Household Tips / Tricks

How to Safely Pack Knives with
Cardboard and Packing Tape

Sometimes, knives without sheaths must be packed for transporting.  It is a dangerous process, or can be, so care must be taken.  Plus, when knives rattle against each other, it may tend to dull them.

Following what I do for sharp rotary blades, needles, and razor blades, I have found an easy and (somewhat) safer method than throwing them in a box or cooler wrapped in a napkin :).

I first found a sturdy piece of cardboard (example is an old and very stiff file folder) and taped the knife blades spaced out across half of the cardboard.

As I had an entire set to transport, I also taped knives on the opposite end of the file folder. 

I folded the file folder closed, as it would be if it were being used as a file folder.  I then taped across the handled, maintaining spacing and ensuring that the knives could not move, then taped the file folder closed around its edges.

Since the file folder was "legal" sized, I folded the closed file folder in half for ease of packing.

I taped it all together, making sure that the knives were secure.  Then packed it flat in between kitchen towels.  

As you can see, the knives made the trip of over 1000 miles safely.  The cardboard held great and the towels suffered NO cuts or snagged threads.

I am sure there is a better way but I used what I had and was very pleased with the results.

Its all about the SOX!, not the WHITE SOX!!!

I hate throwing useful things away.  But what about all those socks that just never find their mates? Some of them really do need to be thrown away...  and we already know about dusting with them...  but I also have old towels to use up so I need a new purpose for unmatched socks. 

Sometimes, its nothing more than waiting for the right idea to be dumped into your lap.  Which is what happened today.

Next time I have a pile of unloved socks, I will fill them with stuffing and catnip, tie them closed with jute, add a bell or something interesting, and donated to my local shelters.

That Pesky Hair in the Drain

I have really long hair.  This means:
  1. there is a big wad of it wound around the vacuum cleaner beater bar,
  2. there is at least ONE in a sock wound around your toe to drive you crazy all day,
  3. there is always one in the back of your shirt to drive you crazy all day, and
  4. when cleaning out the drain in your sink or tub, you will pull out what looks like it could be a ferret.

I can't do much about the first three so my challenge is always to avoid the ferret situation.

When showering, I usually stick the hair to the shower wall so it doesn't go down the drain.  However, I can't catch it all.

I have tried brushing my hair before the shower, many various and assorted shower drain covers, and a washcloth over the drain.  

All worked to some extent but none really prevented the ferret.

I think I have finally found something (inexpensive even!) that seems to make a difference....

I cut a section from one of those green 3M scrubbing pads and put it in front of the drain.  (Note that this is a tub/shower combo situation.)  Next piece I cut will be long and skinny.

Below is the hair I pulled from the scrubbing pad after a shower.

Be GONE, ferret !!!

Plus, I can scrub the tub with the pad!  Its a win/win!

It is amazing what has never occurred to you simply because it never occurred to you.

Saving the Solar Power

I just read the bestest solution to rejuvenating solar lights that have lost their "sparkle".  Just about every household has the one thing you need for this little project.   I am including the link to Mark Kriegsman's blog for the full explanation.  

I am feeling bad about all the solar lights I have already thrown away :(.

Remember; repurpose, reuse, recycle.....  and now, RESCUE !!

So much better than a curtain !!

We have a large window in our bathroom and it faces south, which is also a street...  and gets a little warm (ok, HOT) during the sunniest of days.  I love the light streaming in the window but like the heat a bit less.   I didn't want to cover the window with a curtain...  especially since the window is above our large tub... but I did think some privacy was needed.
hmmmm...   what to do? 
I have had a hosta plant for a long time and have been hopelessly loving it for all these years.  It's an odd plant in that it sends out a vine to grasp on to a support and once the support is in place, the plant will produce the heavy leaves in which it stores water.  As with most succulents, it does well with sun and heat.  Perfect for a sunny Arizona window, right?
I asked my son to build a frame (rather like a picture frame) that would support some lattice.  The frame's side view was like a "U" with the lattice slipping into the "U".  The frame was built so that it attached to the wall around the window, allowing the plant pot to sit on the window ledge.

The frame was then painted, screwed together, and mounted on the wall after the plant pot was placed on the window ledge.

It turned out that this plan was not without its faults so I used my handy dandy Dremel to cut a section of the lattice out so that I had better access to the plant pot.
Further experience with the dry Arizona weather led me to believe that I needed more than one pot to allow roots to adequately expand and have plenty of access to moisture.
Thus, I have a beautiful "picture" of a garden above my tub, complete with butterflies... and privacy.
I love the proliferation of the hosta...  a never-ending garden. 

Hanging things
that don't hang
Sometimes, I just want it out of the way... and (usually) off my sewing table... but not too far away because I need it... and I am too lazy to get up and go clear...  over...  there...  to...  get... it.
I have a little calculator that I use for my quilts...  but its always under something.  So I spend however long looking for it and by the time I find it, I wonder why I don't think of a place to put it so I don't misplace it all the time.
Solution?  hang it up!.
How?  A rubber band?  nah, I will just hurt myself when it breaks.   A duct tape hanger?  no...  hubby and son will laugh at me.
AH HA!  by George, I've got it!!
Disc Plate Hangers.   The disc things have a loop for hanging and even comes with a nail and thingy to hang it on!!
And the best thing about these plate hangers?  They are cheap (usually $1 or less)...  and they work great!.
I applied the plate hanger according to the directions.  Just add a little water to the adhesive on the back of the disk, let it sit for a couple minutes, and apply to clean surface.  
My calculator is now hanging up and I haven't lost it yet!
I love it when a plan comes together.

Hummingbird Feeder Repair

Does your hummingbird feeder leak?  Mine does...  err, did.  I could not find a crack anywhere so after some experimenting, I found an inexpensive fix that will help with leaking on this type of container.  ** Please note that I do not suggest that this repair is food grade.   Also, the repair is not permanent but can be used indefinitely.

The fix:  after filling up the container with my gourmet homemade hummingbird nectar, I wrapped a simple rubber band around the screw type base.

I then screwed the top on the feeder, flipped it over, and.....

VIOLA!!  no leaking.

If it starts leaking again, I install a new rubber band!

I have one feeder like this that song birds fight over and two standard hummingbird feeders.

*** Just in case you need it, I bring to boil 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water.  Let cool completely and fill feeders.  I do not color the water....   I don't feel the hummingbirds need the dye in their diet and I am filling up the three feeders every 3-4 days as it is.


I wanted to hang a picture and I finally figured out where I wanted to hang it.  Tada!!  all hung.  Love the picture, and I love the place I hung it....

Except....  there is a blemish on the frame.

Do you see it on the bottom edge of the frame?  <sigh> 

However, I am nothing if not handy. 

About 3 years ago, we had purchased a LARGE bedroom set.  It was used, HEAVY, and dark.  As I was cleaning it up, I noticed some nicks in the finish and the lighter stuff underneath was showing. 

While I don't mind a nick, the lighter stuff was really standing out.  And I say "stuff" because some was wood but some of it was not wood.  Some of the really ornate areas appear to be a molded resin or something. 

So my challenge was to cover the nicks with something that works on wood and non-wood materials.  It took about 2 days to think of the perfect thing!!!   And it took about $2 to do it.  The fingernail polish I used is actually a brown frost...  the photo of the bottle looks pretty red...  but its not.

Can I get another TADA? 

is it perfect? no.

Can you see the nick?  not really.

Am I happy with the results?  YES...and back to loving the picture.


I wanted to give DH a travel map for his birthday.  Of course, because I wanted until the last minute to think of this, I was left with no time to order one.  Because necessity is the mother of invention, off I went to buy the supplies I thought I would need to make one. 

Before we start, I need you to know that this is not an exact science as everything depends on your map and how the frame and bulletin board are put together.

Walmart:       The largest bulletin board they had
                      A can of Spray n Bond permanent adhesive
Staples:         A United States map
                      A box of map pins
From home:  An iron

I unfolded the map and let it rest a bit...  then pressed it with a medium iron on the wrong side to ease the fold lines out of the map.

I eye-balled the depth under the edge of the bulletin board frame and cut the map to fit the area of the bulletin board plus a little to slip under the frame (mine was about 1/4" )  Slipping it under the frame gives it a bit more of a 'finished' look and helps hold it in place.   I also cut a small triangle off each of the 4 corners to aid in sliding the map in under the frame. You can see the triangle in one corner of my map. 

I sprayed the back of the map with the Spray n Bond.  Read the directions and spray outside if you can.  I gave mine just a quick spritz and it wasn't quite enough so maybe 2 quick spritzes :). Make sure to get around all edges of the map.  Let the spray dry. 

After laying the map on the bulletin board, face up, I stuck post-its on the map around the map about 2" from the edge.  I used the post-it to help coax the map edge under the frame, moving the post-it as needed.

I worked the map under the long ends first, using my fingernail and the post-its to slide it under the frame.  I did one long end, then the other.   Once I had that it place, it seemed to stay pretty well.

To do the short sides, I had to work a little harder, but cutting the corners off make a world of difference.

Once all 4 sides are slipped under the frame, you may have to make some adjustments by cutting a tiny bit more off in areas or slipping a bit more under the frame to get the map 'squared up' and lying flat. 

Using your iron according to the directions on the can, press the map to the bulletin board.  The heat of the iron activates the adhesive and presses the map completely flat.

Add pins to celebrate your travels, your activities, or your bucket list.  We are using specific colors for specific reasons for the travel but that's just the anal part of me.   

The entire project cost less than $20 and took about 90 minutes, including (talking and) drying time for the spray.  The 2nd one would be a lot faster :)



You know the ones... the clear or sometimes opaque liner that hang inside the tub keeping water in... while your pretty (and expensive) shower curtain stays outside the tub and greets guests as they come into your bathroom to do what they went in to do.

We wash our pretty and expensive shower curtain now and then to keep it fresh looking and to remove the hair spray, hair gel, toothpaste, water spots, accidently dumped shampoo, pet nose prints, and other things that are considered somewhat inappropriate on our pretty and expensive shower curtain. But I bet you have all noticed that the plastic liners get ucky too... oh, yes... they get ucky.

Back in the day before I decided to keep my $ when I could, I would reluctantly remove the offensive ucky stinky liner and buy a new shiny stinky one. Well, I have found a way to save $ AND reduce exposure to new stinky plastic. I washed that ucky plastic liner in the washer with a bit of regular laundry soap and a touch of bleach in warm water. Once the washer finishes all the cycles, I pull the liner out (be careful as there may be a wee bit of water in the folds) and hang it up (yep, I know you saw this coming) in the shower to dry. Viola!! No more stinky ucky liner. I saved a bit of $$$, I reduced my exposure to petroleum scented new plastic and likely eliminated at least 1 migraine headache.

I will say that not all liners are created equal as not all liners can stand up to multiple washings, especially the thinner opaque liners. But if you DO wash it and it DOESN'T make it through, what have you lost? Pull it out of the washer and find a use for it in the yard (I find that they develop slits here and there or that the grommets pull out). I now buy the thicker mil liners and they can be washed gobs of times. And when you do finally have to buy a new one, wash the new, shiny, stinky one before hanging.
I hope I was not the last to know this little trick!
Recycle, reuse, and use up!!


Have you ever had a ceiling fan that wobbled or squeaking as it turned? So did I !

DS was visiting and I told him how annoying the wobble/squeak was when I was sewing. He promptly turned off the fan, pulled a ladder over to it, and within minutes, VIOLA!! no more wobble... no more squeak.

If your ceiling fan wobbles or squeaks, you may have a loose screw or maybe a bad fan motor. However, if there are no screws loose, you may want to try what DS did to fix mine. He simply traded a blade from one side of the fan with one on the other side. DS said you may have to try a couple switch combinations but if the fan is not bad, finding the right combination should do the trick. Mine was repaired with just one switch. Amazing!!


  1. Very cleaver and useful ideas---keep them coming!!!

    1. Thank you Karen !!! I appreciate the encouragement.