Monday, November 30, 2009

After Holiday Laundry Mess??

The holidays bring wonderful memories and tons of company, I have some tips to plow through these not so welcome holiday leftovers! Pre-treat ring around the collar stains on dress shirts with shampoo. It's the oils in your hair and skin that cause that stain, so the shampoo will break it up. Dish Liquid is also a gentle and inexpensive pre-treater for all sorts of stains on all sorts of fabrics - just squirt it on and work it in. The stain will launder out without a problem. If there's a chance you won't be doing laundry for a few days, use a clear dish soap so the colorant won't transfer to the fabric. Adding a cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle will remove the sour smell from towels that they sometimes get when they're piled up. A great substitute fabric softener is a half a cup of baking soda added to the wash cycle. Your clothes will come out soft and fresh. As an added bonus, baking soda is a milder than fabric softeners so it won't irritate sensitive skin. Finally, when you're folding laundry, an easy way to keep sheet sets together is to slip the sheets inside the pillowcase. Now that we've gotten through that Thanksgiving laundry - lets start gearing up for those December holidays!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Celebration Stains

I love celebrations, but when the parties are over, sometimes there are stains left behind on my carpets. I have some stain removers to help if you find yourself in the same situation. Always use white cloths when you're cleaning stains. A colored cloth could transfer dye onto the carpet, creating a bigger stain. Chocolate can be removed from your carpets and upholstery with a little white shaving cream (not the gel!) . Spray some of the foam onto the spot and work it in with a cloth. When you see the chocolate coming up, switch to cool water to lift the shaving cream. For alcohol stains such as wine, sponge the area with some cool water. Then mix a half of a teaspoon of dish detergent and a tablespoon of white vinegar into a quart of warm water. Use a cloth to blot the stain with the mixture. This will remove the stain and smell in one step. Then layer the area with some white towels and heavy books to absorb moisture. (You can also blot wine stains with club soda.) For a beer stain, mix equal parts of white vinegar and detergent. Sponge it onto the stain and then blot it out. Hope this helps ease out those celebration stains!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Have you noticed the changing trend in breath mints these days? They all come in a cute little tin. Well don't throw away the tin when the mints are gone, I have some uses for them! Put together a little mending kit to keep in your handbag, your glove compartment or your desk. Stock the tin with a small pair of scissors, some thread, a couple of needles and some extra buttons! You'll be ready for a loose hem or a popped button anytime! How about a little first aid kit. A tin is the perfect size to hold a couple of anti-bacterial wipes, some ointment and a few plastic bandages.
Or a maybe a diaper bag caddy. Fill it with pins, diaper rash ointment, and a little pair of nail clippers. Keep a tin in your travel bag; they are the perfect fit for cotton swabs, jewelry or hair accessories! If you wear eyeglasses, these tins are the right size for an eyeglass repair kit as well as a cleansing cloth. Use tins to organize your toolbox, they're the perfect fit for small hardware like picture hanging supplies, nails, screws, nuts and bolts. Clever uses for recyling mint tins.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gotta Have a Glue Gun!

Do you have a glue gun in your toolbox? No, well you might want to consider it; because it's a super versatile tool! There are three basic types of glue guns, high melt, low melt and dual temperature. High melt guns are for more heavy-duty applications. A low melt is more for craft and floral projects, and the dual temp - you guessed it, for both. The only trick is to make sure that you use the right type of glue stick for your gun! If you do a lot of projects on your own a glue gun can be an extra set of hands. Run it along wood or trim pieces and put them in place, it will set up in about five seconds and free up your hands to add a more permanent fastener while keeping your work in place. A glue gun is the perfect tool for reattaching loose trim on upholstery and lampshades, or use it to add embellishments to a plain item. I like to keep my glue gun on a cookie sheet or another metal tray. This way if it leaks or tips over you don't have to worry about something getting burned. Another tip, if your glue sets up too fast and you need to reposition, aim your hairdryer at it for a few seconds. It will soften it up enough to move it where you need to!

Monday, November 23, 2009

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With cooking and cleaning and getting ready, are we really thankful this holiday? With these simple tips you will be! How many times have you been working on so many things at once your double boiler ran dry? Put a few marbles in the bottom of the pan and then fill it with water. When the water level gets too low, you'll hear the marbles banging around and know it's time to add more water. Running out of something while you're baking is frustrating. Here are easy substitutions. Mix together one and a half teaspoons of both ground cloves and ground cinnamon, and you'll have a tablespoon of allspice. You can get two tablespoons of baking powder by combining a teaspoon of cream of tartar with a half a teaspoon of baking soda. Three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa and a tablespoon of shortening is equal to a square of chocolate. Keep a few ceramic tiles in the kitchen. When you're getting ready to serve dinner, heat them in the oven for a few minutes. They make great warmers in the bottom of bread and roll baskets. Easy ideas for a Happy and relaxing Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To paint or not to paint...

If you're nervous about painting - don't be - it's just paint. It costs less than $20 a gallon and it can be changed easily if you don't like your results! Painting is the fastest, cheapest, most dramatic way to update your home. If you wear contact lenses, opt for your glasses instead; the fumes in paint can cause your contacts to irritate your eyes. Whether you're cutting in or painting trim, brushwork is part of the job. To get the best results, dip your brush into the paint no more than two inches and then tap the brush against the sides of your bucket. This allows for the extra paint and drips to fall off the brush without making the paint on the brush uneven, which allows for better coverage. If you're painting stripes or any other two color treatment that requires taping off some areas after the base coat, try this: paint a thin coat of the base color over the tape inside the lines. It will seal the tape and if any seeps underneath the tape it will have been the base color leaving a clean line. If you're painting a window frame, overlap the paint onto the glass slightly, this ensures that you seal the seam between the glass and the wood. Clean-up time? Wrap a rag around your painter's tool and run it around the rim of your paint can. This will ensure a tight seal when you close the can.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alternative Uses for Mouthwash??

Antiseptic mouthwash is designed to kill germs in your mouth and keep your teeth clean, so why not use it to clean and disinfect other things like your bathroom? To clean the toilet a half a cup of mouthwash in the toilet is all you need. Just pour it in, swish it around and flush! It'll kill the germs!! A toothbrush dipped in mouthwash will help clean grout and inhibit mold growth. It's also strong enough to cut easily through hard water stains and build-up. Just make sure you label that toothbrush for cleaning only! Use a little on a lint free cloth to shine up mirrors and disinfect medicine cabinet handles, faucets and flush levers. Use a little on a lint free cloth to shine up mirrors and disinfect medicine cabinet handles, faucets and flush levers. Have a blemish? Use a cotton swab to dab some mouthwash on the area, it'll kill the bacteria and clear up the blemish. You can use the same principle if you have a cut or a scrape and no antiseptic cream or wipes. The mouthwash will clean and disinfect in one quick step!

Baby Talk

If you have a new baby in the house you know how much work it can be. Well, I have some easy ideas to help you out! Forget expensive changing table covers, buy a set of king size pillowcases. They fit perfectly over the changing pad and you get two so you can have one on the table and one in the wash! A standing silverware caddy is the perfect place to stash baby bath items. It will easily organize soaps, lotions and washcloths and it is portable so you can take everything you need with you wherever you are. A pasta pot is a great tool for sterilizing all of those bottles and pacifiers. Just boil the water and pop in all of the baby stuff. Just pull the strainer insert out to drain water away. It's a lot faster than using tongs to pull out piece by piece. In addition to all of your baby items, keep your favorite stain pre-treater in your diaper bag. This way, if you're baby gets messy while you're out you don't have to worry about those stains setting on those precious clothes. A box of zip top plastic bags is also great to keep in the diaper bag, from messy clothes to dirty diapers to clean pacifiers the bags are indispensable. Just be sure to keep plastic bags away from the baby!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Outdoor Fall Chore Checklist!

You've worked hard to make your garden look beautiful this past summer and fall; well now is the time to prep it for next spring. I have some tips. First weed your gardens; you don't want the weeds to seed in your garden and make extra work for you in the spring. You also want to remove any dead foliage from plants and pull dead limbs from the lawn. Pull any spent annual plants from window boxes and planters, clean planters to ready them for next year. Rake the lawn to remove any leaves and debris, so they don't rot and damage your lawn over the winter. Also fertilize your lawn in the fall. It has been through a lot over the summer and needs some TLC. Make sure that you pick up a fertilizer for fall use and spread it evenly over the lawn. If you have small trees or shrubs that need to be protected from driving winds and rain or snow and ice, I have a few things you can try. Use sticks to build a teepee shelter or buy one, and wrap burlap around the structure to block winds. You could also hinge together a couple pieces of wood into a sandwich board tent to protect plants. Easy Ways to ready your garden for the off season!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cleaning Baskets

If you have baskets around your house, you know that they can get dusty and dirty. Here are some easy ways to clean them up! Use a paintbrush to dust your baskets regularly. Its stiff bristles will get into all the crevices. Or, try the small brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Don't be afraid to wash your baskets; it's good to wet them down once in a while to keep the reeds from cracking! Wash baskets by putting it into the sink and wetting it down with your sprayer attachment. Dip a nail brush into some soapy water and lightly scrub the reeds. When you've finished scrubbing, use the sprayer to rinse it. Then put it on a towel in a sunny window to dry. Make sure that the basket dries all the way; too much water can cause it to rot! For a basket with dyed reeds, you need to check before you wash it to make sure the color is not going to run. Just rub a wet cloth on the colored area. If the color comes off on the cloth, don't wet it. If your basket is painted you should just wipe it with a soft cloth. Hope these tips help you clean and enjoy your basket collection.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If you have a big trip planned this travel season, I have some ideas that will help you get ready so you can relax and enjoy.

Keep medications, your identification, your valuables and a toothbrush in your carry-on bag. Then, if your luggage gets lost, the important items are with you.

Pack your toiletries in plastic zipper bags. They will be neat and organized, and if something leaks, it will be sealed inside and not all over your clothes.

When you're packing clothes, roll them up rather than fold them. This will do two things: the rolls will take up less room in your bag and they'll come out with less wrinkles.

Slip a business card in the identification pouch on your luggage. That way, you won't have to worry about someone seeing your home address on the card, and taking advantage of the fact that nobody is home.

So many suitcases today look exactly the same, so it's hard to pick yours out at the baggage claim. If you tie a brightly colored ribbon to each bag, it will be easier for you to spot.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Care of China and Crystal Just in Time for the Upcoming Holidays!

Fine china and crystal require special care and storage, well I have some easy ideas to help you with yours. Extreme temperatures will weaken china and crystal. Don't put china in the microwave or fridge. If you need to store or heat something, transfer it to everyday dishes.

As for crystal, never fill with ice and then add water, always pour water and add ice if needed. This will temper the crystal to the temperature change. Never let food sit on china for a long period of time the acid in foods will eat away at the glazing.

Even if you think its dishwasher safe, always hand wash your china and crystal. Use warm soapy water in a sink lined with a towel or placemat. For faster drying, and a streak free shine, add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water.

When storing, always place crystal upright sitting on their stems so you don't chip the rims. As for china, put a piece of padding between pieces to prevent scratching. Use a paper towel, a piece of felt or a coffee filter. Don't be tempted to stack your china too high, a good rule of thumb is no more than five plates or two cups high. Stacked higher the weight of the upper pieces will damage those on the bottom.

Easy care tips for your china and crystal!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bi-Fold Door Tune Up

Bi-fold doors are a common choice for many closets, but you can run into some problems. Generally it's one of three things. They don't meet in the center, they press too closely together and won't close, or they're uneven. All three are easy to fix!Remove the door by lifting it up and out of the bottom pivot, swinging it away from the bottom bracket and then pulling the top pivot out of it's bracket. Once the door is removed you can easily loosen the adjusting screw and slide the bracket into the position you want. If the doors don't meet, move the top and bottom brackets toward center. If the doors press together too hard and won't close at all, move the brackets away from center. As for the door that is uneven and looks like it's sagging towards center, move only the top bracket slightly away from the center. Bi-fold doors have a liner down the inside to help hold them closed where normal wear & tear can bend them. If this is the case, gently bend them back into shape with a pair of pliers. That's all there is to an easy bi-fold door tune-up!

Beautiful Stains

Beauty products are a part of life, but they can also cause spills and stains, I have some tips to get rid of these "beautiful" stains. If you think hair dye stains are permanent, think again. If you act quickly you can get rid of them. Spritz liberally with hairspray and allow it to dry for a couple of minutes. Then rub the area with some shampoo and wash it in cold water. For make-up stains from foundation to mascara grab a bar of soap. Put the stain face down on an absorbent white cloth, an old diaper works great for this. Dampen the soap and rub it into the back side of the stain. This will push the make-up out of the fabric rather than sending deeper into the fibers. Move the stain to different parts of the diaper so it doesn't re-absorb them. Wash it in cool water. For greasy stains like lotions and baby oil, blot as much as you can with a cloth and sprinkle with some cornstarch. Let it sit for ten minutes, shake it out and dab with white vinegar to break up the grease. Then launder. For hairspray build-up on walls, floors and mirrors dip an old washcloth into some rubbing alcohol and wipe it away. Remember the two primary rules of stain removal: Always test for colorfastness in a hidden area first, and never put your item in the dryer until you're sure the stain is gone.

Choosing Paint Colors

Painting a room can be a big project if you don't know where to begin. I have some advice. Colors are only limited by your imagination. A good paint store can match just about any shade. As a rule of thumb, light colors will make a room appear bigger and cooler, where dark colors will bring the walls in and give it a cozy feeling. If you're not sure what paint type you need, flat paints give a smooth, uniform finish to a wall. It is best for ceilings, living rooms, halls and bedrooms, and it can be washed gently. An eggshell finish looks like a flat paint straight on, but has a texture if you look at it from an angle. It is more washable than flat paint and stands up well in a child's room. Finally, try a semi-gloss paint in bathrooms, kitchens and on cabinets and woodwork. It is very durable and will stand up to repeated washings and some mild scrubbing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Great Shelf for Any Window!

Installing a shelf above your window will give you a great display area and it can be a place to install curtains. Buy the shelves ready made at a craft store or home improvement center. Measure the width of your window and buy a shelf that will extend a few inches beyond that on both sides. Or build the shelf with a piece of wood and two triangular supports.(It is best to finish the shelf before hanging it so paint or stain it to complement the woodwork around the window.) If you also want to hang curtains from this shelf, before you hang it, drill a hole through each of the side supports big enough to hold a dowel. Hang the shelf and insert one end of the dowel through the support. Pull the curtain over the rod and slip it through the second support. When the shelf is ready to install, screw it into the studs on either side of your window so that the side supports sit flush against the window casing, and the top is level with the top of the window. You may also want to screw the shelf itself into the top of the window casing to give it extra support.