Millies’ Remodel has come to the point where it’s time to start building back! Hooray. But, this means I need to pick out the final finishes. Want to see Millie’s main bathroom design board?

Millie’s Remodel: Main Bathroom Design

I find the process of creating a design board very helpful. It’s the easiest way to see how everything will work together and pinpoint anything that might not fit with the desired design style.

Before I show you the design board, I know I left you hanging for a month after we’d stripped everything down to the studs and installed new electrical, plumbing, and a new Trane HVAC unit. Now we have a clean slate for the bathroom.

framing opening and plumbing run between kitchen bathroom

You have to admit, it’s an improvement from the original bathroom. Especially because the toilet was ready to fall through the floor!  In case you forgot what it looked like when I bought the house, here’s a reminder. How could you forget that beautiful faux blue marble vanity top? Yuck.

If you’re wondering where I was for a month, I had three trips from mid-December to mid-January. Although normally I get homesick if I travel more than once in a month, it was nice spending time with my boys, my husband, my sister, and a few friends. First, we flew across the country and beyond for a vacation trip to Hawaii over Christmas. We had a fabulous time swimming with sea turtles, whale watching, and witnessing all the beauty along the Road to Hana, and a sunset view from Haleakala in Maui. Then we flew to the big island and had our minds blown touring Volcano National Park. We capped off the trip with a stop in San Jose to see my sister, my nieces, my brother-in-law, and my mom! There’s nothing like family to make you laugh until you are crying.

After being home for a week, I took a quick trip to Hilton Head, SC to tour the HGTV Dream Home. You can see parts one and two of the tour.

Finally, I flew back west for a week to attend the International Builder Show in Las Vegas. I’ve never been to this show but it was amazing, overwhelming, and exhausting all at the same time. But enough about my travels, today I want to show you the finishes I’m contemplating for Millie’s main bathroom.

Mid-Century Style

I knew Millie deserved a mid-century modern vibe given her age (and the popularity of this design trend.) To tell you the truth, I’d never designed anything with MCM in mind. To familiarize myself with this more minimal design style, I searched “Mid-Century Modern” images in Pinterest and started creating a design file for Millie’s Remodel.

After delving deep into the Mid Century pin world, I began to put together elements for the bathroom.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Over Mirror Light | Black Modern Door LeverGold Tub Shower Fixtures | Lighted Mirror | Graphic Cement Floor Tile | Beveled Subway Tiles | Dresser

What do you think about the finishes I picked for the bathroom? I’m loving the combination of warm colors. The light fixture and lighted mirror from Kichler will add some much needed soft light in the bathroom.

Can I tell you about those subway tiles? I couldn’t find an exact source link for those tiles because I purchased them at my local Habitat ReStore! And boy did I get a steal on them! I paid $8 per box meaning I paid 71 cents per square foot! The vanity I chose is a dresser I plan to transform into a vanity by adding a sink and modifying the drawers to fit around the plumbing. I can’t wait to show you how to transform a dresser into a vanity.

Finally, let’s talk about the star of the bathroom. Those tiles! The Vegas 3 Lili Cement Tiles can be installed in several patterns, but I liked this houndstooth style pattern. Of course, a regular doorknob wouldn’t be fitting for a mid-century modern house, so I’m excited to install those flat black Latitude door levers by Schlage.

I’m dying to know if you like the mood board for Millie’s main bathroom. Anything you’d change?

P.s. Lili Cement Tile, Schlage, and Kichler are sponsors of the Millie’s Remodel project. I am so grateful for their support of this project.

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

makita-girls-2015-WhatIt’s 2018, and I’m Still Wondering Where are the Real Makita Girls?

Back when I first published this post, I never thought I’d be resurrecting it from the archives. Then Simone Giertz shared this tweet and my anger and frustration at Makita boiled over again. The video Simone was referencing has been taken down by Makita, but here’s another upload of the Makita Girls behind the scenes video:

It’s been three years Makita, why are you still using the same tired marketing campaign? Your transparent attempts at finding spokeswomen who actually use power tools is laughable. My 14 year old son even pointed out that Miss Makita can’t actually build shelves with a sander. Sure, she can finish them with a sander, but any avid power tool user would not choose a sander as their favorite power tool (give me a recip saw or a sliding compound miter saw any day over a sander!)

In the three years that have passed since I was angered by Makita’s Miss and Senorita Makita campaign, I added four expensive power tools to my toolbox. And you know what? I consciously steered clear of the Makita brand because I don’t want to support a brand that objectifies women and doesn’t recognize that there are many of us that use power tools for more than “building shelves.”

Get it together Makita! It’s 2018, time to retire the women in bikinis and find a woman who gets her nails at the hardware store (not the salon.) There are so many women who can guide potential buyers to purchase tools based on their expert opinions. Let’s see this campaign retired or start searching for all the women makers, contractors and builders out there. Am I right?

This is my open letter to Makita in 2015:

Oh Makita, why did you have to go and do this?!

Makita announced its 2015 Makita Girls and where you can go to meet them. Initially, I reserved my opinion until I learned more about these new spokesmodels. But, after reading their bios, I was angered. Not a single mention of enjoying woodworking, building or carpentry. Where is the DIY love? What will they talk about at these appearances?  I’m disappointed that Makita would choose their spokesmodels for looks and not skills. And, I question their decision to maintain an advertising program that perpetuates the stereotype that only men use their tools.

Don’t they realize that they are alienating a huge growing market of DIY women? Would I have been offended if they selected an attractive woman who had Mad-DIY skills? Definitely not.

If they wanted beautiful women using tools, there is no shortage of kick ass female builders out there. This ever changing world of Do It Yourselfers is filled to the brim with amazing “Real Makita Girls.” Some of these women have the right to hold their Makita tools proudly. They can tell you the difference between a bevel and a miter; a cross cut vs. a rip cut and they know that brushless is a good thing and has nothing to do with long flowing locks of hair! These women choose quality tools that are strong enough to stand up to the current and future projects they are completing.

Am I angry? Yes! Am I going to stop using Makita tools? No, because frankly they make great tools. My Makita 10″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw is my baby:

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s the first tool I’d truly cry over if it was stolen. This saw has been with me through 100’s of projects, a kitchen remodel and countless fixes. I have never had to adjust the laser or to square up the tool. It is a quality power saw made with aluminum and metal parts, not cheap plastic. But, despite my undying love for my Makita tools, their advertising tactics make me embarrassed to confess my love.

Do you want to help me change the search results right here and now? Let’s show Makita what a Real Makita Girl is. Please visit these accomplished builders and DIYers. Pin their images and title it “Real Makita Girl” or use the hashtag #RealMakitaGirls.

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Sara Bendrick – Landscape Designer, Woodworker and DIYNetwork TV Host of I Hate My Yard

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Kit – Blogger, Builder and Kick Ass DIYer at

Makita Girls | Pretty Handy Girl
Kim – Blogger, Builder and Creative Genius at

Hey, do you use Makita tools, too? If so, show me your…tools! (Email me pictures of yourself using your Makita tools, to PrettyHandyGirl (at) I’ll add your photo to this post.)  Let’s take over the search term “Makita Girls” and show them what a Real Makita Girl is!

#RealMakitaGirlsMary Hunnicutt another one of many #RealMakitaGirls

Cottage at the Crossroads #RealMakitaGirlsJane from Cottage at the Crossroads

In the meantime, I have to ask:

Makita, when you make awesome tools, why do you have to stoop to such slimy advertising tactics? The 1980’s called, and they want their tight spandex and scantily clad women back. Please remove the blinders and take notice of your growing customer base.  Women are shopping in the tool department. They are your consumers. They are smart and savvy. They want to purchase tools that will last. They want to hear about what makes a Makita tool great and why they should spend a little more to purchase a tool that won’t fall apart in a year or two.

A few weeks after this post was published in 2015: I spoke to Wayne Hart, the communications manager at Makita tools after this post initially published. We had a pleasant conversation and he seemed to understand my concerns about the Miss Makita and Senorita Makita models. I offered to let Mr. Hart make a statement to my readers but never heard back from him. In the meantime, the program has continued in 2016 and 2017, but I noticed that at least two of the models have used some of the tools outside the program. At least that’s some progress, right!? What do you think about tool companies continuing to use models as spokeswomen?


Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this post are my own. Sara, Kit, and Kim are DIY women I admire. They gave me permission to use their photos, but that doesn’t mean that they endorse what I have written in this post. 

10_dreamy_window_seat_inspirationsDreamy Window Seat Inspiration Photos

I have a friend, named Claire, who is an interior design genius. She would beg to differ, but honestly she is brilliant when it comes to design decisions. This friend was the visionary who created our kitchen floor plan for us. She was also the person who envisioned a window seat in our bay window. Magnifique! Adding a window seat to the bay window was a great way to free up floor space, add storage to the kitchen, and give us a cozy spot to sit and eat. You can read how I built the window seat with storage in our bay window here.

Fall Decor in a Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen | Pretty Handy Girl

Before building our window seat, I scoured the web for window seat inspiration photos and here are my Favorite Dreamy Window Seat Inspiration Photos (of the MANY more photos I pinned):

BHG_window_seatDesigner Carrie Miller created a relaxing beadboard window seat via


California_blue_white_breakfast_nookGorgeous tower breakfast nook. Photo by Karyn R. Millet via House Beautiful


elegant_built_in_no_windowElegant built-in seat (without a window) via: London Painting Group


Refrigerator cabinets used to build a window seat via Centsational Girl


storage_drawer_window_seatWindow seat with storage drawers via


Bedroom window seat by Newport Beach Interior Designer Wendi Young Design via Houzz


Curved banquette by Brooklyn architect Ben Herzog via Houzz


White_window_seat_with_plantation_shuttersWhite and black built in storage bench via


Huge bay window seating by Flemington architect Pickell Architecture via Houzz


Small corner window seat by Santa Cruz Media and blogs Shannon Malone via Houzz


Finally, this was the photo that set my wheels in the right direction for construction via Houzz

Want to build your own? I have a great tutorial for how to build a window seat in a bay window with storage.

Hope you find some window seat inspiration! Happy building!


Words of Wisdom from Chip and Joanna Gaines | Pretty Handy Girl

Last week I had the rare opportunity to meet Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper. If you don’t know who they are, you are missing out. They are the dynamic duo who see diamonds in some really rough houses. Joanna is the designer with an amazing ability to see beauty in the seemingly helpless ugly duckling homes. And Chip is her humorous husband who loves nothing more than to make Joanna’s vision a reality while trying to make her crack a smile at his antics.

One thing I can tell you about these reality stars is that these two are REAL people. What you see on TV is how they really are, except—you knew there was an except didn’t you—they are even more down-to-earth and human in person. When Chip & Joanna first entered the room they didn’t break into a speech. They stopped and said we want you to go around and introduce yourselves to us. Chip especially had a kind word, joke or story for each person. Honestly!

After the introductions, Joanna and Chip gave us a preview of the Magnolia Home Interior Paints and the newer (yet to be released) Magnolia Home Chalk Style Paint (both created under the KILZ product umbrella.) I’ll be bringing you more about these paints soon.

What I really want to share with you is the words of wisdom Chip & Joanna gave us during  the small Q & A session. These are some of the thoughts and advice they shared. (Questions asked by myself, Southern Hospitality, Hallstrom Home, Liz Marie Blog, and Love Grows Wild.)

1. Would you consider expanding your renovations outside the Waco area?

Chip and Jo immediately said “No.” They don’t like being taken away from their home and/or giving up time with the children. Plus, their crew lives locally.

2. We love how you involve your kids in the projects. Do they enjoy it and do they talk about growing up to do what you do?

Yes, they involve their children in a lot of the projects. Now that Chip or Joanna have been going on more business trips, they commit to taking one child on each trip. It’s their opportunity to spend one-on-one with each child and to let the kids see what is involved in running their businesses. It’s a bit too early to tell if any of the Gaines children will take the reins of the Magnolia empire, but Chip and Joanna were adamant that they will give their children the experiences but it’s up to them to listen to their hearts and let that lead where they end up in terms of careers. (Chip and Joanna have followed their hearts through may business ventures, Chip starting out with a lawn care business and Jo began her post-college years by interning for Dan Rather in NYC. Slowly they followed their passions to where they are today.)

Words of Wisdom from Chip and Joanna Gaines | Pretty Handy Girl

3. Balance: You juggle many businesses and responsibilities, how do you balance everything?

For Joanna, she insists that family comes first. “We want to make sure that we are home and spend as much time with our kiddos as we can.” She used to make it a goal to be home to make every meal for them, but over time she’s had to learn to let go of some things. Although she’s a control freak, she has needed to delegate. She also recommends setting time slots for the tasks that need to get done and sticking to that allotted time.

Words of Wisdom from Chip and Joanna Gaines | Pretty Handy Girl

4. Do you ever lose control and have a break down?

Chip, says, “Yes.” He’s the one that might crawl into a corner when things aren’t going right. Joanna rarely gets ruffled. According to Chip, Joanna is affectionately referred to as the cyborg. “We grease her joints and she’s good for another 100,000 miles.”

Joanna, laughs at this comment and claims she doesn’t break down much. Joanna firmly believes she’s been led to do all the things she’s done and will do. “There is a reason for why this is happening to us and I’m accepting of that.” She knows how to take time for herself. This may result a quiet moment or getting outside into nature to appreciate the colors around her. Or she’ll get her hands dirty in the garden.  “There is something therapeutic about gardening for me.”

5. Is there anything that is a deal breaker in a fixer upper? Is there something that would make you walk away from a house?

Chip says that he’s more familiar with pier and beam constructed foundations. Broken slabs are out of his expertise (although he doesn’t doubt that they can be fixed by the right professional.)

Interesting enough, Chip likes to equate his marriage with a good foundation. He explains that when your marriage is built on a good foundation, it can thrive and support a healthy marriage. Joanna nods in agreement.

Words of Wisdom from Chip and Joanna Gaines | Pretty Handy Girl

It was truly an honor to be able to talk to Chip and Joanna. I owe a huge thank you to the team at KILZ for making this a reality.

Disclosure: My travel expenses were covered by KILZ. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

Last week I waved goodbye to my son as he hopped onto the school bus. As I walked back toward our house I began ruminating on why I’d been feeling low and irritable. Usually the cause is because I’ve been working too hard or spending excess time taking care of the family’s needs. I knew the main reason was the “me time” tank was running on empty.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

As I neared our driveway I admired the sun streaming through the trees.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

Suddenly I knew I had to pull on my rain boots and go for a walk in the woods.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

The air was crisp and clear. Dew still clung to the bushes and flowers.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

For the morning I would just wander and admire. No projects, no writing, no updates on social media, and no Facebook perusing. Just me, Nature, and anything she put in my path.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A slight breeze whispered in the leaves and dropped a single dew drop on my nose.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

The birds were chirping their gossipy songs to one another. Underfoot, the crunch of acorns crackled as my feet slipped and rolled over the bumper crop of acorns. I maintained my balance and walked through our back gate into the woods.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

The scenery was truly inspiring as the sun shown through the trees and highlighted the changing leaves.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

I carefully stepped around wild ferns and pricker bushes.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

I meandered over the soft forest floor toward the creek beyond our property line.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

I noticed several animal tracks and knew they had been there earlier that morning for a cool drink and maybe a meal.


Lichen and moss wrapped around trees and branches as if coating them with a warm sweater in anticipation of cold weather.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

As I walked back home, I noticed the sun had begun to rise in the sky and the dew had disappeared.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

Our beauty berry bush was bursting with color. Soon it will lose its leaves and the berries will shrivel.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

I said goodbye to my blue hydrangeas a few months ago. They have since turned a beautiful green and magenta color. Once again, I’ll fill a vase with clippings to enjoy through the winter. I’ll miss the colorful landscape in a few months, but know it will be back with new shoots and flowers come spring.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

From now on, every time I get in a funk I’m going to pull on my boots and go for a walk in the woods.

A Walk in the Woods | Pretty Handy Girl

How about you? What do you do to fill your tank?



I’m thrilled to share with you a selection of 3 DIY books this holiday season. If you are looking for ideas for someone on your gift list who: has children who love to create; loves rustic metal decor; or wants some simple ideas to love the home they are living in…I have the book for you!

Let’s start with C.R.A.F.T – Creating REALLY Awesome Free Things (affiliate link). This book by Jamie Dorobek was not a book I had originally planned on reviewing. But, when I opened the envelope and set the book on the counter it was instantly whisked away from me. My boys took the book and read it from front to back!

C.R.A.F.T. Book Review

Within 30 minutes, my oldest (a middle schooler) had already cut up a cereal box and was working on his own puzzle.

C.R.A.F.T. Book Review

C.R.A.F.T. Book Review

The next day, my 3rd grader had a playdate at our house. He and his friend asked for the materials to make their own Emoji masks. Read more

The reality's not real | Pretty Handy Girl

The reality is that what you see on TV and magazines isn’t real life. We all know this, but do we tend to forget after a while?

I was watching one of those popular HGTV reality shows the other day. This one happened to be filmed in our neighborhood, so I was very familiar with the home that was being renovated. I drove by the house several times while the work was being done and I only saw the show hosts there three times. Those were the few days that filming was being done. The rest of the time (many months of renovating) I never saw the hosts. But, I’m sure you probably already realized this fact. It’s understandable, the celebrity hosts have to record other shows. And there’s no reason for them to stick around and watch joint compound or paint dry.

As you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to see the episode. Before the show aired I ran into the homeowners while walking our dogs. We chatted for a while and I thought they were a super delightful couple. Both polite, kind and fun to talk to. They both shared my love for our neighborhood. When the show finally aired last month, I was dismayed to see this young couple turned into picky, hard-to-please homeowners that fit into the “script” of the show. But, what surprised me most was the final reveal of the “new” value of the improved house. The home was valued above homes almost 1,000 sq feet larger in similar condition in our neighborhood. I shouldn’t have cared much. But, I did.

I’m not sure why I was feeling anger. I’ve known for a long time that reality tv isn’t really reality. Maybe I was angry because I see too many photos and TV shows that portray “real” people living in perfect homes. I think I was angered because the more we watch, the more we read and the more we pin — we begin to forget that what we see isn’t reality. I think we all need a reminder about how unreal “reality” is. Read more


I’ve been putting off this post for a long time. I probably should have written it three years ago. But, each time, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to write about negativity on my blog. I want this to be a positive and empowering space for people (especially women) to be inspired to pick up a power tool and/or complete that DIY project they’ve been putting off.”


This past week I witnessed and endured something that made my blood boil. Supposed DIY experts belittling women. Most of the behavior wasn’t blatant, it was subtle. Some of it was body language (crossed arms, wide leg stance and a scowl while being asked a question.) And some of it was not so subtle with a condescending comment or tone. And this behavior made me mad. No—take that back—it burned me up inside!

Why? Because I have a dream that one day when any woman walks into a hardware store or a home improvement store it will NOT BE ASSUMED that she isn’t handy or that she is incapable of completing a major home renovation or repair. I dream that there will be a day that the stereotypes about women and men will cease to exist. And I know that any woman that is belittled or turned away from DIY is one less step toward my dream.

lumber_in_acadiaSandra of and myself

Therefore, I think it’s time to address that big fat wall that’s holding us back. What is it that scares you about DIY? Is it the fear of a power tool? The fear of screwing something up?  Of injuring yourself? Of breaking something?

Well, it’s time to break down that wall!

First, you need to peel back those layers and really address why you don’t think you can. Did you get messages from others that became part of your beliefs about your own abilities?

How was that wall built? Did it start when you were a child? Did your Dad or Mom tell you not to touch a tool for fear you might hurt yourself? Did your Uncle or neighbor laugh at you when they saw you trying to fix something? What was it? Usually that wall is a culmination of years of messages that get embedded into your brain, until you are stripped of the self confidence necessary to try something new.

Do any of these messages sound familiar:

  • “That’s a man’s job. Let a man do it.”
  • “You might break it.”
  • “You’re not strong enough.”
  • “Why don’t you hire a professional?”
  • “Here, let me help you with that.”
  • “Stand back, I’ll take care of it.”
  • “Don’t hurt yourself.”

Or was it a more subtle message from a professional or someone more experienced who threw a bunch of technical jargon at you making you feel confused or inferior.

I want to share with you some of the nasty comments I receive (especially on YouTube.) The comments are direct assaults on my self esteem and confidence. After reading them, I often begin to doubt my own abilities. Here are just a few of those nasty comments:

  • You really should remove your power tool tutorials. Some idiot is going to seriously hurt themselves.
  • What she is saying is completely wrong esp the part about wetting the caulk but at least she is trying.
  • Woman, you do it wrong
  • Get back in the kitchen where you belong.
  • Women shouldn’t use MAN tools. There is a reason god made you bare children and born with a frying pan in your hand.. This is the same as being a lesbian in my book seeing a woman pick up a tool!

AND then this person left a reply to that last degrading comment:

“Hey dude with the negative comments toward women… disrespectful !  Why can’t a women use power tools?  She can do whatever she likes.  I think you are old school curmudgeon that is afraid of women, and in controlling what they do, that keeps you feeling like KING SHIT ON TURD ISLAND.  Newsflash – we’re in 2014 – get used to it loser!  I hope you are man enough to apologize to Brittany for your loser comments.”

I wanted to high five that commenter! He had it right. There are a lot of people who are threatened by women who can DIY. They view it as a threat to their masculinity. Heaven forbid a woman realize that using a power tool or fixing something isn’t rocket science.

Let me be the first to tell you. You CAN do it! That wall of negative and self-deprecating messages is going to come down NOW! No offense to anyone who is a plumber or knows a plumber, but I sincerely doubt that you have any less brain cells than that guy who’s mooning you while trying to fix your leaky sink. He just has a little more knowledge and experience at tightening slip nuts and p-traps (sorry, I didn’t mean to throw out the technical jargon.) However, when that plumber started, he had no more expertise than you do. He may have been trained in an apprenticeship or trade school But, lucky for you, today there is a wealth of resources to teach you how to fix anything! YouTube, Google, and many many many blogs that will help you complete a DIY project using step-by-step tutorials!


Still fearful of using a power tool? Well, here are the facts. If you are safety conscious, you will take the time to read the manual and go slow when learning how to use a new power tool. You will have less of a risk of injuring yourself than a seasoned pro. Why is that? I call it the healthy fear factor. If you respect the tool and have a healthy fear of it, you will double-check that you are keeping your hands and body away from the tool. You will be sure that your hair is tied back and you have removed any jewelry or loose clothing. You will not rush through a cut or task. You will give that tool your full attention and make sure that you are staying safe.

A few years ago one of my favorite contractors told me he had to retire. He had accidentally cut off one of his fingers. This is a man who had been building and fixing for decades! And he cut his finger off. How? He told me, “Brittany, I was stupid. I did not respect that tool and it bit me. I was rushing through a job and cut my finger off with an angle grinder. I’ve used that tool hundreds of times and was complacent and didn’t give it my full attention.” And that is why it is important to ALWAYS respect the tool. It’s okay to have a healthy fear of power tools! In fact, it is what will keep you safe.

I encourage you to take a hard look at that wall of negative attitudes about DIY.

Don’t let someone rob you of your self confidence. If you are reading this post, know that you are an intelligent human being who is capable of much more than you give yourself credit for. Grab that wall and pull it down. Believe in yourself and tackle that DIY project. I’m here if you have questions. I’m here to give you positive encouragement. Just think to yourself, “What Would Pretty Handy Girl say?” and build up a platform of positive thoughts and messages so you can dive off the top of that wall of crap!

What’s the worst that can happen if you do try to fix or build something? If you screw it up, so what! Call in that professional. But, stick right by his or her side and watch how they fix it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. AND hopefully they will keep their butt crack inside their pants. Should you succeed at the project, rejoice! Celebrate and share with your girlfriends. Let’s break down the stereotype wall together.


Feel free to leave a comment below about that time you were talked down to or someone made a condescending remark. Let’s all lift each other up and reassure one another that we can do it! High fives all around!


P.s. This post is dedicated to my blogging friend and fellow power tool wielding DIY Rock Star! You go girl! 

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

Two weeks ago was Teacher Appreciation Week at my son’s school. Every year I have a bit of a knee jerk reaction to this week. Is it because I don’t appreciate my sons’ teachers and administrators? Definitely not true! I appreciate them more than I can ever show. It’s a joke in our house that if I homeschooled, we probably wouldn’t have children. We all need that time away. And, my kids are so headstrong, that they learn much better from talented educators that don’t tuck them in bed at night.

So, why you ask do I have a knee jerk reaction? Let me explain.

Two weeks ago I spent less than 20 minutes whipping up some really cute vases using recycled jars painted with Farmhouse Paint. Wait…What is this paint?

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

Well, it’s “paint formerly know as chalk paint”  (don’t even get me on the soap box about everyone else not being able to call it chalk paint anymore because a particular company has trademarked the name. I mean, that’s like saying that no one can call it latex paint anymore because Brand X trademarked it. Sorry, I get riled up easily.)

Anyway, back to my story, I made these adorable little vases by saving up a bunch of recycled jars.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

Then I painted them with two coats of Farmhouse Paint. I’m in love with this paint. The colors are vibrant and you don’t need to wax after painting. Just a light sanding with fine grit sandpaper and it give you the same soft sheen as waxing would.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

After the paint has dried I sand some areas (especially on any writing).

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

Finally, I added some fresh cut flowers from my yard and tied a string around the neck with a personal message.

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

These little vases were adorable. They were cute and they seriously took me less than half an hour to put together (20 minutes to paint and a few more minutes cutting flowers in the yard.)

When I arrived at school, I began distributing the flowers. First the principal’s office — her desk was filled with more flowers vases than a florist’s counter. And the overflow was on her conference table.

     Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

The assistant principal’s desk had the same overcrowded vase problem.

I made my way around to my sons’ classrooms. Tins of cookies and more vases littered their desks. I was sad. Although I knew they appreciated the kind gifts, it must be overwhelming to get everything on one day or one week of the school year.

After the week is over and the cookies are gone, what is there? Nothing. Desks filled with papers to grade of course. But, no gifts; no notes of appreciation; no flowers…nothing.  That appreciation day is long forgotten.

That’s why I’m doing something different next year. Heck, I might even do some appreciating at the end of this school year!

Where are the gifts and flowers during the first week of school when the kids are scared, tired, disappointed, weepy for their Mom and Dad? Where are the gifts when the principal and other administrators have to deal with outraged parents because the school bus didn’t come on time to pick up their child? Or worse yet, what about the day after a weeknight Halloween? I know the children pour into their seats sleep-deprived and burned out after a high sugar evening. Heaven help me this year when Halloween falls on a Friday night. I might check into a hotel for two nights.

Anyway, I’m vowing to appreciate the staff and teachers at my sons’ school on any old ordinary day from now on. I’m sure that a small recycled jar turned into a sweet little vase of flowers will surely brighten the day of one tired educator. I may even slip a little gift card underneath. I know in our state, teachers are not paid nearly enough and we are facing a crisis as teachers leave schools searching for better paying jobs.

To all the teachers, school staff and administrators out there. I APPRECIATE you more than you will ever realize! Please forgive me if I don’t bring you a gift during Teacher Appreciation Week. I’ll surprise you some other time. 😉

Farmhouse Painted (chalk like paint) Jar Vases | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you say? Why not whip up a little painted vase to appreciate your child’s teacher on Monday. Or the last week of school? Or just on one ordinary not celebration day. Am I crazy? Doesn’t this make sense to you?


P.s. Did you like the chippy paint board backdrop I used? It’s not real wood, it is actually a vinyl backdrop made by my good friend Leen the Graphics Queen. It rolls up and stores neatly away. She should be selling them soon.


Pin for later!

DIY Chalk Paint Mason Jar Flower Vase

David Bromstad HGTV host

If I had to choose one HGTV host that I would like to meet in person, that would be a no-brainer. David Bromstad has always been my favorite designer with the transformation talent. With his “push the color envelope” attitude and ever present jovial (and often joking) nature, I think he’d be a blast to meet at a party or maybe collaborate on a DIY project for charity! (A handy girl can dream, right?) The other thing that gains David extra gold stars on my list of celebrities I’d like to meet, is the fact that he’s an artist too.

David Bromstad painting

I am in love with his short painting tutorials on Color Splash. He really knows how to empower others to try their hand at artistic expression.


You can imagine that I’d be super excited when I received an email asking if I wanted to interview David Bromstad. That email was replied to INSTANTLY! Of course I hoped it meant he was coming to Raleigh, NC and we’d have coffee together and chat. But, you know, that was a dream that didn’t happen this time. Instead, I interviewed David just before the holidays via a phone conversation.

Without further adoration and praise… I have with me (virtually) today: the one — the only — Color Splash host, David Bromstad! Jump on your couches, scream like the Beatles are playing at the Ed Sullivan theater and share my exuberance to have him on the blog today. Read more