Building a Cat House – Uh, for Cats of Course!


I love cats. There, I said it. Cats are great animals! I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have at least one cat sharing my home or workshop. However, even a cat-lover like me realizes that too many cats can be a bad thing. When people don’t take proper care of their cats, the cats breed, some of the kittens go stray and some of those stray cats become feral. And then, someone has to deal with the problem. [Read more…]

Doomed or Dormant Plants – A Winter Tale


Even those of us who know that some of our perennials go dormant in the winter can fall prey to worrying about certain specimens after cooler temperatures arrive and the plants begin to show it. We find ourselves poking at them and pondering the eternal questions that have bugged gardeners for centuries. It looks dead, but is it really? Have I killed it? What if it’s all an elaborate fake-out and I waste tons of money buying new plants only to have them remerge with a vengeance when springtime comes? After all, making accurate predictions is very tricky science. [Read more…]

International Builders’ Show and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2015


It’s that time of year again! This week, I attended the largest annual light construction show in the world: the International Builders’ Show. I also covered the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Both shows create a dazzling sprawl of displays that occupy zillions of square feet at the Las Vegas Convention Center. They are part of what is now referred to as Design and Construction Week. Whether you’re a construction pro, serious remodeler or homeowner, you’ll want a peek at the sometimes amazing but almost always interesting products I dig up while tirelessly scouring the show floors. [Read more…]

Milwaukee M18 Right Angle Impact Driver – An All-Access Pass For Fastening!

milwaukee m18 right angle impact driver

Even though I came a little late to the game, I am a huge fan of impact drivers. My original epiphany with ¼” impact drivers came in 2012, when I got a DeWalt 20V Max DCF895C2. It immediately became one of my favorite tools, and it still gets a good workout on a regular basis. But much like my experience with trendy nightclubs, there are places it just can’t get into, despite being fairly compact (the tool, not me). Gaining access to those tight spaces is what the new Milwaukee M18 Right Angle Impact Driver was designed for. [Read more…]

Prefinished or Unfinished Hardwood Flooring – That’s the Question


I love the character of hardwood flooring. So much so that I recently decided to replace the carpeting in our living and dining areas with hardwood. My husband was skeptical of my hardwood floor laying abilities at best. So was I. It wasn’t a project that I jumped into hastily. In fact, I researched and studied for months before I finally felt confident enough to even breech the subject with the hubby. I finally decided that it was indeed a job that we could do. [Read more…]

Little Free Libraries – Fun to Build, Fun to Use!


Last summer, I ran across an article about two poets who were riding a tandem bike from Boulder, Colorado to Beloit Wisconsin. Along the way, they stopped in communities and helped build “Little Free Libraries.” These little kiosks, not much bigger than a rural mailbox, are designed to house a rotating collection of free books. The motto of the Little Free Libraries is “Take a Book, Return a Book.” Free books and creative carpentry. What could be better? [Read more…]

Senco 21LXP FinishPro Nailer Review – Comparing Finish Nail Gauges

senco 21lxp

When doing trim or finish work, sometimes it’s hard to strike just the right balance. You want a fastener that’s strong enough to keep your trim piece from falling off, but you don’t want a nail hole the size of the federal deficit. A 23-gauge pinner, like the Bosch FNS138-23 we reviewed last year, leaves an almost undetectable hole, but doesn’t have a lot of holding power. An 18-gauge fastener has much better grip, but in wood that will be left natural, may leave an unsightly hole. In an attempt to fill the gap, Senco recently introduced the Senco 21LXP FinishPro Nailer. The Senco fires 21-gauge headless and slight-head pins. Senco says they offer significantly more holding power than a 23-gauge pin, and a much smaller nail hole than an 18-gauge brad. We got one to evaluate; take a look and see if they nailed it. [Read more…]

Overwintering Plants – Keeping Your Garden Happy

jasmine indoors

You win some; you lose some. It’s a good philosophy to keep in mind when bringing container plants indoors for the winter. Of course, there are always the specimens that you mistake for dead every year because they give such a good impression of it, but that’s another story. Or you could be like me. I have an official winter evacuation list for my garden, complete with a lowest temperature estimate for each one. I try my best to keep it updated, but inevitably some of them fall victim to weather reports that aren’t entirely accurate. It’s only preventable if you are zealous about bringing in all the plants when the temperatures get near their death threshold. But after dragging twenty containers indoors and standing outside in the dark in 40 degree weather trying to remember which one you forgot, accidents are bound to happen. [Read more…]

Green Paint Greenie – How Safe is Green Paint Anyway?


Back in the day, the only green friend folks had was Kermit the Frog. Nowadays, my little green friend is one of my neighbors who doesn’t approve of my SUV or my little guy’s disposable diapers. We’re friends anyways though, because she knows I do care about the environment. And during a recent snowstorm when her car was completely immobilized, she warmed up to my 4×4 that rescued her so she could buy last minute Christmas gifts and groceries. [Read more…]

Wood Repair? Move Over Auto Body Filler, KwikWood is Here

wood repair

If you’ve ever had a dog then you know how destructive they can be, especially when they’re puppies, and I have two! I have a 5 year old Australian Cattle Dog aptly named Kirby (he also answers to Freak, Freakazoid and Weirdo) and a 3 year old “who knows what” named Stella (also known as Pretty). I hit the destructive dog lottery with Kirby, but that was all made up for when I hit the perfect dog lottery with Stella. [Read more…]