5 Tools Every Handy(wo)man Needs in Her Toolbox


Over the years there has been a traditional picture of a man doing all the DIY in the home.  But more and more we are seeing women step up and into a more hands-on role.

Women are perfectly capable of doing jobs inside the home without resorting to asking a man for help.  Of course there are always those occasions when batting eyelashes and passing compliments come in useful, but more often than not women just get on with the task at hand.

Useful tools for a woman on a mission
If you are likely to have to carry out jobs in your home it is always a good idea to be well prepared.  A good selection of useful tools should be on hand before there is a need for them just in case the need comes as the result of an emergency.  But what are the most useful tools for a woman to have about? 

·         Flashlight
If your electricity goes off it is a lot safer to have a flashlight around than candles.  It will give you enough light to either replace a fuse or flick a switch, or to call for emergency assistance if the problem is more serious.  A flashlight also allows you to undertake work in the darker areas of your home such as under stairs or in the dark corners of a basement.  In addition it isn’t just a useful tool but also a very effective safety preserver

·         Ladder
You never know when your natural height won’t be enough to rely on, even for tasks such as putting in a new light bulb.  It is a lot safer to use a stable ladder than a chair which can tip over and cause injury.

·         A Screwdriver selection
That’s the tool not the drink; you can leave the alcohol for after you have finished the job. One of the most common jobs in a home is replacing a plug; a screwdriver is essential for this job.  In order to ensure that you have a screwdriver that will fit different sizes and types of screw it is a good idea to purchase a selection.  A screwdriver can also be useful in removing a lid from a jar by gently levering the edge to break the seal.

·         Claw Hammer
It’s always a good idea to have something that can knock in a nail if you need to fix the fence or a loose floorboard.  A claw hammer is equally useful for removing nails should you hit one in at the wrong angle, or in the wrong place. 

·         Tape Measure
A tape measure is always necessary if you are going to do improvements in the home; it is useful for all your interior design work as well such as making curtains.  There are a lot of different tape measures on the market, from the traditional items to the latest laser measures which allow for easy measuring of spaces.

DIY Stone Firepit

There's nothing more summery than a good old campfire if you ask me. So many memorable nights and great conversations happened around a campfire that we just knew we needed to create one ASAP. Even before we got around to doing other (probably more important) things. Are you starting to notice a pattern with our home projects? We don't really like to follow a plan I've come to realize.

So after perusing through Google Images and Pinterest, we decided to just head off to Home Depot and see what we could find. We knew we didn't want to just buy a fire pit. We wanted it to feel a bit more natural and blend in with our back yard. I'm also a big fan of stone firepits so that swayed us a bit too.

At Home Depot we found the RumbleStone section and instantly started geeking out about all the things we could do with these puzzle-piece stones. But first things first, we needed to start with what we came there for. We ended up not following their firepit plans and actually used the plans for a tree ring which called for 36 trapezoid blocks. So off we went to the cashier to pay and head back home to create our masterpiece.

 





This project was so unbelievably easy. I think the pictures will speak for themselves. We just laid out 12 blocks in a circle right on the grass and figured out placement and spacing. Oncec we had that nailed down we took an edging tool and dug an outline a few inched out from where the stones ended. Then we moved all the stones out and removed about 2 inches of grass and soil. This allowed the bottom circle of stones to sit a little bit under ground which helped with leveling everything out. Once that first layer was in place and perfectly aligned, the rest was a breeze. We staggered each stone instead of sitting them directly on top of the one below and then filled the inside of the pit with a small layer of pea pebbles and also filled in the rest of the dirt circle with the pebbles.




After we finished we realized that three layers of stones wasn't as tall as we would have liked so we went back for another set of 12. Total cost of the project? $140 including the pea gravel. Eventually we plan on purchasing a shed and filling that whole corner of the yard with either wood chips or more pea gravel, so for now we haven't glued the stones together. Even without stones, though, it's quite sturdy by itself. After we finish some more pressing projects around the house we might come back and build a couple benches with the RumbleStones. I'm seriously obsessed. I better watch out or my whole back yard will be stone. Now, who wants to come over for s'mores?

The Yellow Brick House | DIY Patio Table

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that Mike and I were at it again with home projects this weekend. This time, I just couldn't stand to finish the weekend without having a patio table to enjoy the nice weather we had. First, I looked at places like Target, Home Depot, Lowes, even IKEA but the furniture was either insanely expensive, or looked like it would fall apart with even the slightest summer breeze. So, in true Affourtit fashion, we decided to DIY.

We hit up the local hardware store bright and early Saturday morning and got everything we needed and beat the crowds. I think my days of partying all night Friday are over until we get this house the way I want it.



Our shopping list included:
  • (2) 4"x4"x6' posts -- Cut down to four 29.5" pieces for legs
  • (5) 2"x4"x8' studs -- Cut down to five 38.5" pieces for table top structure
  • (7) 1"x6"x6' posts -- No cutting necessary
  • Outdoor wood stain
  • Outdoor wood paint (yellow)
  • Outdoor wood sealant
  • 3" wood screws
  • 1 1/2" wood screws
  • Wood filler/putty
Our tools list included things we already had in our garage:
  • Power drill
  • Circular saw
  • Power sander
  • Screwdriver
  • Sand paper
  • Paint brushes

I drew up our plan based on the fact that I didn't want to have to cut any of the 1x6s for the top. Those came in a 6ft length which is exactly how long we wanted the table and I knew I wanted seven boards across the top (because I'm anal and didn't want a crease in the middle--I wanted a board in the center of the table). We also wanted the table to seat 6 comfortably with the option of adding another chair to each side.






So we went to it and start cutting down the 2x4s and screwing them into place to create the structure of the table. Then we screwed in the top boards. We wanted the sides to be flush, but you could have overhang if you wanted, you would just need to rethink the math for the 2x4s. After the top of finished, we cut and screwed on the 4x4 legs and sanded them down until the table sat level. There was a bit of wobbling at first which we fully expected.



Next came the staining, painting, and sealing which I wasn't as good at photographing. I think at that point I was just ready to sit down at our new table and have an ice cold beer in celebration. We stained the top a medium wood color and didn't worry about getting it on the sides because we would be painting that yellow. After that dried we quickly painted the sides with two coats of yellow outdoor paint made specifically for wood furniture and/or decking. We let that dry for a few hours and then came back with the outdoor stain (also for wood decking).



Ta-da! Our new (super-sturdy) patio table! I joke with Mike that it looks like it came from a Mexican restaurant because of the color. It's still growing on me. I'm not positive I like the yellow. But the awesome thing about a solid wood table? I can just sand it down and re-finish it in a few weeks if I'm still unsure of the color. I started to think a forest green base would look really nice with the outdoors. What do you think?

Home Sweet Home


We're home owners!!!

Mike and I have had quite the busy beginning to 2014! Mike started a new position in his company, my company sent us to Key West, and the icing on the cake? We just closed on an adorable little ranch house! We lovingly refer to it as the Yellow Brick House and couldn't be happier!


I was actually in Dallas, Texas on business earlier in the week to shoot some client testimonial videos. While it was great to see new places, I was dying inside not being able to be home with Mike to help pack. My flight home got in at 10:00pm the night before we went to the closing table. We closed at 9:00am and then immediately started moving all of our stuff out of the apartment and into the house. If it wasn't for the shear excitement I had, I probably would have passed out from exhaustion. It took us a little longer than expected but we got everything moved in a day and just spent the next day cleaning the apartment and getting last minute small things. Now starts the fun of unpacking all the boxes. I wish they would just unpack themselves!

You might be seeing a lot more home improvement posts around here for the next few months as we make this house into a home. We've already started changing out doors, putting up shelves/pictures, and getting the back yard ready for many lazy summer days. I can't wait to be able to show some before and after pictures!

Key West | As Told By Instagram

Let's not even get into how long it's been since I last blogged. Let's just let that one slide... but unless I explain a little background to this post, you might be thinking "What the heck, when did you go to Key West?" Well, I shall tell you.



Back in January I found out I was nominated for my company's "Elite Club" which is pretty much the top 100 people in the whole company. I was extremely honored to be chosen for this as, not only was it for my very first year with the company, we also have thousands of employees in the US. Not only do you get a schnazzy award to put on your desk for this honor, the company also sends you and your family on vacation with the other Elite Club members! The location changes every year and this year, you guessed it, was Key West, Florida. Talk about a dream.

So at the end of February Mike and I packed up our suitcases, said farewell to Ohio's single-digit weather, and hopped on a plane to the Keys.




We stayed at the Casa Marina Resort which was amazing, to say the least. The very first thing we did when we arrived was throw on our swimsuits and run out to lounge on the beach. We had to keep reminding ourselves that it was February. It was in the 70's while we were there!



 



It doesn't matter where we go, we always end up renting bikes to get around. It's the best! Key West is already an extremely bike-friendly area so it was perfect for us. We rode up and down Duval street and ate at some pretty amazing places. I of course had to get my crab fix so we stopped in at Pincher's Crab Shack for some crab claws. Interesting. Not my normal crab legs but crab legs aren't exactly indigenous to Key West anyway.

One of my favorite things about Duval street was probably how anytime you were at a restaurant and you were finishing up, instead of having to rush through the rest of your beer, the waiter/waitress would ask if you'd like a to-go cup. What???? Yeah, we used that to our advantage for sure. Strolling down the sidewalk (while pushing our bikes of course) with a beer in your hand... that's the life.

I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. I have more photos to show in another post but for now it's making me a little depressed thinking about Key West when it's supposed to snow this week :-P