Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When a Woman Takes an Axe to a Wall

Many people ask me how I got into using tools and being a female DIYer. Well, from what other women tell me, apparently I was lucky growing up. In our house, there was no such a thing as girl’s chores or boy’s chores and there was I-need-as-many-hands-as-I-can-get chores in my parent’s fixer upper house.

That and a steady diet of HGTV, DIY Network, and other home improvement and decorating shows put the No Fear in me when it came time to fix up my own house. Besides, I am picky and I like to do things on my terms – and at my price point. That means large does of Vitamin DIY all the way! Right, Knock Off Wood?

When a Woman Takes an Axe to a Wall: Where is She Really Trying to Go? by Allegra Bennett is an inspirational book for any woman who never had a Dad that allowed her to “help” in his workshop or with odd fix jobs around the house. (PS: Thanks Dad for not kicking me out when I probably pestered you with too many little kid questions.) The book is a series of inspirational stories about women who did not think they could do home improvement or renovation. Many of them were discouraged from trying by other women! The women in this book all found that they could tackle a range of DIY jobs and learned a little more about themselves in the process.

I could relate to many of the women in this book. One is Sarah Holley who was discouraged from refinishing her own wood floors because people were afraid them she might ruin them instead of refinish them. After watching how to refinish floors on a home improvement show Sarah rented a big floor sander, did a great job on her floors, and proved all of those people wrong. Woot!

Reading that story took me back to the only time I was ever talked down to at a home improvement store. It was by a female employee who felt the need to be condescending and explain to me what needle nose pliers were and how to use them to hang my framed ceiling tiles. (We’re not talking about using the Jaws of Life here but something that lots of women I know use to make jewelry!) Funny thing, this type of interaction has never happened to me in the plumbing or electrical aisle of the same store when a male employee is helping me. Grr!

When a Woman Takes an Axe to a Wall isn’t a how to or DIY handbook. My only criticism is that while the stories are interesting and inspiring, they also read a little like a women’s studies book on female empowerment through home improvement. I wish the stories were a told in a warmer manner. However, I’m not sure how to achieve that because it’s hard to be warm and fuzzy when you have to find the moxie to tell burly male contractors to redo the work you want them to do when they take shortcuts and insist they can’t do the job to the specs you’re paying them to follow.

The theme of this book really hit me the day after I finished it. I went into the garage to finish a woodworking project with my new toy – an electric belt sander. I was walking tall for the rest of the evening! "I also found bits of sawdust all over the garage flooring and in places I didn't know I had"

In other words, if you a woman who is unsure if you can do even a minor DIY job without a man’s help read this book. Then grab a hammer or whatever and try it – you will be glad you did.

Win When a Woman Takes an Axe to a Wall *Closed*

I am giving away one copy of the book When a Woman Takes an Axe to a Wall by Allegra Bennett.

To enter: Leave a comment telling me about a DIY job that gave you a boost of confidence, no matter how big or how small. Alternatively, if you have not tackled a DIY job tell me what is holding you back. (You won't get any discouragement from me - honest!)

You must leave your email address so I can contact you if you win or your entry will be disqualified. If your email address is available via your Blogger profile that counts. I'm not going to do anything mischievous with your email address. I just want to be able to contact you about sending your prize to you if you win.

You can earn extra chances to win by doing any of the following after you’ve made your initial comment on my blog:

  1. Blog about my contest with a link back to Condo Blues. Please leave the URL of your blog post so I can verify it. 
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You must leave a separate comment for each method you used to enter the contest. If you choose to use every method of entry, you have up to seven chances to win!

I will use a random generator to select the winner. The When a Women Takes an axe to a Wall Giveaway runs from June 15, 2010 – June 27, 2010 12 midnight EST. Good Luck!

Legal mumbo jumbo: This contest is open to US residents only. I will not share your email information any third parties. I received a free review copy of When a Woman takes an Axe to a Wall to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own and longtime readers know I can be very opinionated. This post contains affilate links.

Updated:: Monday June 28, 2010 Congratualtions to Milena, the winner of the giveaway!