March 15, 2017

Do the spring seed catalogs and plant displays have you chomping at the bit to create a gorgeous, lush garden? Many first-time gardeners start their gardens with great enthusiasm and lose interest part way through the growing season. It’s not that they have brown thumbs, it’s just that they didn’t have the experience to plan their garden. Here are some tips to help you become a happy, life-long gardener.

Start Small

An enthusiastic, ambitious start in gardening easily becomes a daunting chore by mid-summer. Keeping expectations to reasonable levels will help the habit grow easily and naturally. 100 square feet is plenty of space for the beginning gardener, and less would be fine, unless you’re planning on having plants that need lots of room or very little care.

Select Your Spot, Even A Pot

Typically, you’ll want a fairly sunny spot with good drainage, depending on what you intend to plant. If you choose to use a spot of yard that turns into a bog with every heavy rain, you may want to choose plants that will thrive there. If a well-drained area is simply not available, installing a French Drain is an option.

You can either pick the location of your garden and put in plants that favor those conditions, or pick the plants that you want and choose the garden plot to match the conditions that they like.

If you don’t have any garden plot available, container gardens are an option. Flower pots, window boxes, or salvaged containers, there is a wealth of ideas on the web for container gardening.

Suss Out the Soil

Your county and State University agricultural departments may offer inexpensive soil-testing services, and there are inexpensive test kits at most gardening supply shops to test your soil for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. You may need to add something to adjust your soil to proper levels for your plants, and compost or manure are likely to be a good idea.

You Can Even Start Early

If you’re eager to get started, but it’s still snowing outside, take a tip from many experienced gardeners. Start your seeds inside, and transplant them when others are planting their seeds.
Flowers or Vegetables? Why Not Both?

Flowers are beautiful and smell pretty, garden-fresh vegetables are delicious, and there’s no rule that says your garden must be one or the other. In fact, many vegetable gardeners put in a border of marigolds to keep rabbits at bay.

If you’re planting mostly flowers, try to choose a selection that blooms at various times of the year, so you’ll have some flowers throughout the growing season.

If you’re planting for produce, plant what you’ll want to eat. Everyone has heard the jokes about the gardener who leaves bags of zucchini on the steps of a stranger’s house, just to give their overproduction a home. Zucchini is easy to grow, but something that you’ll want to eat is a better choice.

Don’t forget berries. Raspberry or strawberry patches in shady corners make delicious perennials, if they suit your climate and your taste buds.

 

March 8, 2017

Over the past several years, we have seen an influx in homeowners switching their design to more of a country rustic feel. The farmhouse style has been particularly popular, as it brings in a sense of warmth, comfort, and a homey atmosphere. Now you might be thinking, this is great and I would love to do the same, but I neither have the time nor budget in order to bring the farm to me. However, there are small ways you can implement this design into your home by doing just a few simple things. In this article, we’ll share with you a few different ways of how you can bring the farmhouse style into your own home.

One of the simplest ways is by adding certain touches such as antique trunks or old-style quilts. Both of these items literally scream farmhouse, and are not just for decoration, but are also practical. They literally can be put anywhere throughout the house, and are a fairly inexpensive purchase.

Another simple way that you can make your house feel more like a farmhouse is by adding farm friendly artwork. By this we mean artwork that has been farm-inspired. These could be paintings of cows, fields, and barns. Or, you could purchase real life photography of the same types of objects. You could even get super creative and hang different pieces of reclaimed barn wood with painted script, or even repurposed farmhouse items such as old tins, framed needlepoints, and/or an old washboard. Your options here are virtually endless. Plus, you can get a lot of these types of items at thrift stores or antique shops, and you’ll save a bundle.

If you’re able to do a little bit bigger of an upgrade, consider installing a farmhouse sink. This will truly help bring the feel of the farm into your home, and will be yet another functional piece. These gorgeous sinks are not only practical, but there are efficient as well, as most of them tend to be very deep and wide. The best part about these sinks though, is that because of their simple design, they also tend to be very affordable. Which is just another win-win for you and your wallet.

Another larger upgrade you could make would be switching up some of your walls. For instance, most farmhouses have either wood walls, or even a stone or brick wall within the home. So, consider updating a few of your own walls to truly create a down on the farm feel. If you’re worried about your budget, there are ways you can save here by using faux walls instead of real ones. For instance, if you want to include a stone wall, opt for faux stone panels, instead of real stone. Faux stone is a fraction of the cost. Plus it’s lighter, easier to install, and is resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold.

If you want to keep it simple, but have a little bit of money to spend, opt for a farmhouse table. Nothing says farmhouse more than a big inviting table where you and your family will gather to share your meals. Farmhouse tables are sturdy, beautiful, and will be the perfect place for you to make many memories with your loved ones.

These are all but a few of many ideas that you could use to implement a farmhouse feel into your home. We suggest that before you start your decorating, you sit down and have a clear idea of what it is you want. Once you know, start your search by hitting up thrift stores, or even

March 6, 2017

If you live in an apartment, then you know the struggle of what it’s like to have a tiny bathroom. In fact, you’ve probably spent many a showers daydreaming of the day when you can afford one of those amazing tricked out bathrooms that you’ve seen on TV in those millionaires’ homes. Alas, you know that those daydreams are merely pipedreams that will never come to pass. But don’t loose all hope. There are still ways you can create the illusion of a luxurious bathroom right in your own 10×10 space. In this article, we will share with you some tricks on how you can create your own spa like experience that will make you feel like you really are a millionaire.

One of the first things you can do to create a sense of luxury and relaxation is by dimming the lights. By being able to dim the lights, you can set a tone that can help you either ease into your mornings or relax and unwind at night. Adding a dimmer is fairly easy and simple, and most landlords won’t have an issue with it. However, it’s always best to check just to make sure you won’t lose your security deposit.

Another easy way to set the mood is by adding candles in your bathroom. There’s nothing more relaxing than watching a dozen lights flicker while you ease into a hot and steamy bubble bath. Plus, if you use scented candles, you can make your entire bathroom smell like, well, something that isn’t a bathroom!

One fun way to upgrade your shower and tub is by adding in Bluetooth shower speakers. By adding tunes, you can help start your mornings with some energetic jams, or again, unwind at night with a few classical ballads. And before you go thinking you can’t afford waterproof Bluetooth speakers, know that you can purchase a decent pair for $20 or less.

When you go to a spa, what is one of the most wonderful things that is offered to you, besides the massages you pay for? That’s right, heated towels. There’s just something so inviting and luxurious about a heated towel. So, why not bring that same lavish experience into your own bathroom using an electric towel rack to heat your towels while you shower or bathe? We for one, can’t think of a single reason as to not!

Along the lines of warming up your towels, make sure your toes are also taken care of by using a foot warmer mat by your sink. This way your feet can stay nice and toasty like the rest of your body while you get ready for your daily grind. We guarantee you’ll love this perk, especially during the wintertime when the bathroom tile finds itself to be even colder than ever.

Another great way to add luxury to your bathroom is by updating your walls to look like you’re in a 5-start resort. This could mean giving your bathroom a new paint color, hanging art on the walls, or even going as far as adding faux wall panels that mimic wood or stone to really create a luxurious effect! (We recommend faux wall panels as opposed to the real thing because they are cheaper, lighter, and are resistant to moisture, mold, and mildew.)

You can also create elegance and luxury by adding plants to your bathroom. Plants can be hung from the ceiling, placed on the sink or toilet, or you can even place it next to your laundry hamper. We specifically recommend aloe vera, not only for its medicinal properties, or the fact that it holds up well in extreme humidity, but it also can help keep the area free from mold, dust, and other particles that are in the air.

If you’re tired of walking into a boring bathroom everyday, then try out some of these ideas. We guarantee that if you do, they’ll help make you feel like a millionaire living the spa life everyday!

March 4, 2017

Whether you’re renovating an old home, decorating a new one, or simply updating your current home. Trying to bring a house together can prove to have its challenges. Sure, pulling together a single room can be simple enough. But, if you’re attempting to bring the whole house together in unison, well, that will take careful planning, time, a properly thought out budget, and a keen eye for design. Thankfully, you don’t have to go at it alone. There are plenty of sources out there on the web that can help you start to visualize what it is you want for your home’s new design. And in this particular article, we will give you some tips on how you can bring your own vision for your home alive.

First things first, you need to have a plan before you start any renovations, your shopping, or even hiring a contractor. It would do you well to sit down and clearly map out what exactly it is you want. In order to do this, you’ll need to know the precise layout of your house. Measure out the rooms, and get the proper proportions so you’ll know precisely what it is you’re working with. Also, take a look and see what needs to be replaced, painted over, or maybe even torn out. All of these things will play crucial roles into how you begin implementing your plan.

How To Bring A House Together

During this time, you’ll also want to set a budget. This is important because your budget will determine what you will or won’t be able to do. Make sure that once you set your budget, you stick with it. Otherwise, you may get to the end and realize all those “little things” you thought you could afford now add up too a very large number.

Once you have a solid plan in place, now is the time to enlist the help of the contractor, should you need one. If you do need one, make sure you do your due diligence and find the best one that you can afford in your area. Ask people that you know for recommendations, or read reviews online to find a reputable company. Once you have found potential options, interview them and see which contractor fits best with your vision for your home. Once you have found your match, bring them in as soon as they can in order to get a layout of your house, and give you an estimate.

Now comes the fun part, buying all the materials you’ll need for your renovation. This is the time when your wallet will start to feel the “heat”. So, in order to lighten its burden, do your best to shop deals. Try to find things you like on sale or clearance, or even shop second hand or thrift stores. If thrift stores aren’t really your style, you can go to a big box store and talk to a manager and see what kind of deal you can strike. If you agree to purchase a majority of the supplies you need from them, often times they will want your business, and will be willing to give you a bundled deal.

Another thing to consider when saving money is the type of materials you will use. For instance, let’s say you want to update one of your walls with brick. Instead of going out and paying high prices for real brick, consider using a faux brick wall. Faux brick walls look exactly like a real brick wall, but they are a fraction of the cost and are less susceptible to decay. The same could go for wood or even stone.

After you’ve purchased all your materials, now comes the work. Its here where either your contractor will be doing most of the work or, if you are a DIY kind of person, you’ll be handling a lot of the work yourself. Regardless, this is the part that will take the most time, and you’ll need to be patient and flexible.

Finally, once the renovating is done, now comes the decorating. By now, you probably will have a very clear vision of what your house will look like. It’s here where design comes into play. If you want your house to truly come together, you’ll need to have a constant theme throughout. Hopefully, during the renovation, you painted the different rooms complimentary colors, and have bought matching furnishings. If you did, then you’re on the right track. Now all you have to do is add the finishing touches, such as lamps, tables, vases, artwork, etc., that will finish pulling your dream house together. Happy decorating!

 

 

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