Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stuck on Wood

If you've ever found yourself with a sticky mess on your wood furniture, I can help.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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!

4. 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.

Getting Kids to Help at Home

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.

1. 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!

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Closet Organization

Closet organization, it's one of those projects that no one really wants to think about but everybody should tackle. I have some tips.

1. First things first, ditch the plastic and wire hangers. They aren't good for your clothes and they don't line up and slide well so it's hard to navigate your clothes, opt for wooden hangers, which last forever and are relatively inexpensive, this box of twenty was about ten dollars.

2. Don't hang your clothes in dry cleaning bags; you need to let fabrics breathe if you want them to last.

3. When organizing hanging clothes hang them in an order that makes sense to you, whether by color, by item or by use like office, dress and weekend wear.

4. When hanging ties, don't drape them over the closet rod or a hanger, they will slide all over and are hard to see! Buy an inexpensive tie and belt rack to easily separate and organize those items.

5. Use clear plastic boxes to store shoes, handbags, scarves and jewelry. They stack easily and they keep items clean, organized and in easy reach.

6. If you have items that aren't worn very often, use a breathable garment bag or an old cotton pillowcase to protect them from dust.


Looking for ways to save a little time, or an easier way to do something? Well, I have some ideas to help.

1. Say you need a tablespoon of lemon juice for a recipe; but you hate to cut a whole lemon. Well, the next time you need to do that, just squeeze the rest of the juice into a clean ice cube tray and freeze it. Once they're frozen put the cubes into a zip top bag and store it in the freezer, the next time you need a tablespoon of lemon juice, grab a cube! These quick cubes also work great with tomato sauce, pesto, gravy and fruit juice.

2. Why use an extra bucket to clean the bathroom, empty the trashcan, and use it as a bucket. Fill it with your favorite cleanser and some hot water. Clean the bathroom and when you're done, rinse the bucket clean and you'll have gotten two jobs done at once!

3. I always get nervous cleaning jewelry because I'm afraid it's going to drop down the drain. Well, use an old saltshaker filled with some jewelry cleaner, swish it around and drain the entire shaker. Carefully empty the jewelry out on to a cloth. There's no chance you'll lose it this way!

Grab Bag

Get ready - I have a grab bag of cool tips that can help you all over your house with all sorts of tasks!

1. Run out of dish soap? No problem you can get through that load of dishes easily so that it doesn't sit there until you get back from the store, by just mixing three parts water together with one part lemon juice. Spray the mixture onto your dishes. The lemon juice will cut through grease and grime with no hassles, then simply rinse with hot water!

2. Do you have trouble rinsing the shower after you've cleaned it, well grab your watering can; it will be easy to direct water right where you need it.

3. Do you have to dig through your linen closet to find matching linens? Here is an easy way to solve that problem. Fold the top and bottom sheet and one pillowcase then slip the three into a second pillowcase. This way the sets will always be together. If you have an extra set of pillowcases, lay them on top of each other and fold them as one.

4. If you have sticky drawers, try aiming your hairdryer at them for a few minutes. The sticking is most likely caused by excess moisture and the hairdryer will eliminate the problem. Once the drawer is sliding easily coat the runners with some paste wax to keep it sliding.

Cleaning Cookware

A lot of people find cooking a great way to relax, but does anybody enjoy the clean-up? I have a few tips to make the job a lot easier for you.

1. Grease and food get baked on glass cookware, which can make it really hard to clean. Ammonia and a plastic scrubber will clean most messes up. Open a window for extra air because ammonia fumes are pretty strong.

2. Burn your dinner? Rinse as much food off the cookware as you can, and then cover the burned area with a paste of baking soda and water. Leave the paste on overnight, and then it will clean easily in the morning!

3. For really stubborn stains, try oven cleaner. Go outside and lay down several layers of newspaper and spray down the dish. Let that sit for about a half hour and then wash it really well with hot water.

4. Don't throw away those fabric softener sheets when they come through the dryer, keep them under the sink. A grimy pan will come clean if you put a couple of those sheets in it with some hot water and let it soak for a couple of hours!

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.

1. Always use white cloths when you're cleaning stains. A colored cloth could transfer dye onto the carpet, creating a bigger stain.

2. 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.

3. 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.)

4. For a beer stain, mix equal parts of white vinegar and detergent. Sponge it onto the stain and then blot it out.

Deceptive Decor

If you think high end accents like tassels and finials aren't in your budget, think again. I can show you how to get the look at a fraction of the cost.

1. Those great finials that top everything from lamps to clocks can be made from wooden elements that you can find in a craft store. An egg cup glued to a round knob and then painted gives you the look for pennies.

2. Those little knobs also make great feet for home accents. Add them to boxes, lamps or frames for an instant upgrade.

3. Want a bigger impact? Choose bigger accents, large feet and finials can be fashioned from wooden porch post tops! Love the look of tassels? Try making them yourself for a fraction of the cost. Buy fringe by the yard. At a fabric store, make a loop from the cording and then wrap the trim around the hang cord until you're happy with the thickness. Catch the end of the trim with a couple of stitches and you're done. For a more whimsical tassel, paint a wooden finial from the craft store and choose a multicolored double thick trim. Wrap it around a wooden finial and secure it with hot glue. A little hole drilled in the top of the finial is a perfect spot for a ribbon hanger.

Packing for the Next Holiday!

If you're smart about packing up for the holidays, you can make this year's unpacking a whole lot easier for yourself next year.

1. If there is an area in your home like a mantel or a staircase that you decorate with special items each year, pack all of those pieces in their own bin and label it accordingly. You won't have to dig around through tons of boxes next year!

2. Use plastic food storage bags to separate strings of lights, baubles and bangles! This step will keep everything untangled and neat in the bin.

3. If you use ribbon to decorate with, you know how it can get crushed. Coil it carefully and slip it in a coffee can or a deli container to keep it safe in storage.

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Wood Floor Care

Wood floors are beautiful in any home and a selling point. With a little t-l-c and it will stay just as beautiful for years to come.

1. Sand and mud tracked in on your shoes can scuff and mar the surface of your floors, just think about what sandpaper against wood. To prevent this, sweep often. Just a quick once over with a broom, a dust mop or a static duster will remove surface dirt.

2. If you do end up with scratches on your floors, grab a little shoe polish in a matching shade and buff it into the surface. You'll never know the scratch was there!

3. For a more heavy duty cleaning, add a quarter of a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and use the mixture and a well rung out mop to clean the floors, taking care not to over-wet the wood. It is better to use a vinegar mixture than oil soap because over time the soap will leave a build-up on your wood.

4. To protect your floors from excess wear, use area rugs in high traffic spots. These rugs allow the beautiful wood to shine around the perimeter.

5. Direct sunlight will discolor wood so make sure that you filter light with curtains and draperies.

6. Put protective felt pads on the feet of your furniture to prevent gouges and dents.

Taking Down the Tree

It was a beautiful holiday, but now it all needs to be packed up and put away. Luckily, taking the tree down doesn't have to make a huge mess!

1. Use a turkey baster to get any water out of the tree stand.

2. When the stand is off, wrap the sheet around the tree, and you'll have a handy sling to carry the tree in. It's easier, and you'll be protecting the walls and floors as you go. This method works best if you have two people.

3. If you're by yourself, cut the branches off of the tree before you take it out of the house. Spread a big sheet under the tree to catch needles as you work. Pull on a pair of work gloves and use your pruning shears to cut the branches. As you clip, just throw them in a big garbage can lined with a sturdy bag! Then you can easily carry the trunk out of the door.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Packing up Decorations

Somehow it never seems like as much fun taking down the holiday decorations as it does putting them up, but it has to be done. I have some pointers for you!

1. What do you do with all of your fragile ornaments? I suggest you stop by the grocery store and buy several sizes of plastic food storage containers and a few boxes of tissues. The containers don't cost a lot, and they're nice and sturdy so they protect your family's treasures, and the tissue is a perfect inexpensive buffer! The containers are also great for extra bulbs and fuses, hangers and tinsel!

2. If you're never sure how to store your lights so that you don't end up with a tangled mess, plug the strands together and wind them around an extension cord spool! Think how easy it will be when you pull them out next year!

3. It is so hard to find a safe place to store holiday wreaths, my suggestion, look down. Under a bed is an ideal place, they won't be in the way and yet they won't get crushed either. Slip it in a clear plastic garbage bag and slip it under the bed. Out of sight and safe until next year!

4. When you take the tree down, make sure that you clean the stand well with hot water and a little bleach. This will kill the bacteria and you'll be all set for next year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Holiday Wrapping Center

Okay the holidays have passed and you're left with a big pile of gift bags, wrapping paper and tissue paper and ribbons. How are you supposed to get all of it organized? I have a couple of creative ideas that will corral these items and have them ready the next time you need them!

1. For this organizational center, you simply need an accordion style drying rack. With a little doctoring this will per the perfect spot to store your wrapping supplies.

2. Uses the crossbars of your rack to drape tissue paper, this will keep it neat, unwrinkled and at the ready when you need it.

3. Slip rolls of wrapping paper through the crossbars at the ends of the rack.

4. Use "S" hooks and an additional dowel to hang a ribbon bar across the front. Simply slide all of your rolls onto the dowel and hook it over a bar, this will store and dispense ribbon when you need it.

5. For supplies like scissors, tape, tags and pens; adapt an idea from my website and hang a shoe bag from the back of the rack. It will easily organize all of those items.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Gifts

Isn't it awful when somebody shows up with a gift for you and you have nothing for them? Here are some easy ideas for last minute gifts this holiday.

1. Gift bags are your saving grace for last minute gifts; make sure you always have some on hand, and don't forget the tissue paper. Candy boxes and cellophane bags are also good to keep around for emergencies

2. When you're out shopping, if you see an ornament or decoration that you like, buy three or four to keep on hand. This way if someone shows up, you can have a present all set.

3. Make extra cookies. Christmas cookies are a great gift, and when stacked in a cellophane bag or nestled in a candy box it makes a great presentation too!

4. Keep some picture frames on hand. Everybody has pictures they want to display and if you watch for them all year you can get some great sales. If you save your double prints all year, you may even be able to personalize the frame in a hurry.

5. Another easy thing to keep on hand is wine. A few extra bottles and some pretty bags and your ready. Plus, if you don't give them away you can use them throughout the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wrap it up!

Have you lost the festive holiday spirit because you don't like the thought of wrapping all of the gifts? I have some tips to help!

1. First, you need the right tools. Buy a tape dispenser. You can get them at any office supply store, and it will free up a hand while you're wrapping. You'll also need an envelope opener that has a little razor blade in the opening. This is great for cutting paper, and you probably have one in a drawer somewhere.

2. Write out your gift tags ahead of time. This way you can wrap and stick your tag on, eliminating the need to stop and write and wrap. Think of it as an assembly line.

3. Speaking of assembly lines, set up a wrapping station. This is where you'll keep all of your supplies, so you can keep up on the job and you don't have to pull everything out every time you get a gift. You'll need a good sized table, bins for ribbon, bows and tags, a pair of scissors, extra rolls of tape, a ball of twine for measuring and plenty of wrapping paper.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Mailing

We're getting down to the wire...

Holiday wishes from friends and family warm the heart, but getting your own holiday mail on its way may be another story. I have some tips to help you out.

1. If you're using some Christmas cards that you bought last year and the summer humidity has the envelopes already sealed, you can put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. This will loosen the glue so that you can open the envelopes easily. You could also try putting the envelopes in the microwave for thirty seconds. This will have the same effect.

2. If you have a problem getting those envelopes to seal back up again, try a little clear nail polish on the flap.

3. When you mail your packages, you won't smear your labels if you roll them into place with a pencil rather than pressing them on with your fingers.

4. When your labels are in place, you can seal the ink by spraying some hair spray over the label. Or, when the ink has dried, you can rub it with a white candle stub to seal it against wet weather.

Table Round for the Holidays

You have more guests coming than you have places at your dinner table; I have an easy project that will increase seating at your card table from four to six!

1. The table topper sits on your card table and is made of MDF board. To make the topper foldable and easy to store you'll need two - two by four foot pieces of quarter inch MDF board.

2. Attach one end of a string to the center of the length of the board. Make a loop in the other end and slip a pencil in to trace a perfect arc. This will be half of your topper.

3. Use a jig saw to cut both halves. Cutting curves is tricky so make sure that you work slowly and don't forget your safety glasses.

4. Once both sides are cut sand the edges smooth and brush away any dust.

5. Lay the two pieces next to each other and run a length of duct tape along the joint to give it some stability when it is folded.

6. Then to finish the topper off stretch some flannel backed vinyl over the board on the same side as the tape. Secure it all the way around with a staple gun and then trim away any excess.

Chalkboard Paint

A chalkboard is great for jotting down notes and a great place for kids to draw, but they can be expensive. An easy and inexpensive way to make your own is with chalkboard paint! It looks like any other spray paint, but it dries to a chalkboard finish

1. Pick out a piece of wood that is nice and smooth and thin enough to fit into a frame.

2. Make sure that you have plenty of ventilation and wear a safety mask when using spray paints. Paint the board with a primer, and let it dry thoroughly.

3. Spray the chalkboard paint back and forth evenly until you have a nice finish. Make sure that you don't spray too much, or you'll end up with drips! Then allow it to dry.

4. Once it's dry, put the board into your frame and hang it up.

Cooking and Baking Tips

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.

1. Use a turkey baster when forming pancakes, you end up with equal sized pancakes and a lot less mess, every time!

2. 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.

3. Use a new powder puff for a nice even dusting of flour when you're rolling out cookie dough.

4. 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.

5. 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!

6. 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.

Illuminating Ideas

Most every project calls for good lighting but sometimes that's hard to do. Well, I have some easy ideas to shed some much needed light on your projects.

1. It is easy to direct light at your project with either a headlamp or a light that attaches to your ear. Both of these give off plenty of light for working and because they move where your head does, the light will always be aimed right where you need it.

2. If you've ever tried to prop up a flashlight for some extra illumination you know that they can fall and roll away in the middle of a job. You can easily direct that light by making a stand. Put a pair of pliers around the handle of your flashlight and use some rubber bands to hold the handles of the pliers in place.

3. If you need to get some light into a really tight spot, attach a night light to an extension cord and feed it to the spot you need.

4. If you need a reliable flashlight for your toolbox or your car try the shake variety. You don't ever need batteries; simply shake the light back and forth when you're losing power.

Beautiful Tools

Looking for beautiful tools, check the make-up bag. Many make-up tools can be used for simple home repairs!

1. Sponge brushes are great for small paint jobs, but what about tiny touch ups? Sponge tipped eye shadow applicators are perfect. They're just the right size and they're cheap too! These also work for spreading glue in a small space like a chair joint!

2. Nail polish is handy for touch ups too. Scratches on appliances can be painted with a little nail polish. The enamel finish is a great match, just be sure you pick up the right color polish! As with any paint job, you'll probably have to apply a few coats.

3. Clear polish is perfect for building up dings in wood furniture. Just apply several coats until it's even with the rest of the finish. Scratches can be filled in with an eyeliner pencil. Just rub it into the mark and then buff with a soft cloth to blend the repair in with the rest of the finish!

4. Then there is my favorite beauty tool, the emery board. Sandpaper on a stick. It's perfect for small jobs and tight spaces, and if you get one of these black buffing boards and wet it you can even smooth out small chips on a drinking glass.

5. Beautiful tools to get you through some simple projects!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gifts from Garbage

I'm not suggesting that you go out and pick through your trash to find gifts to give to everyone this holiday season. But there are some great items you might have around your home that can be transformed into some great gifts.

1. A pretty old makeup compact can be turned into an oversized "locket". Cut a picture to fit in the opening where the powder used to be, and secure it with some double stick tape.

2. Old clothes can be made into lots of neat things from bears, to blankets, to pillows. If you're not handy with a sewing machine, do a quick on-line search there are a lot of talented people out there who do this kind of thing. These items can be especially thoughtful if the clothes belonged to a loved one who is passed away or for your parents from your old baby items.

3. An old jug or bottle can be easily transformed into a lamp. They sell special light kits at the hardware store with bottle stops.

4. An old picture frame can be made into a mirror. Just have a piece of mirror cut or buy an inexpensive one and then secure the mirror in the frame with glazier's points, staples or brads.

5. Teacups make the perfect holder for a custom candle. You can get wicks and wax at your local craft store. Follow the directions for melting the wax and pouring it into your container. Beautiful!

Holiday Timesavers

If you could use some help getting everything ready done so you can enjoy the holidays, I have some tips to help you out.

1. To get ready for that big holiday meal, make your grocery shopping list and then take a few extra minutes to categorize it into the different sections of the grocery store. These few minutes will pay off big when you're trying to maneuver through a crowded store.

2. To keep track of your holiday gift shopping get a small notebook, write everyone's name on a separate page along with some gift ideas or the persons sizes and color preferences. Slip a pen in the coil and carry the notebook with you when you're shopping. It is an easy reference to organize a tedious task. It can also be a handy thing to look back on from year to year.

3. If you have to buy gifts for several groups of people, like the in-laws, kids, friends and family buy a different roll of wrapping paper for each group. This way when you're scrambling to get out the door you can easily identify the group of presents that needs to go to with you.

4. Final time saver, wrap your gifts as you buy them, this way you won't have an all day task a few days before the holiday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cardboard 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Cleaning your Chandelier? Slip cardboard tubes over the bulbs and sockets to protect them while you work.

5. If you have a little girl, a paper towel tube is a great way to organize all of those pretty little hair accessories.

6. How about a gift box for small items. Slip the gift inside and wrap the roll like the old fashioned Christmas crackers!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wrapping Center

The key to any task is organization. Well I have easy ways to keep your wrapping supplies organized so you can get through the chore of wrapping those holiday gifts in no time!

1. If you're always combing the house to find scissors and pens and tape and tags, buy two sets, one for the house and one for wrapping. Keep the wrapping set corralled in a see through make-up bag for easy, portable access.

2. If your wrapping paper rolls are always unrolling and falling to the floor, try this: cut a paper towel or toilet paper tube along its length. Then slip it around the paper, it will keep it rolled up and it won't rip the paper like tape can!

3. Now for storage, a clear hanging garment bag is the perfect spot to store all of your wrapping paper. Slip the rolls upright in the bag. Put your ribbon spools in the bottom along with your tape and scissors kit, and then stash the whole kit in a closet, always together and right where you need it!

Picture Perfect Holiday

Sure, a picture in a frame is a lovely gift, but I have some ways to personalize those gifts that won't break the bank!

1. Use old pictures and scrap booking paper to personalize a plain gift bag. The plain bags are less expensive, you can use them beyond the holidays and the recipient will love the personal touch.

2. This is also a great way to personalize Christmas cards, buy a pack of blank cards and personalize them for each person!

3. Use your computer to create a calendar for a loved one. You can buy calendar kits at your local office supply store, or simply buy a ream of heavy paper and print them yourself. You can have them bound at a local office supply store for a couple of dollars.

4. Speaking of the computer, use it to blow up pictures to a full sheet, print them out and use them to wrap small gifts. They're really festive!

Christmas Tree Tips

Christmas is a special time of year with homes so wonderfully decorated and featuring beautiful Christmas trees. How do you make sure your tree will last through the holidays? I have some easy and inexpensive solutions for you.

1. The tree should have a strong pine smell and a nice deep color. Shake the tree to make sure that the needles don't drop off, or run your hand down a branch to see if needles come off in your hand. You can also reach into the trunk area and scratch the bark; if you see green on the backside of the bark, the tree is nice and fresh.

2. When you're ready to bring your tree inside, make a fresh cut straight across the trunk, then drill a hole as far as you can into the trunk. Stuff the hole with some absorbent cotton balls. The cotton will act as a wick and help pull water up into the tree.

3. Christmas trees are easy to knock over. To prevent that, secure your tree stand to a large piece of plywood. This will give you a wider and sturdier base than the stand alone, and your tree skirt will cover it up so it doesn't look bad.

4. To preserve your tree, mix together a gallon of warm water, four tablespoons of iron powder, (which you can pick up at most garden shops), four tablespoons of bleach and two cups of corn syrup. Use the mixture to water the tree every day. An alternative would be to add a cup of sugar or a few aspirin to your water to help preserve that tree.

5. An easy way to water your tree is to attach a piece of hose with a funnel at the top from your tree stand to the middle of the back of the tree. Then simply pour the water into the funnel.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Trees

Christmas is a great time of year with homes so wonderfully decorated and featuring beautiful Christmas trees. How do you make sure your tree will last through the holidays? When you pick your tree there are some things you should know to make sure it stays fresh for the season.

1. Shake the tree to make sure that the needles don't drop off. You can also run your hand down a branch, or reach into the trunk area and scratch the bark. If you can see green on the back side of the bark, this means it's fresh.

2. Before you put your tree up, cut a good two inches from the end of the trunk. This will ensure that the tree will be able to absorb the water in the stand and not dry out.

3. To preserve your tree, here is a great recipe. Mix together a gallon of warm water with 4 tablespoons of iron powder, (which you can pick up at most garden shops), 4 tablespoons of bleach and 2 cups of corn syrup. Once you have your tree in a stand, water with the mixture and use it until it is gone.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mrs. FIXIT's 25 Days of Christmas

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Holiday Decor on a Dime

Christmas decorations are part of the festivities for the holidays. But those baubles can add up to a big price tag. Well I have some ideas for decorating on a budget on a budget.

1. Get some holiday ribbon and use it to tie some bows around throw pillows. It adds a quick festive touch and the ribbon and can be used year after year.

2. Take last years Christmas cards or copy pages from a holiday book and cut it up, frame it up and hang it up for holiday artwork with a big impact. Use frames you already have and just layer your holiday art over the existing art and the cost is next to nothing.

3. Sugared fruit is really expensive, but you can make your own, just lay out some newspaper, place the inexpensive faux fruit on the paper, spray it evenly with adhesive and then dust it with glitter.

4. Drape a winter scarf over a side table as a festive table runner.

5. No centerpiece? No problem. Lay a wreath or fresh greens flat on the table. Add some ribbons and ornaments and put a candle in the center. Boom you have an instant eye catcher for the table.

6. You can also add Christmas balls or fruit in a large jar or vase for some added sparkle. Hang small wreaths fashioned from backyard greens in windows and on mirrors for a bit of the unexpected so you don't have to spend a lot to make a big impact this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nail Pops

If your lumber wasn't properly dried when your house was built, it may cause the heads of nails to "pop". If this is a problem in your house there is an easy solution!

1. Make sure you use wallboard screws to repair your nail pops. These screws have a threaded shank that not only holds the wallboard securely, but also will resist popping in the future. The best thing to do at this point is to remove the popped nail, but this may cause damage to your wall. If you don't want to risk the damage, just drive it back into the wall leaving a slight indentation.

2. Secure wallboard in place by pressing up against it so you're sure it is snug to the studs and drive a wallboard screw into the wall about two inches above the existing nail just deep enough to leave an indentation.

3. Repeat the process with a fastener two inches below the pop.

4. When the repair is finished, use a putty knife to fill the dents with spackling. Let it dry thoroughly. Then sand it down and touch up with some paint.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kitchen Catchall

Have you ever found a solution to a problem that you thought, why didn't I think of that sooner? Well, I have some kitchen tips that will fit that bill.

1. You love those fancy pressed sandwiches from your favorite restaurant, but you don't want to spend a fortune on a press, no problem! Grab a heavy cast iron pan, set it on top of your sandwich and it will press it into the grilling surface just like those expensive presses. (You could also use a plain old brick wrapped with a couple of layers of aluminum foil).

2. If you heat a brick in the oven it can also be used in the bottom of a breadbasket to keep your rolls toasty warm, just make sure you use an oven mitt.

3. If you're sick of your green food turning brown, a little vitamin C powder will keep basil, spinach and avocados a beautiful green. Just sprinkle it over the freshly chopped veggies.

4. Have you ever gone to empty your food processor only to have the blade crash into the bowl? If you put your middle finger in the hole in the bottom you'll hold the blade in place!

5. That does it, some easy solutions to some kitchen frustrations!

Shampoo & Shower Caps

Both shampoo and shower caps can be used all over the house, not just in the bathroom.

1. Use shampoo to clean your hairbrush. Fill your sink with hot water, add two tablespoons of shampoo and let your brushes and combs soak for an hour or so. Then just rinse them clean.

2. If you have greasy looking spots on your clothes left behind by liquid fabric softener, dab the spots with a little shampoo and then wash in cold water.

3. If you run out of dish soap, squirt a little shampoo in the sink.

4. If you're going to be away for a few days, water your plants and cover them with a shower cap. This will create a mini green house and keep the plants moist.

5. Attach them to the bottom of hanging plants when you water them to catch drips.

6. If you run out of plastic wrap, pull a shower cap on the dish, and seal the freshness in.

7. You can also use them to cover food in the microwave; no more splatters.

Green Cleaning

Green cleaning is all the rage, and for good reason who wants to breathe in those nasty chemicals. Believe it or not it's the cleaners I've been telling you about for years that are your greenest bet! What's in your green cleaning kit? White vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will take care of most household cleaning jobs.

1. For all kinds of floors from tile to wood, grab the white vinegar. A quarter cup of vinegar mixed into a gallon of hot water will break through dirt and grime and it won't leave behind any residue like some other cleaners!

2. Need something with a little abrasive action? Grab your baking soda. Spray water on the surface and then sprinkle with baking soda. Then use a plain old terry washcloth to scour away stains and soap scum!

3. Toilets? Flush the toilet to wet the sides, and then sprinkle with baking soda. After that, spray with soda with white vinegar, let it fizz up and then scrub with a brush. Sparkly clean every time!

4. Hydrogen peroxide is a perfect cleaner for kitchen surfaces like counters, sinks and faucets. It cleans, deodorizes and sanitizes and then evaporates into water and oxygen.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Smart Solutions for Thanksgiving

With cooking and cleaning and getting ready, are we really thankful this holiday? With these simple tips you will be!

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Have a great day!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Tips!

Thanksgiving, it sounds so peaceful getting together with friends and family. But if you're in charge it can be anything but. Well, I have some ideas to help out!

1. Sit down and make a cooking timeline, write down all of the dishes that go in the oven, the temperature they need and the cooking time. Then group things together so you're not scrambling and overstuffing the oven on the big day.

2. Chop and measure ingredients in advance, you shouldn't make the stuffing ahead of time, but there is no reason that you can't chop the celery and onions and store them in plastic in the fridge. This will save you time and mess on the big day.

3. Do yourself a favor and use a disposable roasting pan. You won't have to worry about the clean up, just remember to put a cookie sheet under the pan to make it sturdier for moving.

4. And finally, for those thanksgiving stains, have some white cloths, some club soda, lemons and shaving cream on hand. Inevitably something will get spilled. And these are all purpose stain removers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oversized Ironing Board

If you've ever tried to iron a large tablecloth on a standard ironing board you know it can be anything but simple! Well I have an easy project to make an oversized ironing board that you can use any time you need it.

1. Your first step is to get a piece of MDF or plywood that is large enough to create an even sized ironing surface. I made mine 2 x 2 ½ feet.

2. Wrap the board in some heavy-duty aluminum foil to protect both the board and reflect the heat!

3. Next get one large or two small heavy wool blankets. Your goal is to have two thick nesses of blankets covering your entire board. Your local thrift or surplus store is a great place to find these blankets very inexpensively.

4. Smooth the two layers over the board and then use a staple gun to secure them to the underside.

5. The next step is to cover the blanket layer with a double layer of heavyweight canvas that is slightly larger when wrapped than the blanket layer so you can hit the board with staples. (If you try to secure all four layers the staples may not be able to grip the board).

Drippy Candles

Are you worried about the candles dripping on the tablecloth? If you are I have some tips to get rid of those drips.

1. Plug up your sink and sprinkle two tablespoons of salt in the bottom. Put your candles in the sink and run just enough cool water to cover them. Let your candles soak for a few hours, then just rinse and dry them off. The salt will harden the wax, which makes the candles burn cleaner and longer and their less likely to drip.

2. Another way that you can drip proof your candles is to store them in the freezer. To make sure that they don't get nicked in the freezer wrap each candle in a sheet of tissue paper and then stack the candles in a plastic shoebox. It will keep them neat and drip free! When you need a candle, just reach into the freezer, pull one out, and light when you're ready. This is also a good idea to keep your candles from getting bent and warped in heat and humidity!

3. If you have black soot marks on your candles clean them off with a soft cloth and a little rubbing alcohol.

Paint Applicators

You have your paint, your drop cloth and tape, but what's the best applicator for the job? Well I have some ideas

1. The old standby, a brush. Is still a great choice? They come in lots of sizes and styles, they're easy to use; give you nice coverage and if you buy a good one it can last for years.

2. Don't like working with a brush? Paint pads give you a crisp edge and a smooth finish; it's a great choice for a novice because it gives you more control. I like using a wide paint pad on furniture, nice, even coverage. The tricky part is you have to work in one direction. And if you have curvy areas a paint pad won't work well, you'll need a foam or bristle brush!

3. If you're trying to cover a big space, like a room, you'll need a brush or a pad to cut in around windows and doors, but I would choose a roller for the walls. It allows you to blend paint easily across the wall so you don't have overlap lines. The key to choosing the right roller is nap, that's the fuzzy cover on the roller. Rough surfaces like stucco need a long nap; choose a shorter nap for smooth surfaces like drywall. Another tip, buy a roller with beveled ends; It'll give you a smoother finish than a roller with blunt ends.

Rust Problems

Do you have rust problems around your house? If you do, I have some easy ways to get rid of it, and some great ways to keep it from coming back! The bathroom is an easy place to get rust. It's almost always moist and doesn't usually get enough circulation.

1. If a shaving cream can is leaving a ring of rust in your bathroom, just scrub the rust with a scouring pad. Dry the can and paint the bottom with some clear nail polish. This will seal it and prevent the rust from returning.

2. How about screws on the back of your toilet? To loosen rusted screws or bolts use some penetrating oil, or a cloth soaked in any carbonated beverage. Just let it sit for about an hour or so.

3. To clean away stubborn rust try a paste of salt and lemon juice.

4. For rust on scissors, tweezers and other metal implements in the bathroom, just soak them in water with a little ammonia for about 10 minutes. Then scrub them with a steel wool soap pad. Rinse and air dry.

Dusting 1-0-1

Here it is dusting 101. My favorite ideas for getting dusting done in less time with better results

1. Put together a little dusting kit. First, the tools, include a dust mop that you won't use for floors, dust cloths, good choices are cotton socks, gloves, diapers or cheesecloth, paintbrushes for getting dust out of crevices and used dryer sheets for quick cleaning and cutting static

2. Then the cleaners, your favorite polish, some lemon oil, toothpaste for removing white moisture rings from wood before dusting, various shades of waxy shoe polish for covering scratches

3. Off to work. Start from the top! Use your dust mop to clean dust and cobwebs from ceiling moldings, and the tops of doors.

4. Use a paintbrush for ceiling fixtures. Once all of the high areas have been hit, pull on the socks or gloves, or grab two cloths. Spray each with some polish and clean doors, casings, and furniture, working with both hands at once will get the job done quickly and you're less likely to miss a spot!

5. Dust electronics with used dryer sheets, the static cutters will help repel dust and keep those items cleaner, longer.

6. Pay attention to areas that are often missed while you're cleaning, like light bulbs, lampshades, baseboards, and pictures.

Dusting 1-0-1!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wash Day Wonders

Does it seem like laundry is a never-ending chore? Well, I have some tips to make your washday woes disappear!

1. When washing a brightly colored item for the first time, add a teaspoon of Epsom salts to the water to keep the material from fading or running.

2. No epsom salts? Soak brightly colored clothes in cold salt water before washing them, it will help set the colors and keep them brighter.

3. When you're washing whites and you run out of bleach, add three tablespoons of peroxide in its place.

4. Peroxide will also remove blood stains on white clothing. Just use a cotton swab to dab some on the stain, wait for it to fizz up and then launder it as you usually do. The stains will disappear.

5. Accidentally wash a wool sweater or blanket? No problem. Soak it in lukewarm water and hair conditioner. A tablespoon of hair conditioner per gallon will loosen those fibers so you can reshape the item.

6. Washing shower curtains or vinyl tablecloths? Add a cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle will keep the plastic pliable and lasting longer.

Leather Furniture Care

Leather furniture adds a nice touch to any home, but sometimes knowing how to care for it can be a mystery. Here are some easy ideas.

1. You can clean your leather furniture with some saddle soap and a little water. Clean small areas at a time and use a soft cloth to dry and buff each area.

2. An easy way to polish leather furniture is to combine two parts boiled linseed oil and one part white vinegar. Just wipe it on and then use a soft cloth to buff it off.

3. Water spots will come off of leather if you dab at the spot with some white vinegar. Make sure that when the spot is gone you rub the area with a clean cloth to get rid of any vinegar.

4. If you have an ink spot on your leather, spray the stain with some hairspray and let it dry. Once it is dry, use a equal mixture of vinegar and water to clean away the hairspray and the stain!


Thanksgiving, it means family, friends, turkey, and loads of stress. Well, I hope I can take some of that stress away with a few of these ideas.

1. Start first by cleaning out the fridge early, before you do the grocery shopping. This way you won't have groceries sitting out while you're trying to find room in the fridge.

2. If you're making bread stuffing, buy day old bread from the bakery. You need to let it dry out anyway and day old bread is cheaper than fresh.

3. If you prefer cornbread stuffing, forget the cornbread and buy corn muffins; it will save you time and mess!

4. Waiting for turkey to come out of the oven to make the gravy can put a wrench in your timeline, buy some turkey legs and roast them early in the morning. Use the pan drippings from those pieces to make your gravy. Then the gravy is done when you want it, and you'll have a couple extra legs, which can make for happy guests!

5. Make sure you organize and match up your plastic leftover containers before thanksgiving day, this way when you're full of turkey and stuffing you won't have to dig through the cupboard trying to match up lids!


If you have ever found yourself spending a lot more time on a project than you should, here are some easy time savers that will help you.

1. To mark the same measurement several times, wrap a rubberband around a yardstick.

2. Use a quarter to open a can of paint. Put it in the lip of the can and turn it.

3. To sharpen a dull utility knife, slide the blade back and forth along the strike panel on a matchbox! It will sharpen that knife in no time!

4. If you don't have a rubber mallet, cut a slit in an old tennis ball and put it on the head of any hammer. It will act as a buffer and protect your project.

5. If you stick a magnetic strip to the side of your hammer you'll be able to keep track of tiny nails while you're working.

6. Pull a saw through a bar of soap before you start using it and you won't have to keep stopping to clean the sawdust off of the blade!

Flour Power!

Flour's used for all sorts of recipes, but I have some uses that go beyond cookies and casseroles.

1. Store flour in a grated cheese shaker, it's perfect for dusting surfaces but it also an easy way to keep flour on hand to soak up grease spills or douse grease fires. Simply sprinkle the flour over the splatters or flames for a quick solution!

2. Mix together equal parts of flour, salt and vinegar to make a paste that will quickly clean tarnish from household brass and copper. Simply spread the mixture onto the metal and then buff it to a shine.

3. Squeeze some flour through a squirt bottle onto the back of pantry shelves, and pests won't walk through the flour, which will keep your food safe!

4. If your child is out of glue and you need to get a school project finished, bring a half a cup of flour and a cup and a half of cold water to a boil and simmer it until it's thick and smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and allow it to cool to room temperature. Use a paintbrush or cotton swab to apply the glue to the project!

5. Clean playing cards by putting them in a paper bag with some flour. Then just seal and shake. Dump them out onto a towel and they'll be grime free!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home Plumbing Kit

A plumbing emergency kit is a great idea for any household; it will get you through a leaky faucet or a clogged toilet with ease!

1. First trick in a plumbing emergency isn't in the toolbox, it is basic knowledge. Know where the shut offs are for each sink and toilet as well as the whole house.

2. A good plunger is a must. Make sure it is made of a heavy rubber and has good suction power. You can get a bulb type plunger or this kind with a fold out head that sits snugly in the toilet bowl.

3. A good quality snake can help free clogs that are deeper in the system than a plunger.

4. Assorted pipe wrenches are also a must. The most common needed for household repairs are ten and eighteen inches. A big adjustable wrench is also a good idea to have on hand.

5. A couple of offset screwdrivers will help you get to hard to reach places behind sinks and toilets.

6. Some tools you might not have thought of; petroleum jelly, cola and a magnet. The petroleum jelly will lubricate sticky threads on an aerator or rejuvenate a dried up valve seat in a toilet. Cola will help loosen a sluggish drain or eat away the rust on a stuck bolt. And a magnet, tied to a string will fish clippers, tweezers and bobby pins out of a drain!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Three Ring Binders

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Some easy ways to keep your piles of paperwork organized and keep the family on track.

Child's Play

Sure kids are fun, but they're a lot of work too. I have some easy tips to make life with little ones just a bit easier.

1. Before you pack a lunch, freeze your child's juice boxes. They'll have plenty of time to thaw, but will be nice and cold when the child is at lunch.

2. Protect a curious toddler by winding lamp cords around table legs. The cord will be less noticeable. Therefore, they'll be less likely to pull the lamp off the table.

3. Need an easy way to clean the mess from under a high chair? Put a shower curtain or vinyl tablecloth under the chair before meals. This will catch all of the mess so it can easily be gathered up and shaken into the garbage.

4. If your little one likes to finger-paint, but you hate the mess, set them up on the inside of the dishwasher door. It's just the right height for a little art table and you can close the mess up inside and run the machine to clean it.

5. If you're worried your older child isn't brushing long enough, but you don't want to stand there beside them, grab your egg timer. When the sand runs out, their job is done.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Turkey Baster

If you only pull out your turkey baster on thanksgiving you're missing out on some great alternative uses for these little wonders!

1. In the kitchen, sure it can baste a turkey, but it will also make filling muffin tins and making pancakes much easier, just suck up some batter and then squirt it right where you need it.

2. If you drop an egg you can use a turkey baster to easily suck up the majority of the mess, then simply wipe up whatever is remaining!

3. If you overfilled the coffeemaker, use a turkey baster to remove the excess water without making a big mess.

4. Fresh flowers last longer when you add freshwater every couple of days, rather than bringing the arrangement to the faucet, uses a turkey baster to get water down into the vase with no mess! It can also help you reach high plants to water them without climbing.

5. If you have a baby in the house, add a turkey baster to your bath supplies for a gentle rinse that won't scare the little one!

Problem Solved

I have some solutions to some annoying household problems, coming up next.

1. Everyone runs into some little problems here and there. Well, I have some solutions that'll help.

2. If you need some targeted light while working in a dark area, attach a little clip on reading light to the visor of a baseball cap. The light will move with you and direct that beam just where you need it.

3. Cleaning the glass of a light fixture that can't be removed can be tricky. Well, once it's cool spritz some rubbing alcohol on a sponge tipped paintbrush. The brush will give you a longer reach and will easily clear the glass inside the fixture. These brushes also work great for reaching tight corners on windows and glass doors.

4. Vacuming and can't find the crevice tool. Well in a pinch, attach one end of a paper towel tube to your vacuum nozzle and flatten the other end. This will allow you to easily reach under your stone or refrigerator or cabinet.

5. Looking for a longer reach? Try a wrapping paper tube.

Carpet Vinaigrette

If you have a carpet stain would you think to grab the vinegar. Well, you should, cause it can cut through some of the toughest stains.

1. Gum on carpets is a nightmare, but vinegar can actually help to dissolve it away. Pour white vinegar directly onto the gum and let it sit for a minute, then use a paper towel to start easily pulling the gum out of the carpet fibers. Follow up with a little soapy water to clean up the vinegar and you're all set!

2. Dried glue on a carpet can also be dissolved with white vinegar. warm the vinegar for thirty seconds in the microwave, then dip a white cloth with it. Lay the cloth over the glue and leave for five minutes. once the glue had softened you'll be able to remove it from the carpet with a spoon and then just follow it up with some soapy water.

3. If you have chocolate stains on your carpet, mix together a half a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water and use that along with a white cloth to blot out any stains. Change the cloth frequently to be sure you don't redistribute the stains. This vinegar and water solution also works great on coffee spills.


Wait a minute, don't throw away those fruit containers, take a look at the packaging, I can show you how to reuse them around your home.

1. Those yummy little Clementine oranges come in a sturdy wooden crate. This crate is the perfect size for stashing items that need to be moveable, like oils and spices to the stove, condiments and silverware to the table or craft supplies to your work area.

2. Check out the plastic tab that comes on a bag of apples. It's a nice disposable tool for smoothing a caulk line, scraping glue off of a project or scraping paint splatters off of glass.

3. The plastic snap top containers that berry and grapes come in are great for ribbon or string storing or dispensing. Simply line up the spools and thread the ends through the hole in the top. Or how about holding needles, thread, and scissors for a small sewing kit. Its also a great little basket to stash in the sink. If you don't have a disposal, scrape plates and debris into the container, the water seeps out the bottom. When you're finished you can easily dump everything into the trash.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Don't you hate it when someone knocks on your door and you can't see who it is? Why not install a one way door viewer? It's easy to do!'

1. Determine how high you want the door viewer and mark off the height in the center of the door on both sides.

2. Drill a hole straight through the door (check the packaging on your viewer to see what size drill bit you need).

3. Roll some sandpaper small enough to fit the hole, and pull it back and forth several times to smooth out the hole.

4. Insert the door viewer and screw the two sides tightly together.

Broken Bulbs

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

1. 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.

2. 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!

3. 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.

4. 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.

Small Appliance Tips

Small appliances are indispensable in the kitchen. If you need some easy ways to keep yours clean and running well, these ideas are for you!

1. To clean and sharpen the blades on your coffee grinder, pour half a cup of uncooked rice into the grinder and then run it for a minute or so.

2. To keep electric and manual can openers turning smoothly, run a piece of waxed paper through the blades.

3. Get all of the food out of your blender by throwing a handful of ice cubes and some lukewarm soapy water into it. Turn it on and let it run on high for a couple of minutes. The ice scours the blades and can get all of the hard to reach areas nice and clean!

Autumn Checklist

Fall, it brings football, crisp cool air and the knowledge that winter is right around the corner. Well I've got a checklist so you don't fall behind this season.

1. Clean and put away your gardening tools, wash them with warm soapy water making sure to get all of the surfaces clean. When the tools are clean and dry coat them with a thin layer of oil or petroleum jelly to prevent the formation of rust while they're not in use.

2. Clean and put away your patio furniture.

3. Have a heating professional come in and check out your furnace before you need it. Annual maintenance makes good sense and taking care of it before you need the heat will save you long wait times later on.

4. Walk around your house and check the caulking and weather stripping. This is an ideal time to remove or replace any that is damaged or missing.

5. Autumn is also a good time to order and stack wood for wood burning stoves and fireplaces.

6. An easy way to help prevent wet basements during the rainy season is to simply install a splash block at the end of your gutter's downspout. This will help keep water away from your basement and help with dampness.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Knob Know How

Don't think of knobs and drawer pulls as simply functional, think of them as jewelry for your furniture. They can transform the look of a piece in a few minutes, and it's a relatively inexpensive update.

1. There are a huge array of replacement knobs and pulls on the market and you can find them everywhere from home improvement centers to superstores to antique stores so look around.

2. To give a piece an eclectic look, use a different color or style knob for each spot. Glass knobs can give a newer piece an antique look for a fraction of the cost of the antiques.

3. You don't have to limit your self to what you can find in the store either, try picking up knobs at your local craft store and painting them yourself for a one of a kind look.

4. For a kid's room try some wooden blocks or small toys for drawer pulls.

*Knobs courtesy of House of Antique Hardware

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cozy Fireplaces!

There is nothing like a roaring fire to help warm a chilly night. Well, I have some hints to help keep your fireplace in tiptop shape!

1. Each and every year have your chimney checked by a professional to clean away excess creosote and clear any obstructions.

2. When you're cleaning out your fireplace spritz the ashes with water before scooping to keep dust to a minimum.

3. Leave behind a layer of ash under the grate. This will protect the floor of the firebox from excess heat and will catch coals so the fire will burn longer. Just remember embers burn for a long time so make sure that you wait a couple of days to remove the excess ashes.

4. When building a fire only use seasoned firewood and plain newspaper or white paper. Wad it up tightly or twist it into a small log shape. This is also a great way to recycle the paper from your home office. Remember never burn colored paper in your fireplace.

5. Sprinkle your logs with salt before lighting the fire it will help keep soot to a minimum.

6. Fires need oxygen to burn; poor air circulation can cause carbon monoxide build-up. So make sure that you leave the doors of your fireplace open slightly to give it plenty of air.

Tea Time!

It's teatime. I have some smart ways to put regular tea to use around your home!

1. Potting plants? Use tea bags as your drainage layer; they'll accomplish a couple of things. They'll absorb water so they won't leak out of the bottom of your pot and they release nutrients into the soil to help your plants thrive.

2. Tea is also a great grease cutting cleanser. If you have greasy spills on your counter or stovetop, soak a cloth in some tea, it will cut through the grease and clean the spill away in no time.

3. Looking for an easy way to clean your wood floors? Steep a couple of tea bags in a couple of quarts of water until it cools to room temperature. Dip a micro fiber cleaning cloth into the tea and wring it out. Then using the two-hand method, rub the tea into the floor while immediately wiping it up with the other hand. The tea will cut right through dirt and build-up. This also works well on wood furniture.

4. If you want sparkly clean mirrors, turn to tea. Rub it into the surface of the glass and then squeegee your way to a stunning streak-free shine!

CNY Concrete Counters

Looking for some cool counters? A spectacular sink? Give my buddy Steve at CNY Concrete Counters a call - he rocked my powder room sink - he can build - or he can show you how in his DIY workshops! Check it out!


We had snow in NY this past weekend! Are you ready? Did you know that a little cooking oil sprayed on your snow shovel will help keep the snow from sticking? It's true!