Memorial Day is in sight and, here in the Midwest, that means the start of gardening season. To turn your brown thumb green – or your greener thumb greener – we've assembled 4 popular garden/landscape planners and put them through their paces. The victims today are Small Blue Printer, Plan Garden, Mother Earth News Garden Planner, and Better Homes and Gardens Garden Planner. Are the free versions as good as the paid-for route? Maybe, maybeContinue Reading
Four years ago, I threw out the question: "What is the best bottle cutter on the market?" A lot of readers weighed in. Some gave recommendations, others just wanted a definitive answer, which is what I wanted. Finally, FINALLY, we decided to get to the bottom of the bottle cutter question and have a product shoot out between four popular models. Our competition has not been without a little drama, as one of the bottle cutter makers has, apparently, gone out of business since the inception of this review. That being the Bindu Studio's Bottle Cutter. We've decided to leave the Bindu in the review just in case some of you stumble upon one secondhand. That being said, it's time to introduce each of our competitorsContinue Reading
These days, it seems like the large majority of us spend a good chunk of time on the computer, and I am no exception. In fact, I probably spend more time on my computer than the average person, usually clocking in at least 12 to 14 hours a day, between work and recreation.
So when HP asked me, recently, if I wanted to try an HP ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO, I jumped at the chance. I was super excited to give the touchscreen a whirl, but also a little nervous, since this was my first time back on a PC in years. Continue Reading
A few weeks ago, I visited a local unpainted furniture store and was immediately drawn to their DIY stains, varnishes and paint. While examining the stock, one of the shop's finishers happened by and asked if I had any questions. I immediately went in to 'quiz the expert' mode. I felt so guilty at accosting the poor guy, I bought one of the paints Continue Reading
No garden? No problem. Fern Richardson of Life of the Balcony fame shows us how to have an enviable garden without the acreage in her title Small-Space Container Gardens from Timber Press. Organized into 9 tidy sections, we cover everything from flowers to herbs, from shady patios to sunny decks and everything in between.Continue Reading
Don't let the title of Marie Iannotti's new title from Timber Press fool you. Her guide for growing all that is heirloom is perfect for the beginner and the experienced gardener alike. However, if you are a beginner to this variety of vegetables, you might wonder just what an heirloom vegetable is. According to Ms. Iannotti, there are three requirements that must be fulfilledContinue Reading
Wall murals have come a long way since the 1970s. Back then they were basically flimsy sheets of wall paper applied with glue. Flash forward to the 20 double digits. Now we can find them made of heavy-duty vinyl with peel & stick repostionable backings like those from Murals Your Way.
Don't let the unassuming title or cover of industrial designer and artist Christopher Stuart's new book, DIY Furniture: A Step-by-Step Guide fool you. The work is filled with some of the most interesting DIY furniture I've ever seen--and I've seen a lot. Chris collected 30 projects from the best designer-makers out there and put them into the collection that includes projects for every room in your home, and they're all constructed ofContinue Reading
Ok, so I know I'm late to the game getting a reciprocating saw, and if you already own one or know everything about them, mosey along. But Alicia's been getting after me to get rid of these ugly metal pipe laundry line posts in our back yard, and today I finally decided to do it.
Now, for any job there are lots of tools that will work, and usually one or two that are perfect for the task. In this case, I decided on getting a reciprocatingContinue Reading
After hanging out in the DIY scene for a few years, I've realized something: a lot of creative projects are simply involve cutting or shaping raw materials and then putting them back together again. Of course, there are "from the ground up" projects, like painting or crochet, but sewing, cooking, woodworking, paper crafting, and many more require means to break down materials like wood, fabric, or vegetables into specific shapes before putting them back together in the way you want.
And that, friends, requires sharp tools. Any time you use a blade, you break down the edge, twisting the metal out, dulling it and making it less useful. Even cutting regular paper with scissors. But here's the thing - not only are sharp blades more effective, they're actually safer. So, having sharp tools, like scissors, kitchen knives, carving tools, saw blades, chisels, and paper cutters allows you to work faster, and cut yourself less.
Enter the Work Sharp 3000. Continue Reading
A couple of weeks ago, the people at Wagner (they're based in nearby Plymouth, MN) sent me one of their new EZ Tilt Spray Painters (if you're looking for one, you can buy it here on Amaazon) to try out. We had been planning on re-painting our porch floor, so we decided to put it to the test and get a minor project out of the way at the same time. Read on to see how it went.
I never thought I could get excited by a trashcan. It is, by definition, full of garbage.
But, believe me, friends, the Fingerprint Proof Rectangular Recycler from SimpleHuman is a brilliant example of great design.
The folks at Craftsman sent over a sweet surprise: A 19.2 C3 Cordless Impact Driver Kit. (Insert caveman grunt here.) Now, your first thought might be, "Looks like a regular drill to me," followed up by the question, "What's the dif?" Think of it like this, if the guts of an impact driver were to be animated in a Pixar kind of way, there'd be a hundred little humanoids inside with hammers beating away at the chuck. Comparatively, this makes your job--the real humanoid--much easier. Although the spectrum Continue Reading
This week, Curbly is giving away a Dremel Multimax oscillating tool kit, so we thought we'd try one out and share our thoughts. I've had a Dremel rotary tool for years, and even though I have a whole basement full of big, fancy power tools, I still reach for my Dremel for all sorts of tasks. So, I was excited to try out Dremel's new offering, the Multi-Max. Whereas the original Dremel is a high-speed rotary tool, meaning it spins around atContinue Reading
Last winter, I spotted the above pic on the internets and thought, "I can DIY that!" I stashed the idea in my 'make some day' idea bin, and few weeks back, I decided to finally give it a go. A bit of plastic rescued from the recycle bin, a drop or two of glow-in-the-dark paint and I would be golden. Or so I thought. The outcome was tragic. The paint was gloopy; the plastic too...plastic-y. I trashed the whole thing and forgot about it.Continue Reading
For the last several months MWT and I have been looking for one+ new chairs for our living room. After more consideration than the situation demands, we decided to get two upholstered dining armchairs. Why? Well, they take up less room, and we haven't found any 'accent' living room chairs that measure up to the tailored styling of an upholstered dining chair.
However, just because we finally decided what kinds of chairs we want,Continue Reading
Recently, I had the opportunity to take Craftsman's new Nextec 12 volt lithium-ion right angle impact driver, for a test drive. I had seen television adverts for the Nextec Hammerhead Auto Hammer and it had piqued my interest, so when the impact driver showed up on my doorstep, I wasted no time in giving it the Maven once-over.Continue Reading