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Posts Tagged ‘laundry’

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The Ginger Menace inspects the new colour…

I’ve been on holidays for the last month, with a full list of things to do. Some of which I have managed to tick off, in between binge-watching British crime TV and regular nap-times.

One of my holiday jobs was to finally paint the laundry door and window on the interior. When I moved in, I had run out of the paint I used and never quite got around to buying another tin of paint and finishing the job. It wasn’t all paint-tin procrastination, though. I had to fill a hole that had been left in the door thanks to a lock replacement prior to me buying the house, mind you I did that in 2011…there’s still 5 years of “one day I’ll get around to it…” in there.

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The before shot.

I had to remove venetian blinds, scrape, sand, fill and prime the door and window: some of the old paint was in pretty bad nick. Then, after 2 coats of primer (it’s a wet area, so I wanted to get very good coverage before I top-coated), I applied the water-based enamel.

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Job almost done.

The dark surround does make the room a little darker, but it’s so worth it. If I want the room to be lighter, I could open the venetian blinds a tad.

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This looks like…another tick on my to do list 🙂

 

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This post is particularly for Mrs Menagerie, recently located to Melbourne with her menagerie, but still likely to need a dryer. And to Mme Luscious whose advice I finally followed 😉

If you’re a regular reader, you’re already aware my house is also home to two feline overlords. Both of whom bring a variety of different things to the house: snuggles, bossiness, the desire to drink the water I clean paint brushes in and stone cold rat killing to name a few.

What they also bring is an abundance of cat hair: black medium length cat hair and long butterscotch/ginger/white cat hair.

In fact, they don’t just bring an abundance of cat hair, they bring an over-abundance of cat hair. An over-abundance that I have to vacuum off my floors (otherwise I end up with little cat hair tumbleweeds when there’s a draft or a breeze), brush off my clothes, vacuum off my quilt covers and sofas (they seem to pick one place to sleep and build a little mat of hair to sleep on) and generally spend a lot of energy and time removing.

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Hard at work adding an extra layer of cat hair insulation to the bed, to keep our owner warm. Because we’re thoughtful.

I sometimes consider the option of getting one of those hairless, evil looking gollum cats as my next cat as another way of dealing with the pet hair. FYI: after picking up the Butterscotch Cavalier yesterday, I found one hair that was 12cm long on my sleeve. 12CM LONG, that’s about a quarter as long as him if he’s not stretching! I wanted to take a photo but I seriously have too many cat photos as it is.

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Former owner of the 12cm long cat hair, looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and like he’s not the reason I spent so much time removing lint and cat hair.

What you may not also know – unless you’ve met me personally – is that my wardrobe basics tend towards the darker end of the spectrum: black, grey, red black, blue black, carbon black, mars black…you get the picture. Even when I am wearing colour, it’s likely I will be pairing it with at least one black item, if not more.

Having a mostly black wardrobe is a commitment as is. Having a mostly black wardrobe with cats, is…beyond commitment: lint and cat hair can ruin the effect quite substantially.

I have had to make peace with the fact that my black clothes are never going to be quite as black and immaculate as the next person’s, not because they are not black, but because they are covered in almost irremovable cat hair.

I have given up on buying certain textures of fabric because they are industrial strength magnets to cat hair. I only wear certain clothes when I have ample time to spend on ensuring they are cat hair free. I have washed items of apparel and manchester several times, to hang them out…to find they are still covered in cat hair.

I have tried every single type of lint and pet hair remover on the market to no avail: enjo, the sticky one, the brush one, the one on my steamer (although it’s optional, the steamer head attachment has become the default on my steamer. It never comes off). To.No.Avail.

Yes they remove some cat hair, and I am sure if I lived in a cat free and lint free environment they would work. But I don’t, and the amount of time and energy required to completely remove the cat hair using these methods…can be better spent elsewhere.

Up until now, the best and quickest method I had found to remove cat hair is to damp my hands and wipe it off my clothes/manchester. The dampness picks up the cat hair and you can wash it off your hands quickly and easily, then continue. Not perfect, but quicker and more comprehensive than the other options.

So in case you haven’t got the message yet: cat hair is the bane of my life. I know it’s a first world problem, but it’s still the BANE.OF.MY.LIFE.

For the last couple of years I have been pondering some sage advice Mme Luscious gave me. I noticed that although she was cat-sitting one/two very furry cats, none of her black clothes were covered in cat hair. This wise oracle of cat-hair free clothes said: “Dryers get rid of cat hair. Get a dryer!”

Dear reader, you may wonder why I didn’t immediately follow her instructions (I wish I could have, it would have saved me umpteen hours of my life pursuing other methods to remove cat hair). Unfortunately, my laundry with its limited size and top loading washing machine was not set up for me to purchase one of those mythic cat hair removing items. So I had to pin that idea to pursue later.

The opportunity for later came about 5-6 years down the track, when I returned from my trip to UK and Barcelona. About 3 loads in to post-holiday and post-house-sitter washing, my faithful little washing machine gave up the ghost.

While saying goodbye to my little top-loader was sad, it was also an opportunity: to get a front loading washing machine (because they consume less water and are often more energy efficient) and a dryer (for the cat hair). After 3 weeks of research, I decided not to get a combined washer/dryer: although they present well, the energy efficiency they report on is often only the washing machine component; plus the dryer has significantly less capacity than the washer…if you can’t wash what you dry in the same machine without hassle, it seems a little pointless.

So I decided to buy a separate washer and dryer. Even though the current layout of my laundry and items in it limits placement, that’s something I can address later on. DIY Dad helped me by taking down my amazing drying racks (I have saved these, when I redo my laundry completely you will see them again) and fixing the dryer to the wall.

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I am prepared to live with this layout and the temporary loss of my drying racks, for the benefits offered in the form of cat hair removal.

It’s not in the most ideal place, but until I redo my laundry and get some cabinetry in there…it’s in the only place it can really go.

Now to report on the results

I am writing this section for Mrs Menagerie, she owns 2 feline overlords and one canine overlord and suffers some of the same problems that I do in terms of pet hair.

Below is a photo of a dress that is covered in cat hair: I had to pick Sir Pouncealot up and carry him inside (something he took with as much grace as he can muster, that is to say none, but there is always a lot of squirming, growling and general grumpiness):

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A very extreme before example…

And a close up so you can see the hair:

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must.find.lint.brush

Below is the same dress, after having been washed and then shoved in the dryer with other black items also suffering from a surfeit of cat hair. This dress was probably the worst example, so the cat hair is not completely gone (you can still see one or two pieces on it) after only one step through the washing/drying process:  See my note below the picture for more findings.

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Most cat hair: begone!

Most of my clothing is not as covered in cat hair as this dress, so the dryer completely removes the cat hair in one go.

For this dress, next time I wear it I will not get it as covered in cat hair so the next time it goes through the same washing and drying process…ALL the cat hair will be removed (I have actually tested this on other items).

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The cat hair and lint left behind from that load of drying (aka: reasons why you empty the lint trap each time you run the dryer)

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Progress has been made on the great Laundry Storage Crisis as well as the Too Small Fridge Front!

First up, I popped into Ikea and nabbed a Lerberg shelving system (hello crossing something off the New Year’s Houseolutions 2013 list). At the moment it’s doubling as my plastic bag storage zone, plus storing a heap of stuff I am in the middle of using for DIY or stuff that I can’t put out in the garage because it’s damp and leaks:

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Shelving, rather than a indiscriminate pile of junk that made it difficult to mop and vacuum. YAY!

Once I have done something about the garage and/or finished some of the projects I have got going, the contents of the shelves will be more house-like, and less DIY-like. Either way, progress has been made and order is being restored to the Laundry!

The Ermagerd Lerberg purchase was brought about by an amazing bit of freecycling thanks to DIY Dad (runs in the family, clearly). DIY Dad was offered a bar fridge sized freezer which he took, then realised that he didn’t have much use for it. He offered it to me and I took it up, as the freezer in my small fridge is…somewhat constraining.

It’s now installed in the laundry, which meant a rejig of the layout and items on the racks above it…leading to the Lerberg purchase moving up on my list of things to do:

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Laundry, with drying rack capabilities activated and freezer newly filled with discount roasts, dumplings and steam buns.

Speaking of rearranging things, I love that post-rearrangement Eureka moment that happens a couple of days/weeks down the track when you realise the rearrangement allows you to do something else completely rad!

In my case, when I first re-arranged the laundry, I had the garment steamer to the left of the door, sitting in front of the vacuum cleaner. So that side of the room looked a little bitsy and messy…plus I kept on knocking it when I walked passed with stuff in my arms. Then I remembered that the steamer has a telescoping pole, so there was nothing to stop me reducing the height of the pole and popping it on top of the bench space newly created by the bar fridge freezer – GENIUS!

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More fun with cornice cement

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I got some more DIY over the weekend – using cornice cement to fix a hole in a door. Cornice cement and 1/3 of the instructions were DIY Dad’s idea, the rest I had to work out as I went along.

From the looks of it, the previous repairer cut out a piece of styrofoam to fill an old lock or handle in the door, then puttied up either side of it.

Dear former repairer, thank you for making what I am about to do look expert

With nothing to hold the putty slabs in place and the door having reasonable use, eventually one of the putty slabs fell out exposing the styrofoam. Yay for that professional look.

Luckily, because there was a lock or handle there, the cylinder I was about to fill had a side indent (where the latch would have gone). What that meant was that as long as whatever I used to fill it also filled that cavity, the side indent will chock the cylinder of fill in place. i.e. it will act to lock the fill in place, unlike the styrofoam and putty cylinder which basically had nothing to lock into and was therefore bound to eventually fall out.

The handy side divot, previously filled with a ball of scrunched up masking tape.

If that divot had not been there, I could have hammered some nails into the cylinder bit as a solve to make sure that the filler did not fall out the first time I closed the door…or the tenth time.

First thing to do, was to cover one side of the hole with masking tape (at that point the instructions from DIY Dad ended, but once I was in the midst of the work I realised what else I needed to do):

One side covered

Then you need to cover the other side to about half way with masking tape (from the bottom up). The cornice cement is like a thick creamy ganache filling for a cake, it’s relatively firm but it is sloppy and it will not stay in place without something to hold it. Hence the tape on two sides.

You are going to fill into the little container you have created with the masking tape. When you reach almost to the top of the half way, you are going to lay another struip of masking tape down, making your container higher – you’ll keep doing this for as long as you need till you get to almost the top.

Unless you are smart and buy a piping bag and pipe in the cornice cement, you are going to need room to get your spatula in to fill the cavity. That’s why you tape half the way up and then tape as you go (wipe the excess cornice cement off with a damp cloth and then tape, if you want the tape to adhere).

The trick is to overfill so that your masking tape bulges out a little at the sides – that way when you put that last bit of tape on, you can put some pressure on the filler and it will expand upwards to fill that last little bit of air. I taped everything down and then used two pieces of thick cardboard and a C Clamp to apply some pressure to squidge that filler upwards:

Under pressure, squidging away

I took the C Clamp off after about 2 hours as I needed to close the door. I left the filler 24  hours to dry with the tape on and then I peeled it off to see how I went:

The front bit, where I was filling from (hence the more tape stripes)

It’s not totally straight, I will have to sand and then apply a bit of putty. But it is still 100% ahead of where it was.

The other side

Not bad for a first attempt on minimal instruction 😉

 

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Another Homemade Sunday project I’ve undertaken is to rescue the wine bottles used in my house. Instead of recycling them via the council, I have stored them until I had a big enough batch then soaked their labels off and removed the tin around the neck of the bottle:

 

There were 6 empty bottles, hanging on the wall

 

Unless you plan to turn them into vases or flower holders, you’ll need to keep the lids;)

The easiest way to remove the tin around the neck is to use an old fashioned can opener – it’s the easiest thing to get in between the tin and the neck of the bottle and then you can cut the tin as you would a can. You will need to be careful – hold the bottle so it doesn’t slip and keep your fingers out of the way of the tin’s sharp edges and also in case the opener slips.

Eventually, I hope to use these bottles to hold lemon cordial but while my lemons ripen I am using it to hold scented waters that I have made as homemade sunday projects.

Lemongrass water

This is lemongrass water I made by pruning my lemon grass and then infusing it with water (i.e. pouring water all over it and bring it to the boil). Using a big soup pot, I managed to get two batches of lemongrass water out of the prunings.

 

Lemongrass water in the background

 

What I have done with the lemongrass water so far:

  • I add it to my laundry (once the water is in the tub) to lightly scent my laundry.
  • When m flexible room scenter/laundry freshener ran low, I added more bicarb to the jar (front right in the picture above) and also added a slurp of lemongrass water to it.

I plan to make a facial spritzer and a room spray with it too – just researching spray bottle options atm.

Lemon leaf water

As you know, I partially pruned my lemon and used the branches and leaves for decoration at my impromptu harvest dinner, the next day I stripped all the leaves from the branches (I have reused the branches as decoration) and boiled the leaves and blossoms up to make lemon leaf water:

 

 

Still life with bottles of lemon leaf water standing to attention on the window sill

 

The smell of lemon from leaves is quite strong and pungent and will make a good laundry scenter, additive to my bicarb room/laundry scenter and will also make a good room spray.

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The urge to collect Moccona jars is strong in my family – DIY Dad tends to buy and keep the larger ones while I usually get the smaller ones to keep spices in.

Obviously at some point, one reaches critical mass for the amount of Moccona Jars one household can contain. However while DIY Dad has met that threshold, casa moi has yet to. I blame the fact that I keep on finding new and different things to store in them as the reason why I can always find a way to reuse them…

DIY Dad is now handing all his larger jars over to me as he collects them. So far, one jar has become the resting place for my flexible room and laundry scenter, while others contain split peas and rice.

Inspired by how some other blog owners are jzuzzing their laundry areas by putting laundry powder into fancy apothecary jars, I decided to do a somewhat less fancy tidy up using moccona jars. I have a wealth of them, so why not?

Very fancy looking laundry area

Obviously my laundry is not going to look as House and Garden or Home Beautiful as the examples you can find online, but this way I don’t have to go out and buy apothecary jars plus the window ledge I intend to keep them on is not that wide.

Although Moccona jars do not seal perfectly (i.e. they are not great for jam making or preserving), they do seal well enough to keep laundry power, napisan and etc in.

Et voila:

We not fancy...but we not cheap either

So now I have a jar for napisan, a jar for laundry powder and a jar for my amazing multi-purpose lemon, rosemary and lemongrass (late addition to the mix) room/laundry scenter.

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Bathing beauties

The next set of rooms to be finished – again barring touch ups and final once overs – were the wet areas: bathroom, toilet and laundry.

Before picture blurred so as to protect you from the full horror.

Before picture blurred so as to protect you from the full horror.

DIY Dad helpfully drilled and hung the mirror prior to consultation, so it warmed the cockles of his patience no end to be told that it needed to be 15cm to the right and 15 cm above where he put it so we could fit the little Grundtal shelves he would also be fixing to the wall.

(Luckily he is used to his patience being tested – wait until I tell you about how I said he could put my bed together but forgetting to tell him I didn’t want it in its four poster configuration…)

Slightly before finishing touches, somewhat after major work completed

Slightly before finishing touches, somewhat after major work completed

I decided on ikea grundtal for the functional accessories in these areas (shelves, loo paper roll holder, towel rack and etcs), unfortunately to deteriment of DIY Dad’s patience and the heads of his masonry drill bits…

BS, after C2

BS, after C2

It turns out the bricks used in the interior of the house are inconsistent in terms of hardness – a reflection of brick making in the 50’s where the technologies used did not enable / allow consistency in making and baking them.

The bathroom was mostly fine, but the bricks used where I wanted the Grundtal shelves and Tvatta drying racks were adamantine.

Beware all masonry drill bits who enter here

Beware all masonry drill bits who enter here

Even though we should be grundtal at Ikea for being tvattas about sustainability and they do need a boot up the ektorp and a swift punch in the hemnes for it; by golly do they make good storage.

Ironing board is display only, trust me.

Ironing board is for display only, trust me.

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