Do It Yourself
Wall decor: framingUnique, 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 floorsInstrucions 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
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.
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.
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.
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 canoeslearn how to repair holes in your canoe! Tips for fixing the three types, fiberglass, foam sandwich and aluminum hulls.
Throw pillow coversWhen 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.
Making a braided rugInstructions 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.