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Uncommon Uses for Common Things: Spring Edition

Aren’t you happy Spring is finally here? The snow will finally melt giving way to flowers, birds heading home, and the ability to go outside without a heavy coat, among other things. It’s one my favorite times of year, if not my favorite. I love it because spring marks the beginning of outdoor fun, school breaks and more. Sadly, not everything is roses, though (ie: spring cleaning). To help  you get through it and enjoy spring to the fullest from the very beginning, here are some helpful uncommon uses for common things to wade through the not-so-fun activities.

via The Kitchn

Save some money by keeping your green onions perpetually growing. Green onions can live and grow in water alone. Just submerge the white ends into water and put them in a window where they will get lots of sunlight. You can then harvest the green onions for as long as the white roots last.

For a quick and intense spring clean of your oven, cover the bottom in baking soda and then pour vinegar over it. Let the concoction sit for 20 minutes and then wipe away easily. It’s cheap, natural, quick and as effortless as possible.

Save your kids’ favorite shirts from armpit stains by covering the spots in vinegar and allowing them to sit for 20 minutes. Nature’s bleach has strong cleaning power that can work wonders on clothing.

Get the perfect manicure by applying petroleum jelly around your cuticles with a q-tip before you start. This way, if you make a mistake while painting, you can simply wipe it away once you’re done. No nail polish remover and nail polish reapplication necessary.

via This Old House

If you want to add a new coat of paint to the house, don’t rush out to get all the supplies right away. You can reuse paintbrushes even if they’re hard and covered in old paint simply by soaking them in vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse them off with water afterward and allow them to dry before you use them. They’ll be like new!

Every girl loves a great pair of heels, but hates the blisters they bring with them. Save yourself some pain (and skin) by dabbing a little bit of petroleum jelly in problem areas of the shoe before slipping them on. If you don’t want to use store-bought petroleum. Make your own with this recipe.

If you do happen to get a blister from those shoes, then just apply an antiseptic mouthwash to the effected area. It will clean the blistered part quickly and thoroughly. Or, you can make your own mouthwash.

This may sound odd, but you can avoid using a room freshener and still make your house smell sweet by rubbing vanilla extract on light bulbs. The scent will slowly be released in the house from the heat of the light.

via Real Simple

Spring cleaning is deep cleaning, which means cleaning from top to bottom. One top portion that is often ignored is the ceiling fan. Clean off that caked on dust with a pillow case. Not only does it grip the top, bottom and sides at once to clean it quickly, it also captures all of the dust into the pillowcase, so it can’t settle somewhere else.

If you happen to get a bruise when doing heavy lifting during spring cleaning, speed up the healing process by swabbing it with vinegar. When you’re done, you will still be able to wear the warm weather clothes you just pulled out of the closet with smooth, even skin.

For a quick and easy test to see if you’ve lost power when on spring break, use the jar trick. Freeze water in a jar while it is on its side. Once it’s frozen, stand it upright. If the water is settled on the bottom or frozen on the bottom, they you will that you lost power while you were away, saving your from eating food gone bad.

If you’ve ever tried to reheat any bread in the microwave, you know how quickly it is hardened. Keep it moist when reheating by placing a cup of water in the microwave with it.

via Do Me a Favor

Remember chores, appointments and grocery lists with a dry erase board made to your liking. Just find a picture frame and wallpaper, wrapping paper or scrapbook paper for a background to create a stylish way to remember everything you need.

Clean away the mildew that invades your plants by planting a line of mint leaves through the middle of your garden. Mint is a superb natural garden cleanser that will last into the autumn.

One of of downsides of spring is the return of bugs. Mosquitoes are usually the most tiresome of these critters. Take the annoying itch away from this pest with vinegar. Just rub vinegar on the bite with a cotton swab for immediate itch relief.

When cleaning the tiny, nearly invisible glass shards off the floor after a glass has broken(you know, the kind that can only be removed from your feet with tweezers?), wipe the scene of the accident with a wet cotton ball. This will get all of the tiny pieces that sweeping leaves behind.

If your copper pans have been blackened from Christmas cooking, brighten them up by soaking them in hot water with a few pinches of lemon/vinegar and salt. After soaking for an hour, you can easily scrub the pots clean for a bright shine.

via Home Made Simple

For meals that come with plenty of sauces and spices, create stations of sauces with ice cube trays. To make it even easier for guests, lay out a few different tray stations, so guests can get everything they need quickly and easily.

Hang photos in a synch by using a pop can tab. Attach the tab to the nail on the back of the frame and secure it well. Then, you can hang up the photos with ease and precision like never before.

Remove stains on clothing by spraying them with hairspray. Let the garment sit for 10 minutes and then wipe the bulk of the stain off with a damp cloth. For the slight stains remaining, just wash as usual.

Save some money and a trip to the store by making your own Oxyclean. Mix together equal parts hydrogen peroxide and baking soda for the powerful cleaning agent.

Make it easier to weed your garden (and keep it weeded) by pouring vinegar on the problematic plants. A good douse will kill weeds down their very roots leaving your gardens and walkways weed-free for the some time to come.

via Martha Stewart

Spruce up your house design by adding a drawer to your side table decor or using it as a tray for breakfast in bed. It’s simply chic and recycles the odd item in a very cool way.

Clean the microwave quickly by microwaving a bowl of water with one tablespoon of vinegar and then wiping away the residue with a cloth. The water will loosen up the residue and the vinegar will sanitize the microwave.

Keep the drinks in your cooler cold and colorful with balloons. Freeze water balloons and then place them in the cooler to keep your beverages cool. It saves you from the pool of water that everyone hates reaching their hand in. And, as a bonus, kids have  some ammo for water balloon fights once they melt.

For those very-difficult-to-reach areas during spring cleaning, fix an old sock to the end of a yard stick and secure it with a rubber band. This cleaning device is perfect for reaching behind the fridge.

via Real Simple

To collect all of crumbs off of your keyboard from your winter hibernation, use the sticky side of a sticky note to clean the spaces in between the keys of your keyboard. For a thorough cleaning, run a q-tip along the ridges as well.

For your deep bathroom cleaning, rid your showers and sinks of lime buildup with this simple homemade paste. Mix together one teaspoon of vinegar and two teaspoons of salt and rub the mixture on the surface for a quick natural clean.

Keep floorboards quiet by sprinkling talcum powder over them. Just sweep up the mess, of course :) The powder in the cracks will silence the boards. To keep your floors from getting scratched when moving furniture, cover the furniture legs with old socks.

Shine up your leather goods and minimalize scratches by rubbing distilled white vinegar on them. It may be the cheapest and most natural leather shine you will find.

via Real Simple

Pack up valuable glass vases and figurines when moving or just storing with cardboard milk cartons. Their cushioning will keep your valuables much safer than newspaper can. Just make sure you wash them out thoroughly first, because there’s nothing quite like grandma’s vase smelling like old milk.

Shine up your best leather shoes with vegetable oil. Only one or two drops are needed to polish each shoe thoroughly. The shine is as good as store-bought items and is natural as well.

Add two tablespoons of vinegar to eggs boiling in a pot for two benefits. It prevents eggs from cracking while boiling, and makes the shells come off easier when done boiling.

via Martha Stewart

Liven up your refreshments by adding flowers or berries to your ice cubes. Just make sure the flowers are edible (and hopefully tasty).

Clean germs and wax off of fruit and vegetables by rinsing it vinegar before eating. Vinegar will remove germs and residue much better and quicker than water.

Save yourself money and calories by whipping your store-bought icing before icing the cake. Store-bought icing can expand to twice its size, covering more cake with less icing.

via Sassy Styler Design

Kids can play Twisteroutdoors with just some spray paint on the grass. You can make it small enough for your kids only or big enough for all of the kids of your block. This Twister fit any size and last for as long as you wish. Depending on the length of your grass, you can can mow it away usually in a matter or days or a few weeks.

Turtle wax can shine up more than your car. Coat your dustpans in turtle wax for the dirt piles to fall right off when tossing them in the trash.

Keep your broom and mop handles from leaving marks on the wall by covering the tops of the handles with the finger cutoffs of cleaning gloves.

Hate how some ingredients stick to sides of measuring cups when cooking? Get the ingredients out easily by first rinsing the cup in hot water. Don’t dry the cup, though. The little beads of water will get the sticky ingredients, such as peanut butter and sour cream to pour out much more smoothly.

Shave your legs with conditioner rather than shaving cream to save yourself a few dollars and while getting much smoother legs.

Hate how your shaving cream and other metal bottles to rust in the shower after awhile? Prevent that wear by applying a thin coat of clear nail polish to the bottom. It will last as long as you have the bottle.

Kill germs naturally in your bathroom and kitchen with full strength vinegar. Just spray on and wipe off to kill the germs and remove residue.

via Martha Stewart

For the little ones still learning to use glass cups, wrap the glasses with a few rubber bands. This will keep the glass from slipping from those little hands when too hot, too cold or slippery from condensation.

If you run out of toilet tablets, just toss in a few antacid tablets. They’ll work to get to rid of stains in just 20 minutes, so you can easily scrub them away with minimal effort.

Burnt your forehead with a curling iron? Dull the pain and reduce the redness quickly with yogurt. It’s a perfect healing method and breakfast all in one.

via Real Simple

Put those plastic Easter eggs to use after Easter Sunday by using them as snack containers. They are not only reusable, they are also an easy way to help with portion control.

For those difficult coffee stains, cover the spot with salt and watch as the tiny crystals soak up the brown spot. After significant soakage, throw the salt away and wash the clothing as normal and the stain will removed.

Bring a fake spring smell indoors with your own fake Febreeze. Mix together two cups of water, a quarter cup of your favorite fabric softener and one teaspoon of baking soda. Pour into a spray bottle for all the fake fresh smell you can handle.


There you have it! Have a great spring enjoying your newly clean house and newly bloomed flowers. Be sure to check out our uncommon uses for common things summer tips, autumn tips, and tips on how to not lose things as well!



Claire - March 5, 2012 - 6:44 pm

@marci no problem! i’m glad you found some helpful ideas here.

Marci - March 2, 2012 - 9:06 am

I love the tip about green onions in a jar of water and can’t believe I’ve never thought of it! I keep all my store bought herbs in little jars and vases of water throughout my kitchen and they last forever that way. Plus they’re quite cheery in the winter when I don’t have flowers to cut!

Thank you

And the Renovation Tea Giveaway Goes to…….

The winner of our Renovation Tea giveaway is Leah Shumack with entrance #442. Congratulations to our winner. Thanks to everyone for entering and thanks for reading Inspiring Pretty! And be sure to check out Renovation Teas for natural and tasty remedies for your body.



Studying the book of James with Beth Moore: Week 1

Did you know that our motto here at Inspiring Pretty is “A Pretty Home, A Pretty Faith, A Pretty Life” …? Probably not.  If you were a regular reader and you were asked to describe what our site was about you would most likely say it’s focus is writing posts about pretty things like weddings, DIY crafts, giveaways and yummy recipes, right? And you would be correct.  However I’m sure you would not mention that we throw some inspirational posts out there focusing on the Christian faith, would you? No. And why not? Because there haven’t been any in a really long time.

One of the reasons why Bonnie and I originally started this website was that after years of writing passionless P.C. posts for other people, we wanted a safe place where we could insert some of our beliefs without worrying that condemnation would come from our boss.  We were the boss, and could write whatever we wanted! But as time as gone on, we’ve lost sight of that.  Well, the Lord has been tugging at my heart strings lately and reminding me that I have a place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a safe forum for people to discuss their feelings and ask questions about this Christian faith.  I have given my life to God and promised to do whatever He wanted me to, so I feel that I must obey this call to “Faith Writing”.  Please join me on this journey and don’t hesitate to ask me questions, voice concerns or just discuss what I’m writing.  The Lord is with us and this will be a safe place.

I’m going to start off my new venture here with the Book of James.  At my church (Metro Calvary Chapel in Santa Monica, CA), the Women’s Ministry works through different bible studies, usually written by Beth Moore. Have you heard of Beth Moore? Well, if not head here to learn a little bit about her. I find her to be an amazing teacher who’s life has been anointed by God in so many indescribable ways.  If you are new to her, you might need to get use to her methods and personality but once you are you’ll feel like she’s your best friend and you never know how you lived without her – that’s just one of the ways God uses her in the lives of women.  Anyhoo, she writes these studies on books of the bible or topics that the Lord has pressed upon her and her most recent study is ‘James: Mercy Triumphs’.  Now, these studies include a workbook with homework for 5 days a week and then a video session that she leads, which we watch at our bible study meeting one night a week. Feeling the Lords leading, I wanted to blog about my journey with this study and the book of James – the brother of Jesus. I’m about a week behind in my sharing so what you read will be what I went through the week before, not what I’m currently on. Here we go.

Beth started out – as she usually does – with a bit of a history lesson. I love history but sometimes (to be honest with you) get bored with this.  However, it’s like my memory is selective because she does this every study and every study I realize how important it was for me to know where in history we are, what has happened or is currently happening and information about the people involved in the writing – in this case, James. So, I grumble through this part only to feel blessed weeks down the road when I would have been lost without it. Thanks Beth! And thank you Lord for giving her a passion for learning.

We discussed how James is the biological half brother of Jesus.  How amazing to be in that family! Or would it have been? How would you feel to know – and see – that your big brother is perfect?  If you are a middle or younger child you already feel like your big sibling is perfect.  This hit home for me.  I love my older sister to death.  She and I were best friends in the heart for a very long time, but as we grew and she took her path and I took mine, I began to think that she made all the perfect choices while I fumbled around, uncertain. She now has a little house next door to the Folks, a job as a teacher, an amazing husband and one year old girl who lights up everyones life with her smile.  While I’m living in a small apartment, working a part-time job with no kids.  I am married to an incomparable man, but I get him, though most don’t. So, as we were going through this, I felt for James. Unlike my situation however, James’ brother was actually perfect. And James was a sinful human being.  I’m sure there was jealousy and frustration inside of him, as Beth says:

” You can still have a relationship with the most loving, gracious, accepting person on earth and still be jealous of him.” (James: Mercy Triumphs, pg. 19)

She also helped remind me through scriptures that some members of Jesus’ family thought he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21 NIV) and that James enters the bible as an unbeliever (John 7:5 NIV). Whoa, what??!! One of Jesus’ half brothers, who lived with him his whole life and heard those glorious stories from his parents, didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah?! How could this be? Though I don’t fully understand it, I do believe it was all in Gods perfect timing.  Because in the end, James believes to the glory of God. And not only does he believe but he writes a letter by the hand of God. After the resurrection of Jesus, James is one of the first people Jesus reveals himself to. And then in the upper room of Acts 1:12-14 (focus on 14) he is present with the apostles for constant prayer.  That no longer sounds like an unbeliever. Praise Jesus that though our families may not understand our faith, there is always hope!

Beth continues this week on how James ends up a pillar in this new Christian movement (what a long journey he had!) and tells us more of what his ministry was like.  She compares him to Paul who’s calling was to reach the Gentiles, whereas James was called to the Jews.  James was a very devout Jew and wanted nothing but to see his fellow Jews -God’s chosen people- realize the fulfillment of their scriptures for the Messiah. How beautiful.

As I said, this week was more of a history lesson and less personal application, but a great learning experience none-the-less.  Though I wasn’t able to spill all the (workbook) beans here today, I hope this gave you a small taste of my first week with this study. All and all I felt I learned a lot about not only James, but the early church. What an exciting, yet frightening time.  It sure required a ton of faith. Faith that what they were doing was right and that God was helping them, though they faced constant persecution. But that’s for next week!

Please come back next Wednesday because the second week of this study has been incredible.  God has spoken to my heart through the pages of James and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Love you all and God Bless,


Con - May 12, 2013 - 8:54 pm

Thank you for letting us know how it goes! I can’t wait to hear what God is doing in your life and heart through this series! And I am SO excited that you are gonna be branching out in transparency about your faith in Christ here on your blog. And sis, we all have family issues and struggles, none the least of which fall under the comparison trap category. Remember that God made you YOU for this time and for this place and that you are reaching MANY even if you don’t know it and for HIS GLORY. There is NO GREATER CALL. And you are living that. Be BLESSED, sis!

Lindsey - August 28, 2012 - 2:25 pm

Keva, you can also go to lproof.org where you can find all of Beth’s Study’s for purchase. Sometimes you can watch the videos online for $5 a video. If you have a small group you can possibly huddle around the computer to watch each one. That might save you some money!

Lindsey - August 28, 2012 - 2:16 pm

Keva, I think it’s entirely possible to do the study without the videos (you might have trouble finding them on YouTube) however if you’ve never done a Beth Moore study you don’t know how integral her teachings are. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend purchasing the videos. Beth is an amazing teacher

Keva Reed - August 28, 2012 - 10:26 am

I googled Beth Moore James and found you, just like so many others. I’m starting a small group Bible Study out of my home. I’ve never done a Beth Moore study, so my question is, how important is it to have the DVDs for her studies? Since I’m not sure how many will come and if this study will continue to go, I’m not sure I want to shell out the $200 for the entire kit. Can we still do the study with YouTube and just the books? Thanks for all of your info!

Lindsey - August 27, 2012 - 6:53 pm

Jan, from what I remember it does have an intro. There is also a video that talks about the 5 levels you can do with this study: anywhere from just watching the videos to memorizing the entire book of James. So even if I’m wrong {though I do not believe I am} you could still watch that 15 minute video to prep the ladies for the series. Enjoy!

Jan Mosher - August 26, 2012 - 5:24 am

Hi Lindsey ! I am starting (leading ) the James study in Sept and dont have my DVD set yet so I am wondering if she has an intro session the 1st week so we do not need to do workbooks in prep for that 1st week. That’s how her studies usually go but want to make sure ! Thanks and love your site !! Blessings on you and your family and study grp as well !! Jan

Debbie - August 19, 2012 - 2:19 pm

I am getting ready to lead this study at my church and would like to know if you do the homework for session 1 prior to watching video 1 or after.

Shelley - June 14, 2012 - 10:53 am

Lindsey, I too just stumbled upon your website when I googled Beth Moore James. My small (only 2 of us today) home group just did the first session this morning, and I so enjoyed reading your thoughts. I will keep up with you each week! Thank you for your obedience to the Lord in sharing your faith through this site.

Lindsey - May 25, 2012 - 10:19 am

@Abby, I am so glad you found it. This is a series where I go through every week and give my thoughts and insights. I’d love for you to read it. Don’t be nervous. Trust the Lord. Honestly, James (with the complete inspiration of the Holy Spirit) does all the work for you. God used him to be very straightforward. Just don’t be afraid to ask your group the difficult questions. Often times I asked questions that I myself had, not ones that Beth gave us and it was exactly what my group needed to discuss that week.

Also, encourage them to do levels 4 or 5 that Beth talks about. Memorizing and/or writing out the book of James was very inspirational for the whole women’s ministry at my church. God bless you for leading women in your home. I know it will go great. I’ll pray for you.

abby - May 25, 2012 - 10:01 am

Lindsey, I am just getting ready to lead this study in my home beginning in June. I’m a little nervous and finding your blog was such a blessing!!
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Virginia - April 16, 2012 - 3:54 am

Hi Lindsey…just found you. Am also doing “James” and am blessed to live in Beth’s city of Houston. She IS an amazing Bible teacher. Thank you for writing your “faith post.” I’ll be back. Joy to you! :)

Sheila Burd - March 6, 2012 - 7:53 am

Hello Lindsey,
I just ordered this bible study and am so looking forward to it!
Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!I have always loved Beth’s studies and know this one too will be a blessing!
Have a very blessed week!


Lindsey - February 29, 2012 - 2:12 pm

Jasmine, Thank you for your comment. I just checked the site a second ago and got super excited when I saw that I had a comment. I read it, I just praised the Lord because it was such a blessing for me. Sometimes we just have to hear His voice, obey and trust that He will reach the people. Thank you for adding our site to your favorites and I hope you’ll continue to come back and visit us.

God Bless You!

Jasmine Calvin - February 29, 2012 - 7:57 am

Hi Lindsey, I just happened upon your website after finding a Pinterest post on natural beauty recipes. Something told me to click to check your homepage to see what else your site had to offer, and I was pleasantly surprised to find today’s post. Thank you so much for sharing the Word, this lesson, and a piece of yourself. I will be adding your site to my Favorites list and telling my loved ones about it.

Keep up the good work! Continue to glorify His name and let Him lead you.


How to Get Spotify Premium Services Through Youtube on Your iPhone for Free

I’m not exactly a techy with my iPhone, but I have learned plenty of tricks and found numerous apps to help me get the most out of my phone. I like to bring you all the tips I can to help you get the most out of your expensive device as well. Usually, I post about apps that can help, but today I have something new for you. One trick I have discovered recently has helped me listen to any song I want on the go without draining my battery, costing me money or hogging my phone. Best of all, it’s done through Youtube, which is built in on the iPhone. By using this trick, you get the services of Spotify Premium through Youtube for free. If you don’t know about Spotify, it’s a music service (on computers and smart phones) that stream music through the internet. Just look up the song and press play. With the downloadable internet program, the service is free with a few advertisements between songs (which can get really annoying). You just need an internet connection to get all the music you want free and legally. To get this on smartphones though, you need Spotify Premium, which costs $10 per month. To avoid this fee while still getting all the music you want, try this iPhone savvy trick.

If you’ve ever played a song through Youtube on the iPhone, you know that in order to listen to the song, you have to stay within the app and allow the screen to play the video. This drains the battery quickly and also hogs the phone, because you can’t leave the app. You can avoid both of these problems very easily, though. Just follow these steps:

  1. Once you find a song on Youtube, tap it to play.
  2. After it has at least partially loaded and begun playing, press the home button to exit out of the app.
  3. Press the power button to put the phone to sleep.
  4. Once asleep, tap the home button once to liven the screen.
  5. Then, double tap the home button for the music controls to appear.
  6. Press the play button
  7. Voila! The music that you just began playing on Youtube will begin playing. And, you can continue to use your phone with music playing in the background, just as you would when using the built in music app.

Your battery will use far less battery using Youtube this way rather keeping the app open to allow the video to play. Also, if you want to get the true effect of Spotify Premium, create your own playlists on Youtube and the songs will play continuously just as you would expect. That’s all there there is to it!



Wedding Trends: Here Comes the Bride

The four words every groom loves to hear. Or, rather, the song that he can’t wait to hear as he waits at the altar. This key point that signals the beginning of the ceremony is timeless. Recently, a new trend has emerged that actually isn’t new, but a tribute to the olden days. And this does not mean the yesteryears of the 1920’s, but more along the lines of a few centuries before. Bring back a little bit of old world charm with the use of signs to announce (or help announce) the coming of the bride.

via etsy.com/shop/TheRitzyRose

It seems that flowers girls and ring bearers have a bit more work to do now. They no longer just walk down the aisle tossing petals and carrying pillows.

They now announce the bride’s arrival.

via greenweddingshoes.com

Or, if you’d like to include more kids in the ceremony, they can be given the role of sign carrier.

This can be as few……

or as many kids as you’d like. It’s always cute to see kids play a part in the wedding, so the more they can do, the sweeter and more fun the ceremony will be.

Kids of all ages can do this as well. Older kids can help younger kids and young kids can go it alone.

For the very young, a wagon can be used. It only depends on the kids that will be in the wedding.

Best of all, this trend can be used in basically any wedding.

Whether the wedding is classic, whimsical, vintage, rustic or otherwise, a sign can be made to fit the theme.

via southernaisle.com

Of course, you can also put your own spin on it :)

And, it’s always a romantic homage to the past and an interesting way for the groom and guests to greet the bride.

So, if you’d like to add a new touch to the tradition of here comes the bride, find some vintage inspiration in signs. Then, make your own for your very own personal touch.

via 100layercake.com

Check out our other wedding trends posts as well!

unless noted, photos via Style Me Pretty


Cigall - February 28, 2012 - 7:40 am

So cute! I love the idea of two kids holding a banner together. It’s such a great way to incorporate them into the wedding and have them work together to make it special. Great photos. Thanks for sharing!

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