Last year, quite a few of our readers were enthused about the Soda Stream and other at-home water carbonators. But now reader Christine has a cleaning question:
Can anyone find a bottle brush that fits the bottles provided with the Penguin water carbonator? I canâ€™t find one that is small enough for the bottle openings. Help! Love my Penguin!
We checked around, and enjoyed reading posts like this one at AT, but couldn’t find mentions of cleaning the bottles — any sources for Christine out there?
I hope we’re not annoying you with too many green cleaner posts, but when I saw this post at Re-Nest on how to scrub the tub with half a grapefruit and some salt, I had to give it a try. The comments at the original post were divided, with one person proclaiming it “Absurd!” (harsh) and more than one complaining that it was a waste of a grapefruit. Well, I figured one acidic citrus would do as well as another, so I bought a large lemon, halved it, and coupled it with some sea salt to take on my own tub and sink. For the tub, mixed reviews, but I’m starting to suspect it’s just my tub. I’ve written before about how our house is a work in progress — it was previously a rental, and it’s become apparent that someone cleaned the tub with something that removed a lot of the shiny finish. So while my tub smelled amazing after a scrubbing with lemon and salt, it didn’t look a whole lot cleaner to the eye. Our sink, however, has its porcelain finish, and it looks fantastic! Shiny as new! I will caution you that some of the commenters warn against using large-grain salt on an acrylic finish because it could scratch. See the how-to with grapefruit here. — Mary T.
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
We firmly believe in being your own handyman. Whether it’s installing our own back splash tile in the kitchen, renovating our backyard deck or giving a staircase a ombre hue, we regularly roll-up our sleeves and tackle little projects all over our homes. Sometimes things go wrong. Paints drip on the floor. Tiles dry crookedly. Equipment gets rusty. We pull our hair out. No one is happy.
Luckily, there’s a little help to be found via Vine and these handy D.I.Y. videos produced by Lowe’s. The wonderful thing about Vine is that the videos are super short — 6 seconds! — and loop over and over. So if you miss something the first time, don’t sweat it, you can catch the second or third time around. Here are six cool tricks we learned from watching these Vines — though if you start playing around on the social network’s app you’ll find many, many more.
Six Handy Tricks We Learned From Lowe’s Vine Videos:
1. Potatoes aren’t just for dinner — or making crafty stamps! The next time you are dealing with a broken lightbulb in lamp, use a potato to unscrew it without risking a finger cut.
2. Rubber bands have many uses (besides being woven into colorful bracelets for grade-schoolers). You can use them to catch paint drips from a can, or twist out a stripped down screw.
3. For your next colorful paint project, don’t mess with a new paint tray for each color. Simply line your old ones in aluminum foil and reuse.
4. Take the guesswork out of picture hanging. A piece of tape can help measure the distance between holes and get things picture perfect.
5. You don’t need luck to make your tiles line up perfectly. Pennies placed in between the rows of tiles will do the trick until they dry nicely.
6. What could be more dull than a rusty knife? Dip your cutters in some lemon juice for 15 minutes and see how they shine.
Have you discovered any great DIY Vine videos? Let us know and we’ll feature them on Shelterrific!
This is a sponsored post.
Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
This is a sponsored post.
What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.
I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.
But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!
I’ve been trying — as many of us have, I’m sure — to spruce up our beyond-hideous deck for prime summer enjoyment. It’s a great space, don’t get me wrong — it’s just in dire need of a couple of repairs and a new coat of paint or two. But in the meantime (or at least until it stops raining for a few days) I’m planning on just covering it up with a cute indoor/outdoor rug. I’ve scoured the web for some options, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far, ranging from $35- $200:
Dash and Albert have a stunning diamond rug, above, starting at $34 for a 2’x3′.
I love the candy apple red design on this Henri Floral Rio Mat from Cost Plus World Market, $40 for a 6’x9′.
I’ve always been a fan of Chilewich placemats and runners, but I’m absolutely in love with these 24″x36″ spun vinyl utility mats, $75.
If your tastes tend to the more traditional side, perhaps this trompe l’oeil Persian rug floor mat (made from polyester and foam) from Urban Outfitters, $148 for a 66″x46″, is a good choice.
I love the bold geometric design of this indoor/outdoor rug from Overstock.com, a large 7’10″x11′ for $178.
Last but definitely not least is the ultra-cool reversible pegboard rug from CB2, 5’x8′, $200.
I’ll probably end up getting more than one — what doesn’t go on the deck will be great in our sad dungeon of a basement! — Megan B.
Recently, I won tickets to a cage fight in St. Louis (seriously), so I packed my bags, hopped on Amtrak, and played house guest at a friendâ€™s place. It’s a little thing, but I usually end up plugging my phone charger into the first available place and letting the cord and phone pool on the floor, hoping it won’t get stepped on or mistaken for a chew toy. No longer, fellow couch surfers! The Mobile Device Charging Holder from Driinn, $10, has quickly gone to the top of my travel essentials list. It’s a simple idea that turns any wall socket into a convenient, mess-free charging station. — Katie D.
Growing up, I donâ€™t remember ever going to a yard sale, at least not until I was in high school — and by then I was at the age where I hated going with my Mom to look through other peopleâ€™s stuff. (Ironic, given my love for antiques.) What I do remember, however, were farm auctions: fields full of tools, equipment, old harnesses, generations of accumulated furniture, linens, and magazines, all of which served as perfect mazes to run through with my siblings and friends. While I havenâ€™t been to a farm auction in ages, I have finally become an official suburbanite after staging my first yard sale. It was a ton of effort, but by following tips from the Yard Sale Queen, we got rid of most everything. Plus we taught the kids another way to practice the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). Iâ€™m just not ready to do it again for at least another 10 years. What about you? Are you planning a yard sale this year? — Sarah L.