What a girl wants 2: tools and quick fixes

I did a happy dance yesterday when the UPS man delivered two new toys, tools, ok, tools! He laughed. Probably wondered why I was so happy to get a portable wet-dry vac.  The fact is you need the right tools for the job.  I think someone has said this before.  BY THE WAY… this is not an advertisement for these toys.  After many ‘hit n miss’ purchases over the years, these have worked for us.  Use what works for you!!

We have a work horse, 15-year-old Rigid wet-dry vac. Side note:  whoever came up with this name for a tool must be a man.  Go figure!

the big boss

the big boss

It has a 6-gallon capacity tank, detachable blower and can vacuum up anything! Remember the flooded basement we had to fix, this was the guy who sucked up all the water.  The big boss is heavy, awkward to pick up and doesn’t like to be hauled around. He’d rather stay in the basement – typical guy.

The basement stairs are narrow, steep and have low head clearance. Perfect set-up for disaster.

Late last Sunday, after a hard weekend of work, my husband was moving the big boss back into the basement. He grabbed the wrong handle, released the base, sending scraped off woodwork, sawdust, cobwebs and the occasional dead bug down the stairs and all over the floor.  It was a huge ugly mess.  After the maelstrom subsided and the neighbors came out of hiding, an executive decision was made.

We promptly ordered the big boss’ little sister.

the big boss' smaller cousin

big boss’ little sister, ain’t she cute!

The box says, “Portable” not “Heavy and Awkward”!! She likes to travel, is packed and ready to go with the same accessories as big boss.

easy to handle and designed to be hauled around a worksite

so much easier to take this to a work area


We also purchased a Bosch orbital detail sander kit. Good sanders are a must!!! Look for random orbital sanders, they don’t make swirly marks in the wood. Swirly marks are a major pain, they are the result of the back and forth motion from lower quality sanders. You have to sand them out by hand, they show through stain. Spend the money on good quality sanding tools, they are worth it.  Life is too short.

orbital sander detail kit

orbital sander detail kit

These attachments will allow us to sand the corners of the doors and window frames with more ease than we can now.  Haven’t used it yet, will let you know how it works.  High hopes.

tools for the details

tools for the details

so may applications

comes with its own comic book, cool, so many applications


During a trip through Ace Hardware, we found these plastic pyramids to support pieces you are painting.

painting pyramid supports

painting pyramid supports

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the box and I don’t remember the name of the company who makes these, but you can find them in the paint supplies section of Ace Hardware, the big box stores too. They are a great timesaver. You can paint one side of a window frame, turn it over, support the work on these pyramids and paint the other side!

great idea!!

great idea!!


We purchased a good canopy at Home Depot in the early spring.

Shade Tech II, it's a good one

Shade Tech II, it’s a good one

Confession, we’d never put one of these up before.

doesn't it go up any higher?

doesn’t it go up any higher?

Raise the legs, what a great idea!

I can work all day under this thing!

easy to work all day under here!


It finally happened. We both needed to strip paint at the same time. You guessed it, we bought a second heat gun. Look at the difference in these two tools. The bottom one has been used for one and a half years. The top one will look like that soon. Guess who gets the new one?

Milwaukee tools are one of our favorite. Good quality, sturdy workhorses, (have been dropped a lot), right price.

Milwaukee heat guns!

his and hers heat guns


In the midst of big projects it’s nice to have a few things around the house quickly fixed and finished. We need that motivational boost while restoring the 14 first floor wooden storm windows. Stay tuned, that story is coming in a future post.

So, a couple of quick fixes from this summer:

The house’s original mailbox painted and doorbells replaced.

before, original to the house, in need of sprucing up


fresh mailbox, updated doorbell, but true to the original style

after, plus front doorbell

doorbell for the back door too

doorbell for the back door too

Rustoleum spray primer and metallic spray paint in "oil rubbed bronze"

Rustoleum spray primer and metallic spray paint in our spray “studio” – cardboard and old sheets

We chose “oil rubbed bronze” because the color adds visual depth compared to black which can appear dull.

Our next fix was the stairwell chandelier. The old one was circa 1972. Offers accepted, cash only.

3 smoky brown, crackled glass balls

3 smoky brown, crackled glass balls

The new chandelier.

from the Salamander Glass Studio by Todd Phillips

from the Salamander Glass Studio by Todd Phillips

The plan is to change the wallpaper, refinish the wood trim and the wall panels the same color used in the foyer.

also by Todd Phillips, Salamander Glass Studio

this is the “Sun Dew” wall color

Todd Phillips is co-owner of Quoizel, take a look at their lighting products online. Our new foyer light is part of this collection.

We continue to eat the elephant. Small bites. Stay hungry !!







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