Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I’m loving my new storage bags, Colleen turned me onto them! They’re big plastic bags that you load with your off season blankets and pillows and coats and then you vacuum the air out. At first I thought she was crazy but they shrink down to nothing and are airtight so you don’t have to worry about everything getting musty and damp in storage! Love it! She said there are travel ones too, what a great way to pack for my next trip. No need to check bags if I can pack everything in a carry on! I’ll bet they’ll be great for getting my son to college in the fall too. Cool!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time to clean the screens on my porch. Always a fun job, but last year I figured out a secret that cut my work time by half. Mix a tablespoon of white vinegar, a teaspoon of dish soap and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the screens and then use a nylon shower puff to gently wash the screens (you don’t want to stretch them out). The vinegar will cut through buildup and the soap will clean it away, the shower puff it’s gentle and yet works amazingly well for the job!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If you'd love to have a garden but don't really have a yard, try containers. The key to a container garden, the potting soil. There are so many brands on the market, but you can also mix your own by combining two parts of peat moss with one part of builder's sand. Think outside the box or pot when you're choosing your container, as long as you provide good drainage there are so many things that can become plant containers. From baskets to old shoes or even pottery can find new life in your garden. Choose your plants carefully. Plants with like temperaments in the same pot, so group sun and water lovers together in one spot and shade lovers in another.
Don't forget to put some drainage material in the bottom of your container, broken pots, packing peanuts or pebbles are all good choices. Add some potting soil, arrange your plants and then fill with additional soil around the perimeter. Once your container is finished, water it well. I like to dissolve an envelope of unflavored gelatin in a quart of water. It makes a nitrogen rich plant food that helps the plant retain water! For more ideas on gardening, check out the plants and flowers category on my website!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Selling your home is a big deal; especially in todays market, well I have some ideas to consider before you put your house on the market so you can actually get more money and sell it faster.

1. Potential buyers will walk through your house and take off points for things that they need to do, like repairs and updates. Your goal is to make your home as warm and inviting and as turnkey as possible!

2. Consider hiring a home inspector. The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to back out based on a problem that their home inspector finds. They'll check your home from foundation to rafters to alert you to any problems!

3. Look at your homes exterior with a critical eye. If your home needs to be painted - do it, a crisp clean exterior will attract buyers. Can't afford a whole paint job? Try repainting the shutters and trim.

4. If any major systems like your furnace or hot water heater need to be replaced now is the time to do it. You'll recoup the cost and buyers appreciate the updates!

5. De-clutter and pare down! Weed out closets, toy areas and maybe even move some things into storage away from the house. Make sure that your home has ample space and that buyers can see that space, not your stuff.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Zippy Garden Solution

I have a bittersweet vine in my backyard that has taken on a life of it’s own, it just goes anywhere it wants rather than curling around the nice trellis I have there! I’ve tried thread and dental floss and twist ties in the past all of which work great on my other vine plants – this thing is too strong. I’m thinking zip ties. I’ll get some of the dollar store ones, they’re a little more flexible and zip tie it to the trellis before it really gets going this year. Then hopefully the new growth will follow its lead.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fun little project for kids, the last time I made eggs I carefully cracked the eggs in half and saved the shells. I gently washed the shells and then let them dry. In the meantime I cut the egg carton down the length so it was a row of six and put the shells in the carton. I had the kids fill them with some potting soil and lay a couple of oregano and thyme seeds and added a little water. Then we put them in a sunny windowsill. Now the kids can watch them sprout, and when we transplant them we can just crush the shells around them because they release nutrients into the soil and help the plants thrive!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


With all you hear about identity theft these days a household shredder is a great purchase. Billing, credit card offers, you name it, run it through the shredder before it goes in the recycling bin. I have a compact little cross cut shredder that only cost about $25. Beyond protecting your identity, use it for packing! The little shreds that the crosscut makes kind of make a puffy pillow of paper that is great for putting in and around little gifts or other fragile items that you need to pack up. Free filler – you’ve gotta love it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Time to open all those storm windows – it’s getting to be consistently nice weather! My house is a historic old house – lots of charm but lots of quirks! Sticky windows are one of them. So each spring when I open the storms, I “grease” the tracks. A bar of white soap is the perfect size. Just run the soap up and down the tracks on each side of the window and then open and close a few times, it keeps them sliding smooth until the fall when I have to close it all back up again!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Cute project. I found this old footstool at a local tag sale – it’s a mess. But, I think it has a lot of potential. I’ve got to look for some needlepoint or an old rug remnant. Check back in a few days and you can see what I figure out! Also, Colleen is redoing her daughter Audrey’s room, she wants it pink (Candy Coated is the name of the paint she chose, I’m sure you can imagine!) I’ve got to come up with some cute ideas to help Colleen tone down the pink. Maybe white and black – make it Parisian. Oooo la la! Ok, I’ve got lots on my plate – check back soon!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grass stains – my son’s lacrosse gear is covered with grass stains and mud, I'm sure a lot of people out there are in the same situation right now. First the mud... let it dry. You may think you’re letting stains set in but remember mud is dirt that got wet. Let it dry and then use a stiff bristled brush to brush it out of the fabric (be prepared, you’ll probably have to vacuum). Once the mud is gone, treat the grass stains with a paste of unflavored meat tenderizer and warm water. Let it sit a half hour or so and then launder. The stains should all come right out!!! Just make sure you don’t dry them until you’re sure the stains are gone!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ok, I think this one will have to be a segment – I just had an epiphany. I know that I’ve touted the zillions of uses for hanging shoe bags over the years, but this may be my favorite. Colleen (FIXIT’s exec producer and a dear friend) was complaining that her kids have so much stuff that’s needed on different days that it’s hard to keep track of everything without it cluttering up the kitchen and half the time someone forgets something. So, find a shoe organizer that has between five and seven rows on it. Then label the rows with the days of the week. In the other direction, label the rows with each family member’s name. Now hang the bag in an easily accessible spot. In Colleen’s house I’m thinking the back of the door to the basement. It’s in the kitchen but kind of out of the way. Now she can stick lunch money, permission slips, baseball gloves, dance shoes or whatever the kids need for each day in the pockets. If there are reminders for any day they can be clipped to the front of that day’s pocket. Then have the kids check the bags for that day when they’re grabbing their backpacks in the morning. Do you suppose the kids will cooperate? Here’s hoping, I have to call Colleen….

Dust be gone!!!

I’ve decided that dust has it in for me. Seriously do you feel like you dust and the next day it’s right back where it started? For soft surfaces like lampshades, drapes and upholstery try a sticky lint roller. It is amazing how much dust and link this little sucker ca grab; I love it! Any for hard surfaces – socks! Pull a couple on your hands like some gloves – (yes, you’ll look ridiculous, but the time you’ll save it well worth it!) then you can dust with both hands and get through dusting chores twice as fast!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Did you know that your medicine cabinet holds some great tools for cleaning up in the bathroom? Rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball are the perfect team for disinfecting and shining bathrooms. From mirrors, to faucets to doorknobs it works great and seriously for fifty-nine cents a bottle, why would you need some fancy bathroom cleaner! You know what else works great for polishing chrome fixtures? White toothpaste, a little on a washcloth will buff those fixtures to a shine!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Party Planning

I'm helping a friend get ready for a party this weekend. Great tip for this time of year, rather than buying cut flowers and spending a fortune most garden centers have beautiful blooming plants in stock. My local shop is selling them 2 for $3 and they're a beautiful spring accent for the party. Plus - as an added bonus she can plant them in the yard and window boxes after the party!