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November, 2012

  1. Tips for a Cozy Home This Winter

    November 29, 2012 by BlairStover

    Everyone has an image of the perfect home in his or her mind. Often, that vision is of spotless surfaces and a distinct aura of cleanliness. Keeping a spotless house, however, may seem like a daunting task for most of us because time is very limited with work and other daily activities. At the end of the day, we are just too tired to come home and clean a whole house.

    As Blair Stover explains below, having a clean home you can be proud of doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on end cleaning. All it takes is a few tricks up your sleeve and some elbow grease.

    1.     The tub. Acrylic tubs are the worst when cleaning. If you have ever owned one, you already know that you can spend a whole day on your hands and knees and the bottom of the tub will still look gray. There are ways you can clean it though. You can treat dirt, limestone or salt deposits with vinegar or lemon juice. Once you have that area clean, use a liquid detergent to clean your entire bath tub. If there are any scratches present, try using a piece of fine sandpaper to smooth them out. If there are yellow spots, use a baking soda and shampoo mix (2 teaspoon to 1 cap ratio). Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse it off.

    2.     Dusting. Asthma and allergies are a huge problem and vacuuming and sweeping only make it worse. Make sure you use hypoallergenic detergents when cleaning.

    3.     Cleaning microwaves. Orange peels work wonders and all you have to do is peel it, place it on a microwave-safe plate, put it in the microwave, put some water over it and turn it on for a couple minutes. Keep the door shut for 30 minutes and watch it work wonders. Just wipe off the remnants left with ease.

  2. How to Select the Right Kitchen Table

    November 26, 2012 by BlairStover

    Think about the place everyone always seems to gather in your home. For most, it is the kitchen table. From board games, to projects, and family meals, this piece of furniture is definitely a multi-tasking piece. As so much time is spent at this one piece of furniture, choosing just the right kitchen table is essential.

    It is important to select a table that meets both your needs and your style. If you have shopped the choices, you know the sizes and aesthetics seem endless. Blair Stover can guide you in selecting the right kitchen table for your home.

    Begin by measuring the size of your breakfast nook or kitchen. It is ideal to have a three-foot range around the table and the surrounding walls or cabinets. Otherwise, pushing the chair out while sitting in it could get awkward.

    The shape you choose can assist your design purpose. If your purpose is to separate a living area from the kitchen, then a rectangle shaped table is best. If you have a larger kitchen and wish to break up the space, placing the table in the center, a round table would be best.

    Finally, think about the sort of activities that occur at your kitchen table. If you have children who typically use the kitchen table for crafts, homework or games, you will want a tabletop that is very durable. Consider a tabletop of tile, marble, or polyurethane coated woods. These tops will be protected against spills and marks. A plastic or metal table could even fit your style, if your home is contemporary. The bottom line is to decide upon a table that can stand up to what your family will dish out.

  3. Inexpensive Ways to Update Your Home

    November 21, 2012 by BlairStover

    With holiday season coming in, many of us are looking for ways to update our homes without spending a fortune. Blair Stover shares some inexpensive ways to do this. The first is your yard. A messy front yard gives a poor first impression of your home. Take some time to spruce up the front yard by simply giving it a good clean-up job. Or, spend a small amount of money, and add a few colorful flowers here and there, replace a broken screen or repaint your garage door.

    Along with this, you may want to have your roof painted or polished. This tends to be the most neglected area of a home. Even a good power wash can made a dramatic difference in the look of your exterior.

    While we are on the exterior of the house, consider your front door. This is the way your guests are welcomed into your home. This is not to say that you must install a new door. But, take a bit of time to clean it up, make sure hinges are tight, the doorknob is tightly secured, and that you repair any splits or cracks. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to liven up your door, you could think about adding an ornamental door knocker, a whimsical doorbell, or a new porch light.

    A simple way to make a big impact is to update your walls. With a budget of $150 to $200, you could really change the overall look and feel of your home. Simply change the wall color. In addition to updating your home with a more modern color palate, you will have a fresh, clean look as all the scuffs are covered up.

    The final step is the most simple and the most fun. De-clutter and decorate. Take care to remove clutter so that it is out of sight. Throw out what you can and organize the rest. Keep your decorations to a minimum in order to keep an inviting feel to a room.

  4. Hints for a Perfect Living Room

    November 18, 2012 by BlairStover

    The living room is a space for socializing and relaxation, where you can read, watch TV, listen to music and chat with friends and family. Thus, today’s living rooms are made to be multi-functional. Optimal living room furniture creates a relaxed social environment. The furniture and color scheme of the living room should be comfortable and inviting as well. As Blair Stover explains below, having the right set up in your living room means everything.

    Reflective objects distribute energy. Objects with reflective properties such as glass, mirrors, crystal, or any other shiny metal surface are very powerful as it enables and distributes energy, especially in dark corners. With the use of large mirrors, rooms appear much larger.

    Helpful tips:

    • The seating area should not lie directly opposite the door. The sofa in the living room, if possible, should have a U-shape and no L-shape. An octagonal or round coffee table is optimal.
    • TV Cabinets with doors are recommended, as the quality of life can be improved without a television because it promotes social and family activities
    • Very large rooms with optical sharing plants, partitions, screens or consoles with flowers are perfect.
    • Use bright colors and lots of light throughout the room, where appropriate lighting is possible. Using a small amount of functional pieces of furniture makes the room look larger and higher.
    • Moving objects such as mobiles or chimes activate the Chi. People are more inclined to talk and be social in this atmosphere.

  5. Choosing the Right Table for Your Dining Room

    November 13, 2012 by BlairStover

    In a dining room, the table is the centerpiece. How you choose that table will set the value you put in your style décor for your whole kitchen. As Blair Stover discusses below, your dining room table is going to set the tone for your entire kitchen lifestyle so make sure you get it right.

    The dining room table selection process should be part of several criteria: budget, number of guests you will have scheduled on occasion, the maximum capacity of guests you receive, the space you have and the style of your dining room. The shape of the table depends on your taste, of course, but it also has endless possibilities to work with. The table can be round and warm and friendly as everyone can speak easily. It may have extensions that transform into an oval when you have guests.

    The table can be square which is very easy to fit in any area and can have multiple uses: office space, drawing table, dressing in the room… The rectangular table is more formal but it can meet the needs of families. Against a wall with a bench, you may receive hungry people in the kitchen with breakfast and snacks and friends of your children.

    Consoles can be transformed into tables, the tables pull into compact pieces and unpack at your leisure, zippers unfold to lay flat into end tables. If you receive lots or your space is limited, think about it! Some tables can disappear in the blink of an eye. This is extremely useful in small spaces.

  6. House Cleaning Tips

    November 10, 2012 by BlairStover

    Cleaning the house is a big problem for most people. Indeed, there are often places where you can run into some stubborn stains that just won’t come off. Moreover, we use far too aggressive chemicals the wrong way. Know that with only a few products, you can clean everything in the home. Here are some hints and tips to help you provided by Blair Stover:

    1.     Windows without a trace. Use a sheet of newspaper, crumple it and soak it in alcohol. Rub the windows in a circular motion.

    2.     A refrigerator that smells good. On the middle shelf, have a cup with a 1/2 lemon or a piece of charcoal in it. This will help reduce odors.

    3.     Rust stains on the floor? Cover the stain with salt and lemon juice. Leave it on for an hour, rub the stain and rinse.

    4.     Cleaning burnt pans. Boil some water in your pan, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. If stain persists, add a few leaves of sorrel in a little water and soak fifteen minutes then rinse.

    5.     De-scaling appliances. Pour white vinegar into your appliance (iron, kettle, coffee maker) and turn it on. Pour clean water in it to rinse.

    6.     Microwave that smells. Place a bowl of water in the center of your microwave and add some lemon juice or 1/2 fresh lemon to it and heat for a few minutes.

    More advice

    • Always use three sponges when cleaning:

    -One for the kitchen.

    -One for the bathroom.

    -One reserved for a toilet.

    • Remember that performance equipment always gives a better result.
    • Ventilate your home when cleaning.

  7. Thanksgiving Dinner Decorating Tips

    November 6, 2012 by BlairStover

     Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday of November in the United States. This is an opportunity to spend an evening with friends and it is an original day for eating certain foods that people are not necessarily used to enjoying year round!

    Thanksgiving is the symbolic origin for the Day of Thanksgiving founded in 1620, from the settlers from England, who landed in Plymouth Bay. They founded a colony, but were quickly confronted with a disease known as scurvy which is caused by a lack of food. They are then helped by Indians who taught them to fish, hunt and grow corn. In gratitude, during the fall of 1621, the settlers organized the first “Thanksgiving”, inviting the Indians to share their meals where wild turkeys were offered.

    What does one eat at the Thanksgiving meal?  The main dish is usually stuffed turkey, filled with chestnuts, sausage, apples, all served with a side of cranberry sauce. Vegetables like mashed sweet potatoes, mashed rutabagas, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple cider are also perennial favorites.

    Thanksgiving is a big affair, and many people will decorate the table special for it. Here are some decorating tips provided by Blair Stover that you might want to follow this Thanksgiving to make your holiday a smooth one as well as a memorable one:

    1.     Know the table size along with the number of chairs you will need. Knowing how many guests you will have coming to your Thanksgiving party is very important.

    2.     Table linens. Try to use tablecloths that will go with the holiday and stay away from neutral colors.

    3.     Try candles. Candles can be a very decorative piece but don’t let it go overboard.

    4.     Lighting. Make sure your lighting is not bright but it is just good enough for a dinner party.

    5.     Music. Set the tone with some music.

    6.     Fragrance. Nothing says Thanksgiving like some scented candles.

  8. How to Care for Wooden Floors

    November 2, 2012 by BlairStover

     A beautiful wood can be compared to a fine wine: it gains character and charm with age. But it still must be taken care of! Trampled, stained, scratched- it doesn’t matter. To maintain and make them last, you need to be sure they are regularly kept up but nothing really extravagant. Just take into account a simple criterion: the finish must be applied (varnish, oil or wax) and regular maintenance must be completed. Blair Stover has more tips below.

    Cleaning the floor – nothing could be easier! To do this, just dust on average once a week using a vacuum cleaner with a brush or a slightly damp mop. Never wash your wood floor with water.

    Clean is one thing, maintaining it is another. Again, no need to be a homemaker to fulfill this mission, but you must adopt the right thing and get the right products.

    Polished floors are increasingly rare because they are complicated to maintain and particularly fragile. They certainly provide an attractive surface, but they are slippery and have a nasty habit of staining when they come in contact with water.

    To ensure your polished floor stays clean and attractive, be sure to follow these tips:

    –   To extend the life of your floors and limit the damage, do not hesitate to store carpets everywhere and place pads under your furniture, particularly in those areas that you use to move tables, chairs.

    –       Always have the reflex to use only cleaning products adapted to your flooring. Detergent is too aggressive and will weaken your wood floors rather than give it a facelift.

    –       Never clean your floors with a lot of water! Although your floors are glazed or oiled strong enough, they cannot tolerate high humidity.

    –       To clean a stain on your recent further polished floor, it is recommended using a damp sponge.