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My Favorite Cleaning Products

Posted by on October 18th, 2012

Hey guys!  I hope you all had a great week so far.  It’s almost Friday, so I thought I would share some of my favorite cleaning items!

Cleaning for the most part is a chore for John and I – I do like organizing so that counts as cleaning, right? I have tried keeping up with a daily cleaning list but after a first few days I get so proud that I cleaned for three days straight that I reward myself with some days off… haha!  Two places that are always clean are my kitchen and bathrooms.  Most of the cleaning products help me with those daily chores.

My favorite cleaning product by far is Dr. Bronners.  There is about 29,763 uses for this cleaner.  I love it for making my own counter top spray, foaming hand soap, and to remove stains from fabrics.  It’s extremely safe – you can even brush your teeth with it! – and that’s why I love using it, especially around the little one.  Dr. Bronner’s also comes in different scents.  I currently have the scent-free (labeled as Baby Mild), Tea Tree (good for disinfecting), and peppermint.  Seriously, you can make anything with this stuff – laundry detergent, shampoo, soaps, sprays, and disinfectants.

Another product I like is anything from the Method line, which is sold in a variety of stores, but I buy mine at Target.  I really like their Grapefruit counter top spray.  I usually make my own, but when the Method grapefruit is on sale, I usually pick up a bottle or two.  The smell is a great grapefruit scent and I love everything citrus, especially in the kitchen!  If you have granite counter tops, Method has a great daily granite cleaner as well.  It makes our faux granite/laminate super shiny and smells great too!

Nature’s Miracle is the product I use when there are stains from either animals or humans on the carpet.  If you have pets, you know they sometimes have accidents and they’re just too cute to be mad at.  Nature’s miracle helps kill the odor and removes the stains of whatever you pet has left on the carpet.

Dusting and polishing is super easy with Murphy’s Oil Soap wipes.  I like the wipes since they let me dust and polish in one step, which makes this dreaded chore done a lot quicker. When I have the time, I also use the original Murphy’s Oil Soap mixed with water to clean my cabinets – I love the way they look after they’ve been washed.

My favorite two items to clean the floors in our home are the Haan and my Dirt Devils (yes that is plural, I will explain).  I use the Haan floor steamer and sweeper on the hardwood floors and tiles.  I love using the Haan because it sanitizes the floors without any harsh chemicals.  Also, you reuse the cleaning pads and they can be washed in the washing machine.  In the kitchen I use the super lightweight Dirt Devil to clean under the cabinets and under the table every couple of days to pick up crumbs.  I also use it on our area rug in the living room.  On the stairs, I use a small handheld Dirt Devil to vacuum the carpets.  Upstairs, I use the traditional Dirt Devil vacuum for the bedrooms and closets.

So that’s it – just a few of my favorite cleaning products that help me get cleaning done quicker.  I do want to mention that I am not being compensated for any of these products, they’re really just my favorites!

Have any cleaning products you love and want to share!?

Posted in Kitchen. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Quick Kitchen Cabinet Repair

Posted by on August 24th, 2012

So things have slowed down a little bit around here since we knocked dragged out our dining room wainscoting and gussied up our front door.  It’s going to pick up again soon though.  Plus, in the fall I’ll be taking another grad school course.  Before we know it, we’ll be busy like crazy.  We do have a couple more projects that we already finished and we’ll probably post about those next week.  Since it’s Friday, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a quick post on a kitchen cabinet repair we did a few days ago.  You’d think owning a new home would negate the need for annoying repairs.  Nope.  Apparently the cabinet door on our lazy susan decided it had enough and busted out from the hinge.


Double crap.

It looks bad, but in reality, this is an easy fix.  Now, if you think you can just re-screw in the old screws and it will hold you’d be wrong.  You need to step it up.

The door is 3/4″ thick.  The screws that were in there are 1/2″ long.  That means I can use a longer screw.

Here’s the screw that popped out next to the screw I’m going to use.  The screw on the left is the 1/2″ fastener.  The screw on the right is 3/4″ long.  I also decided to go with a beefier screw.  The 1/2″ screw is a size 6.  The 3/4″ screw is a size 8 (they only come in even sizes).  So, I’m using a longer and a wider fastener to make the repair.  There are a ton of “that’s what she said” jokes here, so I’m being careful with my word choice.  :)

The larger screw went into the old holes like butter and seem to be holding very well.

That wasn’t too bad.  Fastest. repair. ever.


Is there anything broken in your place that you need to fix?  Have a great weekend!!


Posted in Carpentry,Kitchen,Repairs. Tagged in ,, , ,

Chalkboard Labels

Posted by on July 23rd, 2012

Hope everyone had a great weekend! We sure did – we did some home projects, spent some much needed family time together, and enjoyed the not-too-hot weather!

I wanted to share a tiny project I did.  While my mom and I were shopping for back to school sales at Staples, she stumbled across these amazing chalkboard labels from Martha Stewart!

Don’t they look amazing? We just couldn’t resist. Martha Stewart has an awesome line of office supplies at Staples.  If you haven’t checked them out I suggest you do – that is if you like to organize and label everything.  Her stuff looks great.

I love these canisters hanging out on the counter… but I love my clutter-less counters more, so back to the pantry the canisters went.

So, do you like? How was your weekend??

Posted in Crafts,Home Decor,Kitchen. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Cabinet Pullout Drawers: Done

Posted by on May 9th, 2012

For a while there, I didn’t think I’d ever be writing this post.  Thankfully, this day has arrived and our kitchen cabinet pullout drawers have been successfully installed.  If you recall, I built these drawers over a series of five posts (here, here, here, here aaaaannd here).  In actuality, I think I spent maybe five hours altogether cutting, assembling and finishing them.  I must have spent six weeks trying to get the right hardware for them!!  Yikes is right.  One of my goals for this project is to post some plans with variations for various joint configurations… maybe add a calculator so you can enter your cabinet dimensions and it will spit out dimensions for a sliding drawer.  If you thought the joints looked daunting there are easy joint versions that I’ve got some ideas for.  We’ll see!

The first piece of advice I can give you if you are thinking about building similar sliding drawers:  GET YOUR SLIDE HARDWARE FIRST.

So, long, boring story short… I wanted to get the exact same slide hardware that are in our cabinets.  I think it will look better if it weren’t a hodge podge of parts.  I called a local vendor that carries our cabinet maker’s product line and they gave me a quote of $50 per drawer.  No thanks.  I then proceeded to try to make it work by trying to use what I could from Lowes, Home Depot and every other online slide retailer I could find.  To hell with uniformity.  Bottom line: no dice.  Our cabinets have an interior depth of 23.”  I could only find one set of slides that fit and had to buy the bracket for that separately only to find out that it didn’t play nice with our drawers.  After losing a lot of hair I can’t afford to lose, I capitulated and called another vendor looking to grovel for a lower price.  Luckily, this other vendor was able to get them for around $14 a set.  Jackpot.

The best part of these slides is they install incredibly easy.  The backs of the slides have clips that snap into pre-drilled holes the cabinet maker already has in my cabinets!!  They must put them in there on every cabinet.

This hardware system makes this installation atypical compared to most slide hardware.  If I didn’t have this clip and I had a regular slide and rear bracket like this…

I’d have to install the front of the slide into the front of the cabinet first, level off the rest of the slide by taping a small level to the center of it and then tape my bracket to the back wall, mark the holes for the screw, pre-drill and then fasten the bracket with screws.  Got it?

All I had to do was worry about the front of the cabinets.  A few of the cabinets had long screws that joined one cabinet to the next right in the area where the drawer would be.  They were definitely getting in the way so I had to relocate them.

To relocate it, I just pre-drilled a small hole above the drawer hinge and then drove the screw into it. The holes for the front of the slides needed to be pre-drilled as well. Rule of thumb: If you need to screw into a hardwood (oak, maple, poplar, cherry, etc), you need to drill the hole first.

With the fronts attached, the drawer can slide right in.  Btw, I also attached the slide hardware to the drawers too.  Same deal, pre-drill, insert screw.

With both drawers in…

Glad that’s over. Sure beats rummaging through the bottom of a cabinet!

Overcoming any glitches on your end?

Posted in Carpentry,Kitchen. Tagged in ,,

Kitchen Cabinet Sliding Drawers Update

Posted by on March 22nd, 2012

So here’s my kitchen cabinet sliding drawers update:

I think this project may become a saga.  If it takes me another five posts to finish this cabinet drawer situation I wouldn’t be surprised at this point!!  I’m trying not to get frustrated, but it happens.  What’s the snag?  Aren’t you basically done this?  Yes, well, essentially.  I wrapped up construction of the drawers in our last post.  All I’ve got left to do is install them.  This is actually the only part of this whole exercise that I’m a tad bit concerned about.  If something goes terribly wrong, then I may be out of about $100 worth of nice maple.

Last week, I inquired into the availability of our cabinet manufacturer’s drawer hardware from a local distributor.  In my opinion, if I could get a hold of those parts for a reasonable price, I’d be better off.  After all, I am going for a near duplication of my existing setup.  Using substitute hardware is probably acceptable, but it may give me some gray hairs!!  Well, I got a response I really didn’t expect.  Yes, the slides are available… for $50.  Oh, okay!  That’s not bad.  $50 for six drawers worth of hardware.  Excellent. Uh, no.  $50 per drawer!!  (pregnant pause followed by whaaaattt????) Needless to say, me and the saleswoman had a nice long laugh at that.  I can literally get something similar for under $8 at Lowes and Timberlake wants $50?  I think I’ll take the gray hairs.

So here’s my first attempt (foreshadowing) at installing these drawers.  I would love to blog and build mistake free, but then we wouldn’t learn anything, right?

I brought up all six of my recently poly’d drawers and I picked one of the cabinets with the least amount of junk necessary but never used kitchen gear in it.  I took out all of the aforementioned stuff.  I then selected the right sized drawer from my pile and I got to adding the hardware.

The hardware I purchased is 22″ long and is a very basic Euro style drawer slide.  These run just under $8.  These parts can be a little confusing to sort out, so I like to compare them to what’s on my existing drawers.  Once I figured it out, I laid the hardware out on the counter so I knew what went where.  The center sections as depicted above get fastened to the drawer and the other two outer units get screwed into the cabinet.

I think it’s easier to get the drawer hardware on first because it’s a little simpler than the cabinet hardware (more foreshadowing).  In my case, since I already have identical drawers, I can actually see if my drawers work on the old cabinet hardware.

To attach the drawer hardware, I just mark the holes with a pen and then pre-drill them with a small sized drill bit.  Anytime you drill into a hardwood like maple, you’ll need to pre-drill to prevent the wood from cracking.  That’s the textbook reason.  The real reason is the wood is so darn hard that it’ll take you forever to get the hole started and you’ll end up swearing a lot.

Whenever I’m working around kitchen cabinets, I prefer to use my small driver.  I bought this thing back in 2008 when I was adding the doors to our homemade kitchen cabinets.  My other drill is a regular 18 volt DeWalt, which has a lot of power, but can be heavy and hard to squeeze into some of the more narrow cabinets.  You can pick one of these up for a lot less than a full sized version.  They also make great gifts!!  This drill is perfect for this part of the project.

Once I got the hardware onto my first drawer, I was able to give it a test run.  Worked beautifully!!  Success!!  All I have to do at this point is attach my cabinet hardware and I’ll be off running!!

The cabinet hardware, in theory, mounts fairly simply.  The front edge gets screwed into the side of the cabinet frame and the back slips into a bracket that gets screwed into the back of the cabinet.  The bracket is sold separately and is around $4 for 2.  The trick to this is picking your spot and keeping the front level with the back.

At least I think that’s the trick.  I wouldn’t know because my cabinet hardware was an inch too short!! I bought 22″ long slides.  Apparently, I need 23.”  Didn’t I measure?  Yep.  I also forgot what it was by the time I got around to buy them, so instead, I remeasured the cabinets they sold at Lowes.  Apparently, the cabinets at Lowes are an inch more shallow.  The hardware in the photo above is for the existing drawer.

So next time, hopefully tomorrow, I’ll have at least one whole cabinet done!!  Back to Lowes!!  Anyone else pulling their hair out?

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Kitchen. Tagged in ,,