Archive for the ‘Tuesday tips’ Category

Tuesday Tips: Orange Peels

April 3, 2012

Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 10.25.05 AM


If you want your house to smell heavenly, boil orange peels with a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon on medium heat.


Tuesday Tips–Hmmmm

March 6, 2012

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture
will disguise dings and scrapes

Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or
computer screen with WD40.

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box
by securing with a rubber band.

Overhaul your linen cupboard, store bed linen sets
inside one of their own pillowcases and there will
be no more hunting through piles for a match.

Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a
stocking over the vacuum hose.

Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting
crosses into a box lid.

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag.  Much healthier and cheaper than the packet


Install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles.

Tuesday Tips: Family Handyman

February 28, 2012

by Lori Trauntvein

Being the first-time homeowners that we are, Nate and I have found ourselves in several circumstances where we had a little job to do around the house that wasn’t quite technical enough to call someone, but we also didn’t know exactly how to go about it the most efficient way with all the needed supplies.  So naturally, we’d Google it.  One of my go-to websites is Family Handyman because it is easy to search, has a lot of lists and pictures, and describes about how long you can expect to spend on a project.  I know there are several DIY websites out there, but this has been particularly helpful for small jobs.

What are some of your favorite DIY resources?

Tuesday Tips: Creative Ideas & Inspiration

February 21, 2012

Some good rules to live by even if you’re more disciplined than I am (which I’m sure you are).

-Kelsie B

Tuesday Tips

February 14, 2012

Yesterday Kelsie and I were vacuum sealing Oreos, the Doublestuff kind.   I don’t really like Oreos because I don’t like the cream filling, but Kelsie and Wade love them, and they have been on sale at Market Basket lately.  Unfortunately, the more Oreos there are in the house, the more Wade eats them. So Kelsie and I vacuum sealed them in wide mouth quart jars to keep Wade from eating them all in a matter of days.    How did we do that, you might ask? With a FoodSaver vacuum sealer.

About 5 or 6 years ago, a sister from Utah gave our stake a demonstration on food storage techniques, and vacuum sealing food was one of them.   There are many kinds of foods that are hard to store over a long time like brown rice, nuts, raisins, chocolate, etc.   Using a vacuum sealer allows  you to store these kinds of foods over a long period of time, increasing the number of foods you can add to  your food storage and allowing you to stock up on good sales.

You will have to purchase a vacuum sealer, and FoodSaver is one brand that provides many styles.   You can buy them online or at many department stores, including Walmart.   The kind to buy is one that will allow you to vacuum seal canning jars.  These kind have a little port which allows you to attach a tube that is then attached through a special attachment made especially for both wide mouth and regular mouth jars.   The company also sells plastic bags and containers for vacuum sealing meat and other foods that you store in the freezer and  the refrigerator.

This little appliance will open the door to improved food storage. And you can use it to protect your supply of Oreos, too.

You can find information from the FoodSaver company at




Tuesday Tips: T-shirts

February 7, 2012

-Ginger Johnson

I’ve been in “up-cycling” mode that past couple of weeks. When the new year comes, it’s as if an internal switch is flipped, and the down-sizing Ginger comes out. However, the downsizing Ginger has internal warfare with the “waste-not-want-not” Ginger, so the multiple personalities turn to up-cycling.

If you’re not familiar with the term “up-cycling,” it’s recycling an item to make something nicer out of it. For example, you can take old hard-cover books and turn them into a purse, or a book wreath even.

Recently, I’ve been on the hunt to up-cycle t-shirts. Did you know you can make yarn out of old t-shirts? Here is a tutorial. From that yarn, you can knit dishcloths, shawls, bags, or even sweaters.

Here’s a link for the most adorable little girl’s skirt made with ruffles of old t-shirts.

And the ubiquitous t-shirt bag here.

I’ve also seen tutorials for making woven rug out of t-shirt yarn, if you’re feeling ambitious.

Tuesday Tips: Painting a room

February 1, 2012

— by Donna Mitchell

We have been working on our house for about four years now, and we only have two rooms (the guest bedrooms) completely finished. Actually, the doors still need to be stained, but we pay someone to do them and he works full time during ski season. It also doesn’t help that we travel so much.

I am in charge of the finished surfaces, though I give my husband choices and we usually decide on wallpaper and paint colors together. Our Victorian house lends itself to wallpaper. If you are going to wallpaper, you need to pick out the wallpaper first, then match or coordinate the paint color. The same goes with basing the color of a room on a favorite painting or piece of furniture. It is much easier to match the paint to the inspiration item than to pick a paint color and then try to find something to match it.

I love the difference paint makes. It’s the cheapest way to update a room or make it really special. I have done a lot of painting over the years, on previous houses and my children’s houses (My specialty is theme rooms for my grandchildren.).  So here are a few tips and a great reference resource.

Detailed instructions for all steps of painting can be found at , in the post for January 31. It’s called Painting Tips the Pros Don’t Want You to Know.

Prepare the surface:

If there is wallpaper on the wall, remove it. It’s practically criminal to paint over wallpaper (or to put on another layer of wallpaper), in spite of the fact that lots of people have done it in the past. The seams show and it makes removing it that much harder when someone who wants to do it right eventually takes it off. See the link above for directions.

Patch holes and imperfect joints. After you patch, be sure to sand the patch. If the hole was small, you can fill it with your finger and wipe the excess off with a damp sponge. (Too much touching the plaster will dry out your hands.) Larger areas may require spray texture to make them match the rest of the wall. If your walls are plaster, they are probably smooth and you don’t have to worry about the texture spray (available in a can). Large holes and wallboard seams need a lot of “mud” (more than you think you will need to do it right) and reinforcing tape or mesh of some kind. I’m sure This Old House has a separate set of instructions for large patches.

Kitchen and bathroom walls should be degreased with a special cleaner. Instructions for painting often tell you to sand the old paint, especially if it is glossy. Or you can just do it in one step by washing with TSP (trisodium phosphate), which will take off grease and roughen the surface sufficiently for the new paint to stick. You can buy it in liquid or powder (cheaper) and mix with water. Use gloves when using this to wash the walls. I figure if you need to wipe the wall after sanding anyway, why not just do it in one step?

Remove hardware from cabinets and doors; remove nails from the walls (if you want to save your place to position pictures, etc., in the same location, stick in a small piece of broken toothpick).

Use the right tools:

Buy decent brushes. The cheap ones fall apart and leave bristles in the paint. For trim, an angled brush works best (usually 2-1/2″). I also use an angled brush to cut in the edges (the website recommends 3″). The brushes and rollers need to be washed right after painting, unless you are coming back in a day or two at most, in which case they should be wrapped tightly with plastic. Soaking brushes for a long time encourages them to fall apart because it loosens the glue. Use a metal brush comb to get out the hard-to-get paint that’s stuck in the middle of the bristles. Don’t use a wire brush to clean brushes, but you can use a nylon scrubber. Don’t let the general public use your good brushes (those who will not wash them properly) or you will find yourselves buying them again and again after they turn into “clubs”.

Masking tape: There are many kinds for different surfaces; the website discusses them in detail. Personally, I don’t like taping because it takes so long. I have a good eye and would rather take my good brush right to the edge without having tape which encourages bleeding over the line. However, there are times when it is absolutely necessary, mainly when doing a faux finish. Faux finishes require going beyond the edge to ensure getting a good result at the edge, which means tape is needed to cover whatever is beyond that edge (usually trim, sometimes ceiling).

A few tips on the actual painting:

The website says strain your paint before you start. I have never done this, but there have definitely been times when I should have (after the paint can had been sitting for months). Instead, I have had to pick off blobs with my fingers and then paint over the spot again to cover the resulting smear.

Don’t dip your brush in the paint can. You can’t possibly use it all before it starts drying out. Drying will make your paint increasingly thick and leave blobs on your walls (called boogers or snots by professional painters!). For the same reason, don’t pour too much into your smaller bucket or tray.

I like to use a half-gallon plastic milk bottle when I am painting trim and edges. I take the clean bottle and cut it down from the top edge along the ridges for the handle space. I want the handle, so I carefully cut across from one side to the other (opposite the handle!) about halfway down the bottle. Voila! –a cheap and lightweight painting bucket. If the edges get too rough or broken, I can easily replace it. I also have a couple store-bought ones, one of which has a magnet in it so I can stand my brush upright without it touching the paint (again, not very full–only about an inch and a half or so).

You will need at least two coats of paint, no matter what the paint can says. If you are using a very dark color, you need a coordinatig dark primer or it will take you many more coats than you expect or want to put on to completely cover the pale color underneath. Red is one of the worst colors as far as coverage goes. Not knowing about the importance of primer, I once painted red walls in my daughter’s house. She and her husband helped; it took us five coats before the streaks all disappeared! Later, of course, I saw a display at Home Depot which showed how primer made a difference. Now I know better…

I am not going to go into the actual painting process; the website does that, as well as lots of other sites on the internet.

Good luck with your painting projects! Feel free to call me if you need advice or help.



Tuesdays tips-Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier

January 24, 2012
I got an email a few weeks ago from  my aunt with all of these great ideas.  Everything here is directly from that email (Sorry I don’t have any other sourcing info.)


Hull strawberries easily using a straw.

Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.

Overhaul your linen cupboard, store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.

Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone & iPod in a bowl. The concave shape amplifies the music.

Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.

Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily, who knew?!

Attach a Velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.

Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.

Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose

Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.

For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.

Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins, tweezers and clippers, behind a vanity door

Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel.

A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.

Bread tags make the perfect cord labels.

Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones, so much more fun and easier for kids to eat.

Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.

Install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles.

Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila, you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream

Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.

Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.

Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.

Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.

Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40.


-posted by Bri Lee

Tuesday Tips: Delicious* Desserts

January 17, 2012

Banana Ice Cream

I really love good food.  I spend a lot of time thinking about it, figuring out the science behind it.  Thus, the fact that most of my blog posts are about food shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.  This one’s not so scientific (it’s really just a sweet tooth fix) but it’ll do.

I think this is a good idea for other fruit, too, but bananas are super cheap.  I don’t like them so I would use mangoes or strawberries or something.  I really just like the idea of the pure frozen fruit.  No cream, no milk, no yogurt.  Just fruit.

My other tip might not be all that helpful.  People who spend a lot of time on the computer tend to know about it and people who don’t, don’t need it.  BUT, my mother didn’t know about it and might use it so maybe someone else out there can benefit, too.

It’s called

It’s a site for all of your online bookmarks.  You won’t lose them if your browser goes wonky, you can access them even on someone else’s computer, and you can organize them by subject (general conference, knitting, recipes, gardening, elephants, etc.).  On top of that, you can browse other people’s bookmarks by subject (for instance, all of the bookmarks about MLK).

And if you don’t want other people to be able to see your bookmarks, you can make them private.

Like I said, this may not be helpful for everyone, but it’s been an indispensable tool for my college career.  I have something like 850 bookmarks on Delicious and I never lose a website or an article I need as long as I bookmark it on delicious.

-Kelsie Belanger

Tuesday Tip: Organization

December 27, 2011

If you’ve been to my house since we moved here, you know that organization has been something I have been struggling with. It has never really been my strong suit, but I had a pretty good routine going in our last house, and I felt I was staying on top of things. However, relocating our family and several back-to-back renovation projects have left me with several piles of things here and there that just don’t have a home yet. I have realized that I will have to tackle this problem in small bites rather than expect myself to take care of everything in one day, especially since Abby has entered the terrible two’s with a vengeance (this happened simultaneously with moving!).

After researching a little on this subject, I have found a lot of helpful tips. Here are a couple from Peter Walsh, an organization expert, that have seemed to be helping things, although I am far from having what I would call an organized house.

The first is to take the “OHIO” approach, which stands for Only Handle It Once. It means, when I pick something up, I should put it where it goes right then, rather than stash it away into another pile or on a shelf to be dealt with later. While that may seem obvious, I am the queen of making piles and this has been really helpful to me to remember.

Another tip is to commit to take 10 minutes each day to organize some space or pile that is a problem area. This is helpful to me, because it’s long enough to make progress, but short enough for me to strategically place it in my schedule for when Abby is occupied and not just creating more chaos in another room.

I could go on and on, but instead I’m off to clear off the top of my microwave, which has somehow accumulated a whole bunch of recipes and other little odds and ends. And, if you haven’t been to my house, come on over, it will give me some extra motivation to keep on cleaning!

Lori Trauntvein