Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shower Doors - How to Combine Practicality With Style

by: Caroline Smith

Shower doors come in a variety of different designs, according to the style of a particular bathroom. As well as choosing a door that fits in with the look of your room, how it actually opens is an important consideration. This depends on the layout of the room and the amount of space available. For instance, folding shower doors have to be able to open outwards, to prevent the user becoming trapped inside. There must be sufficient space to do this without hitting any existing bathroom fixtures, such as your sink or cabinets.

For smaller bathrooms, a sliding shower door could make more efficient use of limited space. Sliding or bypass doors can be fitted over a bathtub or to a shower stall. They operate by using rollers to glide along tracks. Although space-saving, because the panels overlap and dirt can get trapped in the tracks, it can be tricky to keep them clean. For better accessibility, trackless shower doors are an option. These accordion style doors have the advantages of no tracks to trip over or keep clean.

For corner shower stalls, a pivot or neo angle shower door could make good use of the space available. The finish of the door is another point to consider. Traditionally, doors for showers have been framed. Frames come in a choice of finishes, from polished aluminium to brushed nickel or satin chrome. Frameless shower doors made from tempered glass are a modern alternative. A frameless glass shower door can help let in light to create a more spacious feel, and can be easier to clean. The hinges and handles can be attached directly onto the glass, which can be custom made to fit specific measurements.

A new shower door offers an effective and long lasting means to prevent water leaking out of the shower tub, and can be a stylish addition to any bathroom.

About The Author

Caroline Smith is a successful freelance writer and regular contributor to - an online resource packed with tips and advice on choosing the right shower doors, shower stalls, bathroom vanities and more.

Make Your Room Magical And Fascinating With Rustic Curtain Rods

by: Adam Peters

The simple but elegant rustic curtain rods work well with a rustic country setting and contemporary urban home scenes. Whether you want to give a typical modern or wild countryside touch to your windows, doors or the entire home, the rustic curtain rods are simply unique for all purposes. So get some rustic iron curtain rods to hang your curtains, your home décor will get an old life touch.

Advantages of using rustic curtain rods

The rustic curtain rods are advantageous, for they are available in real low prices. Sometimes you can choose the best of the curtain rods and get them in discounted prices. You can either go shopping personally for the curtain rods or order them online after doing a thorough research of the designs and patterns available.

You should use rustic curtain rods when the décor in your home has a typical countryside flavor. The curtains with wildlife prints and patterns will go perfectly with the rustic curtain rods. These rods are sometimes available in various shapes of animals, maple leaf, tiebacks, and scroll and ivy leaf. The rustic iron curtain rods are great works of art and craftsmanship. All of these rustic curtain rods are available hammered on an anvil and brushed to increase the natural polish of the rustic rods.

The main advantage of the rustic curtain rods is that they do not get rusted. This is because the artisans protect the rods from rusting by applying a coat of protective oil over the entire rod. Since each of the rods is handmade so the sizes often vary. However, whether you want small, mid-ranged or long rustic rods, you will get all perfect sizes that will suit the door and window frames of your homes. The normal size of a rustic rod is 24 to 36 inches but even larger sizes like 36 to 60 inches and 60 to 90 inches are also available for perfect fitting.

The rustic curtain rods are available in packages of custom length drapery rods, several finials, perfect hand forged iron mounts, iron rings, mounting and placement hardware and with a typical iron patina finish. Even extra long rustic iron rods up to 20 feet are easily available in the market. Although the rods will be shipped to your home, you have to pay a reasonable amount of shipping charges for the home-delivery of the rods.

Smarten the vibrant look in your home with the rustic curtain rods.

About The Author

Adam Peters adds regularly articles to A free decorating magazine, where you will find reviews on different decorating and design ideas. More about rustic curtains rods.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Garden Design: How to Choose and Place Garden Art in Your Backyard

by: Deborah Boland

Garden Design: How to Choose and Place Garden Art in Your Backyard

Your backyard should relax and refresh you, but it should also delight you!

Choosing garden art that reflects your personality and makes you feel good is an important key to creating the ultimate backyard.

Art can mean many things to many people but basically there are 3 types:

1. Formal Art

Think larger stately pieces that you see in more traditional backyards, like a classic sculpture of a Greek goddess or a stone angel. Heavy iron garden ornaments like obelisks and sundials also work well with most backyard landscape designs.

These pieces create an old-world feel and lend a sense of drama to the yard. Others might include columns, carved fountains, birdbaths, and classical architectural salvage.

2. Semi-formal

This is the most popular type because it suits so many styles of backyards. It‘s more relaxed in theme, a little more nostalgic and decorative.

For example, light hearted sculptures of animals or children in concrete, resin or bronze, contemporary metal sculptures of flowers and insects, stained glass stepping stones, artistic birdhouses, and hand painted garden pots, copper wind chimes.

3. Informal Art

I call this art “your imagination gone wild”. Everyday objects are placed in the garden to create art that is fun, whimsical, and even campy.

I‘ve seen all kinds of items used as garden décor like: old rubber boots planted with flowers, a nostalgic wire bedroom headboard , an antique window frame, an old-fashioned bathtub, a dressmaker’s dummy, and fancy china plates.

Remember that the type of art you choose should be in keeping with the feel of your backyard but it should also be an expression of you.

The most important thing is that you should feel some emotional attachment to your garden art.

Tips for placing Garden Art

In the garden, art becomes a focal point. Your eye is naturally drawn to it and it commands your attention. So where you place it is important. Put garden art:

• In a boring, bare part of the yard to add interest and stimulate conversation

• At the end of a path to add drama

• In any area to add comic relief. I have a cute bronze frog lying on a back on a lily pad beside my waterfall and pond.

• In front of an ugly spot to hide dead patch

• Directly in line with an unwanted view of the neighbour’s yard to create privacy

• On a wall or fence to visually break up the long monotonous line. I have a beautiful concrete painted face hanging on one part of my fence and a mirror hanging on another to add interest.

• In front of a colourful burst of foliage to punctuate the space. My classical white bird bath looks gorgeous just in front of my huge pink rose bush

• Hidden behind some greenery so it just peeks out a little to create a feeling of antiquity. This will put plants in the spotlight.

• Within the frame of a beautiful view to enhance the view even more. My backyard is on the lake and the view is made even more beautiful by a large fountain of Poseidan the sea God that we have made part of the view.

• In a rock garden to create feeling of garden gallery. The rocks are natural pedestals for the art and create a wonderful playground for eye to bounce around in and land on art.

Don’t forget about the view from inside. Take a look out your window to see where you might place art so that it draws you out into the backyard.

Finally, less is more. Too much garden art will make your backyard look junky. All you need is a few interesting pieces to personalize your backyard and give it a sense of place.

Deborah Boland © 2006 All Rights Reserved

About The Author

Deborah Boland is the host of the popular HGTV Canada TV series, Backyard Pleasures and author of Backyard Pleasures: 7 Simple Steps to Transform Your Ho-Hum Backyard into a Breathtaking Oasis. Sign up for her FREE e-course 7 Secrets to Creating Gorgeous Garden Rooms at & or visit her blog at

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Guide To Window Hardware

by: Charles Mohaney

A variety of materials are available in window hardware. You have several options in terms of energy efficiency and design. Your personal preference, the climate and the style of your home will help you choose the right material for your house.

Types of Window Hardware


Wood has been the most common material used in window construction for generations. Wood is the easiest material to work with, either for a professional or a homeowner doing a DIY home improvement project. This material is most often used in custom work and intricately detailed designs. You have a wide range of options for painting and staining to fit every decorating need. This material is also very good in terms of energy efficiency.

The only downside of using wood is the maintenance needed. You will need to re paint or stain often. The peeling not only looks terrible, but will cause the wood to rot, if not maintained properly over the years. With good, regular maintenance, wood windows will last a long time.


Steel is most often found in older homes and basement windows. It is rarely used in newer homes because it is not very energy efficient. The heat from your home can easily escape through the frame of these windows. In addition, regular maintenance is needed. You must repaint steel regularly, or it will rust. Steel is a very durable material and is still used in hurricane storm shutters.


Aluminium is nearly as durable as steel. However, like steel, it is not very energy efficient and allows significant heat loss. This material does have one benefit over steel. It doesn’t require the frequent maintenance. The color of aluminium is baked on and a variety of colors are available. Repainting is not necessary.


Vinyl is an inexpensive and durable material for windows. In addition, vinyl is fairly energy efficient. In addition, vinyl windows are maintenance free. They don’t need to be painted. Vinyl is colored straight through, so you won’t ever see chips, scratches or peeling. A variety of colors are available to match your home’s decoration.

The biggest problem with vinyl is that it can look cheap. There are vinyl products that are made to look like wood, but the effect isn’t very good. They still have a plastic look.


Fibreglass is a fairly new material for window construction. It is very durable and energy efficient. When insulated properly, it is one of the best in terms of energy efficiency. There is little heat loss with well insulated fibreglass windows. You will pay for this efficiency. These windows are among the most expensive.

Things to Consider When Choosing Window Hardware

Consider the climate where you live. If you live in a hot climate, you want to keep the heat out and the cold air in your home. Look for windows with a lower U value.

If you live in a colder climate, you want just the opposite: to keep the cold out and heat in. Heat loss is a major problem in cold climates and you’ll want to prevent this both through the frame and the glass. Choose energy efficient material and insulate it well. Consider insulated glass, which adds to the energy efficiency of the window. These products contain two layers of glass with argon gas in between the layers.

When replacing windows, consider the design of your home. You want the windows to match the architectural elements of your home. Make sure the material you choose fits in with the time period of your home. You won’t want wood, Colonial style windows on a modern Contemporary home.

About The Author

Charles Mahoney reveals many news to an web site for information. The author is specializing in tips on window hardware ( ).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Free Satellite TV Deals! -- Are They For Real?

by: Teddy LC.

I am sure you've seen these ads online and offline -- "Free satellite TV!" "Get a 4-room Satellite TV System Free!" and "Satellite TV Dish and Receivers Absolutely Free!" But are these deals really free? Are them worth for the money? But are these satellite TV offers really free?

The answer to that question is yes ... and no.

It's a 'yes' because you got the satellite TV systems for free. Further more you get other promotions gifts such as digital video recorder (DVR), DVD player, home theater systems and HD systems for free. As the ads say: No equipments to buy at all. However, the programming service will cost you money. Each month, these socall "free satellite TV deals" are going to take out some dollars from your wallet.

Let's examine the facts about free satellite TV deals.

Due to the demise of Pegasus and Voom services, there are only two major satellite TV providers in the USA -- Dish Network and DirecTV. Both companies are providing 100% digital satellite pictures; both companies are offering amazing free satellite TV systems; and both companies have the finest sales support team for their customer services.

Dish Network Satellite TV

When you order a free satellite TV system from Dish Network, you will be asked to pay a $49.99 activation fee. This fee will be credited to your programming bill, so in essence, your satellite TV system is free. Installation of your satellite TV system is also free.

With Dish Network you have the option to upgrade to a DVR (digital video recording) receiver, or an HDTV (high definition TV) receiver at no charge.

You can get Dish Network services at a monthly cost of $19.99. However, Dish Network standard programming fees start at $31.99 per month (for standard 60 program channels). The monthly subscription fees then goes up to around $86.00 for 230 channels including Showtime, Starz!, HBO, Cinemax, and Sirius radio.

Dish Network offers more movies, shows, and HDTV than cable or DirecTV, and with one of their free DVR receivers you can record, pause, and fast forward live TV with a click of your remote. All Dish Network programs are broadcast in digital format for crystal-clear picture and sound.

DirecTV Satellite TV Service

Depending on your credit rating, when you order a free satellite TV system from DirecTV you may be required to pay a deposit or prepayment. Because the deposit is refunded to you and the prepayment goes toward your programming fees, the DirecTV satellite dish and receivers are free. Installation is also free.

If you want a DVR receiver you will be charged an additional $49.99. The charge for HDTV receivers is $299.99.

DirecTV programming packages start at $29.99 per month for 115 channels (including 31 music channels), and go up to more than $90 per month for 185 program channels, including Showtime, Starz!, HBO, Cinemax, and 31 music channels.

DirecTV offers more sports programs than you can get with cable or Dish Network, including the popular NFL Sunday Ticket which Dish Network does not cover. All sports channels are broadcasted in all-digital format.

Wrapping things up

Both Dish Network and DirecTV's deals are lucrative. As mentioned before, you will get sets of satellite systems and home electronics for free but the programming services will cost you anywhere from $32 to $94 a month.

If TV is one of your primary forms of entertainment and you want the biggest variety of shows, movies, sports, and news -- then we satellite TV deals should be something you should seriously consider. Cable TVs nowadays doesn't looks like a good deal to go for as their monthly fees increase a lot every year. For football fans that wish to get every NFL games- DirecTV is what you are looking for; for normal family, Dish Network seems to be a better choice. You can check out some of the reputable dealers (both Dish Network and DirecTV) at here.

However, if you watch just a few television programs a week and have access to over-the-air TV, then satellite TV probably isn't for you.

About The Author

Teddy LC., expert writter on consumer products reviews. Check out his latest satellite TV related website and get more info on satellite TV dish TV free deals:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Differing Ways Of Use Of Aluminum Railings

by: Adam Peters

Aluminum is being used since a long time as a lightweight material for all construction and building works. Aluminum alloys are being used in every industry from Aviation industry to zip making. The strength to weight ratio is higher in case of aluminum to steel. The long life comes from the higher corrosion resistance of aluminum.

Differing Ways Of Use Of Aluminum Rails

Aluminum rails can be used in different ways. These ways that increase the life of aluminum are,

1. Anodizing of aluminum: The corrosion resistance of aluminum is further increased by a thin coating on aluminum. The anodized surface of aluminum prevents further oxidation of the corrosion of the aluminum.

2. Strengthen with wooden inserts: Wooden blocks inserted in the cavity of aluminum forms give added strength to aluminum and thus lighter sections can be used for the same work, further reducing the weight of structure.

3. Powder coating of aluminum: New painting techniques such as the powder coating add to the visual appeal of the railings. The overall effect of created by riot of color combination that are available is just amazing.

4. PVC coating: Aluminum can be coated after complete fabrication with PVC by various methods. This further increases the life of the aluminum products. It also gives a beauty treatment to the aluminum.

Ease of installation with Aluminum. Many manufacturers are coming up with solution in use of aluminum in railings. The use of the bottom posts in which the aluminum verticals can be fixe, speed up the erection process. The DIY enthusiasts find such solutions very useful since it reduces the time required doing for such work. These posts are made out of PVC, CPVC or such manmade materials.

Aluminum alloys also find increased use in the manufacture of railings and this gives an extended life to railings. The alloying with other metals increases further the already high strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistance.

About The Author

Adam Peters is a freelance author who contributes adding articles to a deck and porch railings website . At his site you can reach further articles on aluminum railing plans and designs.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Outdoor Wood Furniture – Check The Wood Species Before Purchasing

by: Malcolm D Kay

Not too long ago, the vast majority of outdoor furniture was all made of teak. Teak has proved to be an ideal lumber species for outdoor furniture, due to its high durability, ease of working with machine tools, its low coefficient of radial and tangential expansion (which reduces potential problems in twisting, or swelling when wet), it's attractive colour and good working properties. But such widespread use of teak, including for marine decking, has come at a considerable environmental cost. The once great forests of South East Asia have been decimated to the extent that legally logged teak is now only available in very limited quantities, which is reflected in its high price. But unfortunately, illegal logging is still rampant and in many areas of South East Asia, ensuring its continuing supply to the furniture trade.

Plantations of teak have now been established in a number of countries including Costa Rica for example (presumably planted in most cases where the great forests once existed). But this plantation teak is harvested at a much younger age that has traditionally been the case, so caution should be taken in assuming that the properties of such younger lumber (including durability) will be the same as old growth teak.

Many responsible furniture manufacturers will now only used teak which has been certified by such independent bodies as the Forest Stewardship Council. If sustainability of forests and sound forestry practices are an important consideration in your choice of furniture, then look for the FSC logo or ask your retailer to provide documentation to show from where the lumber was sourced. Note however that even if the tag accompanying any wood furniture claims that the wood is sourced from sustainable forests, unfortunately there is no firm guarantee that this is true. You may be able to make some verification by checking the FSC website, which indicates which companies and even manufacturers have been given official accreditation by the FSC.

In recent years there has been a proliferation of different lumber species used in outdoor furniture as more manufacturing plants are set up in places such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, in particular. Unfortunately, a lot of furniture is now produced with price as the overriding consideration, with scant consideration being given to the durability or in service performance of the furniture. And all too often these days the name of the actual wood species in not even displayed – except perhaps a bland statement like “manufactured from durable hardwood species”. And of course a lot of lumber is transported to furniture makers located far from the original source of the lumber, making it even harder to track the actual supply country or region.

Thus there is often no guarantee that the furniture, which may look magnificent in a covered showroom, will survive the rigours of outdoor use, year after year, fully exposed to the elements. Apart from the failure to state what timber species has been used, sometimes a wood species is quoted which is virtually unknown outside its country of origin and data on its durability or other properties is either nonexistent or extremely difficult to locate.

Although we have only referred above to the durability factor, this not the only property you should be concerned with. Many species of lumber, although very durable, are also prone to twisting, warping and cracking under adverse climatic conditions, particularly where thin wood section are concerned. Again teak has proved to be a very stable species in this regard but other species are not necessarily so stable.

Whilst the lower costs and attractive colour of some outdoor furniture can certainly be appealing, we strongly suggest you should always ask your retailer to provide the name of the lumber species used and from which country it was sourced. If this species is not familiar to you, no other data is provided, and your independent research fails to locate data on such species, you should think carefully before making your purchase.. Good quality outdoor furniture should give many, many years of service and its higher initial cost will inevitably be repaid in terms of a longer service life and a much higher quality product.

About The Author

Malcolm Kay is the CEO of Intex Pacific Pty. Ltd. an international supplier of landscape materials including modular decking tiles. For more information see

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Are You Feeling Bamboo Lucky?

by: Dean Caporella

I was sitting at my desk typing up a report for the evening sports bulletin when I was suddenly drawn towards a bunch of foliage adourning my kitchen window ledge. I don't know why I looked up at that particular time but what I was staring at was a healthy looking bamboo plant.

"Ah, my lucky bamboo plant," I thought to myself. It was almost as if it was saying to me..."You're doing a fine job looking after me. I hope I can throw some luck your way."

Well, some luck I could certainly do with. Then it struck me how healthy the plant looked. You see, those who know me well will tell you "I aint got a green thumb." And they're right!

I have been known to kill plastic plants let alone the real thing. So keeping my lucky bamboo looking a million dollars day in and day out was some effort on my part. Maybe there was some hope for me yet..or, maybe this was just luck.

"No Dean," I'd reassure myself. "You've done a fine job of raising that plant!"

It was almost as if a feeling of parental bliss had suddenly gripped me and you know, right at that moment, I started to have feelings of green thumb grandeur.

"Maybe a couple of pot plants on the balcony; an indoor fern perhaps by the door entrance, or... no, wait a minute!" Then reality struck...

"Who am I kidding. One successful lucky bamboo plant doesn't give me a degree in horticulture. Me, a plant serial killer. No, I'll quit while I'm ahead."

And then a calmness came over me and the realisation that if God wanted me to be a green thumb then I would have been born with a.. well, green thumb!

Why are they called lucky bamboo plants anyway? I know they're supposed to bring good fortune in Chinese culture but I'm a westerner. So I did some checking and yes, they have become popular in the west during the last few years. Their hardiness is symbolic of good health and did you know, a three stalk lucky bamboo plant is supposed to bring you those three ingredients of a happy life: wealth, happiness and longevity. At this point, I did a quick summary of my life and yes, I'd say I was at least half way there on all three counts.

Did mine have three stalks? I got up and checked and right at that moment I was gripped by a sudden bout of fear.

"Two stalks. That would be right! So what's missing; wealth, happiness or longevity? Hey, doesn't matter. Two's company, three's a crowd!"

I do know one thing. I've come to love my lucky bamboo plant. And by the way, just so you know...they are so durable they can practically look after themselves. Which brings me back to my earlier point... a green thumb I definitely aint!

About The Author

Dean Caporella is a professional Journalist and Sportscaster and takes and interest in a wide variety of topics. He recently discovered the benefits of bamboo and says.. "It really is an amazing plant. It's so durable and yes, it's lucky!" Visit and learn more about this fashionable and popular plant.

Little Giant Ladders – a Guide To Choosing The Best Model

by: John Dell

Everyone needs a good, stable ladder. It is always best to invest in a ladder that will fulfill any challenge you take on. Little Giant ladder is the only answer if you are looking for the best ladder. But do you know which little giant ladder is most suitable for you?

Here are the top 8 tips before purchasing the giant little ladder:

1. Stability. Look for the little giant ladder system with flared footings to enable you remain stable when you climb high, on the topmost rung of the ladder. Your little giant ladder should give you 100% protection.

2. Warranty. The Little giant ladder company should give warranty; make sure you get a warranty to prevent you from unnecessary expenses incase your ladder breaks down in the first one year

3. Construction. Look for the ladders little giant that are most durable with a longer life span and offer the best value for your hard earned money.

4. Value. Look for a ladder that will prove valuable to you. Little giant ladders have many models; so please consult the shop assistant to know the various types of ladders and the one that fits your needs - if you really have limited space you should go for little giant folding ladders for you. Get your ladder little giant in accordance to the height that you want to reach for.

5. Versatility. It is not possible to afford a garage full of ladders. Therefore your little giant ladder should serve multipurpose and thus save your money and space.

6. Weight. A professional grade aluminum ladder weighs between 25-45 pounds and a fiberglass model will weigh between 35 to 50 pounds. Anything lighter won’t be as durable or stable.

7. Accessories. When choosing your little giant step ladder, make sure you purchase the accessories for it. Accessories include wall stand offs, leg levelers, and work platforms.

8. Origin. Look for your little giant ladders manufactured in the USA as offer better craftsmanship and are of a higher quality.

Invest a little thought before purchasing your little giant ladder - you are simply not using it to get the job done; you are using it to save your life and health.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Creative Curtains and Window Coverings

by: Rene Knops

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform the look of a room is to change the curtains and window coverings. Instead of using the same old curtain rod and drapes, try putting your imagination to work to see what you can come up after being inspired by the following ideas for curtains and window coverings.

One of the most popular ways of making your own window coverings is to buy a designer curtain rod and pinch clips. These pinch clips grip the edge of the fabric and allow you to hang any kind of material, hemmed or unhemmed from your window. A popular look is to buy wrought iron gothic style rods and clips and attach hemmed or unhemmed sheers or a swath of plain fabric.

This is a very romantic look that can also be achieved by simply attaching long white sheets, which are much cheaper than fabric from a store. You still get that billowy romantic look without the expense. Whether you use sheers or fabric this look is also very much improved by tying ribbons or ties as pullbacks to enhance the appearance of the window coverings.

You can also buy curtains and window coverings that don't require any type of clip that slides along the rod. These curtains, which come in a variety of designs and fabrics, simply boast loops at their edge that allows you to thread the curtain through the rod. It would also be very simple to make your own curtain like this by attaching ribbons or fabric strips with buttons to a length of fabric.

Curtains and window coverings made from specialty papers are also very popular right now. Hand made papers and rice papers make pleasing semi-transparent blinds that compliment many modern decors. These are quite expensive in most stores but it is easier than you think to make your own. All you need to do is find a store that specializes in selling handmade or specialty papers.

Some of these papers are gorgeous and feature details such as glitter, leaves or threads pressed right into mesh of the paper fibers. Once you buy the paper you simply cut it into the right dimensions that will cover your window. You then string the paper on wire and attach the paper with binder clips. Keep in mind that this type of window covering is best for rooms that still need light but need privacy such as a bathroom.

Another way to liven up your décor is to hang hand painted Venetian window blinds. These types of window coverings can be very expensive but you can achieve a similar look by creating a collage or painting your own. The best way to do this is simply take a stencil and spray-paint one solid design on the Venetian blinds. A stencil and a can of spray-paint can also be used to personalize simple roll down blinds with your favorite symbol as well

Always remember that your curtains and window coverings define the style of your room. The more elements that are added to your installation, such as pleats, swags, valences and jabots, the more formal your room will look. The fewer elements included in the overall design of your window treatment the more simple or rustic the total effect of your curtains and window coverings will be.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Burglary Prevention

by: Robert Young

What does a BURGLAR like?

Experience has shown us that burglars like many things (mostly other people's things), but most thieves prefer two conditions.

1. An invitation, and

2. A fast, easy, undetected entry and exit.

Burglary invitations aren't stuffed into envelopes as are birthday party invites; nor do we hang signs on our doors - "BURGLARS WELCOME" - the way we attach balloons to the mailbox. However, invitations are sent and signs are posted which are equally effective. Have you ever had a neighbor go on vacation and you see the newspapers pile up on the front step or the mail overflow from the mailbox? These are sure signs that nobody is around.

Other invites you might recognize include:

- Unkempt yard.

- Keys left in your vehicle while you run into the store.

- Dark or concealed hiding areas.

- Windows left open when you are away.

- Notes on the door explaining where you have gone.

- The spare house key left on top of the door jam. (Did you think no one knew that key was there?)

- Messages on the answering machine stating that you are away.

- An open garage door.

- Sliding glass door, without auxiliary locks.

- A house unlit night after night.

- Privacy fence.

- Flimsy door latches and locks.

- Basement windows.

After receiving his invitation, the burglar also looks for a quick, undetected entry and exit. He will choose the path of least resistance, which affords him the best chance of getting away without being caught. For this reason, most burglars work the night shift hiding under the cover of darkness. This is an opportunity afforded by nature; other access and escape opportunities, which we provide include:

- A large shrub in front of a window

- A dark alley behind the residence

- A privacy fence around the yard

- An unlocked door or window

- A sliding glass door

- An exterior door without a deadbolt lock

Stay safe! Visit and for all of your self defense and security item needs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

House Plans: The Best Investments

by: Robert Thatcher

Some people thought that owning a house is the best big investment they could ever have. In fact, according to the recent survey conducted in the U.S., 90% of the primary wealth of the people. They never knew that there is something more than what the house can offer — the house plans.

What people never knew is that house plans are the better investment.

Why? It is because the foundation, the structure, and the beauty of a house depend on the creation and assumption of house plans.

Therefore, it is important to spend some time contemplating on making and analyzing house plans. If ever the plan was not made in such a way that it would provided the optimum protection for the family, then that is not an investment after all.

Hence, it is extremely important to pay close attention to the house plan. Factors that are to be considered when making house plans should be well taken into account. Here are five things to consider when making house plans:

1. Location

Before making house plans, it is important to contemplate first on the location of the lot where the house will be built. Is it near the schools? The market? Or is it located in an area where transportations are scarce?

The point here is that it is important to consider the location when creating house plans. The design and structure of the house should match the kind of environment the neighborhood has.

2. Lifestyle

Do you prefer to live in the city, or the quiet suburban subdivision living? You definitely do not want to dig yourself a debt hole just to build a new house that conflict with your lifestyle.

When creating house plans, it is also important to consider the lifestyle. The total impression that the house will have on its visitors should greatly reflect the kind of lifestyle the family has.

3. Size of the family

Many houses now are so small because developers have to take into consideration the paying capacity of the buyers.

However, if ever you have the budget and the time to supervise the building of your new house, it is important to consider first the size of your family. For instance, the number of your children will indicate the number of rooms that you have to consider on your plan.

4. Environment

It is extremely important to consider the kind of environment the neighborhood has in creating house plans. For instance, if the area seems to be a hot spot, it is best to include some plans on proper insulation of the house so as to conserve energy consumption.

There are also cases wherein the type of soil is also important in making a house. Therefore, it is best to try to consider the kind of soil the lot area has when making house plans. What good will the designs be if the foundation of the house is literally weak?

5. Law and the government

There are cases wherein certain laws apply when building a particular house. These are known as the zoning laws. Therefore, it is best to consider them when making house plans because there are some laws that limits the height of the house to be built or the percentage of the allowed portion that the house will occupy in a given lot area.

The bottom line here is that the overall foundation and stability of a house is greatly dependent on the proper creation and execution of house plans. No wonder why it is considered by the others as the bigger investment.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How To Choose Color Schemes For Your Rooms’ Decor And Window Coverings

by: Daryl Plaza

How to choose color schemes for your rooms' decor and window coverings.

The color that you choose greatly affects the décor and window coverings. Colors establish a mood and feel of a room, and when used properly can create different illusions. Using neutral or lighter colors such as grays and cream colors will give you an impression of spaciousness, where the darker colors can make a big room feel more intimate. Warming colors have the ability to make a room more cheerful and give it a livelier disposition. On the other end, cool colors are a more relaxing and soothing feel. When choosing your décor color scheme, consider the effect that you are trying to achieve. Sometimes it is tricky to choose the right tints, shades or the tones in order to get your desired look. So understanding how to use the color wheel can greatly help you in choosing your décor colors.

How does the color wheel work for decorating.

Time and effort spent first choosing your perfect color scheme will repay you back every time you enter your room or open your curtains First here are some basics using the color wheel. A monochromatic color scheme will use various intensities and values of just one color. Using this color style is relaxing since it allows your eye to flow from one shade into the next. This creates the illusion of space. Implementing patterns and textures into this scheme is recommended. Having two or three colors falling next to each other using the color wheel creates an analogous color scheme. So pick your favorite color as the dominant and accent with the others.

Here are some complimentary color schemes.

Two or more ways to choose your home decorating color would be complimentary color schemes, which are made up of two colors which are exact opposite from each other on the color wheel. Their style will produce a dramatic and unusually stimulating effect. This bold effect will be softened if you use one color as the predominant with the other color as an accent color. Split-complimentary is matching one color from the wheel not to its complimentary color but to a pair of colors on either side of its complimentary color. Red would be teamed not with green but with shades of yellow and blue green. Varying the intensities of colors will have the best effect.

About The Author

Daryl Plaza is the owner of: - a website focused on helping people to understand more about their window coverings and how important your décors designs are. We have resources and reviews on window coverings, window covering ideas and tips so you can learn more before you buy your window treatments.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tips For Handing Your Radiant Heat Tubing

by: Larry B Lang

A radiant heat system is a series of radiant heat tubes that are laid within a floor, which carry hot water into specific rooms or “zones”.

During the preparation and installation of a radiant heat system you should take precautionary measures to protect the radiant heat tubing.

Radiant heat tubing is also known as PEX and is an excellent material for hot water applications. It’s a cross-linked Polyethylene which means that is has been processed to create a more durable molecule that resists creep deformation and chemical attach under extreme temperatures.

Damaged tubing in a radiant heat system will come back to haunt you and could cause unnecessary delays and costly repairs.

Here are some important tips that you should follow in order to protect your radiant heat tubing. It covers storage, unrolling and installation of your radiant heat tubing.

PEX tubing is not for outdoor applications and must be stored in a covered environment not exposed to direct sunlight. It’s best to leave your radiant heat tubing away from your windows; this also means never leaving it outside, without properly covering or protecting it from the sunlight. Sixty days is the maximum UV exposure time for PEX. And if a supplier has stored their radiant heat tubing outside – don’t buy it.

You should also protect your radiant heat tubing from debris. By keeping the ends taped up, you will stop dust, pet hair or other things from entering the radiant heat tubing. Keeping your radiant heat tubing debris free is always best.

When removing your radiant heat tubing from its coil, it’s best to roll it off the roll. When unrolling your radiant heat tubing, if you notice a piece of tape, leave it alone. Often manufactures will mark areas that have kinks or holes. You will need to splice that particular section so make note of the marking.

As far as installation goes, if you are doing a staple-up installation you shouldn’t allow your radiant heat tubing to sag. To protect the radiant heat tubing it’s always best to support it every 16 inches and if your tubing runs close to any lights, especially recessed lighting you should insulate that portion of tubing to protect it from damage. Ultraviolet light will cause accelerated aging of your radiant heat tubes.

Do not install radiant heat tubing to close to your toilets. The heat could melt the wax ring. Also avoid running radiant heat under your refrigerator, stove, freezer, and kitchen cabinets. If you do put tubing in these areas insulate the tubing with a foam pipe insulation, and put a piece of radiant barrier between the sub-floor and the tubing under the appliance or cabinets.

Lastly, when installing your radiant heat tubing, never let it rub on any electrical wires. This may damage the radiant heat tubing and create future problems. If your electrician is working around your radiant heat system, make sure your electrician understands the importance of not damaging the radiant heat tubing when he/she pulls wires.

By taking a little extra care with your radiant heat tubing you will help ensure a trouble free radiant heat system.

About The Author

Larry Lang is the founder of Radiant Heating Disasters which specializes in consulting of hydronic in-floor radiant heating systems. Larry is also author of Radiant Heat - What You NEED to Know BEFORE You Sign That Contract. This article may be distributed freely on your website, as long as this entire article, including working links and this resource box are unchanged. Copyright 2006 Larry Lang All rights Reservered Lang Enterprises Inc.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Solar Rebates For Home Improvement

by: Rick Chapo

American’s love rebates. Whether rebates are offered on computers, software, cars or whatever, we snatch them up. If your considering going solar, you’ll be happy to hear rebates are available.

Solar Rebates

As most people know, a rebate is a give back by a company in exchange for the purchase of their product. Rebates usually come in the form of money if you send in a coupon, but can also come in the form of upgrades and add-ons.

The solar technology industry is so thick with rebate programs it is hard to see the forest for the trees. You can expect to find rebates being issued by the manufacturer of a product, the federal government, your state government and possibly even your country and town or city. In many locations, the local utility company may also give you a rebate on your bill for going solar. No other source or product line has as many rebates as the solar industry. Why? Because solar represents one of the cleanest and cheapest energy sources in our country. The powers that be want to promote it for monetary and environmental reasons, not to mention providing some relief to our overtaxed national electric grid system.

Buy down rebates are the most voluminous in the solar industry. With a buy down, a government agency will pay for a percentage of the solar platform you purchase. The specific amount of the buy down depends on factors such as what the platform is used for and the amount of electricity it produces. Trust me, your local solar vendor will be able to tell you in detail about the rebate since it is a good sales technique.

When investigating rebates for your solar purchase, it is important that you don’t stop at the first program. If a state has one rebate program, it will often have as many as eight others. You can often qualify for three of four, which can cut your initial costs by as much as fifty percent.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Do Your Home Improvement Right With A Good Attic Ladder

by: Adam Hook

This weekend you need to head up into your attic to get some work done. You need to pull some wire for the final touches on your sound system. You know you need to get it done. It's the last part of your dream home theater system that needs work. Most of your speaker setup is on the money, but the weak point of your system is the center channel speaker and your two rear channel speakers. Well, my friend, this is the weekend to get those issues sorted out. Home theater bliss is on its way.

You know how to pull wire – how to get the measurements and all that. And the setup of the system is not a problem. That's what 15-year-olds are for. But the actually pulling the wire in from your receiver to the actual speakers could pose a problem. Not that you don't have the skills to do it. You're completely confident with that – you're a man's man. But you need to have the right tools to do the job. But up until now, you haven't found the tool that will let you do your work in such a small space. You need a multi-use attic ladder that will prevent you from stepping through your ceiling into your dining room. You don't need a Clark Griswold situation to tarnish your near flawless home improvement track record. And it is near flawless. Near. Who could have known that that chandelier you installed was way too heavy for your ceiling? And furthermore, who could have predicted that the ceiling would choose not to support the chandelier right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner? That is neither here nor there.

All these troubles are certainly worth it. You just got the collector's edition of “Dawn of the Dead” last Tuesday. You know, the edition with 20 hours of director's commentary, deleted scenes, making and storyboards. The sooner the speakers are done, the sooner you can watch a zombie movie the way it was intended to be seen, sorry, experienced.

Then you're watching the toob, sipping a frosty beverage and you see an infomercial talking about a ladder. Not just some crummy normal ladder, but a man's ladder. The Little Giant ladder is the means to an end. A classic zombie movie. So you go and pick one up from your local hardware giant. You're instantly able to get into the attic and get that speaker wire pulled. The ladder helped get you into the attic, and it helped you get your stuff done in a minimal time. See you'd love to spend your Saturday crab crawling around in your spiderhole of an attic, but you've got some extra-butter popcorn waiting for you. That and a La-Z-Boy. That said, you got your home theater dialed in. Speakers and all. If you weren't such a man's man, you'd probably shed a tear or two at the sheer beauty of the whole thing. But you're a MAN, and you've got some zombie films to watch. And you've got nothing to thank than your sheer genius and a Little Giant Ladder to thank. Happy DVD-extra watching.

About The Author

Adam Hook is a client account specialist for Innuity – Small is the New Big. For more information about attic ladder solutions, visit

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Truth About Interior Design

by: Robert Thatcher

Have you ever wondered how you can make your home look like the place of the affluent people? Or would you just like to create an impression of classic beauty with an air of sophistication?

All of these things can be made through the use of interior designs.

Basically, interior design refers to the art of manipulating and forming the inner space of a house, an office, or a room, through the management of surface healing and “spatial volume.”

Interior designs are generally used to bring in the features of architecture, furniture designs, environmental psychology, and product design. All of these are combined to create an artistic projection of the area in project.

The Style

The interior designer should know and take into consideration the different parts of “design styles.” These are the proportion, function of design, concept, and balance. All of these parts are important in creating the total “look and feel” of the room.

For instance, in creating the “look and feel” of the room, the interior design could enhance the “graphical user interface” of the design buy using the right combination of colors, layout, shapes, etc.

Included in the aspect of styles are the seven elements of design that an interior designer must always take into account. These are the shape, form, line, texture, color, pattern, and mass. All of these things, when incorporated in a project will bring out the best results.

However, good interior designers must also take into account the aspects of beauty in terms of its function and aesthetics. A good balance between the two will instigate proper coordination of all the elements of design.

The reason behind this argument is based on the fact that the concept of beauty is always comparative and qualified. As the old adage goes, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

Hence, there are instances that one design might be beautiful for one person but may look unsightly with others. That is why when the function of interior design serves its purpose as far as enhancing the total outlook of the space is considered as universal, the comparativeness of its beauty will vary from one person to another.

For this reason, the design used by the interior designer may be relative to his or her own aspect of beauty but may be taken differently by his or her viewers. Nevertheless, it is still the interior designer who will know the appropriate use of the different elements of design associated with the utilization of the various kinds of materials that he or she will use.

Consequently, the interior designer must still consider the insights and taste of the user or the customer. After all, the interior designer is being paid to enhance the space according to the taste of the one who will use that space.

At this point, it is now based on the “sales talks” or the persuasive power of the designer to convince his or her client the best style, patterned to his or her style. In this way, the designer will not be in trouble of deviating from the interests of the client. Otherwise, the designer may no longer find future works from this particular client.

Indeed, interior designing is not just a matter of good taste and spatial enhancement. It is also a conglomeration of the application of the different elements of design along with the personal interest of the client.

It is a work of art with the value of ethical standards constituted in one art form.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Modern Decor Tip: Blend Not Match

by: Bridget Greuel

Are you having a difficult time trying to match the colors of the different pieces in your modern color scheme? Want to know how Interior Designers solve this problem? I'll let you in on the secret...they blend not match. You can do it too. In fact, I recommend it because it will allow you the freedom of being able to incorporate more pieces into the color scheme and it will make your life easier too since you won't go crazy trying to make all of your decor match perfectly!

How do you determine what blends and what doesn't? A good rule of thumb is to stand back and look at the pieces in question together and to go with your gut feeling or (if you don't quite trust your eye for color) seek out a second opinion from a friend or family member with a good eye. This method is especially helpful when you're working with a pattern that may take on one general color when viewed from a distance. I also like to take a close look at each patterned piece to see which colors they're comprised of. Have fun and remember; blend not match!

Bridget Greuel is a designer and writer for Zazzy Art Decor at and Topic Tuner at Zazzy Art Decor features modern art and decor shopping and decorating tips.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cut the Clutter!

by: Jennifer Gove

Is clutter bogging you down? Is it living on your shelves collecting dust and in your closet stealing valuable space, has it wandered down the hall to the kids room and taken over? It’s time to cut the clutter.

What is clutter?

  • It is some thing you have had for more then six months and have used one time or less.

  • It is too many items crammed into a small space.

  • It is mail that is unsorted lying about in piles.

  • It is all projects lying about unfinished.

  • It is any thing you no longer have use for.

Where does the clutter go?

You should sort clutter into three categories.

  • Trash – Paper, broken items or any thing in bad condition.
  • Sell – Brand name clothing items or any thing in almost new condition such as toys.
  • Donate – Clothing in good condition, toys or any usable item in good condition.

What will I need?

Grab two big boxes and a good sized trash bag. Label one box sell unless you do not plan on selling if not label it donation as well as the other box. Otherwise you should have two boxes, one sell and the other donations.

Getting into the clutter.

Once you have decided it is time to get rid of all that clutter it is just a matter of getting started.

Choose a room determine the clutter hot spots. For example the top of the refrigerator is often a clutter attracting spot. Remove each item and ask your self is this trash? What value or use is this to me? Do I have more then one of these? Sort items into Trash sell or donate. If you decide to keep it designate it a permanent home. Move to each room fine the hot stops for clutter and repeat the process.

Clutter hot spots

Children’s rooms (closets, toy boxes, dressers selves the floor) – broken or out grown toys, worn or out grown clothing, papers from school

Kitchen (counter tops, table, drawers, cupboards, under the sink) – Papers, mail, over abundance of useless appliances, empty product bottles or products that do not work

Bed rooms (closets, dressers, shelves) – Clothing, paperbacks, knickknack

Living or family room (shelves, Entertainment center, drawers) - Books, paper work, mail, toys, knickknacks, magazines, newspapers

Bathroom (Shelves, medicine cabinet, under the sink) Old make up, used products, empty products, old magazines, newspapers

Coat room - make sure all outer wear has working zippers and fastens; toss worn shoes or unworn shoes.

This is not clutter what do I do with it!

Baskets are great for organizing many small related items together in one spot.

Totes are a woman’s best friend store away half your children’s toys and reticulate then every month or so. Put out of season clothing away or blankets.

Shelves give books magazines and knickknacks a place to live.

Laundry baskets make great toy storage for stuffed animals and other big toys. They are also great to leave in a central location for family members to toss things in until they get to putting them away.

The golden rules of clutter

  • If you do not use it lose it.

  • Build a wardrobe, once you do when you buy new replace the old.

  • Every thing has a place if it doesn’t toss it.

  • Every thing must have a use if it doesn’t toss it.

  • Less is almost always more!

  • Less is easier to clean and care for!

About The Author

Jennifer Gove

If you enjoyed this article please stop into or check out the forums at for great advice articles and ideas!

Jennifer is a stay at home mother who resides in the state of Maine with her husband and children.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Buying Displayed Furniture

by: Bob Benson

Have you ever just had to have a certain piece of furniture right then – you won’t leave the store without it? If you have ever had such an experience, you have probably been offered the displayed floor model. If you have not had a similar experience, be aware of these issues that might arise when buying a demo, displayed piece of furniture.

Most stores can order furniture for you unless the particular model you want is being discontinued. Or, unless you absolutely, positively plan to walk out of the store with the sofa, recliner, or other piece of furniture that very day.

If you find yourself in either of the above situations, you should be aware of the pros and cons of buying a demo or displayed piece of furniture.

The biggest pro, obviously, is being able to have the instant gratification of immediate ownership. If really, really want a piece of furniture that is on display, try to hold your enthusiasm for the piece until you can talk with the sales person. Ask if there is a discount for buying the floor model. That would be a second pro. If a commissioned sales person can see how desperate you are to own that piece of furniture, he or she might be more likely to hold you to the original price. The best way to proceed is to ask the sales person what kind of price he can give you for that piece. Then, ask what price he can give you on the floor model. With any luck, the prices will show a decrease each time you ask!

If there is no discount for buying the floor model, proceed with caution. Don’t let your urge for immediate ownership of the furniture to keep you from getting the best deal. Back away and think about it. Can you wait another two weeks for a brand new piece of furniture to be shipped to your house? If the answer is no, go back and look at the furniture. Prepare to give it a good inspection.

If it is a sofa or chair, chances are that many of people have tried it out by sitting in it. Look at the seat. Is it worn or showing any signs of wear? Check out the back. Sometimes the natural oils from hair or the back side of necks can rub off on furniture cushions. Look for oily spots on the cushions.

Take a look at the arms. Are they worn? Pay special attention to the cording on the arms and cushions. As people get up or lean back to get comfortable, the cording gets extra friction against it and shows signs of wearing sooner.

Next, check the seams. Are any of the seams pulling apart? This might happen if a number of people have tried out the furniture. As people sit on the cushions, the seams tend to pull. They generally go back in place when the person gets up, but continued use could cause seams to separate permanently.

If you spot any signs of wear, point them out to the sales person. If he still won’t come down off the price, walk on by. Place your order and wait for a perfect model to arrive just for you!

About The Author

Bob Benson is the founder of Furniture online. You can check out our website at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Preventing Fire Damage in the Kitchen

by: Jonathan Meyer

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in your house as it contains many hazards and a high potential for unintentional fires.

Frying Pans and Deep Fry Pans

Using a thermostat controlled fryer is a great way to prevent deep fry pans fires. Avoid fat and grease build up on the stove or pans because fat and grease can easily catch fire.

Oven and Stove

The oven and range must be cleaned often to prevent grease and food from catching fire. Be careful when you cook and keep pot handles away from the edge of the stove. Don’t wear long sleeves that can hang over the stove and catch fire. Always look on the oven when it is on and don’t forget to turn it off when not in use. Place flammable fabrics, such as towels, away from the gas or electric range. Be careful with flammable liquids such as cleaning materials.


The most important safety rule for appliances is to use only appliances that have been tested and approved by a testing facility. Avoid overloading electrical outlets and check for worn or broken wiring on a regular basis. If you find defects be sure to make necessary repairs immediately. It is also very important to keep appliance cords on the counter to prevent them from, accidentally, being pulled down.

Microwave Ovens

A very common mistake regarding microwave ovens is the wrong assumption that items, heated in the microwave oven, are not as hot as items heated in a regular oven or a mini oven. Keep in mind that even though the container does not heat, the content does. Be sure all the vents are cleared of obstructions and that the microwave oven has an adequate clearance for air circulation. Never place aluminum foil or other metals in a microwave oven.

For more information visit

Free guides are available.

About The Author

Jonathan Meyer is an editorial staff member of RestorationSOS™, a leading restoration services provider for water and fire damages.

To learn more about water and fire damage restoration, visit or call 1-877-767-2407.

Monday, February 4, 2008

How To Choose a Storage Shed

by: Vic Maia

If you own a house, at some point the need for extra storage space soon becomes evident. Arguably the most common solution is to purchase a storage shed. There are hundreds of styles and options available, but taking the time review these 5 key steps will enable you to make a smarter decision.

1. What is the primary function of the shed? In most cases, storage space is the key requirement, so figure out how much space is needed. A small 4’ x 8’ lean-to style provides sufficient space for small tools, but larger items do require more space. I strongly recommend choosing the largest size that you can afford, which still blends in with your landscape. Remember that most municipalities require building permits for any building over 100 sq. ft.

2. Is the shed going to play a prominent role in your day to day activities? If so, make sure that you choose a style and options that give you good access and provide adequate lighting. Windows and skylights provide plenty of natural light, but it is common to run electricity to the shed. For easy access, make sure that the doors are at least 34” wide, as most lawn mowers will easily pass through.

3. How important is the look of the shed to my property. Remember that anything you erect will either add or impair on your property value. Metal and vinyl are the least expensive options, but these tend to look ordinary. Wood and pre-finished sidings normally add character and value, but are usually more expensive.

4. Consider the grade and accessibility of the location. A level site is the starting point for all shed construction The greater the grade, the more work needs to be done. Typically a grade of 6” or less over the dimension of the shed can be compensated for by using patio stones, especially for smaller units. In areas faced with frost upheaval or poor drainage, it is recommend that at least 6” of topsoil be removed and filled with screening stone (1/2” or smaller gravel is also acceptable).

5. Be considerate to your neighbors! Don’t put up something that belongs in a junkyard beside your neighbor’s manicured backyard. Most municipalities require that storage sheds be 2 ft from the fence or property line, so be sure to check ahead of time to avoid any aggravation. Talk to your neighbors about your intentions – 99% of the time they will appreciate your concern and be very supportive of your project.

The internet is an excellent source for information on the hundreds of suppliers and styles available. If ordering online be sure to read the warranty and returns information carefully as often goods of this nature cannot be returned. Just because a company has a fancy website it does not mean it stands behind its product – try searching for articles or information on the particular company. Most companies offer either pre-cut or pre-fabricated kits delivered to your residence. If choosing a fully installed product, deal with a local company with a fixed location (avoid the ones that set-up at seasonal locations), and again be prudent with your research. I strongly recommend avoiding companies that require more than a 30% deposit – you’ll end up waiting longer than you should. A storage shed is an important purchase – a little research will go a long way in helping making the right decision.

About The Author

Vic Maia is currently the owner and operator of Garden Shed & Gazebos. English Garden is a family-owned business that has been designing and building Garden Sheds, Gazebos, Cabanas and Bunkies for over 30 years. We are dedicated to providing personalized customer service.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Should You Buy Todder Size Furniture

by: Bob Benson

Your baby has grown into a full-fledged toddler and is ready for a “big girl” or “big boy” bed. Have you seen the latest toddler furniture? It’s cute! But you really don’t have to spend a lot to make your toddler comfortable in his or her bedroom.

Your first decision will be whether to buy a toddler bed. The toddler bed is a piece of furniture sized just right for babies who are too big for their crib. Most use the mattress from the crib, however, so they are not actually that much bigger in size. Toddler beds just get the child accustomed to sleeping without rails all around and is low enough that if the child rolls out, he won’t get hurt.

Has your child grown quickly? If so, you might think about skipping the toddler bed as furniture and buy a twin size bed instead. You can purchase rails made of cloth and plastic that do a fine job of keeping the child in the bed and allowing him more room for movement. If you are looking to save money, this is one way to do it. By buying a twin bed you’ve eliminated the often expensive toddler size furniture that will only have to be upgraded later.

Should you buy a toddler size dresser? Again, the toddler furniture is precious, but do you expect your two or three year old to always put away his socks, underwear or t-shirts? The purchase of toddler size furniture is less about function and more about how absolutely adorable it is. Unless you just have money to blow, invest in furniture that will last the child (or someone else in the family later if it doesn’t match his room any more) for a lifetime. If you buy a six drawer dresser now you can still insist your toddler help put his things away by putting items like socks, shirts and under clothes in the lower drawers. Since the furniture will be heavier, help open and close the drawers for him to avoid smashing his little fingers.

When considering furniture for a toddler’s room remember to keep special needs in mind. Some children have allergic reactions to compressed woods, or the glues used to hold them together. If you have just bought new furniture that seems to have a loud smell and your child develops allergy symptoms, let your doctor know. It may help pin down the allergy culprit without undergoing a lot of tests.

Use the money you save by not buying toddler furniture to change the décor in your child’s room often. A toddler who likes Big Bird one day may be crazy over princesses or Thomas the Tank Engine another day. Use standard colors that match the furniture you’ve selected and you can change themes of the room as often as your child changes favorites. Your toddler’s room can still be cute and as unique as his ever changing personality even if you don’t sink a lot of money into toddler sized furniture.

About The Author

Bob Benson is the founder of Furniture online. You can check out our website at

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How to Get Free Garbage Bags

by: Steve Hall

The scenario:

A newlywed couple moves into their new home. After a couple of months, they realize that they have many more garbage bags than they need. However, they have not bought any garbage bags since they got married. Where did all of the garbage bags come from?

Your mission:

See how fast you can arrive at the correct solution by using the following clues:

1) The garbage bags were not a wedding gift

2) The couple did not bring any garbage bags with them when they moved

3) The bags were not in the couple's new home when they arrived

4) The fact that the two people are newlyweds is irrelevant

5) The type of home that the couple moved into is irrelevant

6) The bags were made of plastic

7) People gave the bags to the couple, but

8) The bags were not any type of gift

9) The bags are not "traditional" garbage bags

10) The bags came in many colors.

The solution:

Have you figured out the solution yet? The garbage bags are actually plastic bags from grocery and other types of stores! The couple only has small garbage cans in their home, and the plastic bags fit perfectly inside of them. Plus, the handles make them very extremely easy to tie shut when they become full. The trash cans need to be emptied more often than larger cans would, but that small inconvenience is worth the savings. Yearly garbage bag expenses: $0.00!

In addition to the monetary reasons, reusing grocery bags is a simple way to recycle and eliminate the waste created by throwing away the plastic bags inside of another garbage bag. Once you have a good supply of plastic bags, consider taking an empty canvas bag or backpack with you to the grocery store. Check the bag with a store employee when you enter so that no one thinks that you are shoplifting. Then, when you are done shopping, skip getting a new bag and load your purchases into your own reusable bag instead.

A few other super-easy ways to save money and recycle:

Save scrap paper. Save any papers that have nothing on the back or large blank spaces. Advertising flyers, old work papers and school papers all work well. You can cut the pages into smaller pieces if they would be more convenient for you. Put the paper in a stack or a box with a pen nearby, and you'll never have to scramble when you need to jot down something. Spots near the base of your house phone or beside the computer are both great locations.

Save sturdy boxes from food, electronics, mailers, etc. Cover them with the Sunday comics or some previously-used wrapping paper. Label each box with a marker and use as stackable storage for recipes, comic books or just about anything else.

Save large, empty plastic soda and juice bottles. Fill them with water, and store in your freezer. Having less open space in your freezer will help it run more efficiently. And when you need more room in the freezer, simply take out one of the bottles of ice!

Save torn and worn out clothing. Tear or cut them into pieces and use as rags for cleaning and dusting.

About The Author

Steve Hall is a writer for the GrandMatrix website. Visit and grab hundreds of free game downloads, including classics, puzzles and strategy to the latest action, driving and RPG games at

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ideas to Give Old Furniture New Life

by: Bob Benson

The best thing about old furniture is the new life you can give it. It doesn’t take much talent – just a little creativity and patience if you’ve never taken on a furniture project before.

Accept this challenge: instead of throwing out that old chest of drawers from your child’s room, think of a new use for it. Recycling furniture can be a lot of fun, plus it’s a good way to get a new look at a fraction of the cost. If you are not happy with the finished product, start over or then give in to purchase a new furniture piece.

Think about that old chest of drawers. Is there a drawer that’s broken? Maybe you can take out that drawer and create a shelf from the opening. Would it make a nice TV stand if it was just a little taller? Consider screwing finials that you can find in your local discount store onto the bottom to create “legs” or “feet.”

And never underestimate the power of a coat of paint! Old furniture gets a quick update when painted. If you like the shabby chic look, tatter the fresh paint job a bit by sanding around corners and other heavy use areas to create a worn look. If it’s your first time to try this furniture painting technique, invest in an inexpensive kit that can be found at any retail discount store.

If you are really creative and not afraid to try new things with your old furniture, you can create some funky new accessories for your home. Use an old dresser as a sink basin for your bathroom. Use the headboard or footboard from a twin size bed as the back of a bench.

Giving your old furniture a new look does not always include creating a new function for it. For instance, drape and tuck fabric over an old sofa or love seat to give it a “slipcovered” look. Or, hot glue some fabric on top of the old rattan panels on the coffee table you’ve had for years. Trim it out by hot gluing some braided trim around the edges and you’ve created a new look for the table.

If your piece of furniture was painted but you’d like to give it a stained look, give it a try. Most woods are easily stripped of paint and stain can be applied in the color and intensity of your choice. Just follow the directions supplied by the stain manufacturer.

Give the lacquer-look furniture popular in past years an up to date look by using a combination of painting and staining. To get a brown leather look, brush your lacquer furniture lightly first with sand paper just enough to rough up the surface so the paint will adhere better. Then, use a red primer color spray paint on the furniture. Once the primer dries, use an oil-based brown stain and a plastic bag to create the leathery look. Working with a small area at a time, use a sponge “brush” to paint on the stain. Crinkle a plastic bag and open it up. Press the crinkled bag on top of the stain and sweep the bag quickly off the furniture. The motion will pull the stain around, creating the lines associated with leather. Kits are also available for this technique.

About The Author

Bob Benson is the founder of Furniture online. You can check out our website at

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