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A Former Art Teacher Starts a New Life Building Furniture

A twist in fortune prompted this maker to create the quality furniture company of her dreams.

Urban Wood Goods - Erin and Jason

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

Erin True needed a job. She had recently moved from Detroit to Chicago with her husband, Jason, and was striking out on finding a position as an art teacher. Fortunately, this down-on-her-luck moment led Erin to discover her real passion and start an unlikely business: Urban Wood Goods. Though she was an inexperienced woodworker at the time (and didn’t even own a table saw), she was dedicated to learning about her newfound love for reclaimed wood and all its possibilities. Now, Erin’s hard work has paid off in spades—she’s a successful entrepreneur who’s managed to carve out her own niche in the custom furniture market.

Today, Urban Wood Goods employs a host of dedicated makers and fulfills orders throughout the country, for corporate clients and homeowners alike. We spoke with Erin to learn a bit more about her story.

 

Urban Wood Goods - Bench Hairpin

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

How did you make the transition from art teacher to full-time maker?
I moved from the Detroit area to the Chicago area. I was trying to find a teaching job, though in my heart I had hoped to start my own business—after all, I was already using my idea for a bench and Etsy shop as part of my portfolio in an attempt to land an art teaching job. When I didn’t get the job I thought I would get, I decided to pursue my reclaimed wood furniture experiment on Etsy.

After a few sales, I started to think I could maybe make a real business out of Urban Wood Goods. Thankfully, I had the support of my husband, who finally kicked me out of the garage and told me to find a new workshop—after I took a Shop-Vac to the sawdust-covered walls of our garage.

 

Rustic Dining Table - Urban Wood Goods

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

What was your background in woodworking when you got started?
Funny enough, I didn’t have a woodworking background. I took one class in high school, and that was it. The only thing I remember making was a CD rack. I didn’t even own a saw when I started selling benches online! I once had to take the slab of wood I purchased to a local home improvement store and convince them to cut it down from five feet to four feet long to fill an order.

Being new to woodworking, have you found any surprises along the way?
I have learned that reclaimed lumber has a mind of its own. Nails, warping, and movement common to dimensional lumber all make it a material that takes some adjustment when working with it. We have managed to figure it out and make beautiful furniture with the help of our kiln, state-of-the-art woodworking equipment, and a team of individuals who care about every table and desk they create.

 

Urban Wood Goods - Desk Hairpin

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

Do you have a favorite tool?
My favorite tools are our JLT clamp racks. They allow us to get better glue-ups on all our pieces. Our lumber kiln is also very important. Having perfectly dried lumber is a beautiful thing. We used to have some warping when the moisture content wasn’t exactly correct; with this kiln, it’s no longer a problem.

What is your favorite thing about reclaimed wood?
My favorite thing is its history and character. I love seeing the wood still in a structure that is standing and then again the next week in our shop being turned into furniture. It’s nice to give it a second life—or third life, you could say.

 

Urban Wood Goods - coffee table

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

What kind of response has your work received?
It was a surprise when large companies had us building furniture for them! A few notable ones include HGTV, Google, Kraft, Ralph Lauren, and Lululemon.

What is your favorite piece?
The first bench I made was my all-time favorite. I loved that bench, and it was also the first one I sold. It had amazing character. It was perfectly weathered; I hardly had to sand it. Part of me wishes I could get it back, but Urban Wood Goods wouldn’t exist today if I hadn’t sold it.

 

Urban Wood Goods - Dining Table Chairs

Photo: urbanwoodgoods.com

What is the most challenging part of what you do?
It changes from year to year. There are many challenges that come with operating a small business. We recently discovered there is a business selling plastic wood furniture on Craigslist using our trademarked logo and warehouse address. That was pretty shocking—we don’t sell on Craigslist and never have. But we tackle the obstacles one at a time. It’s much easier to approach things that way, and we don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.

 

Find out more and shop the online store at Urban Wood Goods.


Bob Vila Radio: Add Security with Tamper-Proof Screws

How secure is your home, if it would only take a thief with a Philips-head to gain access? Tamper-proof security fasteners add a layer of much-needed protection.

For years, companies have been trying to keep one step ahead of vandals and thieves by manufacturing so-called security fasteners, removable only with specialized tools. Predictably, the bad guys keep finding workarounds.

Security Fasteners

Photo: fotosearch.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON SECURITY FASTENERS or read the text below:

There are now dozens of security fasteners on the market. Some of the more effective crime-busters are those with a protruding pin in the middle of an otherwise conventional screw head. Another popular type—referred to as “snake eye” fasteners—features only two small indentations on top. Still another has no slots or indentations at all, leaving the would-be thief to see only a flat, slightly-out-of-round head. And, of course, there are always reverse-thread fasteners. These are designed so that when crooks try to screw them out, they’re actually making them tighter.

Shop your local home center for many of these fasteners, along with the tools that fit them. For some of the more exotic security fasteners, though, you’ll need to go to specialized suppliers.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


Genius! The Smartphone Speaker You Already Have in Your Kitchen

Crank up the volume on your smartphone in one easy step.

DIY Phone Speaker

Photo: brit.co

Everyone wants to be a DJ, but no one wants to buy the equipment—let alone figure out how to use it. This life hack won’t replace store-bought speakers, but it’s a perfect way to crank up your favorite tunes while cooking dinner or finishing up a day’s work.

All you have to do? Reach into the kitchen cupboard! This ingenious amplifier for your at-home jam session is a simple ceramic bowl. Just set your phone into the bowl with the speaker end down. The bowl’s concave shape does the rest of the work, sending sound up the sides and out into the room—minus the chord chaos.

FOR MORE: Brit+Co

DIY Phone Speaker - Smartphone and Headphones

Photo: fotosearch.com


DIY Lite: Turn Digital Photos into Wooden Coasters

Rather than filling up a Facebook album, share and enjoy your favorite photos on a set of personalized wooden coasters! Read on to learn how to transfer any image to wood.

DIY Photo Coasters - Travel Souvenirs

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Whether you’re returning from a 12-day vacation on foreign soil or have just wrapped up a weekend by the pool with the kids, one thing is true: You probably have a memory card or phone library packed with photographs. Why leave these summer vacation (or staycation) pictures locked away on your digital device when you can enjoy them anytime you reach for a cool refreshment? Follow our instructions to transfer your images to the tops of wooden coasters, and you’ll craft a set that will keep your memories on display all year long!

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

DIY Photo Coasters - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

- 12mm plywood
- Sandpaper (60 grit and 120 grit)
- Wax paper
- Printer paper
- Glue stick
- Digital photos
- Printer
- Spoon
- Brush or foam brush
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic varnish

STEP 1

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Cut your wood into four-inch squares. (We used 12mm plywood, but any relatively thin scrap wood you have will work.) Sand each piece to remove splinters. As it’s very important to have a smooth and uniform surface on which to apply the picture, be especially careful sanding the side you’ll be covering with a print. Start with a piece of coarse 60-grit sandpaper, and then give the wood a second pass with a finer 120-grit sheet.

 

STEP 2

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Unroll your wax paper and cut a piece to the dimensions of a letter-size sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″).

 

STEP 3

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Use a glue stick to adhere the wax paper to a sheet of printer paper, wax side out. Dab a little extra around the edges so that the two sheets stick—you’ll be sending these through the printer together, and you’ll want to avoid a paper jam. Repeat the process to create four to six printer-ready sheets.

 

STEP 4

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Select four to six pictures to transfer to your coasters—as many as you have squares of wood. Pull them all up in a photo-editing program (like Adobe Photoshop or Paint) and flip each to be a mirror image. (When transferred, they’ll appear correctly.) Then, crop each file into a square, resized to either 1,000 pixels across or 3.3 inches wide. Place your doubled-up wax-and-printer-paper sheet into the printer so that the ink adheres to the wax side, and print!

 

STEP 5

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Flip the printed picture onto the coaster, ink side down, and position in the center of the square. Then, press with the back of a spoon to transfer the ink from the wax to the wood. Firmly hold the paper so it doesn’t move while you rub. Make several passes over the paper with the back of the spoon to properly transfer the picture.

 

STEP 6

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Remove the paper and—ta-da!—you should see your photo totally transferred to the wood.

 

STEP 7

DIY Photo Coasters - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Choose a few colors of acrylic paint that coordinate with the photos, and carefully brush the paint around the edges of your coasters. When that paint dries, finish by coating the entire wood square in an acrylic varnish; this will offer protection against condensation from glasses and other beverage containers. As the varnish dries, kick back and flip through a cocktail recipe book—all that’s left now is to choose the first refreshments to rest on your one-of-a-kind coasters.

 

DIY Photo Coasters - Completed

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling… no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.


Enter to Win “The Great Backyard Giveaway” from Wet & Forget

Time's running out! Click through now to seize your opportunity to win a suite of prizes from Wet & Forget.

Photo: wetandforget.com

For over 35 years, Wet & Forget has offered a suite of cleaning solutions that are as user-friendly as they are effective. Whether you’re cleaning your vinyl siding or the bathroom shower, so long as you’re using Wet & Forget, you can put aside the hard work of scrubbing. Wet & Forget does it all for you. Best of all, you can apply Wet & Forget wherever needed without worrying, because these specially formulated cleaners are gentle and contain no bleach.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER NOW

This year, Wet & Forget is celebrating summer with the Great Backyard Giveaway. Each week of the sweepstakes brings a new round of prizes and another chance to win. You can enter one or both of the regular weekly drawings, and those entries automatically count toward the grand prize—your favorite choice among the following:

$3,100 Visa Gift Card. The closest thing to cash, this prepaid card can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. 

The Handyman Package. Perfect for DIY homeowners, prizes run the gamut from a riding lawn mower to a backyard shed.

The Garden Guru Package. Make over your outdoor area with a brand-new gazebo, garden fountain, greenhouse, and more.

Don’t delay—only two regular weekly drawings remain in the Great Backyard Giveaway, so visit Wet & Forget today and seize your opportunity to win. Remember: Entering a regular weekly drawing instantly makes you eligible to win the grand prize. Enter multiple weekly giveaways, and you increase your odds of being the grand prize winner. In other words, to win as many prizes as possible from the Wet & Forget 2015 Great Backyard Giveaway, it’s best to enter early and often!

Photo: wetandforget.com

Though a full spectrum of prizes for the home make the Great Backyard Giveaway a “can’t miss” summer event, don’t forget: The sweepstakes also includes the full line of Wet & Forget products. That’s four different cleaners, each carefully designed to tackle a different task. But no matter their intended uses, all Wet & Forget cleaners provide satisfying results—always without scrubbing or bleach, sometimes without even a rinse-off or wipe-down. The Wet & Forget family includes:

Wet & Forget Outdoor: Designed to eliminate outdoor mold, mildew, moss, lichen, and algae, Wet & Forget Outdoor can be used safely on virtually any outdoor surface, including but not limited to roofs, decks, and siding materials. You can even use it on outdoor fabrics or garden statues. You don’t need a heavy-duty pressure washer; Wet & Forget simply sprays on, then works with the rain and wind to gently remove stains and prevent mold and mildew for up to a year.

Wet & Forget Indoor Mold+Mildew Disinfectant Cleaner: Rid indoor surfaces of mold and mildew—and in the process, prevent their regrowth—with a spray-and-wipe cleaner that not only eliminates stains, but also deodorizes and disinfects. Spray Wet & Forget Indoor on nonporous surfaces in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms, and after letting the solution sit for 10 minutes, wipe the area clean. That’s it! There’s no scrubbing or rinsing required.

Wet & Forget Shower: Say goodbye to your typical bathroom cleaning routine. Apply Wet & Forget Shower just once per week, and you’ll find that it’s painlessly easy to keep the bathing area clear of soap scum, mold, mildew, grime, and body oils. Simply spray the product onto the tub and tile, fixtures and doors, then rinse it off the next day. If you’re used to scrubbing up and wiping down bathroom surfaces, you’re going to love this easy, one-step process—and its soothing scent, too!

Miss Muffet’s Revenge: Un-invite spiders from your home with Miss Muffet’s Revenge. With a single application, this potent solution can provide whole-home protection against spiders for up to a year. Controlling the spray couldn’t be easier, because the product includes a three-foot flexible hose with a precision nozzle on the end. Those components work in tandem to help you reach the corners and crevices where spiders hide, all without bending or stretching or climbing up a ladder.

 

Now, with three weeks left in the Great Backyard Giveaway, there are plenty of prizes left to win. Scroll down to view details for all the drawings that remain.

 

WEEK 6

July 6 to 12—your choice of $600 Visa gift card, patio swing, or four-piece patio set 

 

WEEK 7


July 13 to 19—$75 in Wet & Forget products of your choice

 

GRAND PRIZE


July 20 to 26—your choice of $3,100 Visa gift card, Handyman Package, or Garden Guru Package

 

Wet & Forget takes the drudgery out of cleaning. Work smarter, not harder, and you can spend less time on chores and more time on the sweeter things in life—like winning free stuff! Hurry to capitalize on your chance to win Wet & Forget products and your choice among an array of stylish or practical prizes for the home. Good luck!

Photo: wetandforget.com

 

This post has been brought to you by Wet & Forget. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com. 


Bob Vila Radio: The Best Screws for a Strong Hold

Get to know structural screws: They're the quicker, easier fastener alternative in heavy-duty applications that don't require lag bolts.

If you need to securely fasten boards together—for framing or other heavy-duty applications—you might want to check out structural screws.

Structural Screws

Photo: strongtie.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON STRUCTURAL SCREWS or read the text below:

Structural screws are a relatively new fastener option that’s been getting a lot of good reviews, and for good reason. Though they’re much thinner than lag bolts, they’re made of hardened steel and are extremely sharp. That makes them easier to drive with a drill—no pilot holes needed. Their design also virtually eliminates any chance of shear-offs.

A number of manufacturers produce structural screws, and each makes a different. Some brands actually embed a special drill bit into the points of the screws, which helps the fasteners bite through wood dust and shavings. Other brands have rippled threads near the tip of the screw; these create a path for the remaining threads, allowing a strong hold.

Structural screws are not cheap. They usually run about three times the cost of lag screws. But if you figure in the time you’d have to spend pre-drilling holes for lag bolts, then ratcheting them all the way in, the extra cost of structural screws isn’t a bad deal.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


2 Ways to Make Your Own Wallpaper

Don't let a blank wall get you down! Create a truly custom interior that suits your style and needs—be they temporary or permanent—with one of these two DIY wallpaper methods.

How To Make Wallpaper

Photo: fotosearch.com

Wallpaper is having its moment again—and we’re not talking about the stuffy prints you remember seeing in your grandmother’s house as a kid. The sky’s the limit nowadays, especially with all the options for creating your own prints. The newest trend in interior design has homeowners customizing wall coverings with beautiful printed papers or fabrics, in both permanent and temporary styles. Confused, and wondering how you can cash in on this crafty project? Read on for a detailed how-to, then grab a partner to get started.

Option #1: Permanent Wallpaper
You can adhere just about any type of paper—including gift wrap—to a wall using wallpaper paste. Tip: Skip thin, shiny wrapping paper, which is very challenging to hang without it wrinkling. Instead, choose a thick, higher-quality wrapping paper with either a repeating pattern that’s easy for you to line up or a random print that won’t need extra attention—this will all help make your job look pro instead of pathetic.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Drop cloth
- Paint tray
- Wallpaper paste
- Step ladder
- Gift wrap (or old book pages)
- Painter’s tape
- Scissors
- Foam roller
- Sponge
- X-Acto knife
- Small foam brush

How To Make Wallpaper - Permanent Method

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
First, prep your work space by covering the floor with a drop cloth in case any wallpaper paste should slop or splatter.

STEP 2
Cut your paper into ready-to-hang pieces. Hop onto your step ladder to align the top edge with the top of your wall; unroll the rest so that it measures roughly the length of the wall, with a little extra on the bottom. Cut your length, and use painter’s tape to lightly hold it in place while you unroll your second column of “wallpaper” and match up the pattern. Continue this all the way down the wall.

STEP 3
Pour the paste adhesive into a paint tray, and work with one panel at a time. Remove the tape from your first paper, and lay it on a flat surface so you can apply paste with a roller directly to the back of the paper. Be careful not to oversaturate.

If instructions on your can of wallpaper paste require it, “book” the wallpaper so that the paste completely penetrates. Do this by curling each end up to the middle of your paper, then lightly pressing the pasted sides together as much as possible without creasing the folds. Wait the length of time suggested on the can before unfolding the top end.

STEP 4
Align the top of the wrapping paper once more to where the wall meets the ceiling or the molding. Press the paper into place, and smooth it downward with clean hands. (You can use a damp sponge to remove any traces of excess paste on the wall.) If you’ve booked your paper, unfold the bottom end when you reach the middle, and continue to smooth the rest of the way down.

STEP 5
If you need to make any cuts to fit around molding or hardware, trim with your X-Acto knife and then use the small foam brush to lightly spread the wallpaper paste along the edges and stick it to the wall.

STEP 6
Repeat Steps 3 through 5 with the next sections of wrapping paper until you’ve covered the full wall, taking care to smooth down the paper and get rid of any bubbles as you go. When you’re finished, let the walls dry following the instructions on the paste container.

 

Option #2: Temporary Wallpaper
Whether you inhabit a rental or just enjoy changing up styles from year to year, a wall covering with the flexibility to come down easily and leave your wall damage-free is like a mini miracle. Use the following instructions to create your own temporary wall motif using your favorite cotton print fabric as your “wallpaper” and liquid fabric starch as an adhesive. When you’re ready for a change, removal is as simple as softening the wall covering with warm water and a sponge, and then pulling it off.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Lightweight cotton fabric
- Fabric scissors
- Drop cloth
- Step ladder
- Thumbtacks
- Paint tray
- Liquid fabric starch
- Paint roller and cover
- Utility knife

How To Make Wallpaper - Temporary Method

Photo: vintagerevivals.com

STEP 1
Whichever fabric you decide to use, make sure you have enough square footage to cover the wall and then some—you’ll want at least a few feet extra so you have room to reposition pieces when you’re lining up the print. Wash and dry the fabric, then cut off the white edges with a good pair of fabric scissors. Also, give a quick wash to the wall you’re going to be hanging the fabric on, and let it dry thoroughly. While it’s drying, lay out a drop cloth to keep your floors from being ruined.

STEP 2
Attach your fabric to the wall with thumbtacks, and cut it roughly to size, leaving a little excess at the ceiling and baseboard. Do the same for all panels of fabric until your wall is completely covered. Then, use your utility knife to cut around any fixtures or molding in the middle of the wall.

STEP 3
Unfasten a portion of the cloth so that you can thoroughly coat a patch of wall with fabric starch. Work in only one small area at a time—the starch dries fast. Position the fabric on top of the liquid starch, and smooth it down. It should start sticking to the wall immediately, but replace the thumbtacks once more to hold it in place while it dries. Continue until the entire wall of fabric has a starch backing.

STEP 4
Roll over the fabric with the liquid starch. Make sure the fabric is completely covered, and really drench it with fabric starch so that the starch seeps through the fabric and onto the wall.

STEP 5
Allow the starch solution a few hours to dry completely, then pull out the thumbtacks, and slice off any excess fabric at the molding and/or baseboards using a utility knife.


How To: Get Rid of Drain Flies

Fuzzy winged insects flying out of seemingly clean sinks are the stuff of homeowners' nightmares. Fortunately, if you can unclog and clean up a drain, you can rid your home of this pesky problem.

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies - Psychodidae

Photo: fotosearch.com

Drain flies, also known as moth flies, are a common nuisance in many homes. These pests live and breed inside your plumbing pipes, feeding on decomposing material and laying eggs within the gelatinous slime that collects along the interior walls of your drain. While these insects don’t bite or spread disease, no one likes to see tiny, winged bugs flying out of otherwise clean sinks. If you see some hanging around your kitchen or bathroom, follow these steps to identify the source of drain flies and eliminate them.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Masking tape
- Pipe snake
- Plunger
- Enzyme drain cleaner

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies - In the Kitchen Sink

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
Before you can rid your home of drain flies, you need to identify the affected drains. Adult drain flies love to feed and breed in slow-moving or clogged drains because they provide plenty of decomposing material where the insects can complete their life cycle. If any of your drains are backed up, chances are that those are the root of the problem.

If diagnosing the source turns out not to be that simple, try this other easy trick: Simply cover each drain in your home with a strip of masking tape, sticky side down. (You don’t want to block airflow in your drain, so just make an “X” over each drain opening with the tape.) Drain flies are most active at night, so put the tape on the drains before you go to bed and leave it there overnight to catch any insects that may try to fly out. Check the tape the next morning for signs of bugs to figure out which drains are the source of your flies.

STEP 2
Once you’ve determined the problem drains, you need to clean the slimy gunk that has collected there and wipe out the breeding zone. Resist the urge to pour a bottle of chemical drain cleaner down the drain, as that won’t effectively take care of all the decomposing material in your home’s pipes and traps. Instead, start by running warm water down the drain to wet it.

STEP 3
Insert a pipe snake or pipe brush down the drain and use a gentle scrubbing motion to remove the built-up slime covering the inside of the drain pipe. A plunger can also be used to help pull out any leftover material from your pipes.

STEP 4
Open the U-trap under your sink so you can easily reach and remove any other clog-causing remnants that have collected inside.

STEP 5
Once you’ve cleared out the gunk, close the system back up and pour an enzyme drain cleaner down the drain to attack any remaining residue that didn’t come off with the pipe snake or brush. This specially designed gel has the additional benefit of coating the inside walls of the pipe to prevent future blockages. Let the gel sit in the drain for several hours, according to the instructions on the label, then run more water down the drain to flush it out.

 

Additional notes: The length of the life cycle of a drain fly varies depending on the climate and temperature of the drain, but it can last anywhere from eight to 24 days. Once you’ve wiped out their breeding ground, the adults will eventually disappear because there is nowhere left for them to deposit their eggs. After a week, if drain flies are still a problem in your home, it’s safe to assume you didn’t adequately treat all the problem areas. Perform another set of tests (as in Step 1), and look for other spots that need your attention.


Quick Tip: What to Do If a Bird Flies into Your House

Feathered friends make for great window watching, but when they come too close, things can get chaotic. If a bird swoops in through an open window and gets stuck in your home, try this trick to shoo it back outdoors using a common household item.

How To Get a Bird Out of Your House - Bird at Window

Photo: fotosearch.com

Cracking the windows is an effective way to air out your house in the summer—but an open window can also be an open invitation to any number of unwanted visitors. Occasionally, a bird may fly in through this entrance and trap itself indoors, fluttering about looking for an exit. If one makes its way into your house this season, keep calm and just head to the linen closet for the only thing you need for assistance: a flat sheet.

How To Get a Bird Out of Your House - Bird Indoors

Photo: fotosearch.com

Start by opening one window as wide as possible to give the bird a way out. Then, close all blinds and drapes over the rest of the windows, and switch off all lights inside the house so that the open window shines brightly like an exit sign. Your feathered intruder will associate the light with the open air and will, we hope, fly toward it. If the bird still hasn’t made any moves after some time, get ready to guide it. Take your large bedsheet in both hands, and hold it up at eye level or higher, arms extended so that it makes a large, flat surface. Check that the bird is between you and the exit, then slowly walk toward the bird. By creating a “wall” closing in on it, you can better direct the bird out through the window. Once it leaves, close the window, send your sheet through the wash, and call it a day.

Additional notes: If you’re still stuck with a bird in the house even after following these suggestions, then it is time to call in the professionals. Look up wildlife groups or bird sanctuaries in your local area to see whether they will come and deal with your feathery nuisance. Wildlife experts know how to handle a bird without causing injury, and they have equipment to help the process along.


Bob Vila Radio: The Easiest Way to Fertilize Trees and Shrubs

Compared to other, more demanding fertilizer applications, fertilizer spikes offer a quick and easy, no-hassle method of providing trees and shrubs with the nutrients they need to thrive. Here's what you need to know.

Looking to give your trees and shrubs a nutritional boost? If so, consider fertilizer spikes. Filled with vital nutrients, these solid, spike-shaped plugs are hammered into the ground, supplying gradual-release feeding for up to several months.

Fertilizer Spikes

Photo: gardensalive.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON FERTILIZER SPIKES or read the text below:

You’ll find many different fertilizer spikes on the shelves of your local home center. While some are general purpose, others are formulated to benefit a specific variety, be it fruit trees, deciduous trees, evergreens, palms or even vegetables.

It’s usually best to place fertilizer spikes when the ground is moist and soft, typically during spring and fall. In colder weather, when the soil is dry and hard, water the ground thoroughly to make the going a little easier.

Note that fertilizer spikes come with a special plastic cap. Place the cap over the top of a spike to make sure that it remains intact as you hammer it into the ground, usually to a point just below the surface.

Generally speaking, fertilizer spikes are positioned in a circle around the tree or shrub, at a remove of several feet from its trunk or main stems, respectively. For instructions specific to your chosen fertilizer spikes, see their packaging or included manual.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!