Monday, August 31, 2009

The Buzz on K2Workshops

Updated:  K2 Workshops are offering a 15% discount ! Just sign up for a class at on their site and use discount code BF15AJ091X during checkout!! I can report that I have already saved far more money on my recent projects than the entire cost of a single class. Definitely worth checking out!)

Note: This is a review post - I did not pay for this workshop.

That said, please read on to see why I would have totally paid for this class.

Recently K2Workshops of Kansas City invited me to attend their workshop Home Improvement Champion 101: Basic Home Repair Workshop for Women . Oh sure, I was excited about the prospect of spending an entire Saturday with Average Jane and Rita of Surrender Dorothy, but truthfully, there was more to my excitement. Three months ago, the light in our downstairs half-bath off of our kitchen went dark. I dreaded calling an electrician knowing that a bare minimum charge would be $75 or so. So, I put it off. Eventually, my grandma learned of our plight my negligence and actually gave us $100 for our anniversary in June to pay for it. That $100 is still sitting in our checking account. Where is my husband in all of this? My husband does not do repairs, he pays for home repairs. Like his own father did.

I knew going into this marriage that I was going to be the Handy Girl. I am the one who takes our son to Home Depot and Lowe's and that is fine by me. I love watching HGTV with drool on my chin. So yes, I can do some basic repairs, but truthfully, I often do a sloppy, inadequate job or mess things up so badly that I am left sitting on my couch with a bottle of wine sobbing wet, heavy tears (a true story, circa 2002, involving 20+ holes and a rebellious curtain rod.) Then, I have to hire someone to fix my mess and do the job properly.

So, off to class I went.

First up, we learn about the tools on our pretty desk. I am hurriedly making a wish list for Christmas.

Next, we learn the importance and difference between varying types of wall anchors while I mentally plan vengeance on that errant curtain rod. Our instructor demonstrates the entire process before our eyes, then sends us back to our spaces. I am shocked to learn that I can hang a towel rod that even my children would find difficult to destroy.

Then, we learn about sheetrock repair. They showed us two methods - one involving essentially nailing a piece of wood behind the hole, then cutting a piece of sheet rock to fit the hole, nailing that piece in, then mudding over whole thing. The other was a jury-rig (in my opinion) method called the "california patch" - Rita has a great picture of it on her site.

Next, we did electrical where we actually installed a light fixture and a light switch ourselves. With real, potentially heart-stopping electricity! Yowser.

We did not get to do much hands-on with the plumbing, but their demonstration and illustrations were very thorough.

Some quick tips that I learned during our conversations:
  • Use masking tape for marking measures on a wall with a pencil, just rub it across your pants first to get it "linted up" so it does not peel off the paint. Now, you don't have to mark the wall directly.
  • Sheet rock dust is insidious! Do not use a regular vacuum bag because it will seep through that bag. It was recommended to lay down drop cloths to catch as much as possible during sanding. Otherwise, it will need to be cleaned up by hand or a special, very expensive vacuum bag needs to be used.
  • Periodically clean pipes out with a mixture of 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Pour baking soda first, then the vinegar, then use a stopper to keep it down in the pipe Otherwise, it will bubble up into your sink! You want it bubbling in the pipe itself, where it needs to do it dirty job. After 10 minutes, pour hot water down the pipe quickly.
  • Toilets should be used for what they were meant - not as trashcans. This most definitely means dental floss, which apparently is far more comment of a problem than you would think. Floss can built up in your pipe and create a "trap" of sorts. Dental floss = toilet trouble.
The class included a box lunch and we went home with pretty notebooks chock full of information.

Immediately after class, I went to the Home Depot nearby and purchased all the materials for changing out our light switches. Went home, ate dinner and got to work. It took me less than 15 minutes and much of that was spent running to the basement, flipping breakers, figuring out which was The One That Would Not Kill Me. I can now pee in sweet, lighted bliss. Thanks, K2 Workshops! I have fixed another broken light switch and will be purchasing some light fixtures this week to replace THREE broken ones outside ( a safety issue, folks.) I am putting new towel rods in our October budget.

I am also now signed up for their mailing list in anxious anticipation for a tile class - something else we desperately need fixed around here.

K2 Workshops does offer gift certificates - I think this would be a great option for a newly married couple or as a house warming gift.

It is difficult to explain how I felt Saturday night - not just excited that I had saved my family some money, but also empowered and confident that I could do it myself. Furthermore, my husband was totally impressed and that, my friends, is priceless.

Pretty, clean, innocent spaces just waiting for the hammers to drop.

Child-sized chin-up bars.
Nothing is bringing those fools down. Not even my own children.

Holes? We don't need no stinking holes.
For when the children DO bring the bars down. Gulp.

Rita's Audition for the Price is Right
I still cannot believe that I installed a light fixture all on my own. And lived to tell the tale.

And now? I need to take the plumbing class.
With a toilet like this, who can resist???

1 comment:

Average Jane said...

Fun, fun, fun! I haven't actually put any of my new knowledge to work (don't believe my blog post - I spent all day yesterday napping), but I hope to soon.