Holiday Prep

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hints and Advice, Holidays

It may seem too early, but it’s almost the most wonderful time of the year. We all know how stressful the holidays can be so why not start planning early and actually enjoy the season?

October:

  • Have a family meeting and decide where you will spend Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Start checking travel sites to find the best prices on airfare and hotels.
  • Make sure your family calendar is up to date. Most teachers are organized enough to tell you in advance when they need treats for Halloween parties, when the holiday concert has been scheduled and when the holiday vacation starts. Plan now for childcare during winter break.
  • Make sure you know what your children want to be for Halloween. This will avoid the last minute scramble to the costume store.
  • Think about holiday cards. If you want to send a family photo have it taken now instead of waiting until the last minute.

November:

  • Start planning your holiday budget so that you can stay on track. If you are on a budget, suggest a Secret Santa  gift exchange with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Start planning your Thanksgiving meal – if you are cooking. By planning ahead of time you can take advantage of sales in your local grocery stores.
  • Pull out holiday decor and assess what to use or toss and replace. Shop sales to find new decorations.
  • Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, but you can find sales all the way to the big day. If you can find time during the weekday to shop do so – stores are less busy.
  • Start wrapping gifts as soon as you buy them. You’ll keep little eyes from seeing gifts early.

December:

  • Make double batches of cookie dough. Now you have extra for holiday parties and school cookie exchanges.
  • Think about sending your holiday cards on-line.
  • Assess your holiday wardrobe. Plan outfits now so you won’t scramble later. Take clothes to the dry cleaner and have shoes repaired.
  • Ship gifts. Skip the post office and schedule an at-home UPS pickup.
  • Instead of throwing a holiday party, have a girls night out instead. Get mani-pedis, drink some bubbles and giggle with your best friends.

Finally, remember the holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy your family. If you don’t bake all the cookies on your list, or your house isn’t Martha Stewart worthy – don’t worry.

 

 

 

 

Do Something Nice for Dad

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hints and Advice, Holidays

Since we are fast approaching Father’s Day weekend, why don’t you do something special for Dad. After all, he doesn’t need another tie. Instead why don’t you organize the garage for him?

Garages were created for cars, but people park a lot of other stuff there as well. Garden shovels, sports gear, pet supplies and anything else you don’t know where else to put. The catchall can quickly turn into a dumping ground, which is why organization is essential in any garage.

1. Climb the Walls

The first step toward creating a clutter-free garage is getting as many items as possible off the floor. Wall-mounted track systems are a big asset.

2. Systematize Storage

Think logically about what goes where on the track system. For example, in the summer, a beach chair will get more use than a snow shovel, so it hangs up front.

3. Revive Dead Space

Rather than ignore the narrow strip of wall between the garage doors, turn into a mini auto-care station. Two wall-mounted wire baskets contain assorted engine fluids, as well as a sponge, a squeegee, and other car-cleaning essentials. One of the metal receptacles is for trash from road trips, while the other will hold rock salt for icy mornings come winter.

Don’t forget to perk up the workshop part of the garage as well. This is the time to be sure it is equipped with sufficient electrical outlets for power tools and good lighting for doing projects:

1. Seeing Clearly

Add a new overhead cage fixture to illuminate the work area. Use an industrial lamp with an adjustable arm to deliver targeted task lighting.

2. Multiplying the Options

A wall-mounted track system adds three tiers of shelving for paint supplies. Folding sawhorses on the two bottom hooks open easily when duty calls.

3. Hanging Up Hand Tools

Peg-Board is practically synonymous with organizing.

4. Moving Around

A portable metal toolbox can be used at the workbench or rolled over to the automobiles when mechanical repairs are needed.

And viola – Dad now has a clean, organized and efficient garage. He’ll love it!

Memorial Day Weekend

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

It’s Memorial Day weekend! While many of us are looking forward to marking the weekend with BBQ’s and camping trips, we would like to take a moment to honor and remember the men and women who have died while serving our country.

But first a history lesson –  Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the Civil War to commemorate fallen Union soldiers. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.

On Memorial Day flags are raised to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Memorial Day is a time we should be offering our most sincere thoughts and solemn promise to honor the service and sacrifice of those who serve, and to ensure that those who made the ultimate sacrifice did not do so in vain. This is the time to reflect on that while giving room in our hearts for healing and optimism about a future of better tomorrows.

We wish you and your family a wonderful weekend.

Do Something Nice For Mom

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Events, Family, Holidays

Mother’s Day is this weekend! Yes, that’s our reminder to you that you need to plan something special for Mom. And we have plenty of ideas!

You could do the typical breakfast in bed, or brunch in an overcrowded restaurant. You could send her to the spa (never a bad option) or get her some flowers. Our suggestion this year, however, is to do something unexpected and something that will last for years and years.

Come by the store and let Mom pick out tile for a new kitchen backsplash, or new countertops in the bathroom.

You could finally tear out that old carpet and install hardwood or laminate flooring. Likewise you could replace the carpet with something luxurious and stain resistant.

You could promise to paint that accent wall that Mom has been wanting for years and years.

You could install a flagstone patio and brighten it with container gardens full of Mom’s favorite herbs. Or even just clean off the winter dust and debris and cook Mom an al fresco dinner.

You could power wash the outside of the house, and have the windows professionally cleaned. Window cleaning, we are sure, is not one of your mother’s favorite things to do.

Least of all because our mom’s are super busy, you could make her day by deep cleaning the house, or steam cleaning the carpets, or tackling those chores that she hates.

Whatever you decide to do, we wish your Mom Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Hanging Christmas Lights

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Christmas, Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice, Holidays

If you are like most of us you may have hung your outdoor Christmas decorations over Thanksgiving weekend. Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you put it off until now because you didn’t want to deal with the ladder, the weather and untangling the mess of lights from last year. There is no time like the present to overcome all of those obstacles and get the outside of your home looking perfect for the season.

Gather all the items you will need to begin your outdoor lighting project. The ladder, extension cords, timers, clips, hooks and clamps, power stakes, work gloves and a few basic tools like a hammer, a screwdriver and some pliers. It’s also a great idea to measure everything you want to adorn with lights. Also measure the distance to each power source. It’s a pain, but so worth it.

Decide where you want to hang your lights. Some of the most popular spots to hang lights are on the eaves of your home, or along your roofline. Atop bushes, hedges and trees. On pillars, posts and railings. Around windows and doorframes. Near driveways and pathways.

Unwrap all lights and untangle cords. Swear to yourself that this year you will put them away neatly. Test each light strand before you hang it. Replace burned out or missing bulbs. Toss any light strand with fraying cords. Hang your lights during the day as climbing a ladder in the dark is not very safe. If you can, bribe someone to be your partner. Hanging lights goes much faster with a buddy.

The rule of thumb for how many lights you need is 100 lights for every foot and a half that you want to cover. A 6-foot tree would therefore need 400 lights for the basic lighting. If you want to get a little more ‘blingy” you can double or even triple the amount of lights you use.

Should you need to purchase additional lights for you project make sure you pick outdoor lights, as indoor lights are not meant for the elements. If you can spring for LED lights you should. LEDs are more costly to purchase, but they’ll save you money in the long run. They’re 90% more energy-efficient and last thousands of hours longer than comparable incandescent bulbs. Icicle lights are great for rooflines and eaves. Net and blanket lights make it easy to cover bushes and shrubs.

Start high and work your way down. For safety reasons never connect more than three light strands together. After you’ve hung your third strand go back to your power source for your next set of lights. Use clips to attach lights whenever possible. Please don’t hammer or staple through cords as this can cause damage to the light strand.

And viola – you are no longer the only Grinch on the block without Christmas lights. Take your buddy out for a beer and breath of relief that your holiday decorating project is done.

Thanksgiving is Almost Here

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice, Holidays

If you’re like many of our customers you have been madly preparing for Thanksgiving. You’ve scoured magazines for recipes, braved the crowds at the grocery store and are making lists of all the cleaning you need to do before your doorbell rings this Thursday. You have your formal table décor figured out but what should you do for the little people that will running around your home?

While the kid’s table is the running holiday joke in some families, it is a detail that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few tips on how to decorate the perfect table for your little pilgrims.

Cover a table in brown craft paper. Put crayons out and let the kids create a Thanksgiving masterpiece on the tabletop.

Instead of place cards let each child make an Indian headdress complete with feathers and their name painted on the headband.

Create paper cornucopias filled with Thanksgiving treats at each place setting.

Centerpieces on a kid’s table should be simple. Fill bowls with gourds or mums and embellish with ribbons, raffia and feathers.

And to keep the little ones busy during last minute meal prep please don’t forget to have the most classic Thanksgiving kids activity on hand – holiday movies. We are especially fond of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Miracle on 34th Street or Home Alone.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Find the Right Home for You

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Holidays

When you plan to buy a home, the process can seem overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions as you begin the process to make your search more successful.

Start with money. Talk to your bank or a mortgage broker to see how large a mortgage you can qualify for. Then take that number and factor in any additional expenses or spending preferences you won’t compromise on for a home. Take that monthly figure, and start saving the difference between that and what you’re already paying. This will allow you to “practice” paying the mortgage while you can still make adjustments, and the extra money will be helpful for unexpected expenses when you move.

Next, determine what kind of home you want. Do you want a new home or a resale? Are there certain neighborhoods or areas you want a home in for convenience to work or schools for your children? Start listing the most important factors. If you and a spouse/partner are buying a home together, make separate lists and figure out your priorities before you start looking.

New home builders have models to view. Be sure to include association fees and the cost of any upgrades you want. Also check into their financing. You might be able to get a better deal with their mortgage broker. You don’t really need a realtor with a new home purchase.

If you want a resale, start visiting open houses. This will give you a better idea of what homes look like in the neighborhoods you like and how much house you can buy in various locations. Only engage a realtor after answering those questions. That will make the search easier and quicker for both the realtor and you.

Finally, don’t get distracted by cosmetic characteristics in resale homes. Paint, flooring and light fixtures are easy to replace. Look at a home’s room size, arrangement and location. Pick a home that speaks to you, and then make it into a home that matches your style.

How To Remove Chocolate From Carpet

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet, Holidays

What better excuse to eat chocolate then Valentine’s Day? We hope that you received plenty of chocolate this year! Just in case some ended up on the carpet, here are a few tips on how to remove it!

Solvent – A non-flammable spot removal solution, or dry cleaning type solvent, is preferred. Exercise caution when using a solvent. Never pour it directly onto the carpet or allow it to reach the backing, because it can damage the latex that holds the primary and secondary backings together. Acceptable solvents include Carbona®, Energine®, K2R®, Goof-Off®, etc.

Detergent Solution – Mix one fourth (1/4) teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent per one (1) cup of lukewarm water. NEVER USE A STRONGER CONCENTRATION! Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove detergent residues that may cause rapid soiling. It may be necessary to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. (See Residue Precautions.) Care should be used in selecting a detergent. Never use a laundry detergent of any type, because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye the fiber. Do not select an automatic dishwashing detergent because many contain bleaching agents that destroy dyes and some fibers.

Vinegar Solution – Mix one (1) cup of white vinegar per two (2) cups of water. White vinegar is a 5% acetic acid solution. It is used most often to lower the alkalinity caused by detergent solutions or alkaline spills.

Warm Water – Lukewarm tap water should be used in most cases to rinse the cleaning solutions from the fiber. Failure to completely rinse the solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling.

Ammonia Solution – Mix one (1) tablespoon of household ammonia per cup of water. Please note: Be aware that ammonia, if used improperly, can cause a color change. Be sure to test a hidden area.

Call a Professional – Professional cleaners have the ability and the equipment to use more aggressive cleaning solutions to remove stubborn spills. Always consider consulting a professional cleaner regarding any spot removal question. Carpet & Rug Institute – 1-800-882-8846

A Romantic Indoor Picnic

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Holidays

With work, children and the general priorities of life, often romance gets pushed aside. As we head toward Valentine’s Day, let’s consider how to create a romantic afternoon or evening – to celebrate a relationship whether it’s a holiday, anniversary, or just an opportunity to remind your honey that you appreciate him or her.

How about recreating the mood of a picnic without going outside? Start by wandering around your house. Do you have a fireplace? That’s the natural location for a romantic setting. How about a window with a great view? A cozy den or corner of the family room would also work well.

The next step is setting up the space. If you have tile or wood set at least one area rug on top of the space. If possible, consider piling two or three on top of each other to add cushioning and interest. Area rugs of different sizes, shapes and colors can make a space feel almost like a Moroccan tent – exotic and exciting. Add some floor cushions or a bunch of pillows to make floor-sitting more comfy.

Now plan the food setting. Place a simple tablecloth or scarf on the rugs to designate the eating area. Add one or two vases of fresh flowers and some candles. You may want to choose the new LED faux votives like the ones in the photo to avoid the risk of fire on the padded surface.

For food, choose finger foods such as shrimp, fresh fruit and cheese and crackers. You may want to serve in courses, bringing out one type of food at a time. Consider fondue or any other type of food that leaves you time to talk and relax. To give your sweetheart a part in the plan, ask him or her to bring the wine.

Step back once everything is set up and take a look at the final presentation. Does it look inviting and intimate? Turn off all the lights except for the candles and take one of your flowers apart and scatter the petals on the tablecloth and rug. You’re ready for a lovely time.

Images Of Summer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice, Holidays

Winter can be fun. Taking a walk with snow lightly falling, hot cocoa on a cold night, toasty hand-knitted sweaters, hats and scarves to help hold back the chill. But after the holidays, many people find themselves ready for warm weather. This blog is especially designed for those people.

To remember summer, we have a visual aid. Take a look at this inviting porch. It takes only a little bit of imagination to see yourself sitting in one of those chairs drinking a long cool glass of lemonade or iced tea.

Why don’t you just sit there and sip your drink while we take a look at what makes this picture so appealing, not counting the sunshine? This porch was created with color and design in mind. To begin with, the natural wood floor works beautifully with the lightly whitewashed brick walls. Notice the mossy green tones of the home’s siding – a perfect fit to link the floor and wall together.

With all those natural tones, this porch could look dull, but the bright clear white trim, ceiling railings and columns add a fresh contrasting note. That white is echoed in the chairs, for an extra touch of welcome.

Well, we can’t live in this photo much longer, but maybe there are some ideas here to help keep your home sunny and welcoming during the rest of the winter months. And if we do that, can spring be far behind?