Beer and Electrical Work

Over the weekend I took some time to work on one of my favorite things: Other peoples projects.

And, trust me, I know I’ve got enough of my own to be working on — there’s forty-eight square feet of chalkboard rightinmyface every time I walk into my house just to remind me– but for some reason it’s so much more fun to work on projects when they belong to someone else.

Particularly when there’s beer involved.


One of my best friends, Erin, bought her very own house a few months ago. You may remember a certain housewarming gift/bucket-of-tools I got her for the occasion, and dammed if she hasn’t already used every single tool I packed into that thing and then asked me what she needed to buy first… a table saw or miter saw.

Excuse me for a minute while I get a little misty-eyed.

Also? Miter saw. Definitely.

I’d ask you to imagine the general state of things a few months after purchasing a fixer-upper as your first home, but most of you have been right where Erin is right now: with half your shit still packed in boxes, one bathroom torn out, fifteen projects scattered around the house in varying degrees of completion, and really ugly light switches.

It can be overwhelming.

E has also racked up nearly a decade’s worth of good-friend points as I worked on my own houses, and there’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t help her do now that she’s got a house of her own. So, after I completed my own little form of house-therapy, I called her up to see what I could do at her place that would make her feel better about her progress and she was all, THESE LIGHT SWITCHES MUST GO.

Yes. Yes they must.

On my way to her place, I stopped at the hardware store and picked up an extra set of the critical tools on my gotta-have list for electrical work to add to her toolbox.
(I mean, that’s my toolbox, but you get the point.)

Then we did exactly what you’d expect a couple of single home-owning ladies to do on a Sunday afternoon…


Drank craft beer and did some electrical work.

If there’s any better way to end a weekend, I sure as hell don’t know what it is.

256 Responses

  1. I really would love to paint some rooms in my house. They’re still builder grade ugly antique white yellowish and adding color would cheer me up!

  2. Well, i need to tape and bed all the walls in my 9 room house. i have walls up….but need to cover those holes and seams. sigh!! no one wants to help with the non-fun stuff. i ordered 7 more windows today. the fun never ends.

  3. Love your blog ! and your attitude . Need to redo my kitchen floor , we did cabinets ,counters & window in the fall – left the floor ’cause I LIKE IT – but now it just looks old and sad .

  4. Currently my little/big project is building my dining room table. I have been out of college a year now and I still have all of the “College” dorm room type furniture. Your blog has inspired me that girls can rock power tools, but dammit I never thought I would need a bar clamp that extends over 6 feet! This table is going to be the symbol of my life for many years to follow.

  5. I need to re-do the water heater flashing around it’s vent pipe, up on our roof. Ever since the roofers replaced the shingles two years ago, it leaks in the winter time.
    They were out to fix it once, but, apparently, they didn’t–as it was leaking again last week.
    So it’s DIY time! can’t wait to get up there after the snow is melted.
    to tide me over ’til then, in the spirit of DIYDiva–I bought an oscillating tool! 🙂

  6. I took a class at Home Depot on tiling and would love to put it towards tiles so I can officially become a DIY diva;)

  7. My husband and I have been fixing up our house for the past 10 years, so a lowes card would be awesome to help finish off a bathroom redo

  8. We’ve just moved! I am trying to finish my daughter’s room first. All It Needs Now Is A Sweet Light Fixture! 🙂

  9. I would love to get the d*** radiator in my daughters extra room to work. It will soon be my first grandchild’s room!

  10. I would love to replace our kitchen sink faucet with one that has a pullout sprayer.

  11. Paint….I need paint. My current house is a lovely beige. Everything is beige. Walls, carpet, trim, outlets, switches, counters, tile, everything. I would love to put some color in my house.

  12. Renting takes a bit of fun out of the whole DYI kicking ass thing but I have made a lot of the furniture in my house.. including beds, tables, cubbies, garage shelves and a ginormous chalkboard calendar/to do list thing..thanks for the inspiration on that one) Next up? a custom desk for my daughter.. oh and a new compresor.. could really use a new one of those…

  13. Oh where to start,..
    My main project at my house this year will probably be taking out a horrible 1960’s aluminum window and replacing it with a French door to my patio, which is what was obviously there once upon a time… I also have a half-finished pond in the backyard, a huge friggin fence to paint, trim around three garage doors, and oh yeah, replacing all the cheap plastic door molding and baseboards I tore out of my basement about 8 years ago. I also badly need to paint my cabin this summer, and finish painting the backside of my Victorian rental.

  14. I would love to finish my b&b! I have not been able to do so because I have jumped midstream to paint and make improvements on my sister in law’s kitchen. Somehow it just seemed like so much more fun to wreck her kitchen and put it back together. Sick, I know!

  15. I would love to get started on my kitchen cabinets…or the floor…or the countertops…Well, you see where I’m going with this. We’re gearing up to get started on our kitchen remodel, and need all the help we can get!

  16. I’d really like to paint my stairs and put down a runner. They are in pretty rough shape right now…

  17. I’d like to install dimmer switches in our rooms upstairs so that we can keep the lights down while migrating the hallways with the baby we have coming in the next couple of weeks. We put one in downstairs and it wakes up the kids way less when we go down to warm up milk, putting them upstairs would be s small change with a big impact.

  18. I just bought my first home and have a blue toilet and bathtub accented with pink tile half way up the walls situation that needs to be addressed. I’d used the gift care for some new tile!

  19. I need to build a wall/box kind of thing to hide my Saniflush macerating unit behind my toilet. Ugh….It would be awesome to have this project finished.

  20. My dryer is in the middle of my house directly across the hall from my thermostat. As you can guess it screws with my heating and cooling and runs my electric bill up! Moving w/d to garage. The gift card would help. Lowe’s almost ownes my home. Thanks!

  21. I’m trying to figure out how to cut the trim for my new staircase. If I win, I’ll be buying an angle finder for sure!!

  22. I need to get my diy light fixture in the dining room done, so I can get that CB2 box with the little glass globes in it the heck out of my kitchen after 3 months of sitting there! I need some electrical supplies, so Lowes would come in handy…

  23. So, I went looking for plans to build a picnic table….(long story, but the short of it is: the place I work at had a cheap (expensive to replace) plastic picnic table and when a company came in to do snow removal this winter they wrecked it – so I am building us a new one), and found your site. I have just spent the last 3 hours reading your posts! Love your site! I also love knowing that I am not the only girl out there who owns (and knows how to use) more power tools than any of the guys I’ve ever met!

  24. The list is sooooo long but I think lumber would be a great help. Seems like everything on the list needs lumber for some part of the project. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Hmmm. Where would I start with a $50 gift card. Well, I have to finish my kitchen, so it could go toward grout for the new tile backsplash that I am planning to put in any. day. now.

  26. I’m in Florida so gardening started here. I cleaned out a bed that is just waiting for new plants!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  27. Definitely being able to get some lighting in our bathroom (hi, we really have no lights) would make such a huge impact!

  28. What project would have the biggest impact??? Where would I start? Living in a 1900 Victorian farmhouse in Colorado with no insulation, most things original and more problems than solutions, ANY project completed would be a huge improvement. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! You have no idea how motivated you keep me to get through the tough times. THANK YOU!

  29. Replacing ugly light switches is high on my list of current projects – I am taking a Basic Home Maintenance class at the local voc-tech and we just finished the segment on electrical, so I’m feeling like I’m ready to start making our switches pretty!

  30. Purchased my first home 4 months ago and have bit by bit been fixing it up. A few cosmetic things until spring time…..I really could use this gift card to start replacing the ugly door knobs and hinges on the interior door and get rid of the ugly brass!!! Have already replaced all the light switches to pretty bright white and painted baseboard. So much to do so it is so much fun!!!

  31. Renovating a house.. That means sub-floor, studs, drywall, flooring, cabinets, and paint. Lots and lots of paint. 🙂

  32. Lord have mercy! Anything in my kitchen would be a VAST improvement and might actually make me want to change the rest of it.

  33. I really want to get a few open shelves installed in our tiny kitchen to add some much-needed storage space

  34. I would love to put the finishing touches on the kitchen I remodeled (in 2009!!) I am THE QUEEN of 85%-finished-projects!

    I just found your blog a couple of months ago, and I’ve since read the entire thing from the beginning to now. I find that after a 5-year project funk, I am totally inspired to start working on my house again, and I want to say THANK YOU!!

  35. Organization systems for my cabinets! We live in 1,000 square feet and every inch counts when it comes to space. If I could just make my limited storage work smarter…

  36. Project I’m just dying to have completed: getting the undercabinet LEDs installed in my kitchen. What’s stopping me? I first need to move a 22cf fridge with about 1/4″ of clearance on all sides. It’s not an impossible hurdle, but one that I look at every single time and think “god I don’t want to spend hours unloading my fridge, moving it 4 feet, cleaning it, moving it back and putting all my food back into it.”

  37. I’d love to shave down my doors just that little tad so that they won’t keep getting stuck!

  38. We’ve been working on our house since we moved in a little over a year ago. Next on our list in painting our kitchen cabinets!

  39. I don’t think I have any little projects – everything feels major! :-). I’m sure I could think of something, given the right motivation *coughgiftcard*.

  40. Painting our mantle and fireplace surround would really make the living room look more polished. Actually, painting anything in our house would make it look more polished.

  41. So many projects, so little time…. I’d love to just get my garage organized so I had more room to park my car. But garage organization, although high on the to-do list, is really low on the fun list.

  42. Time to get some organizers for closets and pantries at my house! Also, need a sink in my laundry room.

  43. I’ve been wanting to build some floating shelves in the bathroom to replace the ugly, rickety wire shelf thing over the toilet. It’s a simple fix but need the extra motivation to buckle down and do it.

  44. To finish the threshold project on the pine flooring installed 2 years ago. All I need is a counterbore. You’d think one of us would remember to get one during our weekly trips to the DIY store.

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