Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • Weekend Warrior: Updating the House Number Display

    Updating your house number display is a great weekend project for the whole family. Whether the numbers are fading, falling apart, or simply boring, there are options for updating the numbers that range from classic, to creative, to downright outlandish. Having an appealing house number display makes the exterior of a property more appealing. Purchase some tools and materials from and get your weekend started with one of the following house number display projects. House

    Wood and Nails –With a hammer in hand, wood and nails are all you need to make a creative and unique house number display. Use a board that is appropriate in size when it comes to thickness, length, and width. Use a pencil to draft out the house numbers on the board to get a good idea of how far apart the numbers should be in relation to each other. Once satisfied, form the numbers on the board by using the hammer to insert the nails in halfway. Once the house numbers are completed, display your work in a visible location on your property.

    Rustic yet Elegant – To create a rustic vertical number display, you’ll need paint stir sticks, a vertical piece of wood that will act as your base, wood glue, stain, and the numbers of your house.

    First, spray paint the base to blend in with the surrounding background. Cut the stir sticks down so that they can be attached horizontally to the vertical base. Before attaching, stain the sticks and give ample time for drying. Finally, attach your house numbers evenly and vertically. Hang up the display once everything has dried.

    “Upcycle” old buckets – This creative display merges old props with fresh plants for an unusual but refreshing combination. Using old galvanized buckets you have around the house, trace and paint an oval using chalk paint. Print out a style of numbers you like, then cut and trace one number per bucket. Paint the number a different color than the oval to make it stand out. Allow your kids to add decorations or patterns to the buckets, if desired. Coat each bucket with two coats of polyurethane. Finally, select plants for the buckets and display your work on your front porch. Add a spotlight so that the display can be viewed at night.

    Revolving Holiday Inspiration – It can be fun to switch up house number displays on an ongoing basis. Displays can be changed throughout the year based on upcoming holidays. For example, autumn ushers in earthy colors, colorful leaves, and pumpkins. In this example, pumpkins are used for the house numbers in a fun and easy display. During Christmas, you may create a festive wreath, and you can build mini birdhouses to usher in the springtime. There are limitless possibilities.

  • Weekend Warrior – Deciding on the Perfect Fire Pit

    Outdoor fire pits are one of the trendiest outdoor features. They contribute to a relaxing atmosphere that can be enjoyed with both small and large groups. Selecting a fire pit design is usually the most challenging part of the process because there are so many options. The perfect pit is one that reflects your personality while achieving your desired goal – whether that means entertaining, increasing your property value, or just creating a cool décor piece on your property. Fire Pit

    When looking at various design options, there are some practical items to consider in the early stages. They include:

    • Checking for any local ordinances or building codes that require permission or a permit in relation to a fire pit or open fires.
    • Considering the proximity to neighbors, trees, bushes, and other outdoor structures. Reduce the chances of a fire hazard by keeping the fire pit away from such objects. Some local regulations may require specific distances from the fire pit to property lines or structures.
    • Knowing how much space you will need for the fire pit if you plan to have a seating area around it. Use chalk or tape to test various positions and sizes, while using chairs around the perimeter to experience how the setup feels.
    • Ensuring the stone you pick is the best option for your fire pit. For example, concrete pavers have a uniform shape and size, but you may prefer to use a different stone option or pattern for a more personalized fire pit.

    Once your logistics are sorted, here are just a few design options to choose from:

    • A small fire pit embedded into a stone patio and surrounded by wood chairs to create a rustic atmosphere.
    • An above ground 6-foot long fire trough on an outdoor patio that has a regular shape to keep guests warm.
    • A combination table/fire pit crafted from stone slabs with wood and steel accents.
    • Placing an above ground fire pit under a gazebo is a double win, as users can enjoy outdoor entertaining while staying dry when it’s raining or snowing.

    When working on home projects during the winter, ensure warmth by purchasing a DeWALT propane heater from Before breaking ground for your fire pit, keep yourself and any helpers safe from frostbite and other winter-related ailments.

  • Arts & Crafts – Planning an Outdoor Winter Wedding

    Planning an outdoor wedding during the winter is a charming and romantic idea. Because many couples say “I do” during the spring and summer months, most venues and rental companies offer substantial discounts in the winter. The money saved can go toward a new home or the honeymoon. On the other hand, a winter wedding has some unique challenges, the biggest being cold (or even freezing) temperatures. Winter Wedding

    Must-haves for an outdoor winter wedding include a sheltered space and heat. Tents and heaters are the best solutions for unpredictable weather. A tent can act as backup space for the ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception. Couples should ensure their venue provides heavy-duty heaters such as this propane tent heater from, which creates a warm environment while limiting distracting noises.

    An outdoor winter wedding venue is the perfect place to capture pictures of the bride and groom. Snow on the ground creates images that are classic, romantic, and elegant. Couples (and their bridal party) should be flexible and willing to go from indoors to outdoors for pictures.

    A fun accessory for winter brides is a cozy wrap, faux fur shawl, or beautiful coat. They may simply choose to keep it on during the entire ceremony, or take it off to showcase their gown while exchanging vows. Either way, wearing an accessory over the wedding gown adds variety to the wedding pictures.

    Silver embellishments on a gown (or the bridesmaid dresses) will reflect the sparkle of the season. Get crafty and add some sparkles to the dress, shoes, or even the bouquet. Likewise, centerpieces at the reception can also reflect the winter. Show this design element with anything from white branches to crystals to candles.

    Keep guests warm by providing them with boots, leg warmers, or shawls for the outdoor portion of the event. Chances are they will be so excited to be part of the big day that they will gladly do anything to be enthusiastic participants. Allow them to keep personalized mugs with hot cider, cocoa, or coffee in their hands while witnessing the ceremony – the mug can double as their wedding favor. 

  • Weekend Warrior – Tips for Painting House Exterior during Winter

    Painting the exterior of a house in the winter comes with a few challenges. If your home desperately needs a new coat of paint and the job has to be done during the winter season, there are a few things you should know. While this task can ideally be done over the weekend, winter weather is unpredictable. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait a few extra days for various coats to dry. Outdoor Paint First, oil-based exterior paints, or acrylic paints can be used in cold temperatures – 37 degrees and above. Anything colder and the paint will not adhere properly. There are several exterior acrylic paint options on the market. These paints develop a moisture-resistant film in half the time as regular paint.

    Before starting your paint job, check the weather forecast. Keep in mind that if you get a day with a high of 60 degrees, you’ll still have to deal with lower temperatures for the majority of the day. Paint relies on air temperature for proper drying, so start working as soon as the temperature hits 37 degrees. Follow the sun around the house as you work. You should also protect yourself from the cold weather by keeping a heater turned on nearby as you work. offers a reconditioned Mr. Heater at a great price so that you don’t have to spend top dollar for a powerful heater.

    If the paint hasn’t completely dried before dew sets in, chances are it will become patchy as moisture gets trapped under the paint film. To help avoid this problem, allow extra time between coats, since colder weather slows down the drying period.

    Here are a few more general painting tips:

    • To make your leftover paint last longer once your house has been painted, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the can. Spray cooking oil over the plastic, tightly secure the lid, and turn it upside down.
    • Painting from top to bottom prevents streaks – this applies to both indoor and outdoor paint jobs.
    • Go with quality over price – especially when painting your exteriors in the winter. Low quality paint will not stand up well against everyday weathering.
    • Primer is highly recommended because it allows the paint to adhere to the surface better. Oil primers are best, topped off with latex or acrylic paint for a great seal.
  • Safety & Sanitation – Are you Prepared for a Winter Emergency?

    The severity of a winter storm depends on your location, but if there is even the slight possibility that winter weather could impact you severely, preparation may prevent injuries. This winter, take a few extra steps to ensure that you are ready to deal with everything from freezing pipes to power outages. Here are a few ways to do so: Winter Emergency

    • Keep an emergency preparedness kit stored in your home or property where it cannot be damaged by precipitation. The kit should contain at least three days worth of water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, batteries, a radio, flashlights, blankets, warm clothes, and a heater that does not rely on electricity such as the Mr. Heater Tank Top Heater from This portable heater warms up to 400 square feet and has an automatic low oxygen shutoff system.
    • Clear your storm drains along the curb to enable water to drain properly. If drains are plugged, there is the possibility that the blocked water will go into low-lying areas and flood basements.
    • Weatherproof your home by installing weather-stripping, caulking and insulating all doors, windows, and walls. Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls so the pipes are less likely to freeze. Teach everyone in the house how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
    • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near sleeping areas.
    • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in the house knows how to use them.
    • Clean gutters to prevent ice dams from forming, as they can lead to interior damage.
    • Purchase the necessary snow equipment for blizzards, including shovels, sand, salt, etc.
    • Create a family communication plan since everyone may not be together in the event of a sudden storm. Know how you will contact each other, how everyone will get back together, and the gathering point.
    • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full at all times to avoid fuel lines from freezing up and getting ice buildup in your tank.
    • In addition to keeping an emergency kit on your property, prepare one for your vehicle as well. Include batteries, a radio, flashlights, a windshield scraper, jumper cables, a shovel, blankets, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, the Mr. Heater Tank Top Heater, and bottled water.
  • Handyman Help – Maintain Curb Appeal During Winter

    Winter temperatures should not deter you from keeping the exterior of your home beautiful and appealing. This is particularly true for homeowners who have their property on the market. Potential buyers will be more inclined to purchase a property that holds up elegantly to harsh winter conditions. Even if you are not planning to sell your home, curb appeal during winter will leave neighbors and visitors impressed. Here are a handful of tips to create and maintain a striking exterior during the winter. Cob Oven

    Invest in winter-friendly plants – These may include grasses and evergreens, which can survive during the winter but also liven up an otherwise drab front yard. Try a few fountain grasses. If it has not yet gotten too cold in your region, plants from the cabbage family can be put down to add some color for the coming months. Place large and vibrant planters filled with evergreens beside the front door.

    Add some color to the front door – This may be as simple as giving the door a fresh coat of paint, updating the color of the door, or hanging a holiday wreath.

    Add light fixtures – Winter means shorter days and dark streets, making it challenging to create a welcoming impression. Light fixtures tend to add warmth to the property and will make your house stand out.

    Don’t go overboard with holiday décor – Stringing up lights in a refined and elegant manner is definitely recommended, but don’t overdo it. Select a few focal statues or figurines to place symmetrically in your yard and allow them to stand out instead of being lost in a plethora of decorations. When working to hang your holiday decorations, use the Mr. Heater tank top heater from to stay warm – especially if the kids are lending a helping hand.

    Clear your front path – If the ground is covered with snow, the first and most important thing to do is shovel your sidewalks, the driveway, and a path leading to the front door.

    Get artsy – Convert unused bird baths or fountains into a seasonal display. Add twigs and red berries or use a frost-resistant urn to create a display of twigs, winter greenery, and baubles.

  • Planning for Incidents and Emergencies at Construction Sites

    Contractors, property owners, and onsite managers should have plans in place for incidents and emergencies that arise on jobsites. To ensure that emergencies are handled as effectively as possible, all staff and crew should be briefed on response protocols. To keep construction sites operating smoothly and safely on a consistent basis, emergency response procedures must continually undergo review and revisions. While OSHA has guidelines for workplace health and safety standards, here are some tips for dealing with emergencies at construction sites.

    Construction Site

    Focus on responses related to:

    • Hazard identification/assessment: This includes transportation; materials; handling; environmental concerns; resources such as material safety data sheets to determine hazards from jobsite materials; and proximity to traffic and public areas. Once a hazard has been identified, figure out what can go wrong and what are the consequences.
    • Emergency resources: Identify which resources are best for specific emergencies and have a backup plan in place if they are unavailable. The police, the fire department, and the CDC are organizations to call for specific situations - ensure workers know who to call for various emergencies. Some onsite resources to keep include fire extinguishers, spills containment equipment, and first aid kits. Even construction equipment around the site, such as a tradesman propane heater from, can be a potential resource. Workers with medical experience should also be called upon as a resource.
    • Communication systems: Relaying accurate information quickly can make the difference between a minor emergency and a life-threatening situation. Systems include cellular phones, two-way radios, or a loud speaker.
    • Organizing the plan: The person in charge of worksite safety and formulating these plans is usually the person in charge during an emergency response situation. He or she must ensure that all workers know their roles and responsibilities in an emergency, and if there is proper equipment onsite to handle various scenarios.
    • Emergency response procedure: Basic actions to take include the following in this sequence: stay calm, assess the situation, take command, provide protection, aid and manage, maintain contacts, guide emergency services.
    • Post-emergency procedure: The recovery process is an important step in any emergency. Some people on the site may require help to recover from stress or anxiety. Having the head of the project address the situation honestly helps workers to feel confident about getting back to work.

    Please note that while the above tips are broad in scope, each jobsite manager is responsible for planning and executing emergency response procedures that are best suited for their individual situation.

  • Handyman Help: DIY Snow Blower Maintenance

    Snow blower maintenance is best done before storing the machine away for the off-season. If you didn’t service your snow blower at the end of last season, you can still give the machine some attention before using it this winter. Snow Blower

    First, choose a well-lit area where you will have a lot of space to move around the blower. Be sure the blower is turned off before looking at various areas and starting repairs. If you are working on the blower in your garage or outdoors, use a heater to stay warm. offers a variety of heaters for the winter, as well as the hot surface ignitor, should you already have a heater that needs the part.

    Check the oil level of the snow blower after obtaining the recommended oil. If the oil level is within running range, start the snow blower and allow it to warm up. Doing so will allow the oil to flow easier and stir up any dirt in the oil pan that needs to be flushed out. Stop the engine, remove the oil plug, and drain the used oil. Replace the drain plug once all the old oil has drained and tighten the plug. Refill the engine with the proper weight of oil and inspect for leaks around the drain plug to ensure it is tight.

    Inspect the spark plug. If it needs to be changed, disconnect the spark plug lead from the spark plug. Remove debris from around the spark plug, so that nothing gets into the engine. Use a socket wrench to remove the spark plug and use a wire brush and spray plug cleaner to remove light deposits on the plug. Reinstall or replace as needed and attach the wire. Do not tighten the spark plug more than necessary when you reinstall it.

    Inspect the belts by removing the cover and looking for cracks or wear and tear. Replace the belt if needed, but first take a picture of how the belt is routed, before removing it. Most belts stretch during operation so check or adjust the pulleys to make sure the belt is tight.

    Snow blowers vibrate quite a bit while in use. Nuts and bolts can loosen. To prevent parts from falling off, check and tighten loose bolts.

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