okay, i’m committing: we’re building our modern shed

The best way to do something is just to decide you’re going to do it. So I am hereby committing (or maybe I should be committed): we’re going to build the ReadyMade MD100 modern shed — the one that we’ve had the plans for since 2005 — this summer. It is time.

Where it’s going:
A rotting pile of wood, I mean, shed that came with our house is coming down so the MD100 can take its place. The good news: The site is already wired for electricity, so we won’t have to do that work ourselves. The wood is literally rotting, so tearing it down should be easy. The not-so-good news: Rats (yes, rats) really love our old shed. There is, um, evidence of that. We’re really going to have to brace ourselves for what we find in the tight, scary dark space between the back of the old shed and a retaining wall.

How we’re building it:
Here’s where the “committed” part comes into play: We’re going to try to do this using all reclaimed materials. Partially out of necessity — our income was cut by a third this year, so buying all-new isn’t really an option. But also because it will be a fun challenge to see what we can find on Freecycle, Craigslist, and at local salvage stores like RE Store and Earthwise.

We’re starting the seplace for materials May 30. Let the stress and fighting begin! –Mary T.

From our partners

i tried caulk singles


I’d been meaning to try Caulk Singles for awhile now — I got a sample last year when they first hit the market. So over the weekend I decided to give one of the 1.25 fl. oz. packages a try, caulking the line where our bathtub meets the floor. One tube would have done the job if the space had been a little more narrow — the Caulk Singles site gives you guidelines on how many packages you’ll need for a typical job. The package was easy to open, the caulk dispensed easily, and it stayed fresh when I closed it up overnight with a bit of tape. But the very nature of the Caulk Singles package is, of course, that you won’t need to go to the same lengths as you do to keep a large tube of caulk fresh, because one application and it’s all gone. The packages press flat, resulting in much less waste than the kind of caulk that requires a gun. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was a little harder to control the dispensing size — tearing off the top means you pretty much take what you get — so I did a lot of touching up in spots where the bead of caulk was much thicker than I’d have liked. Still, it’s a convenient product I will probably try again. Get them for $2 each at Lowe’s. –Mary T.

From our partners

duct tape diy: chair seat quick fix


My dad was one of those men who firmly believed that everything could be fixed with duct tape (often much to the chagrin of my mother). So I must have been channeling him the other day when I busted out a couple of rolls and covered one of my fraying, cat-scratched rattan dining chairs with the stuff. It could have come out looking really bad, but I’m quite pleased with the result, especially the menswear-inspired contrasting stripe. In fact, I’m going to do the other three like this, but I may change up the colors a bit. I think my dad would have been impressed. What do you think? –Megan B.

From our partners

are you a wiz with wd-40?

There are three things that I use WD-40 for most: loosening rusty screws, de-squeaking hinges, and helping unlock frozen car doors. But there are lots more uses — the company lists 2,000 (!) like cleaning crayon from “just about anywhere” or freeing stuck LEGO blocks. Well, now WD-40 is looking for a whole new approach, and they’re willing to pay you for it. They’ve joined Edison Nation in a seplace for a new WD-40 product or innovation to the original brand. If you come up with a great new product idea or use, you’ll win $2500 and a percentage of product sales for up to 20 years. The product seplace ends May 20. Learn more right here. –Mary T.

From our partners

yay, another toilet post!


Okay, okay — it’s water in general, but I knew that would get your attention. Remember our post about how bad soft toilet paper is for trees? That was a popular one. Well, here’s a neat little device at American Standard that shows you how much you could be saving on your water bill if you install some water-efficient fixtures. Yes, American Standard is trying to sell their own of course, but it’s still interesting to get a picture of what you could save, especially if you’re contemplating redoing a bathroom or kitchen (as we are pretty much non-stop). –Mary T.

P.S. You may also enjoy this one: a toilet that promises to make your home “plunger-free“!

From our partners