Essential Tools For Home Improvement

(NC)—While the home may be a family’s castle and an escape from today’s hectic world, it’s probably not perfect. Decorating styles change. There are pictures to hang and shelves to install. Things break. It’s too pressing to ignore, but too minor to engage a professional. The question becomes one of where to begin.

Start with a highly recommended how-to book, such as Better Homes & Gardens – New Complete Guide to Home Repair and Improvement and New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual by Reader’s Digest.

With knowledge in hand, it’s a good idea to have a basic set of tools. When choosing, experts advise buying the best quality possible. Good tools can last a lifetime and help ensure professional results, while poor ones tend to break, cause frustration and can even damage a project.

A hardware or home center employee can guide you in quality tool selection. Here are the top ten tools that home experts say should be in every toolbox:

1. Toolbox – Start with a sturdy, latching container that can protect the tools and keep them safe, organized, and ready to go.

2. Safety goggles – Safety is the first step in any do-it-yourself project.

3. Screwdrivers – Start with a couple sizes of both flat blade and Phillips types

4. Hammer – Choose a 16-ounce claw model that fits comfortably in your hand, heavy enough to accomplish most tasks but not too heavy.

5. Tape measure – Choose one with a shock resistant case in a bright colour, so it’s easy to spot in your toolbox. For real convenience, try one with a built-in voice recorder to store your measurements like the Zircon Repeater®.

6. Slip-joint pliers with wire cutting jaw.

7. Adjustable wrench.

8. Utility or box knife.

9. Drill – This is the one power tool that’s a must.

10. Stud finder – For dozens of home improvement projects a stud finder can be worth its weight in gold. Try the new Zircon StudSensor™ Pro SL-AC. It finds studs without guesswork and includes a new WireWarning™ safety feature so you won’t accidentally nail or drill into live AC voltage.

Attic Renovations

(NC)—Tree houses are great in theory but pose a number of safety issues and aren’t ideally suited to cold weather play,’ says David Flood, Insulation Expert, Owens Corning. ‘If you have an attic with adequate headroom, a clever alternative is to create a year-round fun space for children in the upper reaches of your home. With a few renovations – and some clean-up – you can transform the attic into a playroom.’

Your first step in the transformation is to check existing insulation for areas that will not be in the new room, and top up where required using PINK® Fiber Glass Insulation for Attics. For inaccessible areas in the attic, have a professional blow in PROPINKTM Loosefill Fiber Glass Insulation. Up to 35 per cent of a home’s energy can be lost through the attic; topping up insulation to adequate levels, ensures that children are comfortable and, energy bills are kept in check. A properly insulated attic will prevent heat loss in winter and heat penetration in summer.

To make the room comfortable year round, install insulation batts to adequate levels in walls and ceiling of the new finished attic room with a new poly vapour barrier seal before the drywall is installed. To ensure an unrestricted flow of fresh air from soffits to the attic and areas above the ceiling of the new room, be sure to install raft-R-mateTM Attic Rafter Vents at each level and ensure there is ridge or equivalent top ventilation.

Finally, you’ll need a source of heat for this new playroom. Best option: baseboard heaters as extending forced air ducts to the attic may be impractical and hydronic heating could freeze if your attic room were to become unheated.

Once insulation is in, install drywall, fixtures and decorate. Better yet, bring the children in to decorate and make the room truly their own!

Jar Lid and Jar Candle Decoration

Most items can be found around the house or in a craft store.

Jar Candle with lid – with removable plastic bottom

Craft Glue

Paint

Scissors

Decorating Candle Jars and Lids is a fun and easy project for all ages. You can use many different craft items to embellish your jar and lid. If you are really creative, you could even make a snow globe out of the lid. But we are going to go over a few inexpensive ideas to turn your Jar into an attractive looking and still functional decoration.

Most jar lids come with a plastic under cap, which can be taken off by a screw driver. In this space you can add many different things, from dried flowers to an elaborate scene.

One of my favorite things to do is to add fake flowers and greens to my lid, typically using the same color flower as my jar wax. Everything can be placed at the top of the lid and adding green leaves to keep it secure.

Sand, Rocks or Marble pieces can add a different look to the lid. One great idea is to use different layers of colored sand. Just make sure you fill it to the top, because the under cap will have a little bit of space. You’ll get the same look as those colored bottles that you can buy at fairs. For rocks, try using some Aquarium rocks, as they come in multiple colors.

You can add a more personal touch by adding a picture or personal message in the lid. Just cut the picture to fit the lid and put some kind of background behind it. One idea is to use a nice piece of colored felt or velvet fabric. By adding enough fabric, you can be assured the picture will stay where it is. I do not recommend using glue on the top of the lid, as it will be visible.

You can also just use a pattern fabric to place inside the lid. A great idea would to use a pattern that is in your room, maybe a leftover piece of wallpaper. Then you have a matching Jar to your room. Don’t laugh, but I cut off a small piece of fabric from the underside of my chair to use in a lid, so that it matched my furniture.

The jar itself can be decorated in so many ways, its impossible to list them all here. So I’ll show a design and some ideas that I thought would be great to give as a gift to someone.

One of my favorite designs is to use my old Christmas cards or a specific holiday card as a design on my jar. Cut the card it to fit the jar, and then glue it to the jar using crafters glue or glue dots. This is a great idea for a gift around Valentines or Christmas time. You could even use the inside of the card with the message. And to top it off, adding a picture of yourself on the other side of the jar, will add a nice personal touch.

There are many things you can do to decorate your jar. Using some of the ideas above, like the pattern in the lid, you can also use it on the jar. Some other ideas are, painting a scene or message on the jar, gluing ribbon strips vertically to add stripes, gluing flowers to the base, adding your own custom label and something as simple as red lipstick kisses all over the jar.

Your creativity holds no bounds. So have fun and try anything, I bet it will come out fabulous.

The Ultimate Strategy for Decorating a Childs Room!

For kids, their bedroom is where they play games, read, listen to music, wrestle, display or hide prized possessions, day-dream, or just go to be alone sometimes. So try these eight strategies to help create a space that will make you both happy:

1. Talk to your child. Find out what activities and fantasies he or she enjoys; what their favorite color is; and what’s unique about their personality that a theme could be built around. Then work their interests into a design that will make them feel comfortable, happy, and safe.

2. Allow your child to help. Let them have a say about colors, fabrics, and how they want to display their collectibles. The design should be flexible enough to accommodate their changing tastes, needs, and interests.

3. Make the room multi-functional. Since children use their room for many activities besides sleeping, it should have several different zones.

These could include a play area; a reading area; a space to play with friends that’s equipped with a radio, CD player, and a TV/VCR; a display area with a wall or corkboard for favorite photos and artwork; and finally, a place for shelving to display collectibles, trophies, and other personal items.

4. Make storage a priority. Containing clutter will be one of your greatest challenges. Try shelving, large decorative wicker baskets, plastic see-through containers, and closets that contain plenty of shelving and racks.

5. Keep window treatments simple. Avoid long draperies. Shades, blinds, and shorter curtains are safer choices. The fabric should be versatile, and patterns should be repeated in other items in the room, such as in pillows, quilts, lampshades, bed ruffles, etc.

6. Choose the right lighting. A child’s room should include both task lighting for homework and reading, and soothing light for quieter times. A nightlight is also important if your child is not comfortable in the dark, and for safety reasons, so they can find their way to the bathroom at night.

7. Use wallpaper or paint to add color and texture. You can apply whimsical borders along the top edges of the walls, and clouds or stars on the ceiling.

It might be wise to make sure the walls of childrens rooms are washable, so if you are using paint, choose a semi-gloss or gloss finish. Kids love bright colors, but you should limit any strong color to only one wall. For example, paint one wall fire-engine red, and the others a soft peach or pink.

8. Allow your child to select the design theme. The choices are endless. Here are just a few: firehouse fun room, starry night, angels, rainbows, unicorns, baseball, a bedroom for a princess, underwater scenery, outer space, race cars, airplanes, trains, jungle motifs, wizards and dragons, and dinosaurs. You can visit our new Web site for a lot more ideas!

Decorating with your child offers a great opportunity to display your playful side, while doing some memorable family bonding. So have fun with it and remember that even if your child’s choice in themes seems bizarre, there’s probably a way to work out a compromise.

How to Choose Water Garden Plants

Plant varieties within these four categories are what you need to eyeball: deep-water, marginals, oxygenators, and floaters. (If you think these words are big words, just be happy we’re not talking about medicine.)

After you’ve diligently planted your new plants in plastic tubs, pans, or clay pots, packing the fertilizer- and chemical-free soil down tightly, load the container down with pea gravel to keep the soil from floating away. (Don’t ask why this works, but it does.) Plunk your plant into the water at the appropriate depth (You’ll read about that in just a minute) and you’re on ready to go!

Plant-dunking should be generally be done during the growing season. For new ponds, wait four or five weeks for the water plants to do their thing before you add your fish. If you just can’t hold your horses, or your fish, for that long, you can jump the gun a couple of weeks, but the idea is to let the plants first get established.

When picking your plants, you’ll no doubt be wowed by water lilies of the tropical persuasion. These aquatic wonders are popular compared to their hardier cousins with knock-out fragrance, big blooms day or night – depending on the variety – and a habit of blooming their little hearts out nearly every day during the growing season. They love their warmth, though, so unless you live in a year-round, warm-weather climate, be prepared to hasten them into a greenhouse or at least muster up some funds to buy them some “grow” lights to tough it out through the winter.

They will definitely bite the dust at freezing temperatures, but give them night-time temps of at least 65F and daytime temps of 75F or warmer, and your love affair with tropicals will only grow that much more torrid.

Hardy water lilies, while not the showboaters that tropicals are, are . . . well, hardier. Their big advantage is that they can stay in the water year ‘round unless it freezes so deeply the rootstock is affected. And being the tough guys they are, you can plant these puppies deeper than the tropicals, some living it up in depths of 8 to 10 feet.

Both hardy and tropical water lilies are real sun worshippers. At least 5 to 10 hours a day is what it takes, along with regular fertilization, to keep these plant pals happy.

Everybody and their brother with a water garden wants a lotus plant. (Sisters, too, no doubt.) These water-lily relatives come in hardy and not-so-hardy strains, so make sure you know what you’re buying. Much bigger than water lilies, lotus have huge, famously splendid blooms that not only will knock your socks off, but make you forget you have feet altogether. Their leaves and seed pods are so breathtaking, they’re a favorite in costly cut-flower arrangements. Big, bold, and beautiful, with water-depth needs of 2-3 feet, these shouters are really better off in big ponds that get plenty of sun.

Marginals (sometimes called “bog” plants by those less high-falutin’) are grass-like plants that strut their stuff in shallow areas no deeper than 6” that border the water garden. They also do well in mud. Cattail, bamboo, rush, papyrus, and many other plants fall into the family of marginals and grow best with a minimum of at least three hours of sun.

Some plants are there but not seen, working stoically under water and without fanfare to fight algae, oxygenate the water, and provide food for fish. (In lieu of these plants, if your pond is small, you can fake it fairly adequately with an aquarium pump.) Easy on the wallet, varieties of these plants can be bought in bunches and like their soil sandy and/or gravelly. Like hardy water lilies, they, too, will warrior it through the winter.

Water hyacinths have become a recent rage, especially for the lazy among us. No soil is required for these beauties. Toss them in the water and they’re “planted.” A water hyacinth ain’t just another pretty face, though; these plants do their part in the war against algae and blanket weeds by keeping sunlight scarce on the water’s surface. But one note of caution: This plant may take over the world if allowed. It’s invasive as all get out, so keep it under control or you (and your neighbors) may wish you’d never laid eyes on it.

A water garden isn’t a garden without plants. Take your time, know your climate, and choose wisely. Your rewards will be great in return.

Painting and Decorating Tile

Remember to clean your tile and let it dry before you begin any project.

1. Seal both tile and surrounding grout with a water-based floor varnish. Ask your home improvement retailer for suggestions about a good water-based floor varnish for your area.

2. Brush paint primer on both tile and grout. Let it dry for at least 12 hours before you begin painting.

3. With an artist’s brush, paint your pattern with latex paint. Simple designs are best. You can use stencils or, if you are brave, try painting your own original design directly on the tile. Let the tile dry before sealing.

4. Seal the tiles with two coats of water-based varnish. Let the tile dry between coats.

Decorating your old tile can be easy and fun. Now, anyone have a great idea for rescuing an old bathtub? (Without making it a backyard planter, that is!)

Decorating For Thanksgiving

THINK FALL COLORS. Thanksgiving decorating requires a harvest color scheme of warm yellows, golds, burnt reds, browns and greens. Think in terms of these colors when selecting ribbons and fabrics to be used with your projects.

START GATHERING. Go outdoors and start gathering colorful fallen leaves, acorns, pinecones, sticks, twigs and large branches. Use the large branches to anchor a display on or inside shelves, counter tops or bookcases. Fill the display with the items you gathered until you have a collage of color. Also consider stacking logs on your porch or inside your space…even if you don’t have a fireplace!

CREATING A CENTERPIECE All you need to create this budget piece are your outdoor supplies and a hot glue gun. Using a large attractively shaped branch, start gluing your leaves and branches in a natural pattern in and around the branch. You can buy attractive Indian corn and gourds at your local grocery store to place next this centerpiece to complete your Thanksgiving table. Use your harvest colored ribbons as accents.

REUSE PUMPKINS. Don’t think that pumpkins are only for Halloween. Some vendors largely discount pumpkins after October 31st. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. Decorate with pumpkins of all sizes by adding them to your porch or indoor displays. Just before your Thanksgiving dinner use them to create homemade pumpkin soup or pie. No waste here!

ILLUMINATION. Candles are the obvious choice for bringing warmth to your Thanksgiving festivities. Select a variety of sizes and shapes to add contrast. A good rule of thumb when on a budget is to think multiple uses. White candles can be used for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Tea candles work well when displayed in glasses and are also a little more budget friendly. The least expensive illumination tips are to use your old white Christmas tree lights on top of bookcases or draped around your room. Get a jumpstart on Christmas.

You can create an atmosphere that exudes the warmth and welcome you feel for your guest by adding special touches to your decor. Just by using what you have, a little elbow grease and some imagination you can create a holiday atmosphere…for little to or money!

Feng Shui Colors And What They Represent

Feng shui colors knowledge can allow you to choose the right colors to create harmony in any living or working space as well as it can be used with anything that involves choosing colors. According to feng shui colors specifications, colors should not be used randomly but according to what they represent.

Each one of the five elements, water, wood, fire, earth and metal are represented by different colors and that allow us to create feng shui colors based harmony. We will detail the colors each one of the elements represent through the next lines in order to help you choosing the right colors for your home or office decoration as well as the look for harmony within anything involving the use of colors.

The element water, according to feng shui colors representation chart, is represented by the colors blue and black and all their shades. This means that if, for example, you need to add more of the water element in a room, you could do so by adding these colors to it.

Next, and according to feng shui colors spectrum, wood is represented by all shades of green. Therefore, by painting a room green or adding green objects you would be including more wood in it. The next element, fire, is represented by red, pink and maroon and adding any of these colors within a space would be as adding that element.

The last two elements symbolized by feng shui colors are earth and metal. The feng shui element earth is represented by the color orange, yellow, and brown. And the element metal is represented by color white, silver, gray and gold. Using any of the colors within these last two groups would add more of the element which they represent.

A house position also determines the color which we should ideally use in its exterior. A house facing south should be white, gray or blue, facing SW should be in red or earth shades, facing west should be in blue or green or if it is facing north it should have green shades or red. A house facing NE should be painted in earth shades or red, and if it is either facing east or SE it should be in metal or earth shades.

Unique and Imaginative Wall Storage Ideas

Everyone can use more organization in their lives (except those misguided souls who alphabetize their spices, canned goods and color-coordinate their laundry supplies!). Additional wall storage can help bring that organization into your home. And original and unusual wall storage ideas can help organization become décor pizzazz! Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. If you have old fruit crates or soda pop crates, attach them to the wall to become a wonderful storage unit to display books or knicknacks. You can paint the units to match your décor or leave the original labels and wood to create a rustic and unusual centerpiece of your room.

2. Do you have an old garden bench or one of those wooden benches which are frequently beside dining tables or in entry halls? Try it attaching upside down on the wall. Use the shelf created by the bench top to display collections. Just think of using a white distressed bench as a shelf for teddy bears in a child’s room.

3. Old wooden hangers can make beautiful storage units for jewelry, ties, and even shoes. Paint the hangers a solid color and let dry. Then add decorative touches such as hand-painted flowers or stripes. Or wrap the hangers with strips of fabric using glue to adhere the strips to the wood. When the hanger is completely wrapped, cover with a decoupage finish. Attach to the wall with painted or plain hooks.

4. Want a wonderful idea for towel storage in a bathroom? Try attaching a window box or planter to the wall and fill with folded towels and washcloths, soaps or creams. Add trim and paint to make a unique storage unit.

5. Need an easily accessible place to store your pots and pans? Attach a narrow wrought iron curtain rod with decorative finials to the wall. You can hang the pans from S-hooks which have been hooked over the rod. A great idea!

Use your own imagination to turn everyday objects into storage areas. You might come up with the perfect solution to your organization needs. Hmmm…any ideas for storing the 20 years back issues of “Better Homes and Gardens”?

Finding the correct area Builders

If need|you would like|you wish to try and do one thing to boost the wonder of your home and you do not want to color or have something done to the within, you’ll continually choose to redo your summerhouse. If you rent the correct reasonably area builders you’ll create your home the envy of the block.

There is a right manner and a wrong thanks to notice an honest cluster of area builders. If you move it the incorrect manner, you’ll expect to waste thousands of bucks. you will even find yourself with a area that appears worse than before you started the renovation. If you move it the correct manner, you’ll expect the financial and social worth of your home to travel up. think about this renovation as Associate in Nursing investment.

Visit your native home improvement store and raise regarding their recommendations. Since they sell provides, they’ll usually purpose you within the right direction. Some stores have a community board that’s denote somewhere close to the doorway and exits. you’ll sometimes notice some smart corporations from the ads on the boards.

Make sure that you just screen and do a background check on each skilled you’re considering for your specific project. confirm they carry the correct reasonably insurance. an honest company can have many insurance policies in place: one that covers their employees at any location, a policy that covers the work locations for all of their comes (this includes your home), and a policy that covers their work and accomplishment. If you see an organization that’s not properly insured, don’t rent them. If you do, you will find yourself regretting that call later.

If you’ve got any concepts that you just wish incorporated into your summerhouse, let the contractors grasp. attempt to be as descriptive as potential and supply them with footage. they’ll allow you to grasp if your vision is feasible and if it’s not, they’ll give you with the changes to create your dream a reality.

Expect for the building of your area to require a good quantity of your time. do not forget to inquire regarding however long it’ll take from begin to end. do not expect for it to be completed nightlong either. If your project is that the solely project they need occurring at the time, you’ll expect for it to be completed a bit previous it commonly would be, as a result of the corporate having additional employees on the market.

Once you’ve got found the correct area builders for your home, estimate a contract and confirm that it includes the rating of each facet that features prices for materials and labor.

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