Monday, May 30, 2011

Got Ugly Wall Texture? Something You Can Do

Getting bored of your wall texture? Here's some inspiration!

Article taken off

Got Ugly Wall Texture? Something You Can Do

Ugly wall texture is a pretty common headache for many homeowners. Both plaster and walls with drywall covering present their fair share of troubles.

Sometimes, it can just be a case of boredom. That old wall texture or ceiling texture no longer looks attractive to the jaded eye.

A lot of do-it-yourself homeowners are fairly adventurous when it comes to all kinds of home repair or renovation projects. But for some odd reason, they balk at plaster or drywall work.

The truth is, like many things, some instruction, practice and growing self confidence can take the mystery out of this.

If it is a case of wanting to get rid of texture completely, then that is accomplished by skim coating the whole area. Now, the new smooth wall or ceiling offers new options. Do I go with just a smooth finish, or would I like some new kind of texture?

Putting on a different kind of wall texture can be a fun challenge, a fresh adventure that creates attractive results to be enjoyed for years to come.

You’re not artistic? How do you know? I am not artistic, but I have been giving clients beautiful texture effects on walls and ceilings for many years. If you had told me when I was in my early 20s that I would be doing this kind of work for a living, I would have said you were crazy. But
I learned to do it under the instruction of a drywall master, and it wasn’t hard. It was fun.

And I have taught others to do the same.

Here’s the way I looked at it. I remembered my mom in the kitchen, pulling a homemade cake from the oven and while it cooled preparing the frosting mix.

It was fascinating watching her apply the cool creamy stuff over that cake, with deft strokes of the knife. Beautiful swirls and peaks or just about anything that she decided to try. If you had accused my mom of being “artistic,” she would have laughed in your face. But those cakes were almost too lovely to eat.

So I think of applying wall and ceiling textures as “frosting the cake.” You’ve got the cool creamy texture mix you have prepared, and now you can do anything you want to with it.

But, of course, like many things, some practice goes a long ways. I always encourage people to find a surface somewhere to practice on. Maybe a smooth garage wall? A sheet of drywall is cheap. Or maybe painted plywood or even cardboard. Don’t forget, you can erase and start over as many times as you need to.

When you arrive at a point where you can say - “Wow. That I like!”, then ask yourself - can I do this over an entire wall or ceiling and be consistent throughout? That may be the most challenging part. It is better to arrive at something simple, where you can break off at anytime you need to and know you can come back to it later without a seam or lap showing. Like a texture with an irregular open edge.

What about tools? There are lots of things that work to create textures. Brushes, drywall broad knives, rubber floats like tile setters use, plasterers trowels, paint rollers, even your hands (remember finger painting in grade school). You can even build pattern tools you can press into freshly applied texture compound to leave unique imprints.

Like fingerprints, what you do will be unique to some extent. You will always know - I did that!

What you could use is some instruction. See samples of different kinds of wall and ceiling textures. Or watch someone actually doing texture work. This can fire up your imagination and motivation, as you find yourself saying - Hey, I think I could do that.

Edwin Brown has almost 40 years experience doing plaster and drywall renovation work on the west coast of the US.

For some guidance regarding wall and ceiling texture work, and for pictures of various textures, check out his web page at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Home Aquariums, living with fish

Marine life that will lead you to a healthy environment!

Article taken off

Home Aquariums, living with fish

An aquarium can be described as an artificial habitat for marine life. Normally we think of only tropical fish when we consider having an aquarium, but aquariums can house even aquatic mammals and amphibians. Now if you are thinking of an aquarium for home, there are a wide variety of fishes and aquarium plants you can choose from. Plants enhance beauty, offer shade to fish, serve as spawning nest and food. You van even use plastic plants. The best fish for home aquarium are butterfly fish, bicolor blenny, pseudochromis, clownfish, goby, firefish, fox lace etc.

Maintaining an aquarium is a hobby for many around the world. If you are a true lover of fish, you can have your own little private collection of marine life at your home. They in their own way provide some tranquility in a world full of stress and strain.

Home aquariums can be made to replicate marine environment like the Barrier Reef or even the Amazon River. However before getting an aquarium for the home you must know how to maintain it. Tropical fish tanks may be salt water or fresh water. Experts however suggest that one should start with fresh water home aquarium, as salt-water aquarium is expensive and difficult to maintain. You can always switch over to salt water aquarium or home reef aquarium later using most of the same available equipments. A home aquarium generally consists of glass panels bound with silicone. Because of lightweight and durability acrylic home aquariums are gaining popularity. They are readily available at pet shops.Where selection of fish and supplies is concerned, the pet shopkeeper is well trained to guide you in this matter.

A home reef aquarium is usually made of glass or acrylic. The acrylic ones are attractive but expensive. Fishes like centropyge, tangs, amphiprion, mandarin fish, and dragonnettes can be kept here. Filtration and lighting in home reef aquarium is important because of photosynthesis. In order to survive the corals must produce, you,,, may be accessed for home aquarium tips and pictures of home aquariums.

Home aquarium care is essential for healthy environment for the entire family. It has to be kept clean both from outside as well as inside. The ideal temperature is 23 to 28 o Celsius. Where lighting is concerned, colour temperature ranging from 5000-7000 0 is ideal depending upon the variety of animals. Ph testing kits should be used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the tank water.

If a beginner,get for yourself a small home aquarium and create your own little sea world at home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Incredible Oscar Dress-Inspired Interiors

Need some inspiration for your home interior design?

Article taken off

Incredible Oscar Dress-Inspired Interiors

Red Hot
The Oscars have come and gone, but it's hard not to continue to be inspired by the gorgeous dresses of the red carpet. This year's selection of dresses did not disappoint, with many leading ladies showing up in fantastic red-oranges, jewel tones and sparkly metallics. Here we've paired some of our favorite dresses with some Oscar worthy interiors.

Midnight Blue
Amy Adams sparkled in her navy blue L’Wren Scott sequined dress with pretty cap sleeves. While Amy accessorized with a gorgeous silver and green emerald Cartier necklace, this handsome navy favorite from Domino magazine pops with hints of bright pink.

Silver Lining
Mandy Moore looked stunning on the red carpet in her sheer Monique Lhuillier sequined gown, embellished with gorgeous metallics. This delightfully neutral living room shines with metallic accents, grays and blush tones.

Purple Haze
Natalie Portman, who took home top honors for her performance in Black Swan, simply glowed in her purple Rodarte dress. This gorgeous purple looks equally as elegant as part of a sleek, modern kitchen.

Gold Dust
When Gwyneth Paltrow met up with Taylor Swift at the Vanity Fair Oscars After Party, the duo sparkled and shimmered in their chic gold metallic dresses. This Paco Rabanne gold curtain in room designed by Eric Hughes is equally as eye catching.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Tiny Apartment Transforms into 24 Rooms

This is amazing! Let's watch how Gary Chang, an architect designed a 344 square feet apartment into 24 different designs!

Monday, May 9, 2011

10 tips to decorate an entryway

Let's see how you can perfect an entryway to your home!

Article taken off

10 tips to decorate an entryway

The access to every house, its entryway or hallway, can give people an idea of the feel of the interiors of the house. An impressive hallway will make your guests wonder about the interiors and they will be eager to explore the place further. You need not necessarily have a big hallway to make it charming. Even a small entryway can be decorated just as beautifully.

Here are a few tips to decorate your hallway.

* Consider cleanliness of the floor of prime importance as a clean entry will prove most welcoming. Use good and attractively designed rugs or mats on the floor to keep the area clean.

* Choose an appropriate space to place a medium sized table with a vase for decoration. You can use artificial flowers in the vase. In case you use actual flowers, then they will need to be changed everyday. The table top could either be wood or glass, both look attractive. If you prefer wood then you can use a pretty carved table.

* Mirrors are also a good option for entryways since they can create a nice effect when combined with the lighting of the place.

* Lighting of the hallway can work wonders for the objects in the area. As mentioned above, the combination of mirrors and lights can create an enticing view. You can use dim, smoky lights instead of bright ones since it gives the desired effect especially in the evenings.

* You can also place plants, creepers that provide greenery to the area and a refreshing view to people entering the house.

* Using candles, potpourri and air fresheners may reduce the chances of unwanted odor that may have dominated the air earlier.

* Utility items like a coat hanger or a closet or an umbrella stand may be placed for the benefit of the guests.

* If you want to give your hallway a personal touch, you may put family photographs or arrange collectibles, musical instruments, silk or crape draperies.

* Match all articles in correspondence with the color scheme of the hallway.

* Wind chimes or decorative bells are also preferred by some but put them up only if you are not bothered by the faint tinkling sounds. Wooden wall sculptures and candle brackets look stunning in the entryway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

5 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Refrigerator

Do you have any idea when you should change a new refrigerator?

Article taken off

5 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Refrigerator

The appliances in your home -- particularly the refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer -- account for about 17 percent of your home’s electricity usage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since the refrigerator is the one appliance that operates 24/7 year after year, it’s a key contributor to your home's monthly energy consumption.

If your refrigerator was manufactured before 1993, you’re already using twice the energy as a new Energy Star–rated model.

But age isn’t the only reason you may need to consider purchasing a new fridge. There are five warning signs that it’s time. Ask yourself:

1. Do you see signs of moisture?

Are there signs of condensation on the inside of the door frame? If so, the rubber seal designed to keep cold air in and warm air out isn’t as airtight as it needs to be. While the energy loss may seem negligible, anything that requires the motor to run more frequently over time is costing you energy -- and money. You may be able to change the seal yourself or have a handyman do it. But if your refrigerator is old, and this is only one of several problems, it might be wise to start shopping for a new one.

2. Is your unit generating heat?

We all know refrigerators are meant to keep food cold, but if your unit is generating noticeable heat from the back coils or the sides, a replacement is in order. New refrigerators have improved insulation in the doors and exterior walls to help maintain better temperatures and muffle motor noise. With more energy-efficient compressors and more precise temperature and defrost mechanisms, new models produce less heat, operate more quietly and insure temperatures are kept at the optimum settings. To be sure that the unit you buy meets these standards, look for the blue Energy Star label.

3. Is the motor running continuously?

The old joke “Is your refrigerator running? Well, you’d better catch it!” isn’t far from the truth. Refrigerators have an on-off timer that lets the motor operate just enough to maintain the temperatures inside. Door openings and closing will, of course, contribute to the motor running more frequently. But if you suspect your refrigerator is running more than normal -- or continuously -- it may be a sign that your refrigerator needs replacing.

4. Is your food staying fresh?

Refrigerators need to maintain an inside temperature of 35 to 38 F to keep food fresh. Anything higher and it will spoil too quickly. Anything lower and freezing becomes a problem. You can purchase a refrigerator thermometer to test temperatures, but if you have been inching the colder setting lower over time -- or notice that vegetables, dairy products and leftovers don’t keep as long as they used to -- it’s time to shop for a new refrigerator.

5. Do you manually defrost your freezer?

Finally, if your freezer compartment requires manual defrosting, there’s no need to contemplate whether you need a new refrigerator -- you do. Although freezers that require manual defrosting are somewhat more efficient than frost-free models, they have to be maintained regularly in order to operate at peak efficiency. The more frost and ice that builds up on the inside of a freezer, the harder the unit has to work. Taking into account the time it requires to defrost a freezer and the problems with temporary food displacement, a new fridge will eliminate the chore (saving you time) and still be more energy-efficient than your current model (saving you money).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bed Sheets Buying Tips

There's more to buying Bedsheets than you think!

Article taken off

Bed Sheets Buying Tips

Looking for the comfort in your bedroom and guessing what is missing? Yes, you are right. It is your bed sheet that is demanding a change. But buying the most appropriate bed sheets to complete the comfort requirement and the bed and bedroom furnishings, demands the understanding of its different buying aspects. So read here the complete bed sheet buying tips before spending money.

Measure Your Bed And Mattress For Bed Sheet Size
Size of the bed sheet depends upon the size of bed and mattress. There is a possibility of having twin, double, queen or king size bed. But you will wonder that there is no such exact measurement for different beds as it tends to differ with makers. Along with bed, it is the mattress that decides the bed sheet size. Mattress can have extra thickness and pillow tucks.

So now if you have a king size bed and a mattress that has extra thickness and also has a provision for pillow tucks, you need bed sheet larger than king size bed.

Knowing this, take care of bed size while buying a bed sheet, otherwise you will buy a bed sheet that won't wind around the edges. You can know the bed sheet size from its pack as every package of sheet contains its measurement. So pay full attention to this aspect and measure your mattress and bed before shopping for bed sheets.

Learn About Thread Count
Softness of bed sheet depends upon the thread count or TPI, which means the number of threads per square inch of the fabric. More the thread count more will be the softness. You can find bed sheet having 150 to 1000 or more thread count. The bed sheet having 250 thread counts are very comfortable. But if you buy a bed sheet having less thread count then these will be rough and uneasy.

Choosing The Right Material
The world out there is full of bed sheets in wide range of material.

The fabric can be:

The selection of the material again should be done while keeping in mind the comfort as well as purpose. If you are looking for a bed sheet for a sound night sleep then there is nothing better than cotton fabric. This material is most widely used and perfect for every season as it is cool in summers and snuggly in winters.

But on the other hand if you are shopping for a luxury bed sheet then go for silk, organza or satin fabric. Here you will have to take care of proper fit as these bed sheets tends to slip if not properly tucked in. Your bedroom in winters is not complete without having a flannel or jute bedsheets. The flannel material is very warm and soft where as jute do gives warmness but bit on rough side.

Pay Attention To Your Interior Decor
While selecting a bed sheet make sure to select the one that fits into your bedroom furnishing theme. Comforters, curtains, throws, cushions, bed spreads /bed-spread.html and other furnishing material must coordinate with each other to create a sync. Here keep in mind the color, pattern, style and design of the bed sheet. If your bed covers, comforters etc are light in color then choose the appropriate bed sheet. If you have other furnishing material having embroidery and small pattern then selection of bed sheet must be done according to that.

Read The Laundry Instructions
Caring for bed sheets as per instructions of the manufacture will give more life to bed sheets. Silk bed sheets need to be dry cleaned so you cannot wash these in machine or with hand. Cotton bed sheets can be comfortably washed at home. So read these instruction and buy what you can do and afford.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How Healthy Is Your Bedroom?

A bedroom is the keeper of the soul... Let's create a healthy bedroom environment!

Article taken off

How Healthy Is Your Bedroom?

The kitchen may be the most popular room in the house, but the bedroom is where you clock the most time. Human beings dedicate one third of their lives to sleeping. With good reason: Sleeping refreshes the body and mind, recharging you for the next day. And while you can’t control many of the factors that interfere with slumber -- noisy neighbors, early-bird toddlers, antsy dogs -- a few simple changes can transform your ordinary bedroom into a snoozing sanctuary.

Emily Anderson, eco-style expert and author of Eco Chic Home: Rethink, Reuse, and Remake Your Way to Sustainable Style, has developed a 10-step plan to improve your bedroom health.

1. Leave your shoes at the door
Going shoeless does more than keep your house clean. “The rubber on the soles of your shoes picks up chemicals and toxins from the pavement,” says Anderson. “You don’t want to bring those things into your bedroom.”

2. Manage your mattress
Rotate your mattress every six months. “Rotating gets rid of dust mites and toxins and will prolong the life of the mattress,” says Anderson. Flip the mattress both horizontally and vertically. Forget what side you’re on? Anderson recommends pinning a note to the foot of the bed.

3. Chill out
“Sleeping in a cooler temperature is not just the green thing to do -- you actually sleep better when the thermostat is down,” says Anderson. Aim for 68 degrees in the winter. Toes still cold? Toss on an extra blanket.

4. Cover with curtains
Window coverings are key. “You lose a tremendous amount of warm and cool air through windows,” notes Anderson. But it’s not the cracks that are the culprit. “Most windowpanes are not engineered to be energy-saving,” says Anderson. He recommends choosing curtains over blinds because they can be easily removed and washed. “And they actually cover more of the window.”

5. Don’t ignore the closet
When was the last time you took inventory of your wardrobe? Exactly. Anderson suggests digging into your closet and pulling out what you no longer need. “Getting rid of excess is one of the best ways to save money,” she says. “You become more conscious of the things you own.”

6. Add a splash of vinegar
“Vinegar is a great natural antibacterial agent,” says Anderson. “When washing sheets, add a cup with your regular detergent.”

7. Dry naturally
“Once or twice a season, dry your sheets in the sunshine,” says Anderson. “Not putting sheets in the dryer all the time means they’ll last longer -- plus, the sun is a natural whitener.”

8. Protect your pillow
Pillows are susceptible to stains from makeup and natural face oils. Anderson recommends always covering your pillow with a washable case. “A pillowcase will protect your pillow and allow you to keep it longer,” she says.

9. Choose lavender
Trade stinky mothballs for the soothing scent of lavender. The fragrant herb is a natural moth and mite repellent. “Homemade sachets are easy to make,” says Anderson. “Buy dried lavender in bulk and sew a little pillow. They also make great gifts.”

10. Illuminate naturally
Anderson recommends setting up your bedroom to optimize the lighting. “Arrange your bed so it’s facing at least one window. Natural light wakes you up and makes it easier for you to get out of bed in the morning.”