« February 2009 | Main | April 2009 »

March 2009

March 26, 2009

CTV Canada AM - products for allergy relief

Canada AM allergy shootSome of you saw the piece I did this morning on minimizing household allergens (for CTV's Canada AM).  Here's the list of products and prices for all of the remedies I mentioned.

  • Safe, non-toxic cleaners are now available so you can get rid of all of your harsh chemical cleaners.  There's one cleaner that's made with food-grade ingredients and absolutely no chemicals. EcoMist is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal and uses nano-colloidal technology to be lethal to germs, but easy on hands, skin and respiratory systems.  Also a drop-dead-great cleaner and stain remover.  It's available at Home Depot for about $9.
  • The steam mop I was using to remove tons of extra dirt from a 'clean' kitchen floor is made by Shark.  You can get it at Canadian Tire for about $100.  There's also a small handheld model ($50) for disinfecting countertops, bathroom surfaces and car interiors.
  • The non-toxic mold control product that cleans, kills and prevents mould and mildew growth is Concrobium, available at most hardware stores and Home Depot. $10
  • The silk bedding that stops snoring, ends hot flashes and protects your bed from dust mites (and their allergen-rich excrement) is SmartSilk, available online only at http://www.smartsilk.com - Costs about $800 for a Queen-size set (mattress protector, duvet and pillow protectors), or about $400 for a crib-size set.  SmartSilk is certified by the Canadian Asthma Society.  There's a new '3 Easy Payments' option on the SmartSilk web site for people who want to pay for their new bedding on the installment plan. 
  • The room air cleaner is from 3M ($200) and uses Filtrete Maximum Allergen filters - the best 3 month disposable filter on the market.  Filtrete Maximum Allergen filters also come in larger sizes for furnaces ($30).

Thanks - you guys are great!

A week ago we sent out a survey to our subscribers.  We were trying to figure out what you're most eager to know more about in the area of home improvement. 

I expected to get about 100 responses at most.  I was flabberghasted when more than 500 of you took the time to  answer questions and tell us about the projects that you're feeling the most pressure to complete.

You painted a very clear picture and gave us compelling vignettes about your lives and what you're facing as you look around your homes.  I've personally sifted through more than 40 pages of comments, and studied the results of the multiple choice questions.

Here's how your answers look in a graph:
ToolGirl survey resultsThe picture you've painted is that you're most concerned about weatherproofing and making sure you feel safe and secure in your home.  In the number two position is having fresh ideas for frugal upgrades.  And if and when the chips are really down, you want to know how to preen your home most effectively for resale.   

Thank you to all of you who took the trouble to respond to our survey request, and a special thanks to those who added their personal thoughts to the end of the survey form.  We're working on developing some great ways to help you get where you want to go!

How not to kill your Blackberry

Two months ago my Blackberry went missing.  I looked for it for days.  I dialed its number and listened intently.  Nothing.

Just hours ago when the last snowdrift melted, I finally found my darling Blackberry, splintered in the grass, semi-digested by the snowblower and spewed into digital oblivion.  Dang.

Death by snowblower

March 13, 2009

Shopping for tools in New York city

I had a really fun day in Manhattan shopping for tools with New York Times reporter Steven Kurutz.  Finds:  a stainless steel tape measure, a Stanley jacketed graphite 16-oz. hammer.  And a really cool compressor that would unfortunately not be allowed in my luggage.
Shopping for tools in Manhattan

Photo: Steve and me pausing to help a hardware customer choose a tape measure.  We had a great day visiting hardware stores all over the city.  One store has been in the same spot since 1884.

Checking out stepladders Gracious Home at West 66th and Broadway has the best selection of stepladders in the city.  But the NutHouse was my personal favourite - 4 floors of hardware bliss and it's open 24 hours!

Manhattan hotel rooms are kinda squidgy.  The mirrors help distract you from the spatial restrictions.

Manhattan hotel room

We had a homey, damn fine meal at 9:30 pm in Brooklyn at Buttermilk Channel restaurant.  That's my nephew Chas's hand gracing the goblet.Merlot can actually be good

March 10, 2009

Off to New York


 is doing a short feature on shopping for tools in Manhattan and they asked me to be their guide.  Oh baby.

So Daniel and I are heading off to New York tomorrow to meet up with NYT reporter Steven Kurutz.  (I'm going to make a bold attempt at using Twitter to keep up with events as they unfold, if I can think of any witty, insightful things to say.  The best thing would be a close-up spotting of my favourite New York celebrity, David Pogue.) 

As of today, we've officially sold out of the first printing of We're All In This Together.  Here's Daniel getting the last four pallets ready to go...and the truck that came minutes later to pick 'em up.

 Last pallets of WAITT  Hydraulic lifts rock


  • Get ToolGirl's Newsletter
  • Watch ToolGirl's videos


  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest

Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie