Get Your Own Kick in the Pants – Duluth Trading Company contest



People often ask me how I do it all. How do I find the time to DIY, blog, parent, and keep up with housework. I am here to tell you that I don’t do it all! I don’t usually cook amazing meals for the family. In fact, we’ve had nachos or chicken nuggets more than I’d like to admit. Laundry does pile up, but somehow I get it shoved in the washer and dryer twice a week. Folding it is a different story, because Pretty Handsome Guy folds all the laundry. Yup, I won the lottery on that one. He sits in front of Monday night football, golf or whatever sport is on TV and FOLDS IT ALL. Cleaning? I keep the bathrooms somewhat sanitized, but normally things aren’t picked up and put away until the day before the sweet housecleaners come.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I pay someone to clean my house, but honestly I came to the realization a while ago that I just can’t do it all.

Regarding DIY projects, I have to admit to you that I’ve recently been procrastinating. My poor younger son had been hounding me for months to give his room a makeover. After all, his big brother got his own fabulous woodland themed room. I was just about to start working on his room when the whole kitchen debacle happened. My youngest was remarkably understanding for a 6 year old. He patiently waited over a year as I finished the kitchen. But, after that last shelf was hung, he began his pressure again. Frankly after 13 months of hard core renovation, I wanted to just relax, daydream and smell the roses (so to speak.)

Installling Brick Mural Wallpaper | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s when my friends at Duluth Trading Company must have gotten a call from my youngest. [Read more...]

Announcing this Week’s Before & After Contest Winner (and Runners-Up)



My goodness, you DIY creators really know how to “bring it” to the Before & After contest! I saw so many amazing ideas and projects. And I truly enjoyed browsing each and every project. I also tried to leave comments for everyone, but I have to admit my attempts were almost thwarted by the word verification tactics (please double check if you have word verification on. I know in Blogger it is defaulted on. I promise you will get more comments and really won’t see much spam if you turn it off.) 

I want to show you this week’s winner and then I want to share some of the other amazing Before & After projects. Are you ready?….Get Set…and the winner is:

Budget kitchen remodel by The Kim Six Fix

Kim’s Amazing Budget Kitchen Remodel from The Kim Six Fix

This gal gave her whole kitchen a budget renovation. And she did all her own electrical and plumbing to boot. When life hands Kim a challenge, she delivers a DIY smackdown. Take a few minutes and enjoy reading more about Kim’s renovation. And please pin from her post. It’s only fair since she did all the work.

Here were the amazing runners-up: [Read more...]

What are Your Best {Before & After} DIY Projects?

Hear ye’, hear ye’, gather round for the official rules of the Best DIY Before & After Project contest organized by One Project Closer’s The Better Half.

PHG Judge of Best DIY Projects

Yes, it’s time once again for me to pull on my judging wig and decide once and for all who has the best before and after project this coming week. Luckily it’s not too hot this week, so this wig’s not as itchy. But, I want to get out of these robes as soon as possible, so let’s get on with it. [Read more...]

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


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...]

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!


HouseLogic Boost Your Roost Reveal Video


It all started with an apple. That’s right, just an apple. The Smith family had an apple tree in their backyard. The apples were ripe for the picking, but Aaron Smith couldn’t get to the tree to harvest them. Aaron was paralyzed after an accident and uses a wheelchair. The Smith’s backyard was a dirt field without any hard scapes or walkways for Aaron to access the tree. [Read more...]

House Logic Boost Your Roost Finalists


Announcing the Finalists!

The results are in and we have six finalists in the Boost Your Roost contest! I am encouraging y’all to head over to vote for your favorite entry (one vote per day.)

Before I announce my finalist, I have to tell you that the last week of the Boost Your Roost contest was emotionally draining for me. I have never seen so many homes and families that truly needed this renovation. There were over 250 entries that were submitted to me. I cried after reading many of the submissions and I lost sleep as I worried how those who weren’t chosen would ever be able to achieve their home improvement goals. Several of the entries were too ambitious for the House Logic budget and time frame. Therefore we had to choose projects that better met these restraints.

Throughout the judging process there remained one finalist’s request that continued to seed in my mind. I pictured being able to make a difference in not just the life of one person, but a whole family’s.

May I introduce you to Allison Smith, her husband Aaron, and their adorable 5 year old son Cooper: [Read more...]

One Project Closer – Before & After Weekly Winner


There was some tough competition in this week’s One Project Closer Before & After competition. I read through every single entry and tried to leave a comment on as many as I could. (Psssst: Several of you still had word verification turned on. This made it harder for me to get through the security codes. If you are on blogger, this setting is defaulted to ON. Please double check your settings. I promise you’ll get more comments and won’t get more spam.)

It was such a bummer that I had to choose just one winner, but I promised to be a fair judge and stick to the rules (picking half a dozen winners was not in the Tightly Wound White Wig rule book.)

[Read more...]

$20K “Boost Your Roost” Contest for a Home Renovation from HouseLogic


OMG, OMG, I can hardly breathe! I ran over here to tell you some very exciting news! [Read more...]

One Project Closer’s Before and After Competition


Summer, summer, summertime! Summer is my favorite time for home improvement projects. I’m not sure exactly why I prefer sweating it out in the summer. Maybe it is because I’m a summer baby. Who knows, but what I do know is that once the thermometer starts to climb I become a DIY busy beaver.

Last year, I shed some pounds while giving our screened porch a big “botox-worthy” facelift. I saved oodles of money by building some furniture and upcycling others. The makeover was definitely a labor of love and an exercise in frugality. [Read more...]

Sweet Faerie Designs Giveaway


I’m über excited to share a new giveaway with you today! Sweet Faerie Designs is giving away a custom Blogger design! Who out there doesn’t want a fresh spankin’ new blog design? [Read more...]

The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge and $100 Giveaway


This is a little story about a girl named Pretty Handy Messy Girl. She was a DIY Super Star, but she had a big problem. Her workshop (sometimes referred to as the garage) was a colossal mess! There were piles of paint, unfinished projects, tools strewn everywhere, remnants of beach vacations past and worst of all: the clutter seemed to be procreating. Yikes!

I’m warning you now — what you are about to see is very disturbing — please avert your eyes if you detest chaos.

This is abuse! The sad plastic shelving just can’t hold all the paint cans anymore.

Don’t look now, squeezed amongst the toys are the bikes. Believe it or not, there are actually 4 bikes in the picture. But, that 4th one is inaccessible! Can you tell it doesn’t get much use?

Then there are the tools —Pretty Messy Girl’s necessities of the trade — they are just scattered willy nilly. Such a crying shame!

Lucky for our heroine, she had a Super Hero who was about to deliver her from this prison of clutter.

Meet our hero, The Bagster® Bag! Pretty Handsome Guy found our hero at the local Ace Hardware and left him front and center for Pretty Messy Girl to see. Speaking of see, did you see that last word? My favorite: GONE!

Catching the hint, she embarked on a long journey to reclaim what was once hers. Setting up the Bagster bag took only a few seconds.

If you’ve never met the Bagster® bag before, you’ll be surprised to learn some amazing facts about him:

1. He is an inexpensive alternative to renting a dumpster.

  • The Bagster® bag is an affordable solution for homeowners and a great way to save money on do-it-yourself projects. Bagster® bags cost just $29.95 and the flat rate collection fee ranges from $79 to $159 per bag, depending on your area – 50 to 70 percent less than a dumpster rental.

2. He’s compact, but packs a mean punch.

  • The Bagster® bag is a highly durable, woven bag designed for disposing as much as 3,300 pounds of debris and is big enough to hold full sheets of plywood, doors and even a bathtub.

3. If you’ve ever seen a big unattractive dumpster you will agree that Mr. The Bagster is quite the dashing fellow.

  • The Bagster® bag is a convenient choice for any home improvement project.
    - Often times construction debris can’t be picked up from the curbside, so consumer now have a great solution when a dumpster is too large for the project.
    - The Bagster® bag is ready when you are – great for last-minute projects or ones that need an extended period of time to complete.
    - Consumers can use the bag for as long as they like, then schedule a collection when the bag is full or their project is finished. The bag and collection service are always ready, putting consumers in control of their projects.
    - Collection can be scheduled online at or by calling 1-877-789-2247, and Waste Management will collect the bag within three business days.

4. He is easy to locate and will be there in a moments notice at the first cry of “Help!”

  • Waste Management has made the Bagster® bag a simple solution for waste and debris removal.
  • - Consumers can purchase the lightweight bag at more than 2,000 locations across the country, use it for as long as they like, then schedule a collection online or over the phone whenever they are ready.
    - The Bagster® bag is sold at local home improvement and hardware stores, including participating The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and True Value. To find a local retailer near you, visit

5. He might as well have a cape because he’s a super hero in a bag (errr, Bagster).

  • For more information and to see a demonstration of a Bagster® bag in action, visit

While Pretty Handy Messy Girl attempts to gain control of her workshop, you could win a $100 American Express gift card, compliments of Waste Management.

To enter to win, you may do any of the following (leave a separate comment for each entry) for up to 3 chances to win!

One winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, November 2nd.


Waste Management partnered with bloggers such as myself to participate in its The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge.  As part of the program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge. Waste Management believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Waste Management’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

How to Make a Fire Pit in an Afternoon


With the arrival of Autumn, I am looking forward to some fires in our fire pit and — of course — some S’mores! I made a fire pit in an afternoon last year after we had 14 trees taken down (boo hoo!) Sadly, they were dying or diseased. But, I was able to turn a negative into a positive by using some of the stumps for seating and the spot where two trees used to be as my fire circle.

If you want the details about how I built (or rather dug) the fire pit, head over to Parentables to find out. I guarantee you don’t need any special skills to create your own!

Also, just a gentle reminder that TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!! You do want to meet a DIY Hunk don’t you? Or at least win an iPad2, right?

Well, be sure to enter your trade secret at the GMC Let’s Trade Secrets contest by October 25th.

You can enter one secret per category, which would give you three chances to win! I’ve already uploaded mine in Home Décor and Home Improvement. It was relatively easy, you just need to submit some photos or a video and a description of your trade secret.

Now, go forth and seek out a DIY Hunk!

May I Have Your Attention Please – Morning Announcements


Did my post title take you back to grade school? Now sit up straight in your chair and don’t fidget. ;-D

I apologize for the randomness of this post, but I have just a few things to tell you. I figured I’d roll them all up into a nice little neat blog post (kind of like a sushi roll!)

Sharpie Goes Pink!

In October Sharpie joined the fight against breast cancer by kicking off their “Ink it Pink” campaign. For every signature that is uploaded this month, they will donate $1 to City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading cancer research, treatment and education centers.

I’ve uploaded my pink signature:

Won’t you join in and help in the fight against cancer? More details here.

GMC Let’s Trade Secrets Challenge

If you haven’t entered the GMC Trade Secrets contest, you are missing out on the opportunity to win a trip to LA or New York City where you will co-star with Carter, Eric or Sam!

But, hey, if starring on TV ain’t your thang (I totally understand that), 2nd prize is an iPad2 and a $500 iTunes gift card (Suh-weeeet!)

Upload your photos or video by October 25th and good luck!

Finally, I have some big news for you. I will be starting a tool tutorial series this coming Friday called Tool Tutorial Friday (very creative I know.)

Every Friday I will introduce you to a new power tool via video.

I’ll show you the basics of using the tool. And then open up the comment section for any questions you may have about it!

This is definitely something I have wanted to do for you since the beginning of my blog. I can tell you now, honestly I wasn’t very comfortable on camera. I’m sure you’ve seen a few videos popping up on the blog. They have all been in preparation for this tutorial series. I’m very excited about empowering you with some basic power tool operation knowledge.  I’ll slowly work through my arsenal until I’m all out of tools. I hope you will join me every week for Tool Tutorial Friday! I may have a gift for you as well.

See you next week ;-).


It’s a ScotchBlue Painting Party and a Cabinet Door Revamp


“It’s a Party and I’ll Paint if I Want to…Paint if I Want to… Paint if I Want To…You Would Paint Too if you had Scotch Bluuuueee!”
I think I’m going to call 3M ScotchBlue right now and suggest this as their new jingle. Kind of catchy isn’t it?!

Welcome to the ScotchBlue™ Painting Party! You’re just in time, because you’ve entered at the start of the party! This group of fantastic DIY (die hard paint fan) bloggers, including myself, all completed projects with the help of ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape with Edge-Lock™ Paint Line Protector:

Come on in and view some awesome tutorials, gather inspiration, have fun and win prizes! Check out my project tutorial on revamping an old cabinet door below, and then jump to the next blog in the party to see more inspirational DIY tutorials!

Go ahead, grab your paint and brushes — and don’t forget a roll of ScotchBlue painter’s tape!

I have been using ScotchBlue painter’s tape for a while and I really like it. I am not being paid to say this (even though they did send me a few free rolls of painter’s tape.) You’d know I like ScotchBlue tape if you have read the backlit bookcase post, painting the bamboo rug post and the painting like a pro post (where I share some tips for using ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape!)

But, enough looking back, I want to share with you how to make something out of a disgustingly filthy grease covered discarded cabinet door. So, let’s hop to it! While building my mudroom bench, I took off the doors and kept them in the hopes of being able to use them another day. I’m working on a new bench for my Habitat ReStore demonstration, so I have more cabinet doors now! I devised a plan to reuse the doors in a creative way, a way that would be fun and yet help us keep track of our comings and goings. Meet my cabinet door turned into a chalkboard message board with hooks:


  • ScotchBlue painter’s tape
  • Cabinet door
  • Baby wipes
  • Kilz spray primer
  • Rustoleum spray paint – summer squash color
  • Krylon chalk board spray paint
  • 3M sanding block
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Mod podge
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Rub on decals (optional)
  • Garment hooks
  • D-ring hangers
  • Scissors
  • x-acto knife
  • Drop cloth


Clean the doors! If you have a cabinet that has finished it’s first life as a kitchen cabinet, and has so much grease on it that you could grease a pig…well, you need to clean it off. I experimented with several different techniques (GooGone, Dawn Detergent, Shakelee DeGreaser Spray, and Ammonia), but the one that worked best was inexpensive ammonia mixed with hot water.


I saturated the cabinet with the ammonia mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes and voila! The grease came off like butter (no pun intended.)


Dry the cabinets and gently sand all the surfaces to rough them up slightly. (Don’t rough ‘em up too much boys, we need him to be alive. LOL! Spoken like a true Western character.)


Wipe off the door thoroughly with a damp baby wipe.


Use wood putty to fill in the wood grain on the middle panel of the cabinet. (You could also fill in the cracks on the frame of the cabinet too, but I have other plans for the frame.)


Let the putty dry for about 10 minutes. Sand the panel until it is smooth.


Wipe off the cabinet door again. Be sure to get all the sawdust off.

Spray your cabinet door with spray primer. One coat should be enough to cover the door. It helps to elevate the cabinet with a block or two underneath so it doesn’t stick to your drop cloth.


Mask off the middle of your door with newspaper and ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. Press the edges down firmly by running a finger along the edge. (If your cabinet door is very textured, you can seal the edges by brushing matte medium where the tape meets the door.


Spray the frame with 2 even coats of the summer squash yellow color (allowing the paint to dry between coats.)


Remove the mask, now ooo and aaaa over that clean edge! Give the paint about an hour to cure before the next step.


Wrap newspaper around the back of the cabinet door and fold the edges up. Use ScotchBlue painter’s tape to tape the edges of the frame off (cover all the yellow with tape or newspaper.)


Spray the inside panel with 2-3 even coats of the chalkboard paint. Let it dry throughly before you remove the tape and newspaper mask.


It is starting to look rather purrrrdy, ya think?! Feel free to stop here and say that you are done…


…or if you are a perfectionist (like me), you will want to cover the woodgrain on the frame with scrapbook paper.


Simply measure your border and cut scrapbook sheets to that width. It is okay if your sheets aren’t long enough to fit on one length, you can tile them.


Brush one layer of mod podge onto the frame then lay the scrapbook paper on top of the mod podge. Press out all the air bubbles. Let the mod podge/paper dry for a few minutes.


Then brush 1-2 coats of the mod podge on top of the scrapbook paper borders to seal the paper.


If you want to embellish your chalkboard frame, you can rub on transfer decals (or paint some decorations using white acrylic paint.)


To make your chalkboard frame more functional, add 2 D-rings on either side of the back for hanging purposes. Then add some garment hooks to the front.


Don’t forget to season your chalkboard. (I prefer Old Bay seasoning…just kidding! I always wanted to say that.) Rub a piece of chalk on its side all over the surface and then wipe it off with a dry rag.


And that concludes the tutorial. Don’t you think the results are sweet! Especially because it is made from something that would have otherwise been discarded.


I envision a wall with several of these chalkboard frames lined up, one per family member. That way a message can be written to each person. I guess I better get busy and make 3 more.


I love how the hooks add additional storage! Be sure to use two picture hangers (one for each D-ring hook.) If you have good eyesight you might have noticed my fishing line that is hanging the cabinet above. This was for photography purposes only. Unless you want your frame to rip the drywall and land on the floor the first time your child wants to hang something heavy on the hooks, do as I say, not as I do.


Awww, isn’t she just a perfect little slice of sunshine on a blank wall? She makes me happy.

You made it through another one of my insanely long tutorials! Congrats!

Want to attend some more ScotchBlue painting parties? Head over to the ScotchBlue Facebook page and “Like” the page and see the schedule and participants for the upcoming Painting Parties.

That wraps up my portion of the party, so grab your paint brushes and head over to my friend, Halsey’s with Spunky Junky:



Disclaimer: I was one of the bloggers chosen to host a ScotchBlue Painting Party. I was not paid or compensated for this post. I was sent a few rolls of ScotchBlue painter’s tape, but I honestly can’t remember if it was 2 or 3 or 5 because they promptly got added to the collection of ScotchBlue tapes I already own.

Some exciting news about a DIY Hunk!


Oo Ooo Ooooo! I have some exciting news! Well, it is official. Carter is now married! On September 11, 2011 he tied the knot.

original photo courtesy of Rorincent

Okay, so I’m not his new bride, but Amy Smart is (from Shameless and the Help). Congratulations to the happy couple! I wasn’t invited to the wedding, but I forgive the newlyweds. It was a quick engagment and I’m sure it was an oversight. I’ll forgive him if he invites me out to meet him as part of the new GMC Trade Secret Sweepstakes! At which point I can deliver his wedding present in person ;-D.

I have been attracted to Carter’s, how shall I say…

photo courtesy of

…green habits since I first laid eyes on him on Trading Spaces! (Oh come on, what did you think I was going to say?!) Carter is an outspoken environmentalist and advocates re-using building materials or making choices that are environmentally friendly when building. He has a page on his official website on ways to conserve in your own home.

Okay, so you want to meet Carter too? Or how about Eric Stromer from TLC’s Clean Sweep and HGTV’s Over Your Head? Or Sam Talbot? Well, here is your chance!

GMC Trade Secret entry picture

GMC Trade Secrets is offering 3 lucky grand prize winners a trip for 2 to New York or LA, some spending cash and the opportunity to film your “trade secret” on set with Eric, Sam or Carter. (I’m sure you already know who would be my pick!)

2nd prize is an iPad 2 (not to shabby right!)

You can enter anytime between now and October 24th. The judging will happen the following week, then the finalists will be voted on by the public. Finally winners will be announced by November 14th.

So go enter your “trade secret” or view some of Carter, Eric or Sam’s trade secret videos HERE.

Good luck! And if you win, can you stow me away in your suitcase? Pretty please with nailhead trim on top?!!!



Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated by Big Fuel/GMC/AOL for my time in writing this post. However, I really do respect (okay – and adore) Carter Oosterhouse. In regards to the sweepstakes, I only partake in promoting contests and events that I think you would be interested in. As fellow DIYers, I’m positive that you all have some great “trade secrets” that you can submit. I wish you all the best of luck!


Happy Birthday-Blogiversary To Me!


Let me hear some noise! Blow the horns, shout out loud, let’s get ready to PAARRRTTTYYYY!

Could there be a more exciting week? I think not! On this date one year ago, Pretty Handy Girl was born. I wrote my first blog post and since then y’all have followed me through the beautiful and the ugly.

But, wait, there’s more! On Thursday, 40 years ago, I was born!

I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate my 40th birthday with you and you and you – all 3,350 of you (and counting!)

In honor of this memorable week, I will have a different giveaway for each day. In no particular order, here are some of the gifts I have for you (thanks to some wonderful companies who donated them.)

Janimie Necklace of Your Choice

Dremel Trio

A Selection of All Things Pretty Handy Girl (Sorry, I will not be included in the box.)

KILZ Primer

Gift Certificate to spend at Leen the Graphics Queen

A Selection of Irwin Tools


So, be sure to stop by EVERY day this week to see what you could win! Who’s with me now? Can I get a woot woot!

I leave you with a photo compilation of me over the past 40 years. Enjoy!

P.s. Get a load of my wings and my hot prom date! No funny comments, that was me and Pretty Handsome Guy in the 80′s. {Baahahaha. LOL}

Mom Cave – Who Knew There was such a Thing!

If you are an addicted blogosphere surfer, you are probably aware that there are two contests being sponsored by Home Goods right now. If you blog or write about your own personal Mom Cave, you could win $250 to spend at Home Goods! And what Mom couldn’t use that?!

Enter Your Mom Cave at Centsational Girl or at Between Naps on the Porch.

So, I wracked my brain trying to think of a space I could makeover into my own personal Mom Cave. Then I realized – HELLO – I already have a Mom Cave! My guest room is just that, a retreat from the 3:1 boys to girls ratio in our home!

From the moment I enter my Mom Cave I smell sweet blooming roses,
and a potpourri of floral soaps in a dish by the window.
This is the room where I sit to sew and create,
or read a new design magazine.
This is the room I can lock myself inside and stop being Mom for a while.
Among the fluffy pillows is where I sleep…
…when Pretty Handsome Guy is sick.
(Secretly, I can’t wait for him to travel for work so I can sleep in my girl’s retreat again.)
The walls are the perfect english cottage garden green.
A perfect palette to display fresh flowers and greens against.

Lest you think I spent a lot of money in this room, you will be surprised to learn that almost everything in this room was a trash-to-treasure creation. You can read more about my finds for this special room here.

A small desk and chair both broken and discarded.

And this little trash bench was made new again and given a  home by the window.

So, do you have a Mom Cave? If so, definitely show it off! Give us mamas something to drool over!

Whether you do have a Mom Cave or not, I encourage you to enter the Mom Cave contest here or here. Good luck y’all!