Hang-O-Matic Wall Hanging Tool Review | Pretty Handy Girl

This is one of the multitude of gadgets that gets sent to me for review. Most don’t make it to the light of the blog. But, this little gadget has proved useful in my toolbox. Stick around to learn how you too can Hang Art easily using Hang-o-Matic. And why I gave this little tool a second chance.

The creators of Hang-o-matic sent me this tool to try out. The first one I received was defective. The moveable clip was loose and wouldn’t stay put. I explained to the creators that I didn’t like the tool because the point wouldn’t stay where it was set. Apparently there had been some production issues and they shipped me a second one. I was doubtful, but after trying the tool a handful of times, I have to admit it is the perfect tool when you are hanging art, decor, or mirrors that have two hooks.

Instructions for Hanging Art Easily using Hang-o-Matic:

Remove the cover from the ruler/level section.

Hang-O-Matic Wall Hanging Tool Review | Pretty Handy Girl

Mark the height you want to hang your art with a pencil. Read more

Using a stud finder is the quickest and easiest way to find a stud. But, if you don’t have one or are too lazy to find yours (I’m often guilty of this), you can use one of these ways to find a stud.

5 Ways to Find a Wall Stud (without a stud finder) | Pretty Handy Girl

5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder)

1. Measure from an outlet – remove an outlet cover and inspect the outsides of the box. One side will usually be nailed to a stud.

stud-visible-from-outlet-box

Then measure out to the left or right at 16″ intervals. US building code requires wall studs to be spaced at least 16″ on center (meaning the center of the studs.) This will help you locate studs. However, recognize that in locations near doors/windows or openings there may be a stud at less than a 16″ interval.

5 Ways to Find a Stud

2. Look for popped nails or dimples on the wall – It doesn’t always happen, but in older houses you might see nail pops where the drywall was nailed to a stud. In newer construction this is less likely to happen because screws are used.

3. Look for nails in your baseboard or crown moulding – inspect your crown or baseboard moulding for nails that might indicate where it was attached to a stud.

locate-nail-in-moulding

4. Knock on the wall – You should use this method in conjunction with the methods described above. Use your knuckle to knock along the wall horizontally. A stud location will have a higher pitched sound and feel hard against your knuckle. Lack of a stud will have a lower pitch and hollow sound.

5. Use a small pin – Once you think you’ve located the stud, use a small quilter’s pin to verify that you found the stud.

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

If the pin sinks in up to the head, there is no stud there. If the pin sinks in about 3/4″ and then stops, you found the stud.

pin-locating-studs

The pin method will save you the hassle of creating a larger hole only to realize that you missed the stud.

Okay, now go find your stud! {snicker, hee hee}

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how to find a stud without a stud finder

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Curtain rods, towel bars, and other wall mounted accessories are relatively easy to hang. The trick is securing them to a stud so they can hold up to the abuse. But, how often have you found that you don’t have a stud where you want it mounted? Probably 98% of the time, right? That’s where it is important to use good wall anchors (specifically for your type walls.) Today I’m talking about drywall anchors.

Day 15: Use Good Wall Anchors

You are probably thinking, “Okay, no problem. The towel bar I bought came with wall anchors. I’ll just use those.” And that would be a mistake!

use_better_anchors

Why? Because those freebie wall anchors get mangled and they won’t hold up to regular use. DO NOT USE those El Cheapo wall anchors that come with your curtain rods, shelves, towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc. In fact, don’t even save them if you don’t use them. PITCH ‘EM…NOW… JUST DO IT!

I am a big fan of the TOGGLER wall anchors because they are easy to drill into drywall and you can remove them fairly easily with a phillips head screwdriver. There are several other brands and types of wall anchors that will work just as well. When purchasing wall anchors, pay attention to the weight limit and wall types they are designed for.

Now, pin this post because friends don’t let friends use el Cheapo Wall anchors!

Good & Bad Wall Anchors | Pretty Handy Girl

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I’m participating in Nester’s 31 Days Challenge. Check out all the other bloggers who are participating!

31 Day Writing Challenge

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Painted Lampshade & a Quick Guest Room Makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

My mom was coming to visit his month. Since she’s a repeat guest, I wanted to give the guest room a little mini makeover for her. With the addition of some new pillows, curtains and a painted lampshade I gave it a new look in an afternoon.

Here’s the before:

GuestBed

And the after: Read more

Welcome back. Today, I’m going to show you how to maximize the amount of light that comes in your windows. 

In my last post I talked about scraping and painting your ceilings to help reflect more natural light into your home. As we learned, more light can boost  your mood, making you happier and helping you love your home.

Today, as part of my continuing series “Fall in Love with Your Home February”, we will be focusing on the windows in your home.

If you have mini-blinds (well, in my case I had maxi-blinds), they can block up to 25% of the light coming in your room, even when they are raised! Look at your window blinds, curtains and/or valance. Do they cover more than half of a window pane? Or more than 3-4″. If they do, they are blocking light.

Take a look at this photo taken today in our bathroom. The “maxi-blinds” were completely pulled open (picture on the left), but look how much light they were blocking when I took them down (picture on the right). You can see there is more light being reflected on the ceiling and the door. And it is a cloudy day. Can you imagine how much light is blocked on a sunny day?

Next up, take a look in our master bedroom. The top pictures show the room with roman shades that covered one whole pane height, or almost half of the upper window. The bottom photo is taken around the same time of day with new shades hung much higher. The amount of light increased in the room is dramatic!
As you can see below, I hung the shades above the window, and they only overlap the window by about 3-4″.

I also added curtains to the windows, but the rod extends far enough to the sides that the curtain doesn’t cover the window.
When opened, they only slightly cover the window casing.
What you saw above is akin to cheating the size of your window. If you install the blinds  and hang the curtains  outside the window, it makes your windows appear larger than they are. 
Now, I’d like to bring in a professional interior designer so she can show you some of the rooms she has redesigned to maximize the amount of light coming into the windows. 
Introducing Caitlin Campbell from Symmetry Designs in San Jose, CA:
The photo below is from her portfolio. Believe it or not, the two pictures are from the same dining room. The photo on the left is the before picture. And the photo on the right shows the room with the bulky valance removed and curtains hung on the outside of the windows. Even with the new dark dining set, the room has a much brighter feel.
photo courtesy of Symmetry Designs
This living room that Caitlin designed, was a bit drab and dark
(even with an exposed glass door).
photo courtesy of Symmetry Designs
But, after removing the valance and opening the mini-blinds, this room beckons us to enter and enjoy. Look at all that natural light flooding in.

I understand that we all need privacy sometimes. So, feel free to draw your curtains or blinds at night. But, I beg of you, please open them every morning! Invite in a little sunshine to brighten your day. And find yourself falling in love with your home.

Disclosure: Those of you that know me, know that Caitlin is my sister, but she REALLY is a talented interior designer. Besides if I told you she was my sister from the get go you wouldn’t have paid attention to her fantastic room makeovers. But seriously, she is NCIDQ Certified and an Industry Member of ASID. So, if you live in the San Jose, CA and need some expert design advice, look her up!
A few products you might be interested in (commission based links):

Leaf Curtain Rod - Wrought Iron Leaf Curtain Rod – Wrought Iron
~Allow 3-4 weeks. Cannot express ship or ship to Alaska or Canada.






Acorn & Leaf Curtain Rod Acorn & Leaf Curtain Rod
Wrought iron acorn and leaf curtain rod. Available in three different sizes; 1/2″ Diameter. Made in the U.S.A. Curtain brackets sold separately (see link below). ~Allow 3-4 weeks. Cannot express ship or ship to Alaska or Canada.







120x60 Spring Summer 2011 New Collection

Hanging Curtains

Glad you came back to see how I hung the curtains in our bedroom. If you are just joining us, I hung some blinds the other day in a mini-makeover for our master bedroom.

Hanging Curtains

Hanging Curtains

Then I hung a curtain rod and flanked both windows with some billowy white cotton curtains. I still can’t believe what a difference this made in the room.

Here is the dark and drab before:

Hanging Curtains

So, you want to hang your own curtains? I’m here to help you along with that.

By the way, if you have a Tuesday Morning near you, check out their curtain rods! This extra wide one for spanning two windows was only $24.99!

Start out by holding up your curtain rod (preferably with a friend holding and you looking.) And mark the height of your rod on the wall.

Hanging Curtains

Take the time to check and see if there is a stud behind where your bracket will hang. If there is, check out my post HERE for hanging the bracket into a stud. All my brackets landed in locations without a stud behind them.

Hanging Curtains

So, I grabbed some Toggler anchors and used them instead of the screws that came with the curtain rod.

Hanging Curtains

Start by tracing the screw holes in your bracket.

Hanging Curtains

Next screw the two screws that come with the Toggler anchors partially into the wall. This creates starter holes for the anchors.

Hanging Curtains

Remove the screws.

Hanging Curtains

Use a philips head screwdriver and screw the anchors into the wall until they are flush with the wall. Be careful not to over-tighten.

Hanging Curtains

Line up your bracket on top of the anchors, and then insert the screws that come with the anchors into the wall.

Hanging Curtains

As you can see, the toggler screws are silver, but not for long! Grab a permanent black marker and color them black.

Hanging Curtains

Or if you are using white or brown brackets, you can simply paint them with acrylic craft paint, stain or primer. Your choice.

Next, using your level, rest it on top of the first bracket and make a mark on the wall where your next bracket will be mounted. This will insure that it is level with the first.

Hanging Curtains

Repeat the steps to install the second and third bracket (if you have a wide span of windows like I do.)

Hanging Curtains

Assemble the brackets per the instructions that came with them. And hang your curtains!

Hanging Curtains

You may have noticed how far the rod extends beyond the window. This is a design trick to make the windows appear bigger, plus it allows for the maximum amount of natural light to enter the room.
 Hanging Curtains

Okay, less you think that everything I do is perfect – remember how I said to have a friend hold the rod when you first decided how high to hang the rod. Well, I didn’t! I was too impatient. So, I ended up having to re-do the first bracket and was left with this.

Hanging Curtains

No biggie. I just patched the hole and applied some touch up paint. Good as new!

Except, I was too lazy to iron the curtains before I hung them. (Yup, I’m an instant gratification kind of gal, couldn’t you tell?!)

Hanging Curtains

So, I have for you a two-fer post. Two posts in one! Wow, your lucky day right?!

A No Iron Technique for Removing Wrinkles!

This is my favorite technique for removing wrinkles. I use it on everything! Slipcovers, curtains, sheets, and clothing I am already wearing.

You will need one of these:

Hanging Curtains

Just a squirt bottle with plain old H2O in it. Nothing fancy. Set the nozzle to mist.

Spread out your curtains.

Hanging Curtains

Then go to town spraying your wrinkled areas. When it dries the wrinkles are magically gone.

Hanging Curtains

Sometimes they might need another spray and some smoothing with your hands, but ultimately they usually come out.

Hanging Curtains

Only the stubborn wrinkles get to meet my iron.

As you can see below, most of the wrinkles came out, but we had party guests arriving in 15 minutes, so I left them as is and will iron them another day. Maybe.

Hanging Curtains

And one more look at my new curtains and blinds.

Hanging Curtains

Hey! Are you peeking at my new wall graphic I painted? You cheater, you’ll have to read my post where I will show you how to paint a wall graphic. In the meantime, I posted a picture of me working on it on my Facebook fan page.