Kamis, 27 September 2012

Think Green when you Clean


We all want to do our part in ensuring our environment stays as safe and healthy as possible for our children and future generations to come.  Many people don't stop to think how their household cleaners can affect the environment, and how toxic they can make the immediate environment of your home.  With some careful forethought, planning and effort, your home can be cleaned safely and effectively, sparing the environment, your home, family and pets from toxic chemicals and fumes.

Most people firmly believe that surfaces in their homes must be disinfected on a continual basis to prevent illness and the spread of disease.  But the truth is most areas of your home don't need to be disinfected to prevent the spread of germs.  This includes your bathroom. Mild detergents, hot water, and some elbow grease can generally do the trick.

The exception to this rule is the kitchen.  Anything involved in food preparation should be completely scrubbed down and disinfected with each use.  This includes food preparation surfaces, utensils, cleaning clothes, and sponges.

When shopping for cleaning products, pay special attention to those with the words poison or danger on the label. These words indicate the highest level of hazard, under federal law. Products labeled with the words caution or warning can present a moderate hazard and should be regarded with care.  Always read labels and follow the directions.
Never mix cleaning products, such as those containing chlorine with those containing ammonia.

Consider using products such as vinegar, baking soda, and mild detergent when cleaning your home.  If you have questions about how to properly dispose of toxic household cleaning chemicals, contact your local health department or county sanitation office for advice and assistance. Most areas provide a household hazardous waste collection site for residents to properly dispose of such items.


Turn your Junk Drawer into your Neat Drawer


We're probably all guilty of having at least one junk drawer somewhere in our house.  This is the drawer that started out as a helpful drawer that kept all the handy items in one place like tape, tacks, buttons, safety pins, and so forth in one central location, but turned into the drawer where other things manage to accumulate when people don't know where they go or don't feel like taking the time to put them away properly.  Get this drawer (or drawers) back into useful mode again by using a few simple steps to bring things back under control.
First of all, in order to clean it out, you've got to empty it out.  Remove everything.  Place a piece of paper or tea towel down to protect your countertop or table surface, and literally dump the drawer on top if possible. Otherwise make sure all items are placed on this protected surface.
Once it's out of the drawer, it needs to be sorted.  Group all similar items together, and if you can't determine what something is or if it's needed after consulting with others in your family, get rid of it.  If there are things in this drawer belong in another location, be sure they are put away promptly.  Clean the drawer completely and wipe dry.  Afterwards, lay a fresh drawer liner or contact paper inside.
The next trick is devising a simple, workable organized system that everyone in the family can use.  Ice cube trays, egg cartons, small boxes or even 35-mm film containers work well to store small things in.  If you cannot see into it to determine its contents, make sure it's clearly labeled.  Small plastic sandwich bags are ideal for organizing and storing rubber bands, thread, and string.  If you store glues or other adhesives in this drawer, make sure they have lids that are secured.  It might also be a good idea to get into the habit of storing them inside a plastic storage bag in order to avoid a mess down the road should the lid become unsecured in the shuffle or is not properly tightened after use.
Most importantly, encourage your family to keep the drawer organized and neat. If it's properly maintained, there should be no need to shuffle through the drawer looking for things, creating an even bigger mess to clean out yet again in a few months.

Kamis, 13 September 2012

5 Quick Gardening Tips to Save You Money


It’s easy to spend a fortune every year creating a beautiful yard. These five tips can help save you money in both this, and future gardening seasons.

1. Plan your vegetable garden according to what your neighbors are planting so you can share your vegetables when they’re ready for eating. Often I’ve had too many of one kind of vegetable I couldn’t give away because my friend’s were ripe at the same time.

2. Select perennials rather than annuals for your flowerbeds. As they multiply each year, cut them back and exchange with your friends so you both have lovely gardens and save money at the same time.

3. Compost your kitchen scraps, as well as your coffee grounds.  The end result is much better than any potting soil you can ever get buy from a nursery or hardware store. The price is right, and this is definitely recycling!

4. Instead of using mulch, try pebbles or small rocks in your garden as ground cover.  This will save you lots of cash since you won’t need to buy mulch in the spring and fall of every year.

5. Spend more money now by purchasing better quality gardening tools and you will save in the long run.  They will last for years, saving you dollars because you don’t need to replace them every planting season.  Same goes for gardening gloves- make sure you buy the best you can afford so they last all season.

Happy Gardening!


3 Easy Tips for Successful Container Gardening


Here are several tips for creating a wonderful hanging basket or container this summer.  The first is to use an artificial soil composed mostly of peat moss.  Good soils such as Fafard or Pro-Mix use perlite, peat, and other ingredients to produce a soil that will not compact over the summer.  Real garden soil compacts and turns into concrete under the pressure of regular watering.  And when it does, plant roots stop growing because they require good open spaces to move into and absorb nutrients.  Hard, compacted soils do not grow good plants so do not use real soil in your containers.  I re-use my artificial potting soil from year to year.  I dump it out of the pot. Chew it up with a shovel to cut up all last year’s roots and add approximately 10 % by volume of compost. The compost increases air spaces and gives plants a boost in healthy nutrition.

Feed your plants weekly.  Nitrogen, the engine of plant growth, is water soluble and as you water your containers from the top the dissolved nitrogen is leaving from the bottom.   I use a fish-emulsion liquid feed with seaweed to provide all the trace nutrients my plants require and recommend it highly.  You can use any liquid plant food (like Miracle Grow or Shultz) to promote growth.  Compost tea is the Cadillac of liquid plant food and if you make your own compost tea, your plants will respond with bigger and better blooms as well as increased vigour.

And finally, no matter the size of the container, it is important to soak it all the way to the bottom at each watering.  Continue watering until water emerges from the pot bottom.  This ensures the roots can reach all parts of the container and grow properly.


Jumat, 07 September 2012

Flower Gardening


Flower gardening is becoming more and more popular every day.  Flowers can brighten everyone’s day, they smell nice, and are a great hobby.  Flower gardening is simple, inexpensive, and loads of fun.  Flower gardening can be done for yard decoration, simply as a hobby, or even professionally.
There are some decisions that have to be made before even flower gardening can be started.  You must decide if you want annuals that live for one season and must be replanted every year, or perennials that survive the winter and return again in the summer.  When buying and planting, pay attention to what kind of flowers thrive in your climate as well ass the sun requirements.
When flower gardening, you must decide what type of look you want before planting.  For instance, mixing different heights, colors, and varieties of flowers together in a “wild-plant style” will give your garden a meadow look and can be very charming.  If short flowers are planted in the front of your garden and work up to the tallest flowers in the back you will have a “stepping stone style”.
You can order seeds for flower gardening from catalogues or buy them from a nursery.  Most people will go to the nursery and buy actual flowers and then transplant them.  After you have prepared your garden area and bought flowers, it is a good idea to lay the flowers out in the bed to make sure you like the arrangement and that they will be spaced properly.
One of the easiest processes in flower gardening is the planting/ if you have seeds just sprinkle them around in the flower bed.  For planting transplants dig a hole just bigger than the flower, pull the container off, and set the flower in the hole right side up.  Cover it with the loose soil and press down firmly, then water.
     
Maintaining a flower garden is even easier than planting one.  Although they might make it on their own, a bag of fertilizer applied in the early spring is a good idea.  Pinch back any blooms after they start to fade and keep them good and watered.  To save yourself work during the next season of flower gardening, rid your garden of all debris and spread out organic nutrients like peat moss or compost.  Don’t forget to turn over the soil to properly mix in the fertilizer and rake smooth when finished.  If you have perennials planted be careful not to disturb their roots in this process.
     
Flower gardening is as easy as 1, 2, and 3: simply decide what to plant; plant it, and water, water, water!  Flower gardening is undoubtedly gaining in popularity and gives anyone excellent reason to spend some outdoors and test out their green thumb.

Fall Gardening


Many gardeners do not even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance.  On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished.  Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies.

What you choose to grow during you fall gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants.  Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas.  However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers.  If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well.  Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts.  Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used.

When fall gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives.  Most seed packages will be labeled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity.  You may want to go after your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer.  If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant.

In order to know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area.  One of the best ways to tell this is by a Farmer’s Almanac.  They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong.  You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature.

To get your soil ready for fall gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds.  Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden.  Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any.  Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours.  Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting.

Many gardeners will run from fall gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce.  Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time.

Minggu, 02 September 2012

Choosing Your New Bathtub


Are you a homeowner?  If so, if you could change one thing about your bathroom, what would you like to change? If you are like many other homeowners, there is a good chance that the bathtub was your response.  In the United States, there are a fairly large number of homeowners who wish that they had a new bathtub.  If you are one of those individuals, did you know that you don’t have to wish any longer? If you want a new bathtub, you should get one.  Making a new bathtub part of your kitchen remodeling project isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

Perhaps, the first step in choosing a new bathtub is determining how much money you can afford to spend on one. If you are also remodeling the rest of your bathroom, it is important that you not only focus on the cost of a new bathtub, but also the cost of your other supplies. If you mistakenly spend too much on a new bathtub, the rest of your bathroom remodeling plans could suffer. Also, you will likely find that having a bathtub limit or budget is the best way to save time while shopping. Knowing how much money is too much to spend will prevent you from wasting your time, by examining bathtubs that you cannot even afford.

It is also a good idea to determine, ahead of time, how your new bathtub will be installed.  If you are planning on having a professional install your new bathtub for you, you will need to keep the extra costs in mind. Although you may want to avoid paying a professional contractor, you may need to. There are a number of bathroom contractors who specialize in replacing bathtubs. In fact, some, literally, just place a new bathtub right over the old one.  It may be possible for you to do this yourself, but, in most cases, you will find that a professional contactor could have your new bathtub installed in as little as a few hours.

Regardless of whether you choose to install your own bathtub or have a professional do it for you, you will need to find a new bathtub to purchase.  If you are looking to have your old bathtub completely removed, you will likely find that you have more options.  When a new bathtub replaces an old bathtub, the tubs need to be about the same size or style. Therefore, if you are remodeling your bathroom with the hopes of getting a “new,” bathroom, you may be looking for something different.  Luckily for you, you still have an unlimited number of options.

In the United States, the most commonly installed types of bathtubs include traditional ones, which are also known as standard tubs. These bathtubs are often connected right to the wall, placed in a corner, and sit directly on the floor.  What is nice about most traditional bathtubs is that they are relatively affordable.  You can purchase a traditional bathtub for as low as two hundred dollars.  If you are looking for comfort, instead of price, you may want to look into spa-like bathtubs or even massage bathtubs. These bathtubs, as you may assume, cost more than most others.  Many massage bathtubs or spa-like bath tubs retail for around one or two thousand dollars.  If you are looking for a trendy, stylish bathtub, you may prefer to own a freestanding bathtub. Freestanding bathtubs can cost as low as five hundred dollars, but they can also reach into the thousands.

Once you have decided which type of bathtub you would like to purchase, you will need to decide on a particular tub. Perhaps, the best way to do this is to start your shopping. You may find it easier to make a decision when you can see bathtub displays set up.  For a wide selection of bathtubs, including displays, you are advised to checkout one of your local home improvement stores.

Choosing a New Shower Stall


In the United States, a large number of homeowners only have a bathtub in their homes. Most bathtubs really aren’t just bathtubs; many also double as showers.  As nice as it is to only have one bathroom fixture, especially one that can do two jobs, you may be looking for more. If you are looking to remodel your bathroom, you may want to think about purchasing yourself a new bathtub.  Unfortunately, you will find that not all bathtubs double as showers; therefore, you may also be in the market for a new shower stall.

Perhaps, the most important thing to remember, when looking to buy a new shower stall, is the amount of space that you have available.  If you are going from one bathtub to a bathtub and a standalone shower, there is a chance that you may be limited on space.  If that is the case, you may find your options to be somewhat limited. That is unless you are planning on remodeling your entire bathroom. If you are planning on changing your entire bathroom around, it may be easier for you to find and purchase the shower stall of your choice, without having to worry about whether or not it will even fit in your bathroom.

Once you have decided that you would like to purchase a new bathroom shower stall, as well as how large of one you can purchase, you will need to start shopping for your shower. Although you may expect to find everything that you need all in one place, it may be a little bit difficult to do. Although there are a number of retailers, particularly home improvement stores, that sell standalone shower kits, there are others who do not. If you are unable to find a retailer who sells shower kits, you may need to purchase all of your parts separately. The parts that you will need may include, but should not be limited to, a shower floor, shower walls, a shower door, as well as a shower head.

When it comes to buying a new standalone shower, there are many homeowners who go searching for the nicest looking standalone shower.  While there is a chance that you may be looking for the best, there is also a chance that may be remodeling your kitchen on a budget.  If so, you may be pleased to know that standalone showers come in a number of different sizes, shapes, and styles.  Whether you are looking a trendy looking standalone shower or the most affordable one, there is a good chance that you will be able to find exactly what you were looking for. Just in case you were wondering, most standard standalone showers start selling for around two or three hundred dollars, and from there the prices goes up.

As previously mentioned, most home improvement stores, both on and offline, carry a selection of shower supplies, including supplies that are grouped into packages or kits. Therefore, if you are looking to have a new standalone shower in your home, it may be a good idea to shop at one of your local home improvement stores.  In fact, home improvement stores, especially large ones, are known for their displays. In order to find the perfect shower for your soon to be remodeled bathroom, you may want to see these displays; however, if the displays are not as important to you, you may also want to think about shopping online.  Regardless of whether you shop, whether it be online or locally, you will want to try and find shower kits or packages.  These kits and packages are not only convenient, but they may also save you money.

Once you have found and purchased the standalone shower of your choice, you may want to start installing it right away.  Since most standalone shower kits come with instructions, you should easily be able to install your own shower, even if you have no prior home improvement experience. What could be better than having a new shower installed and saving money at the same time?

Sabtu, 01 September 2012

Bathroom Accessories and Wicker


How to choose wickers

When doing your bathroom you might want to think about adding a few wicker baskets to set off the environment. Wicker is a wonderful accessory to any room in your house. All sorts of wonderful ideas came from the creation of wickers. Wicker can last forever, as well, the products are easy to maintain.

How do I know what wicker to select?
When choosing your wicker all you have to do us chose the color and style. The reason for that is wicker baskets are made of the same materials. Some baskets are painted however, which sets them apart from the rest. You can find a selection of colors, such as the blue baskets, black, brown, white, and so on.

How do I know which wickers are best suited for my bathroom?
You have a wide selection of wastebaskets, towel hangers, wicker stands, wicker shelves, and more to choose. Few wall frames are also made of wicker. Therefore, you must ask, do you want to hang pictures? Do you intend to use the wicker to store accessories? Do you need shelves to store linen and towels? Understanding your purpose can help you make the right choice. When choosing the colored baskets, you also want to think about the texture, patterns, style, and colors in your bathroom.

How do I take care of wicker materials?
When taking care of wicker it very easy.  You can just throw it in the bathtub to wash it or even take it outside and use the garden hose to clean it. Let the basket dry in the sun and you are good to go.

How do I find wicker baskets, shelves, etc?
Shopping for wicker is easy, since most stores you visit have wicker baskets, shelves, stands, frames, wastebaskets, and more. The smaller stores may only have the smaller items, such as the shelves, wastebaskets, towel hangers, and so on. Larger stores often sell a wider variety of wickers. The Internet is your choice, since you can search for wicker sold worldwide.

How will the wickers look in my bathroom?
You can find some old pictures to hang on the wall to bring out the affect of the wicker.  Wicker is supposed to look rough and old looking so anything you store in wickers will look good. Even if you hang ole’ wicker picture frames, and throw a rug on the floor you can rest assure that the room will look good. In addition, if you have an antique room, country room, Victorian style, or other bathroom design, it doesn’t matter because wicker looks good. In fact, wicker is probably one of the single most sold items that looks good no matter what.

How costly is this wicker?
Wickers do not cost a lot when compared to other bathroom accessories. In fact, you can purchase wicker baskets for as little as $1.

It depends on where you shop. In addition, you can shop around at yard sales and I will almost promise that nearly everyone you visit will have wicker items.

When your bathroom is done in wicker, you will love the affect that it can bring out. It’s always a good choice, especially when using them as bathroom accessories. While wicker looks good no matter where you put it, I feel that wicker benefits best in country settings, or natural surroundings.

How do I use my wicker items?
It depends, if you purchased a picture frame, you can store pictures, documents, achievements, and more in the frames. If you purchased baskets, you can store bathroom accessories, such as toiletries, towels, soaps, and more.

Bathroom Accessories and Toilet Brush Caddies


Toilet brush caddies make up nice bathroom accessories. The caddies are idea, since if you just leave the toilet brush lying in the floor it dirties up your room. In addition, if you do not clean brushes after using them in the toilet, it can build up residue and leave a foul smell. As you can see, toilet brush caddies are nice necessities.

How to choose toilet brush caddies?
Musa, Chateau, Home, Outline, Wind, and Freestanding make a nice selection of toilet brush caddies. If you are searching to accomplish organic embellishments, you may like the crystal glass selections. The glass wear is sometimes structured with pure brass and wood wenges. Musa just created the latest wall-mounting caddies. You will find the latest chrome polish styles and the satin nickels.

How do I choose a caddy to match my bathroom?
The caddies made by Musa, i.e. most designs are crafted to fit any modern bathroom. The items are shipped from foreign legions, i.e. Italy. The items are basic, yet it will bring a classy style to your modern bathroom.

The toilet caddies come with accessories. Few companies sell with the item, wood wenges trims, tumblers, soap dish, and other holders. Most items sold by Musa are made of purely cut brass. Clear crystal glass is gorgeous and will fit any room. I mentioned that the caddies are designed for most modern bathrooms, yet the item will match nearly any style in Victorian rooms, regal baths, country style, and more. You may not want to choose the item to install in child baths, unless the children are older.

How do I choose other bathroom items that go with the caddy?
You have a list of items to select, including the glass corner and vanity shelves, tissue holders, robe hooks, towel bars, soap dish, tumblers, and so on.

How do I choose items designed by Chateau?
I am not partial to silver, yet Chateau made the latest brush caddies that attracts the eye. The latest brush caddy is polished in both chrome and brass. You will find a variety of matching hooks as well, which include polished brass, chrome, combo, and the brush nickel. If you choose the combination of gold and chrome, try mixing it with the chrome and brass polished hooks.

You can also mix the brass/chrome caddies with towel bars, designer mirrors, robe hooks, glass holders, and more. The item comes from Sweden, which the country’s crafters has proven faithful in designing elegant bathroom accessories.

If you intend to purchase the chrome/brass caddies, you may want to purchase a gold bath tissue holder, and a vanity glass shelf. The combination will make your guest think you are living high on the hog. If you do not like the glass vanities, then consider the d├ęcor mirrors that light up and mount on your wall.


Freestanding has a nice selection of brush caddies also. The gold are nice, yet in images it stands out loudly. I am a gold fan, i.e. I like gold tones, shades, colors, etc, yet the color in this instance is a bit disturbing to the eye. In this instance, you may want to consider the Oil Rub Bronze-Plate designed with steel. As I look at the image, I feel that the brush caddy would look nice in an antique atmosphere.

I love the wind so I had to check out the images designed by Wind Collections. The brush caddies are nice if you like chrome with spurts of gold. One of the bathroom accessories you want to consider with this series is the shower corner baskets.

 

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