Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dryer Sheets are a Must Have

Dryer Sheets are a great multi-purpose item. Don't throw them away when you're done with the laundry; I have some great alternative uses! Grimy, soapy shower? Wet a dryer sheet with hot water and clean the shower. All the scum will melt away! It works great on shower doors too! If you've got a stubborn bathtub ring, fill the tub with hot water and drop a couple of sheets in for an hour or so. The soap scum will loosen up so it will wipe away when you drain the tub! Pet hair a problem? Wipe a used dryer sheet over the area and watch the hair cling to the sheet not your clothes and furniture. Run a needle and thread through a dryer sheet before mending a button. It will prevent snags and knotting. Along those same lines, if you stuff a sock with dryer sheets and use it as a pincushion, you'll always have sharp pins and needle at the ready!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sweep it Up

Sweeping. It's probably not something you look forward to doing, and it usually takes some time because you have to keep going over the same area. Well, there are a few things that you can do to make it much easier. Extend the life of your broom by soaking the bristles before you use it. Just fill your sink with hot salt water. Put the broom in so that all of the bristles are covered and let it soak for ten minutes or so. Then lay it on a towel to dry. Before you start sweeping, spray the bristles of your broom with furniture polish. The polish will attract the dust and dirt. This will make sweeping a cinch because you won't have to keep going over the same area. To keep dust to a minimum, wet three or four tea bags and then rip them open. Sprinkle the damp tea leaves on the floor before you start sweeping, it will make the job a lot easier! An easy way to make sure that dust doesn't stick to your dustpan is to apply some paste wax with a soft cloth. The dirt will slide right off and out of the way!

Caring for China and Crystal

With the pending holidays this week, I thought a little how to on the care of china and crystal might be in order! 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. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vinyl Tile Installation

Vinyl tiles are easy to care for, stand up to a lot of wear and are easy to install.
Find the center point in your room. You can use chalk lines to mark where the center intersects. After the chalk lines are down, check them to make sure that they're square.2. Lay your tiles out to map where they're going to be. Make sure that when you reach the wall you have at least half a tile to go around the outside. Then, just pick up the tiles, and you're ready to start. Pick one of the quadrants to start in, peel the backing off the tile and press it firmly into place. You want to start in the center and work your way out, staying on the chalk lines as you go. A quick tip: if you roll over the tiles with a rolling pin, you'll be sure they are even. To cut a tile, mark it with a pencil line, then use a straight edge and a utility knife to score the tile. Then, you can just snap it in two. Make sure your cut faces the outside, so the original edge will fit snugly against the other tile.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Paintbrush Care

You'll end up with a great paint job every time if you take care of your brushes, here are some easy ways to do just that! Wash your brush with warm soapy water before you start a paint job, this will rinse out loose bristles so they don't end up in the paint, then just let it dry. Or, run a comb through the brush. The loose bristles will come out in the teeth! To clean those brushes, remember latex paints will come off in warm soapy water, oil based paints need some turpentine or better yet - hot white vinegar will dissolve it! By the way, if you soak a stiff brush in hot vinegar it will soften it back up! Never rest your brush on it's bristles when cleaning it, that will ruin them. Snip apart a wire coat hanger and thread the brushes through it, place the hanger across the top of the bucket and the brushes will soak clean and last longer. Add some fabric softener to the final rinse and the brush will be nice and soft. Always remember to hang your brushes for storage to keep the bristles safe!

Stinky - Smelly

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!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

House of Antique Hardware

All of the knobs and handles are on at the studio house - can you say incredible! I love them! If you're looking for a really unique look and incredible quality check out! It's just that simple!

Some hot ideas for Wood Furniture!

We all know that you don't put something hot down on a wood finish. It'll damage it for sure, but I have some tips where a little heat will go a long way toward solving some household wood problems. We all know that you don't put something hot down on a wood finish. It'll damage it for sure, but I have some tips where a little heat will go a long way toward solving some household wood problems. If you're building or repairing something and using a wooden dowel, put it on a cookie sheet and heat it in the oven for a few minutes. The heat will remove any moisture from the wood so that once it's in place it will absorb glues and stains and expand for a super snug fit! If you have a door or a window that is hopelessly stuck, grab your hairdryer. Set the dryer to high and aim it at the sticky spots, this will shrink the wood slightly so that you're able to open and close it easily. A little tip, once you've got it open, use the stub of an old candle to lubricate the sticky parts. If you need to wax a piece of furniture, grab that hairdryer again, warm the surface before you start and the wax will spread on easily and absorb into the surface better than a room temperature piece. Just a few ways where heat and wood might not be such a bad combination! I'm Mrs. Fixit and it's just that simple!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Waxy Spills - Cleaned Up!

Candles are a great way to add soft light and atmosphere to a room, but if you end up with spilled wax on carpets and upholstery, here are some easy ways to remove it. (These solutions work best with white or light colored wax]. If wax has dripped on your carpeting, gently scrape away as much as you can with a plastic spatula. Put a couple of brown paper bags over the wax and iron the bags with a warm iron. The heat will transfer the wax from the carpet to the bags. Depending on the amount of wax, you may need to repeat this process with additional bags. If wax has dripped on upholstered furniture, the process is a little different, because the wax won't seep as far into the fabric. Fill a plastic zipper bag with ice. Hold the ice against the wax until it's good and hard. Then, use a credit card to scrape it off. If there are any remaining traces of wax, layer the area with white paper towels and iron gently. That should do it - so don't cry over spilled wax!
If you're wondering why you can't get your kids to pick up, you need to think like them and put yourself at their level and it'll be a lot easier. If you're kids are always leaving their coats and bags on the floor when they come in, look where you want them to hang them. Many closet rods and hooks are too high for kids to reach, put some lower hooks within their reach, so they can do it themselves. The same goes for their bedrooms and their bathroom. If you want things hung up, hang hooks at their level! Kids rooms get messy, but when you say, clean up your room it can seem daunting. The solution: break it into smaller jobs for them. Ask them to pick up trucks, then stuffed animals then something else until the room is done. Want kids to help with the garden or help with the sweeping, get tools their size. A small rake or broom will allow your kids to work along side without trying to maneuver bigger tools. Think your kids are too small to help with chores, think again, even those as young as three can help around the house. They can collect laundry, fold small towels and washcloths, set the table, and help unload groceries. Clean house & helpful kids - who could ask for more? ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sherwin Williams Strikes Again...

I've got to tell you, while we've been rennovating the FIXIT studio house I've run into different dilemmas along the way. This week's dilemma - the bottom of my bannisters on the main stairway were previously painted white while the top was stained a light brown. I wanted more of a prescence to the bannister so I sanded and stained it a nice deep red mahagony and walnut mixture - love it! The only problem was I really didn't want to have to strip the underside so I could stain it. Now the only thing I have that is the same wood and stained the same color are some great pineapple finials that I picked up for the endcaps. So I took this pineapple to Sherwin Williams in Dewitt and Connie was a doll. She worked with me not only to pick the best paint for what I was doing but the color match I ended up with looks EXACTLY like the stain! Thank you Connie - I love it!

Moving Heavy Objects Easily

Moving heavy objects can be awkward and frustrating, but these simple ideas should make the job a lot easier. Always remember when you lift, bend at your knees, not your waist. It makes lifting easier, and you have a lot less risk of injury. For a long flat item, like a tabletop, tie the ends of a long rope together and loop it over the corners, then lift. The rope will do a lot of the work and you can use one hand to carry and the other to steady and guide. If the item is sharp, like a pane of glass, slit a garden hose lengthwise and slip it over the ends of the glass. Then you have a cushion for your hands. You can also try some pipe insulation. For a heavy piece with legs that could snap off, spread an old blanket or throw rug on the floor and tip the item on its side. Then, just pull the rug along the floor. You'll have more control, and you'll protect the legs. To move a large area rug, roll it up and loop a couple of belts around it near the middle. Not only will the belts hold the rug together, but they provide easy handles for lifting! Heavy, yes. Awkward, not anymore.

Organize that Bathroom!

Towels in a heap, soap slivers piling up, hair dryers and curling irons all over? Here are some tips for the bathroom! If tweezers and clippers are cluttering the bottom of the medicine cabinet, attach some magnets to the inside of the door. You can easily hang those metal tools out of the way. Soap slivers never seem to get used up. The next time you take out a new bar of soap, wet both the old and new with hot water. Then rub the two pieces together until they form one. No more slivers.
A decorative basket with a lid is a great place to store things like hairdryers and curling irons. They'll be close by, but won't look messy. Make your family responsible for their own towels. An easy way to do this is to assign a certain color to each family member. This way they know which towels are theirs, and if they're on the floor, you'll know who the culprit is. A mesh laundry bag is all you need to clean up tub toys. Put them in the bag and and hang it over the shower head; they can drain off and they're out of your way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hand Sanitizer isn't just for your hands anymore!!

A couple of squirts of hand sanitizer can help in the kitchen, the bathroom and on the go! Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the kitchen and bathroom; it removes ink stains from countertops, skin and fabrics! It will easily wipe away grime and kill germs on refrigerator door handles, and it polishes chrome fixtures and mirrors to a streak free shine! Use some hand sanitizer to clean the ink off of rubber stamps before you store them. It will also remove price tag stickers from glass and plastic with ease! Sticky tree sap will come off of your skin with a little bit of the gel on a paper towel. Eyeglasses covered in fingerprints? Squirt a little sanitizer on them and polish those prints away. It's also great during cold and flu season to wipe off cart handles, doorknobs and steering wheels.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Need help choosing the right paint? Visit Sherwin Williams, their staff is incredibly knowledgable, friendly and always right on the money!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dents in Wood

Do you have one too many doilies strategically placed to cover up dents in your wood? I'll help you uncover your favorite furniture and fix those dents in no time.
To get rid of small dents and pits in wood furniture, pour some olive oil on to a cloth and work the oil into the wood. The pits will literally disappear. Then just polish the entire table with a soft cloth and it will be as good as new.
For bigger dents, grab your iron and a pin! Poke the dent several times with the pin, then lay a slightly damp towel over the dent. Place a warm iron over it for a few seconds. This process should let just enough moisture into the dent to swell the wood back to its original size. Finish by polishing to a shine.

Don't toss those tubes!

Paper towel and toilet paper tubes aren't a throw away item - I can show you so many uses for them around your home. If your tongs are always getting caught inside your drawer because they pop open, slip them inside a paper towel tube, it'll keep them closed and right where you want them. Cut a slit along the length of a paper towel tube and slip it over the hanger to prevent creases in your pants. You can also slip them over the tops of a hanger to fill out the shoulders in a suit or jacket. Stuff plastic bags inside a toilet paper tube and slip it in your purse or glove compartment, that way you'll have bags on the go for garbage, pet messes or kid clutter. Cleaning your Chandelier? Slip cardboard tubes over the bulbs and sockets to protect them while you work. If you have a little girl, a paper towel tube is a great way to organize all of those pretty little hair accessories. How about a gift box for small items. Slip the gift inside and wrap the roll like the old fashioned Christmas crackers! Love to find new uses for what would otherwise be trash!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crackle Painting

If you think you'd like to try crackle painting, but the cost of supplies has you thinkiIng twice about whether you want to do it, I have an easy, low-cost alternative you should try. Plain old white glue mixed with some water is going to give you that great crackle finish for next to nothing. The first step is to paint a base coat on the piece that you want crackled and then let it dry completely. Mix your glue and water. I use ten parts glue to one part water. Use an inexpensive brush to apply a thick coat of glue to the surface of the piece, the thicker the coat, the bigger the cracks. Put some thinner coats in some areas, this will make the piece look like it has aged over time rather than looking newer. Let the glue set up, you want it to start drying but still be tacky to the touch. It usually takes about an hour, if the glue dries completely it won't crack. For more of an aged look, you can apply a coat of wax when it dries. What a fun and inexpensive project - try it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Time & Money Savers!

If you feel like you spend half your time and half your paycheck cleaning your house, I have some time and money saving tips for you! If you buy commercial cleansers don't buy them in a spray bottle, buy them in a large bottle you'll get twice as much for half the price, then fill your own spray bottle! If you never use a whole steel wool pad when you do the dishes and it just ends up rusting before you need it again. Cut them in half they'll go twice as far, plus you won't have to clean up that rusty mess. Use baby oil instead of furniture polish, it's inexpensive and it will leave a beautiful shine. Speaking of dusting, buy an inexpensive car washing mitt to use as a dust rag. You'll find you clean much faster, it cleans easily around corners and legs and you'll use less polish because the mitt will hold it and become a pre-treated duster! Dingy toilet? Put a scoop of powdered lemonade mix in there and let it sit for a while you clean the rest of the bathroom, the citric acid in the juice will leave a beautiful shine on the bowl! Easy time and money savers to help you out at home!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Whether you have one lying around or you pick one up or even customize to your own needs, lazy susans can be a big help around your house. Keep a lazy susan in the kitchen; it's the perfect tool for decorating cakes and assembling layered desserts and appetizers. It allows you to turn the item so you can easily assemble without stopping to turn the dish every couple of minutes. You can also use a lazy susan to help you arrange flowers, turning the vase as you work it will give you a pretty arrangement from all sides. A quick tip, I like to cut a round of non skid padding for the top of the lazy susan so my dishes and vases don't slide around on top of them. In the workshop I use a lazy susan for painting projects, especially spray painting where you can easily miss a spot if you're walking around the project. Make a custom spray paint lazy susan by driving several nails through a piece of scrap wood and then set it on top of the lazy susan, the nails will hold the project up in the air so you can get to all sides, as well as the top and bottom with ease. When you're spray painting, don't forget to cover your lazy susan with some aluminum foil to protect it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sticky Situation - Grab some WD-40

Lubricating spray oil can be used for squeaks and keeping parts moving, but did you know that it can be used for stains, scribbles and sticky situations? Crayon on wall and chalkboards can be hard to clean. Well, spritz a little lubricating oil on the scribbles and wipe them with a soft cloth! Super sticky price tag labels can be taken off with some oil. Just spray it over the sticker, let it sit for a little bit and then use a paper towel to gently remove the sticker! Speaking of A sticky situation, gum can make a big mess when it is stuck to your shoe. Well, no problem for the spray oil. Apply it directly to the gum, wait five minutes and then wipe the gum and all of the sticky residue away with a paper towel. This also works great on silly putty, tar and tree sap! Speaking of A sticky situation, gum can make a big mess when it is stuck to your shoe. Well, no problem for the spray oil. Apply it directly to the gum, wait five minutes and then wipe the gum and all of the sticky residue away with a paper towel. This also works great on silly putty, tar and tree sap! Finally, if you get a ring stuck on your finger a quick spritz of some lubricating oil will help that ring slide right off, just remember to wash both your hand and the ring when you're done!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kitchen Suggestions!

Cooking and baking can cause frustration when you run into problems in the kitchen. These tips will help you get cooking and out of the kitchen faster. Use a turkey baster when forming pancakes, you end up with equal sized pancakes and a lot less mess, every time! If you need to chill dough for a recipe, make a ball, press it into a circle and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then put it in the freezer. This does two things; starting from a circle will make rolling out the dough easier and using the freezer instead of the refrigerator cuts chilling time by three quarters.
Use a new powder puff for a nice even dusting of flour when you're rolling out cookie dough. To test whether or not your baking powder is fresh, put a half a teaspoon in a bowl and pour a quarter cup of hot water over it. It should bubble; if it doesn't you need a new can. Soak your measuring spoons or cups in hot water if the recipe calls for a sticky liquid like honey or corn syrup. The ingredient will slide right out! If you're making a cake, use some dry mix to coat the pan. You won't end up with a white coating on the outside of the cake when it's done. Kitchen solutions with a kick! It's just that simple!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stain Stoppers!

Stains, you can get them anywhere, and at anytime. I have some easy ideas to help you fight them. Treat stains as soon as possible, the longer they sit, the harder they are to remove. Dab - don't rub, and work from the outside of the stain in so that you contain the mess. Use white cloths when treating stains. Colored cloths transfer dyes to the items you're trying to clean. Put a white towel under the stain to prevent it from spreading.Use cool water. Heat sets stains and makes them difficult if not impossible to remove. Heat also includes the clothes dryer so be careful not to dry anything until the stains are gone. If you're looking for some of the best stain fighters around. Try club soda - carbonation, when applied to a stain will help loosen the stain so that it doesn't set into the fabric. Club soda is especially effective on red wine, coffee, tea, soda pop, and fruit juice. Shaving Cream also works well for getting rid of stains. Just dab it on and rinse it off of both laundry and carpet stains. Shaving cream works on chocolate, coffee, paint, urine, tomato sauce, ketchup, make-up and lipstick stains. It's just that simple!