christmas activities

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With the building resources available today, as well as a struggling economy, it is no wonder that unconventional, sustainable and less expensive housing options are beginning to make a grand appearance. People are shifting their way of thinking from living in oversized, wooden frame boxes with vinyl siding, a pickup fence and four car driveway to things such as old industrial loft buildings, trailers and even shipping containers. It is all in the perception imagination to redesign these unconventional spaces into sustainable, green homes.

In the Boston area there is a new community called Forbes Park that takes sustainable living to the ultimate level of luxury. Built inside an abandoned printing facility from the 1800's, Forbes Park dubs their homes as Hybrid lofts because they garner over fifty percent of their energy from renewable resources. Most notably is their use of wind power from the turbine located right on the concessions and passive solar through the two walls of windows located at the end of each loft space. In addition, the structure features a rain water collection system for use in toilets, radiant floor heat, thermal-mass passive heating and cooling, low flow toilets, energy efficient appliances and the use of durable, natural materials lessening the need for replacement.

Sometimes there is a negative stigma attached to certain forms of housing, for example a trailer, but Charmaine Manley Design has taken this way of thinking and buried it so deeply beneeth bamboo flooring and paperstone countertops that the double wide trailer that she rennovated in Oregon has been photographed as a show home. The residence started out, as many trailers do, with chintzy carpet, paneled walls, aluminum windows and no character but through sound design principles it has been transformed into a comfortable and livable home. The home also boasts low to no VOC paint, repurposed antique furniture (as a bathroom vanity and closet solution), lighting borrowed from second hand stores, green kitchen cabinets and energy efficient windows and appliances. As a final nod to the planet all materials that were removed were either recycled or donated to various organizations.

A shipping container may not immediately be thought of as a viable option for a home but through conceptual innovation these small metal boxes can be transformed into some very modern housing and on a tighter budget than one might think. With a large surplus of such material simply taking up space at ship yards across the country it is possible to snag one of these containers for as little as $ 900. In 2006 Peter DeMaria of DeMaria Design Associates took the concept to the next level building a two story home in Redondo Beach, California from multiple containers. The home is inherently resistant to bugs, mold and fire and in a location such as this where construction to withstand earthquakes is a priority, it is comforting to note that a pre-fabricated metal box is actually indestructible.

As evidenced in this small sampling of homes, the opportunities are endless to create functional, comfortable and gorgeous, homes that go far beyond the typical standard of normal. Due to their creative innovation each of these homes display a keen attention to environmental awareness providing that irregular is just another word for exceptional.



Source by Jenn Flynn-Shon

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Could your rooms use an update?

Whether your home is older, or the look is just tired, you can make your home look as though it has been remodeled without spending much money at all! Your home is your castle; you want it to be welcoming, comfortable and appealing to all who enter. This article offers some super easy tips for giving the interior of your home a much needed face-lift, while sticking to a budget.

Painting – The Cheapest and Easiest Way to Transform a Room

No one really enjoys painting, but think of the beauty you can create in a room! If your walls are the average off-white or some other drab color, liven things up a bit. Paint one or two walls a bold or bright color that blends with the overall color scheme; this really jazzes things up! You may also want to paint furniture pieces that have seen better days. Old coffee or end tables take on an absolutely different look with a little paint and some stenciling!

Take a Good Look at Your Furniture

Is your furniture old? Maybe you are simply tired of the style or everything just feels too congested. Take a long, hard look at the room. Could a few pieces be taken out that are never used? This will open the room up, giving it a more open and airy feel and appearance. Use slipcovers if you can not afford new furniture. Today's variety lets you create absolutely new looking furniture at a cost that is way less than buying new furniture.

You can also repurpose furniture. Have a piece or two in other rooms that are never used? Consider painting them and using them as storage for games, toys and other things that often get strewn all over, creating a messy or junky look.

Add Color, and You Add Life

When it comes to giving the interior of your home new life, you can not say enough about the use of color. Color joins the eye and creates different moods. Bright colors energize; soft colors relax. If your color scheme is pretty much monotonous, consider the addition of exciting color splashes. Add brightly colored and intricately patterned throw rugs, throw pillows, and attention grabbing wall accents. You will not believe the transformation of a room when splashes of color break up the boredom!

Accessories Make the Difference

Every woman knows that accessories are the "jewelry" of the home. How you use them is a different story! Too many accessories can make a home look cluttered and disorganized. Too few, and the room has a cold, blank and individuous tone. You want a balance.

Often, large rooms take on a more personal, intimate look and feeling simply by the addition of more accents. Consider placing many accents in a grouping on one large wall. For small rooms, just the opposite is true. Use an over sized decoration piece on one wall, such as an intricately patterned tapestry. Put these tips to work, and you can completely transform the look of your rooms! The added bonus that everyone loves – you do not have to spend a lot of money to create great spaces.



Source by Leon Tuberman

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Christmas LightsChristmas lights

When it comes to Christmas decorating ideas, the consumer is awash in choices every year – mini Christmas lights, purple, red, blue or green LED Christmas lights, candle lights, old-fashioned Christmas tree lights with torpedo-shaped bulbs, LED Christmas light nets – the options are endless.

As the owner of a small company that sells a unique kind of traditional Christmas Tree Candle, I enjoy watching trends in Christmas decorations and seeing what kind of Christmas tree lights people buy. This little light looms large in Christmas lore. It has a long and fascinating history.

Christmas Lights — History

It all started with the simple Christmas candle, which is credited to Martin Luther who, legend says, came up with the Christmas tree in the 16th century. The Christmas tree survived quietly for centuries until electric Christmas tree lighting came on the scene in the early 1900s and, as they say, the rest is history.

The first electric Christmas lights debuted in the White House in 1895, thanks to President Grover Cleveland. The idea began to catch on, but the lights were expensive, so only the wealthiest of the wealthy could afford them at first. GE began to offer Christmas light kits in 1903. And starting around 1917, electric Christmas lights on strings began to make their way into department stores. Costs gradually dropped and the biggest marketer of holiday lights, a company called NOMA, was wildly successful as consumers began to snap up the new-fangled lights across the country.

Early Designs

Many early Christmas bulbs were shaped to look like what they had replaced: the classic Christmas tree candle. The candle shape fell out of vogue, and in time new varieties shaped like glass balls, animals, lanterns and Santa figures hit the scene. A new and improved candle-shaped bubble light re-emerged later on in the 20th century. This one was filled with percolating colored liquid that cast a flickering light on the tree as the bulb grew warm. You can still occasionally find vintage bubble Christmas lights like these in flea markets or antique shops. Electric Christmas lights continued to hold sway into the 1980s.

Today’s consumers have been embracing LED Christmas lights as enthusiastically as their great-grandparents gobbled up the first generation of electric Christmas tree lights 90 years ago. Is the LED Christmas light close to the saturation point? Every year I think so, but then the manufacturers come out with a new twist – LED lights in a web, LED Christmas lights in a large mesh net, blinking LED Christmas tree lights or some other variation.

Hope for the LED-Weary Christmas Connoisseur

One thing is clear: LED Christmas lights are huge energy savers. That’s a good thing. But virtue has its price. LED illumination has a different optical quality — so different that some Christmas-lovers feel it is sterile and devoid of any warmth. LED-skeptic Christmas buffs who want to give their tree a real glow have been boxed in by a lack of choices — but persistence pays in the end. There are a few sources that supply the original Christmas Tree Candles and traditional Christmas Tree Candle Holders, and people are beginning to tap them as an alternative.

If LED Christmas lights are too soulless for you, but you don’t want to go back to the energy-gobbling electric lights you grew up with, consider switching to traditional Christmas Tree Candles this year. They’ve been around for centuries — much longer than the electric light. And they’re even greener than LED Christmas lights because they consume absolutely no electric power.

Christmas Off the Grid

Say the idea of an environmentally friendly, candle-powered Christmas tree appeals to you, and you’ve decided you “won’t take LED for an answer.” You would like to get off the grid and go candle this year. You’ll have to make a few choices – but the process of looking at the design options and figuring out what you like best is fun.

First, you won’t want to just melt the end of the candle and stick it on your Christmas tree (as Martin Luther is reported to have done). You’ll need Holders for your Christmas Tree Candles. Find a source of good-quality traditional metal Candle Holders. And make sure they’re German – they’re the best.

Second, decide what kind of Christmas Tree Candle Holders will look best. This is simply a matter of taste. There’s no right or wrong. The classic Clip On Candle Holder is a popular solution. It clamps on to the branch and has a swivel mechanism so you can adjust it. The Clip-On Christmas Tree Candle Holder is usually available in silver or gold.

The Pendulum Christmas Tree Candle Holder is an older design. It was first patented in the U.S. in 1867 by Charles Kirchhof. This model has a stem with a weight at the end, which balances the candle holder and helps it stay straight. This model generally has a ball-shaped (Kugel) weight or a star weight. All candle holders have a wax catcher to catch drips before they reach the carpet.

Third, get the right kind of Christmas Candle for your candle holders. The fit is crucial, so it’s not worth cutting corners or trying to substitute another kind of candle. The candle really has to be snug in the base of the holder for safety reasons. Birthday candles are too thin. Dining candles, tapers and many pyramid candles are too thick. Make sure you get genuine Christmas Tree Candles. Again, the best are from Germany.

Finally: Stay flexible. The advantage of Christmas tree candles is that they don’t restrict your overall design or look. You can use them with other Christmas decorations – for example, your favorite vintage, antique or contemporary ornaments or tree toppers – or virtually any other decorations you have. If you want, you can even use electric lights and Christmas candles together.

Virtue Has its Rewards

Christmas Tree Candles are Kilowatt-Killers. You can feel good about using them because they don’t draw a single watt of electricity. You can also pack them up with your other ornaments at the end of the season and use them again next year.

But the real payoff is aesthetic. The sight of a stately evergreen bathed in the soft light of Christmas candles is heart-stoppingly beautiful. Candlelight hushes the heart and casts a warm glow that electric Christmas lights and LED lights just can’t match. Candle power has a way of capturing the Christmas Spirit and spreading it among your family, guests and friends who will be seeing your tree over the holidays. Granted, you have to be careful and use common sense (position the candles so the flame won’t get close to anything and stay in the room). But the delight and magic of your candle-powered Christmas tree will last the entire season.

Resources

I am publishing a series of articles covering the history of Christmas lights, practical tips, and information about lighting your tree with Christmas Candles. Be on the lookout for these articles. If you are interested in Christmas traditions or are thinking about “going green” this year, you will find them informative and useful.

Source by Kurt Donner

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You’re a born do-it-yourselfer, and now that you are starting a family or buying a new home, you may be buying new furniture. Because you know that unfinished furniture has a higher quality, is a better value over time, and gives you more flexibility of style and size choices, you purchase a beautiful unfinished crib, armoire, and baby changer from your local unfinished furniture store. Or maybe you love your new house, but the kitchen cabinets need updating. Maybe you’re pulling up the old carpet in your home and re-finishing the wood floors. Here’s where the fun of self-expression comes in. Now which stain or paint to choose? Read on to learn why using water based finishes offers many advantages and why they are the best choice for you and your family.

A Green Product

Basically, there are two types of stains and topcoats, solvent based and water based. Solvent, or oil based finishes, contain roughly 50% petroleum distillants, which release polluting hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. Water based finishes are 50% water, which is a non-pollutant, leading to increased safety and comfort.

Safety

Where solvent based lacquers are highly flammable, water based finishes are non-flammable, and therefore safer to use in your home. Materials that have been soaked in solvent based finishing products can cause a fire hazard if not disposed of in accordance to your local fire department regulations. So go Green and use environmentally friendly water based finishes!

Vibrant Color

Choosing water based finishes opens up a wider range of color choices: shades of red, green, blue, and yellow that are not available in oil based finishes are available as water based. Water based finishes also offer a full range of wood tones. Plus the colors maintain their beauty over time. You can even create unique, custom colors by mixing two shades. Whether you want comfortable classic colors, pretty pastels, or brilliant hues, furniture color is the perfect way to enhance a neutral room, add a touch of whimsy, or create coordinated spaces. Although water based top coats are milky white in the can, they dry to a crystal clear finish, and will remain clear throughout the life of your project. In contrast, oil based top coats have a slight amber color in the can, and will darken slightly over time.

Saves You Time

Water based finishes dry very quickly. So, instead of your project taking weeks, you can start and finish your project over a weekend. In ideal conditions (70 degrees and 70% humidity), dry time is usually only two to four hours. Higher humidity or cooler temperatures do require longer dry times, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s specific guidelines. Another way that using this type of finish saves you time – clean up is a breeze! Just use water – no harsh chemicals – which takes us back the environmentally friendly thing again!

So, go green, be safe, choose long-lasting color, and save yourself some time by using water based wood finishing products. They are available as milk paints, glazes, wood stains, and topcoats. The glazes available help you create the special decorative effects, such as antiquing and distressing. For free information about how to use water borne finishes, visit General Finishes’ Water Based Finishing Tips.



Source by Christine Adams

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Antique Furniture not only makes a veritable feast for the eyes, but you can also watch the regal splendor of yore come alive with it. It is often said that "Old is gold," and this line stands true when Antique Bedroom Furniture comes to mind. These days, Antique Bedroom Furniture is becoming popular with the majority of the people. The reason behind this is that this furniture is a great addition to the aesthetic appeal to your room.

Bedroom Furnishing is not just to soothe your senses, but also to enamor you with its beauty. Nowadays, Antique Bedroom Furniture comes with an exquisite headboard with gold trimmings, and nightstands with vertical mirrors. Antique Bedroom Furniture sets come with a bed along with a chest of drawers, a mirror and two nightstands. It makes your room soaked in the tranquility and classiness of bygone times, coupled with the functionality of the traditional beds. Many companies offer Antique Bedroom Furniture equipped with TV armoires and cloth hangers, too.

These days you just do not have to settle for normal antique pine furniture, as there is a wide array of choices waiting for you. You can choose from any of the designs and finishes, such as mahogany lacquer, cinnamon lacquer and dark brown. Antique Bedroom Furniture is not only sturdy, but also gives your room an antique and innovative appeal. What makes Antique Bedroom Furniture score over others is its distinct style, charisma and elegance.

Antique Bedroom Furniture's aesthetic value and eternal appeal can not be expressed by mere words. You have to feel its grace, quality and presence for yourself.



Source by Peter Emerson

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If you're a regular reader of mine, you know I love to repurpose used office furniture and new kitchen pantries for use in sewing and craft rooms. It just takes determination and creativity to give new life to old furnishings.

Well, it's the same thing with people and our attitudes. I learned a long time ago that we, as individuals, make the decision as to whether or not we're miserable. We can choose to react to situations and negative people, or we can keep our reactions focused on what is within our own control.

I want to tell you a wonderful story of how my 83-year-old mother has "repurposed her attitude". My delightful mom has always been quick to laugh and share in the fun around her, but I do not recall her creating her own fun. In other words, she never put herself first, and I know this is the philosophy of her generation (saying yes when she really wants to say no). Over the years, we've had many discussions about the importance of setting boundaries, and I know it's been sinking in. She's even become more accepting of young mothers taking time to go bowling with friends, for example. Well, if my mother could bowl, she'd be throwing strikes right now.

My mom is actually learning to toss her inhibitions aside, and flirt with the men at her independent living facility. My mother! Go figure. . . when she laughs now, they're true belly laughs. Her sense of humor has become wickedly funny. As to what changed, I do not know. Maybe she's finally taken my tip about adding a small amount of organic apple vinegar into her daily water intake (or maybe she's decided she does not want to be a widowed anymore). Regardless, I'm all for it.

Positive attitudes equate with charisma, and we're all drawn to magnetic people. I'm very proud of my mom's repurposed attitude. Just like with repurposed furnishings, a little determination and creativity can breathe new life into people, as well.



Source by Linda Griffith

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The living room is probably the most important room in your home. This is because it is the room that hosts all your family members and friends as they get down to chats discussing various issues of life. It should be a haven for escape that should always come with excellent comfort, style and personality. For this reason, it is important to consider your living room furniture. People will sit on them as they embark on their chats and you need to choose the best living room furniture for your home. This article will shed a lot of light and all you need is to pay close attention to the following points. In the end, you will get good points and tips on the décor of your living room.

The first piece of room furniture is the sofa. You need to know the kind that will suit you and suit your family. The following kind is recommended for those who are looking for simplicity and efficiency relating furniture. Get sofas that come with plain scroll arms as well as those that have a simple back. The best thing about this kind of furniture is that it is versatile enough to suit multiple themes and is also timeless. This is how you choose your furniture for the living room regarding sofas.

As center pieces for your room, coffee tables can bring elegance to your room. For this reason, this living room furniture should be chosen with utmost care. Look for one with simple lines of wood. Avoid glass tables because they will need wiping permanently. With the wood coffee table, you can be sure that wear and tear will not be your worry. Consider one that has in-built-drawers and this will facilitate storage.

When considering accent chairs as part of your room furniture, you need to go for those that have strong or firm construction. Comfort is everything and this is what you want your family to enjoy as well as the decor. Make sure to get covers for accent chairs that match with your curtains but they do not have to match your sofa. Look for fabric that gets clean easily. With the above, you will have some idea of ​​how to go about it. To facilitate all this though, you need to look for good furniture stores. This is because a store will determine the kind of furniture you get.

Do your research and get friends and family to guide you. Look for tips online on choosing furniture stores. The information can be too much and you might need to look for different reviews. Whenever you are looking at reviews, make sure to employ user-reviews first. Get first hand information on different items and how they work. Remember, information is key and this is the way to go.

There are so many stores that tend to store the room furniture that might not please you in many ways. Regarding prices, why not look for second hand furniture or cheap furniture. Unlike what many think, it is possible to get good products for your living room without parting with an arm.

Design must be inspired by your taste. Look for good ways to customize different furniture as you wish. Look for advice from specialized furniture designers. You can also read broadly to make sure you get all the tricks and tips that will work.



Source by Emma Wanjiku

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If you are starting to decorate a new home with furniture, one of the rooms you're going to need to consider is the kitchen. Just what does your kitchen need? In this article we will take a look at common and uncommon kitchen furniture that you may want to consider.

Kitchen Table and Chairs Sets

If you are like most people one of the first things you are going to want to purchase when it comes to kitchen furniture is a table and chairs set. Think about all of the times a kitchen table is necessary. It is the place where the kids will be doing their homework after school. It is also the place you will use to lay out ingredients before cooking that favorite family meal. It may be the place where you haul out the checkbook and all the bills in order to take care of household finances. Typically, the kitchen table is a catchall. It is a place where plenty of things are accomplished, so it describes a lot of attention in selection.

When choosing a kitchen table and chairs set there are a number of things to consider. First is the amount of space you have in your kitchen. Kitchen furniture can take up a lot of space. If you are not careful you may find out you have put too much into an area and are having a tough time getting around. Measure the kitchen carefully. When deciding how much room you have for a set of table and chairs, make sure to think about how much space will be taken up when people are sitting in the chairs. You still need to be able to get around them comfortably.

Other things to think about when purchasing kitchen furniture is durability, style and safety features. In this case, one thing to think of is that if you have young children, you may want to go for a round, simple table instead of one with corners or decorated accents that can hurt a child if they were to run into them.

Baker's Racks

If you like to bake, one essential kitchen furniture item may be a baker's rack. In the old days, a Baker's rack was a place where they could put hot baked goods to cool. Usually, they look like a dresser with a hutch on top. There are shelves, cabinets and other places where the baked goods can be set to cool naturally. In today's world baker's racks are more commonly used as decorative accents, or a place to store cookbooks and other cooking items, but can still be used for their traditional purpose.

Islands

Having an island in the kitchen means you have a lot more space to do your prep work when it comes time to cook that perfect meal. Even better, is purchasing an island that is portable. Many of today's islands have wheels on the bottom so you can move them around the kitchen and have prep space anywhere you need it. This makes preparing meals much easier.



Source by Jennifer Akre

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No office is considered as an office without furniture. Not only the employees feel pleasant in the presence of attractive and quality furniture but it also gives a good impression on the customers. If the appearance of the office is attractive, it can attract clients as well as future employees. It is therefore very important that an office is properly arranged and furnished with appropriate furniture.

Appropriate furniture means nice looking, decent and comfortable furniture. If the seats, desks and chairs are comfortable, the employees are able to accomplish their daily work more efficiently. Nice looking furniture makes an attractive environment in an office. A good environment puts pleasant effect on the minds of the employees.

There are several brands in the market that can provide you the best and modern office furniture. Choosing the best brand sometimes becomes very challenging and customers feel confusion while selecting one. Buy office furniture is a work of great responsibility. So choose the brand that you think will give the best performance. When you are going to choose the furniture of the office, it is important that you select the furniture that suits the work space besides fulfilling the purpose. We are giving you some useful tips to help you search the furniture for your office.

First of all keep the design on priority. It is the design of the furniture that makes an office attractive and beautiful. Modern designs are popular presently. They are innovative, updated and look fresh. When compared to traditional style furniture, the modern designs are more informal. Offices are now preferring modern look furniture especially if the furniture is to be purchased for the conference rooms.

After the design, the price is very important factor that can never be overlooked. It is the price upon which the decision of any purchase is based. If the furniture is affordable, the customers can purchase it. If you are searching office furniture, never ignore the price. Search different brands to confirm which brand is affordable. Sometimes you have to search many brands in order to get something reasonable. Good quality furniture is always expensive. Many furniture stores give discount offers so that you can buy quality furniture in good price. Every customer is particular about his budget and wants to buy things that are within his price range.

Office space is the next important thing. Make sure the furniture that you are going to buy for your office is according to the space available in the office.

Before buying furniture, it is necessary that you know and understand the requirements of your office.You must know what type of furniture your office requires. The furniture will not be functional if you will be unaware of your office requirements.

Sense of interior decoration has become essential in selection of an office. Color should be very carefully selected according to the environment. Those colors should be selected that will give a professional look to the office. Decent colored furniture makes an atmosphere relaxed. The color of furniture usually depends on the business that you have.

These are the important factors that every person must keep in his mind if he is going to buy any furniture for the office. The environment of an office plays an important part in increasing the efficiency and productivity of the workers. Office owners therefore spend a good amount of money in buying the furniture that will make their office environment appealing

Everyone wants to buy good furniture for their office but not everyone knows the place to buy it from. There are many online furniture stores from where anyone can buy office furniture.



Source by Jessica Herron

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Leather is and always has been the king of furniture upholstery material – durable, easy on the eye and comfortable. Caring for leather is critical to avoid that tatty feel. Allocating time from day one cleansing and nourishing leather preserves its condition. Although leather does not need lots of looking after, it does demand some.

Leather protector is the first chore you need to execute when your new furniture arrives. To avert inground dirt and to make cleaning simpler use a leather protector. Light colored leather will benefit from this process especially if you have an unintended spill of coffee or even red wine.

Another damaging enemy is sun. Sunshine damage can be averted or minimized by shifting the furniture around or applying a UV protection. It's pretty difficult to get rid of bleached color damage later.

Another normal adverse of your leather sofa is splitting. Leather has a normal oil that dries over time. Products including moistening ingredients are recommended for use regularly.

Salt and body oils are left behind when the furniture is used, so dust with a dry cloth and vacuum every week or two. Hydrating and Protecting treatments – apply all over the furniture annually and 3-4 times a year on the most used expanses.

So you have dropped a dark liquid on your furniture – what can you do? If it's polished leather, it's not such a big issue if you act quickly. Simply mop off the liquid, dry it and finally you may use a bit of oil to polish it again if necessary. Unfinished leather is not a very general fabric for furniture. Leather soap is the merchandise necessary for this type of leather. You can buy a selection of leather soap but select a furniture soap. Products that do not say they are for leather should NEVER be administrated. You will avoid many additional unnecessary problems!



Source by Ella Zetser