Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The Holidays are officially upon us, which means time to celebrate the season with friends and family.  Why not go beyond the normal cleaning and organizing and create a festive and comfortable environment for your guests. 

Here are just a few do-it-yourself projects, that won’t deplete your gift giving budget, and are likely to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere to any room.
Let’s start with the front door…not only will this improve the curb appeal of your home, your holiday wreath will look better hanging from a freshly painted or stained door.

Lighting:  Bright lights are great for entertaining and everyday activities, but if you are looking for a quieter, more intimate environment, try dimming the lights.  Dimmers can range from low candlelight glow to daylight bright.  Another aspect to consider when creating mood lighting is layering.  By adding floor lamps, wall sconces and accent lighting, which could be as simple as lighting candles or having your displayed art lit up, this will help to set the mood you desire. Another option is adding a small table lamp in the guest bedroom instead of just having an overhead light.  By offering several sources of light, you can change any room from an energetic place to a more peaceful and intimate atmosphere.

How about a fresh coat of paint to the living room, kitchen, dining room and/or guest bedroom?  Paint is one of the most economical ways to revitalize a tired and dingy room.   If you don't have time to do the entire room, just do an accent wall....you only have to do one wall to make a big difference.  If your living room has a fireplace, just paint that wall to really make the fireplace pop out....especially if you really dress up the mantle for the holidays.  A fresh coat of paint will give a room a like-new appearance and provide the perfect backdrop for your holiday d├ęcor.

And finally, is your guest bathroom kind of drab or otherwise boring?  How about adding some new fixtures or hardware such as stylish knobs to your cabinets to dramatically impact the feel?  Don’t forget to add some festive holiday towels to the new towel bar you just installed, while you’re at it.

By taking care of some of these simple do-it-yourself projects....you are not only making an immediate impact on your friends and family, but think of it as an early Christmas gift to yourself.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Daylight Savings Time….. a Good Time to Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Now that Daylight Savings is officially here, not only do you change your clocks, but you are encouraged to test your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors as well as change the batteries.  Testing and replacing batteries is one of the easiest and most effective home improvements you can do to protect you and your family from fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning.  Batteries should be changed at least one time per year….I either recommend at the beginning or end of Daylight Savings (or both), or January 1st…whichever is easier for you to remember.

Things to remember:
  1. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing your smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors.
  2. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least one time per month.
  3. You and your family should practice fire drills and why your at it…have an emergency kit near by.  Check out my blog from last year on Emergency Preparedness Tips.

 Here are some facts I came across on the internet:

  •  Although smoke detectors are present in 94 % of American homes, 20% do not work, mostly because of dead or missing batteries. That means roughly 19 million homes are at risk due to non-working smoke alarms and another 6 million homes are at risk due to no smoke alarms.
  • In the U.S. roughly 80% of fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke detectors. Half of the home fire deaths resulted from fires in the small percentage of homes (6%) without any smoke detectors.
  • If a fire occurs, working smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half by providing early warning and critical extra seconds to escape.
  • Eighty-three (83) percent of all civilian fire-related deaths are a result of home fires.
  • The National Fire Alarm Code recommends a minimum of one smoke alarm on each level of a home, including one inside each bedroom for new construction and one outside each sleeping area.
  • In addition to changing smoke alarm batteries, smoke detectors should be replaced every ten (10) years.
  • Somewhere in the nation, a home fire death occurs approximately every three hours.
  • The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 pm and 6 am –When most people are sleeping.
  • Households with non-working smoke detectors now outnumber those with no smoke alarms.