Simple Curb Appeal Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

I wanted to give a big thank you to Home Depot for sponsoring this post.  My husband and I really wanted to look for some quick and easy projects that we could do over the weekend.  We found two simple curb appeal ideas perusing down the aisles of Home Depot; 1) a decorative garage door hardware kit and 2) house numbers.

I’m not going to lie; envious of the neighbors, I’ve wanted a garage door hardware kit for a few months now.  Here is a photo of our garage door before.

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We first started out by washing the garage door with soap and water. Well, my husband did as I took photos…

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We purchased two kits for our two car garage.  The directions were simple and easy to follow.

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We measured where we wanted each piece and attached them with a drill.

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When it was time to attach the handles, the screws that the kit came with were a little too short so we had to head back to Home Depot to get longer ones.  They didn’t have them in black, so I ended up spray painting the screw heads. To easily spray the heads only, I punched each screw into an old cardboard box.  It worked beautifully.

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Here is the after photo.

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Our second project for the weekend was to add house numbers to the house. I know! I Know! There weren’t any on the house when we moved in a year ago.  This kit was great because it came with cut outs so that your numbers would align perfectly.

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I added each number one by one removing the adhesive strips on the back.

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Ta dah! Perfect alignment in seconds!

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We attached it with the screws included next to our front entry.

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Thanks again to Home Depot for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Organizing Your Bathroom with Command Brand

by Dinah Wulf

I wanted to make a big THANK YOU for Command Brand for sponsoring this post.  I am actually a very big fan and have been using Command Brand for years.  I have hung my family photo collage with them and I have also hung my tribute wall to 90’s grunge wall with Command Brand strips (I know, I know, it was for my husband’s birthday last year). I’m really excited to share with you some helpful tips for you to stay organized in your bathroom.

Command Brand is introducing a new line of bathroom organization to help keep towels razors, loofas, and other toiletries off the floor and the counter.  These work much better than suction cups.  I used a medium bath hook to hold my hand towels near the sink.  I found this to work better than the towel rack.  We have overnight guests come often and the towel rack is needed to hang their bath towels.

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I used another medium bath hook behind the door so that my guests could hang some clothes while taking a shower or bath.

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The toothbrush and razor holder works well in my guestroom shower.  Although we have a built in shelf, this little caddy comes in handy for small items to keep them out of the way of the shampoo and conditioner bottles.

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Right outside the shower door, I hung the large towel hook, which holds up to five pounds.  This will come in handy for guest towels or clothes when getting in and out of the shower.

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Finally, I used the large shower caddy inside the cabinet door right under the bathroom sink.  I’m using to store cleaning supplies because it holds up to seven and a half pounds.  It’s nice because it freed up a lot of cabinet space for other things.

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I hope these tips help!  My guest bathroom is now ready for visitors.  Who’s coming over??

Thanks again to Command Brand for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% mine.

Etched Glass Laundry Detergent Container

by Dinah Wulf

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I’ve always thought that all rooms in the house should be beautiful and well organized.  This includes rooms like the laundry room. Being a busy work from home mom, it’s important to me to love my home because I’m here so much! Today I wanted to share a tutorial on how to make a pretty etched glass laundry detergent container as well as 3 tips to help save you time in the laundry room. 

Here is what you’ll need to make your laundry detergent container:

  • Glass container with a lid
  • Glass etching cream
  • Adhesive stencils
  • Paint Brush
  • Tide Liquid HE

Instructions:

Step One: Make sure your glass container is clean and dry.  Apply the adhesive stencil to the glass. 

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Step Two: Using a paint brush, generously apply the glass etching cream and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. 

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Step Three: Rinse the cream off with water and remove the stencil.  Fill your container with Tide Liquid HE.

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Although laundry is a chore, added touches like a pretty etched glass container or a well-organized laundry room makes it seem a little less like a boring routine.  Here are 3 tips that I use to save time in the laundry room and make this task a little less mundane.

Tip #1: Sort as you go. Sorting is my least favorite thing to do when it comes doing laundry.  I use a hamper that has three compartments.  I separate my laundry by lights, darks, and delicates.  It makes it easy to just grab each bag to throw in the washer without having to sort it first.

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Tip #2: Separate small items.  I use a mesh bag for all small undergarments.  Also, sock clips come in handy so that you don’t lose pairs.  You can keep a container of clips near your washer for easy access.

Tip #3: Organize your laundry space.  Have your Tide Liquid HE, dryer sheets, and mini trash can within arms-reach.  That way, you can quickly add your detergent, throw in a dryer sheet, or clean out the lint trap with ease.

Hopefully this quick etched glass craft and my three laundry tips will help make your laundry time fast and fun!

This is a collaboration between Tide Original Liquid HE and the AOL Lifestyle Curator Network. Compensation was provided by Tide Original Liquid HE via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tide Original Liquid HE.

Four Budget Kitchen Renovation Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

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When it comes to renovating a home, everyone can agree that the kitchen is one of the most important places to begin, but it can also be one of the most expensive rooms to decorate. Still, not only will an upgraded kitchen make you feel more at home, but it’s one of the things that will boost the resell value of your home the most.  That doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money, however – there are a lot of inexpensive upgrades you can employ in your kitchen. Here are some great budget kitchen renovation ideas to consider.

Clean Up and Create a Plan

After you’ve cleaned up your kitchen and moved everything into a local storage unit, do a little bit of research and study the design trends.  Having a plan for your new kitchen will save you not only money but also a lot of headache since you’re no longer trying to do it on the fly. This is also a great time to see if there’s anything from your kitchen you no longer need.  Selling it could bring you quite a bit of money you can use toward the kitchen upgrades.

Look at the Layout

With the kitchen cleared out, look at the layout of it.  This is the time to decide if you really need to change the foundation of the room or if it will work as it is.  Most times kitchens have been designed a particular way because of mobility or functionality and you’ll find you probably don’t need to rip up the counters.  It could just be a matter of changing around the appliances and if that’s the case, you’ve just saved yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Energy Efficiency is a MUST

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If you’ve decided to upgrade your appliances, make sure that they’re being replaced with energy efficient models.  Not only are these kinds of upgrades usually available for tax credits for the next tax year, but they’ll also save you a lot of money in utilities each month, helping you pay off other bills and debts.  Plus, those homes that have energy efficient kitchen appliances have a much higher resell value than those without and that’s a trend that isn’t looking to go away anytime soon.

Look for Alternatives

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Before you drop a ton of money on new counter tops, consider if you can get a cheaper alternative.  There are a lot of laminate versions of your favorite counter top designs nowadays and they mimic the look of concrete and stone quite nicely.  Most people won’t be able to really tell the difference and it will save you a lot of money. 

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Rather than spending the cash to install new cabinetry, consider just painting the ones you have and adding new handles and hardware.  If the wood is looking worse for wear, a simple coat of wood stain will fix that right up and shiny new hardware can go a long way to making your kitchen look fresh and new.  If you do want to install new cabinets, considering forgoing the custom made models and instead search for base models that will fit well into your kitchen.  Check places like Habitat for Humanity Restore that offer a wide range of different cabinet options, most of which look just as nicely as those custom-made ones.  And they’ll end up saving you quite a bit of money.

It’s no secret that kitchens are one of the most valuable places to renovate inside a home simply because of the incredible resell value they hold, providing you with a potentially huge financial sum if you decide to sell.  But it doesn’t need to be an expensive upgrade to get all the benefits.  With just a few tweaks, you can save a lot of money and increase the value of your home while still having an amazingly renovated kitchen.

My Crafty Toolbox

by Dinah Wulf

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I have a bag that I carry around all the time… my crafty toolbox, if you will.  If my purse is large enough it goes in there, if it isn’t I bring it with me in the car.  I decided that I wanted to share it with you because I use it SO much and it really comes in handy.  I use it around the house, or if I’m out thrift shopping I can easily measure my new find to repurpose or refurbish.

Here’s what I have inside:

One: This mini hammer has come in handy.  I’m always rearranging or hanging new frames and pictures around the house.   It has a screwdriver attachment that conveniently screws into the bottom as well. 

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Two: Screwdriver with both a Phillips and flat head attachment.

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Three:  I found this baby in the dollar bin!  I use it ALL the time for fixing glasses, opening battery covers, remote controls, etc.

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Four: Measuring tape, Sharpie, and a pencil. A small measuring tape is perfect for when you’re out thrift shopping or going to garage sales.

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Five: Scissors and a straight edge.

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And it all fits in this bag that is small enough to carry around or fit in a purse.

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That’s it!  I hope you found this useful.  It’s just so convenient for me that I thought I’d share!

Do you have a crafty toolbox?  What’s inside? Is there anything you think I should add???

 

Creating a Family Backyard Retreat

by Dinah Wulf

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TIKI Brand®. All opinions are 100% mine.

My family and I spend a lot of time in our backyard.  We didn’t used to because when we first moved into our house a little over a year ago, the patio was the first thing that needed to be worked on.  It was leaning to one side and had been damaged over the years.  Because having a big back yard was new to us, we knew wanted to do our best to create a family backyard retreat.

Here is how it looked before.

In a few weeks we were able to enjoy our ideal outdoor space with a seating and dining area.  We tore down and built a new patio with lighting and a built in ceiling fan.  We added a few small extra decorative touches as well that made a big difference including decorative outdoor pillows that I made.

Since sitting outside during the cool evenings here in warm Southern California is one of our favorite things to do, our TIKI Brand Glowing Torch and Table Torch helped create a beautiful ambiance.  They are a MUST HAVE!

TheTIKI Brand Glowing Table TorchTIKI Brand Glowing TorchTIKI Brand Flame & Solar TorchTIKI Brand on Facebook is stunning both day and night and has the options of using a traditional flame or multicolor LED lights.  The LED lights are a great option when my daughter Mia and our dogs Pablo and Harley join us.  It is safer than having an open flame and as Mia calls it is, “A mini light show, Mommy!”

The TIKI Brand Flame & Solar Torch is a 2-in-1 torch that also has the options of a traditional flame plus a solar LED.  It automatically turns on at night and a full charge lasts up to 8 hours!  The LED flickers like a natural flame and produces 2X larger flame than a standard torch.

Another great option is that you can fill your torches with OFF!®/BiteFighter® Torch Fuel for proven mosquito repellency.  All these items are available at Wal-Mart and Target or log on to tikibrand.com.  Don’t forget to follow TIKI Brand on Facebook!

Here is a short video I made sharing five great tips for creating a family backyard retreat. Enjoy!

 

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DIY Pedestal Bowl

by Dinah Wulf

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One of my thrifty obsessions is to walk through the local Goodwill shop on the weekends, particularly because of the half off sale.  Throughout the day, they announce a color and the price tags labeled in that color are half off.  It never fails, each time the make the announcement they assure you that you will find that color label in every department.  Naturally, you will always find me by the home goods and furniture section.  This trip I found a nice white ceramic beaded ramekin and a short pewter candlestick all for less than three dollars.   I had to marry the two together and make a DIY Pedestal Bowl.

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I’ve made something similar to this for my daughter’s birthday party last year.  For her cupcake decorating station, I made party platters made out of plastic serving trays and candlesticks.  I still have them today and have used them several times since then.  This project is quite simple and doesn’t really need too much explanation, so here are just a few tips that may help you out.

Tip #1: When looking for candlesticks, look for the shape you want.  You can always paint them.

Tip #2: The wider the candlestick the sturdier.

Tip #3: Consider wine glasses or champagne flutes instead of candlesticks.

Tip #4: Use a strong bonding agent like E6000 and let it dry for 24-48 hours.

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Tip #5: Consider spray painting them to fit your theme or décor.  Protect the surface with a doily or decorative paper if you are using it for food.

There are several uses for this easy project.  Use them for displaying desserts or appetizers for parties and entertaining.  Use a small pedestal bowl for jewelry or a larger one to hold toiletries in your bathroom.  You can also use them to display flowers or favorite collections.  Make several in different heights and group them together for a unique display.

 

How to Remove Wax from Glass

by Dinah Wulf

I cannot tell a lie.  Sometimes I purchase items because of the container it comes in.  There.  I said it.  In particular, candles are a splurge for me because they are often “expensive”, so I have to wait until they go on sale.  One thing I CAN count on is that I KNOW I will reuse the glass candle container for other things.  I searched online for how to remove wax from glass and the one I liked the most was from Aunt Peaches.  She had a fantastic tutorial (and funny too) and it worked great!  Here is my version of how to remove candle wax from glass.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • Used glass candle containers
  • Boiling water
  • Plastic utensil
  • Paper towel
  • Warm soap and water

Here are the glass containers I started out with.  Don’t worry about the label and soot,  I’ll address that too.

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First, boil water in a teapot and pour it into your container.

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Next, wait.  Wait until the remaining wax floats to the surface. And the water cools.  I am approximating about 45 minutes.  It will look something like this.

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Next, take your plastic utensil and scrap off the wax and wick base onto a paper towel and discard.  That’s it!! Easy!

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To remove the label and soot, I soaked the containers in warm soapy water and gently scrubbed until they were clean.

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Here is what they look like after!

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I’m using these particular vases for craft room storage, but consider using them for flowers in a centerpiece or holding make-up brushes or toothbrushes in your bathroom.

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Make sure you check out Aunt Peaches original post on this because she has some other great tips and tricks!

 

4 Tips to Redo a Small Bathroom

by Dinah Wulf

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The bathroom obviously needs to be an efficient, comfortable and functioning unit of your home. And it should be treated that way. By focusing on the right things and by using effective decorating techniques/storage ideas, you can get the most out of your bathroom regardless of how small it is. You can actually have everything you need in there to create a soothing/relaxing spa-like atmosphere by fully effectively utilizing the available space.

#1: Go for the Right Colors

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One of the things that you can work on is the current colors of your bathroom. It’s a fact that light colors help in creating the illusion of more space in a small bathroom. By using soft pastels such as blue, green and pink you’ll not only make the bathroom look/appear larger than it is, but you’ll also be able to create more soothing atmosphere since such colors are relaxing.

In case you want to go for the contemporary look,  go for neutral colors for your bathroom walls. Besides that, you can also add some color with “decorative touches” such as counter accessories and towels.

#2: Focus on De-cluttering

Most of us try to de-clutter our homes during the spring break. But what when you want to do it specifically for your small bathroom? The purpose of de-cluttering is to make the most out of the space by taking the regular approach and by using innovative, creative ways to get results.  For example, by removing some of that clutter from the bathroom counters it can help you get rid of the “cramped feeling” from the room.

You can also consider eliminating shelves from your bathroom walls and storing any of your extra towels in your hall linen closet in order to make more space in the small bathroom. Although the pedestal vanity for your bathroom sink could be taking lesser space, it still fails to offer you the storage needed to keep the bathroom free from clutter. So go for one of those bathroom vanities that have an under-sink storage area where cleaning supplies and extra toilet tissue rolls can be stored.

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#3: Work on the Shower Stalls

An easy and effective method for producing the “illusion of space” in your small, compact bathroom is to get rid of the bathtub and instead create a nice stand up shower stall. By removing the bathtub, you get more space for standing when showering.

Try and use glass doors that are clear enough to allow the eye to look in the direction of the shower stall so that it gives out an illusion of a larger bathroom. Avoid using solid type shower stall doors as they tend to break up the space, invariably making the bathroom feel smaller. Another good way to create this same illusion is to use one of those clear shower doors/curtains if your bathroom has a bathtub.

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#4: Use Large Mirrors

In order to enhance the appearance of size of your bathroom, have a large mirror over the sink. Also, the reflection in this large mirror can and will capture some of the bathroom’s decorative elements, enhancing the illusion of space. In case your bathroom has a low ceiling, it would make sense to use vertical mirrors in order to create an effective illusion of height. The more smartly you make use of mirrors in a bathroom, the better it is.

Add a Splash of Class with a Water Garden

by Dinah Wulf

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There are hundreds of little projects that can add a focal point to your yard, but one of the most dynamic is a water garden. Having one will most likely put you in rare company on your block. That’s because people think that installing and maintaining water features are much harder than they actually are. In fact, a fully functioning water garden can be installed in a single day!

Choosing a Liner

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The first major choice you have to make when putting in a water garden is how large you want to go. There are several plastic forms that run from 10 gallons to over 200. If you are not a fan of the forms, you can buy a pond liner and design your own. Liners are more work and require significantly more knowhow than the performed plastic. For most applications, unless you are planning on putting in a Koi pond, a preformed pond is versatile enough for your needs.

Preparing the Site

The location of your water garden will have a great deal of influence on the maintenance required to keep it clear. Try to avoid areas near large deciduous trees that will drop leaves into the area during the fall. Keeping the pond away from trees in general is a good idea. Root systems can grow into the pond liner and rip it.

The entire pond area needs to be cleared out and made ready for a dig. This means that any grass needs to be mowed down, raked and cleared. While it may not seem important, removing the debris prior to digging will keep rocks, sticks and other items from falling into the pit.

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Installation

With a prefabricated pond you need to dig out an area that is one to two inches larger than the liner you have purchased. It should be an approximate match to the liner, including any ridges that exist. The area must be kept level. This is the most labor intensive parts of the job, and depending on the size of your prefabricated pond, could take anywhere from an hour to a full day.

Once the pit is cleared out, add an inch or two of pool sand to the bottom of the pit. This will create a cushion between the hard base ground and the pool liner and allow it to be adjusted and leveled as it is being put in. Wet this sand down and then slid the pool liner into place.

After moving the liner into place, fill the pond with a garden hose. You can install edging around the exterior or plant water loving plants around them – some possible choices are Iris and papyrus. Also consider installing a fountain or pond pump to keep the water circulating and reduce algae build up. These pieces of equipment are easy to install and don’t interfere with the growth of surface water plants like water lilies and water poppies.

Choosing a water feature as part of your backyard makeover can add both visual interest and a sound element that might currently be missing. And you can do it all by yourself, or with the help of a few close friends, in just a weekend.

 

Moen: How to Install a Kitchen Faucet

by Dinah Wulf

This post brought to you by Moen, Incorporated. All opinions are 100% mine.

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One of my best friends has lived in her home for many years.  Her husband was born and raised in that home.  Over the years they have been able to make some big improvements like new floors, windows, and kitchen cabinets.  Now, they are able to focus on the details that truly make their house a home.  Last weekend I helped them install a new Kiran Spot Resist one-handle pulldown kitchen faucet.  Oh my!  What a difference a faucet makes!  Here is our journey on how to install a kitchen faucet.

The Moen Kiran faucet can be purchased at Lowe’s.  It has so many great features and was perfect for updating their kitchen.  The Spot Resist™ stainless finish resists fingerprints and water spots for a cleaner looking kitchen.  It has a high arch pulldown design makes it easy to adjust water flow or temperature.  It is equipped with the Reflex™ system for smooth operation, easy movement of the spray head.

Installation time: Approximately one hour

Materials:

  • Adjustable Wrenches
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Flashlight
  • Plumbers putty

Here is a photo of the sink before. It is quite old!

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Step One:

Shut off the water valve.  In our case, the valve was located below the sink.  I turned the faucet to release any extra pressure.

Step Two:

Disconnect the mounting and remove the old faucet and clean the area from any dirt and debris.  As you can see, this was a REALLY old sink!  Yuck!

Step Three:

Assemble the mounting washer to the faucet and put the supply lines through the hole.  Make sure the faucet sets securely on the deck.  Be aware of your surrounds so that you don’t scratch your new faucet!

Step Four:

Reconnect the supply lines.

Note: At this point I had to run to Lowe’s to purchase an adapter because their faucet was so old! Apparently, old tube lines are 1/2 inch, while newer lines are 3/4 inch.

Step Five:

Insert the hose through the spout of the faucet and attach the connector on both sides. Make sure there is a clear path for the retractable hose.

Step Six: 

Attach the faucet head to the hose by screwing it on.

Step Seven: 

Attach the hose weight to the hose in the bottom of the sink and test the water pressure.

Ta dah! What a difference!

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Learning how to replace a kitchen faucet was a lot easier than I thought!  The step by step photos made it easy to understand and follow.  My friend and her husband are so happy with their Moen Kiran faucet.  Join me and become a Moen fan on Facebook!

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Cleaning after Spring Cleaning: De-clutter Your Home

by Dinah Wulf

If you’re like me, you may have already finished your spring cleaning (I am far from being a procrastinator). After you finish cleaning the nooks and corners of your home during the spring cleaning exercise, it is important that you de-clutter your home and organize your living space.

But why spend another weekend organizing when you spent the last one scrubbing the house meticulously? Cleaning takes out the accumulated dirt gathered during the winter season, but organizing makes the house worth living in. Believe it or not, de-cluttering helps you de-stress and organize your life. A well sorted home with no extra mess is a dream come true.

Here is how you can pull off a DIY home organizing job in less than a few days. Ask your family and kids to help you out; you won’t be able to sort (and throw out) any clutter without their help!

Put Everything Back in Place

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Has your laundry basket been lying somewhere in the hallway all this while? Put it all back where it belongs. You cannot sort and organize things unless they are in their right place. It would be much easier if you place all items in their respective rooms, and then organize and de-clutter in every room systematically. Remember: if something does not have a place, you probably do not need it.

Let It Go!

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If you don’t need it and it can’t be upcycled, let it go. We often stack up on unnecessary items and end up with a lot of junk. Say goodbye to anything you don’t need, and ask your kids to do the same. Give the things away rather throwing them away. Maybe setting up a garage sale will be a good idea. After all, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!

Identify Trash

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This goes especially for kitchens and bathrooms. You are likely to discover many food tins, pudding boxes, and spices that expired some time back. Similarly, your kitchen might be home to useless bottles and jars. Bathrooms are also cluttered with useless items like old toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles, and medicine cabinets often have some expired pills. Get all of this trash out of your way.

Sort and Store!

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Now that you have gotten rid of all the junk, sort and store the items methodically. Be creative in how you use the space in rooms. It is best to store small items in boxes and cabinets. If you do not use something on a daily basis, you can store it away in a box. Organize the storage boxes and cabinets as well; store similar things together and label the boxes. You can add a few more shelves at home if there is little space to store the things.

In case space at your home is insufficient, you can store items in a self storage unit. These units are convenient and easy to manage; some self storage providers like Uncle Bob’s Storage also have smartphone apps so you can manage your storage online.

Now that you are done designating new spots to all the items, make a vow to carry out an organizing exercise regularly. Maybe you could re-evaluate the clutter situation at home every month. Mark your calendar and keep up with the de-cluttered zone you have just created for yourself. A clean, organized and mess-free home requires continuous monitoring and maintenance.

How to Remove Tough Pet Stains

by Dinah Wulf

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This may be my most embarrassing article yet and much different than my typical DIY tips and tricks article. I have been a dog owner for over 25 years.  My first dog, Tiny, lived for 17 years and now I have two dogs, Pablo the Chihuahua and Harley the Pug.  In these 25 years, I have moved 15 times.  Yep… 15!  With the constant changing environment, my little buddies get confused.  Needless to say, there have been several accidents.  I HAD to share this how-to because after over a decade of purchasing every carpet stain remover out there, I finally found out how to remove tough pet stains.

Now I don’t know why it took me 25 years to figure it out because it is SO simple!  Here is what you’ll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean dry cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner

That’s it!!! I know, right???

I decided to spare you the step by step photo tutorial because, well, that’s just disgusting.  I can, however show you a less disgusting before and after photo:

how-to-remove-pet-stains-before-after

Notice that I didn’t even bother to put the fancy font or the watermark… still so embarrassing…

Anyway, if the stain is still wet blot the spot as dry as possible with a clean cloth or towel.  Next, put white vinegar is a spray bottle, and completely saturate the stain.  If the spot is new, leave the vinegar on for a few minutes and then blot it with a clean towel.  If the stain is old, leave the vinegar for an hour or two.  If the stain is really bad and even brown in color, skip the spray bottle and pour the vinegar directly on the stain soaking it completely and leave on for several hours before blotting dry.

Once you have blotted the stain with a clean cloth or towel, allow it to dry.  Once it is dry, sprinkle baking soda on the stain and vacuum it.  The baking soda will get rid of the smell!

Tah-dah… an all-natural how-to on how to remove pet stains!

Phew!  Glad that’s over…

 

*************Giveaway Alert!***************

ENTER TO WIN!

Today, my daughter and I played memory on our new kid-friendly rug!

  Mohawk Flooring (3)

You can win your own 6’ X 9’ SmartStrand bound carpet rug. Go to the contest page to enter. SmartStrand carpet is rated #1 in consumer satisfaction… Experience it for yourself!

The contest started Monday, March 18th and ends April 8th. Please see the registration page for legal rules.

A big THANK YOU to Mohawk Flooring for sponsoring this giveaway!

 

Backyard Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

backyard-ideas (1)

Giving your backyard a makeover doesn’t have to be rocket science. As long as you take the right steps and implement the right backyard ideas, you can definitely spruce up your backyard and give the face-lift it needs…

1. Start with the Cleaning

Although this seems like an obvious tip, a lot of people tend to ignore it. Cleaning up your backyard is an important step towards making it prettier. So go ahead and grab your rake, get the lawn mower – along with the hedge trimmers to tidy up your backyard. Right from raking the leaves to trimming the bushes – everything should be on your ‘tidy backyard’ to-do list.

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2. Begin Planting

Want to add more color and dimension to the area? Then planting trees/shrubs along with adding a flower garden to your backyard is what you should be doing. For example, simply sowing in wildflower seeds will give rise to colorful wildflowers that will beautify your backyard.

See to it that you first scope out the spots that receive a lot of sunlight and the ones that get the shade. Once you’re done with that, you can then choose plants that survive in such conditions. Try and understand their characteristics and growth habits. Also, if you want you can go beyond flowers and add trees to your backyard landscape for added privacy.

backyard-makeover

3. Add Walkways/Stone Paths

Enhancing the overall flow and improving the landscape doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do it by having a path to the garden and a ‘walkway’ from the deck. Whether you choose to go for brick, stone, gravel or other available edging options, pathways are not only attractive but also beneficial for guiding the “foot traffic” in the appropriate direction.

4. Cover Garden Beds with Mulch

During the summertime, plants need to retain their moisture in the sweltering heat. When you cover your garden beds in mulch, you help the plants in retaining this very moisture. Besides that, mulch happens to give the backyard a clean and an organized look/feel.

After this step, consider doing some budge edging so that the garden beds are better defined. If you look around, you’ll find that there are many styles for you to choose from. If you’ve got a shovel and a level, you can be done building an edge only in a few hours.

All in all, redoing your backyard and designing it to make it look prettier can be a fun and exciting experience as long as you put your creativity into it and don’t treat it as just another tedious task.

Making a Great Home Theater Room

by Dinah Wulf

Home Theater, Almost Complete

Making a Great Home Theater Room

Home theater or movie rooms are fun spots that give the traditional theater experience. Besides enjoying one of the popular direct TV packages on your television, this room is where you can gather with your family and friends and spend time together, watching and enjoying movies without leaving the comfort of your home.

Creating a great home theater room is something that many homeowners look forward to. If done right, it can give rise to a nice and functional room where different movies/TV shows can be enjoyed. In the following article we’ll look into the steps that you need to take to make a great home theater room…

Step #1: Choose the Location

Creating a good home theater room starts with choosing the area for it, keeping in mind things like number of people to seat, size of the TV set, and of course, the natural lighting variables. Always remember that the space you choose should be big enough to accommodate your family and friends. Also, the fewer windows this room has, the better it is.

Step #2: Select Wall Colors

When choosing the colors for the walls, go for dark colors. Why? Because light wall colors happen to reflect light. The ideal colors for a home theater room are colors like burgundy, gray or even brown. Dark colored walls around the television not only give the picture more depth, but also add great color contrast.

Step #3: Set up Your Television

In order to have the best viewing experience, make sure your large television is hung at eye level on the front wall. This helps a great deal because you won’t have to twist your neck again and again during viewing. Also, when setting up the speakers, hang them on the walls or set them on stands to achieve best sound quality.

Step #4: Work on the Lighting

Making the most out of your home theater experience has a lot to do with the lighting. You can use “wall sconces” on dimmers to have the best lighting in your home theater room. When the light is dimmer, your eyes slowly but surely get adjusted to the TV screen.

Step #5: Carpet the Floor

While a lot of people ignore adding carpet to the home theater room, you shouldn’t. Carpeting the space helps greatly in containing the sound and brings the best out of  the speakers. When choosing the color for the carpet, try and match with the dark walls so that the colors on the screen look vibrant.

Step #6: Use Heavy Curtains

Most of the times home theater spaces happen to be located in rooms without much natural lighting. However, if your room has a good number of windows then see to it that you use heavy, dark curtains that can easily block any incoming natural light. This helps you experience the best visual quality on the screen.

Creating a great home theater room is not rocket science. As long as you’ve got the above steps right along with some comfortable home theater chairs, you can easily make a room where you enjoy movies of your choice with your friends and family.

 

If I Had a Hammer: Tools Every Homeowner Needs

by Dinah Wulf

lady hammer

As a homeowner on a budget, I had to learn how to handle a lot of problems on my own. If it weren’t for YouTube tutorials and my trusty pink tool bag (yes, it’s pink), I’d still have a leaky faucet, clogged shower drain and broken garbage disposal. With some basic knowledge and a few tools, you too will be ready to remedy your first disaster. Whether your water heater goes out or the screens start falling out of your windows, here are the essential tools to help you take care of everything on your own:

Flashlight and Magnet

When was the last time you were taking something apart and you lost the screws somewhere in the great unknown? A flashlight and a long magnet would help you get back on track.

The Basic Hammer

A basic hammer is a necessity. Think about the chores that require one, such as hanging pictures and fixing little things around the house, and all the specialty jobs you may need one for, such as installing landscaping lights or home security systems. Keep it in an easily accessible spot, like the entry closet or the kitchen junk drawer.

The Right Screwdrivers

According to home-improvement professionals at Houzz, every homeowner needs two types of screwdrivers: a flat-head and a Phillips. The Phillips has the star-shaped tip and is used for a variety of projects and quick fixes. A flat-head screwdriver only fits in single-slot screws, which are typically used on the faceplates for electrical, cable and telephone outlets.

Measuring Made Easy

A heavy-duty tape measure pays for itself quickly, especially if you like to move furniture around or scour your local thrift store for DIY furniture-makeover projects. If you’ve ever brought a new piece home only to find out it won’t fit through the door or isn’t proportionate to the space, a tape measure will be your new best friend.

On the Level

Although your friend or significant other may tell you they can “eyeball” where you should hang that beautiful new painting, don’t do it. You can easily use your handy measuring tape and a small level to make sure your art is hung correctly and doesn’t look like you live in a home full of giants.

All-Purpose Utility Knife

If you are looking for a razor-sharp cut, an all-purpose utility knife can do the trick every time, suggests home improvement experts at Gizmodo. Just be careful, if you are used to cutting things with dull scissors from the junk drawer, a good utility knife could take a finger off.

Durable Pliers

If you’ve ever tried to pull out a small nail using your bathroom tweezers, now is the time to buy the adult version: durable pliers. They can also be used to reach behind the dryer for a lost sock or to pinch the wires together on your child’s hamster cage after an escape.

Versatile Crescent Wrench

If you’ve never used a crescent wrench, you don’t know what you’re missing. Using one to loosen that bolt will make you feel like a true handyman.

Bigger-Ticket Items

Finally, no home should be without a ladder, power drill and a heavy-duty extension cord. With these items, you’ll be prepared to take on any DIY project.

Tips for Making your Bedroom your Sanctuary

by Dinah Wulf

Did you know that the average sleep time for men and women ages 25-44 is about 8.5 hours a night? That’s close to 60 hours a week or 10 out of the 30 days in a month.  That’s one-third of your life!  With so much time spent in the bedroom, why is it the most neglected room in the house when it comes to decorating?  We are so worried about what the house looks like for other people, we neglect the most important space for ourselves.  With that said, I wanted to share some tips for making your bedroom your sanctuary.

Splurge on linens.

Choose quality cotton sheets for luxury and optimum comfort. I had a discussion with one of my friends recently, and she mentioned that the one item she will splurge on is sheets and bedding, like Frette linens.  She says that it’s vital for her to get a great night of sleep in order to have a productive work day.

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Light colors and neutrals aren’t boring.

Subtle neutrals in white, sand, soft sea greens, and light blues create a spa-like atmosphere.  White is the color of purity, while green represents balance and blue represents peace.  Create your own island getaway by bringing the outdoors in with decorative accessories like, shells, coral, or drift wood.

Leave electronics out.

I know it may sound crazy these days, but if at all possible leave the television, computers, laptops, iPads, and any other electronic devices out.  Removing unnecessary electronics will not only eliminate clutter, but it will create more intimacy, allow for more conversation, and will allow you to sleep better.

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Design is in the details.

Don’t forget about accent pillows, throws, artwork, books and accessories.  For me, books are a must in every room.  It’s an inexpensive way to decorate.  Not only for shelves, books can be stacked on tables or can add height under small accessories.

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Choose a style that is YOU.

No matter what your style, shabby chic, country cottage, vintage modern, eclectic, or Hollywood Regency, pick a style that makes you happy.  Don’t be afraid to play with different textures, patterns, and color.  The more you feel your bedroom reflects who you are, the better.  Don’t know your style?  Start with your favorite colors, or if you have a favorite piece of artwork or pattern on a blanket use the colors to help guide you.

Craft Room Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

Craft Room Makeover

We moved into this house in February of this year and we never used the office.  I housed all my craft supplies in the closet, and had an old desk, filing cabinet, and office chair in it but that was it. So this year when my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas, I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to turn the office into a craft room.   I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share my reveal and put together some helpful craft room ideas.

Here is the room before with a picture of the closet.

Craft Room Before (1)

 

Craft Room Before (2)

Eventually, I would like to do some more garage sale and thrift store shopping and refurbish some furniture to add (that’s why you can’t see the right side of the room…. Ha!), however to start the organization process, IKEA had an explosion in this room.  We bought the shelving and craft table there, as well as the blue metal kitchen cart I used for my sewing machine and fabric. If you look at the first picture above you can see the bar stools I upcycled as well.  Here’s a close up of the kitchen cart.

kitchen cart sewing storage

I loved this table because it had extra storage in the legs.

Craft table with storage

I also organized the drawers according to materials.

Craft Room Drawers

I added wire baskets from the dollar bins at Target for added storage as well.

Craft Room Organization

The DIY colored glass Mason Jars I made were perfect to organize the items I use all the time and made them easily accessible.

Craft Room Organization Recycled Jars

I hung a magnetic board on the side of the shelving unit and added little magnets to small plastic bottles to store some notions and small beads.

Craft room magnetic board storage

On the top of my shelving unit, I displayed my white frame, a free curb side score.

Craft Room Storage Ideas

I also placed my repurposed spice rack up there…

Recycled spice jar storage

And I used some glass containers and made some recycled craft jars filled with DIY necessities to display on top (both pretty and useful).

Glass Jar Craft Storage

On the unfinished side of the room I hung my craft organization board I made from a free, unwanted, and ugly painting I found.

DIY Organization Board

Lastly, I hung a little inspiration from a Blogger Socal Social I attended.  It was part of my swag bag!  It says, “Your spark can be a flame and change everything” by E.D. Nixon.

Craft Room Inspiration

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