Author Archives: Rob

French Door Curtains Or Blinds?

I have recently been involved in a few discussions regarding whether to hang curtains on French doors, or if blinds are better. In my opinion, it depends greatly on a few factors. Firstly, it depends on the type of French doors you have, your room’s décor and how much your doors are used on a daily basis. For example, if your French doors open out onto a patio then you will most likely find that they get a fair bit of use and as such you want patio blinds or curtains that will not interfere with opening the door–trust me, curtains can be somewhat cumbersome and prevent fluidity in opening up the doors in some instances. If your French doors are more decorative, rarely used and they are located in your living room where curtains are hung over other windows you may want to opt for curtains.

My personal preference is French doors with built in blinds. These are very practical and they look great. As an example the ODL BWM256601 25″x66″ Enclosed Blind for Patio Door is an example of a patio door with built in blind that looks good and at just under $200 per door is not that expensive either.

If you like this option you may want to consider how often you currently replace your blinds or curtains and how much this costs you over a two year or five year time span.  In other words, you may find it more cost effective to actually buy replacement patio doors with built in curtains than to continually invest in blinds or curtains.  Other advantages with these types of doors are that the blinds themselves are protected and as such there is not very much wear and tear. You do not have to worry about daily or weekly cleaning and maintenance either as they are lodged between two panes of glass and as such do attract dust and other dirt.

Roll Up, Vertical and Venetian Blinds: Other types of patio door blinds often seen on French doors include roll-up blinds, vertical blinds and mini blinds.  Roll up blinds are great if you want to block out light coming inside during the day however they can be a bit cumbersome if you regularly open and close the doors. Vertical blinds look fantastic however the same applies, you do have to be fairly careful with them if you use your patio doors a lot. Also, they can be easily damaged thus may not be an ideal option if you have small children or pets in the house. You are able to pull them to the side as necessary which makes them marginally more easy to use than roll up blinds, especially if the roll up blinds span across both doors as opposed to being hung separately on each door. Venetian or mini blinds are a good alternative when it comes to blinds for French doors. They look good, are easy to clean and can be made exactly to size so that you can have one blind on each door. They tend to clang and bounce around a bit if you open and close the doors often and they do need regular cleaning in order to stay dust free.

Curtains and Curtain Panels: If aesthetics is high on your list and you have curtains hung on other windows in the room your first natural instinct will be to hang similar or complementary curtains on your French doors. Curtain panels are a good choice as they can be left pulled across the doors or opened up to the side if you need quick access to outside. In general, my recommendation when it comes to buying curtains is to choose a material that is easy to care for. They do tend to gather quite a lot of dust and will need laundering often. To save on money, look for material that can be laundered as opposed to material that needs to be dry-cleaned. One of my favorites for French door curtains are lace curtains with side panels that can be opened up to the side during the day. If your room serves as a home theater  at times during the day you can also find blackout curtain panels for a very good price these days at stores such as Home Depot, Lowes or other similar stores. They are easy to open and close and effectively block out the light during the day if you need that option.

Shutters: Finally, many people like to hang shutters on their French doors. While wood and faux wood shutters look great they can be a little heavy if you open and close the doors often. These days it is very possible to find great shutters made from PVC that are fairly inexpensive, easy to put up and that are fairly lightweight.  While white is a common choice of color, if you shop around it is possible to find them in a number of different colors. White tends to match with most decors and color themes, however, and it gives a nice light and airy feel and look to French doors.

Checklist To Help You Decide: In summary, when it comes to deciding on the best blinds for French doors you will want to take into consideration the following:

  1. Your current room’s décor — what would be the best match?
  2. How much use to your French doors or patio doors get?  Would curtains get in the way? Would vertical blinds get in the way?
  3. Are you–or could you–replace your French doors and buy doors with built in blinds? Would this be cost effective, based on how much you spend on new curtains or blinds on a regular basis, as well as costs for cleaning.
  4. Do you have small children? Pets?  What blinds or curtains would be the most convenient and safe choice?
  5. If going with shutters can you afford wood shutters or would white PVC shutters suffice?

Taking time to evaluate your answers to these questions  may help make it easier to choose when it comes to patio door blinds and curtain choices.

Sheds Direct Online Ordering

Or how easy is it to buy sheds directly online?

There is nothing better for organizing your home and garden than buying or building garden sheds. If you are looking for sheds USA offers you will find that there are plenty of opportunities for buying them directly online from suppliers. Of course, they do not come assembled, that part is left up to you but for most people who do fairly well at basic handyman tasks this should not prove too difficult.

What Size Is Available?

Sizes vary between different suppliers. Often you will find one type of garden shed available in several different sizes, or alternatively they will have a standard width but are available in varying depths. Some can be as small as four feet, while others range up to ten feet wide. It is a good idea, before ordering, to carefully plan where you will locate your shed once you buy it. You will also need to take into account whether or not you plan on moving your shed from one location to another at any time.

Photo By: Howard Dickins

What Are Sheds Typically Made From?

You can buy sheds made from quite a few different materials, ranging from wood to vinyl PVC or metal although most have metal frameworks.  The PVC sheds are the most popular usually. They are fairly lightweight, easy to assemble and providing the PVC has been treated they will not warp, peel or become yellow when exposed to sunlight or other weather conditions.  Metal on the other hand does tend to rust, even if treated, especially as it is also fairly easy to dent.  Wood may eventually rot and of course there is a lot more upkeep as you will need to paint the shed from time to time in order to try to preserve the wood it is made from.

What Color Sheds To Buy?

There is a variety of colors to choose from, again depending on the supplier and the style of shed you buy. The location of the shed should help to determine the color of the shed; sheds direct in sunlight are better off if they are a lighter, more neutral color as that way they will not become too hot during summer.

What Accessories Will Come With The Shed?

As with every other option, this depends to a large degree on where you buy the shed. Usually windows and doors are optional and you will need to order them when you order your shed. Some have additional storage built into the shed, while others do not. For those that do not have built in storage options you will need to add your own shelving. While you usually can attach light weight shelving directly to the support beams it is usually not recommended to do so if you plan on storing heavy items on the shelves.  Some sheds have built in flooring, while others do not. Some sheds have a foundation kit, but you need to purchase your own flooring.

Where To Place Your Shed

Your garden shed will need to be placed on a flat surface; this can be a level piece of ground or a slab of concrete. Once assembled you may want to build a foundation using 2 by 4 timber and then lay down some plywood flooring on top of the 2 x 4’s. It is not usually recommended that you place the shed directly on grass or dirt, though you can get away with placing it directly on concrete without having to build a foundation and flooring.

Assembling the Shed

As mentioned above, most sheds are made with the average homeowner in mind and as such they are relatively easy to assemble. The smaller sized sheds could probably be easily assembled by one person in a few hours. If you need to lay down a foundation and build a plywood floor, or if the shed is larger or includes several windows and doors you may find it easier to assemble it with a 2 person team.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy Sheds?

The main things determining the cost of the shed will be the material it is made from and its size and accessories. You will be hard pressed to find anything much under $500, even for a smaller shed, and the price will increase as the area of the shed increases. The more windows you purchase for your shed, the more expensive it will become. If you intend  on extending the shed, or buying a pre-made foundation you will also usually need to add on extra.

While they may be somewhat expensive, it is amazing how much order a shed can bring to a garden and home. You will not find your garage or basement cluttered with items anymore, gardening tools and hoses can be easily accessed and with a little foresight and planning your shed can add to the overall appearance of your garden. Carefully placed potted plants around the exterior, for example, can give your shed a country appeal and will help it blend into your already existing garden.

Unique Ideas For Bathroom Blinds

While perhaps not the most viewed room in the house, adding the right kind of bathroom blinds can really make a difference when it comes to improving the overall ambiance and appeal of any bathroom.  Too often, little thought is given when it comes to choosing blinds for a bathroom, leading to poor choices being made.

Décor
Do something a little different and liven up your bathroom by doing simple things such as choosing colored blinds that match the room’s décor.  You do not have to choose subtle colors either. In fact, if your bathroom is a blend of creams and other subdued colors you may find that choosing a bright, bold blind really helps bring out colors that may otherwise be missed. Find a blind that matches the light colored flowers on the tiles in the bathroom rather than opting for plain white or cream blinds. Go with horizontal strips for a snazzy, modern look.

Humidity and Steam
Bathrooms tend to be one of the more humid rooms in a home, due to the amount of water used and the steam that is produced when showering or bathing. Because of this it is important to chose blinds made from a material that will not easily mildew or become damaged by these higher humidity levels. Look for blinds made from moisture resistant material that are easy to wipe clean; there will probably be plenty of splashes of soap, conditioner, shaving cream and other substances ending up on your blinds.  If you opt for blinds made from fabric, choose those made from machine washable fabrics and look for ones with the color-fast label.

Plantation Shutters or Wood Blinds
Although people usually opt for a more simple blind for their bathroom, such as a roller blind, more and more people are investing in shutters and wood blinds. Again, you do have to be careful if opting for wood blinds or shutters for a bathroom as too much humidity and moisture can cause the wood to swell or crack. Look for basswood blinds or shutters that have been kiln dried if you go for this option, it should be able to stand up to the humidity well.  You can also find vinyl shutters that do find in this type of environment and that have the added plus of being extremely easy to clean.

Photo By: Ralph Daily

Privacy
Understandably, privacy in a bathroom is very important. Depending on the size and location of your windows, merely depending on frosted glass or frosted film to provide the privacy needed may not be sufficient. By the same token, you do not want blinds that must be closed entirely in order to provide you with privacy unless you are content to continually open and close the blinds and always shower with your overhead light on.  Venetian blinds are a popular choice, especially because the blinds can be partially closed to where they still allow some light to enter into the room yet effectively shut out any view.

Most Popular Bathroom Blinds
While there are plenty of options for bathroom blinds, the most popular choices include vertical blinds and venetian blinds. Roller blinds are another popular choice as they are very easy to open and close and they are available in a multitude of different patterns and colors.

Quick Tips When Shopping For Bathroom Blinds

  • Look for water resistant blinds.
  • Avoid blinds or curtains made from heavy materials as they tend to become easily mildewed.
  • If you have a small bathroom, windows close to the shower or the sink or small children opt for blinds that are easy to clean.
  • When buying wood blinds for your bathroom, get those made from kiln dried basswood.

Sensible Home Warranty Complaints

Some time ago I posted about the importance of home warranties and about the Sensible Home Warranty company in particular.  Since then, I have received a few complaints from people who were less than happy with the service they received from this company and so I decided that I would re-post on this issue and try to discuss some of the Sensible Home Warranty complaints I have heard.

Check with Friends and Neighbors For Their Recommendations

Unfortunately, it seems that there may be some discrepancy between the actual branches, with some getting a five-star review and others not. This is somewhat the same with many different companies and institutions. For example, you may have a great customer experience with one branch of a company and a poor experience with another. My suggestion, if you are looking for a home warranty company to work with, is to ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations. There will often also be local online forums where you can ask for recommendations.

Read the Fine Print

In some instances it seems that there were clauses or points mentioned in the fine print that were not immediately noticed and failing to adhere to those requirements meant the warranty was void. While this is unfortunate, especially in situations where the details are not clearly spelled out, it is always up to the person signing the contract to thoroughly read through all fine print.

Contact Better Business Bureau

If you feel your claim was handled unjustly get in contact with the BBB.  They list the company on their website, http://www.bbb.org/reno/business-reviews/home-warranty-plans/sensible-home-warranty-in-sparks-nv-90007878 and they give them a C+ rating. If you visit this site you will see that the main thing affecting their rating was that there were 85 complaints filed against the company.  To their credit, it appears that they responded to 84 of those complaints and they were resolved. So, if you feel you have a legitimate complaint, contacting BBB about it may be the best way to get your complaint resolved.

Take Your Time Choosing The Right Company

It can take time to find the right home warranty company, but it is definitely worth taking the extra time needed in order to find a company that will work well for you. It is often a good idea to read what others have had to say via online reviews.  Of course, when reading online reviews you will get a wide variety of different opinions and often a lot of complaints as opposed to many good reviews.

In looking over quite a few Sensible Home Warranty reviews it seems that the main Sensible Home warranty complaints are regarding their not having service people available to come to your home and thus asking you to arrange for someone to come to do the work. Unfortunately, sometimes the claims took a long time to be refunded or because the repair work wasn’t done according to their specifications the claim was refused. I would not feel that comfortable arranging for someone else to come in and to the work specifically because they may not be aware of all of the details regarding the warranty and what is and is not considered acceptable.

In summary I would caution you to choose your home warranty company carefully. If possible, look for someone who has a good reputation in your local area by asking friends and neighbors who they would recommend (or who they would recommend you stay away from!) Read the fine print carefully before signing a contract. If you do have problems with any company, file a complaint against them with BBB as there is probably a much better chance of it being resolved than if you try to do it yourself.

Small Bathroom Design Ideas

Whether you have just moved into a new apartment, or you are remodeling and renovating your guest bathroom, there are tons of design ideas that can make a small bathroom not only look great, but also help it to be highly functional. Try some of the following bathroom makeovers or use the following bathroom designs ideas as a springboard for stimulating your creativity instead.

Key Small Bathroom Design Ideas

Photo By: Juhan Sonin

There are a few things to keep in mind no matter what style you opt for when doing a small bathroom remodel. The main things you have to work with, aside from the actual items installed in the bathroom itself, are color, lighting and space. In other words, the correct choice of a color scheme, the proper placement of lights and windows as well as the overall design of the bathroom can make a room look less cluttered and more spacious than it really is.

Unless you are totally remodeling your bathroom you will want to focus on several main areas; the walls, lighting fixtures, natural lighting, the type of vanity unit you install, hardware and the overall décor. It is possible to totally change the appearance of a bathroom without needing to completely remodel the entire room.

Color Schemes
You will want to first of all choose the sink and other bathroom accessories and then base your color scheme around those. Typically, white or cream are often the colors chosen though they do not have to be. I am not going to say that you must use only pastels in your bathroom as I have seen some stunning designs utilizing darker, more outstanding color choices such as those seen here. The main thing is to choose your accessories; either light or dark colored, and then build around those.

You may want to stick to the regular creams and off whites, or you may want to opt for lilac walls or lilac on the bottom half of the wall with cream on the top section of the wall. That particular color choice is great for bathroom frequented by women, for example. If you want some ideas of different color schemes you could use, there are some great online resources where you can look at photos of bathroom designs for small spaces that people have used in their own homes. They can be great to skim through and you will be certain to garner some great ideas from seeing other people’s small bathroom designs.

Windows and Lighting

Photo By: Nancy Hugo

If you have a small bathroom, chances are that it will probably have only one very small window. That is very practical; it gives you more walls to place furniture or accessories around. However, a lot has to be said for natural light streaming into a bathroom as it really can give the impression that the room is larger than it seems. If it is not too difficult, you may want to look into installing long narrow windows instead. Of course, if you are not planning on actually remodeling that would not necessarily work but if you do have to do some work in the bathroom putting in a couple of long narrow windows; even floor to ceiling; can be very advantageous.

Rather than opting for regular light fixtures look for some unique wall sconces as well as overhead light fixtures. Making it possible to adjust the lighting in the room is a great idea. You can turn the lights down low while you relax and soak in the bathtub, and have them all on when you are putting on your makeup or shaving.

This may also be a good place to mention the incredible value in hanging wall mirrors and their ability to really make a room look much larger than it is. Of course, everyone does not appreciate bathrooms lined with mirrors for obvious reasons–although if you don’t mind staring at yourself each time you step out of the shower mirrors really will add a whole new dimension to your bathroom.

Furnishings and Vanities

Photo By: Shino

Have you ever considered a vessel sink rather than a vanity unit? You will find they take up a lot less room and have the advantage of adding a real old-style charm to any bathroom. If you buy a cabinet from a flea market or second hand shop you can often very easily restore the item yourself, sit the vessel sink on top of it and add a new creative dimension to your bathroom décor. If you do opt for a more antique style bathroom you may want to add some decorative moldings around your mirror and add some antique style sconces on either side of the wash area.

If you want to go for a conventional vanity, specifically search for and check out small bathroom vanities, rather than the regular sized ones. What about installing a corner vanity? They are great for saving space. If you want to install a bathtub, and yet you have limited space, you can opt for one of the corner spa small bathtubs–the ones you sit up in rather than stretch out in.

Maximize Space With Built In Cabinetry
Depending on your level of expertise, you may be able to implement some of these other bathroom remodeling ideas for small bathrooms; or perhaps this is when you could call a professional in for more help. For example, if you have space behind your bathroom wall you may want to consider taking a section of the wall down and building in some cabinets or shelves back into the wall itself. This will give you additional storage space without taking up any bathroom space. Not only that, but it also looks delightful!

Another idea is to purchase narrow tall shelving or cabinets for your bathroom. You can maximize your storage space very easily this way as well and simply keep the less used items in the higher cupboards or on the higher shelves. Also, adding shelving high up around the wall can be a great way to gain additional storage or room for bathroom décor items without cluttering up your bathroom.

More Bathroom Ideas For Small Bathrooms
While the following tips may not actually save you much space, they will make your bathroom look more attractive even if there is limited space.

Decorate your bathroom tastefully, without overdoing it. Simply adding a couple of nicely framed small bathroom pictures on the wall can really transform your bathroom. You can also do things such as adding drapery on the vanity rather than wood doors. This does save on space in that you do not have to open the doors whenever you want to get something from the vanity; you simply pull the curtain to the side.

Rather than installing towel racks in the bathroom, why not find some tasteful hooks and use those for hanging your bathrobe and towel? They work just as well, take up less space and they can look very decorative.

Go for a Euroglass shower enclosure. Even though it may take up as much space as a regular shower enclosure, the absence of any framing will add to the illusion of spaciousness.

Although these ideas are by no means extensive, hopefully they will help point you in the right direction when planning out your own bathroom designs for small bathrooms.

The Ins and Outs of Spice Jars and Spices

Have you ever been in the midst of cooking a meal and not been able to find a spice that you need?  Or, have you searched high and low through your spice jars for that one essential spice, only to find that you have run out of it! It happens to me fairly often, to the point that I decided I had to do something about organizing my spice containers and figuring out a system whereby I could keep track of what I needed to buy.

Types of Spice Jars Available

First, I decided I needed to decide how to store my spices.  Some of the spices I buy come in glass jars and my tendency was to keep the spice in the container it was bought in and pop it up in a cupboard, where it would inevitably get mixed in with all of the other spices I had. Some jars were tall, some were short, some were square shaped others were round. Some were in jars and some were in spice tins. It really was quite a mix-match set of spices. My first task was to buy a set of containers to store my spices in.

I like glass spice jars and kitchen canister sets. You can easily see what is inside and it is also usually fairly easy to tell when you are getting short of one type of spice. However, I also found the stainless steel spice jars very appealing too. I looked at a stainless steel set but then decided that I would not be able to tell how much I had left. There were some great jars that had glass lids; it made it easy to identify what was in the jar but still I would not be able to easily see how much I had left.  There was a great set of porcelain spice jars as well, however knowing how clumsy I am in the kitchen–especially when I am in a hurry to get a meal ready–I decided against those. They would look nice on display of course and glass is also breakable, but somehow porcelain seems quite a bit more delicate than the thicker glass spice jars.  I skipped over the plastic spice jars as I have found when using plastic kitchen canisters that they tend to absorb odors and they do not keep the spices fresh as well as glass or stainless steel jars do. I opted for plain glass spice jars.

My next decision was whether to go for round spice jars or square spice jars.  Most of the spices I buy from the supermarket are in round jars; however I have found that storing spices in square jars is much easier as they stack against each other so much better than glass jars do. Space in my kitchen is limited, and square jars left me with less wasted space.

Finally I needed to decide what type of lids I wanted on my spice jars. There were several alternatives to choose from:

  • Screw lid: Self explanatory. The lid screws on the jar.
  • Locking lid: This was mainly for larger spice jars, such as those that would store larger items such as cinnamon sticks. I did not really consider this option as the jars with these types of lids were quite a bit larger than I was looking for.
  • Wide sealed lid: These jars had lids that with a seal around the outer perimeter. I liked the fact that they were very air tight and easy to use.
  • Shaker lid–flip or twist: Great for spices that you need to shake out of the jar. The only problem I could see with this type of lid was that it would be difficult to label as it either flips open or you twist the lid around.

I decided on jars with a screw lid. I also made sure that the lid and the opening of the jar was wide enough to fit a small teaspoon in, as that is so much  more convenient, especially when measuring spices by the teaspoon, than trying to shake the spice out into a teaspoon (and getting half of the spice around the spoon, rather than onto the spoon!)

Where Should You Store Your Spices?

Did you know that spices and herbs should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place–not left out on the kitchen counter or in a spice rack?  When I heard this I decided against using a spice rack for spice storage even though it does look lovely and decorative. Spices and herbs will last up to two years if they are stored properly; while I use up some spices very quickly, there are others that I use much more infrequently, thus storage was an important factor.  Believe it or not, a refrigerator is a great place for many herbs and spices; particularly spice blends such as cheese blends, fine powdered spices and any spices that contain oil.  If your refrigerator is as crowded as mine you probably do not have room to store many herbs and spices, however I did put a few on a shelf in the door of the refrigerator.

Spices stored in a cupboard can quickly become disorganized, unless it is a special spice cupboard. If you do not have a spice cupboard in your kitchen it may be possible to either build one or to convert one of your existing cupboards into one.  The basic guideline for a spice cupboard is that it should have shallow shelves, just room enough for one spice jar to sit on the shelf, and it needs to have dowels along the front to hold the spice bottles in place. There are some great examples of this type of cupboard online, and instructions on how to construct one if you have a handyman husband.

Another alternative is to store your spices in a kitchen drawer.  You can either lay them down so you can see the label on the front, or if you have tall enough drawers you can actually stand them up and label the lid of the spice jar so you can see at a glance what is inside.  If you run out of a spice, simply turn the jar upside down so the lid is facing downwards–that way you will know at a glance what needs refilling or purchasing.  For those who really want to get organized, why not set them on a metal plate that is inserted inside the drawer and put magnetic tape on the bottom of the jar; they will really stay firmly in place then and will not move about even if there are some jars missing from the drawer and you will have your very own, home-made set of magnetic spice jars at a fraction of the cost of buying them.

Organizing Your Spices

Once I had bought my spice jars I realized that I also needed to buy labels for the jars. These are readily available; I went with round labels that fit perfectly on the top of the spice jar as I was planning to stand them upright in a tall drawer.  You can buy round or rectangular spice jar labels–rectangular are great if you want to label the spice jar itself. I chose plain white, but there are many different colored labels too.  I was planning on actually printing on the labels, as my handwriting leaves a lot to be desired, so I chose some that could be run through our laser printer.  You can also buy already printed labels but I did not think it was worth the extra cost just to buy something that I could replicate fairly closely using a word processor and a printer.

Next, I needed to decide how I was going to actually organize my spices. There are several different ways of organizing spice jars. You can simply organize them in an alphabetical fashion, (though is cayenne pepper sorted under ‘c’ or under ‘p’?)  You can also organize them in different categories; such as sweet and sour cuisine, or organize them according to what you use for specific recipes.  I decided against the last two options, and opted to simply organize them alphabetically. (And the cayenne pepper was a ‘c’ not a ‘p’!)

Finally, I decided that I would buy the more commonly used spices in packages rather than in jars as first of all it is a hassle, and it seems a waste, to transfer spices from one jar to another.  Also, I could keep the packaged spices in our cool pantry and simply fill up the bottles once a week or when they were  getting low. Remember, I turn them over in the drawer when they run out so it is easy to see at a glance what needs to be refilled.  Whenever a package is empty I immediately jot it down on my shopping list.

The result: A perfectly organized spice drawer with labeled spice jars, organized alphabetically so that anyone can find anything they need quickly. And a system whereby I can tell when I am getting short on an item and either refill it from storage or buy more before the last of it runs out. And best of all, a happy, unflustered cook!

Decorating With Kitchen Canisters

We all know that kitchen canisters are useful for storing dry goods such as pasta, flour, sugar, coffee and other similar items. You can actually also use them for storing and organizing little kitchen nick-knacks as well if you want such as rubber bands, twist ties, or any other small miscellaneous items that look messy if left out on counters or get disorganized when left in kitchen drawers and yet are used on a very regular basis in the kitchen. Yet perhaps one of the best uses for a kitchen canister set is to use it as decorations around the kitchen.

As I have several other posts about kitchen canisters and canister sets that cover a lot of good information on choosing canisters for storage, I thought with this post I could cover different décor ideas solely. There are some absolutely stunningly beautiful canister sets available, many made from porcelain, that would simply look great sitting in any kitchen.  The great thing is, if you are using them primarily for decorative purposes you do not have to be overly concerned about how well they seal either–though probably you will want to use them both for décor and food storage, especially if space is a little limited in the kitchen.

Color Choices: First of all, decide on the color that would best accent your kitchen before buying your kitchen storage canisters. If your kitchen is predominantly brown, for example, burgundy looks great.  However, almost any color goes well with brown so you have a wide range of canisters to choose from.  Try color coordinating your dish towels, hand towels and canisters and throw down some similar colored kitchen mats as well.  This will not only look good but the coordination will also help your kitchen look more organized.

Style: There are many different styles of kitchen canister sets to choose from as well.  If you want to go for the country kitchen look, you can choose canisters that have an old-fashioned appeal. Of course, do not forget the infamous rooster design–which is guaranteed to add a touch of the ‘old world’ to your kitchen setup. Another quaint old style canister is the style that resembles old cans, replicas of the actual cans or containers that dry goods were sold in, in the past. Floral designs on the canisters also fit well with a country style kitchen. As far as accessorizing your kitchen, you could choose a predominate color that is present on the canisters and coordinate your towels, cloths, curtains and mats with that same color. If you like variety you could choose two or three different colors and buy matching accessories, and then switch all accessories as often as you like–although you would likely need to stick with the same curtains, so perhaps choose those with a background color in mind.

European style canisters are often a hit too. Look for those with a decidedly French or Italian design and lettering. For some reason French seems to be a favorite, and the labels are usually similar enough to English that you, or anyone else working in the kitchen, should be able to distinguish exactly what canister is used for which ingredient.  My personal favorite is Mexican designed canisters, or Talavera Pottery. Match that with a white tablecloth on your kitchen table that has delicate Mexican embroidery and some other Mexican decorations; including Mexican style curtains and other odds and ends around the kitchen and you will have an instantly transformed kitchen that is just waiting for you to roll out the tacos!

If you have a modern designed kitchen with stainless steel accents you may want to go for either stainless steel or glass canisters; both look great and match the other décor and kitchen utensils well.  Another idea, if you want to add some color to the kitchen–which is not a bad idea if there is a lot of stainless steel–is to buy some colored ceramic or porcelain canisters that are either one solid color or that feature some kind of geometric designs.  These will add a dab of color and give you something to base your other accessories on.

Of course, you can go with whatever theme you desire. Look for antique canisters and design a Victorian kitchen for example. Or add a Mediterranean flavor with grape covered kitchen canister and olive green mats and towels.

You do not have to invest a lot of money in canisters. While I prefer the heavier ceramic or glass canisters, you can also buy many different acrylic or plastic canisters that look great and have fantastic designs on them as well.  In fact, some people prefer plastic as it is cheaper and it is not as liable to chip or break as either porcelain or glass.  It does tend to retain odors, though, so if you put dry ingredients in a plastic canister; especially some that have a very distinctive smell such as some herbs and spices, you will not want to switch and use it for sugar at a later date, for example.

When possible it is best to try to buy all matching kitchen canister sets. They usually come in different sizes and you may not be able to find both larger dry good canisters and smaller spice canisters that match exactly, but usually with a little shopping around you can at least find something that complements.

Have fun choosing your kitchen storage canisters and decorating your kitchen with them.  A small item that can make a big difference, it really does add color, life and warmth to your kitchen to keep décor in mind when adding kitchen accessories.

Kitchen Canister Sets

There are many different styles, designs and shapes of kitchen canister sets. They are made from many different types of material including stainless steel, ceramic, glass, and even stoneware. You can also find acrylic kitchen canisters.

There a many advantages to using canisters in the kitchen for storing food. They are very practical to use as they allow you to have dry goods and other needed items on hand, and you do not have to open the packages or look in drawers and cupboards while you’re in the midst of cooking. One of the most important things a kitchen canister set does is keep your food fresh and free from bugs and other pests that tend to invade dry goods, such as weevils. Aside from these practical uses kitchen canisters are also often used to beautify your kitchen and to add to your overall kitchen décor.

The most durable type of canister sets for kitchens are those made from either stainless steel or acrylic. They last well, they are easy to wash and keep clean, and they do not easily break or check; although you do need to be careful with hard acrylic canisters as they can actually crack and break if they’re not handled carefully. Glass, stoneware and ceramic kitchen canisters on the other hand do need to be handled with care. They will chip if they are inadvertently banged against something, and they will also break if they’re dropped on a hard surface.

It is hard to say what type of canister is the most popular as people have different preferences. Many people prefer to use stainless steel canisters, as they look neat and tidy and they also match very well with different kitchen appliances and utensils. Other people prefer to use glass canisters so that they can easily see the glance what is kept inside the canister. Incidentally, an option with the stainless steel canister is to buy one that has either a section of glass in the middle of the actual canister, or a glass lid. Other people prefer ceramic canisters, mainly because they do look very decorative and are able to buy them in all sorts of different styles designs and colors. Thus, they are very easy to match with the rest of your kitchen décor.

Choosing Kitchen Canisters Sets

It is important, of course, when choosing kitchen canister sets that you find something that blends in well with your kitchen and that will look good whether it’s stored on the counter or in a glass door cabinet. However there are other important details that you should think about when buying kitchen canisters.

If you’re planning on storing dry goods in the canister it is vitally important that it hasn’t in a tight seal. It should protect your food and dry goods or whatever is stored in the container and do a good job of that otherwise you’re going to find that your food will go off, dry goods will go stale and they may become infested with bugs.

It is also a good also buy canisters that are easy to clean and care for. No doubt, if you use your canisters a lot they will become dirty and will need cleaning fairly often. Try to find something that you can put into the dishwasher, as that will really save you a lot of time when it comes to doing basic kitchen cleanup.

It is fairly easy to shop for kitchen canisters. They’re available at many home décor shops, online, and very easy to find and pick up. Of course not all that you see will be of top quality, and for that reason it is often best to try and buy from some of the better home accessory shops. You can also buy these canisters very easily online. For example they’re available on Amazon, and in many other online stores. The great thing with buying canisters and other kitchen appliances and accessories online is that often you will be able to check out different reviews that people made about these items and base your choice of what to buy in part on what other people said. While you do get many varied reviews on items, generally if there is a real weakness in the design of one type of canister several people will bring this up and it will be fairly obvious there is a problem.

In summary, when you’re planning on buying kitchen canisters you should think about the type of canister set you want to buy, what you want it to be made from, and what size is your looking for, whether it is important for you to be able to see the items stored inside the canister or not, and ease of use and care.

Most kitchen canister sets usually consist of anywhere from 3 to 6 canisters some of the canisters are labeled with the ingredients that are meant to be stored inside. It is actually a good idea to store the ingredients that are mentioned on the canister actually inside the canister as otherwise, if someone else is cooking in your kitchen, they may not realize that it has something different stored in it and consequently they may make a mistake when they’re preparing a meal or a snack.

You can buy some canister sets for as little as $20 while some of the designer brands can cost over $100 or more depending on who they were made by, how many canisters they are, what they’re made from, and their size. Look for sales of kitchen storage canisters, as you can save quite a lot of money by buying items when they are on sale. If you’re buying online, look for offers with free shipping. This is probably going to be fairly important if you end up buying ceramic kitchen canister sets or even glass canisters which can be quite heavy to ship.

Kitchen Storage Canisters

There are several reasons why you want to carefully choose your kitchen storage canisters. One of the main reasons for buying kitchen canisters is to store dry goods and food in a sealed, moisture free container. They are useful for organizing your ingredients and for keeping them tidily on shelves in easy reach so when you are cooking you can easily reach whatever ingredient the recipe calls for, without having to stop everything and search your cupboards for it. Aside from this practical use, they are also great for adding life and zest to your kitchen décor. In fact, no kitchen should be without them.

Seal on Canisters

Let’s look at the practical side first. When deciding on what type of kitchen storage jars to buy there are several things to take into consideration. Perhaps the main thing to look for is that the kitchen canister sets seal properly. Ideally, they should seal well enough that moisture cannot enter. Moisture and dampness is a real problem in kitchens especially when storing dry ingredients. It does not matter if you are storing cornstarch, coffee or desiccated coconut; excessive moisture will spoil them all. Not only do you want to keep moisture from getting into your dry goods but you also want to keep out ants, weevils and other insects. Again, properly sealing canister sets are essential.

There are different types of seals but they must be airtight. Look for lids with built in silicone gaskets, they seal much better than those that simply have clips on the side. If you can find canisters with both silicone gaskets and clips–and they look great–go for them. You will not find anything better. Make sure the gaskets actually lock down onto the container though rather than just sitting on top of it. Another tip when buying canisters is to realize that you may be hard pressed to find some that are genuinely airtight; you will probably rather find that some work better than others.  For that reason you may want to avoid canisters that hold more of any dry goods than you are able to use in a specific amount of time. In other words, if you notice that the coffee starts hardening after a couple of weeks buy or use smaller canisters that only store enough for a week or two at a time rather than a larger one that lasts for an entire month.

What Size to Buy?

Canisters come in many different sizes so you should base your decision on your needs. I recently saw some great large sized stainless steel kitchen canisters that were perfect for storing baking supplies such as brown sugar and flour in large enough quantities that you could easily use the ingredients from there for a cake or two and still have plenty of the dry goods left inside.

Gauge your size by what you wish to store in them. Dry baking goods, those ingredients you need a lot of when cooking, should obviously be stored in large sealed containers otherwise you will constantly have to keep on filling up the canisters. Baking powder, or spices on the other hand are usually only used in small quantities, thus smaller canisters suffice. When buying canisters do not necessarily go by what is written on the outside of the canister; “Flour”, “Coffee”, “Sugar”, but rather buy canisters that will hold what is needed. If you are not used to cooking and baking it may take you a while to find the right sized canister for the right ingredients as it is rather subjective but with time you will soon be able to judge the right sized canisters for the right dry goods.

Glass, Stainless Steel, Plastic or Ceramic Kitchen Canisters?

Providing the seal works well, it does not really matter that much what the canisters are made from as far as serviceability. However, each does have its own benefits and perhaps drawbacks. When buying, you will need to decide what is, and what is not an issue.

Usually ceramic kitchen canister sets double as being (hopefully) both practical and decorative. Decorative kitchen canisters can really give a lift to a kitchen and they can further the effect that you are trying for as far as kitchen décor goes. You can find red kitchen canisters, white kitchen canisters, black kitchen canisters and canisters with designs on the sides. I like my nice red kitchen canister set as it adds a delightful splash of color to my white counter tops and adds warmth and fun to my counters. I have them sitting on a leaf green mat, and the contrast is fantastic; and no, it doesn’t look like Christmas decorations! I have a calendar, with an autumn scene hanging on the kitchen wall and the reds and burnt oranges in that picture, along with the touch of green, help to tie together the basic color scheme I am trying for in my kitchen.

The downside of a ceramic kitchen storage canister is that it can break, and depending what is stored inside the canister you can end up with quite a mess when it does! They also chip, thus need to be hand washed–don’t put them in the dishwasher. The decorative sets can be fairly expensive too, meaning that you are paying more than you need to if you simply need something to store dry goods  in.

I also love glass kitchen canisters.  They have the same downside as the ceramic canister in that they will break when dropped on a hard kitchen floor, however they don’t chip as easily and you can usually pop them in the dishwasher without having to worry about them. The beauty of glass storage canisters is that you can see at a glance what is stored inside. That is very helpful when you are in the middle of cooking and are pressed for time.  It takes all the guesswork out of finding the right ingredients. They can look messy and almost unhygienic if they are not cared for properly. For example, if sugar is allowed to dry and crust around the rim of the canister it is painfully obvious. If you buy glass canisters make sure you keep them looking good. Wipe the outside of the canister to keep it free of smudge marks and dried ingredients regularly. As long as it is sparkling clean on the inside and the outside a glass canister set will look great in any kitchen.

Stainless steel canisters can also look very sharp and neat. I especially love those made from brushed stainless steel and I am not so fond of those made with regular shining stainless steel. Again, they do show smudge easily so they must be kept clean. You cannot see what is inside the canister so they will need to be labeled. The great thing about them is that they are usually extremely durable; they won’t break if they slide of the counter onto the floor. They’re also usually very easy to care for and wash.

Believe it or not plastic kitchen canisters can also look great and they are very useful. The greatest thing going for them, in a way, is that they are fairly cheap compared to other types of canisters. They can go in the dishwasher, and they can be either opaque or transparent depending on what you choose to buy.  They also can break if dropped–the voice of experience says so!  Usually plastic canisters, unlike plastic food containers, are made from a more brittle plastic that shatters fairly easily if it impacts with very much force. They are a good option if you do not have a lot of money to invest into kitchen décor as they can still look very presentable yet cost a fraction of what you would pay for decent stainless steel or ceramic canisters.

Specialty Canisters for Kitchen

No article on kitchen canister sets would be complete without the mention of a couple of all-time favorites.  Rooster canisters! For some reason which I have never really figured out, roosters seem to have an undeniable right to decorate kitchens. You can buy rooster mats, rooster decorations, rooster temperature gauges and rooster canister sets. As you may have guessed by now, I am not a fan of rooster décor. I spent too much time running away from a particularly nasty old one when I was a very little girl to have much fondness for them. But, having said all of that, they do deserve a mention I suppose.

Now this is more to my liking; vintage kitchen canisters. There are some absolutely fantastic vintage canister sets around, and they look lovely in any kitchen. The great thing about the older canisters is that they are often very serviceable, useful items that are almost always the perfect size for storing whatever is written or marked on the side of the canister. Of course buying them online or from a dealer may set you back a good deal of money, but you can often find these at old garage or church sales, in the basement of your grandmother’s house, or even at second hand furniture or appliance stores.  Keep your eye out for them, if you can find a set in good condition you will have found yourself a great deal.

Kitchen canister sets come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes called kitchen storage jars; especially those made from glass, they can really add to your kitchen ambiance. Food storage canisters should be suitably sized for the food or dry goods that are stored inside, not too large lest the goods spoil, or too small otherwise you will constantly be refilling the canister sets.

Lowes Waverly Curtains

Waverly are well known not only for their curtains but for their other home décor items and fabrics as well.  There is fortunately a great selection of Waverly curtains available at most Lowes stores, and if you cannot find them at a Lowes store near you, there is always the alternative of purchasing them online from the Lowes website.

Waverly are well known for their selection of tabbed panel curtains. They sell have a great selection of fantastic and modern prints available in tabbed curtains. Many of the selection available are in earth colors which lend themselves well to rooms that are decorated with predominantly wood themes. The selection of curtains available at Lowes is fairly limited although they do seem to rotate their stock and selection on a fairly regular basis. With prices well under $30 for two panels, it is a great deal if you are looking for something to add to your full length windows.

There are also quite a few different Waverly valances available from Lowes presently.  Prices are very good, with valances usually in the $20 price range. The valances are made to thread onto a curtain rod and they are great to hang above either a full length window, or the smaller standard sized windows.

If you are looking for a combination of window panels and valance, this is also available currently at Lowes. One 50” x 84” Waverly curtain panel costs less than $30, and then you will need to buy the Waverly valance curtains separately. This size pane will fit a window 36 to 48 inches wide, with a rod pocket 3 inches that will slip neatly onto a pole up to 1-3/4 inches wide.

The great thing with Waverly curtains in general is that they are reasonably priced yet the quality is great, the material is usually very durable and it is also easy to launder. It keeps its color well and looks fine even after laundering.

The Waverly Home Classics line is available only at Lowes in fact. This line features window treatments, such as Waverly curtains, wallpapers and paint. Thus it is a fairly easy task to match window treatments with wall colors if you are looking for a complete renovation of any room. Unfortunately they do not carry the Home Collection line, which is more extensive than the Home Classics line.

If you are looking for the Waverly Home Collection you will find that Target carries a complete line which is more comprehensive than the Classics line. The Home collection line includes bedding and sheets, complete window treatments including Waverly curtains and valances, and bathroom accessories such as shower curtains, towels and bath rugs.

If you are thinking of installing Waverly fabric curtains you may want to also look into their matching paints and wallpapers. They do have a whole range and you can easily search online to find which fabrics match with which paints. If you are planning on renovating an entire home or room you may want to try to coordinate your colors by choosing a specific paint that matches with the fabric of the curtains.

The Beech Wardrobe

Beech is a very hard wood, often used to make furniture such as the beech wardrobe, chairs, flooring, children’s toys and kitchen cabinet doors. Its beautifully, light color makes it a very attractive choice if you are looking for a more lighter look furniture. There are many advantages to using beech for furniture, and some disadvantages also; as with any type of hard wood.  It is not recommended for outdoor furniture as the wood itself does not do very well in moist or humid settings, nor does it take well to changes in humidity. This should also be taken into account when thinking of purchasing a beech wardrobe. You may not want to do so if you live in a particularly humid area, unless you are able to keep your indoor humidity levels relatively stable.

A beech wardrobe can be a beautiful addition to any bedroom, as can a 3 shelf bookcase. The light color of the wood gives an uplift to the room and is especially helpful in bedrooms with smaller windows or rooms that do not receive a lot of natural daylight. It also matches well with any décor, due to it being light colored thus it looks perfectly acceptable in a room decorated with soft pastels or a room that is decorated with more bold color and design.

As with most hardwood furniture, beech ages very well. It has a natural appeal that does not diminish with age and time, providing the beech wardrobe is properly maintained and cared for.

It is not as commonly used as other woods for bedroom furnishings, mainly because craftsmen find that it is not as easy to work with due to the fact that it can warp fairly easily. Having said that, however, it is very easy to work against the grain, and when crafted properly can provide beautiful sleek curves and lines that are sometimes difficult to achieve with other woods.

A well made beech wardrobe will present clear solid lines. It gives a very clean presentation and is an odorless wood, which is a plus for people who are bothered by odors. It also means that there will be no trace of a wood smell in your room should it be closed up for any length of time. Some people prefer to have a wood odor in their rooms, but if you do not then this could be a good choice for you.

Another plus with beech wardrobes is that they will take a lot of wear and tear. Beech is a hard wood that is very durable. It is highly resistant to gouging, scratches and chipping. If you tend to use your wardrobe a lot you do not need to worry that the wood will become easily damaged. This is partly because beech is a very hard grained wood, that not only withstands a lot of wear and tear but also is great for withstanding shocks or bumps. It also makes it perfect if you store heavier items, such as suitcases, in or on top of your wardrobe. In short, it is also perfect for storage.

Buying a Beech Wardrobe

You will find many stores that carry wood furniture will also have a selection of beech furniture, including beech wardrobes for sale. You may even be able to find a matching set of a beech closet, beech dresser, beech bed and even a beech chest. If you are looking for cheap beech wardrobes you may want to check out the selection available at stores such as Ikea. If you want to buy a beech wardrobe Ikea has several available including the Aneboda beech wardrobe.  An Ikea beech wardrobe will cost you less, probably, than one bought from a furniture store that sells hand-crafted or specially designed furniture.

If you cannot afford a solid beech wardrobe, you may instead be interested in adding beech wardrobe doors and using some other material for the remainder of the wardrobe. Whatever you end up purchasing, a beech wardrobe with mirror and matching beech bedroom furniture really is a great set for any bedroom.

How to Protect Your Beech Wardrobe

There are many different finishes for wood, but one that has been used for many years which is still quite popular is using linseed oil. This oil is not ideal for some woods, such as oak or walnut, but it is great for finishing beech wood. It does not give the wood a shine or polish like lacquer does but it rather soaks into and hardens the wood, offering even more protection and durability to the wardrobe.

If you wardrobe is already finished and you are happy with what you have you may not want to try this. But if you have an older piece of furniture that is in need of a bit of a pick-me-up, this could be your solution.

Here is a step by step guide:

  • Sand down the wardrobe. Use a fairly light sandpaper and remember to sand with the grain not against or across the grain. For this reason it is usually best to sand the piece down by hand rather than by using an electric sanding machine. It will take time, yes. But the finished product will be well worth all effort put into it.
  • Mix equal parts of linseed oil and turpentine in a can or jar. Using a paintbrush, apply this mixture to your beech wardrobe. Once the wardrobe is covered with the mixture wait for about thirty minutes. Then put on another application of the mixture of linseed oil and turpentine. You will note, after each application that the oil mix soaks down into the wood. It is almost as if the wood is soaking it up.  You will probably have to do this quite a few times with beech wood as it really does absorb a lot.
  • When you notice that the oil is no longer soaking into the wood but is staying on the surface, your restoration is almost complete. You should then take a soft, lint free cloth and wipe the excess oil left on the surface off. There will not be much of a film left on the wardrobe, but that is fine.
  • Now you need to wait for the oil to harden and dry. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on external conditions. Needless to say, it dries much faster during summer when the air is hot and dry. Working in a humid atmosphere will cause delays.
  • The next step is sand the wardrobe down again with a fine grain sandpaper, wipe off any dust left from the sanding and then apply the oil mixture again. Wait for a few minutes and then wipe off excess oil with a lint free cloth. Let the oil dry again, and then repeat this last procedure, both sanding and oiling, until the wardrobe is how you would like it to be.

BUY LINSEED OIL

Curtain Tie Backs In All Shapes, Sizes and Styles

Often rather overlooked, or bought as an afterthought, the curtain tie back is really an amazing accessory that can change the look of a curtain or a room. Many store bought curtains come complete with a tie back made from exactly the same material as the curtain itself. Occasionally you may find a tie back included that matches the trim of the curtains bought. To most people this is sufficient, it does the job of holding back the curtains when they are opened which is all that is required.

Tie backs can be found at most curtain accessories stores, where they can be bought separately if you desire. That gives you an opportunity to use something other than the regular curtain tiebacks that came with your curtains. You can find curtain hold backs made from plain material or from patterned material. You can also find things such as curtain tassels which are great to use on more formal full wall length curtains or even rope curtain tie backs which resemble tassels often, but without the long tassels on the end. You can, incidentally, also usually purchase curtain tie back hooks at the same store.

A little tip when it comes to tie back hooks; make sure they are large enough to comfortably and easily hold your tiebacks. Too often I see people struggling to tie back their curtains when the problem is simply that the hook is too small to hold the material. Tiebacks are kept out of sight, so while you do not want one that looks unseemly and ugly, you can at least make sure the one you buy is large enough for the curtain ties.

There are other types of tiebacks too; not all are made from material. Beaded curtain tie backs look great, especially when they are used with curtains made from plain fabric. While may be personal preference, but I feel that they look absolutely stunning when used to tie back curtains made from dark material, such as dark blues, greens, reds or black curtains. They seem to lose a bit of their charm when used to tie back patterned curtains as the actual design of the beaded tieback gets swallowed up by the pattern of the curtains.

Glass curtain tie backs are quite delicate usually. Allowing one to drop on the floor can often result in the glass part of the tie back either chipping or shattering all together, depending on the type of floor covering you have.  Dropping it on carpet usually will not matter that much, but any other hard surface will be sure to damage the tie back. These are usually made with a glass decorative section that has rope attached. They really are very classy and can add a very elegant air to any curtains. Again I would highly recommend their use with darker plain colored curtains, as that will help them to stand out. You can buy glass curtain tie backs with specific colored glass, thus you are able to match curtains quite well without having to stick to only transparent or white glass.  I would not recommend this type of tie back in a busy home with lots of children and pets running around.

Iron curtain tie backs are very unique and, as with other metal curtain tie backs, usually very decorative. Iron tie backs are usually black, whereas tie backs made from other metal can be other colors.  This type of tie back is a more permanent fixture that is often fastened to the wall beside the curtain. The curtain is often slipped back behind it, where it is held in place.  I have seen these type of curtain tiebacks used very tastefully, though they usually fit with a more formal setting. Of course some metal tie backs are really just glorified metal hooks, and they look great in any setting.

You will find that by far the most common tie back are the fabric curtain tie backs. These can be made from the same fabric as the curtain or a totally different color or style of fabric. Sometimes it is very effective to choose a different material than the curtain itself. If you have a patterned curtain, adding a plain colored fabric tie back can be very effective.  If you have plain colored curtains, alternatively adding a colorful patterned fabric tie back can look very good also.

Did you know that with a little inventiveness and creativity you can really liven up your store bought Waverly curtains, for example, and add a certain ‘something’ to a room that most people will not even be able to pinpoint. Here are some curtain tie back ideas that you can make on your own.  When making curtain tie backs you get to choose the style, color and material to make them from.

  • Buy some beads and make your own beaded curtain tiebacks
  • Buy sequins and sew them onto plain dark material for a sparkling effect
  • Use up your button collection, a great look for country curtains, sew colored buttons on material
  • Buy a length of gold chain and tie your curtains back with that, just loop it around the curtains and pull the tail of the chain through the loop
  • Use artificial vines as a tieback
  • Sew lace tiebacks, if you are only using the lace for a tieback you can afford to splurge a little on the cost of the lace you buy
  • Use shoestrings!
  • Save scraps of material leftover from sewing projects and transform them into curtain tiebacks.
  • Dried cane can be twisted into tiebacks

As you can see, there is no limit to the different ideas for making your own tiebacks. The great thing is that if you get tired of one particular style of tie back you can always simply make a new one.

Finally, the question I am always asked. Where should you place your curtain tiebacks? How far down the curtain level should they be. The answer is very simple; it’s up to you. Some prefer them to be placed mid way, or towards the lower section, or even up above the half way mark. It does not matter. Just do what looks best to you. Oh, and if you have several windows with curtains make sure the curtain tie back placement is on the same level for the sake of continuity.

Eyelet Curtains

Eyelet curtains are an elegant, yet simple way to dress up your windows. While an eyelet curtain can be hung on any length window they look particularly stunning on full length windows. Readymade eyelet curtains are hung by threading a curtain pole through the metal curtain eyelets at the top of the curtain. Curtains usually come in sets with two panels provided per window. Curtains with eyelets are easily drawn back and secured with a curtain tie back during the day, and pulled across the curtain pole at night. It is also very easy to sew your own eyelet curtains, providing you have some basic sewing skills.

Eyelet curtain poles are made from either metal or wood. They frequently have a finial on the end that keeps the curtain from coming off and is decorative at the same time.  Poles can be found in many different diameters.

Eyelet Curtain Styles

There are as many different styles of eyelet window curtains as there is material. Curtains can be made from silk, velvet, faux silk, cotton, polyester cotton blend, or basically any other type of curtain fabric. They can be made from patterned material or plain material. White eyelet curtains made from fine material give a beautiful airy appearance to any room, as do eyelet lace curtains.

Eyelet curtains can be placed in almost any room, though the most common are eyelet kitchen curtains, eyelet café curtains in the dining room or eyelet fabric curtains gracing your long living room windows. Kitchen tier curtains can also be made in eyelet style.

If the curtains are patterned care should be taken to ensure that the pattern is not too overwhelming and that it blends naturally with your room furniture and décor. Patterns are usually softer, a blend of one or two colors rather than having large mixes of different colored patterns. Horizontal strips are a favorite with eyelet curtains although care needs to be taken, especially with handmade curtains, to ensure that the horizontal stripes match exactly when the curtain is closed.

Another common pattern or style is to have a large stripe of different colored material at the top of the curtain, where the eyelets are. The width of this stripe can vary anywhere from six to even eighteen inches. A delightful variation on this style is to have the regular curtain material at the top where the eyelets are, a different colored stripe below the eyelets followed by the regular curtain material again. While there are no standard patterns as such, horizontal lines do seem to be a favorite with these types of curtains. You can make your curtain tie backs from the same colored material as the stripe.

Asia Chocolate Faux Silk Floral Embroidered 44 In. x 84 In. Panel Asia Chocolate Faux Silk Floral Embroidered 44 In. x 84 In. Panel

Add a touch of elegance to your room with this tailored window panel in a lovely shade of chocolate. The panel is constructed of a gorgeous faux silk polyester fabric with a hint of shimmer and is detailed with embroidered floral motifs on top and bottom. Each panel features a wide three-inch rod pocket for use with a standard or decorative drapery rod. The window panel measures 44 inches wide by 84 inches long and is sold individually. Drapery rod shown is not included.


For a curtain with a difference, different colored eyelet curtain panels can be hung on the one rod. This works very well if you have a large wide window. You could alternate two complementary colors, such as a dark blue and a light blue for example. Or you could be more daring and have all different colored panels across an entire window. Of course, if you want to do something like this you do have to have the surrounding décor matching otherwise it can look very mismatched and almost garish.

Where to Buy Eyelet Curtains: Eyelet Curtains for Sale

There is a large selection of eyelet curtains online. Fortunately, as they are very easy to measure for and hang, it is a relatively simple procedure to order and buy your curtains online. If you are a really savvy shopper you will keep an eye out for an eyelet curtains sale and make your purchase then. Sometimes you will find them listed as grommet curtains rather than eyelet curtains. You can, of course also find them at almost any local store that sells curtains.

If you are looking specifically for cheap eyelet curtains then you may want to check out what is available on Amazon, eBay, HomeDepot or other similar online stores. For more expensive curtains, check out some of the larger online stores that specialize in curtains and drapes.

Asia Gold Faux Silk Floral Embroidered 44 In. x 84 In. Panel Asia Gold Faux Silk Floral Embroidered 44 In. x 84 In. Panel

Add a touch of elegance to your room with this tailored window panel in a lovely shade of gold. The panel is constructed of a gorgeous faux silk polyester fabric with a hint of shimmer and is detailed with embroidered floral motifs on top and bottom. Each panel features a wide three-inch rod pocket for use with a standard or decorative drapery rod. The window panel measures 44 inches wide by 84 inches long and is sold individually.


Measuring for Eyelet Curtains

When measuring for eyelet curtains it is best if you allow for a double gather as this will give a nice pleat to the curtains when they are closed. In other words, if your window is eight feet across, buy two eight feet wide panels and put one panel on each side of the window. This way the curtain will look great whether opened or closed.

As far as the length of the curtain, some people suggest that it should not drop to the floor. It is true that you do not want the curtains dragging on the floor. Not only does it usually not look very good but you will also end up with curtains that need frequent cleaning. You will also find that the part that drags on the floor will wear very quickly, making the whole curtain eventually look quite shabby.

The curtain should fall almost to the floor. Allow a one to a one and a half clearance at the bottom of the curtain. If by chance you mess up on your measurements and you find that the curtains are a tad too long when you get them home it is usually a fairly simple procedure to simply raise the top bar a little to accommodate this.

Eyelet Curtains: How to Hang

If you are wondering how to hang eyelet curtains, rest assured. There really are no simpler curtains to hang than eyelet curtains. First you should attach the rod brackets to the wall at the appropriate height. This will usually require the use of a power drill and screws (which should come with the curtain rod). Next thread the curtains onto the rod, and then place the rod on the brackets with the patterned side of the curtains facing inwards.

Most curtain poles made for eyelet curtains are made from metal, such as stainless steel, brass, or brushed steel. There are also decorative wooden curtain poles available also. The poles should come with two small finials or decorative tops that go on the ends of the poles. While these are not essential, it is a very good idea as it prevents the curtain from coming off the end of the pole.

51 - 96 In. Matte Black Square Architectural Metal Drapery Rod Set 51 – 96 In. Matte Black Square Architectural Metal Drapery Rod Set

House Parts Classic Home metal line of drapery hardware was created in the European style of quality and design, giving you the look of customized metal hardware at a fraction of the cost. The clean, sleek design of the Square Architectural set can be used in transitional and contemporary decor.


How to Make Eyelet Curtains

If you can sew a little, these are definitely some of the simplest curtains to make. It is pretty much all straight seams, with a nice four to six inch hem on the bottom. The main trick will be placing the eyelets. You will need to buy material, eyelets for curtains, eyelet curtain rings, and if you want it to be really simple, eyelet curtain tape.

I am not a seamstress so I will not insult your intelligence by pretending to know how to make eyelet curtains, and then copying vague instructions here from another website that was actually copied from another site and so on…

However a quick search online came up with the following instructions for sewing them that may get you started:

http://www.not2crafty.com/2009/02/easy-curtains-big-snap-rings-hanging/

http://www.curtain-corner.com/tips/tips_eyelet_tape.shtml

Better yet, here are some books from Amazon with detailed instructions on how to sew eyelet curtains.
There—I did the searching for you!

Click on the books below to check out the books on Amazon

The 3 Shelf Bookcase

There are many different styles of bookcases, but one of the most popular styles is the 3 shelf bookcase. The reason this particular bookcase is so popular is because of its size. It can easily fit into smaller spaces, underneath windowsills or you can purchase a bookcase that is designed to hang on the wall. A three shelf bookcase can be used for its original purpose, to store books, or it can also be used to showcase different decorative items. The great thing about most 3 shelf bookcases is that, unless they are designer furniture or antique, they are relatively inexpensive to buy.

Cost of a 3 Shelf Bookcase

For example, a simple Sauder 3 shelf bookcase can usually be purchased for anywhere from $25 to $30.  You can also find very reasonably priced bookcases at many other stores around the country. Ameriwood Industries sell them for as little as $13, while an Orion bookcase will only cost you $18.

If you are looking for something that is a better quality you would probably choose a 3 shelf bookcase made from mahogany, oak or some other hardwood.  Naturally these will cost more, depending on the quality of the craftsmanship and the wood used for building the bookcase. While these can sometimes be found at department stores you will probably have a better chance of finding a high quality one from an actual furniture store.  Prices can be as high as $100 or slightly more for a solid, well build hardwood bookcase.

If you buy your bookcase online you will need to factor in the shipping costs as well. Some stores will waive shipping fees for orders over a certain amount, which is a saving if you need to buy several pieces of furniture at the same time. The bookcase will most likely be shipped to you in an unassembled state but it is usually fairly easy to put together a simple 3 shelf bookcase.

Designs

There are many different designs of 3 shelf bookcases.  If you are purchasing one of the cheaper designs it will not be made from hardwood. In this case, you do need to be careful not to spill water on the bookcase or to place it in damp or humid situations as the faux wood may well swell and the veneer peel off. With care this type of shelf should last fairly well.

A 3 shelf bookcase cherry design is a bookcase that is made to look as though it was made from cherry wood. Of course, very little furniture is actually made from cherry wood these days as the cost is fairly prohibitive, however there are many nice cherry 3 shelf bookcases available. It is an extremely popular choice of bookcase. There are different types of cherry finish. A dark cherry finish is often seen. A cinnamon cherry finish resembles a dark brown with a reddish, cherry tinge.

Another popular design is the 3 shelf bookcase white design. While a painted white bookcase may not have all of the same charm as a cherry wood bookcase, it is a very versatile bookcase. It will fit in well with almost any environment. It is perfect for home offices and it looks great in a child’s bedroom as well.  In fact it is most commonly seen in a baby or toddlers bedroom, where it is used for storing children’s books and toys.

Metal 3 shelf bookcases are also fairly common. They are popular to use in office areas, home offices and even can be used around the home although the cheaper types really do not have the same aesthetic appeal as a wood book case. As with the cheaper bookcases, you do need to be sure to protect metal shelving from water, as even if it is sealed it is possible that water can still damage it, especially if the sealant is cracked at all.

The 3 shelf bookcase is a very popular and easily located piece of furniture. Its versatility and usefulness has guaranteed it a place in almost every home and it is likely to remain a mainstay of home furniture for many years to come.

Toasted Sandwich Maker Information

Hot toasted sandwich makers are incredibly handy kitchen devices. A hot toasted sandwich machine offers you more options if you want to make quick to cook cuisine. If you are in the market for one of the many toasted sandwich devices available now it is worth doing some research to find the right one for you. Toastie sandwich makers are called other names too, e.g. a breville machine or a hot sandwich machine. This type of kitchenware is comprised of two hot plates. These two parts are joined by a hinge segment. The most popular type of hot toasted sandwich machines are electrically powered. Next is an additional discussion of the electrical kind.

It is possible to make two hot sandwiches concurrently with today’s toasted sandwich makers. Before you can toast your snack, you have to join the electrical cable to an electric power supply. Once it is able to draw power, the machine will become hotter. The outside of the machine will warm up but not get as hot as the inner parts.

If the outside of the toasted sandwich maker got too hot it could be dangerous. The hot plates are insulated to avoid this from happening.

These pieces of kitchenware are straightforward to make the most of. However sometimes we just let them sit in a kitchen cupboard. This is a waste. All you have to do is get some standard square shaped bread and a lot of of your favorite sandwich fillings. Adding some butter on the outside of the bread stops it from sticking to the device as it is cooking. One other benefit is that it will help to crispen your toastie. It doesn’t take much time before a toasted sandwich machine heats up.
Firstly plug it in and then start getting your sandwiches ready. Two toasted sandwiches as well as a salad can be a delicious, cheap and comparatively healthy meal.

It is easy to make straightforward as well as more complex sandwiches with these types of kitchen appliances. Cheese is great as it becomes nice and sticky. This works well with ham or tuna for example. Tomato obviously goes well with cheese however you have to be careful adding tomato to your toasted sandwich. Because it is so wet, tomato can bleed through the surface of your toastie turning it soggy if you use too much. Things that do not shed water into the bread can be the best ingredients. In addition to red cheeses, there are loads of other cheese options. Like toasties with, brie and cooked bacon or cheddar and coleslaw..

Using a hot sandwich machine is simply one of a range of ways to make exciting toasties. One other prevalent choice now-a-days is to use a panini grill because these might be thought of more adaptable than standard toastie machines.

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Review

Do Japanese rice steamers really prepare amazingly tasty rice?

Eating rice was something I did not do too often before I visited Japan.
This is because I had rice that was prepared in a saucepan. You are able to prepare rice that is okay in a sauce pan. But to do this is a good deal harder than people would believe. Moreover the rice that I ate when I was young was sometimes a little too wet. If you use a Japanese rice steamer though, you are able to make nice tasting Japonica rice, or some other sort of rice that you fancy every time. Rice cookers are easy to operate because the appliance does all the cooking for you. Cleaning your Japanese rice cooker is very straightforward.

There are several advantages to using devices such as the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10. This is because these kinds of appliances are high end authentic Japanese rice cookers. They help you to make white rice effortlessly. What is more, using a Zojirushi rice cooker we can produce a variety of different styles of rice. To give some specifics, you can easily make rice porridge, sushi rice, brown rice and so on. There are a lot of different settings available. So it is a good idea if you read the guidebook that is included with your Japanese rice cooker machine so that you can get the most out of your machine. You can read a further Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 review at Japanese rice cookers.

You can find some other options than costly Japanese made rice cooking machines. It is possible to find an appliance for more cheaper prices. As an example you can get kitchen appliances such as the Aroma ARC-838TC that come at much lower prices. You could also pick up a non-Japanese machine like the Black & Decker RC3303. Dependent upon your situation, a less expensive appliance could be more sensible. Possibly you are uncertain how much you would use a rice cooker. The sorts of rice cooking appliances previously mentioned could be ideal in this situation.

Cheapest Breville Panini Press

breville pressHave you ever tasted a delicious Panini made in a café or delicatessen? If you have you will know that they look and taste great while at the same time can also form part of a healthy nutritious meal. Of course they can always just be eaten as a snack too. But eating out can be an expensive thing to do. So for Panini lovers the most economical option is to find a reasonably priced home Panini making machine. If you enjoy your toasted sandwiches you may be wondering what your options are. This article will discuss the cheapest Breville Panini press. Read on to find out more.

There are four grills in the Breville range. The lowest priced model is the Panini Press “Duo” BSG520XL. This model retails for well under one hundred dollars. But do not let the reasonable price fool you. Of course this is a model that is designed for home use but it still comes with many of the features of commercial Panini machines. For example the two hot plates combine to help you make authentic looking, as well as great tasting, toasted Panini. This comes about because the lower hot plate is flat. This is beneficial because it heats up your sandwich quickly and evenly. Then the top plate has ridges which when closed on to the top of your sandwich give it the authentic looking dark lines along the top. Other features of the BSG520XL are that it can be set to four different height levels. This lets you cook big fat sandwiches as well as more traditional slim Panini. Just having the different settings gives you more options when making your homemade sandwiches. It is a very versatile machine which can in fact be used to cook more than just toasted sandwiches. To top it off, once you have bought and paid for your own Breville Panini press you will save money over eating out every time you use it.

Breville Panini Sandwich Press for the Kitchen

brevilleThere are many different kinds of toasted sandwich makers on the market today. This article will discuss those made by the company Breville. In Australia the word Breville is synonymous with toasted sandwich. They are well known for making high quality kitchenware that both looks good and has a sturdy design. Their toasted sandwich makers are no different. They are great devices to have in the kitchen and as the look good will likely satisfy the style conscious. A Breville panini sandwich press is similar to normal toasted sandwich makers that you may be familiar with. However instead of only being able to toast up standard square cut loaves of bread, these machines are much more versatile. They can make a hot toastie out of pretty much any kind of bread that you care to use.  Not only that but they can also be used for cooking a wide variety of foods including eggs and pancakes.

Breville sandwich makers have two hot plates. One on the top and the other on the bottom. The bottom plate is flat while to top plate is ribbed. This means that your food will cook quickly and evenly courtesy of the bottom plate and it will also have grill marks courtesy of the top ribbed plate. This gives your sandwiches an authentic panini atmosphere. Other features of these machines is that they have a variety of different height settings. Therefore you are able to set the height depending upon the type of hot sandwich you are planning on making.  Further the hot plates are covered with a special non-stick material which makes cooking and cleaning easy.

These machines are surprisingly cheap. You can find certain panini presses for under $100. For example the Breville BSG520XL Panini Duo is the cheapest model in their range but has all the features you would really need of a toasted sandwich machine for home use. The fact that the unit is so reasonably priced means that over time it is actually possible to save money. By purchasing your own ingredients and making home made food savings can be made over eating out. Not only this but you are able to select your own ingredients which may be good for those on a diet. If you enjoy eating bread, a Breville panini sandwich press is the sort of machine that can really liven up your diet.

Portable Heating Devices

oil filled radiatorPortable heating can be very useful when it is cold. One of the good things about these kinds of heating appliances is that they are often fairly cheap to purchase. This is not the case if we were to install a central heating or other type of HVAC system. Obviously these kinds of household climate management options may well be superior. However for those of us that are concerned about the actual cost of an item that we are going to purchase, a cheaper gas heater or electrical radiator, e.g. oil filled radiators, may be a much more economical option for us to consider.

There are many positives that these devices have. Whether or not you are interested in an electrical or a gas device, they both have the same effect upon the area that you use it, they warm it up! This is what is great about heaters. Using them obviously does cost a bit of cash to keep the heat flowing, but just the simple act of getting warm when it is cold outside can be an end in itself. There are obviously environmental questions that can be raised about household heating devices. It may well be better for the environment for us to spend the money and insulate our homes correctly. However, this option may well be good in theory but for many of us just is not practical. If you live in rented accommodation you may not be allowed to install extra insulation.

At the same time it is unlikely to be economical for you to do so.

Therefore using a cheap mobile heater becomes a much more attractive option. To buy a gas or electrical heating device is often a low priced purchase. Then even the cost of the fuel to run it is not prohibitively expensive. Therefore for many of us it is simply the most sensible option.

The Corner Wardrobe – How to Build a Corner Wardrobe

CLICK HERE FOR TIPS ON BUILDING A CORNER WARDROBE

There seems to be a bit of a trend these days amongst my friends. Almost everyone I know is either moving from a house into an apartment, or downsizing their apartments and moving into smaller ones.  It could be because money is a little tighter than it was previously. We moved into an apartment to save time more than money. The upkeep on the big, old house we were living in was getting out of hand and the two of us, plus two high-school age children who had more than enough homework to keep them busy every day when they arrived home from school, were not able to manage all the needed upkeep.

So, we have downsized to, into what we refer to as our four and a half bedroom apartment. There are four decent sized bedrooms and one tiny room that most likely is meant to be a maid’s room but that will soon be converted into a storage room come pantry.  Two of the bedrooms are on the smallish side and when looking for ways to conserve space we came up with the idea of L shaped corner wardrobes. Fortunately our youngest daughter who by default inherited a slightly smaller bedroom, also liked the idea as she had seen some great corner wardrobes on sale at Ikea.  We tossed around the ideal of building a corner wardrobe ourselves, but then decided to take a look at what was available before going ahead with that project.

Most of the corner units we saw were L shaped corner wardrobes and the smaller units looked like they would fit nicely in the bedrooms that needed them. We finally settled on getting one corner wardrobe from Ikea that was not L shaped but was made to have equal size on either side of the corner for the guest room as guests usually do not need a lot of wardrobe space and the guest room is the smaller of all of the bedrooms.  We picked up a nice, dark wardrobe. The only thing I do not like about it is that, like a lot of the furniture you pick up from Ikea, it is made from particleboard and therefore will not be all that long-lasting. Still, we do not get a lot of guests, just the occasional overnight kid visiting our children, or sometimes a brief relative visit, so it should hold up alright.

The Ikea Hopen Corner Wardrobe is 24 inches deep and 46.5 inches wide on either side, so it is a reasonable size for what we need and it does look nice, being new and unused so far.  It took hubby a few hours to assemble it with the help of a friend. I could not have put it up, but I am not really much of a handywoman.  Still, any man with a few DIY skills and someone to help should have it assembled and attached to the wall pretty quickly.

Instruction manuals on assembling the unit should come with the wardrobe pieces. If they do not you can find the instructions online.  For our wardrobe, we followed the plans that are here.

For the girls room we chose a slightly larger L shaped corner wardrobe.  One side was half the size of the longer size.  It was still small enough to not be the main overpowering object in the room but it provided plenty of space for hang up clothes and had ample shelves and other storage place as well. We were lucky to find one that went pretty much floor to ceiling and that was thin enough to not take up too much space.

45 degree wardrobeAnother option for corner storage space is the 45 degree wardrobe. We looked at a few of these, but realized that they were too deep to put in the room, and we would also probably have to tag on two smaller regular sized wardrobes to either side in order to give enough space.  It would have appeared a bit too bulky in the bedroom which is why we opted for the larger L shaped wardrobe. It was already assembled, and the shop we bought it from was kind enough to deliver to our door the following day.

I thought about getting a 45 degree wardrobe for our storage and pantry area as it is set right off from our back patio which is where we have currently installed the washer and dryer. It could be useful for storing laundry items as well as for our visitor sheets and linen.  I am still deciding whether it would be a good idea or not. The room is very small and 45 degree wardrobes do take up quite a bit of space due to their depth. But after all, a pantry or storage room needs lots of storage space.  I am undecided as of today, but will most probably decide to get one as soon as I begin organizing (or trying to organize) that room.

Of course, if you are a handyman or there is one in your family, it would be very easy to design and build a corner wardrobe.  The design looks very simple and if you are handy enough to build any kind of wardrobe then building a corner wardrobe should not pose any more problems. Hubby had a look on line for simple instructions on how to build a L shaped wardrobe but decided that he did not have time to do so.  He did find some good plans though, but as he only had half a day to give toward the project and as the need was fairly urgent (or so our girls said) we opted to buy.

For those who have basic handyman skills, here is a simple outline of how to go about building your own corner wardrobe:

Simple Instructions on

What You Will Need: Tools
Circular saw or crosscut saw
Stepladder
Measuring tape
Pencil
Framing square
Chalk-line box
4-foot spirit level
Utility knife
Straightedge
Drywall screws or nails
Joint compound
Taping knife
Sandpaper

What You Will Need: Materials
2x4s for studs, wall plates, and braces Door and hardware
2x lumber for header
Shelves, clothes poles, and storage units, as needed
Door and hardware
Drywall

Step #1: The first thing you should do is outline the closet on the floor. This will give you the basic measurements you need for lumber, and will also help you get a visual idea of how the completed closet will look.  Note: Make sure the closet is deep enough to allow for storage; 28 inches depth is the recommended depth. You can go deeper than that but it is not recommended that you make it more shallow.

Step #2: Nail the 2×4’s on the floor, two feet apart.   Mark where the door will be, remember to leave a little extra space for the door jambs, or the vertical sides of the door frame.

Step #3: Once you have the basic outline on the floor, make an outline on the walls, following the basic lines you have set down. You will need to use your spirit level to make sure that the lines are straight. When you have the basic outline you can nail on the outside studs and the top plates for the walls. You will attach the wall to these studs on both the inside and outside of the closet.

Step #4: Studs for the walls go up next. Place them in the center of the wall. Depending on the size of your closet you may need more than the one center stud. Nail the stud to the top plate and to the 2 x 4 soleplates. Cross brace the studs as necessary to give sufficient support.

Step #5: Make the doorway frame.  You will need to nail additional studs on each side of the doorway, and install a double header across the top opening.   When the header is in place, use a saw to remove the bottom part of the sole plate where the door opening will be.

Step #6: Once the framework is all finished it is time to apply the paneling and the lining. Nail the paneling to the beams and fill over the nails with putty, then sand over.

Step #7: Next, work on the inside of the wardrobe.  Install the closet poles; make shelves to fit inside the wardrobe wherever you need them.

For the corner section of the wardrobe, you may find it is easiest to set a long row of shelves, from top to bottom, as the corner is often a little difficult to get to and shelving seems to work much better than leaving room for hang-up space.

Built In Wardrobe

When searching online, I also found this neat guide on how to simply build a built-in wardrobe.