How Retractable Fly Screens Can Add Value To Your Indoor/Outdoor Living Spaces

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More homes today are being designed with a good indoor/outdoor flow, some designers even blurring the line between the indoor and outdoor space, increasing outdoor functionality.

Having a functional and efficient indoor-outdoor space is important if we want to put that space to good use throughout the year and not just over the holiday season or when we entertain. The problem with this concept is that during certain months, and depending on where you live maybe every month, insects stop us from using our outdoor entertaining space as much as we’d like.

In fact for some homeowners the idea of even leaving your doors and windows open is dreaded due to insects plaguing your home. Whether it be swarms of pesky flies, gnats or relentless mosquitoes, insects can be a real nuisance, thankfully there is a solution – retractable fly screens.

Here are a few of the ways that retractable fly screens can add value to your home:

  • Keeps insects out. Whereas some methods address a specific insect or pest problem, retractable fly screens are efficient in keeping out a wide range of pests, from mosquitoes to gnats and even vermin.
  • Allows a natural breeze to flow through the home. Having your doors covered with retractable fly screens enables you to leave your doors opened, allowing a natural breeze to flow throughout the home. During summer this will save on your air-conditioning, which is a healthier and cost effective option. It also allows natural light into the home, which is better for the environment.
  • Enjoy your space without insecticide. Fly screens do away with the need for unhealthy cans of insecticide. It’s better for the environment and your health.
  • Reduces glare from the sunlight whether inside your home or your outdoor space.
  • No more wasting space. In addition to providing value to your indoor space, retractable fly screens are a good way to enclose your outdoor spaces such as patios and terraces and increase its use too. This is an excellent way to ensure you utilize that outdoor space more throughout the year.
  • Retractable fly screens are also a good financial investment that will yield returns when you decide to sell your home.

For more about retractable fly screens that are easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, visit one of Australia’s leading fly screen suppliers at http://intelliscreens.com.au.

If you’re in The USA, find out more from a local supplier at http://geniusscreens.com/

How to Clean Your Carpet Using Stuff Readily Available in Your Home

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carpet-installation-dallasDreaded with dirty and smelly carpet flooring? Your first option might be to call a carpet installation professional. Your second option might be to try cleaning it yourself. Well you are in luck, for I have quick fixes that can help you clean your carpet in no time saving you a few hundred dollars for the cleaning fee if you were to hire a carpet cleaner. And no need to buy anything as the tools and materials required can be easily found right in your home.

Muddy Footprints and Nasty Spills

So it’s raining outside, and suddenly you got an unexpected visitor. You forgot to tell him to leave his shoes outside the door, and left a footprint on your carpet.  Still you try to maintain your composure and served him a cup of coffee and then he accidentally tip the cup over and spill a good amount of coffee on your carpet. Don’t try to squeeze his neck just yet as fixing this is as easy as pie.

You will need:

  • a teaspoon of any dish washing liquid
  • a tablespoon of white vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • a cup of warm water
  • a teaspoon of baking soda
  • Spray bottle (small, big, whatever you have
  • Clean sponge (the one with a rough side)
  • Clean absorbent towel

How to make the cleaning agent:

In the spray bottle, pour in the dishwashing liquid, vinegar, and warm water then shake the bottle lightly to mix. Vinegar and baking soda, when mixed would create carbon dioxide so be ready to close the spray bottle right after you put the baking soda in the liquid mixture and lightly shake the bottle again to dissolve the baking soda.

Cleaning Directions:

  1. vacuum over the area
  2. spray with the home-made carpet cleaner generously
  3. scrub the area gently with the rough side of the sponge
  4. rub and dab with the absorbent towel to finish.

You should see the amazing result of this home-made cleaning agent immediately but if there’s still a little bit of a dirt mark left, repeat steps 2 to 4 until thoroughly removed.

Smelly Carpet Flooring

Carpet flooring can get stinky quite often so here’s a quick fix for this issue.

You will need:

a bottle or two of baking soda (this will depend on how big is you carpet flooring)

baking sodaCleaning Directions:

  1. vacuum the whole carpet to remove any visible particles
  2. generously sprinkle baking soda all over the area
  3. allow to sit for a minimum of two hours or, if possible, leave it overnight as the longer you leave the baking soda on the better it will work since baking soda absorbs nasty odors in your carpet.
  4. vacuum the whole carpet again to finish

Pet Lice Infested Carpet

You just found out that your pet has lice, and you’re worried that the carpet is already infested and could make your kids sick. You don’t need an expensive flooring cleaner to disinfect your carpet. I’ve got a trick that will help you clean and sanitize your carpet easily just by following these steps:

You will need:

  • white vinegar
  • water
  • steam cleaner

How to make the cleaning agent:

Mix one part vinegar to one part water.

Cleaning Directions:

  • using the home-made solution, fill the detergent vessel of the steam cleaner
  • run the steam cleaner all over the carpet flooring
  • let the carpet dry thoroughly before allowing foot traffic

It would be good to do this kind of cleaning at night before going to bed, so you may leave the carpet to dry completely overnight.

6 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

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Is your monthly electricity bill too high? Do you look at those numbers and think there’s no way it could cost that much? Surely, you want to lower that bill.

Here are 6 ways to cut down on those enormous bills and save money…

electric meter1.) Turn Off Appliances You Aren’t Using

This one sounds like common sense, but sometimes you might forget. Some people occasionally make the mistake of leaving their appliances or any items that use electricity, on.  If you leave these things on, you’re wasting electricity, and it’s adding to your bill. Turn off the TV, air-conditioner, lights, and even fans, when you’re not using them. Some of these things are easy things to forget; you might leave a light on for a few minutes when you’re not in a room because you plan to return.

2.) Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Chances are, the older your house is, the more electricity gets used, because old appliances are often not made to conserve electricity, like newer ones, are. If you have many old appliances, consider replacing them with new ones that consume less energy. Yes, it may be a bit pricey to replace appliances, but you’ll conserve electricity and therefore save money in the long run.

3.) Wisely Use Curtains

A lot of people don’t realize that curtains help to conserve electricity. Use curtains throughout the year. In the winter, or whenever it’s cold, keep them open and let windows soak sunlight and heat your home. When it’s warm outside, keep the curtains closed if you want to keep your house cooler.

4.) Don’t Do Laundry Daily

Try only to wash clothes when you have a full-load, once a week or less. If you do laundry too often, you’re wasting electricity, rather than conserving it.

laptop turned off5.) Turn Your Computer Off

Most people keep their computers on almost all the time, even for the long stretches of time they aren’t using them. Always turn your computer off when you’re not using it or put it in sleep mode. This means that whenever you leave it idle for a certain amount of time it will go to bed and later, you can pick up right where you left off. You can also lower the screen brightness to conserve electricity.

6.) Water Your Grass Early

Water your grass, in the morning. Less water evaporates the earlier it gets done, and more of it goes to your grass and plants. Don’t water in the evening, as lots of harmful bugs can get into it.

I hope these simple tips help! We’re supposed to have an extremely hot summer all around the U.S., so our air conditioners will be putting in double-duty. Best to have these habits in place to help make up for it in other areas.

Top Flooring Options for Your Living Room

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flooring optionBefore decorating, furnishing or even moving into a room, one of the key feature you would need to counter-check is the floor. Is the flooring substantial? By choosing the best living room flooring option, you would be setting up the stage for long time durability and satisfaction.
Whenever you are thinking of selecting a living room flooring, you will need to do some research on the same to avoid any unexpected disappointments. You will need to put many factors into consideration such as; the floor of the house, your financial position, the degree of wear and tear it is expected to withstand. Most importantly, consider the look and feel from a standard wood flooring surface to a solid stone flooring options.
Highlighted below are some of the best living room flooring options:

Wood
Even as you try to refurbish your old home, luck may come your way if you are daring enough to pull back of the corners of a tattered carpet. You may come across flawless hardwoods underneath which can be sanded frequently and fixed.
Case in mind is a scenario whereby your hardwood floor is somewhat damaged and needs fixing. The most likely option would be to match them and making use of what you have. If you already have hardwood, you can now consider refinishing and matching. I would lean more towards the use of one larger material to cover the whole area, rather than using different flooring material in various rooms.
Furthermore, if you have to begin without any preparations in advance, you can expand your horizon. There exists alternative material to hardwood that can be fitted into your living room flooring to bring a feeling of age and patina.

Carpeting
End to end covering of the floor is still a prominent practice and usually less costly compared to the hardwoods and the other numerous stylish designs that are difficult to keep clean. However, carpets sometimes splash up fluids and even scents; this can lead to a change in color. Carpeting needs an acute knowledge of one’s room to get it right and enjoy the comfort. In a bid to get it right, it’s recommended that one is to opt for a rug 12 to 24 inches from the room’s borders since this always makes the room uniform giving it a clean look.

Stone
Stone offers a custom made appeal besides being solid. Advancement of the stone ground surface is possible offering an exceptionally and unique alternative based on its normal tones and the attributes affiliated to its existence under the surface of the earth. Consequently, it can be an immoderate alternative. Although, homeowners need to be cautious in restructuring the stone as it may end up in a disaster if it’s not well prepared. Stone floors are way cooler in the warmer atmospheres compared to the cooler environments.

Concrete
In situations where concrete flooring has moved into the house and past the carport, this option has proved to be the number one alternative besides its moderation and industrial-chic appeal. Although painting, polishing, staining, and scoring are usually the most common among very few options when it comes to restructuring a concrete slab. Also, solid floors are able to reflect sounds unlike the carpeting option. However some experts claim that utilizing the right sealers can keep the particular trait in check. Nonetheless, concrete flooring is highly durable and can withstand almost anything.

So whether you choose to pick the innovation of cement, the class of stone, a patina of hardwood or any flooring that addresses your preference in redoing your home living room floors, it’s paramount to consider both the ups and downsides. Make yourself well-educated enough with living room flooring so you won’t make any decisions you’ll regret later on.

Decorative Stained Concrete Flooring

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You may want to choose a decorative stained concrete flooring for 3 main reasons:

stained-concrete-flooring1. to produce stunning, unique flooring designs;
2. achieve these great results at a low cost, as little as $2 per square foot.
3. have a long lasting result. With stained concrete thee color does not fade, chip or peel off.

Unlike other flooring products (such as carpets, wood or tiled floors), concrete is not susceptible to water damage, mold or ripping or tearing. If your stained concrete flooring is installed professionally and properly sealed, it should last you a lifetime with some basic, simple maintenance on a regular basis.

Acid-based stains can be used to etch the concrete surface with metallic salts that penetrate the concrete with a permanent color design. These acid stains then permeate into the concrete giving deep, rich, translucent tones – a much better result than using simple paints, The color choices for this technique are quite subtle – soft greens and blues and earthy shades such as terra cotta, browns and tan colors. The results are always beautiful. You can also blend 2 different colors to produce different and unique shades – to your  taste. For the best results, you should contact an expert stained concrete flooring expert in your local area. It is well worth your time talking to a specialist with something so artistic. You want a professional finish, and, with an expert, you are guaranteed to get the result you want.

If the color from the acid-based stain is too subtle, you can also use water-based acrylic stains. You can produce almost unlimited color hues with these products- opaque or translucent, even metallic tints. You can also achieve intricate faux finishes and borders using sandblasting and saw cutting.

You could also try incorporating a gel stain using stencils to derive totally unique patterns – bring out the artist in you! Maybe even try a logo or business design. Obviously, this is more expensive, as it will need more intense and elaborate preparation, specialty design skills and techniques and longer, more skilled labor.

6 Tips For Proper Lawn Care

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Maintaining your lawn and keeping it looking as fresh as possible doesn’t have to be a big headache, or even that time consuming. Having basic do-it-yourself information about how and when to water your lawn can reduce the time and effort spent on maintaining it. Below are a few tips to help make your lawn life a bit easier.

1.) Nature Usually Knows Best

lawncareThe majority of types of grass are actually pretty resilient and can withstand quite long periods without rain. Keep an eye on the weather channel, or your phone’s weather app, and don’t water the lawn too much if you can expect rain in the coming days. Watering too much is a waste of several resources, including time. Also, too much water can actually have negative effects, such as root rot. You really only need to water your grass when there are longer periods of arid weather without rainfall, or if you live in the desert where the weather is particularly dry.

2.) Understand the Clues

Knowing when your lawn is thirsty is actually pretty easy to spot. If the ends are splitting or curling, it could be time for some extra water. Also, you can simply take a stroll across your lawn and then watch how much time it takes for the foot marks to stand back up. If you can see where you walked after several minutes, it’s time for a bath.

3.) Water Early On

The optimum time for watering the lawn is actually in the morning hours between 6 – 10 AM. This is because the lawn will have plenty of time to absorb the water and then dry off. If you water during the afternoon hours, it can be too hot, in which case too much of the water may evaporate. Then, watering after 7:00 in the evening will typically not allow for sufficient time to dry, which can lead to fungal growth.

4.) Evenly Distribute

It’s important when you’re sprinkler is operating that you make sure it is evenly distributing the water across the lawn surface. A typical lawn requires roughly 1 inch of water every week. One little trick to make sure you’re achieving even distribution is to place several small Tupperware containers around the lawn. Run the sprinkler system, and then after about 20-30 minutes, check back to make sure all of the containers have roughly the same amount of water in them.

watering with hose5.) Don’t Over-Water

It’s much better to aim for shorter periods of watering, but with larger amounts of water. Shorter sessions on a regular basis causes you to have a less healthy lawn over time.

6.) Avoid Standing Water

Once you’re done running the sprinkler or hose, it’s very important to make sure there are no areas of standing water or run-off. Areas with standing water will choke off the oxygen supply to the grass and eventually drown the roots.

How To Get Rid of Bees

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honeybeeWe’re closing in on summertime, and that usually means we’ll soon be dealing with the annoyance of bees and wasps buzzing around
our house. Most people deal with these insects the old-fashioned way, by going to a hardware store and grabbing some cans of insecticides, which are loaded with dangerous and toxic chemicals. In this quick post, we’ll discuss ways to get rid of them naturally.

Yes, it’s possible to create your own homegrown repellents. You see, bees are a very significant part of nature and they are absolutely necessary for pollination of plants and flowers, therefore, we don’t want to kill them, but rather just make them go away. One thing worth mentioning is that any repellent efforts may go awry if you have lots of sweet smelling flowers growing in your yard. They may look really nice, but you’ll have to take inventory of what’s more important to you. The absence of bees, or the absence of pretty flowers. It’s hard to have both at the same time.

Here is my favorite mixture:

1.) Soapy Water

Find a spray bottle, or purchase one at the dollar store. You’ll want to add a few tsp. of liquid dish detergent (Palmolive, Dawn, Mrs. Meyers, etc) to enough water that you fill the bottle almost to the top. This creates a safe spray you can douse onto any surface. It’s a good idea to use less soap if you’re spraying on interior surfaces, and more soap if it’s going to be sprayed outside. The more soap, the stickier the solution.

spray bottle2.) Peppermint Oil

Most bugs, including bees, absolutely despise the scent of peppermint. And in the case of using peppermint as a repellent, you want to use an essential oil. You can purchase the oil online with a quick Google search, or simply head down to your closest mom-and-pop health food store. The stuff is cheap. When you get the oil, add a good dose of it to the soapy mixture you created. You want there to be enough oil in the spray bottle that you smell candy canes when you discharge the sprayer.

3.) Spices

If you want to supercharge the solution, try adding some cinnamon to the bottle. A small amount will do – 1/8 tsp or so. Also, consider adding some cayenne pepper in equal amounts.

Once you’ve laid down the spray on plenty of surfaces, the water will gradually evaporate. What gets left behind is the sticky soap with oil and spices. You can get pretty creative with areas to spray, but keep in mind you don’t want it to be surfaces that people are likely to touch or walk on. Also, please don’t use the spray directly on bees or wasps, unless you actually like being stung. All you’ll end up doing is pissing them off.

How To Get Rid of Mold for Under $3

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mold everywhereI’ve personally had to deal with mold issues on more than a couple occasions, so even though I’m no professional, I like to think I know a thing or two. Ok, ok…I stole this little mold removal trick from The Cleanup Doctors, but it can be our little secret, right? So, let’s give a little step by step DIY guide.

Now those of you that follow me know that I’m all about going green in all areas of life, but sometimes you just have to go with what works.

What You’ll Need:

– A trigger sprayer bottle (you can get this at Dollar General or Walmart)
– Any old chlorine bleach, brand doesn’t matter
– Water from your sink

Told you this would be cheap 😉

Steps to Take:

spray bottle1.) Add anywhere from three to four inches of the bleach to the bottle sprayer and then you’re going to fill the rest of it up with the tap water. Some people say you should stick with the old one cup to one gallon ratio of bleach to water, but I’m of the position that because it’s cheap – I go heavy on the bleach. I mean, after all, you want to kill this mold, don’t you?

2.) Take the bottle and spray like heck all the areas affected by the mold, keeping in mind to obviously stay away from any carpeted areas so the bleach doesn’t take the color out.

3.) Keep doing steps one and two until the mold is gone. Simple, right?

Now, it must be noted that bleach does not kill mold, it only gets rid of the surface stuff. So, for that reason, you may also want to incorporate the use of a magic eraser pad. For that, you want to put on some rubber cleaning gloves to protect your hands, and simply scrub the areas that you’ve sprayed. The reason for this is that mold has spores that penetrate porous surfaces, and you need to really get in there to kill the spores. It would also be good to mention that this bleach and water combo doesn’t work very well on wood. Here’s why: since mold needs moisture (water) to live and grow, the water from our cocktail actually penetrates the wood and feeds the spores that are lurking beneath the surface. The bleach itself is structurally incapable of properly penetrating into porous surfaces like wood, so it just sits on the surface and evaporates quickly.

All of this needs to be taken into consideration when approaching a mold issue. If the mold is on the inside of the house, and particularly on objects or items that have sentimental value (or are just expensive), then it should be mentioned that perhaps a professional mold remediation company would be a wiser option. But for exterior, non-porous surfaces like sheeting and siding, the above combination of bleach and water should work just fine.

3 Natural Cleaning Products

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Natural Cleaning BasicsThere are so many different ways to save money and create your own cheaper (and more effective) cleaning ingredients or agents at home. In this article, I want to cover 6 of my favorites. This is something that really should be a priority for most people, as I’m sure by now that most of you have learned that the majority of retail cleaning supplies are extremely unhealthy and dangerous when used regularly. Pretty much anything can be cleaned with things like vinegar, lemon juice, and oxygen bleach. These are much safer alternatives. Another good point to make is that these homemade cleaning products must be simple to make and remake, or else you don’t feel like going to the trouble to do it. And don’t try making too many at first. Just start with one or two and keep adding to the list as you get used to the process. Remember, we strive for progress, not perfection. Let’s cover these 3 favorites now.

#1 Cleaning/Disinfecting Wipes

Natural Clean WipesOh my gosh, these are my absolute favorite!!

– 3 Cups of Water, and distilled water is my recommended option because it’s better for long-term use.
– 1/2 Cup of White Vinegar (you can find this at any grocery store in gallon format)
– 3 tablespoons of pure alcohol (the rubbing kind)
– 6 washcloths
– Essential oils (my favorite combination is 15 drops of lemon, 8 drops of mint, and 7 drops of lavender)
– A Swiffer floor mop, or similar brand (must be able to detach the wipes)

Instructions to Use:

1.) Place the washcloths in a large glass jar
2.) In a separate bowl, combine all of the above ingredients
3.) Pour the mixture over the washcloths, making sure that they are completely submerged and wet
4.) Put a lid over the top of the jar
5.) Simply use the washcloths as needed and attach them to the bottom of the Swiffer cleaner base. You can run the used cloths through the washing machine, and it’s completely safe to do so.

#2 Kitchen Spray

Replace your 409 with this concoction

– 4 Tablespoons of rubbing alcohol
– 50 droplets of Plant Therapy Germ Fighting Essential Oils
– 2 cups of distilled vinegar
– 2 cups distilled water

Instructions to Use:

1.) Purchase 2 empty spray bottles
2.) Measure out all of the ingredients above. Combine the rubbing alcohol with the essential oils and let them set together in one of the spray bottles for at least 5 minutes. This will allow the oils to be dissolved, and thus they will disperse better in the water/vinegar solution.
3.) Measure out the water and vinegar. You’ll have enough for both spray bottles. I like to keep one in the kitchen and another in the master bathroom. Add the water and vinegar to the spray bottle and shake it up vigorously. You’re done! It’s ready to use on spills the world over.

#3 Laundry Detergent

Natural Laundry DetergentSorry Tide! We don’t need you anymore..

– 2 cups of Borax
– 2 cups of a liquid scented castile soap
– 2 cups of wash soda
– 25 drops of your favorite oils
– 30 cups of h2O

Instructions to Use:

1.) Grab a large pan and bring to a slight boil about 10 cups of water. Turn the stove off and add the wash soda and Borax. Stir everything together until it dissolves.
2.) Get a large bucket and dump the rest of the unboiled water and the castile soap.
3.) Add your oils
4.) Pour the boiled mixture into the bucket
5.) Use a wooden kitchen spoon to stir the mixture up so that it’s evenly dissolved.
6.) Pour everything into some type of container that is easy to pour out of.
7.) You will probably have to stir the mixture back up once it’s sat for awhile, as it tends to separate. For laundry, add about 1/2 of a cup of the detergent to the load.

I hope you liked my little natural cleaning hacks! We’ll be covering much more cool stuff like this that I’ve found useful over the years. As much fun as it is to learn and experiment, I find it’s even more fun to teach it.