Author Archives: Caitlin Castelaz

Enter Bob Vila’s “Get Your House Painted” Give-Away—TODAY!

Enter today and every day in May for your best chance of winning $5,000 from HYDE Tools to put toward your next paint job!

May is a great month to paint your house. For most of the country, the April rain clouds have vanished and it’s not too hot to work outdoors. But no matter when you paint, you can be sure it’s a lot of work—or a big expense, if you’re hiring someone to handle it on your behalf. That’s why we teamed up with our friends at HYDE® for this month’s “Get Your House Painted” Give-Away. This is your opportunity to win up to $5,000 towards professional house painting.


Today and every day in May (from noon EST Wednesday, April 30th through 11:59 am EST Saturday, May 31st), you can enter to win up to $5,000 from HYDE® to put towards your next paint job. See Official Rules below.

Get Your House Painted Give-Away


HYDE® makes painting easy with their extensive line of tools for both interior and exterior projects. From scrapers, multi-tools, and sanders to paint rollers and spray guns, they have just about every tool you’d need to accomplish a professional job on your own. However, if you win this month’s give-away, HYDE® will reward you with up to $5,000 toward hiring a professional to handle the tools—and the job. The prize package includes:

  • up to $5,000 towards a professional paint job (includes paint, supplies, and contractor’s fees)
  • your choice of an interior or exterior paint job
  • Photo op with HYDE® to showcase your home’s paint transformation

So start picking out paint colors and researching licensed contractors in your area, because if you win this month’s “Get Your House Painted” Give-Away, you’ll have up to $5,000 to get the job done by a pro. ENTER TODAY and every day this month (through 11:59 am EST Saturday, May 31st) to increase your chances of winning! For more on their complete line of tools, visit HYDE®.

The Bob Vila/HYDE® “Get Your House Painted” Give-Away is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Saturday, May 31st, 2014. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away Starts TODAY!

Enter today and every day in April for your best chance of winning of $5,000 in products and installation from LeafGuard Brand Gutters.

Great Gutter Give-AwayEveryone knows that the bi-annual ritual of cleaning out the gutters is an important home maintenance task.  In winter it prevents ice dams from forming and in spring, keeps the rain from settling too close to your home’s foundation.  But, what if you never had to clean your gutters again?  Well the dream can become a reality—for at least one lucky winner this month—with Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away and the chance to outfit your home with new, maintenance-free LeafGuard gutters!


Today and everyday this month (from noon EST Monday, March 31st, through 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 30th), you can enter to win new LeafGuard Brand Gutters and installation for your home ($5,000 value)—and say goodbye to clogged gutters forever!  See Official Rules below.

LeafGuard Gutters

Photo: LeafGuard Gutters

LeafGuard Brand by Englert is the original and only one-piece seamless gutter system that combines a leaf and debris shedding hood with a large gutter bottom. The patented design works on the scientific principle of water adhesion, allowing rainwater to travel down and around its curved hood and into the gutter, while deflecting leaves. Available in a full range of color options—and backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal—LeafGuard Gutters are designed to:

  • Prevent clogs from forming and keep rain water flowing freely
  • Eliminate the risk of leaks and water damage to your roof and foundation
  • Withstand storm winds (unlike add-on gutter hoods)
  • Complement every home’s architectural style

So, forget climbing ladders to clean the gutters, enter Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away TODAY and every day (through 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 30th) to increase your chances of winning.

For more on the one-piece, seamless LeafGuard Brand, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s Great Gutter Give-Away” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Monday, March 31st, 2014, through 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, April 30th, 2014. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Pro Tips: 5 Easy Ways to a Better Lawn

Do you want this year's lawn to be your best ever? Get the greenest, most lush grass on the block with these five mowing tips from the experts at John Deere.

Mowed Lawn

Photo: Shutterstock

A green, good-looking lawn adds serious curb appeal and can even increase a home’s value. Thanks to major improvements in mowers in recent years, maintaining your own lawn is now easier than ever. We reached out to Mike Ballou, product manager at John Deere, to give us some pointers on keeping your yard looking its best.

Not only does a sharp blade keep your mower running efficiently and reduce the amount of time you spend mowing, but it can also keep your lawn looking better. A dull blade can tug on your turf instead of gently trimming it. Take a look at your lawn next time you mow. If the ends of the grass look torn and ragged, it’s time to sharpen up.

To sharpen the blade, you can take it to a professional or go the DIY route. To do it yourself, you’ll need a grinder—but remember: safety first! Make sure your lawn mower can’t start running while you’re working on it. Try pulling the spark plug or blocking the blade to reduce your risk while you remove the blade. When you’re grinding, keep the blade’s original angle intact and aim to get the blade only as sharp as a butter knife—any sharper could damage the blade.

John Deere Mower Give-Away2. JUST A TRIM
Unless you’re building a backyard golf course, don’t cut too much from the top of your grass—one-third off the top is the rule. If you cut too low, you risk damaging the crown of the grass, the structure that keeps your grass growing strong. Another benefit of keeping it high: Taller grass grows more slowly, which means less mowing for you.




Every time you mow, vary the route you take across your lawn. Mowing repeatedly along the same route can cause wear on your lawn, making the grass grow in the same direction and eventually fall flat. Always traveling the same path takes a toll on your mower too, because making the same turns all the time can put unnecessary strain on one side of the mower. So try to take the scenic route next time. If, however, you’re working in a tight space or on a sloping hill, always opt for the safest mowing pattern.

Small yard? A walk-behind mower should be right for you. If, however, your yard is larger than half an acre, a riding mower could make your life easier; it’s also a good bet for a hilly yard. If you have landscaping, trees, or garden paths to maneuver around, you’ll need to take the mower’s turning radius into consideration. If your lawn is dense or coarse, choose a lawn mower with high horsepower.

Take care of the little things to extend the life of your mower. Grease and dirt buildup on a mower engine will make your motor run hotter, so after using the mower, wipe the area clean or spray it down with a hose. Keep the mower clear of old, dried grass clippings to prevent it from getting plugged. Change out the filter and oil regularly. To keep your mower in tip-top shape, store it properly and keep it out of the elements. Never leave gas in your mower over the winter—but come spring, if you left in some gas and the mower doesn’t start up for that first cutting, try draining the gas tank and starting fresh.

Enter Bob Vila’s $5,000 Spring Spectacular today and every day through Monday, March 31st (11:59 EST) for the chance to win a John Deere riding mower and custom garage storage. 

5 Things to Do with… Old Rakes

When your rake can rake no more, put it to practical or decorative use with one of these clever repurposing projects.

What good is a rake you can no longer use in the garden? Actually, there are countless ingenious ways to give a second life to outdoor tools that have become inadequate for their intended purpose. So before disposing of a trusty old helper that doesn’t help much these days, spend a minute looking over these repurposed rake projects from around the Web. Each suggests that with creativity you can make something useful and beautiful, even out of a rake with rusty tines or a broken handle.



Repurposed Rake Projects - Accessories


Always losing your keys? Try making this repurposed rake project—an organizing station perfect for the entryway. To make one, separate the handle and head of a bow rake. Paint the rake head in your favorite hue, then fasten it to an attractive backing that’s suitable for mounting—here, crosscut wood does the job beautifully.



Repurposed Rake Projects - Wreaths


If you own a rake old enough to be if not beautiful, then visually interesting, consider repurposing the tool as the basis for an offbeat door wreath. Ornament it throughout the year with seasonally appropriate flowers, leaves, branches, or berries. Remember to keep it lightweight, though, so it hangs easily with wire.



Repurposed Rake Projects - Picture Holders


Here’s a great repurposed rake project for anyone who loves farmhouse-style decor: Use the tines of a lawn rake to hold photographs, postcards, and other printed keepsakes you wish to display. Show off several priceless mementos on a single rake head, saving the cost of as many store-bought picture frames.



Repurposed Rake Projects - Wine Glasses


These rake heads, painted firehouse red, look so natural storing wineglasses, they almost seem as if they were destined for that very purpose. Mount yours with a combination of washers and screws; just remember that to support any considerable weight, the rake must be fastened to a wall stud.



Repurposed Rake Projects - Hanging Plant


There’s a certain poetic justice to the idea of repurposing a rake outdoors; after all, that’s where the tool was meant to be used. In this case, rather than collecting leaves on the lawn or tilling flower bed soil, the rake is staked into the ground with a couple of hanging plants suspended from its rigid tines.

ENTER TODAY to Win a John Deere Riding Mower

Mower Give-AwayIt’s almost spring—and we know most folks (particularly after this winter) couldn’t be more excited to greet the season of gardens and green lawns. That’s why we teamed up with our friends at John Deere to bring you this month’s “Bob Vila $5,000 Spring Spectacular,” and your chance to win a new riding mower and custom garage cabinetry and flooring from one of the most trusted names in the industry.




Starting today and everyday through Monday, March 31st (from noon EST Friday, February 28th, through 11:59 a.m. Monday, March 31st) you can enter to win a John Deere Z235 EZtrak riding mower (MSRP $2,499), PLUS John Deere-branded custom garage storage products—cabinets, worktables and flooring (MSRP $2,500)—to make sure that you have an organized place to stow your new mower.  See Official Rules below.

Photo: John Deere Z235 Eztrak Riding Mower

The John Deere Z235 EZtrak zero-turn radius mower combines power and smart design features that you’re sure to love.  With zero-turn radius mobility and a powerful 20 hp (14.9 kW) full-pressure engine, this is one seriously powerful machine.  Other features include:

  • 42-inch Edge™ deck  lifts and distributes clippings for a clean, even cut.
  • Adjust the cut height of the machine in a matter of seconds, without getting out of the driver’s seat.
  • 180-degree spin and 7-mph mowing speed provides infinite maneuverability and makes your job faster and more efficient.
  • 2-year/120-hour bumper-to-bumper warranty to give you peace of mind.

The new John Deere custom storage solutions will help keep your garage well-organized for your new mower. The one-of-a-kind John Deere branded garage cabinets, created by Iconic Brand Collection, are designed to deliver maximum efficiency for a small space.  Combined with custom flooring, this unique package offers the quality you’d expect from John Deere with organization, functionality and storage to fit your needs.

John Deere Garage Storage

Photo: John Deere Custom Garage Storage Rendering

So get ready to welcome spring and a picture-perfect lawn by entering the Bob Vila $5,000 Spring Spectacular! ENTER TODAY and every day through (11:59 a.m. Monday, March 31st) to increase your chances of winning.

Learn more about the John Deere residential line of mowers and equipment at their website. For more information on John Deere’s new line of home products, from garage to office and kids furniture, visit

The “Bob Vila $5,000 Spring Spectacular” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Friday, February 28th, 2014, through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Monday, March 31st, 2014. One entry per household per day on Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

5 Things to Do with… Colanders

The colander is so much more than the unsung hero of pasta night—it's positively dripping with DIY potential. Here are five inventive ways you can use a colander in the next creative project you cook up.

I love my colanders. Vintage-inspired, colorful, and enamel-coated, they work not only as strainers, but also as decorative fruit bowls or centerpieces for the breakfast table. When one colander in my set met with a tragic end in the dishwasher, it was just too hard to say goodbye. So I went looking for creative ways to repurpose colanders. Scroll down to see five favorites from among the countless clever uses for colanders that I came across. Who knew that colanders could be so versatile and so stylish?



Repurpose Colanders - Baskets


With their legs removed, colanders become offbeat yet handy storage baskets, perfect for holding miscellaneous kitchen items such as dish soap and sponges. Hang one or a series of colanders either from the ceiling or the underside of a wall-mounted shelf or cabinet. Anything you choose to keep in it remains within easy arm’s reach.



Repurpose Colanders - Planter


In this ingenious assembly, a colander-turned-planter attaches to a wire clothes hanger, which in turn connects with a chain that reaches down from the ceiling. Given colanders’ original purpose, they provide plenty of soil drainage, and that’s something a quality planting container must have, as any gardener knows.



Repurpose Colanders - Wind Chime


Malinda Dickens creates wind chimes from everyday stuff and sells them through her online store. Take a page out of her book if you’re hunting for an eye-catching, ear-tickling way to repurpose not only a colander, but any other kitchen tools you no longer use—whisks, eggbeaters, cookie cutters, or silverware.



Repurpose Colanders - Light


Here’s a project for the ambitious do-it-yourselfer: Turn a beat-up old colander into a shade for the pendant light in your country kitchen. When light streams through the holes in the colander, it produces quirky, amusing, conversation-starting effects on the walls. Alternatively, try out the same idea on a table lamp.



Repurpose Colanders - Tiered Stand


By means of a strong adhesive, combine a white-painted wooden spindle with a pair of dinged-up colanders to create a tiered stand like this one from Knick of Time Interiors. Use this beauty for storage in the laundry room or pantry, or simply bask in its decorative appeal by placing it as a centerpiece on a farmhouse table.