How to Clean Microfiber Sofas: A Cautionary Tale

how to clean microfiber

Age the age of 23, still young and clueless, and clearly in a red phase, I bought not one but two red microfiber sofas. Picasso had a blue phase, right?  I had a red phase with leopard pillows.  It was like Guns and Roses circa 1987 up in here.

Things like children and pets were not on my radar at that point, but dinner parties and drunken nights in with friends were.  Those nights often involved a lot of wine, chocolate fondue, and other foodstuffs that led to spills.

The saleswoman promised, “It’s such an easy fabric to care for! It will survive years of wear and tear!”

Lies, all lies.

how to clean microfiber

I’ve read “the pinterest” where promises of rubbing alcohol, baby wipes, and tears of a unicorn will clean said microfiber beasts.  I’ve sat late night, with small rubbing alcohol pads, and bristle brushes attempting the remove the years of filth from small children and a messy Boston Terrier named Doodle.

never buy microfiber sofas

These attempts at repairing the microfiber to its original state just made it worse.

Truly worse.

Have a look for yourself.

This is my microfiber sofa, ten years in, in the alley behind our home.  On my 34th birthday, mind you.

cleaning microfiber sofas, how to clean microfiber sofas

Putting this out for the junkman ranked right up there with graduating from grad school and the births of my sons.

The best way to clean microfiber is to remove all traces of it from your life if you have small children or slobbery pets.  After a decade of living within a microfiber prison, we’ve moved on to more wipeable, kid-friendly fabrics.

Like what I did way back when to my microfiber-covered dining chairs.  (That DIY gave me back hours of my life).

If you ever want children, cats, or dogs-opt for either 1.) leather 2.) some vegan form of leather or 3.) something with a slipcover you can wash.  That’s it.  Don’t let some salesperson convince you otherwise.

Look them in the face and tell them lies, all lies.

As I type this right now, my new sofa-in it’s neutral color and wipeable goodness stares me back and winks, “Hey there, I’m what you’ve been dreaming of for the past six years”.   It’s like getting hit on by Brad Pitt.

The energy we expend hating things in our home isn’t worth it.

So rid yourself of the beast. The energy vampire, if you will.  Let microfiber be dead to you.

Stay tuned later this week of the reveal of my new sofa.  A decade in the making.



Off to recline on my new sofa,


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how to paint tile grout {and slay more energy vampires©}

Our home is so old, it would be on Medicare and Social Security.  Despite our 1938 Colonial’s many charming features like original stain glass windows in our dining room, and doorknobs Anthropologie would sell for $200…

There are many signs of wear and tear.  The ugliest energy vampire© {wink}  being our original tile in the main bathroom.

how to paint tile grout

The husband said we would have to cut out the grout and redo it.  These tiles are teeny and geriatric, and that seemed like a ton of work.  So for the better part of the past decade we’ve lived here at the frat house, these nasty tiles have stabbed my eyes each and every time I walk into my bathroom.  I tried every recipe on Pinterest to clean the grout, but nothing, I mean nothing worked.


We are talking 75 years of grime and living, here, dear readers.

I was about to give up when…I read this post over at Live Love DIY.  I immediately hopped in the swagger wagon and headed over to Lowe’s.

There in the tile section, for $8.99, was a bottle of hope.  The fountain of youth for said tiles.  No longer would I shoo guests to use the facilities in the basement! One of the annoying features of most Colonials here in Chicago- no first floor bathroom!

So this past Saturday night- the husband passed out at 7:30, and I had a hot date with my vintage bathroom.

I was of course, skeptical, as I worked.  Would these really come off my tiles like the instructions said?  Would this make it look worse than it did at the start?

Even Moose’s ABA team was wowed, after all, they helped potty-train Moose in that very bathroom less than two months ago.  Poor girls were probably skeeved about my tile grout and seemingly bad cleaning abilities.

But, now, behold! A vintage bathroom, I can live with!  Stop by Live Love DIY to see the magic potion that finally worked.

how to clean tile grout, how to paint tile grout

Here’s the bathroom.  Note the lovely shower curtain scored for $4 at Target last year.  I love Dwell Studio for Target, especially for that cheap.

vintage tile, vintage bathrooms

Another energy vampire©, down.  Many more to go…

energy vampires-001


This post is a part of a year-long series: House Realistic: small, affordable projects that make everyday living easier…

 house realistic a series of diy organizing and home projects

Now, onto the next project,
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DIY Honey Lemon Lip Scrub

diy lip sugar scrub

Here in Chicago, winter hasn’t gotten the message that spring has arrived.  With 30 degree temperatures still lingering, my skin has seen better days.  I’m sure this winter has given you dry lips, right?  I’ve grown tired of spending boatloads of money on beauty products containing questionable chemicals.

If you have never heard of the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic database, it will give you pause learning about all the garbage that in dumped into our cosmetics and personal care products.  This database is free and it allows you to look up your products and see their safety rating.  When I was pregnant with the boys, this issue became incredibly important to me.

I’m on a mission to make the majority of my products now…


diy lip sugar scrub


ingredients for sugar scrub momnivore's dilemma

In addition to the ingredients, you’ll need:

*a small glass container.

*a bowl & spoon for mixing

{I reused a teeny honey jar that I was given as a gift}

Here are the measurements  for my 1/8 cup {30ml) container:

1 tsp of raw honey

1 tsp of coconut oil

1 tsp of fresh lemon juice

1 T. of cane sugar

{all ingredients are organic}


1.) First, sterilize your container.

{I used the sanitize cycle  in the dishwasher}.

2.) Then, combine raw honey and coconut oil in the separate bowl.

3.) Add fresh lemon juice.

4.) Then add sugar.

5.) Mix well.

6.) Apply to lips when the elements make you look like a dried prune.

7.) Scrub and rinse.


*Although the lemon will act as a preservative, please refrigerate.

*Keep the batches small to ensure freshness.

diy lip sugar scrub

I’ve been feeling the March blahs, so this week I’ll be posting some lighter posts on beauty and such.  I can’t wait to share them all with you over the next few weeks…

Next up, a facemask that will eliminate acne and ruddiness.  Two ingredients!

 My best,
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Organizing Leftovers {with free printable}

wasted leftovers

Over the weekend, I read an article in the Chicago Tribune that mentioned Americans toss roughly 25% of their fridge contents each week. The article also mentioned that the average American family with two school-aged children spends $235/week on food.

That’s a lot of wasted cash.

Given how much we cook here at the estate, I’m guilty as charged.  Leftovers are often ugly and neglected, banished to the back of the fridge to grow mold and weep.

wasted leftovers

Like all organized-obsessed people, I knew there had to be a better way.   If “out of sight, out of mind” applies to leftovers, then a simple and reusable list of what to use first makes sense, right?

how to use all your leftovers-001

To make your list reusable, simply cover it with clear contact paper and insert the glass behind the printable.  Or, you could write with chalk markers directly on the glass.  Either way works.

organizing leftovers, meal planning ideas-004

I chose to cover my faux chalkboard list with contact paper, because young boys and glass frames do not mix.  This frame is a part of my kitchen gallery wall {unveiling coming soon!}, and it’s brushed up by small kids every three minutes.

Here’s a plain version of the printable for your personal use {not commercial use}.  Simply right click and save, or drag to your desktop to resize in what ever photo editing software you use.

leftovers board  printable-002

Thanks to my friend Lucy at Craftberry Bush for a great tutorial on making faux chalkboards.


This post is a part of a new series:

{which will force me to stop daydreaming these ideas and actually DO them]


house realistic a series of diy organizing and home projects


Stay tuned for more,


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.


Need more organizing ideas or want to minimize clutter? Stop by these posts…

Sharing at I Heart Naptime

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Greatest Hits of 2012: Projects/DIY

Nicolette Lennert of momnivore's dilemma and the classroom creative

Here’s my a few of my favorite projects in 2012:

My website at The Classroom Creative, which debuted in May, was by far the biggest project in 2012.  My creative to-do list was much shorter than usual, because of the hours Karen and I spent creating that massive education site.  I will make up for lost time in 2013.

Nicolette Lennert of momnivore's dilemma and the classroom creative


Here’s my favorites from 2012…

My pearl wreath.  I love her.  I really do.

winter wreath ideas, wedding wreath ideas, pearl wreath


My outdoor chalkboard for the boys.


A dumpster dive score.





Stay tuned for more,


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.



Sharing @ Happy Hour

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Kidproof your wall art and frames {pinned it, did it, and now have to redo it}

I swear to you, I live in a frat house.

All that’s missing is beer bottles and pizza boxes.
Once upon a time, that corpse of a frame housed my beloved meal planning system:
It was so pretty to look at and functional.  It made my life easier.  Yes, I planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner for sometime. 
I saw all of those pretties on pinterest and made a knock off that only lasted a short while:
So in my quest to have both a lovely home while living with two children of mass destruction, I give to you a tip: a lesson learned that hard way, if you will.
Use sticky back velcro to adhere your precious work to the wall.  On the back in two inch strips, on all four corners.  
So when little Logan or Frankie decides to whack your art work off the wall with a broom, it won’t budge.
You can thank me later.
Here is Monkey, plotting his next attack.
Sharing @

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DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Tutorial

Late last summer, my youngest son broke his crib.  I’ll spare you the details.

Let it suffice that he lives up to costume.

From his wild antics sprung a few DIY projects.  Being the green mama I am, I had to find other uses for the aftermath of the crib .

You would never guess that this chalkboard was once a crib support, right?  This was the particle board beneath the crib.  Yes, dear readers, despite the concern that the particle board wouldn’t hold up, we are on summer #3 with this chalkboard now.

Not bad for a free project, right?

materials circle button-002

-upcycled old crib particle board {the base the holds the mattress up}
-random leftover non-VOC paint in black {one cup}
-2 Tbs of unsanded grout
-four screws to bolt that sucker into the fence*
*Yes, we are aware our fence is the wrong way.  The neighbors put it up when we were out of town, and oops, put the pretty side toward them.


1.) Hang board to fence with grumpy husband’s assistance.
2.) Mix grout with non-voc paint.
2.5) Paint with roughly three coats.
3.)  Cure the board by rubbing chalk all over it before first use.
4.) Play with the chalkboard more than your kids do.
outdoor chalkboard paint recipe

Stay tuned for more,


For more caustic wit and brilliance, please follow me via the time sucks of social media.
I want to see your pretty faces here.
I really do.


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Valentine’s Day Craft: Love Letters & Beaded Heart Tutorial

{reposted from last year}

Believe it or not, this entire project cost me less than a gallon of $3.60 gas here in Chicago.
Less than $2.

-gift boxes {yup I ask for them whenever I go shopping}-Free
-magenta colored Christmas picks {70% off at Michaels}-29 cents on sale
-damask fabric that I scored for $1.20/yard at Joann’s Black Friday sale- {used a half a yard}
-scissors, packing tape, and hot glue {had on hand, of course}

1.) First, choose a template of a font for your letters, blow it up on your computer. Print it out  Trace and cut. Or if you have one of those fancy Cricuts or Sils, use those.  I hope one day I will be the proud owner of a studio again and one of those digital cutters  {Or do what I did, freehand}

2.) Then, cut your letters out trying to use the side of the box to make it 3D. {This will be less work for you later}

3.) If you have missing sides, cut the side of the gift boxes and use them as strips.  This is nice because they are all even, and the measuring is done for you.

4.) Use packing tape to adhere the letter to the sides.

5.) For the heart, I simply hot glued the picks I cut down to the front of the letter. Then I cut a strip of fabric the length of the heart and glued it around.

For the letters, I hot glued the fabric, mitering the corners and hot gluing it to the back.

Perfect, because my Valentine’s Day decor budget was $10.

Stay tuned for more projects on the cheap.

If you have valentine’s projects of your own, please share them at my 2012 party!

momnivore's dilemma

Sharing @ Tatertots and Jello

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Magnetic Make-up Board Tutorial


It’s time to take my vanity more seriously.  As a SAHM/blogger/tutor, I can get away with yoga pants and crusty tees all week.  In truth:

1.) Most of my make-up is older than my children.  I know, I know, I will probably get a fungal infection and die {or if the ingredients in these products won’t kill me first!}.
2.)  I usually toss said products in a large wicker basket and can’t find them in a timely fashion.
3.) Washing my face and brushing my teeth is the pinnacle of my beauty regime these days.

Now that I have a magnetic make-up board, it may inspire me to banish the dark circles from underneath my eyes and toss on a lil lip gloss.

Extreme close up…

-hot glue gun
-decorative paper
-your makeup collection
-a busted up magnetic board that you saved from an old classroom
-magnets {reused from old classroom}
-little chalkboards

1.) Cover the unsightly board with pretty paper.  {This paper was actually holiday wrapping paper courtesy of Tar-jay}
2.) Burn yourself as you glue magnets to the back of your make-up collection
3.) Write categories on little chalkboards so your pretty new board can be ultra-organized
4.) Be happy that your make-up is no longer tossed haphazardly in a basket.

Did I put makeup on this morning?  Nope.  But I thought about it.

Hope this inspires you to put your face on,


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Tabletop Christmas Tree Craft

tabletop christmas tree craft pearls

My hands are covered with burns from the hot glue gun, but it’s time to showoff:

Doesn’t it look store-bought?  I saw a similiar one at a store for $40, and I knew I could do it for much cheaper. So while wandering the aisles of Michael’s this evening…I stumbled across these little beauties in the holiday section.

A mere 50 cents a bunch (they were 50% off). So I bought ten bunches.

Cutting these down is great while you watch show on your DVR.

Remember my spray-painted paper trees from earlier this evening?
(If not, check out the other tree here The Glitter Damask Tree)

So with a little hot glue…

I began to work in circles, repeating the pattern: white, silver, and sparkled.
After 20 minutes, I finished.
*edited to add in late 2012
{I would recommend using E6000 glue.  After being in storage with my other holiday decorations, many of the pearls  separated from the cone.  Hot glue isn’t a good choice.  Be sure to use ventillation with E6000, as it’s stinky!

It was a bit time-consuming, but now, I finally have the decor I’ve been pining after for the past few months. Hope this inspires you to do the same!

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