The Most! [Read more…]

How To Build a Roosting Box Designed for Hot Chicks

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We’re adding a roosting box to our garden in hopes of relieving a few of our local birds from the cold. We really want to see some hot chicks out there rather than the poor fluffed up pathetic looking chicks we see daily. I’d originally planned to build a birdhouse to keep one little bird family nice and toasty, but I’ve learned that a roosting box for several birds is really the way to go. I had no idea. Being the cool chick that I am, I just assumed that all chicks preferred a peaceful little house with a nice nest to snuggle down into. I was wrong. To keep warm, many of the birds in my garden like to flock together into roosting boxes with little perches inside. The more the merrier. Evidently, that’s how hot chicks roll. Who knew? [Read more…]

A Palatable Pallet Garden

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Some families hit the beach or the slopes for their Spring Break adventures. We hit the road and treated our kids to a dumpster diving adventure extraordinaire. There isn’t much that can create more family unity than finding the perfect pallet. Everybody wants to be part of the excitement of planning a vertical garden based off of the newly acquired garbage, right? Creativity knows no bounds, so we went in for the reward, and we came out with a prize. What Spring Break could be better? [Read more…]

Meta Shop Class as Soulcraft Book Review and Book Repair How-To

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I recently picked up a great book from a used bookstore. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford is a fabulous book about what it means to be a person who works with their hands. Ironically, before I was finished, the hardcover edition from Penguin Books began to fall apart. So much for quality construction! A large section came loose in the middle, and then became completely detached from the spine. I’m faced with one of the modern dilemmas that Crawford points out in his book. Do I keep reading the book, letting it slowly fall completely apart? Do I simply throw it away and buy another copy? Or, maybe download an electronic version to my smart phone, perhaps? No, Dammit! I will fix it! [Read more…]

Festool Media Event Coverage – From Germany!

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As I type this Im traveling at roughly 8/10th’s the speed of sound, over thirty thousand feet over the Atlantic. Actually, I think I’m roughly over Yuma, AZ at the moment, but “the Atlantic” sounds much more glamorous (no offense Yumans). I am relentless in my quest for coverage that might remotely be of interest to the Home Fixated community. That unquenchable thirst for the story (and tools!) is why I did not hesitate for a millisecond when Festool graciously invited me for a week-long media visit to their home turf in Germany. Well, that, and the promise of fresh, delicious, German beer. [Read more…]

Festool Vecturo Oscillating Multi-Tool Review & Giveaway – Plunging Into The OMT Fray

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Whether you’re a rookie DIYer just starting to put together a basic collection of tools, or a seasoned woodworker or tradesperson, one of the most useful tools you can own is the oscillating multi-tool, or OMT. These versatile tools can be used for scraping, cutting, sanding, grout removal – I find new uses for mine all the time. Pretty much every major toolmaker has one or more of these tools in its lineup. Prices range from around $20 for Harbor Freight’s basic tool to several hundred dollars for beefier units with better accessories. Joining this crowded field, with an offering aimed at tool aficionados who probably DON’T shop at Harbor Freight, is the Festool Vecturo. Here’s a quick look at it: [Read more…]

Rockwell Jawstand XP – Your Third Hand On the Job

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DIY homeowners and pro tradespeople alike are sometimes known for their hardy, independent spirit. The “I can do that all by myself” attitude is often commendable, and also frequently disastrous. We have all done tasks solo that really warranted having a helper handy. Luckily for most of us, there wasn’t anyone filming those events in the hopes of posting the latest carpentry fail video sensation on YouTube. Since few people can stand the intense music selection I prefer to work to, I often find myself working solo on projects. After Rockwell sent us their Jawstand XP for review, I suddenly found many projects were not only easier for me to take on, but also far safer than some of the questionable solo tactics I had used before. [Read more…]