Mother’s Day “Honey Do” List |

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 |



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:

Be good to Mom’s!



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

Quick Tip for Friday – Using Extension Ladder

woman on extension ladder

When leaning an extension ladder against a wall you can put socks on the top first to avoid scuffing the wall (not pictured here, unfortunately, but it works!)
Just make sure the ladder still evenly and securely rests on the wall, better to mar wall than have an unsteady climb.

For more about ladder safety and usage click here.

Happy home improvements!

Cass The Fix It Lass

Categories: DIY tips, hanging pictures, helpful tips, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, painting, safety, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Check it out!

I got my certificate in the mail and I am listed on the site!    See!

It is official, Cass The Fix-It Lass is now a Penofin Pro!
Want to know what that means?
It means I successfully completed Penofin Pro Training and am now a certified Penofin Pro. I am excited to be associated with a company that produces such a high quality product, has been family owned for 30 years and provides support, education and promotional partnering to professionals using their products!

If you want to know more about Penofin products or have any projects needing wood to be refinished, or properly stained the first time give me shout!

Call me at 310-947-6131 or send me a contact request on my website

Here is a picture of my Certificate:

And in case you missed my earlier post here are a couple of before and after pictures of some teak patio furniture I revived with Penofin Verde. I am very proud of how this project turned out!
bench and large tables - before

bench and large tables after Penofin Verde

Small tables before

small tables after Penofin Verde

chair and small table before

chair and small table after Penofin Verde

Categories: custom work, decorating, furniture refinishing, home maintenance, home repairs, painting, Penofin projects, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Contractor or Handyman (or handywoman)?

It’s been on my mental ‘to do’ list for a while now to write something to help potential customers understand when to call a contractor or when to call a handyperson such as myself.
I thought this was a decent write-up published on Angie’s List that explains most of it.
There has been feedback from some people in my line of work did not care for this article, mostly in other states. Personally I found it to be a decent overview, especially as it applies to me as handyperson in California who must adhere to the rules of not being a contractor.

Angie’s LIST Guide to Hiring a handyman

Not all home repair jobs require the help of a general contractor or specialized service provider. A handyman can be hired for a variety of small home improvement projects. The following guide explains how a handyman can fix your to-do list while saving time and money along the way.


  • What is a handyman?
  • Benefits of hiring a handyman
  • Handyman-ready jobs
  • Handyman hiring tips

What is a handyman?

A handyman or handywoman is a skilled “jack of all trades” who can be hired by the hour to complete a wide range of small home improvement work and repair.

A handyman, or handyman company, typically charges the client by the hour plus material costs, regardless of the task at hand. Many homeowners will compile a list of repairs and hire a handyman to complete the list in a single visit.

The term “handyman” is loosely defined. Some are self-trained, while others have more formal training in various aspects of construction and home repair. Some specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting and carpentry, while others specialize in several areas of home repair.

There is no national standard or regulation for handymen. Licensing and regulation vary by state. New Jersey, for example, requires handymen who work for a profit to register with the state and carry insurance. California requires handymen to carry a license from the State Contractors License Board to work on any project that exceeds $500 in labor and material costs.

How do I know if I need a handyman or contractor?

The scope of the job and level of skill required to complete it should determine whether you hire a handyman or contractor.

“When trying to determine who you should hire for a particular job, consider the task,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. If it’s a specialized trade, be sure you hire that tradesperson like a plumber or electrician, for example. If it’s little things that you can do yourself, a handyman is probably the right way to go.”

A handyman is not the best option for a large or complicated project that could take a long time to complete and require the help of multiple workers. A contractor or specialist should be utilized for remodeling work, room additions, projects that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed professionals like electricians.

Benefits of hiring a handyman

You’ve got an ever-increasing to-do list of home improvements like changing out a bathroom faucet, replacing missing shingles on the roof and painting a kitchen wall. You could hire a plumber, roofer and painter who all would have conflicting schedules of availability and their own service charges, or you could hire a handyman to complete all three projects in one day for a single hourly rate.

A homeowner can save money on home improvement projects by hiring a handyman because it eliminates the need for multiple service providers and contractors. Many handymen charge by the hour so a homeowner only pays for one worker who can complete a wide range of projects. A service charge from a plumber or roofer to come to your home could equal or even surpass the price to hire a handyman for a few hours.

Hiring a handyman also prevents waste and overcharging, as the handyman will only charge you for hours worked. A contractor or specialist is more likely to price a job based on the estimated amount of time it will take to complete it. Handymen are able to keep their rates low because they don’t have to pay additional workers and have lower overhead costs than contractors or large companies.

Many homeowners turn to handymen when they have a job but don’t know who to call. Handymen have been known to do all types of work from setting up playground equipment and gas grills to hanging holiday lights and decorations.

Handyman-ready jobs

Handymen are best utilized for small, “honey-do” types of home repair work. The following projects are ideal for most handymen.

  • Minor plumbing work

Many handymen are capable of completing minor plumbing work like installing new fixtures or repairing a leaky faucet. However, complex projects or jobs that require plumbing to be moved within the home should be left to a licensed plumber.

  • Caulking

Adding a fresh application of caulk to gaps between windows, doors and siding is a great way to improve energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

  • Decks and porches

Over time, weather can take its toll on wooden decks and porches. A handyman can replace broken boards, apply a finish or sealant and make general improvements or repairs to upgrade your deck or porch’s safety and appearance.

  • Gutter cleaning and maintenance

Although it’s a simple enough task, cleaning gutters is messy and involves climbing on the roof. Avoid the risk of injury by hiring a professional handyman with the right equipment and experience for the task. A handyman can also install gutter guards to prevent seasonal clogging.

  • Home exterior repairs

If you have minor damage to your home’s exterior, such as a loose piece of siding or a missing shingle, hiring a handyman to repair those items may prove to be more cost-effective than hiring a specialist.

  • Painting and touch-ups

A handyman can be hired to repaint a wall or garage door, touch up trim and scoff marks and repair small holes with spackle. Remember, a handyman typically charges by the hour, so larger jobs are better suited for a professional painting crew.

  • Hanging window treatments, pictures and mirrors and installing light fixtures

These small tasks can be easily accomplished by a homeowner, but a hiring a handyman with the right tools and experience can help ensure these wall-mounted items are hung correctly without damage.

Handyman hiring tips

Homeowners should take the time to interview several candidates before making a hiring decision. A handyman will be working closely with you in your home so you want to pick one that you feel comfortable around. The following handyman hiring tips can help ensure you pick the right candidate.

1. Define the project. Start by compiling a list of the home repairs you would like completed. Remember, a handyman is best utilized for small jobs such as installing light fixtures, patching drywall and interior painting. If the job requires pulling a permit, or moving plumbing or electrical wiring, you should consider hiring a contractor.

2. Shop around. Check Angie’s List reviews and interview a minimum of three handymen. Ask about years of experience and areas of specialization, and request references from homeowners who worked with the handyman in the past. Make sure the potential handyman has the skills and experience to complete your project.

3. Watch out for scams. You want to avoid handymen who contact you with unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home. You should also avoid any handyman who refuses to guarantee the price of the job or asks for payment upfront. Reputable handymen don’t expect to get paid before the project is completed.

4. Get it in writing. Insist on a written agreement laying out the job details, costs and a payment schedule. Be clear about the times you expect the work to be started and completed. It’s extremely important to get all guarantees in writing.

5. Ask for a guarantee. Many handymen will guarantee their work for up to one year. Ask about guarantees before you make a hiring decision, and of course, make sure the guarantee is in writing.

6. Inspect the work. Inspect the completed work before making payment. Make sure that everything has been done to your satisfaction and at the agreed upon price. Most handymen will be happy to explain the finished work because they want you to be satisfied.

Categories: Checklist, custom work, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, home maintenance, lights, organizing, painting, plumbing, repurposing, safety, work I do | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is DIY costing you more?

Is DIY costing you more?.

Just happened across this article and could not resist sharing it here.  Simple and well written food for thought.

By Liz Weston, MSN Money

Sometimes, certain jobs are best left to the professionals, whether it’s a home-remodeling project or a task involving your finances.

Bathroom remodel © Digital Vision, Photolibrary

Do-it-yourselfers’ tales of disaster aren’t hard to find.

Chris Hubbard of Thousand Oaks, Calif., recalls when he and a friend decided to change the oil of his first car when he was 18.

“Well, we drained the oil just fine, but didn’t know where to put the new oil. We thought it should go in where the dipstick goes,” Hubbard wrote on my Facebook fan page. “Turns out we used the wrong dipstick and put the oil in the transmission fluid. I drove the car for 3 days with no oil and oil in the transmission fluid. Ended up costing several hundred dollars to fix and later got my engine rebuilt by my mom’s boyfriend.”

Lindsay Cowdin of Fort Worth, Texas, thought she and her husband could remove the old acoustic ceiling tiles in their family room, replace the old drywall, install new insulation and put in can lighting. They thought it would take them one or at most two weekends to get the job done.

“We quickly realized our miscalculation by how long it took to remove the ceiling tiles,” she wrote. “Several weeks later we gave in and called a contractor. My husband is completely capable but had to bow to the clock. We just couldn’t live with our family room in disarray for so long. The contractor knocked it out in two days like it was his job — because it was!”

After 25 years of being a part-time mobile DJ, Steve Stewart of Saint Peters, Mo., opted to do one of his own events.

Liz Weston

Liz Weston

“I decided to do the set-up and tear down of my equipment FOR MY OWN WEDDING RECEPTION,” Steward wrote. “Luckily I have a few DJ friends who were happy to take the mic and run the show so I could enjoy myself. Not a disaster but definitely not recommended DIY.”

Sometimes, doing it yourself makes a lot of sense. You save money and get satisfaction from a job well done. So how do you know when DIY is a good option, and when you’re about to get in over your head?

Whether it’s a project involving your house, your car, a big event or your finances, you should think twice if:

Your attitude is, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’

If you can’t list several ways your project could go awry, then either you don’t know enough about the task to attempt it or you’re not thinking clearly about what’s involved (sound familiar, Steve?). You may get some insights by talking to more-experienced DIYers or doing more research. If large sums of money or legal documents are involved, it usually pays to consult a professional.

You could kill yourself.

Courting death or serious injury in pursuit of thrift . . . yeah, not such a great idea. That’s why projects such as tree trimming, asbestos and lead paint removal, and anything involving natural gas lines or 220-volt electric lines are best left to the pros. Most financial decisions aren’t going to get you killed, unless you borrow money from a mobster you can’t pay back. But you could effectively kill your financial stability by taking excessive risks, such as putting most of your money in a few stocks or falling for get-rich-quick schemes.

You could do a lot of damage that would be hard or expensive to fix.

I learned about this one the first time I turned on a floor sander and promptly gouged a big divot in a friend’s hardwood floor. He “fixed” it by positioning a piece of furniture on top. Plumbing repairs are another DIY project that can go expensively bad, since even minor leaks can cause water damage and mold that cost thousands to fix. For similar reasons, you’ll probably want to consult a fee-only planner a few years before you retire. Mistakes made in the early years of retirement — such as withdrawing too much money, taking too much or too little risk, or taking Social Security too soon — often can’t be fixed and could cause you to run out of money before you run out of life.

The job requires skills you don’t have and couldn’t acquire easily.

It’s not hard to learn how to patch a hole in a wall or change your car’s oil (if you take the time to read the manual, right, Chris?). If, on the other hand, a job is typically done by a highly paid tradesperson, you might want to think twice before tackling it. Electricians, plumbers, mechanics, masons and even drywall hangers don’t learn their trades overnight, and neither will you. By the same token, taxes and estate planning are two complicated areas of finance best left to those who make these fields their life’s work. You can DIY if your situation is dead simple, but as soon as there’s real money at stake, you should call in some help.

You need expensive tools you don’t already have.

If you can’t borrow or rent what you need, consider carefully whether you want to make a big investment versus hiring a pro to do it for you. Even if you can rent a tool, the project may take longer than you think, wiping out any savings from doing it yourself.

Somebody else could do it a lot faster and a lot better.

Painting is often offered up as the perfect DIY project, since most people can do a decent job as long as they do the prep work and have good tools. If you’ve ever hired a professional painter, though, you know the difference between a pretty good DIY job and what a pro can accomplish in a fraction of the time. The pro has already made all the mistakes you’re going to make, learned from them and improved. The pro starts with all the supplies needed, so there’s no running back and forth to the hardware store. The pro does all the cleanup, which, if you’ve dealt with the aftermath of a DIY, could be reason alone to hire one.

You really don’t want to do it yourself.

Some people love spending hours fiddling with their investments, researching exactly the right backsplash material or tracking down parts for their vehicles. Others would rather eat glass. If you’re approaching a DIY project with dread and apprehension, pull out now. Paying someone else to do the job will almost always be better than forcing yourself to do something you hate just to save a few bucks.

Categories: DIY tips, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, kitchen, kitchen sink, lights, painting, plumbing, safety | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paint storage tips

There was a time when we didn’t have the amazing array of colors and brands of paint to choose from. A few standard palettes were what most everyone used and paint stores could probably even tell you what color you had by your description.

Now we have color matching computers with software that can match your preferred brand of paint to your favorite fabric if you bring them a good enough sample!

Most people have learned (some of us the hard way) the importance of over buying to insure there are leftovers of our custom colors when we pick out paints today. Whether it’s is from a paint chip in the store or your own blend you had created to match a color you loved from a favorite poster, having more is crucial to touch ups or if you decide to expand or re-use that color.

Yet, that extra paint won’t help if you aren’t positive exactly where it was used or there isn’t enough of it left to use again when you need it.

Here are some tricks I have developed that help me keep the paint area organized, stress free and help get the best results when needing to buy more of a color previously used:

  • Do your best to keep the outside of paint cans somewhat clean, those drips may help you see what color is in the can, it’s best if you can still read the label, at least the brand, paint type, finish etc. The difference between semi-gloss and satin can be VERY important!
  • Use a marker or a label maker to provide a description on the can of what exactly that paint was used for. “Backyard fence”, “Kitchen molding”, “Guest bathroom cabinets”- be as descriptive as you need to be for you to recognize exactly where it was used. And it’s not a bad idea to date it.
  • Make sure you can still see the formula or ‘recipe’ for that color they put on the top of the can.
  • If you need to buy more paint, especially for a touch up or patch work it will always match best if you get the exact same brand, finish, etc.

Paint brands may change formulas over time or disappear completely (remember Dulux?, gone now), so in addition to labeling cans clearly it can be most valuable to keep a file in the house.

  • Color matching software requires a sample to be no less than the size of quarter, or think of the smallest size paint chip sample you see in the paint departments.
  • As soon as you start using your new paint make your own ‘sample’ to save for future reference, and all the information you need with it.
  • I like to create file folder right away to keep everything; Label the folder by project or where the paint was used, some folders may contain more than one; “Faux finish in master bath” , or be very simple; “Accent wall – family room”, “Backyard fence”
  • Create a color swatch to save about the size of a deck of cards, and make another on a smaller paper, along with the paint chip from the store if you have it.
  • On the same paper as the sample write all the specs: brand, finish, where purchased, date purchased, formula from the can, and again where you used this paint.
  • When you need more paint in the future you can take the entire folder with you or just your smaller samples.
  • These steps are just as important to ‘standard’ colors as they are to specialty colors. Trust me you can be surprised how much one white looks like another until using the wrong one to touch up a trim and it does not match perfectly!

Since we can’t always get the exact same product again these samples created from what you actually applied can be a life saver. Computer color matching from a sample can provide far better results than the formula itself, especially if you buy another brand, base formulas can vary enough to turn out quite different.

Having your own samples are useful in other ways too. Being able to take your home colors with you to look at accent colors, trim colors, furniture, window treatments, flooring, appliances, bedding and so on can be a huge help and time saver!

If you have a professional do painting for you ask them to create a sample for you to keep in your files of each color and make sure you label them. I had a customer recently in need of touch up paint on an outer wall after someone had patched a crack. It was very hard to get a close match to look fairly decent because I couldn’t take a sample to the paint store.

Don’t forget the basics of paint storage:

Seal cans tightly, store in cool dark place, and some suggest you store paint upside down (I am undecided on that concept).

I hope this helps your home painting projects!

Categories: Checklist, decorating, DIY tips, hanging pictures, hanging shelves, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, organizing, painting, storage, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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