Archives for March 2013

Outdoor Planter from an Ice Bucket #LowesCreator


Being a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blogger is one of my favorite jobs as a DIY blogger. I love walking the aisles of Lowe’s, with my provided gift card in hand, dreaming of finding mundane objects to transform into amazingly beautiful objects. For example, what do you get when you cross an ice bucket with a stove pipe connector?


[Read more…]

Welcome Contributor – Jaime from That’s My Letter


Did you guess who my final contributing writer is? Let me give you a hint: “A” is for Awesome and Amazing!


She’s none other than the awesome and amazing Jaime from That’s My Letter!

You know why she’s amazing? Because this girl has some serious building, painting, crafting and sewing skills. She’s like the MacGyver of DIY bloggers. If you give her a stick and a piece of thread she’ll whip up something awesome!

This mother of three lives in the Westchester County, NY area. Jaime has had several of her projects featured on Ana White and designed aprons with Ana for those of us handy gals that prefer a prettier tool belt: [Read more…]

Welcome Contributor – Cristina from Remodelando La Casa


I’m so excited to introduce another handy writer to you today! She’s a wife, a mom, and a secret DIY Superwoman! She knows how to tame any ugly cabinet or window in her home by wrapping it in beautiful custom molding and trim.

Please meet Cristina from Remodelando la Casa!


Cristina started her blog over a year ago after she took on a major project and lived to tell about it. She renovated her kitchen by herself! Going through the process myself, I can tell you that this is no easy feat. You won’t believe the before and after pictures: [Read more…]

Welcome Contributors – Matt & Jacque from The DIY Village


Vanna, can you please reveal who’s behind square two and three? Why, look who it is! It’s Jacque and Matt from The DIY Village.


Not to be confused or associated with the Village People. Although it would be fun to have all of us dress up like this (or maybe not.):

I first met Matt & Jacque at Haven. These two are the dynamic duo of DIY. (If they’d let me in their duo, we’d make a great trio!) Do you sense a tinge of jealousy? I can tell you that I am a little envious of their tandem blogging and DIY projects. Double the fun, double the productivity, double the…you get the point.

diy_village_and_meWhen they aren’t DIYing together, Jacque works in the office of a small landscaping company and Matt is a Firefighter for a local fire department. They live in East Tennessee in a home that they bought in 2011

Matt & Jacque both have some fabulous DIY skills. For example, feast your eyes on their woodland stenciled dresser: [Read more…]

Welcome Contributor – Jeff of Home Repair Tutor


The first of the handy peeps I want to introduce you to is Jeff! Jeff writes a very informative home repair blog called Home Repair Tutor. He is a homeowner turned handyman after renovating and maintaining several rental properties (plus his home.) Jeff’s tutorials are straight forward and very helpful for saving you a buck or two (or two hundred) on your home repairs.

I know you’ll love Jeff’s sense of humor in addition to his super helpful tutorials. [Read more…]

More Handy Peeps Joining Me


Have you ever wanted to clone yourself? You know, so you can get more done and be even more awesome? I’ve wished this for a long time. But, recently I’ve actively been searching for clones. Well, not exactly clones, but other handy people like myself. People who are equally awesome at delivering empowering tutorials. People who believe that you can do it too!

Before I tell you more, I want to back up to the beginning of this little blog of mine. In 2010, I was running my own graphic design/web design/illustration business. I’d been creating graphics for clients for over ten years. But, something was missing. I would create and get a paycheck, but I didn’t feel like I was making a difference in anyone’s life. I wanted to give back. My best friend had me considering hosting power tool workshops in our garage. We were both excited about the prospect until Pretty Handsome Guy squashed my dreams by remarking, “You know…I really think you’d reach more people if you started a blog.” My initial reaction was dismissal. Who would read a blog about home repairs and improvements? The only blogs I knew about were Mommy-Blogs. And then I found Kate (aka Centsational Girl). Within a few months I knew that I had to reach out to others through a DIY Tutorial blog. In June 2010, was born.


My tutorials were rough around the edges and my photos were shot with a little point and shoot camera, but I didn’t let that stop me. Every comment and every email that I received from a reader spurred me on. I lived for a word or two letting me know that I’d  helped someone complete their own DIY project. Over the past few years, I’ve kept most of those emails to lift me back up onto my road of empowerment. One in particular really touched my heart and reminds me daily why I spend so many hours posting tutorials for people I have never met:

“Thank You. I stumbled upon your site and I must say you are so talented. You have empowered me to do what I thought was the impossible.

You see, our family has relocated from Arizona all the way to Maine. My husband is very ill. My handy man can no longer do much any longer. The thought of me being by myself with 5 daughters and a 2yr old son and not knowing how to do NOTHING, when comes to  house projects.

I’m watching and learning, also teaching my girls, so they know “they can do it” to empower them also. I’m trying to collect tools and build supply. I left everything I owned to make this move. Starting with only 2 suitcases per kid. I’m trying to create a lovely home for them.

Thank you again, you are doing so much more than you know.”

Thank you to the reader who sent me that email, she knows who she is {xxxooo}. Because of her thank you and countless others, I want to continue to empower and help others through this blog. And that’s why I finally realized that I need help achieving this goal of mine. I need more handy peeps to help more people realize that “If a human being can do it, then there is a 95% chance that they can do it too!” I’m extremely excited to say that I found not one, but five handy peeps that are like me in that they want to deliver step-by-step tutorials to help you complete your own DIY project.


Beginning in April, you’ll be getting more tutorials and more DIY empowerment, thanks to these DIY bloggers.

As March winds to a close, I will introduce you to each handy blog star who will be  joining me as contributing writers on Check back each day this week to learn who they are and why I chose them. I hope you will lift them up with your kind words, emails and comments.


Cabinet Hardware and Winners of the D.Lawless Giveaway


The winners of the D. Lawless Hardware giveaway are:
Mary Glidden & Lora Wikle!

Congratulations gals, I hope you have an easier time deciding on what you’ll purchase with your gift certificate.

For the rest of you, Mr. Lawless himself has been kind enough to give y’all a discount code you can use to get 10% off your order! Simply use “prettyhandy” in the coupon code field at checkout. Visit to see all the beautiful hardware they sell.

Thank you so much for helping me decide which cabinet hardware I wanted for my kitchen. I appreciate each one of your suggestions and votes. I think I chose the ones that received the majority of the votes, but honestly it was more helpful to read your responses and realize that I either agreed or disagreed. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and you ask the waiter which of two meals he would recommend. And when he answers mac & cheese and you suddenly feel let down because you really wanted the hamburger. Yup, it was kind of like that situation.

And…the hardware I chose is:


If you can’t tell from the photo, I chose choice E! I really liked the little screw head pulls, but ultimately I liked the feel of the larger bronze pull in my hand. And you knew I couldn’t resist the bling! It will be glass octagonal knobs for this girl.


I’m also very honored that D.Lawless has agreed to work with me and supply the hardware for my kitchen. It was really nice of them, but I want you to know that I approached D.Lawless Hardware because they are all about quality, service and price. I’d recommend D.Lawless Hardware to my friends (which means all of you.)

Have a great rest of your week! I’ll be crawling around on all fours installing flooring in our kitchen if you are looking for me.



Disclosure: I will be receiving hardware for my kitchen cabinets in exchange for posting about D.Lawless hardware. I was not influenced or told what to write about D.Lawless. 

Look Mom! I’m Flying! {Indoor Skydiving}


For Christmas this year I bought the boys (the younger ones and Pretty Handsome Guy) a gift certificate to go indoor skydiving. After the zipline tours, I knew our kids were not afraid of heights. And when it comes to being “thrill seekers” — let’s just say they definitely take after their Mom and Dad. Handsome Guy and I have both been “real” skydiving before and loved the experience. I have decided I won’t skydive again until my kids are grown and out on their own. (Gotta stick around to help raise these two handy boys.)

Indoor skydiving seemed like a great way to enjoy all the thrills of the free fall, but in a controlled environment. This weekend I took a brief break from the kitchen renovation to fly 53 feet up in a wind tunnel! It was so much fun and a nice break from work. [Read more…]

Gray, Grey or Greige {Finding the Perfect Gray}


Work is progressing in the kitchen and I finished painting the upper portion of the wall a very light greige (a cross between beige and gray.)


Light Greige
Our Kitchen Command Center – Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White

With the abundance of light colors in the kitchen, I was craving a little dark paint for some drama. A small accent wall near the mudroom and pantry seemed like the perfect spot. I knew I wanted a chalkboard wall, but my sister (my interior design consultant) worried that black might be too dark. I filed her feedback in the back of my head as I headed to Lowe’s to buy primer. The paint gal tinted my primer with black to achieve a 50% shade of gray. (It is easier to paint dark colors if your primer isn’t a stark white.)

After applying the primer, I thought, “Hmmm, I kind of like this.” But decided to sleep on it. In the morning, that wall had a message for me: [Read more…]

Painting Ceilings Like a Pro


Can you tell what I’ve been doing in the kitchen lately? Yup, painting the ceiling!

Painting your ceiling like a pro isn’t difficult, it’s just a pain in the neck, literally! But, these tips and tricks can help you get professional results for less money. This is definitely a DIY task, so let’s get this ceiling painting party started! [Read more…]

Voting for Round 2 of Creating with the Stars {Knockoff Challenge}

My goodness the competition is fierce. I’ve seen some scissors, plumbing parts and puffy paint being thrown around. I’ve witnessed dirty looks and name calling. This is the ultimate throw down all ya’ got competition. And it is nothing short of an online cat fight! Okay, not really, but seriously there are some amazing knockoff design projects on this week’s Creating with the Stars over at East Coast Creative. Head over to check out some amazing money saving designs and vote for your favorite!


10 Uses for Old Windows


Last week I replaced our kitchen window with a new casement window. It’s beautiful and I’m in love. But, I feel bad for the old window.


The window is sitting neglected and abandoned beside our house. Whenever I walk by, it begs me for a transformation. I’m thinking I could make any one of these ideas with the old window! [Read more…]

Cabinet Hardware {The Jewelry of the Kitchen} Giveaway


Cabinet hardware is akin to the finishing touches on an outfit. It is the jewelry that really catches the eye in a kitchen. I’m not a big jewelry person. I only wear my wedding rings on a daily basis. And I have necklaces and bracelets for the days that I actually change out of my work clothes. But, I’ve never been the type of gal to go ga ga over a diamond.

However, I found myself getting starr-eyed while trying to choose our kitchen hardware. I felt like a kid in a candy store because there were so many choices (and yet so little time.) This week I learned that our cabinets will be arriving at the end of the month. And my designer (who really needs to be my personal assistant) gently asked me, “Have you ordered your cabinet hardware yet?” Gulp…umm no. What I wanted to say was, “Seriously? This is the least of my worries! I need to get the walls finished and a floor in our kitchen before I can even think about bling!” That’s when it dawned on me, a Handy Gal can’t do everything! Especially when it comes to jewelry (it’s just not my strong suit.)

With that in mind, I’m asking for your help. Yes, that means you Ms. “I’m Sitting Here at My Computer Drinking My Coffee While I Watch Pretty Handy Girl’s Kitchen Renovation Updates”! And you may be thinking, heck no, I don’t have time to help her. But, what if I told you there might be something in it for you? Hmmm? Are you willing to help me now?!

Here’s the deal, I’m going to show you some of my choices and you help me choose by leaving me a comment below. Then  you can enter to win one of two $100 Gift Certificates to D.Lawless Hardware. And if you are saying, I’m still not going to help her because I’m happy with my cabinet hardware already. Well, what if I told you that D. Lawless sells a lot more than cabinet hardware:


Knobs and pulls are the least of their offerings! Corbels, hinges, switch plates, drawer slides, hooks, pie safe punched tin, casters, shelf brackets, space savers and much more! This is one of my favorite products they sell: [Read more…]

Drywall Installation Tips and Kitchen Progress Update


I’d rather not say that I’m seeing the light at the end of this long renovation tunnel (for fear of jinxing myself.) But, I definitely have caught a glimpse of the finish line. Last week my kitchen designer emailed me to let me know that my cabinets will be arriving soon and could she schedule us for installation on March 25th? I seriously might have let a four letter word escape my lips as I read her email. I mean, yes I’m happy, but there is no way I feel ready! There’s still so much to get done before the cabinet installation.

[Read more…]

Volunteer Day for Habitat for Humanity


Have you ever wanted to volunteer to work on a Habitat home? Yup, me too! A few weekends ago I got my 2nd chance (You can read about my first unique opportunity here.) It was a cold and rainy day, so we were delegated to some indoor tasks. We worked on a “recycled” Habitat home that was built in the 90’s but the owner moved on (hopefully to bigger and better accommodations.) It was sold back to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, who gets first dibs on homes they have built. The house is in the process of getting new paint, new fixtures and new flooring. I spent the day installing door handles on all the doors while the rest were on painting duty.

habitat_group_picture [Read more…]

Egg-ceptional Eggs


Easter is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to crafting some egg-ceptional eggs with the boys. While browsing the crafting blogosphere I came across some really stunning eggs.

Amazing Real Eggs Made Shabby Chic with a Dremel and 3D paint by Sylwia Serwin [Read more…]

Indoor Hopscotch using Painter’s Tape


When the weather outside is frightful and your kids are less than delightful, lay a roll of painter’s tape on your floor and soon your kids will be having fun indoors.

How about that for a quick little limerick? Well, this project is almost as quick. All you need is a roll of painter’s tape (I used ScotchBlue for delicate surfaces, but you can use any type) and a pair of scissors.


Lay out your hopscotch grid on the floor. (It was easy on our square tile floor because the tile layout acted as a guideline for our course.) [Read more…]

Creating with a Star: Nellie Bellie

A few weeks ago I told you I was participating in Creating with the Stars. Myself and eleven other bloggers poured over 300+ submissions. I told East Coast Creative that it wasn’t fair that I had to chose my top 10. I seriously needed a top 30 at the least! The blogging talent was amazing and I was honored to be introduced to many new blogs that day. One of those blogs I gravitated to was this blogger’s:


I just got off a Hangout with this star today. Janel and I are paired together in the competition and we were discussing her project and blogging. This girl is such a good example of one truly creative person. If you don’t know Nellie Bellie yet, go over there now and sign up to follow her because her star is shooting! Really!

Here are just a few of her amazing projects:

DIY Felt Plant

Never Die Felt Plant (using a tea light candle!!! Seriously? Who thinks of that?!)

Okay, so you are one of those lucky people that has a green thumb, well behold her beautiful aqua DIY Wood Lath floors!

DIY Lath Aqua floors

That aqua color?! To die for. The great thing is that she could take the risk and paint them because she didn’t spend a lot of money on hardwood floors.

That girl is so far from risk averse that she even painted her bathroom tiles:

Paint bath tile

Did she stop there? Heck no! She painted her ugly cultured marble countertop and sink too!

Painted cultured marble sink

Okay, but what I really wanted to show you is her son’s bedroom makeover. She poured her heart and soul into this project and it really shows:

The little character in the portal — he’s my favorite.

boy's reading nook closet

Recycling a bunk bed ladder on the wall? Genius!

That is one lucky little dude if you ask me!

I hope you’ll watch and root for us on Creating with the Stars on East Coast Creative Blog these next few weeks.

I think Jess & Monica got it all wrong, I’m the lucky one who gets to work with a star!

Check out Janel’s blog, Nellie Bellie!


Easy Pounded Flower Gift Ideas


Spring is almost here and pretty soon there will be countless flowers awakening from the cold winter slumber. When that happens you can pick some blooms and turn them into easy gift ideas, like a framed quote or a paper-wrapped vase? The resulting paper from this craft almost resembles high end (and expensive) handmade pressed flower paper. [Read more…]

10 Minute Song Lyrics Lamp Makeover


Are y’all sick of all my ugly construction type tutorials yet? After all the framing and drywall dust I’ve been breathing, I just wanted to put down my hammer and flex my creativity a little. The perfect project presented itself in the form of these two lamps I picked up at the Habitat ReStore for $15.


They had a white matte finish, perfect for writing on. The few scuffs were buffed off with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. (Anyone else addicted to those miracle sponges?)


Then I got down to the long and tedious work {snort laughing.} Okay, not really work, this is almost the easiest tutorial EVER!) [Read more…]