Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl
31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s no picnic when you realize your home has been invaded by sugar ants. Instead of spraying your kitchen (or wherever you find them) try this Two Ingredient Ant Killer.
2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo by Stephen Ausmus – http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/dec04/k11622-1.htm
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl

Mix equal parts sugar and Borax into a small disposable lid. Set it out near the area of largest ant concentration or near the location they are entering your home. Caution: DO NOT put this mixture where children or pets can get to it.

Leave the mixture out for 24 – 48 hours or until you have no more ants. The ants will take the sugar and Borax back to the nest where the colony will have a feast and consequently die after intestinal distress.

Lest you think buying a box of Borax is wasteful, I’ll have another use for Borax later this month.

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Day 14 – Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

A clogged tub or sink is an inevitable situation for any homeowner. Before you reach for the toxic drain cleaner, try this easy and inexpensive Non-Toxic Drain Opener.

All you need is a box of baking soda and cheap white vinegar.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Day 14: Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Remove the drain pop up and pour a LOT of baking soda into the drain.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour white vinegar into the drain until it causes a bubbling reaction. Continue until the baking soda fails to bubble up.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the hot water full blast. Let it run for at least a minute.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Hopefully this quick and non-toxic solution will clear your drain. Need some help getting that pop up back in place, follow this tutorial.

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Day 13 – Remove Your Shoes at the Door

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Want to cut down on your vacuuming? Want to make your carpets last 10 times longer? Want to keep bacteria out of your home? Wow, sounds like a miracle product right? Actually you can accomplish all of the above by simply training yourself and your family to remove their shoes at the door.

close_up_river_rock_inlaid_doormat

Day 13: Remove Your Shoes at the Door

The carpets in our home are at least 13 years old. Believe it or not, they are in great shape! The main reason is that we don’t wear our shoes in the house. The carpeting is good quality carpet. We clean up spills immediately with our carpet steam cleaner (you can’t have kids and pets without one!) I’ve had the carpets professionally cleaned twice since we’ve owned the house in 7 years.

mudroom_shoe_storage_bench

Do we require our guests to remove their shoes? No. But, most of them do anyway because when they come in the mudroom it’s evident that we take off our shoes at the door.

mudroom_tour_entrance

In order to create a habit of removing your shoes at the door, it’s important to have a convenient storage location for shoes. Creating shoe storage doesn’t have to be expensive.

Beth made these beautiful faux birch log shoe storage out of PVC pipe:

PVC Birch Shoe Storage

Jessica shared how she took a nook and put in shelving for shoe storage.

Built In Shoe Shelves

I made a small shoe storage bench out of a kitchen cabinet.

Shoe Bench from a Kitchen Cabinet

But, my sanity saver is this larger shoe storage bench I made out of salvage materials.

DIY Mudroom Storage Bench

Do you have any other tips for keeping your carpets looking like new?

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Day 11 – Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

I love to paint rooms! It’s one of those meditative tasks that leaves you with instant gratification when  you are done. But, I don’t like the clean up afterwards. Several years ago I came up with an Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner that costs next to nothing!

All you need are two plastic grocery bags and two strips of painter’s tape.

Day 11: Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner

Make sure your grocery bags are clean and don’t have any holes in them. Turn the bags inside out if there is printing on them. (Sometimes the ink is water soluble and can mix with the paint.) Observe as my sister gives her best Vanna White impression and shows you how to invert that bag:

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

Slip the first bag on from the top of the tray and tape it at the bottom.

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

Slip the second bag over the bottom this time:

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

Tape the opening of the bag across the entire paint tray width.

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

You’re ready to rock and roll, errr roll and paint!

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

When you are done, carefully remove the plastic bags and throw them away. If you are pitching your roller, you can grab the roller through the bags and pitch it too.

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

No need to clean the tray (unless some paint seeped inside.) Unfortunately, you’ll probably still need to wash your paint brushes. But, if you clean your paint brushes correctly, they should last you a decade or more!

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Day 7 – Clean Out Your Dryer Vent Duct

vacuum out your dryer duct | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 7 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. We’re sticking with the laundry room theme for a few days. Today I have a tip to help protect your home from a fire. Cleaning out your dryer vent duct is an extremely important home maintenance task. The good news is that you can do most of this maintenance yourself. I recommend cleaning out any lint build up at least once a year (preferably in the late summer before the drier and static filled air sets in.) Twice a year is best.

Day 7: Clean Out Your Dryer Vent Duct:

 Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the vent duct tube from the wall and the dryer. Normally the duct is held on with a hose clamp. Use a flat head screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.

Remove the duct and use your shopvac to clean out both the dryer and wall ports.

Then clean as far as possible in both ends of the duct hose.

vacuum out your dryer duct | Pretty Handy Girl

If your duct is long or difficult to clean out, you can purchase a long dryer vent duct cleaning brush like this one:

Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning Brush

While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is less prone to fires.

Re-attach the ductwork to the wall and the dryer. Tug gently on the hose to make sure it is secure. Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.

If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running. Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. That reminds me when we had our new dryer delivered. As the delivery guys were removing the old one. I heard the sound of the dryer crashing down, followed immediately by squealing and screaming. Apparently a mouse had made his way into the dryer but electrocuted himself. His dead body dropped out on the floor just as the guys were picking up the dryer. I’m telling you, that guy was the size of a line backer and he was terrified of a dead mouse! I tried so hard not to laugh, but couldn’t control myself. Needless to say, I double check the exterior vent more often now.

Tomorrow I’ll be showing you one more way to keep your laundry room from becoming a fire hazard.

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Day 6 – Keep Your HE Washer Funk Free

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 6 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. So you finally upgraded to an HE washer. You have to be careful because if you don’t take care of it you’ll have a stinky funky mess. Funky music = good. Funky washer = bad! The HE washers (front load especially) are air tight, which can be the perfect environment for growing mold.

Have no fear, this tip will take 30 seconds of your time! Keeping your HE washer funk free and like new is super easy.

Day 5. How to Keep Your HE Washer Funk Free

After each wash load,  grab a dry wash cloth or rag and wipe off the door.

Then wipe out the gasket (top to bottom) to remove any water and moisture. This is the main area that will get mildewy first. Gently pull the gasket towards you to get into the fold.

Open the detergent dispenser drawer and wipe out any visible moisture. Finally, leave the detergent drawer and washer door open to thoroughly air out your washer.

If you are already stuck with a funky washer, follow these tips for cleaning it out and eliminate any odors. Be sure to read the comments because my readers have a bunch of tips to help keep your washer clean!

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How to Strip…Paint Off a Door

How to Strip Paint Off a Door | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Strip Paint off a Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever had to strip… paint off a door? (You must leave a dramatic pause after strip for the full effect! LOL. If you haven’t had to strip…paint off a door, consider yourself lucky. If you need to strip… paint, I have some tips and a tutorial for you!

Purple Honor 8906N by Duron

Here’s the back story: My home’s doors have been purple for over 7 years. I was over the dark and wanted some vibrancy. It was supposed to be a simple project. Just paint the front doors a beautiful green (Benjamin Moore Perennial Green.) I had tested the color on my custom house mailbox. That was TWO YEARS ago! (Life’s been a little busy, okay. Forgive me, I’ve been wrapped up in a major kitchen renovation.) All I had to do was get the paint mixed and get painting. Instead, I was caught in the middle of the DIY project from HELL!

How to Strip Paint Off a Door | Pretty Handy Girl

I had five doors to paint (front two doors, one side door and two wooden storm doors.) But, this DIY project was doomed from the start. My friend Holly was sweet enough to offer to help me paint. The week we were supposed to start on the doors her son came down with scarlet fever. A few days later as I was getting ready to paint them myself, MY SON got scarlet fever.

I finally got around to sanding and priming the front door. I was elated as I finally began to brush the paint onto the doors. Ahhhh. Beautiful green. I finished the first coat on the front doors. Then proceeded to the side door. When I went back to give the front doors a second coat…a problem exposed itself. Nooooooo!

[Read more...]

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...]

Get Your Own Kick in the Pants – Duluth Trading Company contest

duluth_outfit

PHG_kick-in-pants_duluth

People often ask me how I do it all. How do I find the time to DIY, blog, parent, and keep up with housework. I am here to tell you that I don’t do it all! I don’t usually cook amazing meals for the family. In fact, we’ve had nachos or chicken nuggets more than I’d like to admit. Laundry does pile up, but somehow I get it shoved in the washer and dryer twice a week. Folding it is a different story, because Pretty Handsome Guy folds all the laundry. Yup, I won the lottery on that one. He sits in front of Monday night football, golf or whatever sport is on TV and FOLDS IT ALL. Cleaning? I keep the bathrooms somewhat sanitized, but normally things aren’t picked up and put away until the day before the sweet housecleaners come.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I pay someone to clean my house, but honestly I came to the realization a while ago that I just can’t do it all.

Regarding DIY projects, I have to admit to you that I’ve recently been procrastinating. My poor younger son had been hounding me for months to give his room a makeover. After all, his big brother got his own fabulous woodland themed room. I was just about to start working on his room when the whole kitchen debacle happened. My youngest was remarkably understanding for a 6 year old. He patiently waited over a year as I finished the kitchen. But, after that last shelf was hung, he began his pressure again. Frankly after 13 months of hard core renovation, I wanted to just relax, daydream and smell the roses (so to speak.)

Installling Brick Mural Wallpaper | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s when my friends at Duluth Trading Company must have gotten a call from my youngest. [Read more...]

10 Non-Toxic Dust Mite Remedies for Your Home

filtrete-brand-ambassador-Badge_sm

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...]

Video Tutorial: How to Reupholster Dining Chairs and Protect the Fabric

How to Easily Reupholster Your Chairs | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Easily Reupholster Your Chairs | Pretty Handy Girl

In the very beginning of this blog I showed you how to reupholser a yard sale chair. Almost four years has passed and I learned a lot since then. I hope this tutorial will be more helpful to anyone who wants to reupholster a simple dining chair. But, most of all, I want to show you how to protect your fabric seat after you put in the effort to recover them.

How to Re-upholster a Seat and Protect the Fabric | Pretty Handy Girl

Let’s get this chair party started!

Materials:

How to Re-upholster a Seat and Protect the Fabric | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Drill with screwdriver bits
  • Pliers
  • 5-in-1 Painter’s tool (or thin pry bar)
  • Fabric (upholstery fabric will hold up better than thin fabric)
  • Staple gun
  • 3/8″ staples
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses

Instructions:

Turn your chair upside down and locate the seat mounting screws. Unscrew them all to release the chair seat.

How to Re-upholster a Seat and Protect the Fabric | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the chair cushion onto a flat surface. Pry up the staples with the 5-in-1 tool and/or the pliers. [Read more...]

How to Clean INSIDE Your Oven Door

How to Clean Inside Your Oven Door | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Clean Inside Your Oven Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Okay, it’s a New Year and many of us are cleaning up after the holidays and the baking frenzy. Do you have some random drips that somehow made their way inside your oven door?

How to Clean Inside Your Oven Door | Pretty Handy Girl

That impossible to reach location sandwiched between the glass. How does that happen?! Well, I’m going to show you how to access inside your oven door and clean that sneaky drip.

Tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • Towel
  • Rags
  • Window cleaner
  • Razor blade

Optional: Scour Off or non-toxic oven cleaner

 

Instructions:

First remove the bottom drawer of your oven. [Read more...]

Laundry Fun Gift Basket + How to Sew a Basket Liner

DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe | Pretty Handy Girl

Laundry Fun Gift Basket | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I have a bit of an unconventional gift idea. But, frankly it is a gift that is sure to bring some fun and enjoyment to anyone who is tasked with the domestic chore of doing laundry. I think this Laundry Fun Gift Basket would be a wonderful gift for a new homeowner. Or a college student who finally moved out of the dorm into their own apartment. Heck, even Grandma would surely love this gift.

If you don’t have anyone on your list that would enjoy a laundry themed gift basket, I’ll show you how to sew a custom liner for an oval basket! You can use the same instructions to sew a liner for almost any shaped container and turn it into a beautiful gift basket with your own theme.

Laundry Fun Gift Basket | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Laundry Fun Gift Basket | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: Pin on flower

Ideas to put into the Gift Basket:

  • Lavendar scented clothes pins
  • Bottle filled with DIY liquid laundry detergent
  • Dryer balls (Check out these West Elm Hedgehog Dryer Balls)
  • Lavendar dryer bags from Trader Joes
  • Fels Naptha Soap (available at any supermarket in the laundry aisle)
  • Linen scented hand soap from Trader Joes
  • Fresh towels
  • Bar soap
  • “Laundry Loads & Loads of Fun” Artwork

Directions for sewing a basket liner:  [Read more...]

Krud Kutter Exterior Clean Up without a Pressure Washer or Ladder

clean-house

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...]

Shur-Line Touch Up Painter Product Review

filling_touch_up_painter


refill_rollers_for_touch_up_painter
I’m picky about my painting products. In fact I rarely stray from the same brushes, edgers and paints that I’ve used for over 10 years. As a DIY blogger, I will receive “new” painting gadgets to try from time-to-time. It is rare that I end up liking or using them after initially trying it (consequently I won’t blog about them.) The Shur-Line Touch Up painter, although “new”, actually proved to be a product that I do like! I was skeptical when I first received it two months ago. The concept is that you can store a small amount of your leftover room paint and have it available for touch ups. (Anyone who has kids and pets knows that keeping your walls fresh is a challenge. I’ve used the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with good results, but sometimes it scrubs away too much paint.)

After filling the Touch Up Painter over a month ago, I set it aside in our garage until this week.

filling_touch_up_painter

I had 10 minutes before my girlfriends were coming over for coffee. In one of those last minute scrutinies of my home, I noticed the scrapes on the wall! Eeek.

remove_touch_up_painter_from_base

It was the perfect time to try out this new gadget and quickly touch up the scuffs from the crown molding installation.

wall-scrapes_in_paint

When I first opened the Touch Up Painter, I was dismayed to find a big blob of dried paint on the roller. [Read more...]

How to Recover Outdoor Pillows and a Mini Patio Makeover #LowesCreator

how_to_recover_outdoor_pillows

how_to_recover_outdoor_pillows

When Lowe’s challenged me to give an outdoor spot a mini-makeover, I knew exactly where to turn my attention.

Our small paver patio is where we sit on warm spring days to eat lunch, take a break or sip wine after dark. The winter months wreak havoc on the furniture and the pillows I neglected to bring inside.

IMG_2496

dirty_chair_pillow

Cleaning the furniture was as easy as a quick sponging with a Mr. Clean magic eraser.

cleaning_patio_furniture_Mr_clean_magic_eraser

Then I hosed them down and was done in less than 10 minutes. The pillows weren’t as easily cleaned. I tried to wash them, but they were still a little dingy. So, I headed to Lowe’s to look for new ones.

As I entered Lowe’s with my complimentary gift card in hand, I found myself wandering down the curtain aisle again. (Do you gravitate to this aisle too? With all those colors, patterns, and textures it’s hard for me to stay focused on my shopping list.) [Read more...]

Kitchen Progress Update + Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest

FiltreteHealthyHomeClubBadge

kitchen_progress_2.21.13

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...]

How to Keep Your HE Front Load Washer Clean and Smelling Fresh

keep HE Clothes Washer CLean

HE (High Efficiency) washers possess the technology to use a lot less water than the old top load washers. Plus, they cut down on dryer times with an amazing spin cycle that leaves clothes damp not sopping wet. We love our HE washer, but I have several friends who hate theirs. Why? The biggest complaint about the front loading HE washers is that they get mildew in the gaskets and start to stink. We have owned our front loading HE Washer for six years, and this month was the first time I’ve ever had to clean it. Pick your jaw up off the floor and I’ll explain. [Read more...]

Faux Zinc and Chalkboard File Cabinet – Lowe’s Creative Idea

open_drawer_cabinet_chalkboard

This summer I was out thrifting with a few friends for I Heart Thrifting Day. At the Goodwill I grabbed a metal chest that had extra wide and deep storage! That was about the only thing that it had going for it. The hot pink and mint green were disguising the true potential of the chest, but like a color-blind dog, I was able to see beyond its garish appearance.

And then the poor chest sat in our garage for months and months until I had a chance to work a little spray paint magic and turned it into….ta da: [Read more...]

Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza

assemble_tomato_corn_pizza

grilled pesto corn and tomato pizza recipe

I have been pinning lots of grilled pizza recipes, but honestly I’ve never grilled a pizza before. Frankly, I was grossed out by the fact that Pretty Handsome Guy has been grilling salmon, burgers and hot dogs on the grill. (Not grossed out by the food, just the accumulation of oils and grease.) Our grill has not been cleaned in five years. I didn’t want my fancy gourmet pizza to be contaminated by those greasy meats and their cooties. (Call me a grease-a-phob. Go ahead.)

Procter & Gamble sent myself and the other Lowe’s Creators a nice gift basket of products for cleaning my grill.

  • Dawn Grill Cleaner
  • Mr. Clean Outdoor Pro
  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

(All of them are available exclusively at Lowe’s, so grab them next time you’re DIY shopping.)

It didn’t take much to persuade me to tackle that big greasy beast. I confronted the challenge full force with gloves, an entire roll of paper towels and a garbage bag. I was determined to slay that nasty oily grill. [Read more...]