Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Painting Problems

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. 

TIP 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. 

TIP 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. 

TIP 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. 

TIP 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. 

Easy solutions for your painting problems.  

Tips for Selling your Home

Considering selling your home? Well, I have some tips to help maximize profit and minimize the time your home is on the market.

STEP 1:      First clean.  Give your house a “spring cleaning” do curtains, windows, rugs and furniture.  You want the house to look it’s best for potential homebuyers.

STEP 2:      Pare down the knick-knacks and furniture.  You want buyers to see your home, not your stuff.  Plus, an emptier room looks bigger.

STEP 3:      Use rooms for their intended purpose.  If you turned a dining room into a playroom, turn it back to a dining room while your house is for sale.   

STEP 4:      If something is worn and outdated like carpeting or wall color changes it. A tip, when you’re deciding on colors choose neutral creams and beiges they make everything look clean and simple! These small improvements can pay off big in the end.

STEP 5:      Just before a showing fill your house with homey scents. Make some cookies, popcorn or simmer potpourri.

STEP 6:      Finally, staging.  Turn on the lights, open curtains and have some fresh flowers around to make your home look its best and brightest.

STEP 7:      Don’t forget curb appeal. The outside of your home needs to be neat and inviting so people will want to look inside.

Care for your Vacuum

To keep your carpet looking it’s best and lasting longer you need to have a good vacuum and you need to take good care of it, I have some tips for both!

Before you vacuum a room, use a toothbrush to loosen the dust around the perimeter of the carpet and around heavy furniture that can’t be moved.  This will help you get into those crevices without beating up the baseboards or the vacuum.

Use slow, overlapping strokes to get the most out of your vacuuming, this means vacuum every area twice, up and back and up and back again.

This will get more dirt out of your carpeting. Do you get frustrated when you stretch your vacuum cord to the limit and it unplugs in the middle of a job? Plug a long, heavy-duty extension cord into the vacuum and you’ll be able to move more freely!

Take good care of your vacuum, after each use, unplug the machine and flip over the carpet beater attachment. 

Clear any hair and strings from the bar.  If you allow them to stay there they will make your vacuum work harder the next time you use it and that puts un-needed stress on the belts.

Change the bag when it’s about three quarters of the way full, if it gets too full it can clog the hoses and overwork the motor.  If your vacuum has a filter it’s also a good idea to check and clean that too.

Install a Threshold

Installing a threshold to give a clean line between two different types of flooring is an easy job.  All you need is a little bit of time and a few tools.

You can buy thresholds with pre-drilled holes at most home improvement centers.

Take the time to stain and polyurethane it before you fit it to the door.  It saves time and headaches later on.

Carefully measure the width between your door jams. Transfer the measurement to the threshold and make a nice straight cut.

You want a snug fit so remember the old ADAGE; measure it twice cut once to make sure your cuts are perfect.  Once the piece is cut, you want to undercut the doorstop for a professional look. 

An easy way to get this right is to take the scrap that was left from the new threshold and lay it on the floor next to the stop.

Rest a back saw on the scrap of wood and cut through the stop on both sides being careful not to cut through the door jam.

Use an emery board to sand the underside of the stops and then slide your threshold into place.

Use wood screws to secure the piece to the flooring.
Most of these thresholds will come with screws.

A great transition!  

Magnet Mania

Magnets come in all shapes and sizes and they can come in handy all over the house. 

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!

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.

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.

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.

Magnetic magic, I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple!

Remove a Vanity

So you’ve had it with that, nasty old bathroom vanity.  Well replace it.  You can do it yourself.  I’ll show you how. All you need is a few tools and a little bit of time!

Step 1:        Turn off the water supply under the sink and test the faucets to be sure it is off.  Lay an old towel on the bottom of the vanity to catch any excess water.

Step 2:        Loosen the slip nuts connecting the sinks drainpipe to the drain assembly.  Not all vanities are the same.  If your vanity has a back you might have to remove the entire joint. Then, disconnect the supply lines from the faucet. 

Step 3:        Use a handheld mirror to see if there are clips that attach the sink to the vanity.  If there are, loosen them.  If there aren’t, look for a bead of sealant holding the two together and slit that with a utility knife.

Step 4:        Once all of the plumbing is disconnected and the sink is loose, lay a tarp on the floor outside the bathroom and put on your gloves and safety glasses.

Step 5:        Carefully pull the sink off of the vanity and place it on the tarp so it won’t damage the floors.

Step 6:        Loosen the screws that hold the cabinet to the wall, shimmy it up onto an old towel and slide the cabinet out of the room. 

Step 7:        Once the vanity is removed, you will likely need to do a little repair on the wall and the floor.  

Build a Plate Shelf

I have an easy project that makes the classic plate shelf versatile enough for any room!  I’ll give you the basics and then you can adapt it to your needs.

STEP 1:      You need two twelve inch pieces of one by eight poplar, and four twenty four inch pieces, a one by six, a one by four, and a two one by twos. 

STEP 2:      For a basic shelf, make a diagonal cut two inches in from the left and four and half inches up from the bottom on each of the twelve inch pieces.  For a fancier shelf, use a jigsaw to cut a more decorative edge.

STEP 3:      Sand all of the pieces so that you get a nice clean finished product.   

STEP 4:      Dry fit the pieces together, the shorter one by eights are the sides, the one by four is the back, and the one by twos are the front.

STEP 5:      For assembly you can use nails or screws.  Mark all fastener locations; you’ll want two screws on each side to connect the back piece, three along the bottom and one on each side for the front. 

STEP 6:      Then simply assemble the piece.  If you have access to a nail gun you’ll get the piece done in no time, you could even make several to give as gifts!

STEP 7:      Now all that’s left to do is the finish work.  Fill the nail holes, sand, prime and paint!  

Repurposing a Table

If you’re getting new dining room or kitchen table, don’t throw away the old one just yet.  Re-use it into your craft or project room!  

A good majority of tables can be separated to accommodate leaves; this is the perfect situation for a project table.  Pull the table apart just about a quarter of an inch and you have a perfect straight cutting line for fabrics, poster board, wrapping paper, you name it!

To make measuring easy, attach a stainless steel yardstick or ruler, depending upon the size of your table, to the top of the table, left of the center cutting line.

How about those old table leaves?  You can use those for storage.  Use large shelf brackets to mount them to the wall for extra shelving.  If you have a laser level it will make short work of hanging shelves.

Fill baskets with all of your crafting, wrapping and sewing supplies, then pop them on the shelf for instant organization!

Easy table repurposing!  

Kitchen Quips

From cooking, to cleaning, to storing, things can get pretty messy in the kitchen.  Well, I have some quick tips to get you back on track!
TIP 1: Dry goods are a pain to store, the bags rip, the boxes don’t line up and things get messy and stale.  The solution; flip top plastic containers. Fill them with all of your dry goods, label clearly and revel in how much time and hassle they save.  They line up neatly, they seal tightly so you won’t have pest problems, and the spout makes it easy to fill anything from measuring cups to cereal bowls!

TIP 2: Keep a few pieces of unused non-skid rug padding in your kitchen; it is invaluable when using your electric mixer because it will keep the bowl from traveling across the counter or spinning when you turn on the mixer!  This will also work well to keep your cutting boards from sliding around!

TIP 3: Fill an old salt shaker with baking soda and put it in the produce drawer of your fridge. The shaker won't take up as much room as a box and it will keep moisture to a minimum which will make your veggies last longer.  No salt shaker available?  Line the drawer with paper towels to keep moisture in check, just remember to change them out every week or so!

Reusing Old Jewelry

Whether you have old jewelry in your house or you love picking it up at tag sales, I have some ideas for dressing up your d├ęcor with it.

IDEA 1:      Rather than a traditional tieback, use a chunky necklace to hold back your curtains, they add a little dazzle and get the job done!

IDEA 2:      Need push pins on your corkboard? Try some earrings.  The posts pierce right through papers and pictures!

IDEA 3:      And speaking of earrings, use French hook earrings to dazzle up a boring light fixture or lamp shade, just slip them in place and they’ll sparkle every time you turn on a light! 

IDEA 4:      You could also drape different necklaces or earrings on a chandelier or other hanging light fixture to dress it up.

IDEA 5:      You’ve seen pictures and mirrors hung from ribbons and cords, why not beads and baubles?  Hang the picture on the wall.  Attach the ends of a string of beads to the two top corners and then use a little tack nail to hold the beads above so it looks as though the picture is suspended from the necklace, you could also add dangly earrings to the bottom two corners to dress them up too!

IDEA 6:      Want to dress up cabinet handles?  Remove the pin back from an old brooch And glue it to a basic knob. 

Using Painter's Tape

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.  

TIP 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.

TIP 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.

TIP 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.

TIP 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.  

TIP 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. 

Cleaning White Porcelain

The white porcelain sink looks all nice and clean until you do a few pots and pans and then you get these silvery marks and stains. Well no worries I can show you how to get the sink like new again.

STEP 1:      The secret, are little green scrubby pads. Now don’t be tempted to try different colors, the pads all have different textures and it’s the green pads that will scrub without scratching! The other thing you need, bleach based cream cleanser. Squirt some cleaner over the surface of the sink.

STEP 2:      Using a circular motion with the green scrubby, buff out all of the scrapes and scratches.  Now don’t think you’re getting out of this easy just because I’m giving you a secret weapon. You need to use some elbow grease. But, it works wonders.

A TIP:         Now, if you don’t have any bleach based cleansers or you just don’t like the smell of bleach, there are a few things that you can use, baking soda, white toothpaste or even powdered dishwasher detergent all work but they take a little bit more time and an ill more elbow grease. 

Glue Guide

So many choices when it comes to glue, which one is best for your project? Well I have the low down on glue.

TYPE 1:     Whether you’re working on a craft project or you need to repair a hem and can’t sew, fabric glue is the ticket.  It joins fabric and once it’s dry, usually with in twenty four hours, it’s completely flexible and machine washable.

TYPE 2:     A hot glue gun is a great tool to have in your tool box. It’s instant bond gives you lots of uses, try it for everything from attaching upholstery trim to holding molding on the wall so you can nail it without it slipping!

TYPE 3:     Wood Glue is designed to hold wood tightly, to stand up to sanding and cutting and still be stained or painted.

TYPE 4:     If you’ve broken some glass or china, go for specialty cement.  These glues are designed to stick to the lightly porus items and hold them firm.  Use tape to hold your item together while it dries. And after it’s set the glue is non-toxic and can go through the dishwasher.

TYPE 5:     Instant Glue is one where a little goes a long way, but it’s an instant bond that works everything from plastic to metal!

TYPE 6:     Epoxy is essentially the strongest glue you can buy.  It’s a two part formula that once mixed together needs to be used relatively quickly and takes a while to cure, but will hold together like nothing else.   

Shelf Brackets

Shelf brackets are pretty utilitarian, but with some ingenuity you can come up with some creative uses for them around your home.

IDEA 1:      Flip a couple of brackets upside down and use them as bookends.  They add a nice decorative element while keeping your books in line!  If the books are heavy you may want to screw the supports right into the shelf.

IDEA 2:      If you live in an older home and the windows won’t stay up, try a shelf bracket.  Open the window and then put the bracket so the long end is in the track and then lower the window until it is resting on the bracket.

IDEA 3:      Shelf brackets on either side of a window or doors make the perfect swag support if you don’t want a curtain rod. Once they’re in place all you have to do is lay your fabric across them and fix it the way you want. 

IDEA 4:      Coupled with a piece of two by two, four shelf brackets make the perfect base for a coat tree.

So you see these little brackets can support some big ideas!  

Older Cabinet Door Fixes

You may love the charm and character of an older kitchen but the banging cabinets and doors that won’t shut can be a real headache, well I have some simple fixes.

TIP 1:                   Whether your cabinets bang shut or they just have so many layers of paint that they stick and you can’t get them open, little rubber pads can be your best friend.  Place thin, clear plastic bumpers on the top and bottom edge of the inside of your cabinet doors and drawers.  This little fix will keep the doors from banging shut and will give you a barrier between he layers of paint so that your doors won’t stick anymore!

TIP 2:                   How about doors that just won’t stay closed?  Install a latch. Now you have a couple of choices.  A magnetic latch has a metal plate on the inside of the door and a magnet on the door’s framed.  When the door’s close, the magnetic parts are attracted to each other and hold the door shut. 
You could also choose a crimped metal latch.  This type has a piece of metal sticking out from the door side and two rollers that catch the metal when the door’s closed.  Either type will hold the door shut tightly so that you no longer need to deal with flying doors.

Simple and inexpensive solutions to help with your cabinet frustrations. 

Stains that you should let Dry!!

Although it might be a test of will power there are some messes that you might want to let sit before you clean them up to get the best results.

TIP 1:                   If you spill nail polish on your carpet don’t reach for the water, instead let it dry completely before you touch it.  As the polish dries the solvents will evaporate out.  Once it’s dry, use a butter knife or an old spoon to go back and forth over the carpet working the spill out.  The raking motion from the spoon will turn it back to dust and then you can simply vacuum it away!

TIP 2:                   Mud is another mess better left alone.  If you add water to mud you just get more mud.  Let the tracks dry up.  Then use a broom to loosen the mess from the carpet fibers.  Finally, vacuum the dirt away!

TIP 2:                   Paint, you might think I’m crazy but for drips on linoleum, vinyl, metal, glass and appliances let it dry, and then use a credit card to chip the drip off of the surface.

That’s it, a few messes that left to dry won’t cause permanent stains.  So the next time you find yourself with one of these messes, take a deep breath and let it dry!  

Carpet Tips

Are you looking for a new carpet? Well, I have an overview on different types of carpets; and remember every families needs are different and what’s high end for one may not work for another.

TYPE 1:     Cut Pile carpets are loose on top, there are two basic types with hundreds of options in between, the first being more formal with a dense velvety smooth finish and the other a more casual and textured looser finish. 

The more formal carpeting is a solid color, which will show footprints and vacuum marks, being that it’s a smooth, solid finish it may not be the best option for high traffic areas.  The more casual textured carpets hide footprints, vacuum marks and stains.  Because of their color and variety of length. They’re both quite durable.

TYPE 2:     Loop Pile carpets on the other hand feature yarns that are looped on top.  In the loop category there are level loop and high-low loop varieties.  Both are very durable in high traffic areas.  Loop pile carpets are very tidy looking, they don’t show vacuum marks or footprints, and on the downside you may not want loops if you have children or pets with claws. Because if you catch a loop it can unravel. 

TYPE 3:     You can also find cut and loop pile carpets.  Which combine the two other types; it can give you a lot more variety with texture and pattern. Because of the changes in tone and length these types of carpeting can more easily hide wear and stain.

Other Considerations:    When you’re choosing a carpet, don’t forget the padding.  It insulates against temperatures and noise; it will also help the carpet wear better. Pricing is as diverse as choices, just make sure that you compare apples to apples, one store may just price the carpet, while another may include padding and installation.  


I have some ideas to put old lunchboxes use.
 TIP 1:                   There are some items that I always forget to grab on the way out of the house, so put together a car box. I’ve got sunscreen, some wet wipes, antibacterial gel, and some emergency toilet paper. Now you’ll always be ready at a moments notice.  I also have one that’s stocked with first aid supplies.
 TIP 2:                   Lunchboxes make great little toolboxes for specialty jobs; keep them stocked with picture hanging supplies, plumbing items, a sewing kit, or scissors and tape. If you enjoy scrap booking, a lunchbox is a great place to stash all of your paper scraps, and it’s easily portable to your work area.

TIP 3:                   Have your child store small toys with lots of little pieces in a lunchbox.  And since lunchboxes generally have a theme, you can even have an instant storage label for the things they love.

TIP 4:                   A retired insulated lunchbox can make a great cold storage bag for baby bottles for the newest member of your family.

Portable, sturdy and versatile, let lunchboxes make a comeback in your home!


There are rakes for lawns, gardens, dirt, which is which and what one do you need? Well I have the answers.

TYPE 1:     For large scale grass or leaf raking you’ll want a leaf rake.  Its flexible tines stretch across the rake forming a “v” or a fan.  The flexibility of this rake is key in removing the clippings and debris without harming the lawn.  

TYPE 2:     Next, the garden rake:  this sturdy, rigid tined rake is just what you need for clearing debris from a garden bed and for working the soil before you plant. You can also flip it over and use it’s flat top for evening out a bed before planting.

TYPE 3:     A thatch rake is a two-sided tool.  Use one side for
Loosening the soil. Flip the rake over to lift up the thatch and remove the dead grass from your yard, this will allow air and water to get to the roots.  It will make a mess of your lawn initially but make it healthier in the long run. 

TYPE 4:     Finally, a landscape rakes its great to spread and smooth ground covering material like mulch, sand and gravel.  These rakes are lightweight and reduce fatigue while you’re working.

A TIP: To save your hands from blisters: just slip some foam pipe insulation over the handle of your rake.

Message Center

The new message centers consist of mix and match pieces that you group together to form your own command center. But, you don’t need to spend a ton of money. You can actually make your own for a fraction of the cost.

STEP 1:      You need four frames; I got mine at a craft store for fourteen bucks.

STEP 2:      A modern white board, trace the backing of your frame onto a piece of white foam core, place the foam core on top of the glass in the frame  just like it was a picture then replace the backing.  You can use dry erase markers to write on the surface of the glass. 

STEP 3:      Message centers also have cork boards, so to make one; cut another piece of foam core to fit another frame. Cut a piece of self adhesive rolled cork the same size.   Then put them in the frame without the glass.

STEP 4:      A magnet board. You can buy sheets of metal at your local home center, use tin snips to cut one to fit your frame, take the glass out and put the metal in it’s place, another piece of foam core  to fill the space between the metal and the backing.

STEP 5:      Finally, key hooks. Cut a piece of wood to fit your frame, paint it to match and add some hooks, you’re good to go! 

Hang the pieces and you’ve got a high end message center for a fraction of the cost!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Over the Door Hooks

Don’t limit those over the door hooks to just clothes and towels; I have so many more cool ideas for their uses.

IDEA 1:      If you don’t want your necklaces getting knotted up in a jewelry box, use an over the door hook to keep them all in line on the inside of the closet door. They’ll stay knot free and you’ll be able to find the one you want at a glance.

IDEA 2:      On the back of the bathroom door a hook can keep your hairdryers and curling irons in arms reach.

IDEA  3:     Two hooks side by side will hold the ironing board neatly against the door so it doesn’t fall out every time you open the closet.
This would also work to keep your step stool right where you need it!

IDEA  4:     No bedside table to keep your glasses on? Use an over the door hook over the side of your bed frame to hang your glasses, they’ll always be right there by your side!

IDEA  5:     No closets for brooms or mops? Use an over the door hanger and some “s” hooks to store all those tools, they’ll swing open and out of the way with the door when you need to head downstairs.

Over the door hooks helping out around the house! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whether your dryer hose is old, worn or you simply want to replace it
for a newer, safer metal version, I can show you how to do it, it's easy.
1. Pick up a replacement hose. It should be at least four inches wide
and then should be the right length for the space. Ducts that are too
long or too narrow can be a fire hazard.

2. Unplug the dryer. Then remove the old duct. Some are held in
place by large hose clamps, others by clamps at the machine and
the vent.

3. Clean both the dryer outlet and exhaust pipe. These two areas
can become clogged with dust and lint. A vacuum or a bottle brush
with a length of nylon stocking over it should do the trick.

4. When everything is completely clean it's time to install the new duct.
Simply extend it to it's full length and then place it on the opening on
the back of the dryer and then to the vent that leads to the outside.
NOTE: The ductwork should have no more than two ninety-degree
angles to provide maximum airflow and to prevent lint build-up.

5. Move the dryer back into position and plug it in.
Don't forget to visit Mrs. FIXIT on Facebook for cool projects like turning a trellis into a picture display!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Clogged Shower Head

Do you barely have a trickle left in your shower because of mineral deposits and soap
scum? Well, I can show you how to get rid of that build-up with products you
probably already have in your home.
1. Remove the showerhead and put it in a bowl of undiluted vinegar. Let the fixture
soak for a couple of hours. When you take it out of the vinegar, if there are
some stubborn spots, just brush them with an old toothbrush until all of the
scaling is gone.

2. If you cant get your shower head apart - don't worry, just fill a plastic bag with
vinegar and secure it to the shower head with some heavy duty tape or string.
Then let the bag soak overnight. In the morning the showerhead will be clean
and deposit free. Just remember never to use vinegar on brass or brass plate.

3. For a faster clean up, in a small bowl mix together 1 teaspoon of alum and a
quarter of a cup of lemon juice. Saturate a rag with the mixture and scrub

the fixture the deposits will literally disappear.