Monday, April 27, 2009

Mothers Day Is Coming. Get Those Kids Building!

When I was a kid, I used to create and build things.  That's probably how it all started for me.  I wasn't lucky enough to have home improvement centers that offered free building classes for kids.  Years ago I took my kids to Home Depot on Saturdays so they could learn to build.  I'm pretty sure they made a birdhouse, a bat house and a critter cage.  They had fun and I enjoyed watching them.

Lowe's Home Improvement Center offers the same program.  So if you have the time and want you kids to learn basic woodworking skills, sign them up for the Lowe's Build and Grow clinic.  They offer it on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.  Each kid gets a free apron, goggles and a project-themed patch and a merit certificate.  To sign up at your local Lowe's visit

May 9th at 10AM your kids will build a planter (a great Mother's Day gift) that includes a free plant!

May 23, at 10AM-the kids will create a Ready-To-Go Kit.  A handy project to help families prepare for natural disasters.

June 13, at 10AM-Putting Green.  A desktop game for Fathers Day.

June 27th, 10AM-a pirate ship.

Don't miss out on an opportunity to spend time with your child and watch them grow and learn. I wish mine were little again.......

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What The Damaged Aisle Has To Offer

Many stores have small areas or aisles where they display all their broken, chipped and dented items. I make it a point to stop by and check all the items out also keeping one thing in mind-can it be repaired? ? How much work is involved and how much will it cost to make the piece usable again?

Last week I stopped at T.J. Maxx and picked up this little cabinet.

Judging by the amount of dust covering it I suspect it had been sitting there for a long time.  That makes me wonder why.  Do people not see the potential, not have the time or can't imagine how to go about repairing something.  Maybe it's all of the above, but I wasn't going to let this cabinet get away.  Originally priced at $100.00, the price was now reduced to $34.00.  Most of these cabinets are made of MDF wood and are hand painted.  MDF can be sanded or painted with no problems.  This particular cabinet had some chipped paint.

Actually, that's all it needed.  I mixed up some brown and black acrylic paint and touched up the areas.
By the way, old CD's work great as an artist's palette.  Use and threw them out.

When it was all dry I added one of my favorite products, Rub N Buff  (available at Michael's Craft Store, Hobby Lobby) to the edges.  This particular color is metallic gold.  Just adds some detail.

I also added a small shelf in the bottom part so it would be easier to store things inside.

A great bargain, with minimal work in terms of repairs.  End result-like new.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Finding A Hidden Space

A few years ago I needed a new wall microwave-oven combo.  I noticed when the guys took out the old one, there was a small space above the microwave that someday may become a new challenge for me. 

The time arrived last week and this space became usable.  Here is what I did.
Above is the original cabinet. It is actually a stationary panel that has a great little space behind it.  I started by removing the panel and installing a shelf.  I purchased the wood at Home Depot, cut it to fit and mounted it inside the space. L-brackets work well for this, but with such a small space they were difficult to screw in.  I did manage, but it was not easy.

Below I have placed some of things that I'm storing inside.  Hey, I just love this-a new space that will serve a real purpose.

Look closely and you'll see the magnets that I installed. These keep the cabinet tightly closed when not in use. I've used these magnets before and they really work well.

My next step was to create a new panel for the front.  My idea was to attach 2 brass hinges on the top so the cabinet would open and close easily.  I think you can see them in the photo below. The panel was just a cut piece of wood that was sanded down.  I attached "rope" molding all the way around just to add to it.
Below it the new cabinet stained to match with the addition of a handle that matches the rest of the kitchen cabinets.  It opens easily and I can store flat pans, cookie sheets and cupcake trays in there.  Actually the space has plenty of room because it is very deep.
I must say, a very satisfying project. I'm always looking around for hidden spaces in my home.  Over the years I've managed to find lots of them.  This one is a real treasure.

I wish that when they build houses they would use some "space" intelligence.  That's why we need more woman putting more input into the building of houses.  Every single square foot would make sense.


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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Saving On Electricity Where You Can

Saving Money on Electricity

Three teenagers!  Do I need to say more?  Lights are left on........and on.........and on.  Despite my ramblings, lectures and pleadings, the lights still do not get turned off.  I now have something to fight the battle with.

Go for it kids, leave them on!!!  It's not going to cost me much now. I have help.

 I originally heard about money saving light bulbs for Clark Howard.  He is our consumer guru here in Atlanta.  Clark started  a radio show here years ago that eventually went national.  I'm a huge fan and listen to him on a regular basis.  He is a fountain of information and you should check him out.

These bulbs are the newest technology and can save you a bundle. Clark says you can take them with you when you move (really?).  They last that long.  Annual cost of operate $0.38,  90% more efficient compared to incandescent and halogen bulbs. These bulbs give you a whopping 30,000 hours of life!  Also, they contain no Mercury like those spiral bulbs that have been out in the stores for a while. 

Pictured above is the package they come in -I'll admit they are a little funky looking.  These particular bulbs pictures are for indoor track lighting or indoor recessed down lights otherwise known as high-hats.  They retail for $14.95.  Yes, that does seem very high for 2 bulbs but remember you are getting 30,000 hours of life.  I've been picking up one package at a time at Sam's Club.  That's the only place that seems to have them right now around here. 

They also can be ordered online from the American company that produces them called Lights of America, Inc.

Now, I am going to tell you something important.  These lights are not for everyone.  They are very "blue" in color.  I would not use them in any rooms where I would read or need very good lighting.  They are very, very good for rooms where kids linger  (they are after all, the culprits).  I have a basement that has 8 high hats in the play area and 6 more in my son's room.  I have replaced all of those 14 lights.  I think I may save lots of money with the replacements.  They also make them in candle-bulbs so I have replaced my front porch lights.  They actually look very nice out there and can stay on all night for security. There are 3 hall lights in the basement that I have replaced as well.  When the lights are put on, they look very much like "natural" outdoor light, almost as if there is a skylight window above.  I won't use these lights in my den, living room, dining room or kitchen.  They are terrific for the areas where lights tend to be left on. You can also use them outside as flood lights.  That's a savings if you leave them on all night or they are motion activated.

.38 a year


Those kids can leave them on now and I can afford it!

Remember, they emit a cool, blue light.  Very different from what we are use to but they are very useful in certain rooms and outdoors. Shops, laundry rooms, closets, flood lights, motion activated lights, basements and outdoor lanterns.
You may want to check these out.


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Handmade Soaps, lotions and more...

All Natural, for Your Body

I have a good friend from New Jersey that started making soaps and lotions in her house ten years ago.  Being the perfectionist that she is, she worked hard over the years to perfect all her
 recipes.  As the story goes, the more people that used her products the more orders she got.  After placing products in local stores, doing some craft shows and taking orders from repeat customers, my friend Antoinette, is finally selling on the Internet. 

I am a big believer in homemade items and start up businesses, so I decided to place an order and find out for myself why she has so many repeat customers.  

The name of the company is Buena Vista Soapery and all items can be found on
If you are not familiar with ArtFire, it's an online marketplace for handmade items.  It's a great site to research the talents of various artists, not to mention buying some great things.

All products that are listed have complete descriptions and ingredients.  All ingredients are completely natural.
Pictured above are some great products that I ordered.  Mango Face Cream, Skin Therapy Lotion and Fluffy Sugar Scrub.  
Mango Face Cream
mango butter
kokum butter
rosehip seed oil
wheat protein

I love this face cream.  I need the moisture (ugh.....old age) but hate the grease.  This cream went on smoothly and stayed on all day.  I wore it under my makeup and never had that greasy feeling.

Skin Therapy Lotion
First I noticed the smell.  It's just so nice.  I think a guy could use this as well. It doesn't clash with other colognes either.  It's light and weirdly refreshing. I say weirdly because you don't expect that in a lotion.  It actually cooled me down after putting it on........never felt that before.  I like this stuff!  I can only imagine using this lotion after a cool shower in the summer. 

Fluffy Sugar Scrub-I haven't used this one yet, but check out the ingredients.  Sugar, Olive Oil, hempseed oil, Soybean Oil and Soy Extract.  These are not ingredients I have seen in the scrubs I've bought in Walmart.  Ok, well I can't even pronounce most of those ingredients.

Above are the soaps...OMG.  I won't be able to buy Dial or Irish Spring any more.  These are delicious, all natural soaps that lather up a soothing blend of botanicals.
I especially love the Cucumber Aloe Sea Salt.
Pure Sea Salt
Organic Yogurt (yum!)
Pureed cucumbers
Aloe Vera (oh, she grows this in her backyard, so yes, it's all natural)
Olive Oil
Shea Butter

So, the economy stinks.  I get that.  I clip coupons, shop at the Goodwill and same my pennies too but I do feel I can spend some money on myself sometimes.

Buena Vista Soapery is having a sale this month giving everyone 15% off all these great products.  Take a look.....

Happy Shopping

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wrought Iron Everywhere

Wrought Iron In The Home

The beauty of wrought iron is its great when it's new, old and also used.  There is so much you can do with it.  More and more I've been seeing it in the retail home stores, garage sales, thrift stores and salvage yards.  You can change the color of it or leave it just like it is with the rust on it.  Along with prints, paintings and other wall art, wrought iron can blend in and add details to any room.

If you get a piece that is rusty just
 scrape it down with a wire brush, prime and paint using Rustoleum.  You can even clear coat it for extra protection.

One of my favorite products to embellish wrought iron is Rub-n-Buff, which comes in several colors.  You can find it in craft stores like Michael's or Joanne's Fabric Store.

Below is a wrought iron piece that I purchased at Kirkland's for under $25.00.  Originally it was red but changes were made in the den recently so I decided to spray it green.  I'll be adding some gold Rub-and-Buff to the edges.

The photo below shows door frame corners.  Frames out the door and adds some detail.

Below is another piece purchased for under $15.00 at Kirkland's. It sits between two windows
Below a wrought iron medallion hanging in a bathroom.
Oh yes.....wrought iron furniture.

Here is something a little different.  Wrought iron under glass and framed. 
So if you are getting sick of prints, paintings, plates and photographs, look in the direction of wrought iron.

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