Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hot house? Cold House? Loud Neighbors?

Is your house cold in the winter, hot in the summer?  Are your neighbors or their dogs loud?  This post will show you one incredibly easy and inexpensive (or free) way to warm your house in the winter, cool your house in the summer and muffle the sounds of your neighbors (and their dogs).

By now everyone....well...the two people who read this blog....should know that I love to upcycle.  Wooden pallets, scrap fabrics and cardboard are my go to's so it should be only natural that I share some ideas involving cardboard, again.

A few years back I bought an old house.  I would venture to say that there was not one drop or piece of insulation in the entire joint.  So in the summer, I could feel the heat radiating through the exterior walls and in the winter I felt cold coming through the walls.  Since it wasn't a huge house, I had limited options as to furniture placement.  The only wall that would work for my bed was an exterior wall.  Same thing for the placement of my sofa in the living room.  Super uncomfortable in all kinds of weather.

Another downside to no insulation is the fact that I could hear every car that drove by, every bark of every dog in the neighborhood and sometimes I could even hear the neighbor's conversations when they sat on their front porch.  Believe it or not, cardboard saved both my sanity and my bank account.

Initially, I had estimates done to get insulation put in the house by professionals.....more money than I had to spend.  My solution?  Cardboard and fabric.

It should also be noted that I hate, loathe and detest white walls and/or plain walls.  I love color and I love texture so this idea was pure perfection for me.  Another great thing about this solution is the fact that if/when I tire of it, I rip it off and put the whole thing on the curb and replace it with whatever my mood dictates at that moment.  But the best thing about it (other than it's gorgeous and easy) is the fact that it's FREE.  That so works for me!  Free is my favorite word.  I love it even more than "cheap".

You can get fancy with this if you want.  You can pad the cardboard and make the finished look tufted as the picture below.

You can cut the cardboard into strips, roll it and affix it to the walls showing the cut ends.....only do this if you have the time and patience of a Saint.  

It should also be noted that if you choose to go this route, you will have to first cover your wall in flattened cardboard or instead of insulating and soundproofing, it will actually magnify any outside sounds and incoming air.

The picture below shows raw cardboard but since it's flat and not rolled, the application is quick and easy.

This one is a bit more involved but still not as complicated as the version involving rolling and cutting the cardboard.

The one below creates almost a brick or stacked stone texture.  While it is a bit more involved than simply covering the cardboard with fabric, it is an easy installation.  Cut the cardboard in rectangles of various sizes, affix them to the walls and randomly place other rectangles on top to form a stacked effect.  Once done, paint and the finished product will be gorgeous.

To cover the cardboard in fabric all you have to do is cut your fabric to fit the cardboard and tape it to the cardboard.  Once that's done, figure out your placement and using a small nail, nail the cardboard in place.  Don't worry too much about your choice of tape because once the piece is nailed securely to the wall, the pressure will keep the fabric in place.  You can also staple the fabric in place or you can get fancy and trim it out with molding to make a picture effect.

I am not a fan of flat sheets but for some reason, I buy a lot of sheet sets throughout the year.  My children think I have a sheet set addiction.  Sheet sets all come with both fitted and flat sheets and before I realize it, my linen closet is crammed full of flat sheets that I never ever use.  Well, I never use them on my bed.

To get these out of my closet, I use some of my flat sheets for curtain panels and I use them to cover cardboard to put on my walls.  Great solutions!

To make a stacked wall, cut the cardboard into various sizes, pad a few, and then place them randomly on the wall.

This wall below is perhaps the easiest of them all.  Tape several boxes together to get the height that you need, cover them in fabric and nail them to the wall.  I love the simplicity of it.

Love maps?  Try using crafting glue to put your favorite maps on the cardboard instead of fabric.

If you don't have a super large map like the one above, print off smaller maps that you can find for free on the internet, glue them to smaller cardboard pieces and nail those to your walls.

Here's another example of covered cardboard.  

A lot of houses have those horribly ugly ceiling tiles.  Sometimes they are used to cover up a ceiling that was damaged by an old leak or cracks and sometimes they are used to lower the ceiling height.  Whatever reason, they are so incredibly ugly.

Try using this technique to cover them.  I would recommend not using a pattern but rather using a solid fabric but if pattern is what you love, go for it!

Don't worry about covering a drafty window when using this technique.  My bedroom had 2 west facing windows that were protected by shrubbery and were on the side of the house so I didn't get a lot of drafts from those.  But I had a north facing window that was unprotected by shrubbery and in the winter time standing by that window was like being outside.  It was also exactly where I wanted to place my bed.

My solution?  I covered both sides of the cardboard that I placed over this window.  When you stood outside, you saw what appeared to be curtains.  It looked great inside and out AND it stopped the drafts and outside noises from coming into my bedroom.

I hope this post has given you some creative and pretty solutions to your drafty house. It should also be noted that this is a technique that can easily be done to a rental since it doesn't involve defacing the walls.  The brad nails will leave tiny holes that will be easy to cover once the panels are removed.  As a huge bonus, covering the walls will prevent dirt, grime, and dust from gathering on the walls so when you pull them down, your landlord will think you have scrubbed the walls.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Anyone for Dessert?

Christmas is right around the corner!  As such, I thought I'd dedicate this month's blog to desserts fit for a Christmas dinner but super quick and easy.

If you're pressed for time, try making a Trifle.  Easy, fast and oh so delicious.  Trifle in English cuisine is a dessert made with fruit, a thin layer of sponge fingers soaked in sherry or another fortified wine, and custard. It can be topped with whipped cream

The beauty of this dessert is the fact that you can customize it to suit the taste of you and your family.  Love strawberries, banana's - use those!  Want a more wintery dessert?  Then try a cookie trifle using gingerbread and pumpkin pudding.  The variations are endless.

Another fast and easy dessert is the ever popular chocolate cake.  How about dressing it up a bit for Christmas by drizzling caramel sauce over it?  You can, of course, make your own sauce from scratch....or you can buy caramel sauce in a jar and drizzle it to make a beautiful cake that folks will think you spent hours creating.

How about making a Christmas Tree for dessert?  Buy some shortbread cookies, royal icing in a tube and some edible beads.   Put a layer of cookies, a few drops of icing, more cookies (the icing acts as an edible glue of sorts) and continue until you have a tree.  Then a few drops of icing on the "limbs" of the tree and place your beads there to act as ornaments.  Done!

How about a tree made from Hershey's Kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?  Too cute!

The next cake is a real show stopper.  You can google "Malteser Cake" and do it the hard can make your favorite chocolate cake and buy your favorite frosting and then stick malted milk balls on the outside.  Once you have your malted balls all in place, heat frosting on your stove until it's nice and loose.  It should have the consistency of a thin gravy so if you need it to be thinner, add a couple of pats of butter (not margarine) and a teaspoon of water at a time until you get it just right.  Never more than a teaspoon of water at a time.  It's always easier to thin it than it is to thicken it.  Allow it to cool down a bit so it won't melt your malted milk balls and then drizzle it over them.

Now you have quick and easy desserts that will please the entire family!  Christmas is about so much more than standing over the stove!  Enjoy your family! after all, that's what Christmas get-togethers are really all about.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

DIY Projects that don't cost a lot but have a lot of charm!

It's getting close to the Holidays.  That means company coming...and staying for awhile.  It means dragging out the big roasters and dusting off the Holiday decorations.

I've included a few links to this post that will give you step by step instructions on how to add storage to your home, how to liven it up for the Holidays and overall, how to make your Holidays a little bit more organized and less stressful. 


This link will show you how to build your own inexpensive....but high end looking....pot rack.  You can also widen it a bit and build multiple racks to put in your bathroom, bedroom, office, living room or even your dining room to hold towels, toiletries, books, knick-knacks or even Holiday dishes.  The uses are pretty endless.

How about a DIY wine rack?  This one is not only great for your home but even better as a Christmas gift or even hostess gift.  Easy to make and cost next to nothing.

Speaking of about a stunning windchime?  So easy and cheap!

I love baskets!  I have them everywhere in my home.  They're especially great when you have company.  No one likes to dig through the drawers or peek inside cabinets when they go to visit just so they can find a roll of toilet paper or a towel.....well....I hope no one likes to do that. Plus the host/hostess has other things to do when entertaining guests than to run to the pantry or linen closet everytime someone needs those items. 

However, sometimes those baskets that you've loved for years can begin to look a bit dusty and ragged.  The next link will show you how to transform any basket into a modern, clean and functional basket.  FYI:  You don't have to limit yourself to baskets for this project.  You can also use one of those Amazon boxes that you have sitting in your garage.  Simply glue some of the fabric around the outside of the box and then make the liner as shown.  Cheap and easy.  Two of my favorite words!

I hope these little DIY projects make your Holidays less stressful, more decorative and mostly more organized!

As always, enjoy your space!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

How to get the Builder's Grade Feel out of Your Home

Most of my posts concern what to do (and not do) with older houses.  Today we're going to talk about what to do (and not do) with newer builds. 

In the 1950's & 1960's affordable housing meant a small ranch style house with a nice size yard.  These days it means the about same thing only with a modern twist.  I call them garage neighborhoods because when you drive through them all you really notice are the garages (or parking pads).  The builders have made the garages or the parking pads the focal point of the entire neighborhood.

While the inside of these homes have all the modern amenities that one would need, they are still small ranch houses.  Most of the time the garage is larger than the actual living space and there is little or no yard.  I think the term the builders use is "Zero lot" houses.

Sometimes, we find a house in a location we desire, for the price, we can afford and when we view the house, we overlook some potential issues.  Then once we've bought it and moved into it, we are at a loss as to how to make those issues livable for the life of the mortgage.  I have included a few pictures of "what not to do".

When these builders slap these houses together, they obviously (1) don't cook (2) don't clean and (3) don't have children.  I say that because if they did any of the above, the houses would be designed entirely differently.  For example, the kitchens would have more storage and counter space with more plug-ins for small appliances. The dining room which leads out to the deck or backyard would NEVER be carpeted and the bathrooms would hold more than 1/2 a person at a time.

The other thing that annoys me about these houses is the fact that they have lent an entirely new meaning to the term "builders grade".  When I view these houses and I see the $10 faucets and the $15 countertops and the $20 cabinets coupled with the plastic bathtubs and the $.25 a square foot carpet/tile, I always wonder where else they scrimped.  While the house may have a jetted tub, 2 bathrooms, a huge garage.....the cheap finishes make the house look cheaply built.

Here's that 1/2 person bathroom I mentioned.  Notice the plastic tub takes up the majority of the space.  While this tub annoys me for several reasons, painting a windowless bathroom that is already the size of a normal closet, a dark color is just not a good idea.  That monstrosity of a plastic tub with its plastic surround should NEVER be the focal point of a room. 

Anyone who knows me knows that above all else I loathe white walls, especially in a bathroom.  Let me reiterate my reasoning.  There are as many shades of white as there are of any other single color.  Maybe even more.  White is a very reflective color.  I would venture to say white is the most reflective color.  So what happens when you put one shade of white up against another shade (or two) of white?  It changes all the shades of white and they each morph into a duller and dirtier shade of white.  I don't care if your tub and your toilet are made by the very same manufacturer, the chance of them being the exact shade of white are slim to none. 

The homeowner had the right idea in not painting the walls white.  She just went a bit too far in her color choice.

Here's what she should have done.  Find a vein of color in the tile or the base color in the countertops.  In this particular room, it would be gray.  Then paint the walls a LIGHT gray.  To coin an 80's phrase - a "pastel" gray.  A barely there gray.  That will pull out the gray in the tile and countertop and it will tone down the whites and make them look clean.  Then put up a graphic shower curtain.  Going for a country feel?  Then do a gingham design with tones of gray and blue.  More modern feel?  Circles in various shades of gray and blue.  On the subject of shower curtains, never ever use just one.  The whole idea of putting a shower curtain isn't just to keep the water off the floor, it's to hide the plastic tub and surround and add some visual and textural interest to the room.  If you use just one curtain, when you pull it closed, it gives the appearance and feel of a wall thus closing off the space and making it appear even smaller.  Use 2 or 3 curtains and then when you close them, they will still have gathers in them which will give an illusion of a window rather than a wall.  Windows denote space - walls denote dead end.

All that's left to do is add a towel or two and perhaps some interesting bath accessories like a textured rectangular basket on the back of the toilet to hold a couple of rolls of toilet paper and a pretty water glass or toothbrush holder on the sink area.

Let's move on............

Builders grade kitchen (in the same house).

BORING!  Cheap laminate countertops.  Cheap sink and faucet.  Low-quality appliances.  Cheap tile on the floor. Stock cabinets - and not many of them.

Notice they tiled the back of the pony wall/breakfast bar?  Not attractive.  They also painted an already small kitchen red.  Another thing that annoys me is the fact that the floor (and pony wall) are tiled in beige.  The stock cabinets have a beige undertone but the appliances are white.  For some reason, builders think that everything should be either beige or white.  Ugh.

Here's how I would "fix" this kitchen.  I would invest a little money on new facets.  I'd get an oil rubbed bronze faucet which would really dress up that cheap sink.  By the way, studies have determined that oil rubbed bronze, and also brass, repel germs so they are the best selections for your kitchen and bathroom fixtures.  They can look amazing as well.

Countertops can be pricey so I'm not against leaving the laminate for another day.  However, you can tone them down and make them disappear (well, almost disappear) by changing the things that surround them like the cabinets and walls.

The walls in this one window tiny kitchen should be light in color - not white - just light.  Since this kitchen opens up into the dining room, living room and hallway, it should be either the same color as those areas or just a shade away from it.  No dramatic colors!  People who love dramatic colors need to be living in large houses with lots of windows.  Those of us who don't, need to stick with light bouncing colors and that means light and bright.  I would go with a very light color that combines blue with green.  Just be careful not to get a color that is too saturated.  Pastel is the keyword for small spaces.  Not your parent's version of pastel - just a white that is tinted to give you the feeling of the color - not an in your face shock of color such as the red on these walls.  Hints of color leave you feeling the room is clean, bright and larger than it actually is.

On to the cabinets.  Stock cabinets are inexpensive and surprisingly sturdy.  They can last just as long as custom cabinetry.  However, they usually aren't attractive.  My solution?  Take the doors and drawer fronts down, go outside, sand them until all the poly and/or varnish is gone and you have a smooth surface.  Then prime them, lightly sand and prime them again giving a good 8 hours between coats to allow the primer to cure and tightly grip the wood.

Now some folks will say "I don't want to fool with taking all the doors off and taking them outside.  I think I'll just leave them up and paint them where they are."  NOT A GOOD IDEA!  That's how you get drips and smears!  The doors need to be flat when they are painted and you need to have them outside in the light so you can see where you might have missed a stroke.  Be sure to number the back of the doors so you can remember exactly where each door goes.  They may all look the exact same - but they probably aren't.

Once you've done that, paint them white, let the paint cure for 8 hours and paint them again.  I recommend at least 3 coats on cabinetry - 5 is optimal.  I know that you can get a gallon of paint for under $20 at some stores and I also know that you can get primer and paint in one.  However, I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS when you are painting cabinetry.  You want a top-shelf primer and an equally top shelf paint otherwise, next year you will be painting your cabinetry again.  Spend a little extra and not be forced to paint them again for years rather than a year.  Also, cheap paint tends to dull and by next year, your beautiful clean white is looking dull and dirty.  I don't care what the label says, you can't scrub cheap paint without it coming off and in the kitchen and bathroom, you are going to have to scrub your cabinets from time to time.

Once you've got your drawer and doors painted, move onto the bases.  You only have to sand and paint the parts that show.  I like to paint the insides when I redo cabinetry only because when you open the cabinet door - you can see what it used to be.  I like it all to look new and uniform.  However, you can also use wallpaper on the inside of the cabinets to give it an element of surprise.  The wallpaper can easily be changed out according to your mood and/or changes in taste and/or decorating styles.

It's human nature to want to glob the paint on so you can be done with it.  I say to you - DON'T.  You want to put thin coats on at a time.  This way you don't get bubbles or drips or uneven coats.  All things that will ruin your paint job and cause you to have to start all over which will not only double your time but double your investment.

Now that the cabinets are all painted, drill holes in the doors and drawers and add hardware.  You can buy a handle guide at any DIY store for under $3.  You simply clip it to the door or drawer and drill where the holes are to get the perfect spacing for your handles.  Well worth the investment.

Oil rubbed bronze is my choice for the handles.  Always try to match your pulls to your faucet.  Uniformity is like wearing vertical stripes - it makes you appear taller than you really are.  Uniformity in the kitchen makes it appear larger than it really is.

This particular pull is about $1.50 each.  The beauty of a small kitchen is the fact that you can spend $1.50 on each of the pulls because there's not going to be 50 of them required.  Use them on both the upper and lower cabinets and drawers to keep it uniform.  In a large kitchen having handles below and knobs above (or vice versa) is fine but in a small kitchen, you want them all to match to give the illusion of space.  Anytime your eyes are interrupted it tricks your mind into thinking something is smaller than it actually is.  The reverse is also true.  That's one reason that you don't wear a checked blue shirt with a striped yellow skirt.  You'd look 25 pounds heavier and 6 inches shorter.  The Same thing is true of your kitchen.  Too many colors, too many styles will shrink your kitchen (or any other room) considerably.

Let's put the finishing touches on now!

Another way to expand your space and lend an air of cleanliness is by adding reflective items that will bounce the light around.  While we all love our decorative canisters, these plain glass canisters will visually expand your room and will go with any color choice without competing.

I remember having a white set with mushrooms on them.  That went out of style and a set with frogs took their place.  Then I had to get rid of the frogs because ducks came into style.  The ducks were replaced with another fad.....and on and on.  How much money would I have saved over the years had I just opted for pretty clear glass canisters that go with any style and any color??

Rule of thumb.........add color either in your accessories or your wall - try not to do both if your space is small.

If you noticed, this kitchen had no backsplash.  The area between the cabinets and the countertop was painted red. 

Since my idea of fixing this kitchen involved painting the walls a bluish green, how about continuing this onto the backsplash?  These glass tiles are reflective and colorful without being overwhelming.  If you're going to do your own installation, the small tiles are the way to go.  There's no cutting required. 

What if you're thinking "I don't want bluish gray and I don't want white cabinets"?  Let me show you what a beige kitchen looks like.  You know I'm not a huge beige fan, but beige can be very attractive if done correctly.

This beige kitchen is clean and shiny!  Just as a kitchen should be!  Notice the glass canisters?  They add visual interest in the room while not getting in your face!  Lovely!

The last tip for the kitchen or bathroom - never EVER put borders in either room.  A border attracts your eyes to it.  It interrupts your eyes.  It ALWAYS makes your room appear shorter and smaller than it really is.  Want color?  Get it by putting a red (or any other saturated color) teapot on your stove, colorful kitchen towels, a colorful backsplash. 

Next, we talk about awkward support walls.

Where to begin with this picture?  The first thing I notice about this picture is the black support wall.  Then I notice the tiny kitchen (painted red) and the sage green walls (which are nice).  I can't begin to imagine what they were thinking when they decided that a single black wall in the middle of the room coupled with the brick red cave kitchen and light sage green walls were a good idea.  I'm all for separation of spaces, but this takes that concept to a new extreme.  And don't even get me started on the carpet in the dining room.

My solution?  Paint, paint and more paint.  Because they painted this black, primer is the key here.  If I were going to go with the bluish green in the kitchen, I would paint these walls to match exactly or at a maximum to be only 1 shade darker than the kitchen.  I would rip off that tile on the back of the pony wall (it's really too narrow to be considered a breakfast bar) and then paint it the same color as the walls.

Once the cabinets are painted white, the walls painted a neutral color and the backsplash is tiled, this entire space will look and feel so much brighter, cleaner and larger.

As always, enjoy your space!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Unique Lighting Doesn't Have to Break the Bank!

Even if you rent, you can personalize your space.  

Warning:  Always check with your landlord before removing or adding any fixture.  Once you've gotten the okay from your landlord, you are ready to make these amazing fixtures.  

Most landlords don't mind as long as you put the original fixture right back where you found it before you move....some landlords might like the new one so much, they won't mind if you leave it....who knows?

But what do you do if your landlord doesn't want you to alter his property at all or if you don't want to leave them when you move?  You can still make these amazing fixtures.

Instead of wiring them for electricity, you can use candles.  Another way to make them more portable would be to hang them from your ceiling with plant hooks and add an actual plug in type cord to the fixture so you can hang your fixture and then plug it in rather than hardwire it.

Here are some great ideas for empty coffee cans, paint cans, mason jars or any pretty jars with a screw top.

This is actually SO easy!  Go to Michael's (or your favorite hobby store) buy 4 lamp kits, drill holes in the lids and board, thread the lamp cords through the board, connect the wires and voila!!  Instant mason jar lamp. 

The whole connect the wires thing stumps me every I took mine to a local lighting company and they did that for me.  Still cheaper than purchasing them already made AND I had an extra bonus in that I was able to pick and choose the materials.  Win-win. BTW they are using rods normally intended to drop a ceiling fan.

Yet another use for those pallets I mentioned in an earlier post!  This one I know I can do because there's no electrical involved!

What a great light!  I may just have to make a visit to my friendly electrician when I get this assembled!  Notice the first one is made utilizing a wire basket!

This would look awesome over my sink!

Nothing beats the playful light of a punched tin shade!

These paint can lights are great for an industrial look!

These crafty ideas are super easy.  Pick your materials, put them together and then (in the case of people like me, who are electrically challenged) head down to your local lighting or electrical company and get them to wire it up for you!  Done!

Enjoy your space!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Eight Things that are Essential to a Clutter Free Kitchen

Most of us don't have enormous storage filled kitchens.  We have a galley kitchen or an eat-in kitchen at best.  If you do a lot of cooking, clutter can get out of control before you know it.

Here are some helpful tips to master the main culprits that cause a cluttered kitchen.  

Too many dishes

I love buying colorful pretty dishes.  While they might be pretty, unless you use them regularly, multiple sets of dishes can be a big source of kitchen clutter. Choose the dishes that you actually use on a regular basis, keep enough for when you host gatherings, and donate the rest. Also, declutter regularly by getting rid of chipped or broken pieces.

Storage in the walls

Odd little corners and between the studs are kitchen decluttering gold.  They're perfect for a single depth of containers or dishware, which makes it less of a chore to find and organize items. Look for spots where you can easily carve out 6 or so inches -- by a door or between the studs in your wall. To give the space a design boost, paint the back wall a complementary color, and skip doors in favor of well-chosen items and pretty containers. 

Counter Tops

No matter how large your kitchen is, if you have the counter tops loaded with appliances, canisters and other items, you have a cluttered kitchen that will feel half the size.   Try to clear off those surfaces and organize them at least once a day. Stash unnecessary pieces in cabinets, and corral loose bits and pieces in pretty bowls or trays.

Pots and Pans

Many big cooking pieces, such as pots and pans, aren't used with daily frequency. But still, they're good to have when the need arises. A good storage solution that can help declutter a drawer is to install a hanging rod -- here, a simple length of pipe. If you don't have room to suspend it over an island or sink, consider a near-the-ceiling spot in an open kitchen eating space -- here, in a seating nook adjacent to the kitchen.

Another great idea is to deal with it the way Julia Child dealt with it....hang them on your wall.  I mean, who can argue with Julia Child?  Right?

Appliance Clutter

Honestly, when's the last time you used that fancy mixer, food processor or juicer? Those pieces can quickly gobble precious counter and cabinet space, even as they gather dust. It's time to declutter: If you haven't used an appliance in a year, find it a new home. If you use it several times a year, find a spot other than the countertop to store it.

Plastic Containers

A cracked lid, a chipped container, a plastic container that is now pink because you once stored Strawberry Jello in it.  What about the seemingly thousands of plastic containers whose lids have vanished?  At least twice a year, pull them all out of your cabinets, pairing lids with containers and throwing away anything that doesn't have a match or has seen better days. Replace, if necessary, with clear containers that have useable lids as in those that flip, snap, and are pourable.

Windows and Walls

A few inches here and there can quickly add up to loads of organization ready square feet, especially around windows and near ceilings. That, in turn, can offer space to open up cabinets and drawers by displaying pretty collections or oft-used pieces in convenient spots. Here, narrow shelves stretch around a low window and up to the ceiling; the pared-down display of wood, ceramic, and glass pieces helps the space to feel open and airy.

Out with the old!

Dingy kitchen towels, a pan with a broken handle, a cracked cutting board: Sentiment or habit might have prevented you from tossing or replacing these pieces, but anything old or broken simply adds to your kitchen's clutter problems. Take an hour or two to review your cabinets and drawers, and get rid of anything that is in disrepair or has outlived its usefulness......don't forget that "junk" drawer while you're at it.