Activities With Children

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

Trying to find activities to occupy your children’s time as they are finishing their summer break? It can be difficult to fill the days with activities and you don’t want to just sit them in front of a screen all day but what can you do? Here are a few activities that can help keep your children active and away from screens. Some cost money while others don’t so that anyone on any budget can find something to do with their children.

 

A great option if you are trying to stay within a  budget is to pack up some balls, mitts, soccer balls—whatever it is that your children enjoy playing—and throw in a lunch and head to the park. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a blanket, plenty of water, and even an umbrella if there isn’t much shade. Take your children to the park and allow them to run around and play for a couple of hours. It is a great way to get them more active and enjoying the beautiful weather and outdoors.

 

Another way to keep them active and also allow them a chance to be social is to take them to your local pool. They will have the opportunity to swim around and also meet other children who are at the pool. If the pool is outdoors, make sure you bring sunscreen! Depending on how long you’ll be there, you might consider bringing a book if you aren’t planning on getting in.  However, there is something to be said about taking a dip yourself and playing with your kids.

 

Finally, if your children have never been camping it could be a great idea to pack up your old gear that maybe hasn’t seen the light of day since you had them and set up a camping site in your backyard. Play lawn games with them, grille up some dinner, and when it gets dark start a fire if you have a fire pit and enjoy each other’s company while you look up at the stars. Luckily you are still home so if anyone needs to use the restroom or clean up they are still able to do so.

 

These are just three ideas to help keeps your kids active and off the couch some while they are finishing their summer break. Use these as inspiration for other ideas! Perhaps you actually take them out camping after all. Or you could bring them to an amusement park for the day, or a museum. Whatever you choose, if you keep them moving and learning and experiencing it will be good for them.

Basement Ideas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tips

Do you have an unfinished basement that you have thought of finishing? Many homeowners have a basement that they choose to finish for various reasons. You could potentially gain equity in your home by making improvements. The options for the space are endless.  What could you use the extra space for in your own home?

The new space can be single or multi use depending on how much space is available. If the size is smaller, keep the use to single in order to keep from feeling cramped. If space is not an issue, you may want several rooms or a space that provides multiple uses. For example, turn the space into guest quarters with a laundry room for an added bonus in the home.

One option is to turn the basement into a media center or theater room. These rooms are great for families because it serves as a second living room. You have the option to buy a big screen television or install a screen and use a projector to give the space a real theater like feel. Seating can be groupings of furniture or actual theater seating. Who wouldn’t want to show this space off to guests? A media room is a way to do just that. It is also a good space for entertaining children.

A game room or Man Cave is another option for a space to entertain guests. Turning a basement into a game room can consist of a pool table or vintage video games. For a Man Cave, consider adding a bar and themed decorating. Either option will allow peace to reign upstairs while louder fun stays downstairs.

Single use spaces can have dual functions. For example, add a full bath to the media or game room and it could be converted to guest quarters at night. Add a pullout sofa bed or a comfortable couch. If your space is large, consider adding multiple rooms that function with the rest of the home.

Each of these ideas will add value to your home, whether you are thinking about staying or moving.  Visit our Design Center for a few ideas to help get you motivated!  

Tips for Creating a Successful Gallery Wall

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Gallery walls are becoming increasingly popular. This technique is best explained as a wall with art and photos, similar to the look of an art gallery. The concept is great for family homes because it gives you a way to display the many family photos that accumulate over the years. It is also ideal for people that have ample art to display. Find out how to successfully pull off this technique!

Groupings of art or photos need to be tied together so that it doesn’t give the appearance of a chaotic mess. There are several ways you can tie the different photos or art together.

Coordinate colors. Group together similar colors together. You can mix art and photos together by grouping subject matter, relative by color scheme. For example group black and white photos with line drawings, pencil and charcoal art. The relative component in the relative component is the colors is black and white. Use the same color frame if possible.

Family photos generally have many different colors within them. Keep the gallery wall in unison by selecting the same color frames or the same frames in different sizes. If you wish to use all different photo frames, consider using the same type of photos, such as organized by age (children’s photos as they grow are a great example). This will keep the gallery wall harmonious while using an eclectic group of frames.

Gallery walls art or photos are either hung in symmetrical groupings or asymmetrical groupings. If the subject matter is a mixture of art and photos keep the grouping relative by hanging frames in a symmetrical layout. If the grouping of art’s subject matter is relatively simplistic; choose an asymmetrical layout. This will add interest to your gallery wall.

The key to a successful gallery wall is to have a common element throughout the grouping. This can be achieved by coordinating color schemes of the subject matter, frame selections or the layout style of the grouping. Choose one of the above techniques to unite your gallery wall!

Reader Question – How Do I Clean My Carpet?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Carpet

Q:  What are the best methods for cleaning my carpet so that it lasts a long time?

A:  Thanks for your question! This is a great inquiry because it’s one of the most discussed topics during consultations. The key to stellar maintenance of a carpeted floor is consistently caring for it on a set schedule. All too frequently people wait until there is a problem before they give carpet special attention. But those problems can typically be avoided if you tend to it regularly, and in doing so you’ll also get to enjoy it at its best on a daily basis. Here are the 4 key steps to keeping carpet in tip-top shape:

  • Vacuum frequently. This tip might sound obvious, but people typically get lazy about vacuuming after their initial excitement about the new floor has settled into familiarity. It’s critical to the life span of the carpet however because excessive debris that’s not removed consistently will dig its way into the deeper layers of the carpet and then be very hard to extract with a vacuum. How often should you vacuum? Very high traffic areas could be vacuumed daily and it wouldn’t be overdoing it. Moderate use areas should be vacuumed twice per week, and minimal use areas should be vacuumed twice per month.
  • Do scheduled maintenance. Also known as interim maintenance, this process is a surface level cleaning that is primarily intended to improve the appearance of the carpet.  It removes soil and rejuvenates the loft of the carpet. If you’re not sure how to do it, ask us because this is a very important second step to carpet care if you want the carpet to reach its life expectancy.
  • Deep clean. This refers to the standard process of cleaning the carpet thoroughly by way of steam cleaning or hot water extraction. This is an imperative part of care process because it’s the only method by which the most ground in dirt and debris can be removed. It also refreshes the carpet by helping to eliminate odors and stains that are set into the fibers. Always hire a professional for carpet cleaning in order to protect your carpet.
  • Spot removal. Remember the cardinal rule – spot and stain removal needs to happen immediately if possible! Allowing a stain to set and dry gives it the opportunity to saturate the fibers while wet and lock them in as it dries. Ask us about the best cleaning solution to use and how to spot treat the carpet.  This site is also a great resource for stains and spills. 

Does our answer to this question provide the information you were seeking? If not, leave us a comment and let us know what else you’d like us to share!

Fun Activities for Summer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

 

You don’t have to go on vacation to have fun during the summer. There are plenty of daytime and nighttime activities you can do with your family to make the most of the season. Consider doing some things right in your own city!

Find a drive-in movie theater or outdoor movie and take the whole family. You can sit in the car, bring lawn chairs or use an outdoor blanket for a picnic feeling. Pack your own snacks and relax under the stars. Many cities show movies at local parks every weekend during the summer – browse the internet for outdoor movie experiences near you.

Book a boat tour! If you live near a body of water, chances are there are daily boat trips you can take. You could go sailing or try out a kayak. There are rental companies that rent kayaks and canoes daily.

Fly a kite. This is a great activity to do with children, or relax and fly solo. Kites are typically welcome at the beach or in a park. Just make sure there is wind and enjoy a relaxing afternoon. When not in use, try hanging the kite on the wall as a bonus decoration!

Camp out in your backyard under the stars. Make your own fire or use a fire pit if allowed or use a hibachi grill. Enjoy cooking hotdogs and s’mores over an open flame!

Rent a convertible for a day or two. There is no better way to enjoy a beautiful summer day than in a convertible. Set out to tour the city you live in or have fun driving to different locations. Take a local scenic route and drive at your leisure.

Pick berries and other produce at a local farm. This is a fun way to buy produce! It sure beats selecting fruit from the grocery store. If you have kids, take them and allow them to hunt for the best fruit. Many farms sell fresh homemade ice cream and other treats to eat after picking produce. Make it a fun summer outing.

Find out what your city has to offer and make the most of the summer season!

Smart Ways to Get Rid of Clothes After You Do a Closet Purge

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice

Sure, we’ve all donated clothes at some point, or had a garage sale and parted ways with old garments for a few bucks. If you’ve recently cleaned out your closet you might have discovered that many of the items you no longer want still have a lot of life left in them. Perhaps you even paid a lot of money for them and you can’t stand the thought of them ending up in a garage sale box. If so, consider these great suggestions.

Donate

“Old-reliables” such as Goodwill and ARC are always a great place to start. But there are some more specific organizations out there that would find women’s clothing especially beneficial. Look for career development organizations that empower underprivileged women to find stable, well paying jobs. They need career wear to help these women look their best on interviews and at work.

If you have beautiful gowns or dresses hanging around, look for organizations that serve underprivileged teens who have hopes of attending formal dances in high schools. Even if the dress isn’t the exact style they have in mind, it might be a great starting piece that can be reinvented at the hand of a crafty seamstress who donates her time.

You should also consider women’s shelter in general. They often provide haven for women and children who had to flee without the opportunity to bring along personal belongings. If you’re not sure where to find these organizations try online resources such as Charity Watch or Charity Navigator. Not only will you feel great about taking the time to find someone truly deserving, you can also keep a record and report them as a write off at tax time!

Host a fabulous swap party at your home or a local restaurant

The only imperative part of this is that you give everyone plenty of notice. Think about how much work it is to clean out your closet! Your guest will need enough time to get their closet purge project done before attending your party. Other than that, this is a super easy and fun way to de-clutter your closet. Simply invite everyone and serve a few goodies and beverages. Devise a basic system for the trade process and let the fun begin!

Party for the Fourth!

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

Fourth of July is right around the corner and while the invitations may have already gone out for your Fourth of July party, now comes the planning. It may not be the most enjoyable part of throwing your party but if you plan ahead in a few strategic ways you will be able to remove most of the stress that comes with hosting a party.

 The first thing to tackle is the food. Plan on providing a few of the main dishes, such as barbecue or hamburgers and hotdogs. Grab the meat and buns and condiments necessary for this and then let your guests know that it will be potluck style. Ask each guest to bring one thing, such as side salads, potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, baked beans, and the like. This will take a significant amount of preparation off of your table and allow you to devote your time to all other aspects of the party.

Next you will want to think about decor. There are great ideas to find online if you want to craft for your party but it never hurts either to raid the dollar store for some red, white, and blue napkins, plates and small decorations. Don’t go too overboard with it though, otherwise it can come across as a bit over the top. Keep it tasteful, and be sure to string up some lights if you haven’t already for ambient lighting. 

Finally, prepare the entertainment for the night. Purchase a couple of rounds of sparklers for everyone to light up in celebration of the holiday. Create several playlists for your guests to enjoy in the background ahead of time so that when the day comes you aren’t having to scramble back to your phone whenever a song comes on that isn’t appropriate for the occasion. You can also grab a few lawn games for your guests to enjoy, such as bocce ball or corn hole. These games are a sure hit.

Now that you’re prepared for your Fourth of July party, let yourself enjoy it. The preparation you’ve done will allow you to sit back and relax with your guests as we celebrate the day of our country’s independence.

8 Creative Ways To Use Your Fireplace During Warm Months

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice

If you’re fortunate enough to have real, working fireplace in your home we say bravo! They are rare occurrences in newly built homes. But many older homes feature traditional fireplaces and wood burning stoves. During cold months the fireplace is often the central gathering point in the home, but once it goes defunct in the warmer months it seems like an out-of-place element that distracts from the harmony of a room. Rather than let it sit empty and looking a bit forlorn, we suggest trying a creative way to use it as an architectural feature. If you want to get especially creative with it, try more than one of these ideas at different times. For example, try #1 during Spring and Fall, and try #8 in the months between!

  1. Multi tier expanse of pillar candles
  2. For a special event arrange dozens of symmetrically aligned tea light candles
  3. A large, ornate flower arrangement that fills the majority of the space, both laterally and vertically
  4. Install a temporary curtain rod and hang a pretty curtain to cover the opening; opt for a solid color which will then serve as a backdrop for anything you’d like to set in front of it
  5. Using the wood that will go unused until it’s time to light fires again, create an interesting sculptural formation; refer to the game Jenga for inspiration
  6. A focal point piece of artwork on an easel
  7. Print a favorite photo on a stretch canvas frame that is slightly larger than the opening of the fireplace, then simply set it in front of the opening
  8. If you have a glass walled wood burning fireplace insert a tray the size of the base and plant a terrarium – when it’s time to use the fireplace again you can easily slide it out and display it elsewhere