Baking Soda and Vinegar: In the Home and Garden

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Baking Soda and Vinegar: In the Home and Garden

Like many of us, I like to keep a clean house. Cleaning my kitchen and bathroom sinks, counter tops and vanities once presented a challenge. How so? I refuse to use harsh chemicals, mainly because of my children's allergies and asthma. I also prefer an environmentally-friendly cleaning solution. I've found all this and more, by cleaning with a homemade paste I make from baking soda and vinegar. This all-natural cleaning solution removes most of my everyday stains and grime with ease. I just scour the surface with a scrubby-type sponge and it's a breeze. In addition to kitchen and bathroom surfaces, I use baking soda and vinegar cleaning paste on my parrot's cage. There are no harsh chemicals or fumes, so it's also perfect for cleaning the toddler's room. Try the same solution diluted with a bit of water to kill your garden weeds. You'll be amazed!



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How To Hang A Curtain On A Brick Wall

If you live in a home that has brick walls with windows, you might want to hang curtains over the windows. While brick gives a beautiful, rustic appeal to the home, it also makes it difficult to plan for window treatments. However, it is still possible to hang curtains and have privacy when you want it. Here are tips for hanging curtains on brick walls.

Use Concrete Screws

Concrete or cement screws are the best for hanging a curtain on a brick wall. Your curtain rod probably came with metal screws, but most likely you won't be able to use these. Instead, head over to your local hardware store for strong, concrete screws. You want your screws to be slightly longer than the curtain rod's plate bracket. This is the part that is being screwed directly into the brick.

Mark the Brick

Hold the curtain rod bracket up to the brick over the window so you can decide exactly where you want it to be hung. Use some white chalk to mark the area where you are going to use the bracket's anchor screws. The easiest way to do this is make the marks inside the holes of the bracket when you are holding up the bracket to the wall. That way, your holes will be in the perfect spot. Remember that the holes need to go in the brick, not the mortar that is holding the brick together. This is not strong enough to support screws and a curtain rod.

For the opposite side of the window, there are a few ways to get the marks exactly parallel to the first. You need them to be at the same position so your curtain rod hangs level. You can either get a tape measure and hold it from one side to the other, use a level as your guide, or measure it out vertically. Measuring vertically is typically the best method if you don't have help. Measure from your chalk marks to the floor, then go to the other side of the window and use your measurements to make marks at the right spot on the brick.

Drill the Holes

When you drill the holes for your curtain rod, you want a drill bit that is a little smaller than the size of your screw, but only slightly. After inserting the drill bit, set the drill to the hammer mode. Begin drilling the holes using the marks you made, going a little farther into the brick than the length of your screws. It helps to wear ear plugs and safety glasses, since drilling into brick is more difficult than drywall. Use your vacuum attachment to remove the dust from the holes you made.

Add the Bracket and Curtain Rod

Now that your holes are drilled, you can hang the bracket. Position the bracket so that the holes line up, and use your screw driver to insert screws into the holes. Hang the rod on the brackets and you're done. (for more info on drapery, go to