Friday, October 31, 2014

Gardening Advice For Halloween

The Fresh Dirt on Perking Up Your Garden

Psst! What’s the dish, the dirt, the down low, the buzz? You know the chit chat, the chin music, the scuttlebutt on perking up my garden?

When you ask that way, I remember my antenna twitching, my ears tuned in. I tumbled to the news that boiling water kills weeds. Kills weeds I say better than any poisonous product bought off the shells. Douse a weed with boiling water and the weed falls harder than a dame for George Clooney on s moonlit night in Italy.

What else?

I hear, from sources, sources that remain in the shadows. Darker than sleeping in the coffin, that keeping mud off the rugs that Jimmy heisted requires little booties on your shoes, when you step inside from the garden. Mud inside? Fuhgeddaboudit.

You are not shortchanging me, are you? I got some pull, I can dish the dirt, too.

Yeah, give me some.

Between you and me, we got to be careful. Careful when we bury stuff. Take that hydrangea, the blue flowers means the soil is acidic. That’s where we buried all that aluminum. The heist. You remember?

Yeah, my mind is a safe! The pink one. What’s wrong there? 

No aluminum! Pine needles would work, they’re acid. 

My head. My head is pounding, from all this talk. 

You need an aspirin. By the way, pal, did you know that aspirin will strengthen plants, like garlic strengthens the breath of Louie the mouth? Just add 1 ½ aspirins to two gallons of water. Every three weeks, you do this, you got them plants fighting off disease like Jimmy the rope fought off marriage with Lucille.  

Did you hear about Monty the twitch? Yeah, Monty the twitch is now Monty the pause. He got the garden. First thing you know, he’s not twitching anymore. He’s relaxed. He pauses like an old dog with a bad nose sniffing trees. Nothing. Nothing bothers the guy, I tell you.

Did you hear about my girl, Theresa? Theresa. Sixteen year-old Theresa. I caught her and her boyfriend lip-locking the other night. You know how dark it is back there behind the house. Lip locking. Yeah we both used to do it, but not my daughter. Anyways, I nipped that in the bud. Hung up some lights. Now after Theresa is in bed, me and Martha sit out there by the garden. No, not lip locking!

We got the place fixed up real nice. We added some of those wind chimes we see at the beach. No, not the big booming kind. The kind that are quiet-like.

What do you want with wind chimes that are quiet? Makes no sense.

To you maybe. We can hear them. These would be nice for Monty the pause. Calm.

The wife, Martha, brought home some bird houses and a bird feeder, Year a bird feeder. That ok with you? Al right. We put them up in the garden. We sit out in the evening and just watch the birds. It’s cheap entertainment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

10 Reasons to Love Big, Comfy Sectionals

Laura Gaskill at Houzz shares information about sectionals:

Monday, October 20, 2014

New From Uttermost

Ardusin, Hobby Cupboard

Furniture Collection
By Uttermost

Cat: 25589
Size: 47" w x 15" d x 34" h;

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Staci Byers: Selling Your House Quickly and Profitably

You can learn a lot about selling your house by having lunch with a woman whose specialty is home staging. I had that opportunity recently when Staci Byers agreed to an interview. Staci Byers owns Ready to Sell PDX and operates her home staging business in the greater Portland/Vancouver area.

Staci, why do homeowners and realtors call you?
Staci: They both call for the same reason – there is a home about to go on the market and they want to make sure it is well presented to ensure a quick sale and the highest price the market can support.

What’s the first step?
Staci: An on-site consultation is the first thing I do. I conduct a full assessment of the home both inside and out. I cover things such as furniture and accessory placement, cosmetic repairs, color recommendations and curb appeal suggestions.
My recommendations, as well as tips for a successful Open House are presented in a  home staging report that is sent to the homeowner and agent. After this initial consultation the homeowners will know just what is needed to get the home ready for the market. 

Often the homeowners are able to take care of the items themselves based on the report I provide, but if they would like additional help, the services offered following the consultation are a la carte and can be tailored to suite the homeowners needs.

You work with a lot of real estate agents. What’s in it for them?

Staci: The most valuable thing is probably that the house spends less time on the market. A house that looks its best will sell quicker and higher turnover translates into higher profits for the brokers. But it also often it sells for a higher price which translates into happy customers, more referrals, and repeat business – and of course also a higher commission. Partnering with a professional home stager frees up the agent to do what they do best--- Sell more homes !

What other kinds of things are important?
Staci: The house should be clean, clean clean! You vastly improve your house’s wow factor if you de-clutter and get many of your personal items out of the house. Only 10% of  people touring a home can visualize their items in the space, so stage each room relevant for the function. A bedroom should be a bedroom, and the dining room should be just that, not your craft room.

What about minor repairs?
Staci: Minor repairs, should be fixed, your home's presentation needs to shine from the moment it is seen on-line and every day it is on the market.
Broken boards on the deck, ripped carpet and broken lights give a not so taken care of feeling to potential buyers. Be aware of the cost/benefit ratio: spending $50 on paint touch-ups is probably a better investment than refinishing all your hardwood floors. It pays to take the extra time to ensure all minor and inexpensive repairs are complete and the home is at its absolute best at the time of listing.

Staci, thanks so much for your time. This has been very helpful.

Staci's contact information:

Staci Byers
Portland, OR

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Prepare Your Home for Darker Nights

 Mike writes a poem and suggests ways to chase away the night this fall and winter season at FabNest.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just Three Two Last Day!

Turns out that Jennifer Adams has a nice feel for the pulse of America. Now she graduates to television. I’m sure that America will continue to like her warm and breezy approach to in home design.

You can make your own connection with Jennifer. Join her VIP Club which rewards you for doing what you already do - watching videos on home improvement, decorating tips, do-it-yourself projects, and more. Plus by joining you will be entered into the Wish You Were Here Sweepstakes!

Should you win, you will receive 3 days and 4 nights at the world renowned L'Auberge Hotel in Jennifer's rehabilitated condo. The condo is situated on one of California’s best beaches in the picturesque coastal village of Del Mar near San Diego. You will have lunch with Jennifer and then take private tour of the fully renovated Del Mar condo that she took down to the studs reinvigorating this 30+ year old home! It’s an opportunity to ask all your burning interior design questions and get Jennifer’s opinions.

Join Jennifer Adam’s VIP Club today. I did!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Choosing The Right Grill To Become A Barbecue Pro

As soon as the snow melts and the warm summer months are amongst us, grilling starts taking priority when it comes to cooking. A barbecue can be enjoyed by a single individual, the whole family, or as a party with friends and family, but without the perfect grill, none of this is possible. With a few easy tips, you can be on your way to purchasing the best grill that suits your needs.

Decide On The Fuel You Wish To Use

When it comes to buying a grill, one of the first things that you will come across is there are many different types. There are so many different types of grills available you actually can not even begin to count them on your fingers and toes combined. There are grills that use wood chips, grills that use gas, grills that use charcoal and grills that use electricity. Each kind of fuel has its own benefits, so it is up to the consumer to decide which would be best.

Grills that use wood chips as fuel to cook food are one of the most complex grills on the market. These types of grills have digital thermostat temperature control and can be used for a wide array of different types of cooking. Wood chips are amazing for smoking; however, wood chips leave a smokey flavor in every piece of food that is cooked on them. These types of grills are also not great when it comes to seared steaks because the temperature simply does not get hot enough.

Grills that use gas to cook food are one of the more simple types of grills. It takes little effort for getting the grill to temperature, and it takes even less effort for clean up once the food is cooked. Gas grills need a specialized sear burner to be able to cook steaks to a proper temperature though.

Charcoal fueled grills take the longest to prepare for cooking with due to the length of time it takes to heat up, but they can get very hot and leave a favorable taste in the food.

Electric grills are a grill for beginners. These types of grills do not give food a barbecued taste, and can not properly cook a steak to temperature. If the steak gets brown on the outside, all to often the inside of the steak is overcooked.

Decide On The Size You Need

When it comes to barbecuing, size does matter. The size of a grill is also directly correlated to the price of the grill. When deciding on what size grill you wish to invest in you should look to see the size of the total cooking area. The total cooking area of a grill includes the warming rack, so you should take that into consideration because you will not actually be readily preparing steaks up there every time you grill. You should focus on the main grate of the grill and decide how large of a surface you need. Grills should never be overcrowded due to the fact the foods will not cook evenly throughout as if they would with open space.

Decide On Your Price Range

Once you have decided what type of grill you are interested in and decided what size you will be buying, you need to decide on your price range. Very reliable charcoal grills can be purchased for around $200, and very reliable gas grills can be purchased for around $400. Gas grills can easily go up to between $800-$1,000, but a mid-range grill will function for you if you do not wish to invest that much.

Look Into Insurance Options

Grills greatly vary in prices. Prices of electric grills can be as low as $20 while prices of gas grills can require a payment plan and insurance. If you are investing in a top of the line grill that will last you many seasons of barbecuing, you should look into appliance insurance for your purchase. Very expensive grills should have the option of insurance to protect your purchase and ensure that you will have many years worth of use with the product.

Buying a grill to barbecue on can seem like a daunting task, but when you do research before you go to make your purchase, you can readily find the best grill to suit your needs.

David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally freelance writes about real estate tips, home maintenance and DIY home repair.

Friday, October 03, 2014

How to Achieve the Arts and Crafts Interior Style in Your Home


The arts and crafts design is a distinctive type of interior design that opts for a beautiful, artistic and natural feeling. It became popular at the turn of the 20th century as a preferred alternative to the more conservative, rigid and stuffy design that was common in the Victorian era. It's a style of expression, appreciation of natural and traditionally made furnishings and the beauty of art. If you're looking to change up the interior design style in your home, there are several ways that you can transition into an arts and crafts style.


Nearly everyone who enjoys the arts and crafts style will tell you that wood is one of the most vital aspects to achieving the style. Not just using items that are made of wood, but keeping them unpainted and sometimes unstained. Nothing can quite match the look and feel of wood grain in a home, and it is a wonderful addition to any room. Wooden doors, trim, chairs, tables, bed frames, dressers, cabinets and more can all be made from wood. Remember that any wood items in the bathroom should be sealed or treated to prevent rot from the moisture buildup.

Color Selection

The arts and crafts style works with a simple palette of colors. They are mostly natural colors such as various shades of brown, green and yellow. Other colors can be included, but they should be relatively dull in brightness to avoid seeming out of place.

Selecting Hardware

There are certain parts of the home such as doors that require the use of visible hardware that may deter from the naturalistic style of the home. However, there are alternatives to this hardware that helps retain the arts and crafts style. For example, barndoor hardware looks like hand crafted metal parts that are simplistic yet stylish at the same time. They can come in various styles and colors to match several different types of door.



Stained and leaded windows look gorgeous in houses with arts and crafts décor. They add beautiful and unique designs both inside and outside of the house. You can even get your windows custom designed for a personal touch.

Tips for the Bathroom

It can be hard to come up with arts and crafts décor ideas for the bathroom, but there is one trick to achieving this style in the bathroom and that is utilizing stone. While wood is a more popular option for kitchens and living rooms, stone is seen as a more appealing option in the bathroom. Stone flooring is a particularly popular option for bathrooms along with stone designs in the tiling for the walls. You can also add wood items such as wood cabinets and vanities to create a well-rounded look.

Tips for the Living Room

When it comes to arts and crafts designs in the living room, wood reigns supreme. Your furnishings such as recliners, couches, coffee table and TV stand can all be made of wood to create a beautiful natural effect. Don't worry about the couch, chair or recliner being uncomfortable due to their wooden frame, either. Remember, regular couches, chairs and recliners have metal frames and that certainly doesn't sound comfortable. Most wooden furniture has plenty of padding to make them incredibly comfortable, and they come in a variety of fabrics for additional comfort.

Hardwood floors are also a favorite in the living room, and if you want a bit of stone in the living room fireplaces are commonly framed by stone to change up the theme a bit.

Tips for the Kitchen

Both stone and hardwood flooring are common in the kitchen. Wooden counters with stone counter tops are a wonderful addition to any kitchen, and the combination creates a great contrast that is appealing to the eye. For small touches, flowers and plants are always nice to have in the kitchen as long as they don't take up too much counter space. Wood blinds are also a great addition to the windows as they both look great and block out more light than plastic blinds.

No matter what area of the home you decide to focus on, transitioning into an arts and crafts style is definitely doable and can be a lot of fun. With these tips in mind you’ll be well on your way to capturing that perfect mix of expression and appreciation.

Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, wellness and interior design. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym. 

Mike Writes of Guest Bathrooms at FabNest

The Guest Bathroom – 10 Impressive Expressions

You know the guest bathroom was designed with me and you in mind. It was designed to impress. It’s a blank slate. It wants us to believe that it’s never been used before. Everything in that small room is perfect. It’s so free of dirt it echoes. It still has that “fresh out of the box” smell. Pictured above is an example of perfection, an Eastmoreland master bathroom designed by Jason Ball of Jason Ball Interiors.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Reasons that bamboo is making a come up in home decor


"When it comes to home design products that are sustainable, affordable and handsome, it’s hard to beat bamboo. 

The fast-growing perennial grass is an abundant natural resource that is popular for design that is done with sensitivity to the environment. Bamboo is being transformed into pieces ranging from headboards, chairs and mirrors to window coverings, bowls and sinks. It is also a popular flooring option. It has gained a reputation as a “greener” – or more sustainable – alternative to hardwood, and it is considered almost as durable as laminate flooring. 

Bamboo is one of the more affordable green flooring options. At home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, prices for bamboo flooring are similar to hardwood, ranging from $2 to $5 per square foot." So says Jodi Helmer, correspondent at the Charlotte Observer.

  • Bamboo is durable and eco-friendly
  • a rapidly renewable resource,
  • woven into soft fabrics
  • Grows rapidly with the need for chemicals
  • Bamboo isn’t limited to Asian-inspired decor

BRead more here: