Archive for July, 2009

Buy the Home that Fits your Budget

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009


It’s a buyer’s market these days when it comes to shopping for a new home. If you’re in the market, there are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line. When you’re about to make an offer on a house, go over your finances and make sure you can afford it without stretching your resources to the limit. Too many people have discovered that unforeseen circumstances can make that big mortgage impossible to live with. Think about the security of your current job. What would happen if you became unemployed? How many months could you continue to meet your mortgage without income?

Another thing to consider is whether the house you want to buy needs a lot of repairs. Many new homeowners find it difficult to get around to major home repairs and end up living with them for many years. Is that something that you’re prepared to do? The bottom line is if you think you’ve found your dream home, take off the rose colored glasses and take a good look at reality.

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Replacing Tile Grout

Sunday, July 19th, 2009


Tile is becoming a popular floor covering throughout the house.  Unfortunately, the grout between tiles can begin to show dirt and become cracked.  This can really detract from the look of a beautiful tiled surface.  When this happens, replacing the grout is the best solution.  There are several ways to remove grout:

  • Hammer and chisel.  Hold the chisel at a 45 degree angle to the grout and tap it with the hammer.   This is an effective but time-consuming way to remove grout.  The good thing is that chances of damaging the surrounding tiles are minimum when you use care.

  • Grout removal tool.  This inexpensive tool consists of a metal rod with a cutting tip on one end.   You place the cutting tip in the grout and push the rod.  This tool requires a good amount of pressure to be applied and can damage tiles if it slips.

  • Rotary tools.  Using a rotary tool with a blade to cut group is one the fastest and easiest methods for grout removal.  Some skill is required to avoid damaging tiles.

  • Wearing safety goggles is recommended with all of these methods.  Once your old grout is removed, you can clean the area and apply new grout, following manufacturer’s instructions.

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    Protect the Earth when you Wash your Clothes

    Sunday, July 12th, 2009


    You may not have known that you can help the planet when you do your laundry, but there are ways to cut down on your energy and water consumption and limit the release of environmentally damaging substance.  Here are some eco-friendly laundry suggestions.

  • Wash full loads, cut down on the amount of hot water you use, and don’t use too much detergent.  Warm water is fine for washing and cold water can be used for rinses.

  • Buy detergents which are concentrated, plant-based and biodegradable.  Green products to try include Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day oxygen bleach stain remover, Shaklee Get Clean dryer sheets and Ecover fabric softener.

  • Invest in a clothes line.  Air drying uses less energy and prolongs the life of your clothing.  When using the dryer, don’t over dry clothes.  Keep the dryer filter clean.

  • When buying new appliances, look for energy efficient models.
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    Transform your Dining Room

    Sunday, July 05th, 2009

    dining room

    Many of us are eating at home more these days. Saving money, enjoying healthier foods and spending time with family are all good reasons for making more use of our kitchens and dining rooms. If you’re dining room is dingy, cluttered and unappealing, here are some ideas for making it a place where everyone would like to share a meal.

    You can quickly transform the look of a dining room with a coat of paint in a new and dramatic color. Even changing the color of just one wall will give the room a new look. Hang some interesting pieces of art which complement the color of the walls. Placemats and table cloths can be used to add splashes of color to the dining room. They can be changed to reflect a mood or season.

    If your dining room table has become a parking spot for bills and other clutter, clear it off and try to keep it clear. Add an attractive centerpiece. Fresh flowers are great, but are expensive to refresh on a weekly basis. Inexpensive alternatives include a bowl of fresh fruit or small potted plants. Ivy topiaries also make great centerpieces.

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