Mailbox Appeal – Pep it up With Plants


One way to perk up an uninteresting mailbox is to add some colorful flowers, tasty herbs, or even vegetables to the existing structure. While some mailboxes do indeed come with planters attached, homeowners can easily add a small garden area beneath their existent structure or jazz up the utilitarian device itself with little effort. Like Billy Flynn said in Chicago. “Razzle Dazzle ‘em.” Because if you throw the neighbors a fake finagle, they’ll never know you’re just a bagel. Or something like that. You can step up your mailbox appeal and curb appeal with minimal gardening effort. [Read more…]

Kobalt 24V MAX Brushless Tools Combo Kit – Brawny, Blue & Brushless

kobalt 24v max

Way back in March of this year, our intrepid leader Marc was treated to a sneak peek at Lowe’s new Kobalt 24V MAX line of cordless tools. This beefier line of tools, all of which incorporate brushless motors, indicates that Kobalt is serious about taking on the big boys, in an attempt to attract pro users. The first wave of the new line is available online now, and is scheduled to hit the shelves in early June of 2016. More tools, including a brushless oscillating multitool, are expected by the end of the year. The seven current tools are available individually, or in various combo kits; in this review, we’ll take a look at the Kobalt 24V MAX Brushless four-tool combo Lowes recently provided to us. In the very near future, we’ll also check out the other three individual tools. Meanwhile, check out their 60-second promo video: [Read more…]

Idiot Proof Houseplants – Good Specimens for Brown Thumbs


I will be the first to admit I’m not very good with houseplants, mostly because I tend to forget to water them on a regular basis. After all, the rain will start to pound on the roof and my slightly screwy subconscious registers the fact that the Higher Powers have taken care of one task on my never-ending to do list. It always slips my mind that my job is only half done until I start to wonder why the allspice plant in the corner is looking crunchy. That’s the reason my indoor plants go outdoors as soon as the weather warms up. While I’ve talked at great length about how succulents make wonderful houseplants if you’ve got a bright enough windowsill for them to hang out on, there are plenty of other species that will get along just fine indoors with a minimum of effort on your part. So, here are some of my favorites. [Read more…]

DeWalt DCBL590X2 Cordless Backpack Blower – Pro Class, No Gas

dewalt dcbl590x2

We are fortunate to have a decent-sized yard, with a lot of greenery, including a lot of mature deciduous trees surrounding our property. We spend hours on the back porch, or around the fire pit, as often as we can when the weather’s decent. The downside is that all that greenery requires a fair bit of maintenance, in the form of mowing, trimming, and general cleanup. It’s amazing how much debris rains down from the trees (the technical term is “Tree poop”). Dragging out the gas blower is time consuming and aggravating, both for the operator and for anyone else subjected to the noise. In an effort to quiet things down while cleaning things up, DeWalt developed the new DeWalt DCBL590X2 Backpack Blower, which makes the claim “Gas Performance. Guaranteed.” [Read more…]

Make Your House Smarter With SAGE

SAGE featured image

What's This?It seems that home automation is all the rage these days. It lets you control electrical devices, see who’s at the front door, keep an eye on the baby’s room and more. All while watching TV from the comfort of your couch. Or – with the free SAGE mobile app – from wherever you happen to be at the moment, home or away. And things like an automated thermostat can actually save you a little cash on the power bill. So, when Hughes provided their new SAGE security and home automation system for us to evaluate in this sponsored post, I was eager to see what it’s all about. Let’s take a look! [Read more…]

Bamboo Whistle – Fun And Easy To Make

Bamboo whistle

For a fun project that can be made quickly using minimal hand tools, these tone tubes are sure to hit the right note. Lately, I’ve been all about the simple projects. Like my spinning tops, this bamboo whistle is about as easy to make as it gets. And, depending on how hard you blow them, they can create multiple different tones. Let’s make some noise! [Read more…]

ToolSmart – Smart Tools By General

ToolSmart launch lineup

What's This?Smart, convenient and clever: the new ToolSmart tools from General have a lot going for them. The launch lineup includes a digital multimeter (DMM), laser distance measurer, digital angle finder and a video inspection camera. They can all be used as stand alone tools. But they can also send data wirelessly to the free iOS and Android mobile app, opening up a whole new world of awesome that you’re sure to love. General Tools & Instruments provided their new ToolSmart line for me to evaluate in this sponsored review. So c’mon, let’s check these babies out! [Read more…]

Super Scented Plants – Add An Olfactory Element to Your Yard


Although edible landscaping has taken off and vegetable gardens have become incredibly popular of late, nothing truly beats the sweet, spicy smell of honeysuckle or the fragrant aroma of a lavender bush. So, if you’re looking for something to add beautiful scents to your yard, why not give some of the following plants a try? [Read more…]

Bosch Digital Levels – GIM 60, GIM 120, GIM Me One!

bosch digital levels

When we bought our first old house, a builder friend advised me to throw away my level and framing square. As we began renovations, I soon acknowledged the wisdom of his advice – there wasn’t a level, plumb or square surface in the place. Admittedly, the “character” of older homes often requires a bit of fudging. Assuming you’d like to end up with operable windows, doors and plumbing, though, having your framing or finish work plumb and level is key. Old school “bubble” levels are a big help, and get you in the right ballpark, but the final result is dependent on whoever is reading them. If you’re angling for perfection, though (and who isn’t!), the new Bosch digital levels offer precision accurate to the nth degree – give or take 0.05°. [Read more…]

Customizable Home Security With SAGE


What's This?When I contemplate what matters most to me, my family is the first thing that comes to mind. I would do anything to protect them. Peace of mind begins with a safe and secure home. Meet SAGE by Hughes, a self-monitoring home security and automation solution that literally puts the control at your fingertips. Whether you’re relaxing on the couch or away on family vacation, your home is never more than a touch away! They provided some equipment for me to evaluate; Let’s see what it’s all about. [Read more…]