Some Easy Easter Hacks

Easter is fast approaching, so here are some easy hacks to help you along.

Kelly Bagnasco had a neat idea on her Facebook. It was on how to make an edible Easter Basket. You will need a piece of sturdy cardboard for the bottom of the basket, boxes of candy for the sides of the basket(the number of boxes necessary depends on how big you want the basket to be), wrapped candy, that is in wrappers so that the candy can be bent, to use for the handle. Hot glue the boxes to the cardboard and to each other, and then hot glue the ends of the bendable candy to the boxes and to each other. Fill the basket with whatever you want, and then watch the children have fun eating the candy out of the boxes and the bendable wrappers. Now you don’t have to worry about storing the Easter Baskets because all you have is empty boxes and wrappers. The picture shows only one box of candy for each side. You may glue as many boxes together as you wish to get the basket as big as what you want it to be.

Edible Easter Baskets

Use a plastic pasta fork when dying the Easter Eggs. The eggs won’t fall off and you won’t burn or dye your fingers. Picture from www.potsandpans.com

A Pasta Fork

Different ways to decorate hard boiled eggs:

1.  Use a crayon to put designs on the egg before actually dying it. The dye will not stick to the wax crayon and will result in whatever design you drew on the egg remaining uncolored after the dyeing is done. Only the places where there was no crayon will be dyed.

2. Use water color paints to draw on the designs. No clothes will be damaged with water colors. Anything that is spilled will easily be washed out in the washing machine.

3. Use small cups to dye one end at a time of the egg. The results will be a multi colored egg instead of an egg with just one color on it. Let them dry in the egg carton on their sides, or in a muffin tin.

4. Use small decals to make pictures on the eggs, or use temporary children’s tattoos for the pictures.

5. Now is the time to use whatever fingernail polish that is left in the bottom of the bottles that you just couldn’t make yourself throw away. Have fun polishing pictures on the eggs.

6. You can use cotton swabs to put the coloring on the eggs in a more controlled way than dunking them. If you don’t have cotton swabs you can make them by taking toothpicks and using cotton balls to wrap some cotton on the ends of them.

7. You can also use finger paints to decorate the eggs.

 

I have heard that finger nail polish remover will take scuff marks off of white shoes. I have never tried it myself, but some people have said it works fairly well.

When hard boiling the eggs, as soon as they are done, put them in cold water with some ice cubes in it for about 10 to 15 minutes. The eggs should be easier to peel when it is time to peel them. I know that it works when you peel them as soon as you cool them down this way, but I have not tried it after the eggs have been sitting for a day or two.

Hacks For House In Cold

The first hack is a very important one.

To prevent your pipes from freezing, let a little bit of water keep dripping from the faucet, but don’t let it just go down the drain. Take a clean container and catch the water in it and then use it to water your inside plants.

catching water so pipes won't freeze

If you have a crawl space under your house. you can purchase insulation for your pipes to help keep them from freezing up.

For those of you that are new to trailer living, you should put a skirting around your trailer and you might consider putting the Styrofoam insulation on the backside of the skirting for even more protection from the cold. It will not only help with the pipes, but it will help some with the floors not being quite so cold. You can also use throw rugs to help keep the floors a little warmer.

If you are good at sewing or crocheting, and you cannot afford to purchase lined drapes, you might think about making covers for the windows for at night. It will help keep the warmth inside and the cold outside. These can be hung on sturdy tension rods if the covers are very heavy. These are held inside the windows by very strong springs.

Tension Curtain Rod

If the covers are not very heavy, you may be ale to get by with the smaller extension rods. These hold really light weight curtains, or pieces of plastic just draped over them. You use small nails to secure them close to the woodwork on the window.

extension rods

I have used light weight curtains, but they only helped a little bit to keep some of the cold from blowing in. What I liked the best was using sheets of very thick plastic. I used the kind commonly used for drop cloths when painting. I secured it with heavy duty shipping tape. I put it up at all of my windows except for the kitchen. I had to have at least one window that could be raised in case of a smoke emergency when cooking.

Besides putting plastic up at the windows, I also used weather stripping around my doors to keep the drafts out. That worked really well for me. The type I used was similar to the picture below in that it was a very thin metal strip that was also nailed to the door, it was sort of like tin, but it also had a strip of felt next to the wooden door frame right under the metal stripping. It was basically just the top piece that was nailed to the door frame after the felt was nailed to the door frame. That way, when the door closed, the piece of metal would rest on the felt strip that was attached to the door frame. It made a very tight seal. It had to be replaced every couple of years though, where different things would get caught on the door going in and out.

Door Weather Stripping

I hope these cold weather hacks help at least a little bit.

Sensible Hacks To Help Keep You Warm In The Winter

Here are a few sensible hacks that cost little or no money to start doing.

When you cook anything in your oven, when you are done, just leave the oven door open. The picture is from http://www.fastcodesign.com/3045845/samsungs-clever-new-oven-door-can-open-halfway

door open on oven

While the oven is cooling down it will also be warming your house up a little bit. It’s free heat. You have already used the oven and the heat will be wasted if you just close the door to the oven when you are done.

After you are done with your shower or soaking in a hot tub, if your mirror is fogged up, then there is heat that can come out in your house when you are done in the bathroom.

bathroom mirror fogged up

Leave the door open while the bathroom cools off. It’s free heat. The bathroom has already been heated up during your shower, don’t waste the heat. The picture of the foggy mirror is from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/110690103314860974/

You may not believe it, but even when you use a small toaster oven, you have heat that can go out in your kitchen and the rest of your house just by leaving the door open after you are done. Once again (broken record here) it’s free heat. Granted it’s not much, but it’s free. You can at least heat up your hands if they are cold.

Draft dodgers are a good way to keep the cold out and the heat in your house or apartment. I had one that went under the door. There was a dodger on both sides with a piece of flat material that went under the door connecting the two sides. It worked really well. I used it for years, until it fell apart. I need to find another one. See picture below. The picture is from https://www.dealsplus.com/Home-Garden_deals/p_74-off-dual-draft-dodgers-for-doors-and-windows-free

Double Draft Dodger

If there are areas in your house that have cold floors you can put a rug down over them. A cold floor lacks heat. When you have a rug there, the rug absorbs the cold from the floor and keeps your feet somewhat warm when you walk on those spots.

Houses that have floor vents in each room can be kept a little warmer by closing some of the vents. Say you have a four bedroom house and each room of necessity has a floor vent in it. One of the bedrooms doesn’t get used. Well, that bedroom is having heat pumped into it and nobody is even there to benefit from it. Close the vent and the heat that would have gone into that room bypasses that room and goes to the two rooms on either side of it. That way, both rooms will be warmer. There is a little knob on one side that you can push to close the vent. In the picture below, the little knob is on the far right side in the last slot by the rim of the vent. It doesn’t stick up very far. See picture below. The picture is from https://ali522.wordpress.com/tag/floor-vents/

floor vent picture

You can take advantage of the sun during the day. On really sunny days, open your blinds, shades, or drapes and let the sun come in. If you have insulated drapes, they can be open during the day and closed after the sun goes down. The insulation will keep the cold out quite a bit. You will be surprised at how well it does. Yes, the drapes may cost more at first. However, they will reimburse you over and over again for what they cost by the savings that you will have in the heating bill.

I used ceiling fans year round to help keep my apartment cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Mine had lights on it and hugged the ceiling, it did not hang down on a chain. It was not as fancy as the one in the picture, but it did have the five blades and four lights. Heat rises, and by running the fan backwards in the winter, it pushed the warm air back down, thereby helping keep the apartment warmer. The picture is on Google and belongs to Press Electric LLC.com.

ceiling fan with lights

Then there is always the choice of putting on a sweater if you are chilly when you are awake, and adding an extra blanket if you are cold at night. Or like the lady in the picture, you can hold a hot water bottle also. Sweater picture by http://www.dailymail.co.uk/  The picture of the lady in bed with a blanket is from www.blanketcentral.com

 

person wearing sweaterblankets on bed

I hope that these hacks will be useful in helping you to keep warm this winter.

DIY Ice Melt Recipe – Dawn and Rubbing Alcohol Hack – Myth or Fact

Look at the picture. Anybody would definitely hope that this recipe will work. Obviously you would have to make more that just 1/2 gallon in order to dissolve all of this ice.

There is a video after the recipe. It shows the results on one person’s test. I do know that many ice melt products will not work if the temperature is too low. I have no idea as to the temperature restrictions for this particular hack, and whether or not there are any period. Just thought that I should mention that in some cases there are temperature requirements for some products to work. After you watch the video you can decide for yourself. Decide for yourself is what I usually say when I try to present both sides. I’m not meaning to be sarcastic or smug or anything, just that everybody has the right to decide whether or not to try something new that they find out about.

Icy Steps And Sidewalk - To Melt It

SIDEWALK ICE MELT: For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze. No more salt eating at the concrete in your sidewalks.

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I Googled for any fails on the Dawn and Rubbing Alcohol Ice Melt recipe. Pinterest had this one:  from One Good Thing by Jillie

Try this very stupid idea and get your skates ready: For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze. No more salt eating at the concrete in your sidewalks. 

Apparently this was a fail, the same as the video above.

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From networx.com:

We Tested It: Homemade Driveway Deicers

Posted by Philip Schmidt | G+ | Jan 13, 2012

Disclaimer: These solutions were tested only for effectiveness at melting ice. Some may be harmful to plants, animals, paving surfaces, cream-colored carpets and other things you might care dearly about. The idea here was to find out what works in a pinch. If you need to deice on a regular basis, I recommend that you find a good, environmentally friendly ice melt product, or forget the melting altogether and just use a bit of sand for traction—and take your shoes off before going in the house.

Rubbing Alcohol

The freezing point of standard 70-percent rubbing alcohol is -20 degrees F, so it works pretty well as a deicer. In fact, alcohol is used in many deicing products for car windshields. 

Windshield Washer Fluid

Works pretty well, as you might guess, given it’s normal purpose. Washer fluid contains a small amount of methanol, and most solutions have a freezing point around -20 degrees F. It quickly melts ice and stays slushy for a long time. However, this is toxic stuff, and even though there must be untold quantities of it going into our storm water systems each year, it can’t be a good thing to use heavily around the house.

On this website, even thought alcohol worked,  there was no mention of the combination of Dawn and alcohol together. I don’t know whether or not to count this as a fail, that being the case.

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from topix.com:

How to make homemade ice melt for steps, sidewalks (works great)!

FreezeOut

London, KY

#1 Jan 25, 2013
If this freezing rain has your steps, porch and sidewalk icy, this homemade ice melt will work great using items you probably already have.
3 INGREDIENTS:
1. One quart lukewarm water.
2. 3 drops dish washing detergent
3. 1 ounce rubbing alcohol

Mix all 3 ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. Coat icy surfaces with this mixture and the ice will quickly be gone. If you don’t have a spray bottle, the ingredients can be poured on the ice.

Judged:  X for 76  a check mark for 72  and a light bulb for 4

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tina

Barbourville, KY

#2 Jan 25, 2013
FreezeOut wrote:
If this freezing rain has your steps, porch and sidewalk icy, this homemade ice melt will work great using items you probably already have.
3 INGREDIENTS:
1. One quart lukewarm water.
2. 3 drops dish washing detergent
3. 1 ounce rubbing alcohol
Mix all 3 ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. Coat icy surfaces with this mixture and the ice will quickly be gone. If you don’t have a spray bottle, the ingredients can be poured on the ice.

This works great. I did it this morning. I just put mine in a gallon jug and poured it over my porch and steps. Melted off in just a few minutes.

Judged:  X for 58   a check mark for 17

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I visited quite a few other websites, but none of them mentioned the dawn and alcohol mixture. From what I read, as long as the temperature was above a minus 20 degrees, alcohol would melt the ice. But there was no mention of adding the dawn to it. The tests that I copied from those done on the topix.com website gave the results of those that reported in on the judging. I included those numbers. I was only able to use the X mark as there was no symbol for a check mark, so I just wrote the words “a check mark for” and put the number beside it. As you can see there were way more X s than there were check marks.

My conclusion is that dawn and rubbing alcohol is a myth that only works in theory, and that it does not actually work in real life. If in the future, I find out that i was wrong, I will post the results that mad me change my mind. I have been researching this for a few days now to bring this post to you.

How To Make Christmas Tree Beaded Garland Yourself

You can see in the picture that there are some small multi colored beads, and a disk with thin picture hanging wire. This is a visual of two of the supplies that you will need. The beads can be all one color if that is the kind of garland that you want. Most any craft store should have these supplies. You will also need some scissors that will cut the thin wire.2015-12-08 19.36.29

To begin doing the garland, you need to decide just how long you want the garland to be. I have found that for me a good size is to take the wire and unwind it with both hands. I keep spreading my hands apart until my arms are stretched out as far as I can stretch them and still be holding the wire in both hands between my  thumb and index finger. I know that if I measure the same way every time, then the garland lengths should all be about the same. Unfortunately with my diabetic neuropathy, some days I am able to spread my arms farther apart than on other days. This fact is obvious when you look at the difference in the lengths of the first three strands of garland in the first picture below. It doesn’t really matter if they are all the same or not, since nobody will ever notice once they are on the Christmas tree.

The first picture below shows three strands of beaded garland that I made. The second picture shows a bracelet that I made.

 

 

2015-12-08 19.33.492015-12-08 19.35.01

The third picture is a close up of a section of one of the multi color garlands. You can see a solid red one in the background.

 

2015-12-08 19.34.36

Your first step is to make your anchor for one end of the garland. To do this, you thread the wire thru one bead, and leave about a two inch tail on the wire. You bring the wire down and twist it around itself under the bead( see the picture below) and leave the tail straight. If you want different colored beads, start threading them on and as each bead gets close to the end, thread the tail thru it until there isn’t any of the tail left.

2015-12-08 19.54.17

As you can see from this picture below, it took four additional beads to cover up the tail of wire on the anchor end of the garland. If you garland is to be multicolored, you need to pay attention to the pattern you first set up, with one of each color of bead.  My pattern was red, silver, blue, gold, purple, and green.  After I put the first six different color beads on the wire, I just keep repeating the pattern.

2015-12-08 19.56.22

You can see how it looked when I kept repeating the pattern.  I did this until I was finished doing the garland. The last picture shows the finished garland. My finished garland ended up 59 and 1/2 inches long. I don’t know if you can see it very clearly or not, but the first bead was a red bead and the last bead was a green bead. That way if I ever wanted to join the two ends together, you would not know when the garland began and where it ended, it would be like one continuous big circle of garland.

2015-12-08 20.00.50

It is really hard to see where the garland started and where it ended. The bead in the middle of the circle is the beginning and the last bead on the outside of the circle is the end of the garland. It is very hard to see that the one in the middle(the first bead) is red and the one at the end(the last bead) is green.

2015-12-09 01.38.22

Hopefully I will be able to get the video that was done, about making the garland, edited by a friend fairly quickly. I don’t know how to edit videos, but my friend does. My friend is pretty busy most of the time, so I don’t know how long it will take to get it done.

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Christmas Lights Untangled

The pictures are not mine. I did a query on Google to find them. I do not know who took them. The hack however is mine. I have done it for several years now, like since the early 80’s.

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That time of year has come to have to check out the Christmas tree lights.  You think this year will be better, because last year you were so careful to wrap them around your arm and back around the space between your finger and thumb.  Then they were placed in the box of Christmas decorations very slowly, as not to make them become unwound. But low and behold, when you go to get them out, they are a total mess.  It would take an act of Congress to get them straight.

Well from now on, that will not be a problem. There are many different plastic cord holders to choose from that will take care of it. They are extension cord holders. Usually they are yellow, orange, black, or green. They have different types of things in or on them to catch the cords(in this case lights) with. You will notice that there is one where a plastic hanger was actually used to hold the lights.

christmas tree light holderchristmas tree lights holder 2cord holder 2cordwizchristmas lights on a holdercord holder 3

  Even though they are officially extension cord holders, they work great to wind Christmas tree lights on. However you will need to buy individual holders for each set of lights. The holders usually are not big enough to hold more than one set of lights.

When I used to be on oxygen, I even used them to wrap the oxygen tubing up on, so I could go from room to room without having to pull the oxygen concentrator behind me.

Winter Is Almost Here

The picture is not mine. I went to Google for it. I do not know who took the picture. The hack is mine.

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As we all know, winter is almost here. What do we usually get out of storage when winter does arrive? We get our heavy coats,gloves, hats and scarves, right? That’s right, And what usually always happens? The gloves, hats and scarves get separated from the coats,right? Of course that’s right. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have lost at least one of those items, and more times than not, it is one glove that gets lost.

When we first get inside from the cold, our first thought is to GET WARM! We don’t care where we throw our outer gear as long as we start getting warm. Once we are warm and we go to put our outer wear away, we find that something is missing. Yes, it’s the all elusive glove. One glove is with all the other outer wear and one glove is missing. Now where did I throw my gloves in my haste to get warm? This is probably the question that we ask our-self. At least that is the question that I always asked myself. I say asked, because I don’t have to ask it anymore.

I came up with a solution to the problem, a no brainer actually, don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. I got one of the reusable cloth bags and hung it where the coats hang. I put the gloves, hats and scarves in it. That way, when I go to get my coat, the rest of the outer gear is right there and all that I have to do is reach in the bag and get out whatever I need for that particular time.

bag that's reusable

The cloth bag should be able to hold all of the small items, and it can be hung up on a coat rack.

Leg Braces And Under Sleeves

I have to wear long leg braces that go from under me feet clear up to the top of my thighs, and they are a pain to find the correct weight of material for the under sleeves that go under them at the different times of year. In the summer time, I use a very light weight material for the under sleeves under the braces. A friend took a pair of the under sleeves I had to buy and used them for a pattern to make several pairs of under sleeves for me. The under sleeves come from the top of my thighs on down to the middle of my shins. I put my socks on after I put on the under sleeves, that way they cover and keep the bottom part of the under sleeves in place. With my diabetic shoes, I have to wear socks all the time.

In the winter I take a shortcut. That is when I take advantage of the good old long johns. I simply put on a pair of long johns and then put on the braces and I am ready to go. It’s as simple as that. After putting on the long johns, I put on a pair of long socks.

I always have to wear socks in the summer time with the braces because of how the under sleeves are made. But in the winter time, the long johns come almost all the way down to my feet, so the socks don’t have to be very long.