Anyone else detest cleaning their homes? {Major hand raised over here!} I don’t like to clean, but what I really dislike is paying those exorbitant prices to purchase store bought cleaners. Did you know that you can make your own cleaning products using ingredients that cost pennies compared to a bottle of cleanser!

For example, baby oil makes an excellent stainless steel sink shiner (who knew!)

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TGIF! Our spring break is officially here. Sadly I’m not going to Cancun to party it up like a bunch of MTV teenagers (As if!). But, I am hanging with two guys! My two little guys that is. I’m looking forward to crafting a little bit with them and maybe catch up on some sewing. My boys both like to sew. They also like to build with hammers. That’s my parenting mission at work. I vow to teach them to do everything that I know how to do no matter which gender that talent is associated with.

But, enough about me, what you are really here to see is the laundry room reveal! Before I give you the whole 5′ x 8′ tour, I want to show you how the Flow Wall cabinets and shelving are installed. Because you aren’t going to believe how easy it was. Before installing the cabinets, I installed the slat wall in no time! Read more

When last I left you, I was covered in dust and debris from scraping the popcorn ceiling in our laundry room. After a shower and some sleep, I was ready to start another productive day.

First I hired some cheap labor to help me paint the walls. Well, I helped ;-).

The color I used was Benjamin Moore’s Glacier Blue in the Aura Bath & Spa Line of paint (since it is a laundry room.) And every time I walk in the room the color makes me want to sing! Read more

Many of you guessed correctly that I would be scraping my own popcorn ceilings.

It wasn’t hard to do, but it also isn’t for the bad neck or bad back sufferers. Normally I hire out this job — but because our laundry room is so small — it seemed silly to pay someone else to do the work. Now that it is done, I’m really glad I decided to tackle this project. The sense of accomplishment and the resulting smooth ceiling is HUGE!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you live in a house that was built around 1978, take several small samples of your ceiling and test it for asbestos before you begin. Even though the cutoff date for asbestos in popcorn texture was 1978, the inventory could still be bought from store shelves well into the 1980’s. Do yourself and your family a favor, If you have asbestos popcorn contact a professional who is trained in asbestos removal to handle the job. If you want to learn more, you can read more about our experience with asbestos remediation.

 

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This past weekend I was able to make some serious progress on our laundry room. Yeehaw! Sometimes in order to make a room pretty, you have to make it uglier first. That was certainly the case with this project. If  you are just joining me, a few weeks ago the nice folks at Flow Wall sent me a custom wall system to install in the laundry room. The FlowWall system of storage will look something like this: Read more

The other day I was wandering aimlessly shopping at Costco and spied an empty wooden wine crate. The angel stamped on the side was beckoning me to take her home. Actually, I read Funky Junk Interiors’s post about making tool boxes last year and have been looking for just the right wood to make one. The angel may not have calling me, but I wasn’t about to leave the store without her.

I thought about tucking it under my coat and making a break for the front door, as I was sure there were other crafty ladies eyeing up the lonely wine crate. But, I resisted the urge and asked the manager if I could have it, and he graciously let me take it home. I was exuberant because I’ve been missing my rustic wine crate that Cherie won. Read more

You know that beautiful laundry room I showed you last year? Yes, this one:

Well, it isn’t so pretty right now, and honestly I strategically didn’t photograph the ONE wall in the laundry room that isn’t….so….pretty. Can you blame me?!

But, that is all about to change! I’ve been working with a Flow Wall System representative to come up with a plan for my laundry room wall.

Flow Wall Garage and Home Storage Solutions

Within half an hour of sending him my measurements (of my laundry room, not my body measurements – LOL), he sent back multiple possible configurations for our room.

I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic it is to turn over the planning to someone else for a change! Of course, being the planner that I am, I had to tape up a few paper templates to help visualize how they would work in my space.

The Flow Wall System looks like it is going to be a snap to install (and I will definitely let you know for sure!) Here is a short 60 second video to show you a little more about Flow Wall System:

Here are my beautiful plans for the laundry room using the Flow Wall System sketches as inspiration.

1. Flow Wall medium wall mounted storage bins to hold the iron and ironing supplies

2. Flow Wall small storage hook to hang ironing board on

3. Flow Wall white coated wire shelves for extra storage and drying clothes

4. Flow Wall jumbo decor bins in cream to corral detergents, spot cleaners, etc

5. Waverly Pom Pom Play Spa fabric for a faux roman shade

6. Spray painted brass chandelier inspired by Modern Parsonage

7. Flow Wall cabinets to hide my unsightly mess

What do you think? Do you like the design? I’m probably going to scrape the ceilings and repaint in there too. The exact wall color will have to wait until I get the fabric. I’m particular about color like that. More on my color snobbishness next week. Until then, I hope you have a great weekend.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Flow Wall Systems. I have been compensated for my time and will be receiving some complimentary products. However, the ideas and words are all my own. I was not told what to write or what products to write about. I believe you have the right to know when a post is sponsored. Regardless of whether a post is sponsored or not, I believe in honesty, truthfulness, and complete transparency in my posts.

I’ve been keeping a secret from y’all and I just can’t live with it anymore. I have a miracle stain remover recipe that has time and again proven to work on some of the most stubborn stains. Plus, find out why we don’t need dryer sheets anymore!

miracle stain remover

Miracle Stain Remover and a Healthier Alternative to Dryer Sheets

Recently, Pretty Handsome Guy came back from a business trip with a stained button-down shirt. It had wing sauce on it AND it had been allowed to settle for a few days AND he hadn’t pre-soaked it or used any stain remover. (Have I not taught him anything?! Sigh.) I thought for sure the shirt was a goner. But, I decided to put my miracle stain remover recipe to the test. Low and behold after 24 hours of soaking in the concoction, the stain was magically gone! No scrubbing, it was simply gone. Can I apply for a magic wand now?

I can’t lay claim to the recipe. I found it on our local “Mommy” message board back when I was a new mom. But, this recipe has worked on more stains than I can count.


I mixed up a batch today to try on one of my son’s shirts that got blueberry jelly on it. My mom tried to wash it to get the stain out, but it was still there after laundering. Normally once a stain goes through the dryer it is set in. But, that didn’t deter the me from trying my Miracle Stain Remover. Sit back and learn young Jedis (we watched Star Wars last week, so it is on my brain.)

Miracle Stain Remover…

Ingredients:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Fill your basin with warm water then add the Oxi-clean, Clorox 2, and powdered Dish Detergent. Give it a swirl and mix until the powders dissolve and bubbles form.

Place the stained garment into the mixture, being sure the stain is submerged. After two hours you can take a peek! My stain was gone.

For tougher stains, let it soak overnight. Remove the clothing to behold the miracle! Normally I will throw the garment into the wash, but you could simply rinse and dry it.

And, this formula is also safe for colors as well!

Laundry Detergent…

In the spirit of sharing, I also have this recipe for Making Your Own Laundry Detergent for only $1.25 per year! I mean, have you seen the price of laundry detergent lately?! 200 oz. for “gulp” $35! Whereas the recipe I made yielded 250 oz. for….are you ready for this…$0.61! This is a 97% saving on detergent by making your own.

And the best news is that it is safe for HE washers. You only need 1/4 cup per load. Click Here to Get the Recipe for Making Your Own Laundry Detergent for $1.25 per year!

Drying clothes…

And since I’m talking laundry today, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my secret weapon for drying clothes.

I use two of them! They may look like medieval torture devices or rabid animals, but these little hedgehog dryer balls have completely kicked our fabric softener sheets to the curb! I haven’t used dryer sheets in over 9 years now! At first I was concerned about static (the bane of my hair’s existence), but then a friend told me that you can eliminate static by not letting your clothes over dry. Simply shut off the dryer when your clothes are about 95% dry. Don’t let the dryer run and run and run until the clothes are piping hot and there isn’t a spot of dampness on them. Instead, let the moisture sensor (if you have one) do its job and it should shut off right before the clothes are dry. The waistbands in jeans or sweatpants may feel slightly damp, but everything else feels dry. And most importantly, pull out fleece, polyester, or synthetic clothes about halfway through the cycle.

The dryer balls (you should use two) work together to punch, separate, fluff, and dry your clothes. They also help keep wrinkles to a minimum, but I’m not afraid of a few wrinkles (see my no iron solution to wrinkles post.) The Dryer Balls cost less than $10, but the cost savings of not using dryer sheets is definitely worth it. Plus, you don’t have to stress about the chemicals that are in dryer sheets. These little wonder balls (I can’t believe I just typed that) last for a long time, but it’s good to have three in case one hedgehog loses a nose (it can happen.) I have been using mine for over nine years. They start to get darker on the nubs from dye in your clothing, but it doesn’t transfer and it doesn’t hurt their effectiveness.

I hope you found these laundry tips helpful. Please share with a friend!
miracle stain remover

The other day I was lamenting the condition of our laundry room. It was beautiful about a year ago, but continual use and lots of cleaning paint brushes had left the wall looking like this.

Since Jackson Pollock walls are not in style, I decided to give the utility sink a quick face lift. Of course glass mosaic tiles would be really fab here. But, I didn’t have the time or desire to grout the walls and tiles. Luckily I had some Smart Tiles patiently waiting for me to try them. I chose the Lagoon Mosaik tiles for my laundry room. But, there are a wide variety of colors and sizes to chose from. These self-adhesive tile sheets have the look of mosaic glass tiles but not the hassle and mess of mixing grout, laying tile, and cleaning the grout afterwards.

Installing them is a cinch. It is as simple as wash, peel, align and stick! See:

You’ll need a few materials before you start:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Clean the walls according to the directions on the TSP cleaning solution box. Wipe the walls dry.

Use a level and a pencil to mark a line where the top of the smart tiles will be installed.

Dry fit all the tiles sheets. Start in the corner (if you have one.)

 Tape up all the tile sheets using painter’s tape.

Cut any excess off the sheets and cut any additional tiles needed for the installation.

Peel the backing off and carefully adhere the tile sheet to the wall. Try very hard not to touch the adhesive backing.

Line the tile up with the level line.

Press firmly against the wall and smooth your hand over the sheet to remove any air bubbles.

For any holes: 1) Count tiles for the hole. 2) Cut out that many tiles. 3) Stick them on and admire how well they blend with the existing tiles.

Another reason the Smart Tiles are a breeze to install is because they are flexible, you can wrap it around an object, then mark the cut and use an X-ACTO knife to cut away any excess.

That is all there is to it! Stand back and admire your handy work!

I loved the ease and simplicity of the Smart Tiles. They look real until you get up real close and notice that they are not as thick as glass tiles on the side. To fake the sides, you could fit a thin piece of molding on the sides and the top to give it a more finished look.

Although these tiles are easy to install, they cost about the same as the real thing. However, you will save money on grout. And you will definitely save time (and we all know that time is money!)

The tiles I installed have wiped off very easily and they don’t show splashes. A few of the corners have started to peel up where I wasn’t  careful about not touching the adhesive backing. The rest of the seams are holding tight.

If you are looking for a quick and easy solution to update your backsplash, I highly recommend the Smart Tiles.

That being said, if you want a more permanent solution, I recommend spending about the same amount of money and take the time to install glass mosaic tiles.

Note: They cannot be installed inside a shower where the conditions are very wet. In the kitchen, if installing behind a gas range without a back panel, you need to leave a safety zone.

You can purchase them at your local Home Depot in the US,  online, or at these locations.

Update: The Smart Tiles I installed eventually started to peel and didn’t look so smart. I’d recommend this for a temporary backsplash, but for a more permanent solution go ahead and tile your backsplash. It may be a little more work, but it’s not difficult to tile.

Disclaimer: I was sent one packet of 6 Smart Tiles to try. This is not a paid review, all opinions and the project are my own. If I don’t like a product, you won’t see a review on my blog. For more information about product reviews and my disclosure, read this.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Once the weather turns cold and the heat kicks on, your home starts to get dry and static electricity arrives once again. This minor nuisance that causes siblings to shock each other for fun can actually be dangerous if it ignites lint that has built up in or around your dryer.

Why you should clean out your dryer ductwork:

According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, ( CPSC ), annually there are tens of thousands of Dryer Fires leading to many injuries or death, due to dryer exhaust duct fires. You should clean your dryer hose and around it once a year, and inspect the vent and hose for any blockages at least every 6 months.

You could pay a professional to clean your dryer ductwork, but the price could be anywhere from $65.00 to $150.00! Ummm — no thanks — I’ll keep my money and do this myself. It only takes about 15 – 20 minutes to do and it is easy! As long as your ductwork is fairly accessible, you can handle this!

If your dryer exhaust hose tube is longer than 10′ this may be a bit more difficult. And if it is longer than 10′, did you know that your dryer may be working extra hard to dry your clothes? Worse yet is if you have a long tube that goes up into the attic (or the eaves) and then out the roof. The warm moist air from the dryer enters the cold attic, and condensation forms in the exhaust tube. Do you know where this little story is going? Well, at first your dryer can’t dry as quickly because the tube is blocked by water. Eventually it will fill with enough water to cause the exhaust tube to split and guess where all that water goes? Through your ceiling, that is where! Trust me on this one, it happened to us in our old house.

So, why don’t you sit back down and let me give you a little tutorial on cleaning out your dryer exhaust ductwork.

Instructions:

Start by unplugging your dryer and turn off the gas if you have a gas dryer.

Remove your lint trap and remove any lint from the screen.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Using a brush (designed for cleaning out the coils under your fridge) bend the brush and run it inside the lint trap. Then follow up by using a shop vac or vacuum to suck up any lint and dirt loosened by the brush.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the exhaust duct tube from the wall and the dryer. There are normally two kinds of hose clamps holding the tube to the dryer and wall port. The first is a ring with two prongs. Simply squeeze the prongs toward one another to loosen the clamp.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

The second type of hose clamp requires a screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Slide the exhaust tube off the dryer and the port (hole in the wall.)

Use your vacuum to clean out both the dryer and wall ports.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Then use the vacuum to clean out the dryer exhaust tube.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

If you have an older style vinyl tube, it is important that you replace it with a metal one. The vinyl and foil ones are fire hazards. Also, if you can’t get your tube clean, go ahead and replace it.

If your tube is long or difficult to clean out, you may want to purchase a hose brush like this one:

Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning BrushAmazon.com: Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning Brush: Home & Garden. (affiliate link)

While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is safer than a lint covered one.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Re-attach the dryer tube to the wall and the dryer.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Locate your exterior dryer vent.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running.Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. I don’t think I need to tell you that they won’t be helping your dryer’s efficiency!

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

And that is it?! That was easy wasn’t it. Be sure to keep your home and family safe by cleaning your dryer exhaust ductwork yearly.

Update: I wanted to let y’all know that the flex foil pipe shown in this tutorial is FLAMMABLE! Luckily I found this out before we had a fire.

prevent_fires_replace_dryer_hose

Read about installing semi-rigid non-combustible duct in this easy tutorial!

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

 

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