merrypad | inspiring homeowners to embrace a DIY lifestyle


Sugru Giveaway!

June 13, 2011   //  Posted in: DIY, Tools   //  By: Emily   //  31 responses

Over in these here parts, we’re starting Dad Bonanza 2011, the week long countdown to the best family picnicking holiday of June, Father’s Day. We’re rolling out the grill (so Dad can cook for us), hauling home the mulch and topsoil (so Dad can finish planting those annuals for us), heading to some fairs (so Dad will buy us lots of cotton candy and tickets to ride questionably-safe ferris wheels), and stocking him up with all kinds of new gadgetry (so that he can make us stuff).

Of course the best thing you can stock Dad (or Baby Daddy, or just your man) up with this summer might just be some fine, fine Sugru, which, ta-da! is exactly who is rockin’ our socks with this-right-here giveaway!

Smart Hacks Super PackYou. Are. Totally. Welcome.

Sugru is a malleable silicone that enables a plethora of projects, as it’s water-resistant, tolerable of both heat and cold, and adheres to almost any surface you could think of. It allows you to customize your life, and make what you own last longer.

I’m serious when I say that Dad’s going to love this supply you win him all summer long; each pack in the set comes with 12 different individual packets (which I never really thought of in the context of “tiny pack” until right now), and in a whole array of colors on top of that (white will actually be included too, in addition to the selection in that image above).

We’ve been raving about the stuff since we first got our sticky little fingers into the shiny metallic packaging; there are lots of great examples of the product in action over in the Sugru gallery. If you want to check out some of my own recent Sugru projects, you should see what I made for the centerpiece, the TV, the camera, and the starfish.

But what we really want you to do is enter to win 1 of 5 Smart Hacks Super Packs of Sugru.

(That’s right. 5 winners, 5 chances to win, can I get a woo-hoo?)

Two ways to enter:

1. Leave us a comment on this post (tell us what Dad might want to hack!)


2. Tweet this: Make Dad’s summer more awesome by entering to win a Super Pack of Sugru at @merrypad. #dadslovesugru

We’ll be accepting entries until 10PM on Friday 6/17, which means you have over 100 hours to get your entries in this week. We’re sure that’s enough time.

P.S. Not that you wouldn’t win or anything, but you should know that starting this week, Sugru is supporting local US shipping, meaning it should be a whole hack of a lot easier to get the product state-side! (Yes, that was an intentional hack joke.)

P.P.S. Why don’t you follow @projectsugru while you’re at it.


I’m Chipper For This Chipper

June 10, 2011   //  Posted in: Gardening, Other Pads, Tools   //  By: Emily   //  6 responses

New treescaping obsession?

The wood chipper.

Chip, chip away. Shout-out to Connor's Hot Dog Stand Class of 2005 in that shirt.

I’m a self-professed landscaping tool virgin, never really having had an opportunity to use light- or heavy-duty yard outdoor power equipment like the common rototiller, chainsaw, backhoes, bull dozers… I’ve never even used a riding lawn mower even though my parent’s mowable lawn was 1+ acres (nor have I sped through the yard on one full speed like Handy Girl in this video tutorial, which is a good watch if you want to know how to make zig-zags in your lawn) but I think I’m hooked. Shocker, I know.

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I volunteered to help Pete + his parents with some treescaping (which I’m happy to find is totally google-able and not just a word I made up); it was sunny and warm and sure thing I was up for a little outdoor action. They had cut down a bunch of tree limbs to bring more sunlight into the yard and porch (which made a world of a difference, BTW, although I didn’t snap any photos of that before + after so you’re going to have to trust me). To get rid of said limbs, we were tasked with grinding the branches with the wood chipper, which is something I now know anyone with significant property would enjoy owning.

Their’s was a handsome Troy-Bilt model. Any more details on that will need to be provided by Pete. Contact him yourself if you want. I can tell you superficially that it was red. And loud. And chipper. Har-har.

Man chipping. I love this wood chipper.

How much fun can hacking apart dozens upon dozens of branches be?

Amazingly fun – that’s the answer you were looking for.

And don’t get all lazy or “Wah, I’m too busy” on me until you at least try it; cutting down branches with a hack saw and chopping logs for the fireplace with a totally manual ax? That sounds hard (and I’ve also never done it, but I’d try it). This was easy. It was therapeutic too, like vacuuming with a Dyson and watching all of the dirt, dog fur, and dust gather in the transparent canister, except that instead of fur and dropped crushed tortilla chips, it was regurgitating finely grated mulch (that smelled quite similar to a wheat grass smoothie since the chipper was also nom-nom’ing green maple leaves).

After 3 hours and hundreds of branches (big and small) we had a sizable stash of mulch, which of course now I’m wondering how we could dye dark brown and recycle into the garden. Have ideas? Pass them on to me; I haven’t actually done the research yet but there has to be something out there for mulch-tinting.

Oh, and I keep making a big (flowery) stink about the (lack of) Peonies in my own yard. Just like a friendly reader commented a few weeks ago, it seems that my little plants needs another good year to root themselves before they give me the blossoms I’m craving. In the meantime, though, Pete’s mom’s Peonies are AMAZING (and stand as high as my chest). Yep, so amazing that it deserves a bold and underline. You might have seen this picture over the weekend if you like me on facebook:

Peony happies.

And Pete uploaded another photo to the facebook page yesterday, as the blooms had fully wham-bam-exploded. I love these flowers.

That's what I'm talkin' about.

P.S. I updated the before + after section of the site. This house rules.

P.P.S. Another giveaway is coming on Monday, and it’s my biggest yet! Five possible winners! Hear that, now?

P.P.P.S. Remember to like merrypad on facebook so you can see more random photos of our activities that don’t always make it onto the blog.

A Twisted Light + A Refresher

June 09, 2011   //  Posted in: DIY, Entryway, Lighting   //  By: Emily   //  11 responses

I had an urge to update the front porch light yesterday. It was just one of those totally-out-of-the-blue idea initiated by a realization that the existing light needed a good cleaning – I’m weirded out when bugs die inside light fixtures and then bake by the lightbulb as they lay on the glass.

Focus in on the light above the porch. And then say Hi to Codester and admire my reflection in the glass.Wait a minute, why would that light ever be installed at an angle? This makes no sense. Yes, I really did just notice this as I was taking the shot. It’s not close to being aligned with the beadboard ceiling and not close to being at an even 45-degree angle. What gives?

Twisted light from beneath.I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t know exactly why the old homeowners made some of the fixes they did (interior doors serving as exterior doors, floor trim as door trim, oddly angled porch lights, etc). Anyways, I was taking the glass off to clean it up and de-bug the whole situation (and simultaneously paint the black frame to give it a little somethin’-somethin’) but once the encasement was removed I realized I could probably adjust this light easy enough by myself.

Light fixture encasement, down.

I guess I lucked out though, because as I was prepared to take the whole base down and reinstall it at a new angle, I realized I could just twist the base an inch counterclockwise and fix the problem. And throw a new energy efficient bulb into the mix. I also removed some of the crumbling insulation, and by remove, I mean to say that it spontaneously self-ejected itself from the lamp base all over my hair and tank top. Itch city.

Twa-la. Same light, new angle.But as I was sayin’, I really did want to give the newly straightened out and cleaned light a little boost, and like many projects, that boost came from a fresh coat of paint. The same Behr Exterior 2-in-1 paint that I used on the front door, actually. A little matchy-matchy idea that I wasn’t sure would fly, but it was just paint, so why not try? (Rhyme-y!) If you want specifics, this is Mixed Berry Jam (UL100-21) in an oh-so sultry satin base.

Purple paint going onto the old light.Lots of blue exposing itself along the rim of that paint lid, huh? I wish I had an in-house paint mixer (not just shaky arms).

And within just a few hours (it was humid so it took a bit longer to try) it was back up. Looking fresh, right? There’s seemingly nothing I can do to hide that loopy bulb… besides maybe finding more foggy glass. At least when the light isn’t on you can’t see it so obviously.

Updated light, back up.

I love the power of paint. It does look kind of dorktastic matching the door like this, but I’ll leave it for a bit and see what happens.

Purple light, purple door.