Tips from a Dishwasher Repairman

After a few weeks in our rental home here in Texas, Hubs and I discovered that the dishwasher didn't seem to be getting our dishes completely clean.  We pre-rinsed, and tried different settings, but there was not any improvement, and we noticed that it was not secured to the counter top as it should be. We called it in to the repair line.

The really nice guy and his son that arrived at the house, told us that the dishwasher was relatively new, and after checking it out and securing it properly to the counter top, gave us several hints to get cleaner dishes in this area of Texas, AKA "the hard water capital of the USA".

1. Scrape and rinse dishes; soak heavily soiled items in the sink before loading into dishwasher.
2. Settings should be for the hottest water possible: Normal Wash, High Temp, Sani-Rinse, and Heated Dry.  (He assured me that these settings wouldn't raise our electric bill significantly.)
3. Instead of putting the dishwasher soap packet into the door dispenser, drop it into the bottom of the dishwasher, so that it breaks down more quickly to get more soap onto the dishes.
4. Use a rinse aid! (I'm trying out "Finish" rinse aid.)
5. Make sure the wash arms can move freely after you've loaded the racks. (Just give them a gentle little spin with your hand.)

In order to really test if these tips would make a difference,  I hand washed the bowls and glasses that were particularly stained or looked dirty, so that we'd be starting with a "clean slate", so to speak.
We have white Corelle dishes, in case you were wondering.

After about 2 weeks, we can really see the difference in our dishes!

Do you have hard water issues where you live?   What problems have you encountered and what have you discovered makes a difference?

Leave me a comment below, and I'll share YOUR tips with all my readers!

Earring and Necklace Display

At last I'm finally back to blogging! It feels like I've been away for so long....
Now that moving, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year are behind me, I've been excited to get working on a few projects that I want to share with you.

First up: "Saw this on Pinterest" Earring and Necklace Display, made from a .50 cent yard sale frame, a bit of craft paint, burlap and cup hooks. Not difficult, and just up my alley with my tiny budget!

This time, I was remiss on taking "before" photos, but I'm sure you've got some of the same items hanging around your house, attic or basement.  I picked up the frame at a yard sale right before Christmas, with a memory of this Pinterest pin in my head.  (Click on Amy's photo below for tutorial on Positively Splendid.)

Here's a few slight differences in mine:
* Larger frame that hangs on the wall
* Lightly distressed the frame after painting, for my favorite shabby-chic look
* Added hooks to hold necklaces
* Hot-glued around the raw edge of the burlap to prevent fraying
* No painted stencil for the embellishment

Here's a trick that I've used before:  I printed out the fleur de lis design and etc. using regular paper.  Then, I centered the paper UNDER the burlap and traced the design using a black Sharpie pen.
The little burlap bow is a Christmas decor tag I found at Target in the Dollar Spot.  I pulled off the little gold bell that it came with, and hot glued on a tiny button instead.

If you are like me, you live and learn from projects. This is what I would do differently:
1. Drill pilot holes for the hooks!  My right index finger is sore and red from twisting the cup hooks into the wood, because I didn't wait to borrow Hubs' drill.
2. Center the burlap more accurately the first time. I ended up pulling out 20 staple-gun staples, because my first attempt was WAY off!
3. Invest in a better staple gun. Our electric one jammed on me many times.

Now that I've completed this project, I feel so much more personally organized for 2015!
(If only my office/craft room would stay organized, too!)  It's great to be back, and I hope you'll continue following my journeys right here in my little corner of Blog-land.