So What if you Have an Organised Kitchen? ? Part 2

So What if you Have an Organised Kitchen? ? Part 2

Nowadays, many kitchen models boasts of spaciousness: spacious cabinets, spacious cupboards, inexhaustible drawers. We just can’t get enough of space. And yet, what we didn’t know is that we have all the space we need in our kitchens if we only knew how to maximise them.

Here’s part two of things you can do towards a kitchen you won’t lose your way in.

1. Keep them Contained!

Admit it, the first thing that comes to mind: Tupperware. Although of course, there are now lots of sorts of resealable food containers in the market today, stackable, watertight, and airtight, and in a wide variety of colours to complement your kitchen.

Obviously, your pantry is where foodstuffs are kept, so your main goal is to store them in such a way that they last longer. But keeping them from spoiling is one thing; making them accessible is another. Often, we store foods so well that we eventually forget them, and only remember when they’ve expired and inedible already. This of course defeats the purpose of storing foods in the first place.

Store each item then so that it is easily visible and reachable. Group them together whenever possible (you can enlist your kids’ help on this one), and have their labels, especially for canned goods, up front so that they’re easily read. Finally, discard foods that have passed their expiration dates or are more than a year old.

2. Use Jars, Bottles, Nooks in Walls, Ceilings to Your Advantage.

Store gravy packets, seasoning packets, etc. in a small, clear plastic or glass containers for easy access.

Line up boxes with their sides facing front. If possible, store the most often used items at eye level. Store heavy items, such as boxes of ‘long life’ juice, milk, and cordials on a lower shelf.

Choose a lower shelf for paper storage, cling wraps, foil etc. If you have school-age children who take their lunch to school, create an area in your kitchen for lunch making. Stock it with lunch boxes and/or brown bags, plastic wraps/bags, thermos containers, drink bottles and small food containers. For after school and weekends, create a snack shelf of parent-approved treats for children.

If you have extra wall space, consider storage hanging hooks, a notice board, and other helpful organising items.

Purchase handy space saving products such as stacking containers, and sturdy baskets for onions, garlic, and potatoes.

Organise spices which you use most often in the front row. If you have a shallow drawer near your stove, consider laying all of your small spice jars in there. Place them label side up so it is easy to view them all at once. Most dried spices lose their flavour in six months.

Any miscellaneous items can be stored labelled shoeboxes and use them to store items such as biscuit cutters, candles, appliance accessories, matches, batteries, and smaller items. Square containers take up less space and fit more efficiently on shelves than round ones. Place hooks inside a cabinet door to small utensils on. This will help to clear drawer space.

Anything that is still in good condition and can be sold, auctioned, or given away. If you feel that you have appliances that are in ‘as new’ condition and too good to throw out, consider Log on and check out their free classified section where you can advertise anything you no longer have use for. Feeling generous then donate all the stuff you are no longer using by giving them to the, or auctioning them off at

Barbara Thorp recommends Ozfreeonline Classifieds, online ads posting site and more!

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Tips on Painting & Decorating – Part 1

Tips on Painting & Decorating – Part 1

Tips on Painting & Decorating – Part 1

Over the years DIYers have kindly sent in lots of tips and ideas to make decorating easier. A selection of these are below for your education, and in some cases, for your amusement. We hope you find these gems from fellow decorators useful.

Please note that these tips have not been tested by Resene and are included below as supplied to us. If you have a handy tip of your own to share we’d love to hear from you – submit your handy tip.

To get paint odour out of a room, cut a large onion in half, place in a bowl, close the doors for a couple of days, and the paint odour will be gone. Don’t know how it works but it does and the room doesn’t smell of onions.
After lifting a carpet, I found that there was paper on the floor. To remove it, I used a steam iron (old one) and a spray bottle to soak and remove. Took about 10-15 minutes to remove approx half a metre. From: Susan
To remove glue from a wooden floor use a wallpaper remover that gives off steam. We had tried everything else -even a spade to try to scrape it off. After holding the steamer onto the glue for a couple of minutes, we could scrape the glue off with just a paint scraper. It saved us hours of work. Make sure you use a mask. From: Joanne
Plastic freezer containers from the supermarket or empty ice-cream containers make great paint trays for speedbrushing. Clip the lid on between coats to save paint wastage. From: Stephanie
If you have a bit of spot priming to do on your roof use a pop top drink bottle to hold the paint. Just squirt a drop on the spot you wish to prime and brush the primer out. The bottle is easy to seal and can be put into your pocket and the brush slipped into a plastic bag. No need to cart a can around. From: DG Mansell
Move your cars to a safe place when you are painting the roof. A while ago we painted the roof on a warm day with a light breeze in the air – once we got down off the roof we discovered our cars had little spots of red paint all over them! True story – we learned an expensive lesson. From: Karen
My husband and I had just finished stripping the wallpaper in the family room of the house that we were redecorating and were in the kitchen having dinner when we heard a whining noise from the family room. When we raced in to see what it was, we found our dog Betsy lying on the ground with wet wallpaper all matted in her fur! Tip: Close the door when decorating with animals/children in the house!From: Roil
If you paint around windows but haven’t masked them properly use the ceramic cooktop razor cleaner to remove the dried paint from the glass. It has a handle and is easy to use without scratching the glass. From: Lyn
My best diy/decorating tip is to do one room at a time! From: Shute
When painting above your head with a brush, paint tends to drip down the brush onto your hand. To avoid this, put a small hole in an ice-cream container lid and place the handle of the brush through the hole. You won’t get any paint on your hand as it will go onto the lid. Once you have finished the job you can clean and reuse the lid. From: Nicola
If you want something done, start on it yourself then leave it half finished. This way your husband/wife will hate looking at it and finish it off for you. This has been tried and tested by me. I wanted the garage painted so started one wall and never quite finished it. When my husband saw it, he couldn’t bear to see it half done, so now I have my garage painted! From: Veronica
Paint one wall of your house each year. Then the job seems a lot smaller. From: Ron
If your husband says he is going to paint the house, rush out and pay someone that week to do it! Sorry to all DIY hubbys. From: Adele
When taking out or walling up a door or window, use the gap to create an in-built bookshelf. This is very effective if you have an arched door you no longer want. From: Andrea
Use a grinder to get melted clothing off an iron. From: Michelle
When putting up plasterboard on a ceiling and lacking people to hold it up while you screw it in, tack a temporary ledge onto the top of the walls that you can slot the edge of the plasterboard into while you screw the other side to the ceiling. From: Shanny
Prepare the surface before you start painting, and apply the paint as per the manufacturer’s written instructions! From: Samir
If you are a keen do it yourselfer and have a hands free phone, wrap the phone in gladwrap. It will be kept clean even if you answer it with your hands covered in paint. This is also a good idea if you have a mobile phone. The film does not affect the phone and it does not reduce the sound quality. From: Bob
When painting a feature wall, use tape. Tape the sidewalls and the skirting boards to protect against paint splashes. When you are cutting into the ceiling, use a ‘cutting in’ brush. From: Katrina
To make a tile-like paint effect cut a pot scrubber (i.e. sponge and pot scourer combined) into squares of whatever size you want, glue the scouring side onto a stiff backing leaving space between each square to represent grouting. Paint the squares in various colours or the same colour and apply around dados or doors to get a Greek tile effect. From: Liz
When painting with a roller, cover your glasses’ lenses with gladwrap. Then when you have finished painting, just peel off the gladwrap. From: Noleen
My Dad put in a watertank at the farm to collect drinking water off the roof. He was up his aluminum extension ladder and had just finished connecting the final piece of spouting from the guttering to the watertank. He climbed down the ladder and as he was putting it away, discovered that he couldn’t – he’d put the spouting through the rungs of the ladder. TIP: Always move your ladder before connecting the spouting! From: Jim
Use old lampshades as funnels when pouring from one paint can to another. From: Peter
Decorating tip for men: It is obvious that the wife will have ideas on redecorating but will insist on your input, which will then be discarded as either inane, insane or just plain dumb. However it is no use saying ‘just do as you like dear’ as that will be regarded as not participating properly and will confirm her feelings that you are not really involved with this project. So it is best to listen to her half carefully (as apart from not at all) during proceeding weeks leading up to the decision, and then when the question comes you can suggest some ideas along the lines of those you know she has been thinking. It is even wise to browse a couple of mags she has left lying around (this is not by accident). This is really smart as it saves arguments, she will think you are brilliant to be thinking the same as her and what’s more she will come to the idea you have a modicum of taste and may let you buy your own clothes in future. From: Dave
When painting outside windows, place masking tape around the already painted areas and the windows to avoid unwanted paint splashes. Make sure you take the masking tape off before the paint dries. From: Liz and Stu
When painting, empty the paint can so there is enough room for you to tap the sides of the paint can with the paintbrush. This helps to remove excess paint on your brush. Stir your paint thoroughly before putting your brush in. From: William-John
When using a roller, use zigzag strokes, covering the surface in a ‘w’shape. Keep the roller on the surface at all times, as if you let it spin, it will spray the paint around. Finish the rolling in one direction.From: Stan
When painting ceilings, wear a plastic shower cap to stop paint dripping on your head. From: Lynda
New roller covers tend to leave unattractive fuzz behind on the painted surface, even the ones that say lint free. To avoid this, wrap masking tape several times around your hand sticky side up. Run the roller over the tape several times before painting. From: L Hammond
Both my bathroom and toilet walls were painted a pale yellow. To liven the rooms up I painted orange from the top corner of each window down to the bottom corner of the door when entering. It now looks like a ray of orange sunlight coming through the windows even on the dreariest days. It is really effective without being overpowering. From: Debi
Use a 2L plastic milk carton for a paint and brush holder. Simply cut away the side of the container (opposite side to the handle), starting 4-6 inches above the base up to just short of the neck. Pour in your paint and use by holding the milk carton handle as normal and dip brush into the paint via the cutaway side. Take the cap off so you have somewhere for the handle of the brush. Once you have finished painting you can turn the container upside down and drain through the cap hole. From: Paul
Everyone hates cleaning up after painting so here is a tip on how to make this job easier. After emptying the tins that our baby formula comes in I keep them for cleaning our paintbrushes. They have a plastic lid on top, which means you can cut holes in it if you have a larger than normal paintbrush handle and leave it sticking through. The lid also seals in the fumes from your cleaning solution. From: Anon
To help keep your children’s rooms tidy, paint old beer crates in bright colours and use them to store clothes and toys. From: Jason and Suzanne
Tips on cleaning brushes: Using enamel (oil) based paint: Half fill a jam jar with mineral turps and dip your brush into it several times. Then rinse the brush clean using warm/hot water. Repeat 2 – 3 times until the brush is clean. My husband scoffed at me when I started using this method as he thought you shouldn’t mix oil and water, however 5 years on and I am still using the same brush. Needless to say he now cleans his brush this way too. Using waterbased paint: When cleaning your brush under the tap use wonder soap as well, especially when you have dry paint around the top of your brush head. From: Jane
I’ve recently painted my 3.5m stud Kauri ceiling with a brush, as the roller didn’t fit between the batons. Rather than walking up and down the ladder with one brush full of paint, I found the best container to carry the paint in was a cut down 2 litre milk container with the handle intact. It held enough for one ladder’s worth of painting and had a large well balanced handle. From: Gretchen and Pauline
If you want to create a neat texture, use springs off a spiral notebook, and swirl it all over the fresh paint. From: Anon
How to check your spirit level is level – Place your level on the floor. Mark the position of each corner with a pen/pencil then note the position of the bubble. Turn the level around and align it with the markings you made on the floor. Check the position of the bubble. Now do the same with the level upside down. If the readings of the bubbles match your level is level, otherwise use the screws to adjust the vials and repeat the checks until the readings match. From: Matthew
My tip: Don’t let your husband attempt to DIY otherwise you may end up like us: (1) Fixed leak in roof, but now we have a hole that is growing with every drop of rain and one day will collapse. (2) Paint job, yes we (or I should say professionals) will now have to eventually re-paint the roof as he thought he would include other areas not intended. Also thought the carpet needed painting. (3) Lining in pool – Hawke’s Bay has had the best weather this summer and unfortunately, even though we have a pool, we have been unable to use this due to his patchwork and neighbours complaining that our pool is leaking in their gardens. It is now empty again. From: Melanie 39. To remove old wallpaper, wipe over the wallpaper with water and dishwashing liquid, leave about five minutes and it will just peel off. From: Richard and Sandra
When stripping wallpaper, spray with fabric softener and a little water. The fabric softener breaks down the surface tension of the wallpaper and allows the water to soak in better. This will help the wallpaper come off easier. From: Kathleen
If you own your own house and want to make exterior painting a little easier, paint the house a standard colour, white is always good, and paint one side of the house each year. This will cut the work down to a more manageable size and keep the house well painted at the same time. From: M Teal
You can make a paint tray by using an old box with shallow sides and covering it with two white plastic shopping bags. When you stop between coats or colours, just take the bags off and change them. From: Glenn
Apply petroleum jelly over door handles and hinges before painting to stop the paint sticking to them. Alternatively, foil wrap door handles and other hardware before painting to keep them splatter free.From: R Brooks
If you hire a ready mix truck to do your driveway, make sure you work from the top of the drive to the road. If you don’t, you will be stuck with a truck full of concrete that will set if you don’t keep it running (which might cost a bit) unless you want to drive it back over your nice new flat drive that took ages to do! From: Cassie
Hate stripping wallpaper before you paint? You don’t have to! With this tip, you’ll create walls of interest. Use a large porous sponge and ready-made plaster. Dip the sponge into the plaster and ‘hit’ the wall, making sure you make ‘peaks’ on the wall with the plaster. Let the plaster semi-dry, but before it dries completely, trowel the plaster, using consistent strokes (whatever stroke you chose). Once the plaster dries completely, you can paint the newly textured wall in a variety of exciting colours by Resene. To make the wall even more interesting you can use a basecoat on the wall and then use a Chux cloth (or any other material with an interesting texture) dipped in a contrasting colour and ‘hit the wall’ with the Chux cloth. In the process of creating a unique design, you’ll also cover blemishes. From: Karin
My top 10 tips for landlords with multiple rental properties are: Buy Resene, anything else is an insult to your preparation efforts. Replace worn wallpaper in rentals with paint (after stopping to a paint finish). It wears better and is quicker and cheaper to repair. Keep walls and exteriors all the same. You can buy your paint in bulk and won’t have numerous 1/2 pails sitting around. Maintain the individuality of your houses by using different feature colours. Then write the name of the house and where you used the paint (e.g. roof, trims, sills etc) on the can lid. If you are replacing weatherboards, undercoat them before you put them up. But don’t stack them until they really are dry. The best thing to apply paint onto a roughcast house is a car cleaning brush. Get one with a reasonable amount of bristles. Those big square bushes sold in paint shops are good, but they’re awfully heavy for a lady and too big to dip into a paint pail. Learn to use a crockpot/cook casseroles. Put tea on and you’d be surprised what you can get done if you do 1/2 hour to an hour most days. Or wait until your little one is in bed and then do internal walls. Wrap your brush/roller in gladwrap loaded with paint to keep it soft. Ladders are better exercise than any aerobic class. Learn to paint with both arms. Take your time to do a good job and enjoy it. Go to ‘How To’ evenings. You may learn something new. From: Michelle
To cover an old lounge suite and two chairs buy 1 x double fitted sheet and 2 x single fitted sheets and some small velcro dots. Place sheets over lounge suite and tuck in where needed, then use the velcro dots to fasten down. With velcro dots you can just take off the covers and throw them into the wash. From: Belinda
To create a weathered Mexican wall look, plaster outside concrete brick walls with cement and plaster by hand to get an authentic look (great way to get the kids involved as perfection is not required!). Paint the wall in your chosen colour (terracotta looks great). Drop small blobs of white paint into the roller tray, roll the roller through it and then haphazardly paint over the original wall colour. This should result in blurred streaks of white throughout the terracotta second coat. Do not roll in a particular direction, just all over the wall. When dry, the wall will look like weathered terracotta. From: Natasha
Make sure you don’t pay for the complete job up front. I bought a house in the north about 3 years ago and the guy that was moving my furniture told me along the way that he was a builder, so I agreed he could help me with my DIY plans. My very big mistake was trusting the jerk. He quoted me about 00, which like a fool I paid there and then. All he had to do was to put in a wall as three already existed and put in a wall divider. To cut the story short, I fired him after 4 days, as the wall he put in to enclose the room didn’t touch the ground! He had charged up tools on my account, ripped me off on materials and not paid some local suppliers. I waited for a few days and then thought I had better get stuck in and finish the job. Two family members joined in and helped and a fortnight later all was finished – YAY!!!From: Roseanne
When decorating a room, paint a stick or small board with your chosen colours to carry with you when choosing fabrics, accessories etc. From: Meg

Next set of DIY and Painting tips will be coming soon 🙂

Resene Paints are manufacturers of wallpaper and exterior & interior house paint. features EzyPaint home interior design software, colour wheels and EzySpec virtual specification software. You will also find interior, room and home decorating ideas and tips.

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Aquarium Supplies Part 1 – My First Experience With Bettas

Aquarium Supplies Part 1 – My First Experience With Bettas

Keeping fish as pets takes more than just feeding them and
changing the water every once in a while. Sadly, many people
aren’t aware of that and they just buy aquarium fish because
they’re attractive. After a short while the fish start to get
sick and die one after the other, and the newbie would lose
interest in the hobby and give it up all together.

Basic knowledge of fish keeping, together with the right
aquarium supplies, is crucial to the livelihood and longevity of
your fish. It’s important to maintain the optimum living
conditions for your fish and other living things you may have in
your aquarium if you are to enjoy them for a long time.

To illustrate this, I shall share with you my own experiences
when I got started with this hobby for the very first time as a
child. The first experience was with bettas and the second with
goldfish; two different kinds of fish with different

My first pet fish were a pair of bettas (a male and a female)
which my mom bought me because she knew that I liked fish and
felt sorry for me because a toy fish was all I had.

We put the bettas in a small plastic jar with a floating live
plant. The male was aggressive. He continuously chased after the
female and attacked her until she was full of bruises. One
night, running out of place to hide, the female desperately
jumped out of the water onto the floor. Fortunately I was nearby
and was able to save her.

My mom then suggested that we separate the fish. So we put the
female in a different jar. However, I felt that the female was
lonely. So one day I asked my mom if I could buy another fish.
There was a beautiful green male betta that I decided to buy.

At that time I didn’t know that bettas were fighting fish and
that the males would fight with each other. So at first I
decided to put the new male in the same container as the first
male. I knew the first male was aggressive and I just wondered
how he would react toward another male.

To my amazement the two males fought with each other and there
was no sign that they would stop. After a while I got worried. I
didn’t want any of them to die so I finally separated them and
put the new male together with the female, and to my pleasant
surprise they got along pretty well.

However, that little jar was kind of small for a pair of fish
although they got along. So, we decided to move the fish to a
much larger plastic container. Later I added a couple more
females so that it became sort of a betta community tank.

Being fascinated by the beauty of the male bettas, I bought a
couple more and put each in individual jars. I fed them dried
food and occasionally bread. However, I fed them too much. The
water would become cloudy fast from fish waste and uneaten food.
So, I completely changed the water every other day. I would fill
up the jar with new water right from the tap.

As you might guess, the fish didn’t last very long. After only a
few months they started to get sick and eventually one after the
other died.

Dirty water, untreated new water, fluctuating water
temperatures, and trauma from being moved frequently during
water changes were some of the factors that contributed to the
fish’s low resistance to diseases.

Although it’s acceptable to keep bettas in relatively small
containers without aeration, it would be much better to put them
in a tank of at least 2 gallons, and you would still need to
observe certain basic things such as not feeding them too much
and setting aside new water to equilibrate the temperature and
remove chorine prior to water changes.

I was only about 10 years old at the time and didn’t know
anything about fish keeping. Neither did my mom. Also, back then
there were very few books about aquarium fish and the aquarium
supplies were not as sophisticated as they are today.

Today, there are plenty of good books and magazines as well as
web sites about fish aquariums. So, if you’re serious about
taking up this hobby, you should start by reading a few of them
and gain the basic knowledge before you even buy your aquarium
and fish.

In the next article you will learn what happened when I tried to
keep some goldfish, also with very little knowledge. In the mean
time I invite you to visit my web site (see below) to learn more
about aquarium fish keeping.

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