“Girl” DIY and Tools: We can do it!

Perhaps that should say “Woman”? Or better yet “Womanly”!

I don’t know about you, but I was raised in a family/generation where women can do anything men can do! This is true. (There I said it. No one can say I didn’t.)

However, when it comes to PHYSICAL strength: Men win every time. (Assuming the man is in good physical form ;) )

Allow me to paint you a picture so there is no confusion over my meaning:

  • I am a girl (Woman)
  • Wear a size 6 shoe
  • Wear a size 5 wedding ring (and the damn thing won’t stay on my finger sometimes)
  • I am a bit wider through the middle (aren’t we all?), but I am tiny…

Hubby is:

  • A boy (Man)
  • Wears a size 15 shoe (seriously, those things are sleds!)
  • Wears a size 15 wedding ring (Not kidding)
  • He thinks he is a bit wider through the middle (but he is not ;) ) He IS huge and because he lifts weights every day: most of “the middle” is muscle.

I am gonna stop myself right here and point out that even if I worked out twice as much as Hubby, I would still never be as physically strong as him. He can bench 365 pounds! The women’s world record for raw bench pressing isn’t even that high! We can’t deny it: genetics and evolution have spoken. Men are (or can be) physically stronger than women.

In this case: Hubby’s extra foot of leverage and probably another 75 pounds of muscle (not exaggerating on that one…) gives him a distinct advantage in many aspects of life and for our purposes: DIY.

Additionally, my right shoulder (my dominate one) is bad. I slipped on some ice a few years back, tried to catch myself on a handrail and hyper extended it. Surgery and a years worth of physical therapy later and I’ve permanently lost about 25% of the strength from my hand all the way up to my shoulder. Honestly, there are some things I just can’t do anymore, i.e. using a drill to force a screw into a stud above my shoulder height. I simply can’t get the leverage. STUPID SHOULDER!

Even without being “tiny” or having a bad shoulder there are still some tools I simply couldn’t do DIY without and some I’ve just become really attached to. This post is about those tools and how they make “being a girl”, who does DIY, easier.

DIY Goddess’s Favorite Tools

The Box

The DIY box

I have no idea where this box came from (I think it came with the house?), but it is often my bestest friend! Standing on top of it I gain at least a foot of height (without having to climb up and down from, or balance on, a ladder) and somehow it is just the perfect height to sit on when doing projects closer to the floor like moulding or painting wall border.

What is with the tape and the message you might ask? Lately, I’ve been doing some flooring repairs and as there is no bottom on this box, so it makes the perfect cover for those repairs while they are drying. The kids (or Hubby) don’t move it and it keeps the animals from accidentally disturbing the repair.

Hubby has a penchant for “throwing out useless items” (It’s okay, he is probably the only thing keeping me from becoming a hoarder…) and more than once over the years I’ve pulled this box out of the “dump load” at the last possible second (MY BOX!) However, of late he has acquired a new appreciation for “MY BOX” so I don’t think that will be an issue any more.

Hubby on "MY BOX"

Hubby on “MY BOX”

The Wet/Dry Vac

Shop vac with Stanley floor attachment

Okay, this is a “Shop Vac”, but only because I recently replaced my Stanley vac. (I like the Stanley Vac better, but I got tired of not being able to find bags for it and having to order them online…) That is, however, a Stanley floor attachment that I can’t find the equal to (I own 6 floor attachments and this is the ONLY one I like).

Funny story: I broke that floor attachment when I was cleaning in my garage and a HUGE SPIDER came running at me and I tried repeatedly to smash it with the attachment. I killed the spider (thank god!), but I busted the connector… Told ya I was a girl! Anyway, I taped it up and it still works well enough.

Wet/dry vacs are amazing! I honestly don’t use any other vacuum in my home. It (with the Stanley attachment) is perfect for my wood floors (My house is 98% hardwood flooring) and when people compliment me on how nice my wood floors look (how to do you keep them looking so clean?) I tell them I use a shop vac. (oh the raised eyebrows I get!). Seriously though, I just hook up my floor attachment and it just rolls along after me as I vacuum. The suction is amazing and I have yet to meet its equal in filtration.

I’ve owned a dozen “house vacuums” and they smell after a while, constantly have to be emptied and I always feel like they just throw dust around my house (which is SO obvious when you don’t have carpet…). Not the shop vac though, When I am done vacuuming: all the dust and pet hair is gone, there is no smell and I know there is still plenty of space left in the bag for the next job.

These vacs are super versatile too! I have used one (along with a spray bottle full of diluted upholstery soap) to shampoo my couches, my dining room chairs, rugs, and to DETAIL MY CAR! (Have you seen those little detailing attachments for shop vacs? They work when when you are using the vac in wet mode too ;) )

Needless to say, these vacs are also great for DIY. All that great filtration and stuff is reasuring when you are sanding in the house with your kids and pets, not to mention the capacity and the super suction for getting in cracks and such. Yup, the shop vac is easily one of my favorite tools; both as a homemaker and a DIY Goddess.

MY Caulking Gun

Caulking gun

This one might seem a bit obvious, but we own 4 caulking guns and this one is the only one I will use. It never has any “over-spill” (when you let go of the trigger and it just keeps oozing…), and, somehow, it just feels right in my hand and the handle isn’t difficult to squeeze (important since I lost all that strength in my hand and am “a girl”) Plus, is there anything more satisfying than emptying a tube of caulking, wrenching back the plunger and getting that, oh so satisfying, wrenching noise, like you are cocking a shotgun or something?

Me and my gun gettin’ er’ done!

This photo of me was originally posted to Facebook with that caption. It is safe to say: This goddess is armed and dangerous!

The Dremel

Dremel in DIY

A few years back, this was the ONLY thing I asked for at Christmas and Hubby delivered (Ladies, it helps when you make it easy on a man ;) )

I never stop finding uses for this thing and between the fact that it has variable speeds and that Dremel keeps coming out with new attachments and upgrades for it … I don’t think I will ever stop having a need for it.

  • When we worked on our bathroom, I bought a cutting bit for it, which make getting our shelves up A LOT easier.
  • We filled some gaps in our wood flooring after taking out an interior wall and I could not have made the new boards rest flush without this thing…
  • Last week I used it to carve Shrek and Fiona ears out of styrofoam to make costumes for a friends birthday party.

Shrek and Fiona costume ears carved from styrofoam with a dremel

The possibilities for this thing are endless and I’ve actually been pretty impressed with the battery life. It certainly gets the job done.

The Sander


Yet another item I am not sure where came from …(maybe it came with the house?) The sander seems like a “duh”, but it becomes so much more important/useful/necessary when you don’t have big muscles on your arms and shoulders (and even in your hands) to push around a piece of sand paper….

Seriously, I’ve been on a 100 DIY websites and watched videos (not to mention been lectured by Hubby) about how important it is to hand sand some things … blah, blah, blah. I AM A GIRL. Your big muscles may be able to hand sand that project in 5 minutes, but if, after 30 minutes of hand sanding, my project doesn’t look near done and my ARM IS DONE for the day… Let’s just say I’ve learned how to wield this baby with a “hand sanding touch”.

Please be warned: It took me YEARS and many ruined projects to learn to use this thing with a light enough touch to qualify as hand sanding. AND there are things I ONLY hand sand. When in doubt follow the advice of those with experience, and save “practicing” and “experimenting” for projects you can afford to make mistakes on. That is all. Lecture over.

Everybody Laugh at Susie (It’s okay, really) 

Girl DIY tools

These never leave my toolbelt

We are talking about girl tools, right? Seriously, I saved these for last because not only are they funny (done laughing yet?), but I use them CONSTANTLY.

Ever wonder how to get that tape off in a smooth line around the moulding or clean up edges around … anything? These are what I use. I should have a picture of my wire toothbrush thingy too, but I was hesitant to include that as it is super easy to do more harm than good with it and without even realizing it (I did yesterday :( )

Whether you are using a chop saw, a power drill, or pair of high end tweezers, use your tools with caution and precision. It is easy to get over-zealous or over-confident and make mistakes, ruin your project or even hurt yourself or others… Use your safety goggles, dust masks, protective gloves and when in doubt, do more research, practice first, ask for help or hire a professional.

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