DIY Washing Machine Repair

I’m going to be completely honest here and tell you that my washing machine needed this part replaced a while back, but since it was still functioning I didn’t worry about it too much.

It all started with the washer still running when I lifted the lid, and then it progressed to the washer just stopping mid cycle.  It was pretty easy to figure out that it needed a new lid switch.  The lid switch makes the washer start and stop when the lid is lowered or raised.  After my research, I found out it can make the machine just stop running too.

ordering

I ordered my part from Appliance Parts Pros by searching by model number and the name of the part I needed.  The lid switch and shipping came in at under $25, after using a code I found on retailmenot that saved me 5%.

lid switch

The part arrived in just a few short days and I was ready to get that baby put in.  Any Momma knows that being without a washing machine for just a few days can lead to disaster in the laundry department!

DIY Washer Lid Switch Repair

I watched the video on Appliance Parts Pros explaining how to replace the lid switch. I was able to get this project done in less than 10 minutes and with 2 tools (screwdriver and pliers).  This was probably the easiest replacement I have done.  Not that any of them are hard when you have so much information available at your fingertips.

If you would like to see my process for figuring out what is wrong with an appliance, check out this post on DIY Dryer Repair and this one on how I Called The Appliance Repairman.  

We always try to fix these appliances ourselves so that we can not only save as much money as we can, but prolong the life of our appliances.  Many repair jobs performed by a professional could cost so much that one might consider getting a new appliance, or even worse, go into credit card debt to get a new appliance.

I hope that this post may encourage you to try to do some DIY repairs to help save your family money.

Have you ever performed a DIY appliance repair?  Tell us how it worked for you.  What resources did you use?

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Sewing School 101

Our Homeschool Room Makeover

This post is so long overdue, that I hesitated even posting it today, but I decided that in order to show you any future improvements to this room, I needed to catch you up to where it is now.

Our dining room is where we have our homeschool most days, unless the sun is calling us out to the deck.  We only use the table for the kids to eat on holidays, so using the table in the dining room doesn’t conflict with meal times.  We use our big bar that is between the kitchen and dining room for all other meals.

My future house (we are hoping for a big move in next year or two) will have an area for a big table, not a formal dining area since we are just not that formal, but a place to fit a table like this.  I already have hubby looking for just the right wood!  I just love that table!

Back to the makeover now.  It’s time for the before pictures.

wall 1 before

The dining room is situated where it is the main traffic area through the house, making it a poor choice for a dining area, but a great area for a school room.  This opening leads to two bedrooms and a bathroom.

wall 1 corner before

This is the corner of the first wall and the second wall.  The one section of wall has the return air vent and the thermostat, making it harder to hang big items on the wall.  To the left is the opening into the living room.  The opening is large, which gives this house a nice open feeling to it.  It originally had french doors on it that swung into the living room, but they just didn’t have a purpose and they covered valuable wall space.

wall 2 & 3 before

A view of the other corner, our table and our big window.  I considered recovering the fabric on the chairs, but it is in great condition and it kind of gives the school room a retro funky happy feel.

chair 2

The rug, it definetly needs to go, but rugs are a tad bit expensive, so maybe I will find a nice one on sale or at a yard sale.  We will see.

wall 3 & 4 before

This photo is a tab bit blurry, but I wanted you to see this last section of the room.  This is the view looking into the kitchen.  I bet you get that point.

We need some color.

ceiling before

My ceiling.  No light.  A few years ago I was dusting the ceiling fan and it fell off the ceiling. Fortunately nobody got hurt, but I decided to take the fan to another room that needed its broken fan replaced.  We didn’t use this ceiling fan in here, but we did need a light.

Fast forward a few years, we still needed a light.  I hate picking these things out and they are so darn expensive.

THE MAKEOVER 

school room paint

I started this makeover by researching ideas for the color of walls for north facing rooms.  I decided that I needed to get something with blue tones in it.

I found this paint at Walmart that I liked called Wishful Thinking (shade of gray) by ColorPlace.  It was only around $18 a gallon compared to the excessive prices elsewhere, and I am all about saving money, or spending less of my hard earned money.  You know what?  I can’t tell that it is any different than many other paints.  I even have enough left over to paint that hallway that comes into the side of the room.  Just gotta get on that one.

Next it was time to find a light that I liked.  I am really a fan of school house lights, but I didn’t really want to pay the price of some of these lights, so I went to looking online at Lowes.  I ended up finding this one and figured I could paint it to look like one of those high dollar school house lights.

I haven’t painted it yet, but will probably do it after we get some more color in the room.  I’m thinking about what exactly I want to do with it.

Don’t worry, I will try to be more prompt with my room updates from now on.

lightIt’s not huge, it’s not as pretty as those others, but its functional and only cost me $44.97. Since we aren’t planning on being in this house for too much longer, that is all I really wanted to spend, otherwise I would have to tell potential buyers “you get the house, but not the light”!

So now I have a bunch of pictures of the after.  Keep in mind, it’s still in progress.  We have a few more things we want to do.

wall 1

I switched out my cabinets.  This black one was in the living room, so I just moved the brown one into the living room and brought this one in for school supplies.

school cabinet

It was nice to get things organized and give them a place.

spice cabinet

I love using things that I already have, which makes for a frugal project.  Using this old spice cabinet that used to belong to my grandparents fit in perfectly.  It also holds many small things that would normally be in a desk drawer.

brown cabinet

This vintage child sized wardrobe remained where it was in the room, but it got a good cleaning and organization.

brown cabinet inside

I love being able to store my printer inside.  It works great for printing and I don’t have to look at it when it’s not in use.

small cabinet

This small cabinet was in my attic for a future building project, but I decided that the theme didn’t really work for me anymore, so I was gonna sell it at our yard sale.  Well I had it out, but luckily nobody wanted it for $10.  So I had a light bulb moment (I don’t know what took me so long) and decided that I would keep it and paint it.

little cabinet after

I just took the door off, took it outside, taped it off and sprayed it with a few coats of chalkboard paint.  The paint cost me $4.97, but will be able to be used on a few projects.

I may eventually paint the sides a different color, but for now it’s really cute.  It stores more books too!  Every school room needs more book space.

wall 2 & 3 after

This is the corner next to the window.  It’s the 3rd before picture above.

I found this great little dresser at Goodwill for $20 and thought it would be a great addition to our room for daily supplies.  The girls have the top drawer for pencils, rulers, notepads, markers and more.

The second and third drawers hold each of their books, notebooks and binders they use each day.  They love having their own drawer.

The bottom drawer is for the teachers books.

I couldn’t find a before picture of this dresser.  It was brown, scratched and ugly, but it had great potential.  It’s is solid wood though, and who doesn’t love solid wood?

The two black picture frames above the dresser came from Hobby Lobby and hold art made by my girls.  They cost $5 each during a 50% off sale.  I need another one now.  I have a picture made by each girl, but only have 2 of them hung.  I cannot be a bad momma!

If you’ve been around these parts you might remember that plant sand/stool, but if not you can see how and where I got it and it’s friend.

dresser top

I spent $2.99 on the little basket I found at Savers.  It holds the crayons we need each day and looks so cute atop this little dresser.

The lettered basket on the left holds many of the phonics helps that we are needing right now.  I used a coupon at Hobby Lobby and scored it for only $5.99.  I just love how the letters on it add to the theme of this room being a school room.

The other items you see in the rooom are things we already had.  So I included only the items we bought for the total cost of this project.

I realized after writing this post that I don’t have pictures of some areas of the room, so next week I will take pictures of where we are at right now.  So you can see the big picture.

I will have a new camera, so the pictures will be much better quality!  I’m so excited.

Right now the total spent in this room is at $124.92.  Pretty darn good to me.  Now I could have done without a few things and it would be a lot cheaper, but I had certain things I wanted to achieve.  I still don’t think that is a bad amount at all.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Do you have any suggestions for our room?  What do you think about our updated room?

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Flowered Headband Tutorial

I made these cute earm warming headbands for the girls after seeing some I liked on Etsy for a grand price of $16 plus shipping.

I was able to make 3 of these headbands for a grand total of $3.50 plus tax.  ($1 each for headbands and 25¢ for each piece of felt.  I already had the embroidery thread and needle, but these can be purchased at a fairly inexpensive price as well.

headband

MAKE YOUR OWN FLOWERED HEADBAND TUTORIAL

Items You Will Need:  

  • Headband – I purchased the stretchy headbands at JoAnns for $1 each.  They were located in the $1 bins at the front of my store and came in a few different colors.
  • Felt – 1 sheet each of 2 different colors.  I was able to make 3 headbands out of these 2 sheets.  Prefer one sheet same as headband color.
  • Embroidery Thread – in a complimentary color.
  • Needle
  • Flower Templates – I used the 3 smallest ones from this PDF pattern for Felt Flowers.  I printed and cut them out on cardstock so they would withstand being traced around many times.
  • Scissors
  • Marker – I used a sharpie and cut right on the line and put marker side down on headband.  If using a really light color you should use something not so dark.

I cut 2 – large flowers (one in each color), 5 – medium flowers (2 in color same as headband – grey for me and 3 in the other color-purple for me) and 4 – small flowers (3 in color same as headband and 1 in other color).  Obviously you can do this any way you want, but I just wanted to give you a pattern in case you wanted to copy what I did.

On the headband I layered the flowers as follows from the bottom up:

 The left side is medium purple, medium grey, small purple, small grey.

The right side is medium grey, medium purple, small grey.

The middle is large purple, large grey, medium purple, small grey.

Be sure to alternate where the flower petals go by not overlapping or stacking them in the same direction. I alternated by putting every other one over where the space between the petals are on the flower under it.

Clear as chocolate milk?  I find this a bit hard to explain so make sure you take a look at the picture.

You will want to place the left side and right side down first so you can get an idea of where they need to go.  I put them close enough so that when I put the large flowers i the middle the flowers on the left and right were covered 1/3 to 1/2 by the larger flowers.  This is so that when the headband is stretched out (put on a head) the flowers will be real close together.

headband 2

I also placed my left side flowers just above halfway up my headband and the right side flowers just below halfway for a not so mass produced look.  They are sitting on the headband at a slight angle.

Now that you know where you want to put your flowers, it’s time to attach them with some french knots.  Now don’t get all nervous, they are pretty easy to do.  Just watch the video below and practice a few times on some scraps and you will have it down.

Place about 4 french knots (1 in center and 3 arround) in each set of flowers going through all flowers in a stack at a time.

Now enjoy that finished product.  Aren’t they the cutest things?  Perfect for gift giving or just giving to those who need to keep their ears warm in style.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.  

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Handmade and Homemade Gifts

I hope each and every one of you enjoyed your Christmas holiday immensely by eating too much and making some great memories all the while remembering the reason for the season!  I know we did just that ourselves, and had a great time doing it.

Now it’s time to clean up things a bit and think about the New Year to come!  Wow, I really can’t believe it’s already almost 2014!  This year went fast, but it was a great year filled with many memories.

This year for Christmas there were many handmade/homemade gifts given that I wanted to share with you.  Not only are they sometimes a more frugal option to store bought gifts, but they can also be personalized for the receiver for a very special memory.

Next year I plan on getting started earlier so that I can include more handmade/homemade gifts and the girls can too!

present snowmen

My sister put together these adorable snowmen from the presents she got for the girls. They were so cute and loved by all.

I made each of my girls one of these flowered headbands after seeing these in an Etsy store for $16 each.  I knew by looking at them that I could make the same thing (pretty much) for much less.

I also have the materials to make them each one more in a different color combination.  I just didn’t get them all done in time.

headband 2

They turned out so very pretty.

Tomorrow I will be posting the directions to make your very own!  It’s not only easy to make, but very frugal.  I bought the headbands at JoAnns for $1.00 each, paid $.25 for each sheet of felt (need at least 2 different colors) and used embroidery thred I already had.  That’s a total of $3.50 for 3 headbands!

My oldest (Big Girl) painted a canvas for each of her sisters’ rooms.  They are so pretty and will definetly add color to their rooms!  The best part of the pictures is the personalization of each and how they really represent who each girl is!

canvas art

canvas art 2

Big Girl also made some really pretty scarves for her aunt and sisters.  They are so cute and soft!  You can learn how to make them by watching the video here.  They literally only take a few minutes to make and the only thing you need is the yarn (Red Heart Swerve) that she purchased at Walmart and your hands.

hand chain scarf

Grandma made each of the little girls a backpack for carrying things on their trips.  The neat thing about these is that she made them to match purses (that fit their Kindles) she had made them for their birthdays.  The bonus was that they also got a doll outfit for their American Girl dolls made from the same matching fabric.

backpacks and doll clothes

K also made her sisters gifts this year.  She purchased these plain wooden frames from Hobby Lobby (using coupon of course) for about $5.39 each.

unfinished frame

I helped her paint them with spray paint we had on hand (the yellow is what I used on my door and rocking chair).

We then went through pictures so that she could pick out pictures of her with each sister to make collages.  We made these online (Walgreens) for less than $4 total (yep, had a coupon code) and picked them up when we were out.

She then added the writing with a paint pen she also purchased at Hobby Lobby with a coupon.

painted framesThey turned out so pretty and even made some people cry!  Not naming any names or anything.

The best thing is that she thought up the idea all by herself as well as bought it all with her own money.

The Last Princess chose to purchase gifts for her sisters with her allowance money.  She did a great job on picking out the best small gifts!  She bought earrings for Big Girl from Target because she loves earrings and a “water” Barbie for K because she says she always plays with hers when they take a bath!

The girls and I made cinnamon rolls and cookies for some friends.  We also included jars of blueberry jam that we made this past summer.

cinnamon rolls

I froze some of the cinnamon rolls (before rising and baking) to cook Christmas morning for a delicous sweet treat.

They were awesomely delicious and I cannot wait to share the recipe.

sugar cookies

italian sprinkle cookies

We had a great time planning, making and receiving these handmade and homemade gifts as well as the other great gifts we received.

It was a great time to be with and share with family and friends.

Hope you had a great holiday as well.

What did you make for others this year?  Have a favorite gift you gave or received?

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Our No Stress, Frugal Christmas Decorations

Nothing takes the spirit of the season out of a person more than stress over getting things done.  The last few years I have scaled back on making everything “perfect” and have taken a more relaxed approach to decorating at Christmas.  It sure has helped me to be able to relax more and not stress about getting things done.

It’s also budget friendly when you can use things that you already have in your home, or parts of nature that are just outside waiting to be used.

A big part of our Christmas decorating is done by the girls now.  Once the tree is up, they start getting the ornaments and decoartions out and get right to it.  Of course they sometimes ask me where something should go, but for the most part I just relax and enjoy watching them get creative.

You must forgive the low quality photos.  I am now down to just a camera phone until after the first of the year.  

We went to a different place to get our real tree this year and while we were there we got to visit with Santa!

santa 2013

The girls did a really good job getting the tree decorated.  They even put out some presents left at our house by their Uncle and Aunt.

2013 tree

I used some of the branches that we had to trim off the bottom of the tree for some decorations around the house.

canning jar decoration

small canning jar decoration

yellow chair

porch decorations

As usual, the girls and I hit the woods in search of their nature tree for the year.  We finally found just the right one.  We cut it down and put it in a flower pot of dirt from off the deck.

nature tree

 The next day we found the dining/school room full of ants around the flower pot!  We had warmed them up and they were starting to travel.  After getting them all cleaned out and kicking the flower pot back outside we decided to use the galvanized pail that I had for porch decorations.  We put in a couple bricks and then filled around it with small rocks.  No ants!  I think the pail added greatly to the nature tree.

nature tree 2

popcorn cranberry garland

garlandI had been meaning to paint these candlesticks I have been collecting, so I finally jumped on it and got it done.  I wanted to make them all the same color so that I could display them in a group or alone.

DIY painted candlesticks

I used my favorite ORB paint to make them all the same color.  Now I can put in inexpensive candles along with some other decorations or maybe some cute ribbon for a simple decoration that I can change throughout the year.

DIY candlesticksThat’s pretty much all I have for you guys today.  I hope you enjoyed seeing our frugal and simple decorations.

How do you decorate your home?  

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Warm Weather, Broken Dryer and DIY Dryer Repair

It was only a week ago that the weather was darn near 80 outside here in Arkansas.  We all enjoyed spending a great deal of time outside playing, sitting, reading and for me, hanging out a bit of laundry.

fall chickens

I like to hang out laundry whenever I can as part of my quest to be more frugal, but I also love it for the great scent it fills my clothes with, the scent of pure outdoors.

The other day the breeze was just enough to not only fill the clothes with a great scent, but to also dry them quicker and softer.

laundry

Normally I wouldn’t have dried my clothes outside on this day since I had family at my house, but a couple days earlier my dryer quit getting hot and we had an impending ice/sleet storm heading our way.  I wanted to get as much laundry done as possible so we would have all our “warm” clothes clean.  So I hung out two loads that day.

….. and I commenced to figuring out what was wrong with the dryer with the help of my visiting brother.

I began by doing a quick internet serch of the problem with my dryer and my model number.  It brought me to Repair Clinic where I was able to find out information about what could be wrong with my dryer and I could see tutorials on how to get to the parts and how to check the 5 possible parts of the dryer that could be suspect.

My brother grabbed the tools needed and we set out to test each of the 5 parts with a multimeter, which was a really easy process.  All 5 of the parts were testing good, so it came down to one last part that is the least common problem (as well as most expensive).  The tutorials and information I read stated that it is not common for the timer to be the problem, but since my dryer originally quit getting hot a few months ago on one side of the dial, I figured it was very likely.  Of course the timer is expensive , but not near as expensive as paying a repairman to fix it or a new dryer.

dryer timer 3

I was able to order the part for $83 and some change including shipping, but I had the part in about 2 days.

whirlpool timer

My brother had already gone home at this point and since my hubby’s job keeps him away home for long hours, it was up to me to put the part in.  Never a problem here, I’m a pretty independent person and will try to accomplish things on my own if possible.  Anything I can get done allows hubby time to do other things on the weekends.

whirlpool timer 2

It was as simple as unplugging wires from the old part and plugging them into the new one.  I did this one by one so that I would know where each wire would go without getting them mixed up.

I placed the new part back in the back of the dryer and screwed the screws back into place.  I then put the back piece back on the dryer by putting in and tightening several screws.

And that’s it!  The dryer worked and got hot on all sides of the dial!  It literally took me less than 20 minutes to fix.  The hardest part was putting the air vent hose back on the back of the dryer (in the small space) and pushing it back against the wall.

Just in time for the big sleet/ice storm that didn’t really pan out.

So in case you need to do a little appliance repair and love to save some money, I recommend these places to get you going:

Repair Clinic – great tutorials, parts and a great return policy

Appliance Parts Pros – repair tips, support, parts and a great return policy

Midwest Appliance Parts – competitive pricing on parts, but return policy is a little tighter and more of a hassle (I only read it, didn’t have an experience needing to return)

Be sure to check retailmenot for coupon codes.  I was able to save 5% by using a new customer code I found for Midwest Appliance parts.

None of these are affiliate links, just linka to help get you started on your very own DIY repairs.

How about you, have you fixed something on your own lately?

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How To Read Ebooks On Your Kindle or Kindle App Device

Did you know that you can read all those ebooks you download to your computer (like the bundle of the week ebooks) on your Kindle or a Kindle app?  Sure you can purchase or find free ebooks on Amazon, but what about all the other ebooks you download from your favorite bloggers?

If you’re like me, you may do most of your reading while waiting at appointments or kids activities, and who wants to lug the bulky laptop all these places.  You don’t have to.  You can send these ebooks to your Kindle or Kindle App with these simple instructions and read them on the go.

First you will need a Kindle or a Kindle App.  The Kindle App can be downloaded to many smartphones and tablets by searching for the Kindle App in your app store.  For more information on Kindle reading apps, you can go here.

Next you will log into your Amazon account and click on “Your Account” at the top right of the page, to be taken to your account information page.

amazon log in

Next go to the digital content area and click on “manage your kindle”.

amazon digital

Now we need to make sre that the email you will be sending documents from is an approved personal document email on your account.  To do this go down the left side of the page till you find “personal document settings”.  Once you click on this, you will see an area at the bottom that lists your approved email for sending personal documents.  This is a security measure to help prevent spam on your device (I have never had any spam). If the email is incorrect you can delete it or add a new one.

amazon document settings

Once you have the sending email address set up correctly, it’s time to find the email to send it to, which is the email for your kindle or kindle app device.  On the left side of the page under “Your Kindle Account”, click on “Manage Your Devices”.

kindle devices

You will now be on a page that shows the devices that are using the Kindle app.  When you select the device you would like to send your ebooks or documents to, an email will show that ends with the extension @kindle.com.  This is the email linked to your device.

Write the email down or copy and paste it into a new email as the “send to address”. Place the word “convert” in the subject line and your documents will be changed to kindle format. Now attach your document (ebook) to the email as you would any other file. Making sure to do only one ebook/document at a time.  Now it may take a bit for these to send, but when you open your Kindle app on your device, you should find the items in your cloud. Your app must be open for the files to download.

Keep in mind that the documents/ebooks that you send to your Kindle will be in the cloud. This means that any Kindle or kindle app devices on your amazon account will be able to download this ebook/document to their device as well.  Generally this is not a problem, my kids don’t want to read frugal ebooks, but you should know in the case of reading important or private documents.

That’s it!  You can now read those ebooks on your Kindle or device with a Kindle app.

I’m so happy to be able to take all those ebooks I have collected over the last few years with me wherever I go.  I can read about frugal living, homeschooling, faith, recipes and so much more while on the go.

If you have any questions you can feel free to ask me, I can try to help you out, or you can go to Amazon for help with the Kindle Personal Documents Service.

Happy Kindle reading!  Have any questions?  Feel free to link up any free ebooks that you think our readers will enjoy.  Due to spam settings on the blog, you will have to make a seperate comment for each link.  

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