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???

 

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.

Go Green with an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

by Dinah Wulf

Eco-Friendly Bathroom

As larger percentages of Americans are placing stress on the importance of eco-friendly fixtures in their homes, and more and more initiatives are aimed at encouraging homes to switch to eco-friendly bathroom products, it’s no wonder eco-friendly bathroom fixtures are growing in popularity. Some very simple adjustments to a bathroom can reduce its impact on the environment and, in some cases, even save homeowners money.

In the bathroom, water conservation is the most important factor in making eco-friendly changes. New low-flow toilets are improved and better than ever: in the past, some low-flow toilets had to be flushed twice. Now, one flush will suffice and you might even notice a slight drop on your water bill over time.

Your water conservation efforts don’t have to end with installing a low-flow toilet. By installing low-flow shower heads and faucets, you can take your water conservation efforts one step further. For maximum water efficiency, select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5gpm.

There are two types of low-flow shower heads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, and laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water. Using aerating faucets in both the kitchen and bathroom is one of the most inexpensive ways to improve household water conservation; a new eco-friendly showerhead can be as affordable as $20.

If you’re interested in a complete makeover, a beautiful eco-friendly vanity may be the way to go. Not only are they chic, attractive, and practical, but they will conserve water and may even save you money.

Bathroom fixtures aren’t the only thing homeowners can focus on in their eco-friendly endeavors. Displaying potted plants and flowers in a bathroom is a beautiful way to decorate and cut back on the use of aerosol products. Ceramic tile and natural stone are ideal alternatives to wallpaper, won’t need to be replaced as often, and can give a bathroom a more modern look and feel. Paints with a low volatile organic compounds (VOC) label should be sought out, since they’re less toxic and better for the environment, and fluorescent light bulbs use less energy and last longer than their incandescent alternative.

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.

How to Install a Kitchen Faucet (1)

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:

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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…

 

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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

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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.

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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.

If I Had a Hammer: Tools Every Homeowner Needs

by Dinah Wulf

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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.

Free Curb Side Pick Up

by Dinah Wulf

Free Curb Side Pick Up (1)

The frame you see here was a free curb side pickup.  It was left unwanted alongside of a few other frames I picked up in my friend’s neighborhood.  I made a craft organization board with another one.  When I first had an interest in literally turning trash to treasure, I was hesitant in dumpster diving.  It just seemed… well… gross.  I also felt maybe a little ashamed?  Now not so much! I don’t mind it all.  If it’s free, I just saved some money and I scored!  Now, instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed, I will literally jump for joy.

Trash to Treasure Frame (2)

When I first saw this frame, I immediately knew I wanted to paint it white…kind of go the shabby chic route.  The first thing I did was clean it.  That is one thing you have to watch out for when picking up someone else’s trash.  It may look good on the surface, but look for damage, bugs, rot, mold, etc.  Smell it.  That’s right.  Smell it.  Make sure there are no funky odors, especially furniture with fabric.  If you’re clear of these things, throw it in the back of your car.

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Next, I set it on a protective surface to paint it.  It would have been a lot easier and faster if I spray painted it, but I already had white paint and, well, I’m cheap.  I applied two coats, allowing it to dry in between coats.  I didn’t make it perfect because of my shabby chic idea.  I thought about sanding it and make it look worn, but I stopped and thought it looked just fine.

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Now, this once homeless frame is in my craft room.  It sits on top of my storage book case on display to simply look pretty!

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4 Furniture Cleaning Tips

by Dinah Wulf

4 Furniture Cleaning Tips

Did you know that a dirty kitchen and a grimy bathroom are the biggest turns-offs for prospective buyers? Rightmove has revealed that grubby kitchen units, mucky dishes in the sink, and filthy bathrooms are the most offensive factors that put people off from buying a property.

Even if you aren’t selling your home in the near too distant future, a dirty home is just wrong. It is important to keep on top of the housework to ensure you remain healthy and happy. We’re not delusional; we understand that certain pieces of furniture can gather dust overtime, such as the television and mirror.

However, by regularly undertaking a cleaning regime, you can ensure your house is spotless. Here are 4 cleaning tips to keep your home spic and span:

Sofas

4 Furniture Cleaning Tips 1

The couch can often get dirty with food crumbs and loose change. Be careful when cleaning as not to tarnish the upholstery.

Use a small dusting brush to remove any visible dirt and vacuum the sofa, removing any loose cushions.

If you can, take the cushion covers off and wash them on a low cycle, at least twice a year.

Chairs

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How you clean the chair will really depend on whether or not it is wood, or fabric. Fabric chairs can be vacuumed, and you can buy cleaning products that specialise in fabric stain protection.

With regards to a wooden chair, use a soft bristle brush to remove any loose dust and a damp cloth to clean the wood. Don’t forget to turn the chair upside down to clean underneath it. If it is really blemished, it may need staining/varnishing to make it look brand new.

Beds

4 Furniture Cleaning Tips 3

You can clean the bed by stripping the duvet and pillow covers, and washing the bed linen. Whilst the bedding is being washed, you can dust the bed frame and vacuum the mattress.

Metal bed frames don’t need much maintenance and can simply be wiped with a damp cloth. It is important to clean the bed to keep those bed bugs away!

Mirrors

4 Furniture Cleaning Tips 4

Keep your glass gleaming by using a window cleaning product and some dry, crumbled up newspaper to ensure it is streak-free. Alternatively, you can simply use one cup of vinegar with warm water- or baking soda.

If the mirror gets fogged up quickly, use a hairdryer to clean the glass. The dry heat will get rid of condensation rapidly, with zero streaks.

Follow these top tips to keep all your furniture pristine; so shiny that it is fit for the Queen’s royal standards!

This article was provided by AHF Furniture, a leading furniture and carpet chain in the UK that provides high quality furniture. The specialists have an unrivaled reputation for trust, integrity and excellent customer service.

 

5 Tips to Help Your Floral Bouquets Last Longer

by Dinah Wulf

Flowers have the unique ability to brighten a room and your mood, and the fragrances they exude can infuse your home with a freshness that no air freshener or scented candle can duplicate. But all good things come to an end, and flowers, once cut at the stem and placed in water, face a shortened lifespan no matter how well you take care of them.

But how long a bouquet can survive and thrive in a vase is greatly affected by the care it receives. While some flowers may start to wilt after only a couple days, others can last well over a week. There’s no secret involved — it’s all a matter of choosing the right flowers and taking a few simple steps to care for them.

Coordinate by season

Knowing which flowers to put out for the wedding can be dependent on a number of factors, including the season. You wouldn’t want to put sunflowers out in winter wedding or holly in a spring ceremony. As much as the colors need to coordinate, so do the flowers. Everyone considers roses at some point or another, but think about choosing amaryllis, a winter wedding flower that is also available in red and white colors. With a beautiful scent, this flower is sure to spread some cheer during your holiday wedding.

Purchase flowers straight from the farm

By the time you purchase already-cut flowers at a grocery store, they’ve already been bundled and packaged for at least a couple of days. That greatly cuts down the life expectancy — particularly when the attentive care the flowers receive in the meantime is often minimal. By purchasing flowers at a farm or farmer’s market, you often get your choice of flowers that were hand-cut that morning, which means you get to enjoy your arrangement for longer.  And surprisingly, the flowers at a farmers market are less expensive than in a grocery or floral store.

Cut stems at an angle

Straight-cut stems limit the amount of water flowers can absorb, ultimately cutting down their lifespan. Cutting the stems at an angle increases the surface area of the exposed stem, making it easier for more water to be consumed. For best results, cut stems at a 45-degree angle before placing them in water.

Set flowers in a clean vase

When you’re reusing a vase, rinsing it out may not be enough. As flowers get older, certain bacteria can develop in the water and cut down on the life expectancy of the plants. If a vase is reused without cleaning it properly, the bacteria have a head start on your new bouquet and can cause them to deteriorate even faster. To eliminate all bacteria from a vase, create a mixture of 10 parts water and one part bleach, then scrub the interior of the vase with the mixture. Rinse it thoroughly to get rid of the bleach, then fill it with water and place your flowers inside.

Remove excess foliage

Pluck or trim off all leaves and other foliage that fall below the waterline in a vase. This extra foliage is the perfect place for bacteria to develop, and it can shorten the lifespan of your flowers.

Feed and water the bouquet

A little maintenance work after the flowers are set in water can go a long way. Every few days, you should swap out the old water for new. While doing that, go ahead and cut a little bit off the end of each stem to give the flowers a fresh surface for absorbing water. For best results, add a little but of flower food into the water to give the flowers some much-needed nutrients that will extend their lifespan.

The exact lifespan of your floral bouquets will depend on a combination of these and other factors. But it’s not unreasonable to think that just these simple steps alone can add several days of extra vibrancy and life to your flowers. That means more impressive displays and less money wasted on short-lived arrangements.

 

Authored By: Hortensia Martinez

Hortensia loves to decorate for the holidays and will make changes to her home to celebrate any holiday, even Labor Day. She loves sharing tips and hints on how people can spice up their holidays.

 

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How to Caulk Your Sink

by Dinah Wulf

We spend so much money on the best appliances, the perfect cabinetry, and choosing the right fixtures; and we spend so much time doing research online and looking for discounts and a great coupon or voucher code making sure we get the best deals possible.  With that said, it’s so important to take care of the things we just spent so much time and money on.  It seems that granite countertops are more common now in household kitchens.  They are expensive therefore there is an important money saving tip I learned from a contractor who happen to see my kitchen counter sink that I HAD to share with you.  He informed me that a $25 DIY project will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run.  Caring and re-caulking your sink will help keep your countertops not only looking clean, but more stable and durable for the long haul.  It will protect your cabinets from moisture, mold, and mildew.  It’s so quick and easy to do. Here is how to caulk your sink in three easy steps.

Materials:

  • Scraper
  • Caulking
  • Caulking gun

Step one: Make sure your sink is clean and free of debris (and of course dishes!).

Step two: Use a scraper to scrape off the old caulking from around your sink or the area that needs to be re-caulked.  We used two different types of scrapers.  Remove the old caulking and debris from the sink.

Step three: Carefully follow the directions on your caulking gun.  Cut the tip of the caulking and place it in your caulking gun. Gently squeeze the trigger and carefully follow through the edges of your sink.  Follow the drying time indicated on your caulking.

Tip: If you mess up don’t worry, gently wipe off with and reapply caulking. You can also use the tip of your finger to smooth out the caulking.

Here is a BEFORE and AFTER photo.

 

 

A special thank you goes out to CouponSnapshot.com for sponsoring this post and supplying us with daily deals, discounts, and Homebase Vouchers.

 

Five Tips for Hiring a Contractor

by Dinah Wulf

Bye Bye Patio!

When we first bought this house, the only thing the home inspector had any concerns with was our back patio.   Over the years, it started drifting off to the left… not safe!  Needless to say, it became a priority.

Although I write a DIY blog, remodeling the patio is not something I want to tackle myself. Some projects you just have to let the professionals do.  BUT I did learn some things along the way.  My husband and I met with four different companies and man were all four different.  Here are five tips for hiring a contractor, so to speak, that I want to pass on in case you need to hire a contractor for a large job.  I think they can be applied to any type of contractor.

  1. Before you meet with anyone, take time to research exactly what it is you want.  Peruse your local hardware superstore to touch feel and price different types of materials.  Take home samples to view in your own light.  Ask questions regarding warranties, life span, and durability.
  2. Have a design in mind.  Whether you are remodeling your patio, kitchen, or bathroom, plan out your design.  That way, when you get quotes, you have the same design for all companies and you are comparing apples to apples.  Even if you change your mind, you will have quotes consistent with the scope of work.
  3. Meet with at least three different companies. Aye yay yay!  This tip is vital.  I have no idea where the disconnect was with the first three contractors we met.  Their quotes where SO FAR off!  Hence we called a fourth and had a better idea of where to land.
  4. Don’t always go with the lowest quote.  After meeting with all four, we immediately threw out the lowest quote.  It was so much lower that it raised some red flags.  Workmanship became a question of concern.
  5. Go with your gut.  After you look up and verify licensing and bonding, check the Better Business Bureau, and look online for any complaints or ratings, go with the salesperson that is most reasonable and you feel most comfortable with.

Here are some pictures of our patio demolition.

 Here is the finished product!

 More Updates to Our Home:

DIY Floral Arrangement

by Dinah Wulf

My friend Maily is the ULTIMATE (non-professional) floral arranger.   I got a phone call from her a few weeks ago and we quickly got together to collaborate for the flowers for my daughter’s birthday party.  She has such an amazing eye, and I wanted to share some tips if one day you consider taking on DIY Floral Arrangement for your next bridal shower , baby shower, or and special event.  You can save so much money by taking this on yourself.  By the way, all the flowers shown in this post were done by Maily (I told you she was fabulous!).

Tip #1: Shop Wholesale

Lucky for us we live nearby the Los Angeles floral district.  There you will find fresh cut wholesale flowers and greenery.  If you don’t live near something like this, check discount super stores like Sam’s Club or Costco for inexpensive flowers.

Tip #2:  Use Coupons

When purchasing your floral supplies, always check your weekly ads for craft supply stores such as Michael’s.  Nine out of ten times you will find a 40% (sometimes 50%) off coupon.  If you are shopping online, don’t forget to search for coupon codes.

Tip #3: Don’t forget about embellishments

When arranging your flowers, you can easily implement beads, feathers, beautifully crafted butterflies, and even lighting.

Tip #4: Think vertically and horizontally

Depending on where you are placing your flowers, keep in mind whether you need to build your bouquet vertically or horizontally.  For horizontal arrangements use a shallow vase or container. Also think about the shape of your arrangement (oval, triangle, etc.).

Tip #5: Use creative recycled containers

A floral arrangement doesn’t always have to go in a glass vase or a pot. Consider using, a small vintage suitcase, a hollowed out book, a vintage tin, mason jars, you get the picture!

Of course, if taking on your own floral arrangement is too much, there are great sites like PickupFlowers to help.  Don’t forget to use your PickupFlowers Coupons upon your visit with them!

 

A special thank you goes out to CouponSnapshot.com for sponsoring this post.

Photo Source: BrendanCaoPhotography.com

 

 

 

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