Hello readers, it’s Jaime from That’s My Letter here and we are nearly to the end of 2016!  I have a super easy and fast last minute gift idea for kids – a switches and locks playboard that uses up all those spare hardware bits lying around your workshop!

I scoured my workshop pulling together all the spare pieces of hardware I had stashed away to use on this playboard.  Anything that moves, turns, twists, flips, or latches will be great for this project.  I always save random pieces of hardware from renovations or from previous projects and today they are coming in handy.

This playboard makes a great gift for toddlers and young kids to keep them busy with all the different hooks and latches.  Just be careful to steer clear of anything that could pinch or snap little fingers.

I added the pine board frame to finish off the plywood and make this board a nice, completed, functional board perfect for my almost 3-year-old nephew.


  • 3/4″ plywood scrap piece about 19″ x 19″
  • Paint
  • 1″ x 2″ x 8′ pine board
  • Misc. switches, locks and hardware pieces
  • Nail gun
  • Wood glue
  • 1 ¼” finish nails
  • French cleat


Step 1: Paint the plywood and let dry.  Gather all your miscellaneous switches, knobs, locks, pulls, chains, magnets, etc.

Step 2: Attach all the hardware pieces to the plywood.

Step 3: Frame out the plywood using 1×2 boards attached with wood glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails.  Add a french cleat to the center top back and hang on the wall:

Now you’re ready to add a giant bow and give to that special little someone!  Take a look through your workshop and I guarantee you’ll find a few miscellaneous hardware bits that would be perfect for a switches and locks playboard.  Happy Holidays!

~Read more of Jaime’s tutorials~


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Quick & Easy Peppermint Oreo Recipe : Great for last minute cookie exchanges or gifts


Want a quick and easy holiday recipe you can make with the kids? When you don’t have time to bake, but you still want to give a homemade holiday treat, try this recipe for Peppermint Oreos!

Quick & Easy Peppermint Oreos


  • 1 Pkg. of Oreo cookies
  • 1 Pkg. of peppermint candies
  • 1 Pkg. of white chocolate chips


Place the peppermint candies in a double ziploc bags. Let the kids hammer them to smithereens! (I placed scrap wood under the peppermints to protect the countertop.)

While the kids are pounding away to their heart’s content. Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler (or in the microwave. But, the double boiler will keep the chocolate from hardening as fast.)

Pry the hammers from your kid’s hands. Place the crushed peppermints into shallow bowls (one for each child.)

Roll the edge of the oreo cookies into the white chocolate.

Then roll them into the crushed peppermints.

Lay the cookies onto wax paper to cool.


After they cool, eat them, gift them or save them for a snowy day.

A bunch of oreos would fit nicely in one of these decorated gift bags made from a cloth napkin, don’t you think?

drawstring gift bags made from cloth napkins

Want more 15 Minute Gift Ideas?


Happy Holidays!


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Want a quick and easy holiday recipe you can make with the kids? When you don't have time to bake, but you still want to give a homemade holiday treat, try this recipe for Peppermint Oreos! | Pretty Handy Girl #prettyhandygirl #oreorecipe #holidayrecipe

12 Toys that Help Kids Grow Creatively

For birthdays and holidays I like to buy gifts for my boys, nephew, and nieces that help grow their creativity and in turn boost their self-esteem. These gift ideas help increase creative thinking and problem solving (skills that are on the decline in this ever increasing digital world.) If you want to help that special kid in your life develop his or her right brain and instill confidence in them, check out these 12 Toys that Help Kids Grow Creatively.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Assorted Balsa Wood (Small set) and (Large set)

Last Christmas my boys each got a box of assorted balsa wood. They love to build ramps for their matchbox cars, buildings for their stuffed animals and other fun creations. Balsa is soft and can easily be nailed, glued or screwed together. Thinner pieces can be snapped or scored with a knife.

child-size-tool-setChild-size Real Tools

Forget the cheap plastic tools for your child. These are the real deal (only sized for smaller hands.) Purchase a pair of safety glasses and let them loose on that scrap wood!

diy-birdhouse-kitDIY Songbird Birdhouse Kit

Work together with your child to make this birdhouse. Hang it in your yard and you’ve helped foster an interest in nature and a sense of accomplishment.


Wooden Artist Easel

Although coloring books are nice, nothing helps foster creativity like a blank slate. Leave this easel stocked with chalk, colored pencils, markers and blank paper to inspire your little Picasso.


SunPrint Paper

This specially coated paper reacts to the sun’s rays. Show your child how to lay items on top of the paper and expose it in the sun. Your child will enjoy creating new art and appreciate a lesson on positive and negative space.


Learning Tower

Help that little one see the world from your angle. While my boys were growing up, we used a learning tower a lot. My sons could safely stand at counter height to help me bake, clean dishes or run mini science experiments.


EZ Fort

Forts are an essential part of growing up. Sofa cushions and sheets are all you truly need. But, this set lets your little one explore and learn geometry and construction while they create. The set folds away neatly when not in use.

Balance Beans Game

Balance Beans Game

This is a game that my son recently received as a birthday gift. It seemed simple enough, until we started playing. The Balance Beans game cards give you a set number of “beans” you need to use and figure out how to balance them on the board. There are easy cards and there are super hard cards that will truly challenge your brain. It’s definitely a mind bender!



This set of blocks is perfect for experimenting with building tunnels, funnels, ramps and chutes. Then send the ball down the track and see how well your structure was constructed.

LEGO Classic Set - Finally a non-model set to encourage creativity!

LEGO Classics Set

I’ve had a bone to pick with LEGO for a while now. All the fancy building sets are appealing to youngsters, but once they put together the model, the child assumes they need to buy another set. What happened to good old creative building with a basic set? Thank goodness, LEGO brought back this “Classic Set”. Now your child can truly get creative with LEGOs again.


Stick-lets | Make forts and structures using the stick-lets connectors and sticks.

Stick-lets Kit

This has to be the coolest way to encourage the kids to play outside. Stick-lets flexible and safe silicone connectors allow kids to connect sticks to create tents, forts and more! Pair this gift with a camo net and you may not see the kids for hours!

Build It Yourself Child Woodworking Kit

Build-it-Yourself Woodworking Set

I can’t resist this woodworking set that comes with a variety of shapes to encourage creative building projects. Help your child build something they want to play with or something with useful.

Do you have any suggestions for games or Toys that Help Kids Grow Creatively? I’d love to hear your favorites. Let’s empower this next generation and help them flex those creative brain cells.


12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl


12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs

Remember when the only light bulbs that were energy efficient were the corkscrew shape CFL bulbs? Despite being an environmentalist, I was not a fan of the look or the light put out by CFL light bulbs. Luckily the energy efficient light bulb has evolved. LEDs are on the scene and they have changed the look and color options. As a light snob, I decided to share a few of my favorite light bulbs with you. I’m sure you can find one or more light bulbs that not only look stylish but will save you lots of money over the years!

Here are 12 Stylish Energy Efficient Light Bulbs for you to drool over:
(This post contains affiliate links. To learn more read my disclosure page.) 

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

Rejoice! Edison Bulbs are finally available in LED format. These attractive bulbs give off a warm light and have the beautiful filament design to look at.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

The GE LED Bright Stiks are small in size and fit in most table lamps. They put off a soft white light that is even and bright. Sold in a pack of three for big savings!

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

Clear LED Dimmable Edison Style Chandelier Bulbs will add the look of glamour to any chandelier. Unlike many white base chandelier bulbs, these bulbs have a chrome base for a more stylish appearance.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

If you have can lights in your home, you know sometimes it’s hard to find an energy efficient flood light that doesn’t buzz or look like an energy efficient bulb. These LED flood lights are the perfect answer to those issues.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

This Faceted LED Bulb is so beautiful you might want to take off the lamp shade or hang it in a bare bulb fixture! And what’s better than a bulb that will last for decades? A bulb that saves you oodles of money!

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

The Bloom dimmable LED bulb doubles as an artistic lamp. It can also be dimmed to use as a night light. Thomas Edison would surely ditch his original invention to have one of these in his home.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

Gold base candelabra bulbs will elevate your light fixture by giving it luxury and style!


Want to turn any light socket into a speaker? Yes, please! This LED light bulb is actually a stylish bluetooth speaker and light source in one device.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

What could be better than an LED bulb that is also a speaker? A Color Changing LED Light Bulb Bluetooth Speaker, of course!

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

This stylish Half Chrome LED Light Bulb is perfect in a light fixture over a table or a space that you need to block light glare.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

I know I told you I’m not a fan of CFL bulbs, but this Plumen designer CFL has me retracting that statement. The design changes depending on how you orient the bulb.

12 Stylish Energy Efficient Bulbs | Pretty Handy Girl

I saved my favorite for last. This Romantic Edison Tiered Bulb is a must have for your glass shade light fixture!

Those were 12 Stylish Energy Efficient Light Bulbs, which was your favorite?



10 Cool DIY Gifts for Handy Guy or Girl on Your List

10 Cool DIY Gifts for Handy Guy or Girl on Your List

As an avid DIYer, I know that Father’s Day is a good time to pick up great bargains on DIY tools and more. Sometimes picking out the right gift for that handy person in your life can be a little daunting. Therefore, I’ve created a list of cool products that I love and I know your “handy” person would too. And, hey, if this list is for the handy gal instead, then so be it!

Here are 10 Cool Gifts that Every Handy Guy (or Gal) Would Love, to fit any budget (contains affiliate links.) Read more