Friday, November 30, 2012

25 days of Christmas Tips - 1st day of Christmas!

Ready to wrap all of those presents?

Grab an envelope opener to slice through your wrapping paper.  Quick and easy!!!

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Kitchen Reuses

Look through the cabinets and open the drawers, I have some cool reuses for items around your kitchen!

Use a can opener to open those horrible plastic packages that you can barely cut into. 

Just clamp the blades of the can opener on the plastic packaging and turn the handle.  Then, zip, zip, and zip its open.

Did you know a glass bowl can act as an amplifier for a small mobile device?

Turn on the music in your mobile device and place it in a glass bowl with the speaker facing down, the bowl will act as a natural amp and make the device louder.
Use a box grater to grate bars of soap for homemade cleaners and liquid soap.  The small slivers dissolve easily into your concoctions for perfect mixtures every time.

Box graters also make great outdoor tabletop lanterns; put a candle under the grater.  The light will filter out but the wind can’t get to it to blow out the flame!

Some extra uses for items in your kitchen that I hope you’ll try. I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple. 

Clipboard Gifts

Some simple decoupage will turn this clipboard into this cute gift for the holidays or a cute display for your walls!  I’ll show you how.

Trace the clipboard onto an old manila folder to make a template of the front and back of the clipboard.  Use some ribbon or twine to hold the paper clamp open while you work.

Trace your template onto wrapping paper, craft paper, Tissue paper or even newspaper.

Then, cut out your pieces and set them aside.

Paint a thin layer of decoupage glue onto the clipboard and then gently lay your paper in place. Use a credit card to gently smooth out any bubbles.

Once it’s nice and smooth, paint a layer of medium over the paper and let it dry.

Repeat the process for the back of the clipboard and let it dry completely.

Add some pretty ribbon to the clamp ring and you’ve got a perfect little gift for the holidays!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Travel Accessories

We are forever losing small game pieces, cards and other items from our games, we’ll on a recent trip I had an aha moment to solve the gaming problem.

Travel soap dishes are the perfect spot to store card games.  Simply slip the cards into the dish and close it up.  Label the outside with the name of the game and you’re all set. The cards will stay clean and corralled.

these containers will also fit money from most games so it use it as the bank and your play money won’t get all disorganized  in the box.

A travel toothbrush holder is a great place to hold all of the dice and movers from a game slip them inside and close it up,

Toothbrush holders are also a great size for holding a few pencils and a sharpener for a drawing game.

A travel pill cases are a great size for tiny game pieces that are too easy to lose track of, separate them into the little compartments and you’ll never lose those tiny pieces again.

Just a few easy and inexpensive ways to keep your games organized.  I’M Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple. 

Pre-Seal Marble Tile

Natural stone tile like this marble is absorbent and can be easily stained, even by the grout you use.  To protect it, you need to seal it, I’ll show you how.

Sealing tile is simple you can use a sponge, a brush, a cloth or paint pad. 

I like a sponge brush because it gives you an even application without a lot of excess liquid dripping all over.

Paint the sealer onto the tile in long, even strokes. Make sure you cover all of the tile, but don’t get too much overlap.

Wipe off any drips or pooling with a cotton rag.

Let the sealer dry completely generally for twenty four hours.

Then test the sealer by dripping some water onto the surface, if it pools up you’re all set.

If the water soaks in at all you will want to let it dry and apply a second coat.

Once the presealer is set, you can grout the tile without worrying about staining it!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Giving Thanks

Your thanksgiving table is quite literally the centerpiece of your holiday.  I have some ideas to make yours really special.

Start with a neutral colored tablecloth and some fabric markers.  Have family and other guests write down what they’re thankful for directly onto the tablecloth.

You will be able to pull the cloth out year after year and add to the thoughts and thanks – it will make a great family heirloom!

Pour unpopped popcorn into a glass hurricane to act as a base for your candles. It makes a lovely natural display.

 Place a thin cylinder vase inside a wider cylinder and pour popcorn in between the two vases to fill the space. 

Then add some lovely flowers to the inside vase to round out the display

Hollow out some gourds or small pumpkins to act as a candle holder or small vase.

This should set you up for a lovely holiday!  Happy thanksgiving!  I’M Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.

Creamer Containers

Coffee creamer containers offer great reuse potential.  I have some ideas that I think you’re going to love!!

Fill a container with sugar, it pours easily into your coffee and stores neatly in the cupboard sealed up tight. 

It is also great for cornmeal and rice so you don’t have those bags cluttering the cupboard.

How about pancake or waffle batter.  Put the ingredients in the container, shake it up and pour directly onto the griddle or waffle iron.  No muss – no fuss!!

I love to store kid’s snacks in these containers; they pour out easily into the kid’s hands and are a great size for stashing in a diaper bag or purse for snacks in the go.

These make great containers for homemade cleaners; just make sure you label the outside clearly.

Finally, try using a creamer container to water plants, its easy pour spout and compact size make it easy to get the water right where you need it.

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

Keeping Hardware Handy

If you’re constantly digging through your toolbox for hardware and tools, I have some ideas to keep it right on hand.

Inexpensive clip type shower rings will keep nuts and washers organized and on hand.  Simply thread them through the hook and clip them shut.

Clip a couple to your belt loop to keep your hammer and measuring tape close at hand.

Hinged rings like these are perfect for end wrenches. Slip the ring through the ends of the wrenches and you’ll be able to look through, grab the one you need and have everything on hand.

Glue a magnet into the bottom of a reclose able snack cup and you’ll keep nails and screws organized and on hand without worrying about spilling.

A kid’s pencil case fits neatly into the bottom of a toolbox to keep screwdrivers and nail sets organized.

Easy ideas to keep your hardware handy,  I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple. 

Out of Thyme

You're in the middle of a recipe, and guests are coming in hours. Well, there's no time to go to the grocery store so I have some substitutions that you can use in a pinch!  

If you need semisweet chocolate and all you have is cocoa powder you're in luck. For an equivalent of six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate mix together nine tablespoons of cocoa powder, seven tablespoons of sugar and three tablespoons of softened butter.  

What do you do if your recipe calls for shortening and you don't have any? Replace it with butter or vice versa one cup equals one cup in baking!  

No buttermilk? No problem! Simply stir together a cup of milk and one and three quarters tablespoons of cream of tartar. Or, one tablespoon of lemon juice for each cup of milk.  

How about sour cream? Mix a cup of milk and a tablespoon of white vinegar and let it sit for five minutes, you're all set. No evaporated milk for the pumpkin pie? Try half and half it will work just as well!  

Here is a little tip for your cooking timetable, don't save pie making until the end. Everything about pastry needs to be cold from the ingredients to the room so if you work on pies first you'll end up with flakier and tastier pies!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Denture Tablets

If you don't think you need to stock your medicine cabinet with denture tablets you should reconsider, you mix these things with a little water and they will scour and shine all sorts of surfaces!

Put a tablet in a glass of water and drop your diamonds in. Leave them for a few minutes and the gems will sparkle and shine once they're rinsed!

These tablets will also remove hard water stains from glasses and coffee decanters. Match the amount of water to the right number of tabs; soak the item for a few minutes and rinse clean.

Looking for an easy way to clean the toilet? Slip a couple of tablets into the bowl, let them fizz then flush for a pristine potty!

Fill a narrow necked vase with water and drop in a tablet, when the fizzing has stopped all of the flower scum and deposits will be gone!

Denture tabs can also be used to clean toothbrushes. Think about it, they are designed to kill bacteria on dentures so they will clean and disinfect your toothbrushes in no time!

Drop a couple into a slow drain and run some water to clear the drain quick! 


Sure cornstarch is great for thickening gravy and making perfect puddings, but did you know it can help clean silver and freshen carpets?

Cornstarch is great silver cleaner. Mix up a paste of cornstarch and water and use a soft cloth to spread it over your silver. Let it dry and then buff the piece to a shine. 

Dingy carpets? Sprinkle cornstarch over the surface and let it sit for a half hour or so. Then vacuum the carpet well. The starch will draw out odors and dirt so it cleans and freshens in one quick step! 

Out of spray starch for the ironing? Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch into a pint of water in a spray bottle. Shake it well and then spray on your clothes it works just as well as it's expensive counterparts!

If your playing cards have become sticky, pop them into a paper bag and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch. Shake it up and then dump the bag onto a towel. Wipe the cards down and all of the stickiness will be gone! 

Just a few ways cornstarch can help around your house!  

In memory of Mr. FOOD - He was so good!

I would like to take a moment and send my condolences to the family and fans of Mr. FOOD, Art Ginsberg.     Mr. FOOD entertained and educated us with his delicious recipes for years. He was an inspiration!

Baking Soda and Peroxide

Baking soda and peroxide are inexpensive and indispensible when it comes to cleaning.  I’ll tell you why!

First, it’s an amazing stain pre-treater; mix together two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of dish soap. Spread the mixture over any stain, let it sit for a bit and then launder as directed, this pre-treater is quick and inexpensive.

Do your cookie sheets have tons of cooked on crud?  Well if you want to clean them, just mix together equal parts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and spread it over the sheet.  Use hot water to gently scrub the cookie sheet and that cooked on crud will come right off.

This same mixture will work on glass top stoves and kitchen appliances.

How about grout stains?  Mix together equal parts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and dip a toothbrush into the mixture to clean your grout lines. Scrub it in and then rinse it with hot water.

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide an easy and inexpensive cleaning powerhouse that you can’t afford not to have in your home, I’m Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple. 

Super Simple Shelf

I’ll show you how to make a super simple wall shelf with a scrap board, paint, some ribbon and a couple of knobs.

I am using a scrap of one by six that is about thirty inches long.  The first step is to paint or stain the shelf out to match your room’s d├ęcor.

Next you need ribbon.  The ribbon will support the entire shelf, so I recommend at least one and a half inch wired ribbon for stability.

Cut two pieces of ribbon for your shelf supports.
Take into account the width of your board and the amount needed to make a double knot when deciding how long to make your ribbon.  I am cutting mine twenty five inches, so it will end up at about
Eighteen inches when I am done.  Tie off the ends of the pieces to make a secure knot.

Now, hang two cabinet knobs on the wall at the width you want your ribbon supports apart.

Loop the ribbons over the knobs and around the shelf and you’re all set.

Don’t use this shelf for any heavy items, super cute and whimsical for very little cost.  I’m Mrs. fixit and it’s just that simple. 

Revamp a Stock Vanity

A lot of times when you buy a house you inherit someone else’s taste and choices. I’ll show you how easy it is to transform this basic stock vanity into a piece you’ll love!
The first step is to remove any hardware that is existing on the cabinetry.

Then, use a sanding sponge to rough up the surface of piece with sandpaper or a sanding sponge. Once you’ve scuffed it up, wipe the entire piece down with a damp cloth and let it dry.

To ensure a nice and lasting finish, prime the piece with a bonding primer and let it dry.

Next, the paint.  For a bathroom, I recommend enamel paint; it has a tougher finish and will hold up nicely to the wear and tear a bathroom sees. 

Finish the cabinet with at least two coats of paint for both coverage and durability. 

Add some fresh hardware that really speaks to your taste and you’ve got a whole new vanity for very little money.I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Grout a Floor

Grouting tile fills the joints between tiles to finish a floor.  i’ll show you how to do it!

mix your grout according to the directions provided, they will vary slightly from brand to brand so be sure you read your package.

once the grout is mixed, put a glob on the floor and use a grout float held at a forty-five degree angle to push the grout into the tile.  work diagonally across the tiles back and forth to be sure you’re filling the joints. 

avoid the spaces between the tile and the wall or other materials, these act as expansion joints and they are needed to make your tile job last. Once you’ve grouted the entire space, let it sit for a few minutes and then you can start removing excess grout.

use a large damp sponge to remove excess grout from the surface of the tile.  you will need to rinse and wring out your sponge several times as you work. you want to remove excess grout from the tile without removing it from the joints.

once you’ve removed as much grout as possible let it dry.  when you see a haze forming on the tile, you’re going to want to use an old cotton towel to buff the tiles to a shine.

let the grout dry completely before you allow traffic on it  - usually another twenty-four hours. I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Laying Ceramic Tile

Laying ceramic tile on  a bathroom floor is a big job, but i can show you how to do it, step by step!

Generally when you’re starting a tile job you want to find the center point of your room by snapping chalk lines at the center point of each wall. In my case I am tiling a small bathroom and i want a full tile line at the edge of the bathtub, so i am going to start by the bathtub and work my way out from there.

Spread a layer of thinset onto the floor with a notched trowel large enough for a sheet of tile, and lay it in place.  press it lightly into the thinset and use a level to be sure that it is perfectly even. continue this process working out from the tub and back toward the door.  space your sheets apart the same distance as the tile on your mosaic sheets.

When you get to the walls, toilet flanges or outlets, you can pop tiles off of the sheets and cut them mesh with a utility knife.  if you need to cut individuals tile use a tile saw or nippers.

Once all of the tile sheets are in place – keep people off of the floors for twenty-four hours so the adhesive can set up.  that’s all there is to it!  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Install Cement Backerboard

Don’t skip the cement board when you’re tiling job, I have the step by step to get the project moving.

The first step is to snap chalk lines onto the floor to mark the dimensions of the sheets.  You want to be sure that your joints don’t line up with the joints on your sub-floor and so that there is nowhere four corners of backer come together.

Starting in the furthest corner from the door, spread enough thinset onto the floor for one sheet of cement board.

Once you’ve filled the space, make ridges in the thinset with the a notched trowel.  Lay your first piece of backerboard in place leave a quarter inch gap between the board and the wall.  To cut cement board, score the board with a utilty knife or carbide tipped cutter, and snap on the score line.  for outlets or toilet flanges, trace and then drill holes in the perimeter, score lines and snap out small pieces.

Repeat the process until the floor is covered; leave an eighth of a inch seam between boards. 

Once all of the boards are in place, secure them to the floor with backerboard screws every eight inches, along the outside keep screws between a half an inch and two inches from the edge.

Once everything is secure, fill the joints with adhesive, extending it out from the joints about an inch and a half on either side.  Lay two inch fiberglass tape over the joint pushing it into the adhesive. When it’s in place cover the tape with a thin layer of adhesive feathering it out at the edges.  

that’s it, ready for tile! I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Remove Vinyl Flooring

If you’ve been living with vinyl flooring that you don’t like I can show you how to remove it quickly and easily! Grab some work gloves, safety glasses let’s get to work!
Use a utility knife to cut the vinyl into one foot sections across the length and the width, be careful not to damage the subfloor.

Wedge a putty knife under the corner of one of the sections and pull up the vinyl using the knife to break up any adhesive as you work. Repeat the process over the entire floor.

Once you’ve got t he flooring up, you can use a mixture of a couple of teaspoons of dish soap and some warm water in a spray bottle and spray it over any remaining adhesive to loosen it up,  use a putty knife to scrape it off.

If your floors were put in prior to the 1980’s call an asbestos removal company because vinyl flooring manufactured before the 1980’s contained asbestos.  Now you’re all set to add your new flooring.  I’m Mrs. FIXIT and it’s just that simple!

Canning Jars

If you think you only need canning jars if you have a garden, think again!  I have some great uses for them!

Pick up some heavy gauge wire at your local hardware store and make some hanging lanterns. 

Just wrap the wire around the neck of the jar a couple of times, then make a loop up for a handle and then around the neck a couple more times to secure it.  Add a candle and you’ve got a great rustic lantern.

Speaking of candles, if you’re interested in making your own, canning jars is the perfect vessel!

You can make a terrarium from a canning jar. Add pebbles to the bottom of the jar, then a layer of charcoal, then some soil and finally the plants.

The pebbles allow the water to drain from the plants but remain in the jar for moisture when it’s needed!

How about a soap dispenser? Drill or punch a hole through the lid of your jar big enough to slip a pump assembly through.  Use a cork on the underside with a hole drilled through it to hold them pump in place and you’re all set!

Some cool uses for canning jars that I hope you will try for yourself! I’M Mrs. Fixit and it’s just that simple.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Olive Oil

Olive oil is used in hundreds of recipes, but did you know it can be used for so many other household tasks?  

Use it in the kitchen to season cast iron pans, or wooden cutting boards and salad bowls! If you have some leather shoes or a baseball glove that need some revitalizing try olive oil. 

Put a little on a soft cloth and work it into the leather, remember a little goes a long way!  Use it to shine up plant leaves. 

A little dab on a paper towel will make your plants look great.  

Dented, pitted wood furniture? No problem! Just rub a little over the surface and the dents will disappear. 

In the yard it can help keep moles away. Saturate an old rag with olive oil and stuff it into a mole hole. The animals hate the smell and will stay far away.  

Keep some olive oil in the garage too. A quick coat on gardening tools will keep them from rusting. It will also lubricate garage door tracks. 

Olive oil is also a great hand cleaner for greasy, grimy hands! Rub it in and wipe it away with a paper towel.  This also works on dry hands and feet. Just rub some in before you go to bed and slip on a pair of cotton socks or gloves you won't believe the difference in the morning.