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Monday, February 18, 2013

True Confession – I Had Crusty Build-up

No matter how hard I tried, my kitchen stove always just looked dirty. What did you think I had crusty build-up on? No. Wait. Don’t tell me. Just believe me when I tell you it was the stovetop. Thank you.

There was a baked-on crusted circle of ick around the main burner I use, and a smaller one around the burner behind. I tried scrubbing with dish soap, all kinds of cleaners, some different scrubbies – most of which I had to use so gently to keep from scratching the surface, there was no way they were cutting through the crud. Doesn’t this look just yucky?

DSCN3500Several days before Thanksgiving I was perusing Pinterest as I am wont to do in the late evenings before bed, and once again I see a pin for the “amazing” cleaning properties of ammonia, and how sealing your crusted stove parts in a bag with a bit of the stinky stuff and leaving overnight will “melt” all that crud away. That got me to thinking about the baked-on crusty yuck on my stove and I wondered…

DSCN3508I poured a tiny bit of ammonia on the stove, just enough to sit on top of the crust and saturate the paper towels, and left it for awhile. A couple of hours later, I pulled up the paper towels and wiped up the ammonia. When I did that, tiny bits of the spot were coming up, too. I rubbed at it and got a little more off, but it was obvious it wasn’t done soaking. So I repeated the saturation of paper towels, and decided to leave it overnight. Ammonia smells pretty awful, and isn’t really a great thing to breathe, so I covered the entire area with a plastic bag. That pretty effectively kept the fumes contained and I couldn’t smell the ammonia at all.

DSCN3510The next morning when I pulled it all up, a whole lot more of that spot flaked with the paper towels. I wiped and scrubbed and a lot of it came up, but it still needed more time. Wash, rinse, repeat, right? So I set it all up again, and this time I did the back burner, too. I was able to leave it on all day, checking every now and then to see if it was all coming up, and little bits did each time. Finally, after several hours, I was able to wipe the entire area clean. I was so excited! Greg just said, “Huh.” when I was all like, “Honey! I got that crusty, dried on spot off the stove! It’s been there for years! It’s gone!”… He didn’t care – he probably never saw all the crud in the first place.


What a little change in the kitchen, but such a pleasure to see the shiny stovetop again. Well, until the next day when I boiled over some potatoes. Argh! That’s when Greg looked at the stove and said, “Well, that just messed up your nice, clean spot, didn’t it?” Thank you, Captain Obvious. LOL. In actuality, he really was sympathetic. I wiped it up as soon as I could, and it all came clean again. Yea! As long as I keep that up, there will be no further need for the stinky ammonia, but just in case it gets ahead of me again, I’ll know how to get it off.

(You may have noticed in one of the photos above that the burner knobs are missing. They were going through the dishwasher after I used the homemade goo-gone on them to clean off the sticky ick that had built up since their last dishwasher bath. That stuff works on everything! I’ve been using it on the stainless appliances, my nice stainless tea kettle, to remove label residue from condiment jars, you name it. It works to get the goo gone, but is gentle and so far hasn’t scratched any of the varieties of surfaces I’ve used it on. Go make some – you’ll like it, too!)

So it’s been a few months since I did all this and the stove still looks pretty darn good. I am much more watchful about what is spilled or spattered on the stove and it gets wiped up immediately so it doesn’t bake on again. Even if it does, now I know how to get rid of it, and since it won’t have years to cure onto the stovetop, my bet is that will clean up much easier.

No more crusty build-up for me! Well, not on the stovetop, anyway…


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Does the Garden Grow?

So far this year the garden is doing great! We’ll see how the heat wave this week affects things…

The garden went in earlier this year than ever before. I planted tomatoes in April! There are already dozens of green fruits, and I think the heat this week will help with ripening. As of this morning there are also four zucchinis about ready to pick. Maybe tomorrow for the big one. The peppers have small fruits, and there is one jalapeno about ready to pick.

Last year we did not get one usable carrot, but there is a nice little crop out there now, as well as onions. The lettuce will probably be done after this week, but I think there are leftover seeds to maybe plant a fall crop.


The herbs are getting there. The perennials are huge, but it took several weeks for the basil to take off, and the rosemary is lagging a bit. The heat should help those, too.

I’ve repurposed the 16’ cattle panel from the back of the garden. Yesterday I cut it off the fence posts and have made an arched trellis with it. It will go over the tomatoes and they’ll be tied up to it so the harvesting will be much easier. This photo shows where I put it yesterday, but this morning I moved it over the top of the raised bed. Now if I could wield that sledge hammer to get the fence posts in the ground, it’d be great. They’re a tad tall for me, but I’ll keep working on it.


I really like this cattle panel arch, and plan to put a few more out there. Cattle panels are inexpensive and can take the erratic Nebraska wind.

Not much gardening for me today, though. I don’t “do” the hot heat and have plans to say tucked inside my cool house and work on wedding stuff.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

It’s Christmas Prep Day!

The 25th of the month has rolled around again and it’s time to talk Christmas 2012 which is only ten months away!
I have worked on some ornaments this month, but since they’re for an ornament swap, I cannot show you a photo. Suffice to say they were quick and easy, but I love them! I love them so much, in fact, that I made extras for family. You’ll get to see them after the swap is complete.
Since I cannot show you my project this month, I thought I’d share my Christmas board from Pinterest. I have pinned some decorating ideas, ornament, sewing, and craft ideas, Christmas cards, gift tags, and a recipe or two. Take a look:
Here are some of the things from my Christmas board that I’ve already done:
Santa mugs – I have a collection of old Santa mugs gathered from various sources. This year they were displayed in the Hot Drinks station created in the sunroom.
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The popcorn ornaments I made a few years ago for the movie theater Christmas tree. I shamelessly pinned that from this blog.
This is the original photo of the crocheted jingle bell garland that inspired me to make one for Jessica’s tree.
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This bread pan with greenery and candles was meant to be an Advent wreath. I did a similar arrangement, but with only three candles and they were red. Since it had the greenery, I didn’t light my candles. (We won’t talk about the time we had an Advent wreath made of a slice of wood and some real greenery and I fell asleep on the couch while it was still lit. Greg came home from work in the nick of time…)
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I hope this post works as inspiration for you to be thinking about the Christmas season in February. After all, it’s wonderful to keep Christmas in your heart all year-round, right?


Friday, February 03, 2012

A Crafty Friday

When Jessica and Scott moved into their new home, she found several old windows stashed in the small storage shed outside. We spent this gray, rainy Friday afternoon personalizing the window as a birthday gift for Jessi’s cousin Sara.

After some Pinterest searches, she settled on a monogram from vinyl to decorate the window. Sara is getting married in June, so the monogram is the first initial of her fiancĂ©'s  last name, then she added both their first names.

I borrowed the Cricut Expressions from the library and cut the components for her. Originally we were going to use the vinyl adhered to the glass and call it good. I offered her the option of etching the monogram onto the glass, and due to the obvious antiquity of the window, we both decided that was the best option.

We used the vinyl I cut as a stencil for the etching cream. It took us about an hour to place and adhere the vinyl to the glass, then we each grabbed a paintbrush and started applying the etching cream. The window is so large, it was quite a feat to wash off the etching cream in my tiny kitchen sink, but with the two of us, we got it done.

I wish I could have taken photos during the process, but for most steps, two sets of hands were necessary. Here is a photo of the finished product:


It’s not a crisp photo, but you can see the ornamental handle at the bottom. It’s kind of scrolly and fancy. This house was built in the early 1900’s, so this window is over 100 years old. The glass is bubbly in a spot or two, and there’s a line across the window that at first I thought was a crack, but it’s actually inside the glass – just an imperfection.

Jessica has a few more of these windows, and I cannot wait to make one of these for Greg and I.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Playroom Progress

This weekend was the linky party for completed Picture Perfect rooms at Donna’s Funky Junk Interiors, and I’d hoped to have the playroom re-do completed for it. Alas, that did not happen, but she’s going to continue this challenge once a month, so I have a few more weeks to finish all those details that I think will make the room super-sweet!

Mostly what I’ve done so far is clear out the closet, rearrange toys and toy storage, spruce up the crib/daybed/reading area, and get hooks up for dress-up clothes. The small wall area that had magnet paint was covered over in chalkboard paint.

These are the Mary Englebreit posters that inspired the colors used in this room. The one on the left is the alphabet, then at the bottom says “put ‘em all together” and “read”. The one on the left is a favorite of mine, “Books fall open, you fall in”.


This small green shelf is actually a plate rack that Jess got at Goodwill a few years back. She’d painted it black and used it in her first real house of her own. Right now it holds a couple of my favorite Eric Carle books. The toys on the top of the bookshelves are all antiques, but the kids play with them and love them! The horse was apparently Greg’s when he was a little boy – no information on brand or year or anything. The wind-up radio and wind-up clock still play lovely music. No batteries needed!



I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the vinyl skull and crossbones that were on the wall above where we had Bradley’s changing table when this room was his nursery, so when it peeled off the wall fairly nicely, I stuck it on the re-positioned full-length mirror.


These sweet little cupcake paper flowers were made by my nieces this past week. They were thrilled to help decorate the wall! Bradley and I will make more this week since I want to sweep them up towards the ceiling. The idea is in the current issue of Family Fun magazine.


The chalkboard, formerly magnet wall. Bradley insists on still putting his magnets here, even though I hung the magnetic whiteboard on the opposite wall. Trim will be added around the chalkboard paint to finish it up.


The dress-up hooks are screwed into a piece from Brad’s (now Silas’s) crib. When we first got the crib, one corner piece had no holed drilled into it for assembly. I called customer service immediately and they shipped a new one, but it took a couple of weeks. We didn’t want to wait, so Greg drilled holes in the original piece and assembled the crib. It works great, so we had the one they shipped, and no use for it.  It works great for hooks for dress-up clothes and hats. The wooden stars are for beads and bags – at least they were last week while my nieces were visiting. So handy to have a place where everything could be accessed easily and put away easily.


For the crib/day bed, I found a body pillow case that was priced at what that amount of fabric would cost me, or less even, so I ordered it online. It’s pretty plain, so embellishment will be added. I did get one pillow cover sewn (the polka dots), and found that flower-shaped pillow in the closet. The girls arranged the animals and dolls before they left, when we picked up the room yesterday.

The quilt has been trimmed of six inches around the outside edge all the around. I will trim it with a bright-colored binding. But what I really like about this is the checkered bedskirt on the bottom. DSCN2252

While I love the quilt, I want a bit more brightness to this little reading area, so I started a small afghan throw to put on it. This may take awhile to be finished, but it’s pretty fun to work on, so I’ll keep plugging away.


Aren’t the colors wonderful? The pattern is called Granny Stripe, the directions from Attic 24. Her projects and home were also inspiration for this room. As much as I love my calm and very neutral house, I do enjoy her very colorful one.

Some of the details left to do: paint the back piece of the crib and install it, paint the bookshelf, arrange the art display area, trim the chalkboard, paint the doors, and put up a few more wall art pieces. I also found the white chain we hung from the ceiling for Jessica’s stuffed animals when this was her bedroom, so I’ll probably have Greg put it up again. I’d love to find a brightly colored rug to use in here, too. It’s currently carpeted, but we plan to change that next summer and lay some kind of laminate. A rug will be needed for sure then.

Okay, all of that can be finished before the last Saturday of February, right? Then I’ll have to decide which room will be next – den? or guest/craft room? or both?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jingle All the Way (Christmas 2012 prep)

It’s the 25th, and that means only 11 months until Christmas!

Okay, I’m going to try to do at least one thing a month to prepare for next Christmas and get it posted here…

This month it’s a fun thing and it whipped up in just a couple of hours while watching TV. I found this idea on Pinterest.


This jingle bell garland is crocheted using crochet thread rather than yarn. You need to string all of your bells onto the thread before you start stitching, so it’s a constant process to move the bells down the string as you work. I got several feet done, then the string snapped – the bells had frayed the thread as I moved them. Jess used that on her Christmas tree anyway, and will tie this longer garland to the shorter one that should decorate the entire tree next year.

For a full tutorial, you can go here.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snow Window

January is traditionally the month when I use some snowflake/snowman decorations in the house. Somehow that seems a bit incongruous this winter, though, since we haven’t had much snow. (Not complaining! The past couple of years have had enough white stuff to last awhile.) Temps have been mild, almost early-Spring-like, so I really didn’t get behind the snow stuff in the house.
Then a couple of weeks ago I came across this photo on a blog:
It inspired me to gather my blue glass canning jars and do something similar in my own kitchen window:
Instead of battery-operated candles and glass beads, I used some Epsom salt in the bottoms, then added some of my collection of crocheted snowflakes inside the jars, and draped a string of white lights behind them:
This is so pretty at night, plus I get to enjoy some snow without the cold, wet, muddy mess it makes!