This is such a horrifying post to write, because I feel like it makes me look like a terrible housekeeper since the grout in my kitchen is so gross. But I have a feeling a lot of people struggle with the issue of cleaning grout. When we moved in (eight years ago!), we had no idea that the builder never sealed the grout on our kitchen tile floor. (And it’s a huge kitchen). It didn’t take long for the dirt to set in.
Over the years I’ve tried various methods of grout cleaning and nothing seemed to work. Then, the other day I was browsing Pinterest when I stumbled upon the miracle of miracles — a grout cleaner that does the job! Hat tip to Accessorize and Organize for this amazing discovery!
Could it really be this simple? Yes. Yes it could. Yes it is. Just… YES!!! All it is, is one part bleach to three parts baking soda. How amazing is that? OK, you might think that I’m way too excited about this, but lately the grout has really been getting me down and I was at a loss. But just look at this:
Shut the front, door! Right? Of course, now that I have something that works, I will be scrubbing my kitchen and hallway floors every night for the next two weeks until the job is done, but hey… I can live with that. Then you bet I’m getting my butt to the hardware store for some grout sealer.
DIY Homemade Grout Cleaner Paste
1/4 cup bleach
3/4 cup baking soda
Mix together until a paste forms. Apply to grout lines and use a toothbrush to scrub. Leave the paste on for an addition 10 minutes and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
I can’t believe what little effort it took to clean the grout. The dirt just melted away. The recipe as given above does not make a whole lot, so you will probably need to make several small batches depending on the size of your tiled area. The one caveat: cleanup is a huge PITA. The baking soda likes to stick to the tile, so just be aware of that. Even so, it’s just time-consuming and not difficult, so if you really want your grout clean (like I do!) it’s worth the effort!
At the end of this month, we’ll have lived in this house for eight years! That seems crazy to me. Aside from the home in which I grew up (that we moved out of when I was 16), this is the longest I’ve stayed in one place. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was heading out to Boston after I graduated from college. Or doing searches like “title loans Connecticut” when I needed to buy a car after relocating to Fairfield. But now I think it’s safe to say that the Hudson Valley is home sweet home.
This year I am determined to spruce up the outside of our home sweet home, and I’ve started by clearing out what seems like a metric ton of leaves – ugh! While I love all the trees on our property, they make such a mess when the leaves fall.
I have grand plans for actually taking care of my roses, for planting some more colorful perennials, and even adding two large planters near our front steps. The only thing is… I’m no gardener. My thumb is black as night and I am very lazy when it comes to caring for plants. Hopefully I’ll find the motivation this year, though. I’d love to add a little more curb appeal.
I am craving a spruce up in my kitchen. I’ve spent too much time looking at photos of great DIY projects and now I’m itching to start one. You see, April will mark 8 years since we moved into this house. Eight years! That’s the longest I’ve live anywhere except for the house in which I grew up.
But now the wood moulding, the builder’s cabinets, the gray speckled Formica… it’s starting to get a little boring to me. Of course, with three small kids there is NO WAY we’re investing any real money in a kitchen update. So I’m thinking about some small changes, starting with the curtains.
I’ve always like roman shades, but we don’t get enough sun through those windows to really warrant them, so I’m looking for new valances. I just can’t find anything I like. (Always my problem). Still, it’s the quickest and easiest change to make at the moment. Hopefully I’ll find something I like, or maybe my mind will just wander to another project!
I’ve been on a purging/organizing kick lately. Maybe the mild weather has shifted my brain to spring cleaning! At any rate, my big weekend project was reorganizing my closet. Someday maybe I’ll have a super-beautiful, insanely organized closet like the one pictured above, but… surely not anytime soon! Though we do have a large walk-in closet, so I really can’t complain.
Taking everything off the hangers, deciding what to keep, and what to give away, and trying to figure out better storage solutions took a good bit of time, but it’s so nice to walk into a clean closet that makes sense! It’s much easier to decide what to wear, and now I only have clothes that fit me. (I’ve lost weight, so there were quite a few items that just made me look frumpy.)
Now that my closet is squared away, I’m thinking about bedroom vanities… currently my sewing machine is on my desk but I wonder if I could work a little magic and turn it into a great place to do my hair and makeup. Well, I think the bathroom will continue to suffice for now, but it’s an idea.
Three woodpeckers decided to have breakfast in our front yard this morning!
Yesterday I completed the one project I wasn’t sure I’d complete in time for Laura’s birthday party — a fabric pennant/bunting/whatever you want to call it. These have been all over the web for a while now, and on my “to do” list since spring. I kind of made up the instructions as I went along. All I knew was it had to meet these requirements:
- Easy to do. I do not have the time right now to be all fussy with things like this.
- Look old and vintage-y. Fraying? No problem. Uneven lines? Hey, that’s okay! It just makes it look more handmade.
- Be multi-purpose. I need to use this for more than just one event.
So, the color scheme I’m using, as you know, is turquoise and red. Well, it’s lapsed into various shades of blue and red which is perfect since the party is also Memorial Day weekend. I will be able to use this bunting for years on the 4th of July as well, so I will definitely get a lot of use out of it.
First, I chose my fabrics. I just bought a bunch of fat quarters in patterns that I liked. Then I ironed them flat, then folded each in half the long way (with right sides facing each other) and ironed it again. I used this template from Cicada Daydream to trace triangles on the wrong side of the fabric. Because I wasn’t going to be turning my triangles inside-out, I cut out my triangle pattern on the dotted (sew) line. I used pinking shears because I like that look. It looks old. It also makes me think of my grandmother Then, I sewed a straight stitch around the two long sides of each triangle. I didn’t go across the top.
Then I took some navy blue bias tape that I had in my stash, snugged a triangle up inside, and sewed it. Repeat until you run out of triangles or the bunting is as long as you want it. And let me warn you: if you decide to have a little glass of Tia Maria and milk while you sew up your second bunting, chances are you will mess up a few triangles and then your husband will ask why you’re cursing so much.
In hindsight, a smarter thing to do would have been to take fabric glue (personally, I like Fabri-Tac) and glue each triangle into place on the bias tape, and then sew one single line across. It would look a lot neater and save some time. But I’m still happy with the way this came out. I’ll be sure to take a photo of it “in action” at the party on Sunday!
I haven’t been doing so well on my big plans to get organized this year. The last two weeks have been crazy and I haven’t completed a single project. But I’ve got one in the works for this week: tackling my home management binder. It is in need of some serious updating. I’d love to get my hands on a velobind machine, but for now I’ll make due with my standard binder. I am going to make it a priority this week to spend some time going through my paperwork and figuring out what worked (and what didn’t) the last time I worked on this.
Check back on Friday for an update on my progress!
Read about the organizing projects of other bloggers and join in the fun at Organizing Junkie.