As featured in


Jul 162013

A lot of my DIY knowledge came from my father. He taught me at a young age that French cleats are not shoes, tire irons do not flatten tires, and doing things myself can bring satisfaction. I held onto those tattered old Family Handyman books for years before passing them on to one of my sons. But now the Internet is a cornucopia of websites that cater to the DIY-er. From plumbing to roofing, you can find help with your own projects. Make sure you are taking instructions from pros, but don’t discount the sites that hold beautiful little nuggets of experience from those DIY-ers who have gone before you

  1. I have to start with a classic. This Old House is a new-age version of the still-running PBS program of the same name. I must admit I was a Norm Abrams groupie back in the day, and I still look for Tom Silva’s expertise in online videos. This website is the go-to place for information on installing sump pumps, repairing toilets or drywall and restoring floors to their original lustrous condition. In the TV series, the team tries to stay within budget on large projects, but rarely succeeds. This site doesn’t focus on the cost as much as the idea of doing the job yourself. Make sure you create a budget for your own projects, because small parts can add up to big dents in the piggy bank.
  2. DIY Network includes videos that explain how to paint your garage floor, remove popcorn ceilings and make bathrooms pop with individuality. Budget projects can be found on this site, but the resulting costs are often beyond my own personal checkbook. It is a great jumping-off point for ideas, though.
  3. Pop Sci is the online equivalent of Popular Science Magazine. I love this site. It has its own quirky, nerdy feel. You can find instructions on making a dog door that unlocks with a bark, create a machine that copies DNA (really) by using a light bulb, or find out how to charge your electronics by riding your bicycle. Not your cup of, well, DNA? You can also get the scoop on a DIY musical instrument challenge, find a number of uses for pie tins or learn how to make a light saber that would make any Jedi proud.
  4. Homesessive will become an obsession. Find out how to make your own shower curtains or slipcovers, clean grout or fix a squeaky door hinge, remove wallpaper or prep a room for painting. The site also focuses on crafts like door wreaths and decorative painting techniques.
  5. Although is a store-centric site that sells its own products, you can find great how-to guides here. The instructionals are categorized by activity types under the Ideas and How-Tos tab, making it easy to navigate. You can design, organize, create or maintain all the areas of your home. Some projects listed are a sandbox for the kids, painting the exterior of your home, organizing the entryway and building a freestanding pantry.

image by Grant Cochrane,

Rosie Wolf Williams

Rosie Wolf Williams was born into a thrifty family. One of five children, Rosie learned at an early age to save without being miserly. Having fun is an important part of life, too! Her parents use to say, "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without." The mom of two adult sons, Rosie has spent her life saving, spending wisely. She owns her own fixer-upper (paid in full) and creates multiple streams of income, from part-time seasonal jobs to cashing in cans for the deposit. Now single, she's always looking for ways to live within her means and, as she says, "beat the man!" A freelance writer for nearly 20 years, Rosie has written for Woman's Day, U.S.A. Weekend, Boys' Life, AARP the Magazine, and Creative Living.

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