Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is good for more than just a delicious sandwich – you can use it in some surprising ways.

Use peanut butter in cookie or brownie recipes to replace butter, you use the same amount and it gives it an extra little kick of flavor too!

Did you know that peanut butter can remove gum from hair and fabrics?  Just rub it into the gum to soften it and remove it. 

Then just wash the peanut butter out with some mild soap and water. 

Peanut butter is the best choice if you need to bait a mouse trap.  Mice are more attracted to peanut butter than cheese. 

If you need to give your dog a pill, hide it in some peanut butter.  Dogs love peanut butter so they’ll eat the pill without a problem.

and as a bonus the peanut butter strengthens teeth and gives them a shiny coat.

Who knew peanut butter could be so handy to have in the house!?!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Powdered Dishwasher Detergent

Powdered automatic dishwashing detergent is an indispensable cleanser in any home - even if you don't have a dishwasher!  Mix a quarter cup into a gallon of hot water and you have the perfect cleanser for painted walls and woodwork. Remember when you're washing walls work from the bottom up so you don't get streaks!  A little detergent on a damp sponge will clean crayon and pencil marks of walls too! A box in the bathroom will help you cut easily through tough hard water stains and soap scum in bathtubs and showers. It will also put a nice shine on your toilet bowl, just sprinkle some in, let it sit for an hour or so and scrub away your stains.  Keep some in the laundry room, wet a stain, dab some detergent onto it, then launder as usual.  To whiten whites mix a half a cup of detergent into a gallon of hot water and soak overnight. Then wash the items in hot water. Easy ideas to help you out!  

Wash Day Woes

Does it seem like laundry is a never-ending chore? Well, I have some tips to make your washday woes disappear!  When washing a brightly colored item for the first time, add a teaspoon of Epsom salts to the water to keep the material from fading or running.  No epsom salts? Soak brightly colored clothes in cold salt water before washing them, it will help set the colors and keep them brighter. When you're washing whites and you run out of bleach, add three tablespoons of peroxide in its place.  Peroxide will also remove blood stains on white clothing. Just use a cotton swab to dab some on the stain, wait for it to fizz up and then launder it as you usually do. The stains will disappear.  Accidentally wash a wool sweater or blanket? No problem. Soak it in lukewarm water and hair conditioner. A tablespoon of hair conditioner per gallon will loosen those fibers so you can reshape the item.  Washing shower curtains or vinyl tablecloths? Add a cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle will keep the plastic pliable and lasting longer.  Laundry woes wiped away!

Sticky Drawers are No Problem!

If you have drawers that stick and bind - I have a couple of simple solutions!

Sometimes sticky drawers are caused by excess humidity.  Aim a hairdryer at the drawer, the heat will help shrink it down to normal size. 

You can also rub a bar of soap along the sliding parts, to get them moving smoothly again.

These tips should help get these drawers sliding smoothly again!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Care of Upholstery

Love your upholstered furniture?  I have some easy ways to care for yours to keep it looking great.

Don’t place your furniture in direct sunlight, it will discolor and weaken fabric over time. 

Vacuum furniture regularly; dust and debris can settle in tufts and folds and accumulate over time. Vacuuming ensures that nothing is sitting on the upholstery that could damage it. 

If you have furniture in your kitchen or adjacent family area, make sure that you use your exhaust fan every time you cook.

Cooking can release grease and food particles into the air that can settle on the upholstery and then attract dust and dirt that will damage the fabric. 

The fan will also help remove cooking odors from the air before they can seep into the fabrics.

Diapers make great spot treaters for upholstery, they won’t transfer color and they have no texture so they won’t pill the fabric while you’re treating. Just remember, always dab, never scrub!!

Now that you know how to care for it, settle back and enjoy your furniture!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Steel Wool

Steel wool is in inexpensive and comes in a variety of grades of coarseness and you can use it all over your house, I’ll show you how.

If a screw is too loose, stuff some steel wool into the hole and then replace the screw. The steel wool will give the screw threads a new surface to grip and the screw will stay nice and tight.

Push steel wool into gaps around the foundation of your house, and around pipes and vents.  Critters like mice and squirrels can’t chew through the steel wool so it will keep them outside where they belong.

If you have pets that you bathe at home, or if you tend to get a lot of clogs in your shower, stuff some steel wool into the drain before you use it.  The water will drain through but it will catch the hair before it becomes a clog.

Superfine steel wool will scuff scuffs and imperfections from wood and vinyl floors.  Just get it a little damp and buff in the direction of the grain.

Along those same lines, steel wool is perfect for    removing the gloss layer from paint and stain finishes when you want to prime.  So you don’t need to sand the entire piece. 

Easy ways to put steel wool to use around your home.  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Picture Hardware

We’ve come a long way from the classic picture hanging hook, there are tons of options out there – check them out!!

When you have a heavier picture, rather than using a big hook, try one of these hooks with a wider top and two nails.

It evenly distributes the weight and allows the picture hang closer to the wall.

Need to hang something flush against a wall like a mirror or a headboard?
Try a french cleat. 

These screw into the back of the piece and then into the wall and slide into each other to hold the item flush and secure.

If you don’t want holes in your walls at all, try a removable adhesive strip with a hanger attached. You can put it in place and remove it without damage if you change your mind.

Along those same lines – you can use a hook and loop self adhesive and attach one side to the picture and one to the wall.

So the next time you need to hang some artwork, take a look at the variety of hangers on the market.
I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Mildew on Leather

I had leather shoes stored in my basement and it must have been damp because when I pulled them out I found they were covered with mildew.  Luckily, I know how to remove it- and soon you will too!

Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide and can be purchased at most health food stores. 
Mix a teaspoon of oil into a cup of water and use a soft bristled toothbrush to clean the shoes.  When you’re finished scrubbing, dip a soft rag into the solution and go over the entire shoe, inside and out to clean the mold and remove the odor. 

As a bonus, the tea tree oil is a natural leather conditioner as well so you will remove the mildew, clean the shoe and condition the leather all in one quick step!

If you don’t have or can’t find tea tree oil, mix a half and half mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.  Use that to kill the mildew. 

Then wipe with a cloth dipped in clean water and follow that up with a good washing with saddle soap to remove any stains.

The rubbing alcohol will kill the spores and the soap will clean the leather.

Just a couple of easy ways to save those mildewed shoes that you thought were ruined! I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.  

Handy Hints

All of us could use an extra hand now and then.  I have a couple of things you can grab that will really help you out!

Carabineer hooks are generally thought of as a sporting item, but I found oversized hooks and they’re so handy! 

I can hook them around a bunch of grocery bags and use the rubber grip as a handle to carry them all at once.

A friend hooks one to her stroller to hook her purse and diaper bag in place.

I’ve always loved hook and loop tape for all sorts of things, but it’s a onetime kind of thing. I love the one sided variety that hooks to itself.  I use it to bundle moldings and wrapping paper rolls so they don’t roll around.

I also love it for corralling cords, securing items in the car, and keeping electronics and their cords together.  Use your imagination – there has got to be a million ways this stuff is handy.

Finally, forget holding a flashlight in your teeth or teetering it on your shoulder.  Grab a flash light that stands on its own.  This one has a pop out tri-pod and a pivoting head so I can point it right where I need it and have my hands free to work.  

Now, let’s give these tips a hand for being so helpful!!!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Stink Bugs

If you have them, you know…stinkbugs are a problem to have in your home; luckily I have a few easy ways to fight them.

To start, never squish stinkbugs.  They get their name because they release a nasty odor when they are attacked, and the odor will attract more bugs.

You can vacuum the bugs, but just make sure that you do a whole house bug check, because once you’re done you will need to seal the vacuum bag in a zip top plastic bag and toss it in the garbage.

Another way to get rid of them is to knock individual bugs into a bowl of soapy water.  The soap will kill the bugs so you can dispose of them. Just dump the water into a toilet bowl and flush.  This will ensure it doesn’t get squished in the garbage. 

If you see the bugs on the outside of your house, spray them with soapy water.

To prevent the bugs from getting into the house in first place, make sure you caulk around windows and doors, check for holes in screens and insulate around foundations and ductwork.
Just some easy ways to get rid of those stink bugs. I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Mail Center

Looking for a mail center for your home?  All you need is an old window shutter and some simple hardware. 

First, clean up the shutter, a toothbrush or some cotton swabs will really help you reach into the nooks and crannies.

depending upon the look you like you can either remove the hardware, fill any holes left behind and paint or  refinish the shutter, or leave the hardware in place so that the shutter retains its past history and finish.

From here you can be as simple or as fancy as you want, you can add embellishments for decoration, hooks or knobs for keys, or labels for different family members.   Then decide which way you want it to hang, vertically or horizontally – it depends on your space. 

Add a hanger or two to the back, depending on the size and weight of your shutter; you may need to screw it directly into the wall.  Mine is really lightweight so one simple hanger will do the trick. 

That’s all there is to it, this also makes a great spot for displaying cards or pictures.  Try it for yourself, I’M Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.  

Decor Under Glass

Adding glass to the top of a dresser or desk can cover damage or protect a finish from damage, but it also gives you a neat space for adding an accent to your d├ęcor. 

In a home office you can place calendars or lists under a piece of glass and use some dry erase markers to keep track of dates and projects.  Then simply wipe the notes off and start over when you’re done!

If you’re using the glass to protect the top of the piece, try layering some doilies or fabric underneath, or better yet, fill it with family photos and use it for a great visual scrapbook.

Make sure that you use tempered glass that has been cut by a professional and that the edges are buffed smooth so you don’t get cut! 

Another idea for can turn an urn or other pedestal into an accent table by adding a piece of wood or cut a piece of cardboard to the size you need and top it with some fabric, wrapping paper or tissue paper.  This is an easy and inexpensive way to make a custom piece to decorate your home.

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

Easy Energy Savers

If you’re looking to save money on your heating and cooling costs,   I have some simple solutions that will take less than a day to do and you can watch the savings add up!

Add weather stripping to doors and windows to eliminate the airflow through the gaps between the door and its framing. 

Also add door sweeps on all of your doors.  Check out this really handy peel and stick sweep I found, no need for tools at all!

Look for areas where there may be gaps ort cracks, especially around pipes.  Fill these areas with some steel wool and d then expanding foam insulation. 

This is a twofold solution, critters cannot chew through the steel wool and the foam will expand to fill the entire area and seal off the gap.

Add insulation.  I have open rim joists in my basement.  The rim joist is the area above your foundation and under the floor framing.

Simply measure the area that you want to fill and cut a piece off with a straightedge and a sharp utility knife.  Then place it in the space. Don’t shove it in because you want to maintain some airflow.  

Make sure that you wear the proper safety gear when working on these projects! It cost me under fifty dollars and less than one day, and I know I’ll feel those savings!  I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


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Care of Marble

Marble is a beautiful finish in any home, but it is porous and stains easily. So there are 
some special care issues to consider.
1. Wipe off anything spilled on marble immediately, it will soak into the stone and will 
cause a stain. Make sure that you use coasters under beverage glasses to avoid 
moisture rings.
2. For routine cleaning, mix a little soapy lukewarm water and clean with a soft cloth, 
then dry immediately with an absorbent towel so the moisture doesn't have a chance 
to soak into the surface.
3. If you have stains on marble, use a neutral, nonabrasive cleaner to remove the stain,
 like hydrogen peroxide, it works well and it's inexpensive.
4. For grease stains on marble, brush cornstartch over the stain and lay plastic wrap 
over the cornstarch. This will pull the grease out of the stone. Leave it overnight and 
brush the cornstarch away in the morning.
5. If you have marble countertops or bathroom surfaces, it is a good idea to seal 
them to protect from staining and it allows soil to be wiped off with a damp cloth.
Beautiful marble protected.
I'm Mrs. Fixit and it's just that simple.

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!

Dryer Sheets - Not just for the laundry!!

Dryer Sheets are a great multi-purpose item. Don't throw them away when you're done with the laundry; I have some great alternative uses!
1. Grimy, soapy shower? Wet a dryer sheet with hot water and clean the shower. All the scum will melt away! It works great on shower doors too!
2. If you've got a stubborn bathtub ring, fill the tub with hot water and drop a couple of sheets in for an hour or so. The soap scum will loosen up so it will wipe away when you drain the tub!
3. Pet hair a problem? Wipe a used dryer sheet over the area and watch the hair cling to the sheet not your clothes and furniture.
4. Run a needle and thread through a dryer sheet before mending a button. It will prevent snags and knotting.
5. Along those same lines, if you stuff a sock with dryer sheets and use it as a pincushion, you'll always have sharp pins and needle at the ready!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pool Skimmer Fix

If you have a pool, your skimmer is probably your best friend for getting bugs and leaves out of the way.  If your pool skimmer gets a hole in it, slip the leg of an old pair of stockings over the frame. This easy makeshift skimmer will hold until you can get a new one. You may decide that you like it better because you can change the netting easily and inexpensively anytime!

Garage Sale Tips

Summer is a great time to pare down and clear out – and a garage sale can be the perfect way to do it – and make a little cash while you’re at it!!

The key to any good sale – advertising. Use your local newspapers, online sites and good old fashioned posters to get the word out. When you’re making your posters – make sure that they stand out. Use bright poster board and fat markers to give time, date, location and maybe a few key items that would catch someone’s eye. Also use your social media like face book and twitter to spread the word.

When you’re setting up – make it inviting. Cover tables with tablecloths or white sheets. Think about how a store merchandises a sale – the more pleasing it looks the more likely you are to sell your items. Play some background music to put shoppers at ease.

Clean everything – try to remove stains from clothing, wash glassware, polish silver and dust knick knacks. The better it looks the more likely it is to sell. Rubbing alcohol will clean and take stains off of everything from dolls, to glassware & mirrors. Toothpaste will quickly polish silver and clean scrapes off of china.

Group like items together – a grouping of vases or pottery is more likely to catch someone’s eye than items scattered all over. Another easy way to group items – clear zip top bags. They can corral jewelry, game pieces, doll accessories or action figures. If you’re selling bedding sets, clothing sets or anything else that needs to be kept together, tie a ribbon around the set and then mark the item with size, pieces included and the price.

Feel out your customers – if you have some purses and jewelry that doesn’t seem to be selling on the adult table – put it with the kid’s stuff and mark it as dress up!

If you have electric or battery powered items for sale, make sure that you have a place to test them out people want to know that things work so make it easy to make the sale.   

Wear and apron or clothes with pockets and keep the money on your person at all times. It’s easy to get distracted from a cash box which could make it easy to swipe!