About Me

DonnaSketch(transparentBorderfbHi, I’m Donna, some of my friends refer to me as DP, some as  Ms.D.  I am so glad that you found my blog!  I started,  “You don’t need a man to fix it”™. in October of 2013 at the prompting of friends and family who would often ask me questions on how to do this or that. My favorite is when my stepdaughter, Dani, was on the phone with her dad and promptly asked to talk to me because she had a repair question!

Writing a blog has been quite challenging, so I hope you stay with me as I learn how to organize, photo and post the moments in my life. (see my update at the bottom of the page)

A little more about me

I am a mom of three wonderful children, two sons and a daughter, one terrific pseudo foster son and, although I did not parent them, two great stepdaughters. I am also a wife, grandmother and best friend. My Mom would say I am a spitting image of my father “Capt. Ray Merrill” and if you ask my oldest son he would tell you I am a perpetual tomboy!

I grew up the third of four children and the only girl, thus, I had to compete with three brothers. Born in New Jersey, raised in the Florida Keys, I learned most of what I know from my father,  a “Master Mechanic” and at 86 years old, he can still fix or build just about anything. My mom was pretty handy too. I can be very stubborn, which I attribute to my grandmother Nellie, who immigrated from Holland in the early 1900’s, which makes me a second generation American which I prefer over Dutch-American.  My parents and grandparents survived the great depression and I was raised to believe I was NOT helpless, to have a work ethic, to repair it, reuse it,  and to know that if you put your heart and mind into what ever you choose to do, you will eventually succeed.

Where It Started

I had watched my dad build and repair things since I was old enough to get underfoot. When I was 13 years old dad was working with one of my brothers on a car  he brought home mostly in boxes and baskets. David had been working on the engine and needed a bit of help before dad got home so he enlisted me. I didn’t know what the parts were called, but I quickly learned what needed to be bolted to what.  Later at the age of 22, a stay at home mom with two boys, I rehabilitated my first house, it was over 100 years old and unfit for human habitation. The funny thing was… the only thing I knew about building, was how to build a tree fort!  It was a learning process all in itself. Thanks to much advice from city building officials and many suggestions from helpful neighbors, I completed the job.  I still own the house and still do the majority of my own repairs on it.

Old House

My Old House

I found so much pleasure in renovations, I went on to get an degree in Building Construction and Design Engineering. For several years I worked for other builders honing my craft, while acquiring the knowledge to became a Florida Certified Residential Contractor  and  start my own construction company. Let me tell you,  being a woman in a male-dominated industry, has not been an easy road to travel, but neither was growing up with three brothers, and I loved/love doing both!

Now after 30+ years in the building construction industry,  I want to share my knowledge.

My mantra is “You just need a little knowledge, encouragement, and practice” and you can do just about anything, well except maybe being a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

Join me in exploring what comes my way in the shop, kitchen or garden or anywhere else is life. You may pick up some tips and tricks while I build, maintain, repair and re-purpose just about anything I get my hands on

I would also love to hear from my you, and find out more about what your up to. So if you’re looking for a how-to, have a question, a comment, something to share or just want to say Hi!… Contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Remember… You may want a man to fix it… But, you don’t need a man to fix it!


~ Captain’s Log, Stardate 09242017 advances 2 yrs hence;  For the last two years my posts have been slim to nonresistance. In January of 2015, I was giving a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow/bone/immune system.  After fighting for two years, and developing an unusual mutation, in January of 2017 the oncologist a Moffit cancer center said there were no more known effective treatments and he recommended no further treatment. I was given 3-6 monts to live.  In February, by the grace of God, intervention from the universe and diligent efforts on the part of my husband and daughter, we found a new doctor at Shands Cancer hospital in Gainesville Florida.  Dr. Jan Moreb, had an answer that would help, and it did.  Here I am 9 months later (four months of pure hell) and I feel as good as the day before I was handed the diagnosis. During the four months in Gainesville so many things happened both there and at home. The most signification other than my response to treatment was that we lost our son Christopher on March 3 at the age of 36, he now watches over me from a different plain.





On a positive note (I try to find something positive in everything)  I truly am the spitting image of my father!  He is still with us doing what dad does…