EP118: Jump Into Home Repairs, Choosing a Designer, and Desk Refinishing Project


Segment 1: Jumping into Repairs

We’ve probably all been there. It’s late and something in our home suddenly breaks. The washer. The dryer. The AC. You name it. And sometimes we are too timid to try and troubleshoot on our own. We’re afraid we don’t have the skills. But if we can do it, so can you. Start small and work from there!

Segments 2 & 3: Choosing a Designer

Sometimes, when it comes to decorating, we need a little help. Jennifer Butler and Andy Yates from Jennifer Butler Design walk us through the important things to look for when hiring a designer. You’ll be working very closely for a while so choose wisely.

Segment 4: Desk Refinishing Project

About a year ago we picked up a cool roll top desk at the Grand Rapids YMCA White Elephant Sale. We didn’t know anything about it other than it was smaller than a normal desk. That led to a little research project where we learned that the desk was a child’s desk from the Sears catalog in the 1930’s.

We were inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s dining room at Monticello with its chrome yellow walls. With that in mind, the paint and stain started flying!

EP117: Yankee Doodle, Multi Generational Living, and Projects Using Distressed Wood


Segment 1: History of Yankee Doodle

Growing up, most of us learned a plethora of patriotic songs that we pulled out of our memories for the 4th of July. This year, we decided to look into the history of a childhood favorite, Yankee Doodle. Do you know what a Yankee Doodle Dandy is? The answer and story behind it may surprise you.

Segments 2 & 3: Multi-Generational Living

We’re hearing about it more and more: multi-generational living. The trick is, how do you get a home to function for all ages under one roof? Derek Anderson, owner of Amber Valley Construction, walks us through some important considerations and even offers advice on a book to read (Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud) BEFORE we make the leap.

Segment 4: Projects Using Distressed Wood

Barn wood can be expensive. It can also be tricky to find. And who wants to risk bring all kinds of bugs into their home? But it looks so cool!

Back in Episode 106, we talked about how to make your own barn wood out of new pine planks. Today we’re giving you a few ideas to put that barn wood to good use!


EP116: Paint Organization, WalVac Vacuum System, Replacement Windows, Color Kryptonite


Segment 1: Paint Organization

We open the show talking about some crocheted water balloons Betsy has been working on for an upcoming golf outing. They’re very easy and quick to make. Check out the pattern and get some use out of these re-useable balloons.

This segment REALLY isn’t about water balloons, but how to organize your paint so the next time you touch-up or repaint, it doesn’t turn out to be the wrong color. All you need are some index cards and an index card file box!


Segments 2: WalVac Vacuum System

Who doesn’t love a clean house? But who likes lugging a vacuum around; especially on steps? Lucky for us, there’s a solution! WalVac vacuum systems are the perfect way to make cleaning a whole lot easier!

Segment 3: Replacement Windows

The term “replacement window” strikes fear in many of us. There are literally thousands of options and we often envision a salesman coming and randomly knocking on our door. But it doesn’t have to be like that. George Clark from WMGB Home Improvement walks us through some basics of replacement windows and sets our minds at ease. There are people out there who can help us make sense of it all. George is one of those people!

Segment 4: Color Is My Kryptonite!

We hear about how people struggle with color a lot in our stores. And people think that’s bad. They feel that choosing a color shouldn’t be hard. But you’re not alone! Caroline Dwan, Field Marketing Manager for Benjamin Moore, talks about her OWN struggles with choosing color. People think that because she works for a paint company, she MUST be good at it. But as Caroline explains, color is her kryptonite. Sounds like the beginning of a super hero movie…..

EP114: Natural Mosquito Repellent, Cool Paint Tools, & Dad Stories


Segment 1: Natural Mosquito Repellent

We’ve started hearing it again: it’s going to be a bad year for mosquitos! And the thing is, not everyone wants to go around doused in a chemical bug repellent and not everyone can deal with the smell. With that said, there are some natural alternatives that may work just as well, if used correctly. It’s not good enough just to plant these. You have to release the essential oils to make them work. Just roughly chopping and spreading on the lawn or patio should work.  Here’s a list of some plants that will go in my garden this year, along with some warnings and ways to use them.

  • Citronella
    • A Florida A & M study debunked the myth that simply planting these repels mosquitos. You have to crush the leaves, release the essential oil and put it on your skin for it to work.
  • Marigold
    • Contains pyrethrum which is natures insecticide
    • Used in organic insecticides
  • Catnip
    • It’s invasive in a garden bed. Consider using a pot.
    • Often more effective than products containing DEET
    • Cut the flower and boil in water
  • Lemon Grass
    • Plant in a pot because we are above zone 8
    • Keep away from pregnant women and new moms
  • Citronella Geranium
    • Has a small amount of citronella oil in it
    • Oil can be used to help remove scars
  • Bee Balm
  • Lemon Balm
    • Is invasive so use a pot
  • Lantana
    • Lantana flower extract in coconut oil provides 94.5% protection from mosquitos for an average of 2 hours
  • Mint
    • Spreads like wildfire! Plant among rocks or in a pot
    • Is toxic to mosquito larvae
    • Can be used in tea as well
  • Lavender
    • Can be rubbed right on skin
    • Beautiful purple flowers
  • Rosemary
    • Use on the grill with food. The smoke drives away mosquitos
    • OR use 1 cup of dried rosemary to 1 quart of water and boil for 20-30 minutes
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
    • It has to be crushed and who wants to smell like strong garlic???
  • Basil
    • Toxic to larvae
    • Thai basil is the best with a slight cinnamon scent
  • Thyme
  • Sage
    • Throw some in your fire
  • Pitcher Plant
    • Carnivorous plant that eats mosquitos among other things. Move over Venus Fly Trap!
    • Put in a basket or pot on your porch

If you are interested in making your own essential oil bug repellent, you can try a recipe from The Organic Goat Lady!


Segments 2 & 3: Cool Paint Tools

Larry Schwartz from Wooster Brush Company is back to discuss some great painting accessories! Everyone knows about roller covers and brushes. But what about an extension pole? Or a Pelican Paint Bucket? These things will make your painting life a lot easier!


Segment 4: Dad Stories!

It’s Father’s Day weekend and we ALL have them; Dad Stories. Like the time Dad took Mom squirrel hunting but forgot to tell her she was going to have to hold the squirrel while he skinned it…..

We share our stories, as well as a great story from the manager of our Plainfield store, Bob, who’s dad found a creative way around New York City traffic. Pull up a seat and enjoy the laughs!

EP113: Thermal Tracking, Finding Color with Jennifer Butler Design, Home Improvement Wedding Gifts


Segment 1: Thermal Tracking or Ghosting

A listener wrote in and described a strange situation in his home: dark shadowy spots in the corner of his ceiling. He wondered what was going on. Well, while it could be something as simple as actual shadows, or as frustrating as mold or mildew. . . there’s a good chance it’s something called Thermal Tracking or Ghosting. We discuss what that is and what you can do about it!

Segments 2 & 3: Choosing Colors with Jennifer Butler Design

Jennifer Butler and Andy Yates from Jennifer Butler Design join us to talk about how they go about helping their clients create unique, personal spaces. If you’ve ever struggled with color and design, listen in! They have a lot of great advice!


Segment 4: Home Improvement Wedding Gifts!

Yes, it’s Wedding Season. And, yes, there are lots of different gifts you can give the newlyweds. But . . . we’ve got some home improvement-themed gifts that are perfect! And, we also have a video of a dancing lamb.

  • Orbital Sander
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver Set
  • Drill Driver / Impact Driver
  • High Quality Drill Bits
  • Jig Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Levels
  • Clamps
  • Tool Box — Milwaukee’s modular storage solution
  • Battery powered tools — might be smart to look at a system with a wide ranging number of tools and accessories that will work with the same batteries. Milwaukee tools has an incredible area of items all using the same batteries
  • Push broom
  • Leaf Blower
  • Weed Whip
  • Wet/Dry Vac
  • Socket Set
  • Flashlights
  • Extension Cords
  • Snow shovel
  • Corn Shovel
  • High Quality Garden Hose
  • Spade
  • Potato Fork
  • Extension Pole Trimmer with “Lopper”
  • Pruners
  • Loppers