Tag Archives: House

Too silly

‘Recommended’ for me on YouTube today -yes, they’ve got me pegged alright! Erm…Isn’t this just a bit silly and for people with rather too much time on their hands?  Another eco-schmeco waste of time because whatever is wrong with the traditional coir door mat?  …Mind you, I like the idea that I’m ‘being productive’ when I’m drinking wine. I must remember that one!

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Filed under modern life, Things to make you smile

Caring for glassware

GlasswareDishwashers are wonderful, time saving devices but unfortunately do no favours at all to precious glassware.  If you find that your  glasses are losing their sparkle and becoming cloudy it may well be because of the action of the dishwasher – a combination of the softeners that are put into many water supplies, coupled with the high temperatures and the detergent we use in the dishwasher.  

Delicate crystal or precious glassware is therefore best cleaned by hand.  If you don’t want to tackle the washing up straight after you’ve used your glasses, do at least give them a quick rinse so that wine or other liquids aren’t sitting in them for any length of time.  Wash individually in hot soapy water – ordinary washing up liquid will do – and then rinse straight away in hot clear water.  (Don’t rinse in cold water because the change in temperature may make the glass shatter).  Place on a draining rack and then dry with a lint free cloth.  (I usually dry with kitchen roll and then shine with a lint free cloth).

If you have items like narrow vases that are difficult to clean, use denture cleaning tablets to do the work for you but only leave for the recommended length of time.  Rinse and then dry.

Glassware that has a cloudy or milky appearance may be restored to a sparkle by wiping gently with vinegar on a soft cloth.  However, it’s worth saying that liquids can actually permanently etch the surface of glass, giving that same milky appearance. 

The moral of the story is simple: Never leave liquids sitting in glassware for any length of time.

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Filed under General house tips, Housework Tips

A minor incident

Cat1We had a small drama of the kitty kind here last night.  For months we’ve had a pretty little tabby cat hanging around our house and coming in to steal food.  He/she may well be pretty but he is also one of just two candidates who have been duffing up our two young cats, making them very poorly and necessitating visits to the vet. 

Last night I came across him in our garage, which adjoins our utility room … which is where our cats eat and sleep.  (I had been alerted to his presence because there was a right royal slanging match going on between felines at the time).  Since my illness I’m no longer able to run anywhere and as it was literally within minutes of ‘home time’ for my husband ICat2 decided to let the intruder linger where he was because I had a cunning plan.  Dear hubby has a very small can of compressed air that he uses for cleaning computers and I reasoned that if we squirted that towards the cat it wouldn’t hurt him in any way but he would certainly interpret it as a very big cat hissing at him.  If he thinks there is a small tiger in our house he might just stop walloping our mob. 

Husband arrived and immediately suggested opening the up-n-over garage door to let tabby out (I’m still wondering why he thought I couldn’t do that myself).  I explained the cunning plan I had and it was duly put into action.  I retreated to the utility, Husband and Daughter Number 2 (DN2) began ‘Operation Scaredy Cat’.  The garage door was opened to allow him to run out and they started the spraying.  Hiss…Hiss…Hiss… And then I heard DN2’s distressed voice:

‘Oh noooo!  …For the love of God noooo!’v_1535

Evidently tabby cat had not taken the obvious option of running out of the large opened door.  Oh no.  He had run further into the garage, jumped up onto the cluttered work bench at the back, and then up again into the gap (that we didn’t know existed until yesterday),  giving him access to the extremely small space that makes the roof void of our utility room. 

Do you think we could coax him down?  Of course not!  We had done such a plum job of scaring the pants (?) off him that he was ensconsed in there at the back of the ceiling recess.  We put down stinky, enticing cat blob close to the Cat4entrance of his new lair.  No luck.  I stood in the garage alone, blowing kisses…puss~puss~puss~puss~puss… No luck.  We left him a while on his own to contemplate the error of his ways.  No luck.  We couldn’t leave the big up-n-over door open because anyone could come in from the road and steal our crap possessions so by our own cats’ bedtime there was no option but to leave Mr Tabby in his lair, with his supply of food nearby, comfy cat bedding (should he wish to avail himself) and, of course, a nice fresh kitty litter.  (We did wonder this morning if he had tried to phone for room service).

I, of course, went to bed feeling guilty as hell because it was all my stupid idea anyway and I resigned myself to the fact that if kitty wouldn’t come out on his own, kitty would have to be rescued by humans ripping the utility roof to shreds.

Well… this morning?   No sign of him.  My heart sank.  We gave it one last go, retreating to the kitchen (where we could sneakily spy on the up-n-over) and we used the remote to open the door. Within seconds he was out and then beat a hasty retreat to the end of our drive, disappearing under some bushes.

That was the end of it.  Or so we thought.  Half an hour later we were sitting enjoying a nice cuppa when who should stroll past our living room window, cool as a cucumber?  Mr Tabby…heading towards our cat flap, no doubt to grab a spot of breakfast.  He is either a sucker for punishmet, a complete head-case or that extremely rare commodity around here since spaying became all the rage – a stray.  Aww….do you think he’s a stray!?  Aww…well that’s our guess.  In which case he needs our help.  The poor little blighter is just hungry. In which case he might need a good home….in the country….maybe with other cats to play with….  Awwww… 

You don’t think we’re sending mixed messages, do you?

cat5

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Filed under Home, Smile / Humour

Lurking

Noooo!!!Last night I went to bed, was asleep for maybe 20 minutes then something made me wake and look to the area at the top of my pillow, where the bed meets the wall.  Disappearing down into the gap between the two was a big, black spider with a fat, squishy body.  It must have been lurking just inches from my head as I slept and some sixth sense had alerted me to its presence.

My husband, who was still awake at the time, heard the commotion I made as I frantically scrambled out of the way and, at midnight as it was, began a CSI-style hunt for the black beastie of the bed,  lights blazing, LED torch in hand.  Furniture was moved, bedding peeled back and checked, bed stripped and the mattress examined in minute detail.  I stayed for the start of this upheaval but had such a horrible headache and feeling of nausea at the time that I ended up curled up in a chair in the next room.  Given the headache, I actually started to wonder, and worry, whether I’d had an hallucination.  I mean, how could I have seen the little devil in the dark of the bedroom? And what, anyway, had made me wake?

After quite a while of thumping around, my husband emerged from our room, scrunched-up tissue in hand – spider vanquished.  I gather the little swine had found a smart hiding place – between the two divan bases that make up the expanse of our 6ft bed.  In other words my husband had had to dismantle the bed to find it!

It’s not the first time that this has happened to me.  About 18 months ago virtually the same thing occurred when a tickling on my hand made me wake to see a big black spider scuttling just inches from my nose.  Nice eh?  I don’t know – maybe they’re attracted by the sweet smell of my perfume.  Whatever it is, it creeps me out. Big time.

Heh…sleep tight tonight, won’t you?!

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Filed under Home

Displaying plants

Pretty platesPlant pots inside the house need to stand on non-porous trays, plates or saucers.  Be warned that terracotta and un-glazed saucers sold at places like garden centres and DIY superstores may look nice, and may match the pot that you have bought, but because of their porous nature will allow moisture from the plant to percolate down onto your nice coffee table, leaving water damage!

Plastic trays are the obvious solution but they don’t look very nice.  A cheap alternative is to buy a selection of old plates from places like junk stalls and charity shops. Pick ones with pretty edging for a rustic, cottagey feel.  However, be prepared to sacrifice these to your plants because over time water ‘etches’ into the pottery glaze and the face of the plate will be ruined.

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Filed under Gardening, General house tips

Cut flowers

Little Pom PomsCommercially grown cut flowers are treated after they have been harvested so that they last longer.  If you buy from a reputable outlet and follow a few basic rules, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have your flowers for a week or more.  Blooms from the garden are beautiful too, but don’t expect them to last as long.  In either case, the transient nature of real flowers, I think, adds to their beauty.  For me there is something rather sad about the fake versions, no matter how life-like they may look.

The flowers: If you’re buying loose cut flowers follow the basic design principle that things tend to look best grouped in odd numbers so buy three, five or seven stems.   My favourite flower is the oriental lily and just three stems of this in a simple glass vase looks elegant and beautiful, proving that buying flowers needn’t be overly expensive. 

The vase: I tend to prefer glass most of the time – because of its stark simplicity it goes with everything, making the flowers the star attraction.  Other containers do, however, work well and here is where you can use your imagination because if an item has at one time contained liquid, then obviously it can be given a second lease of life as a container for flowers.  Look for antique or vintage kitchen ware – jugs, teapots, tumblers or even little cups.  Old jars, rinsed out and painted with glass paint can look good.  If you have children around you could get them to paint a vase for you.  Even tin cans can take on a new lease of life.  Soak off the labels, clean them thoroughly and make sure there are no raw edges left around the top.  Again, group in odd numbers for maximum impact – three shiny tin cans, lined up in a row and filled with cottage-type garden flowers would look very pretty.

Whatever you use, it should be squeaky clean to begin with as bacteria kills flowers.

Preparing the flowers:  Cut flowers bought from the shop should ideally be dealt with as soon as you arrive home with them.  Unwrap them carefully and trim the stems – take off at least an inch but you can take more if a certain height suits your container better.  (In short containers like cups and tumblers flowers tend to look best if the head appears to float at the level of the rim).   Cut the stems at a slant using sharp scissors or a knife.  I keep a pair of small garden secateurs for this in the kitchen drawer as pre-prepared bunches of flowers often contain flowers with woody stems which play havoc with ordinary scissors. 

Remove all leaves that will sit below the water level otherwise they will start to rot, make the water cloudy and bacteria will begin to grow.

Flowers look equally beautiful whether ‘arranged’ or cut roughly to one length.  You don’t need to be an expert to make a pretty display.  I tend to take pot luck, trimming the stems, individually, to about the same length and slotting them into the vase where I think they look best.  About the only bit of advice I’d give is not to make them look too regimented.  Keep in mind how they would look in the garden, and let your creative eye be your guide.  

Once you have arranged them, fill your vase with lukewarm water into which you have dissolved some commercially prepared flower food – your bunch of flowers should come with a sachet of flower food, either in powder or liquid/gel form.  If you’re buying loose stems, make sure that the supplier gives you a sachet.

Positioning flowers in your home to make them last longer: Avoid direct sunlight, heat and draughts.  Remove faded flowers as they occur.

Butter Cream Rose

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Filed under Gardening, General house tips, General tips

Storing food: Tin cans and aluminium

TinManWhenever you open a tin of food, if you’re not going to use the whole amount put any spare in a bowl or other food container, cover and store in the fridge.  Never store food in an opened tin, either the original or re-using old, (cleaned!) tins.  This is because when a can has been opened and the food is exposed to the air the metal of the can may start to transfer.  (This doesn’t of course apply to tins specifically manufactured and supplied with a reasealable cap, such as cocoa).

Similarly, be careful when using kitchen foil to store food.  Acidic foods like rhubarb, tomatoes and many soft fruits may well react with aluminium foil, allowing trace metal to migrate into the food.  At best your food will have a metallic taste, at worst it could present a health risk.

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Filed under General Health, General house tips, Uncategorized, What's Cooking?