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fix it february: boots and baubles

Week two of “Fix It February” is all about accessories. Saving boots from the trash bin and necklaces from the scrap heap!

Project #1: boot heel healing

This is one of my favorite pairs of boots, but the black color on the plastic heel had worn down from driving. I’ve tried shoe polish and heel stains before, but nothing stuck to the plastic. So this time I tried black electrical tape. *Hopefully* it sticks this time!

Total time: 15 minutes

1. Clean and dry plastic surface.
2. Cut strips of black electrical tape and place vertically on heel, starting from the center and working your way outwards.
3. Trim extra tape with an X-acto knife





Project #2: fixing some favorite accessories

Each of these pieces needed just a few minutes of attention, but I had been letting them gather dust instead.

Before: broken chain on a vintage purse, broken chain link necklace, and earrings with a missing crystal piece




How to fix crystal earrings: Gorilla Glue. Nothing works better. Just remember that it expands a bit when it dries, so you can’t use too much in small spaces.

How to fix gold link chains: needle-nose pliers and a patient hand. For each of these chains, I used the pliers to first open a chain link at the break site, and then to re-attache it to its neighbors. The round-nosed pliers can be slippery on metal, so you might find ridged pliers easier to use.

 IMG_3051     IMG_3056

Total time: 10 minutes


Homeowner adventures: alarm edition

Your alarm system won’t stop making an annoying beeping sound. It’s not actually the alarm — more like a warning tone, like when your smoke detector battery dies (except, continuous beeping). And it has something to do with a cell tower/radio transmitter, according to the error code.

A) Call the alarm company multiple times and try all the crazy codes and tests they give you
B) Turn the entire system off, leaving you and the house unprotected
C) Stuff a sweatshirt over the system box and barricade yourself in the farthest bedroom, in hopes of getting some sleep before the alarm company arrives in A WEEK. 
Definitely C. 

miracle mineral oil

I’m a die-hard fixer of things I love … boots get re-heeled, shoes get re-soled, scuffed leather gets moisturized and polished. It’s no different with the architectural pieces of my house that can’t be so easily replaced as a pair of heels.

Take my kitchen cabinets. Custom-built mission-style wood that almost seems to glow from within (thank you, previous owners). And I love them to pieces.

Except for the worn and torn edges near the sink and stove. Most of the staining is from water (near the sink) and dry air (from the oven, and the house in general). Not the most inspiring thing to look at every time I’m at the sink:

But a few minutes with a soft cloth and a bottle of mineral oil, and everything looks as good as new.

I discovered mineral oil a few years ago when I was given a beautiful handmade wooden cutting board as a gift. Someone told me the best way to minimize the appearance of knife cuts on the board would be to treat it with mineral oil (available at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond or your hardware store). It’s food-safe and not only works like magic on minor scuffs and scratches but also restores the wood to its original color (without messing up the stain, if there is one).

So if you have a wooden cabinet, desk, chair or cutting board that could use some TLC, there you have it. My secret revealed.

xoxo, LG

how-to: spring cleaning in minutes a day

Spring cleaning seems like something that requires entire weekends devoted to (gasp) cleaning. But, tackling small projects can make as much of a difference as big projects. If you have 5, 10 or 15 minutes to spare, try one of these:

Polish leather boots and shoes: 15 minutes (or 3 minutes per pair)
Supplies: polish (black and/or brown, depending on your shoes), buffing brick, polish brush, soft cloth, leather lotion

Clean windowsills and baseboards: 5 minutes per room
Supplies: sponge, soap, hot water

Clean those makeup brushes!: 10 minutes
Supplies: mild shampoo, warm water, clean towel

If you spend more than $1 on a makeup brush, and if it touches your face every day, then you owe it to yourself (and your pocket book) to wash them at least twice a year (I’ve heard that once a month is optimal). It’s easy: fill your sink or a big bowl with warm water and mild shampoo or soap, and soak your brushes. Clean and rinse them individually, and lay on a clean towel to dry (flipping after a few hours). I find that eyeshadow brushes take about 30 seconds apiece, while blush and powder brushes take a few minutes each because they collect so much build-up from daily use. Although I procrastinate on this project every year, I never regret it when I’m done.

Change out your wardrobe: 5-15 minutes

Part 1: scarves!

I keep seasonal scarves within easy reach on a rack between my closet and bedroom door. And I keep more in a basket next to the chaise lounge. And … ok … more in the trunk at the end of my bed 🙂 Can you tell this girl has a scarf addiction? But you can do the same, and it makes for an easy change every season:

before: fall/winter arrangement

after: spring/summer arrangement

Part 2: closet capers
I spied a neat trick on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and decided to give it a go this year in my own closet. The idea is to turn all of your hangers backward at the beginning of the season. Then, as you wear clothes, you put hangers back on the rack the normal way. At the end of the season, you’ll know which clothes you haven’t worn recently. Seems easy enough … so when I unpacked a box of spring/summer clothes today, I gave it a try. We’ll see what stays and what goes six months from now 🙂

trick or tip: hanging photos

Because it’s hard to hang picture frames well without help….

Because I hate that all of my picture frames are sitting in piles, unhung….

Because I finally got fed up and started looking for solutions….

You get to learn my new favorite trick.

Step 1: Use painting tape to measure the distance between the hanging wire and the top of the photo frame.

Step 2: Determine wall location and make a small mark on the wall at the center of the top edge of the frame.

Step 3: Place the strip of tape on the wall, just below the mark for the frame’s top edge, then insert nail at bottom edge of tape.

Step 4: Remove tape and, voila!

This trick works particularly well with frames that have hanging wires that sit at different levels (like the IKEA frames that you assemble yourself). It would also work well for mirrors and sconces that require multiple holes at precise measurements.

Have your own no-fail trick for hanging things? Share it in the comments!