Sneak Peek of our Kitchen



I am so thankful for all the comments and well wishes you have given me over the past six months. Many of those comments have lifted my spirits during the long kitchen renovation process. Your belief in me has truly allowed me to take on projects I would have probably shied away from.

After 6.5 months, we finally unpacked our boxes and officially moved back into the kitchen. The plumber hooked up our sink and dishwasher on Tuesday. It was a milestone for us. My boys (young and adult) acted as if the kitchen sink was a thing of wonder.


As a thank you for helping me through the process of building our kitchen back after the leak, I’m giving you a little sneak peek of the progress. It’s not complete, but I feel like I owe you this little video preview:

Source List:


Just getting caught up on our kitchen renovation? You can read ALL about how we went from a small water leak to bare studs to a working kitchen!



10 Tips for Surviving Springtime Allergies


My plane had no sooner touched down at Raleigh/Durham airport than I started sneezing my head off. We were back in the pollen bomb (what I call the abundance of pollen accumulation this time of year.)


My oldest son has severe pollen allergies. This time of year is usually miserable for the poor guy. Over the years we’ve gotten better at managing his symptoms. Besides some preventative prescription allergy medications (that we start before the pollen hits), we’ve also used some simple non-prescription remedies. I’m hoping that some of these tips might help ease your springtime allergy suffering, too.

10 Tips to Surviving Springtime Allergies [Read more...]

How to Fix Your Garden Gnome (and Other Garden Decor)

Garden Gnome-Before Makeover

Garden Gnome-How to Fix

Garden gnomes are the cute little guardian angels that watch over our homes. And sometimes they get a bit neglected.

In our case the poor fella was beaten up a bit by string trimming and the sun.

So today I’m going to share how you can fix any small holes or cracks and repaint your gnome so that it looks like new. These tips will also work with other garden decor that you’d like to repair.

Here are the supplies you need

  • Hydraulic cement
  • Bucket
  • Margin trowel
  • Gloves
  • Great stuff
  • Old towel
  • Rust-Oleum Primer (spray)
  • Hobby paint brushes
  • Valspar paint samples
  • Rust-Oleum Clear Coat (spray)

This is a pretty fun project and the kids can participate, too.

Let’s get to it :)

[Read more...]




Grateful Bracelet from Vintage Fern

You know when you have experiences in your life that make you extremely grateful to have what you do have. The moments when you realize that seconds or inches make the difference between life and death. And moments when you suddenly realize how blessed you are.


We had one of those moments Friday night.



While at SNAP I received word that a huge tree had fallen on our house.

My whole family was home except me. And despite the damage, all that really matters is that my four boys (my husband, my two boys, and Buddy) were unscathed.


Sure there are numerous holes in our roof.


Sure there was a 8 foot limb that punctured my son’s bedroom ceiling.


Sure there is consequently a hole with a view to the sky in his bedroom.


Sure our attic is literally a disaster zone filled with pine needles, sap and rain soaked contents.


But, it doesn’t matter. All that matters to me is that my loved ones are fine.

The restoration team has already moved in to start drying things out.



Yup, that would be my brand new kitchen ceiling with a big hole cut into it. But, honestly, it doesn’t matter.


Sheetrock and paint are cheap. Lives are priceless!

Sadly, I think some baby chickadees lost their lives. I’m hoping the parents survived and will consider building a new nest in their favorite home:


I’m taking a few days to give my boys extra hugs and kisses. And I’ll be busy on clean up duty. Hope to see you again soon.


Important Note: I had to cancel my talk on Monday, April 20th at the Habitat ReStore in Greater Greensboro. I will have to reschedule for a later date and will be sure to let you know when I do. If you  live in the area, still head over to the ReStore this week for Earth Day specials.


Installing Cork Tile Flooring in the Kitchen



One of the best decisions I made in our kitchen renovation was adding cork tile flooring. I was exuberant when Globus Cork agreed to work with me on my kitchen renovation! Now that they are installed, I am in total love with the cork flooring. It is warm, water resistant, cushy under foot, attractive, and best of all the two tone tiles help tie the different wood floors in our home together.


The light pine flooring in the living room matches nicely with the lighter natural floor tiles. And the darker golden oak color tiles match our darker heart pine floors in the rest of our home. It’s as if the differing wood floors in our home are woven together in the kitchen.


The installation of the cork tiles was fairly easy (if you are precise). The prep work was a bit tedious, but worth the effort. [Read more...]

You Rock 3-D Card + Silhouette Portrait Giveaway



This week is Teacher and Staff appreciation week at my sons’ school. Monday was bus driver appreciation. Our bus driver is a really great guy. He’s young, but man is he on top of things! He is always polite and learned the kids’ names the first week.

I wasn’t sure what to get him. I have no idea what a guy who looks to be in his mid-20′s to early-30′s wants. Flowers would seem weird. And I have no idea if he likes cookies. And then it hit me. I remembered Otto, the Simpson’s bus driver!


That guy loved to Rock n’ Roll! I figured, what young guy wouldn’t appreciate a little iTune credit? In addition to the gift card, I made a YOU ROCK card to hold the gift card using the Silhouette. (If you don’t have a Silhouette, you can use a computer print out and an x-acto knife instead like Jessica from How About Orange did.) [Read more...]

Kids Bookend Kit: Build your own bookend



Do your kids want to build and paint just like you?  This project a great beginner build for young ones who want to get in there and make something to call their own. And once they’re done building they can paint it too!


Or give the build as a unique personalized gift for that artsy friend who loves to paint:


Attach a cute gift tag (download my tag free from here) and include some fun acrylic paint colors and brushes:


This project is super kid friendly, I tested it at my 6 year old daughter’s birthday party and all the girls absolutely loved building their own project .  We used kid sized drills (like these kid sized drills) and they truly enjoyed painting their bookends: [Read more...]

Speaking Engagements & Handy News



I’m currently cruising at the over 10,000 feet altitude (gotta LOVE in flight wi-fi!) and headed to Salt Lake City to attend SNAP later this week. Say a prayer that I don’t catch the stomach bug that claimed another family member this morning. Currently Buddy and I are the last ones standing (where is there wood on an airplane to knock?!!!) Anyway, I’ll be giving a talk about DIY Residential Lighting and Electrical Upgrades while there. If you are at SNAP, I hope you’ll pull me aside to say hi. Please forgive me if we’ve met and I forgot your name. I’m HORRIBLE with names, but pretty good with faces. ;-)


Then on Monday, I’ll be back on the East coast for a talk at the “Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro” ReStore for Earth Day. If you are in the area, come check out the celebration on Monday, April 22nd at noon. The address is: 3826 High Point Rd. Greensboro, NC 27407 (Ignore the address on the website, it is misleading.)

I’m sure I won’t be able to resist some shopping and chatting afterwards, so stick around and I’ll tell you all the wonderful things my mind sees when I wander around the ReStore!

If you can’t make it, I hope you have a great Earth Day and do something green that day.


Don’t forget I have an awesome giveaway going on right now from Everyday Icing.

pretty handy giveaway collage-1

I’m in love with their jewelry and accessories! I wore one of their necklaces yesterday and received several compliments.

Finally, if you left me a comment on the Embellished HERSHEY’S KISSES carrying cases tutorial, you won some HERSHEY’S KISSES and a carry case! Congrats! Check your email and reply to me as soon as possible.


Kitchen Floors {How I Decided to Use Cork Tiles}



One of the biggest decisions I had to make on our kitchen renovation was what flooring to install. We have always had linoleum flooring and I was happy with it. But, when I was shopping for new linoleum I couldn’t find a pattern or flooring that I really loved. One of the things I was looking for was a flooring that had a matte finish. And I wanted it to have enough pattern that it wouldn’t show dirt easily.

Because of our water issues, I completely nixed the idea of wood flooring. Especially because we have two different colored wood floors in adjoining rooms. So, picking one color would always make the “odd floor out” feel disjointed.

I also didn’t want porcelain or stone tile flooring because I don’t like how cold it gets (which is why I installed radiant heat under our mudroom tiles.) And I didn’t want our dishes to shatter every time the boys dropped one (which happens a lot in our house.)

At one point I was considering installing groutable vinyl tiles. I loved the look and thought it would have the warmth and comfort of vinyl but the look of tile. But, then I read this article by Mike Holmes, he explained why he didn’t recommend groutable vinyl tiles. Apparently, there is a tendency for the grout to crack over time. At this point, I was really feeling stressed about flooring and was considering just picking a linoleum that I liked (but didn’t love.) Then I saw this:


Those are cork tiles! They have the look of wood, and the comfort of linoleum. And as a bonus, they are eco-friendly! Cork is harvested from the trees every 9 years. The tree is not cut down or harmed. The bark is simply cut off. And the tree regenerates new bark. Within 9 years that tree will be ready to be harvested again. This process can continue for hundreds of years without killing the tree. Did you know that most of the cork trees are in Portugal? And the cork forests provide habitat for many endangered species? You can learn more by watching this video:

There are many manufacturers of cork flooring. But, I was drawn to Globus Cork (and ultimately partnered with them) because of the variety of tiles they sell. Not only do they have 38 colors to choose from


…but they can produce custom colors as well! Oh the possibilities.

They also have three textures to select from:


As if that wasn’t enough, they also offer a variety of tile shapes and sizes!



I browsed through some of their installed flooring photos and was instantly in love with the idea of cork flooring. I found a few kitchen examples you might find inspiring:


For the more modern and daring homeowner, how about these:


If you prefer classic patterns, you’ll appreciate these:



In the process of researching flooring for the kitchen, I read through several forums online about cork floors and pets. The consensus seemed to be that if you have an animal that likes to dig and scratch, you might want to steer clear of cork flooring. We never had any problems with Buddy, so I figured we were safe.

Another concern that several people asked about was if cork floors were water resistant and stain resistant. Cork is naturally water resistant which is why they are used as wine stoppers. And the Globus Cork tiles come pre-sealed, but they sell a sealer to add a final coating after the installation.


I was sold! I’ll share with you my Globus Cork tile installation tutorial here. If you follow me on Instagram, you got the preview ahead of time.


Disclosure: After lots of research, I selected Globus Cork because I liked their products and their customer service.  I approached them about working with me on my kitchen renovation. They agreed to partner with me. I received complimentary products, but I was not told what to write or share. Please know that I am very selective about which companies and products I chose to work with.


Bling Up Your Outfits for Less with an Everyday Icing Giveaway

black and white collage

black and white collage

 I’m headed to Utah this week to attend the SNAP conference. Preparing for blog conferences usually means it’s time for me to put away my paint spattered holey jeans and find some cute clothes to wear. It’s not easy for me to get dressy, but I’ve finally learned the value of “dressing up” some basics with cute accessories.

Pastel collage

You might remember from this post that I’m not a big jewelry girl. I usually ask for power tools for my birthday. But, for blog conferences, there’s nothing better for an outfit than a “little icing on the cake”! Everyday Icing is a new shopping destination site for all things jewelry and accessories. Started by Kimba (the fabulous blogger behind A Soft Place to Land), this is definitely a unique way for me to shop for jewelry, gifts, and more! Plus, the items really appeal to my frugal nature. There wasn’t a single item over $25 (of all the products I scoped out!) Yeah for beautiful jewelry for a gal on a budget!


Here’s Kimba to tell you more about Everyday Icing. And stick around because she’s offering a wonderful giveaway prize to one of my readers!


Hi, Pretty Handy Girl readers, this is Kimba to tell you a little bit more about my latest endeavor. Everyday Icing was born out of a love for designer accessories, but not designer prices. We’re busy moms with a budget to watch and we love how the right piece of jewelry can take an outfit from plain to fabulous! And because we care about giving back, 10% of our profits go directly to Compassion International.

mint and blue collageSo how does it work?

Everyday Icing combines social media and shopping, so first you need to “like” our Facebook page. Our sales are every Monday at 9pm (eastern) directly on our facebook page. And some weeks we have special themed sales on Thursday…You won’t want to miss Scarf-A-Palooza and Nautical Night!

Each week we offer 20-30 different items for a fixed price (usually between $12-$25) and shipping is usually FREE! We post pictures of the items for sale along with a description, price and the quantity that we have. There are limited quantities of each item and when they’re gone, they’re gone. So be quick!

Shopping with us is EASY! To make a purchase:

shopping with EI graphic

That’s it! We’ll ship your cute loot directly to your door! If you have more questions, we have a “How to Bid” tab on our page that explains more.

Every Monday at 9pm they open the doors (so to speak) and allow “fans” to bid on that week’s accessories offering. Unlike auction style sites, the prices are firm, but it’s more of a first come first serve type sale.

southwest collage 2

And now, I have an Everyday Icing Giveaway for one lucky Pretty Handy Girl reader.

The prize includes:

 pretty handy giveaway collage-1

  • Michael Kors Inspired Boyfriend Watch
  • White Multi-Strand Necklace
  • Navy Striped Infinity Scarf
  • Pave Starfish Pendant Necklace
  • Starfish Charm Bracelet
  • Pave Button Earrings

A total $100 Value of “Icing” to dress up your favorite outfits!


That’s super generous of Everyday Icing! Did you see any scrumptious jewelry you love? Do tell! I wish I were eligible to win, but I’ll just have to wish you all super luck and hope you win instead!

Entering is easy, simply complete your entry in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you can’t see the widget below, click here to go directly to this post.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter by April 21st, 2013! Best of luck! And by the way, If you are going to SNAP, let me know! I’d love to see you and say hi!



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and giveaway. I was compensated for my time by Everyday Icing. However, I wasn’t told what to say and really like the concept and figured you would too.

Simple Washi Tape Vases {Teacher’s Appreciation Gifts}



Teacher’s Appreciation Week is next week at my sons’ elementary school.  I needed a gift that would be special and would make the teachers’ smile. And, I needed a gift that would require very little time to create. As I strode by the recycling bin, I grabbed some jars and had a wild idea.



  • Recycled jars
  • Washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Flowers


Are you ready? This is complicated, so pay attention! (You know I’m kidding, right?!) [Read more...]

How to Build a Decorative Shelf With Crown Molding

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

How to Build a Shelf With Crown Molding

Jacque, my wife, and the other half of The DIY Village has been kindly reminding me that I promised to make her a decorative shelf for our downstairs half bathroom.  She only had a few requests. She asked that I incorporate crown molding into the shelf, along with some hardware to hang hand towels.  As luck would have it, she found some scrap wood and crown molding that I had left over from a recent project!  Since I already had the materials, I couldn’t find a good excuse to put the project off any longer!  So I set out to make a decorative shelf with crown molding!


  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protection
  • Miter Saw
  • Kreg Crown Pro
  • Drill
  • Kreg Jig
  • Kreg 1-1/4″ Coarse Thread Screws
  • Compressor
  • Finish Nailer
  • 1-1/4″ Finish Nails
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Caulk Gun
  • Latex Caulk
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • 2- 1x6x4 Pine Boards
  • 1- 5′ Piece of Crown Molding
  • 3- Wheel Handles
  • 1″ Wood Screws
  • Primer and Paint

The easy part of this project was constructing the actual shelving unit. [Read more...]

How to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall {For Imperfect Walls}



Have you ever wished you had a chalkboard wall in your home? But, you didn’t think you could create one because you have textured walls or damaged drywall?


I feel your pain! We have a little wall between the kitchen and the dining room that was the perfect spot for a chalkboard wall. But the drywall was ripped from the removal of the beadboard. Sure, I could have ripped out the drywall and added new, but honestly I’m beyond drywall in our kitchen renovation process and I don’t like going backwards.


Instead of replacing the drywall, I came up with a new solution to making the wall smooth enough for a chalkboard! You could also use this technique if you wanted to remove the chalkboard in the future if you change your mind, or if you live in a rental and aren’t allowed to paint walls.

Ready? Alright, let’s get this chalkboard painting party started now! [Read more...]

Create an Embellished HERSHEY’S KISSES Carrying Case


embellishing_lipstick_cases~This post is sponsored by HERSHEY’S~

Do you know how much I love chocolate?

(If you love it too, be sure to scroll down to learn how you can win some HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Chocolates and a treat case like the one above!)

I love chocolate so much that I joke that there needs to be chocolate coursing through my system at all times. And there’s a reason that I’m in love with chocolate: It’s in my heritage!


photo courtesy of Hershey Archives

[Read more...]

How to Finish Drywall {Spackling or Mudding Sheetrock Joints}



Finishing drywall seams has been compared to frosting a cake. But, as anyone knows, the first time you frost a cake, it doesn’t usually come out Cake Boss worthy. I figured it would be helpful if I gave you a few tips and tricks to get you on the fast track to learning how to finish a sheetrock joint like a pro.

Before I show you those tips, let’s rewind to the reason I had to finish drywall seams in the first place! [Read more...]

How to Install Window Trim

attaching apron to a window lg


Hi everyone, I’m Cristina from Remodelando la Casa, and I’m beyond excited to join the team of Pretty Handy gals and guys!  I’m still pinching myself at such a wonderful opportunity.

Today I’m going to show you a fairly easy way to transform your builder grade windows from plain and boring to beautiful with loads of character and with a more finished appearance.

trimmed left window lg

Right now I’m working on updating my bedroom, where I have a couple of these windows.

small window sills lg

 They look  like they are wearing skirts, but forgot to put on the tops! :)  Yeap, naked!

plain builder's windowslg

Let’s change that by dressing up those windows! [Read more...]

How to Recover Outdoor Pillows and a Mini Patio Makeover #LowesCreator



When Lowe’s challenged me to give an outdoor spot a mini-makeover, I knew exactly where to turn my attention.

Our small paver patio is where we sit on warm spring days to eat lunch, take a break or sip wine after dark. The winter months wreak havoc on the furniture and the pillows I neglected to bring inside.



Cleaning the furniture was as easy as a quick sponging with a Mr. Clean magic eraser.


Then I hosed them down and was done in less than 10 minutes. The pillows weren’t as easily cleaned. I tried to wash them, but they were still a little dingy. So, I headed to Lowe’s to look for new ones.

As I entered Lowe’s with my complimentary gift card in hand, I found myself wandering down the curtain aisle again. (Do you gravitate to this aisle too? With all those colors, patterns, and textures it’s hard for me to stay focused on my shopping list.) [Read more...]