Monday, June 30, 2014

Using Gift Wrap to Update Kitchen Cabinets

Of course, I want to paint my kitchen cabinets white.  Have I mentioned, I LOVE white!  I’ve wanted to paint the cabinets since we moved in a year ago.  But painting my cabinets would be either a huge time commitment on my part or I’d have to pay someone to paint them, which is just not in the budget quite yet.  So, I gave a couple cabinets a little brightening with white gift wrap.

Use gift wrap to update kitchen cabinets by

We have a small space beside our microwave that used to be a plate rack, which drove me crazy so I took out the dowels that would make the plates stand up.  This created a shelf I could place my knife block and a few other items.

By microwave before

By microwave before close up

I was not happy with this space, so I decided to try livening it up with some white patterned gift wrap.

Supplies for Gift Wrap at Back of Cupboards
I cut the gift wrap slightly larger than the back of the cupboard.  After I cut the size I needed, I steamed the piece of paper with a towel over it using my iron.   This way, I could protect the paper and also get some of the curl out of the gift wrap.

By microwave, putting gift wrap in place #2

By microwave, putting gift wrap in place
At the back of the cabinet, there was a small space I could tuck the gift wrap in all around to keep it from falling down, so I didn’t use glue or any adhesive.  Which is great, in case I want to change it or remove it later.

By microwave after

By microwave after close up
Much better and brighter.  I also tried gift wrap at the back of one more cabinet, I’ll share that project in my next post.

As Always,

I shared this post at A Bowl Full of Lemons, Satori Design for Living, Joy in Our Home

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cleaning with Homemade Cleaners (Take 1)

I’ve cleaned my home for many years using both handmade and store bought cleaners.  When purchasing store bought cleaners I’ve tried to stay to more natural or eco-friendly cleaners (eg. Method).  Not until recently, have I felt ready to jump in and make a switch that will hopefully eliminate my need for store bought cleaners permanently.

One area in my house I have always used store bought chemical cleaner is… the dreaded cleaning of the toilets.  I somehow thought if I used a whole bunch of chemicals in the form of a blue liquid, that this was the only way to “safely clean” my toilets.  I had a mental block preventing me from seeing another solution.  After all, I knew there had to be another way.  Otherwise how would my grandmother have cleaned hers??  I'm pretty sure she was not investing in blue liquid.  But I needed to use a recipe from someone I trust.

I recently purchased the book “The Organically Clean Home” by Becky Rapinchuk (Clean Mama).  She has changed the way I think of “clean”.  Using her book, I’m making some changes and switching to homemade, natural, chemical free cleaners throughout my home.

The Organically Clean Home (by Becky Rapinchuk) - via

For years, I have cleaned my sinks and showers with pure 100% white vinegar.  Not a nice smell I know, but I knew it worked.  I knew that vinegar has a ton of germ killing properties.  I knew that it worked well in our old house to clean up the effects of hard well water.  Heck, “vinegar” has its own label here on my blog, I use it so much.  Sometimes vinegar was the only thing that would work to clean my sinks and showers at the old house, no store bought cleaner could compare.  But I could not get past cleaning toilets naturally and without a blue liquid.  With Becky’s book, I hope to conquer this fear.

Last night, I made 2 recipes from her book.  I wanted to start with recipes I knew I would use often and would make a big difference in our house.  One recipe is for my bathrooms – Lavender and Lemon Bathroom Disinfecting Spray.   And one is for my kitchen – Tea Tree and Orange Disinfecting Cleaner.  I’m not new to Tea Tree essential oil, and I know it has MANY benefits.  But, I’m most excited that I can now replace my 100% vinegar solutions.  My nose will thank me I’m sure.  And now I won’t be worried about using my cleaners before company arrives because I was afraid of the vinegar odour.  These cleaners smell wonderful!

My first 2 cleaners from The Organically Clean Home Book
I gave the new cleaners a test run, and I am very impressed with how easy they were to throw together.  I have all the ingredients on hand.  I can now replace my homemade kitchen cleaner and my 100% vinegar bathroom cleaner.  I’m so HAPPY!

I’m excited to try more recipes from her book.  I have sticky notes all over the pages of her book, marking recipes I want to try next.  The best part is most of the recipes use ingredients I already have on hand.

The Organically Clean Home, Post its marking recipes to make later
This week, I’m going to conquer my bathroom toilet cleaning fear.  I’m giving her very simple, chemical free recipe a try.  Not only can I pronounce all the ingredients and I know what they are.  Big step.  I will let you know how I make out!

As Always,

By the way, I’m not paid for this post, all opinions are my own.  I just love her book and want to share how it is changing my cleaning routine :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mice in My Camper Trailer!

Ok, I was going to write about something else today, but since this seems to be eating up all my time, I thought I’d vent about what is going on.

Camper Table and Benches before Mice in Camper
It’s true.  Over the winter, we got mice in our camper trailer.  My husband set traps in the camper before we closed it up in the fall last year.  We also stuck “Bounce” sheets everywhere (something we had heard that deterred mice from coming in a camper).  During the winter, my husband caught 2 mice in the traps he had set.  Notice I say “my husband”.  I don’t know what it is about mice but have a huge issue with removing dead ones from traps.  I would sooner throw the whole trap out and set up a brand new trap to catch more rather than reuse a trap.  So I will gladly leave this mouse removal job for my husband.

I’m going to warn you, the next few paragraphs might be a bit gruesome.

When I was a university student, I lived in Halifax, NS.  Side note -Halifax is such a beautiful place, I recommend visiting, the views and history are amazing.  I hope to go back some day.

When school started, I lived in a really old building by the water which was used as overflow dorms for the university I was attending.  You guessed it, perfect place for mice.  The management would use live traps (the sticky paper ones), trying to be humane, and in the middle of the night you would hear a mouse screaming and trying to gnaw off its own leg to free itself.

After the Christmas break, I had enough of dorm life and got the brilliant idea to move out and share an apartment with a girl friend I had met in dorms.  We didn’t do much apartment hunting, we basically took the first apartment that fit our budget and was in the right area for us to get to school.  Our one bedroom, ground level apartment was tiny.  I was lucky enough to take the bedroom (if you could call it that).  I’m guessing it was 8 by 10 feet with a view of the garbage dumpster about 2 feet from the window.  I bought an air mattress and slept on the floor.  She bought a futon and slept in the living room when she was around.  She had a boyfriend and would spend most nights at his place.  So most of the time, it was just me in the tiny apartment.

Not long after we moved in, we noticed the mice.  The worst part was at night and hearing them running in the walls.  Looking back, I wonder how I managed to get any sleep.  But if you are faced with a situation you try to make the best of it, and/or block it out.  I bought steel wool and stuffed it in between the carpet and the baseboards and any holes or crevices I could find in the apartment.  I kept reminding myself, only a few more months to go and I would be out of this mice infested apartment.

Many years later, the first house my husband and I bought together, we had one mouse get in.  Luckily, we managed to catch it quickly.  I’m guessing it came in while we are unloading/loading our vehicle for a trip.  I think my husband was away at the time it got caught in the trap, so I had to deal with the dead mouse.  As far as I remember, I threw put on disposable rubber gloves, grabbed a stick from outside and hooked the mouse trap on the stick and threw the mouse (trap and all) into the garbage.  I think that is what happened, I have a great memory for blocking out yucky and bad parts of my life.

So when my husband told me that mice got into the camper this winter, I knew it was going to be a big job to get it cleaned out again.  Mice make a mess quickly.  Luckily, it was only 2 mice and they did not have time to make a nest and have babies before they were caught.  Although, they were just starting to build a nest as some of the blankets had been gnawed and pulled apart.

We took everything out of the camper.  My husband used the shop vac to vacuum up all the droppings. I washed all the blankets, towels and all things fabric.  Washed the dishes, pots and pans.  If it couldn’t be washed it got thrown out.  My husband washed everything down.

So this is where we are now.  Such a waste of time!!  Before I move all the clean items back in, I will give it a good vacuuming.  Yesterday, I bought a carpet cleaner to wash all the carpets, couch and benches.  After that is done, I’m going to give all the surfaces a really good wash and make sure no more mice are in there!

Camper Kitchen before Mice in Camper
Unfortunately, we still don’t know where they came into the camper, so we’ll have to put steel wool and spray foam in every crevice we think they many have came in. Oi!

Have you ever had to deal with mice?

As Always,