Three small fixes and one improvement

Though I don’t particularly love the process, fixing things is one of my favorite ways to save money.  Repairing what you already own is almost always cheaper than buying something new, and it extends the life of something that might have otherwise been at the end of its useful life.


The other day, I took a load of laundry out and found that the binding around the edge of my black fleece had come loose from about half of the collar.

how to repair an old navy fleece

I snagged this on clearance at Old Navy years ago, so I think I only paid something like $2 for it.  But it still has plenty of life in it, so I used my sewing machine to fix the binding.

It was a little tricky due to the stretchy nature of the binding, so my mending job wouldn’t withstand super close inspection.  I really only wear this at home when I’m chilly, though, so it’s good enough for me.


In the same load of laundry, I discovered that a pair of jeans was coming apart at the waistband.

ripped waistband

I got these jeans at Goodwill last year, so again, it’s not like I sunk a lot of money into them.  But I knew I could stitch ‘em up pretty easily.

I didn’t have any orange-ish thread, so I just sewed right over the loose threads, using a dark thread.  This way, from a distance you can’t really see that I used non-matching thread.

how to fix jeans waistband

Plus, I always wear a belt with these, and I pretty much never tuck my shirt in, so it’s not like this is a visible area of the jeans anyway.

Know why I was especially pleased with myself about these two fixes?

I took care of them as soon as I found the issues, instead of leaving them in the to-be-mended pile for an embarrassingly long time.


Mending is such a cost-effective use of sewing skills!

The other thing I fixed was a fiber-optic Christmas tree, which the girls like to have in their room.  When we plugged it in this year, it seemed awfully dim, and if you shook the base, it sounded like something was rattling around.

Even though this is certainly not an heirloom quality tree, it did have screws on the bottom, so I took it apart.

fixing a fiber optic christmas tree

It turned out that a screw which holds the lightbulb upright had gone missing.  The lightbulb was all cockeyed, which meant it wasn’t shining in the right direction.

I didn’t have any teeny screws, so I borrowed on from the bottom of the base and secured the light bulb.

inside of fiber optic christmas tree

fixed fiber optic

And now the tree is shining brightly.

mini fiber optic Christmas tree

The last thing I have to share is really an improvement, not a fix-it job, and it’s been waiting for a ridiculously long time.

(9 years, actually.)

We bought this corner unit when I was pregnant with Zoe, and ever since the day we got it, something bugged me. Do you see it?

black cd rack

The underside of the top piece is not black.

top of black cd rack

And since this is a fairly tall item, the not-black-ness is visible almost all the time.

Apparently this didn’t bug me to an incredible degree because it has sat there in its not-black state for 9 years.

But when we got a warm day recently, it occurred to me that it was perfect weather for spray painting.

(I am sure that this is what you all think of on warm days as well.  “Hmm.  What could I spray paint??”)

So I took the top off, brought it to the back yard, and used the last of a can of black paint to fix it up.


I feel much better about this now.

Unfortunately, I now realized that the bottoms of all the small shelves are also not black.


However, this is mostly just visible when you’re viewing the shelf from a low angle.

Still, next time I have the black spray paint out, I might take care of at least the top few shelves.

And I will try not to wait another 9 years.  ;)


P.S.  I know some of you will be thinking, “What in the world do they have CDs and DVDs for??”

We’ve now pretty much switched over to MP3s for music and streaming for movies, but because we aren’t the youngest of spring chickens, we already had a pretty good stack of CDs by the time MP3s came along.

(Hey, at least we don’t have a huge cassette tape collection!)

We transferred the music from the CDs onto MP3 players or our iPhones, but I haven’t quite figured out what to do with the CDs.  It’s not really legal to give them away while still keeping the music on our digital devices and I sort of hate to just chuck them all in the trash.  So they’re just sitting in the corner for now.

You don’t need whiskers to do that.

Whenever my sister-in-law and I do a stereotypically male task, that’s what we say.

She lays flooring, calls me, and says, “I didn’t need whiskers to do that.”

I fix my dryer, call her, and say, “I have no whiskers, but I did it!”

how to fix a squeaky kenmore dryer

This phrase was inspired by hearing one too many women say things like, “Oh, I’ve been waiting for Bill to paint the front porch railing for months, and I just wish he would get around to it!”

Whenever I hear something like that, I always think to myself, “Um, you don’t operate a paintbrush with your whiskers.  Go buy a paintbrush and do it yourself!”

For some reason, we women often think that we are just incapable of doing things like that.

And men sometimes think that way too.  ;)

You know my squeaky dryer issue that I thought I fixed with some lube?  Well, it started squeaking again and I reoiled it, and after a month of quiet, it squeaked AGAIN and it was getting awfully loud this time.

So, I opened up the dryer, expecting to lube it, but I discovered rusty metal dust all over the inside of my dryer, and upon inspection, I realized that the inside of the wheel I’d lubed had been slowly disintegrating.

See how much larger the hole is in the right one?


Obviously, it was time for a new wheel set.  I called the fabulous repairman who replaced my washer’s transmission recently, and he said that oiling a squeaky wheel is just a super temporary fix (my experience bears that out!)  and actually makes the problem worse in the long run.


Anyway, he told me of a local shop to visit for the parts.

When I walked in and told the guy behind the counter what I needed, he doubtfully eyed me up and down and asked if I was doing this job myself.


I assured him that my dryer and I are quite familiar with each other and that I’d already taken the dryer apart that morning.

(Thank you, YouTube.  So many great appliance tutorials!)

He was out of the kit, which includes wheels, a belt, and a roller assembly, but after some discussion, I realized I didn’t actually need the roller assembly, so he just sold me a belt and the two wheels a la carte.


The belt had some visible shredding and wear on it, so I thought it would be smart to replace it while I had the dryer apart.


Once I had the parts, it only took me about 15 minutes to install them and put the dryer back together.

(I’d already cleaned up all the rusty dust that morning.)

So, my dryer is now running smoothly.

Even though I don’t have whiskers.

Don’t get me wrong: there are certainly things I can’t do just because I lack size or physical strength.

And I definitely don’t think it’s wrong to depend on your spouse for things.

I just think that we shouldn’t assume that tasks should always be dedicated to one sex or the other.

We don’t want men to assume that they are unable to shop or cook or soothe a baby or have a heart-to-heart conversation just because they are men, right?

So in the same way, I don’t think we women should decide that it is impossible for us to take on typically male tasks.

Even if the appliance parts guy doubts us.  ;)