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Home Tips & Advice, Informational Household Tips


Helpful Tips and Information For Your Home

 HomeTips

Stenciling Tips
Painting Tips
Wood Care Tips
Carpet Stain Tips
Candle Tips
Isopropyl Alcohol Tips
Fresh Vegetable Tips

Did You Know?

GardenTips page.

Glass and Induction Cooktops

Glass Cooktops.   These cooktops were suppose to be the best thing for cleaning and save energy while cooking.  After 2 years of using the glass cooktop I can say without a mistake, I hate it.  The cooking time is bad, what use to take me 20 minutes on my old Caloric electric coil cooktop now takes me 45 minutes on the glass cooktop. Then there is the simmering point, good luck on that because its difficult to find.  Not to mention the stove top stays hot for a longer period of time after shut off.  Maybe that's what they mean by saving energy, you can heat your kitchen with it after its shut off.

Induction Cooktops.  The induction cooktop is heated via a magnetic field.  The cooktop is always cool to the touch even when its on.  You can even put a paper towel under your pan, turn the cooktop on and the paper towel won't burn and will catch any over flow that may occur.  The cooktop is easy to clean and keep up.  Cooking time is much faster more even so your energy savings is good.  The only draw back is your pots and pans need to be magnetic on the bottom.  For the most part the newer pots and pans has this feature already.  Before you go out and purchase new cookware, get a magnet and put it on the bottom of your pot or pan to see if it sticks or not, if it sticks your cookware is magnetic and will work on any induction cooktop.  I have an induction cook plate which I do like when cooking large quantities of food, the cooking time is much less then the glass cooktop.

Stenciling With Spackle Tips

 Metal Ceiling Panel Jasmine    Stenciling With Spackle    Stenciling With Spackle

For your decor, here is a home tip using spackle for your stenciling.  When using spackle for your stenciling make sure your stencil is sturdy and a little thicker then most stencils you see.  When making my own stencils I will find the thicker blank sheets to use so they won't tare, or find a heavier piece of plastic that you can still cut through if you are making your own.  You can also buy stencils that are made for using spackle or plaster if you don't want to make your own.

From the pictures above you can see that I copied the pattern off my ceiling panel, then just traced it on the plastic sheet I had, then cut the pattern out.  So here is how to go about using the spackle for your stenciling.

1. Tape your pattern stencil where you would like to do your spackling at.

2.  Put some spackle in a small dish then with a butter knife take a small amount of spackle and start going over your pattern stencil.  If the spackle is to thick just add some water to it. If you need to go over the pattern stencil again with the spackle wait until your first coat dries a little.  When you are finished gently take off the pattern stencil while the spackle is a little damp.  Let the stencil dry before proceeding to the next step.

3.  Once your stencil is dry you can add extra layers to make the stencil thicker.  Put some spackle in a dish add enough water to make a "slip" from the spackle.  Add just enough water to make the spackle thick enough to be able to use a paint brush to add the slip on the stencil without it running, at this point you can also add color to the slip if you so chose.  Let dry between coats.  You can repeat this process until your happy with the thickness of your stencil.

What's nice about this you can add your color in with the spackle and not have to do painting.  You'll get a nice rich color with more coats of slip you add onto your stencil.  Believe it or not it doesn't take all that long to do, just a little time and patience.

Any questions you may have please email me at:  loraine@lsccreations.com and I will get back to you.

Stenciling With Wallpaper

  Stenciling With Wallpaper  Stenciling With Wallpaper 

Most stenciling you've seen is always painted or plastered on the walls.  To have something very unique, try stenciling with wallpaper.  Make sure you buy the pre-pasted wallpaper its better for sticking to your walls and you don't have the mess of the glue.  Also if you decide to take the wallpaper off all you need to do is dampen the area you want removed with water and slide the wallpaper off.

In the pictures above I've used 3 different wallpapers but in some of my rooms I've used up to 4 different varieties.  What I've done to make a scene is very simple, but it takes time and patience.  With the wallpaper you can make your walls into a beautiful scene with just wallpaper alone.  In the third picture, I hung two large metal butterfly candy dishes on the wall, then added the wallpaper around the dishes

 For example, cutting birds, flowers or vines from the wallpaper you want to be able to get your scissors around the object without cutting into it.  Its better to get a wallpaper or boarder that has large items you want from it.

2Once you've cut out the different designs you want on your wall, then its time to put them up.  All you need for this is a dish that's large enough for the types of wallpaper you've cut out.  Fill the dish with some water, put the piece of wallpaper into the water and dampen it well.  Now just put the wallpaper where you want to on your wall.  Take a clean rag or paper towel and blot off the excess water that maybe on your wall and wallpaper.

3 That's it!  Now you can have fun creating all sorts of wonderful scenes on your walls.  Its a lot of fun to do and it looks like you've actually painted on your scene.  The wallpaper will last for years and if something does get damaged you can replace it with spare pieces of leftover wallpaper.  I've had some of my wallpaper stenciling going up my stair step walls for years.  Everyone that sees my wallpaper stenciling thinks I've painted them on.  Any questions you can email me at:  loraine@lsccreations.com

Painting A Mural Tips and Tricks

Mural Painting

Here's a home tip on painting your own mural.  Please make no mistake, it can be long and sometimes pain staking depending on how detailed you want your mural to be.  The one I painted on my ceiling took a few months to finish because I was looking for detail to make the sky look realistic.  In fact when I was painting the sky I went outside to look at the sky and find clouds that I liked and went back inside and painted the cloud.  Some days I was able to capture the sun going behind the clouds to get a wonderful effect on the ceiling.  So, for you to do your own mural I've listed a few pointers for you to start out with.  If you have further questions please email me and I will be happy to help you out.

1.   If your ceiling has that wonderful popcorn texture just scrap it off then wipe off your ceiling with a damp cloth.  Leave any little dents in your ceiling that may come from scraping the plaster off, it gives it a wonderful effect.  But if you have a medium to large holes patch them with plaster.  Now your ready to start painting.  If you are not sure on how to proceed try and do some cloud painting on a piece of cardboard.  It'll help you to get a good idea on how to continue. 

2.  Find a blue paint that you like with a satin or flat finish and paint your whole ceiling with the blue paint and let it dry.

3.  Now for your clouds.   When painting the clouds find some small pieces of foam rubber and small artist brushes to use.  When using the foam rubber try and have it rounded, try putting two ends of the foam rubber together to form a ball shape or wrap a piece over your finger.  The brushes will be needed for doing an outline of the cloud to give it depth. 

4.  Get various pigments of white and gray and keep your blue handy. Also you will want to use different finishes like satin, semi-gloss, and flat to help give texture and depth to your sky.  Also mixing metallic paints with regular paints can give a wonderful effect.

5. Take your foam rubber dip it into a bright white paint and dab on your ceiling to form a cloud.  If need be, go outside and find a cloud you like study it for color and design and use it for your ceiling, or take some pictures of the sky when you have a lot of fluffy clouds around.  When you have an outline of a cloud that you like, go to another part of your ceiling that you want a cloud and start another one.  Just remember how clouds flow like coming from the west and going east, you don't want a long cloud going north-south and another one going east-west, otherwise you'll have a ceiling looking like a compass.  When you have finished with your basic design on your ceiling then you can start with the real run stuff of shading and detailing.

6.  Filling in and shading.  Get other shades of white and gray and dab over your existing cloud.  You can either let the paint dry or just use another color and go over the wet paint lightly, this will help blend the paints together.  Now, you have a choice of letting the paint dry and add another color or leave the cloud as is, its up to you.  Also you can add some blue paint when doing the clouds if you wish.  Just put a small amount of blue on the ceiling and when its still wet add some white, this again will mix the colors together for blending.

7.  When you are at a finished point you can add some water to your white paint and any areas that you have a lot of blue that you maybe  want to tone down, just dampen your foam rubber with the paint and lightly wipe over the blue area.  This will make your sky look like it has high thin clouds.  Also, any clouds you would like to accent further, use your gray and blue paints and make a thin outline with a brush around or in the cloud.

8.  FYI if you get upset because the sky isn't going just the way you would like it to, stop painting and leave it alone for a day or so and just keep looking at it.  Always remember that you can paint over a spot you don't like and start again.  Just take your time and have fun doing it.  In fact I still paint on my ceiling from time to time when if I feel like changing something.  Again any questions please email me at:  loraine@lsccreations.com    

Wood Floor Care Tips For Pet Stains  

How many times have you seen pet stains on  wood floors?  The ugly part is that most people you talk to will tell you they can't be fixed, which isn't true in most cases.  Here's my tip to what I've done in the past.  You can take those black spots out of your wood floor and without having to refinish your whole floor.

Here is the items you will be needing.  Peroxide, oven cleaner, cotton balls, paper towels, rags, bucket with water and sandpaper .  Nothing fancy just house hold products that work very well with a little patience.  So lets get started.

1.  Section off the area on your floor that you will be working at. 

2. Take the sandpaper and lightly sand the stained area and wipe it clean with a damp rag and water.

3. Take paper towels or rags and cover the floor around the pet stain, this is so you don't get any of the chemicals on the good portion of your floor.

4.  Using the peroxide first take a cotton ball and wet it with the peroxide and go over the stain with the cotton ball, then let it dry.  Do this a few times to see if there is a difference in the color of the pet stain.  The peroxide helps to left some of the stain out of the wood before you go to the next step.   After using the peroxide wipe it clean with a damp rag and water, let dry. 

5. Now for the oven cleaner.  I've found some oven cleaners work better then others, Easy Off is my favorite.  Spray the stain with the oven cleaner and wait until most of the bubbles has vanished, then wipe the stain with a damp rag and water making sure all of the oven cleaner is gone from the stain, let dry.  If you get the oven cleaner on a part of your good floor immediately wipe it of with the cotton ball and a little peroxide, then damp paper towel with water.  If you get it right away you won't hurt the other part of the floor.   Let it dry.

6.  When dry look at the stain to see how light it is, if you still want to lighten up the stain repeat steps 4 and 5 again until the stain is gone.  It's best to go over the stained area after its dried with a damp rag and water, it will give you an idea of how much stain is left in the wood.  Just let it dry before you proceed with extra steps. 

You may have to repeat the steps 4,5,6 a few times before you get the stain out completely. When the stain is gone you will have a white spot on your floor.  Depending on your floor, for example if its oak, you may have to use a maple stain to blend in with the oak.  Check with your home store or talk to a wood expert that knows what kind of stains to use for the type of wood you have on your floor.  When you get the spot stained to your liking then put a light coat of polyurethane on the spot.

One house I bought I found oak floors under the carpet.  I started to tare out the carpet and found all of these black spots on the oak floor.  I called various wood floor experts and they told me I would have to refinish my whole floor and they wouldn't guarantee the stain would be gone.  They also stated there wasn't anything that would take the stain out completely.  Well, you can take out the stains and I did, in fact you couldn't even tell where the stains were at when I finished with the floor.  It did take time and patience but I didn't have to pay someone hundreds or thousands to come in and redo my floors and maybe still have the stains.  Some stains you may only need to use peroxide on them a few times to get rid of them, it all depends how long the stain has been there and the type of wood on your floor.

For washing your wood floors I use Murphy Oil Soap which is a pure vegetable oil soap.  When I add the soap and water in the bucket I also add lemon oil as well.  The lemon oil keeps the suds down and helps nourish the wood on your floor.

Carpet Stains
A bathroom cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles for example, helps to take out stains in your carpet.  Test a hidden area of your carpet first so as not to cause possible color fading.  Just spray Scrubbing Bubbles on the stain, rub it in with a damp cloth with water until stain is gone.  With another damp rag with water wipe out any of the Scrubbing Bubbles that's left over in the rug.  Repeat if Necessary. 

Also for smaller stains try the disinfecting wipes like Clorox Wipes, for an example.  Again check a hidden area of your carpet first as not to cause color fading.

Candle wax on your carpet?  Try using an ice cube to harden the wax.  Then gently remove the wax from the carpet with your fingernail or a butter knife.

Candle Tips

Do you have a problem with that sticky candle wax?  If your trying to get it out of candle holders just put the holders in the freezer for a few minutes.  Bring them back out of the freezer and let them stand less then a minute.  Take like a butter knife or even just your fingers and apply pressure on the wax, you should be able to pop the wax right out of the holder. Also, there's a product called Dissolve It which you can buy at home stores which will take off wax really well.  Read the instructions before using.  Another tip is to add a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid into a candle holder with a very small amount of water and let it set.  The wax will just pop right out of the holder.

Isopropyl Alcohol Uses

Isopropyl alcohol has a wonderful variety of uses.  The most common use is a first aid antiseptic, but I've found so many other ways to use isopropyl alcohol that I need to have it around all the time.  When you buy isopropyl alcohol check to see if its 70% or 91% because this will determine what it can be used for.  Here are some ways that I've used this product.

91% Isopropyl Alcohol: 

Paint removal, cleaning paint brushes, glue removal, PC keyboard cleaning, grease removal, general cleaning, and removal of various sticky substances, permanent magic marker.

Paint and glue removal, take and add the isopropyl alcohol to a paper towel or cloth and keep wiping over the paint until its gone or loosened up.  For paint brushes just dip the brush in the isopropyl alcohol and swirl it around until the paint is gone.

PC keyboard cleaning, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol making sure its not saturated to much, then clean your keyboard with the cotton swab.  The reason isopropyl alcohol is used in cleaning electronics, is because it dries really fast and won't rust or corrode the electronics.  If you look on the back of the different store products sold for keyboard and electronic cleaning, chances are they all have  isopropyl alcohol in them.

Grease removal, add some isopropyl alcohol to a paper towel or cloth and rub it on the greasy area until the grease is gone.  Depending on what your cleaning, you can even soak items in  the isopropyl alcohol.

Permanent magic marker.  To remove the permanent magic marker just add so isopropyl alcohol to a paper towel and rub where the magic marker is at until its gone.  Depending where the stain of the magic marker is at, you may have to go over the area a few times or soak the spot in the isopropyl alcohol.

Sticky substances, clean the same way for grease and or paint removal.

70% Isopropyl Alcohol:

House plants, leaf cleaning for mealy bugs.
A mealy bug is a soft-bodied insect, and whitish in color. These bugs will suck the juices out of the plant which in turns stunts the growth or kills the plant. If you want to get rid of these bugs, try cleaning the infested plant leaves with some isopropyl alcohol. Take a cotton ball or cotton swab and put some isopropyl alcohol on it then wipe the leaves of the plant that is infested.

Here's a tip to keep your lettuce and peppers from turning brown and rotting. After you open your lettuce up from the grocery store just rap it up tightly in aluminum foil. Make sure there isn't any part of the lettuce left open or it will brown. Do the same for peppers too. They will last for a long time before going bad. I've had lettuce for weeks that never went bad, because I rapped it up tightly in aluminum foil.

Did you know?

Removing spackle from your ceilings can be a nightmare to say the least.  The best way I found to remove it is by lightly spraying water onto the ceiling, let it sit and when the spackle has absorbed the water use a scraper and scrape off the spackle.  Make sure you hold a paint tray or lightweight pan under the area you are scraping so the spackle will fall into the tray.  Being the spackle is damp it won't make as much dust and the clean up is much easier.


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