By Anita Sands Hernandez astrology @

Want Life to be terrific? Want wealth, luck, friends and health to come your way? Where there's ORDER, there's MONEY,a great philosopher told me. (It was Rosa, my ancient Mexican maid --who kind of spat at me contemptuously when she said it.) Do as I did (in the wake of meeting this snarly old dame). Vow Now Brown Cow to clean up the house. And vow it every morn, after coffee, and clean for an hour while your energy is fresh. To inspire you to start this labor of getting spiffy, go out to the 99c store, buy:

1.) Rubber dishwashing gloves, grit backed sponges, plain sponges. IF TREATED with triclosan, dangerous! Carcinogenic!

2.) Jug of ammonia, big bottle of vinegar to mix with cleansers.

3.) Box of detergent powder, big jug of bleach. (BLEACH never gets mixed with AMMONIA! Very toxic combo!)

4.) Can of scouring powder, the BAB-O works best for me,49c at the 99c store. DOUBLE sized can, too!

5.) Flat sponge mop on a stick. Youíll use it to push rags around. 99c is all!

6.) Pick up some big, cardboard produce or wine, liquor boxes free from the grocery store, to carry trash around in, later at home. And get a lot of smaller boxes for containerizing. (under table cloths, in closets, in storage areas,)

7.) square SCRUB brushes, that fit in your hand, can be 2 x 6Ē or 3 x 8Ē, The BRISTLES can be plastic or STRAW. You clean floors, carpets with them. NOT PAINT BRUSHES, these are for spot cleaning carpets. SECOND CHOICE would be hand brooms, with a more generous sweep. 99c at you know where by now!

8.) RAGS from the thrift store. OLD TOWELS are my charm in life. I SAVE them from two centuries ago! I launder them as carefully as I do my sweaters, well, if you count bleach, hot water, detergent as careful!

Oh and do the grocery shopping while youíre out on the street as itís cheaper to use the car / gas when you have a few reasons to go out, accomplishing multiple errands on one ľ gallon of that pricey gas stuff. And hey, Get yourself a pint of real ice cream to celebrate with, (when you finish the dayís work). Itís how the brain bribes the body to be its slave! BUT DO NOT TOUCH THE DESSERT til finished!

It's easy to clean a house.
1.) First, take a big cardboard box, walk around picking up all objects that look 'extra.' Later you'll know where to find them in the box!
2.) You throw in a load of laundry at a time. And while it washes, you go back to the other chores.
3.) Vacuum after you sweep all carpets and floors to get the big pieces off!
4.) Turn on radio and listen to talk shows while you wash dishes. It keeps you from hating doing housework! I have radios in all rooms!
5.) Don't bother making beds. Open them fully. Wide open. Leave them to breathe all day and exhale your aroma and dampness. Let them breathe themselves fresh. Lock bedroom door or the dog may add a new aroma.. Who looks at a bedroom anyway?
6.) Take a broom, drape with rag, clean cobwebs above, in ceiling corners. Spiders get shaken or dumped outside. I donít smash them up there.
7. Pour slightly used dishwater in sink on to kitchen floor, broom it out the backdoor. Then use the rag to rhumba across floor 'til it's dry.
8.) When a rag gets really dirty, hang outside in sun. When you have two dozen grimy rags, youíll run them thru washer by themselves with a half cup of bleach and detergent too.
9.) Spray entire house with anything aromatic. Febreze fabric spray, cologne, incense. Room fresheners. I save old spray bottles and use a ľ tsp of really fine bath oils shaking before spraying. I go to my palís perfumed oil company SUNSHINE OILS and get these huge canisters that they thought were empty! HA! HOT WATER inside liberates about l00 floor perfumings for me!
10) Dust rag all shelves, books. Wax furniture & wood cupboards with old, rancid handcreams. No need to buy pricey waxes!
11) On hands and knees, de-spot carpet with a heavy grade brush. Detergent/water/ammonia. Then use a dry rag to scrub up the water and soil. 



Shopping the 99c store, itís not costly to clean with ammonia, dish soap, (detergent liquids), powdered detergent, scouring powder, bleach as nothing costs more than 49c to maybe 99c! I never buy furniture wax. On wood, I use old rancid face creams and body creams not costly cleaners and waxes. But the dark shoe polishes are great on certain stained wood surfaces which cats interrupted with bodily liquids!Ditto THE BLACK WALNUT when it's moist,green.


Here is a list of homemade cleaners...just for FYI! A bit cheaper than buying... so thereís money left for the important stuff: Garage sales and new furniture. NEW TO YOU!

Window cleaner
In a plastic jug, mix: Ĺ c. ammonia, 2 Tbsp baking soda, 1/3 c. white vinegar, water to fill jug. Save your old jugs. They abound in trashcans.

All purpose cleaner
Ĺ c. rubbing alcohol and Ĺ c. ammonia. This is a favorite. Spray it on and use a soft vegetable brush to brush the sinks, then rinse.

Ceramic tile and grout cleaner

1 cup baking soda, Ĺ c, vinegar, 1 c. ammonia, 7 cups warm water. This, obviously, can be divided by half. Spray on and wipe with a scrubbing pad. This is the equivalent of Tilex. At the time I read this, Tilex was 2.99 for 24 oz. This recipe cost .56 for the same amount

Window Cleaner Spray

Mix 3 c water & stir in 2 TBsp ethylene glycol (antifreeze). Put in spray bottle.

Ammonia Wall Cleaner

Ĺ c household ammonia, ľ c washing soda, ľ c white vinegar, 1 gal warm water. Measure ammonia, washing soda, and vinegar into water in a bucket. Mix. Store in clean bottle.


1 cup isopropyl alcohol, 1 cup ammonia, 1 Tbsp. soft soap, 13 cups warm water.

ANOTHER GLASS CLEANER. If you find an old bottle of windshield wiper solution in somebody's garage, discarded, put it in a spray bottle for glass cleaning.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Mix 4 c sodium bicarbonate & ĺ c caustic soda. Store in airtight can/jar. To use, sprinkle in toilet bowl, let stand Ĺ hr. Then brush and flush with clean water.

Scouring Powdersľ c soap flakes, 2 tsp borax, 1 Ĺ c boiling water, 1/3 c whiting (ask your HARDWARE STORE OWNER what that is!)

Dissolve soap flakes & borax in boiling water by stirring mixture. Allow to cool to room temp. Add whiting & stir well. Store in sealed plastic or glass container in dry, cool place. I FIND BAB-O POWDER at 49c for double size can, a fab substance. REALLY cleans ANYTHING!

Jet Dry for the dishwasher
Mix in a jar, 1 cup borax and Ĺ c. baking soda. Add I Tbsp of this mixture to the dishwasher soap for each load.


QUESTION: What can one do with those little slivers of melted soap that are saved? You know, Used soap, all kinds ---from all stores too. For handmade soaps,  one can put the soap in a crock pot with a little milk and rebatch it and pour it into molds with some Essential oils.Another form of recycling for soap bits and pieces is make scrub sacks with them. Into a piece [nice big square say 5x5] of cheesecloth I lay my scraps, add a very generous handful [maybe 2 handfuls, I have small hands] of oatmeal [regular not quick oats] then a tablespoon or so of lavender or chamomile flowers. Gather the ends and tie off. That oatmeal feels divine. You can recycle your cheesecloth for later scrub sacks too.

Rebatching may not work with corporate soaps, because those are petroleum product based. However, scraps of homemade soaps can DEFINITELY be rebatched this way. Use 9 oz of cold milk to 24-32 oz of grated soap. yes, you should grate those slivers, or at least, break them into smaller pieces before attempting to melt them. Use leftover juice cans or tuna/cat food type cans to remold the soap in. Always allow rebatched soap to dry for three weeks before using it, or the soap will just dissolve in the shower.


Save the old slivers from your house (and others, if people will part with them) and put them into a small canning or jelly jar. when the jar is filled nearly to the top and the soap is crammed in there pretty well, cover the soap pieces with water. Let sit on the counter for a day or so. Every day or so, smash the pieces together and gently stir the mass until it becomes one glob of soap. Use a braun handblender to whir it up, then pour into molds, make soapballs OR put it into decorative molds. Allow to dry to firmness. Takes weeks.


 Weíve probably washed every kind of carpet, area carpets you can hang on the fence or line, wall to wall. I love those rented shampooers that you empty every five minutes. I never buy the l0$bottle of shampoo they sell you. I mix ammonia, dish soap with water and vinegar and it works fine for a hundredth of the cost. The carpet absorbs the soap, then you suck up all the grungy, black, muddy water which goes back into the machine and you carry it over to bathroom and it goes down the toilet. Then go back and do that a hundred times. Iím always astonished at the amount of filth that carpets collect! RINSE the entire thing with clean, vinegary water with some scented softener in it, for a last GO-OVER!

Those shampooing machines do pull a lot of water from the floor, but if you have nice wood floors and own the property don't do it cuz some water goes down onto the fine wood, destroying it. The wet shampooer could be the revenge-on-the landlord invention of all time. Landlords should make you sign a lease saying you won't ever use them. If you own the house, at least do this wood warping torture when it's exceedingly dry outside. Dry and hot.

Do huge 8 x 10 area rugs outdoors. I either lay it on the cement driveway soaking wet. I like the slope of the driveway for draining. Or I hang it on the fence. How to get the dirt out? Ingeniousness to the rescue. I took a one by four scrap piece of board, a lumber piece a foot long, wrapped it in heavy plastic, like for green house walls, 6 mil? so it was slidey. Then when I got on knees, it slid over the surface of the carpet, squeegee-ing the water in its path, out of the carpet.

As I didn't have a deck, I used a concrete driveway that had a slanted pitch, down to the street. On hands and knees, I squee-jeed and water ran down the carpet to the street. Many times, hosed it, soaped it, squeegeed it. Let it dry on the slant. Dirt and water were squeezed/ drained out, down to the street. Didnít drive car up the driveway, that's for sure. Parked it in street for a day.

My driveway gate (at my rented digs ) was ten feet wide, wrought iron, so for medium carpets, I'd lay carpet over the top of gate, hose it, couldn't squeejee very well there, just hose and soap action. Air drying is the hot feature on gates!



D…COR FOR DUMMIES, or HOW TO SPIFF THE HOUSE UP GORJUSS! Buy really awful, amateur night in Dixie stretched canvases/ paintings at garage sales. If the art is awful enough, the Thrift Store will be in agreement with you it's worth nothing, they should pay you to take it away. Don't tell them youíre going to use the canvas part which even at the cheapest art store, is very costly. Next,  buy some oil or acrylic paints and paint portraits and landscapes and then re use the frames you bought them in. Remember this. IF the paint is OIL already, you cannot cover it with acrylics. If the paint is acrylics, you CAN cover it with oil. That means to be safe? USE OIL PAINTS.

THEME: Your own garden, as a landscape, with a family member sitting there, so a portrait, landscape mix. You will be happy with that theme no matter how primitive your style is! Look at the work of SOUTINE, Cezanne, DUFY, GAUGUIN, MONET. Thatíll inspire you! ANY LIBRARY has all for free! ONLINE you can seethem, too. GO TO GOOGLE. HIT IMAGES. Then write SOUTINE. Or Degas, Bonnard, Dufy, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse. Kandinsky. Modigliani. These are the inspiring painters as one can easily do that kind of work. CALIFORNIA IMPRESSIONISM is for the masters, of course. LANDSCAPE! Even Your own neighborhood would be gorgeous in a painting. Especially after you use those rose, lavendar and blue paints on the patio furniture! MAN that place is psychdelic!



Organization 101 was written by Julie Morgenstern, the New York author of Organizing From the Inside Outand Time Management From the Inside Out, recommends a three stepapproach to getting the most out of the space in your home: analyze,strategize and attack. 

Analyze. Decide what three to five functions are normally done in thespace. Ask everyone what's really essential in the room, and what worksand doesn't work about the space.

Strategize. Lay out a "zone" for each function. Make one spot thecomputer area, another the TV area. Maybe you'll have a reading corner.Now figure out what you'll need in each.A chair and a bookshelfforthe reading area, perhaps - and that box with your scissors, stickynotes and reading glasses......

Attack. Only after you have a plan should you start to do the work.

Making SPACE :Now, says Morgenstern, it is time to work out your SPACE - meaning to Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize. Sort out similar items and group them. Don't, for example, have thebookshelf across the room from your reading chair, or your bound to endup with a stack of books on the floor next your chair. Consider placinga bookshelf perpendicular to the wall to help block off your readingarea. Now Purge what doesn't belong. Ask yourself, for example, if thosepencils rally have a reason to be in the reading corner. Then Assign everything a home. Things should be put away in the same place every time so everyone knows where they are- and where they go. It's a lot like kindergarten: Everything had a place, and the items were easily put away in about five minutes during clean-up time. 

Next Containerize items, Morgenstern says. Figure out what needs to be in what container, determine what size the container should be, and thengo shopping. That might mean looking for basket and drawer units, or itmight mean buying a few extras of things you already have in your house. 

Finally, Equalize: Have a rule that everyday at a certain time, the roomgets cleaned up. And then once a year, give it an over-haul, checking tosee what you should keep an what you should throw away. This isespecially important if there are kids at home because their interestschange as they get older. 

Organizing the room may seem like a big task. But by planning before youact, it should be easy. Two other websites that describe this process:

SPACE concepts werecreated by Julie Morgenstern, has more on this. Plus offers the books for sale.



THE TRICK WITH FURNISHINGS, ART TROUVEAU!IS that anything like ART NOVEAU? NO! NOT HARDLY, the word is TROUVEAU!!! That means "FOUND!" in French. Where do we FIND the furniture, art, accessories? Hit the Salvation Army, which today is not cheap. Hit the thrift stores, (cheaper) but cheapest of all, the village garage sales. Look for ashtrays, lamps, overstuffed furniture you can cover with fresh cottons. Buy textiles and for that, sheets work bigtime. You get ten yards of fabric for nothing. If you find a stack of printed sheets with nice flowery fabric, buy them all, pillow cases included as you can turn them into SOFA pillows! Get them home, vacuum your sofa. IN SUN, detergent clean spots. Vacuum out under cushions. Now, when dry, pin the sheets over the thing, being careful not to snag the sofa cuz you are going to LIFT OFF this slipcover and stitch it on a sewing machine. Only then, when itís away from the sofa, whip stitch the pieces into a coverlet hand basting in parts, stitching long areas on sewing machine. You get those sheets tailored to the sofa or chair. Now, take this coverlet you made, turn outside in so seams are hidden. IRON the seams so they lay flat, then throw back onto the sofa or chair. The piece looks fresh as a daisy. It holds up brilliantly (if kids and dogs donít bounce on it,) at least 'til your ship comes in and you can afford professional reupholstering.

DRAPING THE FURNITURE- Second best is draping furniture with Mexican rugs, fabrics, sheets. Fresh looking if the furniture is ratty. You can throw them in the washing machine anytime.

OUTSIDE OF HOME GETS SPIFFED.Walk perimeter of bldg. Do you like the color? Is it Ďyou?í If not, you are going to acquire a few gallons of marked down OOPS paint (5$ each,) at the OOPS shelf at HOME DEPOT. Gallons wonít match but youíll blend them so that three gallons are the same shade. You yourselfcan change the color of your house and freshen it up immensely. That takes two people with two brushes, two rollers, two roller pans, a brief, pair of short days --- to paint the average size house exterior. ( THE PAINT REQUIRED must be Exterior paint, not INTERIOR. Roughly three gallons of it. Next, as the paint store has many different brands, colors on the OOPS shelf, pick two or three that (when mixed) will make a great color. Be cautious not to get oil and water. Pick ALL OIL or all water. You donít mix types. ACRYLIC paint only goes with ACRYLIC PAINT. Ask the paint salesman. I usually get a blue, a white, a pale blue, a dark blue, those colors are in my range. Periwinkle, cobalt, ultramarineÖ when I add the white or near white, I get some great celestial colors. I may get some white OIL enamel for my shutters and trim and a separate brush if I use oil. 

The OOPS shelf costs you 5$ for retail 25$ a gallon paint! YOU can paint a whole house for 15$, Not too shabby. You will need a big bucket for mixing and a stick! You will be putting all the paint in the bucket, stirring, then RE-filling the three separate gallon containers with the new shade!

FIX ALL BROKEN CORNERS OF THE HOUSE WITH CHEAP HOME MADE CEMENTThat sounds  neat, but how do we do that? Saw this in a chatroom. "I am curious as to how the newly laid block will hold up to the elements if it takes a few days to construct, seal, and roof the building. If I were doing this, it would be over several weekends, and I'm wondering if I could safely leave the partial walls etc.?? Maybe after your experimental brick has cured you can check its water resistance in that state, I'd try a batch myself, but my wife doesn't let me near her kitchen stuff.

ANSWER: go to a Home Depot, Lowes, Builderís Square or similar building supply house, after you find the OOPS shelf of mismixed paints and get two or three gallons depending on house size, that are compatible, you will go back in the section which has pails of bedding mud for drywall joints, mortar mix etc. and look at the various tools. Among them will generally be two brands of mixers for insertion in a half-inch drill for mixing small quantities of mortar and paint.

If you soak paper strips overnight it pulps easier and more quickly. With 10% Portland in the mix, though cellulose brick will shed water it will be very absorptive if rained upon. That wonít cause any deterioration in the cellulose/cement brick, but until the excess water is re-evaporated the compressive strength would be reduced somewhat, sand and cement donít compress but the cellulose component can (like sawdust-cement heavy on the sawdust)---not too important if there is no load on the wall.. After the walls are erected or after a roof-panel is made of the stuff and raised, a water-shedding paint should be applied. Take your choice of cement-paint (read the label) or acrylic latex-based paint.. Note that each has advantages and accompanying disadvantages. You can patch small joints, cracks or damage to a cement-paint wall with a little cheap Portland and water cement paste. You have to use epoxy to repair a wall painted with acrylic latex. Embed roofing fiber-tape for larger repairs (comes in four-inch rolls)

Making and testing samples is always advisable before plunging ahead. This stuff works fine. It was the subject of an article in Countryside four or five years back for someone who built himself a quickie, small dome, and Jack Bays (donít know if he is still alive), an eccentric in Cedaredge, Colorado, used to sell a king-size malted-milk mixer you dropped in a fifty-five gallon barrel to mix this and other good stuff of his devising.

Since it was then more available and of even less value (stores paid you to haul it off), he used pulped cardboard boxes, in which the fibers are a little stronger than those in paper.

There have been some recent developments along these lines, and one patent Tridex which used junk materials like this to make an extremely strong building panel with good insulation characteristics.

Now, take those marked down two or three gallons of exterior paint, mix them together, and paint the entire house. Two people can do that in two very short days. I myself have done it with Pablo my landlordís helper man, and Pablo is 70 plus years old. A ladder is required for eave area.

So, the place is fantastically spiffed & clean? Now, go outside, cut branches from flowering trees, stems of flowers if you can find any, (if not, turn to the garden articles at ANITA'S GARDEN SITE. Bring potted plants inside in baskets, with a plate set inside the basket so you won't rot the straw or stain furniture. Fill the vases, mayo jars whatever with blooms, branches, green leafy stems.

The way your house feels when thusly loaded will inspire you to decorate a little more, perhaps brake for garage sales and pick up old vases for a quarter. It is VERY IMPORTANT for good home decor, or feng shui to have lots of flowers and plants in the house.