Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden

by DIY Maven

Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden

Confession: As a vegetable gardener, I'm pretty pathetic. We used to have a 12' x 15' vegetable garden at the back of our property (about 200 feet from our house and down a somewhat steep hill). With the weeding and watering, our excitement every spring for growing our own peppers and tomatoes faded quickly, leaving us with a less than flourishing garden. Several years back, we gave in, realizing that, even though we have plenty of room for a 'proper' garden, we just weren't 'proper' garden people. We made

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Test Lab: Craftsman I9.2-Volt C3 Impact Driver

by DIY Maven

Test Lab: Craftsman I9.2-Volt C3 Impact Driver

created at: 03/09/2011

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

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Spring Cleaning 101: Tips from a Pro

by Chris Gardner

Spring Cleaning 101: Tips from a Pro

For the first time in months, there's a beautiful ray of mid-afternoon sunshine cascading through my window, and illuminating all the dust and grime that's built up through the winter months.

I dunno if the sun is going to last, but I do know that I can't pretend like my house doesn't need a thorough scrubbing and organizing anymore. Grrrr...stupid sun.    

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Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred (Plus 4 Bonus How-to's!)

by DIY Maven

David Erik Nelson's new book Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred from No Starch Press is subtitled 'Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids.' That's true; the projects inside the book will appeal to kids, but they will also appeal to adults with a penchant for DIY. That's why it's a perfect book to buy to tell the kids in your life it's for them, but really it's for you!

The book is divided into 3 parts. The first is entitled 'Kid Stuff,' and it contains things that are great for getting

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The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes

by DIY Maven

The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes

According to Sasha Duerr, the author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes, if we can cook, we can dye. One of the chapters contained within is even entitled, "Kitchen Couture". And couture it is. Dozens of recipes tell us how to use such things as lavender, turmeric and red cabbage to dye plant and protein-based fibers the most luscious colors imaginable, all of which harmonize in ways 'only botanical colors can.'

created at: 02/02/2011

Sasha begins at the beginning, outlining supplies we'll need, explaining in easy to understand terms the benefit

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How to Take the Mystery Out of Electricity with Amprobe

by DIY Maven

How to Take the Mystery Out of Electricity with Amprobe

Awhile back, the folks at Amprobe offered to set me up with a selection of their residential electrical testing tools. Immediately, I came down with a case of the yips as electricity scares the bejesus out of me. BUT, after taking a few calming breaths, I came to the conclusion that if the Amprobe tools could take some of the mystery out of electricity, then they might help ease my electrophobia. Plus, I know pros. I live with an engineer and...

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The Dremel Multi-Max is All Kinds of Cool

by Chris Gardner

The Dremel Multi-Max is All Kinds of Cool

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 at 12,000 RPM, the Multi-Max is an oscillating motor that vibrates back and forth really fast, sorta like the machines that doctors use to cut away plaster casts.

On first opening the case, I was pleasantly surprised that the machine is cordless, and includes two lithium-ion batteries and a charger. The basic kit includes three attachments: a hook-and-loop sanding pad, a flush cutting bit, and a wood/drywall blade. They attach with a nine-hole sprocket and a washer/bolt combo that is tightened with an included hex-key.

created at: 12/07/2010

First, I tried the sanding pad and the multiple grit papers. The pad is triangular shaped, which allows it to get inside tight corners where a random-orbit sander cannot. I also love that the vibration is relatively minimal, allow your to precision sand small parts that would get rounded or diveted by a random-orbit sander, and keep your fingers safer than when using a belt or disc sander.

created at: 12/07/2010

Next, I tried the round wood/drywall blade. It leaves a very small kerf and produces little sawdust. It cut well enough into softwood, but got pretty bogged down by harder woods, such as the walnut and Brazilian cherry I tested it in. This would work well when you need to cut with more precision, such as into a baseboard or when making a hole in the wall for a light switch or outlet, where a reciprocating saw would vibrate too much and produce a rougher cut.

created at: 12/07/2010

Then, I test the flush cut blade. A flush cut is when you try to cut away a hole or a space in the middle of a workpiece. This is difficult to do with other tools other than a jigsaw, which requires a pilot hole, or a plunge router, which would require a complex fence and guide system to make an square cut.

created at: 12/07/2010

A practical application might be cutting a slot in a door jamb for a new knob system, or to make room for a new floor. The cut worked, but was extremely slow. It took me more than ten minutes to complete this small square.

created at: 12/07/2010

Overall, it's clear that the Multi-Max is aimed at the homeowner who takes on the occasional home improvement project. It's not powerful enough to replace any dedicated tools, but is a great value for the diversity of cuts and many accessories available. I was most impressed by the sanding capabilities, as there, it can do things that other power sander cannot. The cutting capabilities are adequate, but only for specific and occasional use on wood. You can't build a piece of furniture with it, or even create a single joint in any reasonable amount of time, but for making specific, clean and detailed cuts for an occasional home improvement project, it does exactly what it promises. I'm sure the Multi-Max would be a godsend to anyone working on siding or roof trim, particularly with the cordless capabilities.

Anyone with an interest in DIY projects would be happy to have one of these, so be sure to enter to win one this week!

Top image by Home Construction Improvement

This post sponsored by Dremel. All opinions are mine alone.

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Illuminating Switch Plates--A DIY Attempt Gone Bad and the Power of Blogger Karma

by DIY Maven

Find a Light Glow in the Dark WallPlate Insert

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. 

...

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Curbly Original
Upholstered Dining Chairs in the Living Room: A review

by DIY Maven

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.

Grayson Chair

However, just because we finally decided what kinds of chairs we want, doesn't mean...

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