How To Plan A Fabulous Home Improvement Project

As a homeowner, you may want to spruce up the place simply to change the general atmosphere or even to add a lot of value to your home in order to refinance for lower monthly payments. Regardless of your reasons for wanting to take on a project, you should first take some time and read these home improvement tips.

When working with a contractor to do a home renovation, decide on the whole project at the beginning and stick to that plan. Constantly changing the plan can slow down the renovation process and scare off your contractor from doing anything independently. Also, constantly changing renovations often end up looking piecemeal, since they weren’t created with a clear vision in mind.

Install weather stripping on the doors and windows to make your house more energy efficient. This is an inexpensive material purchased at the home improvement store, and seals out exterior cold and hot air to stabilize inner temperatures so that your heater and cooling systems do not need to work as hard. You will quickly notice the reduction in drafts felt on chilly days.

Caulking gaps between drywall is a necessary step in home improvement. Even if you complete a beautiful paint job, if you don’t first completely caulk the gaps between the panels of drywall the room will look unfinished. Unfinished gaps will even show up when you wall paper a room. Caulking is a must, anytime you drywall.

Resurface the concrete walkways and driveways around your home for a new look. Replacing concrete can get incredibly expensive and doesn’t add much to the curb appeal of your home. Consider resurfacing with cobblestone or brick which will cost a fraction of replacing concrete and will look like a million bucks.

Make sure before you get started in remodeling your basement that you have kept in mind heating, cooling, proper ventilation and dehumidification of the area. If you have enough headroom, your heating, cooling and much of your electrical equipment can be hidden behind a false ceiling. Prepare to hire a heating contractor to help you with your basement project.

If you want to inject tranquility into your home, use light, calming colors in shades of green and blue. Instead of heavy or dark fabrics, choose cotton or linen fabric. Complete the atmosphere with potpourri and a scented candle in a prominent place in the room.

If your home has stained outdated carpet, you should consider updating with wood flooring. Wood floors last much longer than carpet and never go out of style.

When your home improvement or renovation project is big enough, you will likely be working with a general contractor, who will have sub-contractors working for him in turn. If problems arise on the job, your general contractor may blame his subs. As the homeowner, you are the boss. Be sympathetic but firm in reminding the general contractor that he is ultimately responsible for his subs’ work.

Give your kitchen cabinets a brand new look with paint. This is a very inexpensive way of updating your kitchen cabinets. Remove the doors and thoroughly clean all surfaces with denatured alcohol to get rid of dirt and grease. Apply a coat of primer: this should take about an hour to dry. Use a latex or oil paint, and choose a gloss finish, as this stands up well to scrubbing. If the paint you are using is roughly the same shade as the original, you may be able to get away with one coat of paint over the primer. Your cabinets will look brand new again!

One energy-efficient improvement you can make to your home is to replace your windows. Older-style single-panel windows don’t insulate the inside of your home nearly as well as the newer double-panel style. New windows will increase the aesthetic beauty of your home while saving you money each month in electricity bills.

If you are renovating the exterior of your home, don’t neglect the garage door. In many homes, the garage door is the biggest single architecture feature of a home as it is viewed from the street. A new garage door or even just a coat of paint on the old door, can really make a difference.

After reading these tips, you are one step closer to finally making those repairs or upgrades. What’s the next step, you ask? Well, proper implementation of the above tips and tactics is how you want to proceed. No shortcuts here; apply exactly what you’ve learned for the best results.…

How To Go About Improving Your House

If you are interested in home improvement, this article can help you immensely. The material in this piece can help you bolster existing skills or get you off to a great start as a beginner.

Home improvement is often a daunting task. This is because of the time and the amounts of money required. However, it doesn’t have to be so bad. If you have several projects in your house, divide them up into several smaller DIY projects. For example you may want to redo the entire living room. Start simple, by just replacing the carpet, and before you know it, your living room will be like new.Home

Place candles throughout your house. Candles can create a wonderful effect in your home. The effect will be heightened if the candle is scented with a good fragrance. You can place candles in bedrooms, bathrooms, and dining areas. Bathrooms especially benefit from the use of scented candles. Scented candles will give your house a homey feel.

Put in an outdoor motion detector for your outside lighting. This way the lights will only be on when they are activated and not all day or all night unnecessarily. Most people don’t need their outside lights other than when they come home or leave after dark.

If you don’t want to refinish your old and weathered wooden floors, you can instead, give your home a cottage style boost. Buy some oil based paint and choose some affordable stencils. Use the stencils and paint to re-design your wooden floors. Add some cute designs in varying patterns, to give a full on-cottage look to your home.

If you have a lot of dirt in your backyard or garden, you can easily make your own pathways using pavers and stones. You don’t need to use any concrete, just lay your stones in a nice design or pattern in the area you need it to cover. This can provide a nice and balanced look to your garden, as well as keeping your shoes dirt free.

When you are painting your home be sure to use drop cloths or some other type of fabric to catch the paint. If there are paint drips all over floors then it will give buyers a reason to ask for a lower price or prompt them to choose another property.

If your living room and dining room area are combined with no doorway, a great way to define both spaces and keep them separate is by painting both areas a different color. Color serves as a great separator for spaces and you don’t need a doorway or door to be able to keep the two places functioning separately.

Start your kitchen cabinet install with the top cabinets. It will make it easier for you to get nice and close to the wall so you do not have to stretch to reach the wall to put the screws into place. You should also start with the corner cabinet and line the rest of them up to that one; but be sure to use a level.

Before starting any home improvement job you should make sure you have all of the necessary tools available. A missing tool can hold up a project. The effect of such delays can range from minor annoyance all the way up to serious expenses. Many home improvement projects (pouring concrete, for example) can be ruined if you lack the right tools at a critical point.

In short, home improvement is a vast topic. You need not be overwhelmed about all the information. Anything you can do will depend on your ability to put time and effort into it.…

Solid Advice When Trying To Improve Your Home

Deciding to make home improvements is a wise for many levels. It can be somewhat overwhelming to do some home improvement project. Whether you want to increase your property’s value or even if you just desire to improve your home, the following tips will provide some helpful information.

The tape bonds strongly to the roof and provides a waterproof seal that will be waterproof.

If your budget will allow it, real wood floors are a better choice than laminate. Laminate has its perks but it cannot be refinished. In another decade or two, whereas a laminate floor must be completely replaced.

homedecor

It can be a very expensive to purchase brand new furniture. You can spice up your living space by using previously owned pieces that you have found at a garage sales. You might uncover some great deals among the used furniture items. Some second hand items may require some TLC, but with time well spent, they can be a real asset to your household.

A decent drill is perhaps the most important tool that you’ll need for any home improvement project. A good drill can give you a lot of flexibility when installing screws.

Use two-liter bottles as containers for kitchen storage. You can store these on a shelf or in the freezer or refrigerator.Simply pick up and pour it when you need it.

You should also be extremely vigilant when working in close proximity to a gas line. You don’t want to have an explosion or fire put a damper on your home improvement project.

Get references from anyone that will be working on a home improvement job on your home. Think of it in terms of importance as you would when looking to hire an employee. You should have an idea what their background check and make sure they are reliable.

It is critical to inspect these areas and repair them if necessary. If your chimney is not cleaned, your chimney could catch fire, and clogged gutters could lead to severe water damage.

It is important to invest in supplies and tools when doing a home improvement project. It may cost a bit more up-front, but it will save you money for years. Tools can cost a fortune and you want to be doing is replacing them more than is necessary.

The easy projects can be picked off slowly but surely when you have made yourself comfortable in your new home.

Choose a color scheme based on something already present in a room. It may be an upholstery material, drapery or carpeting.For instance, a rug that has yellow, red and green in it, select one of the three hues to be used to color 60 percent of the room. The other colors can be used as accent colors.

A good time to approach home is during a slumping real estate market. There is no set timeframe for home improvements. Once the housing market becomes better, those home improvements will be worth even more.

Make your home’s entrance look great by repainting it and purchasing a new doormat. Your home’s entrance is vital in welcoming guests into your house.

Old toothbrushes prove to be great for cleaning. Old toothbrushes work for cleaning sinks and around bathrooms. The best payoff may be that they don’t cost anything. Why bother getting a new cleaning brush when you can get more use out of your old one? Save that money for other things.

Improving a house should not be an overwhelming task. Regardless of whether you do your projects on your own or hire a professional, using these helpful hints is sure to launch you towards home improvement success.…

Small Changes Can Add Up. These Ideas Will Improve Your Home Value

It can be a lot of work to improve your home. The following tips and techniques will give you on your journey to home improvement.

Try something unusual as a simple pre-made coffee table in your living room. You may even want to add a tablecloth couple with teacups to give it a more country look.

You need PVC cement and PVC primer to attach two PVC pipes. You should always use products made for PVC so they’ll hold and not leak. Make sure the pipes are dry before attempting to glue them together.

Remove or secure the extra cord that is hanging from your window blinds. These cords can be a hazard to children and pets if they become entangled in them. Leave enough length so that you are still able to adjust the blinds, but extra cord is of no benefit. You should tie it up or cut it off before it becomes an accident.

Home Improve

If you decide to make substantial bathroom renovations, you should make it handicap-accessible. It is not necessary to completely convert the facilities right away, but you should get ready because it may save you a lot of time and effort. If you are planning to sell in the future, these things will increase its value.

If you have a parent that’s elderly living with you, it is imperative your home improvement projects keep their mobility, mobility and accessibility. A shower stall that you can step into reduces their risk of falling.

Replacing the flooring in any room can be an expensive project so you must prepare accordingly.One way to do it that is affordable is to get rid of the floor that is there and then apply stain the concrete base. This is fairly easy and can be easily altered if you decide on a different decor.

In order to free up floor or tabletop space, you might want to consider getting a wall-mounted bracket to hold your television.This can take less than an hour if the instructions are followed correctly.

It will keep your family separate from threats that may be wandering the neighborhood. It can keep your dog from roaming around. There are many styles and designs available for any type of fence to suit one’s particular needs.

Use analogous color schemes when renovating a restful part of your home. Rooms with these color schemes are relaxing and restful and make good bedrooms or family rooms.

A good way to improve the look of your landscaping is to plant fully grown plants rather than seedlings. Mature flowers and plants add instant color and texture to the exterior of your landscape.It may take seedlings to long to grow big enough to be noticeable. You want potential home buyers to not have the house buyer to know that they are going to need to put forth a bunch of effort to get the yard look good.

This will make the outside of your home’s exterior a nice appearance and give you to use.

Install a ceiling fans in order to help circulate the air circulation in your home.

This will help the paint adhere to the wall better and prevents the new paint from peeling. Priming is also reduce the amount of paint or coats you must apply.

You can make niches and alcoves stand out by adding accent colors or using a different wallpaper.

Have you seen many homes and thought about the numbers of bathrooms is a prime consideration in a home? The number of bathrooms a home effects the property value. Adding another bathroom to your home can seriously improve the value of your home.

Make enough space for the debris that will be created as a result of your project. Demolition creates a lot of material that you have to put somewhere.

You could have a really good time taking on a challenging home improvement project. Sometimes a professional is needed to produce the best results. This can cause internal conflict, as you desire the knowledge to make repairs, while making sure the professionals get the job done. All of these things are important to all home improvement projects. Be sure to implement the advice given in this article in your next home improvement project.…

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

When I got my braces on in middle school, my orthodontist gave me a rather long list of foods I’d have to strike from my diet for two or so years – it included but was not limited to, bubble gum, pizza, and corn on the cob. Quite a price to pay for straight choppers – especially when summertime barbecues rolled around. If it wasn’t bad enough that I had to eat pizza with a fork and knife, backyard picnics weren’t quite the same now that corn and I couldn’t be together anymore.

Eventually, though, my mom came to the rescue – instead of chewing the corn straight off the cob, she used a knife to slice it off the cob off in beautiful yellow slabs. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this “new” delicacy – in fact, I’ve been braces-free for almost a decade now, but this is still my preferred method when it comes to corn.

With Memorial Day weekend in progress and summer on the horizon, the time for corn is now. Make sure you get fresh, sweet corn for this recipe – canned corn has a tendency to get mushy. To make sure you pick a winner, pull the husk and silk back slightly and prick one of the kernels with your nail. It emits milky white juice, you’re good to go!

I roasted my corn, but this would be fabulous with grilled corn as well! Either of these methods will highlight the corn’s natural sweetness.

Enjoy as a side dish at a barbecue, or add some crumbled pressed tofu to make it a substantial lunch.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad
Serves 4

2 ears fresh white or yellow corn, husks on
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Place corn directly on oven rack and roast for 30 minutes, or until corn is soft. Let cool slightly before removing husks and silks. Holding the cob vertically at a slight angle, slice corn off in large slabs. Place kernels in a large bowl.

2. Add the beans, bell pepper, green onions and cilantro to the corn and mix thoroughly.

3. In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, oil, spices, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Dress salad and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition per Serving: 148 calories, 1g fat, 32g carbohydrates, 9g protein.

Five Fab Tips for Making Your Spring Cleaning Last!

Spring is here, and around our house, that means cleaning out the house. A clean, clutter-free house just makes you feel better, and there’s no better time to flush out the house then with the renewed energy that spring gives us.

I love to throw open the windows, turn up the music and clean, clean, clean. My husband knows that when this weather starts, he will be doing lots of runs to the local donation bins because it’s out with the old!

Cleaning the house out seems like such a no-brainer, but surprisingly, many people don’t know how to do this effectively, and how to make it last! We all know the drill because we’ve all been there, we spend the day cleaning out closets, dusting, organizing, and within a week, it seems like the counter is full of papers again, and the closets are bursting at the hinges. But don’t worry, help is on its way! Here are 5 tips to make your hard work last longer, so you have more time to spend outside, which is what we all really want to be doing anyway!

Baskets

I have baskets all over my house, especially in the “hot spots”. I define hot spots, as those spots in your house where things seem to gather. For us, it’s the shelf when you come in the door, the edge of the kitchen counter, and Mom and Dad’s dresser.  The baskets are great because instead of piling things in these spots, we can throw those things into the basket, keeping things neat-ish,  contained and seemingly in order. Once a week, I go through all the baskets and put things where they actually belong, but between the times when they are cleaned out, our “junk” doesn’t look so junky inside of a pretty little basket!

The 10 Minute Hustle –

After dinner, we like to do Mom’s 10-Minute-Hustles! There are 5 of us in this house, 4 of us who are big enough to help out, so after dinner, I set the timer on the stove for 10 minutes, and everyone races around and picks up things that aren’t put away, sweep the floor, throws dirty laundry in the basket, wipes off counters.. anything they can do to contribute to the neatness of our house! It may not be done perfectly, but it’s been attempted! And let’s face it, if 4 people are doing the 10-minute hustle, it’s like 40 minutes of cleaning by clothes steamer, and that means more time to hang out with the kids or watch Dr. Phil from the PVR!

Stick to Necessities –

The less you have, the less you need to pick up or clean up. I am a very minimal person, and I’m not advocating that for everyone, however, if you find yourself picking up things you rarely use, dusting objects you don’t enjoy anymore, working around things that serve no purpose, or if you’re not really sure what’s in the back of that closet, or why you have 5 spatulas – it’s time to evaluate what you need to have. Getting rid of some things that are just laying around and not really being used can free up storage for things you really do need to have! When you start digging, you’ll be amazed how much you have that you don’t really need.

Routine –

Sometimes all we need is a little structure to keep things in order. There is no, one-size-fits-all solution to this one because we all have very different lives, and pressing things to do but getting into some sort of cleaning routine will help you stick to keeping up with everything. Some people find it easiest to focus on one room a day, others find taking one weekend day and getting the whole house cleaned is more effective for them. I’m on maternity leave right now, so I kind of incorporate a whole bunch of ideas into one.  I find that first thing in the morning, I get a load of laundry in, sweep, wipe down the counters, and for the rest of the day I attempt to get at something I’ve noticed needs done. If I can get all of this done by the time nap time is over, I have the rest of the day to play!

The goal is to find something that works for your family and stick with it. If you’re both working, try sitting down and delegating things that need to be done, and stick it in the fridge! And don’t forget the kids. Give them something they can handle to do every single day. (My 5-year-old LOVES to have a “job” and the bathroom is her domain. She cleans the counter off, wipes it down, and keeps the toilet paper dispenser stocked with rolls of paper for us!)

The final Tip is to relax. We’re all in the same boat, and I know when someone shows up unannounced and you and looking around your house wondering what they MUST be thinking about you and your stay of a house, you are mortified. But chances are, they’re going home to a less than perfect house too, and we’re all hard-working adults, who are all trying to work out the delicate balance between fun time, kid time, grown-up time, and cleaning.…

Let’s Be Safe – Not A Victim

As we sit here after Thanksgiving, thinking we ate too much — we now start to think about Christmas and the start of the Christmas shopping rush. It begins with Black Friday and continues until the night before Christmas. Let’s take a few minutes to stop and think about our safety.

When we leave to go shopping, there are others out there who are not going to a store to buy their Christmas gifts. They are looking for an easy target to steal from. Take a few minutes and stop and think about not being an easy target.

safety

  • When I leave my residence did I check and make sure I have locked the doors and windows? An unlocked door makes it so much easier for a thief to do his or her Christmas shopping in your living room.
  • If you take gifts out of the boxes when you return home, conceal the boxes or packaging within garbage bags, rather than placing the packaging in the recycling bin. The packaging, especially for high-ticket items, advertises what is inside your home.
  • Make sure gifts and valuables are not in plain view. Close curtains at night.

Many of us do some of our shopping online and have the packages delivered to our homes. If you are not at home when the packages are delivered, they are usually left on your front steps. An unattended package sitting for just a few minutes is an open invitation for thieves to help themselves.

  • Modern technology gives us the ability to track our packages and we usually know when they will be delivered. Arrange your schedule to be home when the package is to be delivered.
  • Make arrangements with a neighbor you know and trust, and who is going to be home to either have the packages delivered to their home or willing to pick up the packages from your front steps and hold them until you get home.

A lot of us enjoy the hustle and bustle of the shopping experience. We travel to our local shopping mall and find a good central parking spot. We spend the better part of a day going from store to store, finding just the right gifts for everyone on our list. After we make our purchases and do not want to carry them from store to store, we take them out and lock them in our car.

  • Remember you are not the only one using the parking lot. The thief is also out there looking for an opportunity to do his or her Christmas shopping. When you store a purchase in your vehicle — remember out of sight is out of mind. Place the packages in the trunk, lock the vehicle, and set the alarm if the vehicle is equipped with one.
  • Park in a well-lit area, preferably right next to a parking lot light. This increases the chance of thieves being seen, and they know it.
  • Remember your personal safety; be cautious when walking out to your vehicle. Know your surroundings, if something seems wrong, turn around and go back into the store. Have your keys ready. Most of all, there is nothing worth getting hurt for. Any item can be replaced, getting hurt can really dampen or ruin your Christmas.

Recipes, Scarves and Jewlery!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Stella + Dot has a collection where 100% of the proceeds go to Breast Cancer research. Everyone needs a little pinker in their life.

And speaking of charitable shopping. Are you familiar with A.Barclay scarves?

“For every scarf that is purchased, A.BARCLAY buys an item of need from a Tanzanian for a Tanzanian, supplying multiple orphanages in the country with day to day necessities and stimulating local markets.  Depending on what the orphanages need, the items we donate will vary from season to season.”

Anna, the founder of this amazing lines of scarves has generously offered TTS readers 20% off your purchase until Monday at midnight using the code EXTRA20.

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On Tuesday night, after 2 full weeks of eating out, I decided we need a delicious (and healthy) home-cooked meal. After some convincing Spencer let me make some spaghetti squash. I posted a picture on Instagram and you guys requested the recipe, so here it is!

You will need:
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Amylu Italian Chicken Sausage (I have tried a lot of brands and this is by far the best one)
  • Yellow peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Basil
  • Pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half horizontally (this part is tough but just keep pushing). Pull out all of the seeds.
Step 2: Put a little bit of salt, pepper and olive oil on the flesh of the squash and lay it flesh side down on to a cookie sheet.
Step 3: Bake for 30-40 minutes. Use a dinner fork to pull out the “noodles” from inside the squash.
Step 4: Cut zucchini and yellow pepper into small pieces and cook on the stove top with salt and pepper.
Step 4: Combine basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts in a food processor to make pesto.
Step 5: Cut pre-cooked chicken sausage into bite-sized pieces and brown in a nonstick pan (no oil is needed)
Step 6: When sausage, pesto and squash are all finished combine in a bowl and feast!
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Sorry for all the randomness, but I needed a break for the wedding pics to squeeze in some important things like shopping and food.Have a great weekend!

Rich French Buttercream – The Ultimate Cake Frosting Recipe

Cake frosting or icing is almost always misleading, it looks so delicious and decadent on beautifully decorated cakes, but then the first taste of it either feels like a greasy gob of sweet shortening on your tongue or the sweetness of it has burned your taste buds. Also, have you ever really just tasted powdered sugar by itself? It has corn starch in it, and I swear I can taste it.

Whipped cream frosting is good, but doesn’t have the same stability as a shortening and powder sugar based decorating frosting. In my opinion, the taste of it is missing a little something-something.

So thankfully, there are real buttercream recipes in existence. The kind of buttercream you’ll find on a $6.00 slice of cake served at a quality restaurant. The two more popular buttercreams are Swiss meringue buttercream and Italian buttercream, which are usually egg white based and are very similar to each other, except the methods are different. These are the elite frostings usually reserved for wedding cakes because of their silky textures and light flavors. As long as the weather isn’t too hot, they are stable and hold up well.

French buttercream isn’t as well known, it’s the naughty little cousin to the other buttercreams. It’s naughty because one tablespoon of the stuff has 5 grams of fat. This isn’t an everyday kind of frosting, friends. This should be reserved for special occasions, or when you want to present a knock-out dessert. The buttercream has a very creamy pale yellow color, so cakes will not be a true white color. The richness and silky texture are amazing, and the light flavor is complemented by just enough sweetness. I will never make a powdered sugar based frosting again!

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: Makes 4.5 cups
Ingredients
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks) brought to room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg yolks until light lemon yellow colored.
  2. Carefully combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  3. Simmer the sugar mixture over medium heat (without stirring) until 215°F is reached on a candy thermometer. If sugar crystals form on the inside of the pan, carefully brush the insides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly stream the hot sugar mixture into the egg yolks, if done slowly and properly, this “cooks” the egg yolks but doesn’t cause them to curdle.
  5. Once the sugar mixture is in, turn the mixer to high and beat the mixture until the sides of the mixing bowl have reached room temperature, approximately 10-12 minutes. The mixture will be smooth and creamy.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, and slowly add the softened butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles a spreadable frosting. If your mixture is too warm, put the mixing bowl and buttercream in the refrigerator for 15 minutes – and beat with the mixer until smooth.
  7. The frosting can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before spreading.
Notes

This recipe makes enough frosting to fill and decorate a 2-layer 9X9 inch round cake.