Archive | Tutorials

How to Clean Paint off Hinges Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Do you have hinges that look like this top photo and you want them to look like the bottom photo?  There’s a super easy way to clean that paint off without having to use harsh chemicals.

How to Clean Paint off Hinges Without Using Harsh Chemicals

For the past 15 years (!) I’ve been avoiding bathroom improvements because our hinges looked like this:

Painted Hinges

We’re the third owner of our mid-century home and I’m not sure which of the previous two owners thought it looked OK to just slop paint on those hinges when they painted the cabinets and doors.  Not just once!  But four different times!  There really were four different colors of paint that needed to be removed; two coats of Latex over two coats of enamel.

Our main bathroom and guest bathroom have a lot of built-in storage cabinets and the hinges are a really nice, good quality, solid chrome, which I have wanted to preserve instead of replace because they add to the authentic character of our home.

Several years ago we actually stripped down the vanity cabinets and hinges in our main bathroom using chemicals and it was a huge toxic job that I never, ever want to do again.  So a few months ago, when I was seriously looking at these two bathrooms and seriously thinking it was finally time to tackle them, I did some research online to find out if there were any alternatives to chemical stripping.


I was so happy to learn that good old baking soda, water, and heat will soak that old yucky paint right off.  So grab an old crockpot, a towel, a rag, and a pair of tongs and in just a few hours your hinges will go from horribly painted to shiny-like-new clean!

Cleaned Hinges

Don’t they look beautiful?  I was so happy I just couldn’t keep it to myself.  I kept talking and talking about it to my husband who was as excited as I was at first, but then grew tired of hearing me talk about it so then I started telling practically anyone who was kind enough to listen to this boring-to-them but exciting-to-me story.  And now I’ll share it here with any kindred spirits.

It makes me so happy that they look brand-spankin-new without chemicals or without scraping that beautiful chrome.

Here’s how to do it:

1) Remove your hinges so they’ll be ready to soak.  (Some of the hinges popped right off the cabinets but some I actually had to pry off!)

2) Collect your supplies:

Supplies Needed to Clean Painted Hinges

3) Place about 1/4 cup baking soda in the crockpot or an old sauce pan.  (I liked the crockpot method because I could leave it on all night and not worry about it.  The same procedure can be done in a sauce pan on the stove but it’ll need to be watched more closely.)

4) Put several inches of water in the crockpot (or sauce pan) and stir around to dissolve the baking soda.

5) Put the hinges in the water and make sure they are covered by about 2-inches of water (add more water if necessary).  I also added the screws, hardware, and door hinges that had been painted.

6) Leave the crockpot uncovered and turn on low heat for about 8 hours.  I soaked mine overnight in three different batches because I had so many to do.  Add more water as necessary to keep the hinges covered.

This picture shows some hinges in the crockpot after soaking all night.  The water level has dropped but they are still covered with water.  If you soak yours overnight and wake up in the morning and find that the water level is below the hinges, just add water to cover them by and inch or two and let it heat up for another hour or so. Then they will be ready.

Hinges in Crockpot

7) It’s time to start removing that old paint.  After it’s soaked all night the paint is softened up and easy to remove.  Remove one hinge at a time because the paint needs to be removed while it’s still warm.  Peel off what you can by hand then use your cloth to remove the remainder.  Sometimes there will be a little bit of paint that sticks in the tight spots of the hinge – I used a small pointed knife to gently remove it.

8) Use the cloth to buff up the hinge and marvel at how easy that was and how beautiful and new your hinges now look.

Cleaned Hinge

I’m just in awe!


They all look like this – like they’re brand new!

What more can I say?  They’re beautiful.

Cleaned Hinge


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Corral Loose Items on a Picture Frame Tray

Picture Frame Tray - Corral Loose Items on a Picture Frame Tray

Except for a very few items, I don’t really like keeping things out on our bathroom counter.

I like to have a plant or flowers, lotion, and a candle and this is what it used to look like:

Loose Items on Bathroom Counter

This little corner didn’t look super badly but it wasn’t pulled together.  So one day I looked around my house to find a tray or something that I could use as a tray to place these three things on and the only thing I could find was a 5×7 picture frame.

So this is what I did ~

I took the glass out of the picture frame and painted one side of it with acrylic craft paint.  Use any color that matches your color scheme.  I originally wanted metallic gold but I tried three different times and couldn’t get the glass painted without it being streaky.  So I settled with a gold that isn’t metallic and I actually really like it.  I’ll probably try metallic paint again sometime, though.

Painting Glass for Picture Frame Tray

Then I put the glass back in the frame with the painted side inside the frame.  I super love how glass looks with the underside painted.

You could also paint the frame to get the look you want for your space.

The paint easily peels off if you paint it and decide you don’t like the color.  Or if you decide you want to use the frame again for pictures, just take the paint off and it’s ready for a picture.

Painted Picture Frame Tray

It’s all finished.  That’s all there is to it.

I placed my few items on it and nestled it back in it’s little corner.  Now it’s all pulled together and it gives this area a finished look.

Picture Frame Tray ~ Corral Loose Items on a Picture Frame Tray

Picture Frame Tray - Corral Loose Items on a Picture Frame Tray

What do you think?  Do you like it?  Do you think you’ll make a picture frame tray?

Corral Loose Items on a Picture Frame Tray

Picture Frame Tray ~ Corral Loose Items on a Picture Frame Tray


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Bird Treats ~ A Fun Activity for Kids

Bird Treats ~ a fun activity for kids

Last spring my sister found these cute bird treats and we thought they would be fun to make while we were in McCall over the summer.  So we made them with our kids and then my sister made them a few times with the kids she works with at her job.  Everyone enjoyed making them and the birds loved their tasty treat.  Plus, they look really cute hanging in the trees!

Bird Treats ~ a fun activity for kids

Bird Treats ~ A Fun Activity for Kids

Bird Treats ~ A Fun Activity for Kids


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 4 cups birdseed
  • cookie cutters
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • a drinking straw, cut into lengths about 1-1/2 inches
  • cookie sheet
  • waxed paper
  • ribbon/twine


  1. Combine the flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Add the birdseed to the mixture and stir until it's well coated.
  3. Spray the cookie cutters with cooking spray.
  4. Place the cookie cutters on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.
  5. Spoon the birdseed mixture into each cookie cutter and use your hand to press the mixture down making it smooth on top.
  6. Using a piece of straw, poke a hole through the molded treat, making sure it goes all the way through.
  7. Leave them in the cookie cutters until they're dry enough to hold their form. Remove the cookie cutters and allow the bird treats to dry overnight. {To speed up the process you can turn the oven on low and dry the treats in the oven for one hour. Then remove them from the oven and allow them to finish air drying.}
  8. Cut the ribbon to the desired length and string it through the holes.
  9. Hang them on a tree or bush branches for the birds to enjoy.

Source: Saltwater Kids




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Winter Pom Pom Wreath

Have you jumped on the Pom Pom Wreath bandwagon yet?
I did the other day and this is what I came up with.

Winter Pom Pom Wreath

It’s thick, fluffy, wintery, and homey, and has a calico-cat look to it.
The thing I love about these pom pom wreaths is that they can be made any color and using any kind of yarn.
I happened to have all of these yarns in my stash so that’s what I went with and I’m loving it for winter ~ and maybe through Valentine’s Day since the variegated yarn has pink in it.

Winter Pom Pom Wreath 3

I’ve seen these wreaths before using just one or two colors but
I got the idea to use several colors from Melissa and Stephanie over at 2IY.
They also had the great idea to use a wire hanger stretched out to a circle
and then just tied the pom poms to it.  So, that’s what I did.
I’ve seen pom pom wreaths that use a wreath form but I actually like using a hanger better because
it’s so easy to tie the pom poms on and slide them into position.

I didn’t take pictures of the wire hanger or tying the pom poms on so
click on over to 2IY if you want to see how they did it.

I did take some pictures of how I made and trimmed the pom poms because
I just kind of figured it out as I went along.
If you’ve never made them before don’t feel intimidated.
They’re super easy and you can do it while visiting with someone, talking on the phone, or watching a movie.

These are the supplies you’ll need:

:: yarn ~ I used 4 different colors, one of them variegated
:: one hanger
:: scissors

Let’s get started:

1.  To make your pom poms take the end of the yarn, leave a 4-inch tail,  and then start wrapping the yarn around your hand about 70 times.
{I tried 60 and they weren’t as full as I wanted.}

I didn’t keep track of how many I made but Melissa at 2IY said she made around 50.
I think I may have made more than that.

Yarn Wreath 22.  After you’ve wrapped the yarn around your hand, clip the yarn leaving another 4-inch tail, and slide it off your hand and hold it in place.

3.  Holding it securely, wrap the 4-inch yarn tail you just clipped around the center of the yarn one way a couple of times, and then take the other tail and wrap it around the center the other way a couple of times.  Pull the ends of the tails tightly and tie them in a knot.  Leave the tails long for tying to the hanger.

Yarn Wreath 3

4.  Using the scissors, clip the looped ends.

Yarn Wreath 45.  After clipping one side it will look like this:

Yarn Wreath 5

After both sides are clipped it will look scraggly like this:

Yarn Wreath 10

If you like that look you can tie them onto your hanger as is.

If you want them trimmed up like I did this is how to trim them:

1.  Hold the pom pom in one hand and with the other hand smooth the pieces of yarn up.

Yarn Wreath 7

2.  Still holding the pom pom in your hand use your scissors to trim and shape the pom pom to look something like this:

Yarn Wreath 9

After you’ve made all of your pom poms position them and tie them onto your hanger.
Cut all of the long tails to the match the length of your pom poms.

Use the hook of the hanger to hang your wreath.
I wrapped mine with one of the yarn colors to give it the finished look I wanted.
{I wrapped around it 4 times to get a good thick coverage.}

Yarn Wreath-wrapped hookAnd now you should have a lovely new wreath.

Winter Pom Pom Wreath 3

Do you think you’ll make one?
I would love to see pictures if you do.

This project was featured on:
Marvelous Mommy
Made From Pinterest


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No-sew Burlap Table Runner

Burlap Table Runner

Are you wanting or needing a quick, simple table runner for your fall table?
This burlap one just may be what you are looking for.

I love it because it’s:

1} casual, rustic, and homey
2} it’s a no-sew project
3} the supplies are inexpensive
4} it’s easy to make
5} it can be made in about one hour

I originally made one two or three years ago after seeing it in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I looked on their web site to see if they still feature it but they don’t. But that’s OK. Below you will find the list of supplies as well as the instructions for making this cute table accessory.

Burlap Table Runner Corner

:: Supplies needed ::

Burlap {measure the length you want your runner to be ~
Mine is 18″x47-1/2″ and does not fall over the edges of the table
because that’s the look I wanted ~ make your’s the length you like}

Hot glue and glue gun {or fabric glue}

:: Instructions ::

1. Cut the burlap to the size you want it to be.
2. Fray the edges to about 1 or 1-1/4-inch
3. Measure and cut the ribbon
4. Glue the ribbon in place

Now you have a cute runner for your fall table.


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Celebrate Baby Sign

Celebrate Baby Sign

A couple of months ago my sister and I gave my daughter in-law a baby shower ~ all decked out in pink for the soon-to-be baby girl.  I had seen a cute chalkboard celebrate baby sign somewhere on the internet {but I don’t remember where and I’ve searched and searched but still can’t find it}.  I’m not in love with the chalk board look and I don’t like chalk dust but I did like the sign and so I created my own version using white poster board cut to fit into a cork board frame that I had previously painted black with acrylic paint.

It turned out just exactly how I wanted it.  Pink, white, and black.  And GIRLY.

These are the steps I took to make the sign:

1. Measured and cut the poster board to fit in the framed cork board.
2. Found a font I liked, typed out the words I wanted, enlarged it to the size I wanted, and printed it out.
3. Cut out each of the letters.  It sounds time consuming but I made the whole sign from start to finish in about 4 hours.
4. Layed them out on the cut board to see how it would look.  Then removed the letters.

Celebrate Baby 1

5. Penciled in guide lines for the two rows.
6. Layed the letters out again and traced around them.

Celebrate Baby 2

7. Used a black permanent marker to fill in the letters.
8. Erased all pencil lines and marks.
9. Sketched in the scroll work and then drew over and thickened the lines with a black permanent marker.  {It’s not perfect or a mirror image but still looks decent.}

Celebrate Baby Sign 5

10. Made the tassels using pink and sparkle white tulle and put them on a piece of twine.  {Idea from here.}
11. Placed the tassel garland on the sign by taping the ends of the twine to the backside of the frame.
12. Made a hanger by twisting tulle and tying it through the hooks on the back of the frame.
13. Made a pink tulle bow and attached it to the sign using a straight pin poked through the bow into the upper left corner of the poster board.  {In the pictures it’s actually taped to the frame but it kept falling off so I ended up pinning it.}

Celebrate Baby Sign 6

The celebrate baby sign was the little added extra thing that gave the baby shower decorations a completed look.

I also made some super delicious PINK cream cheese mints for the baby shower. Click {here} to view the post and get the recipe.

This tutorial was featured on:
Reasons to Skip the Housework


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Patriotic Star Garland

Three cheers for the red, white, and blue…

Star Garland

This July 4th Star Garland is the perfect little crafty project for kids {or adults} ~ it’s simple, inexpensive, and fun.

It’s also perfect for hanging outside on a porch railing, above or below a window {inside or outside}, around a door, or anywhere else you might want to display a touch of that glorious patriotic red, white, and blue for Independence Day.  The craft foam is durable so it will last for years and years and if it gets dirty from sprinklers or rain the stars can be easily cleaned by just wiping them off with a damp cloth.  We made this one a couple of years ago and it still looks like we made it today.

Star Garland 1-01


Supplies needed:

::craft foam ~ red, white, blue
::twine or string
::hole puncher


1. Cut out a variety of sizes of stars in the red, white, and blue craft foam {I made 5 sizes ~ see template download below if you’re interested}
2. Arrange the stars in the combinations you like and glue them together.
3. When the glue has dried punch a hole in the top of each main star and then run the twine or string through the holes and make a little tie to hold the stars in place {see the top photo} :: or you could glue the twine/string to the back of the stars if you don’t want to punch holes.
4. Hang up your garland and enjoy your new July 4th decoration.

Star Garland 2-01

They’re cute hung indoors, too.

Star Garland 12

I think the stars look especially cute when they aren’t perfectly centered and positioned.

Star Garland 14

How about making a little swag to greet guests at the front door?

Star Garland 8

Star Garland 5

 Happy July 4th everyone!

{Click here for the stars template}


And now…

Please join us for our Celebrating Summer Blog Hop!

Celebrate Summer Button
Click on the links below to see a collection of projects and recipes by my good blogging friends ~

Red Cottage Chronicles ~ Canada Day Sweets Buffet
Tales of a Clyde Woman ~ Pectin-Free Triple Berry Jam
Create & Babble ~ Red, White, and Blue Ribbon Garland
Simply Domestic ~ Patriotic Popcorn & Decor
Live Like Grace ~ DIY 4th of July Wreath


This tutorial was featured on:
Gingerly Made


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Rocket Party Favor

Rocket Party Favor 7

Whether you’re heading off to a park to celebrate the 4th of July or gathering in a backyard for a cookout these rocket party favors are a fun and festive way to bring some red, white, and blue to your celebration of our country’s independence.  They look really cute as table centerpieces or placed on or beside each plate {or just the kid’s plates}.  They’re so quick and easy to make even the kids can help out with this project.  Win, win.

I got the idea from here, but adapted it all to my liking.  {Sorry about all of these pictures.  It was a very cloudy day so all of the whites look yellowish/brownish/grayish.}

Here’s what you’ll need:

:: empty toilet paper rolls
:: scrapbook paper ~ patterned or/and solid
:: double-sided tape or regular tape rolled
:: tissue paper
:: string
:: glue gun or white glue
:: candies

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Measure and cut the scrapbook paper to fit around the toilet paper roll and tape or glue it in place.
2. Cut out paper for the cone top using this template {here} or make your own, roll it to make a cone shape, and tape the edges into place.
3. Run a thin bead of glue around the top edge of the toilet paper roll and position the cone over it, allow to dry.
4. Cut a piece of tissue paper and lay a few candies at the center.

Rocket Party Favor 2

5. Fold the tissue paper over, roll it up, and tie below the candies with the string.

Rocket Party Favor 46. Insert the candy roll into the rocket tube and then trim off the flare to the length you want it.

Rocket Party Favor 5

Rocket Party Favor 6


Rocket Party Favor 7

That’s all there is to making some of these cute rocket party favors.
Are you going to make some?  I would love to see photos of how your’s turn out.

This tutorial was featured on:
Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home
Becoming Martha
Sweet Bella Roos
Happy Hour Projects
White Lights On Wednesday
Gingerly Made
Do Small Things with Love


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Celebrating My Mom

This week one of my good blogging friends ~ Kim at Simply Domestic, did a round-up of great Mother’s Day gift ideas {here}.  She is also featuring some of her blogging friends {including me} and their ideas for celebrating the mothers in their lives.  Take a look ~ you will love her blog and her Mother’s Day series.

Below is the idea that I contributed to Kim’s blog:

Mother's Day Book 1

A couple of years ago I was thinking of the upcoming Mother’s Day and how I could celebrate my mom.  I was trying to think of something I could give to her, and I remembered a book I had heard of titled something like 100 Reasons Why I Love You.  I had never read it so I went to the library and checked it out thinking that if I liked it I would try to find one to give to my mom. As I was reading through it I decided that yes, I did want to get one, it would make a great gift.

So I went to a couple of stores but I couldn’t find it and at first I was disappointed, and then the thought hit me {I’m a bit slow sometimes} ~ I should make my own.  It would be so much more meaningful.

So while I was at Target I made my way over to the scrapbooking section.  And I want to tell you right up front… I am not into scrapbooking.  I like to put my photos into plain old photo albums without all of the cute stuff.  Not that I don’t think the cute stuff is cute, I do, it’s just not me.  So anyway, I went to the scrapbook area at Target and looked through their selection {it really didn’t occur to me that I should go to a craft store for these supplies} and I bought a few items: a photo album with a window in the cover, a package of pastel colored cardstock, a book of 5×7 patterned card stock paper, some of that paper scrapbook ribbon, and a package of “family” stickers.

Then I went home and wrote up a list of all the reasons I love my mother {I did use a couple of the thoughts from the 100 Reasons Why I Love You book.}, typed them up, and spent the evening putting together my own version, which I titled 83 Reason Why I Love You.

Since I do not live near my mother I couldn’t take my own photos of the book, but my sister lovingly did it for me and emailed them to me. She used her phone so some of the pictures aren’t “perfect” but she did capture the heart of the book.  Here are a few photos of what I put together for my mom.  {Remember, I didn’t know anything about scrapbooking so I probably broke all kinds of scrapbooking rules.}

Mother's Day Book 12

Mother's Day Book 2

Mother's Day Book 9

Mother's Day Book 10

Mother's Day Book 13

Mother's Day Book 14

Mother's Day Book 20

Mother's Day Book 6

Mother's Day Book 7

Mother's Day Book 3It’s not professionally made, and it’s not perfect.  But it was the perfect way for me to celebrate my mom and it was perfect for my mom to receive it.  And as you can probably imagine, she shed more than a few tears over it.


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Paper Gift Cup


A while back I was playing around with some paper trying to come up with some little candy gift cups for a few neighbors and these cute paper gift cups made with double-sided scrap paper are what I came up with. Filled with small candies or a small plant these paper cups are perfect for quick, simple gifts for friends or neighbors; they make great party favors, too.  They are quick and easy to make so why not make several at a time so you always have some on hand for expected, or unexpected, gifts?


 Supplies needed:

:: scissors ~ regular and scallop
:: pencil
:: tape
:: ruler
:: eraser
:: plate or something round to trace around ~ approximately 7-1/4 inches in diameter
:: a piece of card stock paper cut to 2″ x 2″
:: one sheet of double-sided scrapbook paper per cup


IMG_5747 IMG_5748

1. Trace around a plate or other object,
approximately 7-1/4 inches in diameter.

IMG_5751 IMG_5756
2. Cut around the circle using scallop
edge scissors.
Your cup will look great even
if your cutting isn’t perfect.
3. Erase any pencil marks.
IMG_5758 IMG_5760
4. Center and trace around the
2×2″ square template on the side
you want for the inside of the cup.
5. Using a ruler, extend the lines to
the edge of the circle.
IMG_5761 IMG_5762
6. Using regular scissors, cut
every other line from the edge of
the circle just to the corner of the
center square.
7. Fold the sides up along the center
IMG_5765 IMG_5769
8. Fold the flap along the cut edge.
Erase all pencil lines.
9. Roll a small piece of tape and
place it on the upper area of
the flap.
10. Fold the flap over the outer
side of the box and press the tape
to secure.  Continue with each flap.



 Finished cup.


They can also be made with masculine paper for men.


Tied up with a big pink bow they are definitely feminine.

So very cute…who wouldn’t love getting a sweet reminder of your friendship?

This tutorial was featured on:
A Pinch of Joy
ink happi


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