forget the Wet Jet! (the faster & cheaper way to wash your floors)

Nothing can replace a good old fashion hands and knees floor washing.  When you’re down there you spot all kinds of filth that can normally go unseen: dusty baseboards, food stuck to the bottom cupboard and dog fur clinging to a chair leg!

But for days when all you want is a quick clean up, I, like most households, own a Swifter Wet Jet (on my third generation now).   I also got caught up in the steam mop craze and got one of those for Christmas a few years ago.  Yes, I am probably one of the few women who actually gets excited about receiving household appliances as gifts.  I fondly remember that Christmas steam mopping in my PJ’S while the turkey did it’s thing in the oven and the kids played with their toys….

mop kitchenAnyways!!  The things is with approximately 1700 sqft of wood and tile on the main floor of this home I use up a lot of wet jet pads and cleaning solution.  So I find myself contemplating if my dirty floor is Wet Jet worthy (it brings to mind the Seinfeld ‘spare a square‘ episode! lol!) and I find I don’t use it as often as I should because I either end up running out and/or feel guilty about the cost ($6 to $10 of wet jet products later and my floor might still end up being just as dirty in 30 min when the dog and kids come charging in!).  As for the steam mop, it’s great that it only uses water and the pads are re-usable/washable, but it is more time consuming (you have to work slowly since the whole point is hot steam killing the bacteria on your floors) and when I use it near the front, back or mud room doors the dirt turns into mud that I end up sludge-ing around (despite my spell check, I’m sure that’s a real word!).

Well enough is enough.  The other day I put together my own floor cleaning system which had me as giddy as the day I got a Roomba (that was Christmas 2011, I know-I know, it’s a sickness).  It does the job of being quick and easy (not to mention guilt free!).

WHAT YOU NEED:
1 knock off type Swifter Duster base $1.25
1 super cute broom handle (make sure it fits/screws into base) $1.25
1 (small) bottle of Pine Sol $1
4 re-usable/washable microfiber floor cloths to fit over base $1.25each
1 spray bottle (not too big) $1

Mop buy

Assemble your “mop”.  Fill the spray bottle with very hot water and about 1 spoonful (more, depending on your bottle size) of Pine Sol.  With one hand maneuver the mop, with the other spray the floor.  Unlike the Swifter Wet Jet, the dollar store “mop” is much lighter and the spray bottle shoots out cleaning solution much wider and further then the Swifter does.

MopMy floors were shiny and clean in no time and with the velcro on the  microfiber pads they fit snugly over the base.  They were also surprisingly thick so I didn’t need to change them out very often and  washed up well in the machine -but remember not to use fabric softener as it will leave a film on your floor and not absorb the cleaning solution as well.

Happy floor cleaning!

*Published on Bob Vila Nation January 10, 2013

seeing spots: DIY paint chip art

Making art using paint chips, had been on my ‘to-try-one-day’ list for about a decade!  The other day I felt it was time to switch around or maybe even purchase some new art for my living room.  After checking out prices of a few pieces I liked I quickly remembered why I usually end up making my own!  -I decided it was time to give paint-chip-art a try!

Armed with my brand new Martha Stewart hole puncher (which I scored for 40% off with coupon at Michael’s!).  I went through my paint chip bag (yes I have a huge bag of paint chips arranged by colour -hello, I am home stylist!Lol!) I set aside piles in the tones I wanted: palest to darkest shades of grey with some (not too pink) purple ones.

After ‘punching out’ some colours, I began to lay them out playing around with the design.  Finally I decided I preferred a more random, organic look.  And just decided to start gluing (using a glue stick) onto my piece of cardboard.  This took a lot longer that I expected (about 2.5 hours for a 22 x 16 inch surface).  Luckily when the kids got home from school they were curious and eager to help out for a little.

More pics to come when I have it in its final resting place ;-)

*Published on BOB VILA NATION October 24th, 2012

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Gardening: out with the old & saving some dough!

If you’re like me -eyeing the chrysanthemums at the local grocery store over the past few weeks but feeling guilty about getting rid of the overgrown, ragged although not yet dead planters on the front stoop, here’s a tip I discovered that might inspire:

It’s been cool here over the last couple of days and so I broke down and headed over to my local greenhouse and purchased three big healthy purple chrysanthemum plants for $8.99 each.

As I began yanking out the old summer plants, I realized they looked very similar to a house plant I purchased at home depot a few months ago.  Turns out Kong Rose (or Solenostemon scutellarioides) along with other leafy plants many of us use to add dimension to our flower baskets, pots and borders may not survive the winter months but they do very well indoors as house plants!

House plant potential: What’s left of the summer plants after I yanked them out of the planters on my front stoop.

So before pitching those summer plants in the trash or the compost pile, salvage or snip of any parts of the plant that are still healthy looking.  Fill a container/vase with water and drop them in.  After a few days you should begin to see root tendrils… after three weeks there should be large enough roots to replant the stem in dirt.

You could also keep them permanently in the vase.  The roots will keep growing so you will need to change the water often (and eventually trim them back), but it’s a really pretty not to mention inexpensive alternative to fresh flowers on your bedside -or even your thanksgiving table this year!

Want to check out more photos of these outdoor planters? For spring click HERE.  For winter click HERE. Christmas click HERE.  For Valentine’s click HERE.  Thanks and happy gardening!

Also published on Bob Vila Nation September 21st, 2012 and The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette September 26th, 2012

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