Dual Purpose Holiday Decor – A Guest Post from Final Clothes-Out

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Today I have a special guest for you! Paige from Final Clothes-Out is visiting and she’s here to help us re-purpose ordinary items into festive holiday decor! Hooray for reusing!

Nice to virtually meet you! I’m Paige from Final Clothes-Out, a blog focused on saving money while still finding (or making!) everything you need. A big thanks to Brittany for inviting me to post here today!

My husband and I live in a tiny little condo–two people and a business in 840 square feet–which means we don’t have a ton of space for seasonal decorations. I use small-ish everyday items a lot when I pretty up the house for Christmas, and I’m here with a few ideas to help you do the same.

Putting red and green items together brings out an understated holiday vibe, even if they’re just a teacup and a sugar bowl:

Or a stack of books in my office:

Another easy idea is to put Christmas-y things into functional items. This iron stand usually holds my longer necklaces, but right now it’s cradling some extra ornaments:

And this is part of my mixing bowl set, but I think it looks pretty darn cute filled with pine cones on the end table:

I do sprinkle in a few “real” decorations every year. My new babies for 2011 are some miniature picture frames (from the dollar section at Michael’s, if you’re interested) filled with reversible Christmas images. I put them together with stickers and leftover scrapbook paper:

Once the holidays are over, I can use the frames with different art for little pops of year-round color.

Are you a fan of re-working everyday stuff this time of year? Maybe you’re a fellow small house dweller with decorating tips of your own? Anybody else score those picture frames from Michael’s? (Love them.)

Thanks Paige! If you have a chance, go check out Final Clothes-Out where you can learn all kinds of frugal tips:

Like turning this Dynasty-esque dress into a cute summery wrap dress (without a sewing machine!)

Or this DIY Kindle Sleeve.

Do you want to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Visit this page to learn about submitting a guest post idea.

See y’all back here real soon!

 

Sewing Snowflake Box Bottom Gift Pouches

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Gift pouches are super easy to make. You can use fabric, cloth napkins, or even a pair of pajama pants or boxers* (see bottom of this post)!

I made pouches using fabric that I stenciled with Martha Stewart stencils and the roller top paint roller. As promised, here is how to sew a box bottom gift pouch:

Materials:

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Safety pin
  • Ribbon or cord
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron (and ironing board)
  • Ruler

1. Start by cutting fabric into two 8″ x 12″ rectangles.

2. Pin right sides together and stitch along one length of the fabric (12″ side). Then press the seam open.

3. Fold over the top edge of the fabric 1/4″ then again about 1/2″. Press the folds with an iron. This will be the sleeve for the drawstring.

4. Fold in the sides about 1/4″ over. The fold should extend from the drawstring sleeve to about 3″ down the side to finish off the raw edge of the fabric.

5. Stitch this fold at the very top ( inside the drawstring sleeve) to hold it in place.

6. Sew the bottom folded edge of the drawstring sleeve. Stitch as close to the edge as possible.

Your pouch should look like this:

7. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (right sides together). Start your stitches just below the drawstring sleeve. Sew along the open side of the pouch and across the bottom.

Your pouch should look like this:

8. Grab the center of both sides of the pouch and pull them away from each other. The seams should be in the middle now and the base of the pouch makes a triangle.

9. Pin about 2 inches up from the point of the triangle.

Repeat on the opposite side. (The further up you pin the bigger the box at the bottom of your bag will be.)

10. Stitch along the width of the pouch where you pinned.

Repeat for the opposite side.

11. Turn the pouch right sides out.

12. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to feed through the pouch top and to tie a bow. Attach a safety pin to the end of the ribbon and feed the safety pin through the sleeve at the top of the pouch. When the safety pin exits the other side, pull the ribbon until the ends are even. Remove the safety pin and snip the ends of the ribbon if needed.

That’s it! Now you know how to make a super easy box bottom gift pouch!

Put your gift inside and tie the ribbon. You now have instant gift wrap and a pouch that the receiver will love to keep!

*If you find a cute pair of boxers or pajama pants at Goodwill, buy them! You can use them to make gift pouches as well. After washing the pants (of course), cut the two legs apart by cutting up the front and back center seam.

Separate the pants into two pieces. If your pants have a drawstring, you can use it for your gift pouch string (but you may have to cut the stitching around the tag if it has been sewn in.)

Square off the bottom of the legs by cutting across at a 90 degree angle.  Follow the directions above to make two more box bottom gift pouches!What do you think? Easy right?! Would you know that those were pajama shorts in a past life? Don’t lie, you only know because I showed you ;-).

 

Mom, can I have some more creative juice please?

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It’s true, I was out of juice, steam, whatever you want to call it. I took a break, and yet, it seemed like it was going to be harder than ever to start back up and write a post. But, then the best thing that could have happened, happened! Miss Mustard Seed came to town and a bunch of other creative people (some bloggers, some not) met up at the Flea Market for some good ole thrifting and antiquing! I begged my friend Holly from Storywood Designs to join us and so we set out early (well early for the weekend) to the Raleigh Flea Market. I forgot how much fun and how many cool objects there are at the Flea market! I also forgot (or never noticed) scores of men (older than 40) carrying around their small dogs with them. Yes, I said carrying! Cradled in their arms as they looked over tables laden with everything from antique silver platters to dodo birds!

I’m not sure where these guys are normally, but Saturday morning at the Flea Market seems to be a congregating place. (I wish I had snapped a picture of them.)

But enough about men and their dogs — what I really enjoyed was getting to know some of these creative gals:

From left to right: Carol aka Tracy’s Mom, Rie from Home and Harmony, Marian aka Miss Mustard Seed, Tracy from Tattered & Timeless, Fiquet from Farm House to Home, Kristen from Sophia’s Decor and moi.

Sadly, Holly, Kim, Esther and Mekala ran off before I got a picture of them. Next time (shaking my fist), just you wait, I’ll get you my pretties!

Letting some of their creativity rub off on me was very therapeutic. I didn’t take a lot of photos at the Flea Market, but SuzAnna’s was full of great eye candy.

Here are just a few of the sights I saw (SuzAnna’s, Two Old Birds, Vintage Carolee and more!):

I adore all the Santa inspired gifts at SuZanna’s .

My two favorite signs:

Afterwards we hopped over to Café Capistrano for some yummy Mexican food. Sitting down to eat with these new friends was like getting together with old girlfriends. We chatted and shared our likes, taste in decor (which was fairly similar) and just talked.

Hopefully we’ll get to see each other again sooner rather than later.

Oh and if you are wondering what I bought. Not a lot, just some old rusty bed springs, a small doorway rug (I’m hoping to paint), and these gorgeous spoon carved organ panels. Truly beautiful. I can’t wait to sand them and see what lies beneath the dirt. Then I will decide whether to paint them, stain them or just leave them in their gorgeous nakedness!

Handmade Holiday Decor eBook

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Happy Day After Thanksgiving! I don’t know about you, but despite the week I had last week, I am very grateful and thankful for modern medicine and trained surgeons who can take all the broken pieces and put them back together again. Humpty Dumpty never had it so good!

My seven year old is thankful for something completely different. When asked yesterday morning what he was thankful for he said (very seriously), “My bottom.” I tried so hard not to laugh, and was able to utter a quick “Why?”. He replied, “So we won’t explode!” Oh the thoughts of a seven year old boy. ;-D

I hope everyone got their fill of food and family time! And most of all I hope you got a little R&R. You may be looking around wondering where Tool Tutorial Friday is. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that it is on break (no pun intended.) After all the stress from my son’s broken his arm last week, I decided to give myself a much needed reprieve from blogging. No worries though, Tool Tutorial Friday will be back next week as previously scheduled.

I hope you won’t be too mad and disappointed with me. But, seriously, you don’t want to sit here and learn how to use another power tool today! You want to take some time to unwind and enjoy your family, right?!

In the meantime, I do have the Tomboy Tools magnetic hammer winner: Roxanne Lucchesi!
She says, “I have been wanting to tell you how much I love your blog. And now I REALLY love it. It is so great that you are taking the time to post these tutorials. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them. I recently added a table saw to my collection of tools. Mind you, I have never used a table saw, but have always wanted one. Now you have empowered me to actually get out there and use it. Thank you!”

Thanks so much Roxanne, comments like yours are what make all the efforts I put into my blog worth it!

And a big thank you to my sponsor:

Laura from Tomboy Tools, who graciously offers a hammer a week for the Tool Tutorial Friday series. Laura is a super sweet mompreneur who also wants to empower women to take on their own DIY project. If you get a chance, check out the other tools she sells!

And, for you reading pleasure and gift inspirations I leave you with the Handmade Holiday Decor eBook! This is a fabulous ebook put together by the even more fabulous Myra from My Blessed Life and Mandi from Life Your Way. Just think about it! One ebook with all your favorite bloggers and holiday decor tutorials in one spot! There are a few of my tutorials (pages 12 & 24) inside along with some other fabulous bloggers:  Pink and Polka Dot, Creative Kristi, SAS Interiors, The Country Chic Cottage, Ten June, The House of Smiths,  The Inspired Room, The Idea Room, Serenity Now, Infarrantly Creative, Mod Podge Rocks and MANY more!

If the preview above is not working for you, click here if you wish to download your own PDF version of the Handmade Holiday Decor eBook.

Happy Holidays, y’all! See you next week!

Coffee Lover’s Snowflake Gift Set using Martha Stewart Craft Stencils and Paints

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Looking for a gift for those hard to buy people on your list? Or simply an inexpensive gift for your child’s teachers? I found the perfect gift while grocery shopping. Our local Kroger had Illy ground coffee and tumbler sets on clearance. Naturally I shoved everyone aside and grabbed as many as I could (not really, but I would have!) For under $8 each, it was a real sweet deal.

I thought the gift sets needed a little somethin’ special to give them holiday flair (or maybe I was feeling guilty that the gifts were just too easy and inexpensive.) With a little Martha Stewart multi-surface craft paint and Martha Stewart decorative snowflake stencils, I turned them into extra special holiday gifts.

Materials:

  • Tumbler and ground coffee
  • Martha Stewart craft supplies:
    • Multi-Surface Craft Paints:
      • Mother of Pearl
      • Wedding Cake
      • Summer Haze
      • Metallic Sterling
    • Holiday stencils
    • Holiday adhesive stencils
    • Roller tops
    • Specialty sponges
  • 3M ScotchBlue painter’s tape
  • Paint brush
  • Fabric
  • Baby wipes or wet rag

 

Decorating the Tumbler:

Clean the tumblers with soap and water. Let them dry.

Tape off the areas of the stencil that you aren’t using. Add more tape to the outside edge of the stencil to hold it in place on the tumbler.

Wrap the stencil around the tumbler.

Dip a specialty sponge into the Martha Stewart  multi-surface craft paint. Dab off any excess paint.

Pounce lightly and straight onto the stencil. (If you come at it from an angle some of the paint may seep under the stencil or move the stencil.)

Gently remove the stencil and reposition it in another location on the tumbler. (Be careful not to overlap the first snowflake.)

Fill in areas between the larger snowflakes with small self-adhesive stencils.

The specialty sponge is too big for these smaller stencils, but you can use a paint brush to paint inside the stencil.

Repeat until you are happy with your decorated tumbler.

 

Snowflake Gift Bags:

Squeeze some craft paint into a Martha Stewart roller top (best invention EVER!)

Tape the stencil onto your fabric.

Gently roll the roller top back and forth over the stencil until the desired amount of paint comes out.

Remove the stencil and let the paint dry.

Repeat the snowflake design randomly throughout the fabric.

Sew a little box bottom drawstring gift bag, using the snowflake fabric. I think the snowflake themed coffee gift set will be a big hit! (Holiday decoration, thrifty, re-useable, and come on…who doesn’t LOVE coffee?!)



This was a very easy craft to create. You could decorate with any stencils you like. Think how cute a stenciled monogram would look on the tumbler.

I will probably include a note mentioning that the tumbler design will last longer if washed on the top rack of the dishwasher.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: I was provided the craft materials and a small payment in exchange for writing this tutorial. The ideas, tutorials, and opinions are my own.

 
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The 10 Minute Tooth Fairy Pouch

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Things happen fast in my family. So fast that I can barely keep up. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably saw that I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the hospital with my youngest son. I looked away for an instant and he managed to climb 6 feet up the outside of the slide. As I turned my gaze back to him I watched as his body fell to the ground. There was no doubt that he was broken and in severe pain. Hours later confirmed that he had broken three bones in his arm (one at his elbow, and both forearm bones at his wrist.) He ended up having surgery, five pins inserted into his arm, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Needless to say, my week has been fraught with worry and concern for him and his pain level. I think for Christmas I’m going to make him a bubble wrap suit!

Just last night my seven year old lost his first tooth! Yup, it has taken him a while to push that little baby tooth loose. But, low and behold he lost it last night in his sleep. Pretty Handsome Guy tracked the runaway tooth down this morning only to have it go missing again tonight when we needed to present it to the tooth fairy. We searched high and low but can’t find it. Do you think the tooth fairy came early to our home?

My son informed me 30 minutes before bedtime that I needed to sew a pouch for the tooth (and the money that comes with a lost tooth.) I said “okay”(because Mom always has to deliver when a little one has a request.) Then I asked how big and what color. He showed me with his hands and said that the pouch should be red.

After a quick scan of my craft supplies I grabbed a red sweater that I had already felted in the dryer, a piece of white craft felt and a red button. Then I whipped up a little tooth fairy pouch in 10 minutes!

Materials:

  • Felted red sweater
  • White craft felt
  • Red thread
  • Red button
  • Scissors

Cut the sleeve off the sweater at about 7″.

Turn the sleeve wrong side out and stitch the bottom of the sleeve together.

Turn it right side out and cut a “U” shaped notch out of the sleeve on one side.

Flip the sleeve over and round the corners of the longer side of the sleeve.

Cut a tooth shape out of the white felt.

Pin the felt tooth onto the center of the sleeve (on the long side.)

Carefully move the short side out of the way and stitch the tooth onto the sleeve using a blanket stitch or another decorative stitch. Leave a small opening at the top of the tooth.

Hand stitch a button onto the other side of the pouch.

Cut a small slit into the rounded flap of the long side and slip it over the button.

Slip your child’s tooth into the tooth pocket on the front.

The tooth fairy will dutifully leave money (and maybe a note) inside the red pouch while your child sleeps.

My son told me that he heard the tooth fairy leaves more money if you draw her a picture. I’m not sure how much she leaves for non-existant teeth though. I hope we find that tooth!

 

 
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Tool Tutorial Friday – Table Saw Tutorial

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Welcome back to another Tool Tutorial Friday. I have a secret to tell you, this is one of the two power tools I own that I fear the most (the other is my router.) However, everytime I use my table saw I get a little more comfortable. Regardless, I will always keep that “healthy fear” so I won’t forget to use caution when using this power tool.

If you are just getting used to power tools, I would use a jigsaw or miter saw before tackling this big bad boy! That being said, I believe in all of you and know you can use a table saw, so let’s get to it!

A table saw is a great tool for ripping long pieces of wood. Unlike the miter saw which is limited to a certain width stock, the table saw can handle long sheets of 4′ x 8′ plywood.

Explanation of a cross cut vs. a rip cut:

  • Rip – ripping a board is cutting with the grain along the length of a board. This is usually done with a table saw, but can be done with a circular saw and a straight edge.
  • Cross cut – a type of cut that is perpendicular to the grain or along the width of your board. Cross cuts are usually made with a miter saw or circular saw, but can also be made with a hand saw. (I’ve been known to make this cut using my band saw before I had either a miter or table saw.)

We bought our table saw when we laid the wood floors in our living room. I knew that we’d probably have to rip a board or two once we reached the end. Well, wouldn’t you know that our living room ended up being the perfect size for all full width boards. I kept the table saw anyway knowing that I’d use it (and I have used it a fair amount.)

Table saws come in either a stationary or a portable style. I prefer the portability of my table saw. I can roll it out into the driveway (to keep the sawdust outside.) And, because the stand is built-in, I can fold it up on its side, roll it back into the garage and store it away when not in use.

Table saws cost anywhere from $120 up to $1,000 or more. The Ryobi 10 inch table saw with transportable stand that I use costs $300 at Home Depot.

I highly recommend wearing ear protection, safety googles and a dust mask when using a table saw. Hooking your table saw up to shop vac will greatly reduce the amount of saw dust that is discharged (and it spits out a lot of sawdust!)

Two common dangers of using a table saw are kickback (the board being thrown back toward the user) and hand injuries from forcing material through or feeding the wood with the hand too close to the saw. Kickback will happen if the wood is pinched too tight between the rip fence and the blade. When making a cross cut with a table saw, DO NOT use the rip fence! This can cause kickback to occur.

Table Saw Features:

Safety features are super important on a table saw. A blade cover is essential to keep hands away from the blade. And for that reason a table saw should never be used without the guard in place. For even more protection from hand injuries, there is a table saw that is manufactured under the name Stop Saw, that retracts in a split second if it detects flesh against the blade.

Behind the blade on my table saw are anti-kickback pawls. This is a close up view of this safety mechanism. They are basically teeth that will dig into the wood should the blade start to “kick back” the material toward the user.

 

The rip fence is used to setting the width of a cut and keeping the board straight when making a rip cut. Never use the rip fence when making a cross cut. My saw has a miter fence for making angled miter cuts. I honestly haven’t used that feature yet.

The blade depth adjustment and bevel adjustment knob are one and the same on the Ryobi. To adjust the bevel, push the knob in and then turn it.

The material support and the sawdust chute are located on the back of my table saw.


When using a table saw, be sure to have a clear work area. Set up supports or have someone help you to support large pieces of wood after they exit the saw. Use a push stick to assist when making a narrow cut. Do not wear any loose clothing or jewelry that could catch on the machine. Always use a table saw when you are well fed, alert, and are not in a hurry. This is a serious power tool and requires all your focus to use it.

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic table saw usage tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use a table saw. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

If I haven’t scared the sawdust out of you, here is the video tutorial for using a table saw:

I hope I have empowered you to use a table saw at some point. It is a good saw to have in your shop. Especially if you need to lay wood flooring, install beadboard wainscoting and many other projects that require you to rip a board.

And now the moment y’all have been waiting for: The winner of last weeks Tomboy Tools Magnetic hammer is Seansmom! Congratulations. I clicked over to her profile link and am determined to stay in their Carolan guest house if I’m ever in the Northwest Iowa area. What a view from their guest house:

Check your email and get back to me to claim your hammer!

I can’t believe how few comments I had last week. If the same happens this week you have a great chance of winning! So, once again leave me a comment below and let me know if you are willing to try a table saw after watching my video tutorial. I hope the answer is yes! Your comment automatically enters you into the 13 oz. Tomboy Tools magnetic hammer giveaway. Good luck!

 

 

 

Linking this tutorial to Serenity Now’s Weekend Bloggy Read

Do You Want to Help Empower Others? Be a Guest on Pretty Handy Girl!

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Photo by Anika Toro, Available for Purchase $15 in her Etsy Shop

Photo by Anika Toro, Available for Purchase $15 in her Etsy Shop

I have been surfing the blogosphere lately and there are some FANTASTIC tutorials being written on everything from crafting to home improvement tutorials. Hmmm, where have I seen projects like that before?

I’d love to give some other great DIY writers more exposure and share them with you. These caring people have a similar goal (to help others learn how to do it themselves!) So, if this sounds like you, keep reading.

Depending on how this works out, I’ll likely be sharing a few guest tutorials a month. I realize that not everyone is a blogger, but don’t let that discourage you. If you have completed a special project that you want to share, I’d be happy to accept your typed tutorial with photos and post it for you on PrettyHandyGirl.com.

So, with this in mind, I’m calling all you DIYers:

  • Do you have a detailed tutorial to help someone complete their own project?
  • Do you have a wish to empower others?
  • Can you write a clear and detailed tutorial?
  • Can you take some good photos to illustrate the steps?
  • Do you have a unique craft to share or a home improvement or repair that you are willing to detail?

I’d love to introduce you and your blog (if you have one) to my readers. If you said yes to any of the above, I want to hear about your project.

Click here to submit your tutorial ideas.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of your projects!

*If you are a company or website owner looking for exposure, text links or increasing SEO, I’d be happy to send you my advertising rates. I only accept guest posts from bloggers or readers.

How to Make a Shoe Storage Bench out of a Habitat ReStore Wall Cabinet

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We had a great turnout at the Habitat ReStore demonstration on Saturday! Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was nice meeting some new friends. There will be another talk at 1 pm on Saturday, December 10th at the Cary, NC Habitat ReStore! I hope you can make it, because I’ll be showing how to turn some common ReStore items into holiday gifts and décor.

And now for the tutorial that you really wanted to see — but couldn’t make it to see — making a shoe storage bench out of an kitchen wall cabinet!

Wall cabinets that fit over your fridge or stove work really well for this shoe storage bench project. Ideally the cabinet will be 18″ in height (standard seat height). If it is shorter, you can build a base for your bench to raise it up a little.

It is more than likely that these cabinets will be coated with about 5 lbs. of grease. But, have not fear, I found THE BEST cleaner for removing grease. Hot water and ammonia! You must work in a well ventilated area when working with ammonia. Sponge on the ammonia and hot water concoction and wait about 10 minutes. Wipe off the cabinet and repeat until clean.

Materials:

  • Ammonia, hot water and a sponge or rag (to clean off grease)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction or thick wood glue
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • 2″ finish nails
  • 1 and 1/4″ finish nails
  • Quarter round moulding for base of cabinet
  • Cove moulding for top of cabinet
  • 1″ thick board (cut to fit inside cabinet dimensions)
  • 1×4″ pine firring strips
  • Plywood or pine board cut to fit 3″ wider and 1.5″ deer than finished dimensions of the cabinet (after moulding is added.)
  • Optional: Thin plywood to use as a filler strip

 

Remove all the hardware and the doors. Remove any nails that are poking out or hammer them flush with the wood.

Measure the inside depth of the top of your cabinet.

Cut three 1×4″ boards to sit on top of the cabinet and use for the bench support and to give your nails something to grip when attaching the bench top. (Without these supports it would be very difficult to nail or screw into the particle board cabinet without it flaking and chipping.)

Use thick construction glue to attach the boards. (Glues that have a toothpaste consistency.)

Nail finish nails into the boards at an angle to secure them.

For good measure, nail two more finish nails through the back of the cabinet and into the ends of the support boards.

Measure your cabinet sides and front. Cut quarter round (convex shape) for the base of your cabinet and cove moulding (concave shape) for the top of your cabinet.

Here is a close up of the moulding I used for the base and crown of the cabinet.

If the face frame of your cabinet juts out past the side, you’ll have a gap (see below). No worries, we can fix that!

Slip a piece of thin plywood to fit behind the quarter round (and cove moulding). Draw a line at the top of your quarter round (and bottom of the cove moulding). Cut the plywood piece with a jig saw.

Glue the thin plywood strip onto the cabinet.

Rest your moulding on top of the filler strip.

Predrill holes in your trim moulding, then hammer finish nails to secure the trim. If you are using a finish nailer to secure the moulding pieces, you won’t need to pre-drill.

Fill any nail holes or cracks with wood putty.

Fill the seams of the filler strips with wood putty too.

Allow the wood putty to dry and then sand it smooth.

Your cabinet should look something like this:

For the top of your bench, cut a piece of wood that is 3″ wider and 1.5″ deeper than the top dimensions of the cabinet (be sure to measure to the edge of the crown moulding.) Sand it smooth. Stain or paint the bench top.


At this point, you can attach your bench top by screwing a few screws from inside the cabinet up through the support pieces and into the bench top.

*For demonstration purposes, the video will show how I attached the bench top with glue and finish nails from the top: Add some construction glue to the wood supports. Then, nail the top into the three support boards on top of the cabinet. Fill the holes left by the nails. And touch up the spots with stain or paint. Either way will work, but the screws from below will save you the work of adding wood putty and/or touching up the nail holes.

To install the shelf, level the board you cut to fit inside the cabinet (or shall I call it a bench since we are almost done!)


Use either “L” brackets inside the cabinet to hold the shelf or hammer nails from the side and into the ends of the shelf to secure it. Luckily shoes aren’t super heavy, so you can get away with using finish nails to hold the shelf in place.


Use a nail set to sink the nail below the wood surface.


Add a small amount of wood putty to the nail hole.


Gently sand the cabinet and shelf to scuff up the surface and give it a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Prime the cabinet and bench.


Paint the cabinet, shelf and bench.


Protect your bench with a few coats of polyurethane and you are done!


Room for about 8 pairs of shoes! If you wanted a larger bench or more storage, you could attach two cabinets side by side.


Here is the video from my Habitat ReStore talk. (I apologize about some of the background noise.)

By the way, thanks to my sponsors Bogs Footwear (boots) and Tomboy Tools (tool belt.) I need to lower that belt a little ;-). I was rushing in and just buckled it on me without adjusting it.

 

 

 

Sharing this tutorial with Home Stories A2Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party and The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday

Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Cordless Drill

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how I feel about my cordless drill. Yes, I really do love it.

He’s my right hand man. I can’t think of a project that I have completed that I haven’t used my drill.

A cordless drill is an essential tool for any homeowner. If you don’t have one, stop reading this and go buy one! Seriously, they are that important to the DIYer!

Cordless drills can range in price from $30 – $200. The Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion cordless drill I use costs $79. The drill came with two batteries, a charger, a fabric case, the drill and a screwdriver bit. That should be the bare minimum that any cordless drill kit includes.

You may be curious what the volts mean. In short, the volts equals the power of the drill. The higher the voltage the stronger the drill. In all honesty, I think I need to upgrade to an 18 volt drill this year. The 12 volt has been good for 90% of the projects I complete. But, I want the 18 volt to help me drill and drive screws through harder wood.

If you are in the market for a new drill, I highly recommend a lithium-ion drill. Lithium-ion is the newest in battery technology. It lasts much longer than a traditional battery.  And, they don’t lose power as the battery runs low. It will just stop when the battery runs out.

Most drills have a torque adjustment. I rarely take mine off the high setting (because my drill isn’t super strong to begin with.) But, basically the torque is the setting where the drill disengages so that it won’t burn out the motor. If you need more torque, use a higher number. But, if you are just starting out, try it on a lower setting. Some drills have an adjustable speed setting. This is a nice feature and really helps when you need to switch from drilling through soft wood to a harder surface.

 

There is a button on each side that is used to change the drill rotation direction. Clockwise to drill and drive screws. Counter-clockwise to remove screws and bolts.

The chuck is the part of the drill that accepts your bits. Keyless chucks are pretty much the norm right now unless you have an older drill. Back in the day, drills came with a key to loosen the chuck. If you lost the key you were out of luck. Thank goodness for innovation!

Besides the obvious uses for a cordless drill (hole drilling, driving screws and bolts), I also use my drill to mix paint!

I bought this paint mixer attachment and use it all the time to mix new colors or just to mix paint that has separated. There is also an attachment for your drill that will dig holes in the ground when planting bulbs. I tried this attachment, but I couldn’t keep the chuck tight enough on the attachment to bore through our southern red clay ;-(.

Okay, let’s get this video started!

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic cordless drill tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use them. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

If you don’t own a cordless drill, I implore you to add this DIY essential to your holiday wishlist!

(I was not paid or compensated to write this post. This is my honest opinion and true feelings about my cordless drill!)

Winner announcements…

First, let me say, WOW! We had some interest in the Bogs Footwear giveaway. Rightfully so — those boots are super comfortable. I have to add a pair of McKenna’s to my Christmas wishlist this year ;-). If you didn’t win, you really need to add them to your list as well!

The winner of the Bogs Footwear gift certificate was: Jacque K. She said, “Oh wow these are GREAT! I love the McKenna and the Classic High Tuscany!”

AND, the winner of last week’s magnetic hammer was : Carla. She said, “Thank you so much!! I recently bought a compressor/finish nailer combo (awesome deal @ Home Depot!) and I hate to admit that it still scares the crap out of me. I have so many plans for it and now, thanks to your video, I’ll be much more confident about using it. Your video was my prize for the day, but if I should happen to get luckier, I’ve been wanting a smaller hammer for some of the projects I do (& I could use it for some of my sewing projects) – the 8 oz. pink magnetic hammer would be great!”

To be entered to win your own hammer from my sponsor, Tomboy Tools:

  1. Leave me a comment letting me know if you have any questions or comments on the Tool Tutorial Friday series.
  2. For a second chance to win, head over to Tomboy Tools and name one of the Tomboy tools that is available in blue (not pink!)

You really want to win one of these hammers. It is just as tough as any hammer I’ve owned. And the pink hammer insures that it will remain in YOUR toolbox, not your man’s ;-).

Have a great weekend y’all. I’ll be at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Saturday for a demonstration. Hope to see some of you there!

 

 

Matchbox Cars Track — Guest Posting at Infarrantly Creative

Animated matchbox ramp

Matchbox racing ramp with flames

Hey y’all! I’ve been hopping all over town lately. Home Depot and Lowe’s have become my second home. So, if you see me in one of those stores will you send me home? I HAVE to finish my garage renovation sooner rather than later!

Today I have a tutorial for making a matchbox race track for those little car enthusiasts in your family! Now, don’t close this window because you think you couldn’t make it. I bet you can. There really aren’t any super complicated wood-working skills involved in this build. In fact, my 7 year old was responsible for the majority of the design.

I created this project and tutorial for my friend, Beckie at Infarrantly Creative. She is hosting a Pennywise Presents series full of inexpensive gifts you can make. Some fabulous bloggers have shared their amazing gift ideas!

So head over to Infarrantly Creative to learn how to make a Matchbox Cars Track.

See you tomorrow for another Tool Tutorial Friday!

Tool Tutorial Friday

Wheeee!

Pretty Handy Girl Signature

Time to Clean Your Dryer Ducts – Prevent Fires

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Once the weather turns cold and the heat kicks on, your home starts to get dry and static electricity arrives once again. This minor nuisance that causes siblings to shock each other for fun can actually be dangerous if it ignites lint that has built up in or around your dryer.

Why you should clean out your dryer ductwork:

According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, ( CPSC ), annually there are 15,500 Dryer Fires, Up To 30 Deaths and over 310 injuries, due to dryer exhaust duct fires. You should clean your dryer hose and around it once a year, and inspect the vent and hose for any blockages at least every 6 months.

You could pay a professional to clean your dryer ductwork, but the price could be anywhere from $65.00 to $150.00! Ummm — no thanks — I’ll keep my money and do this myself. It only takes about 15 – 20 minutes to do and it is easy! As long as your ductwork is fairly accessible, you can handle this!

If your dryer exhaust hose tube is longer than 10′ this may be a bit more difficult. And if it is longer than 10′, did you know that your dryer may be working extra hard to dry your clothes? Worse yet is if you have a long tube that goes up into the attic (or the eaves) and then out the roof. The warm moist air from the dryer enters the cold attic, and condensation forms in the exhaust tube. Do you know where this little story is going? Well, at first your dryer can’t dry as quickly because the tube is blocked by water. Eventually it will fill with enough water to cause the exhaust tube to split and guess where all that water goes? Through your ceiling, that is where! Trust me on this one, it happened to us in our old house.

So, why don’t you sit back down and let me give you a little tutorial on cleaning out your dryer exhaust ductwork.

Instructions:

Start by unplugging your dryer and turn off the gas if you have a gas dryer.

Remove your lint trap and remove any lint from the screen.

Using a brush (designed for cleaning out the coils under your fridge) bend the brush and run it inside the lint trap. Then follow up by using a shop vac or vacuum to suck up any lint and dirt loosened by the brush.

Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the exhaust duct tube from the wall and the dryer. There are normally two kinds of hose clamps holding the tube to the dryer and wall port. The first is a ring with two prongs. Simply squeeze the prongs toward one another to loosen the clamp.

The second type of hose clamp requires a screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.

Slide the exhaust tube off the dryer and the port (hole in the wall.)

Use your vacuum to clean out both the dryer and wall ports.

Then use the vacuum to clean out the dryer exhaust tube.

If you have an older style vinyl tube, it is important that you replace it with a foil style one. The vinyl ones are fire hazards. Also, if you can’t get your tube clean, go ahead and replace it. They are inexpensive, normally it costs just under $10 for a new foil flexible duct tube.

If your tube is long or difficult to clean out, you may want to purchase a hose brush like this one:

Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning BrushAmazon.com: Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning Brush: Home & Garden.

While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is safer than a lint covered one.

Re-attach the dryer tube to the wall and the dryer.

Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.

Locate your exterior dryer vent.

If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running.Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. I don’t think I need to tell you that they won’t be helping your dryer’s efficiency!

And that is it?! That was easy wasn’t it. Be sure to keep your home and family safe by cleaning your dryer exhaust ductwork yearly.

Update: I wanted to let y’all know that the flex foil pipe shown in this tutorial is FLAMMABLE! Luckily I found this out before we had a fire.

prevent_fires_replace_dryer_hose

Read about installing semi-rigid non-combustible duct in this easy tutorial!

 

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A Dry Erase Message Board from a Cabinet Door

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Happy Monday morning y’all! I’ve been working like a busy bee this past month. So many projects! I need to clone myself so one of us can work on the projects and the other can write the posts. (Luckily I had an extra hour yesterday thanks to switching back to standard time.)

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that I will be giving my first demonstration at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore this Saturday at 1pm. If you are in the area, I’d love to see you. Here is the address and more information about the  ReStore. I will be demonstrating how I turned a truly nasty greased wall cabinet into this charming shoe storage bench.

I’m not the type who can throw something away, so when I removed the cabinet doors to make the shoe bench, I decided to salvage them and make message boards. The first one was transformed into a cute chalkboard frame.

The other one was turned into a — you guessed it — dry erase board!  And of course (because I love you), I’ll share with you how I made it.

 

Materials:

  • Cabinet door (pre-primed and painted)
  • Plexiglass cut to the interior panel dimension
  • Scrapbook paper (choose a light color that dry erase marker will show up on top of)
  • 4 Nail head trim tacks
  • 3 Cup hooks
  • X-acto blade
  • Metal ruler
  • Sharpie marker
  • Drill and bits
  • Scrap of wood
  • Hammer
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Dry erase marker
  • E-6000 glue

1. If you haven’t already: clean, prime and paint your door. It isn’t necessary, but if you want to give your cabinet door a new look, go ahead and paint it any color you like! The sky is the limit on color. I used American Accents Antique Black.

2. Cut your scrapbook paper to fit inside the cabinet door panel. As always, be sure you are using a fresh new x-acto blade and a metal edged ruler.

3. Mark a dot 1/2 inch from the corners of the plexiglass.

4. Drill a small hole through the plexiglass at each dot. Use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the nail on your nail head tack.

5. Lay your scrapbook paper into the panel, then rest your plexiglass on top of the paper. (I purposely didn’t glue the scrapbook paper so I could change it out when I want a décor change.)

6. Set a nail head into each corner hole in the plexi. Hold the nail with the needle-nosed pliers as you hammer each tack into the cabinet door.

7. If your tacks go through the back, flip over the cabinet door. Set the piece of scrap wood (red arrow) under the nail head and hammer the point of the nail to bend it to the side (so no one gets poked!)

8. Use a ruler to mark where you want your cup hooks mounted. Pre-drill holes for your cup hooks using a drill bit slightly smaller than the cup hook screw end. Then screw them into the holes.

9. Attach D-ring hooks to the back of the door.

10. Attach a dry erase pen to the board using string. Or if you find a marker with a magnetic cap, you can glue a magnet to the board using E-600o. Now you can hang the marker back on the board when you’re done writing a message.

11. Hang that cute little dry erase board up on the wall! Did you see this and this tip for hanging frames that have two hooks? Genius!

That is how you can make a custom dry erase board out of an old cabinet door! I love how it matches the bench colors and can match anything I want it to by changing out the scrapbook paper. Shoot, I could probably put photos behind the plexi too!


Okay, so who is coming out to join me on Saturday? Please don’t let me show up and give a talk to the crickets. ;-)


Round Up of Some Great Tricks and Tips!

The tricks and tips that were shared in our Trick or Tip link party were really great! Thank you to everyone for linking up! I pulled some of my favorites to share with you. There were lots of other fantastic tips, but I had to figure out a way to narrow it down, so I weeded out the Halloween themed ones since October is officially over. So, here is my round up (in no particular order):

Living, Laughing, and Loving: Beautify your Blog DIY Style… a Dreamy Header! Renee created  a fantastic tutorial on how to create your own blog header. I always struggled with writing a tutorial on this subject, because I use Adobe Photoshop to do it. This tutorial shows you how to do it without any expensive software. And she shares how to upload it in Blogger.

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Calypso In The Country: Avoid Paying Professionals. How to seal your house from ants. And how she fixed her a dishwasher. A big kudos to this gal who took it upon herself to fix anything in her house without paying a professional!

 

Mo Momma: Baby Nursery: DIY Painting Stripes How to paint stripes. Not just how she painted the, but also what supplies she used and how she planned the pattern! A really great resource if you want to paint random stripes!

 

Adventures In Creating: Quick and Easy Way to Hang Pictures. – A great tip on hanging pictures (the two D-ring hook kind.) She really puts an end to what can be a challenging task.


Don’t Disturb This Groove: How To Hang A Wall Object With Two Hooks
. And another ingenious idea for hanging objects with two hooks! You gals are really smart.


Our Adventures in Home Improvement: Transferring an Image onto Wood. I miss my wine crate, but Pam shows how to easily transfer laser images onto wood with this nifty little tool! I’ll be trying this soon.

 

Art is Beauty: How to Fix Veneer for a Project. This is a slap the head tip for me, because I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this. Using edging strips to repair veneer furniture (before painting.)

 

Gail at My Repurposed Life shows how she made a door into a toddler bed. And she perfectly illustrates what I was talking about in the jigsaw tutorial about using a straight edge to assist with making a straight cut.

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See? I told you Gail was a DIY Queen. She should call her blog, My Repurposed Life as a DIY Queen!

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Evolution of Style: How to Paint a Kitchen Island – Part 1. Jenny shared some great tutorial tips on painting a kitchen island.

 

The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking: {OrganizedHome} Day 28: Laundry Room Organization. I love these great tips for organizing the laundry room. My favorite is using a toothbrush holder to dry paint brushes. Excellent idea!

 

How to Paint Quarter Round • Saving by Making. This is a great tip for painting your baseboards without messing up the floor. I made the mistake of trying to tape off an uneven floor in our bathroom and some paint seeped underneath. Where was this tip when I needed it?!


The Black’s Best: How to Frame a Bathroom Mirror. Heather and her husband framed their bathroom mirror and shared how they did it! Beautiful results too. So now there should be no excuses for having to live with a builder grade mirror anymore. Go see how they did it.

 

HouseTalkN: The Great Pumpkin Battle!. I have to say, this might be the most useful tip for me. We have a real problem with neurotic squirrels. They do all kinds of destructive things to our deck and screen porch. I’m going to try Kerry’s tip for keeping those critters back:HAIRSPRAY!!!

hairspray

 

Erin’s Creative Energy: The Most Useful Thing We Have Done. Erin is one smarty. I highly recommend making your own electrical house plan. I needed one this week. For the life of me I can’t find the circuit that controls our garage lights. I might have to just cut the main power instead.

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The Feral Turtle: Homemade Chalk Paint. The Feral Turtle made chalk paint! Her recipe can save you oodles of money if you’ve been eyeing ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint). I have no idea if it is as good as the real deal, but it is worth a try! She also shares how to make your own soap.

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Diary of a Craft Room Transformation: How to turn a big screen tv in to a desk protector. Finally, Sharon took on the mammoth project of turning a big screen tv into a desk protector! She had mixed results, but kudos to her for trying to repurpose something that was bound for the trash.

Thanks for all the wonderful tutorials and tips! You have convinced me that I need to start seeking out guest tutorials from some of you fantastic DIYers! Look for an announcement coming soon.

How to Use a Pneumatic Finish Nailer and Air Compressor (with video)

trimmed_window

Welcome back for another Tool Tutorial Friday! Today I’m going to introduce you to a 2 gallon compressor and pneumatic finish nailer.  I use the Campbell Hausfeld 2 gallon compressor with Pneumatic Finish Nailer. I bought these as a kit when they were on sale at Lowe’s for $69! A good price on this set is $89. There are loads of other brands out there and I’m sure they have other features and capabilities, but frankly I’ve been happy with my set that I’ve had for 2 years. Other kits can cost up to $300. The only drawback with this set is that they can not be used for framing (building walls of a house structure.) But, so far I haven’t needed to do that.

The finish nailer works very well on moulding, trim, board and batten, wainscoting, and other small wood projects.

The compressor is a fairly simple tool. When turned on, air builds up in the chambers until it reaches the maximum 110 psi.

The pressure going into the air hose can be controlled by the regulator button. I typically use my compressor and nailer at about 90 psi. But, if the nails are going too far into the wood, I might turn it down to 80 psi. Or if the nails aren’t going in far enough I will turn it up to 100 psi. With continual use, the pressure will drop down. When the pressure is low enough, the compressor will start itself back up to raise the pressure again.

The on/off switch on my compressor is in the back.

The finish nailer holds small brad nails up to 2″ in length and “U” shaped staples. They are held in the magazine. The safety tip on the nailer must be pressed into the wood before a nail will fire. Otherwise, the gun will not discharge.

While using the nailer and compressor it is very important to use safety goggles and ear protection.

When you are finished using the compressor, it is important to release all the air from the compressor. If you don’t release the air, moisture can build up and rust the tank. Start by reducing the pressure by turning the regulator down. Then pull the safety valve ring. It will close automatically, so you will need pull it a few times or hold it open. I also unscrew the valve at the bottom of the tank to insure it is completely empty before storing. Then I screw the valve back in.

After the tank is empty, release the hose from the nailer. Add a drop or two of penetrating oil onto and in the air inlet on the nailer to keep it well lubricated. Cover the air inlet and then you can store your nailer and compressor.

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic finish nailer and compressor tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use them. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

Without further ado, here is the tutorial video:

 

Quite Possibly the Most Comfortable Boots Ever – Bogs Boots

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I get a lot of emails asking me if I want to try XYZ or ABC product. If the products work with my blog or I think I can use them in a project, I accept. However, if I don’t like the product, you won’t hear about it here. So, when a Bogs representative contacted me, I was skeptical if I would be writing a review. Especially because I have a hurt big toe from a common malady: Cute Shoe Syndrome. That’s right, I found some cute boots and wore them until I think I did damage to my foot. Therefore I’ve switched back to my clogs and “healthier” shoe options for my feet. But who knew that I could have both cute and comfortable in one shoe!

I have another confession about my feet, well rather my ankles or lack thereof. It’s true, I am genetically cursed with cankles (you know, where your calf just ends into your foot leaving no cute thin ankles.) So, boots and some higher backed shoes don’t always fit my feet.

Sorry about all the whining, but I just wanted you to understand where my feet are coming from so you can fully appreciate these boots.

I think Bogs were designed by higher beings, because these boots are heavenly!

I wore them all weekend while working on my garage makeover. The temps were in the high 60′s so at the end of the day my feet were sweating a bit (truth be told I was sweating all over because I was doing some mad building.) BUT, my feet weren’t cold from the sweat.

AND, my feet weren’t sore; they weren’t tired; they were happy feet!!!

The boots I tried are the Classic High Tuscany boots. I wore them in the creek. I wore them while working in the workshop. I even wore them on a very cold and rainy Halloween night.

The Bogs tread is designed to wipe itself clean.

But, if they do get dirty, all they need is a little rinse and they are as good as new!

I didn’t have any chafing, no sore toe, and the boot doesn’t pinch or squeeze my cankles. ;-) In fact, they hide those unsightly things.

To walk in a pair of Bogs is like walking on clouds. The best analogy I can make about the Bogs is that they are like a very comfortable boot that wears and feels like a croc. Yet, you can look fashionable while wearing them. I’m wearing them every chance I get now.

AND here is the best news of all. Bogs has agreed to give one of my readers a $100 gift certificate to use at their online store. There are many different styles to choose from! Bogs make shoes for your whole family! Small ones, tall ones, short ones, and stylish ones. I dare you to pick just one pair!

Here are the details for entering this giveaway. You have up to three chances to win. Simply leave one comment for each entry:

1. Follow Bogs on Twitter

2. Like Bogs on Facebook

3. Visit their online shop and tell me which Bogs you want to own.

That’s it! I’ll be picking a winner next Wednesday night (November 9th). Good luck and see you back here for another Tool Tutorial Friday!