Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Methods to Removing Hard Water Spots

I have a water softener in my home, so I'm pretty fortunate and don't have to deal with hard water stains.  However, when we first moved in it was obvious that the water softener wasn't functioning, so a few of my faucets had some minor hard water spots.

I had seen several photos on Pinterest about using a lemon to remove hard water spots and decided to give it a try.

Hard Water Spot Removal
You Will Need:
A fresh lemon

Cut the lemon in half and rub it all over the hard water spots until they are gone. 

My shower head was the worse (again, it wasn't that bad comparative to homes without a water softener) so I waited until it was dry, then cut open a lemon and rubbed it all over the shower head for about 1minute.

The Verdict: It worked great.  Every spot came right off and I didn't even scrub, I just used a little bit of pressure when rubbing the lemon around. 

About a month after I did this, my cousin texted me a photo of her sink faucet asking me how to remove the hard water build up she had.  She had tried vinegar but it stripped away some of the finish.  I was afraid the lemon would do the same thing so I told her to make a paste of baking soda and water and use that to scrub the hard water build up.

Hard Water Cleaner For Finished Metals
You will need:
Baking Soda

Directions: Mix the baking soda and water into a paste then scrub it onto the hard water until it comes off.  

The Verdict: You can see it didn't get everything off, but it made a huge difference and she said it didn't harm her finish. 

To bad cleaning the rest of my house isn't as easy as rubbing a lemon around. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

No More Squeaky Hinges

One of the first blog posts I did was a DIY lotion that didn't turn out so well.  My sister-in-law suggested I try it as a lubricant for squeaky hinges.  I thought that was so funny and not a typical use for lotion I just had to try it.

I had the perfect squeaky door to test this on.  I rubbed some of the lotion on both sides of the hinge then I opened and closed the door several times. 

 I put a rag under the hinges in case it dripped and I let it sit for 10 minutes.  I came back, opened and closed the door a few more times to make sure the lotion was getting in the hinge then I used an old rag to wipe it all off.

The Verdict: A year later and there is still no squeak on that door.  It worked so well! It was easy to clean up and didn't leave any residue.

This got me curious of course.  Would any lotion work?  Or just ridiculously greasy lotion?  So I found a regular store bought lotion and I found another squeaky door and tested the regular lotion.

The Verdict: It worked a little bit, enough to notice a difference, but the door still squeaked.

So then I got some coconut oil and tried another door (3 squeaky doors in one house, you think I would have taken care of that as soon as we moved in)

The Verdict: The coconut oil worked just as well as the DIY lotion. 

So there you go.  If you have a squeaky door and don't have any WD-40, try oil. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Water Blob

 This one has been on my 'To Do' list all summer, so naturally I procrastinated and waited until the end of summer which means we wouldn't get much of a chance to use it if it worked.  Story of my life these day.

Water Blob
You Will Need:
Painter's plastic/plastic sheeting
Ironing board and iron
Parchment paper
Duct tape - optional, for sealing the hole for the hose
Turn your iron on to its hottest setting. Keep your ironing board flat on the floor so that the weight of the plastic didn't cause any cooperation issues.  Roll out your plastic in your largest room, and fold it in half - to the size you want your water blob.  Cut a 2-feet long piece of parchment paper.  Fold it in half, length-wise and draw a line about 2-inches out from the fold. This will be your guide of how far into iron. Open up your parchment and place your plastic inside, aligning it to the fold of the parchment. Then, fold the parchment back over. Now, use your hot iron to slowly melt the plastic together by running the iron across the line of your parchment. Do not let the iron touch the bare plastic - it will melt a hole in it, and will make a huge mess all over your iron!  Press firmly, but not too hard - because the plastic is hot, it will stretch. You don't want to weaken the plastic by thinning it out with too much pressure.  Less is more. You can always re-melt the plastic it did not completely seal!  Let it cool for a few seconds before removing the parchment. If you remove the parchment too early - you could risk stretching the plastic. (You could alternate two pieces of parchment, let one cool while the other seals)  Continue to seal all of the edges, overlapping a few inches to make sure there are no holes. Now, carefully cut a small slit in the folded end of the plastic, near the corner. Place the hose in a few feet, and prop the corner up so that the water does spill out while you fill your water blob.  Seal off the hole with a piece of duct tape - or use your iron and parchment to melt the edge! I opted for duct tape because I plan on using it again a few times.  Then let the kids go wild!

If you tuned out after the first sentence because it was beyond confusing then don't worry, if you go to the original post you will find photos with each step that are helpful.  I'm just here to tell you what I thought about the outcome, not the step by step process, that would be to much work. :)

The picture I took of my plastic disappeared.  I blame the little girl who got a hold of my phone and took 3,000 photos of her toe. 

But it was very similar to this one and cost about $2

 I got everything set up, turned on Micheal Buble and started to iron away.  (Some how writing iron away just got the song Titanium in my head "iron fire away, fire away.  I'm so sleep deprived right now)

 I slid the iron across the parchment paper going fairly slow, and ended up with this.  Whoops.

 So I slid the iron across the parchment paper faster and had much better results. 

 Using two parchment papers made it a lot easier.  It took me about 20 minutes to finish the whole thing. 
 Instead of ironing all the way to the edge, I left a little spot open so I could get the hose in.
 I dragged it outside, spread it on a flat surface and stuck the hose it. The hose cooperated for awhile but eventually I had to just hold it it place.

 It took about 20 minutes to fill up to a point where I was comfortable with.  I was afraid that if I did anymore it would pop to easily. 

While holding the hole with one hand, some how I magically used the other hand to get a piece of duct tape and seal the hole up.

The Verdict:  I was very impressed with how well it held up from the ironing.  I was positive that I would have at least one hole some place. 

I had the kids crawl across it initially, just to see how well it held up before I would let them roll around it, and something interesting happened.  Everywhere my son's hands and knees hit, they left a hole.  I have two theory's as to why this happened. 1) There is a weight limit to the plastic and he was over that weight. 2) My son is secretly Spider Man and has tiny little grippers all over his hands and knees.  

But here is what really surprised me.  The plastic had about 8 holes in it and was still in the same shape.  The water wasn't leaking out. 

I was expecting an America's Funniest Videos moment where the water blob broke and the kids went shooting across the the lawn with the water, nope.  The water just stayed put. 

So the kids water blob turned into a huge puddle.  They spent 20 minutes running across it, jumping on it,  rolling around the plastic and having a wonderful time getting very wet. 

 Eventually the blob did lose all it's water and we ended up with this.

 So it didn't work, but the kids had a blast, so I guess it's sort of a pass and fail, it's a pail. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

White Board Cleaner

I tend to forget things which is why I use both my phone and a white board to keep notes and reminders. 

After several years of use my white board had turned into a stained gray board.  I looked around online and found some ways to clean it, so I divided my white board into sections and tried them all.

I used:
Hand sanitizer
Rubbing alcohol
Nail polish remover
Witch hazel

For each one, I put the product on a cotton ball then rubbed the white board.

I'll spare you the details of how each one worked (since odds are you won't read it anyways and I currently have a little girl begging me to play Guess Who right now) and skip right to the verdict.

The Verdict: They all worked, but the rubbing alcohol was the best one.  I didn't have to scrub at all, it took everything off and didn't harm the white board at all. 

 I also have a calendar white board that is of the cheaper version.  It's almost like a cheap white board type paper was wrapped around a thick piece of cardboard.  I tried all the products on this cheap white board and got the same result.  The rubbing alcohol took everything off with little effort and with no visible damage to the white board. 

 And thanks to my lovely daughter, I now know that rubbing alcohol will take permanent marker off a white board. 

Seriously, why in the world did I leave a permanent marker out when I know she's prone to draw on everything?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Single Serving Cookie

Cookies are yummy!

Ok that's a good enough intro. 

Single Serving Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie
 You Will Need:
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 drops of vanilla
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 c. flour
2 tbsp. chocolate chips

In a bowl, ix together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and egg yolk.  Add in the flour and salt.  Mix until combined. Add in the chocolate chips. Put the dough in a small microwavable bowl, ramekin, or coffee cup.  Microwave for 40-60 seconds or until the cookie looks done. 
Best served warm… Enjoy!

Being super lazy, I threw all the ingredients in, stirred them up and microwaved it.  That didn't work out so well.  It was really gross and had a very strange flaky texture.

So I tried again and this time actually followed the directions.  It took about 3 minutes start to finish, which was nice because I wanted that cookie now! Just call me Veruca Salt "don't care how, I want it now!"

At 40 seconds I pulled it out and the middle was still a bit undercooked.  Another 20 seconds did the trick (I forgot to take a picture of the final product oops)

The Verdict: The outside edges were very dry while the middle was a strange spongy texture.  That could have been due to the mug I used, but even if you find a way to cook it evenly, that won't help the nasty taste. 

I really don't know how to describe the taste other then it tasted like a cookie that was nuked in a microwave instead of slow cooked in an oven. 

Maybe if your seriously desperate for a cookie fix then this would work, but I'd rather just skip the cookie part and eat the chocolate chips instead of subjecting myself to another one of these things. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dish Sponge Curlers

Apparently my hair is freakishly thick.  One time I went to a new hair salon and the girl was so blown away by how much hair I had that she invited all the other stylists to come feel my hair.  "Yeah sure come on over and stroke my hair, that isn't awkward at all"

Because of this I don't curl my hair, it takes to long.  The last time I curled my hair was my senior prom and it took me 3 hours.

I tell you this so you can take my verdict with a grain  pinch handful of salt.  I have no idea how to curl hair.  All those tutorials on Pinterest I see about getting tousled wavy hair are comparative to learning how to speak Mandarin Chinese, in my opinion. 

Buuuuuut I was getting tired of the DIY projects I was doing.  I wanted something different, even if it wasn't practical for me.

Heat Free Rollers With Dish Sponges
You Will Need:
Dish sponges
hot glue gun

There is no way I will be able to type up directions and have them make sense.  So if you decide to do this then I suggest clicking on the link and it will take you to a video tutorial. 

It took a bit of time to put them all together and I may or may not have glued myself to one of them.  But it was pretty easy and they seem pretty sturdy.  I didn't have enough elastic so some of them I ended up using yarn.
 I got my hair pretty damp then took the tampons curlers and rolled them into my hair. 

Once I got all the curlers in I decided to have a little photo shoot since I was looking so good.

In the middle of my photo shoot my 2 year old walked in, gave me a puzzled look then said "mommy, your hair has owies."

 Not only is my hair really thick, but it likes water and takes a really long time to dry. I was hoping the sponges would soak up some of the water to speed up the process, and I even used my blow dryer, but 2 hours later my hair was still mostly wet.  I ran out of patients and took the curlers out to see how it looked.

The Verdict: I was sooo glamorous and ready for a night out on the town.
 I wore a hat that day, then that night I decided to try a few on the top of my head and sleep with them in and hope my hair would actually be dry by morning.

As I was putting the curlers in my husband walked in, raised one eyebrow, took a photo of me and walked away with out saying anything. Apparently my family doesn't approve of me using curlers.

The Verdict: It was sloppy looking but I ended up with some pretty good curls. The curlers weren't that bad to sleep on either.  My hair got a good tug a few times during the night but they were still pretty comfortable to sleep on.

 A few of them became permanently kinked, but I think It would still work just fine. 

 The ones with the yarn were a lot more frustrating to use then the ones with elastic.  They didn't hold as well and it was hard to get the button into the loop.  Speaking of the loops, make sure you make them big enough so your button will go in easily.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Basic Laundry Detergent with Glycerin

Can I just take a moment to say that I'm starting to get a bit tired of laundry detergent.  But I'm almost done.  I have one more to test out after this one then I will upgrade my laundry detergent knowledge from "what the heck am I doing?" to "I totally got this"

I had never heard of using glycerin in laundry detergent before so I looked up the reason why I would want to put it in.  According to several websites, glycerin is a great stain remover.  I couldn't find any information about if it needs to be in liquid or solid form, but I really wasn't searching that hard.  I have solid glycerin on hand and I was to lazy to drive around town to try and find it in liquid form.

Basic Laundry Detergent with Glycerin #6
You Will Need:
2.5 gallons Water (hot)
1 Bar soap (grated)
3/4 cup Washing Soda
3/4 cup Borax
2 TBS Glycerin

Melt grated soap over medium-low heat topped with water, stir until melted.  In a large pail, pour 2.5 gallons of hot water, add melted mixture, washing soda, borax and glycerin. Mix well.  Use 1/2 cup per full load.

I put the glycerin and soap in a food processor to grate it, then I melted them both over heat.

I mixed all the ingredients, and when it cooled it had formed into a fairly solid block of gel   

I gave it a good stir and got thinner gel that was easier to work it.

The Verdict: One of my biggest gripes about the basic laundry detergent  is that it separates so you have to mix it up really good before each use.  This mixture never separated.  It stayed in the same gel state the whole time.  My assumption is the glycerin had something to do with that.

It also worked really well.  The clothes were really clean and didn't have any residue on them.  And the glycerin did great with stains.

My daughter split her head open and left some lovely blood spots on my shirt.  24 hours later I threw that shirt into the wash with no pre-treating.  The blood spots were completely gone. 

7 laundry detergents tested, 1 more to go.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2 Different Ways to Remove a Splinter

 My daughter is extremely stubborn when it comes to shoes.  When I think she doesn't need them she insists on having them, when I want her to wear them she refuses to let me put them on her.  Most of our conversations about shoes end in an end of the world scenario with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Because of this she has gotten a few splinter this summer.  My method of removal is to hand her the ipad, wait until she is thoroughly enjoying Pocoyo, then attack the sliver with tweezers and a needle.

I kept hearing about other methods of splinter removal, so I turned to my trusty Internet friend and found a website that offers 8 ways to remove a splinter, I decided to try two of them.

How to Remove a Splinter with a Potato
You will need:
A potato

Cut a potato into slices. Place the sliced potato on the splinter, yellow side down. Hold it there for awhile and hopefully it will get the splinter right how.

 I love that the directions say "hopefully." Apparently the writer didn't have much confidence in this method.

I set my daughter up with the ipad to distract her then got a sliced potato.  I have no idea what the original writers definition of "awhile" is, so I held the potato on her splinter for 10 minutes.

The Verdict: I'm not shocked that it didn't work.  Her foot looked exactly the same when I took the potato off.

Before Potato Application
After Potato Application

Moving on to method #2

How to remove a splinter with baking soda
You will need:
baking soda

Mix the water and baking soda until you get a paste.  Spread the baking soda paste onto a bandage, then apply the bandage to the affected area.  After 24 hours, remove the bandage. The splinter may be sticking out of the skin. If it's visible, pick it off with tweezers, and rinse the skin gently. If the splinter is sticking out but not visible, this may wash it away without further complications.  Repeat the method with new paste and another bandage every 24 hours until the splinter is gone.

I don't know about your kids, but mine have never left a band-aid on longer then about 2 hours so leaving one on for 24 hours was out of the question.  But I could shoot for twelve and see what happens.

I mixed the paste, put it on a band-aid and covered my daughters splinter.  I then put some footie pajamas on her and tucked her into bed.

The Verdict: Nothing!  The band-aid was still in place but the paste had mysteriously disappeared.  Her foot was completely dry with just a few speckles of baking soda. I guess this method could work, but who wants to wait at least 24 hours for a splinter to come out?  It would drive me crazy knowing it was there and that I could have it out in about 30 seconds. 

I have heard of some people using Orajel to numb the skin before pulling a splinter out, but I have yet to try it.  I never seem to have the stuff around when my kids get a splinter.

Monday, September 2, 2013

DIY Chapstick

Hello, my name is The DIY Guinea Pig and I am a chapstick addict.  I'm not kidding, I am obsessed with chapstick and I'm always using it.  You know it's bad when, with no help at all, my 2 year old picked out chapstick for me for a present. 

 Homemade Lemon Lime Lip Balm
You Will Need:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped beeswax
 5 drops lemon essential oil and 5 drops lime essential oil (substitute these for other essential oils if you wish)

Pour the mixture into a double boiler. The lip balm mixture needs to melt slowly over low heat. Melt the ingredients over medium-high heat. Add color Add a chunk of your favorite lipstick, blush, or eye shadow color if you wish. Mix it in with a spoon.Pour the mixture into containers. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Use the balm and decide how you like the texture. If you want a firmer balm next time, use more beeswax. If you like it softer, use more oil. 

I got all my ingredients and used a food processes to break up the beesewax so it would be easier to use.

I don't have a double boiler so I used a glass measuring cup and put it in a pot.  It worked great and didn't leave any residue.  It took several minutes for everything to melt. I didn't want color so I skipped that part, and I didn't have lime essential oil so I just used lemon essential oil.

I poured some into an old chapstick tube and poured the rest into a small container.  I could probably fill 3 or 4 tubes with what I had.
The Verdict: I like it.  It's sort of a cross between lip balm and lip gloss.  I feel like I am getting the deep moisture of a chapstick with the shine of gloss.  A little goes a long way so it lasts for several months.  The only down side is that it can melt very easily, so you probably want to keep it in a cool place, unless you enjoy cleaning up grease stains.