Author Archives: Rob

Home Made Kitchen Curtains – The DIY Method of Sewing Kitchen Tier Curtains

If you are the least bit handy when it comes to doing your own sewing, even if you are only good at simple sewing, you should be able to simply sew and make your own kitchen curtains. Home made kitchen tier curtains are really very simple to make and unless you really cannot sew a straight line on when using a sewing machine you should be good to go for it.

Remember, kitchen curtains are usually fairly simple.  Almost all curtains, including tier curtains,  are made to go on a curtain rod, so it is straight seam sewing when it comes to making your own. For the most basic design you need an opening at the top so the rod can go through and a hem on the bottom and sides.  You should decide in advance what style of curtain you will make and then if you cannot come up with your own pattern you could check online for a simple pattern that would be easy to design. A home made kitchen curtain really is fairly simple to sew and it should only take you a couple of hours at the most to finish the project.

Kitchen Curtains - BeeWhen it comes to deciding on the actual material you will use for your curtain there are a few things to take into consideration. The first point is that you really need to make sure that the material you buy is machine washable.  No matter how hard you try to keep curtains and blinds clean, it seems that they get dirty and dusty twice as fast in the kitchen as in any other room. Not only do they gather dust but they also absorb grease and get quite damp at times with all the moisture and steam in the air.  You will probably have to wash your kitchen curtains fairly often, so try to buy material that is machine washable and that will come out looking good no matter how many times you wash them.  Also, as you will be hand making the curtains, try to get material that is lightweight and easy to sew.

Popular patterns for kitchen curtain material depend on the style of kitchen and your kitchen décor. For a cozy country style kitchen you may want to go with the gingham check material or bandanna prints.  You can edge this with lace to give it a more country look, if you are feeling creative.  Eyelet curtains look great in a kitchen as well. If you are trying for the more Mediterranean style kitchen then you may want to check out the material with grape vines printed on it, or wine glass prints, or even just using bright striped material. Choose a contrasting color for your curtain tie backs for a really festive appearance.

If your kitchen is more along the elegant line then lace curtains may be just what you need.  One caution here though, lace curtains do tend to yellow very easily in bright sunlight so even though they look great when they are first put up you do have to be careful that they do not get spoiled by the sunlight.  Once they turn yellow there is little you can do to recover them and you may have to end up buying new curtains. Perhaps you want to go with kitchen curtains and valances instead. Kitchen valances do not have to be formal at all; you can use them to establish the style of decor very easily.

Whatever material you eventually decide on for your curtains kitchen style, remember to ensure that it is easy to wash and care for, easy to sew and that it will hold up well in damp or humid environments.  It should be mold resistant and preferably fire resistant too.

How to Clean Washable Furnace Filter

Here are some easy instructions on how to clean washable furnace filter parts. Most furnaces actually use disposable filter but if you actually happen to have a furnace that has washable filter parts then it is important that you know exactly how to clean it.

If you are not sure how to tell whether your filter is washable or not, one easy way is to check out the housings around your filter. If they are made from cardboard then it is likely that your filter is the disposable kind. If, however, the casing is made from metal then your filter is a good candidate for being a washable furnace filter.  If you have a washable furnace filter you should check it monthly to see if it needs cleaning.  You should clean your washable furnace filter every three months minimum whether it appears that you need to do so or not. Do not let it go longer than three months without cleaning.

It is very easy to clean a washable furnace filter. First of all you need to remove the dirty filter and set it down on a flat surface. If you can place it on a floor that is the best, make sure the dirty side of the filter is facing upwards though.

Next you will need a vacuum cleaner. It does not have to be a very high powered vacuum cleaner, even one that is  meant to clean equipment is good, it should work just as well. Plug it in and vacuum the filter. Try to run it down from top to bottom, making sure that you cover all of the parts of the filter. If you are careful, and you go slowly, you should be able to remove most, if not all, of the dust and debris that has collected on the filter over time.

Once you are done vacuuming the filter you should turn the vacuum cleaner off, and then pick up the filter and take it to a vacant sink or bathtub. You are going to now wash the filter, so you do need a spot where you can run water over the filter and rinse it off. Bathtubs work very well, as do large sinks.

Spray the filter with warm water. Do not use any sort of detergent as that may damage the filter. Instead spray it with water and scrub it gently with a soft brush. Believe it or not, fingernail brushes work very well on filters!

Once the filter is clean you can turn off the water. Set it somewhere so it can dry thoroughly. If you can set it in front of a heater that would work, otherwise put it somewhere that it can dry naturally. Make sure, though, that it is not in a damp or humid area. It does need to dry properly.

When the filter is completely dry you can place it back inside the furnace. All together this should not take more than a few hours to complete from beginning to end. It is well worth getting washable filters if you are able as you certainly save a lot of money as opposed to using replaceable filters all the time.

Oil Filled Radiator appliances – Safety Features

Winter is already here and to keep the cold away we have a variety of options to warm our homes. One economical option available to us is to use electrical oil filled spot heaters. These are handy portable heating appliances that run on electricity and provide the type of heat that we associate with typical radiators. The difference with these products however is that they are not part of a central heating system but rather stand alone units. They range in price from down right cheap to actually quite expensive so depending on what style you are interested in, number of radiators you require and what brand you choose, the price can vary drastically. Oil filled radiator heaters are excellent home appliances that can effectively heat areas of your home during the cold seasons.

Oil filled heaters have some features that may make them a really attractive warming option for your home. If you have young children or pets, these types of radiators may be a safer option than other kinds of electrical heaters.

oil filled radiatorThis is because while oil filled radiators provide excellent levels of warmth, their outer shell does not become dangerously hot. When compared to electrical heating appliances that have exposed heating elements this means that the danger level is lower AND there is less of a risk of fires. This is not the only positive safety feature that they have. If a radiator should somehow fall over, for example, by someone knocking it accidentally what happens is that the electrical power flowing into the radiator is automatically cut off. This means that a potential fire risk is negated. Also the internal thermostat will cut the power should the heater begin to over heat. Also, because a lot of oil filled radiators are portable it could be dangerous if we tried to move a hot unit but because the temperature of the external parts is kept at a safe level it is possible to touch and therefore move the heater even though it is still hot.

There are things that we can also do to avoid dangerous situations with our oil filled radiators. Many of this style of heating appliances is portable. We must be careful to ensure than any electrical heater to be used in the bathroom is actually suited for this use. Some of these radiators are able to be used safely in a humid environment. For me, oil filled radiator heating is the best option. I like the level of heat they produce and their safety features put my mind at ease.

Christmas Decorating on a Budget

If you are looking for ways to cut costs this Christmas, chances are that one of the first things you will re-evaluate will be your Christmas decorations. While many decorations do not cost that much, at least the single items don’t, still they all add up especially when you are hoping to decorate most of the rooms in your home, or at least a good portion of them. Here are a few tips on how to make save on this part of your Christmas preparations.

Buy from thrift shops, or garage sales:  You can often find great deals at garage sales, or thrift stores when it comes to Christmas decorations.  Many people choose to buy brand new Christmas decorations each year. Rather than getting rid of their “old” decorations they will offer them to thrift stores.   You can also find great Christmas decorations at garage sales, so keep an eye out for those!

Don’t throw out your Christmas lights, fix them instead:  Yes, it’s a pain in the you-know-what to fix Christmas lights. In fact, it’s a pain to plug them in and see which ones are still working. But if you have the patience and a few extra bulbs on hand you can save a lot by checking your existing lights, replacing bulbs, and restoring your old lights.  After all, they look as good as new once they’re up and blinking!

Recycle your Baubles:  Ever wondered what to do with those baubles that have lost their loop?  You can’t hang them on the tree any more but you can do other things with them.  Collect all of your loop-less baubles and put them together in a glass bowl!  They look great, and add a splash of color to table-tops and mantelpieces.

Candles:  Candles are Christmas.  They are cheap and they look fantastic. If you have a candelabra, great.  Fill it with red, white and green tall candles. If you don’t, why then just place other candles at strategic locations around your home. They look great as a centrepiece on your table, and also look fantastic scattered around the room. If you are able, stick to Christmas colors which include the traditional red, white and green, and also include the gold and grey shades.

Bake Christmas Cookies:  There’s nothing quite like the smell of cookies baking, the sound of Christmas music, and a whole bunch of females in the kitchen to give that Christmas aura.  My mother had her traditional set of Christmas cookies that she would bake. Establish your own Christmas set, then religiously bake them every year.  Get your daughters to help (sons too, if they’re interested) and you’ll start up a Christmas tradition that will live on.

Play Christmas Music:  I love hearing Christmas music at Christmas time. I abhor hearing it blasting too early, and I hate hearing it playing after Christmas Day. But during December, I think it bot appropriate and cheering.  Find your favourite Christmas music (a good selection please) and play it all throughout December–well, at least while you’re doing your Christmas baking, and while you are decorating, and at dinner time, and…

Gather Pine Cones:  And spray paint them gold and silver if you must. Or, leave them and just scatter them around.

Bring out the Festive Tableware, Christmas Tablecloth and Napkins: If you can, set aside a special set of tableware for Christmas. It should probably be a little gaudy, colourful and patterned.  Red, white or green are great themes for tablecloths, placemats and napkins. I personally abhor Santa tablecloths…but to each his own. Just make it Christmas themed.

Table Center Piece: Think candles, logs and ribbons.  A centrepiece can be stored away and used year after year. You bring it out and everyone automatically thinks of Christmas. Find one of those!

Dress up Toys:  Teddies and dollies look lovely all dressed for Christmas in their best Christmas finery. If you need to you can always add Christmas ribbons to the dolls and teddies, and put them on display under the Christmas tree, or on windowsills.  Remember to have them clutch a small box that has been carefully wrapped till it resembles a Christmas present.

There are a multitude of other ideas that can turn your frugal Christmas into a truly warm and inviting one. Don’t limit yourself and don’t feel that you’re being chintzy if you don’t have yourwhole house decked out. Do what you can. After all, the spirit of Christmas comes from the heart after all, and it’s really all about giving from the heart too.  That’s the true meaning and spirit of Christmas. If you can’t decorate much, don’t worry. Just give of yourself to others and you will embrace the true spirit of Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Static Cling Window Film

Whenever static cling window film is mentioned, invariably several comments or questions are raised. Most commonly these questions are:

What is the difference between Static cling and regular window film?

The difference between static cling and regular film is that static cling film is adhesive free window film.  Applying an adhesive free film is much simpler and easier that applying the regular type of window film, and there is a lot less mess to clean up afterwards as well. It is not only easy to apply, but also very fast to put up. Static cling film can be used on any smooth surface, so you are not limited to only putting it on glass. It is also not affected at all by steam or moisture, so it is perfect to use in bathroom, on the outside of shower stalls, etc.

A great thing with static cling film is that it is extremely easy to remove without leaving any residue behind. All you have to do is grab the corner of the film and pull it off the window or door. If you want to keep it and reuse it, you simply need to place the backing paper back on the back side of the paper.  This means it is ideal if you want to use it for seasonal or holiday purposes.  It also means that redecorating just became a whole lot easier.

Does Static cling window film really work, and will it actually stick to my window?

Yes, static cling window film really does work just as well as regular window film. In fact, in some ways you could say it works ‘even  better’, depending on what you are hoping to achieve with your window film.

Differences Between Static and Regular Window Film

window filmVinyl static cling film uses no adhesives, and it can be reused again and again, providing it is stored properly when taken down. It can be applied to virtually any kind of smooth surface, including plexiglass, metal, and of course glass.

It isn’t recommended to use on windows with a view, as it distorts the view and there is much less clarity when looking out through a window with static window film applied.  Also, because of the high levels of static on the film it does tend to attract dust and other small particles, and thus is harder to clean. It’s not too hard though, and warm soapy water will do the job just fine.

Some of the pro’s to using static window film is that it is great at reducing glare, so is a perfect choice for placing on office windows or even living room windows if glare on the television screen during the day is a problem.  Many static window films are also able to block UV rays, and at the same time can provide insulation as well so they are very useful in rooms where bright sun floods in and heats up the room.  Insulating your rooms in this way also conserves energy and money.

There are many beautifully designed static window films available, thus they can actually be used to really enhance your décor as well as provide a valuable service of insulating and reducing glare.

10 Step Application of Static Window Film

  1. Prepare tools and cleaning materials: 2 inch putty knife, spray bottle of warm water with ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing detergent; 2 quarts warm water; razor knife, lint free paper kitchen towels.
  2. Wash your windows with the warm water and detergent, using the paper towels. Dry and make sure there aren’t any streaks on the window.
  3. Spray the warm water (without detergent) onto the window in a fine mist.
  4. Peel the backing off the film, starting at one corner and peeling down.
  5. Line up the top edge of the film with the top of the glass, then smooth the film onto the glass with your hands. You may need help if you are trying to cover a large expanse.
  6. Secure the film to the top of the window by running the putty knife securely over it, using the edge of the blade.
  7. Secure the middle of the film, again using the putty knife and running it straight down the middle of the window and film.
  8. Secure the rest of the film onto the window. Go from the middle to either side, and then from the top to the bottom, all over the window, working any air bubbles or excess water out to the side.
  9. Trim the sides of the film with your razor knife, so that the film is flush against the edges of the window.
  10. Dry off the film with your paper towels.