How to pick up Lego

This is my son’s room:

before Lego amount

before Lego amount

it’s mostly Lego. After I put away the Mr. Potato Heads and the Fischer Price castle set, all I was left with was Lego. I tested a retrieval method suggested by my aunt, a sock put over the suction intake of a vacuum cleaner.

I used my hand sized vac and a wee sock with no match.

hand vac and black sock

hand vac and black sock


I was careful to leave a little bit less than just enough sock so when the suction was activated the sock couldn’t be pulled into the vacuum.
the sock-Lego collector

the sock-Lego collector


My finger is pointing to the length of the suction intake.

He has a very dense pile carpet in his room so the tiniest pieces of Lego burrow down deep to foil feet and knees passing overhead. The sock/vac set up took care of them, even the ones I couldn’t see. I would fill the sock then turn the vac off and let the pieces fall into a bucket.

Floor!

Floor!

Obviously using a larger vacuum with a longer sock would mean this takes even less time. This method had the added bonus of filtering out the fuzz and hair from the carpet so it didn’t wind up in Lego storage.

Under bathroom sink shelf diy

What follows is a tale of two bathroom sink cupboards, they are the 2 main bathrooms of the house and as such have to store the most stuff. The primary item for storage is toilet paper as per hubby’s request. He in no way wants tp stored in our giant garage, out of the way, and replenished as needed, he wants a Costco bale’s worth in each bathroom. So I did.

Here are the before shots.

downstairs bathroom, nothing special but so much potential

downstairs bathroom, nothing special but so much potential

upstairs bathroom, the hair trimmer for the boys is in the giant red/white bag on the left

upstairs bathroom, the hair trimmer for the boys is in the giant red/white bag on the left

the full span of the upstairs bathroom from cleaning supplies to bubble bath

the full span of the upstairs bathroom from cleaning supplies to bubble bath

I made three shelves as inexpensively as possible. I bought 2 wooden dowels for $14 and cut them myself with a saw into 8 inch lengths. I sanded them ($3) then spray painted primer on them ($6) and painted them ($8). I hand painted 2 stripes at the bottom of each leg with paint I already had.

I glued 4 legs to a large tile ($0.70 on sale) with a super duper adhesive called “No More Nails” ($8) and let it dry over night.

diy shelf made with tile

diy shelf made with tile

diy shelf (5)One went downstairs and two went upstairs.

organize under bathroom sink

organize under bathroom sink

organize under bathroom sink with diy shelves

organize under bathroom sink with diy shelves

organize under bathroom sink, hair trimmer now in sewn white bags on top of left shelf

organize under bathroom sink, hair trimmer now in sewn white bags on top of left shelf

I added 2 Command hooks too to hold a few things.

Household chores app

Normally I don’t give a flying foo-hah about what app people get for what purpose as long as it gets the job done but I found one that has changed my habits and so merits a shout out. It’s the “Tody” app for an Ipad and it’s free. It organizes your household chores so simply that you could fill out all the pertinent information while drunk.

The initial input might take 10-15 minutes, but after that it’s all smooth and happy sailing. You enter the chore you want, selected from a comprehensive menu, for each room in the house; how often it should be done; and the app generates a beautiful and large vertical bar graph that is colour coded from green (done) to red (overdue). Once the chore has been done you click on “just did it” and the bar slides from red to green in an extremely satisfactorily descent. I’ll wash a floor just to watch that bar change colour.

Laundry room decor

Here’s what we moved in to:

laundry room before (washer)

laundry room before (washer)

laundry room before

laundry room before

laundry room before (dryer)

laundry room before (dryer)

Basically a giant closet with the washer and dryer in it. Not a bad deal really but it lacked, shall we say, charm and any sort of class. Now we’ve moved in, we have shelving in the basement storage room so it was time to make the laundry room a decent place to frequent. I put all the extra traveling bags I had hung up inside a suitcase and on a basement shelf.

all the bags in here

all the bags in here

Then all the hangers into a garment bag, also onto a basement storage shelf.

all hangers into a garment bag, to the basement

all hangers into a garment bag, to the basement

I removed the hanging bar, which wasn’t even screwed into a stud to reveal the shelf behind.laundry room after (4)To fill in the white wall without painting it I hung a large, blue-themed painting we had that was just hanging in the basement toy room. laundry room after (5)I got Hubby to push the washer ever so slightly further from the dryer so that I could wedge in a milk crate to store some of the laundry cleaning products.

a milk crate in between units

a milk crate in between units

I put two 3M Command hooks on the side of the dryer, one for the black bag of missing socks, the other for the delicates washing bag.

dryer

dryer

I added plants, a diy scrapbook calendar I had made, and a lazy suzan that Hubby hated in the kitchen and voilà, a decent looking laundry room.

dryer

dryer

diy birthday calendar

diy birthday calendar

laundry room decor

laundry room decor

Reuse kitchen sponge do dye envelopes

I got sick and tired of the 4 sponges Hubby bought me for cleaning that I never use because I’m a microfiber girl. They’ve been sitting under the kitchen sink for 3 years. Most of the sponges got cut up and put in giant planting pots to help hold water and cut down on the amount of dirt I’ll need.

I cut one sponge into 2 kid size pieces, set the kids up at a plank outside, gave them a bucket of very watered down purple paint and had them dob a dozen or so white envelopes and turn them purple. They spread the envelopes around the yard to dry, which took 15 minutes and everyone had fun. I didn’t do any work and I got beautiful envelopes.dye paper

put squirt of paint in empty yogurt container.  ANY type of paint will work.

put squirt of paint in empty yogurt container. ANY type of paint will work.

cut to kid size

cut to kid size

squirt of paint  covered in water.  You're trying to make a colour between muddy and transparent.

squirt of paint covered in water. You’re trying to make a colour between muddy and transparent.

Organize under your kitchen sink

Mine wasn’t that bad, mostly because we don’t own that much for cleaning supplies and I store the bathroom cleaning stuff in the bathroom. Still, there’s always room for improvement, mostly to make everything easier to see and reach.under kitchen sink before

organized under kitchen sink

organized under kitchen sink

The pink thing is a plastic bin that came with the house we owned 2 houses ago. One house ago I painted it pink for my pink and green laundry room redo. In this house it’s been in the garage since we moved in. I drilled and screwed two large L-brackets into the cupboard wall, taking care not to drill straight through to the other side, then measured the holes of the brackets that extended under the pink bin so I could drill a hole in the bin and screw-and-bolt-it to the L-brackets. It sounds complicated but the worst part was finding screws and a drill bit that were the same size.

I put the white kitchen bin bag roll in a plastic basket ($2 Dollar Store- my only purchase for this upgrade) as well as the roll of garbage bags.

The SOS pads went into the pink bin.

I used one 3M Command hook and one screw-in hook (again, don’t drill through the door) to hold the kitchen gloves and microfiber cloth on curtain hooks. Those curtain hooks are on of the greatest inventions ever. It’s a circle that will fit on most curtain rods (or hooks) and it has a pincer attached to grab the curtain, or dish gloves.

You could also use a binder clip instead of a curtain pincer.

for hanging things, not just paper

for hanging things, not just paper

The rest was placed just so, so I could see everything I had under there.

Cleaned out inbox

I cleaned out my emails last night and now have 3 emails in my inbox. That’s it.

I’d been meaning to do this virtual chore for over a year, basically since we moved, and I’ve been putting it off for just as long because, ug, this is boring and takes forever.

Not if you adopt the “I haven’t cared for a year so I definitely don’t care now” attitude.

I clicked “select all” and “delete”. I kept the email of my best friend’s wedding, another I received that day that I need to reply to, and the confirmation email for my seed order. The remaining 500 or so just disappeared. No more agonizing over what to keep then never look at again, just delete.

Keep your new toilet brush from getting “gooky”

One of my toilet brushes and been overused and mangled flat so it isn’t that effective anymore and needed to be replaced.

Here is my brand spanking new toilet brush and in order to keep it goop free until it also gets flattened from overuse, I sprinkled about 1/2 inch of Comet powder into the bottom of the brush holder. This kills any bacterial residue that’s on the brush, keeping it clean-ish for the next trip around the porcelain throne.

Comet in the brush holder keeps the brush cleaner longer

Comet in the brush holder keeps the brush cleaner longer

Christmas gifts 2013

I sing Christmas carols all year long, but I will wait until December to start with the tinsel. Although we had our fist snowfall yesterday so maybe I can start early this year… Still, I’ll wait until after Remembrance Day to give our veterans and soldiers the respect they deserve.

support your own community

support your own community

I love the Christmas season and as far as I’m concerned, winter should be over after that. I’ve got Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus for my Nativity and I plan on knitting the three Wise Men (I have a pattern for some very colourful Kings) some time this decade. The Shepherds are on their own for a while.

Giving Local for Christmas

-gift certificate to hair cut salon

-gift certificate to have car detailed

-hire a student for a month of driveway shoveling or lawn mowing

-hire a cleaning lady for a week

-gift certificate for car oil change

-buy treats at the local bakery to give to neighbours and teachers

-Leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip (this is when the Avon lady can come in handy, get 10 chap sticks or shower gels for $10 and give them to every secretary you can think of).

This is a poem on a tea towel in a store where I worked 12 years ago

God bless these dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell
While other folks go hungry, they prove that we are eating well.
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn’t want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God’s been very good to us.

So, Dear Lord, thank you for our wonderful, blessed life and send patience to sustain me. Please hurry. Amen