My 25 Essential DIY Tools

November 16th, 2011

Today I was at my local True Value Hardware in search of a new Shop Vac. Our old one was going on eight years and suddenly died on me last weekend for no obvious reason and mid clean up job.  No matter what we tried to do to fix it (cleaning the motor, checking the circuits), nothing brought it back to life.  So today, in the back of my car sits a brand new Shop Vac and tomorrow I have a date with my sawdust covered garage floor.  

On my way home I remembered every year I write about DIY tools I consider essential and what better time than before the holiday rush to revisit the topic. Some of you new DIYers may be thinking of adding a few tools to your toolbox, so here’s a list of twenty-five I consider essential. This list is not exhaustive since it’s limited to only twenty-five, but these are my personal favorites and the tools I’ve found myself using the most over the past year.     

#1: Cordless Drill/Driver & Drill Bit Set

dewalt combo I have a 12 Volt DeWalt, but recently just acquired an 18 Volt Black & Decker with more torque.  I use my power screwdriver just about every week for everything from removing seat cushions to assembling furniture to drilling pilot holes with drill bits.

 

#2 and #3: Measuring Tape and Level 

Essential for everything you build or install in your home like molding, trim, or wainscoting.  Look for mini versions too at your home improvement store for smaller projects like hanging artwork on the wall.  

   

#4 and #5: Set of Phillips + Flat head screwdrivers & set of non-slip pliers.

Basic screwdrivers are a must have, but you can also buy an all in one. Three kinds of pliers (needle nose, side cutting, tongue and groove and/or flat head) come in handy for removing nails, staples, and upholstery tacks, among other basic DIY household tasks.  

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Paper Straw Snowflakes

November 16th, 2011

Last summer, I kept seeing cute paper straws popping up in tablescapes and at summer parties, and I couldn’t help but think they’d be so fun to craft with during the holidays, especially in the traditional Christmas colors of red and white. To me, they look just like peppermint sticks!

I haven’t decorated at Christmas with very much red in years past (call me a rebel) but red and I are no longer estranged. This holiday season you’ll be seeing plenty of crimson at my house so let’s start with this fun and easy craft project: paper straw snowflakes!   

red paper straw snowflake with border

 

If you want to make some of your own, here’s what you’ll need.  For a large 10 inch snowflake: 5 pipe cleaners; 8 paper straws; 24 beads; center embellishment; ribbon or string.  (For smaller snowflakes, cut 4 paper straws in half for a total of 8 stems).  The baker’s twine and paper straws were ordered online (see sources below) and all other supplies are from Michaels.

 

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