A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Luck of the Draw

As you may have heard by now, we were one of the lucky winners in the Houseblogs.net “Look What I Did” sweepstakes sponsored by True Value. Before you look at our entry and think, “What?! They won for THAT??, this was not a contest based on aesthetics or project difficulty or anything else, other than my post was randomly picked from the pool of tagged entries.

Although we worked very hard on our Patio project and it has come a very long way, our outdoor space is far from complete. Had it been a “beauty” contest of sorts, I’m sure we would not have won.

But I think the point of this was not to subjectively decide who had the best idea or overcame the most difficulties, but to reward all of the DIYers who dedicate themselves to:

  • undoing past homeowner blunders;
  • improving their surroundings; restoring their home to its former glory;
  • enjoying (for the most part) the process and the hard work; and then
  • relating that story for all to learn from their mistakes, to spark ideas, or to gain support from others when it gets to be too much.

I am truly proud to be a part of Houseblogs.net, and I must thank Aaron and Jeannie of House in Progress for creating such a wonderful community and camaraderie (perks like this are a big plus too!). Thanks goes out to True Value for sponsoring the contest as well.

I am rarely the winner of random drawings, although coincidentally the only other time I can remember winning anything was a drawing through Menards at least 15 years ago. I think I won $250 toward store merchandise, so very similar to this contest (apparently the hardware gods are in my favor).

For the Menards sweepstakes, we purchased blinds for the kitchen picture window in our previous house. It was a really large window, so window coverings were of course very expensive, as they are now. At that time my intended color scheme for the kitchen was black, white and red. I was determined to replace the ugly vinyl flooring with large black-and-white tile (in fact Pete broke my finger over that floor, but I’ll have to tell that story another time).

Never did do that black-and-white tile floor, which I’m glad about now — and he hasn’t injured me since then, unintentionally or otherwise —— but we went ahead with a red honeycomb blind for the windows.

We still had those blinds when we moved out last year, but we saw them in the garbage soon after the new owners moved in. They were probably shocked when they discovered that the blinds only came halfway down the window. We did it that way intentionally because, with the wonderful sunlight that shone in, we knew that we would never close the blinds completely. We decided that it would be silly to install blinds to cover the whole window when it was always going to be pulled at least halfway up, so why not just order it at the maximum length we wanted? It worked perfectly and I never wished that I could cover the window any further.

But the nagging question today is: what will we purchase at True Value? I’m thinking new tools — we have the basics, but a lot of our tools may be old (or we only have a manual version where a power or cordless version exists).

So tell me, if you had $300 to spend on tools (or if you’ve already bought something that you now couldn’t live without), what would be at the top of your list?


  1. Bonnie on August 8, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Congratulations! If it were me, I might be tempted by a compound miter saw.

  2. Nicole on August 11, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    I’m with Bonnie on that one. WONDERFUL tool and not sure how did so much of what I did without it. I’m also loving my RotoZip, its ZipMate attachments, and the many other things you can get for it that make drilling, sawing, grinding, and general cutting duties so much easier.

    Congrats and enjoy!

  3. denise on August 13, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions! I think that’s a really good idea. Nicole: I’m going to check out that RotoZip too.

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