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Sleep well, my Friend! House Hack #7

It’s November!  I realize the calendar doesn’t declare Winter until around December 21st but in my mind, when the clock strikes 12 midnight on Halloween, Autumn is over and Winter has arrived. Are you with me? Time to break out the woolies, quilts, and turn on the fireplace.Dogs by the fire

While I won’t begin Christmas decorating until after Remembrance Day on November 11th, I do like to start changing over my decor from light & bright to warm & cozy. The first place I always start is with the bedding in our Master Bedroom.  My husband loves flannel sheets and would gladly use them year round but I would probably spontaneously combust (women of a certain age, you know what I mean LOL).  Our compromise? We keep the house cooler at night (thanks to a programmable thermostat coming on at 5am – no one is frozen when they get up in the morning) and we use the flannel sheets and a down duvet.  Everyone is happy and I can “un-layer” should the need arise.

I love the convenience of a duvet, such a simple way to change decor. What I don’t love is finding it at the bottom of the cover at the foot of the bed or bunched up in one corner. A simple addition to your duvet and duvet cover reduces/eliminates this problem and I have a method of inserting it into the cover that can be handled by one person and doesn’t involve you crawling inside!

Let’s start with the duvet itself. Take a look at the one you already own. Some duvets have a small buttonhole in the corners and spaced out along the perimeter of the duvet. Ever wonder what those were for? Prepare to be amazed. That is where you insert ties from the duvet cover and tie them off to secure the duvet inside the cover.  What?!!  “But my duvet doesn’t have those buttonholes” you say. https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-strap-detail.jpgHere’s an easy fix.

Take ribbon or seam binding (I prefer seam binding, it doesn’t fray or tear) https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-cover-and-strap-detail.jpgand attach it to the corners of your duvet. This can be done by hand sewing but secure it well, it will be pulled on.

 

Now turn your duvet cover inside out and attach ties to the “seam allowance” of the duvet cover as well. You now have a way to secure the duvet to all four corners of the duvet cover. But wait…there’s more…

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Lay your duvet flat over the bed. Take your inside out duvet cover and lay it over top of the duvet.  The bottom, or closure area, should line up with the head of the bed like this.

Tie the ties together in the corners to secure the duvet to the duvet cover.  https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-and-cover-tied-together.jpg https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-roll-beginning.jpg https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-roll-finish.jpgStarting at the foot of the bed, begin to roll the two pieces together. Continue to roll until you’ve got something resembling a cinnamon bun (sorry for the food reference).

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This is where the magic happens (I cannot believe I just wrote that!).
Turn that roll inside out so the duvet cover is now on the outside of the roll and the duvet is on the inside of the roll.

https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-zipped.jpgOnce it’s all nicely tucked inside, zip it closed and begin unrolling the duvet/duvet cover sandwich (again, another food reference, dinner is almost ready). It’s really that simple.  Makes you want to change your duvet cover all the time, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Give it a bit of a fluffing to distribute the duvet inside the cover and you are done.  Sleep well, my friend!https://throughthecommon.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/duvet-insertion-complete.jpg

 

How to EASILY re-stuff a cushion or pillow – House Hack #6

I’ve been absent from the blog for a good part of the summer but have kept busy with all sorts of projects around the house. Mixed in with travel and other summer activities, there has been much going on around here. I have started many projects but there are not many completed! So, I’m spending the last few days of summer to try to get some things finished up.

My beautiful Rosie sneaking a nap on the furniture. Bad Dog!One thing that has annoyed me for a while is how saggy and misshapen the sofa in our Great Room has become. It is the most popular spot in the room with the best view of the TV. The pets think so too and it’s an ongoing battle with the dogs to keep them off the furniture. We have never allowed it, but as Rosie gets older, she has become more devious about getting up on the furniture. I have resorted to barricading the soft upholstery when we’re not in the room for any length of time but now if you just step into the kitchen, she makes her way to the sofa. Bad dog!

Needless to say, a long hot, dusty summer has wreaked havoc on the upholstery. The leather pieces are easy enough to wipe down but the sofa has really paid the price. I decided to remove all the cushion covers and wash them. I checked the contents of the fabric and washed one by hand to make sure it would be okay.  It was, so all six pieces went into the washer.

They turned out great!  But the biggest challenge is not the washing – it’s stuffing them all back inside the covers when it’s time to re-assemble. I hate that part. By the time you get them put back in, they’re all out of shape and the batting is twisting around the foam – frustrating to say the least!

I had read about an easier way to accomplish this task using a plastic bag so I’ve made a video to show you how easy it really is.

And here’s the “after” shot (forgot to take the “before”!)

Sofa after polyfil has been added to the cushions.I’m pretty happy how a cleaning and a bit of polyfil have breathed new life into our sofa.  It definitely gets heavy use in our home and this should extend its life a little longer.  Have you tried adding fill to furniture to plump it up?  Would you try this hack to make it easier to put the cushion inside the cover? Did you notice how Dexter even photobombed my video…

Amazing results after adding polyfil batting to the cushions on our sofa

Our summer has been spectacular in British Columbia.  Hope yours has been as great! Can’t wait to share my next project with you,

Kelly

WD-40 to clean stainless steel

House Hack #5 – Spotless Stainless Steel

I love the look of stainless steel in my kitchen. When it’s clean. Which is a challenge. There are people who live in this house and they insisting on touching these appliances LOL. And, there are two bassets who have been known to slobber… What’s a girl to do?Stainless Steel Fridge polished on left, fingerprints on the right

You may choose your words like a connoisseur, and polish it up with art. But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays, is the word that comes from the heart.   ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I came across this tip while out shopping for appliances for my office. We found a fridge in the appliance store and the salesperson wanted to give it a quick polish before it was packed for shipping. You’ll never guess what he came back with to clean it! WD-40 to clean stainless steelWhen I asked why he was using this product, he told me that stainless steel will “dry out” and that is what allows the fingerprints to show up and what makes it difficult to remove them. By using a little penetrating oil, you “nourish” the stainless steel and bring back the shine. Best of all – IT WORKS. So every couple of weeks, when the dish cloth is no longer doing the job to remove evidence of use, I bring out the WD-40, give it a spritz, and polish with a clean, dry cloth. It’s an easy, inexpensive fix and it always works. Happy polishing!

Using wax paper to prevent dust from settling

House Hack #4 – Dust Be Gone!

It’s spring and I always get the urge to clean. Not the surfacey kind of clean but the bring it back to new kind of clean. Cupboard Top Full of DustAnd there lies my shame… (LOL). I know no one expects me to climb up on the cupboards once a week to dust but at least once a year it needs to be cleaned. Unfortunately, being the kitchen, that dust is mixed with cooking oils and cleaning is a monumental task.

Using wax paper to prevent dust from settlingSo after a good cleaning, I looked around to see what I could do to reduce the job next year.  Wax paper seemed like a good candidateThis stuff happened to be in the clearance bin and I don’t think it matters that it has snow men all over it.

Laying down the wax paper on the top of the cupboardsI measured out lengths for each section of the cupboard and gave the top a light spray of water before placing the wax paper in position. The water will help keep the wax paper in place and prevent curling.

Next year is going to be so much easier!  Roll it up and throw it away and then lay a new layer of wax paper.

House Hack #3 Crooked Pictures - an easy way to keep all your pictures level. ThroughTheCommon.wordpress.com.jpg

House Hack #3 – No More Crooked Pictures

House Hack #3 Crooked Pictures - an easy way to keep all your pictures level. ThroughTheCommon.wordpress.com.jpgIt makes me crazy to enter a room and see my pictures all askew.  If you have a gallery wall in your home you know what I mean, you are constantly leveling the pictures.  And the more pictures you have grouped together, the more obvious the crookedness appears. This wall in my home is more prone to adjustment than others because it is adjacent to the pocket door in my kitchen.  That door is opened and closed multiple times every day.

I decided I needed a way to stop the pictures from sliding around once they had been hung.  I have recently finished a remodel in my kitchen (I’ll share the complete refresh in an upcoming post) and I have been re-applying the little rubber dots to the corners of each cupboard door to prevent the slamming of doors. House Hack #3 Crooked Pictures - an easy way to keep all your pictures level. ThroughTheCommon.wordpress.com.jpg I found mine at the local dollar store for about the quarter of the price of the big box hardware store. I figured these would make the ideal rubber stops to stop the movement of the picture on the wall so I applied one to each of the bottom corners on the back of the frame.

House Hack #3 Crooked Pictures - an easy way to keep all your pictures level. ThroughTheCommon.wordpress.com.jpgAfter re-hanging the pictures, I used the free iHandy Level for iPhone to level each picture.  It’s a quick and easy way to level things and I almost always have my phone nearby.  It has a plumb and ruler function as well.

You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created  ~ Albert Eintein

The great news is that after a month, I haven’t needed to adjust a single frame!  I’m ready to go rubber dot every single picture in the house!!

House Hack #3 Crooked Pictures - an easy way to keep all your pictures level. ThroughTheCommon.wordpress.com.jpg

 

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House Hack #2 – The Orphan Sock

Orphan SockWe have a basket in our house that houses the orphan socks and occasionally it all gets dumped out onto the bed to see if it is possible to reunite partners.  We generally have some success and everyone’s sock drawer is a little fuller for a while.  However, there are always some that are never reunited and they go back into the basket.  I’m not sure why.  At some point, you have to accept that they will always be solos but I find it hard to throw them out.  There are some like this one, that should be thrown out because it is only a few threads away from a hole.

As I worked through the pile, the slightest sliver of sunshine poked through the window Dust on mini blindsand what it revealed was a whole lot of winter dust.

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.  ~ Steve Martin

This is not the dust that can be easily removed with a Swiffer cloth, it needs a little more effort.  And this is also not the dust that can just be wiped off with a damp cloth –  it just makes wet dust, which looks like mud, and is even more of an effort to clean.

Well, hello orphan sock — you can have a useful purpose before you go into the trash!Using an old sock to clean blinds  The sock gave me the opportunity to clean the top and bottom of each slat with enough pressure to remove the dirt.  I found it particularly useful in the kitchen eating area where the dust is a mixture of dirt and grease.  When the sock becomes too dirty to continue, turn it inside out and begin again.  Best of all, toss it away when you are done and reduce that orphan sock collection you have been acquiring.

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