How To Be More Eco-Friendly At Home 

I love finding little ways to make our home more sustainable.  And what I’ve noticed is that being environmentally friendly also, in many cases, saves me money.  So today I’m very happy to share this contributed post with a few tips for creating a more eco-friendly home.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

The concept of living a more sustainable, environmentally friendly life has gained momentum this past year. Ideally we should be doing as much as we can individually so that collectively we can really make a positive difference. So here are some ideas on how you can be more eco-friendly at home

Avoid Wasting Food

Since water and many other resources are needed to grow our food, food waste contributes to damaging the environment.  Plan your meals so that you can minimize the amount of food that you end up throwing away. Try to really think about how much you realistically need to buy, and cook so that you can actively reduce your food waste each week. 

Use Shampoo And Soap Bars

Your everyday toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel can be bought in soap form. So instead of automatically reaching for shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottle form, try buying non plastic options in the form of soap bars.

 

They will last you a lot longer and are much kinder to the environment without all the plastic packaging.  And bonus points if you find palm oil free options!

Install Solar Panels on Your Roof

Solar panels are a great way to utilize our natural resources and power your home in a more environmentally friendly way. Finding the best solar installation company will help you to speak to qualified professionals and enable you to make a positive change to your home that can benefit the environment by being more eco-friendly.  

Swap Traditional Light Bulbs for Energy Saving Alternatives

It is really easy to make small changes at home such as installing energy saving light bulbs in your light fixtures and fittings. They work just as well as traditional light bulbs but are a lot kinder to the environment. Since they could also help you save money on your heating bills, what is not to like about them? 

Change Your Fashion Habits

Opting for more sustainable fashion trends is a small change that can make a big impact.  That is because many fabrics contain plastic microfibers that are released into seas and oceans when the garments are laundered.  But clothes that are made from eco-friendly fabrics don’t contain these plastics, making them much kinder to the environment. 

 

Overall you can certainly make small positive changes at home to consciously lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle that will benefit both you and the planet.

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8 Ways To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

It’s no secret: curb appeal plays a major role in selling your house. Good curb appeal can increase interest and foot traffic, which directly helps you sell.

Curb appeal is a term used in real estate that relates to the look of your home’s exterior and surrounding garden. It is what makes people want to stop their car, walk up the path and knock on the door. Without it, you may not attract as many buyers or sell your home for the best possible price. That is why it is so important for a home to have good curb appeal. 

Here are eight ways to improve your home’s curb appeal:

1.  Paint It Bright – But Not Too Bright

Studies show that buyers like homes with warm colors such as reds and yellows — but not too bright. As for blues and greens, those should be used on the trim to give it character and contrast with the other colors on the house. 

2.  Upgrade Your Roof

A roof makeover is a great way to increase the value of your home. A clean, attractive roof implies that a home has been well maintained, and it increases a home’s curb appeal.

Inspect all the areas that are surrounding the roof for any possible defects. In addition, ensure that there are no missing or broken tiles or loose flashing between the roof and chimney. If you notice any problems, have them fixed immediately to avoid further damage. 

Determine if it’s necessary to replace old shingles with new ones by checking how much the old ones have weathered or how many shingles have been lost. This will help you determine whether or not your roof needs replacement and the kind of roofing material that you should use.

Add new gutters if they need to be repaired or replaced. If your home is more than two stories high, consider adding downspouts at each elevation where water can gather. This will not only ensure proper drainage but also improve the appearance of your home.  Check with a reputable contractor to find out how much it would cost to add them. 

3.  Decking

One of the most effective ways to increase your house’s curb appeal is to install a deck with state-of-the-art decking materials. This creates more space for you to entertain guests outdoors while increasing the usability of your yard.

 

4.  Touch Up The Paint

One of the easiest ways to increase your home’s curb appeal is by repainting its exterior walls. Of course, you can do this on your own but, if you are planning to change the color completely, it may be more convenient to hire a contractor.

A new coat of paint also gives an impression of good housekeeping and aids in hiding defects on the wall’s surface. Many things can cause damage to your home’s exterior walls, including rainwater seepage, pests, termites, and harsh weather conditions like wind and rain. Professionals should handle these kinds of issues before they get out of hand so that you can restore the walls to their original state. 

Water seepage is one of the most common problems in home construction and maintenance and can cause significant damage to your exterior walls. This type of damage happens when water enters cracks and crevices on the surface, leading to swelling and cracked wood. It can happen just from high humidity or even heavy rainfall, so your best option is prevention through proper sealing.

If there are loose tiles or chipped paint on your house’s exterior wall, give them a fresh coat. Even if it looks as though the wall is in good condition, defective paint or loose tiles can be a sign of more serious problems underneath.

If you have noticed any peeling paint on your house’s exterior walls, inspect for water damage and termite infestation. You can tell if your home has been damaged by pests because there will be tiny holes on the surface. In addition, termites eat away at wooden structures from the inside, leading to compromised structural integrity and sometimes even the collapse of roofs. 

5.  Add Flowers To Your Garden

Having a neat and attractive garden is most beneficial for your home’s appearance in the spring and summer, but it may be particularly useful in the autumn too. Consider planting some flowers along your walkway to create a friendly, welcoming environment.

Make sure to water them every day if it is hot out; otherwise, they could die very quickly. Also, consider adding some shrubs or bushes with brightly colored leaves around your house. When the weather turns colder, these will act as an accent color after most flowers have died off.

6.  Plant Some Trees On The Street Side Of Your House

Trees add shade and make it look more aesthetically pleasing; plus, they provide privacy from onlookers. If you don’t want massive trees, then try for saplings and plant flowers underneath them. It will really bring out the natural beauty in your home and make it look established. 

Just make sure not to completely block the view of your house from the street.  After all, to have curb appeal your house needs to be visible from the street.

7.  Paint Your Doors And Windows

If your door looks old and worn and has lost its luster, then you should definitely give it a fresh coat of paint. This small improvement can significantly improve your home’s curb appeal in just one day.

Paint is also a great way to cover up surface defects and cracks on your front door.

8.  Add Some Lighting

If you want to increase your home’s curb appeal, make sure your home’s exterior is lit up well at night. Consider installing outdoor lights on the front of the house, along pathways leading to the street, or in areas where movement can be observed from inside. 

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Finding The Perfect Place To Live

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Choosing where to live is always going to be one of life’s biggest decisions. Yet it’s a decision most people make multiple times throughout their lives. It’s rare to see one person stay in the same home their whole life, and many people move house multiple times before settling down for good. 

Whether this is your first move or your fifth, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find the perfect place to live depending on where you are in life. Here are some considerations that’ll help you find the ideal living space:

Where should you live?

Where is the best location for you to currently live? The answer to this question largely depends on a couple of factors. For one, why are you currently moving? Do you need to move because you’ve got a job in a new city? If so, you might wish to live somewhere that’s close to work, thus reducing your daily commute and saving money every day on transport costs. 

You should also seek out the best and safest areas for you to live within a location. This helps you find somewhere to settle down that isn’t riddled with crime and other dangers.  If you enjoy walking and feeling part of a community, look for neighborhoods with a good walkability rating.  Of course, budget comes into play as well; you need to look at locations and consider where you can afford to live. All these considerations will help you narrow down your search to an area or two that’s perfect for your current situation. 

What type of home should you live in?

Next, you need to think about the type of home you’re going to live in. Do you want to live in a house? You get the benefit of extra freedom and privacy, and also more space than other housing options. If you are starting a family – or already have one – a house may be the best option to provide the space you need. 

 

Conversely, some people may benefit from living in an apartment complex instead. Perhaps you live alone and have a job that keeps you busy, so you’ll enjoy the amenities an apartment can provide – like a gym, concierge, etc. Retirees may prefer living in a condo as a way of finding more opportunities to socialize. It’s all about looking at your life and considering what type of home provides the most benefits. 

Should you rent or buy?

Finally, you have to consider whether renting or buying is the best option for you. If you plan on living somewhere for a long time, buying a house can be more beneficial. If you live a busy life that involves moving locations every year or two, renting seems like a smarter choice. There are pros and cons to both, so weigh up either option, look at your lifestyle, and you’ll come to the right conclusion. 

Overall, the perfect place for YOU to live can be entirely different from someone else’s perfect place. Focus on yourself and your life to whittle down the options and decide which place is best for you.

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Refurbishing Our Outdoor Lights

One of my husband Chris’s hobbies is to refurbish vintage Coleman lanterns.  He finds them through various sources, corroded and tarnished, and by the time he is done with them they look better than new.

Left to right: A kerosene-burning Coleman Model #249 from November of 1955 with a nickel-plated brass fount; a Coleman Model #L427 Quick Lite with a mica globe from March of 1926; and a Coleman Model #200A from August of 1962

But the steps he takes to transform them cross squarely into “mad scientist” territory, with cauldrons of chemicals bubbling away on the stove.

Still, there is no arguing with the results.  And recently he’s put his slightly terrifying talents to work on a couple of our home’s long-neglected light fixtures.

Our Sad-Looking Outdoor Sconces

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We found our two craftsman-style outdoor sconces years ago on a closeout table at Rejuvenation.  They were identical except that one had amber glass shade panels and the other had white panels.  But the price was right, and they were a great style for our old house.  So we bought them despite the mismatched shades.

They were lacquered brass, but over time the lacquer wore off and the brass became corroded.

One was hanging next to our back door,

And the other one next to the “people” door on our detached garage.

There is a fine line between a nice vintage patina and a finish that just looks tired and corroded, and to us they had crossed that line.

These fixtures had been bugging us for a while – both because of their sad state and because we wanted a back-door light fixture that matched our charcoal-colored door.

So Chris decided to try his hand at refurbishing them.

Disassemble, Submerge, And Dry

The first thing he did was to remove the sconces from the wall and then remove the glass shades from the sconces and any screws and other hardware that came off easily.

Then came the don’t-try-this-at-home part of the project:  He mixed a ratio of one teaspoon of citric acid powder per one litre of water and set it to boil in a large pot on the stove.

Then he submerged the light fixtures and small metal parts he’d removed (but not the glass shades) into this steaming witch’s cauldron and let it simmer for about a half hour to 45 minutes, turning the fixtures when needed to make sure every part had its proper boiling time.

This step had me Googling “Is breathing citric acid vapors safe?”  So is it? Not really, especially in large amounts (whatever that means).

I opened the windows and stayed well away.

(Health and safety concerns aside, Chris tells me that diluted citric acid is a great compound for removing corrosion from brass and some other metals, although he changes the water-to-citric-acid ratio depending on which metal he is cleaning.  Seems that further research is key here if you actually feel compelled to experiment with this compound.  Use caution! And one important caveat, when working with brass, is that the citric acid bath does turn brass pink, so the brass needs to be polished after its bath with brass polish and/or super fine grade steel wool.)

 

 

Anyway, he eventually removed the parts from the cauldron and rinsed them in fresh water.  Then he dried them in the oven at 200°F for about a half hour.

Finally they left the kitchen.

Steel Wool And Paint

The hot citric acid bath had removed much of the corrosion, but Chris still went over all the metal pieces with #0000 super fine grade steel wool.

This created a smooth surface on the fixtures. They were starting to look so much better.

 

Chris cleaned off the steel wool residue and spray painted the fixtures with Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint and Primer in One in Oil Rubbed Bronze.

Then, in another don’t-try-this-at-home moment, he put them back in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°F.

He let them cool and put the pieces back together, being very careful not to scratch any of the pieces in the process.

He also needed to re-engineer a bracket that held one of the glass panels on, as it had broken off. And, on one of the fixtures, he replaced a strange twist-and-pull socket, meant only for florescent bulbs, with a new socket that could accommodate LED bulbs.

The Glass Shades

The shades were the easy part.  They just needed a light cleaning with a spray-on window cleaner.

The Result

Before the refurbishing, these light fixtures were drab and easy to overlook.  Now they have more presence.  I love how well the new color works with our back door.

And the new color provides a nicer contrast to the shades.

I’m glad that we didn’t need to buy new light fixtures.  To me, it’s much better to refurbish what we already have.  As with his vintage lanterns, Chris made these light fixtures look better than new.

 

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Tips for Starting A Bed And Breakfast

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Are you considering starting a bed and breakfast for travelers? If so, there are some important considerations to make before diving in. A bed and breakfast can be a profitable business with the right amount of planning, but owning and running a bed and breakfast is not for everyone.  Like all business opportunities, there are pros and cons. This post covers several important steps to having a successful bed and breakfast.  

1. Finding The Perfect Property

A bed and breakfast is typically a place inhabited by the resident innkeepers and the guests who rent guest rooms for several days or weeks. The right home needs to be spacious enough to comfortably accommodate these two groups of people.  When searching for the right property, consider factors such as how much room each person needs and their own private spaces within the house, like bathrooms and bedrooms. 

Common areas, such as dining rooms and lobbies, also need to be spacious enough to accommodate guests and innkeepers.  Also consider room flow, floor plans, and off-street parking.  Look into zoning ordinances to make sure any property you are interested in can legally be transformed into a bed and breakfast, and that it complies with safety regulations.

2. Pay Attention To Detail

A bed and breakfast should be attractive and well-kept at all times. You want to make sure that your guests feel as relaxed when staying with you as they do in their own homes. This can mean having fresh flowers in the rooms along with placing chocolates on pillows before guests arrive. Other ways of keeping up standards include regularly cleaning common areas such as bathrooms and kitchenettes while also ensuring each room is cleaned thoroughly after every use and that towels are changed regularly and toiletries are replenished as needed.  

Consider what amenities you would like to offer that would attract guests and put your bed and breakfast ahead of the competition.

Have a plan for what you will offer for breakfast.  Will it be a sit-down breakfast at a large table at a set time, where guests will share their travel experiences with one another as they enjoy the breakfast you cook and serve to them at the table?  Or will you offer smaller tables and a breakfast buffet where guests can walk in and serve themselves at a time convenient for them?  Will you offer room service?  Whatever you decide, you or someone you hire will need a practical plan for providing breakfast to guests – and a genuine interest in cooking and meal planning – to make this work.

3. Advertise On Online Platforms 

Since it is easy to advertise online nowadays, you should consider this option when trying to market your bed and breakfast. Several social media networking sites, including Facebook, can help attract guests who may be interested in staying with you. Also, try putting up posters around town or advertising breathtaking virtual home tours on popular websites, like Airbnb.

4. Utilize Booking Systems 

To avoid having guests show up unannounced, a bed and breakfast owner should make it a point to utilize booking systems. These provide your guests with the ability to book reservations in advance through secure online platforms that can be accessed from anywhere. This way, they will know if you have rooms available before making plans for their trip, which ensures greater convenience on both ends of things.

Using these tips as a starting point, it’s important continue your research if you are considering opening a Bed and Breakfast.  Talk to innkeepers at successful Bed and Breakfasts and learn from them.  Join online groups specializing in hospitality.  Learn everything you need to know about opening a Bed and Breakfast from a business standpoint. 

Read, listen, and learn, and you could be well on your way to beginning this exciting new venture.

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3 Tips For Avoiding Garden Hazards

In our region, we never know what winter might have in store for us.  Weather forecasters recently warned us that we could experience something I’d never heard of before:  A “bomb cyclone.”  Luckily, by the time it crossed the coastal mountains, it didn’t amount to much more than a strong fall storm.  But it did bring a lot of branches and even trees down in our area.  So I thought this contributed post was worth sharing.

The following is a contributed post. For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Our gardens are a part of nature and the outdoors.  So it just goes to follow that gardens have the same inherent hazards as other outdoors spaces.  But sometimes it’s easy to forget this – particularly during the cold seasons when we are less likely to spend time in our gardens.  

But a little maintenance can go a long way in helping to prevent or minimize garden hazards.  And the good news is that the more we do this, the more familiar with our gardens we become, and the more easily we can identify issues ahead of time. 

But does this take a massive investment in time and energy to get right? What are the potential issues we should be looking out for? What elements do most people miss ahead of time? In this post, we hope to answer some of those questions and enable you to feel as if your garden space is safer and more secure.

Here are three areas of your garden that you should regularly check:

1.  The Stability Of Your Garden Path

The stability of your garden path will determine how easy it is to walk in your garden, especially during wet weather when walking on your grass may not be as ideal. Cracked patio slabs, uneven wood chips, or improperly placed stepping stones can cause someone to twist their ankle, fall over, or worse. Or paths might become slippery in the rainy season because of mildew buildup.  For that reason, regularly inspecting your garden paths and making changes where appropriate is key.

2.  The Health Of Your Trees

The health of your trees matters. With a tree service company, you will be able to prune, identify rot, take down problem trees, stop rot problems from spreading to other greenery in your garden, and plant tree lines carefully in a manner that doesn’t hamper the structural integrity of your garden. Having healthy trees also helps prevent falling branches – or too much debris accumulation. 

3.  Garden Fencing

Garden fencing is always installed for a reason, but it can be easy to forget that reason if the fencing is not carefully maintained. For instance, a hole that your dog may have had time to unearth could potentially lead to them escaping, or allowing your neighbor’s pets in. A low enough gate could be climbed by a trespasser, whereas higher, privacy fencing may be more worthwhile – particularly if you wish to let your children play freely in the garden. A strong, secure gate can also prevent pets from going in or out – and prevent your children from leaving the garden unsupervised.  Choosing the right fence for your needs and taking care of it is key.

Every garden is different, so the above list is by no means complete.  It’s a good idea to take some time to assess the unique needs of your own garden.  And then you’ll be able to get the best from your property, and its exterior, no matter what.

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5 Reasons To Buy A Second Home

Almost every time I travel, I play with the idea of buying a second home wherever I happen to be.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this.  It’s fun to dream, so today I’m sharing this contributed post with reasons to buy a second home.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

It can be one of the hardest things to save for, but a house that becomes a home is always a worthy investment. For some people, however, one home is not enough. Whether they need a city space to live in as a crash pad for after work, or they buy a home abroad as a holiday house, a second home is always a tempting adventure. Owning more than one house can also be a sound way to invest money, and a long term retirement plan is important if you want to ensure that you’re not out of pocket in later life. 

Some people choose to buy raw land and have a second home custom built for them, while others buy an existing property and renovate it.  If the second home is far from their main home, some people may choose to rent nearby, in places such as these 2 bedroom apartments for rent, while they are overseeing the completion of their second home. 

So, why should you go ahead and buy that second home? Here are a few of the main reasons: 

1.  To invest savings

Financial markets and housing prices are always bumping up and down, but in the long run it almost always stabilizes and appreciates. You need to think about how you would use your second home and what it would be for, whether you’d move out of the city or not. A beautiful house in the right setting is a valuable asset, so you’d almost certainly be making a sound investment.

2.  To help fund your retirement

You want to be able to retire one day while you’re still young enough to travel and enjoy life. When you have a second home, you may be able to rely on the money you’d earn from selling it to help you to retire. Because, one day, that house may be worth more, and you can sell it to help fund your retirement years.  Or, you could sell your main house when you retire and live in your second home.



3.  To rent it out

If you want an asset because the housing market is favorable, the best thing that you could do is rent it out to others for a few years. A beach house, for example, is a wonderful setting and you could fill it with tenants while you’re not using it.  Just be sure to check local zoning laws to make sure that vacation rentals are allowed in the area that you’re interested in.

4.  As a fun retreat

Really, if you can afford a second home, you could buy one so that you can get away from it all any time you want to.

5.  You just want one

You may want to live in the holiday home and rent out the city home or vice versa. Maybe you want to be closer to family at certain times of the year.  Or maybe you just want a change of scenery.  Whatever your reason, buying a second home is often a wonderful investment.

Wherever you want your second home to be, do thorough research on the housing and rental market in that area.  That way, you can feel confident that you’re making a sound investment.  And then you can have fun renovating and decorating your second house to make it feel like home!

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The Benefits Of Garden Water Features (Plus 3 Examples!)

I can sum up the water features in our garden in one word:  Birdbaths.  We have four of them scattered in various locations.  I love the quiet elegance they lend to a garden, and the birds actually use them.  During the extra-dry summer that we just came out of, I made sure to keep them clean and filled for all the little creatures that rely on them.

I’m always playing with the idea of having a larger, more interesting water feature.  So today I give you this contributed post, which dives deeper into the concept of water features in the garden.

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

 

Why add a water feature to your garden?

It’s a question many of us are posing as we look for new and exciting ways of improving our outdoor space.  Maybe you want to try something different, adding new things to your garden that can enhance its aesthetic appeal and create a unique atmosphere. 

This is where a water feature excels like no other. There’s a real sense of tranquility that’s brought to your garden by various water features. It’s the sound of the running water that creates a relaxed atmosphere and transforms your garden into a mini paradise. The right water feature can complement your garden’s design and improve the aesthetic. Water features also have the advantage of attracting wildlife, which can add to the feeling of tranquility in your outdoor space and make you feel at one with nature. 

In short, garden water features are highly beneficial! The next question is: What water features suit your garden? Not counting pools, here are three examples to consider:

 

A Garden Pond

Adding a little pond can really elevate the mood of your garden. It looks beautiful, you can add fish to it for a splash of color, and pond maintenance really isn’t that challenging. You can choose how big or small your pond is depending on the size of your garden, and it really helps your outdoor area come to life. 

 

A Fountain

Garden fountains can add a real touch of class to your garden, and there are so many different design ideas to choose from. Regardless of your garden’s theme, you are bound to find a fountain that matches it. Now, you can listen to the soothing sounds of the water trickling from the fountain while you’re relaxing or doing a spot of gardening. 

 

A Bird Bath

Perhaps the simplest and most affordable of the three water feature examples, a bird bath works perfectly in smaller gardens. Having said that, it’s just as good in bigger ones, and you can find loads of glorious designs that suit your home. The whole point of a bird bath is to attract lots of cute little birds to your garden. They will add color and movement, along with the wonderful sounds of birdsong. 

The beauty of water features is that you can pretty much go as simple or crazy as you like. If you have the space and budget, you can install massive water features that really grab people’s attention. Or, you can go down the opposite route and choose scaled-back designs that still add a real touch of beauty to your garden area. 

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Fall Porch Decor With Hop Vines

The hop vines that grow along the south side of our house are both a blessing and a curse.  Every year in late winter, I pull out massive amounts of trailing underground hop roots in the hope of keeping these vines under control.

The vines usually recover quickly from this setback.  Stronger than before and out for revenge, they are soon back to swallowing up the sunny side of our house.

Hops trying to get in through our dining room window.

But the hop cones are such a beautiful, fresh green when they emerge in late summer.  And they are rewarding to work with.

So today, I’m sharing a couple of my recent hop projects.

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A Hop Garland

The hop garland was surprisingly easy to make.

I simply measured how long I needed the garland to be and then weaved a few hop vines around one another until I had a long enough garland.  Hop vines like to wind around each other naturally anyway, and they almost feel sticky to the touch.  So it was easy to get them to stay woven together.

Hop vines naturally wind around one another.

In the few places where I could not get them to stay together naturally, I just tethered them together with biodegradable garden twine.

The key to success is to do this project when the vines are still green and pliable.  It’s no good trying this once the vines have already dried.

 

 

Then, using clear fishing wire, Chris and I suspended the garland from small hooks that are already installed on our porch ceiling.

There were a few larger hooks, just above the porch entrance, that also came in handy for hanging this garland.

I weaved in extra clusters of hop cones where needed for a fuller look.  When necessary, I tied them on with biodegradable garden twine.

 

This was several weeks ago.  Now the cone clusters have dried and mellowed to a soft caramel color.

And we added pumpkin string lights to the garland.

 

The garland is now brittle to the touch, but it’s holding up very well.  It definitely helps that it is under cover and, for the most part, protected from the rain.

The little hop headpiece that I made for our porch lion looked good at first.

But, since it was not under cover, it suffered in the weather and ultimately had to be tossed.

 

A Hop Wreath

Several years ago, I made this hop wreath using a metal wreath form as a foundation.

My hop wreath from a few years ago.

It was a fun and exuberant wreath, but now I know how to make an all-natural wreath using no metal forms, wires, or other manmade elements.  The beauty of an all-natural wreath is that, when the season changes and I no longer need it, I can just toss the whole wreath into the compost bin and get on with my life – no need to separate it from a metal wreath form first.

I started by clipping some of the grape vines that grow on our fence and weaving them around one another into a wreath form.  As with the hop vines, grape vines are easy to work with when the vines are still green and pliable.

A wreath form made using grape vines.

I just tucked the ends in until they were secure.  The grapevine wreath form didn’t have to look pretty since it was going to be partly covered by the hops anyway.

Then I cut a length of hop vines.  These vines had woven around one another while they were growing, so they had already done some of my work for me.

 

Then, for lack of a better description, I just weaved, folded, and tucked the hop vines securely onto the grapevine wreath.  It took a little bit of trial and error, but it was fairly easy.

There is nothing manmade holding this wreath together.  It is just vines wrapped around one another.

The front door is very protected from the elements so, like the garland, the wreath mellowed into a golden caramel color after a couple of weeks.

 

A Little Viola Pumpkin

This isn’t a hop project, but I thought I’d share another little piece of my porch decor:  This simple little viola pumpkin.

I cut the top off of a sugar pumpkin and hollowed it, scraping out the seeds and some of the pumpkin meat. (The meat I’d removed made a nice side dish with our dinner that evening.)

Then I cut a drain hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.  I planted the violas in a small plastic container and placed it inside the hollowed pumpkin. A bit of moss conceals the plastic pot.

The hollowed pumpkin probably won’t stay fresh for long, so having the violas in a plastic pot will make them easier to remove when the time comes.  I know some folks use bleach or other substances to keep their pumpkins fresh longer but I don’t because (1) I’m too lazy, and (2) I like to compost my pumpkins when I’m done with them, so I want to keep them all natural.

More Fall Porch Decor

The rest of my fall porch decor is not exciting and, as you will see, our porch furniture needs a facelift – badly!  But here it is anyway.

 

 

 

(In case you’re wondering, the white box in the photo above is our Ridwell box.)

Now to plan:  Should I revamp the existing porch furniture or replace it with something new, perhaps one of these looks?

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

 

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5 Tips To Make Moving House A Breeze

The following is a contributed post.  For more on my contributed posts, please see this page.

Moving house can be incredibly exciting, especially if you’ve found the home of your dreams. But relocating also involves a lot of preparation and endless hours of packing boxes. If you’re preparing for life in pastures new, here are some tips to make moving a breeze. 

Give Yourself Time

Unless you have to move suddenly, it’s hugely beneficial to give yourself plenty of time to get sorted. Once you have a date, you can write a list of everything you need to do in the old house and tasks to complete before you move to your new home.  Then figure out a plan of action. Begin packing as soon as possible, starting with items you won’t need in the period before you move. 

Enlist Expert Help

Whether you’re moving to the next street, a new town, or a different state, it’s wise to enlist the services of professional companies. Search online for reputable businesses and try to find a firm that specializes in the services you need, for example, moving heavy or valuable items or cross country moving. Read reviews and testimonials, get quotes, and ask neighbors, friends, or colleagues for recommendations. It’s also an excellent idea to join social media groups and ask members of the local community for advice. It can be reassuring to book a firm based on recommendations from people who have used them in the past. 

Organize A Clear-Out

Moving house is a fantastic excuse to declutter and organize a clear-out. There is no point in filling moving vans with items you haven’t used or even seen in years. Take the opportunity to throw away, donate, or sell anything you don’t want to keep. If you have possessions that you do want to hang onto but won’t fit in your new home, you could rent a storage unit. 

Packing And Labeling

When it comes to packing, it’s always beneficial to have a plan in place. Work through each room methodically and fill boxes with similar items. Label each box so that you know what it contains and which room it needs to be delivered to in your new house. Keep valuables or anything that is fragile or precious to you with you. 

Tying Up Loose Ends

Relocating doesn’t just involve packing all your stuff, hiring a truck, and moving boxes from A to B. You’ll also need to tie up loose ends and undertake some administrative work. Contact utility providers to settle bills and change your address, let your doctor and dentist know that you have moved, and change your address with the bank. Redirect your mail and cancel any deliveries to your old house. It’s also beneficial to make sure your new home is ready. You may want to arrange for a new broadband contract to begin before you move in or ensure that your utilities are sorted in advance, for example. 

Moving house can be an upheaval, but there are ways of lightening the load. Take these tips on board to make moving a breeze.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
Entertaining
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries