In her introduction to her collection of short stories "The Girl Who Heard Dragons" the writer Anne McCaffrey criticises an interviewer for describing her sister in law as "Pottering abnout in the kitchen" Ms McCaffrey says "Well, Sis has been a potter, but the correct term is putter."(I don't know why she claims this)
My New English Dictionary published 1936 defines potter as someone who makes pots, and to potter or pottering as moving about aimlessly doing small jobs. The only definition of putter is a type of golf club. I myself potter, and it is only recently that I have read the term " puttering" in books from the US. (I'm in the UK)
So, do you potter or putter on your side of the Herring Pond? Ms Mcaffrey lives in Ireland, so what term is used there?
I chime in with fellow-Brit PPs on this thread: overwhelmingly, in Britain it's "potter around," in America, "putter around". "Futz" is strictly American-only, I'd think.
Anne McCaffrey is American by birth, if I'm right -- so in the light of that, she'll be likely to be in the "putter" camp. (I feel that it's a bit precious of her to pontificate about what's "correct", over a colloquialism like this; but her mileage no doubt varies.)
As for what they say in Ireland -- I'm not Irish, and have barely been to the island, so most likely should hold back; but in the memoirs of an Irishman, I once came across "puithernawling", meaning pottering / puttering around; in my view, a splendid word -- maybe taken from Irish Gaelic?
(Nibsey -- sorry, missed your post from the Irish viewpoint !)