Take Your Container Gardening to the Next Level – DrainSmart and PotRisers

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Who says there are no new ideas? A while back our intrepid editor stumbled across two unique products for container gardening while scouring the show floor of the National Hardware Show. Impressed with what he saw, he passed along review samples provided to us by DrainSmart and PotRisers. We’ll provide details on both in the dual review below – it’s sure to give you two great products to take your container gardening to the next level. [Read more...]

Hinge Mate HM 1100W Door Hinge Template Review – Making The Cut With Quality

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At the risk of offending the three remaining members of the HCDAOA (Hollow Core Door Aficionados Of America), nothing screams “low budget crap” like a hollow core door. Naturally, when we bought an old farmhouse a short time ago, whoever “updated” it last, three or four decades ago, had outfitted the entire place with them. They’ve been on my hit list, but I’ve been focusing on other, more urgent projects first, like getting rid of the 40-year-old shag carpeting from all the floors and one bedroom wall (don’t ask), pondering the crumbling barn foundation, and fixing the leaky roof and windows, for example. We’re re-doing all the trim in the house in oak, and when I found a good deal on solid oak six panel doors that fit, I grabbed ‘em! They’re slab doors, which means you pretty much get a blank slate – none of the mortising for hinges and locks has been done. Installing hinges is not my forté; I’ll do an odd one once in awhile, usually chiseling it out by hand, with mixed results. This job requires cutting hinges for eight stained oak doors, though (no caulk or shims allowed!), with three hinges on each, so when we received the Hinge Mate HM 1100W from the folks at WoodCraft to review, I called dibs! [Read more...]

Spice It Up – Growing Plants for Salsa Making

DIY Salsa

Even though the recipe usually contains my personal form of kryptonite, I have been known to ignore common sense and consume large quantities of salsa anyway. This often ends with me briefly wondering why I’m hot pink all over the very next day. But that’s just me. Most people can have their salsa and eat it too. So let’s talk about what goes into the spicy dip that is beloved by human beings everywhere, and how you can grow it all yourself. [Read more...]

How to Create a Dog-Friendly Breakfast Nook

The pup- happy with her new house.

As a remodeling contractor and custom cabinet maker, I have had the good fortune to work with a lot of interesting clients over the last 30 years. I have come to realize that some of the most fun people to work for are pet owners and animal lovers. They are, by nature, good-hearted people. Some of the ideas they come up with to integrate their lives with the lives of animals, are really unique and fun to work on. This article details one such project you’ll definitely want to check out if you’re a pet lover too. [Read more...]

Lumens To Go – Milwaukee Cordless Work Lights Review

M12 Stick Light and M18 Flood Light

The options for working in the dark have come a long way. First it was a torch, then oil lamps and candles, and eventually the flashlight. While flashlights still have their uses, I often find myself using headlamps when it comes to working on the house. As handy as it is to have directional light wherever you point your face, headlamps still have to be strapped to your head. Aside from that lack of comfort, they also don’t always put out an even field of light that covers a wide area. That’s often where jobsite-style work lights come into play. You don’t strap them to your head, and you don’t have to hold them either. Sadly, most work lights leave a LOT to be desired. [Read more...]

Ten Tips for Pickling Wood

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I like pickled wood almost as much as I like pickled foods. While the former turns my lighter colored woodworking projects into a work of art, the latter always sends my sodium level through the roof, so I prefer to work with pickling wood stain. Pickling wood is easy to do, doesn’t take much money and always ensures the finer grains in lighter colored wood species are showcased with perfection. Use the following ten tips for pickling and make your next wood project stand out from the crowd, all without a spike in your sodium intake. [Read more...]

Hook-Tight – Like Tiny Yellow Helping Hands For Your Tie Downs

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Like most truck owners, it seems like I’m constantly hauling something. Sometimes it’s lumber, flooring, construction debris, gravel, or other not-very-fun stuff, and sometimes it’s kayaks, coolers full of icy deliciousness, or my old motorcycle. Whatever I’m hauling, generally I’m happier if everything I started out with is still there when I reach my destination. My large assortment of bungee cords and ratcheting tie-down straps helps me accomplish that, but they can be kind of a pain in the neck to get hooked up, especially the straps. The recent arrival of a little package of yellow rubber things from Hook-Tight just made the process a whole lot easier, and safer. If you like to keep your loads where they belong, (in the back of your truck or trailer), you’ll want to check out this Hook-Tight review! [Read more...]

Essential Gardening Tools – for People with Boundaries

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Let’s start with a disclaimer. The problem with naming an article “Essential Gardening Tools” is the word “essential”. Essential for some may not be essential to others. For example, meat is an essential for my husband at dinnertime. I, on the other hand, do not need meat as a qualifier for any meal. Some believe that Saturday morning just isn’t Saturday morning without cartoons. And that’s OK. Not everyone will consider the same things as essential for their meals, for the way they spend time, or for their gardens. Just know that I know. It’s debatable. [Read more...]

Spyder Skeleton Jigsaw Blade Review – Woodworking Fish Stories

Spyder Skeleton Blade

“I once cut a straight line with my jigsaw over 3 feet long” I proclaimed. “Look out Peter’s telling fish stories again! Yeah right, and I bet Bigfoot was right there taking pictures for you!” For me, the jigsaw will always be a rough cutting tool. A useful weapon in any arsenal for cutting inside or out curves in wood just shy of my pencil line. What I never considered the jigsaw for was making a clean, straight cut right on the line. I mean, I’ve just never seen it done and I certainly don’t believe anyone when they tell me they’ve done it! Well, thanks to Spyder Skeleton Blades, after today I might have to change that point of view. [Read more...]

Don’t Get Caught Without Bloomers – Plan Ahead for All Season Color

perennial flower garden with annual

Two of the many great lessons I am attempting to teach my young ‘uns in life are 1. to never be caught with dirty underwear (please change them every day, kids) and 2. to never be caught without bloomers. Both of these goals take some planning and a little bit of work, which is why I think they are both lessons worth teaching. Lesson one is simple at my house. Each morning, after showering, slip into a nice, clean pair. Place the used pair in the laundry where they are guaranteed to get cleaned. By me. Very cut and dry. Once we have that one down with each of our kiddos, we move on to the much more complex and variable concepts of lesson two. We take them outside. We drive around and show them examples of folks with and without bloomers. And then we have “the talk”. We explain that it’s indecent to just let fate determine what bloomers you’ll enjoy and when. We discuss how to avoid getting caught with no bloomers. [Read more...]