Friday, February 26, 2010
If you've ever found yourself with a sticky mess on your wood furniture, I can help. Have you ever had someone use a piece of paper for a hot pad? The heat will adhere the paper to your furniture every time! Peel away as much as you can. Then use a paper towel to spread some olive oil over the area. Let it sit for about a half hour and then you should be able to wipe the paper away. If your child has decorated your wood with stickers, peel away what you can and then spread petroleum jelly over the area. Let it sit for a few hours and scrape the rest away with a credit card. Polish to a shine. If there is a lollipop on your table, carefully pull the candy away. Mix together 1/2 cup of water with one teaspoon of white vinegar and dab the mixture onto the wood. Rub gently until all of the stickiness is gone! If there is a dish or glass stuck to your tabletop, don't try to pull it off or you'll damage the finish. Squirt some baby oil around the base of the dish and let it sit for a few minutes. The dish should pull off easily. Just a few easy ways to get unstuck! It's just that simple!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Stinky sneakers, stale carpets, musty closets, I have some ideas to help with those smelly household odors. When you're steaming vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli the odor sometimes just lingers. Well, eliminate the smell by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to the water! Ever noticed that plastic containers take on the smell of whatever you store in them. Well, for a lingering onion or garlic odor in your plastic ware, clean and dry it well and then pop it in the freezer overnight. Odors out. This same trick works with stinky sneakers, slip them in a plastic bag and then pop them in the freezer overnight. The cold will kill the bacteria that's causing the stink! If your closets are musty, spritz some cotton balls with your favorite perfume and stash the balls in the corners of your closet, it will keep them smelling great! Musty carpets are often caused by excess moisture. Here's a one two punch for those odors, Sprinkle carpets with some scented baby powder, let it sit for a while and vacuum it up. The powder will absorb some of the moisture and the scent will linger in the air! Smells no more!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Are you finding it impossible to keep track of everybody's busy schedule? Is paperwork taking over your house? Well what are you supposed to do? Grab a big fat three ring binder. A binder is a great way to keep track of all of the family going-ons. It is self-contained, easy to add on to and available for quick and easy reference. Make a divider tab for each family member; I like dividers with pockets so I can easily stash items that I can't punch and file. Print out some calendars from your computer then file them in the front. At the end of the day, or when you're opening the mail, mark the calendar, punch the papers and file everything in the appropriate section. This system allows you to keep track of your family's schedules, bills, appointments and lives without running around the house the morning a permission slip is due. Some easy ways to keep your piles of paperwork organized and keep the family on track.
When little problems arise around your home, it's the simple solutions that are the most helpful, and I have a few to help you. If you're reading a great book and need a bookmark that will stay in place, cut a large corner off of a piece of junk mail and slip it over your page. It will close tight in the pages and won't fall out. If you have hair products built up on your curling iron, pour some rubbing alcohol on a washcloth. The alcohol and the texture of the cloth will work together to clean away the residue. When you sew a button in place, put a toothpick between the button and the fabric. This will leave a space so you don't sew the button on too tight. If it's a four hole button, first sew through two holes, knot them and then sew on the other two. This way if the thread unravels from one of the holes you won't lose the button. Pilling can make a sweater look old before its time. Try shaving them off with your electric razor. Your sweater will look like new again. You can also buy sweater stones to scrape those balls off the clothing. Simple solutions to common problems around the house!
With all of the electrical gadgets and gizmos that are out there today, we need a way to power them up. Well how do you do it safely - a power strip, but how do you know what you need? Most power strips are similar; they convert one grounded three-prong outlet into more outlets, handy, right! Well, there are a couple of things to consider when choosing yours. First, think about what you're plugging it into. You need to be sure that the combined wattage of what you're plugging in doesn't exceed the wattage of the strip you choose. Second, if the items you're plugging in could be damaged by spikes in electricity you'll want to get a surge protector strip that will help guard against that type of damage. Another problem with today's electrical wonders are the big square plugs that are on phones and other electrical equipment; they block outlets on your strip. An easy solution, look for one with the outlet spaced an inch or so apart. If you have unused outlets on your power strip, plug them up with child protective covers, this will keep them free of dust and debris that could get into the openings.
If you come across an interesting old bottle or jug and you want to keep it but you don't know what to do with it, why not turn it into a lamp! It's easy to do. You can buy a kit that is designed for use with a bottle at any home improvement center.Wash your bottle and allow it to dry completely. Figure out which cork adapter fits into your bottle (the kit will come with small medium and large adaptors). Thread the small metal rod that comes with the kit through the bottom of the adapter until it extends a quarter inch. Then twist the small lock nut into place. Insert the adapter into the bottle opening and then slide the base ring and socket cap over the rod. Thread the lamp cord through the socket cap and pull it out so you have at least a few inches of wire. Split the cord wires in two. To anchor the wires in the lamp, you need an underwriters knot. To do this turn each wire downward to form two loops, then insert the ends of each of those wires through the opposite loop. Connect the wires to the terminal screws on the socket. Wrap the wire with smooth insulation clockwise around the brass screw; then wrap the wire with the ribbed insulation clockwise around the silver screw, and tighten them both down. Check the directions that come with your kit if you have any questions. Push the socket shell and cardboard insulation over the wiring until you hear a faint click so you know it's secure. Put a bulb in, plug it in, and then test your lamp. Lamptastic! It's just that simple!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Can it be done? Can we find alternative uses to these empty tin cans? Of course we can! First off - make sure that if you're re-using a can that you used a can opener to get into, use a sturdy pair of pliers to crimps the outside edge of the can, and this will press down any sharp edges so you won't risk a cut. A big coffee can near your stove top is the perfect spot to corral frequently used cooking utensils. Use a smaller coffee can to stash cash and valuables, and then hide it in the back of the pantry! Line up cans on a desk, craft table or a workbench to store everything from pencils to screwdrivers. Several tin cans lined up across a window sill can make for a cute herb garden. And if you need to shampoo a carpet, slip some tin cans under the feet of the furniture to protect those feet from water and shampoos! If you need to put two card tables together for a party, slip the touching feet in a can to keep the tables from coming apart. And speaking of parties put votive candles inside tin cans and lines them up outside your house to illuminate the walkway. The high sides of the cans will protect the flame from the wind.
With the passing of Amanda's Law in NY state, I thought I'd reiterate why carbon monoxide detectors are so important. Make sure that you have a carbon monoxide detector on the lowest sleeping level of your home! Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas that can leak into your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the flu so you need to be careful and aware, I have a couple of ideas to keep your family safe. Carbon monoxide can be found in car exhaust, so if your garage is attached to your home, make sure that you have venting to the outside and weather stripping between the garage and the house. Gas appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers and improperly vented stoves can also leak this dangerous gas. Make sure that these appliances are installed by professionals, and maintained on an annual basis. Another source of carbon monoxide back up is in the fireplace, both gas and wood-burning. A blocked chimney can cause big problems so have yours cleaned and inspected by a reputable professional each year. Never operate a gas grill in an enclosed area like the garage. You can find carbon monoxide detectors at most major retailers!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Think you need to resort to runners or doilies for blistered veneer well think again it's as easy to fix as ironing a shirt! Small blisters can be fixed with heat and an iron is the ideal tool! It will reactivate the glue and settle the blister. Cover the damage with a piece of flat, smooth cardboard. Lay a hand towel over the cardboard then press a hot iron on the towel. Make sure the iron isn't overlapping the side of the cardboard or you'll cause more problems! Hold the dry iron in place for a few seconds and then check to see if the blister is flattening, if not repeat it until it does. Watch your fingers cause the cardboard can get pretty hot. How about a bigger blister? If it's not slit down the middle already use a utility knife to make a cut down the center along the grain. Gently scrape out any old glue without causing more damage. Use a toothpick or a cotton swab to put a little wood glue under the blister, then press the two sides together smoothing toward the center of the damage. Then repeat the process that you used for the smaller blister to flatten it. If the sides start to overlap, just grab a utility knife to cut off any excess to get a nice smooth seam. Blisters gone!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
What do you do if your light bulb breaks off in the socket? Well, don't worry I have a few ways to get that bulb out and a way to keep a bulb from getting stuck in the first place! Always remember to unplug your lamp or turn the power off at the circuit Grab a pair of needle nose pliers. Hold the lamp between your knees so you have both hands free. Then, put the pliers into the broken off base and open them up. Using continuous pressure on the pliers, twist the bulb out of the socket. Another way to get a broken bulb out is to cut a potato in half and push the raw end into the broken glass and twist. It will remove the bulb and keep your hands safe from cuts! Or try a tennis ball. Press it over the broken base and twist, just be careful not to cut yourself when you remove it the rest of the way. Grab some petroleum jelly and coat the base of the bulb before you put it in your lamp. This will keep your bulb from getting stuck in the first place. Broken bulbs? No problems!
If you have any of the zippered bags that bedding and linens come in? Save them, because I have some easy ways to re-use them. If your cloth napkins and linens get all jumbled and dusty in a drawer, the bags are the solution. Fold the linens neatly and slip them in a plastic zippered bag. Your napkins will always be together, you can see through the bags so you can easily find the set you're looking for and the plastic will protect them from dust and dirt. If you're going to be sitting and waiting for a while like in a doctor's office, take along some tasks that you need to accomplish like paying bills or writing thank yous. These bags are like a big pencil kit. Slip all of the items that you need for your task in a bag and tote it easily wherever you're going! (This same concept would work for your kids, keep coloring or homework supplies in a bag in the car so if you need to wait you're ready to go). How about traveling to prevent toiletries from spilling all over your suitcase. Slipping everything inside a zipper bag and stash it in your luggage, it will keep everything together and sealed up tight! See if you take a second look at "trash" you may see a new use!
Monday, February 15, 2010
When that special someone surprises you with some beautiful roses this Valentines day make them last as long as possible by taking special care of them. Clean your vase well with hot soapy water. Dirt and bacteria will wilt flowers in a hurry so this step is worth the time even if you think your vase is clean. Now to prep those flowers, remove leaves that will fall below the water line in the vase, they will rot and shorten bloom life. Cut the stems at an angle under water and put them in a clean container filled with warm water. It may seem time consuming but this is an important routine. Cutting the stems at an angle will give it more surface area to draw water into the stem and it will prevent the stem from getting blocked by sitting flat on the bottom of the vase. Cutting underwater eliminates air trapped in the stems, which blocks the flow of water. And finally, putting the roses in warm water for ten minutes or so will help condition them to their new surroundings.Fill your vase with cool, not cold water, add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to help preserve those blooms and then arrange the flowers in your vase. Keep your roses out of the sun and away from drafts and heat sources. Hope these tips help your Valentine flowers last and last!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I don't know if you've ever taken on a big home improvement project, but let me tell you it's a lot of work. You would not believe the number of choices that are out there on the market today. Well, with this studio house renovation I had the daunting task of choosing tile for the bathrooms, and let me tell you it's no easy job, there's ceramic and stone and tumbled stone and gloss and matte and polished and honed - who knew? Well, I took my search to Best Tile in Syracuse NY and they made all the difference. Their super friendly and knowledgeable staff listened to my ideas and my lifestyle and they helped me whittle 10,000 choices down to the perfect choices! Thank you Best Tile! If you'd like to check out Best Tile and all they have to offer, click through www.besttile.com - It's just that simple!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Let's face it, nobody likes to clean the bathroom, but it has to be done. Well, I have some quick and easy ideas to help you out! First off, forget the eighty-five cleansers for your bathroom and save yourself time and money. Mix together two-thirds of a cup of white vinegar, a half a cup of rubbing alcohol and a tablespoon of dish soap into a spray bottle. This mixture will clean tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, windows and mirrors. To prevent mildew from growing on your shower curtain, soak it in a strong saltwater solution in the bathtub for about a half an hour, and then hang it up. The salt will help to hinder mildew growth. Spray it every couple of weeks with salt water to keep it up! If your bathroom is smelling a little less than fresh, forget the sprays and fresheners and check your laundry room. Dryer sheets are perfect, stick one in the wastebasket and another in the hamper and you'll have a fresh smelling room in no time. For more ideas to help in the bathroom, check out my website www.mrsfixit.com
Thursday, February 4, 2010
If it seems like the littlest things are setting you off lately, I have some easy solutions to erveryday frustations.. Have you ever used a steel wool soap pad once and put it with your dishwashing supplies only to come back to a rusty mess. Store it in the freezer in a plastic zipper bag after each use; you won't believe how much longer it will last. If it seems like you're scrubbing lime scale from your teapot every time you turn around, eliminate it. Throw a few marbles in the bottom of the pot and it will prevent that growth. As a bonus, if your teapot is dangerously close to boiling dry you'll hear the marbles banging around. If you snag your sheer curtains when you hang them up, slip the finger of a rubber glove over the end of the curtain rod, the fabric will slide over the glove instead of getting caught on the metal. If you can feel a draft every time you walk by an outlet, don't get frustrated; fix it. Use the outlet cover as a template to cut a styrofoam meat tray down as an insulation shell for the outlet, no more drafts and you've saved yourself some money.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
If you enjoy lit candles around your home, I have some saftey tips for you! Before you burn any candle, trim the wick to a quarter of an inch. This helps start the candle burning evenly. (A tip: you can actually trim them with a nail clipper).A major cause of household fires is a candle too close to flammable materials. An open window and a slight breeze is all it would take to knock over a candle or sweep the curtains across the flame. To prevent this, keep windows closed, but also protect the flame with a heavy hurricane or lantern that will still allow for light and scent. Never let a candle housed in glass burn too close to the edge or bottom of the container. It could break the glass and start a fire. Along those same lines, you should never burn a candle on top of a glass top table. If the glass gets too hot it could break and cause an even bigger problem. You should really protect any surface that you're setting a candle on from the heat. You could use some rolled cork or thick felt to make candle coasters that will absorb excess heat and protect the surface from damage. Candle safety so you can enjoy!
Monday, February 1, 2010
I'm sure you know how to paint, but sometimes it's the little things that can make the project go a whole lot smoother, I have some tips to help you out. When taping off your room, run a putty knife along the tape to ensure a tight seal and crisp edges. When painting a large space it is sometimes easier to work with a bucket and a painting grid like this rather than a paint tray so you don't have to stop and refill so often. I've said it before, but it warrants repeating, I love a wheeled paint pad for cutting in around a room. Professionals may disagree and opt for a brush, but for the amateur painter it gives nice control, coverage, and crisp clean edges! A gallon milk jug with the side opposite the handle cut out makes a great "cutting in tote." Dip the small paint pad inside and scrape the excess off on your cut edge so it drips back into the jug! When rolling walls, work in a "w" pattern in small three foot sections evening out the paint as you go. If you need to stop in the middle of a job finish a whole wall and stop at a corner, otherwise you'll end up with lap marks that will be difficult to mask. If you need to stop in the middle of a job finish a whole wall and stop at a corner, otherwise you'll end up with lap marks that will be difficult to mask. Now if you have questions about paint and products, visit a paint store - their knowledgeable staff will send you in the right direction. I trust my buddies at Sherwin Williams in Dewitt, NY with all of my painting questions and needs. Check them out for yourself! To fins a location near you visit www.sherwinwilliams.com
Need some help with your cleaning chores? Well I have some tips to help you get them done so you can get on with your life! Rubber band your cleaning rag directly to your cleanser, this way it's always ready to grab and go. Speaking of grab and go; spend a little extra and have duplicates of cleaning supplies that you use in more than one room. For example keep some vinegar in a spray bottle under the kitchen sink and the bathroom. This way if someone makes a mess you can easily tackle it right away! I use baking soda all over the house, but there is no way to seal the box so it ends up getting spilled. Solution? Pour it into a shaker. I like the flip top jars that Parmesan cheese comes in. They're perfect; just make sure you label them clearly! Want another double duty tip? Put a stinky sponge in a bowl and cover it with lemon juice or white vinegar in the microwave. Set it high for no more than five minutes and let it sit with the door closed for another ten minutes to cool. The steam and vinegar or lemon juice will cut through grime on the inside of the microwave so you can easily wipe it away. The heat disinfects and deodorizes your sponge at the same time! Make sure you give it that extra ten minutes to cool so that you don't get burned. And be prepared for a strong vinegar smell when you first open the door! Easy steps to turn you into a cleaning machine!