Don’t Have a Green Thumb? Try Growing Succulents

Reasons To Think About Installing A Water Softener

If you have hard water, a water softener will protect your plumbing by preventing the buildup of minerals inside the pipes. Water is considered hard when it has a large amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium in it. If you get your water from a well, it is probably hard water, but you can benefit from a water softener even if you have city water. Here are some benefits to having soft water in your home. Reduces Mineral Buildup On Dishes If your water is hard, you’ll see water spots on your glasses and silverware. The spots are mineral deposits that remain behind after the water evaporates. Another place that’s easy to see mineral buildup is in the glass pot of your coffee maker. Unfortunately, you also get the same buildup inside the coffee maker as well as other appliances in your home that use water. The mineral deposits can cause your appliances to break down, so having a water softener can actually prolong the life of your appliances in addition to making your dishes look cleaner. Makes Laundry Soft And Cleaner One problem with hard water is that it doesn’t combine well with soap. The soap tends to bind to the minerals in the water rather than do their job getting your laundry clean. Not only that, minerals left behind can leave your clothes feeling slightly stiff after they are washed. When you wash clothes in soft water, you can use less detergent because there are no minerals to interfere with the sudsing reaction. Your clothes will feel softer and look cleaner. Plus, the soft water will... read more

Secure Your Property With Preparation – A Guide To Installing A Dual Swing Gate Opener

Installing an automatic gate can greatly improve your ability to control who is allowed to enter your property. Below, you’ll find a guide to some steps you should take in order to make sure your dual swing gate opener installation is successful.  This important task will allow you to secure your property while simultaneously creating an attractive fence that allows you to achieve the aesthetic that you truly desire. Secure Gate Posts If your gate is intended to provide security, it’s important that it’s firmly mounted. Even if your gates are merely ornamental, the continuous motion associated with a dual swing gate can still cause mechanical and structural issues if you’re not careful to take steps to guarantee security. Before you install your opener, you need to verify that the mounting posts for your gates are as firmly planted as possible. The best way to achieve this permanence is through concrete, and you should be sure that you give the concrete time to fully harden and set up before you add the stress of an opener. Level the Gates Watching your gates close but not meet flush in the middle is an extraordinarily frustrating experience. Not only does this make the gates somewhat less attractive, it also can make your opener function incorrectly, leading to complications in terms of accessibility. In addition, it may make secure closures difficult, leaving you vulnerable to the very security concerns that you were eager to avoid with the gate in the first place. Making sure that your gates are level is a vital step to take before you install your dual swing gate opener.... read more

Harmful Misconceptions About Garbage Disposals

A garbage disposal is literally one of the little miracles of modern kitchens, and many homeowners who are fond of this plumbing appliance can hardly imagine how their kitchens would work without it. The system is designed to remove food waste from your kitchen and send it into your wastewater system, thus preventing clogging of the drains. Despite their widespread use, certain aspects of garbage disposals are shrouded in myth, and some misconceptions can actually lead to misuse and breakdown of these appliances. This article will look at 3 such fallacies and provide the truths behind them. Your garbage disposal can handle all sorts of garbage The term ‘garbage disposal’ is perhaps a little misleading, which makes people believe that the appliance can be used to dispose of all sorts of garbage. The truth is that a garbage disposal is designed to only chop down and flush organic foods, so putting in solid inorganic waste such as paper and plastic can actually cause it to break down. Additionally, not all foods can be safely flushed down into a garbage disposal. While these appliances appear strong and sturdy, they are actually quite delicate, and could be damaged by certain solid foods. Hard foods such as coffee grinds, chicken bones and un-popped popcorn kernels can break up the grinding blades inside the appliance, causing extensive damage. Soft foods such as potatoes and rice are also dangerous, as they can build up at the bottom of the pit and clog up the unit, preventing other foods from passing through. Cooking oil and greases should also be kept out of the garbage disposal,... read more

Grilling Outdoors: How To Make It Work With A Patio Cover

Patio covers are the perfect way to extend your current living area into the backyard or to create your own separate area in the yard. With a grill added into the mix, you can extend your kitchen at the same time. However, when grilling out on your backyard patio, especially if you have a patio cover of some sort, it is important to consider a few things to make sure that you are still creating a safe and fun environment for all of your guests. Try to Avoid Placing Your Grill Directly Beneath the Patio Cover. Whether you have a charcoal, wood or gas burning grill, it is going to put off a lot of heat. As a general rule, the heat is going to rise straight up. Therefore, you need a well-ventilated area for your grill. If your grill is placed directly beneath your patio cover, the heat could cause the patio cover to become damaged. Even if it doesn’t damage the cover, it isn’t going to allow the heat to escape, which is going to heat up the atmosphere and make it less enjoyable. Therefore, you need to try to place your grill somewhere so that it isn’t directly underneath the cover. Alternatively, you may want to consider a retractable patio cover, which can be moved out of the way to allow the heat to escape, or a lattice patio cover, which will allow the heat to escape between the pieces of lattice. Don’t forget to also keep your grill at least 15 feet away from your house or any other solid structure. Take Mind of the... read more

Got Peeling Wallpaper? Here Is An Easy Fix

If you love your wallpaper, you’re not alone. Modern designs of wallpaper allow people to create any type of room they wish in designs that paint cannot offer. However, there may come a time when you notice that the paper is peeling along the seams or near the bottom of the wall. This doesn’t mean that you have to take the wallpaper down and start from scratch. All you need to do is follow these simple steps and your wallpaper will look new again. Step 1: Gather Your Supplies The tools needed to start the job can probably be found in your home, and definitely at your local home-improvement store. These tools and supplies include the following: wallpaper paste 1 sheet of writing paper a small plastic putty knife   a damp sponge newspaper Step 2: Prepare the Work Area Lay down the newspaper on the floor against the wall where the peeling section of wallpaper is. In doing so, you’ll help prevent dropped wallpaper paste from landing on the floor. Step 3 Apply the Paste to the Paper Apply a small amount of wallpaper paste to the sheet of writing paper with the plastic putty knife. Step 4: Rub the Writing Paper on the Wallpaper Hold the writing paper with one hand while grabbing the end of the peeling wallpaper with the other hand. Be gentle when grabbing the wallpaper so you don’t pull it away from the wall more. Rub the writing paper onto to the backside of the wallpaper to apply the paste. Press the wallpaper against the writing paper so that it is up against... read more

Floral Choices For Your Winter Wedding

Many brides love the idea of a romantic wedding in a winter wonderland. Choosing to get married in the winter may narrow down your floral choices somewhat. Most florists can get flowers that are not in season, but they can be more expensive. However a winter wedding does open up all kinds of exciting possibilities for flowers: Branches Trees in winter don’t have to be boring and bare. An arrangement including bare tree branches can be stunning, especially in a decorative base or a little bit of sparkle added for a magical effect.  Trees represent family, stability and growth, making them the perfect symbolic piece at a wedding.  Holiday Flowers Flowers that you see during winter holidays can also be great for a winter wedding. Think about holly branches in bloom, dramatic poinsettias and romantic mistletoe. Many churches and other venues are already decorated for the holidays, which can be good for your decor and your budget.  You can even get creative by having potted poinsettias arranged in the shape of an evergreen tree or by placing an arch of mistletoe for guest to walk under as they enter the venue.  Wonderful White Bring an elegant touch to a winter wedding by using floral arrangements that are all in white. Roses may not be in season during the winter, but a bouquet of white roses is simple and elegant.  White flowers are magnificent on their own, but they are also a good choice because you can add any color ribbon or vase. You can even have small pearls or rhinestones included in your white bouquet.  Icy Illusion Ice covered... read more

Three Tips To Keep Your Window Frame In Place While You Install It

When you’re installing a new window in your home, one of the most important things to pay attention to is making sure that the frame stays balanced. If you have to stop your project for a few hours and leave your home, this can be very challenging. So to minimize the chance of your window frame falling out of balance over the course of your project, take these three tips to heart. Use Heavy Rocks To Hold The Frame Sides And Bottom Down If you have a flat frame made out of several (instead of one) wooden parts, it’s possible for each side to fall out independently. Since they’re not directly held in check by gravity, the frame sides are very likely to fall out if they’re shaken. To prevent your side frames from falling out, you need to make sure that they don’t get even slightly dislodged from their grip on the wall. For this purpose, a pair of small, dense, and relatively circular stones are ideal. If you place one stone on each side of your window sill, you’ll both contain the sides and prevent the bottom from also shaking and eventually falling out. Use Several Pieces Of Duct Tape For The Frame’s Top Side In a multiple part frame, the top side is particularly vulnerable due to direct gravity pressure. But even if your frame is made out of one piece, top pressure can significantly contribute to moving the other sides out of balance as well. Since stones and other heavier objects are out, your best bet to prop up the top side of your window... read more

Review Your Fire Plan with Your Kids This Spring

Spring is not just a great time for cleaning, it is also a great time to review your fire safety plan with your kids. The more you practice, the more likely it is your children will know what to do in the case of an emergency. Change the Batteries In Your Fire Alarm Show your children where your fire alarm is located. Explain that the alarm’s job is to detect smoke, and that if the alarm detects smoke, it lets out a very loud sound. This loud sound, or alarm, tells you that you need to get out of the house as fast as you can and call 911. Test the Fire Alarm After you change the batteries in your fire alarm, you should test out your fire alarm. Explain to your children that you are going to test out the fire alarm so they know what it sounds like. Many children become frightened or upset when they hear a fire alarm, because it is so loud. By testing the alarm, you will familiarize your children with the sound. This will help them react appropriately in the event of an actual fire. Review Your Fire Escape Plan Review with your children your fire escape plan. Explain that if they see fire and smoke, the first thing they should do is get low. Explain to your children that the smoke can hurt them when they breath, but it likes to hang out up high, which is why you want to get down low. Practice getting down low and crawling with your kids. Show them how to use their arms or... read more

Troubleshooting Your Vacuum

If you have a vacuum cleaner, then you know that a vacuum that doesn’t work properly can be very irritating. Such a situation can leave your house dirty and even pose a health hazard. Therefore, it is in your best interest to have a strong grasp of how to troubleshoot a vacuum cleaner. Here is a rough overview of the most common problems and exactly how you can fix them: My vacuum has suction, but nothing is getting picked up If you place your hand over the airway opening and can definitely feel suction, yet nothing is being picked up off the floor, you likely have either a blockage or an issue with the height setting. A blockage can result in material getting stuck in the hose, while the wrong height setting will prevent your vacuum from reaching low enough to pick up dirt and debris. Trying using lower height settings for tile and higher settings for thick carpet. My vacuum has no suction This is commonly caused by a full storage unit. If a vacuum has an entirely full container, then it will usually refuse to pick up any more debris. This is caused by the pressure differential between the inside of the unit and the outside. Basically, when there is available space inside the container, the vacuum will create negative pressure in that space in order to move waste through the tube and to the container. However, when the container is full, the vacuum is unable to create that negative pressure environment, and thus nothing will get sucked up. My vacuum has weak suction and leaves debris... read more

Microwave Ovens – One Appliance to Never DIY Repair

Many of the appliances around your home can be repaired without the assistance of a repair professional in some cases. One appliance that should never be repaired without training and experience is the microwave oven. How you use and maintain your microwave can help you extend the life of it and prepare food more efficiently. Why Shouldn’t You Repair Your Own Microwave Oven? Well, it really is simple. The capacitor inside the microwave oven holds an electrical charge even after the microwave has been unplugged. The charge the capacitor holds is much more than what you would feel if you were zapped by a faulty lamp. The voltage is high enough to potentially kill you! Tips for Microwave Use Utilize the adjustable power settings. There is a good reason for the manufacturers equipping microwave ovens with adjustable power settings. In many cases, food cooks more evenly if it is cooked for a longer time at a lower power setting. Once the microwave has finished cooking the food, keep the door closed for a minute or two after. Letting the food sit inside the oven will allow the heat to distribute throughout the food. When following instructions on frozen dinners and prepared foods, follow the instructions on the label. Some food may become overcooked if you allow it to sit in the microwave once the cycle has completed. Never cook food inside air-tight packages without venting the lid or package. Once the contents become hot, the lid or package could burst and make a big mess inside the oven. In some cases, the lid could pop with such force that... read more

About me

The first plant I ever killed was an orchid. It was a beautiful magenta, and a birthday present from my brother. Next in line was a series of ill-fated basil plants, followed by a vegetable garden that seemingly died off from too much attention.

Finally, my husband had a brilliant plan: succulents. Succulent plants are hearty, easy to maintain, and thrive off less attention, not more. As long as I had learned my lesson from the vegetable garden, I could have a verdant house!

I have managed to damage a plant or two—knocking over a plant stand with a vacuum isn’t great for a stiff vine—but now I’ve gotten the hang of these botanical wonders! If you have a brown thumb, as do I, learn from my experiences and enjoy having a green home.