La-Z-Boy Design Dash

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Over a month ago I was contacted by La-Z-Boy and asked if I’d like to participate in their La-Z-Boy Design Dash. The idea was to visit my local showroom and design a sofa. Then I’d meet my sofa in High Point, NC and design a room around that sofa. The concept sounded like fun. And the idea of getting away for a few days for some R&R sounded great! Little did I know, that there would be very little rest or relaxation involved.

A week later I received instructions to go to the local La-Z-Boy showroom and design my sofa. As I approached the showroom I was hesitant. I remember the vision of my grandfather’s old slouchy recliner. I was suddenly filled with trepidation. How could I “design” a sofa with flabby rolls of corduroy? I grabbed the door and opened it, and what lay inside literally shattered any preconceived notions I had of La-Z-Boy!

I was stopped immediately by what I saw.

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I had a breathtaking reaction to this chair:

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Everywhere I looked there was more beautiful upholstered furniture. [Read more...]

How to Pick Paint Colors with Lindsay {via Glidden Show Me How Video}

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How to Pick Paint Colors

Do you know Lindsay? Makely Home Lindsay (the rockstar blogger formerly known as Living with Lindsay?!)

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The gal who is so bold with color that her playroom looks like this!

Makely Home Playroom

Well, I have the honor of saying that Lindsay is a friend of mine. But, she is also my idol when it comes to choosing colors. She literally has no fear when it comes to buying paint! When ever I find myself being too safe with color, I think to myself “What Would Lindsay Choose?” And this, my virtual friends, is how I push myself out of my comfort zone.

Glidden has partnered with Lindsay to create some really great Show Me How videos. Check out this short video to learn how Lindsay picks out her beautiful vibrant and daring colors for her home. It’s a great way to be sure before you paint:

If you’re still uncertain, you can try out your color by using this virtual room painter tool at Glidden’s Show Me How site.

Just remember, if you want to push yourself out of that builder’s beige comfort zone, ask yourself “What Would Lindsay Choose?” And you’re halfway done.

Get more tips, tricks and tutorials for your next painting project at Glidden’s new Show Me How website!

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Glidden brand paint. I was compensated for my time to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Why My Grandmother Would Love that I Wrote All Over Her Coffee Table

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My grandmother wouldn’t mind that I painted and then wrote all over her coffee table. She was one of the most giving people you’ve ever met. She truly was the type of person that would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. I strive to live up to her legacy every day of my life.

She was also a very lucky lady. I mean lucky as in she could spot a four-leafed clover in a field of them. She was constantly finding money on the ground.

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When I was living with her my freshman year in college, she made me do a U-turn on a street because she saw a five dollar bill in the middle of the road! She was a hoot and loved to make people laugh with her jokes or just dressing up as a bunny every Easter.

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(That’s my sisters and me in the floral skirt.)

She also won several contests in her life. But, she rarely kept her winnings. One of the things she won was a solid construction coffee table. When I was moving into my first apartment, she gave it to me. We used it for years until my design tastes changed and I bought a new one. Grandma’s coffee table moved into our attic. It sat there for years, buried under bags and suitcases.

When the big tree fell on our house, we did some serious purging in the attic. I should have taken the coffee table to Goodwill or sold it at our yard sale. But, something made me keep it a little longer. [Read more...]

Match that BLOGGER! {a contest and RYOBI Father’s Day Giveaway!}

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Gooooood MORNING Bloggyland!

I have a special surprise for you today. It involves a little friendly competition and a BIG GIVEAWAY!

The premise of this competition stems from the fact that ALL OF US are guilty of pinning an idea on Pinterest without ever checking the source (guilty as charged!) But there are likely pins on your boards that are from your favorite bloggers, and you don’t even KNOW it! (Right? Raising my hand.)

And that’s where this contest comes into play: [Read more...]

Helping Oklahoma Tornado Victims

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Being a part of the DIY blogging community is like being part of an extended family. Most of the DIY bloggers I know spend their time building or creating and then spending an equal amount of time creating a tutorial to help others make the same thing.

This sharing and giving spirit often extends beyond building and creating.  It extends to helping others in need.

My friend, Colleen, is one of those bloggers who has been driven to help the tornado victims in Oklahoma. She was moved to create the painting of the Two Cows above and is raffling it off to raise money for Oklahoma.

You might remember Colleen:

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I introduced her to you last year when she herself was in need after losing her husband. The blogging community and their readers rallied together to help her. Now Colleen is ‘paying it forward’ by raising money for the Red Cross to help in the Oklahoma relief efforts. You can read the full details about the fundraiser on Colleen’s blog, along with the story behind her painting above (it’s a moving tale.)

Raffle tickets for her painting are only $5. The winner will be chosen on June 30.You can also purchase prints and notecards of Two Cows (a portion of the proceeds also goes to the Red Cross.)

I love our blogging family and how they pull together, help others and give back. I hope you’ll join Colleen and either purchase a ticket or reprint or share the raffle with your friends.

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How to Create a Meaningful Home in Three Steps

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Creating a meaningful home isn’t an overnight process. I think many people are discouraged with their dwelling if it isn’t the home of their dreams. I look at creating a meaningful home in three stages. Each stage is important to loving the home that you have now, even with its faults or shortcomings. Read how I love my home’s imperfections along the path to creating my own meaningful home at SAS Interiors Meaningful Home series:

Creating a Meaningful Home at SAS Interiors

I’ll be looking for you over there ;-).

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Welcome Contributor – Jaime from That’s My Letter

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

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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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...]

Gray, Grey or Greige {Finding the Perfect Gray}

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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.)

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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...]

Volunteer Day for Habitat for Humanity

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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...]

My Colortopia Show Your Colors

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I have to admit to y’all that I have illegal tendencies. I haven’t been arrested yet, but sometimes I fear that my prying eyes may get me in trouble one day. [Read more...]

The Southern Bloggers Conference – Oct. 12th and 13th

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I’ve got some exciting news y’all! There’s a new blogger conference and it’s coming to my neck of the woods!

Mark your calendars! If you missed out on a blog conference earlier this year, or you’d love to attend one more, I’ve got great news. The Southern Bloggers’ Conference will be in Raleigh, NC, on October 12-13.

Have you been to a blogging conference yet? Or have you been to a huge conference where you felt overwhelmed? Either way, this conference will be the perfect fit of size, workshops, and ability to network. The Southern Bloggers Conference is guaranteed to be warm, friendly and open arms inviting. There are very limited tickets available (and more than half are already sold,) which means that you will get a chance to meet just about (if not all) of the bloggers attending! You can see some of them here.

I spent today with the organizers. These gals have thought of everything! You are not going to believe the workshops, the sponsors, the decorations, the fall decor contest and the swag bags.

The speakers are all top notch, I’ll let these names speak for themselves: [Read more...]

Lessons on Becoming a Junk Warrior

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Becoming a Junk Warrior doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of training and effort to achieve toughness and the ability to withstand the elements while junkin’. It was touch and go, but I eventually passed all ten tests to become a full fledged Junk Warrior.

Want to take the online lesson to become one too? Follow these video tips to earn your Junk Warrior status: [Read more...]

Day 5 Reveal of the Moore Habitat for Humanity House – End of the GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure

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And now the moment y’all have been waiting for! The end of our journey and the culmination of all our efforts were revealed to Alexcia, Jaydon & Jurnei Moore on Sunday, August 5th 2012. Alexcia thought she was just getting the keys to her empty home. Little did she know, that GMC, OnStar, Habitat for Humanity and 6 bloggers had conspired to fill her home with furniture, beddings, and home decor.

(Alexcia thinking, “You did what to my house?”) [Read more...]

Day 1 : GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure

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Well, I arrived safely in Detroit and hit the ground running. It is going to be a whirlwind of activity from now until Sunday, August 5th! Are you up for the adventure? If so, I’ll take you along for the ride.

First, I met up with fellow Junk Warrior, Donna. I know y’all know this famous junkster as Funky Junk Interiors. Donna is such a sweet gal (errr, I mean a tough chick!) [Read more...]

How to Replace Garage Door Extension Springs – Guest Post Home Repair Tutor

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Hey guys and gals, I have a special guest for you today! Today I have a real life Handy Man today. That’s right we’re bringing in a little testosterone to mix things up.

This is Jeff aka Pretty Handy Man:

Jeff writes Home Repair Tutor, a blog that shares tips on saving time and money when doing home repairs. He shares his experiences, both good and bad, to help you with what sometimes seems like overwhelming home repair projects. He also likes the Steelers, (I’m supposed to tell you that because guys find that stuff important. So, if you hate the Steelers, boo on you. Can you tell I’m naive on how to talk sports?)

Plus, he always adds a little humor to his videos. (My favorite is garage door testing the unorthodox way. Don’t you just love a man who isn’t afraid to ride a pink bike?)

I’ve been following Home Repair Tutor for a few months now and Jeff’s recent post about garage door maintenance saved me some cash. I had been trying to solve why my garage door was running so rough and had already replaced the rollers. But, Jeff had one tip that I had forgotten to do: Lubricate all the moving parts! Duh, a few squirts of lubricant had the doors rolling smooth again. I hope you’ll check out his blog and follow along. You won’t be disappointed.

So, today I give you handy man and comedian, Jeff from Home Repair Tutor! Woooohoo!

Thanks Brittany for the opportunity to guest post on Pretty Handy Girl. You’ve set the bar high for home remodeling tutorials and I hope to empower your fans with another great DIY project. But first let me briefly introduce myself.

My name is Jeff Patterson and my remodeling blog is Home Repair Tutor. In my spare time I manage and fix my own older rental homes here in the Pittsburgh area. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade and have experienced numerous projects that include kitchen remodels, bathroom installations, hardwood floor restoration, and more. My goal is pass along all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned so others can benefit.

Today’s post deals with a project that anyone can do:

Replacing Garage Door Extension Springs

Garage Door Extension Spring Repair

A squeaky garage door has a penetrating sound that can drive anyone crazy. The average garage door is opened and closed over 600 times every year. This repetitive action is what leads to the creaks you hear on a daily basis.

But regular maintenance can help your garage door run smoothly and safely. Two of the most used items on your garage door are the extension springs that help lift and lower it. Extension springs are found on most traditional roll up garage doors. They’re dangerous if not properly maintained since they hold a tremendous amount of tension.

(Pretty Handy Girl notes: Torsion springs are the other type of garage door springs. They run directly over the garage door opening on a rod. Serious injury can occur if you don’t know what  you are doing or have the right tools to replace a torsion spring. In my opinion, these should be left to the pros.)

This tutorial will take the mystery out of how garage door extension springs work and will show you how to safely replace them on your own without spending a ton of money. By the end of this post you’ll confidently be able to perform this home repair project, and tell your neighbors you’re a garage door Jedi :).

Are Your Garage Door Springs Misbehaving?

This tutorial is going to address garage door extension springs that run along the door’s horizontal track. But how do you know if your springs need replaced?

The picture below is a good example of what a spring looks like at the end of its life cycle.

Warped Garage Door Springs

If this spring breaks it will release an extraordinary amount of tension that can be unleashed on a person or item in your garage.

Another sign of worn springs is creakiness or uneven closure of your door. Bad springs can put pressure on the garage door rollers and cause them to screech. If one spring is bad but the other is in good shape the door may close unevenly, too. You’ll notice this if the door is closed and one side is higher than the other.

Extension springs are colored coded. In my case the springs had red paint sprayed just on one end, and this indicated that we had a 150 lb. garage door.

Garage Door Springs are Color Coded

You can go to Home Depot and buy your replacement extension springs based on the color code. The picture below shows the wide range of springs you can buy.

Garage Door Extension Springs are Sold Based on Their Color Code

Now that you know how to choose your springs you can get started on your project.

Become a Jedi of Garage Door Springs

But even Yoda would agree that safety comes first.

Completely open your garage door and unplug the power cord to the opener.

Place a C-clamp on each track underneath the the bottom garage door roller. This will prevent the door from rolling down to the ground in the next step. For extra protection you can put a step ladder underneath the center of the door.

Use a C-Clamp Underneath the Bottom Garage Door Roller

Pull down on the garage door’s manual safety release. This allows the garage door to be moved up and down without the help of the opener.

Pull Down on the Garage Door Manual Safety Release

The door weight should now rest on the C-clamps.

This next step is a smart tip that will ensure your extension spring installation was done correctly. Place a piece of blue painter’s tape on the garage door track underneath the pulley that’s attached to the extension spring. Then place a mark on the tape to indicate the center of the pulley’s bolt.

Place a Mark on the Tape to Indicate the Center of the Pulley's Bolt

Since the spring has no tension in it you can safely remove the steel safety cable that runs through it. This cable is in place so that if your garage door spring snaps it won’t shoot across the room and hurt someone. The safety cable runs through the spring. It’s tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening on one end and is simply tied to the vertical support bracket on the other end.

Before removing the safety cable from the support brackets you should take pictures of how it was tied together. This will help you when you have to re-tie it after the new extension spring is installed. I also numbered the holes on the vertical support bracket as 1 & 2 to help with this process.

Take a Picture of the Steel Cable Before Undoing It

Since the steel safety cable will only need to be removed from the horizontal support bracket I also decided to make a reference mark on it. This mark will allow you to reinstall the safety cable to how it was originally setup.

Place a Reference Mark on the Steel Safety Cable

The next step is to remove the garage door extension spring.

There’s a steel cable connected to the bottom of your garage door. This cable runs over a stationary pulley that’s attached to your garage door track. This steel cable continues until it goes over and around a second pulley that’s attached to your extension spring via a pulley fork. The steel cable then is attached to the horizontal support bracket via an S-hook. This S-Hook is also attached to a three hole adjusting clip.

Mark where the S-hook was positioned on the support bracket then remove it.

Mark the Position of the S-Hook Then Remove it From the Support Bracket

Now you need to disassemble the pulley that is connected to the spring. This is simple but again take a picture of your configuration for reference. Remember that the steel cable that runs from the bottom of the garage door goes over the top of the pulley then to the horizontal support bracket. You’ll need two wrenches to undo the nut and bolt that hold the pulley to the pulley fork.

Remove the Pulley from the Pulley Fork by Undoing the Nut & BoltRemove the pulley and pulley fork from the extension spring. The spring can now be taken off the eye bolt hanger. The eye bolt hanger is attached to the vertical support brackets that come down from the ceiling.

Remove the Extension Spring from the Eye Bolt

The picture below shows the old spring on the left and the new spring on the right. Is there any doubt the extension springs needed replaced? :)

Old Versus New Garage Door Extension Spring

A New Era of Garage Door Efficiency Begins

The installation of the new spring, as you can imagine, is opposite that of the removal process. It’s easy but requires attention to detail.

Attach the non-color coded end of the spring to the eye-bolt and run the steel safety cable through it.

Pull the steel safety cable through the vertical support bracket. I labeled the two holes the steel cable will pass through.

Hole 1 has the cable going through it right to left. The cable should then pass through Hole 2 from left to right.

Position the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support BracketA loop is created. Thread the cable back through this loop. Notice the black reference mark that was made on the cable. I used pliers to pull the wire tight such that this mark stops short of going through Hole 1.

Thread the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support Bracket

Pull the steel cable through the hole on the far side of the support bracket.

Weave the cable back and forth in the same manner as it was before being removed.

Tighten the Steel Safety Cable to the Support Bracket

The other end of the steel safety cable that runs through the extension spring should be tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening.

This next part is where your attention to detail is somewhat critical.

Place the pulley fork onto the color coded end of the extension spring. Ensure the plastic bushing that has the steel safety cable running through it is facing away from the garage door track.

The Plastic Bushing on the Pulley Fork Must Face Away from the Garage Door Track

Pull the steel cable that comes from the bottom of the garage door over the top of the pulley. The S-hook and 3-hole adjusting clip attached to the steel cable should be hanging down from the pulley.

Make sure this steel cable is not twisted with the steel safety cable. (I didn’t check for this and had to undo the entire pulley/pulley fork assembly — not fun.) The steel cable should run freely from the stationary pulley closest to the garage door opening to the pulley that will be connected to the extension spring.

Position the pulley into the pulley fork then place the nut onto the pulley fork so that it is next to the plastic bushing.

Place the Nut for the Pulley on Top of the Pulley Fork Next to the Plastic Bushing

Pass the bolt through the pulley fork and pulley. Tighten the nut and bolt until they’re secure.

Attach the S-hook & 3-hole adjusting clip to the horizontal support bracket where it originally was located.

Place the S-Hook & 3-Hole Adjusting Clip into the Support Bracket

At this point you can use the reference mark on the blue tape to check the tension of the steel cable. In this case the pulley’s bolt lined up perfectly with the mark and tension was good to go.

Check the Tension of the Garage Door Extension Spring

The tension of the garage door springs can be adjusted by doing the following:

  • Move the S-hook to different holes in the horizontal support bracket
  • Adjust the cable in the 3-hole adjusting clip connected to the S-hook (this is a pain!)
  • Moving the eye-bolt up or down on the vertical support bracket. Do this with the door open and C-clamps on the tracks. (Moving the eye-bolt up will increase tension while moving it down releases tension)

Use great care when adjusting the spring tension. As mentioned before, garage door extension springs can cause serious injuries and that is the last thing anyone wants. This is a safe project to perform as long as you follow all of the steps :). Remember that both extension springs need to replaced at the same time. So, while this tutorial only shows one spring being removed you need do the above steps for the second. Otherwise your door may close unevenly. Besides, if one spring is bad, chances are the other isn’t in good shape.

Queue the Chariots of Fire Theme Song

Plug your garage door opener into the outlet and remove the C-clamps. Hold your breath (just kidding) and hit the garage door opener. With any luck you’ll see the garage door close smoothly, safely, and with a resounding feeling of accomplishment.There’s a chance that your door may not close completely due to the new springs having more tension than the old ones.You can adjust how far the door travels by turning the adjustment screws on the door opener.
Adjust the Travel of Your Garage Door by Turning the Travel Screws

Now you know how to safely replace your garage door extension springs. Give yourself a high five! New springs will help your garage door run smoothly and efficiently while eliminating annoying squeaks.

For more garage door maintenance tips, you can read my post on regular garage door maintenance.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section, I’d be more than happy to help you with your project.

Thanks again Brittany for the opportunity to bring this tutorial to your fans. Hopefully this showed that it’s not difficult to do any project when you’ve got the right mix of patience and curiosity.

Make it a great day!

Thank you Jeff, what a great tutorial! I can always count on Home Repair Tutor to help me learn something new.

Keeping with the theme of garage door repairs, I’ll have a tutorial on how to replace your garage door rollers on Friday! And how I fought the garage door and I won!

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial (bonus points to anyone old enough to know what the heck that means.)

Pouring My Heart Out and Giving Back

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This is going to be a pour my heart out post, so be prepared. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of Pretty Handy Girl that you don’t get to see. I’ve been blogging for over two years now and I feel the need to share with you what makes me tick and why I blog.

Pretty Handsome Guy (my husband) and I were out to dinner the other night and he asked me what truly makes me happy. I thought about it and the usual answers came up: doing fun things with the kids, being outdoors, crafting, woodworking and creating things. But, what really fuels my “joy tank” is helping others and giving back. This is so core to my personality that it eats away at me when I can’t help.

When I started this blog, it was truly to be able to give back to people. To help all my friends and family and acquaintances that wanted my time and my help to show them how to complete their own DIY project. I was originally going to hold classes in my garage (per my good friend Renee’s suggestion.) But, you can thank Pretty Handsome Guy for suggesting that I start a blog to empower others. And believe me, every time I see how many people are reading my tutorials, I am blown away and realize that the blog was a good decision.

Last week I had one of the most emotionally draining weeks since the birth of my first son. I was tasked with choosing 4 finalists from over 250 entries into the Boost Your Roost contest. The stories and pictures that were sent to me left me in tears and frustrated that I could only choose four. The night that I finally submitted the finalists (after agonizing over how to whittle down all the people who I felt truly “NEEDED” the prize) I didn’t sleep very well. I was up for several hours trying to figure out how to make it happen for those who had a need and I knew wouldn’t receive. (It is still so hard for me to write this because I want to jump in my car and go help each and everyone of them. But, I can’t. I have a duty to my children as a mother and as a wife to my husband.)

This sleepless night had me thinking about how I could give back and how I could help others. What I realized is that I can’t do it alone. I also need help to complete my goals.

Mimi Collins, one of my fans on Facebook, helped me more than she realizes when she replied to one of my posts: ‎

“Never worry about numbers.
Help one person at a time,
and always start with the person nearest you.”

- Mother Teresa

I kept coming back to this quote and I found some peace realizing that if I could help one person at a time, that help may spread. And then I could move on to the next person.

What I’m trying to say is that occasionally I will be deviating from DIY tutorials in an effort to give back where there is a need.

Will you stick with me?

Can I count on your help?

I’m not asking for your help every time, but just to take a few minutes to read about someone who has touched my heart and whose story might touch you as well.

With this in mind, you may know my friend and fellow blogger Colleen. She’s known as Mural Maker to the blog world.

Colleen with Centsational Girl (Kate)

Colleen is a caring person and is truly a giver by nature. She and her husband each took care of their aging mothers on a 24/7 basis. They were forced to live separately while they cared for the women who raised them. They did spend as much time together as their lives allowed, especially while caring for their 4 year old grandson.

She and her husband Marlon were struggling to make ends meet after the thoughtless and fraudulent actions of one person turned their lives upside down. Just when they thought they had hit rock bottom, a glimmer of hope arose and it looked like there might be a way to erase (if that’s even possible) 20 years of literally paying for an erroneous paper filed with a goverment agency. While in the process of filling out mountains of paperwork to undo this “wrong”, Marlon began to make the first steps out of an extremely fragile financial situation.

Three weeks after he was starting to get his life back, Marlon developed an aortic tear (if you remember John Ritter’s sudden death, he was struck by the same medical condition.) Most people die instantly from an aortic tear, but not Marlon. He fought for his life and so did the surgeons. After several surgeries, he was in recovery but the damage was done and he slipped away peacefully.

Colleen was devastated, her husband was her rock and her best friend to lean on. He was her ever positive outlook guy . As she dealt with the blow of his death, she didn’t realize that the worst was yet to come. Soon after the funeral, the bills started to flood in. Medical bills from the surgeries and all the emergency room and ICU fees. Bills for the funeral. And their normal bills.

Amidst all the hands outreached for money, Colleen has one that presents a more pressing need. She suffered a debilitating back injury years ago, which still requires medical treatments so she can endure the pain. At this point, I think you understand that her need for  funds to pay the bills and just simply survive (until she can get back on her feet) are unimaginable.

Colleen would never ask for money for herself, but she has agreed to let me post these details of her life and help her set up a fund raiser.

A Friends of Colleen Jorgensen Fundraising Page has been set up with Rally.org (a unique site for helping people fund raise for their causes.) All the money raised will go directly to Colleen. Payments can be made with credit card or eCheck. And all your information and the amount you donated is kept private.

Update: Rally.org doesn’t have a Paypal payment option, but payments can be made by sending money to Colleen’s paypal account email: MM14biz (at) gmail.com (remove the spaces and use “@” instead of “at”.

As a special thank you (this is NOT a raffle or traditional giveaway), I have decided to chose one donor at random to receive a Pretty Handy Girl Basket. I’ve been collecting tools and all things Pretty Handy Girl for this basket. Because your donations mean so much (no matter how big or small), this is just a little incentive and a way to say thank you.

So, who’s with me? Can you help give back with a small donation?

Or can you help spread the word? Simply paste this code onto your sidebar (or in a post) to help spread the word:

Friends of Colleen Jorgensen Fundraiser

Note: If the above code doesn’t work in your blogging software, try removing the <div align…> and </div> tags from the code.

Your kindness will be rewarded in good karma. I definitely believe in karma, do you?

Installing a Split Face Travertine Backsplash

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Installing Split Face Travertine Tile

I met Jacque and Matt from The DIY Village recently at Haven. They are such an adorable (AND TALL) couple:

Seriously, these two are TALL, I’m 5’6″ and I was wearing heels in that picture! Poor Matt was one of the few guy bloggers at Haven, but he was able to ham it up with us gals. Even if he didn’t get the memo that Jacque and I were wearing coral colors. ;-)

As I’m getting ready to head out on the BIG GMC Adventure Along the World’s Longest Yard Sale, I asked these two fellow DIYers if they’d share one of their DIY adventures with you. I can seriously relate to this “simple” home improvement turning into a much bigger improvement. It happens to us DIYers all the time. So, check out how Matt started with simply swapping out their old microwave and ended up installing new drywall, removing and moving their wall cabinets, installing new stainless steel appliances, AND adding a beautiful split face travertine backsplash. Phew, I’m tired just thinking about it.

Give it up for The DIY Village People (sorry I couldn’t resist. Now you’ll have that song “Y-M-C-A” in your head all afternoon.) [Read more...]

The World’s Longest Yard Sale

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“I’m Wanted…..Dead or Alive” That’s right, I’m teaming up with another Tough Mother and we are about to get Funky & Handy on the World’s Longest Yard Sale. [Read more...]