Monthly Archives: May 2010

How to Clean Like a Man

Al Roker from the Today Show and Elizabeth Mayhew, Editor in Chief  of “Woman’s Day Magazine” recently appeared together to discuss “How to Clean Like  a Man”.  Men tend to appear very at ease when faced with a challenge and don’t tend to dissect every detail like women do.  They also tend to simplify steps that are required to complete tasks (even though it sometimes results in stopping to ask for directions).  So why do we make cleaning such a mountainous task?  How can we make this task easier?

Here’s what they discussed as to how women can develop a few simple strategies to clean like a man, not necessarily, to make it “man clean”:

Gather the troops! Ever wonder why there were labels for Mr. Clean or Brawny?  It cleans like a man?  Locate all the cleaning supplies you will need to get the task done.   Put the supplies in a carry tote that makes it easy to move from room to room.

Create a Plan of Attack Guys tend to prioritize and function well with a list.  They tend to stay focused better and stay organized.  So make a list and tackle the challenge!  It will feel good to cross off the tasks.

Plan a celebration Men are much better at rewarding themselves than we are.  So when you are done, enjoy a glass of wine, watch a movie or maybe some “me” time.

Here’s some man-friendly cleaning tips (which you might even convince him to do for you since they involve some unsuspecting guy things):

Car wax- spread over tiles on bathroom shower walls (not natural stone) to prevent mildew and soap scum buildup

Leaf blower-attach your vacuum hose to the leaf blower and blow all the trash out of the hose.  You’d be surprised at how much gunk gets stuck in your vacuum hose that makes it less and less efficient.  The leaf blower is also great for blowing off large areas in a short time.

Grade 3 synthetic steel wool-use on stainless steel pots and pans to get built up stains off of your cookware

Tennis ball-spray all purpose cleaner on the ball to remove scuff marks from wood floors.  You can also throw a ball into a dryer to fluff your down comforter

4 Tips for how to choose the right grout

So, you’ve navigated your way through the maze of 1000′s of tile selections and have narrowed your choice.  Now it’s time to choose the right grout, a choice that can be equally intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are 4 basic tips for how to choose the right grout:

1)  Determine Tile Spacing

Most home improvement and flooring stores have packages of tile spacers that will help you ensure a nice square fit and even spacing between tiles.

Larger floor tiles  are usually spaced 1/8″ or wider and smaller tiles usually are better suited for grout lines 1/8″ or less.  Smaller grout lines minimize the tile pattern that is laid out and tend to be easier to clean; consider smaller grout lines for back-splashes, shower walls and countertops.

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3 things you should know about picking the right chandelier

Having just installed a chandelier in a bedroom of all places, it made me wonder.  Is there a guideline about size and weight of a chandelier in a room?  You betcha!

Here are 3 things you should know for picking the right chandelier:

Sizing it Up

Designer rule of thumb for determining the correct size light fixture (if going over a table) is to go with a fixture that has a diameter that is half the diameter (or width) of the tabletop. For instance, if the table is a rectangle that is 48” wide, a chandelier that is approximately 24” (half of the 48” width of the table) in diameter is a great choice. If the table is a 60” round diameter, a 30” diameter chandelier would be appropriate.

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Cut the cord! 5 steps to convert a plug in chandelier to a hardwired fixture

Found the perfect chandelier, and after a small delay in shipping, finally received it only to find out it was a plug-in with a cord! Surprise!  No worries, this is fixable.   Converting a cord/plug fixture is very similar to installing a regular light fixture.

** Safety first!  Turn the circuit breaker off to the light switch in question before attempting any electrical work.  A small hand-held amp probe held onto the wires should confirm if the circuit is dead.  If you encounter any conditions that are not as described, you should always consult with an electrician.  Anything beyond existing fixture changes should also consider any local building codes and ordinances.

Let’s get started:

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Shine a light on your creativity! Design your own lamp shade

Shine a light on your creativity!

With my daughter’s recent transition from all things pink to all things black and purple, I just couldn’t find the right one and at reasonable price.   Her old lamp was pink on pink with a simple feather trim:

Here’s what I did to transform the lamp for less than $10 and in under 30 minutes:

1)    I spray painted the base but knew I couldn’t save the former pink shade.  I found these really nifty plain adhesive shades at Hobby Lobby for around $7.

2)  The lamp comes with a template to cut a pattern from your choice of fabric

3)  Once the fabric is cut, you simply attach it to the sticky lamp shade, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles as you work your way around.  At the edges, you fold the fabric over and use a hot glue gun to secure it to the inside of the lamp.  Create a seam by tucking the fabric under itself on the backside of the shade and secure with hot glue.

4)  Attach your desired trim (1 yard) to the edges with hot glue.  In this case, I opted for sequins and feathers.

You can imagine that you could whip up some pretty creative shades.  Craft and fabric stores have tons of trims and fabrics.  Your imagination has no limit!  This is such a user-friendly project since it involves no sewing and no guess work.  I hope you find it easy too.  Try it and feel free to come back and post pictures of your own creations.  Your feedback is always appreciated.

A bedroom fit for a Tween (or Teen)

Our transformation from a boy’s room to a girl’s tween/teen paradise is nearly complete and all things pink that my daughter once tolerated for her mom’s sake *wink* is now a thing of her past.  This is now officially “her domain”!  Hopefully you can find some inspiration with some ideas we were able to do and change it to suit the queen in your life.

Before

After

Here’s what we did:

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Portfolio-Budget Kitchen remodel

Updating a kitchen doesn’t have to break your bank.  There are some simple things you can do to give your kitchen a clean and updated appearance.

This was a recent single family home I purchased for renovation and resell.  The lower kitchen cabinets were in horrible condition from what appeared to be water leaks.  The counters were the old style butcher block laminate and the floors were painted concrete.

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How to give new life to old home decor for as little as $1

Wall decor found in brown but repainted in black to match new decor

Redoing a room in a new color scheme and suddenly find yourself faced with the dilemma of spending more money on decor pieces to match?  Even crazier, have you found yourself trying to find that perfect light fixture or decor piece but its the wrong color?  Don’t let a little color issue get in the way.  Worry no more, because with a can of the latest spray paints available and a little crafty work, you can give new life to that decor and re-use it.  The best part is, no one will know you just spent pennies on what will look like all new decor…what a great little secret!

Depending on what type of use the piece will get, you can find a can of spray paint for as little as $1 at most big box home improvement stores or discount stores.  Use a better quality paint for heavier use items such as exterior pieces, light fixtures, mirrors, etc.  Decor pieces that sit on a shelf or on a wall do just fine with the inexpensive paint.

Krylon’s line of spray paints come in a variety of finishes and can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as metals, plastics, wood, etc. so all is pretty much fair game! Just follow their application instructions to ensure a quality finish:

http://www.krylon.com/products/

Here’s some things recently repainted with a $1 can of spray paint for my tween/teen room project, but should give you an idea of the variety of finishes that can be painted:

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How to maximize your home value with home improvements

Many areas across our country have been hit hard with declining real estate values.  As a result, more and more people are looking at ways to stay in their current home and ride-out the decline.  As I like to say, learn to “love the home you’re with”.  By completing a few critical home repairs or improvements, homeowners can actually add value to their home by increasing its equity and marketability.  Even better, there are many options that can be done yourself that won’t break your bank.  When you can tackle smaller projects yourself, you save even more money.

Invest wisely:

Invest your time and money into wise improvements.  Before tackling larger projects, consider the resale value of those improvements.  Will you get all or most of your money spent back equally in the increased resale value?   Renovating your home can also improve your quality of life.   Any upgrade should reflect your style, but try to choose colors, building materials and furnishings that will bring you maximum marketability for resale. Even low cost improvements like painting can go a long way.

Consider Functionality

Will the renovation serve a purpose for your family?  Does it fit into your lifestyle?  Will it improve the use of a current space?  Consider the size, location and layout of any addition to ensure it blends well into your current surroundings.

Go Eco-Friendly

Let’s face it, with current tax credits available and all the buzz about carbon footprints and going green, this should be a very important part of your investment decision.  Not only do energy efficient improvements save money on utility costs or take advantage of recycled building materials, they are becoming a hot selling factor in homes which increases your marketability resale value to buyers.  Insulated windows, lighting, solar panels or other energy saving features are among the available options to homeowners.    There are also a variety of building materials that are available in eco-friendly options such as flooring, natural fiber carpets, VOC free paints, recycled material countertops, etc.

Popular Options for Home Improvements:

Fresh Paint Inside and Out: By far, this is the least expensive and easiest way to get a lot of bang for your buck.  Don’t overlook door trims, exterior paint, corners and doors.  Chipped or dirty paint in a desirable color does nothing for resale value, but a fresh coat of paint says “welcome in”.  Go over your home inside and out from a buyer’s perspective and ensure your paint is in its best condition and clean.

Landscaping/Outdoor Amenities: As families are getting back outside to enjoy time together and entertaining, patios and decks are a good option for any property. Decks and patio additions can recoup at least 75% of their cost in extra home value.  Flower beds, brick walkways, fresh mulch and other landscaping add instant curb appeal.  Curb appeal will be the first thing any real estate agent will look at when you go to sell your home.

Kitchen or Bathroom upgrade: These two rooms historically bring the best resale value to homes when updated in current finishes.  You might be surprised that by doing even a budget kitchen makeover, it will go a long way on the value you get in return.

Survey your floors and cabinets to determine if they should be updated.  Consider sanding, staining, or painting dingy looking cabinets.  Replacing old cabinet hardware can add a lot of visual appeal for a low cost.  Old and worn sinks and fixtures should be replaced.

For some budget kitchen makeover ideas:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/21/6-quick-and-easy-tips-for-a-budget-kitchen-makeover/

For some budget bathroom makeover ideas:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/portfolio-bathroom-remodel/

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/28/portfolio-bathroom-remodel-2/


How to recover a chair seat cushion, vanity seat cushion or ottoman

Before

After

Timeless furniture pieces can last a lifetime with proper care but sometimes, spills happen or just good ol’ wear and tear to the fabric portions of seat cushions or ottomans.  No need to throw the furniture away; just replace the fabric!  Same thing would apply to finding a piece of furniture at a second-hand store; that junk could be your treasure.

In this example, I found a combination seat/storage bench but the fabric was all wrong for the tween/teen room it would be in.

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