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Wall decor: framing

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Wall decor: framing

Unique, highly personalized wall decor ideas for the folk artist, sentimentalist, or shabby chic individual on a budget.
It might cost a few cents more than just keeping the unframed unique, highly personalized wall decor ideas posters you bought in college (or ugly "artwork" you've accumulated over the years), but it won't cost as much as gallery-approved "art," while looking every bit as impressive: start framing your life!
Almost everybody has a few collections of things that are cherished but unused: old school prize ribbons, favorite record albums, sets of postcards bought on a trip abroad. The idea here is simple: take them out of the drawers, and give them new life as framed, autobiographical wall decor.

Inspiration should come fairly quickly from your cedar chest or even the bottom of a filing cabinet. Great ideas we've seen include groupings of foreign items to commemorate a trip abroad - even a few candy bar wrappers can look good if they're foreign (or vintage), especially if they're highlighted with other items: postcards or currency from the same country, for example. This idea lends itself nicely to thoughtful decoration for children's rooms: a collage of clippings of the best parts of drawings and "A+" papers will be an inspiring display, while freeing up your fridge door space. More sophisticated "prints" can be obtained from a fancy stationery store; these days, there are lots of greeting cards and single-sheet gift wrap that really look as though they were intended to be framed in the first place. Deeper, "shadow box" frames can be used to store and show off your most cherished childhood book, or a collection of contemporary miniature books. Grouping miniature items together will give off a bit of a museum display effect, making for truly interesting decor.

Once you've got some ideas for things to frame, start shopping. Mass-market stores such as Target and IKEA are good sources for cheap frames. Keep an eye out for sales, and inexpensive unfinished wood frames that you can paint to highlight the objects you're going to frame. Consider a certain theme for any grouping you plan on making for various areas of your home: your 1950s albums, for example, would probably be well highlighted by frames from the same era, dug up at tag sales and flea markets.
If you're framing greeting cards or other items with value more decorative than sentimental, the framing can be done quite cheaply and simply. The only caution here is that you may want to take special care with more valuable items: if you have a paper matting in your frame, acid-free is best for archival purposes. (Try seeking out frames designed for diplomas and other permanent displays.) Scrutinize your lighting: the main enemy of your artwork is likely to be the sun. Almost anything will fade if it's left out in the sun for long enough, so don't put the cherished Elvis albums in your sunny breakfast nook.
Haven't found anything to frame? Go outside, or go back to kindergarten: those early "art" projects lend themselves very well to this: paint a frame the same color as a pressed flower, or go nuts with stamps cut from potatoes. Let either folk art or sentimentality or both be a guide if you're stuck for inspiration. Happy framing!

Spots and stains: cleaning hardwood floors

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Spots and stains: cleaning hardwood floors

Instrucions for cleaning hardwood floors and removing stains.
Any grating substance such as sand, dirt, or grit, will dull the surface of hardwood floors. By observing a few rules today, your need for restoration will be far less likely and the floor will look luxurious for many years. Sweep, vacuum, or dust mop, at least every week, and place mats or rugs at the entranceway to trap as much dirt and dust as possible.

* Vacuuming: Avoid beater bars this can cause indentations in the surface of the floor. Use a brush attachment.
* Dust mopping Use a non-abrasive dust mop with a soft cotton head. Some floor manufacturers suggest using a floor treatment as well.
* Sweeping The broom used to sweep a hardwood floor will need to have fine bristles, with feathered ends, that will be very gentle on the floor's surface.
* Furniture Dragging furniture across the floor will damage it significantly. Lift the furniture at all times when repositioning it in your room. Using felt "shoes" under the legs would help to avoid scratches when furniture is accidentally scooted across floor.
* Sunlight Over a period, too much sun can discolor wood finishes. Darken the room by closing curtains and blinds during the time of day when the sun is most intense.
* Shoes Some (sports related) shoes have hard heel supports and metal nails attached to the sole?"stop" and do not enter, they will most surely damage the finish of your wood floor.
Stains will need your immediate attention on wood floors. Keep them waxed as needed and wipe up any drops of fluid that may be spilled on the floor as soon as possible.

Fruit Juices Coffee As a basic first step, it is good to remember to remove a stain start at the outer circumference and work to the inside. This will not allow the stain to continue to spread outward. Warm a soft cotton cloth with hot water, and use a mild abrasive as in a scouring powder. Massage the spot easily do not apply pressure.
Mold or Mildew Your wood floors need good ventilation; air that is not moving and is stagnating will encourage the growth of mold in your home and on your wood floors. If this has occurred, use a solution of 1-cup water and 1/4 cup common household bleach. Use a soft cotton cloth and wipe the mold away gently. It is suggested you wear a mask when dealing with mold.
Water Rings that have turned white Use steel wool (No. 1) and rub the stain, the area will need to have wax re-applied to the stained area. If unsuccessful with the steel wool, use very fine sandpaper and lightly sand the area. The stain, and area encircling, can be cleaned with (no.1) steel wool and a good floor cleaner or mineral spirits. After the floor is dry, a comparable finish for wood floors can be applied. Spread the area very thin, "feathering" the newly applied finish around the circumference allowing it to dry. When completely dry re-wax the floor.
Chewing gum or wax product Fill a secure Ziploc plastic bag with ice cubes and place it over the wax or gum. This should cause the wax or gum to harden, and become breakable. Use a plastic scraper, spatula, or plastic paint scraper, and gently remove the material. The floor will need to be re-polished.
Oily or greasy substance First remove the stain as well as possible with old newspaper or paper towels. Immerse a cloth in dry cleaning fluid and saturate the stain.
Another idea is, to use a soap that contains lye (perhaps homemade lye soap) and rub it on the stain. Alternatively if that fails, drench a cloth with hydrogen peroxide and lay it over thee greasy area. A second layer saturated with ammonia is then placed over that the first layer. This should be duplicated until the stain is removed.
Blood This requires ammonia to remove the stain. Use cold water and ammonia in equal parts, to remove the stain. Re-wax and buff.
Alcoholic drinks This may be easily removed by a simple solution of detergent and warm water. If this is not successful, use a soft cotton cloth moistened with any of the following: ammonia, linseed oil, liquid or paste wax, denatured alcohol or silver polish. You will need to re-wax and polish.
Dark stains Collect a no.1 steel wool pad, and a floor cleaner, or perhaps mineral spirits. Clean the spots or stains and the surrounding region. Dampen a cloth with normal household vinegar and carefully wash the area. It may take a short while but the stain will most likely vanish. If by chance the spots are still noticeable use fine sandpaper and sand, feathering around edges about 4 inches. Re-wax and polish the floor.
Extremely dark stains or spots If you have tried several applications of vinegar on these stains and have had no success then you may apply a solution of Oxalic acid, use this strictly according to the label instructions. This is a bleaching medium and can be purchased in hardware and paint stores. You will definitely have to re-stain and refinish the floor once oxalic acid is used, to rematch the first color. Follow the directions and allow the mixture to set on the spots and stains for a time and then sponge off. More than one attempt may have to be attempted before stains will fade or come off completely.
Cigarette Burns If the burn is not deep and penetrating, there is a good chance it can be removed by using steel wool moistened with soap and water.

It is always important to start processing at the edge of any spot or stained area, and move into the center to avoid spreading the solution outward. It is most probable that re-waxing and buffing will need to be done after each stain removal.

Unique and useful ways to wrap baby gifts

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Unique and useful ways to wrap baby gifts

Try these creative and practical ways to wrap baby gifts.
There is nothing wrong with wrapping a gift in beautiful paper, but why not try one of these useful and unusual baby wraps. Each wrap idea makes part of the gift into the wrapping in a fun and unique way.
Blanket Wrap
Receiving blankets are soft, cute and make great gift wrap that can be used and used. For a beautiful way to wrap a medium-sized baby gift, set it in the center of an unfolded baby blanket; lift the blanket up around the gift and bundle the excess fabric at the top. Use a wide ribbon to secure the bundled blanket and tie it in a large bow. Tie a small stuffed animal or rattle to the outside of the package for extra pizzazz.

Tub of presents
Planning to give a baby bathtub for a shower gift along with some other items? Place all of the small items inside the tub. Wrap translucent cellophane or sheer tulle around the bathtub, gathering the excess material at the top of the package. Tie a ribbon around the package, sealing the items inside the tub. Use an extra piece of ribbon to tie a small, attractive bath toy to the bow.

Storage and supply basket
Babies have a lot of stuff and storage is always at a premium. Consider giving a set of nesting storage baskets with beautiful fabric liners as a baby gift. Storage baskets can be used at the changing table, on shelves and even just placed on the floor to organize all of baby's gear. To prepare the gift, nest the baskets, keeping the liner of the bottom-most basket pulled up around the other baskets; fill the top basket with a selection of practical items like diapers, diaper cream, bibs, grooming kits, infant pain reliever or wipes. Pull the sides of the cloth liner from the bottom basket up so it holds all of other the baskets. Cinch the liner so it creates a wrap for the gifts tucked into the baskets. Add a bow or small toy to the top of the package.

Diaper Bag
A diaper bag is a must for any mom. Instead of wrapping a diaper bag when you give it as a gift, use it as your gift wrap. Tuck handy items such as diapers, portable wipes container, disposable bibs and pacifiers into the bag and tie a large ribbon and bow around the bag. This is a gift that will get used every day!

Towel of toiletries
Want to get the new parents all ready for bath time? Purchase a large hooded towel and use it to wrap up baby soap, shampoo, soft washcloths and a rubber ducky. Fold the towel in half and place the bath items towel in a row, a third of the way up the towel, keeping them at least four inches from each edge. Start at the bottom edge of the towel and roll it up, enclosing the bath items inside. Secure the roll at each end by securing ribbons around it and tying them into bows.

Framed gift
Gift certificates are great gifts for new parents; they help out with those unexpected necessities. For a fun and memorable way to "wrap" a gift certificate, purchase an appropriately sized baby motif picture frame. Place the gift certificate in the frame where a picture will ultimately reside. Finish the gift by attaching a large bow to the frame. For a more "finished" look, bundle the frame in sheer pastel organza before tying it with a ribbon. This is a perfect wrap for a gift certificate to a local photography studio specializing in babies!

Repair large holes in your canoes

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Repair large holes in your canoes

learn how to repair holes in your canoe! Tips for fixing the three types, fiberglass, foam sandwich and aluminum hulls.
  • Fiberglass canoe hulls are handmade and consist of several layers of woven glass fiber cloth bonded together with polyester or epoxy resin. The color is often contained in an outer gelcoat, but both the interior and exterior may be painted with enamel. Protect the finish with an annual waxing, using a hard, automotive paste wax. Shallow scratches may be filled by brushing on additional gelcoat obtained from the canoe manufacturer and buffing lightly.
  • Fiberglass tends to fade when exposed to sunlight, and the new gelcoat may not be a perfect color match, but the repaired area will also fade and become invisible, given time.
  • Deep scratches may have to be first filled with resin. If large areas of the hull are scratched from repeated beaching or contact with the stream bottom, it is less expensive to paint the entire canoe with a quart of enamel than to coat the bottom of the canoe with gelcoat. Severe impact damage, whether it includes holes or not, weakens the hull fibers. Cut out the entire affected area and rebuild it with glass cloth and resin, sold in kits. Do not work in temperatures below 60 degrees Farenheit.
  • Holes 2 inches in diameter can be fixed with auto patch kits. One brand cures in sunlight. Cut away damage. Apply patch larger than hole, inside hull. When inside patch cures, cut another to fit hole exactly and apply from outside of hull. Add more patches to match hull thickness. Let each cure before adding next.
  • Use Number 80 sandpaper to feather edges of hardened patch into canoe's surface. Apply auto filler. Finish as you would a car repair. Apply enamel or gelcoat.
  • Foam sandwich hulls have a core of buoyant, closed-cell foam material surrounded on both sides by several layers of plastic. The material absorbs impact well, and small dents that do not show on the inside of the canoe tend to work themselves out in time simply by using the canoe.
  • To fix a hole, buy a repair kit from the canoe maker that includes flexible resin and cloth. Use the kit as you would fiberglass. Patch a canoe from the inside, a kayak from the outside. Let cure, sand and paint.
  • Holes near of below the waterline of an aluminum boat should be covered with a watertight fiberglass patch. A riveted metal patch will leak unless it is backed up by a thicker rubber gasket. Some sheet aluminum sold in hardware stores will deteriorate rapidly if exposed to salt water or air. Dents can be hammered out of an aluminum hull in the same way as dents in a car fender, but the metal will get brittle if it is stretched or overheated. Patch holes above the waterline with aluminum tape. Sand the corrosion around the hole. Remove grease with rubbing alcohol and apply tape to dry surface with a cloth pad, stripping off the backing as you go.
  • To prevent any holes in your canoe in the future, make sure your canoe is free from salt water after use, and store covered in the garage.
  • Throw pillow covers

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    Throw pillow covers

    When the old throw pillow need new covers try this simple how-to.
    When the pillows start to become raggedy or look straight out of the seventies it is time to make throw pillow covers.
  • You should first select a theme or color that will match your decor. Take a measuring tape (or string) and measure all the way around the pillow from front to back lengthwise, and front to back horizontally. Add an extra inch into you measurements for the seams. If you want to put a zipper on the cover than you should measure one end of the pillow
  • When you go to buy the cloth select a nice thick material that does not fray, snag or rip easy. If you have kids you may want to stay away from whites or very expensive cloth. A good material suggestion is a 50/50 cotton polyester blend. Test the material on the ends with your hand to make sure it is a good durable material. If you are going to put zippers on your pillow covers pick up ones that blend into your material, do the same with the thread.
  • Once you arrive home you should wash the material in the washing machine. After the material is washed and dried you can begin measuring out the material you need for each pillow.
  • For example: If you have a pillow that is 15" lengthwise and 12" width wise then you would measure out 31" (2 x 15" + 1" seam) lengthwise and 25" (2 x 12" + 1" seam).
  • After the material is cut fold the material so that the wrong side is out. (The wrong side is the side that you do not want shown when the pillow is done. For example, the printed side would be the right side.) Once it is folded it should be approximately the same size as the pillow but without the stuffing.
  • With the wrong side out there should be 3 open ends. Select which end you would like to put the zipper (if you adding a zipper) and sew up the other two openings leaving that one opening bare. When you sew remember that you have a half inch seam allowance on each of the three sides, otherwise sew ? inch in from the outside edge.
  • Once both edges are done turn the material so that the pattern is now on the right side. You may want to put the pillow into the case and make sure it fits appropriately. Take the zipper and turn the right side of the zipper (the side you would show) towards the right side of the material. Pin the edge of the zipper to the edge of the pillow casing. Hint: Do not sew too close to the actual zipper, as the material may get caught while you are zipping. Once the zipper is pinned you may sew that one side.
  • To make a little flap that hides the zipper you should do the following for the other side. Unzip the zipper and fold the other half of the opening that is unsewn over so that only the right side is showing. The fold should be just long enough that when you press the unsewn side of the zipper up next to it the top of the fold goes just beyond the zipper. Pin the bottom of the unsewn zipper (the part with no teeth) along the bottom of the flap so that the teeth are at the top where the flap is folded over. Sew along the bottom of the zipper and the flap.
  • When you are done you should be able to zip the zipper and have a beautiful new look for your throw pillow.
  • Making a braided rug

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    Making a braided rug

    Instructions on making a homemade braided rug from fabric scraps.
    In the 1830's, with the introduction of machine-made fabrics, homemakers began to put all of their leftover scraps to use by braiding them into floor coverings. It is a craft that is still practiced today, even though machine-made braided rugs are readily avaiable. Many people want to bring back the feeling of the "good ol' days" by doing it themselves.
  • When choosing rags or old clothing to make a braided rug, woolen ones work best. To prepare clothing for braiding, remove all lining, etc., and cut garments along the seams. Tear wool into strips that can be folded into cables for braiding. To tear strip, start with scissors and then rip the rest of the way along grain of fabric. Different weights in fabrics will mean that strips may need to be cut in different widths. Start by cutting a 1 1/2" strip and fold it to form a plump, round cable. Once you have your cable thickness decided, use that to judge how wide you need to cut the rest of your fabric strips.
  • Once the strips are torn you'll need to join them. Simply hold the ends at a 90 degree angle with right sides together, then stitch on a diagonal across the corner. Cut off excess corner.
  • To start the rug you'll need to make a center seam. To determine what size this seam needs to be it is suggested that you subtract your desired width from your desired length. For example, if you want a 4' x 6' rug you need a 2' long center seam. Braid the length of the seam desired, and then you'll need to turn the corner so you can continue braiding. To do this consider the strand hanging on the left part of the braid strand 1, the middle strand 2, and the strand on the right strand 3. To corner, bring strand 1 over strand 2 and into the center. Bring strand 2 over strand 1 and then under strand 3. Pull the braid towards the right and continue braiding. When you reach the other end and need to corner again simply repeat the process. As the rug area becomes larger you will not have to corner, it will simply wrap around.
  • To attach the braided lengths so they stay together you'll need heavy thread or carpet thread and a large needle. Do your stitching on what you desire to be the bottom of your rug. Thread the needle and begin by sliding needle under braid loop and out the top. Draw thread out and do the same to the length of braid that lays beside it. Do this back and forth, just like sewing until lengths are securely attached.
  • Since each length of braid that works to the outside of the rug is longer than the previous one you will need to skip a stitch along the outer curves to accomadate this. Do not skip at exactly the same places each time you hit the curve.
  • When you reach the last piece of braid, you'll need to cut strands 1,2, & 3 so they taper. Work them into the cable next to them and stitch them into place.
  • Now lay your rug out and enjoy your handiwork.
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