A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: March 2016

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29 March 2016

A Renter's Top 8 Cleaning Cheats

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Here in Puerto Rico, we are renters.  Every time we leave a rental, there is a security deposit at risk and I hate losing portions of that deposit for stupid things that are easily fixed.  Top of the list?  Scuffs that could have easily been removed with a couple swipes of a magic eraser (YES, this post is sponsored by Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers and YES, I truly use them ALL the time!)  Here are my top 8 magic eraser cheats for cleaning little areas that you never really noticed were dirty until it is time to move out and get your deposit back!


Later in the post, you will also be hearing from Jillian Harris (yes THAT Jillian Harris of Bachelorette fame) with her magic eraser tips.

Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Jillian Harris
Jillian shooting the video below!
#1 Let's start back at the VERY beginning when you move INTO a rental and you want it clean clean.  NOT just clean -- but CLEAN clean.  Nobody else's ANYTHING anywhere, you know what I mean?  Using a magic eraser on the sinks, faucets, toilet handles and inside empty drawers can make you rest a little easier that everything is CLEAN clean.

#2 Glass surfaces -  Forget windex!  Use a magic eraser with very little water to clean mirrors and shower glass for a perfect finish.

#3 Hair Dye Spots -- Have you ever dyed your hair?  It is VERY hard not to get a drop or two in the sink or on the floor.  Those dots are VERY hard to get out, but a magic eraser magically (yes magically!) makes them history fast.

#4 This thing:
Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Isn't that gross?  It is the plastic agitator inside the washing machine and I am not sure why it gets so filthy, but it does. 
 A magic eraser before moving out makes it look like this:

Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
I need to clean out that softener space too!  Yuck!

#5 While we are in the laundry room, check THIS out:

Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Oil DIffuser
That is my essential oil diffuser and while it looks perfectly clean, that table it is resting on, the floor around and the diffuser itself is VERY sticky with essential oil build up from months of diffusing.  A magic eraser took care of the stickiness in 30 seconds flat.

#6 I asked Jillian "What are the most disgusting things homeowners leave unclean during an open house for potential buyers...things they normally wouldn't think about? " and her fast answer was  "A disgusting refrigerator is the WORST."  I totally agree.  Cleaning a fridge when you are getting ready to move out is a CHORE even if you try to keep it tidy day in and day out.  There is ALWAYS something sticky that has made its way down beneath the fruit and veggie drawers, you know?  I know that I am getting a bit redundant here, but magic eraser that sticky stuff.  GONE. Deposit saved!

#7 My personal ICK is the floor of the shower.  I always hate the thought of other people's bare feet in the shower and of course, they think the same of mine, so I Mr. Clean the heck out of the shower floor both on arrival and departure from a rental.

Cleaning a Shower with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Nice and Clean!
The shower also collects red water stains -- magic eraser worked quickly!

Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Note the way the handle spiffed up nicely too!
#8 Here in Puerto Rico, it is particularly humid (ALL the time) and mold has a field day.  A towel hanging on a hook it is all it took for this mold to grow.  
Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Mold on grout is no big deal to a magic eraser -- BOOM -- gone.
One note:  I did follow up on this spot with bleach to make sure the mold was dead and gone.

#9 Adding a number nine because I thought Jillian's answer to "best use of a magic eraser" was pretty genius.  She uses it on a flat iron to get rid of hairspray build-up.  Smart!  I bet it would work on any type of hair curler, rollers, etc!

#10 ....AND FINALLY....a bonus number ten because my FAVORITE use for a magic eraser is shining up pumpkins.  no really -- SEE THE MAGIC on my post HERE!


Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Now onto the interview with Jillian!

Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Jillian Harris

Q: What are you doing today with Mr. Clean?
A: Today I'm in New York sharing tips and tricks on how to clean the house in no time, which is so important because we are adding another human being to our lives soon! I've been using Mr. Clean for awhile now - we use it in our business and at the house, but mostly we use it because its a no brainer. You can get so much done is such a short amount of time without having to put a ton of elbow grease into it! I've been sharing my dirty little secrets today around the house - things i use Magic Eraser for, like cleaning up the entire oven, patio furniture, sneakers, and bathrooms.

Q: What are the most disgusting things homeowners leave unclean during an open house for potential buyers...things they normally wouldn't think about? *MY question*
A: A disgusting refrigerator is the WORST.  People are nosy and will investigate the fridge during the open house - don't forget to clear out any smelly food from the fridge.

Q: You have 10 minutes before company is coming over, what do you clean first?What's your priority?
A: I always focus on the kitchen because that's naturally where everyone hangs out. I shove a lot of stuff in the junk drawer and I use the Magic Eraser - it's so funny how much of a difference it makes just getting rid of those little scuffs and those little nicks around the base boards. I also like to spot wash the walls and make sure the island and counter tops are totally cleaned off. I'll grab some fresh flowers from outside if its that time of year, light a candle and sometimes open up the windows just to allow a little bit of fresh air in. And if you have wine out, nobody notices how messy your house is!

Cleaning a Rental Home with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Jillian Harris

Q: What does everyday really look like at your house? We imagine a gorgeous, magazine ready at all times kind of home. Tell us your human?
A: My house stays relatively clean but only because I like to be on top of it. But, when I come home from a trip to New York or a trip to Vancouver, I'm a disaster zone. I dump my bags and my bathroom floor is always covered with clothes, shoes and dog toys - and now there's going to be baby toys too! So while the house is relatively clean, its usually a giant mess disaster. I have lots of baskets around my house so that if I do need to clean in a hurry, there's a basket for all the dog toys, there's a basket for all the shoes. I grab the basket and put it in a corner and all of a sudden people think you are really clean! 

Q: Everything in your house is white and expensive - are you going to roll up your rugs or just take a chance when the baby comes?
A: When we got Nacho our dog, who is a 75 pound boxer, everybody said all your white will be ruined. It has been a little bit harder with the dog - we have a big white linen couch and we have to take the covers off every 2-3 months and wash them which we didn't have to do before. And we wash our sheets once a week and we have to bleach them, but for the most part it hasn't been that bad. We're just going to see how it is with the baby and when we have to replace something we'll replace it with a beige or a light gray. I don't plan on getting any more white nice things in the near future - I'm just going to stick with what we have and ride it out until its ready for the garbage!

Q: Do you have any tips for keeping things neat during a renovation?
A: Renovations are hell to go through - that's why I recommend most people to go on our show because they don't have to live through the renovation. We're in and out in 6 weeks. However, doing a nice big purge and clean before a renovation can really help you live through it. Then, when the renovation is done, most of that dirty work of purging is already done. Before a reno, go through each room and toss or recycle anything you know that's not going to make it back into that space so that you're not hoarding junk and having to deal with it later.

Q: What do you have planned for the future? 
A: Right now I do have a seasonal clothing line that comes out twice a year. It's a small capsule collection only sold online. I'm open to licensing and other opportunities, but one of the things that is more important to me than any financial success is family and my sanity. I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of really successful people in this industry and I find that people never have enough time to just sit around a campfire with their parents or have coffee with their cousin in the morning. I really enjoy that time with my family. I've been very lucky to have different levels of success in my life and for me, the money part doesn't bring me anymore happiness than before when I was in debt. It doesn't change anything for me so I'm going to keep on doing things that make me happy and that still allow me to live a balanced lifestyle. Right now looking to the future, I'm looking forward to being a mom and actually doing less. I also love blogging and want to keep that up!

To hear from Jillian herself, check out this super cute video
(You can click the picture below to go staright to youtube or watch below!!)


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28 March 2016

Lovely Lavender

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A little piece from the cutting room floor of my book, Crafting With Nature...
Crafting With Nature

Confession: I love lavender, but I do not like it “cooked”. The smell of fresh lavender is divine. The smell of dried lavender is still beautiful. Lavender oil is relaxing and subtle. Cooked lavender though? I do not like it. Whether in a hot soap preparation or as a rub for meats, the smell of lavender flowers once heated is not my favorite. Thus, I tend to use the oil instead of the flower buds when making most toiletries because the scent doesn’t cross over into a “cooked” scent. This particular perfume must be heated, due to the beeswax, so I choose to use a lavender essential oil instead of fresh lavender. Garnishing a gift of perfume with the real deal, though? That would be beautiful!

I had honestly never heard of solid perfume until one afternoon while shopping at Anthropologie, I stumbled upon a little tub of it. WOW! So much scent in such a little package! I loved the idea of a tiny little package of perfume, ready to use anywhere without lugging around a full heavy glass bottle. When I stumbled upon some vintage metal Easter eggs and personal portable ashtray, I knew exactly what they were destined for...

Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea

 Read more in Chapter 10 of Crafting With Nature, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, POWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), AlibrisGlose.com and Walmart.com.  The lowest current price is currently holding steady at Amazon on sale at $15.74. Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there!  If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea

Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a FREE copy of Crafting With Nature 
AND a whole bundle of fun craft and garden goodies! RIGHT HERE!


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22 March 2016

Book Release and GIVEAWAY!

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Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea Page St Publishing

It is book release day!  If you pre-ordered your copy of Crafting With Nature, it is already on its way to your doorstep.  You can also order online now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there.  If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

WIN Crafting With Nature AND a Craft Bundle

Wanna win??  For 1 reader, you will get a FREE copy of Crafting With Nature, a sachet of lavender,  Martha Stewart clay tools, some fun SEED BOMBS, plenty of baker's twine and a selection of ribbons, fabric scraps (for Chapter 11 in the book!), some cute little tags, a scattering of pom poms AND some $10 off coupons for Maker's Kit.  Win this bundle by entering the rafflecopter below -- I need your tweets!



Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea Page St Publishing

Also....wanted to give a shout out to a dear friend, fellow blogger AND fellow Page Street author Courtenay of Creekline House!  She did a post HERE about Crafting With Nature and HER book will be coming out before you know it.  You won't want to miss Court's advice on all things home, so go take a few minutes and check out her site!

Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea Page St Publishing


If you want to follow along to see what people are saying about the book and see LOTS of #CraftingWithNature activities, 

Crafting With Nature by Amy Renea Page St Publishing


21 March 2016

The Easter Story in Colors

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Easter Garland Christ Colors by Amy Renea

The story of Easter is the story of Christ and one of the easiest ways to tell the story is through color. 

Easter Story Garland for Crafts Unleashed

Supplies:



Alternatively, you can use ANYTHING of those 5 colors! (Green is sometimes used as well)


Easter Story Garland

Instructions:

The great thing about these garland kits is that everything you need is right there for you.  The rosettes are pre-assembled and the kit comes with string and tiny clothespins.  It is so simple the kids can help!

Making Garlands with Crafts Unleashed

 Simply attach the rosettes with the clips to your strings in the following order:

GOLD: The story starts with God and Christ in Heaven

BLACK: Represents the Sin of Adam and Eve

RED: Represents Christ on the Cross to Save Mankind

WHITE: Represents the Cleansing of Sin

PURPLE: Represents the Royal Kingdom of God

Easter Garland Christ Colors by Amy Renea

The story is simple enough for children to understand, but you can get more detailed in the full Easter story.  In addition to the garlands, I decided to add Bible verses with each colored rosette in frames.  When you are bored at family Easter dinner, they make for a little reading material :)  Here are the verses for your reference:

GOLD: (Matthew 5:48, Revelation 21:22-23)
BLACK: (Romans 3:23)
RED: (Romans 5:8)
WHITE: (Psalm 51:1-2)
PURPLE: (2 Timothy 4:8)
Verses Printable
If you would like to go into even more detail, you could also add in the green rosettes symbolizing new life (Colossians 1:10) and the pink color is sometimes used to illustrate the free gift God gives of salvation (Matthew 28:19-20).    I think the pink is kind of stretching it, so I stuck to the common 5 core colors.  I hope you have a lovely Easter celebration this year --  Christos Anesti!

Easter Garland Christ Colors by Amy Renea



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18 March 2016

A Spring Tea With Piz-Zazzle

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Thanks to Zazzle.com for providing the supplies for this post!

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Unclear Floral Cell Phone Inspiration   :::    Rococo Floral Favor Boxes Sealed with a Vintage Rose Sticker
See that cell phone cover?  That was my inspiration for the whole table; pretty, vintage florals with a translucent modern feel.  I picked out coordinating floral designs at zazzle.com and then used them in a way that let light shine through. The candles wrapped in floral tissue paper (below) are the star of the show and pull the entire tea table together for a grand total of less than $20.  Try getting ONE fancy candle for that price!

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

SOURCES

Floral Cell Phone Cases (mine is the first one)

 So let's jump into the money-saving ideas, shall we?? See these candles?
Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

They are plain religious white candles sold at club stores like Costco and sometimes at dollar stores.  Though I don't really feel right about buying religious candles that are already decorated (think Mary and Jesus) -- the plain ones seem fair game. 

To give them some personality, I use a beautiful tissue paper ($1.95 for two sheets that will cover 3-4 candles) secured with plain old Elmer's glue.  You could also add mod-podge or a stronger finish.  I also add a bit of essential oil to "self scent" my candles.  Costs less and smells great!

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

My next little project was with the tea towels.  
They are an interesting texture -- very similar to cross-stitching fabric, 
so I thought I would add some little embroidery accents.  

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

A little flower here, a little stem outline there...the little pops of red add a bit of character.

Next tip? Use the tea towels as your table linens.  They work *perfectly* as stand-in placemats, or pair them with a scrap remnant fabric (pictured: bleached burlap) for an inexpensive table topper that can be used to clean up the dishes after the party! Tea towels work harder and prettier than any other linen.

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

 Now let's talk PLANTS.  Flowers are always appreciated at a little get-together, but they can be pricey.  To stretch your florals budget, think GREEN and think HERBS.  Raid a few of your potted plants for sprigs of rosemary or mint that can serve as floral filler AND drink accompaniments!

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Mint Adds Color to Glasses   :::   Pour a Pretty Tea Over Herbs
Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
Red Roobios THM Friendly Tea
If you take a closer look at the floral arrangement on the table, you will note that it is just a
 few little flowers and the bulk of the arrangement consists of basil gone to seed, along with a little mint.
Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons
I threatened to cut the head off that "gone to seed" basil last week - it makes great floral filler!
So brew a little tea and bake up some THM friendly treats (pictured: Just Peachy Bars, pg 286) and invite over a friend or two!
A little tissue paper, tea towels and some greens from the backyard pull a pretty and unique table together
in the time it takes to finish Connie Britton's Off Camera podcast (it was good, by the way!)

Anybody in the mood for a little tea party?

Afternoon Tea Party with Zazzle.com and Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons

Want more party talk?  I bet you would like my Girl's Summer Get Together!


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14 March 2016

Peony Flowers as Mulch

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Flowers as Mulch?? YUP.  Peonies in fact -- one of my favorites. 

Peony Mulch by Amy Renea, Author of Crafting With Nature and A Nest for All Seasons

The thing about peonies is that they will dip over and fall to the ground if there is a hint of wind or rain in your garden.  those blooms do NOT have to go to waste though.  Your first layer of defense is to pick those blooms and see if they will stand up straight in a vase for an arrangement.  Oftentimes, the night after a rain, those peonies will be just fine for flower arrangements.

Tree Peony Bouquet by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons, Author of Crafting With Nature

However, if the blooms are too far gone to work well or a bouquet, they are still perfect for MULCH.

What?  Mulch?  I thought that was made out of like wood chips??  Right?!?!

Well, yes, but technically mulch is any organic material that will smother weeds and add organic material to your soil.  
Flower petals can do both -- especially if they are in mass amounts as in the bombastic blooms of a peony.  Here is how it works:

Peony Petals as Mulch by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons, author of Crafting With Nature

Peony Petals as Mulch by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons, author of Crafting With Nature

Peony Petals as Mulch by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons, author of Crafting With Nature

Peony Petals as Mulch by Amy Renea of A Nest for All Seasons, author of Crafting With Nature

Expect peonies to start breaking ground in the next several weeks, depending on how far south you are. 
STAY OFF OF SAID GROUND as long as possible to preserve all the good the snow has done for the soil!


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