Category : Home & Garden

Home & Garden

Your Home First Aid Kit: Ten Must Haves

It’s a known fact that the majority of accidents occur at home, which is why every household must be equipped with a first aid kit complete with all of the essentials needed to handle life’s unexpected and unfortunate events.

Band-aids

No two ouches are alike, which is why a selection of band-aids is a requirement for every first aid kit. It’s important to keep various sizes and shapes to accommodate all types of cuts, scrapes and everyday boo-boos.

Allergy Medication

Whether it’s common everyday allergies or a reaction to a bee sting, it’s important to keep your home’s first aid kit equipped with the medication necessary to treat sudden ailments.

Antibacterial Wipes

If you have a small cut or scrape, you also risk bacteria being able to enter your body through the broken skin. If you want to reduce the risk of infection and clean the area, use antibacterial wipes as a temporary fix until you can flush out the wound completely.

Tweezers

If someone gets a bee sting and has the stinger left behind in their skin or they find themselves with a splinter, a pair of tweezers will help you to come to their rescue. These handy little tools are a must have in every first aid kit.

Gauze

Transparent fabric gauze is used for dressing and/or swabbing wounds. This product is a requirement for every home first aid kit as some mishaps require more coverage than a standard band-aid can handle.

Gauze Tape

If you have gauze in your first aid kit it’s only natural that you would also need gauze tape. This product will keep the bandage secured to the skin for protection against re-injury and/or to prevent bacteria from entering the wound.

Nail Clippers

If a fingernail accidentally gets broken or requires attention to prevent it from being ripped from the surface, it’s important to have a reliable pair of nail clippers on hand for just such an emergency. A badly damaged nail can be painful, but proper attention can help to ease the discomfort and prevent it from worsening.

Bandages

A bandage is a strip of material that’s used to protect a wound or injury. These are an essential part of any home first aid kit.

Antiseptic Medicine

This type of over-the-counter medication is designed to prevent the growth of bacteria in a wound, which may lead to disease or infection. When applied to a wound, it may help to protect the sufferer from falling ill to either of these, which makes it a must have for every first aid kit.

Gloves

If you are dressing a wound, it’s important that you wear the proper gloves to protect the injured from infection. Bacteria can live underneath your fingernails or even on your hands and can enter a wound if you aren’t careful, so do yourself and the sufferer a favor by wearing the proper gloves when treating a wound that needs to be handled with a first aid kit.

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Home & Garden

Ways To Reduce Your Heating Bill

When the temperature outside begins to fall, our heating bills quickly start to rise. For many homeowners, keeping their house warm in the winter means paying a hefty heating bill. Luckily, there are some ways to help reduce those costs and keep a little extra cash in your pocket for a rainy (and warmer) day.

Don’t Be Shade-y

Even though it may be cold outside, the sun still tries to peak through on occasion. When it does, make sure to open your curtains and/or blinds in order to welcome the sun’s heat into your home. This will help to add a touch of warmth to help keep your heating costs down. After all, the time for seeking shade from the sunlight is in the summer.

Cool It

Did you know that the settings on your water heater could be affecting your heating bill? It’s true. Check your owner’s manual or ask a local expert about the ideal settings for your water heater which, if turned down, may still be able to heat your water adequately while reducing your heating bill.

Insulation Information

Insulation is used to maintain your home’s temperature. Some houses, especially older ones, may require additional insulation to keep the cold air out during the winter and the warm air in. The latter is especially important if your goal is to lower your heating bills. Check with a local insulation professional about upgrading or replacing your outdated insulation.

Temperature Control

Turning the thermostat down when the house is empty or at night (when you can snuggle up under the covers) will help to reduce your heating costs.

Window Woes

If you feel a cold draft near your windows, chances are good that it isn’t the only direction that the air is flowing. Specifically, air leaks or gaps in your window can cause the warm air to leave your home, which can result in a rising heat bill. If you notice a draft, use caulk to seal the area or hire a professional to repair any cracks or imperfections that may be causing an airflow problem.

Now that you know how to keep your heating costs down, it’s important to note a certain amount of fresh air must be able to enter the home in order to prevent a buildup of moisture, which could lead to mold during the winter. In other words, don’t prevent a natural airflow by making your home excessively airtight.

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Home & Garden

Ways To Make Your House Smell Good

If you want a house to smell clean, you clean it. But what can you do to add a special touch that makes your house smell one step beyond clean? Use some common “scents,” a little knowhow and a lot of creativity to make your house smell fantastic.

Use Your Good Scents

Many homeowners choose to use scented candles in their home. As the candle burns, the oils melt and create a wonderful smell throughout the entire room. Not only do these smell great, but certain scents can also be relaxing. Lavender, for instance, is commonly used in aromatherapy and is believed to be a calming scent. Vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon and even chocolate are also popular among homeowners who want to add a special touch to their home.

Good Enough To Eat

If you really want to make your home smell terrific, add a bowl of fresh fruit to the dining room table. Oranges, tangerines and apples will provide a colorful centerpiece and a scent that’s simply yummy.

If you like to bake, there’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked cookies fresh out of the oven. Of course, if you don’t feel up to baking every day, you can always use a chocolate scented candle instead.

Make Your Home Blossom

If you really want to add a terrific aroma to your home, place a vase of fresh cut flowers in your living/family room. A perfectly designed arrangement will act as a wonderful centerpiece, but will also fill the room with a wonderful smell. Roses are terrific for adding an unmistakable scent to any room, but many other flowers will prove to be just as nice.

Everyone “Nose” Potpourri

A potpourri mixture, which contains dried petals and spices, is typically placed in a bowl and used to add a wonderful scent to any room. A variety of mixtures are commonly found in any retailer’s craft section or anywhere that scented candles are sold. Potpourri is low maintenance in that it requires nothing more than being placed in a bowl and situated in the room of your choice.

Freshening Up The Air

These days, air fresheners are everywhere. Why? Quite simply, because they work. Individuals who suffer from allergies may have a difficult time with some scents and/or brands of air fresheners, so be sure to keep this in mind when shopping. Air fresheners are available in a wide variety of scents and are generally inexpensive, which makes them a nice choice for many homeowners.

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Home & Garden

Watering Your Lawn The Right Way

When it comes to watering your lawn, the who, what, when, where and why rule applies. If you want to make the most out of your landscape, you have to know who is responsible for the maintenance, what needs to be done in order to make your lawn thrive, when it’s time to water, where to find help and why your lawn will love you for it.

Who

As a homeowner, it’s up to you to water your lawn. If you’re on the go a lot or simply don’t have a knack for lawn maintenance, you can hire a professional to help with the little details. Either way, it’s up to you to love your lawn.

What

What is one of the single most important things that you give to your lawn? In a word, water. Most experts agree that thoroughly watering your lawn once each week is preferred above a light splashing of water every other day.

When

Many homeowners wonder when is the right time to water their lawn. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. If possible, water your lawn in the morning. Otherwise, watering in the evening will also work nicely. In the afternoon, when the sun is at its peak, watering is not advised as the sun will quickly dry up the moisture and may prevent your lawn from getting the treatment that it needs in order to thrive.

Where

If you need advice or the help of a professional lawn care service, check your local yellow pages for a specialist in your area. Because your yard is one of the first things that people will see when they drive up to your home, it’s important that you give it the full attention that it deserves. When this isn’t possible, you can hire a professional to handle the job for you.

Why

Why should you water your lawn? It’s simple. In order for your grass to remain healthy and green, you need to make sure that it’s properly cared for. Most lawns require at least one inch of water on a weekly basis, but Mother Nature may not always provide ample rain to feed your lawn. This is where you come in.

A lawn that is neglected may contain brown spots. If this sounds familiar, it could be a sign that your lawn needs a lot of TLC. As the single most important aspect of your landscape, your lawn should present a welcoming feel to both yourself and visitors.

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Home & Garden

Water Features For Your Yard

A water feature can make a major change in your yard, and there are plenty of different ways to go about adding one. From a simple and small fountain to a koi pond or waterfall, you can use water to create a peaceful sense of a real escape from life in your yard.

Small Water Features

For small yards or for those looking to add something simple, a basic fountain is easy to add. They come in a variety of types, shapes, and sizes and can fit into any landscaping. Your fountain can be a centerpiece for the yard or can be placed near the patio. You can even get a small tabletop fountain for the patio table.

Most fountains are easy enough to install by yourself. They use a pump system that circulates the water and keeps the fountain running. Follow all of the instructions for set-up, use, and care that come with the fountain and you can enjoy the sound of trickling water for many years to come.

Adding A Pond

A pond is a really eye-catching and special addition to any yard. You will need some space for it, but even smaller yards can manage one. Koi ponds are a very popular choice, as the fish are lovely and create an ambience in the yard. They fit in well with any sort of Japanese or other Asian landscape design, but really extend into other styles as well.

Make sure your pond has a system for keeping the water circulating and clean; standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and it can get quite dirty over time. It’s best to have a professional install the water system for your pond.

Waterfalls

You may not be able to have Niagara Falls in your yard to enjoy, but you can get a waterfall added as a feature of your yard. These can be falls that descend over a rock wall, a small stream that runs over consecutive drops in a sloped yard, or something in a corner where water falls down into a small pond.

A waterfall adds the sound of moving water to the air all the time. Be sure you have proper drainage for the water system.

Water features are a beautiful addition to any yard, and your imagination is really the only limit. Many professionals can help you to design the water feature that is right for your yard and your needs.

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Home & Garden

Using Your Fireplace Safely

A fireplace is a great feature in any home, and can create that warm, homey feeling on a cold winter evening that every homeowner dreams of. Whether you have a gas fireplace or a wood-burning fireplace, there are a few important precautions you should take and safety measures to follow every time you use your fireplace.

Keep The Fire Contained

Especially if you have an older home, you should verify that the fireplace and hearth are up to code. The hearth is required to be a certain size to prevent sparks or embers from the fire hitting the carpet or wood floors and starting a fire. You should also ensure that you have appropriate metal doors or a mesh curtain that will keep the fire and any sparks inside the fireplace itself.

Keep anything flammable away from the fireplace, including paper, blankets, furniture, or anything else that could easily catch fire. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep the wood in a spot where a stray spark or ember won’t reach it. The same goes for kindling or anything you use to start the fire.

Maintaining The Fireplace And Chimney

In a wood-burning fireplace, a substance known as creosote can build up on the inside of the chimney, putting you at risk for a dangerous chimney fire. Every year before the winter season begins, you should have a professional chimney sweep clean out your chimney. They should also inspect everything to ensure your fireplace is functioning properly. Be sure to clean out ashes and soot from the fireplace regularly; this is recommended every time you use it.

Even with a gas fireplace there is some maintenance to consider. You should have a chimney sweep perform a yearly inspection and cleaning of the inside of your fireplace, especially in hard to reach places like the fan. They should also make certain that the gas lines and ignition switch are working properly.

Fireplaces And Children

If you have children, use caution with your fireplace. Never leave a child unattended in a room with a lit fireplace. Be certain that lighters and matches are always kept well out of reach. Before you start the fire burning season, sit down with your children and discuss the safety rules for the fireplace, making sure they understand the dangers.

Your fireplace can provide warmth and ambience, and will serve you well for a long time as long as you take care of it. Keep up on maintenance and ensure that everything is safe and up to code before you use your fireplace.

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Home & Garden

Using Bright And Bold Paint Colors

Homeowners who are thinking of selling are often warned against choosing bright and bold paint colors for their walls. These colors can be difficult to cover up, usually require a number of coats to look good, and can dramatically change the feel of a room. If the color is not selected with a bit of planning and forethought, it can sometimes turn into a decorating nightmare. But with a little forethought and these helpful tips, you can create a beautiful space that reflects you and your family’s personality with no restrictions!

Define The Space

The colors you choose for your walls should always reflect the mood of the room. Certain colors invoke particular moods, and can produce even physical and emotional reactions. Being aware of this can really make your choice one you will be happy with for years to come. For example, red stimulates appetite and so is a great choice for kitchens, while yellow stimulates creativity and may work well in an office space.

Find The Right Furnishings

When using bright, bold colors in any space, knowing first how you are going to decorate the rest of the space can make the choice easy. Bold wall colors that don’t match the draperies or sofa, for example, will just draw even more attention to the mismatched feel of the room than a lighter shade would.

Choose Complementary Accent Pieces

The trick to using bright colors in any room is to combine it with accent pieces that complement the color, and tone it down. White is always a good choice, and black will add a lot of drama to a space if done right, and can also tie the look of a boldly decorated room together.

Use The Tools Available To You

Most home décor and DIY stores have great tools both in the store and online to help you coordinate colors by mood and shade. Asking a sales representative at these stores to point out the tools they have available and seeking their advice is always a good idea if you don’t know where to start. If you are really in doubt you can always consider hiring an interior designer.

Home décor should always reflect the personality and lifestyle of those who live there, and whether you are a pastel kind of person, or love bright bold looks, there is always a solution that is right for you.

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Home & Garden

Use Flowers To Add Color To Your Home

Flowers are used for many purposes, including landscaping, weddings, gifts and even to decorate the interior of your home. Because they are colorful, beautiful and an affordable way to decorate, flowers can help bring an otherwise dull room to life.

Silk Verses Real

Whether or not you choose to decorate your home with real or silk flowers is a personal decision that’s based on a number of factors. Due to current manufacturing capabilities, many of today’s silk flowers are stunningly similar to the real thing. Therefore, one of the greatest concerns facing homeowners is whether or not they are allergic to real flowers. If you or someone in your family is allergic, it’s better to use silk flowers in order to avoid the sniffles.

When it comes to decor, maintenance is always a concern. Many homeowners choose silk flowers because they require no maintenance and will last for many years with the proper care. Compared to real flowers, they are much more economical because they do not need replacing every week. With that being said, there are also many benefits to choosing real flowers for the purpose of adding color to your home. One of the most obvious is the scent that real flowers can offer to a room.

Prints

Believe it or not, you can add colorful flowers to your home without having to choose between real or silk designs. How? It’s easy. There is no shortage on full-color art prints and/or photographs featuring flower arrangements or even a single dramatic blossom. As a homeowner, you can choose a framed print that sits nicely on your desk or a poster-size print that is designed for display on a wall.

Creative Color

If you’re on a budget or simply have a knack for crafting, consider using your favorite floral gift wrap and turning it into a beautifully framed print. You can do this by purchasing a frame and cutting a piece of gift wrap that will fit perfectly inside. That’s all there is to it; you now have a framed print that looks exactly like a work of art. This type of floral accent is easy, affordable and a perfect way to add color to your home in a fun way.

Greet Your Guests

If you really want to wow your guests, add a hanging flower basket outside your front door. When someone walks up to your house, they will instantly be greeted with color. You can choose anything from flowers to strawberries, the latter of which are just as good to eat as they are to look at.

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Home & Garden

Unclutter Your Home In Ten Easy Steps

Clutter, which is defined as things that lie about untidily, is often linked to creativity. So, just how much imagination will it take to tidy up your space? To be exact, you can make it happen in ten easy steps.

Step # 1: Set A Schedule

You are much more likely to stick to a routine, whatever it may be, if you work on a schedule. In addition, this allows you to clean when you can minimize interruptions and maximize your time.

Step # 2: Set A Goal For Each Room

If you can visualize what you want, you will be better able to achieve it. By setting goals for each room, you can note the things that need changing and work toward that goal one day at a time.

Step # 3: Create A Timeline

When do you hope to have your home completely free of clutter? One week, two weeks or even a month? Depending on your schedule and the amount of clutter that you have, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before you can kick back and relax again.

Step # 4: Start Small

The clutter in your home didn’t appear overnight, and it won’t disappear overnight either. If you start small, you will be less likely to get frustrated and give up midway through your cleanup.

Step # 5: Categorize Your Clutter

When cleaning, it’s important to categorize your items into groups. By separating the items that you want to keep, toss and donate, you will be able to move through your clutter quickly and efficiently.

Step # 6: Letting Go

A good rule of thumb for uncluttering your home is to get rid of anything that you haven’t used within the past year. If it’s still useful, consider donating it to a good cause. Otherwise, toss it.

Step # 7: Storing Your Seasonal Apparel

When storing seasonal clothing, purchase a sturdy plastic storage bin with a lid and roll your clothes instead of folding them in an effort to maximize storage capability. When full, snap the lid on and slide the unit into your closet.

Step # 8: Closet Organization

Did you know that your choice of clothes hangers can greatly impact the storage capacity of your closet? Wire hangers take up less space and can save your shirts from getting that annoying shoulder bump that often arises from the use of plastic hangers.

Step # 9: Shoes Blues

When it comes to storing shoes, many homeowners are fighting a losing battle with clutter. How many pairs of shoes do you own? How neatly are they stored? If your shoe storage has you down, try purchasing clear lidded shoe boxes. These handy creations can house each pair of shoes and can be stacked neatly in your closet. And best of all, you can see your shoe collection without having to sift through a sea of sandals.

Step # 10: Read The Labels

If you have medicine, food or anything else with an expiration date in the home, check to make sure that the items are still good. If the expiration date has already come and gone, throw them away.

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Home & Garden

Top Five Ways To Ruin Antiques

An antique is a decorative object that is valuable because of its age. These days, people collect antiques for a number of reasons, including sentimental value, their monetary worth and for the purpose of adding charm to their home. Because antiques are generally old already, they require a little more attention and care.

Breakage

One of the top ways to ruin your antiques is by not protecting them in a way that would prevent breakage or damage. If you have a display cabinet, use it to house your antiques. This will allow you to still enjoy a visual of your collection without having to worry about having them jumbled around during everyday activities.

Weather

If you want to preserve your antiques, keep them out of the weather. Extreme temperatures, including hot or cold, can damage practically anything. In addition, the moisture from rain and/or snow may cause harm to your antique collection. Therefore, make sure to store your collectibles inside, where they will be protected from the outdoor elements.

Depreciation

Antiques are the most valuable when in their original condition, which means that taking great care to keep your collectibles mint will go a long way in protecting their worth. Making alterations to your antiques is one way of ruining them, so try to maintain their original integrity as much as possible.

Poor Condition

One way to ruin anything, including antiques, is to neglect them. Think of an antique car and what makes it so valuable. Is it because the owner has cared for the car properly and done everything possible to preserve it over the years? The same is true with any antique, which means you will need to clean and maintain it from day one, including glassware, furniture or other collectibles.

Out Of Reach

Whether its little hands or little paws, your antique collection should not be kept in a place where children and/or pets can gain access. Not only are they curious by nature, but they could also unintentionally damage your antiques. One of the surest ways to ruin your antiques is to let wandering hands or paws come across them.

Now that you know how to protect your antiques, it’s time to continue building on your collection. Yard sales, garage and estate sales, flea markets, online auctions, classifieds, antique shows and even specialty magazines are all terrific places to find the antiques of your dreams. Before buying as an investment, always look for imperfections or damage that may affect the value.

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