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  • October 11th, 2010

    Get organized without spending a dime.

    closetStop! Don’t go and buy more STUFF so you can get organized. You probably have things that can do double-duty as containers, storage units, etc. Most likely the problem is not organization. You have TOO much STUFF.

    Am I right? But where do you start?? Start with the smaller cluttered areas. Should some of the things be in another part of the house? When was the last time you used it? Purge, purge, purge.

    shoeboxesAfter you purge need to sort your things and put them into zones. If it’s a room then divide the room into zones and put things away. But even if it’s just a closet or a drawer the zone concept still applies. I use small boxes in drawers to keep things in their place, or shoe boxes in the closet (but not for shoes). For shoes I use shelves, easy to put away, easy to find.

    Use a labeler to make it easy to find things later. Ask yourself, will this be easy to put away each time I use it? If the answer is no then find another place. This is especially true of things you use frequently.

    So analyze what you have before your start and see what can be repurposed to hold the beautiful things your decide to keep.

    Posted in Get organized | I Welcome Your Comments »

    February 10th, 2010

    Flor is an eco-friendly option for your floors.

    florYou’ve probably seen Flor Carpet tiles on one of the many interior design television shows. They are a great flooring solution if you have children, live in an apartment or your just looking for a product that is customizable and encourages your creativity. You can create a unique design of your own by mixing and matching tiles. They are easy to clean and for the stubborn stains just replace the tile. Quick to install, easy to clean and eco-friendly, what more could you want?

    Get samples or a catalog at http://www.flor.com

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    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas, Trends | I Welcome Your Comments »

    February 10th, 2010

    Finely Crafted Artisan Sinks for your beautiful home.

    Imported from India, Linkasink has a collection of the most beautiful sinks that are both authentic and rustic. The bronze bowls are available in antique bronze, satin nickel and pewter. They also produce Onyx and Mosaic sinks. Choose from drop-in, under mount and vessel sinks. And check out their drains in metal, shell, cloisonné and carved stone. You will find Linkasink at fine showrooms thoughout the United States and Canada. Contact them for a showroom near you. http://www.linkasink.com

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    Posted in Trends | 2 Comments »

    January 13th, 2010

    Create a Tile Mosaic for a great accent in your kitchen

    mosaic1My husband and I live in a condo so our kitchen is small. We decided to remodel the kitchen and make the layout better suited to cooking. We actually cook. Unfortunately behind the pantry cabinet we found a support beam. An ugly support beam, what are we to do. The kitchen designer at Home Depot thought we should put a fake cabinet door there. That would have fooled no one. I asked him to show me what it looked like without the fake door and there it was, a huge white support beam. But what I saw was an opportunity to have a Mosaic feature that will make my kitchen unique.

    I bought tumbled marble tiles that I broke up with a hammer at Home Depot and Talavera tiles I found online. I worked out my design on paper first. I had never done this before but I did my home work. I found out what kind of thin set and grout and kept a positive attitude. I knew I could do it.

    It only took a day. The backsplash took the rest of the long weekend because of the cutting. For the backsplash, we used 2″ square tumbled marble in sheets and occasionally inserted a talavera tile.

    finished_kitchenDon’t be afraid to try anything. If you’re unsure of yourself then do a test first. My husband had never used a tile saw before but he did a great job on the backsplash and we now are proud to show off our kitchen. The tile work is the first thing people mention when they see it. We turned a possible eyesore into a work of art.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | I Welcome Your Comments »

    January 12th, 2010

    Quartz countertops: A cleaner, safer countertop

    silestoneWe recently remodeled our kitchen and originally planned on a granite countertop. But then I saw the Silestone® Quartz countertops and I was sold. I wasn’t aware of the Microban® antimicrobial protection at the time, I just loved the look. I chose a dark green that looks like it has bits of glass in it. It reminded me of terrazzo floors which were big in South Florida in the 1950’s.

    The microban protection inhibits the growth of microbes such as odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew, making it easier to clean and stay clean. Silestone is GREENGUARD certified for low emitting interior building materials and perfect when building a green kitchen.

    Silestone’s unique manufacturing process of built-in Microban® antimicrobial product protection, NSF Certification and GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification make Silestone® Quartz a Cleaner, Greener surface to use in all of your design projects.

    Silestone has been used on Extreme Makeover Home Edition and in the HGTV Dream Home. Candace Olson of Divine Design is a spokesperson in the television commercials and uses Silestone frequently on her HGTV show.

    I’m happy with my decision.

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | I Welcome Your Comments »

    January 12th, 2010

    How to Save Money With the Help of a Plumber and Green Plumbing Methods

    by Andrew Stratton

    Looking to cut back on the household bills while doing something that’s good for the planet and generations to come? The solution to this problem is easier than you may think.

    By simply hiring a plumber to install “green plumbing” methods in your home, you can significantly cut down on your monthly payments to the Water Company and electric company, while doing something good for the environment at the same time.

    As you may already know, earth’s inhabitants are consuming the fresh water supply at an alarming rate. In the United States alone, 6.8 billion gallons of water are wasted daily just by flushing toilets. Another statistic shows that over half of our states anticipate fresh water shortages in the next 10 years as a result of such waste.

    Believe it or not green plumbing methods have a direct impact on our environment and the long-term health of our planet. One of the first ways green plumbing impacts the environment is in the area of water conservation.

    However, a green plumber can work his plumbing magic to significantly reduce the amount of waste coming from our homes in the form of toilet flushing, leaky taps or high flow fixtures.

    For example, a plumber may install a high efficiency toilet to help cut back on the amount of water used throughout the day. Similarly, a good plumber can also install systems to harvest rainwater for toilet flushing and other tasks to avoid using the fresh water supply at all.

    Faucets with a ‘low flow’ or front loader washing machines can also be installed to reduce the daily water intake from the household.

    And while the reduction of water will help conserve our precious resources, it also helps to reduce the monthly water bill as well. Furthermore, some states are even offering cash back rebates for homeowners that purchase and install these high efficiency products that reduce waste.

    Again, a good plumber who is knowledgeable in the area of green plumbing can direct the homeowner to these rebates and other bonus for installing eco-friendly products in the home.

    In addition to saving on water costs, hiring a green plumber can also help to cut back on a person’s monthly electric bill. Specifically, the plumber can install a solar hot water heater in place of a traditional hot water heater powered by oil or gas heat.

    Now rather than wasting energy when taking a hot shower, running the dishwasher or doing anything else that requires hot water, a solar hot water heater will harvest the energy from the sun, free of charge to the homeowner.

    And as mentioned before, certain states offer rebates to help cover the installation of a solar hot water heater, as it helps to further the states ‘ultimate goal’ of preserving the planet and community in which we live.

    But remember, not all plumbers specialize in green plumbing methods or savvy ways to save money on the heating or electric bill via their services. In that case, be sure to be upfront with the plumber on what you expect out of the job and the long term goals you have for the reduction of your monthly water and energy costs.

    Published At: Isnare Free Articles Directory http://www.isnare.com

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    Posted in Living Green | I Welcome Your Comments »

    October 15th, 2009

    Container Gardening

    Container GardeningWhether you have a large garden or a small one container gardening should be included in your planning. City dwellers have been container gardening for centuries. Indoors or outdoors you can grow beautiful arrangements that will make your proud.

    When choosing your arrangement try to pick plants that require the same maintenance and light. If you travel frequently pick a container that is self-watering. Some soils also help with infrequent watering.

    If your space is very small try choosing one type of plant and have a collection. A collection of African Violets in a kitchen window is very cheerful.

    For your terrace you can go with larger containers of small trees or ferns. Grouping pots that are different heights make an interesting space. Also think of using old things that were not meant to be pots as containers. The possibilities are endless. Mix pot styles for a more eclectic look. You can create privacy using plants.

    Posted in Living Outdoors | I Welcome Your Comments »

    October 15th, 2009

    Tomato Growing

    growing-container-tomatoesOne of my earliest memories of home-grown tomatoes was from my Italian grandmother’s garden in the heart of Philadelphia. She grew tomatoes in large containers since backyards in the city are paved. Her tomatoes were in good company with her herb garden and her magnificent roses.

    So whether you have a large garden on just a terrace you can grow tomatoes. In a relatively small space you can produce 8 to 10 pounds of tomatoes. Select soil that is slightly acid and purchase a fertilizer that is recommended for tomatoes.

    Choose a stake or a cage to support your plants. Plant your staked tomatoes 2 feet apart in rows and an additional foot for caged plants. If your planting in a container I recommend Tomato Growing Kit from Gardeners.com.

    Staked plants should be pruned and tied loosely with soft twine. Once your plants are set, mulch to prevent weeds.

    Keep the soil moist around the roots so the tomatoes won’t wilt.

    Posted in Living Outdoors | I Welcome Your Comments »

    October 15th, 2009

    Kitchen Design: Storage, Style, and Celebration

    Nooks, Islands, Carts, Racks and Creative Use of Space

    The modern kitchen is much more than just the room where cooking takes place. Kitchens serve as informal eating areas, communal gathering places, scheduling centers, and even homework help zones. People may gravitate towards kitchens for the food, but they stay for the warmth and company.

    If you have an older kitchen, it may not be able to fulfill all of these functions. Older kitchens are often smaller than we might prefer. If you are remodeling, you can try to find a way to expand your kitchen’s space—even adding a bay window breakfast nook can open up space and add value to your home. But even without additions or dramatic renovations, there are solutions that will help you increase your kitchen’s storage capacity and style.

    Smart storage is another good way to open up space. Even if you don’t have room for a large kitchen island, consider adding a small one as extra counter space. Add a few stools, and you have an informal eating area. A kitchen cart on wheels can add an extra dimension to your storage space, and it can be moved according to your needs. This helps you maximize a small, awkward space. If you have too much storage, you might consider eliminating a top-heavy upper cabinet or two, which will make your kitchen feel more spacious. If you have attractive cookware, a pot rack is both practical and decorative; it frees additional cabinet space, keeps your pots and pans more accessible, and makes a nice display.

    Good kitchen storage solutions come in a variety of styles to match popular kitchen styles. Keep this in mind when choosing storage solutions. For a French country style kitchen, choose smooth wooden surfaces, Mediterranean blues and yellows, and the occasional delicate touch of terra cotta or wrought iron accessories to make your kitchen feel warm and friendly. If you have mid-century vintage-style appliances, look for retro storage in bright colors with chrome hardware. Or, if you’re a minimalist, keep your colors neutral and your focus on clean, sleek lines. No matter what your style is, consistency and attention to detail will help your kitchen be a welcoming place for friends and family.

    Have parts of your kitchen do double duty. Let the breakfast nook be the place for homework. For your next dinner party, let your kitchen island be a prep station before your guests arrive and an hors d’oeuvre station when they show up. With a little planning, even a small kitchen can be reconfigured to meet the needs of modern life.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | I Welcome Your Comments »

    October 15th, 2009

    Remedies for a Wet Basement

    By: Robert Clarke

    A wet basement can be just a nuisance or even real nightmare. Each year, thousands of homeowners are faced with the unpleasant side effects of seasonal rainfall. Problems they can face range from just dampness to even flooding. Chronic basement leakage is a serious problem that can destroy personal property, furnishings, appliances, and sometimes even cause permanent structural damage to a homes foundation. Excessive moisture is a huge attraction to wood-eating insects, wood rot and decay. Despite the pervasiveness of the problem, few homeowners are aware of the causes of water leakage.

    Common Causes
    One common cause of basement leakage is improper surface drainage, such as a yard sloped toward the home. In many cases, the problem can be greatly alleviated by re-grading the yard to slope away from the homes foundation or diverting surface water around the house.

    Other common culprits include poorly positioned rain gutter downspouts, missing, leaking or clogged rain gutters. A downspout that is improperly positioned to drain against the side of the house, allows water to build up along the foundation wall, until the backed-up “reservoir” finds a weak spot in the foundation wall.

    The most difficult cause of basement leakage is a high water table. A high water table problem occurs when the home is built too deeply in the ground, into the level where water remains constant throughout the year. A high water table problem can also be caused by under ground springs or sustained periods of rainfall that cause the water table to rise during the wet seasons.

    Is it Leakage or Condensation?
    You should try to determine if your problem is actually water “leaking” in or if it’s just condensation forming on the cool surfaces. Condensation occurs when warm, humid air comes into contact with cooler basement walls, floors, water pipes etc. As an example, just take a cold bottle of soda out of your refrigerator and set it on the counter. After several minutes, you’ll notice steam forming on the outside of the bottle. After many minutes pass, you will see a small puddle of water forming at the base of the bottle, as the beads of moisture start dripping down. This is a classic example of condensation, not “leakage”. If your basement is actually leaking, the water should not just “appear”. You should be able to see where it’s coming in as it leaks, in the form of a puddle or stream or water.

    Helpful Tips
    Your rain gutters should be cleaned of leaves and debris at least once per year. Downspouts should direct water runoff from the roof to a discharge point at least several feet away from the homes foundation. Use a splash block at the end of your downspout to avoid soil erosion. Never bury your downspout lines unless you can empty them out to daylight.

    Buy a good dehumidifier to lower the natural humidity level in your basement. Make sure your dehumidifier is the proper size for your basement. Ask for a drain hose attachment so you don’t have to empty the water collected every day. Get a unit with a built-in de-icer. Dehumidifiers are actually refrigeration coils and can freeze up and stop working. Keep the doors and windows to your basement closed, year round. Opened doors and windows allow extra humidity to enter your basement, causing condensation. Your dehumidifier will also run less.

    Waterproofing Paints and Sealers There are several good waterproofing paints and sealers on the market today. Waterproof paints and sealers can work well for minor dampness on walls and floors. Pay special attention to the preparation instructions from the products manufacturer. Be aware though, interior waterproof paints and sealers don’t do anything to alleviate the “source” of the problem.

    Time For a Professional? A professional basement waterproofing contractor can offer you a variety of solutions, depending on the source of your problem. Methods can include outside excavation, installation of drain tile, parging your walls, interior drainage systems or epoxy cove systems.

    Summary Prevention is always the first and best approach. Look closely at the grading around your property and make sure your rain gutters are in good working order. Get a good quality dehumidifier to reduce humidity in your basement. If you’ve done your best to correct your problem and it still leaks, it might be best to bring in a professional. Check companies for local references, ask for a certificate of insurance, check the companies warranty to see what’s covered and check them out with your local Better Business Bureau.

    About The Author
    Robert Clarke has owned B-Dry System NEPA, a basement waterproofing company, for the last 20 years. Visit http://www.b-drybasementswaterproofingnepennsylvania.com for more information. He has also served as President of the B-Dry Owners Association, a nationally recognized group of basement waterproofing contractors. Visit http://www.b-dry.com/ for details.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | I Welcome Your Comments »