Saturday, June 30, 2012

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Tips, Tricks, Ideas and Interests

I love to hear from FIXIT Fans and learn from them - so if you have a favorite fix, tip or solution - SHARE IT!  It's just that simple!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Did you know with a few simple ingredients you can make your own laundry detergent and you can save yourself a fortune?

First, you’ll need some natural bar soap for cleaning, some washing soda for removing dirt and odors, borax for brightening and deodorizing and water to meld it all together!

Fill a large pot with three cups of water and put it on the stove to heat up.

In the meantime, use a vegetable peeler or a box grater to shred a whole bar of soap.

Once the water has boiled, turn it down and add the soap shavings, stir them until they’re completely melted.

Fill a large bucket that has a tight fitting lid with about three gallons of hot water. I picked up this bucket at my local home improvement center.

Pour one cup of washing soda, a third of a cup of borax and your melted soap mixture into the bucket; stir it until all of the ingredients are well mixed. 

Leave the mixture to cool overnight.  As with any large bucket, keep it out of the reach of your kids. 

Once cooled, use a cup of detergent for each load of laundry. 

I spent seven dollars on these ingredients made three times more than this
and I have more than enough to make several more batches! I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Sluggish Drain

A sluggish drain is more than a nusience; if it isn’t taken care of it can lead to a total clog and a big mess.  

One of the easiest and most effective ways to clean a slow drain is hot water.  Hot water can melt slime and sludge from your pipe walls.  Try it every week to keep your drains cleaner. 

If you’re having a little more trouble than water can get rid of on its own try salt water.

Make a solution of fifty percent hot water and fifty percent salt.  Let the salt dissolve and then pour the solution down the drain.

The salt water will dissolve grease and build-up and as a bonus it will eliminate odors.  Allow the solution to sit for fifteen minutes or so and then flush it, with more hot water.

If you don’t have any salt on hand, try a similar solution of baking soda and water, it will both clean and deodorize as well. 

Some easy, inexpensive and green ways to clear a sluggish drain, I’M Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.  

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Paint Spills

Paint spills and splotches will happen with even the most careful hand.  I’ll show you how a little heat can go a long way toward removing those messes.

1. If you have a curved or uneven area that you have to remove paint from, grab a hairdryer.  Point the blower at the paint for thirty seconds and then use some superfine steel wool to buff away the paint. Depending on the amount of paint and how long it’s been there you may have to repeat the process a few times.  Be gentle while you're working so you don't damage the paint underneath.

2. To remove paint splotches from a floor, wet a washcloth with hot water and lay it over the spots.  Let it sit for a minute and then use a credit card or plastic putty knife to scrape away the paint.

 I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple.

Faux Leather Lampshade

I’m sure you’ve seen them in high-end catalogs, leather lampshades or mica shades, they’re beautiful, but the price tag can leave your wallet a little bare.  Well, I can show you how to get that look for a lot less. 

1. Cut some brown paper bags so that they can lay flat and cut out any parts that have printing on them so that when you’re project is done there isn’t any ink bleeding through. 

2. First, spritz the bags with a little water so they’re damp.  Crumple the paper tightly into a ball and then open it back up, repeat until you’ve got some nice wrinkles and then smooth it out flat. 

3. Tear pieces of the paper into smaller pieces that will fit onto your lampshade. 

4. Spread decoupage glue over the paper with a foam brush and smooth the piece onto the shade. Decoupage glue is simply equal parts of white glue and water mixed together.

5. Brush glue on the top of the paper once it’s in place.  And Repeat the process with the rest of the paper overlapping the pieces as you work. 

6. Once you’ve covered the whole shade, use a utility knife to gently trim any raw edges.  Then coat the whole piece one more time with decoupage glue and let it dry completely. 

A high-end look at a low end cost, I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Muffin Tins

If you only pull your muffin tins out of the cabinet when you’re getting ready to bake, you’re not using them nearly enough.

1. In the kitchen, you can use an inverted muffin tin as a cooling rack; the spaces between the cups allow air to circulate.

2. If you’re getting ready to decorate cookies with the kids, put your sprinkles and candies in a muffin tin to help make them easily accessible and not so easy to spill!

3. If you’re trying to carry drinks to the table, slip the cups into a muffin tin, you’ll be able to carry more and you’re not as likely to spill! 

4. If you enjoy crafts a muffin tin is just what you need.  Store different types of beads in each compartment for making jewelry.

5. Or if you enjoy painting, a muffin tin is a great paint palette.  Squeeze your paints into the compartments, and then when you need to mix colors use one of the empty spots for swirling together that perfect shade. When you’re finished painting, the tin will wash up in a snap and be ready for your next project.

I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

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Laundry Baskets

If you relegate the laundry baskets to the laundry room, you’re missing out, I’ll tell you why!

1. I’m sure you’ve all seen reuseable grocery bags and a lot of you probably use them, but how about a laundry basket for the ultimate in “green grocery bags.” It’s designed to hold stuff and IS easily portable so keep one in the back of your car, and load it up with groceries directly from your cart.  You can carry the whole basket into the house and stash it back in there when you’re done.

2. Use a laundry basket to collect weeds and clippings as you work outside and then you can dump it when you’re finished.  In the off season, use the basket to corral your hose and sprayer in the garage or shed.

3. Speaking of corralling, I collect little gifts and trinkets throughout the year so I always have a gift on hand when I need one.  I keep them all in a laundry basket on a shelf so I know right where they are, plus I keep a few gift bags in there so I can grab, stash and go in a hurry!

4. Heading out on a car trip to a sunny destination?  Fill a laundry basket with towels and swim gear.  You won’t need to dig through suitcases when you arrive.

Plus, you’ll have a spot to store dirty laundry during your trip. 
I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

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Carpet Deodorizer

Between the kids and the pets carpets can really take on some odors, but I have an easy recipe for an all natural carpet deodorizer that will get rid of the odors and won’t harm the kids or pets!

1. You’ll need a shaker bottle like the kind that parmesan cheese comes in to hold the mixture and make it easy to spread. Make sure that it’s clean and dry, I washed this one earlier.

2. Fill the jar halfway with cornstarch and then fill the other half with baking soda. 

3. Use a small dowel or other long stick to mix the two ingredients together.
Cornstarch will bond to the dirt and baking soda will absorb odors.   

4. If you’d like, you can add fragrance to the mix, a few drops of your favorite essential oil will leave behind a hint of freshness.  Make sure that you mix the oil in well if you choose to use it.

5. Now to freshen, gently sweep the carpeting with a broom to lift the nap and loosen any matted spots.  Make sure the cap is screwed on tight and shake the mixture onto the carpet. 

6. Let it sit for a few minutes and then vacuum it up.  

That’s all there is to it, this mixture costs next to nothing and is safer for you and the environment! I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Coffee Filters

Sure these filters will help you brew a great cup of coffee, but they can also help you in other areas, I have some ideas.

1. If you broke the cork on a bottle of wine, put a funnel over a pitcher or carafe and line it with a coffee filter.  Then slowly pour in the wine. The filter will catch those bits of cork so that they don’t end up in your glass.

2. From hot dogs to pita pockets to tacos, hand held food can be messy. Serve your sandwiches in coffee filters and it will absorb moisture and catch falling fillings. They hold up better than napkins and paper towels and they absorb liquids where wax paper won’t.

3. If you’re trying to take pictures of glass items, or something else that may glare, hold a coffee filter over the flash when you take the picture.  It will diffuse the light and cut that glare.

4. Looking for a great shoe shine, try coffee filters.  They will spread on polish with ease and they’ll also buff your shoes to a great shine without leaving any lint behind.

Great new uses for an everyday item. I hope these tips help you too.  I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.  

Unify a Wall Collage with Paint

You want the look of the big wall collage in the high end catalogs but you can’t justify spending the money on the frames?  Well, I have an inexpensive solution.

1. The reason those collages look so good is they have a unified look…so unify yourself!  Go around your house or to a discount store and pick up an assortment of inexpensive frames.

2. Use a sanding sponge to scuff up the frame. Lay out a big tarp and some pvc pipe or dowels. Lay the frames on top of them.

3. Use your favorite shade of spray paint to spray a unified color on all of the frames.

4. Roll the dowels back and forth to make sure you have the frames completely covered and you don’t have any sticky pooling around the edges.

5. Allow the frames to dry completely and frame up all your favorite photos.  Use some matting on some of the photos to give it added depth.

Then, hang your frames for a great look at a fraction of the cost. I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.  

Sticky Notes

We’ve all used these sticky notes from time to time; I have some clever uses that you may not have thought of! 
1. These notes are great for reminders for your family, but the key is where you leave the note.  I like to stick the notes to the TV or a bathroom mirror, the location and the bright color make sure that the note is seen! 

2. If you’re sorting through a pile of paperwork use sticky notes as dividers between subjects, or to flag important pages in a magazine, or to label tabs in a three ring binder.

3. If you’re getting ready for a big holiday use sticky notes to mark which food goes in each serving dish. 

4. If you’re bringing a dish to someone else’s house you can mark any instructions on the outside of the dish so that your hostess knows what the dish is and what needs to be done.

5. Keep some sticky notes inside a cabinet for an easy spot to keep a shopping list; you can easily grab the notes on the way out the door.

6. And if you need a quick reference for driving directions when you’re driving, write the directions on a sticky note and adhere it to the steering wheel. It will be in your sightline without needing to keep looking at directions on the seat. 

Easy ideas to make those sticky notes work for you!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Tagging Storage

Clearly marking items that you have stored can save you tons of searching and sorting later on!

1. Storage drawers are a great way to store smaller items, but even the clear types are hard to see through.Take one of each item and tape it to the outside of the drawers, this way you can see at a glance what’s in each little bin. For example, if you're storing picture hangers in various sizes, tape one of each to the outside of the drawers.

2. For closed storage like plastic totes, make labels to mark the contents of the boxes, be specific so that you know exactly what’s in each box.

3. If you’re storing items in the open, say in baskets or bins on open shelving and don’t like the look of the little labels, take a digital picture of the items and print it out, mount it on card stock to label each basket. You could also mount printed versions of the labels in different fonts that might look a little nicer than plain labels.   

4. Frame signs in some lightweight frames and mount them to the fronts of your baskets or bins.

Just a few simple ideas to make sure that all of your organizational efforts don’t go to waste! I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Cleaning Painted Walls

If your painted walls are looking dirty and dusty it may be time for a good cleaning, here are some ideas to make the job easier for you.

1. Dust first – removing dust will prevent streaks of dusty, wet muck on your walls. Use a hand towel to dust the texture will grab the dust and lets you cover a larger area than a hand duster. 

2. The key to cleaning stains, fingerprints and smudges off of your walls is to try to keep them as dry as possible and don’t scrub too hard - gentle. Use an instant erasing sponge, or a barely damp cloth and some baking soda or white toothpaste to gently scour the stains and oily marks off the walls. This spot checking should be part of your weekly cleaning to ensure that the smudges don’t get too embedded in the wall. 

3. Pull on some gloves and open a window.  Mix a half a cup of ammonia into a gallon of warm water.  Use a well wrung out microfiber cloth to apply the mix to the walls.  Then follow it up with a clean damp cloth to remove the solution. Work from the bottom up so if you missed any dust or dirt it won’t streak down the wall. 

The good news is if you keep up on the spot checking a big washing like this is only needed once a year!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pressing Linens

Ironing linens is a chore that can be a real pain, but with a few easy steps you can make the job a lot easier.

TIP 1:                   Never try to iron dry linens, instead toss your tablecloth in the dryer with a couple of wet wash cloths the same color as your tablecloth for a few minutes and distribute the dampness throughout the cloth.

The reason you want damp linens is that the fabric is so heavy that it makes it hard for the heat and steam from the iron to penetrate the fibers. Starting from damp will produce steam within the fabric. You could also use a spray bottle of water for the same results.

TIP 2:                   Some fabrics become shiny when you iron them so it’s best to press them from the back side.

TIP 3:                   Set your ironing board up near a table or other flat surface like a bed so you have something to catch the cloth on as you iron, otherwise it will pool onto the floor and will just get wrinkled again. Start with pooling the fabric near your feet and work in sections re-wetting the fabric with a spray bottle if needed.  If you like your linens crisp use starch for natural fabrics or a fabric sizing spray for blended fabrics.

TIP 4:                   If you’re not putting the tablecloth directly on the table, try to find a spot to lay or hang it flat like a guest bed or over a piece of PVC pipe suspended from the curtain rod.

Making quick work of ironing your linens.

Dividing Perrenials

Dividing perennials not only helps the plants to flourish, but it also gives you free plants for the rest of your landscaping. 

STEP 1:      Different perennials need to be divided at different times of the year, as a general rule of thumb, if it flowers in the spring divide in the fall, if it flowers in the fall, divide in the spring.

STEP 2:      Start by digging up the rootball of your plant and transferring it to a tarp or another work surface to divide. Wet the roots to remove excess soil so you can see where to divide.  Leave a good root network for each section you’re separating.

STEP 3:      If the root system on your plant is too large to completely remove, dig around a portion of the plant, and work a section at a time to loosen and remove it from the remainder of the plant. Depending on how tight your rootball is you may need to use a garden knife or a spade to separate the plant.

STEP 4:      When replanting divided plants, make sure that you work in some compost or fertilizer into the soil to give it a jump start into re-growing.

Easy division to multiply your landscaping.

Quick Clean Ups

We’ve all been there at one time or another, we’re getting unexpected company and we only have a short amount of time to get the house ready. Well, I have some tips to get your home clean in no time. 

STEP 1:      Clutter!  Grab a laundry basket and walk through the house collecting anything that’s out of place like shoes, toys, games and papers and stick the basket in an out of the way spot.

STEP 2:      In the kitchen, quickly wipe down counters, stoves and faucets with a damp micro fiber cloth.  These cloths will give you a clean lint free shine without needing to grab separate cleaners. 

STEP 3:      Simmer some citrus fruit or cinnamon sticks on the stovetop to freshen the air.

STEP 4:      Use the micro fiber cloth again in the bathroom for a quick wipe down of all the surfaces; put out a new roll of toilet paper and fresh hand towels.  A new bar of soap or a few dryer sheets in the garbage can will help the room smell fresher too.

STEP 5:      Walk through living areas and fluff pillows and throws so they’re neat and look fresh. Also run a duster over plants and picture frames to spruce up the room. 

STEP 6:      Put a squeegee on the end of a broom handle and quickly run it over carpets its will plump up the fibers without pulling out the vacuum. 

A few tricks to get you ready for company in record time!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Packing Materials

You may think packing peanuts, bubble wrap and styrofoam, are a nuisance. But I have some ideas to put these things to use around your home.

IDEA 1:      Packing peanuts make a great bed for your pet, fill an old zip top pillow cover with peanuts and you have an instant spot for your pet to rest!

IDEA 2:      Painting your toenails?  Use packing peanuts between your toes instead of toe separators. 

IDEA 3:      When potting plants in big containers fill the bottom half with packing peanuts, it’s good for drainage and will be lighter and easier to move. 

IDEA 5:      If you don’t want to move big planters inside during the colder months, wrap the planter with some bubble wrap, just make sure it reaches from the bottom all the way above the lip of the top, then secure it with packing tape. It will protect the planter from the cold weather.

IDEA 6:      Keep bubble wrap in your car, it’s a waterproof cushion for everything from changing a tire to watching a football game.

IDEA 7:      During the colder seasons, line the inside of a window with bubble wrap; secure it with some tape and it will keep drafts out.  Because the wrap is clear it will allow light but not cold air to come through!

IDEA 8:      Sheets of Styrofoam can be used to hold small items like drawer knobs while you’re painting. Or line up treats like cones or lollipops for kids at your next party. 

Clinging Vines

Clinging vines can wreak havoc on your home’s exterior. Well, I have some tips for removing those vines and cleaning up the little suckers that are left behind.

STEP 1:      First off, clinging vines can harbor bugs, bees and various other critters, so make sure that you wear gloves and appropriate clothes while you’re working.

STEP 2:      Cut away any vines that you don’t want on the house, don’t try just pulling them off because if you have loose mortar, paint or shingles pulling the vines could pull them loose too.

STEP 3:      Once you’ve removed all of the greenery that you want , let it sit for a couple of weeks so that the remaining vegetation dries up.

STEP 4:      Sometimes the little suckers the help the plant cling to the wall and excess dried up vines can be brushed away with a stiff bristled brush, so try that first; it’s the least invasive approach. Don’t be gentle it’s going to take some elbow grease to clean the mess off.  If they won’t come off with a good brushing, soak the area well with water and then go back and try again, the water should soften them so you can get them off, but you’ll likely have to go back with warm water and detergent to remove the residue left behind under the suckers.  A credit card is a great gentle tool for getting off those lil suckers.

Clinging vine removal for 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.

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, June 12, 2012


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?  

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!  

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!  

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!  

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!       

Dusting 1-0-1

Here it is dusting 101. My favorite ideas for getting dusting done in less time with better results.  

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.  

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.  

Off to work....

Start from the top! Use your dust mop to clean dust and cobwebs from ceiling moldings, and the tops of doors.  
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!  

Dust electronics with used dryer sheets, the static cutters will help repel dust and keep those items cleaner, longer.  

Pay attention to areas that are often missed while you're cleaning, like light bulbs, lampshades, baseboards, and pictures. 

Dusting 1-0-1!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I love rubberbands, I use them all over the house, I'll give you a couple of ideas and you'll find your self hooked too!  
  1. If you need to remove a nail, criss-cross a couple of rubber bands over the top of the hammer. The rubber bands will protect the surface that you're removing the nail from. 
  2. If you're always trying to figure out how much paint or stain is left in the can, after the next project try this. Before you close the can, stretch a rubberband around the outside of the can at the level of the paint. This way you can easily see how much you have left of any one color!  
  3. We've all seen those thick rubber bands on our fresh produce. Don't throw them away; they are the perfect tools for opening a stuck jar lid! Stretch the band around the lid and twist. It makes a perfect grip. This also works on those sticky soda pop bottle tops!  
  4. If you're taking a dish to pass to a friend's use a couple of rubberbands over the lid and then the handles to hold the lid in place. 
  5. If your cutting board is slides all over the place, slip a rubberband over each end to keep it in place. 
  6. If you're always losing your place in your favorite book, slip a rubberband over the page out to the cover, you won't lose your place!

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