Fun and Unusual Uses for Cardboard Boxes

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ShutterstockBefore putting a cardboard box out with the recyclables, consider some fun ways to reuse it around the house.

Like rabbits or dust bunnies, cardboard boxes somehow multiply when they arrive at a house. They arrive in a variety of ways, such as from a moving truck carrying your pots and pans, to a delivery van bringing boxes of gifts that you bought online.

However they get there, cardboard boxes can quickly clutter a home if they’re not cut down and put out with the recyclables. An option to destroying them, however, is finding fun ways to use them around the house. Here are some useful and fun ways to reuse cardboard boxes:

1. Toys for kids. Give a small child a big box, and you’ve got a full day’s worth of play in hand. They can crawl in it and use their imaginations for an adventure, turn it into a rocket or car, make an arcade, or use it as a hideout for the day. The bigger the box, the better.

Bob Sherman, 77, and retired in Glenview, Ill., says when he was a kid, he and his friends would slide down steep hills on boxes, “sometimes twirling on the way down, with the help of someone at the top giving us a twist, and landing in a pile of leaves at the bottom.”

Another idea: “We each got inside a box so we couldn’t see, then ran around bumping into each other and falling down,” Sherman says. What could be more fun for a kid?

2. Make a sign. Cut off part of a cardboard box and write on it for a yard sale sign. It’s free and you won’t have to buy signs to advertise your garage sale. Use magic markers and paint to draw photos or words to attract shoppers, as New Jersey resident Shad Ronayne did.

3. Litter box or play area for a cat. A medium or shoebox can be turned into a litter box for a cat. The animal shelter in Edison, N.J., for example, accepts donations of such cardboard boxes for quick and easy litter pans, Ronayne says. A box can also be turned upside down with a hole cut out of the end and placed on top of a litter box for the cat to have some privacy, and to give you a chance to not have to see the mess.

Like children, cats also love to hide in boxes. Heidi Hecht, 32, a secretary in Benson, Ill., says she saved some boxes for her cats to play in after she moved. Hecht also took some boxes to her local recycling center.

4. Working outside. Instead of lying on the cold, hard cement when changing your car’s oil, or kneeling on hard dirt when pulling weeds, either flatten out a large box or fold over a box a few times to create a landing spot for your back or knees. Writer David Baake, 48, of Atlanta, says that he flattens large cardboard boxes to lie on when changing the oil in his car.

5. Cardboard swimming pool. This requires a lot more than a few old cardboard boxes. It takes a lot of work and supplies from a hardware store, such as contact cement and hardrock coating to make the pool waterproof. Lue Nuwame, 37, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has a YouTube channel devoted to helping people re-use cardboard boxes and other scrap. He also makes chairs, skateboards and costume props.

6. Recycling box. Using a recycled cardboard box as a box to put paper in to be recycled is a good example of recycling. Draw a recycling symbol on the side of the box and keep it near your desk to make paper recycling easier. Or put it in a corner and toss old paper in it from your chair as a fun work break.

7. Filing. Rather than spending money on real filing cabinets, use old cardboard boxes to store important documents. Medium-size boxes are perfect for filing, and labels can be added to separate documents.

For more ideas, see the videos below:

'Cardboard Box Office' Is The Coolest Thing You Can Do With Time, Supplies

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7 Ways to Cozy Up Your Home in Cold Weather

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ShutterstockChange your table decor or mantle to incorporate the warm colors of the season.

The following post is by BrightNest:

Fall and winter can get a bad rap. We get it — outside your home, it’s cold, blustery, dark and (sometimes) dreary. Instead of getting blue, take advantage of the cold weather and turn it into a time to eat, drink and be cozy! With a few simple tricks, you can transform your home into a warm and inviting space.

Here are seven ways to cozy up your home for cold weather:

Light a Crackling Candle: If you don’t know what a crackling candle is, read this. Basically, wood-wick candles are the best way to simulate a wood-burning fireplace without any of the soot and smoke.

Wrap Up in Wool or Flannel: Soft, plush textiles are essential when it comes to cold weather. In the bedroom, bring out your warm-weather, heavier fabrics (like this wool duvet) that will keep you nice and toasty. In the living room, add flannel or chunky wool throws and pillows and you’ve got the perfect place to snuggle up and enjoy a movie.

Whip Up a Batch of Homemade Cider: To make your own apple cider, all you need are apples, sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Mix the ingredients, and then let them boil in a large pot for at least one hour. For the full instructions, check out this recipe. No time for homemade cider? Grab a box of apple cider mix to make instant cider in your favorite mug.

Sink Your Feet into a Faux Fur Rug: Nothing is quite as comforting as having a warm, cozy rug to sink your feet into every morning. If you’re not into the look of faux fur on your floors, do yourself a favor and invest in these faux sheepskin moccasin slippers.

Simmer a DIY Air Freshener on Your Stovetop: For a quick, inexpensive air freshener, reach for your spice rack! For instant coziness, simmer a pot of spices, herbs and fruit peels on the stove while you clean for instant coziness. We recommend #1 on this list for cozying up your home, but you can also try any combination of orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and ginger peels.

Change Up Your Tablescape or Mantle: Transform your dining room table or fireplace mantle by switching up your tablescape décor. Opt for warmer color tones and bring in some pinecones, acorns, squash, cranberries, candles or wine bottle lights.

Treat Yourself to Fall Flowers: Nothing brightens up a space in your home more than fresh flowers, and there are plenty of fall options to choose from! You’ll be able to find mums, asters and bittersweet berries well into the cold months at your grocery or local garden store. Tip: Make your flowers last longer by sticking them in the fridge overnight.

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How to Raise a Property Listing From the Dead

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ShutterstockHas the listing on your for-sale home gone dead?

In my past life as a real estate developer, I’ve had listings that died on the vine. Buyers stayed away in droves; weeks passed with nary a phone call or whiff of interest. Even in a good market, some properties are a beast to move. Maybe your house is one.

That’s why I asked “Million Dollar Listing” stars Ryan Serhant (New York) and Chris Leavitt (Miami) how to raise properties from the dead. The Bravo brokers offered this advice.

Serhant, who moves top-end properties in Manhattan, says massaging the sales price is the best way to revive a listing.

Million Dollar Listing New York Premiere

APRyan Serhant: “It’s always about pricing.”

“It’s always about pricing,” Serhant says.

Sellers mistakenly think that lowering a price from optimistic to realistic is a sign of desperation that turns buyers off. In fact, Serhant says, adjusting pie-in-the-sky prices to match the all-important neighborhood comps, signals that a seller finally is serious about moving his property.

“Wherever the market price is, that’s where your property is,” Serhant says.

In rapid-fire Manhattanese, Serhant offered these additional home-selling tips:

  • If it’s filled with knickknacks, declutter.
  • If it’s green, paint it white.
  • If it smells like cat, Febreze it.
  • If it doesn’t look like “House Beautiful,” stage it.
NBC 2014 Summer TCA - Red Carpet - Day 2

APChris Leavitt: “Positive thinking” is the key.

Leavitt, who holds the record for the largest condominium sale in Florida’s history — $34 million for a Miami Beach triplex — says raising a property from the dead is all about changing the energy that agents, sellers, and even the property gives off.

“Make sure your agent is really excited about your property, not burned out,” Leavitt says.
Your frame of mind also affects the way buyers feel about your property.

“Positive thinking: My house is selling!” is the key, Leavitt says, reminding me of the “American Beauty” scene where real estate agent Annette Bening self-talks, “I will sell this house today.”

“This stuff really works,” Leavitt says.

More tips from Leavitt:

  • Get rid of dried flowers, which put dead, negative energy into the house.
  • Don’t over-stage the house — table settings for meals you’re not eating — which signals desperation.
  • Never attend a showing: Your nerves are catching.

And like Serhant, he cautions: “Price your house in line with comps, or you’ll seem too attached to the home, which discourages buyers.”

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A Visit From the Landlord: What Are the Rules?

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By Laura Agadoni

Do you live in constant fear, wondering whether your landlord will pop in unannounced any moment? Sure, the landlord owns the property and has a right to visit it, but that doesn’t mean he or she can treat you like hired help. Not respecting your boundaries and entering without proper notice is a big no-no and one that you shouldn’t have to endure.

But you can’t expect your landlord never to come by. For all the landlord knows, you could be destroying the front yard by turning it into an auto repair zone. Jason Hartman, president of Platinum Properties Investor Network, says that although it’s “all over the board” regarding how often landlords visit their rental units, he thinks it’s fair for landlords to come by once a year to do an inspection.

When you rent a property, you have the right to chill there — according to the law, this is called “quiet enjoyment.”

Your Privacy

All tenants who rent a property have the right to “quiet enjoyment,” including the right to privacy with an expectation that the landlord won’t enter the unit without permission.

“It’s important to review your lease,” says Massachusetts attorney Stanley A. Brooks. “It usually lists the circumstances under which the landlord can enter your apartment.”

A typical lease agreement might state the following reasons:

  • an annual inspection
  • in case of an emergency
  • to make repairs
  • to show the unit to prospective buyers or tenants
  • when you give permission

You Should Get Notice

If the landlord wants to come over, he or she usually needs to give you notice, typically 24 to 48 hours. Many local jurisdictions require landlords to come over only at reasonable times — not at 9 a.m. on a Saturday when you worked until 2 a.m. the night before.

Your Remedies

The first remedy every tenant should try is to voice your concern in a friendly manner. That often does the trick.

If it doesn’t, there is a progression of steps to try, according to a NOLO, a legal advice website:

1. Send your landlord a friendly letter. It can be an email, says Hartman, that asks to receive notice before a visit. You don’t have to give a reason, but it makes the note more personable if you do. Most landlords should understand that your baby is on a strict nap schedule, that you want time to get your dog confined, or that you work odd hours and want to be awake before the visit.

2. Send a second letter or email but with a businesslike tone. This step requires you to research your state’s landlord-tenant law to see what your state says about the issue. Let your landlord know what your rights are under your state law. When there is no statute, mention your right to quiet enjoyment.

3. Sue if your landlord continues to come over unannounced. You could go through a lawyer or try to save money by taking the landlord to small claims court.

4. Move. If your landlord won’t stop the unannounced visits, you might be entitled to break the lease. The “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment” pertains to every tenancy.

What Not to Do

Although it might be an easy solution to change the locks to prevent the unannounced intrusions, you cannot do that legally. You don’t own the property, after all, and the landlord could evict you for doing that. The same goes for withholding rent. That’s typically a risky endeavor, which often gets tenants evicted.

Laura Agadoni is an Atlanta-area writer, editor and landlord.

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Essential Ventilation for the Home

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ZehnderInstalling ducts for for mechanical ventilation systems can be important in today’s more tightly built homes.

The most common and natural way to ventilate older houses always has been with open windows and doors. But much of the time that isn’t possible because the temperature is too warm or too cold outside — and opening windows also will allow the heated or cooled air in the house to escape. In addition, there are security issues and concern about rain coming into the house. Dust, pollen, noise and insects (and larger creatures, such as mice) also can enter through open windows and doors.
The new and optimal way to ventilate to create a modern, comfortable and healthy home is with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) — also known as an air-to-air heat exchanger — or an energy recovery ventilator (ERV).

When new houses are built as tightly as recommended by the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code — with a maximum of three air changes per hour at 50 Pascal (3ACH50) in most states — there will be a shortage of fresh air in the house if the home is not ventilated properly. The results can include elevated carbon dioxide levels, diminished overall indoor air quality and potentially negative health consequences for the occupants.

How HRVs and ERVs Work

The HRV, or heat recovery ventilator, is an increasingly popular solution that can minimize energy loss and save on heating and cooling costs. The heated or cooled air already in the house is exchanged with fresh exterior air, while transferring some of the heat or coolness generated in the home to the incoming air.

Broan-NutoneHeat Recovery Ventilators (HRVs) reclaim energy from exhausted stale indoor air to temper incoming fresh air.

An ERV, or energy recovery ventilator, functions in much the same way, but helps to control humidity. (ERVs are more often the ventilation choice in warm, humid climates.)

Broan-NutoneEnergy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) are typically recommended for use in more humid climates.

FantechHRVs and ERVs are compact units that make a big difference in air quality.

Other Benefits of Modern Ventilation Systems

An added advantage of a balanced ventilation system instead of a fan or open windows and doors is that an exchanger substantially lowers air conditioning and heating costs while reducing the size of heating and cooling equipment needed in new construction or renovations. ERVs or HRVs also can be used in combination with bathroom fans or a kitchen hood fan, but in some cases additional fans are not required.

One critical benefit of HRVs and ERVs versus exhaust fans is the controlled supply of fresh air, which remains the primary function of ventilation. Exhaust fans need additional air to compensate for the tempered stale air they are throwing outside, which is measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute. When a negative pressure is created inside the house, fresh and often humid outside air is forced into the remaining cracks, crawl spaces and walls and most likely will not supply enough fresh air in the places it is needed most: the bedrooms and living areas.

How Ventilation Systems Have Evolved

HRVs and ERVs were introduced to the U.S. market in the 1970s but are more common in European Union countries, where strict building codes contribute to a high percentage of houses being built with ERV/HRV systems. Austria requires every house to have an ERV or HRV to meet the building code. Belgium also is likely to require the systems in the near future. In the U.S., ERVs and HRVs have become more popular in recent years with the trend toward building tighter, more energy-efficient homes.

Choosing the System That’s Right for You

When a new ERV or HRV system is installed, it is sized according to the square footage of the house, with the appropriate size typically determined by the HVAC contractor or another energy professional. The smallest units can fit in a closet or attic; larger units require more space. Small units have an airflow capacity of about 35-70 CFM (cubic feet per minute) and larger units reach about 125-350 CFM.

Units for single-family homes range in price from about $750 to more than $3000 for high-efficiency ERV units. The price can go even higher if ducting, grills, silencers, wall controls and other optional equipment is included. There also is a significant difference in cost between entry level off-the-shelf HRV units that typically are connected to an existing forced-air heating system and the new generation standalone high-efficiency continuous ventilation systems that are quieter and are custom-designed for a particular floor plan.

Broan-Nutone

Toward a More Efficient Future

One of the requirements for Passive House certification is an ERV/HRV. Because the houses are so tight and have minimal air changes per hour, excellent ventilation is needed to keep the air in the house healthy. HRVs and ERVs offer continuous ventilation, recirculating all of the air every three hours, and are widely available in North America and many parts of the world. Anyone building a new house or renovating an older one should study this issue. There are other choices available, but no matter the climate, every tight home needs mechanical ventilation.

To learn more, see the federal government’s Energy Saver website or the information provided by companies that manufacture ERV/HRV systems, such as Broan, Fantech, Zehnder or RenewAire.

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Budgets and Buzzkills: Our Remodel Emotional Roller Coaster

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When we started planning our home remodel, we gathered our team to discuss design options and costs. This early collaboration is important even for smaller remodels, because you need to know what you can afford. It is also somewhat rare.

From what we’ve seen, the general order of operations is: 1) hire an architect or designer and draft your plan, 2) submit those plans to your city or county for approval and permits, 3) choose two or three contractors to bid on your project, and 4) select your contractor and begin construction.

The problem with this scenario is that bids are often higher than your expectations and budget. And by the time you realize this, you are hopelessly in love with the vaulted ceiling and skylights your designer has drawn. At that point, change is emotionally hard.

Here are our suggestions for being able to afford your remodel:

Hold a planning meeting with your designer and a potential contractor. You might pay a fee for this service, but we think it is better to invest $500-$1,000 up front to avoid expensive surprises at bid time. A good contractor will have ideas about cost-saving strategies and materials that might save money and time. And you will know upfront what those splurge items will cost, so you can pick and choose.

Pick your splurges. Not everything needs to be top-of-the line, but a house should have a few big moments. Prioritize your lists of needs and wants to make your must-haves clear. We chose a dramatic vaulted ceiling in our kitchen/living/dining space and a large glass slider into the backyard. Luckily we let go of a few things early, before we ever saw them in drawings and pictures. By then, we would have been tempted to raid the 401(k) for the midcentury chandelier that we just had to have. This process of prioritizing saved us from ourselves.

Prepare to compromise. Some of our compromises were shortening the planned kitchen island, buying a counter-depth fridge instead of a paneled built-in one, and adjusting our floor plan to take advantage of an existing structural wall.

Find creative solutions. We used less expensive slider doors for our master bedroom and kitchen. Because you will never see them up against our expensive backyard slider, we decided to mix and match manufacturers. That switch alone saved us over $5,000. We also decided to keep and skim coat over an existing patio instead of demolishing it and starting from scratch.

Protect no sacred cows. We were determined to design our house around our dining room table, which reflects our style and holds many happy memories. In our planned open-concept living room/dining room/kitchen it just didn’t fit. It was too big, too rectangular, and it blocked the open feel no matter where you put it. That meant considering costly work-arounds to try to accommodate it. Once we realized that was crazy, we had a brief mourning period and then we moved on. You really can’t design a house around one piece of furniture. You have to approach the process with an open mindset and let function and your overall goals lead the way.

Reuse creatively. That same table, with a few modifications, is going to make a perfect his-and-hers desk in our new office. Hooray! We are also working with existing door and window openings where possible to save money on demolition and framing.

Start with traditional, proven technologies. Because our goal is zero net energy, we evaluated all kinds of expensive technologies like ductless mini splits, heat recovery systems, and spray foam insulation. What we found by modeling these options is that, with our climate, we can achieve our goal with a conventional furnace, traditional insulation, and a smart approach to what we call home systems integration. There is no need to over-engineer if you take a systematic approach to planning.

Size your heating and air conditioning correctly. Our house is less than 2,000 square feet. With new insulation and windows we will need a 2.5 ton furnace. The existing furnace: seven tons! More isn’t always better and it is certainly more expensive.

When you are on a budget, there will always be buzzkills during the remodel process. We really wanted a decadent bathtub and a larger back patio. But will we miss them when we are staring at our vaulted ceiling or enjoying the view through our large sliding door? I doubt it.

Holland & Nick Brown are on a quest for a Net Zero Nest: remodeling a house (on a mainstream budget) into a home that makes efficient use of energy and water.

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Watch Your Wallet: How to Steer Clear of Holiday Hazards

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ShutterstockCandles, trees and a fire in the hearth are among the potential dangers that can lead to insurance claims.

By Arthur Murray

Everyone loves the holidays — the smells, the turkey, the time with friends and family, and come Christmas, the gifts. Here’s a present for you and your family: the gift of avoiding holiday-related insurance claims. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, insurance concerns are usually an afterthought. But many enjoyable aspects of the season also can pose dangers. Consider the following elements — and their potential for trouble.

Hunger pains

Who doesn’t love holiday food? Turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas ham and New Year’s Day black-eyed peas and greens are a big part of the season’s fun.

So what’s the problem? Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires in the U.S., according to the National Fire Protection Association. And the average home fire claim costs $34,306, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

What’s the worst that could happen? Check out some common ways holiday cooking can go dreadfully wrong (and we’re not even talking about fruitcake):

o. Thanksgiving turkey. The unassuming turkey poses one of the largest fire threats, whether you’re roasting it in the oven or deep-frying it outside. Because of the length of time it must stay in the oven, you can sometimes forget to pay close attention. And the combination of a big bird and hot oil can be a recipe for disaster. For safety, follow tips for frying the bird.
o. Pies and pastries. The combination of sugar, high temperatures and lengthy cooking times should produce sweet treats, not sweaty fires.
o. Anything, unattended. The sheer volume of dishes included in typical holiday feasts can mean the cook becomes distracted.
o. Overdoing the eggnog. Cooking while impaired is a blaze waiting to happen.

Household fire hazards

Cooking isn’t the only holiday fire threat. Here are some problems associated with turning up the heat and decking the halls.

o. Fireplace. Clean your chimney before lighting the first fire of the season. Otherwise, the buildup from past years could cause a chimney fire. Plus, you want it to be clear for Santa.
o. Space heaters. Keep them on level surfaces, and never leave the room with one running. Keep flammable items clear of your unit.
o. Candles. Keep them away from curtains or other flammable objects. Again, never leave them unattended.
o. Christmas trees. That beautiful green tree can turn into a dry piece of kindling. Water it often.
o. Christmas lights. Don’t overload outlets. Throw away any frayed strands.

The weather outside is frightful

Thanksgiving and Christmas both are heavy travel periods. That means the roads and skies — and even the trains and buses — will be packed. Be patient, and give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.

And it’s a busy season, but be careful not to drive when you’re exhausted. Drowsy driving is nearly as bad as drunken driving. And drunken driving puts you, your passengers and everyone else on the road at risk.

Be prepared for car trouble or inclement weather when you’re on the road. Keep an emergency kit in your car, complete with blankets, flashlights, nonperishable food and drink, medications, batteries and other supplies.

Don’t spread too much holiday cheer

If you’re throwing a party, remember that you could be held responsible if someone has too much to drink and endangers themselves or others. Social host responsibility laws vary by state. Talk to your insurance agent about the rules where you live and determine whether you have enough liability coverage.

One way to monitor party guests is to require them to hand over their keys as the price of admission. That way you can check them when they leave. Serve nonalcoholic beverages and food to help mute the effects of drinking. Set a last call at least an hour before the party ends. And never serve alcohol to minors.

Keep an eye out for the real Grinches

Thieves can prey on you at least two ways during the holidays: in person and over the Internet.

Keep a close eye on your credit cards — and your statements. Cyber criminals step up their efforts during the holidays, according to Tenable, an online security company based in Columbia, Md. Particularly vulnerable are public Wi-Fi networks. Experts advise against using them for purchases.

Of course, your gifts remain vulnerable to less sophisticated burglars when the presents are wrapped and under the tree. If you’ve bought jewelry or some other high-value item, you should make sure it’s protected under your home insurance contents coverage.

Remember, that coverage sometimes limits how much a policy will pay out for high-value items. Check with your insurance provider to see whether you should schedule an endorsement for such items.

Also remember to add your new valuables to your home inventory — a list of possessions in your home. It will help if you need to file a claim for theft or loss from fire or another covered peril.

Follow these tips and you’ll reduce the chances of filing a claim during this holiday season. That means you’ll avoid trouble and have a (mostly) stress-free time celebrating with family and friends.

Arthur Murray writes for Home Insurance.com, an online insurance resource for homeowners and drivers across the country. The HomeInsurance.com blog provides tips and advice on a range of financial topics to help homeowners and homebuyers make educated decisions about insurance.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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How to Make a Chic Centerpiece With Simple Objects

Source: Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

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Kerrie Kelly Design Lab via ZillowA perfect piece of fruit from the farmers market can become part of your tableau, and glass makes simple things sparkle.

By Kerrie Kelly

As the holidays approach and friends and family gather, we often are tasked with bringing together all the elements for the celebration. Luckily, when it comes to centerpieces, there are many ways to dress your table without splurging on new dishes and linens. Instead, you can look to items from nature, affordable finds and items you may already have to create a fresh and effortless look without a lot of shopping. Check out these five chic ideas that will make you “celebration ready” for the season.

Get woodsy

A single branch can be dramatic and sophisticated, setting the tone for your table scene. A more substantial branch can be laid down the center of the table and dressed with unscented votives to create some organic ambiance. Don’t hesitate to paint the branch white, gold or silver depending on your table’s palette. Alternatively, you can go vertical, filling a glass vase with one stunning arched branch of foliage or berries. Arrange berries or small scale branches at each place setting and nestle in a place card for a more formal aesthetic.

Source: Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

Kerrie Kelly Design Lab via ZillowBranches and greenery from your yard can help stretch an inexpensive bouquet from the grocery store into several.


Go with glass

Forgetting the flowers and candles can be a great way to create an extraordinary tabletop. A few simple glass apothecary jars filled with acorns, pinecones, candy — or at Christmas, ornaments that didn’t reach the tree — can create a beautiful centerpiece. Choose varying jar heights to create visual interest, and consider filling them with something that guests may be able to enjoy, like biscotti or another treat.

For interactive fun, have Thanksgiving guests write down what they are thankful for and drop the message in an empty table jar. When dinner is served, guests can take turns pulling out the messages and reading them aloud.

Double duty

Decorate your holiday table with something that not only looks good, but tastes good too. At Christmas, let crafty friends, family and kids make gingerbread houses for your holiday centerpiece. You can choose to make this in advance using a kit or your own recipe, or you can use the activity as a way to entertain guests while you take care of cocktails and dinner. Encourage guests to break off a piece of the gingerbread while at the table after dinner. For an element of surprise, fill up the edible house with more goodies or simply scoop up bowls of vanilla ice cream to pair with the treat.

Farm fresh

Nothing is more striking than the rich color of seasonal produce, so let your market finds take center stage when you set the table. Place a perfect pear, pomegranate, gourd or persimmon at each place setting, fill a bowl with figs, or create a heaping pile of colorful squash down your table runner for a striking look. These items last longer than flowers and give a nod to the season without breaking the bank. Stick to one type of fruit or vegetable for the most dramatic effect.

Repurpose it

Consider repurposing pieces found at flea markets, antiques stores and even a beloved granny’s attic. An old trough can make a great statement when filled with moss or ground cover.

If you have enough time, consider planting white narcissus bulbs in a found container. They will be in bloom for your December and New Year’s table. The flowers not only offer a heavenly scent, they share the promise that spring is just around the corner.

See more of Kerrie Kelly’s holiday decor on Zillow Digs.

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Web: http://www.sellingredding.com
Email: inquiry@sellingredding.com
To search the entire Shasta MLS Database and all homes for sale click here!

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These Kitchens Cook With Fresh, Bold Mixes of Color

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By Vanessa Brunner

Vibrant reds, bold oranges and electric greens all have their place in the kitchen today — it’s just a matter of finding the right tone and using it correctly. Are you ready to get cooking with color? Take a look at some of Houzz’s best kitchen color guides, complete with suggested paint picks and color palettes, and start sampling some fresh new hues on your kitchen cabinets, island and backsplash.

Red

Stimulating shades of red have are purported to up the appetite, which makes it a great kitchen color for families who love to cook (and eat). But should you use a warm red or a cool red? And how much? Get plenty of paint samples before choosing a final tone — and be aware that red requires at least two coats for full coverage.

Paint picks: When to Use Red in the Kitchen

Orange

Like red, orange grabs the attention right away and is best used on great features that should be exaggerated. Be careful when playing with light tones, though — sometimes orange can feel like a pastel, so look for oranges with yellow or brown in them if you want something that isn’t too vibrant.

Paint picks: When to Use Orange in the Kitchen

Green

Green can be a tricky color to work with — while the right shades feel refreshing and playful, the wrong shades can look almost sickly. This guide has some great advice to get you started: Go for a hue that reminds you of your favorite green food.

Paint picks: When to Use Green in the Kitchen

BlueThis calming color can make even the most chaotic space feel relaxing. But be careful when using it in the kitchen, since blue may be an appetite suppressant. Instead of going overboard with this watery hue, try using it in small doses — on islands, cabinetry or backsplashes.

Paint picks: When to Use Blue in the Kitchen

Black

There’s a good reason black is always in style — it goes with everything. Neutral and colorful kitchens can both make use of this dramatic and dark color. But be careful — black absorbs a lot of light, so it might not be the best bet for a kitchen that doesn’t get much sunshine.

Paint picks: When to Use Black in the Kitchen

Cabinet ColorsIf a new wall color just isn’t giving your kitchen the update you want, painting your cabinetry can be an affordable way to amp up your kitchen’s style. But it’s not just a matter of slapping on some paint — painting cabinets can be a lot of work, so be careful to choose a palette that you know you’ll love.

Paint picks: 8 Great Kitchen Cabinet Color Palettes

Cabinet Stains

Torn between painting your wood cabinets or leaving them in their unadorned beauty? Luckily, there is a compromise. Staining your cabinets can add subtle color to your kitchen but still retain the texture and original wood grain.

Color picks: Stain Colors for Kitchen Cabinets

Color Combinations

The good news: You’ve finally decided what color you want for your kitchen. The bad news: This is only the beginning. Take the time to choose accent colors, materials and the proper paint applications to create the perfect palette for your chosen hue.

Paint picks: 8 Great Kitchen Color Schemes

Miss your favorite hue? Get designer kitchen palette suggestions for every color

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The Cronic Team of Next Generation Real Estate Services
Phone: 530.410.6741
Web: http://www.sellingredding.com
Email: inquiry@sellingredding.com
To search the entire Shasta MLS Database and all homes for sale click here!

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25 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Put in the Dishwasher

photo of a blond female leaning ...

Filed under: ,

Shutterstock
Along with dishes, there are many other super-dirty things that your dishwasher will clean and shine.

Your dishwasher can do so much more than wash dishes. This super-hot washing machine can clean, sanitize and deodorize anything that won’t melt in high — typically 130-170 degrees — temperatures.

If you’re not sure if a dirty item likes it hot, place it on the top rack, start the dishwasher, and check mid-cycle. Of course, let the steam clear before sticking your face in the cavity to check.

Here are 25 super-dirty things that your dishwasher will clean and shine.

Shoes: If you can wear the shoes in rain – rubber boots, flip-flops, pool shoes — you can pop them into the dishwasher for a good scrubbing. Make sure to remove liners and orthopedic inserts.

Baseball Hats: Hats keep their shape when you place them on the top rack for cleaning and deodorizing. Put a small cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack for extra deodorizing power.

Hairbrushes and Combs: Remove hair and place plastic combs and brushes in the cutlery tray and wash. Don’t put products with wood handles in the dishwasher: Wood doesn’t like hot water scrubbings.

Toys: Metal and plastic toys will sparkle after going through a dishwasher cycle. Place in the cutlery tray or a mesh bag, first.

Vent Covers and Grilles: When they become filthy with dust and grime, place metal covers and grilles on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Grooves will shine.

Cup Holders: When they become encrusted with spilled coffee and soda, pop cup holders into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.

Computer Keyboards: Proceed at your own risk, because placing computer keyboards in the dishwasher sounds risky to us. But some tech geeks swear it works. Test with an old keyboard you can do without.

Kitchen Brushes: After slopping sauce on ribs, clean and sanitize basting brushes in the dishwasher.

Scrub Brushes: Let your dishwasher scrub your scrub and bottle brushes.

Hub Caps: To make them really shine, place in dishwasher along with a cup of white vinegar. If you want to clean lug nuts, too, place them in a mesh bag first.

Window Screens: Clean screens will let more sun shine through to warm your home in winter and cut energy costs. If they fit, pop them in the dishwasher.

Light Fixture Covers; Place glass and plastic fixture covers in the dishwasher on the gentle cycle. Dead bugs, grime and dust will disappear.

Switch Plates and Outlet Covers: Dust typically covers the backsides of switch plates and outlet covers, which doesn’t help allergy sufferers. Unscrew and place plates and covers in the dishwasher, which will clean and sanitize them.

Stove Knobs: Pop off and place in dishwasher, which quickly will remove grease and grime.

Potatoes and Root Vegetables: When you harvest potatoes, beets and turnips from your garden, place them in the top rack and run through a short dishwasher cycle without soap. To cook same veggies, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and wash again.

Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers: Save time cleaning the fridge by placing glass and plastic shelves and drawers in the dishwasher. Say goodbye to sticky messes.

Cabinet Hardware: Your spring cleaning should include thoroughly cleaning cabinet pulls and knobs. If you’re dirt obsessed, place them in a mesh bag or in the cutlery tray, and send through the wash cycle.

Soap and Toothbrush Holders: Gather all holders, and let your dishwasher scrub off caked on toothpaste and dish detergent.

Faux Flowers: They look even more faux when covered with dust. Place plastic flowers on the dishwasher’s top rack, and press the short cycle button.

Plastic Broom Heads and Brushes: Remove clumps of hair and dust that could clog the drain, then run through the dishwasher.

Desk Accessories: Pen and pencil cups, sticky note holders, and in-out trays get dirty and dusty. Clean plastic accessories in the dishwasher.

Makeup Brushes: Regularly sanitize these brushes that touch your eyes and face. Place them in the cutlery tray, and let the dishwasher blast away dried makeup and dust.

Trash Can Lids: If they fit, place those gross-smelling lids in the dishwasher. They’ll look and smell better after going through a complete cycle.

Garden Tools: Garden tools can spread fungal infections from plant to plant. To sanitize, clean weeders, shears and trowels in the dishwasher. Rinse off soil, first.

Sporting Equipment: Place plastic shin guards, balls and helmets in the dishwasher for cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Share

The Cronic Team of Next Generation Real Estate Services
Phone: 530.410.6741
Web: http://www.sellingredding.com
Email: inquiry@sellingredding.com
To search the entire Shasta MLS Database and all homes for sale click here!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

These Kitchens Cook With Fresh, Bold Mixes of Color

Filed under: , ,

By Vanessa Brunner

Vibrant reds, bold oranges and electric greens all have their place in the kitchen today — it’s just a matter of finding the right tone and using it correctly. Are you ready to get cooking with color? Take a look at some of Houzz’s best kitchen color guides, complete with suggested paint picks and color palettes, and start sampling some fresh new hues on your kitchen cabinets, island and backsplash.

Red

Stimulating shades of red have are purported to up the appetite, which makes it a great kitchen color for families who love to cook (and eat). But should you use a warm red or a cool red? And how much? Get plenty of paint samples before choosing a final tone — and be aware that red requires at least two coats for full coverage.

Paint picks: When to Use Red in the Kitchen

Orange

Like red, orange grabs the attention right away and is best used on great features that should be exaggerated. Be careful when playing with light tones, though — sometimes orange can feel like a pastel, so look for oranges with yellow or brown in them if you want something that isn’t too vibrant.

Paint picks: When to Use Orange in the Kitchen

Green

Green can be a tricky color to work with — while the right shades feel refreshing and playful, the wrong shades can look almost sickly. This guide has some great advice to get you started: Go for a hue that reminds you of your favorite green food.

Paint picks: When to Use Green in the Kitchen

Blue

This calming color can make even the most chaotic space feel relaxing. But be careful when using it in the kitchen, since blue may be an appetite suppressant. Instead of going overboard with this watery hue, try using it in small doses — on islands, cabinetry or backsplashes.

Paint picks: When to Use Blue in the Kitchen

Black

There’s a good reason black is always in style — it goes with everything. Neutral and colorful kitchens can both make use of this dramatic and dark color. But be careful — black absorbs a lot of light, so it might not be the best bet for a kitchen that doesn’t get much sunshine.

Paint picks: When to Use Black in the Kitchen

Cabinet Colors

If a new wall color just isn’t giving your kitchen the update you want, painting your cabinetry can be an affordable way to amp up your kitchen’s style. But it’s not just a matter of slapping on some paint — painting cabinets can be a lot of work, so be careful to choose a palette that you know you’ll love.

Paint picks: 8 Great Kitchen Cabinet Color Palettes

Cabinet Stains

Torn between painting your wood cabinets or leaving them in their unadorned beauty? Luckily, there is a compromise. Staining your cabinets can add subtle color to your kitchen but still retain the texture and original wood grain.

Color picks: Stain Colors for Kitchen Cabinets

Color Combinations

The good news: You’ve finally decided what color you want for your kitchen. The bad news: This is only the beginning. Take the time to choose accent colors, materials and the proper paint applications to create the perfect palette for your chosen hue.

Paint picks: 8 Great Kitchen Color Schemes

Miss your favorite hue? Get designer kitchen palette suggestions for every color

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Share

The Cronic Team of Next Generation Real Estate Services
Phone: 530.410.6741
Web: http://www.sellingredding.com
Email: inquiry@sellingredding.com
To search the entire Shasta MLS Database and all homes for sale click here!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

25 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Put in the Dishwasher

photo of a blond female leaning ...

Filed under: ,

ShutterstockAlong with dishes, there are many other super-dirty things that your dishwasher will clean and shine.

Your dishwasher can do so much more than wash dishes. This super-hot washing machine can clean, sanitize and deodorize anything that won’t melt in high — typically 130-170 degrees — temperatures.

If you’re not sure if a dirty item likes it hot, place it on the top rack, start the dishwasher, and check mid-cycle. Of course, let the steam clear before sticking your face in the cavity to check.

Here are 25 super-dirty things that your dishwasher will clean and shine.

Shoes: If you can wear the shoes in rain – rubber boots, flip-flops, pool shoes — you can pop them into the dishwasher for a good scrubbing. Make sure to remove liners and orthopedic inserts.

Baseball Hats: Hats keep their shape when you place them on the top rack for cleaning and deodorizing. Put a small cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack for extra deodorizing power.

Hairbrushes and Combs: Remove hair and place plastic combs and brushes in the cutlery tray and wash. Don’t put products with wood handles in the dishwasher: Wood doesn’t like hot water scrubbings.

Toys: Metal and plastic toys will sparkle after going through a dishwasher cycle. Place in the cutlery tray or a mesh bag, first.

Vent Covers and Grilles: When they become filthy with dust and grime, place metal covers and grilles on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Grooves will shine.

Cup Holders: When they become encrusted with spilled coffee and soda, pop cup holders into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.

Computer Keyboards: Proceed at your own risk, because placing computer keyboards in the dishwasher sounds risky to us. But some tech geeks swear it works. Test with an old keyboard you can do without.

Kitchen Brushes: After slopping sauce on ribs, clean and sanitize basting brushes in the dishwasher.

Scrub Brushes: Let your dishwasher scrub your scrub and bottle brushes.

Hub Caps: To make them really shine, place in dishwasher along with a cup of white vinegar. If you want to clean lug nuts, too, place them in a mesh bag first.

Window Screens: Clean screens will let more sun shine through to warm your home in winter and cut energy costs. If they fit, pop them in the dishwasher.

Light Fixture Covers; Place glass and plastic fixture covers in the dishwasher on the gentle cycle. Dead bugs, grime and dust will disappear.

Switch Plates and Outlet Covers: Dust typically covers the backsides of switch plates and outlet covers, which doesn’t help allergy sufferers. Unscrew and place plates and covers in the dishwasher, which will clean and sanitize them.

Stove Knobs: Pop off and place in dishwasher, which quickly will remove grease and grime.

Potatoes and Root Vegetables: When you harvest potatoes, beets and turnips from your garden, place them in the top rack and run through a short dishwasher cycle without soap. To cook same veggies, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and wash again.

Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers: Save time cleaning the fridge by placing glass and plastic shelves and drawers in the dishwasher. Say goodbye to sticky messes.

Cabinet Hardware: Your spring cleaning should include thoroughly cleaning cabinet pulls and knobs. If you’re dirt obsessed, place them in a mesh bag or in the cutlery tray, and send through the wash cycle.

Soap and Toothbrush Holders: Gather all holders, and let your dishwasher scrub off caked on toothpaste and dish detergent.

Faux Flowers: They look even more faux when covered with dust. Place plastic flowers on the dishwasher’s top rack, and press the short cycle button.

Plastic Broom Heads and Brushes: Remove clumps of hair and dust that could clog the drain, then run through the dishwasher.

Desk Accessories: Pen and pencil cups, sticky note holders, and in-out trays get dirty and dusty. Clean plastic accessories in the dishwasher.

Makeup Brushes: Regularly sanitize these brushes that touch your eyes and face. Place them in the cutlery tray, and let the dishwasher blast away dried makeup and dust.

Trash Can Lids: If they fit, place those gross-smelling lids in the dishwasher. They’ll look and smell better after going through a complete cycle.

Garden Tools: Garden tools can spread fungal infections from plant to plant. To sanitize, clean weeders, shears and trowels in the dishwasher. Rinse off soil, first.

Sporting Equipment: Place plastic shin guards, balls and helmets in the dishwasher for cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Share

The Cronic Team of Next Generation Real Estate Services
Phone: 530.410.6741
Web: http://www.sellingredding.com
Email: inquiry@sellingredding.com
To search the entire Shasta MLS Database and all homes for sale click here!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share