DIY: Summer Gardening Tips

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DIY: Summer Gardening Tips – As the sun’s hot rays pierce the earth, mixed with the occasional soaking rain shower, summer gardens are booming this year. Gardening is an ideal summer activity- it’s great exercise, therapeutic, and of course yields healthy, fresh food for your family. Here are a few summer gardening tips to help you manage your garden this summer.

The Soap Trick: One irritating thing about gardening every day is that dirt can become caked under your fingernails, staining the nail no matter how hard you scrub. Experts recommend scraping a bar of soap across your nails, which will store soap slivers under the nail and block dirt while you dig. Washing your hands at the end of a gardening session will easily remove the soap slivers and your nails will be clean as can be.

Versatile Tools: A great tip for minimizing the amount of gardening tools you are toting around is to make single tools, multi-functional. For example, take your hoe or shovel and mark the handle in inches and feet with permanent marker. This way when you are planting or laying out your gardens, you can use the handle to measure distance and the shovel to dig your holes.

Let Nothing Go to Waste: After you finish your morning coffee or tea, use the grounds to feed acid to acid-loving flower plants like gardenias or rhododendrons in your yard. Adding one-quarter inch of grounds around the plant just once a month, will make these plants happy.

Harvest, Harvest and Harvest: When growing vegetables, harvest as soon as veggies are ripe and ready. Each time you harvest, the plant will yield more little veggies for future food! Have extra fruit or vegetables? Likely your local homeless shelter or nearest neighbor would appreciate the goods. Additionally eat the food as soon as you harvest to take advantage of the foods delicious fresh flavors.

Water in the Morning: Watering plants in the morning will maximize the water absorption that your plants can manage. Moreover make sure to water your plants frequently, especially during the hottest times of the summer.

Tell the Bugs to Beat it!: Infestations can ruin plants rapidly. Keep a sharp eye on leaves for bugs attacking your foliage. Some tips to stave them off: 1. Wrap tape around your fingers and brush them along the under side of leaves to grab at tiny insects. 2. Sprinkle organic diatomaceous earth around your plants to take care of those harmful bugs. A little will go a long way.

There are tons of tips to maximize your garden efforts this summer. Check out hgtv.com and motherearthnews.com for more ideas. Enjoy your summer and your garden to the fullest and reap its beautiful and delicious rewards along the way.

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8 Hidden Hazards In Your Home

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Every homeowner wants to sleep well at night, knowing their home is safe and sound for the health of their family. Yet did you know there are hidden hazards lurking in your home that you may be unaware of? Check your house against the list of hazards below, and your home and health with thank you.

  1. 9-volt batteries: 9-volt batteries, though useful and necessary for many electronic devices in the home, can ignite when coming in contact with anything metal. You may want to make sure your 9-volts are stored separately, or come with small plastic caps that you can use to keep them safe.
  1. Ionized smoke detectors: According to realtor.com, over 90% of smoke detectors found in the U.S. are ionized detectors. Unfortunately these detectors are less reliable when it comes to detecting slow burning fires, and lack of reacting can lead to major house damage or worse. Consumers should look for photoelectric detectors when purchasing detectors for their home.
  1. Hidden gas lines: Older homes, particularly ones that were built between 1860-1920, were all once fitted with natural gas lines to supply lighting in the home. As modern electricity improved these lines should have been capped off or converted, but many lines are still active today. Have a home inspector double check these lines to ensure they are dealt with properly.
  1. Lightwood truss construction: This type of construction uses metal gussets to join trusses instead of screws or bolts, but unfortunately is susceptible to heat and fire. When the home heats up, the gussets pop off, collapsing structures.  Installing a proper sprinkler system above these structures can aid in fire prevention.
  1. Tipsy Stoves: Though light-weight stoves are the norm today, unless correctly installed, they can easily tip over when weight is applied in just the right place, tipping over or injuring those in the way! Make sure your home inspection includes an investigation of the stove and its risks.
  1. Heavy Flat-Screens: Older flat screen TVs tend to be heavier than today’s lightweight models. Though often placed carefully on a mantel or TV stand, they can fall if hit or weighed down by a reckless body movement or playful child. The best thing to do is to mount the TV on the wall with appropriate hardware.
  1. Carbon Monoxide Levels: This is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be extremely dangerous when levels are high in the home. To prevent levels of carbon monoxide from rising in your home, have your heating appliances maintained regularly and install detectors on every floor in the houses.
  1. VOCs: VOCs are volatile organic compounds are gases that release from specific solids and liquids such as paints, cleaning supplies, adhesives, pesticides, and more. When using these products, make sure the home or space is properly ventilated or use them outside if possible. Release of these gases can contribute to negative health effects.

Worried about potential hazards in your home? Luckily, there are ways to cope and deal with these problems. You can check out the Green and Healthy Homes Initiatives website for tips and resources to combat these hidden hazards and put your mind at ease.

 

DIY: Handmade Holiday Stockings

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DIY: Handmade Holiday Stockings

No fireplace? No Mantel? No Worries! Check out these DIY handmade Holiday stockings that will get you in the holiday spirit!

Stocking Sacks.  Grab some vintage grain sacks from your local craft store and paint away. With your custom painting and the draw strings on the sack, these sacks are cute and easily functional.  Not only can these Holiday sacks be used for stockings they can be used for wrapping paper as well.

Holiday Pails. Give your Holiday traditions a twist by using metal pails with bright colors to replace your traditional stockings!

A Better Sweater. Don’t donate your old sweaters this year. Repurpose them by using them as stockings! These sweater stockings don’t require a sewing machine or knitting needles and can be easily created in just a few hours.

How To: Give Your Kitchen a Modern Look

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How To: Give Your Kitchen a Modern Look– Looking to spruce up your kitchen or dining space? Why not go for a modern look? An improved modern kitchen does not have to mean an expensive overhaul! Follow these next few tips on how to give your kitchen a modern look on a budget.

  1. Update Small Appliances: A modern look usually means stainless steel or black appliances. Is a new refrigerator or range out of your budget? No problem! Update your smaller appliances such as microwaves and toasters for a sleek, more modern look. A touch of steel or shiny black in your new kitchen will definitely get you headed in the right direction.
  2. Update Your Cabinetry: What looked great ten years ago may not look so great today. Cabinet styles can change drastically over the years. Give your kitchen a more modern look with some new cabinetry. Go for a dark wood or a bright white for a bold and beautiful change. If this is out of your budget, try adding some sleek stainless steel handles to your old cabinets. Even the small details will turn your kitchen into a new oasis.
  3. Paint the Walls: Liven up your kitchen space with a fresh, new paint color. If you are going for a modern look try a cool shade of grey. Slate grey or light grey are two great options. If the modern look is not for you, give your kitchen a bright and warm feel with a pop of color! This is an inexpensive and reasonable way to give your kitchen an updated look.
  4. Update Your Dining Furniture: The great thing about t a modern look is that it does not have to be expensive! A lot of retailers offer light and modern looking kitchen furniture at reasonable prices. Go for a sleek look with an industrial style table and seating. Keep things simple with a metal table and black chairs. The options are endless! And totally in your budget.
  5. Update the Tile: Check out your nearest home improvement store and pick out a new modern tile for your kitchen update. A new look does not have to burn a hole in your wallet. Try one of these new materials- hardwood, laminate, linoleum, or polished concrete. A polished concrete look will put you in the modern hemisphere. Not for you? You will be surprised with how many tiling options are out there!

Updating your kitchen does not have to mean spending a fortune. The modern look is more popular than ever. The best part about it is that it is extremely affordable and easy to do! Try these tips and let us know what you think!

Leave a comment below telling us how these tips helped you, or what other tips you may have for updating your kitchen on a budget!

Affordable Ways To Spice Up Your Bathroom

Are you embarrassed to have people in your bathroom? Here are some affordable ways to spruce it up!

Whether you’re preparing to show and sell your home or just planning on having company over, you don’t want to be embarrassed about the look of your bathroom. If it’s outdated or dirty, it’s definitely time for a makeover. Because the bathroom is typically one of the smallest rooms in the house it doesn’t have to be expensive to update, but a great looking bathroom can offer you a great return on investment (second only to the kitchen). From the National Association of Realtors ®, here are 5 ways to spruce up your bathroom for cheap!

  1. Repaint. Giving any room a fresh coat of paint can totally transform the room and give it an updated look, but when choosing a paint color for your bathroom it’s important to coordinate with other elements in the room. Are the toilet, tub, and sink white or off-white? What’s the finish on the light fixtures and door knobs? Does your mirror have any color to it? Just as it is for any room in the home, it is important that the colors in your bathroom complement each other. *TIP: clean walls thoroughly with a washcloth before repainting; many beauty products leave residue on the walls that could cause problems with your new paint.

  2. New Flooring. Dirty, worn, or peeling flooring can be a major turnoff for potential homebuyers and guests. Again, because the bathroom is typically a small area, the cost of new flooring for the room and all necessary supplies won’t break the bank. Consider installing large tiles (it’s easier to clean than small tiles) or linoleum for a fresh look. *TIP: you can save more money by installing the new flooring yourself.

  3. Replace your shower curtains and curtain rod. Curtains need replaced fairly regularly, as they can accumulate mold and mildew if they aren’t properly cared for, but curtain rods should be replaced at some point as well. For the most part this is simply because things go out of style. Also, usual wear-and-tear often leaves curtain rods looking rusty and dinged up; if your curtain rod is out of style or a little worse for the wear, consider purchasing a nice, new rod to transform the look of your bathroom with relatively little effort.

  4. Upgrade your lighting. Many people tend to get ready for the day in the bathroom, so it’s very important that you have good lighting. Good lighting means that the room is well lit and that the light isn’t discolored for any reason. The National Association of Realtors ® says that bathrooms should have two different types of lighting: “ bright wall or ceiling light for regular use and a softer, warmer type of light, like a night light, to keep on when the bathroom is not in use”. *TIP: try replacing your lighting fixtures to update the look of the bathroom as well.

  5. Update the Vanity. Vanities experience wear-and-tear just like everything else in your bathroom. If your vanity is outdated or beat up, replacing it with something brand new can completely transform the look of the bathroom. Most home improvement stores have a variety of options for vanity and sink combinations for reasonable prices. If you’re not ready to purchase a new vanity, you can update the one you have by deep-cleaning it and possibly adding new paint.

Simple and cheap updates, such as adding a fresh coat of paint, purchasing new lighting fixtures, and adding a new curtain, can dramatically enhance the look and feel of your bathroom. These quick and easy fixes will help you transform your bathroom from drab to fab in no time, and you won’t be embarrassed to show it to guests or potential homebuyers.

Read the original article from realtor.com here.

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