Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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.

Production Tomorrow

Gearing up for a production day tomorrow! Fun projects coming up in the coming weekss - don't forget to tune into Mrs. FIXIT on your local station! It's just that simple!

Monday, January 30, 2012

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!

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Homemade Cleansers

You can walk into a store and spend a small fortune on household cleansers, but some of the best and least expensive are those that can make yourself.

1. A safety tip: never, ever mix ammonia and bleach or products containing them. Combined they'll produce toxic fumes.

2. Mix together two teaspoons of borax, two teaspoons of baking soda, four teaspoons of lemon juice, a half a teaspoon of dish soap and four cups of hot water. This will make an all-purpose cleaner to use on everything from countertops to painted woodwork.

3. Need a little scrubbing power; all you have to do is combine two cups of baking soda, two cups of borax and two cups of salt. Use the concoction to scour away stains without scratching surfaces. Plus you can store it in an airtight container so it is ready to go when you are.

4. Floor cleaner? Easy! Mix a half a cup of ammonia into a gallon of hot water. This quick and easy no rinse formula will leave a great streak free shine on both tile and vinyl floors.

5. Window woes? Wash with a gallon of warm water and a half a cup of white vinegar. Then squeegee your way to beautiful, sparkling windows.

Dusting 101

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. 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!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Picture Hanging Post

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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

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Caring for Paintbrushes

You'll end up with a great paint job every time if you take care of your brushes, here are some easy ways to do just that!

1. Wash your brush with warm soapy water before you start a paint job, this will rinse out loose bristles so they don't end up in the paint, then just let it dry. Or, run a comb through the brush. The loose bristles will come out in the teeth!

2. To clean those brushes, remember latex paints will come off in warm soapy water, oil based paints need some turpentine or better yet - hot white vinegar will dissolve it!

3. By the way, if you soak a stiff brush in hot vinegar it will soften it back up!

4. Never rest your brush on it's bristles when cleaning it, that will ruin them. Snip apart a wire coat hanger and thread the brushes through it, place the hanger across the top of the bucket and the brushes will soak clean and last longer.

5. Add some fabric softener to the final rinse and the brush will be nice and soft.

6. Always remember to hang your brushes for storage to keep the bristles safe!

Caring for Cast Iron

If your cast iron cookware isn't looking its best, I can help you clean it and keep it ready for the next time you need it!

1. If your pans are rusty, sprinkle some sand over the rust and rub a cloth dampened in vegetable oil over the sand. This should clean away the rust in no time.

2. For stuck on food, fill the bottom of your pan with vinegar and then sprinkle some salt over it. Bring it to a boil for a few minutes and you should see the food particles lifting off.

3. You can clean the outside, and only the outside, of a cast iron pan with oven cleaner. Spray it on and wipe it off a few minutes later. Then wash the pan thoroughly.

4. For regular cleaning, use warm soapy water. After you've washed it you should immediately use a towel to thoroughly dry it off. Then, place it on a warm burner or in a warm oven to get rid of excess moisture.

5. Rub the inside of the pan with some oil to season it and prevent rust.

6. When you put your pans away, if you're going to stack them make sure that you put paper towels in between them. This will absorb any excess moisture and prevent rusting.

Magnetic Magic

Have you ever noticed that you can't find the manual to an appliance when it's on the fritz? Well slip your manual in a plastic freezer bag and use a clip magnet to secure it to the side or the back of the appliance. That way you'll always know where it is when you need it!

1. Always knocking tools off of your ladder? Secure a magnetic tool hanger to the "not a step" on your ladder. Secure the tools to the strip before you climb up and they will be nice and secure whenever you need them.

2. Lots of times access panels for plumbing are screwed directly into the wall so it is difficult to access them when you need to get to pipes. Remove the panel and secure magnetic cabinet latches to the inside of the opening and the back of the panel, this way the magnets will hold the panel in place and the pipes will be easy to access.

3. A dustpan is an important tool to have in the workshop, but it can be even more useful if you secure a magnetic strip across the base of the pan. When you sweep the debris and sawdust from the floor, dump it in the garbage. Any nails and screws that you've dropped will stick to the magnet.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Trash Day Troubles

Trash day troubles? I have some easy and inexpensive ways to ease those woes!

1. To prevent odors and inhibit mildew growth, toss a half a cup of borax in the bottom of your trashcan. Replace it once a month!

2. If you have something sloppy that needs to be tossed, double up some plastic grocery bags, dump the item inside and tie off the bag. Then throw that bag in the regular garbage without worrying about leaks.

3. If you have early morning pick up and animals tear apart the trash when you put it out at night, throughout the week freeze your leftover food. Slip food scraps and bones into a zip top plastic bag and pop it in the freezer. Trash night, toss the zip bags into the garbage and the frozen food won't emit an odor and therefore won't attract any pesky critters!

4. If you have pests constantly in your trash spray the outside of the trash barrels with ammonia each week and you shouldn't have a problem anymore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Emery Boards

I'm sure most of you have an emery board or two around your home, well dig them out, I have a some alternative uses for them!

1. An emery board is essentially sandpaper on a stick so use it when you need to sand little crevices and tight spots, one side for the rough work and the other side for a smooth finish.

2. Use an emery board to sharpen your carpenter's pencils!

3. They're also great for cleaning wood sap off the face of your hammer when you're finished with a project.

4. Wet the finer side of an emery board and use it to smooth away small chips on glassware.

5. If the make-up in your compact gets hard, scuff up the surface with an emery board.

6. Stains on suede? No problem, gently rub them with the finer side of an emery board to remove the stain and refresh the nap.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sharpen It Up

Pencils without points? Dull knives? Shameful scissors, I've got the low down on getting things nice and sharp. There are hundreds of pencil sharpeners on the market, so why does it seem like you can't find one when you need one!?! Don't worry I have some substitutes.

1. Try using a nail file to sharpen your pencil; the rough surface will do a great job. No nail file? Check your workshop for a wood plane. Just carefully run the pencil over the blade. This works great on carpenter's pencils too!

2. Dull knives? Check the cupboard. The bottoms of most coffee mugs have an unglazed ring. Just run the blade across the bottom of the mug at an angle and sharpen it like new in a few quick strokes. This also works with a terra cotta pot, so keep one in the cupboard!

3. To sharpen those can opener blades run a piece of waxed paper through the mechanism. It will clean and sharpen in one quick step.

4. Scissors a problem, fold a piece of aluminum foil into several thicknesses and snip through it a number of times. You won't believe the difference. Out if aluminum foil, sandpaper will work too! This also works great on your gardening shears.

Blistered Veneer

Think you need to resort to runners or doilies for blistered veneer well think again it's as easy to fix as ironing a shirt!

1. Small blisters can be fixed with heat and an iron is the ideal tool! It will reactivate the glue and settle the blister. Cover the damage with a piece of flat, smooth cardboard. Lay a hand towel over the cardboard then press a hot iron on the towel. Make sure the iron isn't overlapping the side of the cardboard or you'll cause more problems! Hold the dry iron in place for a few seconds and then check to see if the blister is flattening, if not repeat it until it does. Watch your fingers cause the cardboard can get pretty hot.

2. How about a bigger blister? If it's not slit down the middle already use a utility knife to make a cut down the center along the grain. Gently scrape out any old glue without causing more damage. Use a toothpick or a cotton swab to put a little wood glue under the blister, then press the two sides together smoothing toward the center of the damage. Then repeat the process that you used for the smaller blister to flatten it. If the sides start to overlap, just grab a utility knife to cut off any excess to get a nice smooth seam .

Monday, January 16, 2012


If you want to build a cozy fire, but you've run out of kindling, you probably have some substitutions around the house.

1. Newspaper is an easy and economical way to start a fire, but if you crumple it up, it won't burn as long as you need it. Roll a newspaper as tightly as you can into a log. Then, slip it inside of a paper towel or toilet paper tube, this will keep it rolled and help it burn longer.

2. You can also try some citrus fruit peels as kindling. The natural oils in the peels will help them burn a long time. Another advantage to using these peels is that they burn very hot, which can help clean your chimney. Plus, the great citrus scent will spread through the house while the fire is burning.

3. To make fire starters, grab a cardboard egg carton and fill the compartments with dryer lint. Then, melt some wax in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. (Make sure it's not a bowl you plan on using for food). Keep a close eye on the wax, it is extremely flammable. Once it's melted, carefully pour it over all of the sections. When the wax is hard, just cut them apart. Then when you need them just light the cardboard.

Bi-Fold Door Problems

Bi-fold doors are a common choice for many closets, but you can run into some problems. Generally it's one of three things. They don't meet in the center, they press too closely together and won't close, or they're uneven. All three are easy to fix!

1. Remove the door by lifting it up and out of the bottom pivot, swinging it away from the bottom bracket and then pulling the top pivot out of it's bracket.

2. Once the door is removed you can easily loosen the adjusting screw and slide the bracket into the position you want. If the doors don't meet, move the top and bottom brackets toward center. If the doors press together too hard and won't close at all, move the brackets away from center. As for the door that is uneven and looks like it's sagging towards center, move only the top bracket slightly away from the center.

3. Bi-fold doors have a liner down the inside to help hold them closed where normal wear & tear can bend them. If this is the case, gently bend them back into shape with a pair of pliers.

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Cleaning Chrome

Your sink may be spotless but what can you do about the watermarks and fingerprints on your chrome faucets? I have a few easy ways that will help you capture the original luster that the chrome once had!

1. Rub the faucets with some baking soda on a dry cloth, the very light abrasive element in the baking soda will buff away any imperfections that you see.

2. Another way to polish chrome is to rub it with some newspaper, the ink will work as a polishing agent, you won't believe how good it will look when you're done and it is so inexpensive.

3. You can also try cleaning the faucets with a dryer sheet; it will absorb the water spots and restore the original brilliance of the chrome.

4. My personal favorite, rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth to clean the fixtures. It's inexpensive and the results are so incredible you may need shades!

Photo courtesy of Mirabelleproducts.com

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Key Rings

Key rings hold more than just keys, they hold the solution to a number of household problems!

1. If you have shoppers club cards floating around your purse, organize them with a key ring and a hole punch! Simply punch a hole in the bottom corner of each card. Just make sure you don't punch the magnetic strip or the numbers. Then thread them onto the key ring. Neat, organized and on hand when you need them.

2. A key ring is a great substitute for a broken zipper pull. From luggage to jackets, a key ring will give you a grip to zip and un-zip!

3. You can prevent items from being plugged in accidentally by looping a key ring through the hole in a plug's prong. This is a good idea for unused extension cords whose outlet becomes live when plugged in, or if you have little ones!

4. To make your hangers work harder in the closet, slip a ring over the head of the hanger, and then slip a second hanger through the ring. Double the space with minimal effort!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Sure your hairdryer is a morning essential, but don't stash it back in the cabinet, holster it up and put it to good use!

1. Stickers stuck? Just aim a hairdryer at the sticker for a minute or so and peel the stickers off with ease! From price tags to labels, unstuck in no time with no mess!

2. Did your candles drip all over your favorite candlesticks? No problem. Put the stick on a brown paper bag and aim that hairdryer at the wax, as it warms up you'll be able to easily wipe it away with a paper towel. Repeat with clean towels until all of the wax is gone!

3. How about dusting? Point that hairdryer on a cool setting at carved wood, wicker or high molding to easily remove stubborn dust!

4. We've all been there, making a birthday cake, you go to flip it out of the pan and you can feel it's stuck, no problem! Grab the pan and aim a warm hairdryer at the bottom for a minute or so, then try again. The cake should drop right out!

5. Back in the bathroom, if you need to get ready and the shower has steamed up the mirror, blow the steam away. You hairdryer will clear up the problem in a snap!

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and deadly gas that can leak into your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the flu so you need to be careful and aware, I have a couple of ideas to keep your family safe.

1. Carbon monoxide can be found in car exhaust, so if your garage is attached to your home, make sure that you have venting to the outside and weather stripping between the garage and the house.

2. Gas appliances such as water heaters, clothes dryers and improperly vented stoves can also leak this dangerous gas. Make sure that these appliances are installed by professionals, and maintained on an annual basis.

3. Another source of carbon monoxide back up is in the fireplace, both gas and wood-burning. A blocked chimney can cause big problems so have yours cleaned and inspected by a reputable professional each year.

4. Never operate a gas grill in an enclosed area like the garage.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Remove Spilled Wax

Candles are a great way to add soft light and atmosphere to a room, but accidents happen. If you end up with spilled wax on carpets and upholstery, here are some easy ways to remove it. (These solutions work best with white or light colored wax].

1. If wax has dripped on your carpeting, gently scrape away as much as you can with a plastic spatula. Put a couple of brown paper bags over the wax and iron the bags with a warm iron. The heat will transfer the wax from the carpet to the bags. Depending on the amount of wax, you may need to repeat this process with additional bags.

2. If wax has dripped on upholstered furniture, the process is a little different, because the wax won't seep as far into the fabric. Fill a plastic zipper bag with ice. Hold the ice against the wax until it's good and hard. Then, use a credit card to scrape it off. If there are any remaining traces of wax, layer the area with white paper towels and iron gently.


If you think masking off means slapping some blue tape on the wall and going to work, think again. You're going to end up with a big mess on your hands. Well I have some tips to help you out.

1. First off, buy a good quality painter's tape. Using old tape or cheap tape will damage your surface and it won't protect the way you want.

2. Don't apply painter's tape to fresh paint. You need to let paint cure so that the adhesive won't stick to the paint underneath it, ideally wait a couple of weeks before you put tape on fresh paint.

3. When you're masking off an area, don't stretch the tape, pull some off the roll and lay it on the surface. The tape is designed to conform to the surface it's being applied to. Once it's in place, smooth over the tape with a credit card to ensure a good seal.

4. When you paint over painter's tape always go along the edge of the tape in the direction of the line; don't go back and forth over the tape, that's how bristles and paint end up seeping under.

5. Let the paint to dry to the touch. Then gently, but steadily pull it back over itself at a ninety-degree angle. Pulling toward or away from the line will pull or push the paint. If you want to be extra careful you can use a straightedge and a razor to score the line before you pull off the tape.


Who wouldn't like to make cleaning the bathroom an easier job? Well I have some tips that will help you keep your bathroom cleaner, longer!

1. Once you clean your glass shower doors use a rain-sheeting product designed for windshields. It will keep soap scum from sticking and keep the doors cleaner! You can also use paste wax on the walls and doors. Just be careful, don't get either product on the floors of the shower - it'll be slippery!

2. Another pre-emptive strike, spray the walls with white vinegar every couple of days to hinder mold growth!

3. You can also use white vinegar in the toilet each week, to help keep hard water stains from building in the bowl and keep your toilet looking better.

4. Want a double duty tip to keep your mirrors looking clean. Rub shaving cream into the glass every couple of weeks. It will prevent the mirrors from fogging up when you're using the shower, which in turn will prevent water spots on the mirrors!

5. Make sure that you run a fan in the bathroom to keep excess condensation off of walls and woodwork!

Stain Stoppers

Stains, you can get them anywhere, and at anytime. I have some easy ideas to help you fight them.

1. Treat stains as soon as possible, the longer they sit, the harder they are to remove. Dab - don't rub, and work from the outside of the stain in so that you contain the mess. Use white cloths when treating stains. Colored cloths transfer dyes to the items you're trying to clean. Put a white towel under the stain to prevent it from spreading.

2. Use cool water. Heat sets stains and makes them difficult if not impossible to remove. Heat also includes the clothes dryer so be careful not to dry anything until the stains are gone.

3. If you're looking for some of the best stain fighters around.

4. f you're looking for some of the best stain fighters around.

5. Try club soda - carbonation, when applied to a stain will help loosen the stain so that it doesn't set into the fabric. Club soda is especially effective on red wine, coffee, tea, soda pop, and fruit juice.

6. Shaving Cream also works well for getting rid of stains. Just dab it on and rinse it off of both laundry and carpet stains. Shaving cream works on chocolate, coffee, paint, urine, tomato sauce, ketchup, make-up and lipstick stains.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stainless Steel

Is your stainless steel a little less than stainless? Don't worry, there are a couple of ways to bring the shine back, and you probably have the solution close by.

1. For flatware and pans, fill your kitchen sink with hot water and add a little ammonia (open a window if you can, to help with the fumes). Then, simply soak your stainless for a few minutes. Rinse and dry.

2. For flatware and pans, fill your kitchen sink with hot water and add a little ammonia (open a window if you can, to help with the fumes). Then, simply soak your stainless for a few minutes. Rinse and dry.

3. Looking for an easy way to clean your stainless steel sink? Before you go to bed, soak some paper towels with bleach and line the sink with them. When you get up in the morning, the sink will shine!

4. If you aren't too keen on bleach, scrub the sink with club soda. Just pour some club soda on a clean cloth and polish. You'll see the smudges and stains disappear like magic.

Smart & Simple!

Necessity is the mother of invention, and that is exactly where these tips came from. I have some simple and easy solutions to some common problems.

1. Everyone knows that window blind cords are a chocking hazard for kids, but what do you do if you're traveling or renting and their not tied up. A couple of suction hooks is all you need. Stick them to the window and wind the cord up and out of the reach of the kids. (These hooks are also great for organizing necklaces so they don't get all knotted up in the jewelry box. Just hang them inside your closet door and drape the chains over the hooks).

2. If you need a temporary place for organizing guests to hang extra towels, try a wreath hanger. It fits neatly over the door to hold the towels and it can be stashed away when you don't need it.

3. If your mattress slips and slides all over the place a length of non-skid rug padding can help. Slip it between the mattress and a box spring. Problem solved.

4. Throw rugs can be slippery too, but because they're so light sometimes rug pads won't work, the fabric doesn't hold like it should. Flip the rug over and apply rows of clear acrylic latex cover to the underside of the rug. Let it dry and flip the rug back over,. It will give you a non-skid surface that has a real grip!

5. Simple and inventive solutions that can help you with your small problems

Alternative Drapery Hardware

If you want something a little different in drapery hardware, I have what you're looking for.

1. Get a pegged coat rack that is the same width as your window, and paint it out to match the decor. Then, screw the board into place across the top of the window. Then, you can hang tab top draperies over the pegs for a fun new look.

2. For a more classic look, try attaching pretty, old doorknobs to the pegboard. You could also attach doorknobs at the sides of the window and use them as bases for tiebacks.

3. If you would just like a draping effect, get some plant hanging brackets. Hang the brackets on either side of the window and simply drape some sheer fabrics across them.

4. For a fancier look, tie loose knots around the bracket with the fabric. This will give a kind of rosebud effect.

5. If the curtains will hide the rod all together, try an adjustable shower rod; it is less expensive than curtain rods and it will fit a variety of window sizes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wine Racks

Decorative wine racks have become a favorite home accessory. So if you have a few, or if you see something you like grab them. Because they can do so much more than hold a bottle of wine

1. Place a wine rack near your stove and it can hold oils, vinegars and other cooking essentials. They'll be right where you need them, but not cluttering up the counters or cupboards.

2. A standing wine rack is great for a tabletop to carry silverware and condiments from the kitchen to the table or on a buffet.

3. Keep a rack in living room or bathroom to hold your favorite magazines. Just roll them up and stash them in the compartments.

4. A wine rack also works in the bathroom to hold hand towels or corral curling irons, hair dryers and bath products.

5. Put a wine rack in your home office to sort mail, envelopes and other office essentials

6. Just some easy ways to use decorative wine racks around your home!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Post Holiday Pointers

From packing up the decorations to preparing for next year's holiday, I have some tips to help you get it all done and save you time and money.

1. If you have a small artificial Christmas tree and you have the space, store it with the decorations and just cover with a large sheet or plastic bag. This will save you time and effort from year to year.

2. If you have a larger artificial tree, or just don't have the space, I still have some tips to make the job go smoothly. Most trees come with colored tips that designate which layer of the tree they belong on, but they can get chipped over time. When you pull the tree apart group the different layers together and wrap a bungee cord loosely around the group to keep them together.

3. For light strings, coil them loosely and slip them inside a large plastic zipper bag. This way you won't be pulling out a tangled mess next year.

4. This is a great time of year to buy holiday cards, wrapping paper and supplies. Store your stock-ups with the rest of your Christmas decorations and you'll be all set for next year!