10 Places You Probably Forget to Dust #HealthierHome

10 Places You Probably Forgot to Dust | Pretty Handy Girl

10 Places You Probably Forget to Dust

I’m putting my Filtrete Ambassador cap on today. And, I have a list of the 10 Places You Probably Forget to Dust (but really should!) Are you guilty of skipping any of them? Read on to find out.

As an allergy sufferer, I know how important it is to dust before vacuuming your home. Recently we spent a week in a condo near the ski slopes in Colorado. I was in AGONY allergy-wise. As I looked closer at my surroundings I realized that although the condo looked clean, there were many places that housekeeping had neglected. ;-(

For you or the allergy sufferers in your family, here are some helpful tips to improve the way you dust and potentially make your home healthier for you and your family.

The Basics of Dusting for Allergy Sufferers:

Dusting if you have allergies is slightly different than for those that don’t have allergies. The goal is to trap the dust, pollen, animal dander (or other allergens), not spread it around or make it airborne. Use damp rags (wet with water is fine) or vacuum cleaner attachments. You might also be able to use a microfiber duster like a Swiffer, but personally I find a wet rag works better (and costs less.) Be sure to fold your rag frequently and use a clean side. Never use a feather duster, it will just launch the dust into the air. The good news is that if you do dust this way, you likely won’t need to dust as often because you will be eliminating it and not spreading dust around.

Always start from the top of your room and work your way down. After the room is dusted, vacuum the floor and rugs. Pay special attention to the edges of the room by using the crevice tool or just taking off the floor head and use the hose.

10 Places You Probably Forget to Dust: [Read more...]

10 Non-Toxic Dust Mite Remedies for Your Home


10 Non-toxic Dust Mite Remedies | Pretty Handy Girl

As a Filtrete Brand Ambassador, I’m back to give you more ammunition for fighting allergies! As a lifelong dust mite allergy sufferer, I’ve spent more than my share of times being congested and even suffered asthma attacks from a robust dust mite population. Over the years I’ve learned several non-toxic ways to remedy a burgeoning dust mite population. Controlling dust might seem like the obvious solution to dust mites, but actually there are several specific things you need to do to control the actual mites.

First, let me tell you a little bit more about my nemesis. Dust mites are almost microscopic (you can see them with a 10x magifying glass) and tend to live among the dust in your home. Upholstered furniture, pillows and mattresses are the most desirable environments for their populations. They feed off of skin cells shed from our body. Dust mites like warm (room temperature) and humid environments.

You can never completely eliminate a dust mite population, but you can reduce the population to ease the suffering of those that are allergic to dust mites. You also don’t need to resort to chemicals or drastic measures. You can actually wage war against dust mites with some very simple tricks and tools.

Ten Non-Toxic Dust Mite Remedies [Read more...]

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors in the School Library

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too ;-).)

Luckily I have two tips to help you choose the paint color that’s right for you:

1. Use Valspar paint. Finding a paint color you love is easier with Valspar. If you don’t love the first color you choose, you can have another on them. It’s as easy as, love your color, or change your color. That’s the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. And it certainly helps alleviate the stress of choosing the right paint color for your room.

2. Create larger paint chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how we selected the final color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let the librarian live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

The winning color was Montpelier Wedgewood by Valspar. And, luckily after we began painting, we all fell in love with the color she chose.

Here’s how we tackled painting the school library (acoustic ceiling tiles and all!): [Read more...]

Save Time by Learning How to Cut in with a Paint Brush {Glidden Show Me How Video}

How to Cut in Without Using Painter's Tape

How to Cut in Without Using Painter's Tape

I’m back with another great video from my friend Lindsay.

Lindsay from Makely School for Girls

She worked with Glidden to create a series of short videos to help DIYers like yourself tackle your own paint projects.

Painting a room like a professional means having straight lines where the wall meets doors, windows, ceilings and baseboards. To achieve crisp lines you can tape around all these spots.


Anyone who has ever taped a room knows it takes FOR-EV-ER! Have you ever wondered how the pros can paint around doors and windows without using painter’s tape? Well, wonder no more. Lindsay is here to save the day (and your time) with tips to cut around your trim with a paintbrush.

Looks pretty easy, right? Next time you have to paint a room, you should try it for yourself. Hey, if worst comes to worst, just have a damp rag nearby to wipe the paint off. Speaking of saving time, you might want to head over to Glidden’s My Colortopia and learn more tips from Lindsay with 5 Tips for Speeding Up the Painting Process!

Get more tips, tricks and tutorials for your next painting project at Glidden’s new Show Me How website!


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Glidden brand paint. I was compensated for my time to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

How to Pick Paint Colors with Lindsay {via Glidden Show Me How Video}


How to Pick Paint Colors

Do you know Lindsay? Makely Home Lindsay (the rockstar blogger formerly known as Living with Lindsay?!)

lindsay - Makely Home

The gal who is so bold with color that her playroom looks like this!

Makely Home Playroom

Well, I have the honor of saying that Lindsay is a friend of mine. But, she is also my idol when it comes to choosing colors. She literally has no fear when it comes to buying paint! When ever I find myself being too safe with color, I think to myself “What Would Lindsay Choose?” And this, my virtual friends, is how I push myself out of my comfort zone.

Glidden has partnered with Lindsay to create some really great Show Me How videos. Check out this short video to learn how Lindsay picks out her beautiful vibrant and daring colors for her home. It’s a great way to be sure before you paint:

If you’re still uncertain, you can try out your color by using this virtual room painter tool at Glidden’s Show Me How site.

Just remember, if you want to push yourself out of that builder’s beige comfort zone, ask yourself “What Would Lindsay Choose?” And you’re halfway done.

Get more tips, tricks and tutorials for your next painting project at Glidden’s new Show Me How website!


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Glidden brand paint. I was compensated for my time to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Krud Kutter Exterior Clean Up without a Pressure Washer or Ladder


How to Clean Your House Exterior without a Pressure Washer or Ladder

Is your home ready for Halloween? I don’t mean decorating. I mean is it so grimy and dirty that you don’t need to decorate to scare off the trick or treaters?

How to Clean Your House Exterior without a Pressure Washer or Ladder

Umm, yup, that was my house. But, a few weeks ago I was introduced to my new CBFF (Cleaning Best Friend Forever.)

Krud Kutter Original - My Cleaning BFF

Seriously, you can ask my sister and stepmom! I was toting around a bottle of Krud Kutter this past weekend while working on renovating a VERY dated beach condo. What? You didn’t know I was doing that?!

Pretty Handy Girl Instagrams from Topsail

Well, you NEED to follow me on Instagram to get the latest deets of my DIY life!

Anyway, back to Krud Kutter. The folks at Krud Kutter couldn’t believe I’d never used their products before. So, they offered to send me some to try. But, before I agreed, I checked with a few DIY friends like Holly.  And, they all agreed, “Oh yeah, that stuff ROCKS!” Holly says she uses it to clean grimy furniture before painting it. I figured if she likes it, I might.

Within a few days, a box containing some Krud Kutter Original and Krud Kutter House Wash showed up on my VERY dirty doorstep. I’m sure my UPS driver thinks our stoop is a disgrace. I had contemplated buying a pressure washer to clean it.

How to Clean Your House Exterior without a Pressure Washer or Ladder(That white grout you see at the top of the picture was protected under the door mat for years.)

You can imagine my skepticism that a little plastic bottle could do the same job as a pressure washer.  But, I was shocked at what happened next.

[Read more...]

How to Install a Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensor on a 3-way Switch



Teaching kids to turn off the lights in a room they are no longer in is a tough job. No matter how many times I try to explain that leaving the lights on wastes electricity, it just doesn’t seem to sink in. In their defense, they are like little wind up tops flitting from room to room playing with trains in one; reading in another and barely stopping to use the toilet in the bathroom (putting the lid down is a whole other issue! Ugh.)

When Lutron approached me about giving my kids a helping hand with the lights, I was immediately intrigued. It turns out that Lutron has just introduced the Maestro occupancy sensor dimmer that can be easily installed in place of an existing light switch. (Single pole switches are easiest. Dual or Multi-location switches may require a little more wiring and programming to work properly.) After some thought, I decided to try the Maestro in our art & craft studio. This is the room that we least notice when the bulbs are burning (it is over the garage and is separated by our guest room from the rest of the house.)

Follow along to see how to install your own. Your attentive nature may be rewarded at the end. ;-) [Read more...]

How to Cut and Finish an Old Tabletop to Create a Wood Desk Top



Have you seen my command center in the kitchen? It’s a beauty to look at, don’t you think? Especially that gorgeous wood desk top.


Well, I have a secret! It’s actually an old kitchen table top that was given to me for FREE! Yup, zero dollars, no moolah, nothing! And this is what the table top looks like:


I actually flipped it upside down to refinish it. But, I’m jumping ahead of myself. Here are the details: [Read more...]

Save Money while Reducing Fall Allergens



{Ahhhhhhcchoooooo!} If you hang around me in the Autumn months you hear a lot of that. My seasonal allergies seem to peak in the Fall. Most people think springtime is the peak for allergens. But, nearly 3/4 of springtime allergy sufferers also suffer from ragweed pollen allergies which peak August – October.  In addition to pollen, mold and dust mites are also contenders for the worst irritants as the weather turns cooler. Therefore, if you think your school age child has a never-ending cold after being back in the classroom, you might want to investigate possible allergies.

In the meantime, there are some very simple cost-saving things you can do to help remove allergens and lessen symptoms this Fall.

  • Dust more often with a damp washcloth to collect (not spread around) dirt and dust. Save money by using rags or washcloths that can be washed and re-used.
  • Use a Hepa filter vacuum to clean floors and carpets. Buy your vacuum bags in bulk and price shop on Amazon.com to save money.
  • Keep doors and windows closed. And adjust your thermostat one or two degrees cooler to save on heating costs.
  • Make your own natural cleaners using products already found in your home:
    • Baking soda and natural dish soap is a great tub, tile and toilet cleaner.
    • Two parts water to one part white distilled vinegar is an excellent window and glass cleaner.
  • Change your air filters at least once every three months and use a 1000 MPR or higher filter.


When it comes to filters, do not cheap out on your home’s air filters.

The Filtrete® Micro Allergen Reduction Filter attracts and captures microscopic particles like smoke and smog and large allergens like mold spores and pollen from the air passing through the filter. Outperforms fiberglass, washable and non-electrostatic pleated 1″ filters.

  • Outperforms fiberglass, washable and non-electrostatic pleated 1″ filters
  • Carries a 1000/1085 Microparticle Performance Rating (MPR)
  • Attracts and captures microscopic particles like smoke, smog and large allergens like mold spores and pollen from the air passing through the filter
  • Lasts up to 3 months
  • Price $10.97
  • Where to buy: Lowe’s, Target, Walmart or your local hardware store. Find a location near you by visiting: FindMyFiltreteFilter.com

Filters are an investment in a healthy home and the extended life of your HVAC system. If you want to save some money, Filtrete is offering several rebates for you to chose from:

Get a rebate of $6 when purchasing 2 filter with an MPR rating of 1000 or greater.

Get a rebate of $3 when you purchase 1 filter with an MPR rating of 1000 or greater.

AND, did you know that if purchase 4 or more filters at Lowe’s, you get the contractor discount price? More ways to save! Finally, if that’s not reason enough to buy Filtrete brand filters, how about saving on heating and cooling costs. Changing your filters regularly will also keep your heating and cooling system running more efficiently.



filtrete_brand_ambassadorDisclosure: This is a sponsored post for Filtrete. I have the honor of being an ambassador for them and will be sharing more information from 3M Filtrete in future posts. I was given key messages to share, but all the words and thoughts are my own.  I have been compensated for my time and for this post. I continue to work with certain companies like Filtrete that I believe in, because of their quality and because I feel they have helpful messages for my readers. I will always disclose to you if you are reading a sponsored post.


Match that BLOGGER! {a contest and RYOBI Father’s Day Giveaway!}


Gooooood MORNING Bloggyland!

I have a special surprise for you today. It involves a little friendly competition and a BIG GIVEAWAY!

The premise of this competition stems from the fact that ALL OF US are guilty of pinning an idea on Pinterest without ever checking the source (guilty as charged!) But there are likely pins on your boards that are from your favorite bloggers, and you don’t even KNOW it! (Right? Raising my hand.)

And that’s where this contest comes into play: [Read more...]

Announcing the Silhouette Portrait Winner

Congratulations to Janet Olson who was chosen at random as the winner of a Silhouette Portrait!

If you are still interested in purchasing your own Silhouette, the discounts are active until Friday, May 31st. Act now and don’t forget to use the discount code HANDY at checkout!


Click HERE to take advantage of the deals on the Silhouette Fabric bundles. And don’t forget to use the promo code: HANDY at checkout.

Good luck!



10 Tips for Surviving Springtime Allergies


My plane had no sooner touched down at Raleigh/Durham airport than I started sneezing my head off. We were back in the pollen bomb (what I call the abundance of pollen accumulation this time of year.)


My oldest son has severe pollen allergies. This time of year is usually miserable for the poor guy. Over the years we’ve gotten better at managing his symptoms. Besides some preventative prescription allergy medications (that we start before the pollen hits), we’ve also used some simple non-prescription remedies. I’m hoping that some of these tips might help ease your springtime allergy suffering, too.

10 Tips to Surviving Springtime Allergies [Read more...]

Bling Up Your Outfits for Less with an Everyday Icing Giveaway

black and white collage

black and white collage

 I’m headed to Utah this week to attend the SNAP conference. Preparing for blog conferences usually means it’s time for me to put away my paint spattered holey jeans and find some cute clothes to wear. It’s not easy for me to get dressy, but I’ve finally learned the value of “dressing up” some basics with cute accessories.

Pastel collage

You might remember from this post that I’m not a big jewelry girl. I usually ask for power tools for my birthday. But, for blog conferences, there’s nothing better for an outfit than a “little icing on the cake”! Everyday Icing is a new shopping destination site for all things jewelry and accessories. Started by Kimba (the fabulous blogger behind A Soft Place to Land), this is definitely a unique way for me to shop for jewelry, gifts, and more! Plus, the items really appeal to my frugal nature. There wasn’t a single item over $25 (of all the products I scoped out!) Yeah for beautiful jewelry for a gal on a budget!


Here’s Kimba to tell you more about Everyday Icing. And stick around because she’s offering a wonderful giveaway prize to one of my readers!


Hi, Pretty Handy Girl readers, this is Kimba to tell you a little bit more about my latest endeavor. Everyday Icing was born out of a love for designer accessories, but not designer prices. We’re busy moms with a budget to watch and we love how the right piece of jewelry can take an outfit from plain to fabulous! And because we care about giving back, 10% of our profits go directly to Compassion International.

mint and blue collageSo how does it work?

Everyday Icing combines social media and shopping, so first you need to “like” our Facebook page. Our sales are every Monday at 9pm (eastern) directly on our facebook page. And some weeks we have special themed sales on Thursday…You won’t want to miss Scarf-A-Palooza and Nautical Night!

Each week we offer 20-30 different items for a fixed price (usually between $12-$25) and shipping is usually FREE! We post pictures of the items for sale along with a description, price and the quantity that we have. There are limited quantities of each item and when they’re gone, they’re gone. So be quick!

Shopping with us is EASY! To make a purchase:

shopping with EI graphic

That’s it! We’ll ship your cute loot directly to your door! If you have more questions, we have a “How to Bid” tab on our page that explains more.

Every Monday at 9pm they open the doors (so to speak) and allow “fans” to bid on that week’s accessories offering. Unlike auction style sites, the prices are firm, but it’s more of a first come first serve type sale.

southwest collage 2

And now, I have an Everyday Icing Giveaway for one lucky Pretty Handy Girl reader.

The prize includes:

 pretty handy giveaway collage-1

  • Michael Kors Inspired Boyfriend Watch
  • White Multi-Strand Necklace
  • Navy Striped Infinity Scarf
  • Pave Starfish Pendant Necklace
  • Starfish Charm Bracelet
  • Pave Button Earrings

A total $100 Value of “Icing” to dress up your favorite outfits!


That’s super generous of Everyday Icing! Did you see any scrumptious jewelry you love? Do tell! I wish I were eligible to win, but I’ll just have to wish you all super luck and hope you win instead!

Entering is easy, simply complete your entry in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you can’t see the widget below, click here to go directly to this post.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter by April 21st, 2013! Best of luck! And by the way, If you are going to SNAP, let me know! I’d love to see you and say hi!



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and giveaway. I was compensated for my time by Everyday Icing. However, I wasn’t told what to say and really like the concept and figured you would too.

Create an Embellished HERSHEY’S KISSES Carrying Case


embellishing_lipstick_cases~This post is sponsored by HERSHEY’S~

Do you know how much I love chocolate?

(If you love it too, be sure to scroll down to learn how you can win some HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Chocolates and a treat case like the one above!)

I love chocolate so much that I joke that there needs to be chocolate coursing through my system at all times. And there’s a reason that I’m in love with chocolate: It’s in my heritage!


photo courtesy of Hershey Archives

[Read more...]

How to Finish Drywall {Spackling or Mudding Sheetrock Joints}



Finishing drywall seams has been compared to frosting a cake. But, as anyone knows, the first time you frost a cake, it doesn’t usually come out Cake Boss worthy. I figured it would be helpful if I gave you a few tips and tricks to get you on the fast track to learning how to finish a sheetrock joint like a pro.

Before I show you those tips, let’s rewind to the reason I had to finish drywall seams in the first place! [Read more...]

Kitchen Progress Update + Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest



I can honestly say that this is the first week that I’ve felt the progress on our kitchen (besides just feeling it in my sore muscles.) And, it FEELS GOOD! No more road bumps like termites or asbestos.  I’m sure from this picture you are thinking, “What progress? When the heck is she going to put her kitchen back together?” Well, come on in and I’ll show you some of the forward movement that’s been made! [Read more...]

Winner of the Home Sweet Home Giveaways!

Happy Valentine’s Days to two lucky readers! Yes, we have our winners! Before the announcement, we wanted to thank all of our AMAZING sponsors for their donations and generosity! This giveaway could not have happened without them. And since love is in the air today, let’s show them all some facebook love by liking their pages:








The winner of grand prize # 1 is [Read more...]

Home Sweet Home Giveaway

Happy early Valentine’s Day to everyone! A group of us have teamed up with some amazing sponsors and put together an exciting “Home Sweet Home Giveaway” for our readers. (If you didn’t win the other mega giveaway I hosted back in October, I wanted to give you another shot at winning some awesomeness!)

homesweethome1 with over 4k

Myself and these rockstar bloggers have collaborated to bring you TWO of the best giveaways on the web.

bloggers home sweet home giveaway

Some of you may know these bloggers but for those who don’t — starting from top left is Jessica Four Generations One Roof, Chris Just a Girl, Kim Sand and Sisal, Brooke All Things Thrifty, Amy The Idea Room, Rhoda Southern Hospitality, Me ;-) Pretty Handy Girl, “The six sisters” Six Sisters’ Stuff, Kari Anne Thistle Wood Farms and Traci Beneath My Heart.


A HUGE Thank You to All Our Giveaway Sponsors

In order to pull off THREE giveaways of this magnitude {I mean almost $15,000 of prizes doesn’t happen every day, right!?!?}, we teamed up with 16 amazing bloggers to knock your socks off and pull together the biggest giveaway in DIY blogger history. It was a lot of fun! 
Without further adieu, do you want to see the WINNERS!?!?

Shut the Front Door — To Keep it All In — Giveaway

Happy Wednesday, friends! What better way to celebrate Wednesday, than with an amazing array of prizes!! 16 blog friends have been working together to bring you, our readers, followers and friends a chance to win some fabulous prizes as a “thank you” for all of your support and encouragement.

Brooke from All Things Thrifty, Traci from Beneath my Heart, Emily from Decor Chick, Roeshel from DIY Show Off, Beth from Home Stories A to Z, Beckie from Infarrantly Creative, Melissa from The Inspired Room, Lindsay from Makely, Stacy from Not Just a Housewife, Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl, Cassity from Remodelaholic, Sandra from Sawdust and Paper Scraps, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Gina from Shabby Creek Cottage, Jen from Tatertots and Jello, and Mandi from Vintage Revivals.

(It’s still not too late to enter these separate giveaways if you haven’t already: “Everything AND the Kitchen Sink” giveaway or “The PIN-acle of DIY Goodness” giveaway – we don’t want you missing out on any chance to WIN!)

Today’s giveaway brings more FABULOUS prizes.

Grand Prize A: Value $1,600.00

A $100.00 gift card to Utah Truffles. MSRP: $100.00

$150 gift card to D.Lawless Hardware for kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls. MSRP: $150.00

$500 Gift Card to Kirkland’s. MSRP $500.00

$500 Gift Card to Payless Décor MSRP $500.00

$350 Gift Certificate to Red Letter Words. MSRP $350.00


Grand Prize B: Value $1469.98

$200 Gift Certificate to Leen The Graphics Queen MSRP $200.00

Two Black and Decker Platinum 20V Max* Lithium Ion Flex Vacuums {one for you and one for a friend}. MSRP: $149.99 each

$500 gift certifcate to Worth Home Products. MSRP $500

$220 gift certificate to LoveFeast Shop MSRP $220

$250.00 Paint Prize Package from Glidden. MSRP: $250.00


Grand Prize C: Value $1472.54

One Cordless Dremel tool from Dremel. MSRP: $139.99

One Countertop Transformation Kit from Rustoleum MSRP $250

A Mirror Mate kit MSRP: $250.00

One Moen Lindley Kitchen Faucet MSRP: $482.55

A $100 shopping spree to Royal Design Studio for stencils and supplies. MSRP: $100

Do we know how to go out with a bang or what?!

All you need to do to enter this giveaway is like the incredible sponsors’ Facebook pages:




And for an additional entry add us to your Google+ circles

…and then validate your entry by answering the question below {click “do it”}. In order to see the question, you need to click “+ do it.” I’ve had a few readers also say that you need to also click “log in to Facebook.” 

PLUS, you can get two optional entries by completing the two other tasks. Don’t forget to validate your entry in the Rafflecopter Widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, Rafflecopter has had a few issues keeping up with the high demand of this giveaway  So, if you don’t see the widget below, come back later. Thank you for being patient!

(If you can’t see the Rafflecopter widget and the buttons to follow, you may need to click HERE to enter from my blog directly.)

{Alternate entry available by sending your entry e-mail to allthingsthriftyassistant@gmail.com}

*This giveaway is in no way affiliated, administered or endorsed by Facebook or Pinterest. Winner will be notified by email on 10/23/12 and will need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a US citizen in order to win. Winners are responsible for paying any necessary taxes on winnings. Alternate entry email: allthingsthriftyassistant@gmail.com with entry information. All prizes will be mailed by the sponsor and all participating blog owners are not held responsible if the prize is not fulfilled. A list of winners may be requested after the giveaway has ended. Questions and additional information can be requested by emailing: allthingsthriftyassistant@gmail.com

~~~~~~~I’m sending y’all HUGE good luck vibes!!! ~~~~~~~