Category Archives: DIY

  1. After the Top 6, It’s the Final 4!

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    March 25, 2014 by Amie M

    My Dad is amazing; he is Ron-Stoppable! His skill, cunning and capabilities always astound me. He has such creativity and a mind to see anything is possible out of any supplies. Last week’s episode of Canada’s Handyman Challenge was a study in creativity and building code.

    (Photo credit: Canada’s Handyman Challenge)

    Dad can make good things happen, particularly when supplies are a mammoth pile of pizza boxes. In case you couldn’t tell, the first challenge of last week’s episode was sponsored by Pizza Pizza. The contestants were tasked with making furniture out of pizza boxes. Something must have been in the set water as all six contestants went with living room furniture.

    (Photo credit: Canada’s Handyman Challenge)

    Packing tape came a-flying out and boxes were assembled and disassembled. Dad made a sturdy couch with shaping and comfort in mind. It was well proportioned to a tall person and Dad was one of two to take apart a box and get into a little sculpting.

    At the end of the challenge Dan from Ontario was sent home. He was a great contestant throughout and a very smart and skilled handyman.

    The second challenge of the episode was a task in precision and knowledge. The contestants were given two walls, wire and wallpaper to wire a three-way switch to a sconce and wallpaper the walls.

    Dad has done a million three-way switches and installed lights, but never hung wallpaper. It was going to be good.

    (Photo credit: Canada’s Handyman Challenge)

    The Pop-sicle was cool and collected, wiring the switch and the light was cinch. But Dad had an “aw sh!t” moment and accidentally installed the light box to the wrong side of a stud, and the light was too tight into the corner. And according to the judges his light was upside down. Any rural kid knows it keeps the bugs out that way. Dad wallpapered very well, his paper was well-aligned and cut cleanly. But Dad is a bit of a stickler for precision, and in his application may have squished out a lot of the glue.

    Dad’s excellent wiring job and three-way switch saw him through to the Final Four.

    Chris, the last other member from Team Toba, was the one who went home after this challenge. His light wouldn’t turn on, and unfortunately that was a fail in the eyes of the judges. Chris is another great contestant and has a lot of wonderful things ahead of him as he finishes his carpentry apprenticeship in Winnipeg.

    Tonight’s episode of Canada’s Handyman Challenge is the finale. And the show is bringing in the big guns, Mike Holmes himself. Before you watch it at 10 pm eastern, go vote for my dad as fan favourite.

  2. My Dad is Awesome, But We Already Knew That!


    January 29, 2014 by Amie M


    Thank you to all who supported my Pops by watching Canada’s Handyman Challenge last night. Wasn’t he fantastic? Not only did he blow the judges away by building a rocking horse using only wood and glue with a little rope for the mane, he propelled past the audition competition with his slingshot and then a go-cart style land canoe.

    If you didn’t get a chance to see my old man in action, HGTV Canada has the episode available online.


    I really enjoyed how the show edited Dad and his time on camera. They are doing a great job portraying him as the humble, thoughtful and really intelligent man that he is. Dad never tackles a project without a plan first.



    That’s why as soon as the judges said that they would have to toss a bag of salt, I knew exactly what Dad would build: a wooden balloon launcher. Two sturdy supports, a lightweight cargo basket and a lot of spring in the bungees (also one of Dad’s favourite things, bungees are, along with long underwear) were a given in his design.

    Dad is always thinking of safety first, and that has a lot to do with his history as a 4-H member and 4-H woodworking leader. He is always considering the safest way to make something and how to teach someone how to be safer at what they are doing. He cares a lot.


    When he put together that land canoe, I knew Dad would have the safety of the judges in mind. I also knew he would pull on his shenanigans as a farm boy with Uncle Brad, Uncle Doug and his best friends Uncle Jim and Uncle Cliff. He definitely made a much safer version of what they would have put together out of farm scraps in their teens.



    I think it helped solidify how awesome my dad is in their minds over how they could not break his land canoe. Yes, it had no steering, or brakes, but Dad told me how all of the judges tried to break it and just couldn’t do it.

    I am excited to see what kind of projects and challenges Dad and the other final 16 contestants will have thrown at them in Toronto!

    *All photos are from Canada’s Handyman Challenge

  3. My Daddy’s Going to be on TV!

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    January 28, 2014 by Amie M

    It’s been awhile. But I felt like coming out of hibernation to share some really exciting news with y’all.

    This past June, on Father’s Day (in fact the day after the Jack and Jill Shower in Manitoba), Dad packed up an audition piece made entirely out of one sheet of plywood and wood glue and drove into Winnipeg to audition for Canada’s Handyman Challenge.

    Last week was the premiere of Season 3 for the show, and as exciting as it was, it wasn’t share-worthy because Dad was not on it.

    But tonight, oh tonight, Dad will definitely be seen in the Winnipeg auditions for the show.

    Canada's Handyman Challenge Season 3

    Image via Canada’s Handyman Challenge Facebook page

    Canada’s Handyman Challenge airs at 10 pm Eastern, 9 pm Central, and 10 pm Mountain, 9 pm Pacific on HGTV Canada.

    As Auntie DeeDee put it:  He is the tall dark haired man, lots of grey hair. He brings in a rocking horse.

    Last week, I live texted with Dad my commentary on the show. Apparently I had some amusing musings on the Calgary auditions. I am tempted to venture into Twitter to Live Tweet it, but only if there is enough interest. It would be by the hashtag #mbsilverfox.

    Some of my friends call Dad a silver fox. I just say “Ew, that’s my Dad.”

  4. Friday Finds: Garden Guilt


    May 24, 2013 by Amie M

    A couple weeks ago I caved. On a supply mission to Canadian Tire, I picked up a small flat of pansies, potting soil and compost. I got to work on the front beds at our apartment. They were looking really sad, and I wanted to do some yard work on the lovely days we were having. Out went the weeds, and in went the pansies, all nicely planted into their oases of compost.

    But that’s all I’m doing for the apartment. I have to make sure I don’t buy anymore plants or plant my usual vegetables out there. It’s hard, man! Really hard.

    As hard as it is to stop gardening where we are now, it’s just as easy to dream about our to be yard at the house. But the part that sucks about getting it the first week of July is we won’t be able to have a vegetable garden, or do much yard work before the wedding week/end comes crashing upon our house.

    But I can dream.

    First things first, we will need a lawn mower. Our yard isn’t big, so a reel mower will do. I’ve cashed in all of my Aeroplan miles for Home Hardware gift cards. That will make lawn mower and small purchases much easier when we get the place.

    Then I can dream about patio furniture. Paul and I both like the resin wicker sets we’ve seen in a few places. This one is from IKEA.

    There is already a clothesline at the house, but I’m picture other things to hang. Like a hammock.

    For the garden, when I can eventually get around to it, I plan on getting most vegetable seeds from Cubits. And labelling their location with these awesome plant stakes. The garden will be in raised beds, and done square foot style, à la Karen. But I promised Paul not to take over the front yard with a vegetable garden. He’s worried kids and neighbours might steal our tomatoes.

    We also have for other areas of the yard, like rain barrels, fence up-keep, a cherry tree, and tearing down the eyesore of a giant garage.

    These are just little things to help me keep dreaming of the big picture.

  5. House Colour Palette


    May 14, 2013 by Amie M

    Paul and I have been in house planning mode. One thing we are very keen on is painting. The current owner is on a beige kick, and that will go! We would share the photos of the house from the listing, but feel it is important to maintain the current owner’s privacy.

    We are also aware that our decision to paint the original wood trim will spark a lot of gasps. But once we move in and we show you what the trim is like, you will see why we want to paint it all. There are large knicks, cracks, and messy patching jobs in the high traffic areas. And the look we are going for is much more crisp and calm throughout. The colours we have chosen are all by Behr. And Home Depot is having a sale on Behr paint this week. We may just have to hit that up for the colours we are absolutely sure about.


    As you enter our house (eek! our house!), the pale blue with a touch of purple hallway is very inviting. With trim in frost and eventually chair rail and wainscoting we are going for a traditional look. We want to go a little more saturated in the Living Room and Dining Room. A teal and a green will warm things up, but they are still light enough to not suck in all the light. The muted green in the kitchen will warm up the white cabinets and work well with the butcherblock counters we are planning.


    The Sonata blue downstairs hallway will carry up the stairwell and into the upstairs hallway. The master bedroom will be a calm neutral grey, well accentuated with white bedding and whatever strikes us for colour pops. Paul wants a moody, musical room where his instruments are going to be the standouts. I want a cheerful craft room, a place where my yarn and fabric stashes can be on display. The bathroom currently has black and white floor tiles, a little aqua will calm the space down.


    But one of the first things we are going to do to make the house ours, aside from clean, is paint the front door and put up new house numbers. We are picturing a deep teal, warm and following the colour scheme inside. Eventually we might put shutters up in the same shade.