Over the weekend I completed something I’m really proud of! Honestly, I worked like a dog because I felt the urgency to share this tutorial with the world. If you happen to follow me on social media, you already know that I created the Best Fit Face Mask. After struggling with several different patterns online I bemoaned the fit on all of them. Not one of the face mask were any I could wear for any length of time. You could say, I consider myself a face mask connoisseur especially because I searched for years to find my more form-fitting and comfortable masks used for carpentry or demolition.

Best Fit Face Mask

As a general contractor and woodworker, I had searched for form-fitting and comfortable masks to protect my lungs from dust and debris and had my favorites. Several didn’t have a good tight fit around the nose, which inevitably meant I was blowing sawdust out my nose at night. A good fitting mask doesn’t allow air to come in next to your nose. For that reason, I knew there were better options than most of the sewing mask patterns I found. After a weekend, I designed this easy sew Best Fit Facemask Tutorial for use by the public and medical professionals trying to protect N95 and surgical masks while also staying safe during the COVID crisis. (These are not a replacement for N95 or surgical masks. These masks are designed to add an additional layer of protection.) Looking for a simple, stylish, and better fitting face mask? Well, I have you covered. Get it? Covered? ;-D

Truth be told, my Mom reminded me I’ve been sewing and perfecting this design for almost forty years! This is me sewing a quilted rainbow vest (remember Punky Brewster?!)

And this was my costume for Future Day in elementary school. It’s a bit crazy that I thought the future was a place where we’d have so much smog we couldn’t breathe clean air. My costume was a mask with an oxygen tank on my back made from an egg carton. Kind of scary how our current day is a place where we fear the air we are breathing.

Thank goodness, we don’t have to wear tin foil covered milk jugs on our heads. I much prefer wearing the Best Fit Face Mask, a more form-fitted cloth mask with adjustable ties around the ears to fit a wider variety of faces (and keep from irritating the ears after wearing for long periods of time). The mask pattern also has an optional filter pocket, should you need the extra protection (although, frankly it gets harder to breathe the more layers you add.)

Here are a few details about the mask:

  • Two Sizes (Medium and Large)
  • Easy to Sew
  • Filter Pocket
  • Adjustable Nose Clip
  • Fitted around nose, chin and cheeks
  • Less Fabric Waste

Are you ready to make your own Best Fit Face Mask?
Click here to be taken to the full instructions with video and downloadable instruction sheet with templates!

One more thing, I share several options for materials, especially because there seems to be a shortage of elastic.

Prefer to purchase a Best Fit Face Mask? This is the link to the database of sellers.

If you make things out of wood you know almost every project leaves scrap wood. Why not use up those scraps by making some of these 71 Practically FREE Scrap Wood Projects?

71 Practically FREE Scrap Wood Projects71 Practically FREE Scrap Wood Projects

These projects definitely won’t break the bank and they will keep the scraps out of the trash. As a bonus, most make a great gift idea. Enjoy!

build your own rustic wood bathtub tray pinRelax in style with this Rustic Wood Bathtub Tray.

rustic serving tray tulips

 This Rustic Pallet Serving Tray is beautiful and functional.

DIY yard diceHave some family fun with these DIY Yard Dice.

switches and locks board 3Make this Switches and Locks Playboard for a little one in your life.

create art block holdersSimple Create Art Block Holders for your craft area or to give as a gift.

DIY feather artMake this unique and clever DIY Feather Art using old yardsticks and scraps.

rustic wooden caddy with branch handleThis cute Rustic Wooden Caddy with Branch Handle can hold anything.

How to make an easy scrap wood fall sign

Celebrate fall with a beautiful DIY Fall Leaf Art Sign.

white washed window boxMake this White Washed Window Box from a discarded wine crate.

coffee serving tray mapLove your city? Create the perfect Coffee Serving Map Tray.

personalized wall shelf A few boards are all you need to make this Personalized Wall Shelf with loads of storage.

house shaped mailbox promoBuild an adorable House-shaped Mailbox.

house shape door decor Forget a wreath, remind everyone that home is where the heart is with this House-shaped Door Decor.

one board organization storageAll these amazing Storage Options using just one board!

diy drawer dividersGet organized with these simple DIY Drawer Dividers.

Wooden sign teacher giftShow your appreciation to a teacher with this Wooden Sign Teacher Gift.

bunny place cards Brighten up your Springtime table with these Bunny Place Cards.

Mousetrap Memo Trap FinalRepurpose and make a Mousetrap Memo Pad.

valentines wreath branches close up wood heart wreathMake a Valentines Wreath from tree branches for a loved one.

Bailey Farm Crate End Sign Customize this Rustic Farm Crate Sign for your home using new scrap wood (plus, learn how to age the wood.)

Decorative Crown Molding Make this Decorative Shelf using Crown Molding.

lollipop stand This DIY Lollipop Stand is sure to be a hit at your next party.

valentine string art all you need is love wood artShare your love with this Valentine String Art Engraving.

Marble tossThis DIY Marble Toss Game would be fun for anyone.

kids scooter clearanceBe the coolest parent around by making these DIY Kids Scooters.

jewelry organizer bowlsA Jewelry Organizer is simple yet a must-have.

diy produce rackOrganize your fruits and veggies with this DIY Produce Rack.

owl bookends These whimsical DIY Owl Bookends add fun to any room.

state pride magnetic key holder Keep your keys close at hand with this magic State Pride Magnetic Key Holder.

snowflake christmas trivetsThese Snowflake Christmas Trivets are perfect for your holiday dinner.

spider stool What kid wouldn’t love this DIY Spider Stool?

apple pencil holder An Apple Pencil Holder would make a great gift for your favorite teacher.

door stop with handle This Doorstop With a Handle makes an adorable stop that also helps keep your door open.

Rustic Home sign Super cute! This Rustic Home Sign can be made in any size using scrap wood.

close up rusted sleigh bellsCreate a Vintage Rustic Sleigh Ride Sign for perfect holiday decor.

framed pumpkins Add some character to your room this fall with Framed Pumpkins.

Gold and marble coasters Anikas DIY Life final These Easy Gold and Faux Marble Coasters are modern, clean and you can make them with scrap wood!

4x4 wood block framesMake these incredibly simple 4×4 Picture Frames to display your memories.

Crate Christmas tree boxForget the skirt, make a Christmas Tree Crate to hold your tree.

plans to build a lost and found centerHave a fair amount of scraps? Make this Lost and Found Center for your local school.

DIY Rolling Plant Caddy by Brittany Goldwyn Make a Rolling Plant Caddy so you never have to carry heavy planters again.

DIY candle lantern final with fireplace This Candle Lantern From Leftover Trim is sleek and modern.

karate belt display final Does your kid need a DIY Karate Belt Display? Make one easily!

Modern Cat Scratcher DIY Your furry friend will love this DIY Cat Scratcher Post.

folding-rustic-wood-guitar-standMake this Folding Guitar Stand to keep your instrument accessible.

animal-toddler-stoolsThese adorable Toddler Animal Stools would be loved by any child in your life.

are_you_woman_enough_signMake this Are you Woman Enough? Plywood Sign for your shop, or customize the wording easily.

rustic-trays-gift-box-top-view-2Make a Tray Gift Box for your next present.

rustic-king-headboard-side-viewThis Rustic Wood King Headboard is simple and affordable.

citrus-decor-with-lemonade-768x599Make this fun summer display for a party or lemonade stand. Who doesn’t love Giant Citrus Fruit?

hot-wheel-matchbox_race_track_promoLet the kids play for hours with this Hot Wheels Car Racing Ramp.

wood-copper-cake-stand-1Create this Wood and Copper Cake Stand for an awesome display of your baking masterpiece.

fabric-wood-coasters-wrappedRustic and soft Fabric and Wood Coasters are easy to make for gifts.

rustic-wooden-crates-in-cabinet-straight-onBuild some Rustic Wooden Box Crates for your cabinet or shelf.

wood-block-picture-framesHow sweet are these Floating Wood Block Picture Frames?

easy-wooden-chalkboard-sign-christmas-countdownYou can make this Easy Wooden Chalkboard Sign for any season.

DIY-Rustic-Wood-Lanterns-e1441294338713These Rustic Wood Lanterns are the perfect decor for any room.

drift-wood-gift-crateFind free driftwood at the beach and make your own Driftwood Gift Crates.

scrap-moulding-traysEndless options with these Scrap Moulding Trays.

plywood-frames-2Wow your visitors with these Plywood Frames with Glass.

scrap_wood_christmas_treeUse various scraps to make an adorable Scrap Wood Christmas Tree this year!

reclaimed-wood-wall-hook-vase-sconceThis Reclaimed Wood Wall Hook and Vase would look great in an entryway.

scrap-wood-wall-studio_view_from_angledWith a bunch of scrap wood you could Install a Scrap Wood Wall.

scrap-wood-ipad-tray-infarrantly-creativeKeep your device upright with this Scrap Wood iPad Tray.

scrap-wood-wine-holderThis Scrap Wood Wine Holder is simple, but oh so handy.

scrap-wood-caddyKeep your tools, cleaning supplies, and so many other things organized in this Scrap Wood Caddy.

Two-tiered-plant-stand-Anikas-DIY-Life-700-3This Two Tiered Plant Stand is a modern and stylish way to display your plants.

Scrap-Wood-Ironing-Board-Rack-2450This Industrial Ironing Board Rack would save space and keep you organized.

scrap-wood-shadow-box-frameDisplay memorabilia in this awesome DIY Shadow Box Frame.

Scrap-wood-plater-Herb-Garden-BoxThis Scrap Wood Planter Box is a quick and easy way to grow your own herb garden this year.

recipe clipboard standKeep your recipes or notes at eye level with this Easy Clipboard Stand.

If you like these projects, please share! Here’s an image you can pin it on Pinterest:

71 Practically FREE Scrap Wood Projects

Which were your favorite scrap wood projects? And other ideas you have for using up scrap wood? I’d love to hear it.

71 Practically FREE Scrap Wood Projects

Here are some other round ups you may like:

35 Upcycled Gift Ideas | Pretty Handy Girl

35 Upcycled DIY Gift Ideas

25 Tabletop Garden Terrariums

25 Ideas for Tabletop Gardens and Terrariums

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

When storms threaten your power, do you have a generator to keep you comfortable and save your food from spoiling? I’ve contemplated buying a generator before each major storm threat, but they are usually sold out by the time I make it to the store. When Briggs & Stratton asked if I wanted to test out their new Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower™ Series Inverter Generator, I said “YES!” But, between us, I was a little nervous about using one. I didn’t have the faintest idea How to Safely Use and Store a Generator. Luckily, my friend Scott offered to give me a few tips. Plus, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 came with a fantastic manual that made me feel more at ease using it for the first time.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Why You Might Need a Generator:

Our town has been hit by a few hurricanes, ice storms and a tornado over the past few years. Several of these events left us without power for multiple days. It was that first ice storm that introduced me to what a generator can provide.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

As my husband and I suffered in silence, several neighbors had their generators humming outside. The homeowners that had a generator were able to keep their food cold in the refrigerator while the rest of us had to throw away all the food that had spoiled. (If your ice has melted in the freezer it is no longer safe to consume that food.) Our neighbors with a generator were able to keep their families warm with electric heaters. We tried to burn a fire in our wood burning fireplace, but most of the heat went up the chimney. Plus, we couldn’t stay up all night adding wood to the fire. In the morning, we woke up to a house that was 45F. Even our dog (who was not a snuggler) decided to curl up with us on our makeshift bed in the living room. The homes with generators had electricity to run lamps and radios. We had to use candles, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio until they ran low. The hardest part of living without the assistance of a generator was having our communication cut off. We couldn’t call our families and the power company because our cell phone batteries died by the end of the first day. Sadly our land line phones were cordless and lost their charge too.

Some other things you can power with a generator*:

  • Individual water well pump
  • Sump pump
  • Medical device that needs power (portable generators are not intended for life support, a standby generator is required)
  • Power for contractors for temporary outages for small projects

*If connecting a portable generator into your home electrical system, have a licensed electrician install an Emergency Manual Power Transfer System.

Finally, in addition to providing backup power for essential home appliances, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower generator Quiet Power Series can also run power to your campsite or picnic. The noise is 60% quieter† than standard generators (†As tested per ISO2744 sound power standard when compared to standard generator 30607.)

How to Check and Fill Your Generator with Oil:

Locate the oil dipstick on your generator. The Briggs & Stratton Q6500’s oil dipstick is located behind the side panel. Remove the screws holding the side panel in place (place screws in a bowl to prevent from losing them.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the panel and set aside.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Locate the side of the engine and remove the yellow-capped dipstick.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Wipe off the dipstick with a clean dry rag or paper towel. Reinsert it into the oil tank. Remove the dipstick and check the oil level. The tank is full when the oil level is between the two indicators or even with the top indicator (small hole in the dipstick on the Briggs & Stratton Q6500.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

To add oil, insert the funnel into oil fill opening.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Carefully empty engine oil into the funnel (most generators use small engine oil, but check your manual to be certain.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Continue to check the oil level by inserting the wiped clean dipstick into the engine. When the engine is full, replace the dipstick and replace the panel you removed from the side of the generator.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

What Type of Gas Does a Generator Use?

Most generators require low or ethanol free gasoline. Check your generator’s manual for specifics. The Briggs & Stratton manual stated that gas with an ethanol content of 10% or lower was acceptable. Our friend recommended I use ethanol-free gasoline to avoid damaging the generator after storage. (Ethanol gas separates during storage and can put the engine at risk when starting up.)

He also recommended I purchase a fuel stabilizer like this Briggs & Stratton Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment & Stabilizer (affiliate link) and add it with the fuel (following the amounts suggested on the stabilizer bottle.)

To fill the generator with fuel, unscrew the gas cap from the top of the generator.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour gasoline into the tank.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

You can view the fuel gauge for approximation, but best practice is to fill the tank to the bottom lip.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Be sure not to overfill your generator. The fuel needs some room for expansion. Wipe up any spilled gas from around the tank opening. Firmly twist the gas cap back onto the generator.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Safely Use a Generator:

Make sure to locate your generator on a flat level surface far away from your house (especially away from doors, windows and vents.) The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 has a telescoping handle that makes it easy to roll around. The generator weighs 128 pounds, so lifting it is much easier when you have a helper (look for grips on the bottom of the unit for convenient hand hold locations.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

The generator must be located outside the home. Never use a generator inside your home, garage or basement. Turn the generator so the muffler is pointed away from dwellings. Make sure you have Carbon Monoxide Detectors  (affiliate link) installed inside your home. Keep combustibles at least 5 feet from the generator. Overhanging trees and structures also need to be at least 5 feet away from the generator. (This diagram from the Briggs & Stratton manual is a good visual to show you proper placement.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

To start the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 generator, make sure the QuietPower Technology switch is turned off.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Pull the choke out on the generator.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn the engine switch to the on position.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Firmly pull on the starter handle. You may need to pull a few times for the fuel pump to initially fill the carburetor. Luckily, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 started right up for me on the first pull! (This was a huge relief because normally I have to fight with the lawn mower.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Once the generator has started, press the choke back in.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

To begin using the outlets on the generator, you must turn on the main breaker.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower™ Series Inverter Generator has four standard 120 volt AC, 20 amp outlets, plus two USB ports for charging USB devices (per the manual, Apple devices are recommended to use the bottom USB port.)

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

In addition, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 generator has one 120/240 AC, 30 Amp, locking receptacle. If powering indoor items such as an air conditioner, heater, lights or sump pump, the recommended way to do so is by installing a transfer switch (must be installed by a licensed electrician.)

Connect extension cords to your generator and run them into your home to supply power to several appliances.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Be sure to shut doors and windows behind you and seal any cracks to prevent any exhaust fumes from entering the home.

Use the following chart to gauge the capacity your generator can handle. This will allow you to calculate how many and which appliances you can safely run with your generator. The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 can provide 6,500 watts of starting power and 5,000 watts of running power.

Typical Appliance Usage Chart | Pretty Handy Girl

For added convenience, the Briggs & Stratton Q6500 will show the percentage of power usage on the panel as you connect appliances.  Keep an eye on these indicators and remove an appliance if you reach 100% capacity.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

To reduce the noise on this Briggs & Stratton generator, you can switch the Quiet Power Technology on after your devices are powered.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Safely Store a Generator:

First remove all extension cords and powered devices. Let the generator run for one minute. Shut down the generator by turning the switch to the off position. Turn off the QuietPower Technology switch so you won’t forget to next time you start up the generator.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

When you are finished using your generator, check the oil level and add more as needed. Before storing the generator, it is a good idea to run the gas to empty in the generator. Alternatively, using a fuel stabilizer will allow you to store the generator with gasoline in it.

Check the hoses, fuel tank, spark plug, and spark arrest (screen over muffler) on your generator and replace any parts that show signs of wear and tear. Otherwise, change the air filter and spark plug yearly. Wipe off any debris or dirt from the generator.

Refer to your generator’s manual to determine the maintenance schedule. The Briggs & Stratton Q6500 generator needs its first oil change after the first 5 hours of use. Consecutive changes are yearly or after 100 hours of use (whichever comes first.) Other generators may need oil changes more frequently. Family Handyman has a great article on maintaining and storing your generator.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

Be sure to store excess gasoline in an approved gas container (affiliate link.) The gasoline will keep best if the container is filled and a fuel stabilizer is added. Your generator and excess fuel should be stored in a well ventilated area away from your home. A shed or detached garage are the safest options. If neither of those are available, you can build a small generator “dog house” to cover the engine when not in use.

How to Safely Use and Store a Generator | Pretty Handy Girl

I hope this guide for How to Safely Use and Store a Generator helps you take the plunge to buy a generator or maintain the one you already own. Stay safe!

Giveaway Time

Briggs & Stratton wants to give one lucky winner a $500 Home Depot Gift Card! You could use it toward the purchase of a Briggs & Stratton Q6500 QuietPower™ Series Inverter Generator on HomeDepot.com or toward any home improvement project you’re wanting to take on. Here’s how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions: Winners will be selected at random using Rafflecopter. Briggs & Stratton and Pretty Handy Girl do not personally select winners. Entries must be received by Monday, July 24th, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. Contest open to adults aged 18 and older living within the Continental US. Winner will be notified by Wednesday, July 26th, 2017 via email. Winner must reply to email within 2 days of receiving the notice or an alternate winner will be selected. Please be sure you have [email protected] as an acceptable email address.

Prize will be fulfilled by Briggs & Stratton. Pretty Handy Girl cannot be held responsible for prizes that are not fulfilled by third party companies.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Briggs & Stratton. I was not told what to write or what to say. All opinions are my own. I am very particular about the brands that I partner with. If I don’t love them, I don’t promote them. I will also always disclose when you are reading a sponsored post.

Paint Colors in My Home

I owe you an apology. This post has been on my “to do” list for at least two years. But like many of my “to do” list items, it got pushed back many times.

I get many questions about the paint colors I use in my home. Each color has been chosen to evoke an emotion in the specific room. At this point, I’m very happy with all the colors with one exception. I’ll explain later.

Without any more delay — you’ve waited long enough — here are the paint colors in my home!


Paint Colors in My Home

Mudroom: Benjamin Moore Majestic Mauve

This is actually a color match. I liked the color I used in our old home’s hallways so much, that I used the leftover paint in our new home’s mudroom. Unfortunately, I used up the can and forgot to write down the color. It’s the perfect neutral lavender color. The color picks up some of the purple tones in our faux slate floor.

Laundry Room - Glidden Tropical Surf | Pretty Handy Girl

Laundry room: Glidden Tropical Surf.

 I tried using Glidden paint for a sponsored post years ago. I absolutely love the color, but the paint — not so much. It just doesn’t have the coverage that Benjamin Moore Aura paints have and therefore I had to paint three coats to get good coverage and scrubability without taking off the paint. Many people ask what the valance fabric is. It’s Waverly Pom Pom Play Spa (affiliate link). And the Flow Wall organization (affiliate link) has really held up and gets my stamp of approval!

Kitchen - Cabinets: Sherwin Williams Copen Blue and Benjamin Moore Oxford White - Walls: Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White | Pretty Handy Girl

Kitchen: Sherwin Williams Copen Blue, Aesthetic White and Benjamin Moore Oxford White.

Adjacent to the mudroom is our kitchen. The colors were carefully chosen to be soothing and cheerful. The white color was pulled from the Kith Cabinets as the closest match to the white cabinets and used on all the trim and planks.

You may remember the year long saga of our kitchen. We had a leak and I built it back by myself from the subfloor on up. It was definitely a defining year in my life which has lead to some amazing goals I’ve set for myself.


Living Room: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt.

The living room was the most recent room I painted and this is a color I’ve admired in many bloggers’ homes. The blue/green/gray color blends in perfectly with the kitchen since they share an open doorway. I get many compliments on the color and like how it changes into many hues depending on the weather and time of day.

Powder Room: Sherwin Williams Quietude | Pretty Handy Girl

Powder Room: Sherwin Williams Quietude.

 This is another color match. Oftentimes I’ll mix several leftover paints until I get the desired color. Quietude is a close match and I’ve since seen the same color in a friend’s home and it is almost an exact match.


Dining Room: Benjamin Moore Elmira White. 

This is the first room I painted a light off-white. Previously I thought to have a colorful home you had to have colorful walls. Over time I learned that I had more “color freedom” if the walls were a neutral color and I could change the look of a room by swapping out rugs and fabrics.

Interior Doors - Benjamin Moore Yellow Hilighter | Pretty Handy Girl

Foyer: Benjamin Moore Hilighter and Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White. 

After painting our kitchen walls Aesthetic White I knew I wanted to extend it into the adjacent foyer. This color is the perfect off white but not too fleshy colored. It continues up the stairs and will eventually be painted in our upstairs hallway (another lingering “to do” list item.) The yellow doors was a last minute decision when I was struggling to paint the exterior doors. I ran into an issue with the exterior paint and had to spend 5 days stripping them. I needed some sense of accomplishment so I painted the insides before continuing on the outside. This is the color that greets me every morning and I love it’s sunny disposition.


Exterior: Benjamin Moore Perennial and Sherwin Williams Anonymous.

This is the outside view of those same doors. The color was one I experimented with and had to change twice. Now it’s such a bright and welcoming color that stands out from the traditional black and red doors in the neighborhood. One of the most asked questions I get is “What is your house color?” Sadly I don’t know, but recently matched it with Sherwin Williams Anonymous. The color is a deep warm gray and it doesn’t show dirt or the mildew that plagues our southern local.


Master Bedroom: Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal and Revere Pewter. Dresser: Benjamin Moore Deep Ocean. 

When I set out to paint our master bedroom I had fallen in love with the dramatic look of white furniture against dark gray walls. But, I couldn’t bring myself to darken an entire room with the charcoal color. My compromise was to paint the headboard wall dark, but create an ombre effect leading into a lighter greige. When we are headed to bed, we climb into bed looking at the dark charcoal. But, when we sit up in the morning it is facing the lighter walls. It’s a nice way to set the mood.


Boy’s Bedroom: Benjamin Moore custom color.

Remember how I like to mix paint colors? That’s exactly what I did to get this color. I knew what color I wanted in my mind’s eye. But, I none of the color swatches I brought home were working for me. This gray has a bluish cast, but it’s not harsh or cold. The color works perfectly with the red/white and blue theme in the bedroom.

Bathroom - Benjamin Moore Slate Blue | Pretty Handy Girl

Boys’ Bathroom: Benjamin Moore Slate Blue. 

I painted this room many moons ago and a color was chosen that would transition from childhood to adulthood and never need to be painted again. So far, this paint color has lived up to that goal and acts as a perfect backdrop to the gray and aqua accents in the room. Many ask and sadly I can’t remember where the shower curtain is from. It was either Ross, Marshalls or HomeGoods several years ago. The vanity received a makeover and was painted Valspar Beige Shadow (a good match to Annie Sloan French Linen.) I have a funny story about that branch towel bar. When Better Homes and Gardens came to photograph my home, the art director wanted me to paint the branch white. I flat out refused for many reasons. The main reason was that it was a memento of one of the camping trips my husband and I made to Yellowstone, Acadia, Nova Scotia or somewhere else. It’s funny that it’s a memento and I can’t remember which trip it was from. Regardless, we were young and un-married, but that branch holds many memories and has moved with us many times. I’m sure the movers thought I was nuts for packing up a branch. The other reason I wouldn’t paint it is because it would blend in with the walls. And this branch needs to stand out because it’s not “just a branch” to me.


Guest Room: Ralph Lauren Climbing Lily.

This is the one room in the house that I can add feminine touches. This is my English Garden room and the light green works well with the pink flowers.


Art Studio: Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter 75% strength.

The art and craft room needs a neutral color so as not to influence the colors we use to create. I love the Revere Pewter, but wanted a light color to help bounce more light around the room. Ask your paint person to mix this color at 75% strength and you’ll agree, it’s the perfect greige that doesn’t darken the room.


Home Office: Benjamin Moore Hot Spring Stones. 

I almost left this room off because I’m not thrilled with the color. I painted this room when I began blogging. It’s a big improvement from the dark and dreary color that used to be here. But, I’m still craving more light and a color that has less warmth. At night the color turns a bit fleshy. This is the next room that will get a makeover this year. I plan on adding a much needed window to the back wall where the desks are. I’m also planning on repainting the room (not sure on the color yet. Do you have a favorite paint color?) and adding wall shelving on the same wall as the window.

Final notes: 

I didn’t mention my trim colors. Most of the trim paint is the straight up white paint from the Benjamin Moore Impervo line. But, I’ve fallen in love with our white kitchen cabinet color and have been using Benjamin Moore Oxford white more.

I’m a huge fan of Benjamin Moore (especially their Aura low VOC paint.) But, this past year I’ve been using more Sherwin Williams paint (Pro-Classic and Cashmere.) And although it has a different consistency (not as thick as the Aura), I’m really liking their paint as well.

Paint colors are challenging. They can change color depending on the time of day and the season. If you live somewhere that has deciduous trees, I urge you to never pick a paint color in the winter. The green outside your window the other three seasons of the year can change the look of your paint color. Need some tips on picking the perfect paint color? Read this post.

Any other questions for me? Did I forget anything?


Pin for later!

Questions on home paint colors? Pretty Handy Girl shares all the details on the paint colors in her home | Home Paint Color Scheme #prettyhandygirl #paintcolors #homepaintcolors

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When my sister brought me on to the Topsail Beach condo renovation, she had a laundry list of DIY projects she wanted me to complete. One of them was dressing up the hollow flat doors with moulding panels. She showed me a pin that led to One Life to Love’s DIY beadboard panel doors. After seeing the photo, I knew it would be a great DIY upgrade to make. But, we decided to use real beadboard (instead of beadboard wallpaper) because it had to hold up to the stress of being a rental.

To Begin:

Start by measuring and marking the doors to determine the size of your panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw lines 5″ in from the top and two sides of your door.  Draw the bottom line  6″ up from the bottom. Finally, leave 5″ between the top and bottom panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When marking your doors, use a pencil and level to draw your lines.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

After we had our panel measurements, Caitlin and I headed to Lowe’s. But, she refused to push me in the cart (party pooper!)

DIY Add Molding Panels Flat Door

We pulled some 4′ x 8′ beadboard panels and took them to the lumber cutting area. We gave the Lowe’s employer our measurements and asked him to cut the boards for us. While he cut our beadboard, Caitlin and I gathered the rest of our supplies.

Materials: Read more


Driving two boys and a dog in the Handymobile several times a day can lead to some truly funky odors. The other day I found myself wondering what the latest funk could be attributed to. Was it the stinky socks and shoes left behind from water day at school?

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built in bay window seat with storage tutorialBuilding a Window Seat with Storage in a Bay Window

You know when you dream about the finished product on something that you’ve been planning for a long time? And then you finish and your dream becomes a reality? And you think to yourself, am I still dreaming? All those sentiments and more have been going through my head since I finished the building this built-in window seat with storage in our bay window. This window seat is divine! In fact, I’ve begun calling it the Queen’s seat in the hopes that it will deter any male folks from claiming it in our household.

window seat in bay window

Several of you have asked for the tutorial to build the window seat. I have that for you, but I want to mention that this is a slightly more advanced project. Halfway into writing this tutorial, I realized there was no way I could show you each and every cut, step, and trick without this being the world’s longest blog post/tutorial. If you have some basic carpentry skills (you know how to hammer, nail, use some power tools and you know how to attach a 2×4″ securely to a wall), you should be able to handle this. With that being said, I do want to offer any help if you should have any questions during the process of building this bench, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to help you.

I also want to mention that I did have to move the HVAC vent forward so it came out the front of the window seat. Here’s the tutorial to move a floor vent. I do want to caution you against building over a vent. We have a bookcase that was built over the register and the wood inside grew mold because there wasn’t enough force to blow the air and moisture out the front of the bookcase. Just a warning, don’t take the easy way out.

Basics for Building a Built-in Window Seat in a Bay Window: Read more


Cabinet hardware is akin to the finishing touches on an outfit. It is the jewelry that really catches the eye in a kitchen. I’m not a big jewelry person. I only wear my wedding rings on a daily basis. And I have necklaces and bracelets for the days that I actually change out of my work clothes. But, I’ve never been the type of gal to go ga ga over a diamond.

However, I found myself getting starry-eyed while trying to choose our kitchen hardware. I felt like a kid in a candy store because there were so many choices (and yet so little time.) This week I learned that our cabinets will be arriving at the end of the month. And my designer (who really needs to be my personal assistant) gently asked me, “Have you ordered your cabinet hardware yet?” Gulp…umm no. What I wanted to say was, “Seriously? This is the least of my worries! I need to get the walls finished and a floor in our kitchen before I can even think about bling!” That’s when it dawned on me, a Handy Gal can’t do everything! Especially when it comes to jewelry (it’s just not my strong suit.)

With that in mind, I’m asking for your help. Yes, that means you Ms. “I’m Sitting Here at My Computer Drinking My Coffee While I Watch Pretty Handy Girl’s Kitchen Renovation Updates”! And you may be thinking, heck no, I don’t have time to help her. Here’s the deal, I’m going to show you some of my choices from D. Lawless and you help me choose by leaving me a comment below. Also, did you know that D. Lawless sells a lot more than cabinet hardware?

Knobs and pulls are the least of their offerings! Corbels, hinges, switch plates, drawer slides, hooks, pie safe punched tin, casters, shelf brackets, space savers and much more!

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Can I get a huge cheer and a big raise the roof sign on this project! This was the project that took FOREVER because of a few speed bumps: pneumonia, mono, water leak, mold growth, asbestos discovery, and finally being evacuated from our own house. Slowly but surely I was able to transform our bonus room into an amazingly creative art and craft studio for us to enjoy. I gave you the low down on how easy the Flow Wall was to install yesterday. But, I’ve been teasing you and I know you definitely want to see the after pictures.

Before you get the 10 cent tour, let’s take a look back in time at what the room used to look like: Read more

Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. Read more