danceswithwools.net

August 12, 2013

How to convert a cheap pre-fab bookcase into a stylish headboard

So, I had just finished the total redesign of our guest room and I was pretty happy with the results. But I didn’t have a headboard for the queen bed in there. What I DID have, however, was an old, cheap bookcase that I had bought from Walmart about 15 years ago. Here it is in all its glory:

So, armed with my handy-dandy pink tool kit, I dismantled the bookcase into its various parts. There was a lot of good wood to work with and I was lucky to have the molding pieces all intact. There were also a lot of pieces left over for other projects. More about that later. Here are the pieces I used on the headboard:

The next thing I did was to cut down the two long side pieces so they were the same length as the bed was wide. That means 60 inches. That done, I took two small pieces of molding and used them to attach the two pieces together, just to give them stability while I worked on the upholstery. It’s delicate at this point and shouldn’t be muscled around, but I managed to get it inside where I could work in the air conditioning.

I bought some quilt batting, cut the excess off, and folded it over 3 times, making it nice and soft. Then I stapled it in place.

Then I put the upholstery fabric on. I used one of those light-blocking drapery liners from Walmart because that’s all I could find that was thick and sturdy enough. I stapled liberally all around the outside, and up the middle where the molding would go.

Next, I took my wonderful chop saw and cut the reclaimed molding to the right lengths. I cut the long piece to 60 inches and the short pieces to 24 inches. Then I got out my primer and my red spray paint and went to town. I gave them a whole day to dry because I hate it when I muck up a nice paint job by being impatient. Then all I had left to do was screw the molding on from the back side. I drilled the holes first, to make sure I didn’t muck up the pressboard trying to just screw them in. I used some inch and a half wood screws, three each for the short pieces and five for the long piece across the top. I think it looks FABULOUS!

To attach the headboard to the bed, I debated hanging it on the wall but it seemed a little too heavy to do that. So, I used some 3 inch screws and attached two 2 x 4 boards to the back of the headboard. I fussed a lot with the height of it, but I think it came out really nice in the end.

Filed under: Crafts,Home,Uncategorized — admin @ 9:39 am , Tags: , , , ,

March 14, 2013

Easter Subway Art and Fave Colorful Spring Crafts Blog Hop

As always, I’m a little late to the party.  But having finally gotten my Easter groove back, I managed to complete a thing or two.  Today, it was a colorful, happy bit of Easter subway art.  You can download it and print it to your heart’s content.  As soon as I can get to Office Max, I’m going to have it printed onto an iron-on paper, so that Katie can have a nice new Easter T-shirt.

Easter Subway Art

 

I hope you have a wonderful Easter, and be sure to visit the other blogs on the hop for some more awesome Spring/Easter crafts.  You can also win an awesome craft prize pack!

 

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:36 am ,

March 13, 2013

The Best of Easter

I don’t often post info on other people’s tutorials and DIYs.  But I was cruising Pinterest looking for some new ideas for Easter, and I just couldn’t let them go without sharing.  Inexplicably, I’m feeling a total lack of inspiration this year.  I’m just not into the whole Easter experience.  If you’re finding it hard to get into the spirit, maybe some of these links will help you too.

Of course, what would Easter be without eggs?  Here are a few ideas for decorating eggs.  We used the Kool-Aid method for dying last year.  It worked great, was fast, gave a vibrant color, and smelled good to boot.

 

 

 

And when you and the kids are done dying eggs, you can enjoy a little kid’s arts and crafts time.  This one was really cute and simple.

These little birdies were so cute!  And I love that they’re made from repurposed items.

If you’re not into the traditional egg hunt, you might try this little gem.  I think I’ll give it a shot this year.

 

And of course, what would Easter be without an awesome Easter wreath on your front door?

For your baking and decorating (and eating) please, I present the coolest cupcakes this side of…well…ANYWHERE.

 

And if you’re tired of the same old Easter basket schtick, you might want to try this little mason jar idea.  You can get the edible grass at Walmart.  It’s all pretty self-explanatory.

 

And I fell in love with this cool centerpiece.

 

So, I hope you found some Easter inspiration here.  Have a happy holiday and I leave you with an adorable bunny picture.

 

Ciao!

Trish

 

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:27 pm ,

June 11, 2012

TUTORIAL: Pillow Covers From Placemats (No sew)

So, we recently bought this wonderful new leather sofa for our living room.  I adore it, but the pillows were horrible.  They’re some sort of dreadful burgundy and tan mock damask and the fringe at the edges sheds all over our home on a daily basis.  I wanted some new pillows that were more in our color scheme of turquoise and lime green but at today’s prices for designer throw pillows?  No way!
What I did find were some awesome color matched placemats at Target.  The set of four were only $8 and so I bought two sets…one to use on our table and one to turn into throw pillows for the sofa.  It only took me a little over an hour to make all four pillow covers and there was no sewing involved.  It’s really easy, I promise.
What you need:
4 pillow forms of your choice (I used 14 inch square because they fit the mats)
4 lengths of velcro self-stick that are as wide as your mats
4 placemats
A seam ripper

I started with a simple placemat

Start by ripping open the seam on one short end of the placemat.

Then I just ripped open one end.

Slip the pillow form inside and fold the fabric in until you have just enough of a fabric lip to cover the end of the pillow with a tiny bit left over to cover the velcro edge.  I had to fold mine in 4 inches.

Pinning the fabric makes it easier.

Place pins from the outside in on both side of the edge, leaving enough space to place your velcro without interfering with the removal of the pins.  About 2 inches in should do it.  Then, simply cut your velcro to the right length and peel and stick one half of the velcro to each side of the opening.
Stick half of the velcro to each side.
Press the velcro closed and remove your pins.  Voila!  Your pillow cover is done.  You can also remove it easily for washing when the time comes, just make sure to wash only in cold water as the hot water will cause the velcro to release.
The finished product.And thanks to my model and constant helper: Katie!

Filed under: Crafts,Home — admin @ 7:39 pm , Tags: , , , , , ,

April 3, 2012

A Giant Crochet Doily Rug for Our Living Room

You’ve all seen the pictures on Pinterest for that giant doily rug.  I repinned it myself.  It’s just gorgeous and it led me to search for others of its kind.  Sadly, there are many out there, but no one has bothered to offer up tutorials or patterns.  Two weeks ago, I set out to correct this by making one of my own.  I will warn you, what you’re about to read will be painful.  It was painful as I was going through it, but the results were worth every single agonizing moment.

I ripped this apart and re-started three times.  Varying parts of it were done, redone, and torn out no less than six times.  I suffer from a terrible amount of OCD when it comes to such things.  Every part of it had to be perfect or it wasn’t worth doing.  The finished product is perfect (for me at least) and measures 45 inches in diameter.  There are bobble stitches, picots, arches, and fringe.  But no part of this rug is all that hard.  It is mostly worked in chains and double crochet.  And so, without further ado, I offer up the amazing, delicious, yarn-guzzling giant doily rug.

Giant crochet doily rug

Giant crochet doily rug

Giant crochet doily rug

 

Giant crochet doily rug

 

For this project, I wanted something softer than what the other people were achieving with their rope crochet, so I used Lion’s Brand Hometown USA in New York White,  9 skeins of it.  It is VERY chunky and VERY soft and gave me just what I wanted.  I also used a Size N (9 mm) crochet hook.  I will warn you, after a few hours of this, your wrists and hands will HURT.  It’s still worth it.

Special stitches: PICOT — Chain 3, slip stitch into first chain.  BOBBLE — YO, insert hook into stitch, YO, draw through 2 loops (do this 5 times until you have 6 loops on your hook), YO and draw through all loops.  Slip stitch into same stitch.

Gauge: It doesn’t matter.  Just keep your tension even throughout and everything will be fine.

With white, ch 8. Join to create circle.
Row 1: Work 20 DC into circle.
Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as first DC and ch 2). Skip 1 st, DC in next st, ch 2 around. Join with sl st.  (30 st)
Row 3: Ch 2 (counts as first DC). DC in same st, 1 DC in next st. *2 DC in next st, 1 DC in next st. Repeat from *. Join with sl st.  (45 st)
Row 4: Ch 2 (counts as first DC). DC in same st and next 3 st. 2 DC in next st. *DC in next 3 st, 2 DC in next st.  Repeat from *. Join with sl st.  (56 st)
Row 5: Ch 2 ( counts as first DC). DC in same st and next 3 st. 2DC in next st. *DC in next 3 st, 2 DC in next st.  Repeat from *. Join. (70 st)
Row 6: Ch 2 ( counts as first DC). DC in same st and next 3 st. 2DC in next st. *DC in next 3 st, 2 DC in next st.  Repeat from *. Join. (88 st)
Row 7:  Ch2 (counts as first DC). DC in same st. *Ch 3, sk 2 st, DC in next 2 st. Repeat from *.  Join. (110 st)
Row 8: Ch2 (counts as first DC). DC in same st and next 3 st. 2DC in next st. *DC in next 3 st, 2 DC in next st.  Repeat from *.  (140 st)
Row 9: Ch2 (counts as first DC). DC in same st and next 4 st. 2DC in next st. *DC in next 5 st, 2 DC in next st.  Repeat from *. Join. (168 st)
Row 10: Ch 2 (counts as first DC) DC in next st. *Work bobble in next st, DC in next 2 st. Repeat from *.  Join. (168 st)
Row 11: Ch 1 (counts as first sc). Hdc in next st, dc in next st, tr in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, sc in next st.  *sc in next st, hdc in next st, dc in next st, tr in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, sc in next st. Repeat from *. Join.  (168 st)
Row 12: Sl st into next 2 st, sc in tr st, ch 5, sk next 6 st, sc in next st (in tr). *ch 5, sk next 6 st, sc in tr. Repeat from *. Join to first sc. (144 st)
Row 13:  Ch 2 (counts as first DC) DC in same st and next 5 ch. 2 DC in next st (top of sc), *Dc in next 5 ch, 2 dc in top of sc. Repeat from *. Join. (168 st)
Row 14: Ch 2 (counts as first DC) DC in same st and next 4 st.  *FP DC around st directly below and left of the st you just DC in.  DC in next empty st (this will be behind and slightly to the right of the BP DC you just made) and in the next 6 st. Repeat from *, ending in 3 DC. Join. (189 st)
Row 15:  Ch 2 (counts as first DC) DC in same st and next 3 st.  *FP DC around previous FP DC.  DC in next empty st (this will be behind and slightly to the right of the BP DC you just made) and in the next 3 st. Reduce one st. DC in next 2 st. Repeat from *, ending in 4 DC. Join. (189 st)
Row 16: Ch 2 (counts as first DC) DC in same st and next 2 st.  *FP DC around previous FP DC.  DC in next empty st (this will be behind and slightly to the right of the BP DC you just made) and in the next 3 st. Reduce one st. DC in next 2 st. Repeat from *, ending in 5 DC. Join. (189 st)
Row 17: Ch 2 (counts as first DC) DC in same st and next st.  *FP DC around previous FP DC.  DC in next empty st (this will be behind and slightly to the right of the BP DC you just made) and in the next 3 st. Reduce one st. DC in next 2 st. Repeat from *, ending in 6 DC. Join. (189 st)
Row 18: Ch 1. Sc in same stitch.  *Ch 9, sk next 8 st, sl in next 3 st. Repeat from *. Join.
Row 19: Sl st into 9-ch sp.  Ch 2 (counts as first dc), 13 dc in each ch-9 sp. Join.
Row 20: Ch 1. sc, ch 1, sk 1 st, hdc, ch 1, sk 1 st, dc, ch 1, sk 1 st, (tr, ch 1, tr, ch 1, tr, ch 1) in next st, sk 1 st, dc, ch 1, sk 1 st, hdc, ch 1, sk 1 st, sc. Repeat once for each 13-dc arch. Join.
Row 21: Sl into first ch 1 sp.  Ch 2, dc, picot, ch 1, *dc into next ch 1 sp, picot, ch 1.  Repeat from *.  Join. Tie off.

 

PLEASE NOTE: I may offer this as a PDF at a later time.  It all depends on how much free time I have and how much the software ticks me off.  LOL  In any event, this pattern is mine, it is original, and you may use it to your heart’s content, so long as you do NOT redistribute it or reprint it.  Anyone caught selling it or claiming it as their own will be tracked down by my crack team of rabid lawyers and made to suffer.  I’m not kidding.  Not even a little bit.  But please feel free to link to this page and share as much as you like for free, provided that you give me credit.  This was a LOT of work and produced streams of curse words that even I didn’t know I knew.  So give me my due.  LOL  Enjoy!

Trish

 

 

 

Filed under: Crafts,Crochet — admin @ 11:23 am , Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

March 26, 2012

How to make White Sauce perfectly every single time

The other day, a friend and I were outside of school, talking about cooking.  I told her how excited I was that Easter was coming, because I love creamed eggs and we’ve made them an Easter  tradition at our house.  “I’d love to make creamed eggs,” she told me.  “But I can’t make white sauce to save my life.”  I proceeded to assure her how easy it was, but she was having none of it.  Hers came out lumpy and bland and was always either too thin or too thick.

 
I don’t have a lot of wisdom to impart to the cooking world but there are one or two things at which I am VERY skilled.  White sauce is one of those things.  And after talking to several people, I found that the making of white sauce seems to be a bone of contention for many of them.  My mother taught me to make white sauce when I was very young.  We used it a lot and so both my mother and I got to hone our craft.

 
Now, I’m going to tell you how to make perfect white sauce every time and what to do with it when you’re done.  Just three ingredients and just three steps. It’s simple, really.  Flawless.  And oh, so delicious!

 
You only need three things to make white sauce: Flour, milk and butter or margarine.  You may add seasonings such as salt and pepper if you like, but it’s not required.  The amount of butter and flour must be completely equal or the sauce will fail.  The way I make it is, I dig a hunk of butter out of the tub and throw it in the pot.  Then I add an equal amount of flour.  I start stirring and adding tiny dabs of milk until the sauce is almost to a boil and as thick as I want it.  I’ve been doing this for a long time.
Not everybody has made 50,000 batches of white sauce and so they might not be able to just toss the stuff together and have it work.  But everyone CAN make white sauce and have it turn out perfectly.  People make several mistakes that can ruin a good white sauce.  So, to eliminate at least 50% of the possible errors, here are the most important things to avoid:

 
1. Use a whisk.  Not a fork or a spoon, never a mixer.  Just a whisk
2. Never stop stirring.  Never.
3. Never use too high or too low heat.  Not low, not high…only medium.
4. Do not allow the sauce to cool.  Do not reheat it.  Once it is done, use it immediately.  Allowing white sauce (or any sauce or gravy for that matter) to cool will allow it to develop a skin.  When you reheat it, the skin never completely dissolves and will create lumps.
5.  Don’t rush it. Begin each step ONLY when the previous step has been completed.  Do not try to force the butter to melt or pour in the flour or milk too quickly.

 
Now, to begin, you need a good sized pot.  We’ll be making 2 cups of white sauce, so decide what size pot you think you need, and use one size larger.  When you start stirring the pot, you’ll thank me for this.  Seriously, I never use anything smaller than a 4 quart pot.  It is taller than wide, and has a sturdy handle.  This is imperative.

 
STEP 1:
Place 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine in the pot, turn the heat on medium, and let the butter melt.  Make sure to stir it occasionally.  You don’t want the butter to scorch.
STEP 2:
Once the butter is completely melted and no bits remain, add 4 tablespoons of flour to the butter.  I find that any flour will work, especially all-purpose flour.  Now, begin stirring.  Make sure that all the flour is incorporated into the butter, with no dusty bits remaining.  Blend it in by stirring gently, making sure to scrape down the sides of the pot.  Don’t worry if it becomes crumbly or turns into balls.
STEP 3:
Add 2 cups milk gradually.  I cannot stress how slowly you should add the milk.  I usually start off by adding a tiny dab (no more than three tablespoons worth) and stirring constantly to work it into the butter/flour mixture, thus thinning it.  Keep stirring vigorously, working down from the sides, and making certain to cover the entire bottom of the pot with good, firm strokes.  Continue adding the milk, a bit at a time, sloooooowly and stirring all the while.  It will seem to alternate between thin and thick, but once all the milk is added and the final thickening occurs, the sauce is done.  You may then add salt and pepper to taste.

 
Now you have this wonderful, creamy, rich sauce in your pan, but what do you do with it?  Well, here are a few ideas:

 
You can add chopped eggs and make Creamed Eggs to be served over toast.  If you add just the white, then pour it over toast and press the yolks through a sieve as garnish, this is known as Goldenrod Eggs.
You can add dried beef and make Creamed Chipped Beef on toast (see a trend?) also known as Sh*t On a Shingle.
You can add mushrooms and ham (or chicken) and make Ham (or Chicken) a la King
You can add an equal amount of chicken gravy, some peas, carrots and chopped chicken, bake it all in a crust and call it chicken pot pie
You can add cheese and a bit more pepper and have a wonderfully creamy cheese sauce

 
The possibilities are endless.  I use white sauce as the basis for a lot of my casseroles, and even some of my crock pot recipes.  It’s very versatile and as long as you abide by those few simple rules, you’ll end up with a perfect white sauce, every….single….time.

Filed under: Cooking — admin @ 11:10 am , Tags: , , , , , , ,

March 7, 2012

Project Pretty Link Party: Hanger Hack

So, I’ve never done a link party before but Jen, over at I Heart Organizing, started a Project Pretty link party.  How can I say “no” to Jen?  She only has the most awesome blog ever!  I’ve been saving this yarn for a long time, just waiting for the right opportunity to use it.  Hanger covers (not the ones your grandma used to do, where you endlessly wrap yarn around a wire hanger) have been all over the internet lately.  The problem is, there are scant few tutorials for it.  So, I decided to take a crack at it myself.  I found the hangers at a thrift store, in a huge bundle for a buck.  Gotta love that, right?  They looked just like this:

Bare wood hanger from the thrift store

 

Pretty awful, right?  My daughter has trouble keeping her satiny jacket on a regular hanger, so I figured I would hack it, make it easier for her, and pretty it up a little too.  This is the first hanger I finished.  Very simple.

Completed striped hanger cover

 

Then, I decided to take on something a little more girly, a little fancier.  I know you’ve seen these hangers floating around the internet.  Similar ones were designed and published by a Japanese crochet author.  I don’t read Japanese, so this is my take on it.

Hanger cover with vines and flowers

 

I’m pretty happy with the results.  My daughter’s jacket no longer slips off the hanger and these look SO cute hanging in the entryway closet.  I started with 5 balls of cotton and I still have the better part of them all left after completing 2 hangers.  And now, in my own feeble manner, I offer up the tutorial for how I did these

 

Supplies: 2.5 ounce balls of Peaches and Cream cotton, 1 ball each color.  I used Bright Blue, Bright Pink and Bright Lime.  Size F crochet hook.

Striped Hanger
Chain 13 with main color.
1. SC in each chain across, ch 1. Turn.
2-6. SC in each chain across.
7. Join color B. SC in each sc across.
8. Join  color C. SC in each sc across.
9. Join main color. SC in each sc across.
10. Join B color.  SC in each sc across.
11. Join color C. SC in each sc across.
12. Join main color.  SC in each sc across.
13. Join color B.  SC in each sc across.
14. Join color C. SC in each sc across.
15-40.  Join main color.  SC in each sc across.
41. Join color C. SC in each sc across.
42. Join color B.  SC in each sc across.
43. Join main color. SC in each sc across.
44. Join color C. SC in each sc across.
45. Join color B. SC in each sc across.
46. Join main color.  SC in each sc across.
47. Join color C. SC in each sc across.
48. Join color B. SC in each sc across.
49-54. Join main color.  SC in each sc across.
Tie off.
Joining: Slip cover over hook and around hanger so that the hook comes through between the 20th and 21st row, and just after the 6th stitch of that row.  At one end, join main color and slip stitch both edges closed across the bottom of the hanger to the other end.  Tie off.

Vines Hanger
With main color, chain 73
Row 1: SC in second chain from hook and each ch across.
Row 2-8: SC in each sc across.  Tie off.
Joining: Slip cover over hook and around hanger so that the hook comes through between the 4th and 5th row, and just after the 35th stitch of that row.  At one end, join main color and slip stitch both edges closed across the bottom of the hanger to the other end.  Tie off.
Flowers: Ch 4. slip stitch in first ch.  *Ch 3, slip stitch in first ch.  Repeat from * until there are six petals.  Tie off.  Make 12.
Vines: Join color B at first stitch of the center bottom, at the top of row 4. SC in first stitch.  *ch 3, skip 2 stitches, sc in next stitch.  Repeat from * 23 times, ending with sc.
Row 2: Ch 3. SC in first ch 3 space.  *Ch 1, insert hook into top of one flower, ch 1 through both flower and loop, ch 1, SC in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, sc in next ch 3 sp.  Repeat from * across..

And there you have it!  You could do a solid color cover, then add some dimensional flowers.  You could get as simple or fancy as you wanted to.  I hope you have fun with it!
IHeart Organizing

 

Filed under: Crochet — admin @ 7:30 am , Tags: , , , , , , ,

February 24, 2012

Scrapbooking Catch-up

Most people know this about me.  I’m a huge procrastinator at heart.  I try hard not to be, but the urge to just wait one more day overcomes me.  Then there are the distractions: facebook, pinterest, games and TV.  All of this came together (along with moving and misplacing things) to keep me from scrapbooking for the past 3 years.  I heard that gasp.  I know.  I’ll try to do better.

For the past 5 years, I’ve gathered the kids’ school photos, piles and piles of scrapbooking albums and supplies, plus the tools of the trade.  They’ve languished in dark corners of my closets, in boxes, in bags.  They’ve conspired to take me by force.  And in the process, they’ve gobbled up a bunch of money, like starving little weasels.  And for all of that, 3 years of pictures remain in their original envelopes.  Heck, there isn’t a single picture in Katie’s album.  I hang my head in shame.

I found that it’s just too overwhelming.  I have to drag out all that stuff, cover the only table in the house with it, then clean it all up in time for dinner.  It’s messy, time-consuming, and just plain tedious.  So, I decided to investigate the world of digital scrapbooking.

There are tons of sites about this all over the net.  People offer freebies all over the place.  They’re gorgeous and alluring; the siren-song of digi-scrap drew me in.  The hard drive filled up.  Pages were made, pages were edited.  I was in heaven.  And through all of that, there wasn’t a single scrap of paper on the floor.  It’s pure love, I tell you!

My problem is that we always buy the 8 x 10 pictures from school.  Thus, I have to use a 12 x 12 page.  Fine.  I also don’t like to make a page with a scanned copy of the picture, then have to store the picture away as well.  I like to make the page, print it, then put the physical picture ON IT.  That requires more thought.  But it is do-able.  Certain things have to be added after the fact, if you intend to have any of the embellishments overlap the picture.  Or, they can be printed right over that big white space, then meticulously cut out so that the picture fits behind them.  Also do-able.

What was NOT do-able was the printing.  Neither of our printers will handle a 12-inch square of paper.  And the ink is impossibly expensive.  We don’t have the money to spend $5-10 printing each page at a print shop.  We don’t have Costco or Office Depot, or even a Kinkos here.  What we DO have is the internet and a lot of time.  So, I searched and found several places that will do the pages.  You upload the image, then have it mailed to you.  I tried several.  The very best that I found was Persnickety Prints.  They provided a gorgeous print, didn’t cost an arm and a leg, and delivered VERY quickly.  I’ll be sending them 7 more pages next week,  I’m all caught up.  Yay!

As for my software, I use nothing but Paintshop Pro 7.  If you’re into graphics, you know why I use 7 instead of the newest version.  Suffice it to say that it does graphic design and editing much better than the newer ones.  Here is a small picture of the page as I first made it, before printing…

The raw page

 

And here is the page, after printing, with the top circles cut out and my handsome boy put in place with some clear sticky corners.

The finished product

 

It came out quite nicely and I was able to use the original picture.  It also exists in its original state, so that if he wants to remove the picture or do something else with it later in life (after I’m gone) then he’ll have that option.  I fear permanence.

This page was made in Paintshop from scratch.  I didn’t use any digital kits for this one, I just made it.  If you use digi kits, then it’s a lot easier.  There are some amazing artists out there who do a MUCH better job than I ever could.  Some of their stuff is offered for free and some is for sale.  I troll their sites weekly, and that’s how I get all my scrapbook art.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Digi Design Resort

Marzia’s Place

Twin Mom Scraps

Digital Crea

Scrapbooks Gone Digital

Digi Scrap Depot

Friendly Scrap

Shabby Princess

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed our little talk about scrapbooking.  If you find any other amazing digi scrap sites, feel free to comment and let me know about them.  I’m always looking for more options and design inspiration.  You can never have enough (though my hard drive says I do!) so I welcome suggestions.

Blessings,

Trish

 

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:31 am ,

February 6, 2012

Products I Can’t Live Without

I thought it would be fun, for once, to sit down and consider all the products I use around my house to keep us all clean and organized.  Of course, I would be lost without my three hole punch, my scrapbook glue (which makes and repairs a myriad of things) and my computer.  But there are other things I’ve found over the years that I simply can’t live without, now that I have them.
1. Boon Animal Bag

Boon Animal Bag

Boon Animal Bag

This is one of those things that, if you have children, can save your life and your sanity.  Basically, it is a bean bag-like chair that holds literally hundreds of stuffed animals.  Katie has nearly a thousand stuffies and she needs at least 2 more animal bags.  This little wonder was bought as a test of the system.  It held WAY more stuffies than I ever thought possible, is VERY durable, and makes a rather comfortable seat.  You can check it out at the Boon site.

2. Boon Lawn

Boon Lawn

This is one of those things that you don’t realize how much you need it until you have it.  It’s a drying rack for your dishes, folks.  Mine is used to hold the daily glasses.  Everyone has an initialed glass and they use ONLY that glass.  They get rinsed out after each use and set out on the lawn to drain.  It keeps dozens of glasses and cups out of my dishwasher, saves time and energy, plus teaches responsibility.  The green grass comes out of the bottom tray for drainage and cleaning.  It holds everything from my frying pan to the most delicate of crystal.  It looks great, has attachments available to hold things like bottle nipples and such.  Find the specs at Boon Inc.

3. Kikkerland’s Grass Charging Station

Kikkerland Grass Charging Station

 

Before this came along, there were cords all over the house.  Cell phones, Ipads, Ipods and other items had to be charged.  There were never enough outlets.  It was horrible.  Now, the extension cord with a multi-outlet head goes into the base of the grass, and the USB charger cords get plugged into it.  Items are safely nestled in the grass with no damage or scratching.  It’s all very neat and a lot safer.  The item is available at Amazon and a ton of other places, but you can get specifics at the Kikkerland site.

4. Dirt Devil Kurv Hand Vacuum

Dirt Devil Kurv

This is the best hand vac I’ve ever owned.  We have a chinchilla who tends fling a lot of poo.  I have to sweep his mess up daily, along with a ton of other little messes.  This little vac handles it all, charges quickly, and has never lost suction.  Aside from all that, it looks pretty just sitting out.  Like a work of art.  It can be a bit pricey but I got mine at Rose’s for $15.  If you watch Walmart and Target, you can get a deal.  See the specs at the Dirt Devil site.

5. Snap n’Stack craft storage boxes

Snap n'Stack

These storage containers are like a dream come true!  Mine is turquoise (natch!) and it has three levels.  You can stack and stack and stack until the cows come home.  They’re easily portable, come in a ton of configurations.  I even bought several for storing Christmas ornaments and lights.  I plan on buying more.  I found mine both at Jo-ann’s and at Walmart but they’re available at a host of places, including the Container Store.  I promise that you’ll love them.  Oh, and take a peek at the one for storing ribbons.  If I used ribbon, that’s where I’d keep it.  Genius!

Well, that’s about it for now.  You should know that I am in no way sponsored or compensated by these companies.  I just LOVE these products and want to sing their praises.  You’ll note from previous posts that I’m equally quick to mouth-off about products that DON’T work, so rest assured that I am unbiased in any way.  I just love things that work well and hate things that don’t.

Blessings!

Trish

 

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February 3, 2012

How to REALLY clean your washer

Until a few years ago, cleaning your washer seemed like a ridiculous idea. I mean, you put soap in there every time you use it, right? What could be cleaner than soap? Well, they’ve changed that soap, my friends. It no longer contains phosphates and thus has become a detriment to our washers.

Thanks to a lack of phosphates, your washer can develop a large scum build-up in a short time. The laundry soap that used to work so well and wash out so cleanly now leaves a residue behind. You can fix this on a daily basis, by adding phosphates BACK into the laundry detergent in the form of trisodium phosphate. It is available at every local hardware store and home center and it doesn’t cost much at all. Add a tablespoon or so depending on your load size, and every time you do laundry, your clothes (and your washer) will become a little cleaner.

But how to take care of that horrid build-up RIGHT NOW? Well, first of all, a lot of the smell is due to mildew which builds up every time you do laundry. Washers do not pump out all the water after a load is finished. There’s always some left behind. And we all like to close the lid when we’re done, don’t we? It looks neater that way. So, that moisture that was left behind stays in there with no air circulation. Mold and mildew develop and your machine gets a little funky. Just leave the lid open to allow the air to circulate and you’ll eliminate that problem without having to lift a finger. Just lift the lid.

As for the rest of your machine, there is hope. Set your machine for a medium load, cold water, high agitation. Then, as the machine fills, add in one large bottle of hydrogen peroxide and one small bottle of vinegar. Put the juice of one lemon (or the entire contents of a plastic lemon) into the fabric softener dispenser. Close the lid, let the machine finish its cycles and when you return, your washing machine will be clean, sweet-smelling, and gunk free.

The peroxide will destroy all biological residue, the vinegar will de-grease and de-gunk the rest. Mildew and smell will become a thing of the past. I clean my machine this way at least once every 3 months and I haven’t had a problem with it. It also seems to pump out faster.

A lot of people like to use bleach to clean their machines but I tell them not to do it. The chlorine in the bleach will wear out the pump gaskets at three times the normal speed and if you have a septic tank, it will destroy the beneficial bacteria inside it. Stick to the vinegar/peroxide/lemon juice formula and the machine will get just as clean without any toxic residue.

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