Friday, July 29, 2011

Picture Problems

Pictures are a favorite part of everybody's home, but hanging them in the right spot and making sure that they stay there can be a hassle. Here are some tips to help you out.

1. Scout the perfect location and mark the wall with a wet finger. It will stay wet llong enough for you to get your nail into position.

2. If you have plaster walls, criss cross some tape over the spot where you are going to drive the nail. It will prevent the nail from cracking the wall.

3. 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.

Resetting Tiles

If you have loose or damaged tiles in your home, you can fix it pretty easily.

1. If you can lift out the tiles, do so and put it on a towel out of the way.

2. If you need to remove a tile, use a grout saw to chip out the grout. Once that's done, cover the tile with a heavy towel and use a hammer to break it apart. Make sure you wear work gloves and eye protection. A putty knife will help you get out the broken pieces.

3. Scrape as much of the old adhesive off of the floor as you can, and then vacuum the area well to remove dust and debris.

4. Repair any damage to the floor before you install the new tiles.

5. Use a notched trowel to spread the back of the tile with adhesive. Keep it about a quarter of an inch from the edge of all sides.

6. Put the tile in place and align it with the surrounding tiles. Lay a towel and a block of wood on the tile and gently tap it until the tile is flush with those around it. Allow the adhesive to dry thoroughly, check your package for the right drying time.

7. Now that the adhesive is set, use a float to spread grout into the joints, spreading it from all directions so you're sure every nook is covered.

8. Wipe lightly with a damp sponge and then let the grout dry for fifteen minutes or so, then wipe the whole area with another clean damp sponge.

Mrs. FIXIT to appear at Florida's Larges Homeshow

Mrs. FIXIT will be appearing at Florida's Largest Homeshow Labor Day Weekend!

Pillow Talk

Time for some pillow talk, don't neglect your pillows, because if you do you could be missing out on a good night's rest.

1. If you have allergies and are concerned about dust mites, put your pillow in the freezer for a few hours! It will kill them, and then you can clean your pillows.

2. You can wash most polyester, foam and down pillows. Wash them on a gentle cycle with cool water. Don't wash more than two pillows at a time or you could break your washer! (A tip, run the pillows through a second spin cycle just to be sure all of the excess moisture is out of them).

3. Check the label on your pillow to see whether they can be tossed in the dryer on low heat. If it can, put a few clean tennis balls in the dryer with them. The balls will keep the filling even!

4. Don't wash the pillows too often, in between washings, invest in some zip-on pillow covers. These will help keep body oils off of them and keep dust to a minimum.

5. Just remember to wash the pillow protectors when you change your sheets.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking for a good read? Mrs. FIXIT Easy Home Repair on Special $6.99

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Alternative Uses for Luggage

Wondering what you can do with old suitcases that have been cluttering up the attic? Well I have some ideas to put them to good use.

1. You can stack several suitcases on top of each other to make an interesting accent table. As a bonus you can store magazines, remotes or blankets inside of the suitcases.

2. Stuff a suitcase with an old pillow and you've got a cute little bed for a dog or a doll!

3. If you don't have space for a home office, use a suitcase to store your laptop, printer and office supplies, you can tote it anywhere you need to and it sets up easily whenever you want.

4. This is also a great way to easily tote scrap booking, arts and crafts and wrapping supplies. All you need to do is pull them out when you need them!

5. If you need to deodorize an old suitcase before you use it, crumple up some newspaper and leave them in a closed suitcase for a couple of days. This will absorb some of the mustiness.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Window Air Conditioner

Sweltering summer heat has many of us looking to air conditioners. I have some tips for choosing and using a window air conditioning unit.

1. The single most important factor in choosing a unit is the size of the room you're cooling. Units that are too small or too big for the space will not work efficiently. Measure your room and multiply the length and the width to get the square footage. A room that is ten by twelve is a hundred and twenty square feet, which needs a unit that is five thousand BTU's.

2. Look for a window that doesn't sit in direct sunlight for better efficiency.

3. Once you have the correct size unit, you need to be sure it's installed correctly. Level it out! A leveling bracket is a great way to ensure that your unit is installed correctly and that it has some extra support too! A unit that isn't level will not cool effectively.

4. An air conditioner needs to circulate clean air so remove and clean or replace your filter often.

5. BTU RATING GUIDE: Square Feet to Be Cooled: 100-150 you need 5,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 150-250 you need 6,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 250-300 you need 7,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 300-350 you need 8,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 350-400 you need 8,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 400-450 you need 10,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 450-550 you need 12,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 500-700 you need 14,000 BTU - Square Feet to Be Cooled: 700-1,000 you need 18,000 BTU

Kitchen Quandries

Who doesn't run into a problem in the kitchen now and then? Well I have some answers to some kitchen quandaries.

1. If cutting onions makes you cry, try this. Pop them in the freezer for about ten minutes before you need them. The cold will keep the onion fumes under control - that means no more tears.

2. Wondering if your baking powder is still good? Put a little in a bowl with some hot water, if it bubbles it's good!

3. If you have leftover tea, pour it into ice cube trays and pop it in the freezer, that way the next time you want iced tea you won't dilute it with regular ice. These cubes also taste great in lemonade!

4. Wondering whether your avocados are still good? Pull off the stem, it should be green, if it's black, toss it.

5. If a recipe calls for fresh herbs and you only have dried, go ahead and use them, just use less than it calls for, they're more concentrated than fresh. So if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh parsley, use a teaspoon of dry!

6. If you need a tablespoon of honey for a recipe, run the spoon under hot water before measuring, the honey will slip easily off the spoon rather than sticking! This tip also works for molasses.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Change a Showerhead

If you're all about the spa experience, but not the price, upgrading your showerhead is an easy and inexpensive project that will make you feel pampered in the morning.

1. The first step is to remove the old showerhead. Cover the jaws of an adjustable wrench with the fingers of an old rubber glove to protect the surface and give you a non-slip grip.

2. Clean the arm coming from the wall with some white vinegar and an old toothbrush. Then wipe it dry.

3. Wrap the threads of the arm with some plumber's tape, which will fill any gaps between the arm and the fixture and give you a tight seal so you don't get leaks!

4. Now put the new shower head into place, tightening the connecting nut just until it's snug, not so tight that you'll never get it off! Turn on the water and test the new fixture. Look closely at the connection

Cleaning Wooden Dishes

Wooden dishes are great, but without the proper care they can get cracked and worn really easily! Here are some ways to care for that wood.

1. Season your dishes with mineral oil on a soft cloth. (Try not to use vegetable or olive oil, it can become rancid and ruin your dishes).

2. Never submerge wooden dishes, they'll crack. Instead scrub them with a mild detergent on a soft cloth or a little baking soda and water, rinse them clean and dry immediately.

3. For a nasty smell stuck in your cutting board, sprinkle the board with some salt, cut a lemon in half and use the lemon to scrub the smells away. Then just rinse and dry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Olive Oil

Olive oil is used in hundreds of recipes, but did you know it can be used for so many other household tasks?

1. Use it in the kitchen to season cast iron pans, or wooden cutting boards and salad bowls!

2. If you have some leather shoes or a baseball glove that need some revitalizing try olive oil. Put a little on a soft cloth and work it into the leather, remember a little goes a long way!

3. Use it to shine up plant leaves. A little dab on a paper towel will make your plants look great.

4. Dented, pitted wood furniture? No problem! Just rub a little over the surface and the dents will disappear.

5. In the yard it can help keep moles away. Saturate an old rag with olive oil and stuff it into a mole hole. The animals hate the smell and will stay far away.

6. Keep some olive oil in the garage too. A quick coat on gardening tools will keep them from rusting. It will also lubricate garage door tracks.

7. Olive oil is also a great hand cleaner for greasy, grimy hands! Rub it in and wipe it away with a paper towel.

8. This also works on dry hands and feet. Just rub some in before you go to bed and slip on a pair of cotton socks or gloves you won't believe the difference in the morning.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Coping with Baseboards

If you want to install baseboard moldings and have a professional looking finish, you will have to learn about coping. I'll fill you in.

1. The first step is to measure the walls and determine the type of corners and cut what you will need. Outside corners, those that point out into a room simply require two forty five degree cuts, but inside corners can be a little trickier you'll need to cope the molding for a tight fit.

2. Transfer your measurements to your baseboards, marking them with a light pencil.

3. I'm working on an inside corner, so the long piece needs simple straight cuts so that it butts up to each end. Make those cuts and secure the piece to the wall with some finishing nails.

4. The smaller piece needs a ninety-degree cut on one end and then the coping end that you will cope needs to have an inside forty-five degree outside cut on the molding, so the longest end is on the back of the molding.

5. Then use a coping saw to back-cut the molding slightly, carefully following the molding's profile. When the cuts are made, sand the edges for a tight fit.

Sunday, July 10, 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!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Picnic Tool Kit

Picnic anyone? Well I have some easy steps that will save you time so you can enjoy your day.

1. Line a box with a large garbage bag and pack all of your paper products into the box. When you get to your picnic site and unpack, use the box as a ready-made garbage can!

2. To pack charcoal, take an old coffee can and use a church key can opener to punch holes every inch or so all the way around the bottom edge. Then use a regular can opener to take the bottom off the can. (If your can has a paper label, make sure you remove that as well). Put the lid on the top, flip it upside down and fill it with charcoal. Crumple some newspapers and put them on the charcoal, to hold it in place. When you arrive at your picnic place, flip the can upside down so the holes you made are at the bottom. Remove the plastic lid and light the paper through one of the vent holes. This chimney will give you perfect coals in about twenty minutes! Just make sure you bring a long pair of tongs to pull the coffee can off the coals before you start cooking!

3. Rather than taking up precious space with ice packs, freeze some water bottles. They'll keep food cold in transit and will melt over the course of the day so you'll have cold water all day!

4. Don't forget the baby wipes! They're good for cleaning everything from hands to tables and even silverware! I'm Mrs. Fixit and it's just that simple.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cleaning Window Screens

Window screens help you enjoy the nice weather by circulating fresh air while eliminating any worry about insects. When screens get dirty, they make a mess of your windows. Every time it rains, the grime from those screens will spot the glass.

1. To clean without taking down the screens, wipe them every couple of weeks with an old pair of nylon stockings or an onion bag. Both of these items will scrub off dust without damaging your screens. You can also try the soft brush attachment on your vacuum.

2. Once a year you should pull your screens down and give them a good washing. The easiest way to do this is to lay them on a flat, cloth covered surface so you don't risk stretching them out. Scrub the screens with warm soapy water. For tougher dirt, add a little vinegar to the mix. When they're clean, just rinse them off with your garden hose.

3. An easy way to clean a screened porch is to use a sprayer attachment on your hose. Cover the floor with some old sheets or towels. Then spray from the inside out. The strong spray will clean away the dirt quickly and easily.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mrs. FIXIT to Appear at Florida's Largest Home Show

Live in the Tampa, Florida area? Stop by the Tampa Convention Center, September 2–5 and visit over 1,200 exhibits of exciting new products and services to customize your home — inside and out. Plus you may have the chance to meet Mrs. FIXIT in person!! More details to come - keep checking back!~

It's just that simple!!

Knife Care

Nothing will slow you down faster in the kitchen than a dull knife. Well I have some easy ways to keep your knives nice and sharp.

1. If you have some clay pots that you plan on using in the garden, hold off. They are just the tool you need. Make sure your pot is clean and flip it upside down on the counter. Hold your knife at a forty-five degree angle to the pot and run the blade in one direction across the bottom; flip the knife over and repeat on the other side of the blade.

2. No clay pots? No problem. Check the bottom of your coffee mugs. A lot of them are unglazed on the bottom. Use the mug just like the clay pot.

3. If you have food stuck to your wood handled knifes don't stick them in the sink to soak. Sitting in water will ruin those handles. Instead, fill a vase with hot soapy water only as deep as the knife blade and soak the knife standing up in the vase.

4. Also, remember never to put wood handled knives in the dishwasher, because the hot water will dry out the handles. If you've already made one of these mistakes, rub the handles with some mineral oil and let it sit overnight. This will refortify the wood; just remember to wash them well in the morning so the handles aren't sticky.

5. To keep those knives sharpened, flatten some paper towel tubes and slip your knives in the tube and they'll stay nice and sharp.

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Coffee Curiosities

Coffee is more than an early morning caffeine fix; it can fix problems in your house and garden too!

1. Used coffee grounds serve double duty in the garden as both a fertilizer and a pest repellent. Sprinkle grounds over your lawn and garden beds, they release nutrients into the soil and give you healthier plants

2. Some coffee grounds around the base of roses and azaleas once a month will add acid to the soil and your flowers will thrive.

3. In addition to boosting plants coffee grounds repel all sorts of garden pests like cats, moles, and ants!

4. Speaking of ants, to keep them out of the house fill soda or water bottle caps with used coffee grounds and stash them under cabinets and behind appliances.

5. To fix scratches on dark wood furniture, mix together a paste of instant coffee and water, rub it in to the spot and buff it to a shine!

6. Finally, when all of the coffee is gone, save those cans! They're great for charcoal starters, spreading seeds and keeping things like matches and toilet paper dry when you're camping!

Worth Saving

We all want to get organized and toss things out, but before you do think because these things you might be able to use somewhere else in your house.

1. Don't throw away the remnants from your carpet pads. A piece of padding is perfect for protecting your floors from tools when you're working on a plumbing or home repair project.

2. No workshop in your home, all you need is a silverware organizer to turn an unused drawer into a toolbox. Slip your tools into the various compartments to keep them on hand and easy to find. Plus you could take the whole organizer out of the drawer if you need to take the tools with you.

3. Throwing away a rotating toothbrush? Wait a minute. It's a great little power tool for scrubbing away dirt and grime in tight spots. Just apply some cleanser and spin away in those dirty areas.

4. A cookie tray is a great painting tool. Line it with foil and put your paint tray on top. Not only will it keep the paint tray steady, it catches drips and gives you a spot to set your trim brushes!