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This year we got our gift guide post up a lot sooner than usual, because we’re highlighting tons of small makers and Black-owned businesses that we love, and we want to give those shops as much lead time as possible (heck, large stores seem to need more lead time than ever these days too). We also included a handful of tried & true items from larger companies that we’ve bought and loved (like a favorite tool or family game).
There’s stuff for grown-ups, kids, and a ton of budget-friendly ideas that are under $20, and even under $10 that would be great for teachers, neighbors, coworkers, or white elephant exchanges!
Gifts For Grown-Ups
Here’s what we’re loving, either firsthand items that we’ve personally bought and enjoyed – or things that we’re getting for friends & family (or hoping to find under the tree ourselves).
This plant lover’s doormat makes me laugh so hard.
I just started using a STIHL battery-powered saw, and I’m very impressed with how it compares to my gas-powered units. There are a few situations where I still get out the gas unit, but this battery-powered one is my new go-to in 90% of my tasks.
When starting a gas unit you typically have a primer bulb, put it in choke, pull the starter cord, wait for it to turn over, then flip it to “on” and with one or two more pulls, you’re ready to go.
With a battery, you release the chain brake and squeeze the trigger. That’s it. As long as you have a charged battery, the saw will literally be ready to go whenever you are, whether it be as soon as you bring it home from the dealer or after a long winter of not being used.
The next thing worth comparing is the noise. I can spend hours stomping around my property doing chain saw work and have just gotten used to the constant rumbling of the engine and the smell of gas. It’s definitely a different experience to pick up the battery-powered saw for use but then have dead silence just a few seconds after I take my finger off the trigger.
Typically when I’m clearing land, I’ll pick a spot to work on and do a bunch of cutting, then I’ll pause and take time to pull all the down brush out of my way so I can access the next spot.
I normally leave my gas unit idling during this time because it’s a pain to turn off, then turn it back on in five minutes. But with a battery saw, I don’t have to deal with that dilemma to decide if my cutting break is worth turning off my saw. I set it down, then whenever I’m ready, it is, too.
It’s also very convenient if you’re working with somebody. It’s very easy to pause work and have a conversation without having to get close enough or yell loud enough to talk over engines.
Battery-operated saws still require bar oil, but other than that, no other fluid is needed. That means you can skip mixing oil and gas together or packing your premade mixture.
It also means there are fewer parts to maintain. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to clean the carburetor out because it got gummed up due to lack of maintenance or incorrect storage, but all of that is eliminated since there isn’t a carb on battery-operated saws.
For the test, I first started by cutting some 3-6” diameter branches.
I then cut some 24” logs.
Both saws perform about the same on smaller limbs and branches and while the battery-operated saw didn’t cut the hard pecan quite as quick, it still didn’t struggle with it. But is that spaced few seconds really needed for you? For me, it’s about a job to job evaluation. Do I need to cut two downed pecans or 15? I definitely still have jobs where I reach for my gas unit, but I am finding it less and less since battery-operated saws have become much more equivalent while also having some clear winning features.
A lot of what I do around my property is clear the underbrush or small growing cedars from under my oaks. With that, my battery-operated saw has the power I need so the only thing I manage is run time. If I plan to put in 6-8 hours of cutting, I can certainly use my gas saw for the day and not think about batteries. But if I want the benefits of my battery saw, then I bring two batteries out with me and always have one on the charger. My shop is just through the woods and when I need to place a battery to charge, it’s also a great time to take a much needed break.
Batteries might seem like an expense, but just like any other tool, investing in a platform can also be looked at as a plus. It’s my goal to switch as much of my outdoor power equipment over to battery, including my string trimmer and my leaf blower, so already having the batteries around means they can go towards whatever yard task I set out to do that day. Plus, don’t forget the positive it has on the environment by reducing our carbon footprint.
Conclusion: I think there is definitely a place for both of these units, but with the advancements of battery technology, it is capable of handling the vast majority of the jobs I’m tackling. So if you are looking to get into chain saws, at least consider the battery-operated saws as contenders because I would be willing to bet, they’ll surprise you.
Big thank you to Stihl for supporting my channel and working with me on this video.
Hellooooo, DIYShowOff friends! I know. I know! “What the heck, Roeshel?!” It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. What a crazy year it’s been, right? I’ve been itching and wanting to get in here to post but … LIFE. You know how it goes. Things have been busy and I’ve been pulled in so many directions (bringing it on myself, do you do that too?) and I’ve neglected my little slice of cyber space. But here I am! I’m ready to catch you up, my faithful followers and friends, my DIY buddies. And gasp! A blog post with no lovely pin-worthy photos this time around but stay tuned because this girl is back! Here’s what’s been going on with me. It’s been a whirlwind!
Wellness Inspired Living – It’s been over 6 years of discovering Young Living and making healthier choices and 3 years ago today (bring on the champagne!), we closed on a property in the city of Butler. It wasn’t in my plans but when opportunity falls into place and things just work out, you go with the flow, right? I wasn’t property shopping or looking and I didn’t stress over it. I stumbled across it. I met with the owner. He was so sweet, so cute and there was a connection over the character and charm in the old building. I told myself if it was meant to be, it’d happen. And it did! #helloredreno was the beginning of creating a space for my wellness and short term rental business and it has been a blessing to so many with educational workshops, a place to support an amazing team with small wellness events and changing lives. It’s a blast! It’s a mission so dear to my heart. I love my circle of oily friends! My love for the roller coaster experience with this amazing network marketing company because making a difference in raising awareness for building a strong immune system is as strong as it ever was!
Suite Thyme – with Wellness Inspired Living on the main floor, the upstairs was an empty shell of un-utilized space. I knew I wanted to renovate “someday” to create a short term rental where I could host out of town guests and contribute to our small town. My original mindset was much like our house … DIY makeover as time and money allow. Well, you know how that goes. There’s never EVER enough time or money to complete a large scale project and nothing was being accomplished. I think that’s why God introduced me to one of my best of friends, Shelby from Suite Retreat Bed & Biscotti from right across the street. Full of life, motivation and a huge adventurous spirit bigger than life, she gave me the advice and little push to make it happen, to get my butt in gear and a little over a year and a half ago, that empty upstairs shell transformed into Suite Thyme and was listed on AirBnB and VRBO. First year of business is always a little rocky, especially when you throw “lockdown 2020” into the mix but I have to tell you, hosting out of town guests has become one of my favorite things to do! I love being a part of inspiring beautiful memories and making getting away special for others!
Thyme & Mint. Those things inspired some beautiful connections with the creating of personal wellness retreat options. A collection of carefully curated intention collections with The Lunar Fae (my amazing daughter, Evangeline’s etsy shop) providing reiki infused crystals and The Witchn’ Kitchen (a sweet friend who opened up shop on the adjacent corner of Wellness Inspired Living (essential oils) /Suite Thyme) … all things herbal knowledge providing bath soaks, these collections are created with lots of love and personalized intention. We also partnered up to provide options for creating a personal wellness retreat including private yoga sessions by Healing with Amber; crystal healing, guided meditation, sound baths by The Lunar Fae and The Wandering Bramble, Aroma Freedom with Wellness Inspired Living, tea leaf readings and herbal/energy consultations with The Witchn’ Kitchen. We’ve had wonderful positive feedback on the collaboration of these services and put so much care and love into offering up these one on one self care packages.
WoW. I’ve had the best time getting to know Shelby from Suite Retreat. Down the street is another women owned business, a quaint antique boutique shop called Then & Again and Forever. Wellness Inspired Living and Suite Thyme on another corner. And when The Witchn’ Kitchen opened up along with Bent Oak Plant Co. across the street, and All About ReClaimed, — a boutique/wellness/shopping/lodging district was born! We call ourselves Butler Women of Washington (our street) or WoW and are on a mission to support women owned business, work together providing fun vendor events and local festivals and to inspire revitalization in our community.
Oh! And I’ve been having the time of my life helping with designs on a new short term rental space. Simply helping a friend with decorating and design decisions and it’s starting to come together. I know I’m going to want to LIVE there. It’s unfolding into this beautiful magical happily ever after makeover story. I plan on sharing some crazy before and after about it as soon as it’s ready. Exciting!
So whew! A lot going on, right?
And you know my heart is filled with so much love for my grandson and you guys! He’s turning 6 years old already this month! SIX! Time is just flying by! Know what else? He’s getting a brother in less than 2 months!!! This mother of two girls is going to be a grandmother to two boys! I am so excited! I am so blessed! I can’t wait!
2020 is also the year I turned 50. Oh.my.goodness. A big milestone that’s gotten pushed aside. A lot of reflection. A lot of gratitude. March 2020 didn’t allow for a big celebration. We haven’t felt comfortable booking a celebratory travel destination either. But I’m looking forward to finishing out the year on a positive happy vibe and making the 5th decade of my story the best chapter yet!
Okay. Back to DIYShowOff. With so much going on, I’ve neglected my passion for maintaining a beautiful home. Projects half finished, rooms cluttered and un-used, things feeling blah and boring. I miss surrounding myself with cozy comfort, seeing my home as my favorite safe haven and have a new desire to freshen things up and to resume my DIY lovin’ habits. Maybe a little ‘nesting’ with a new grand-baby on the way (?) but I am SO ready to dive in and get things done!
First up I’ve been working to downsize my closet. You guys, there are still professional work clothes from at least 10 years ago hanging untouched in the dressing room. And my craft room? It’s like a sealed vault. I haven’t opened that door in well over a year or more. We have a man cave creation in progress that’s been on hold. And remember one of my very first DIY makeovers…that bathroom with the painted floor? It’s time to give it some grown up DIY with tile!
Time to clear out the clutter that’s weighing me down. There’s no two week tropical vacation in our December this year (boo) so I’ve decided to move full speed ahead into creating an in-home oasis. For me that means, out with the things that no longer serve us and changing up rooms to utilize and make the most of our entire home. Those early DIYShowOff room makeovers are feeling old and tired and I’m ready for some good old budget friendly DIY to change things up!
What’s new with you? I’m so ready and so happy to get re-acquainted and can’t wait to see what’s new with you!
On Nov. 9, ACA submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the agency’s proposed pilot project to study the safety impacts of allowing drivers 18-20 years old to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.
ACA supports this pilot project that would provide a way to authorize certain activity on an interim basis and, from that authorization, develop data that otherwise might be unobtainable. ACA believes that with such data, any decision on a permanent authorization for the ability of individuals aged 18 to 20 to drive trucks in interstate commerce can be made on a more informed basis.
The United States is experiencing a significant shortage in truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Association’s Truck Driver Shortage Analysis published in July 2019, there were over 60,000 driving jobs that were not filled in 2018. That analysis stated, “When accounting for both industry growth and replacing drivers leaving their jobs, either from retirement or other reasons, the industry will need nearly 1.1 million new drivers over the coming decade, or just under 110,000 per year on average.”
This will result in a less efficient delivery network and an overall strain on the nation’s economy. Any further decline in the commercial driver’s license (CDL) driver pool will adversely affect the supply chain and delivery of necessary goods.
The shortage of qualified CDL drivers has been an ongoing concern for the paint and coatings industry nationwide. These jobs represent reliable employment, the opportunity for growth, and a pathway to long-term economic stability for qualified drivers in the workforce. FMCSA’s proposed pilot program has the opportunity to facilitate smoother functioning of the interstate freight transportation system through improved driver availability and safety.
ACA believes that with the proper training and equipment, successful 18 to 20-year-old CDL drivers will be better suited to acquire the necessary skills to operate commercial motor vehicles. FMCSA’s proposed pilot program will provide a greater understanding of the capabilities of a well-trained CDL driver and allow for an opportunity to evaluate how equipment, vehicle safety technologies, and driver training could potentially aid new entrants into the driver workforce.
In its comments, ACA encouraged the FMCSA to include as many trained and skilled drivers as possible in the pilot program, covering all segments and operational types. “Increasing opportunities for qualified, safe drivers will increase the CDL workforce pool, allowing industry to fill critical jobs and better manage their transportation needs, resulting in an overall positive impact on the nation’s economy,” ACA stated.
Notably, ACA also supports Congressional passage of the DRIVE Safe Act. This legislation would provide the opportunity for further training of individuals aged 18 to 20 by allowing their participation in an apprenticeship program that includes separate 120-hour and 280-hour probationary periods, during which drivers would operate commercial motor vehicles under the supervision of an experienced driver. Driver trainees would be required to meet specific performance benchmarks before advancing and would also drive vehicles equipped with active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing video event capture, and speed limits set to 65 miles per hour.
OSHA advises that employers work with a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to consider steps to optimize building ventilation. An HVAC professional can ensure that the ventilation system is operating as intended.
The agency offered the following tips to help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus in the workplace:
Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
Ensure all HVAC systems are fully functional, especially those shut down or operating at reduced capacity during the pandemic.
Remove or redirect personal fans to prevent blowing air from one worker to another.
Use HVAC system filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 or higher, where feasible.
Increase the HVAC system’s outdoor air intake. Open windows or other sources of fresh air where possible.
Be sure exhaust air is not pulled back into the building from HVAC air intakes or open windows.
Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to increase clean air, especially in higher-risk areas.
When changing filters, wear appropriate personal protective equipment. ASHRAE recommends N95 respirators, eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, or face shields), and disposable gloves.
Make sure exhaust fans in restrooms are fully functional, operating at maximum capacity, and are set to remain on.
Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
Axalta announced its new partnership with Master Paints Industries (Pvt) Ltd., a paint manufacturer in Pakistan that serves the country’s growing auto refinish market. Master Paints will distribute Axalta’s Standox® refinish brands and HIPIC® coating solutions in the MENA region.
Evonik has completed the acquisition of the Texas-based Porocel Group for $210 million. According to Evonik, the acquisition will enable the expansion of the company’s catalyst business in the area of desulfurization catalysts, sulfur recovery catalysts, and adsorbents. Porocel’s approximately 300 employees and the corresponding production facilities will be integrated into Evonik’s Smart Materials division, while its sales channels will remain in place for the time being.
Porocel generated sales of approximately $100 million and EBITDA of about $23 million in 2019. The EBITDA margin at around 23 percent is above Evonik’s target range of 18-to-20 percent.
Arkema announced that it is leading the second round of investment in Adaptive3D, an additive manufacturing photopolymer resin supplier. According to Arkema, the American startup sells photopolymer resins to enable additive manufacturing of “tough, strain-tolerant, tear-resistant” rubber and plastic parts that are used in a range of applications in the consumer goods, healthcare, industrial, transportation, and oil and gas markets.
According to Arkema, this investment in Adaptive3D will allow the company to create opportunities for new applications in areas such as footwear, medical, automotive, and electronic appliances. “With materials developed to best meet market needs, both consumers and producers stand to benefit from the specialty and sustainable high-performance solutions developed by Arkema and Adaptive3D,” the company said in a statement.
Troy Corporation announced that the company has initiated a cobranding partnership with Pinturas Popular, a manufacturer of paints and coatings in the Dominican Republic. As part of the partnership, Troy has awarded Pinturas Popular the right to brand its paints and coatings with the HomeShield™ Antimicrobial Protection logo. According to the company, HomeShield™ branding certifies that the products incorporate Troy’s antimicrobial technology that is designed to inhibit the growth of mold, mildew, and algae.
“Pinturas Popular is a leader in the Latin American market, and their commitment to high quality also includes a dedication to offering the best antimicrobial protection available,” said Troy’s Frank Cangelosi, vice president, Marketing. “That is where Troy’s expertise adds value.”