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Creative gifts for your DIYer

By Kay Reynolds
The Virginian-Pilot - December 10, 2006

HOW MANY HAMMERS does one person need? There are more gifts than tools to be found for your favorite DIYer during the season of giving. Let's explore the possibilities:

Expand the library

Nothing beats curling up with a book to linger over potential projects.

First, check out "House Beautiful's Storage Workshop," published by Hearst Books. Whether you live in a mansion or apartment, everyone can use more storage. "Storage Workshop" gives advice on how to get started and take control of your space. From bookshelves to kitchen cabinets, you'll find plans. Cost is $24.95.

Wall Wizard Brian Santos' "Painting Secrets" can help a novice learn how to paint like a pro. You'll find instructions on how to ready the room, repair drywall, plaster, concrete and brick, clean stains, and remove wallpaper. Detailed steps also illustrate color and paint selection, painting techniques, cleaning and storage of paint and tools, and creating effects. For more advanced painting techniques, there is Brian Santos' "Faux Finish Secrets." Both retail at $19.95 each and are published by Meredith Books. Available in local bookstores, they can also be ordered at

We also like Sunny Goode's "Paint Can" from Sterling Publishing Co. Goode has her own line of water- soluble colour washes, glazes, stencils and paint kits available at Kits include DVD or VHS instructional videos and "Deck-O-Rator Cards," plastic transparencies you can hold up to a wall to see how a color glaze will look in the room.

"Paint Can" offers tips on how to bring style into every room. It's great for weekend projects that can be done alone or with friends and family. Find Goode's book at her Web site or at area book stores. Cost is $24.95.

Even tough guys can use "The Tuff Chix Guide to Easy Home Improvement" by Paige Hemmis. Hemmis, known by her pink tool belt, has been seen on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." She is a self-taught handywoman who believes anyone can handle home fix-its and maintenance.

Hemmis' "Tuff Tips" include fixing clogged toilets and sinks, replacing light switches and dimmers, installing dead bolts, patching leaks, laying tile, cleaning gutters, and patching walls. Cost for the book is $16. It is a Plume Book; find more details - or order - at (Visit and order a pink tool belt in pleather or canvas for $39.95.)

Wow with art

Nothing brings a chill to a room like naked walls. Art makes a home and, now you can combine digital photo talents with large canvas prints for a personal gift. It's easy to order at

Select a design - such as an old fashioned comic, vintage watercolor, film strip or Warhol-like pop - choose a price (starts at $138) and upload the digital image you want transformed. They do the rest.

Beautiful entrances

'Tis the season to decorate and what better way to start than at the front door? Organic Bouquet has a wide collection of eco-wreaths, both decorative and culinary that make thoughtful gifts.

Unique designs include an 18-inch Snowflake wreath (right) of fresh organic Shore Pine and Douglas Fir pinecones for $59.95.

A Savory Bird Swag is perfect for gardeners. Made from naturally grown millet and other greens, it makes a decorative bird feeder or can be displayed inside. About 24-inches long, the cost is $57.95.

Find these wreathes and others at www.OrganicBouquet. com.

You could also surprise your hubby or wife with a new door by Jeld-Wen. That's a great accessory for a holiday wreath. Jeld-Wen offers a line of styles in wood, fiberglass and steel.

Prices range from $300 for a nice entry unit with good curb appeal to $5,000 for a custom system.

The doors must be special ordered, but you'll find information about Jeld-Wen at 84 Lumber Co., (757) 465-8403; Virginia Sash & Door, (757) 627-7001; Norfolk Sash & Door, (757) 255-3142; and Stock Building Supply, (757) 543-6836.

Also find information at

Save a penny, build a kitchen

Help your building buddy start saving for a new bathroom, floor replacement or landscaping project. The Nest Egg from J Schatz (pictured on the cover) is an elegant, ceramic bank that can help save for the next DIY project.

It comes in brilliant colors including orange peel, aqua, sun yellow and red hot. It also has the capacity to hold 307 quarters, 559 dimes, 278 nickel and 1,350 pennies. The Nest Egg retails at $85 and can be ordered at, or call (866) 344-5267.

Let it flow

Is it too chilly to enjoy your outdoor water feature? Make one for indoors and let it brighten the room (See instructions at right). The Beckett Container Fountain Kit, retailing from $24.99 to $29.99, is an all-in-one kit that can be used to craft a fountain to suit any style or special occasion.

Beckett products can be found at Home Depot and Lowe's Home Improvement stores.

Tools and gadgets

If you're still set on gifting tools, consider these:

Want that screwdriver personalized? Choose up to two lines and 12 characters to personalize select Craftsman tool sets, socket wrench sets and ratchets by calling (800) 377-7414. This is an ideal way to identify tools and keep track of what has been loaned out. Laser-etched nameplates for storage, chests and cabinets are also available.

The new battery in the Craftsman Lithium-Ion Screwdriver will remain charged for up to 18 months. The drill has a 2-position pivoting handle, integrated work light, and a 22-position, adjustable torque clutch. It includes two double-end bits, a 21-piece bit set, case and charger. The cost is $39.99; the model number is 11316.

The 48254 Craftsman Indoor/Outdoor Measuring Tool is capable of measuring distances up to 150-feet away. It features point-to-point sonar measuring capability that measures in feet or meters. It works in a variety of lights and can even make measurements with partially obstructed views. The cost is $39.99.

The new Craftsman Digital Level is available in 9 or 24 inches, priced respectively at $49.99 or $69.99. What this means is you don't have to stare at a bubble in a tube to be sure a shelf is level.

The digital technology displays the angle down to one-tenth of a degree. You can calculate angles, slope, percent of grade or calibrate to custom angles with the push of a button. A large LCD screen is visible in dark and light conditions. Both levels feature a laser guide to reference points up to 100 feet away.

Craftsmen tools can be found at K-Mart stores as well as Sears. Items can also be ordered at

Stanley's new items include the FatMax Mobile Project Center, a portable work space that folds up for easy storage and travel. It has a UL-listed electrical socket for use of up to three power tools. Adjustable clamps have rotating handles and special inserts allow you to keep power tools handy while you work on the 34 inch surface. Cost is $109.

If a new hammer is a must, check out Stanley's FatMax Xtreme Antivibe Hammer. Features include a magnetic nail starter, checkered striking face to help "grip" the nail head, and wear-and- slip-resistant grip. Stabilizing bars inside the handle reduce torque and the patented AntiVibe feature minimizes hand-wrist impact stress.

Hammer weights are 16, 20, 24, 26 and 28-ounces; prices range from $19.90 to $34.90.

Stanley tools are available at home improvement centers and department stores, including Lowe's, Home Depot, Robbies, Ace Hardware and Taylor's Do-It Center.
Contact Kay Reynolds at 446-2640 or
Originally published in the December 10, 2006 issue of The Virginian-Pilot

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