work I do

A little video

EnterTAYnment made this awesome promotional video recently for my business!

The Fix It Lass promotional video by EnterTAYnment

I plan to make several more videos with her as soon as I can make time in my schedule! She was so much fun to work with and I love what Taylor created for me!
Enjoy! And subscribe to her YouTube channel to get updates on our new ventures together!

Let me know what you think.

Categories: Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, marketing, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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 |

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

Enter stage right

Here’s a fun project I had recently.

I was asked to make some steps to use with a stage.  Something like an ‘apple box’ as used in film and photography. Needed to be sturdy but light and easy to move. Requested dimensions 12 x 12 x 24.

This was pretty simple and quick, didn’t need any plans.

Started with 3 pine planks 48 inches long and 11 1/4 wide. Cut 2 in half and one in quarters.

Cut boards - hand holds with hole saw

Cut boards – hand holds with hole saw

Used a hole saw to make hand holds.

Glued together first.

A little wood glue

A little wood glue

tapped in a couple small nails while glue sets

tapped in a couple small nails while glue sets

Passed muster. On to box two.

turning out fine

turning out fine

One more support bar and can be used as additional handle.

Final support will be to countersink some screws but these were amazingly stable with just the glue and finishing nails!

added support and extra handle

added support and extra handle

Paint it black

screws and paint

screws and paint

Ready for their debut! Step right up folks!

ready for the stage!

ready for the stage!

Categories: custom work, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Window dressing updates a room

Replacing old or broken blinds can make a world of difference!

This is a room at Bridal Elegance Salon in Torrance that is sometimes a hair and make up room and sometimes a dressing room.

I forgot to take more pictures, but to avoid this happening again the customer also had me put some hooks in this room to hold hangers.


opps! Don't use blinds to hold up hangers!

opps! Don’t use blinds to hold up hangers!

It's hard to take a picture of blinds with the light coming in from behind!

It’s hard to take a picture of blinds

with the light coming in from behind!

Replacing the broken blinds was a good time to add a valance also.

Replacing the broken blinds was a good time to add a valance also.

I painted this room last year too. 🙂

Categories: decorating, Home Improvement, home maintenance, home repairs, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , , | 3 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

Local shopping at the Downtown Torrance Market Place

Last Thursday I participated in the weekly Downtown Torrance Market Place and had a great time! There were great booths with handcrafted items like soap and sachets, a reiki practitioner, antiques, collectibles even a booth full of tupperware items. We had a great time dancing to the local DJ to keep from getting chilly and meeting lots people in the neighborhood!
Come on down this Thursday and say hello! There is a Raffle every hour too!
Anyone who knows me, knows how passionately I believe in shopping small whenever possible and supporting local businesses so it really meant a lot to me to be invited to join this event. I won’t be able to attend every week, but I hope go as often as possible and continue making new friends.

Here are some of the regular vendors you will find on Thursday nights:

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Categories: decorating, DIY tips, furniture refinishing, gardening, helpful tips, home maintenance, home repairs, marketing, repurposing, work I do | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Job perk of being a handywoman: breaking gender stereotypes

The Fix-It Lass

The Fix-It Lass

I absolutely LOVE it when children are around when I am working in someone’s home fixing things!

Last year I remember a very simple job of hanging some stuff on the walls; pictures, wooden cut out letters and a few other items. There were 2 young girls home while I was there and the youngest was utterly fascinated by my tool box and what I was doing. The older girl at one point, very matter of fact, stated “I never quite understood how those work.” as I was using a level to mark the hanger spots. She looked and listened intently with sincere interest as I explained to her how and why to use a level.

Today I changed 2 bathroom exhaust fans while accompanied by a sweet young man of about 3 or 4 years old. He respectfully examined my tools as closely as possible without touching them, maneuvered his post outside the bathrooms to be able to see what I was doing without getting anywhere in my way and adorably covered his ears when I had to bang on something for a moment.

Since I am fortunate enough to live in an area that is rich in cultural diversity I often get a chance to work in homes of people who may come from countries or cultures that traditionally maintain certain limited views on women’s roles in society and the world. These are my favorite. Just being hired by them says to me these are already people not conforming to the ‘rules’ which might be set forth in their culture of origin.
Then when I get to the job and there happen to be children around to see me doing what many consider ‘man’s work’- that’s icing on the cake!!

I think example is the best way to teach. Without a lecture or lesson, without a word spoken directly to the issue, every single time I do my job in front of a child of any age, any race, any ethnicity, cultural background, country of origin or GENDER I get to help chip away at gender stereotypes.

It’s tiny, I know, but it does make me proud.

Categories: do it anyway, home maintenance, home repairs, random, work I do | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments


Some say they enjoy how teak wood ages naturally to a silver gray color, but to me (and my customer) it just looks old and fading.
It was a joy (and a lot of time sanding by hand) to restore these patio furniture pieces. The stain I used is an environmentally friendly oil penetrating stain that enhances the natural beauty of a piece of wood in a way that takes my breath away every time I get a chance to use it. The ‘color’ I use is ‘natural’ and there is almost no tint to it, hard as that may be to believe. All that gorgeous color is just from the wood maintaining a similar appearance to being wet, every stunning grain and texture is amplified.
I can only say I really wish I had taken better pictures. These don’t do justice to the change that took place.

If you want to know more about the product I used let me know. I may do a separate post about it if people are interested.

Categories: furniture refinishing, home maintenance, home repairs, outdoors, Uncategorized, work I do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

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