Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rewire a Lamp

Re-wiring a lamp is an easy project. Don't be intimidated, I will show you how it's done.

1. Be sure that your lamp is unplugged!

2. Remove the socket shell and loosen the terminal screws that hold the old lamp wires in place, this will allow you to remove the socket. Untie the knot in the wires and gently pull the old cord out from the base.

3. Start re-wiring, you can pick up a lamp replacement lamp wiring kit at any home improvement center. Thread the new wire through the base and up through the lamp. Pull about two inches through the top to work with.

4. Split the cord wires in two. The insulated wire should separate easily. If the wires on your cord aren't stripped, remove about a half an inch of insulation on of each of the wires.

5. Anchor the wires with an underwriters knot. To do this turn each wire downward to form two loops, then insert the ends of each of those wires through the opposite loop.

6. Connect the wires to the terminal screws on the socket. The wire with smooth insulation goes clockwise around the brass screw, and the wire with the ribbed insulation clockwise around the silver screw, then tighten both screws.

7. Put the cardboard insulation and socket shell over the wiring until you hear a faint click so you know it's secure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


If you're constantly forgetting things on your way out the door, I have a few easy ways to remind yourself without tying that string around your finger!

1. Keep a pad of sticky notes near the back door, when you have to remind yourself of something write it down and stick it on the door, this way you'll see it as you're leaving so you don't forget. This is also nice because you can grab say a shopping list reminder and stick it right to your purse or wallet.

2. If you have a window in your door you can use a dry erase marker and put your notes directly on the glass!

3. If you or your child have certain things you need to bring on certain days for sports, lessons or music class, write down the days of the week and all items you need for that day then just post it near the door. This way you can tell at a glance who needs what when!

4. If you need to remember something once you get to work or you get home, and you check your email often, email yourself reminder or even call yourself and leave yourself a voice mail.

Summertime Pests

Ants, mosquitoes and flies they're inevitable in the summertime, I have some easy and inexpensive deterrents to keep those pests from bugging you!

1. The old saying you catch more flies with honey is true, a dish of honey set out in the kitchen can help capture the little annoyances.

2. Lemons and lemon juice are a great natural ant and fly deterrent. Clean kitchen surfaces and doorways with lemon juice and water. A quart of water and a few squirts of lemon juice will keep them at bay. Or, at the first sign of ants wipe down counters, baseboards and doorways with a fifty-fifty mixture of white vinegar and water. The ants don't like vinegar and will stay off of those surfaces.

3. White vinegar is also a great mosquito deterrent; rub it on exposed skin before you go outside. It is inexpensive and the odor disappears once it dries. If you don't have any vinegar, try baby oil or a fabric softener sheet.

4. If you want to keep mosquitoes away from a backyard barbeque? Squirt some lemon dish soap on a white plate with a little water And put them around the area. They will eat the soap and die soon after!

5. For a more attractive solution, plant or have pots of basil around your yard to discourage those bugs.

Mrs. FIXIT in Woman's Day

Mark your calendars - one of Mrs. FIXIT's tips will be featured in the October 1st issue of Woman's Day Magazine - Look for the 5 minute fix column!

It's just that simple!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lint, Lint Everywhere!!!!

Lint! It gets on your clothes and clogs your drains. Here are some easy ways to fight it.

1. If your washing machine discharges into a sink, lint from the washer will clog your drain. Prevent clogs by putting the toe end of a pair of old stockings or a knee-high loosely over the end of the hose, and secure it with a rubberband. This way the lint will get caught in the stockings and not in your drain. Change the stockings when the lint starts to build-up.

2. A lot of lint in the washer means you aren't measuring your detergent. Stick to the product's suggested amount for the best results.

3. You should clean your dryer's lint screen after each use.

4. Check the vent at the back of the dryer a couple of times each year. Unplug the dryer and disconnect the vent. Look at the end and make sure that lint isn't building up inside. A big build-up of lint here could cause a fire. If it's clogged, clean it out. Then return the vent to the dryer.

Lubricating Spray Oil

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?

1. 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!

2. 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!

3. 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!.

4. 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!

5. 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!

Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer Tool

Getting Ready to Paint? Check out Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer Tool!
Getting ready to paint? Not sure about your color choices? Check out Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer. It lets you upload a picture and see the colors in your room - awesome!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Care of Gardening Tools

Keeping your garden tools in good shape is easy to do and will save you time and money in the long run. Here are some tips to help you do just that!

1. Clean your tools after each use. Rinse them down with the hose and scrub off any dirt. Taking a couple minutes to get the dirt off will make it easier the next time you need them.

2. Use some automotive paste wax or some petroleum jelly to wipe the tools down before you put them away to keep them from rusting.

3. Use boiled linseed oil to care for wooden handles. Work outdoors and wear some gloves. Rub the oil into the entire length of the handle. Then use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess; the oil will keep your wooden handles from drying out and splintering. (Put the cloth into a can of water when you're finished, so there is no chance of spontaneous combustion).

4. If you're using small tools, slide some bicycle grips over the handles, they will cushion your hand so you're less likely to get blisters. Plus the bike grips will protect the handles from getting chipped and banged up.

Dental Floss

Dental floss can keep your teeth healthy, but did you know it can actually help you clean and decorate your home?

1. Grimy build-up on your faucet handles is a common occurrence, but uncommonly hard to clean. The solution: pull out the floss; it will clean grimy buildup from between the crevices on the faucet just like between your teeth!

2. If you get a ring stuck on your finger, grab some floss. Wind the floss around your finger, not so tight that it cuts the circulation but just so that it compresses your swollen finger. When you're done, slide the ring off and unravel the floss.

3. No picture hanging wire - no problem. For light to medium weight pictures a length of dental floss is a sturdy substitute. Knot the floss several times to keep it from slipping!

4. Dental floss can also be substitute for thread when reattaching fabric covered buttons on a coat. Those buttons get a lot of pressure on them and the floss holds up better than thread! Plus, depending on the color of your coat you may even be able to coordinate with cinnamon or mint floss in red or green.

5. Along those same lines - if a strand of beads breaks, you can just restring them with dental floss!

6. If you lose the screw to your glasses and don't have a repair kit, thread some dental floss through the hole and tie it tight, it'll hold until you can get a new screw!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fix Up the Grill

If your grill is pretty bad, I have some easy ways to get it looking great before your next bar-b-que.

1. Clean your grill after each use so that you don't end up with a huge mess. Let the grill cool and remove the rack. Spray both sides of the rack with some oven cleaner, and put the rack into a large plastic garbage bag and seal it off. Let it sit overnight, and in the morning you should be able to easily wipe away all of that grime. Rinse it well and return it to the grill.

2. Lava rocks in the bottom of your grill can get greasy build-up over time. Every once in a while turn the rocks over and turn on the grill. The flame will burn off the grease.

3. To paint your grill, pick up some of this spray paint that is especially designed to endure high temperatures. Disconnect all of your hoses from the grill and tape a protective covering over the handles and window. Make sure that you're in a well ventilated space and thaat you protect the area around where you're working. Then just thoroughly spray the entire grill.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Live in the Syracuse, NY Area? Mrs. FIXIT on Bridge Street 6/22!!

Tune in at 10am on 6/22 on WSYR Ch 9. Mrs. FIXIT is sharing her tips for a successful garage sale - don't miss it!! It's just that simple!!


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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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, June 20, 2011

Mattress Care

Most of us spend about a third of our lives sleeping. So, wouldn't it make sense to keep your mattress in great condition for as long as you can? It's easy to do. I'll show you how.

1. To make sure that your mattress is getting even wear, make a habit of flipping the mattress about once a month. One month flip side to side, the next, top to bottom, and so on. This will ensure that the wear is even and the mattress will last longer.

2. To freshen a musty mattress, sprinkle it with baking soda. Leave it for the day and then vacuum it up before you make the bed. The baking soda will absorb any odors over the course of the day so that the bed will be fresh by nighttime.

3. Put a protective cover on your mattress. If you have small children, vinyl covers work best.

4. If you didn't have a cover and your child had an accident, all you need to do is re-wet the area with a damp sponge. Then, sprinkle on some borax and rub it in. Let it dry, and then vacuum it up!

Pool Tips

Backyard pools are becoming more and more popular. If you have a pool or you're planning on one, I have some tips that could a save a life!

1. A locking fence that separates your pool from your home and the rest of your yard is your first line of defense. Make sure that the fence is at least four feet high and that all locks and latches are in working order and that everybody uses them!

2. Don't keep any tables, chairs or moveable play equipment near the fence, they make great climbing platforms.

3. Make sure any door leading to the backyard has an alarm.

4. Keep a cordless phone with you whenever you're in the pool area. This serves two purposes, you won't be tempted to go inside and answer a call and the phone is by your side in case of emergency.

5. Enroll your family in swim and survival lessons as soon as they can crawl to the pool.

6. Also, insist that the whole family as well as anyone responsible for your children can perform CPR. Post a CPR instruction poster near the pool area

7. Finally, hang a Shepard's hook, or rescue ring close by. And have an emergency pool plan just like your fire plan!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Keeping Germs at Bay

Germs and bacteria can cause all sorts of health problems, I have some easy ways to clean up and protect your family.

1. To prevent cross contamination in the kitchen, designate various colored cutting boards for different tasks, green for vegetable prep, blue for meat, white for breads. This way if there is bacteria left behind from cutting chicken or meat you won't have the risk of spreading it to your salad vegetables.

2. When you're done with kitchen prep, use bleach to clean surfaces. A good mixture is a half a cup each of bleach and lemon juice and six cups of hot water. Wipe it on, let it sit for five minutes and rinse with hot water. Don't forget to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin.

3. After you've cleaned your counters, stoves and sinks re-use that bleach solution. Pour the remaining mixture down the sink to kill bacteria hanging out in the drain.

4. You can pop your kitchen sponges in the dishwasher when you run it to kill germs.

5. Use white dishcloths, towels and washcloths so that you can bleach them frequently in the laundry. Or use paper towels during cold and flu season to prevent the spread of germs.

Seal Asphalt

A black top driveway can last you a long time but you need to routinely seal it and you can do it yourself.

1. The first step is edging the driveway. This will keep grass and weeds from taking over the area plus it will keep the sealer from killing the grass.

2. A day before you plan to seal it, use a power washer to clean any access dirt and stains. If you have a gas or oil stain, scrub it away with some hot water and powdered diswashing detergent.

3. Before you start, use a blower to get rid of dust and leaves that may have settled during the night.

4. Put a strip of 6 inch wide duct tape at the bottom edge of the driveway and along the edge of the garage floor. This will give you a nice straight line when the job is done.

5. Use a big paint brush to cut in the edges of the driveway like you would a room before you paint.

6. Then pool some of the sealer on to the asphalt and use a large squeegee to smooth it over the driveway. This will make an even surface and pool the sealer into all the pores on the asphalt.

7. Don't forget wear old shoes and a paint cover-up when you work because you will get messy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Candy Stains

Kids love candy, but let's face it; it can make a big mess! So how do you get rid of those stains?

1. Chocolate. Short of dressing your kids in chocolate brown odds are if they eat chocolate they are going to end up with stains, well, don't worry, everyone has the best stain fighter for chocolate and you probably don't even realize it! Plain old dish soap applied directly to chocolate stains will remove them in short order - even older stains. Rub it into the fabric and then launder in cold water!

2. Lollipops are a sticky mess, but luckily are water soluble. So just run hot water over the stickiness to dissolve the sugars and remove the film. If there is a colored stain left behind, rub white shaving cream onto the stain with a toothbrush and then launder. The warm water will also help loosen lollipops and hard candy that are stuck to household surfaces.

3. How about gum -the worst of the candied messes! Really the best line of defense is to dissolve the gum. Lubricating oil will dissolve the stickiness and loosen the gum. Once you've removed it, pull that dish soap back out to break up the oil residue, and then launder it as directed!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beautiful Stains

Beauty products are a part of life, but they can also cause spills and stains, I have some tips to get rid of these "beautiful" stains.

1. If you think hair dye stains are permanent, think again. If you act quickly you can get rid of them. Spritz liberally with hairspray and allow it to dry for a couple of minutes. Then rub the area with some shampoo and wash it in cold water.

2. For make-up stains from foundation to mascara grab a bar of soap. Put the stain face down on an absorbent white cloth, an old diaper works great for this. Dampen the soap and rub it into the back side of the stain. This will push the make-up out of the fabric rather than sending deeper into the fibers. Move the stain to different parts of the diaper so it doesn't re-absorb them. Wash it in cool water.

3. For greasy stains like lotions and baby oil, blot as much as you can with a cloth and sprinkle with some cornstarch. Let it sit for ten minutes, shake it out and dab with white vinegar to break up the grease. Then launder.

4. For hairspray build-up on walls, floors and mirrors dip an old washcloth into some rubbing alcohol and wipe it away.

5. Remember the two primary rules of stain removal: Always test for colorfastness in a hidden area first, and never put your item in the dryer until you're sure the stain is gone.

Looking for a Bridal Shower Gift?

Why not give the bride to be the ultimate home repair helper - Mrs. FIXIT's Easy Home Repair!

Bungee Cords

You may not think bungee cords are an essential, but they come in handy for all sorts of things!

1. For emergency childproofing, keep several small cords handy to secure cabinets and doors. Just stretch the cord around the handles.

2. If you've got a load a little too big for your trunk, just attach some cords to the hook at the back of the trunk and then to the top. It will secure the trunk door for your trip.

3. If you have to move furniture with drawers, secure a long cord all the way around the dresser from front to back, and watch those drawers stay in place.

4. If you can't find the cords in the size you want, make your own. Buy some bungee cording material with no hooks on it, then buy some hooks. Decide how long you need the cord, and snip it off giving yourself a few extra inches to connect the hooks. Thread the end through the hook and tie it off.

Build Up on Wood

Sometimes a build-up of wax and polish can cause a hazy film on your wood furniture. The good news is that it is usually pretty easy to clean up.

1. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to a pint of tepid water. Soak a clean washcloth in the solution and wring it out. Rub the haze lightly with the cloth being careful not to get too much water onto the wood. Then, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe up any excess. If there are several layers of polish you may have to repeat the process.

2. A white haze can also be caused by moisture stuck in the wood's surface. Try taking some wood ashes from your fireplace, and mixing them with a little water to form a paste. Work that paste into the piece with a washcloth until you see the haze disappearing. Then clean the wood off with the vinegar and water mixture. (If you don't have a fireplace, you could also try some baking soda on a damp cloth. Rub it into the spot and wipe it away with a clean cloth.)

3. Once you've removed all that white film from your furniture, try polishing the surface with some lemon oil.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Door Viewer

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.

Grill Care

If you love a good barbeque, I have some pointers to keep yours in tip-top shape.

1. Wipe down the outside hood of your grill with a damp cloth before each use. If you skip this step any dirt and grime left from storage will be cooked onto the grill.

2. Before you use your grill, remove the grates and spray them with some non-stick cooking spray.

3. This will help keep food from sticking and make it easier to clean when you're done.

4. To check the level of propane in your tank pour some hot water over the side of the tank.

5. Propane is cold so when the hot water hits the level of the cold propane you'll get condensation!

6. When you've finished grilling, close the cover and turn the burners on high for ten minutes or so.

7. This will burn off any sauce and grease left behind on the grates and the rocks.

8. When the time is up turn off the grill and let it cool for a minute and then scrub the grates with a brass bristled grill brush.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Candle Stubs

If your candles have burned down too far to look good, save the stubs! There are so many alternative uses for them around your home!

1. The stub of an old candle is the perfect tool for freeing up sticky drawers. Just rub the wax along the moving parts of the drawer and watch it slide easily into place. This same tip will work on stubborn windows!

2. Candle stubs are the perfect fire starters in the fireplace or the campsite. Light the candle and hold it in place long enough to light your kindling and not burn your fingers!

3. Rub a white candle stub over the label of a package before you ship it to seal in the ink and protect the address.

4. Squeaky doors? Carefully remove one hinge pin at a time and rub the stub of a candle all over it, slip it back in place and then squeak will be gone.

5. If you have a candle that won't stand up in a holder, coat the inside with some petroleum jelly. Use a candle stub to drip some wax into the bottom of the holder and press the new candle into place. As the wax cools it will hold the candle.

6. In the workshop you can use the stubs to coat screws and saw blades so they will easily move through wood!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Unconventional Fertilizers

Fertilizers feed your plants and soil to give you great gardens, I have some easy ideas for fertilizers that you probably have right in your own home!

1. Nitrogen is a natural fertilizer and is produced in the waste of all garden creatures. Feed them and you feed the soil. Worms love paper so rather than sending the whole paper to the recycling bin, bury some around the base of your plants the worms will eat it and help the soil to thrive. Sugar is a great food too, but rather than just sprinkling it on the soil think about other sources as well. Cereal crumbs for instance have both sugar and other nutrients, so sprinkle the crumbs from the bottom of the box around your plants. Another easy sugar source is an energy drink; because it will give you a one two punch. One it feeds the organisms in the soil and second it adds potassium, a really important nutrient for plants!

2. Another great source of potassium are banana peels. They're especially good for roses. Simply bury them at the base of the rose bush and watch the roses thrive!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breathe Easier

When working on home safety repair projects, safety is a big concern. Well I have some tips to help you protect your lungs.

1. Always work in a well-ventilated area.

2. Anytime you're working on a project that will stir up dust, wear a dust mask to protect your lungs. You can buy simple paper masks in inexpensive multi-packs at hardware stores that will get the job done.

3. I recommend that you choose a thick mask that has a replaceable filter in the center near your nose and has a metal strip across the top so that you can adjust the mask to fit your face.

4. For big jobs where you may be exposed to toxins like asbestos, fumes or chemicals choose a respirator. These masks come in single and dual cartridge varieties, and are clearly marked on the package as to what type of cartridge offers what type of protection.

5. No matter what type of mask you use, make sure you clean it when you're finished. Dust masks can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner; respirators can be wiped down with some rubbing alcohol.

6. Make sure that you replace filters and cartridges often!