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

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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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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A Doll Bench Makeover

As I was getting ready to write this post I realized that I aquired this great little bench over a year ago from my friend and neighbor that was moving far away.  I immediately thought it would be a great little bench for K’s room for her American Girl doll and Bitty Baby.

I had been keeping my eyes open for something like this at yard sales, but all along it was just right down the road.

bench

Little did I know that it would sit in hubby’s shop for over a year before I got to it’s makeover!

A couple weeks ago (or maybe more), I got it out and started it’s makeover.  Hubby had already put it’s first sanding on it (code for time to leave his shop) which meant it was ready for it’s first coat of paint.

After doing some research and reading, I decided to get Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover primer which I purchased from Lowes.  I never skip the primer!

Primer is important when painting wood to allow the paint to adhere to the wood better resulting in the need for less coats of paint as well as allowing the paint to get it’s complete curing cycle by not letting the paint to dry quickly.

This primer went on with great coverage in two light coats.  I then sanded the bench again to get it ready for paint because primer pulls up rough patches of wood.

rust-oleum primer

I started painting the bench with this Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Latex Paint. I put on one coat, let it dry and then sanded before another coat.  I was really not happy with the look of the paint after being brushed on.  I could see the brush marks on the wood. It could very well have been the painter doing the painting, but I did take great care in trying to brush on light coats.  I was kinda bummed out because I used a similar paint to paint K’s bed and it turned out great.

rust-oleum latex paint

Hubby said I should finish up the painting with spray paint.  Who was he kidding?  I don’t spray paint ….. because it wouldn’t look pretty.  It seems like every time I get a can of spray paint, something happens with the little sprayer and it sends a gunk of paint out onto what I am spraying.  Besides, spray paint doesn’t come in all those pretty colors like you can get mixed!  

I confess I caved and bought spray paint.  With the agreement that he would do the spraying.

Rust-oleum spray paint

I purchased this good ole Rust-oleum Gloss Protective Enamel Spray paint in gloss white at Lowes.  It’s been around forever.  Nothing fancy, just does a great job and comes in a variety of colors.

So hubby sanded and sprayed to get this great finished doll bench for K.

doll bench

Much more modern and fresh looking than the before picture!  I just love taking something and making it new and work for you.

bench

I have a few more painting projects going that I will share with you soon, but it includes a desk, chair, dresser and room makeover in progress.  Hope you will join us for the fun.

….. and I promise to work on my spray painting abilities.

Have you made something over lately?  Leave a comment telling us about it.  We would love to hear about your projects.  If you have a blog, feel free to include a link to your makeover project, big or small.  

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I called The Appliance Repairman

Last Thursday my washing machine started making a loud noise (so bad the kids came to see what was wrong), and it would not spin.  It just made that awful noise.

Being without a washing machine is rather painful in my home.

I am very impatient and I can’t stand for the laundry to build up.

So I called the washer repairman (actually I sent a text to hubby), and told him what was going on.

His reply was “awesome”.

I wish I could be so relaxed when things break.  Especially important things like my washer.

Next I did what I like to do when something breaks.  I searched the internet with “whirlpool washer won’t spin and makes noise”.  You see we try to fix things ourselves as much as possible.  It saves us quite a bit of money and time.

It’s amazing that the first thing I looked at was the solution to my problem.  My search brought up applianceblog.com.  Actually it brought up this page below on applianceblog.com, which was exactly what I needed:

washer repair page

I chose the one with the arrow and got a forum where an actual appliance tech had already told someone how to fix the problem.  It included the parts to check and in what order as well as an awesome video showing you how to do things.

Now we have fixed something on our washer before, but hubby didn’t have this handy video that showed him how to get at the area in question.  In fact as we watched the video he said “so that’s how you get to the stuff”.  He had always wondered how you got to the parts because the back of the washer doesn’t come off.  That is when he said that last time he just turned it over on its side!  (oh my)  Good thing it didn’t have water in it huh?

Anyways he went to work right away (with my expert supervision of course) and in 15 minutes had found the broken part.  It was the motor coupling.

motor coupling

After he got the washer hull off, I found that the inside of the washer is quite nasty!  I had to clean it up quite a bit.  I failed to get a picture of it, but be prepared when doing your own repairs, it’s dusty, dirty and more dirty.

If you want to buy the part right away, the site also has a link to purchase the part from repairclinic.com.  The price with them was $10.55 plus $5.93 shipping.  I have never used this company so I cannot vouch for the service.  I also checked appliancepartspro.com (have used and had great service) by entering my washer model number and the part I needed.  The price with them was $9.76 plus $6.95 shipping.  So really just a little bit difference in price, but I would have to wait for it, and since it was Thursday I knew I was looking at being back in business Tuesday night at the earliest. Yuck!

Did I mention that I am impatient when it comes to my washer (well actually anything that breaks).

washer motor

Friday I was going to have to go to the eye doctor in the town (30 miles away) where there is an Mid South Appliance store.  If I wasn’t already going to be out I might have just ordered it to save on the gas and time.  So I called them up and asked if they had the part. They did and I picked it up on Friday for $16.33 after tax.

Saturday my dear sweet hubby had my washer back in business.

I was very happy!  I cannot live without my washer.  When you wash for 5 people, it piles up in no time.

washer & dryer

I am sure it is easier to fix one of these older model top load washers (non electronic) than it is to fix the newer (electronic) front load ones.  That is one of the top reasons that I will keep my old time washer.  I believe the repair costs are going to be much cheaper as well.

So next time an appliance gives out, try fixing it yourself.  You may be surprised to find out how easy it is, especially with all the helpful knowledge on the web.

P.S. so you don’t have to do an internet search to also find out where the model number is hidden on some washers, here’s a nice picture(I won’t tell you how many times I tried to find a model number before I searched for help):

open washing machine

wasing machine model number

Have you ever fixed your own appliance?

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Vacuum Surgery

Recently I did a little surgery on my vacuum.  Why?  Well it was overheating every time I turned it on to vacuum.  I really hate vacuums.  They never seem to do a great job, or they just quit working.  I bought a pet vacuum the last time I purchased one, because having three girls with long hair in the house plus myself, is just like owning pets.  There is hair everywhere.

So I began by washing and air compressor blowing the filters clean.  One filter just wouldn’t let air go thru, so I ordered a replacement from Hoover.  For $7.95 plus shipping, I was hoping to have a working vacuum.  That’s what I thought anyways.  The vacuum still was overheating.  So a couple days ago I decided I would not buy a new vacuum, I would not take it to the repair shop, but I would fix this darn thing myself.

I unplugged the vacuum from the wall.  Always do this before working on or taking apart any item plugged into electricity!

I started by checking the filters again.  All clear and clean.  Next I decided to go ahead and clean the roller while I was looking at things.  O took it off and cleaned all the hair off of it. As I looked into the vacuum, I noticed that there was dirt and lint in the hose hole.  It seemed like the stuff was not going into the canister.  I then noticed that there was a way to get the bottom portion of hose off the vacuum cleaner.  Within 15 minutes I had it cleaned out and put back on.  It was pretty easy.  Sometimes you just have to try to do something.

One of my favorite quotes ever is by Theodore Roosevelt and can be applied to so many situations in life:

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed”

 

I use this quote often to keep myself going.  Especially when sometimes it’s easier to just not try.  I don’t like easier though.  I like frugal!

So after getting it put back together, I then turned it on and immediately it started getting hot again.  This vacuum has a temperature indicator on it.  So I turned it off again.  I looked it over and determined that the other hose that I thought was just for tools was actually part of the main hose too.  I decided it was probably stopped up too.  So I then began to take screws out to get at this hose.   There was many more screws this time, but I carefully laid parts out in order and place that they go on.  I was then able to get the hose off and get it cleaned out.  Let me tell you, this vacuum has been stopped up for a while.  Half the hose was full.  This might explain why the darn thing hadn’t seemed like it was doing a very good job.

 

All in all it took about 45 minutes from start to finish to fix the vacuum cleaner.  Not only did I save gas driving the 50+ miles to the vacuum repair shop and back home, but I also saved what I would have paid them to fix the vacuum.  It was well worth the time and I had my vacuum to use right away.

So next time you have trouble with an appliance, consider fixing it yourself.  Many times things are an easy fix.  Recently the burner in the bottom of our oven went out.  I searched on line and found one for just over $40 shipped, had it in two days and even found the instructions for replacing on the internet.  Search the internet for the brand name, model number and problem and you will find many results for your problem.

In case you are wondering, I used appliance parts pros for my replacement parts.  I have used them more than once and am very satisfied with their service and prices.  (I am not an affiliate or have any ties to them, I am just a satisfied customer)

Have you fixed anything at your house recently instead of replacing it?  

Making a habit out of living frugal …..