Does waxing your sink keep it cleaner longer?

Hang Your Hat Episode 8 just came out, and it is all about spring cleaning.  While doing my research for the show I came across a couple of cleaning hacks, a few of which were even good enough to try.  My favorite of these hacks was waxing the sink.  The idea is that waxing the sink will make water bead up on it, and gunk rinse down the drain easier, keeping the sink cleaner longer.  Since kitchen sinks tend to be one of the most disgusting germ filled areas in the home, and since my sink seems to attract filth like a magnet attracts ferrous metal, I thought it would be worth a try.

 The Sink Before - Not Hiding the Shame Today

The Sink Before - Not Hiding the Shame Today

 The close ups really do the filth justice.

The close ups really do the filth justice.

This is what my sink looked like when I started.  The close ups really do it justice.  I won’t deny it, it was filthy, and also the reason this hack appealed to me so much to begin with.  It always feels like as soon as I clean the sink, I blink and it is filthy again.  I was really hoping that this hack would give me a bit more time between serious scrub downs.

Step 1:  Thoroughly Clean the sink  

The sink needed to be cleaned before it could be waxed, so I went with a three step approach to getting it the cleanest it could possibly be.  I should note here that my sink is a stainless steel sink, and it can tolerate some pretty heavy cleaning.  Always make sure that the cleaning products you use are safe for the surface you are cleaning.

Baking Soda and Dish Soap

The first step in the cleaning was a good scrubbing with baking soda and dish soap.  This combo makes a slightly abrasive paste that is really good for cutting through heavy grime.  When I finished scrubbing I rinsed the paste off, and the sink was already looking a lot better.

Vinegar

Next I went in with a spray bottle full of vinegar and a scrubbing pad.  The vinegar is good at getting rid of water spots and minor lime scale build up (if you have heavy lime scale build up a product like CLR is a better choice).  Note here that I washed the baking soda off the sink before applying the vinegar.  Combining the two will not do anything harmful, but it probably won’t do anything beneficial either.  Since baking soda is alkaline and vinegar is acidic when the two are combined the Ph of the combination becomes neutral, like water.  Since I needed an acid for the water spots and the lime scale I did not combine the two.  

On a side note, you might notice vinegar reacting to lime scale if you have a lot of it.  It bubbles up just like it does when it is combined with baking soda.  This is because the lime, like the baking soda, is alkaline.  The reaction is a tiny bit of lime scale being eaten away by the vinegar.  

Once the vinegar was done doing its job I rinsed it off completely.

Bleach

Last I used a bleach based cleaner to disinfect.  Make sure the vinegar is completely washed off before applying the bleach because vinegar and bleach can create some harmful gas when combined.

I sprayed on the cleaner, and let it sit for 5 minutes to give it time to completely disinfect.  Then I rinsed it off.

 After Cleaning

After Cleaning

This is what is looked like when I had finished cleaning it - It cleans up pretty good!

Step 2:

Dry the Sink

Before wax can be applied to the sink it must be dry.  I grabbed a clean dry cloth and wiped it down.

Apply the Wax

Next I applied the wax.  I used carnuba wax – just like the wax used on cars.  My family does not put anything directly in the sink that we will be eating later, so I felt comfortable using the carnuba wax.  If my family ever put food directly in the sink I would have used a food safe wax instead.  

The wax is easy to apply, you just get a bit on the applicator and rub it on the sink trying to apply a thin even coat on all of the sink surfaces.  If you leave a few globs, like I did, it is not the end of the world, it just takes those areas a bit longer to dry.

Remove the Wax

Let the wax dry completely before you remove it.  When it is dry it will look like a white, slightly powdery, haze on the surface of the sink.  

Once it is dry grab another clean dry cloth and wipe off the dry wax (and be amazed how much crap you still get off the sink even after all of that cleaning).  You should not see any white haze left once the wax has been removed.

 

Step 3: Test it

 Even tiny drops of water bead up after the application of the wax.

Even tiny drops of water bead up after the application of the wax.

I was a bit nervous to test it.  I had such high hopes for this hack, and I really wanted it to work.  If it hadn’t worked I was going to be so disappointed.  Firebeard ended up getting some water when I wasn’t looking, some of which dripped into the sink.  It beaded up beautifully.  I spent the rest of the day rinsing things off in the sink and watching water and bits of food slide right down the drain without leaving a mark on the sink.  It was a beautiful thing to behold.

Step 4:  See how long it takes the filth to build back up again

And then I went on a business trip for 5 days.  Firebeard and the kids stayed home, and used the sink like they normally would.  It was rinsed out when dishes were done, but it was not cleaned or even wiped down.  This is what it looked like when I got back (and put the dishes in the washer):

 After five days of use and no cleaning.

After five days of use and no cleaning.

 Close up after 5 days of use with no cleaning.  

Close up after 5 days of use with no cleaning.  

Conclusion:

Holy Crap!  This is amazing.  I am never not going to do this ever again.  Five days after being cleaned and waxed it looks like it normally does five minutes after I clean it.  I don't know how this isn't standard Home Ec 101.  Really I could not be more pleased with how well this turned out.  You should definately give it a try!  I am heading off to wax the rest of the sinks in my house now.

 

To learn more about Spring Cleaning and cleaning Hacks check out Hang Your Hat Episode 8:  Wax on, Wax Off.  If you have a fantastic cleaning hack you would like to share, or have heard of one that might be worthy of a cleaning experiment, please let me know about it in the comments.

DIY Midori Style Traveler's Notebook

Recently, my friend the Good Doctor directed me to the Darbin Orvar You Tube Channel, and I fell in love.   It is filled with DIY ideas, and building projects that are simple, creative, and beautiful.  One of the projects that immediately caught my attention was their DIY Midori Style Traveler's Notebook, and I knew I had to make it.  Unfortunately, the Darbin Orvar Tutorial was a bit light on measurements, so I had to figure out a few things as I went along.  It really wasn't a problem, because the notebook is really very simple, but I thought I would share the measurements I used, in case it helps out anyone in the future.

 Cover:  A sheet of 8.5" x 11" leather by ArtMinds

Cover:  A sheet of 8.5" x 11" leather by ArtMinds

I started with an 8.5" x 11" piece of thick yet flexible leather (215.9mm x 279.4mm) by ArtMinds found at my local Michaels.  It is sold out online as of my writing this, but it is really similar to this leather sold by Amazon.  I used it as my cover, and it really dictated the dimensions of the rest of the journal, including the paper inserts.  Had I had a larger piece of leather available initially, I think I probably would have let the paper inserts determine the size of the notebook, but in the end I am very happy with the size of my finished product, and I am not sure that I would change the size if I make another.

Prepare Cover

You have to create holes in the cover to connect the cover to the paper inserts that you put inside it.  The holes need to be big enough to stick a piece of round elastic through them.  In the original tutorial Lin from Darbin Orvar used what I think was a leather hole punch like these.  I did not have a leather hole punch, so I used this sewing awl (on a side note, I use this tool ALL the time, it has been especially useful in the kitchen, and I highly recommend it).  I think Lin's leather punched holes look a bit neater than mine do, but I think mine still look pretty darn good.

I placed my holes 5.5" (139.7mm) from each short side of the leather, and then on that axis I placed holes 1" (25.4mm) from each long side, then 2" (50.8mm) from each long side, and then one hole 4.25" (107.9mm)  from each long side.  I made five holes total.  If this is hard to visualize, check out the picture of the leather after I had made the holes.

Create Inserts

Gather Paper and Prepare for Sewing

For my inserts I used 15 sheets of standard 8.5" by 11" (215.9mm x 279.4mm) paper for the interior and a piece of heavier weight craft paper for the cover.  I started by folding the paper short sides together in bunches of three pieces (it helps to crease the folded edge with a straight edge, like a ruler), and put the bunches together to form a book.  Since I wanted the height of my inserts to be slightly less than the height of my notebook, I then reduced the height of the insert by cutting off .5" (12.7mm) with an xacto knife (the total size of the paper being inserted was now 8" by 11" or 203.2mm by 279.4mm).  In retrospect it may have been easier to cut the paper prior to folding it. 

To make it easier to sew the paper together I punched holes along the fold as well.  First I unfolded all of the sheets and clipped them together with large paper clips to keep all the pieces in place.  Then I marked where my holes would go along the fold line every half inch.  Finally I used the same awl from earlier to punch the holes where I had marked.  

Sewing the Insert

To sew the insert I chose some variegated plied embroidery thread that I already had in my stash, because it was the thickest thread I had, and I thought it would be pretty.  I sewed using a large embroidery needle.

I sewed a running stitch, starting in the middle inside of the insert, and worked my way to one edge of the insert, turned around and sewed back to the other edge of the insert overlapping my previous stitches, and then turned around again and sewed back to the middle.  This left me with two tails in the middle of the insert which I knotted together using a square knot.  

Cutting the Insert to Fit

Your insert will now be too wide for your cover, so it will need to be cut down.  I cut mine down by .5" or 12.7mm (making the total paper size 8" x 10" or 203.2mm x 254mm).  With three inserts in my notebook, my cover is just big enough to cover my inserts.  If you wanted a little extra overlap by your notebook cover you might want to cut the inserts down by .75" (19.05mm); however, if you were using fewer inserts you might need to cut the insert down by only .25" (6.36mm).

Adding the Elastic and One Insert

To attach the inserts to the notebook cover and to keep the notebook closed, I used this round elastic from Dritz.  Start by cutting the elastic down to size - I cut a 36" (914.4mm) piece.  Then fold the elastic in half.  the folded part of elastic should be inserted into the middle hole in the notebook cover from back to front.  The elastic should then be pulled through so that it makes a loop that is the same length that the cover is wide (5.5" or 139.7mm).  

At this point, the remaining portion of the elastic will be two tails on the inside of the cover.  One tail should be inserted in the next closest hole toward the top of the cover, and the other in the next closest hole toward the bottom of the cover.  The insertion direction is from the inside to the outside of the cover.  The loop that was made earlier should remain.

Turn the cover over so that the outside of the cover is facing up.  The elastic tails should be coming out of the second holes from the bottom and top of the cover, respectively.  Insert the top tail in the hole closest to the top of the cover, inserting from front to back.  Do the same for the bottom tail, in the bottom hole.

Turn the cover over once again so that the inside of the cover is facing up.  The elastic tails should be coming out of the upper and lower-most holes in the cover.  Open one insert to the middle page and place the spine of the insert over the spine of the cover.  Now gather the two elastic tails over the insert and tie them in a knot, holding the insert in place.

Adding Additional Inserts

To add additional inserts, gather two inserts and a piece of round elastic about 20" (508mm) long.  Open the inserts to the middle pages, wrap the elastic around the middle of each insert, and tie the elastic in a knot.  This will connect the two new inserts.

Next slot one of the two new inserts underneath the insert that is already attached to the notebook cover, leaving the second of the new inserts on the opposite side of the original insert.  The elastic holding together the two new inserts will be held in the notebook by the elastic holding the original insert in place.

Finished

Thats it!  Enjoy your new notebook, and let me know about all of the places you travel with it!

 

This post contained affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.

Dry Wall Hole Repair

One of the many things I did this summer was a bit of home improvement, starting with my bathroom.  We decided to change out many of the towel rails, hooks, etc, leaving us with holes in the walls that had to be patched.  I became very good at patching these holes over the course of the summer, and thought I would share my technique.

photo.jpg

The most recent hole to be patched was a rather large one in my kitchen.  I decided to remove an ill-fitting and unused phone jack, and patch the hole it left behind.

After removing the phone jack and box, and making sure that the left over wire was safe to leave in the wall, I sanded down the edges of the left over hole.

Next I applied the patch.  Since this hole was so large I could not simply fill it in with spackle.  While there are many ways to fill a hole this large, I decided to use a commercially available patch.  This one is a 4” by 4” patch by Workforce.  It was available in the paint section of my local home depot.  The patch was just big enough to cover the hole.  I believe that there were slightly bigger patches at my local home depot, but honestly, I think this is about as big a hole that should be patched with this technique.

Then I spackled over the patch and a small margin surrounding the patch.  I recommend doing several thin coats of spackle, letting the spackle dry between coats, rather than globing a bunch on.  The spackle I used was Dry Dex.  It starts out pink, and dries white, making it easy to tell when it is safe to apply the next coat.

When the patch was no longer visible under the spackle, and the last coat of spackle is completely dry, it was time to sand.  I like to sand from the outside edges of the patch toward the center, using a circular motion.  When I was finished I had a giant mess, and a smooth surface.  I rubbed my fingers over the surface of the patch to make sure that I did not feel any bumps, high or low points, etc.  Mistakes will be easier to feel than see at this point.

DSC_0002.jpg

When I was sure that my patch was perfect, it was time to paint.  The glossier the paint, the more visible mistakes will be.  I used satin finish paint in my example and  I am pretty happy with the result. 

Good luck on your next home improvement endeavor. 

 

Jewelry Organization

Since I started working full time, the clothing I wear on a regular basis has changed quite a bit. While at home I could spend the day in yoga pants and free of makeup, but at work it is different. At work I need to look somewhat professional. I need to wear clothes that fit, and makeup, and accessories. Dressing professionally, especially accessorizing, does not come naturally to me. Jewelry is especially difficult for me. As I have struggled to find an accessory that matched my outfit every morning, I realized that trying to dig through a jumble of jewelry wasn't really helping me, and I began searching for a better way - that also didn't cost an arm and a leg.

Jewelry boxes were out since I don't have enough counter space to house one. I needed something that utilized wall space. I found several wall mounted jewelry armoires that were lovely, but they were also pricy. So instead, I took my inspiration from some of the DIY versions I spotted on Pinterest. The problem with most of these was the lack of storage for stud type earrings. So I improvised. Here is the result;

20130123-091800.jpg

To make it, I used a cork board that I already had, and had already painted blue, some push pins, a small embroidery hoop, cheese cloth, and some ribbon. Since I already had everything on hand, the cost was $0. Using a ruler I spaced the push pins 1 inch from the sides of the frame, and 1 inch apart.

20130123-091215.jpg I placed several layers of cheese cloth in the embroidery hoop, and cut off the excess. Then I mounted the hoop to the board with a length of ribbon and some pins, which allowed the back to be easily accessed.

I am pretty happy with the result. It easily holds my meager jewelry collection, and keeps it easily accessible when I need it.

20130123-092005.jpg

Sewing - Picking the Correct Pattern Size

I have been asked a lot recently to teach classes in sewing (usually whenever someone finds out that most of my clothing is hand sewn, rather than store bought).  I would love to be able to do just that, but I simply don’t have the time.  Most of my sewing is done at night, or during spare moments on the weekends.  I have no idea how I could squeeze a class into the mix, but I decided to try anyway – at least in bit and pieces.  I have decided to create several online tutorials at my leisure (Ha!), starting with the basics, and working toward a perfectly fitted pattern.

Choosing the appropriate pattern size

If you buy clothes off the rack, it is relatively easy to find the best size, you just try on all of the sizes that might fit, and pick the best one.  When you are sewing your clothes, it is a bit more difficult to find the correct size; after all, you can’t try the pattern on before you sew it.  On the other hand, sewing your own clothes can give you a perfect fit, rather than the fit that is just close enough.  The problem is; which pattern size should you choose?

 

Ready to wear clothing, and most sewing patterns are made based on an average, ideal person.  She is a size 8, about 20 years old, 5’6” (1.67 meters), and a B cup.  As I am sure you know, very few people fit this “average.”  Most of us are shorter, or taller, younger or older, larger or smaller, or several different sizes.  So which size should you pick?

Here is the rule of thumb;

Pants – Measure at your widest point below your waist, and above your legs, and choose the pattern size with the corresponding hip size.  If you are between sizes, choose the smaller size (Unless the style of the garment is very closely fitted.   Most styles have enough ease, or extra room, to fit people who are between sizes; however, very closely fitted garments have minimal ease).

  •  Why?  It is relatively easy to adjust the width of the waist, and legs of pants, but the curve at the seat of the pants is a bit tricky to adjust.  Picking the full hip measurement usually allows for the easiest adjustment.

Skirts –

  • A-line, and other styles that are closely fitted at the waist, and then rapidly increase in size skimming the hips, should be chosen based on the waist measurement.
    •  Why?  Since the waist is the only part of this style that is closely fitted, picking the size that fits the waist allows for the least pattern modification.
  • Straight skirts and other styles that are fitted through the waist and hips should be chosen based on the hip measurement.  Chose the pattern size in which the hip size corresponds to the measure of your widest point below your waist (this measurement may be at your hips or thighs).
    • Why?  The waist in this type of skirt usually has easily adjustable darts at the waistline.

Blouses and Dresses – Measure your full bust, and your upper bust (wrap the tape measure around your chest under your arms, but above your breasts).  Now subtract the upper bust measurement from the full bust measurement.

  • If the difference is 2 inches (5 cm) or less (you are likely an A or B cup) choose the pattern size with the bust measurement corresponding to your full bust measurement.  Congrats, you probably don’t have major bust revisions ahead, since most patterns are designed for b up breasts!
  • If the difference is greater than 2 inches (you are likely a C cup or larger), chose the pattern size with the bust measurement corresponding to your full bust measurement.
    • Why?  While the bust adjustment isn’t easy, it isn’t nearly as complicated as sizing down shoulders that are too big.  If you were to pick the size corresponding to your full bust measurement, the bust would fit, but the shoulders (and often everything else) would be too large

I am currently working on a dress for myself, and I have been focusing on the fitting issues inherent in dresses recently.  Since they are on my mind, I will likely post next about bust adjustments.  Till then, find a simple dress or bodice pattern, and find your size.  I am working on the Truffle dress, by Colette Patterns from their new book, “The Colette Sewing Handbook”.  It is a wonderful pattern for perfecting fit, and I highly recommend it.