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DIY tips

Quick Tip for Friday – get to know your local hardware store

Many hardware stores now provide sketch artists to help their customers recall the part they need.

Your smaller neighborhood hardware stores like Ace and True Value are amazing resources.  Getting familiar with them is a great idea for many reasons.

Shopping at these stores supports small business, most Ace and True Value stores are independent franchises, sometimes generations of family run businesses.

The service in your neighborhood hardware store is usually more personal than the big stores. Smaller store means smaller staff so you will tend to see the same faces and get to know one another. They are great at helping you find odd pieces, creative solutions and maybe even recommendations when you need to hire help.

In my experience the local hardware stores carry a better selection of small, harder to find replacement parts for drawers, closets, screens, door knobs, gate latches and so much more.

Many of us are all too familiar with how one ‘simple’ project ends up with multiple trips back to the store for more screws, bolts, nails, lumber, caulk, paint, potting soil, unexpected tools….any variety of things needed to complete the project. Shopping for the items you can pick up at True Value or Ace can be a big headache relief for those trips!

And the personal service can come in real handy when you don’t know the correct name of that thingymajig or doohickey needed to complete the project!!

 

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Categories: Checklist, DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, Quick tip friday, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – keep it until you are done

Whenever you are on a project, try not to throw out anything until the project is successfully completed.

Not only should you inventory all parts when opening a new item, whether it is an Ikea dresser or a ceiling fan, it is a good idea to keep everything until the project at hand is done!

Sometimes you get in the middle of a job and find something doesn’t fit or isn’t working. You may need to put the old item back together until you resolve the problem with the new one. Or you might need the original packaging to return or request a replacement something that didn’t fit like if should have. There are many examples I could give as to why, trust that I have learned this bit of advice the hard way. Keep everything until you have successfully completed your project!!

Categories: Checklist, DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Quick tip friday, random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday – hanging pictures

When hanging pictures, shelves or other items, use painters tape to mark measurements rather than pencil marks. Painters tape is meant to come off without damaging surfaces so it should remove easily.  You can put tape in the approximate area and mark the exact measurements onto the tape itself. Drill the pilot hole or tap a nail lightly to pierce it before removing.  No leftover pencil marks to hide behind your picture frames or peeking out from the edges of shelves!

Categories: decorating, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, Quick tip friday | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Ikea assembly tips

I put together quite a bit of Ikea furniture. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Some people really hate doing it and tend to think I am a little bit crazy, but they appreciate my brand of crazy when they ask for my help so it’s fine with me! I’m happy to save them from a task they despise.
While doing some of these jobs recently it occurred to me to put together a few tips to make the process less painful for others when putting together Ikea or other assembly required items.

sort all the hardware before putting anything together

sort all the hardware before putting anything together

So here is some of my advice:

  1. Mentally approach the project like a jigsaw puzzle.
    1. Verify and sort the hardware and individual pieces first thing upon opening the box.
    2. People frequently tell me how much they hate the wordless instructions with Ikea furniture, but they are very effective if used correctly. Pay close attention to the details in the pictures, match up the patterns of holes, sizes of the pieces, the finished side vs raw side, etc exactly as shown.
    3. Give yourself plenty of room to work and move things around.
    4. Give yourself plenty of time. DO NOT rush. Take your time, doing it over will always take longer than doing it slower but correctly!
    5. Lay out all the pieces but keep them from being in your way; lean them against walls, stack matching pieces together.
    6. Examine the pieces for damage and so you can recognize them more easily.
  2. Browse the entire set of instructions before starting any of the assembly. You don’t have to fully comprehend each step in advance but getting an overview of how the process works and in what order can save SO much time and headaches.
    1. Make note of how much room you might need to move things around or turn them over and to layout partially assembled sections as you go.
    2. Does this item require the help of another person to lift or move things?
    3. Do you have the necessary tools ready and nearby?
  3. Always work on a surface that protects the pieces and keeps hardware from rolling away:
    1. Carpet or a rug is ideal.
    2. Sometimes you can use the packaging box, usually for smaller items.
    3. If  working on wood, tile or concrete laying a blanket, sheet or drop cloth for your work space is very helpful. Just be careful as fabrics can be slippery on the hard surfaces.
  4. There is such a thing as brand quality. I’m no spokesperson, but I can say I would rather put together stuff from Ikea than the office supply stores based on recent experiences.
  5. If the package contains an additional insert providing a toll-free number to call if you need assistance, you will almost certainly end up needing to call!
    1. Sometimes there are slight changes to the manufacture or assemble process and instead of re printing ALL of the instructions the company will put in this extra slip of paper offering customer service help. Use it, if you start having any trouble at all, I learned this one the hard way. Trust me, just call the number.
    2. I have usually only see this in non furniture items. I have come across this issue on blinds, ceiling fans and other light fixtures, accordion doors etc.
  6. Know when to get help.
    1. If you are not inclined towards this sort of project you might think you are doing a bad job when there is actually something wrong with the parts or instructions. Ask someone else to look at it with you if you started but are struggling.
    2. Get help that helps. Don’t ask someone who hates doing this also, or gives you a hard time if you made a mistake. Reach out to someone who can make it better rather than worse!
    3. Someone who does these projects frequently might realize more quickly if there is a problem with the materials, or the instructions rather than just being a complicated project and find resolution faster.
    4. If you really hate puzzles maybe you shouldn’t put together pre fabricated products. Maybe it is worth the cost of hiring someone to assemble that new dresser or bookcase over the amount of stress and lost personal time you will experience doing it yourself? Sure, you CAN do it, just like I could change my own oil, but some things are worth having someone else do. Ask your friends to help, chances are you have at least one nutty pal like me!

     

     

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day “Honey Do” List | DoItYourself.com

This is a great idea!

Mom will love it even if you are hiring someone else to help with these projects, it is still more personal than cut flowers.

Mother’s Day “Honey Do” List | DoItYourself.com.

 

  

Mother’s Day is coming up fast, and like most years, you’re probably worried about what to get her (or maybe you haven’t given it a thought yet). This year, try giving her your time instead of buying her the predictable flowers and chocolate. Set aside a day, or even just a few hours, to take care of things for her around the house and yard that she may not be able to accomplish herself. Not only will you be taking stress off her shoulders, but she’ll love getting to spend time with you as you accomplish each task. (And if you’re already an avid DIYer, chances are you already have the tools and won’t need to buy anything!)

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/mothers-day-honey-do-list#.U2gbCBBOXIU#ixzz30t1q1xCq

Be good to Mom’s!

Cass

 

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, painting, work I do | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Repairing a sprinkler line

Follow up to my last post where I very easily fixed a watering system problem, because sometimes a leak in a watering system is more complicated than a screw off sprinkler head.  For one thing, not all sprinkler heads attach that easily.  🙂

A break or hole in the line can be more challenging, to discover and to repair.

In this case there was damage caused to one of the pipes leading from one nozzle to the other. It was a pretty good-sized hole and a substantial leak. Luckily being  in between two small rose plants bordering the space between the lawn and sidewalk made it quickly noticed by the homeowner.

However, there was only a small area to work with without disturbing the plants, as the 2 roses were only a few feet apart and that was a bit challenging.

broken sprinkler line and not a lot of room to work

broken sprinkler line and not a lot of room to work

Typically this repair is done by cutting out the broken section and replacing it with a larger diameter piece, but it takes a little room to work so you can cut, then get a good seal and apply the glue without a bunch of dirt getting in the line. I was in the neighborhood of my favorite hardware store, Kurt True Value, so I dashed over there for supplies.

I saw this and decided it just might be the answer to the cramped condition I was working with and I was back out the door!

Fix kit I found at my favorite hardware store.

Fix kit I found at my favorite hardware store.

As you can see I didn’t even have to make the hole any larger to complete repair. I cleared as much dirt as possible from the line with my shop vac and snapped the repair coupling over the existing line. Per the instructions I also sealed the seams with PVC glue but I was impressed with the seal even without it.

worked great!

worked great!

I did repair months ago and it is still holding strong!

Categories: DIY tips, gardening, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, Lawn care, Uncategorized, Water saving advice | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to properly fill a nail hole. | The Art of Doing Stuff

I know it has been a very long time since I have written my own blog post, it’s one of the few drawbacks to the wonderfulness of having business going really well and my customers keeping me busy fixing, building and improving stuff!
When I saw this post from The Art of Doing Stuff  (seriously, if you don’t follow her already, start now!) I knew it had to be my next post instead of my own original content.

How to properly fill a nail hole. | The Art of Doing Stuff.

It’s too good not to share and I have been wanting to write about NOT using things like toothpaste to fill nail holes. Honestly, who came up with that idea in the first place??

Thanks to Karen for always being so informative, witty and fun!

 

Categories: DIY tips, do it anyway, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Paint!

Another improperly sealed paint can with nothing left inside but a giant hard puck of what was once paint. Another paint can with a roller left inside submerged in the liquid (someday I will find out why people do that!). Another paint can lid bent and punctured allowing the can to rust and ruin what is left of the paint. Another search through various cans of paint trying, unsuccessfully, to find the right color and correct sheen to touch up the areas on a wall I just did some minor repairs on.
These are leading me to post once again my tips about paint, storage and care:
https://thefixitlass.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/paint-storage-tips/

Now I also have some new information to share that I am really excited about! As a Tomboy Tools Consultant I have been introduced to the paint company YOLO Colorhouse and I am looking forward to getting a chance to work with these paints!

Virginia Young (YO) and Janie Lowe (LO), founded YOLO Colorhouse in 2005.  They offer premium, zero VOC interior paint line with select palettes.

I limit the painting jobs I take to small projects- primarily interior and typically just one room or less (accent wall, trim, touch ups) so this is going to be perfect for my business! Founded by women, they made it so easy to choose the perfect hues with simple palettes and a really cool pick a color tool on their website! This paint can be ordered through a Tomboy Tools Consultant and shipped directly to you (careful, it can freeze, unlike most paints). I got my fan decks a few weeks ago and they are gorgeous!! Oh, and the product is made right here in the United States.

So if you are thinking about updating a room or two (or painting your whole interior) please check them out. If you are local to me and need help with the job or want to see the fan decks let me know!  I’m looking forward to an opportunity to get my paint brush into these beautiful colors of environmentally friendly, U.S. manufactured, women created paints!!

Happy Painting!

Cass – The Fix It Lass

Categories: decorating, DIY tips, helpful tips, home maintenance, Tomboy Tools | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Tip for Friday: 10 Things plumbers wish you knew

I got out of the habit on my Quick Tip for Friday posts, so I am going to make it up to you by sharing 10 really good ones!

There is such great advice in this article from  She Knows I had to share it. It is short and easy to read so I will count it as a quick tip still.

10 Things plumbers wish you knew.

I think # 9 should really be top of the list, knowing where/how to shut off your water is extremely important.

Anytime you move into a new home it’s a good idea to get familiar with 3 things right away:

  1. breaker box
  2. water shut off
  3. gas shut off

Learn where these are and how to use them, it will not be a waste of time.

#7 is the best explanation for why I decline certain plumbing jobs  and refer customers to a licensed plumber.

Leaks and other plumbing issues can lead to such bigger problems it is important to take care of correctly. Water damage and mold are very expensive and difficult correct.

One more just so I can make this one go to eleven:

11. Be careful what you put down the toilet. Just because it passes out of the bowl doesn’t mean it won’t cause a huge problem in the pipe on it’s journey to….um…away, wherever. I will skip mentioning some of the more obvious things we have all been warned about. However, I have heard from plumbers over the years that a lot of people flush Q-tips and those really belong in the trash can instead.

Keep your pipes happy!

Cass

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, plumbing, Quick tip friday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Quick tip for Friday – update hardware

I’m cheating a little on today’s Friday quick tip because I have been feeling exhausted all day (better not be coming down with anything!).

This is advice I give often – to update the look of a kitchen or bathroom sometimes all it takes is adding new hardware to the cabinets. Quick and inexpensive!

Improve Your Home: 30 Weekend Projects#page=5#page=7#page=9#page=9.

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, kitchen, Quick tip friday | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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