Holland Companion Portable Gas Grill

Holland makes gas grills that operate a little differently that most of your conventional outdoors gas grills. Their design of their portable and home units makes use of indirect heat instead of direct heat applied from under the food item like most. These among other innovations make the Holland companion portable gas grill one of the most sought after models made.

As mentioned before the Holland Company has a design on their grills that reflects the heat from the heat source up and around the food item. The cooking comes from conduction and natural convection created from the air flow through the grill. There is a pan in the center of the unit that catches juices preventing any flare-ups.

Cooking on a Holland grill is a little different as it does not cook well with the lid open like cooking over an open flame does. The design is such that the unit has to have the lid closed to be able to create the conduction needed to cook items. If you are a griller that has to constantly turn and fiddle with the food on the grill then you need a portable charcoal barbecue grill. If however, you would rather spend time with your guests than tending to the grill then you should definitely take a look at the Holland Companion.

Photo By: Liz West

The Holland companion portable gas grill is well constructed from stainless, is portable and light for how it is constructed weighing in at 21 pounds. The downside of the Holland is the learning curve that will be associated with the new type of cooking you will be doing. You will not get the grill marks on your steaks as you do when cooking over an open flame due to the indirect heating. Finally the price may be a consideration as the Holland Companion costs around 250 US dollars.

The Holland Grill company makes about the best gas grills around and the Companion is definitely one of the best portable gas grills around . The way they grill takes a little getting used to but well worth the effort and the extra money you will put in. A product that will provide many a good meal for years to come the Holland Companion portable gas grill should be tops on anyone’s list that is in the market for a portable grill. The Holland Companion comes in an electric model as well.

DIY Fireplace Surrounds: A Great Alternative

Fireplace surrounds can be expensive to replace, costing an average of $400 for a simple wooden facing, to over $1,000 for a stone or metal design. For those wishing to upgrade an existing fireplace on a budget, DIY fireplace surrounds offer an inexpensive, unique alternative. Designs can be as simple or elaborate as desired, and the use of creative materials can save both time and money. Here are some easy, fun ideas to dress up an ugly or boring fireplace.

Cover a plain brick facing with a coat of stucco, and embed sea glass, shells, and interesting pebbles in the cement. For a fossilized look, work in small sections, and instead of embedding the objects, use them to stamp the stucco. Overlap the objects, and vary the pressure used when stamping for a more authentic effect.

Photo By: Wonderlane

Terra cotta tile can also make a beautiful DIY fireplace surround, especially when combined with brass or wrought iron fireplace doors. Simply set the tile in mortar directly over the existing surround. If the existing fireplace has a wood or metal facing instead of brick or stone, remove it, install masonry board, and lay the tile on that instead.

Another option is to refinish the fireplace with paint. Painted surrounds are the easiest and most inexpensive way to update a room; just tape off the edges, including the fireplace doors, and paint. For brick or stone, clean the areas you wish to paint with a weak turpentine wash; for wood, consider sanding the surface before painting.

In contemporary homes, metal sheeting creates a modern, sleek look without much effort. Sheeting can be installed over the current surround, or directly to the wall. For more visual interest, try using two types of metal sheeting-stainless steel and copper, for example, or textured and smooth sheeting. Woven metal strips are also a fun, unique look for modern fireplaces.

Before beginning any DIY project, always make sure to review the instructions, materials list, and skills needed to finish the job. It is often better to leave a project undone than to do it badly. If in doubt, hire a professional, or attempt another project.

Ideas for Choosing the Right Wedding Gift

Every year, as spring turns to summer, you can count on seeing wedding parties standing on the front steps of the local church posing for photographs almost every Saturday afternoon.  This is a joyous occasion of course, but sometimes, when you find yourself invited to several weddings in one year, it can inspire just a bit of dread.  Although we are all certainly happy for the couple getting married, knowing what present to give them can be a challenge that many of us would prefer to avoid.

Photo By: Blaise Alleyne

Many couples today have a wishing well or some other similar collection box set up to accept gifts of cash given inside of wedding cards.  While the money is surely appreciated by the newly married couple, it lacks a bit in the area of creativity.  When you are not particularly close to the couple getting married, money is an easy option for gift giving, but when you really care about the people who just tied the knot, something more personal may be in order.

If you are a married person, you have the advantage of hindsight on your side.  Think back to what you found yourself needing a short while after exchanging your nuptials.  There is a very good chance that within a couple months you were not eating dinner off of the expensive place settings you received.  Often, the best wedding presents are the ones that the couple did not think of while they were making up their registry.

Think about the decorating scheme they are using in their home.  Is there anything that they forgot to address while they were asking for household items?  People often forget about decorating their walls when they make their interior design plans.  Do they have boring walls?  Perhaps a lovely set of picture frames might serve them well for displaying some of their wedding photos.  They might also enjoy receiving some relevant or even personalized vinyl wall quotes to put behind the sofa in their living room.

When you are buying for friends, think of the things that you suspect they have not planned for.  Rather than making yourself a pain in the neck by pointing them out, why not surprise them and include them as part of your wedding present?  They may just give you a special thank you for it later.

Composting Basics

Are you interested in living a more simple lifestyle?  Are you interested in learning about “going green”?  Are you interested in creating your own fertilizer and mulch?  And are you interested in saving a lot of money?   If you have answered yes to all of these questions, you are a person who is interested in getting yourself off the grid to live a more independent and basic life.

One way of “living off grid” is to learn about composting.  There are many methods of composting.  All of them are relatively simple and inexpensive.  But what exactly is compost and what it is used for?  Compost is a dark, nutrient rich material that is comprised of broken down garden/yard debris, kitchen scraps, and other organic materials.  many gardeners call compost “black gold”, because it is so rich in minerals that it is a prime fertilizer for garden beds, potted plants, and landscaping in general.  Any gardener can create his own compost by combining the above mentioned materials in a simple bin or container along with some water.  But is it really that simple?  The answer is a resounding, YES!

Photo By: Bruce (http://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/4123518950/)

So, how to make compost

Step 1 – Decide a location for your compost bin/pile.  Most compost bins are wooden or wired in area that holds materials securely in a pile.  If you do further research into using worms for composting, you will definitely want a wooden box or a shallow metal or plastic basin to hold your compost materials.

Step 2 – After deciding on a location, you’ll need to figure a size of your compost pile.  This is going to depend on a few factors.  First, how much organic scrap material does your household produce in a week to put into your compost pile?  Typical home composts are about 3 foot by 3 foot and are no more than 18 inches deep.  You want to make sure your pile doesn’t get much taller than this so the pile can have proper air circulation.  Air will naturally penetrate the pile up to 20 inches.  This will help reduce odor and your chances of attracting bugs and other critters to your compost.  For smaller piles I recommend wire fencing on the outside of the pile so you have easy access through the top to turn your pile.  For larger piles you can create a box using wooden pallets as the side walls and a fifth one for the top.  The slats in the pallets allow for air flow and the lid can still be removed to help you maintain your compost pile.

Step 3 – Once you have a location, size, and basic structure, you are ready to start adding materials to the pile itself.  Every compost pile is made of green materials which add nitrogen (non greasy kitchen scraps such as fruit cores and peels, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, grass clippings, weeds, and barnyard animal manure – not cats and dogs), brown materials which add carbon (shredded paper, twigs, small branches, and straw), and moisture.   Keeping your compost pile watered so it is damp but not sopping wet is key.  If it is too dry the materials will not break down.  If it is too wet it will start to smell and become slimy.

Step 4 – Wait.   Time will do most of the work.  Although you do have to check the pile weekly to make sure it is moist.  Also, you will want to rotate the pile from the outside in once a week or so.  This will help the materials to break down more evenly.

Step 5 – Harvest your compost and use it around your home.  Various uses are to fertilize indoor and outdoor herb gardens.  Use as a top fertilizer for any indoor or outdoor potted plants.  Use instead of expensive store bought mulches and fertilizers for your larger flower beds or gardens.  For all potted plants, you will only need about 1/2-1 inch of compost on top of your potting soil to keep your plants happy and growing all season.

Happy gardening!

Get a Lil’ Country with Southern Home Decorating Ideas!

The warmest home decorating ideas are those that are both grounded and gracious – two words that have always been associated with the elegant styles of iconic southern design. Country living has moved into the modern age, bringing with it a whole slew of new possibilities for personal and expressive home decor.

Rich, soothing tones are a common theme often presented gracefully in the southern home by using bold furniture, natural finishes, and sometimes even beautiful exposed joinery. Displays of personal and family artifacts are not uncommon, often appearing in tasteful asymmetrical groupings. There is never any doubt that comfort and personality play a crucial in modern country houses.

Photo By: R. Clock

Southern charm is all about the details: well-set tables, intimate seating arrangements, intricate furniture hardware, layered textures, and playful patterns. Consider using cork instead of cabinet handles, or use a stack of worn books to accent a vase of flowers. Bring it all together with an exquisite black chandelier – chosen carefully of course!

Anything ordinary can become part of the rustic atmosphere: antique maps can be framed and hung, an heirloom quilt can be displayed on a bed-end chest, postcards can be stacked and tied with a ribbon to be placed beside an arrangement of family photographs. Finally, sentimental items can take their place out in the open instead of being stored away.

The quintessential southern home is far from cliché; it is a spectacular display of heritage, memories, and collective experience.  These dwellings are not about vintage or modern home decorating ideas, but about updating the traditional favorites of generations past.

Beware – these ornamental interior design ideas can be overdone! To keep your country home from becoming what is known as “shabby chic” make sure that there is rhyme and reason to each personal touch. Southern style is known for elegance and sublime simplicity, two distinctive traits for which there are no substitute.

Are Custom Plantation Shutters Worth The Money?

Ordering Shutters For Your Home
Plantation shutters are one of the most elegant and timeless window treatments you can purchase for your home. They are often made with solid woods like basswood, but occasionally can be found in more affordable varieties made with a faux wood or vinyl composite. The most common way to order shutters for your home is to call a contractor in your area to come measure each window individually and install them properly. Unlike fabric shades or blinds which can be easily trimmed to fit, there is very little room for error when you build plantation shutters.

Constructed with louvered doors on hinges, plantation shutters can be operated with the panels closed allowing complete control of light and privacy, or they can be opened to reveal the window entirely for cleaning or uninhibited ventilation. Additionally, plantation shutters made of solid woods can be painted or stained to match any type of trim or decor.

Benefits Of Shutters
Plantation shutters are one of the most versatile window treatments you can buy. They can even be custom made for hard to treat windows like arch or circles, and they can even be fashioned into door blinds for your entryway windows. But aside from their aesthetic appeal, there are a number of functional benefits of shutters as well.

  • Ventilation – Whether completely opened, or partially opened, shutters give you complete control of the amount of ventilation and breeze that enters the room. Even when the louvers are closed for privacy you can allow some air to enter the room.
  • Light – Plantation shutters are second to none in light control. Their louvers can be adjusted to any angle to block direct UV rays while allowing natural sunlight to enter and bathe the room with warmth and comfort.
  • Easy To Clean – Simply wipe down with a wet rag. No dry cleaner or spot washing required.

Metal Carport Kits Assembly

Just this morning I was looking online and saw an article about smaller cars with big price tags. It is very true that the three largest purchases that many of us make are cars, education, and our homes. Paying off a school loan is usually something that you can only chip away at. While of the three cars are assets which depreciate. But one way we can help to stave off rust, wear, and the elements is to construct a metal carport kit for it. Considering a car is parked at home during the night, then at least half of a twenty four hour day would be spent under its shelter.

Of all carports, the metal ones are the best combination of cost economy and overall strength. Though adding on to a home and matching the existing materials, style and roof line, such as a integral carport would do, looks very nice, it is also very costly. Metal carports are designed to go together quickly, hold up very well, and not require an architect.

The first thing that is required is a way to secure the carport to the ground. There are two ways that come to mind for anchoring a carport down. The first is through cement footers poured into the ground and then attaching the superstructure to the tops piers. The other way is to level a site and pour a mono slab with a four inch thick pad. While the cement is being poured anchor bolts are slide into the area and left exposed out of the cement. Then the superstructure is bolted into place. When pouring a slab, it is very important to place a six inch layer of gravel evenly over the carport site. This keeps the cement from cracking.

SteelMaster Steel Carport

When erecting the carport all of the pieces should be fully cut to length. Bolt holes are typically drilled and necessary welding performed. Then all the homeowner has to do is to assemble the superstructure, apply screws, nuts, and washers as needed, and install the metal roofing and sides. Some metal carports are only the roof while others have two or three sides. The openness is sometimes decided by how cold the area is and  how protected the site.  Cars are one of the biggest expenses in our checkbook every month, so it is best to protect them. Carports during the day prevent UV damage to the paint and upholstery. Metal carport kits are definitely worth their investment if assembled property.

Typical Problems when Running a Gas Fireplace

Before going into details, it is good to know that gas fireplaces are generally very low maintenance and fail only rarely. However, as with any appliance which is in constant use, sometimes problems do occur. Whenever serious repairs are required or safety relevant features of your gas fireplace are affected, the work should be left to a licensed professional. Still, most problems concerning gas fireplaces are solved rather easily. Therefore, it is good to know some simple gas fireplace repair tips which will help you to solve these issues by yourself. What, then, are the main troubles with gas fireplaces?

First, the pilot light may refuse to start or go out again quickly after the ignition has been turned off. This could be due to an inverse draft (down draft) in the chimney caused by obstructions in the air flow, either at the top of the vent or at the exit from the firebox. Or, it could be due to a problem related to the thermocouple which works as a safety shut-off for the gas valve. Any kind of electric problem (loose wiring, shorts in the system) or mechanical difficulties (broken screws or excessive dirt on the thermocouple) could be the cause.

Photo By: Kai Hendry

If the main burner does not work, it is most likely due to a valve malfunction caused by a defective thermopile. The thermopile is a collection of thermocouples which generates a higher voltage in the millivolt range to power the main gas valve. The situation here is identical to the problems described above concerning the smaller thermocouple – any kind of electric or mechanical failure could trigger this behavior.

Finally, soot and dirt can collect in the gas fireplace insert itself or in the chimney. This problem is usually only noticed upon close visual inspection or because of the presence of an unpleasant odor when the gas fire is burning. It is almost always due to a flame burning far too rich, meaning that not enough air is being supplied to the burner leading to an incomplete combustion.

All of these problems can usually be solved without professional help. However, in case of doubt, it is always recommended to involve a specialist with the appropriate experience.

Top Three Styles of Glass Tables

Glass tables are a beautiful style that can work great in just about any home.  There are also a lot of different styles and types to choose from.  This article gives you the three most popular styles.

A great choice is frosted glass.  This adds a very stylish and modern look to a room.  Plus, you don’t necessarily have to get your table in all frosted glass.  The contrast between the soft colors of frosted glass and clear glass can be used to create beautiful patterns that will make your table a beautiful attention-grabber.

Glass tables come in many different colors, but black glass is certainly one of the most popular.  Black glass tends to lend a very modern and contemporary feel to a room.  It can create a professional and more formal look.  If you have a very modern design for your home, and are looking for a glass table to complement it, then black glass is the way to go.

Although glass dining tables are the most popular, you can also choose a glass coffee table.  Coffee tables are traditionally much lower in height than dining tables, but you can find this style in glass.  An all glass coffee table adds a modern flare to your living room, while a wicker coffee table with a glass top can create a very casual look.  You can even have a dark metal frame, and use a glass top to have some contrast and make the metal seem less harsh.  There are so many different ways to use a glass coffee table in your living room!

A glass dining table or a glass coffee table is a great choice for any home.  Whether you are using it in a formal setting with dining room chairs upholstered in elegant patterns, or in a casual setting, there is a style out there that is perfect for you!

The Garden Cart: An Indispensable Garden Accessory

One of the most popular pastimes in spring, summer and fall is gardening. Done by individuals of every age and background, gardening can be any number of things: Relaxing; utilitarian; a means of doing moderate exercise; or just a way of getting outside and enjoying the weather. All one needs to start a garden is a patch of land, some seeds, and the patience to see the project through. Certain gardening accessories also help to make the activity easier. One such accessory is a garden cart.

Garden wagons and carts come in every imaginable variety, and like the act of gardening itself, can serve multiple purposes. You may prefer a purely useful tool to assist in the transporting of produce, watering cans and other gardening accessories, or you may wish it to serve a primarily decorative purpose.  Here are some of the garden cart options that you may wish to consider.

Photo By: Lisamarie Babik

The first type, mentioned above, is the one that is purely functional. This cart is rugged, able to withstand considerable wear and tear, and resistant to extremes in weather conditions. Most often this type of wagon will be made of a durable material such as metal, or a combination of metal and wood. It is also possible to find rugged carts made of durable plastic materials. These types of carts are especially useful in situations where heavy or bulky items must be transported. Using this tool can not only save time; but also considerable strain and exertion caused by manually transporting heavy or bulky materials.

The second type of wagon is primarily decorative in function. Although this cart may be used to transport materials, it will also be aesthetically pleasing, and a visual feature of the garden itself. Look for carts made with wrought iron detailing and wood slats. To make a permanent installation within the garden, consider planting flowers or vegetables directly in the cart.

Popular Fan Looks For Outdoor Ceiling Fans

A hot summer can make spending time outdoors feel more like a punishment than a way of relaxing.  No matter how well you have your porch or patio set up, a hot day can make that space completely unusable.  With an outdoor fan, you can add just enough of a breeze to make some of those hot days feel a little bit more inviting.  Outdoor ceiling fans come in designs built to fit in with almost any home style, so you should always be be able to find the best outdoor ceiling fans for you.

Popular Outdoor Ceiling Fan Options:

Fans That Include Lighting – Getting lights on an indoor fan is generally a non-issue, but outdoor ceiling fans aren’t quite that simple. The outdoor options that come with lights are generally damp rated, which means they are safe underneath a covering like a covered porch or patio with an awning.  Some waterproof lighted options exist, but the price is generally much higher when compared to waterproof outdoor ceiling fans without lights.

Tropical Ceiling Fans For OutsideTropical style ceiling fans that uses large blades in natural materials to push air at a slower speed than standard fans has gained quite a bit of popularity for outdoor use.  These fans can work pretty well for many areas, but make sure you choose a fan that comes with more than three or four blades to get the best cooling results.

Unusual Modern Outdoor Fan Styles – If you are interested in having a more modern look outside, consider one of the many outdoor ceiling fan options done in modern or contemporary styles.  If these options keep a standard form factor they should be perfectly capable of cooling your space just as well as any fan.  If you notice an unusual shape, try to see it in action before you make a purchase to make sure it will work well.

Wood Blinds For Style

Your home is something special. It’s the place where you feel a sense of involvement. It is where you find warmth, comfort, security and shelter. Your home is a meaningful aspect that plays a vital part in your life. Your home decorated to your liking for you to feel a strong connection and feel comfortable in it.

Depending on what style, theme or background you choose for your home, it should always represent a part of you. Seeing a reflection of your persona in your own home is the best way for you to appreciate your home and have a positive vibes around the vicinity of your little haven.

For your windowpanes, you can find a selection of window treatments that are readily available in the market. You can even buy them at a very low price. However, if you opt for window coverings that can provide you with both appearance and function, you can go for window blinds.

Blinds have a lot of varieties to choose from. If you are the type of person who wants to have all the sophistication, recreation and advantages all at the same time, wood blinds are the perfect blinds for you.

Photo By: Stuart Pilbrow

Wood blinds have parallel fundamental functions and benefits like most window blinds. Moderately opened window blinds allow some outdoor light and humidity into rooms and an entirely opened window blinds provide the best view out the window and let the most sunlight and breeze bypass into the room. You can also use these blinds for total blackout and privacy when completely closed.

Wood blinds are available in a number of styles, colors, and shapes. They tend to look elegant that is why it is perfect in any type of interior design. It is suitable and versatile for dresses up rooms like no other blinds can do. Wood blinds are firm but they provide a soft look and feel to it.

You may know a lot of people who will tell you the latest trend or read on an array of advices about interior design. But it’s all actually down to you. It is your house and your life; you have the power to modify your house according to your preference. No one can really decide for you and influence you on the form of style that can really satisfy your taste.

Things To Consider When Buying Plastic Containers

Plastic storage containers are very useful in helping you clean and organize your home, office, or manufacturing facility. Before you go out and buy some for your own personal use, there are a number of things that you should consider. This article will highlight some of the main considerations that should be taken into account in order to buy the right kind of plastic storage containers for you.

The first consideration should be what you will be using the container for. If you are using the containers for food storage, you need to pay special attention to what type of plastic the container is made of. You should avoid those that are made of PVC, polystyrene, or polycarbonate, as these plastics contain chemicals that have the potential of leaching out of the plastic and into your food. If these containers are going to be exposed to high temperatures or extremely low temperatures, you probably shouldn’t use plastic containers at all.

Photo By: Paper Cat

You need to consider the size of the plastic storage boxes that you intend to buy. They need to be big enough to hold whatever you intend to keep there. You also need to make sure that you have enough room to store the containers.  Many plastic storage bins on the market are made with a space-saving design where the containers fit inside of each other, or the boxes snap in place on top of each other when not in use. You need to think about the shape of container as well. Remember that square containers can typically store more than round containers. You need to make sure that the shape of the container will allow you to store whatever you need to store in the container.

Another obvious consideration is the cost. How much money do you have available when purchasing plastic storage containers? Keep in mind that the bigger the container, the more it will cost. For the best deals, check out your local dollar store. If you’re buying a bunch of them, visit the websites of wholesale manufacturers who may let you buy in bulk.

These are just a few of things that you should be thinking about when purchasing plastic storage containers for use in your home or office.

Shower Curtain With A Theme

Shower curtains give bathrooms style and edge. They can make your bathroom look bright or dark, happy or gloomy, elegant or casual. Also, they come in different varieties. There is an extra long shower curtain and also short ones. There are those that are made of vinyl and those that are made of fabric. With all of these different types and varieties of this particular bathroom equipment, the dilemma of buyers is what to buy. Of course from the big selection of shower curtains in the malls and department stores, it would not be easy to choose the best. But in this article, there are a few tips to help you select your best choice.

Photo By: Evelyn Giggles

First, you have to think of a theme for your bathroom. It may sound awkward but a beautiful bathroom is one with a theme. There are many to choose from such as tropical theme, business-like, colourful, kiddy theme, etc. When you have chosen one, stick to that theme.

Next is to paint your bathroom wall according to your theme. If you have a kiddy theme, you can paint your walls with yellow or electric blue in order to make it stand out for your kid. You can even put a wall paper that is kiddy-style. Next is to add some things in order to arrange your bathroom according to it. For example, a tropical theme would mean having wooden or bamboo items such as buying a potted plant or decorating your wall with bamboo sticks. You can even put a wooden towel stand as if you are in the beach.

When you have arranged things in your bathroom or replaced some things in order to suit your theme, then it’s time to finally look for shower curtains that is perfect for your theme. A business-like or formal theme would mean architectural design for the curtain. It could be chequered or that which is full of geometric shapes, even stripes will do. You can also choose if you’ll go for vinyl or fabric. Vinyl curtains are more durable compared to fabric because the latter would sometimes create mildew if it is left damp. However fabric ones give the bathroom a more elegant look than the vinyl.

What’s important is that you can stick to your theme with whatever design is there in your curtain. It would then complete the makeover of your bathroom.

How To Make Your Guest Bedroom Ready In A Flash

A guest bedroom is usually the spare place in your home to temporarily accommodate a friend or just simply a guest. Because it’s a spare, we usually tend to forget it for a long time and just remember it when the situation calls for it. There are times though when we are being caught in surprise and we need to ready our guest bedroom in an instant. A quick inflation of a raised air bed is a super fix.

When your guest will be arriving the day before, what you can do to assess what needs to be done on your guest bedroom is by sleeping inside the room yourself. By doing that, you’d know if the room can still be a good place to sleep or not. Guest bedrooms are often being neglected and sometimes the roof, the floors, and the walls already need repair and you are still unaware of it. Guest bedrooms are usually dark and cold and because of that, some guest rooms develop that damp smell that can sometimes be unpleasant. When you stay inside the guest bedroom for a night, you’ll find out what really needs to be done before your guest arrives.

Upon checking your bed guest room, take out all the clutter you can find. A room is more welcoming when everything is in order. Simple things like the arrangement of the pillows, the curtains, and the bed sheets will make your guest bed room a cozy place even you don’t put in any kind of decorations. A person feels important when things were arranged in purpose and your guest will think that he or she is that purpose.

You don’t need to do time-delaying arrangements to your guest bedroom but make sure that you put fresh bed sheets as much as possible. It’s common and hygienic practice to replace bed sheets whenever a guest will be using a bed. If possible, spray some nice room scent to your linen to make the stay more pleasant and relaxing for your future guest.

For the finishing touches, consider the personality of your guest. If your guest is a male, try putting curtains and linens in dark colors. If your guest is a female, use linens with floral prints. Don’t forget to put spare essentials in your guest bedroom such as towels, robes, slippers, toothpastes, soap, socks for cold season, and extra pillows. Even the most organized person forgets a thing or two when traveling or having an overnight sleep in another person’s house. Don’t let your guest suffer because they are usually not that comfortable telling their forgotten personal essentials to their host.

Which Type of Washing Machine is Best?

Having second thoughts on what type of washing machine to get? So you want to change your old washing machine but can’t decide which type to buy. You can’t decide on whether to get a bigger or smaller one. You don’t know whether to choose a top loading washing machine or a front loading washer. You’re getting more confused as you look at more and more washers. Stop worrying. There’s a way to go about choosing the best washing machine.

With so many makers of washing machines coming out with many different products, it can be a gargantuan task looking for washing machines. As the washing machine is going to be a companion through thick and thin, through the many stages of child rearing and through the many times children and other family members change their clothes your choice should not be wrong. The washing machine has to be able to cope with the changing requirements as time pass. At the same time it should be sturdy to handle the work load and last for a long time.

Photo By: Jim212jim

You have to weigh the pros and cons of owning certain types of washing machines. Remember, it’s you who will be using it if not a family member. How easy is it to use? Do you want something that won’t require you to be kneeling and bending for every load of wash? Do you want something that won’t take up too much floor space? Or do you want something that you can place under your counter-tops? To determine which models have what specific features, you can search for washing machine comparison websites on the internet.

These sites will have detailed lists of the various brands and types of washing machine on sale in the market today. By reading through these sites you will find how each type compares with another. You will see the strong points of specific models as well as weak points where there are any. You’ll find tips on how to get the best out of your washing machine. You get to see some of the many washing machine troubleshooting sites and services which you can use for times when the washing machine does not sound so good. You’ll also get information on the pricing of the different types of washer dryer combo sets so that you will know which ones may be within your means. Throughout all this information, you can have every fact and figure you need to evaluate which washing machine is the better choice for you. So get to your computer and start searching now.

Using Garden Edging in your Vegetable Garden

A garden can be both beautiful and useful. Just because you are starting  vegetable gardening doesn’t mean your garden can’t be attractive to the eyes. Using garden edging is a great way to add beauty and a unique style to your vegetable garden.

Garden edging is simply working on the edge of your garden bed. Instead of leaving it as the soil meets the grass, there are a wide variety of ways you can make the transition from soil to grass smoother. A barrier that goes into the ground will help keep the weeds out of your garden and away from your vegetable plants. Plastic edging should work well for this and is a good starter for other edging as well.

Photo By: Steve Cornelius

Stones make great edging materials. You can find stones or large rocks in your yard, or you can purchase stones from your local garden store. Placing the stones side by side makes a pretty border that is also natural looking. Bricks or broken stones or concrete can be used in a similar manner. Feel free to mix and match materials as well.

Flowers or other plants can be used as edging, too. Surround your vegetable plants with short growing, dense plants or flowers. Try plants that stay put and try to create straight lines. You can be unique in how the plants grow, possibly making the boarder larger and smaller in different parts, but keep the edge clean will ensure that the edging is serving its purpose and doesn’t look disheveled.

In addition to plants and rocks, you can use recycled materials or other unique ideas you have. Mix and match as well, but try not to make the garden boarder overwhelming. Keeping it simple with plastic edging is fine too if you are worried the garden will look too busy or make it difficult to harvest or vegetables.

Shade Sail Repairs for Common Damages

Purchasing a shade sail is an investment that needs taking care of. It is not uncommon that it will need some shade sail repairs for cuts, tears or rips from the wind or falling branches. Sometimes the damage is easy enough to repair by the owner; though other times, the damage is too severe that an expert is needed to repair it.

Knowing what to do in cases like this is crucial to the owner because if the damage is not dealt with immediately, it may worsen. Here are several tips on how to make simple repairs for owners of a damaged shade sail.

What are the Common Damages incurred by a Shade Sail?

  • Sagging: When sagging happens, it means that the canvas is not tensioned properly. The fabric sags due to leaves or branches that fall on it. They cause the tension of the canvas to loosen due to their weight.
  • Tears or Frays: Tears or frays happen due to the weight of the objects that fall on the canvas. The wind can also cause small tears or frays that can develop to bigger tears and will be very expensive to fix or replace.
  • Cuts or Abrasions: When the canvas gets cut by sharp objects from branches or even the posts themselves, they should have immediate attention so that they will not get worse.

What are the Common Repairs for the Common Damages incurred by Shade Sails?

There are several ways of repairing the damages incurred by the canvas of a shade sail. One sure way of dealing with the damages is to have them fixed by a professional or the manufacturer of the canopy. Another less expensive way is to repair the damage by doing it yourself. The following tips below are the proper ways of maintain and repairing the damages of the shade sail.

  1. Adjustments: The best way to fix sagging canvases is to monitor the canvas from time to time. If the canvas becomes a little too loose, then re-tensioning is the proper way to have them fixed. The proper way of tensioning the fabric back to its original state is by carefully doing it so that the fabric will not tear or get ripped.
  2. Stitching: Although stitching is best done by professionals, it can also be done by the owners of the canvas. Professionals usually use specialized threads to patch up the tears. These threads will lessen the creases and will prevent more tears and frays on the fabric.
  3. Patch-Ups: Patch-ups will help mend the holes of the canvas done by branches or the wind. If the hole is too large, it is better to have a professional get a look at it. Sometimes, having a professional take a look at it will improve the chances of the canvas to be properly repaired.

Prevention and monitoring will still prove to be the best way to avoid costly repairs. A shade sail will be at its best functional self if it is maintained well.

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.

Use An Aerator And A Thatching Rake To Improve Your Lawn

There are two machines that can help in achieving a fresh looking and green lawn. These are the aerator and the dethatcher. These machines perform different functions and serve different purposes. Their common ground however is that they will help your  lawn become more healthy and drought resistant.

An aerator is a lawn care machine. The process of lawn aeration involves plugging holes into the compacted soil underneath the lawn. With this process, the holes that are created allow water and fertilizer nutrients to reach down to the roots. Likewise, it allows increased oxygen supply. During aeration, the amount of carbon dioxide deposited in the lawn is also released. In simple terms, the process of aeration allows the lawn to breath, something which every healthy looking lawn needs to do in order to look fresh and green.

On the other hand, a dethatcher is a machine that removes thatch in the lawn. Thatch is composed of stems, crowns, and rhizomes of dead turf. Dethatching is the process of removing thatch layers, with the use of a thatching rake, that obstruct the passage of water and fertilizer nutrients down the grass roots. When thatch layers are removed, both the soil and the grass can breathe.

According to some experts, it is best to do your dethatching first and then follow it with aeration. In that way, the thatch is already removed before the holes are made in the lawn. By following this sequence, the lawn should never look messy.  Aeration is best done during the spring time while dethatching can be done when the thatch layer is more than 1 inch thick. But as mentioned earlier, it is best to dethatch first then proceed with aeration for better results. Definitely, with these two machines working together, you will have a beautiful, green and fresh looking lawn.