Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ho-Hum Medallion to Magnificent Mirror!

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Yard Sale Time Again!!!

You can get some great deals on furniture at yard sales, if a piece is structurally sound but the finish looks a little grimy and time worn don't pass it up, I'll tell you how you can revive it. The first step is to clean the piece. Use a slightly damp cloth to remove any surface dust. Grab a soft cloth, some mineral spirits and a pair of gloves. Pour a little mineral spirits onto your cloth and then rub the surface of the furniture working with the grain of the wood. Turn the cloth to a clean area and rub some more. Repeat the process until the cloth doesn't pick up any more dirt. Then switch to a clean cloth and give the piece a final buffing. If there are still some imperfections in the surface of the wood try some superfine steel wool to lightly buff them out and follow it up with another application of mineral spirits. For stubborn watermarks try spreading a thin layer of petroleum jelly or mayonnaise into the area and let it sit overnight. The oil will work out the moisture that is causing the ring. Then simply buff it clean in the morning. So get out there and look for those treasures!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Counters are Here!!! Thank you Vallar's

The counters are in! Thanks Vallar's - What an amazing job!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


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Crayon on the chalkboard, super glue on the fingers, little problems can arise at anytime. The good news is that they're easy to fix. I have some tips to share. Don't worry if your child has decided to draw all over the chalkboard with crayons; if t's not ruined, a little baking soda on a damp cloth should remove all of the crayon. Just rub it into the surface, and then rinse off the board. If that doesn't quite do the trick, try some laundry pre-wash spray. Just spritz it over the marks and rub them off with an old washcloth. These solutions also work for crayon on painted walls and woodwork. If you accidentally used permanent marker on a dry erase board, that's easy to fix too. Try a little nail polish remover on a tissue, the marker will wipe right off. A couple of spritzes of hair spray will work too. If you ever had some of that instant bonding glue stuck to your skin, you know how hard it is to clean off. Next time, try some nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball and hold it on the glue. It will loosen the bond. Then you can simply wipe it away.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Under Sink Cabinet Woes

Between the inevitable leaks and the unending array of cleansers that you want to shake a stinky sponge at; the cabinet under your sink can get pretty disgusting, don't worry; I have some ideas to help you out! You can buy individual peel and stick vinyl tiles at home improvement centers for very little money. Use them to line the inside of the cabinet. They're sturdier than shelf paper, they clean up easily and they'll protect the bottom of the cabinet from leaks and spills. A plastic bucket or basin can serve double duty as a corral for all of those cleansers. Plus it makes them easier to tote around when you're doing your chores. Hang a wire mesh basket on the cabinet door, to keep your sponges and scrubbers in. It will keep them handy and the mesh will allow them to dry completely so they don't get smelly. A couple of cup hooks can handle bottle brushes, feather dusters and small brooms. To keep the cabinet from smelly musty, fill an onion bag with chalk or charcoal and hang it from another cup hook on the "roof" of the cabinet. Your little sachet will absorb odors and control moisture! I hope you like these easy ideas for combating those under sink woes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Gather your paintbrushes, I have some super ways to put them to work and you don't even need any paint.You can use a new, natural bristle paintbrush for basting, buttering and greasing! Everything from muffin tins to chicken barbeque, it is indispensable in the kitchen! Just make sure you wash it well in hot water before you use it! Paintbrushes are great cleaning tools. Use them to dust lampshades, moldings, wicker, carved wood and computer keyboards! Their bristles are sturdy enough to clean cracks and crevices easily and flexible enough not to damage delicate surfaces. Use a dampened paintbrush to help wash windows; it will reach easily into tight corners you can't get into with a rag! Keep a paintbrush in the laundry room to swish detergent over stains; there will be a lot less waste than if you dump the detergent onto the stain. To keep your paintbrushes nice and soft add a drop of fabric softener to the rinse water when you're cleaning them! No fabric softener, try hair conditioner.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bag Lady!

Grocery bags, lunch bags, shopping bags, every time you turn around there's a bag to deal with! Well, I have some great ways to put those bags to use! Dump your homemade french fries or air popped popcorn into a brown paper shopping bag, put in your salt or butter or whatever else you want, seal the top up and shake! The bag will absorb excess oil and it's large enough to coat everything easily! Stuff a brown paper bag with crumpled newspaper, seal it up at the end and use it as kindling in your fireplace, your bag log will burn longer than plain paper! Use your home paper shredder to cut those paper bags into inexpensive filler for gift bags and packages! Stuff plastic grocery bags into boots and handbags to help them retain their shape in storage. They make great, free packing materials when sending out packages or packing for a move. No garbage disposal? Line a big bowl with a plastic grocery bag and scrape food scraps directly into this little trash bag, tie it off and toss it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Musty, Dusty Antiques

I love antiquing, searching for that one perfect piece that will remind me of the past. On the down side, antiques can smell really musty. Here are some easy ideas to freshen yours up. When you get a piece home, clean it well, dust all of the little crevices and take out any drawers and clean behind them.
When it is nice and clean, wipe down the unfinished surfaces with a fabric softener sheet. Make sure that you hit the insides of drawers, the back and the bottom. The fabric softener will seep into the fibers and help freshen the piece.
You could also use some wintergreen oil on a cotton ball. Just wipe it over all of the inside and underneath parts. The wintergreen oil will linger and make the furniture smell fresher. Put an opened bar of soap into the drawers or cabinets. This can serve two purposes if you're using the piece for storing clothes. The soap also acts as a sachet to freshen your clothes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Painting Clean Up

Cleaning up after painting doesn't have to be a huge job. I have a few ideas to make it quick and easy. Before cleaning a latex paint roller, bend a wire coat hanger in half and run it along the length of the roller. This will squeeze out excess paint so you won't have as much to clean up. Slip the roller inside a tennis ball can and fill it with soapy water. Put the top on and shake it up to get the soap and water all over and let it sit for a few hours. When you come back you'll be able to just rinse it clean!If you line your paint pan with a plastic shopping bag before you start, it will act as a liner and you can just turn it inside out to throw it away when you're finished. No mess. To clean that paint off of your hands, try some vegetable oil. Just rub it in and the paint will come right off. As a bonus, the oil will soften your skin too!If you got some splatters of paint on a window, hold a cloth dipped in warm vinegar over the spot. When the paint has softened a little, scrape it off with a spatula. Try some nail polish remover if the splatters are from oil-based paint.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Scratches on Wood Furniture

Is the wood furniture in your home looking a little worn? If it is, I have some easy and inexpensive fixes and most of the stuff you need is probably found in your kitchen. For scratches on dark wood furniture, make a paste of instant coffee and water. Rub the paste into the scratch with a soft cloth. Then let it sit for a minute and buff away any excess. For scratches on lighter wood try rubbing the meaty part of a walnut into the scratch. It will fill the indentation and blend the scratch with the rest of the wood. Waxy shoe polish will clean scratches and scuffs from all sorts of wood surfaces, just rub it in and buff it to a shine. For white moisture marks on wood, try rubbing the area with a little mineral oil on some superfine steel wool. Make sure you rub very lightly and that you work with the grain of the wood. No mineral oil? Try white toothpaste; it will get rid of those marks in no time. If your furniture is looking hazy and dull, mix together a cup of room temperature water and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Rub the mixture into the wood and then wipe it off with a clean dry cloth, it will bring back that beautiful finish you remember. It's just that simple!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Picture Time

I love family pictures and finding great ways to display them! Here are some tips to help you out. Scout the perfect location and mark the wall with a wet finger. It will stay wet long enough for you to get your nail into position. If you have plaster walls, criss cross some tape over the spot where you are going to drive the nail. It will. Take a cork from a wine bottle and cut it into 1/8 inch sections. Glue the slices to the back corners of the pictures. The cork will hold the picture in place on the wall and it will allow air to circulate behind the picture so that it won't damage your walls. You can also buy commercial pads that will serve the same purpose.

DIY Life on AOL

Getting ready for a photo shoot for DIY life - watch for some great upcoming projects!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Laundry Care

To keep clothes looking their best they need care beyond cleaning. If your clothes have pilling on the fabric and you don't have one of those fuzz removers, grab a pumice stone. Run the stone in one direction over the pills, it will grab them and gently pull them off the fabric. No pumice, no problem, use an emery board or the hook side of a piece of Velcro to remove those pills. Always work in one direction so that you don't damage the fabric. If you left a tissue in your pocket and your clothes come out of the wash covered in lint run them through again, and rather than using laundry soap use a cup of white vinegar in its place, it will release the lint from the fabric and your clothes will look like new again. If you're dealing with regular lint, try the loop side of the Velcro you used for the pills. The soft nap will grab onto the lint. You could also use a vegetable or fingernail brush to remove that lint. Good Luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Color Match - Thanks Sherwin Williams

Remember a little while back when I told you about the color match Sherwin Williams did for me on my railing. The top of the railing is stained but the underside had previously been painted white so I wanted a paint that would match the stain without needing to strip the underside of that railing - all I had to bring them was the pineapple finial that you see in the picture - judge for yourself but I think it's an unbelieveable match!!!! Thanks Connie - and Sherwin Williams!!!

Spring Clean Up Time!

If the thought of spring-cleaning has you overwhelmed, calm down, it's easy if you have a plan.Start at the top. Cut a slit in an old tennis ball, slip it over the end of your broom handle and then secure a used dryer sheet over the ball. This handy extension arm will grab dust and cobwebs from high corners and ceilings. To shed some light, take the glass globes and hurricanes off of your light fixtures and wash away the dirt and grime. Add vinegar to the rinse water for a streak free shine! Wash woodwork. Work from the bottom up to avoid streaking. A simple soap and water mixture will clean away fingerprints and dirt. Spring is a good time to flip your mattress. This will also force you to take off all bedding and clean it. Vacuum the mattress and box spring. A hint, slip a couple of dryer sheets into the vacuum bag and it will release that fresh scent into the air as you work.Move furniture so you can deep clean behind and underneath. If you're working alone, slip the plastic covers from coffee cans under the furniture feet and slide it with ease.Take down curtains and draperies to be cleaned, and while you have them down, go to work on the windows. Now sit back and enjoy the clean!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cork Rolls

Keep a roll or two of cork at your house; it's easy to work with and great for several household projects. High-end cabinetry often comes lined with cork. It protects the inside of the cabinets as well as your dishes. Do it yourself. Measure the inside of a drawer of cabinet and use a straightedge and a utility knife to cut through the cork. Adhere the cork to the cabinet with either double-sided carpet tape or some spray adhesive. Another great use for this cork is to line the bottom of lamps and vases so they don't scratch your wood furniture. Just trace the shape of the piece onto the cork and cut it out. Then adhere it with some spray adhesive. Put it on the feet of your furniture to protect your floors, or under a throw rug. Make a decorative bulletin board for the kitchen. Cut the cork to fit into a standard frame. Insert as you would a picture and hang it near the phone to collect grocery lists, calendars and messages. This would also make a great inexpensive liner for your toolbox or workbench.

House Systems

I'm sure you know where your main electrical panel is, but what about your gas and water shut offs? They're important things to know in case of an emergency. Use a permanent marker to make tags for your home's systems, gas and water shut offs, hot water heaters, electrical panels and so on. Attach tags to the various components around the house. Its not a bad idea to label sink and toilet shut offs as well so that anyone that encounters a problem will be able to find the right switch or knob. Many household emergencies involve power outages or the shutoffs are in a dark area of the basement. Paint to the rescue. Paint the wall around service panels and shut offs with glow in the dark paint. The paint's luminous qualities can save you precious time. Another tip, store a flashlight near your electrical box, this way when you find the box you'll have a light handy to find the right switches. Speaking of those switches, it's a good idea to label them before an emergency so grab a buddy and some walkie-talkies or a cell phone. That way you won't have to yell and run around the house trying to figure out which switch goes to which room! I'm Mrs. Fixit and it's just that simple!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Picture Hangers

You have to check out Ooks picture hangers - they have everything from child safe to tremor resistant(wait - that could be the same thing - just kidding).

Oooooo La La - French Cleats

Hanging very large or heavy objects can present special problems, but I have a solution, it's called a French cleat. I'll tell you how it's done! The way it works is that you have two lengths of wood, one screwed into the wall studs and one screwed into the back of the item you're hanging. First measure the width of what you're hanging and cut a one by six to the same measurement. With a blade of your circular saw set to a forty-five degree angle, cut the wood in half along the entire length. Now you're ready to hang it. Use a level and a stud finder to mark the location. Place one side of the cleat against the wall. It needs to sit to the lowest part of the angle against the wall and you have a channel where the second strip will fit. Now secure the other strip of wood to the back of your piece. Once both parts are in place, simply hang the piece on the wall. The French cleat distributes weight evenly across the entire length. Super stregth for a great look!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dresser to Console

Outdated dresser? No problem! Turn it into a console or a kitchen island. It will save you a ton of money plus it will look unique. Most chest dressers will have three rows of drawers; remove the bottom two drawers. Don't throw them away because they make great under bed storage by just adding a wheel to each of the four corners. Cut some plywood or MDF to fit under the support that the drawers used to slide on. You'll want them to sit flush with the outside of the dresser. If you paint the shelves before you put them in you'll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation later on. You may need some "L" brackets to secure the framing to the board underneath for extra support. Measure the width of the drawer and cut some molding to fit across. Cut each end at an angle across the profile so that it essentially fades into the dresser front. Attach the pieces to the front of the shelves with finishing nails. Give it a nice coat of paint and you'll have a nice piece for a minimal investment.