Thursday, April 13, 2017

2012 Toyota Prius Engine Air Filter & Cabin Filter Replacement

We have a 2012 Toyota Prius with 91,000 miles as of the writing of this blog post.  We are pretty consistent with getting its regular maintenance.

Oil changes every 5,000 miles and tire rotations every 10,000 miles.

This is not a car maintenance website so check you vehicles owners manual for your specific scheduled intervals.

We have always taken our vehicle back to the dealership that we purchased it from for these services.  One of the reasons why we do that instead of me doing the oil changes myself is time and money.

It costs $55 for an oil change from out local dealership.  It's $70 if I want to take it to a local tire kingdom or some other similar business.  Weird how the dealership is cheaper.

If I purchased the oil, oil filter and gasket so that I could change my own oil it would cost me around $40.

I figure that $15 difference is time saved that I can use for woodworking.  We all have priorities in our lives...hehe.

HOWEVER, there are maintenence items that the dealership always hits me up for that I just can't justify having them do.

1.  Windshield wipers
2.  Engine Air Filter
3.  Cabin Air Filter

All three of these items fall under the simple and easy category and as we all know by now, simple and easy is what we do here...

DIY Engine Air Filter Replacement

This is the Engine Air Filter I bought as a replacement.  Seems to be about the same quality as the OEM filter.  This should fit all third generation Toyota Prius vehicles (2009 - 2015).

Obviously you should verify whether it will fit your vehicle before purchasing.

The filter sits centered in the engine compartment.  It's black and square and you can't miss it.  It's held in place by two metal clips pointed to by the red arrows below.

Flip those off and then turn your attention to the back of the filter cover where it says "Hybrid Synergy Drive".

Here you will find what I referred to as hinges in the video but they aren't really hinges they are clips.  You do not flip the top up and open it like the hood on the car.

You pull the cover down and toward you to pull the clips apart.  Then the top can be lifted off it's housing about 4 or 5 inches.  Enough to get the air filter out of it's compartment.

Refer to the video above for a full visual representation.

Cabin Air Filter

That's all their is to replacing the engine air filter.  Took me about one minute and I'm no expert.

The cabin air filter is just as simple.

First, we need to lower the bottom portion of the glove compartment box.  It is held on by a few plastic pieces.

The first one to be concerned with is a hydralic strut attached to the side of the box.  This is the piece that lets the box down gently when you press the button to open the compartment.

It just pops off without much force.

 Then there are two button knobs that ride in a track that are outside the view of the below camera shot.

Just push on the side of the box and that will release it from it's track.  A fair amount of force needed to be applied here as the sides seem to be fairly sturdy.  The pic below gives a better view of where that knob gets snapped into on the box.  Denoted by the red arrow.

The bottom of the compartment box is clipped onto a plastic frame piece that needs to be pulled apart.  Both pieces are denoted by yellow arrows.

The filter is just behind the glove box and has a white cover over it.  It's easy to remove by a clip on one side to reveal the filter behind it.

The one thing to be aware of here is which way the replacement filter get put back in.  My filter had a little arrow printed in one direction which notes which side should face up.

Final Thoughts

I used a Fram replacement filter and as soon as I took it out of its packaging I noticed it didn't have as many pleats as the OEM filter.

Filters with more pleats tend to filter more effectively and last longer than those with fewer pleats.

I haven't noticed a difference but get back to me in about 10,000 miles.  I may be singing a different tune.  Currently I have a link to the exact filter that I purchased but I reserve the right to change it in the future based on performance.

However, the engine air filter seemed to be exactly the same quality as the OEM part I replaced.  Both links here on this website at this time are to the exact items I purchased.

One I'm happy with but the other I'll have to wait and see.

Until then!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

DIY Bathroom Countertop Organizer

There are so many spots for clutter to hide in your bathroom. Especially if you're sharing your bath space with another family member.

The supplies can really add up.

Some of us keep our supplies strewn all over the top of the counter while others are a little more diligent about putting away items.

Here's a great way to keep supplies tidy but yet still easily available and at your fingertips. There are spots for some wide mouth mason jars to hold items such as cotton balls, toothbrushes, and q tips.

In our home, toothbrushes are the must have items we keep out because we want them in our reach.

This attractive DIY organization unit, is a great way to keep everything in it's place.

Beginning DIY'ers will love this build.  Minimal experience needed along with supplies and time.

Win, win!

DIY Bathroom Countertop Organization:


Choice of Stain

5" bark edge boards

Mason Jars

Rustic Pine box cut to your dimensions

Final Thoughts:

I hope you enjoyed today's featured project and don't forget to stop by "Walnut Hollow" YouTube channel to check out even more great woodworking videos from them

Intimidated about building the pine box on your own? Not to worry. You can visit to purchase their rustic wood ledge which they have for sale.

Until then!


Sunday, March 26, 2017

UPDATE: DIY Cedar Garden Planter

Cedar Planter Box Update:

Several years ago we built a functional and attractive cedar planter box. It has been one of our most popular videos on my YouTube channel. If you missed the project, you can check it out here.

Because of it's popularity it's received both positive and negative comments as any video that has any kind of visibility will have.

Today I'm going to tackle some of the negative comments. So in no particular order here we go:

Comment #1
 "Wouldn't the wood get destroyed and get too much moisture from the water, when you are watering the plants?"

Comment #2
"Give it one season and that planter box is toast."

Comment #3
"That thing will fall apart. That is a waste of cedar."

I ignore these naysayers and am always amused by comments such as these.  Especially the ones that say it will last a year when the video has been up for several.

My thoughts always start at, "bwahahahaha!!!!"

That's because our planter has been an enormous success and my wife and kids love it.

It is still going strong even after being subjected to our harsh Florida climate for several years. I always like to say that because we have two growing seasons down here you can double the age of garden items such as this.

It's even been through a hurricane.  Did a video on that as well.  Take a look.

Hurricane Matthew Vlog:


Despite the hurricane, our cedar planter box survived fine. It's now several years old and has survived it's share of some outdoor extremes.

I'm pleased to report that it's still in use and currently housing our home grown celery and chives.

We've grown mainly vegetables in it because we like our edibles. Some of our bounty has been a crop of carrots, then some kitchen herbs, and sometimes bell peppers.

Are you dreaming of your own spring and summer bounty? Give this planter box a try! It's affordable to make and easy on the wallet. Here's a link to our free plans.

If you're into DIY and want to learn more about us, don't forget to subscribe to our channel, Simply Easy DIY. Follow all of Stan Sullivan's adventures in building and Happy DIY'ing!


Monday, January 30, 2017

DIY Fence Planter

Short on space?

Fence planters are efficient ways of taking advantage of your outdoor area.  Normally unused vertical spaces can be filled with plants and flowers that look good and add a bit of "you" to your backyard.

Of course there are lots of ways to spruce up your outdoor living area.  Store bought planters can be purchased in just about any design if you have the budget for it.

You can up-cycle pallets or wooden crates for an extremely cheap version.

However, I like to go somewhere between economical and aesthetically appealing.  After all I am the one that has to look at it whether their are plants in them or not.

DIY Fence Planter


36 - 1x4s

4 - 2x4s

2 - 2x8s

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Stain

Cut List

16 Long Side Pieces - 10.5 x 36

16 End Pieces - 10 x 10.5

8 Bottom Piece - 10 x 36

16 Ledge Braces - 7 x 9

4 Vertical Supports - 3.5 x 90

Cutting Diagrams




Step 1

Lets start with the planter boxes.  The two longer sides I set at 36 inches long and 10 inches deep.
The length is arbitrary but the depth is actually by design.  It will allow you to plant just about any type of plant you want.

You can buy 1x12s is you don't want to do edge gluing.  I always do so because I find it to be more economical.  Three 1x4s edge glued together will give the width required.

Step 2

I wanted to keep this design as simple as possible to assemble.  So simple butt joints were incorporated instead of dadoes and  rabbets.

However, these butt joints will NOT hold as a final joinery for a project like this.  Once the sides have been assembled and the glue given a chance to dry I like to add dowels.

"OH NO, Dowels are complicated!", you say.

I'm offended at your accusations!!!  I don't do complicated.  I have several videos showing how to add dowels to a projects joints in a simple and easy manner.

Step 3

The bottom can be glued in place along with dowels in the same manner as the ends.

Once you have built the number of grow boxes you want for you vertical planter garden, it will be time to move on to the supports.

Step 4

The support brackets are from 2x material.  Neither the length nor the width need be precise.  You don't even need to cut the angle.

However, it may be wise to do so because you will find yourself to have  tendency to scrape your knuckles on the bottom corners.  Trust me, you will, no matter how careful you tell yourself to be.

Again you could by 2x8s for this or edge glue a couple 2x4s together to get the 7".

Step 5

You can leave the vertical supports alone if you want.  However, I set the length at what 3 or 4 planter boxes spaced at the below measurements apart would be.

The supports can simply be screwed in from the back side with 3" screws.

You will need two of these vertical pieces with the spacing shown below.

Step 6

You will need 2 more vertical supports with brackets spaced as shown below.

Step 7

If you are attaching your new garden space along a fence then now is the time to do this.  Be sure to measure and attach them at the widths listed below.

You can attach another 2x4 to the back side of your fence and then use 3.5" screws driven from one side to the other to give more structural support.

Step 8

Now you can set the boxes on top of the brackets and attach them using 3" or 3.5" screws from the bottom up.

Final Thoughts

A few coats of your choice of water resistant stain can be applied to the outside however I would refrain from applying it to the inside of the boxes.

There are many different materials that can be used in place of the wooden boxes.  I've seen old purses that were purchased from a thrift store for a few dollars each be used as planters hung from each ledge.

Old coffee cans attached with screws was another brilliant idea.  Wooden crates, you know the free standing ones you see at the store for $8 to $10 each.

Simple hanging plastic planters if you have enough of those or perhaps a combinations of each for a real up-cycled rendition to make this project your own.

I hope you find just as much inspiration building you vertical fence planter as I did putting these plans together.

Until then!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

DIY Simple Wooden Toy Boat

In our home we have several well constructed wooden toys. A favorite is this Melissa and Doug brand car carrier truck. It was given to our son as a gift several years ago and is still played with often.

It has four cars and at the time this photo was taken, only the red and green ones were accounted for. (By the way, usually there are four colorful cars that ride on this trailer lift!)

Also pictured in the background are wooden peg puzzles. They as well have years on them but are still played with frequently and even after four children all of the pieces are still accounted for.

Both puzzles and wooden toys are a must in every family with children. Putting together puzzles ignites math and other problem solving skills in young explorers and free play with wooden toys such as the car carrier that moves up and down encourages motor skills and imagination.

Not to mention that the toys are durable and outlast many plastic toys that are so often thrown away within months of buying them.

However, wooden toys when purchased in a store can run some money.

So when Joe from Joe's Basementwoodworking YouTube channel featured this toy boat project, I knew it was a home run project.  Not just because it was simple, but because it was also easy on the wallet.

DIY Simple Wooden Toy Boat:


Choice of Stain

Miter Saw

Scrap wood

Table saw

Thickness Planer (optional)

Bandsaw (optional)

Final Thoughts

An added bonus is that you can customize your boat based on what you've got available in your scrap bin. If you wanted to go the dowel route, you could further customize this project to break into pieces so your child could take it apart and put it back together again.

Don't forget to check out Joe Basementwoodworking YouTube channel to check out even more great project ideas from Joe. Don't forget to subscribe!

Until then!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

DIY Dollhouse Style Bookshelf

So I built the decorative wall shelf and was going to donate it to charity.  Because Christmas.

Then My 4yr old daughter saw it and thought I was building it for her.

I was about to explain to her what my intent was but then I realized that I had already built her brother a shelf of his own  and her older sister a bookcase.

So I guess it stood to reason she would assume that project would be hers.

I decided to not break her heart and go ahead and mount it for her on her side of her bedroom.

At the end of that video you can see how happy she looked.


However,  I will not let it stand that she would have something that truly was not built specifically for her.

So with great thought and care...

Daddy shall build this for his little girl.

DIY Dollhouse Style Bookshelf


2 - 1x8s

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long and 3/4" thick unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Stain

Cut List

1 Bottom Shelf @ 7.25" x 24.5"
2 Sides @ 7.25" x 24"

1 Middle Shelf @ 7.25" x 24.5"

1 Lower Vertical Divider @ 7.25" x 10.5"

1 Upper Vertical Div ider @ 16-13/16"

1 Roof Side A @ 7.25" x 18-5/16"

1 Roof Side B @ 7.25" x 16-5/8"

1 Chimney @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 3-5/16"

Cutting Diagrams


Step 1

So lets start with the bottom and work our way up.  Cut it to length on a miter saw IF...

you have one that slides.  A regular 10" compound miter saw will not have the cut capacity to handle a board 7.25" wide.

I have an easy jig to build for a circular saw that will make short work of cutting a board this wide.

Then route a 3/4" dado for the vertical divider.

Step 2

Now cut the middle shelf to length in the same manner and route its dadoes.

Step 3

The lower vertical divider can be set and glued in place and immediately move on to step 4 without letting the glue dry.

Step 4

Set the middle shelf in place and use a couple 90 degree clamps to keep the two shelves perpendicular to each other.

Then apply straight clamps to secure the three pieces and allow the glue to dry.

Step 5

The two sides can be cut while the glue is drying.

The side pictured on the RIGHT below gets a 30 degree angle cut in the top end.

The side pictured on the LEFT below gets a 40 degree angle cut in the top end.

NOTE: I'll explain the reasons for the two different angles in the Final Thoughts section below.

A couple dado get routed in both sides so they can be attached to the shelf assembly.

The bottom dado is 1" up from the bottom of both sides.  Then measure a 10" distance between the top of the bottom shelf and the bottom of the top shelf.

Step 6

The upper vertical divider is cut to length and gets a 30 degree angle on the top end.

Step 7

No dadoes for the roof pieces.  However Side A gets a 20 Degree angle cut on one end.

Lay it in place with a line of glue and move on to step 8.

Step 8

Lay Side B in place with a couple lines of glue and clamp in place.

I use a band clamp for odd jobs like this.

Step 9

Once the glue for the two roof pieces are dry you can remove the clamp and add some 1/4" dowels to each of the glue joints to add some strength and visual appeal.

Finally the chimney is options if you want to add some flare.  A scrap piece of 2x2 with a 30 degree angle cut on one end can just be glued in place.

Final Thoughts

Why the different angles?  Why not design the project to use the same angle throughout?

Well the answer to that is aesthetics.

I wanted the roof to not meet in the middle.  I wanted the projects symmetry to be cut into thirds.

In order to do that and get the roof to meet at about 1/3rd over and not have a roof pitch that was absurd, I needed to use different angles on either side.

If you need a simple and easy explanation on how to cut boards to length with angles, I just happen to have one for you.

Until then!


Friday, December 23, 2016

DIY Cutting Board

Growing up, I knew someone whose grandfather had been a butcher. In their home, there was an island in the center of the kitchen. This island was actually his Grandfather's antique butcher block top and it was still in use.

It was definitely used for more purposes than cutting food because in that old farmhouse, it was even an extra counter work space to prepare food.

Meanwhile, back at our home, all we had was one or two old wooden cutting boards. They had deep cut marks and were getting on in years.

Years later, those two well worn boards were pitched for plastic when plastic boards came into style. Our "new" plastic boards were fine until they also showed signs of cut marks.

I'm not into ingesting plastic, are you?

Again I found myself harkening back to those two wooden cutting boards and wondering why I'd parted with them.

Fast forward to today and those plastic boards are gone and we're back to using wood again. This time the boards are hardwood and so much better to work with.

If it's time in your home to update or replace those old cutting boards, be sure to ditch the plastic and get busy one weekend making your own DIY cutting boards.

These ones by Jeff caught my eye because I'm a fan of the mixed materials look. He used a mix of walnut, maple, and bubinga but be sure to go with what you've got available in your local area.

DIY Cutting Board:


Walnut, maple, and bubinga (or your choice of wood selections)

Wood Glue (Titebond 2)

Table Saw

Thickness Planer

Various Size Clamps

Orbit Sander


Gloves and mask

Salad Bowl Finish

Final Thoughts

Working with the salad bowl finish means taking your time with several application coats and also sanding to achieve a great end result. Wear a mask to protect against any fumes and also use gloves to help with any stickiness.

I hope you enjoyed today's featured project and don't forget to stop by "Home Built Workshop" YouTube channel to check out even more great woodworking videos from Jeff. Don't forget to subscribe.

If you liked Jeff's project shared today, be sure to check out another simple and easy creation by Jeff here:

Until then!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DIY TV Stand

Are you the type of person who wall mounts their TV or puts it on a TV stand?

We've had our TV displayed both ways. Right now our TV sits on an actual piece of furniture, a TV stand. It's serving us well.

The set up is great because we rely on our TV stand for a storage area. It can hold a DVD player, a game console, and lots of DVD's. Some of our school curriculum even resides there.

Like I said earlier we did have a time where we had the TV wall mounted. We still had our TV stand right below it. Why, you ask?

Visually, having it this way ensured the room appeared balanced and organized. Our home's living room was a long rectangular room which was broken up on one wall by an awkwardly placed door.

This meant placement of the couch had to be in one particular spot only. The small section of the wall left by that awkwardly placed door is where the TV had to be placed.

We don't have that issue in our current home, and the wall mounted unit is long gone.

We can rearrange the room's furniture if we wanted to. The TV is at the right height to soothe everyone's needs.

Ever noticed how there's always one person in the family who thinks the TV is too high and the other person thinks it's just right?

Yes, that conversation has happened in our home.

An option for you is to custom build your stand to the height that everyone can agree on. Also, I'm always looking for easy, affordable projects using 2x4's! Chad shares in his video that his project was only about 25.00 .

Talk about affordable!

DIY TV Stand:


Choice of Stain
(he used Dark Walnut)

Miter Saw

Table Saw

Pocket Hole Jig


Various size clamps

2 1/2 inc screws

2x4 material

Final Thoughts:

You could add some corner hardware/decorative bolts to each corner of the piece to enhance the final finish.

In our house, the area behind our TV stand gets dusty fast.  Why not add castors to the leg bottoms to ensure easy cleaning and possible future furniture rearranging?

We hope you enjoyed this great home furniture project from Chad DIY . Be sure to check out their YouTube channel for even more great woodworking projects from Chad. Don't forget to subscribe!

If you liked this project, then you will love this matching rustic DIY Coffee Table. Feel free to check it out! Until then!