Showing posts with label housekeeping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housekeeping. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2013

So I Decided to Put the Sofa in the Washer...

I finally got around to doing something I pinned about using alcohol to clean the micro-whatever they are making furniture out of these days fabric  The man cave furniture has had a tortured life with hoards of teenagers eating and sleeping on it.  Cleaning was way overdue.

The alcohol works great! Before:

and after:
But this furniture needed a lot of work.    Ten minutes into the process, I went back to read the post.  At the very end, it says you can just unzip the covers and toss them into the washer and dryer.  Okay!  I was expecting the usual foam-covered pieces like these in the seats:

However, the back cushions innards looked like this:

Once I have an idea in my head, I am not gonna stop.  I soon had four piles of fluffy fill on the floor, and all the covers in the washer. The fill is freakin' awesome.  It sticks together, doesn't leave any mess on the floor, and goes back into the cushions looking better than before.  I cleaned the base of the furniture with the alcohol, and two hours later:

The man cave furniture was all back together and looking better than ever.



Friday, April 12, 2013

The Shoes at the Door Issue

After tripping my way through someone's front hall recently, I thought I'd post my quick, cheap, and easy solution to  piles of shoes that accumulate at the front door.  It has worked well for a couple of years now.  We don't have a "take your shoes off at the door" policy here, mainly because I'm the one who wouldn't follow it.  Still, shoes pile up there.  So...
There you have it.  It's one of those closet organizers for sweaters and such sitting right in the middle of the front hall closet.  This one came from Target.  It's fairly substantial and has held up to my son's size 13 men's shoes.  There is room for six pairs and another underneath on the floor.  Can you tell there are a few joggers in the family?

While we're in the closet, I'll share our hats, gloves, and scarves solution, too.  The two drawer unit fits in neatly under the jackets.  Two drawers has provided plenty of room for all of us, and it serves as off-season storage, too. 
Now, as for the training required to get everyone to pick the shoes up off the floor and put them in the closet?  I'm still working on that part.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Toy For the Sewing Room

Look what I found at B. J.'s Wholesale Club today! 
Oh, no!  It is not just an ironing board.  It's a wider, shorter, STABLE ironing board that doesn't constantly threaten to send my iron tumbling to the floor.  After losing my faithful (and expensive) Rowenta iron due to a shaky ironing board last year, I've been hunting for a decent board.

The new board is almost 19 inches wide.  While it's shorter than usual by about five inches, it has a sturdy pull-out section for the iron that makes up for the length.  My last board had a skimpy metal piece to hold the iron that broke off within a month.  Note the lovely ripply hanging bars on each side for ironed things.  Also, you can see there is a shelf underneath in the top photo.  The padding is nice and thick, too.
The metal piece for hold the iron cord actually works, too.   I've never had one of those before.
Price of the new toy:  $49.  Considering that the last board cost around $30 and needed extra padding immediately, this seems like a bargain.

I ironed a couple of shirts to see if the extra width would make smaller areas more difficult but didn't notice any difference.  Well, actually I noticed that I could move the shirts around without the iron shimmying even when I left it upright on the board.  Those extra inches of width should also make ironing large pieces of fabric easier, too. 

(As I was writing this, I was thinking that getting this excited over an ironing board may mean that I need to get out more.  That was quickly followed by the thought that I could go to the fabric store!  You know you're addicted to fabric when...)








Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Have You Made Yarn Dryer Balls?

 Update: Making these with more expensive yarn that supposedly had longer fibers did not eliminate the pilling at all.  I tried removing the pills as they formed on the balls, but they came back quickly.  I tried not taking the pills off which worked for a time.  At about the nine-month mark, however, the pills started coming off and sticking to my clothes.   What a pain having to pick these off a load of laundry!  Had I not been doing the "de-pilling" early on, that would probably have happened sooner. I don't think these are work the expense, time, and effort in the long run. 

You know the ones that you make from rolling a ball of wool yarn and felting it in the washer and dryer? I did and I like them because they:
  •  Really do eliminate static cling--unless you really over-dry the clothing
  •  Keep the wrinkling down
  •  Save money.  (There is the initial cost of the yarn, but these have got to last a really long time.  What can happen to them?  With dryer sheets you have the ongoing expense and contribute to the "we are making too much garbage" problem.)
  • Make less noise than the rubber balls.  The rubber dryer balls you find in the detergent section made too much noise for me.  Five minutes and they hit the garbage can. These yarn balls make some noise, but it's well within my range of acceptable.
The one downside for me can be seen in this photo.  They pilled. 
I was expecting to have this gorgeous bowl of felted yarn balls on my dryer--decorative AND useful.  These stay in the dryer instead.  It could be the yarn I used which was the only fully wool one available at Joann's.  After this happened, I read up on wool yarn and found that some wool yarns are made from shorter fibers.  Shorter fiber wool yarn may pill. Supposedly this stops after a while.  I've been picking the pilled material off these balls for a month, but they continue to form new ones.  All things considered, this is a small downside.

Some people said the balls decreased their drying time.  I have not found this to be true for me at all. I found no change at all for anything from lightweight items to towels.

After seeing another blog post with this bowl of pristine felted yarn balls, though, I have dryer ball envy.  I'm going to try this again.  I LOVED that bowl of beautiful felted yarn balls in muted matching hues!  I've been looking online for wool with longer fibers that doesn't cost a fortune.  Turns out wool yarn is not cheap!  I'm also going to try rolling the yarn more loosely.  I didn't roll my yarn tight, but it was definitely not loose at all.  Now I'm wondering if the looser rolling might increase felting and cause the balls to be even less noisy.     I'll let you know.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Microfiber Dust Mitt Tutorial

I love my microfiber cleaning cloths.  I have a LOT of them, but I could not pass up these in  Joann's clearance area.
for the awesome prince of:
for two cleaning cloths!  Since my dust mitts were worn to a frazzle, these were used for new ones.  A  look online showed that simple microfiber dust mitts are sold individually for $4.50 and up. Making your own is way cheaper even if you didn't get this great deal at Joann's ;-)  And, by the way, who wants just one?  Doesn't everyone dust with two hands?  Two hand, people!  Slap one on each hand and get that dusting done in half the time.


Dust mitts are easy to make.  I created my pattern freehand drawing about an inch to an inch and a half out around my hand. You could use an oven mitt to create the pattern or find a pattern for an oven mitt online--there are several such as this one at Skip To My Lou.  (Remember that an oven mitt will be thicker.  You don't want to make the dust mitt that big.  It might help to throw one together using scrap fabric to get an idea of how big you want to make it.)

I folded each square of fabric in half, pinned on the pattern and cut out the two pieces.  Here's a picture while I was in the midst of cutting.


If you place the cuff end of the pattern at the bottom finished edge of the cloth, you won't need to do any hemming there.  I decided against serging because getting around the thumb would be a pain.  Instead, I sewed a scant quarter inch seam around, turned it right side out, and top stitched a quarter inch in to enclose the seam.


This fabric doesn't have a right/wrong side.  If yours does, you would  start this with the right sides together.  In the photo below, you can see  the scant quarter inch seam before turning right side out.  Be sure to reinforce the ends with back stitching at each cuff end.  

  (Remember to reinforce the start and stop points at the cuff when top stitching, too.)
You can see the top stitching in the photo above.  You can also see that I changed the pattern slightly as I went along to make the thumb area more defined.

Dusting with two of these on really is much faster.  When the front gets dirty, just switch hands and use the back.  You can even turn them inside out to use the other sides.  It's so much easier to do lamps, vases, frames, and dining/kitchen chairs.  Microfiber material holds an amazing amount of dust.

These make great little gifts for those setting up housekeeping.  Also, consider making smaller versions for the kids.  Mine loved the novelty of two-handed dusting with the mitts and finishing the chore quicker when they were young.




Friday, January 27, 2012

Do You Use Dryer Sheets to Clean Your Shower Doors??

I saw this idea on a blog and thought, "Yeah, maybe your shower doors, but my water is beyond hard.  No way that will work for me."  I usually have to use cleaners that require rubber gloves, bleach the color out of any clothes or towels within splatter-shot, and smell as though one should be advised to wear a gas mask and have the windows open.  I was desperate enough to give this dryer sheet thing a try.  On my first attempt I didn't even bother to take before pictures.  I was that sure it would not work.  It worked.

I took pics the second time I used them.  Here's the before:


And after:
Oh, no, that is not with the shower door open.

Look at this shine:
 This is what that area looked like before:

I have a certain amount of guilt because of the disposable factor with the the dryer sheets. I try not to use things that are disposable if I can avoid it.  I don't use dryer sheet for the laundry!  I had to "borrow" some of them from Melissa for my first try.  However, those strong chemicals can't be good for the environment either.  Another great reason to use the dryer sheets is that I don't have to worry about the strong cleansers corroding the caulk around the tub and the metal fixtures as the labels threaten will happen.  Avoiding leaks from worn caulk and extending the life of the fixtures is good for the environment, too.

The sheets work great on the sink and tub area easily cleaning off the tub ring, too.  One sheet goes a long way.  Melissa's were Bounce.  I bought Target's brand which worked just as well.

While I still don't like cleaning the bathrooms,  I don't  dread cleaning them anymore.  Try the dryer sheets if you haven't already.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The new clothes line aka manufactured wasp nesting sanctuary

I finally replaced the clothes line (aka clothes tree or clothes umbrella in some parts for the universe).  The old one was, well, old.  Then, the tree limb fell on it.  I followed all the directions putting it up.  I even used a level to be sure the base was straight.  And:


It's a little crooked.  It looks better from this view.



I got it at Home Depot.  This one-and-only-model-available is strangely short.  To use the inside lines, I need to bend down.  My last one was taller.

My  real concern is that there are rows and rows of holes in the  pole.  You push it up like an umbrella and it falls into a set of holes.  I understand that some people might not be strong enough to push it up really tightly and that the plastic lines might loosen over time so that you could push it up another notch.   Consequently, it is reasonable to have several sets of holes to accommodate these circumstances.  But the majority of the center pole IS holes.  I started counting them but stopped at 43--yes,  there are more that 43 sets of holes on the center pole.   In my neck of the woods, that qualifies it as an official wasp nesting sanctuary.  I have a sinking feeling that I will be battling the little stingers all summer.  A few years ago I had to tape over holes in the base of some new patio chairs that were attracting the wasps.  Taping up 43 plus holes multiplied by the 3 sides would be a monumental task.  Besides, I don't relish looking at peeling tape for the next ten years. It's annoying enough to keep up with the tape on the chairs.

Lesson learned:  If you're buying something for the yard, make sure the wasps are not going to like it as well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The laundreary room (no, it's not misspelled)

You may have a laundry room, but I have a laundreary room as in:


I made that sign a while ago.  It's not that I hate doing laundry.  I just don't find it all that interesting or fulfilling. I find it dreary.  I've gotten better at it.  I seldom have things shrink or colors run.  I always check the pockets carefully.  Cell phones are small, expensive to replace, and don't work at all after being agitated in sudsy water for 20 minutes.  I shake each piece out before putting it in the dryer rather than grabbing the big ball from the washer and tossing it in the dryer.  It was years before I figured that one out.  I do love to iron, but nothing is going to take the wrinkles out of twisted synthetic material that has been in the dryer for 45 minutes.

I blame the appliance manufacturers for the laundreary problem.  Laundry machines are boring.  Where are the fun gadgets?  Where is the music, video, touch screen?  Why can't the detergents and softeners be dropped in every few months and dispensed automatically?

And timers!  What are the manufacturers thinking??  Timers are boring at best.  More often than not they give off some ear-shattering noise akin to the sound one would expect from a high strung ocean liner.  Have the designers of these machines never heard any pleasant sounds that might attract us to the laundry room in a peaceful manner rather than in a frenzied rush to stop the horrific noise?  How about a pleasant vocal  recording that announces that the laundry is ready to be dried or folded?  I think my dryer has the same sound device used in World Ward II air raid horns.  Consequently, I don't use the timer and usually forget to take the clothes out until the laundry has cooled down and the wrinkles are set.  It's a good thing I like to iron.

I guess my laundreary sign is going to stay until manufacturers give us something more innovative than a window in the front of the machine.