Saturday, February 28, 2009

Save zipper bags when you buy new sheets

I like to save the heavy plastic bags that sheets or curtains come in. They have a nice zipper and structured base. These bags are great for traveling. I like to put my conditioner, gel, hairspray, etc. in these bags as they can stand upright on the bathroom counter and will keep any spills away from your clothing. They are also good to keep wet clothing in when traveling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Electric toothbrush heads

This idea is from my sister Jill. Thanks for the tip! I'm going to try it soon, since I have a Sonicare toothbrush. Instead of throwing the old brush head away, keep it with your bathroom cleaning stuff and attach it back onto the toothbrush to scrub around the edges of the sink and faucet handles. You could also use it for baseboards or doors to get the dirt and dust off.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Amazing Jean Hem


My Aunt Lila introduced us to the amazing European hem. This hem keeps the original jeans hem and looks great. It is very easy to do and only takes me 10 minutes. The following blog has photos of each step.

Additional suggestions:

1. Use the zipper foot to sew right next to the original hem. It also is useful for getting over the seams.

2. Make sure the side seams are perfectly matched up and pinned before sewing.

3. If your hem is more than an inch or two, cut off the excess fabric to about 1/2 inch on the inside and zigzag stitch the raw edge (or use serger if you have one). Another non-sew option is to use Fray-Check which is a basically a type of fabric glue for edges.

4.If you don't want to cut off the excess fabric you may have to iron the bottom flap after washing which is annoying. To prevent this you can use Stitch Witchery, a fuseable bonding strip.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fels Naptha Soap for Stains

My sister learned about this old fashioned yellow bar of soap in home economics class several years ago. It is a champion to get out stains on clothing and is very inexpensive (less than $2 for a bar that will last a long time). Simply wet the spot, rub the stained area with the bar. Throw it in the wash - and relax, the stain will be gone forever! My sister said it removed some very tough ring around the collar stains on her husband's white shirts. At my house there are a lot of stains from juice and baby poop on my kids clothing. Look for this in the soap aisle at the grocery store.

Oxi Clean is also a good stain remover and whitener. Kaitlyn is wearing a blessing dress which is 31 years old. It was my baby blessing dress. It had yellowed over the years and I soaked it overnight in warm water with a couple scoops of Oxi Clean and it whitened right up. Oxi Clean also works well for all of Kaitlyn's little stained clothing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thanks Mom! Mending a tear

Top: finished mend
Bottom: underside of skirt with reinforcing backing

I stood on the hem of my skirt last week and it made this crazy rip in the back. I didn't know if it was salvageable but mom was able to sew it right up. Since it is a full skirt, it won't even be noticeable. Thanks!

She reinforced the back side with what I think was some iron-on backing or stabilizer. She then used a wavy stitch (or you can use a zig-zag stitch) in the appropriate thread color to mend the tear. These mends are good on light weight fabrics. They can be somewhat conspicuous though. If you have a heavier fabric you can use iron-on mending tape. It is fast and no sewing is required! I found the following video which shows how easy it is. The mending tape comes in a pack with several colors. Just choose the color that is closest to your fabric.

Clean out your closet!

I like to go through my closet about 4-5 times a year and get rid of things I don't wear anymore. I personally believe it is better to donate your unused items rather than hold onto something you may wear someday (which really means you will never wear it again). Donating clothing to Salvation Army, Goodwill, DI or other charities is a great way for many to reuse good items of clothing you no longer need or use. Another fun option I did as a teenager was have a clothing exchange with several friends. We all brought piles of clothing and could pick "new clothes" from our friends piles. Any clothing that wasn't picked was donated to Goodwill. This obviously works best if you have friends that wear the same size clothes as you.
The first thing to do when cleaning your closet is to pull out all the items that are torn, worn out, stained, etc. These almost always can be thrown away or donated. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 shirts for "painting" or "camping" and only 1 or 2 pants for "yard work" or "cleaning the bathrooms." You don't need more shirts or pants for these chores! You also probably can limit the number of exercise clothes you have. You don't need 20 t-shirts for exercising. Realistically, you may only need 5. The same goes with your exercise bottoms.
Click on the flow chart (above) for a list of questions to ask yourself when you are cleaning out the closet. If after going through this list and you still want to keep something after answering no to all the questions consider asking the following:
Why do I really want to keep this item of clothing?
1. Is it for sentimental reasons? Other than your wedding dress, we don't really need to keep pieces of clothing to remember some important event in life. I've never taken out an old pair of jeans from the closet and admired them like I would a photo album or scrapbook. If it means that much to you it should be out somewhere it can be admired instead of getting dusty in the back of the closet. For example, my neighbor's husband had a huge t-shirt collection which he didn't want to part with. She cut off all the old t-shirts logos or sayings and pieced them into a quilt. Another idea is to take a great photo of the piece of clothing and put the photo in a scrapbook along with a piece of the fabric. Be creative.
2. It may fit someday?! This is a tough one for a lot of us. It may take some tough love but think of the following: by the time I do lose (fill in the blank) pounds would this item still be in fashion? The answer is probably NOT. Buy clothing that you look good in and feel good wearing now. Buy clothing that fits your body well now and accentuates your positive features. Live in the present, not the past. (Thanks Stacy and Clinton, love you on What Not to Wear)
The only exception to the above would be maternity clothing. However, don't let this take up room in your closet. Put them away in a storage bin (only if you plan on having more children, if not give them away, duh!)
3. Other (i.e. someone may be able to use my disco pants for a Halloween costume) Why is it in your closet? If you really will use it for Halloween, put it in storage in a box labelled clearly Halloween.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inventory the freezer and pantry

I like to freeze meals to use later on. However, I was looking through my freezer yesterday and found two potential meals that I totally forgot I had frozen. Luckily, they have only been in the freezer for a couple of months instead of being completely freezer burned and useless. Solution: I took a small piece of paper and jotted down the freezer meals I have in my chest freezer. I put my little paper by my calendar and cookbooks. Now if I can't think of what to have for dinner I can check my list and make sure the meals don't go to waste.

It is also a good idea to inventory your pantry or food storage. I have a storage room in the basement where I keep extra canned goods. I made a chart with each item listed followed by little boxes I can check off each time I pull out an item. When it starts to get low I circle the item on my list and when I see the item on sale I will stock up again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freeze those brown bananas

I hate bananas that have any sort of brown on the peel. I prefer bananas that are just barely yellow. If there are bananas that start getting spots and no one in the house will eat them then I just peel the banana and throw it in a ziploc baggie and freeze it for later. One frozen banana works great in a morning protein shake.

Chocolate Protein Shake
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 frozen banana
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Sweetener (if needed)

This makes a very thick and rich protein shake. I often make this in the morning and share with my 2 year old son.

Frozen bananas are also great for making banana bread. Once you have about 4 bananas you can let them thaw and thrown them in the mixer with your favorite banana bread recipe.

Another use for hair conditioner

Have you ever bought some conditioner that you tried a couple of times but you just don't like? I read this tip and thought it sounded like a great idea. You can use conditioner to shave you legs when you don't have shaving cream. The added bonus is that it leaves the legs really soft.

Okay, I am all about reusing things, but I also hate clutter. If you have some conditioner that is more than a year or two old, just throw it out. Cosmetics, shampoos, lotions and other toiletries don't last forever. In addition, even if you shave several times a week, it would take years to use up the 10 half used bottles of conditioner you have kept over the years.

Daniel's footed pajamas

My sister Karen suggested I start a blog after seeing how I fixed Daniel's footed pajamas with holes in the feet. I seem to always be fixing something around the house or working on a project. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can sew a little. Knowing the very basics of sewing is one of the best tools I have for using and reusing what I have at home.

Daniel is almost 3 years old. He likes to wear his footed pajamas a lot. He would wear them all day long if I didn't get him dressed in the morning. Consequently, he had two pairs of pjs that had holes in the toes. I thought about getting him a new pair, but then came up with a creative solution to fix them using a pair of slipper socks that I had kept in my sock drawer for years but never wore. I cut the very bottom of his pajamas off. I then used the oval shaped fabric I cut off as a template. I pinned the template to the bottom of the slipper sock and cut out the same shape. I then sewed the slipper sock bottom onto the bottom of the pajamas. Now his toes don't stick out and he doesn't slip and fall on the tile floor.