Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Looking for a good book?

Mrs. FIXIT's Easy Home Repair

Over 200 easy and practical do-it-yourself home repairs and household hints that anyone can tackle! From caulking your tub to removing carpet stains with shaving cream this book will tell you how. Makes a great gift for you and a friend!

Painting Tips

You can run into snags with any project and painting is no exception. I have some simple tips that will help you out while you are painting.

1. If you forgot to grab a paint stick at the store, don't worry. Grab a wire coat hanger. Bend it in half so you have two legs and a handle. Use that to mix the paint. I recommend the heavier metal hangers as opposed to the lightweight white variety.

2. Before you pour paint, put a strip of duct tape around the edge of the can; then pour. Let the excess drip back inside and remove the tape. You'll have a nice clean rim.

3. Prep, if you need to paint window frames it can take forever to tape them all up. Instead try grabbing your lip balm. Just run it around the edges of all the windows. This will allow you to simply wipe away any drips when you're finished.

4. Hard to reach corners? No problem, and no need to perch yourself on a ladder. Tape a fine tipped paintbrush to an extension pole and use it to access those out of reach areas. If a hard to reach spot is a ceiling line try taping a chisel-tip foam brush for nice clean edge.

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Home Efficiency

Did your parents ever say, hey "close the door do you think I'm paying to heat the neighborhood?" Well if you have air leaks in your home that's exactly what you're doing. I have some tips to help you save money.

1. Check doors to make sure they seal nice and tight. To do this, close a dollar bill in the door, if you can pull it out easily you need to update your weather stripping.

2. Another option, if you can see through your door, hang a piece of black poster board on one side and hold a flashlight against the door jamb, if you can see the light, fix it up!

3. Next, walk around the house armed with a caulk gun and some exterior caulk. Look for gaps anywhere one building material meets another. Look at everything from your foundation to window casings to water spigots to your dryer vent. Seal up any leaks.

4. Check all interior light switches and electrical outlets on outside walls. Each one should be insulated. You can buy insulation or make your own out of styrofoam trays from the meat department.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Card Display

My Mom had a great idea - She was trying to figure out a way to display her cards she got for the holidays and then for birthdays - she bought an inexpensive wire trellis and propped it up in the corner so she had a place to display all of those cards! Love it - Thanks Mom!

Bottled Up

I always like to take a fresh look at bottles headed for the recycling... some of them have the prettiest shapes and colors. For example - I took this patron bottle and upcycled it into a dish soap bottle for my sink - all I did was remove the label and added the pourer spout and soap! I love it - so remember don't just recycle - upcycle! It's just that simple!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I don't know about your house, but mornings around my house are so hectic. But if you take a little time to "prep" it can be a lot less stressful.

1. Take an hour on Sunday and pull together the kids school clothes for the week. From shirts to socks- find, iron and lay them out. This way you'll know if there's anything that needs to be washed and there's no yelling - mom, dad I can't find any socks!

2. Have a place near the door to keep backpacks, shoes, boots, coats, and hats, whatever everyone needs. This way when you're trying to get out the door in the morning and everyone's rushing around you don't have people looking for their stuff! You should also keep your keys and bag or briefcase in the same space. Remember kids learn what they see!

3. Every night, while you're making dinner, pack the kid's lunches or put lunch money in their backpack another way to cut out of the morning chaos.

4. You can also take the downtime in cooking to sort papers from school, fill out permission slips or check homework.

5. After the kids are in bed, take ten to twenty minutes or so and walk around picking up clutter, this way when you get up in the morning you won't be starting your day by walking into a big mess and it will make your day alot calmer!


don't know about you, but I have a whole drawer full of power cords and charges to handheld electronics. But I have some easy ways to identify and organize all of those wires!

1. Labeling. Print out or write small labels to put on the face of each power cord. There is plenty of room, and then you'll know which cord goes with which device.

2. From there you have a couple of options. If you bring the cords with you, coil each and put it in a zip lock plastic bag, then label the bag for easy grab and go access. You could even color code the labels, a different color for each family member for a quick visual clue as to which bags to look in.

3. If you only use the cords at home, buy a dedicated power strip. Plug all of the cords in, coil them up so they're smaller and secure each with a twist tie or rubber band. This method will allow you to walk in, see which cord is yours and charge away. Plus, you won't have any cords and wires hanging all over from every outlet in the room.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Flowers!

When that special someone surprises you with some beautiful roses this Valentines day make them last as long as possible by taking special care of them

1. Clean your vase well with hot soapy water. Dirt and bacteria will wilt flowers in a hurry so this step is worth the time even if you think your vase is clean.

2. Now to prep those flowers, remove leaves that will fall below the water line in the vase, they will rot and shorten bloom life.

3. Cut the stems at an angle under water and put them in a clean container filled with warm water. It may seem time consuming but this is an important routine. Cutting the stems at an angle will give it more surface area to draw water into the stem and it will prevent the stem from getting blocked by sitting flat on the bottom of the vase. Cutting underwater eliminates air trapped in the stems, which blocks the flow of water. And finally, putting the roses in warm water for ten minutes or so will help condition them to their new surroundings.

4. Fill your vase with cool, not cold water, add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to help preserve those blooms and then arrange the flowers in your vase.

5. Keep your roses out of the sun and away from drafts and heat sources.


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cleaning Copper

Have your copper bottom pots seen better days? Don't fret. It's an easy thing to fix. I can get them sparkling like never before.

1. Cut a fresh lemon in half and spin it around in some salt.

2. Use the lemon as a scrubber; all you have to do is rub the surface. The lemon juice and salt working together will dissolve the tarnish. You may have to spend a few minutes to get all the spots clean but not nearly the time and hassle as it would take to polish with a regular type polishes.

3. Rinse it off under water! This little trick also works on brass, like these candlesticks.

4. Another easy way to clean copper or brass is to make mix a tablespoon each of flour, salt and vinegar, work it into a nice paste.

5. Use a soft cloth like a cotton diaper to rub the paste into the brass.

Smelly Problems

Stinky sneakers, stale carpets, musty closets, I have some ideas to help with those smelly household odors.

1. When you're steaming vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli the odor sometimes just lingers. Well, eliminate the smell by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to the water!

2. Ever noticed that plastic containers take on the smell of whatever you store in them. Well, for a lingering onion or garlic odor in your plastic ware, clean and dry it well and then pop it in the freezer overnight. Odors out.

3. This same trick works with stinky sneakers, slip them in a plastic bag and then pop them in the freezer overnight. The cold will kill the bacteria that's causing the stink!

4. If your closets are musty, spritz some cotton balls with your favorite perfume and stash the balls in the corners of your closet, it will keep them smelling great!

5. Musty carpets are often caused by excess moisture. Here's a one two punch for those odors, Sprinkle carpets with some scented baby powder, let it sit for a while and vacuum it up. The powder will absorb some of the moisture and the scent will linger in the air!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


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!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Clogged Drain

A slow drain? Don't call the plumber just yet... I have a quick fix recipe that can relieve that drain pain! And the solution is found right in your kitchen!

1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

2. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of white vinegar. The two ingredients together are going to get all bubbly and foamy.

3. When the vinegar and baking soda have stopped bubbling pour the boiling water down the drain. This will flush away all of the gunky build-up and in no time you will have a free flowing drain.

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Bathroom Organziation

Towels in a heap, soap slivers piling up, hair dryers and curling irons all over? Here are some tips for the bathroom!

1. If tweezers and clippers are cluttering the bottom of the medicine cabinet, attach some magnets to the inside of the door. You can easily hang those metal tools out of the way.

2. Soap slivers never seem to get used up. The next time you take out a new bar of soap, wet both the old and new with hot water. Then rub the two pieces together until they form one. No more slivers.

3. A decorative basket with a lid is a great place to store things like hairdryers and curling irons. They'll be close by, but won't look messy.

4. Make your family responsible for their own towels. An easy way to do this is to assign a certain color to each family member. This way they know which towels are theirs, and if they're on the floor, you'll know who the culprit is.

5. A mesh laundry bag is all you need to clean up tub toys. Put them in the bag and and hang it over the shower head; they can drain off and they're out of your way.

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.


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