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...]

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...]

My Colortopia Show Your Colors


I have to admit to y’all that I have illegal tendencies. I haven’t been arrested yet, but sometimes I fear that my prying eyes may get me in trouble one day. [Read more...]

A Little Love Affair


Today I have a little love story to share with you. I fell in love with my husband many, many years ago! Back then, this was us:

Go ahead, get your laughs in now!

He looked like Axl Rose to me, and that’s all it took to make my perm and hairspray lovin’ heart to go pitter patter. If you told me that one day I would marry this guy and have two boys, I might have believed you in a puppy love kind of way. But, never in a million years could I have realized how leaving one rose on his windshield would lead to the wonderful life and family we have together. We will be celebrating our sixteenth wedding anniversary (and 24 years dating) this weekend. Believe me, those numbers are as shocking to me as they are to you.

But, I wouldn’t be totally truthful if I didn’t tell you that my heart strays occasionally. It happens more than I like to admit. This is my affair: [Read more...]

Glidden’s My Image Inspiration – Use a Favorite Photo to Pick a Color Palette


Do you look through magazines and catalogs and find yourself wishing you knew the color of the room you are drooling over? Or do you have a favorite photo and want to build a room’s color palette around that photo? Wish no longer! Now you can easily do both of these things and more. Glidden has a new tool called My Image Inspiration which allows you to upload your own image and get color suggestions based on the photo.

I took the tool for a test drive using my laundry room inspiration mood board. First you upload a picture from your computer, or choose an image from your Facebook album. (If you need more inspiration there is a photo gallery that you can browse and select one of their photos to use.) [Read more...]

Glidden’s My Colortopia Widget – How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color



I admit it, I’m a color snob. This is not to say that I don’t love color — quite the opposite. But, I am particular about the colors I choose for my home. I have specific desires for an emotion that I want each room to invoke.

Our bedroom must be restful and relaxing:

Glidden Limoges Blue #A1948

Our kitchen has to be cheery and sunny:

Glidden Orion #A0835

And our living room has the perfect balance of warmth and comfort:

Glidden Thyme #A0948

As an artist (I majored in illustration), you might think that picking colors comes easy to me. Actually yes and no. I can usually narrow down the color family that I want for a room, but finding the exact shade, hue, and saturation can be tough. I am drawn to colors that are bold, but when they are large scale on the walls, I find them to be overwhelming.

This is why I’m in love with the new My Colortopia widget from Glidden! My Colortopia asks a few simple questions about personality, mood, design tastes, etc. Within minutes, it dishes up a suggested palette to explore.

When I took the quiz, I was rewarded with these suggestions:

Powder Blush 70RR 65/053

Rosy Mauve 10RR 22/178

Black Mahogany 70RR 07/100

Imagine my surprise! This is the color palette of our mudroom! Light neutral lavender on top of the chair rail, a medium lavender-mauve on the bottom, and the bench is a warm mahogany color.

Why don’t you try taking the quiz for yourself?

A few tips for test driving the color:

  1. Pick up a few similar paint swatches. Stick them behind the light switch cover or beside the window and door trim in the room. Try the swatches on different walls and different times of day. A color that looks good on a sunny wall may not look so great on a shady wall.
  2. After a week, do you still like the swatches? Which is your favorite?
  3. Whoa now, don’t purchase a full gallon yet. Now is a good time to pick up an 8 oz. tester of the color. Paint a 2′ – 3′ section next to the trim in the room and repeat on different walls in the room. (If you are fearful of painting directly on the wall, pick up some white poster board to paint on instead.) Live with the paint squares for a few more days to make sure you truly love the color.
  4. If you aren’t quite ready to commit to painting your wall, go ahead and buy some poster boards and paint the swatches on the poster board and hang or prop them up in your room.
  5. A few things to keep in mind while you are looking at a color. Be aware that the color may change as the seasons change. Winter yields brighter and cooler colored light in our home because the trees are bare. In the summer, our light changes to a greener cast and less harsh lighting as the trees fill out with leaves. Personally, I wait for summer to roll around before choosing any colors in the green or yellow family. That insures that they still look good with the light reflecting off the leaves and into the room.

If you follow all these steps you are sure to find the perfect color for your room!

If you are still nervous, try asking the Colortopia Team (a group of highly trusted design bloggers!)

Now, go ahead and purchase that gallon of Glidden paint for your room!

You may be interested in these posts for more tips on painting like a pro:

  1. How to Prep Before Painting
  2. Picking Your Paint and Sheen
  3. Painting and Touch Ups

Best of luck on your color adventure! I’d love to see what colors My Colortopia picks for you! Send me a photo or upload it to my Facebook page or Google+.

Disclosure: I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Trick or Treat Bags Using Elmer’s #GlueNGlitter and Recyclables


My kids like to raid our recycling bin. They make the most imaginative things out of milk jugs, strawberry pints and toilet paper rolls. In fact, my five year old has been making his own Halloween costume from paper bags and tape. So, when #CollectiveBias sent out a challenge to make trick or treat bags with Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Spots and Elmer’s Foam Board, I knew right where to head for supplies: Walmart AND the recycling bin! I hereby invite you to join me (and my escort) as we gather the supplies for this project.



Start by removing the handles from the paper grocery bag and then cuff the top of the bag by rolling it under two times.

Pick out two sheets of newspaper (I used the obituaries. Truly Halloweeny don’t you think?!) and bring the paper bag and newspapers outside and spray them with spray adhesive.

It is important to wrap the paper bag with the newspapers as soon as possible for a maximum bond.

Wrap the bag neatly like a present with the newspaper. Use clear packing tape to tack any loose edges down. Also add a strip of packing tape to the inside of the bag cuff for extra support for the handle (should your child bring home pounds of candy!)

Take out your sharpie pen and draw lines in a spiderweb pattern on the bag.

Set the bag aside and collect the orange foam board, x-acto knife (with a fresh blade), pencil and the letter print out.

Set the letter on top of the foam board. I usually line the edge of the letter up with the edge of the foam board for less material waste.

Press firmly with the pencil as you trace around the letter. When you remove the print out you should see an indented outline.

Using the x-acto knife, cut out your letter shape. Use a metal ruler to cut straight lines. If your knife starts to tug and pull at the foam board, put a new blade in.

Clean up any ragged edges with the x-acto knife.

Use a few Elmer’s Craft Bond glue spots to affix the Elmer’s foam board letter to the bag.

To create a little spider, glue two pom-poms together with another glue spot. If you have black twisty-ties you are good to go aren’t you special, you don’t have to color them. (I only had white ties so I colored them with the black sharpie.) Wrap four twisty-ties around the middle to create the spider’s eight legs.

Use another glue spot to glue the spider to the bag.

Print out a bat silhouette downloadable template and layer it on top of black poster board. Cut out a few bat silhouettes.

Use a glue spot on the center of each bat to glue them to the bag. Fold the bats wings up for more dimensional interest.

Add stickers (or pre-punched paint chip stars using Elmer’s Glue-All multi-purpose glue) to the bag.

I incourage you to decorate your bag anyway you like. Bust out your craft supplies for inspiration.

If spiders and bats aren’t your thing. How about spooks and spirits?

To add the handles, follow the directions on your grommet kit. 1. Punch a hole in the bag at the top of the bag using a hole punch. 2. Insert a long grommet through the hole. Lay a short grommet on top. 3. Hammer the grommets together using the metal rod tool that came with the grommet kit.

Cut off the sleeves from a t-shirt. Cut two 2.5 – 3″ wide strips. Then stretch the sleeve loop in opposite directions. This will make the shirt material roll.

After you have stretched and rolled the sleeve loops, cut them at the seam. Then thread each end through the grommets on the bag and tie a double knot on the inside of the bag.

Now gather up your little trick-or-treater and give him this unique candy collection bag! My sons’ had the biggest smiles on their faces. Definitely worth the effort to make these bags.

This eency weency spider is my favorite!

Way more personalized than these generic plastic pumpkins, don’t you think?!

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide, because I love them equally as much. Spook or Spider?

Eeeeeekkk, we can hardly wait for October 31st!

Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #CollectiveBias #CBias. The ideas and opinions shared in this post are purely my own from my own crazy creative head.

Follow up: Well, my youngest loves his bag so much that he told me, “Mom, we should decorate every side with a different holiday.” And that is exactly what he did today during quiet time. I just want to stop time and keep him five forever!

3M Product Giveaway and a Tale of Lead Testing


Good morning boys and girls! Today I have a tale with a moral for you. So, go ahead and gather round and put on your listening ears. For those who are excellent listeners I will have a special surprise giveaway for you at the end! Hint, hint:

This is the story of a woman named Mrs. Noggin.

She moved into an old house built in 1940. A friend told her that old homes could contain lead paint, so she turned to the yellow pages to find someone to check her home for lead paint.

First she called Mr. Nose. Mr. Nose claimed to be the most knowledgeable expert in the field. He could sniff lead paint from a mile away.

He spent about 15 minutes with his snout held high, then pronounced her home safe. But, she didn’t feel safe. So she  called Mr. Tongue. He claimed to be the most professional expert lead paint detection service in the area.

He spent 20 minutes licking every painted surface in her home and then gave her a licked stamp of “lead-free” approval for her home.

She was still a bit concerned so she contacted Eyeball Lead Paint Detector. He told her to rest easy because he could spot lead paint in a snow storm while blind-folded!

He spent only 10 minutes searching her home. His eyes blinked quickly as he scanned each room. Then he told her that he hadn’t seen a speck of lead paint.

Mrs. Noggin felt better and settled down for her coffee and some YouTube browsing.

That’s when she stumbled upon this video:

Poor Mrs. Noggin. She should have watched the video before calling the “so-called” experts.

Didn’t she know? Lead is not detectable by taste, smell or sight.

The moral of the story boys and girls is to use your head to detect lead! Spend a few bucks to purchase your own 3M Lead Check Paint Tester Kit. You’ll have the results in seconds and avoid costly testing.

In all seriousness, if you test and the results are positive, you should definitely call an expert if the lead is on a surface in your home (doors, windows, trim moulding, floors, etc.) Lead paint removal is best left to the professionals who can safely remove and dispose of the paint properly.

For items that can be thrown away like toys, furniture or other items, contact your local solid waste management facility to determine how to properly dispose of the item.

I contacted our county’s solid waste management department and was told that our landfill can accept lead painted furniture as long as the lead paint is not in liquid, fine chips or powder form. They told me I don’t need to bag it, but I did anyway because I don’t want anyone to accidentally be exposed. And I am fearful that a curbside treasure hunter may unknowingly take home my lead laden pedestal.

I also called the National Lead Information Center and asked about my green cabinet that had tested positive for lead paint (but the paint is in good shape.) The representative told me that I can coat the cabinet in polyurethane to protect myself and my kids. I will definitely not sand it which would cause the lead particles to become airborne. Instead I’ll gently clean the surface with a disposable wipe. Then once it is dry I will coat it with multiple layers of polyurethane.

She did recommend having my children tested for lead in their system. Unfortunately the most accurate test requires a blood draw from a vein. ;-( Ouch.

Now for the fun stuff! Remember this post about the 3M Couple Speak competition? Well, the contest is still going strong. There are some hilarious translations and videos highlighting the ways that couples communicate (or should I say “miscommunicate!”) Hurry up and enter to be eligible to win a weekly prize of $250 for the best translation or a grand prize of $5,000 for the top two videos!

3M Frameworks is also kind enough to offer one package of 3M products for one of my “good listeners!”

Included in the Sample Pack:
3M LeadCheck Swabs
1 Roll of Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape
3 Stages of Sanding (green, maroon, gold sandpaper)
1 pair of gloves,
Cool valve respirator
Very hip 3M Tekk eye protection

So, here are your instructions, listen carefully:


In order to participate in the product giveaway you must:
1) Participate in the translation sweepstakes being hosted on the 3M Framework Facebook Page (simply “Like” the page to participate).
2) Post a comment on my blog post saying that you participated, and leave your entered translation in the comment.

A winner will be chosen at random the end of the day Sunday, Sept. 18th

I can’t wait to hear all your funny transations! I need some good cheering up since learning that I have to throw away my chippy pedestal.

Share this contest with your friends: Share on Twitter or Share on Facebook



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post paid for by 3M. All the ideas and information about the story and lead paint testing are mine. I am passionate about sharing information with others to keep you and your loved ones safe from lead paint poisoning. Therefore, I would have written this post even if it wasn’t sponsored.

For more information about lead paint contact one of these resources:

National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424-LEAD
Consumer Product Safety Commission: 1-800-638-2772

My Sponsors Rock!


Hey y’all! Lots going on in Pretty Handyville this week. I’ve been busy trying out some new products. Plus, I’ve been trying to keep my youngest occupied now that big brother is back in school. It really is amazing how much he entertained his younger sibling, despite the occasional “MOM, he’s “insert-annoying-action” me!” But, we’re getting used to the “back to school” schedule and I came up with this adorable rock magnet craft to entertain my youngest. You can view the tutorial over at Parentables.

I especially wanted to pop in to introduce you to my sponsors! In case you didn’t read the headline, I think they really ROCK! These wonderful small companies make it possible for you to receive all my tutorials for FREE! Believe it or not, without their sponsorship I would be operating this blog at a financial loss. So, please give these great companies a big thank you.

Cutting Edge Stencils – Beautiful Wall Stencils for Home Décor

Cutting Edge Stencils just sent me the Georgian Ceiling Medallion stencil to try. I just used it in my dining room today to stencil a faux ceiling medallion around the chandelier base! I can’t wait to show you, it is gorgeous!!! Stay tuned for pictures and a tutorial.

Tomboy Tools -Real tools made for a woman’s hand

Okay, I have to admit, I’ve steered clear of pink tools for a long time now. I just had this preconceived notion that they weren’t made tough like a guy’s tool. Well, I stand corrected! Laura send me a set of Tomboy tools to try out. I’ve been using them all week! They are definitely as tough as my “boy” tools. But, the nice thing is that the grips are made a tad smaller for a woman’s hand. I’ve noticed this particularly with the plyers and the Tape Measure. Currently here are my favorites: Magnetic hammer, Tape Measure, Needle-nosed plyers and you can’t forget the very feminine (but tough as nails) leather tool belt!

Any Pretty Handy Girl reader who places an order through Tomboy Tools during the month of Sept. can be entered into a drawing for the Tomboy Tools Picture Perfect Level (retail value $34).  You HAVE to see this tool – definitely genius design at work. It makes hanging pictures, towel rods, etc a breeze! You can also use it for hanging multiple pictures at the same level and spacing!) Simply place your order and on the “company” line of the shipping address please type: PHG Reader to be entered in the giveaway contest. The winner will be announced on Oct. 2nd.

simplify101 – more fun. more done.

I took the Organizing 101 course earlier this year. It was a very thorough workshop and the materials Aby sent were neat, orderly and easy to follow (everything you would expect from a personal organizer!) The course was very motivating and I’ve been slowly working on reclaiming my home this year. But, I had been struggling with how to get my kids on board. Especially my oldest who left me this clear message that he has TOO MUCH stuff in his room:

He and I have been working together using the lessons I learned in Organizing with Your Kids (another workshop offered by simplify101.) I was very skeptical that we’d be able to work together to clean, de-clutter and organize his room. He and I worked in small 15 minute segments of time. Every time the buzzer rang, he wanted to go for another 15 minutes of cleaning! He even got mad at me last night because we didn’t have time to work together on cleaning his room. Honestly, I can’t believe it either. A kid who is mad because we don’t have time to clean his room? Alien, I’m convinced.

If you have kids, simplify101 is offering my readers a discount. Receive 15% off the Organizing with Your Kids workshop when you sign up between now and Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Use the discount code: PHGSAVE15 at checkout. (May not be combined with other offers.)

Talk for Tots – Custom Printed Announcements and Invitations

Talk for Tots is your one stop shop for all things invitations and announcements. With the holidays fast approaching (yeah, I know what happened to Summer?), it is not too early to think about your custom holiday cards this year. Talk for Tots has some great designs to choose from.

Love Drop – Spend a Dollar, Change a Life

Finally, this group isn’t a sponsor, but I believe in sponsoring them! Love Drop is a non-profit group that helps people in need. They choose one person/family per month and try to help them with basic needs that they have. This month they are on a mission to help Melanie, a mother of four who was struck by a car while out walking with her teenage son.

The founders are real down to earth people just like you and me. And they are on a mission to help people with small donations from ordinary folks like us. Won’t you take a moment to check out their site and see some of the past “LoveDrops” they have accomplished? It will make your day ;-).