Holy cow! I didn't realize just how much went down on the blog in 2017 until I looked back through the posts. It was a big year for AZ DIY action.
Of course, the year has been dominated by a project that's mightily spilling over into 2018. It's the most ambitious and costly project I've attempted to date...
The Kitchen Remodel
This is a beast of a project, my largest to date. We're re-jiggering everything as we convert a U-shape kitchen to a galley. I'm chipping away (slowly) on weekends, sometimes just one weekend day a week. We started with a beat-up 1970's mess:
I tore up the south half first. The soffits came down easy, but the far end was open to the attic. I lucked out and found an abandoned waterline to intercept for the refrigerator.
With the electrical, light plumbing, and drywall fixed up, I got into IKEA cabinetry (Here are my top IKEA tips). We bought a refrigerator, range, and microwave to slide into the new spaces. I installed cabinet lighting, new knobs and pulls, and some temporary countertops.
Half done, the kitchen looks immeasurably better. We're already in love with the improved look and functionality.
... but we're still living in a construction zone. The north wall is getting hit now.
I'm going all the way to the studs this time. Electrical has to be fixed, plumbing has to be moved, and I have some major re-framing to do. It's gonna be fun.
Catch up on the whole project here:
Dumbassery, Nonsense, and Heartbreak
I'm with stooopid.
Yeah. This happened. Against every bit of my old-school Boy Scout knife discipline, I filleted myself. I treated myself to a new, lifelong scar this year. Dumbass.
Right as I was unloading a packed truck full of flat-packed IKEA cabinetry, the sky darkened with thousands of Africanized bees. They moved into the enclosure around our electrical service an set up house.
Friends, I'll attempt to DIY damn near anything. Freaking killer bees? I hired a professional to come in and fight that battle.
I'd hoped to share the occasional post about fixing up the sweet little Miata roadster, I inherited from my Dad. As much as I wanted to keep his beloved convertible on the road, it was not to be.
I took it in to get an alternator and timing belt and learned that nearly every metal component was largely destroyed by terminal rust. Years of salted roads in Michigan winters had done their worst. The frame was collapsing into itself, brake lines were nearly gone, and there wasn't really enough viable metal to mount engine components to. My mechanic told me he'd proceed if I really wanted him to, but he was really concerned about the safety of operating the car anymore. I listened. I wouldn't want to get in a wreck in a Miata in the best of circumstances, but chance it when its structural integrity is hanging by a thread? No.
I'll honor my Dad in other ways. At least I got a chance to zip around in the Arizona sun for a while.
Since Dad was a teacher for nearly 50 years, and impacted the life of generations of kids, I donated the car to Make-A-Wish. They'll sell it for parts and make some kids happy.
While 2016 brought in a big blog redesign and transition to Squarespace, 2017 got the cherry on top. I'd been struggling with the log logo, the "gunslinger" since the beginning, 5 years ago. While I am comfortable with graphic design, I found myself paralyzed when it came to something so personal as the logo for this site. I hired someone and loved the experience.
AZ DIY Guy now got a fresh cartoon / avatar / mascot style logo in 2017:
I've also loved playing a little dress up with him. I can tune the logo for special events, kind of like the Google Doodles. It's great fun.
DIY Blogging can be awesome. While the interaction with readers is the best, working with brands of tools and materials is also incredible fun.
I'm on my third year as a brand ambassador for Bernzomatic. As a Torchbearer I'm loving the creative exercise of using their assorted blowtorches to fix and create. Here's a sampling of posts from 2017:
A cool Torchbearer highlight of 2017 was doing a trio of torch projects (paintstripping, leather branding, and wood burning) that I packed up and shipped to the national Ace Hardware show in Atlanta.
Tough in the South! DeWalt Press Event
This was my first big event of this sort. I flew to Nashville, Tennessee for a few days of black and yellow tool goodness. As a bit of a DeWalt fanboy, I was blown away at how much cool stuff I saw.
The amount of cool tools to launch in late 2017 / early 2018 is just staggering. Check out my recap post to get the details.
Cool New Stuff
I love sharing fresh stuff with my readers. I'm blessed to work with some new sponsors this past year. I don't accept just anything; there've been some duds, too. Here are some of the best:
So What's up for 2018?
I have a bunch of cool stuff coming. Some I can't share yet; I can't wait. Here is some of the stuff I'm working on:
- Finish the Kitchen Remodel: Ohhhh boy. I have a lot of work to do. There's so many challenging things to complete, all while trying to maintain a working, family kitchen. There's so many chicken and the egg decisions to make ... what comes first? It's actually more of a Bill and Ted type conundrum...
Bill: Ted, while I agree that, in time, our band will be most triumphant, the truth is, Wyld Stallyns will never be a super-band until we get Eddie Van Halen on guitar.
Ted: Yes, Bill, but.... I do not believe we will get Eddie Van Halen before we have a triumphant video.
Bill: Ted, it's pointless to have a triumphant video before we have decent instruments.
Ted: Well, how can we have decent instruments if we don't really even know how to play?
Bill: That is why we need Eddie Van Halen!
Ted: And that is why we need a triumphant video!
Both: [think for a second] EXCELLENT! (guitar riff)
Anyway, there's plumbing to move, electrical to fix, a door to install, and some re-framing and repair of the wall. I'm targeting an early spring completion. Lots to do.
- Email Subscriptions: I think it's close to time to pull the trigger on this. It's basically a blogging requirement for growth, but I've never set one up. It's getting harder and harder for my readers to find my new content through social channels. Facebook is especially tough. They want content creators to pay advertising fees to allow followers to see posts. They want me to pay to show you my free content. Last time I checked, Facebook was throttling post sharing down to 2.27% of a page's followers. I have some legal FCC stuff to do, but I hope to set this up for you this year.
- Shop AZ DIY Guy's Toolbox: I'm taking advantage of a new Amazon program to create a "virtual toolbox." I'm going to catalog the cool tools that you see in action on this blog. I'm going to include the stuff I use and recommend. Purchases will earn AZ DIY Guy a modest commission (at no cost to you) to help me cover the increasing costs of running the site. Here's a sneak preview:
- Digital Remastery of azdiyguy.com: I'm not going to go all George Lucas on the old blog posts and change the actual content, but I am crawling back through some of the more popular posts and reconfiguring them to take advantage of the new technical horsepower offered by Squarespace. My older stuff was created on Blogger, which was free to me, but didn't allow for big images, galleries, or decent mobile responsiveness. I'm also finding a trove of broken links, sending people to my 404 error page. I'll re-share some of these posts as I get them freshened up and beautified.
That's it for 2017. Thanks for reading, for the friendships, and, most importantly, for being a Do-it-Yourself maniac.
May your 2018 be awesome. Get you hands dirty and do some stuff. Be safe.