Who We Are Following

The Internet is exploding with new slants and twists to simplify and enhance our lives. We’re on Pinterest, Twitter and the blogosphere, watching for what’s trending, what’s useful and what we think you might like. Here’s our list of who we are following:

theidearoomAt  theidearoom.com, Amy, as a science teacher turned-DIYer-blogger-crafter, shares fun projects to inspire even the craftiest of people. She has tips on everything from dealing with a child’s temper tantrum to creating a DIY vertical flower bed. For June, our favorite was her 30 day photo challenge post. Inspiring indeed.

Every-MileEverymilesamemory.com chronicles Pat and Cindy Bonish’s travels in their RV. They’ve been on the road for the last two or so years, living, loving and taking pictures of all the places they’ve seen around this beautiful country of ours. Their story is inspiring and their pictures are enviable. Their latest adventure was to Cedar Key, Florida; check it out and you won’t be able to trade in your house keys for RV keys fast enough.

Pinterest

PinterestJen Simpson  pins and pinspires. Her boards vary – she throws a “pet-shaming” board in between her breakfast recipe and home improvement boards and you might even find a board dedicated solely to Valentine’s Day wallpaper. However unpredictable her pinning ideas are, the inspiration is always consistent.

Mandy Naranjo is full of tricks and tips to share and we’re so glad she shares them with us on Pinterest. She’s not short on ideas for what to do with a box full of buttons or what teens can do with their extra energy. DIY and crafts are what on Mandy’s mind and, you know, great minds think alike.

TwitterTwitter

@craftaholicanon If you have a DIY or craft question, @craftaholicanon will answer it. Really. Just tweet her – she’s standing by with a response or she’ll find someone who can give you the answer. In addition to answers, she also offers craft tutorials, creative ideas for the family and holidays.

@allthingsthrift tweets from every angle to keep things affordable whether you’re making holiday decorations yourself or you need a new blueberry recipe. Hair tutorials, DIY day bed pallet projects and a July 4th wreath are all on @allthingsthrift’s Twitter feed this month.

Pinners, tweeters and bloggers – there are a lot out there with great ideas; these are just a few we think are worth following.

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks for the Week

Getting organized often seems like a daunting, as well as expensive, task. However, just a few quick changes can make your life more efficient, freeing up more time to relax with a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea. LTD’s Product Picks of the Week get you started without breaking your budget.

Slim-can-and-spice-racks

Get maximum kitchen storage in a minimum amount of space with the wooden Slim Can and Spice Rack.

Brick-or-siding-clips

Use these Brick or Siding Clips as an easy and simple way to decorate vinyl sided or brick walled homes.

2-pc-quilted-auto-organizer-sets

Keep everything a driver needs at hand with a 2-Pc. Quilted Auto Organizer Set.

set-of-2-silicone-counter-gap-covers

Prevent spills and dust collection in hard-to-reach places with a Set of 2 Silicone Counter Gap Covers.

Shatter-resistant-pitcher

The ergonomic design of the Shatter-Resistant Pitcher makes it easy for anyone to pour themselves a drink.

Ways to Use Chalkboard Paint

CAhalkboard-paint-lemonThe chalkboard has given way to the dry erase board in the classroom and now the dry erase board is being replaced by the chalkboard in the home. While the chalkboard is a learning tool quickly fading in schools now, our kids don’t have to miss out on what was a staple in the classroom for more than two centuries.  The chalkboard is a piece of childhood nostalgia we can easily bring into our homes to add character and practicality. Here are some ways to use chalkboard paint in your home for panache and purpose.

Eating & Organizing

In the kitchen, chalkboard paint doesn’t have to be more than delightful for a backsplash. It’s difficult to use the backsplash for writing notes or drawing and erasing, but chalkboard paint is a clever addition to an otherwise unnoticeable part of the kitchen.

But on the kitchen wall or even the refrigerator, it turns fun into functional with grocery lists.
Notes are well received on the kitchen wall – they can’t be missed when an entire wall is the message board.

And the refrigerator no longer has to be a vehicle for magnets; with chalkboard paint, kitchen art changes with the mood of the cook or whoever might have the chalk in hand.

Cabinet organization is chic for labeling jars of flour, rice and even spices. With the changeable nature of chalkboard paint, no container is a permanent home for whatever grain or sugar you need to store.

At the table, it adds personalized charm that’s recyclable.  Whether you want to do a kids’ birthday party or you’re having an elegant dinner party, chalkboard paint for reusable place cards or temporary placemats is a whole category of inspiration.

ChAlkboard-paint

Image Source: Nicole via Flickr

Living & Creating

In the living room, it can take the headache out of having a creative toddler – artwork is no longer unwanted on the wall. Let the creativity flow – chalkboard paint on a living room wall is a never-ending canvas for budding young artists.

And why stop at the wall when the coffee table is begging for a daily makeover?

Chalkboard paint adds character in places you didn’t know could be interesting.

Up the staircase is a new place for inspirational messages or notes that change with the seasons.

Under the staircase is a whole new corner to create style and complexity to a lifeless wall.

chalkboard-table

Image Source: Carissa Bonham via Flickr

Best of all, chalkboard paint turns an ugly piece of furniture into an object of whimsy… with a sprinkle of utility. Upcycle a dresser from a flea market, covering it with paint makes it into an organizational learning tool for your kids or you can use chalk to remind yourself where everything goes.

Chalkboard paint won’t solve all your decorating doubts, but it’s a DIY solution to many problem plans. Practically any surface or piece of furniture can inspire a new way to use chalkboard paint.

Pinteresting Picks for April

It’s the end of April and it seems as if the spring cleaning will never end. We’re always looking for new ways to refresh our homes and so are our Pinterest followers. Here’s a list of our most pinned products for the month — our Pinteresting Picks for April.

This 4-tiered, wall-mounted Spice Rack is an economical space-saver that every kitchen needs. Metal rack fits in any decor and it's easy to mount with the included hardware. The 4 levels of storage let you keep all your spices in one place, along with other small bottles or containers. 19-5/8" x 15-1/4" x 2-1/8".

We’ll take more kitchen space anywhere we can get it — this wall-mounted Spice Rack can store small bottles and containers taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen cabinet. It makes the kitchen more organized and cooking easier with the spices so accessible.

Memory-shadow-box

You keep every ticket stub to every concert, play and movie. What do you do with them all? Put them on display on a wall or table with the Ticket Memento Storage Box! It’s a decorative way for ticket collectors to remember all of their favorite evenings. The wooden box has an acrylic window so you can see the tickets and a slot on top allows you to easily slip them inside.

Easy-change-artwork-frames2

Dress up your child’s artwork with a frame and hang it on the wall with Easy Change Artwork Frames. These frames are specially sized to hold the standard sizes of artwork created at school or home. Each frame holds up to 50 works and can be hung vertically or horizontally.

This Hair Station Organizer keeps all of your styling appliances together in a compact, space-saving piece. There are 3 front compartments to hold a hair dryer, curling iron, straightener or other items. The metal organizer can be set on a counter or vanity or tucked away in a cabinet, and the back hook can be used to wrap appliance cords when not in use. Or you can use the back hook to hang the organizer from a towel rack. The unit comes with hanging hardware so you can also hang it on a wall. 10" x 9-1/8" x 6-1/4".

Save yourself space and time in the bathroom with the Hair Station Organizer. It  keeps all of your styling appliances together in a compact, space-saving piece. There are 3 front compartments to hold a hair dryer, curling iron, straightener or other items. The metal organizer can be set on a counter or vanity or tucked away in a cabinet, and the back hook can be used to wrap appliance cords when it’s not being used.

Pinteresting Picks for March

Slowly but surely, we’re easing our way into spring. According to our Pinterest followers, some home maintenance is underway and a little summer planning is starting flower in our minds. Here are our Pinteresting picks for March.

Lodge-log-shelvesWhy put up a regular shelf when you can put up a log shelf? Give your home a cabin feel without ever leaving the city with the?Lodge Log Shelves. The?realistic look of chopped wood that adds a touch of nature to any home. ?They’re sturdy enough to hold books or any of your rustic treasures.

turtle-stepping-stonesKeeping critters in your garden can help keep your plants safe.?These adorable Mosaic Stepping Stones come as a family of turtles or a family of frogs.?Each piece is set with glass mosaic chips that reflect the sunlight for an eye-catching effect. While they’re lovely to look at they also give walkers a place to put their feet so they won’t damage your flowers.

Easy-change-artwork-framesGranny and gramps will be so excited to have a special frame to show off work from their little artists. It’s easy to change the art and there’s a built-in mat to keep to work straight. The wooden frame is inscribed with sentiments and has enough space for about 42 pieces behind the display.

floating-water-barFloating the water never tasted so good. This Floating Water Bar lets you bring the party in the pool — it even comes with floating chairs so it’s like being in a bar only better! It’s perfect for lounging on a sunny afternoon or it can be a great addition to your next party.

Do It Yourself Kitchens: How to Install Your Own Granite Countertop

Granite-countertop

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/granite-charlotte

 

Granite countertops are a luxurious and functional addition to any kitchen or bath. In the past, installing granite was a job for the pros, with custom fabrication and installation costs running to thousands of dollars. Now, however, several companies offer do?it yourself granite countertop kits that you can install yourself, achieving professional results at a fraction of the cost. This step-by-step installation guide will help you get?expert results with your granite countertops.

Measure and Order Your Countertops

Before you start, make sure your cabinets are level, and securely anchored to the floor and walls. If your walls aren’t square, you’ll need to make allowances in your measurements. Use craft paper to make an exact template of your countertops, including lines for the sink and any other custom cutouts you need. Be sure to include a one to one and a half-inch overhang for the edges facing the cabinets. Select your granite color, and place your order based on your template.

Prepare Your Cabinets for the Granite

You’ll need to install a ? inch sheet of plywood on your cabinet tops to support the weight of the granite. Cut the plywood so that it lies even with the edge of the cabinet face; you do not want any overhang. Make sure wood is square and level. Screw the plywood in place using pilot holes?to prevent cracking the wood.

Working with the Granite Slabs

Find a safe place to store the granite slabs upright while you work, and find a partner to help?granite is very heavy and breakable. Carefully set the granite in place to make sure the pieces fit properly. Trace the sink hole and any other custom cuts onto the plywood sub-counter. Remove the granite, and use a drill to create a pilot hole in the marked sink cutout. Using a jigsaw, cut out from the pilot hole to create a hole for the sink. Drop in and install the sink.

Replace the Granite and Prepare to Glue

Place the granite slabs on the counter, and press any seams tightly together. Fine-tune the leveling, since all the seams must be absolutely level before gluing. Use 1-1/2 inch screws beneath the plywood to make minute adjustments to the height of the granite, and measure continuously until the seams are smooth and level.

Glue the Granite in Place

Have your helpers lift the granite up, and apply silicone around the edges of the plywood using one-inch dollops every six to 12 inches around the perimeter. Lay a bead of caulk around the outer edge of the sink, and another bead on top of the sink to seal the granite side. Lower the granite slabs into place and make sure they are level and the seams are tightly matched.

Glue the Seams

Tape around either side of the seams with blue painter’s tape. Choose at least three colors to match the granite, and mix a little of each into separate dollops of resin. Mix with a putty knife, continually checking the resin color against the granite. When you have three satisfactory shades, add hardener to a mixture of three percent hardener and 97 percent resin. Using your putty knife, work quickly to dab and smooth the resin into the seams; you will only have about five minutes before the resin starts to harden. Start with the medium-hued shade, and then add dabs of the lighter color, using the darkest color last until you have a natural-looking match.

Finishing Touches

Immediately remove the tape so it doesn’t dry into the resin. After about an hour, smooth out the seams using a seam stone. Rub the stone in small circles using firm, steady pressure until the seams are sleek and smooth. Wipe the countertops down with warm soapy water to remove any grit. Protect your investment with a stone care system like Rock Doctor.

Use only granite-friendly cleaning products, and don’t expose your countertops to extreme temperatures. Granite countertops are a beautiful, durable way to update your home.

 

Signs Your Lawn is Toxic

You might not think of something as benign as your lawn in terms of being toxic or not, but the truth is that it can very well be the case. A lawn can be considered toxic for a number of reasons, but the results are always detrimental. Here are signs your lawn is toxic and what to do if it is.

bermuda grass

Sleepy Grass?One reason your lawn could be toxic is due to a type of vegetation known as sleepy grass. It?s found throughout the Midwest and in southern states like Texas and New Mexico as well as Hawaii. Sleepy grass prefers to grow in dry soil.

While it doesn?t look problematic, sleepy grass has a fungus in it which contains ergoline compounds. Lysergic acid amide is a good example of this. Scientists believe it is this fungus that causes the sedative effects in any mammals that ingest it. As the name suggests, they literally fall asleep.

Bermuda Grass?Bermuda grass is another example of a type of grass you want nowhere near your lawn, although it looks plain enough. The texture of Bermuda grass is indistinguishable from other common varieties. It has a grayish green color and a short build.

The plant isn?t actually from Bermuda. It?s an invasive species there and has caused all kinds of problems. Because it?s believed the grass traveled from Bermuda to America, it was given the name of the island.

This grass likes warmer environments, meaning it?s quite at home down south. It grows quickly and it?s extremely tough. Bermuda grass is great for sports fields because it can take damage and quickly recover. However, it?s also believed that Bermuda grass is quite toxic and, if you don?t like the way it looks, you?ll have a hard time ridding yourself of it. This is a very common type of grass in the south and Florida — a lawn care program in Pinellas County is a must! West central Florida is right off of the gulf and the weather stays warm all year yet we have plenty of rainfall which allows this plant to grow very rapidly.

Organochlorines?Unfortunately, sometimes you?re to blame for your yard being toxic. You add certain substances to your yard with the best of intentions, but these chemicals end up being the last thing they need. In the end, your yard becomes toxic.

Organochlorines are a good example. These chemicals include toxic compounds like aldrin, DDT, chloroform, tetrachloroethylene, PCBs, heptachlor and dieldrin.

These chemicals can have positive effects in terms of lawn care on a short term scale. However, over the long term, their presence can be destructive to all forms of life. If you have pets that enjoy your lawn, they?ll be especially at risk. Even you and your family can suffer the consequences of these chemicals. Your symptoms could include nausea, anemia, lung damage, convulsions, central nervous system damage, hypertension, and even cancer.

Solutions?Fortunately, there?s plenty you can do. First, learn to recognize the aforementioned toxic grass. The first step is knowing if you have it. Keep in mind, depending on how much of a lawn you have on your property, you may not notice either type as an invasive species.

So one way to deal with it is simply to dig it out and remove it altogether, replacing it with a healthier, more natural form of grass. But this invasive method is very expensive. Instead, try using an all natural product on it that can kill it off. You can also use all natural methods like mowing and irrigation to dry out the toxic grass and only the toxic grass, leaving everything else just fine.

When it comes to toxic chemicals that could be in your lawn, your one and only solution is to switch over to a non-toxic alternative. There are many ways to handle your lawn without using harmful chemicals. This includes conditioning it long before it can become an issue. Take the proper steps prior to your growing season and you?ll have a much better lawn to look forward to.

If you?re like most people, you?re probably a bit surprised by what can be lurking outside your front door. Fortunately, there?s plenty you can do to catch the problem before it becomes destructive or dangerous. Just look for the above signs and follow an organic regimen to rid yourself of the problem.

>Pete Kontakos is a certified wrestling coach and has experience in the retail industry and restaurant industry as a General and District manager.

Ideas to Make Your Garden Shed Unique

It?s time to think about spring home improvement projects to beautify your home for summer.

 garden-shed

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jollyroberts

 

If you?re thinking about adding to your garden or improving it, a great way to dress up or create new focal points by adding a garden shed. Other than the small structure holding all your gardening tools, it can become a showpiece. It doesn?t take much time or money to create anything from a cute dollhouse or an eye-catching central point.?

By the addition of windows, window flower boxes and shrubbery, a garden shed can begin to look more elaborate. Go rustic by planting a climbing vine to cover part of your shed; it?ll add some country charm. To give your shed more class, use tastefully colored paints to create a very enchanting cottage.

Shed-Flower-boxes

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24069019@N00


If you don?t want to put too much work into a shed you already have, a splash of paint can dress it up. With an earthy red and blue or green highlighted trim and a greenish yellow door, you can make it energetic or toned down. A new coat of paint can always create a new look without breaking the bank.? If you are the artistic type, start with a beige building and paint on vines or floral decorations. But if you don?t have the knack for free-hand painting, you can always use stencils and get the same result.

Adding a lean-to with inside access for a small greenhouse will make a garden shed both elegant and functional for your delicate plants. Or, if you organize the contents of the shed, your garden shed can also double as a playhouse for your kids.

Lean-to-garden-shed

Photo credit:
Found on sashanunez2ag.blogspot.com

Not only can a garden shed be a versatile and practical building but also can create an ambiance encompassing your gardens. Best of all, it does not have to cost a bundle!

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

The snow is finally starting to melt and we?re thinking about summer!? Here are our product picks of the week to shed a little sunshine on the winter that won?t end.

Portable-Cabana

The Portable Cabana is the ultimate poolside accessory. Along with offering shelter from the sun, it also gives you a little privacy to change at the beach, pool or campsite. The huge striped umbrella and screen set up and fold down in minutes. The side screen can be pulled back for an open view, left partially open to provide a doorway or completely closed. Or, detach it to use just the adjustable-height umbrella.

 

Glow-in-the-dark-bbq-skewers

This set of 2 Glow-in-the-Dark BBQ Skewers gets a modern upgrade with glow-in-the-dark handles fit for outdoor cookouts after dark. Perfect for use at a grill or around a campfire, the handles glow in the dark after they’re exposed to light, which makes them easy to find after dusk.

Animal-shaped-bird-feeder

An Animal-Shaped Bird Feeder is outdoor decor with a purpose–adding to the beauty of your landscape while feeding your feathered friends. It features a metallic finish that glistens in the sunlight and mesh sides that the birds can grip to get at the food. When a bird jiggles the feeder, it rings the bell that dangles beneath.

Mesh-food-covers

Great for outdoor events, the set of 4 Mesh Food Covers helps prevent bugs from invading your dishes at picnics and barbecues. The large cover shields community trays or multiple bowls and containers. The 3 smaller covers are ideal for individual plates. A pull string on the top opens each tent-style cover for use and collapses it for flat, space-saving storage when you’re done.

LED-Solar-Rope-Lights

50- LED Solar Rope Lights are an energy-efficient way to light up your porch, patio or landscaping. Because they do not require a power outlet, you can place them anywhere for decorative lighting right where you want it.

 

 

7 Easy Accent Pieces That Instantly Transform Your Bedroom

Feeling like your bedroom is particularly drab of late? Want to break out of the boredom rut and spice things up a bit? Here are seven easy accent pieces that can be added to your sleeping quarters with little effort?but with big results!

Throw-pillows1. Throw Pillows

Adding a few throw pillows to your bedroom is a fast and inexpensive way to incorporate a fun pop of color. Consider what mood you are hoping to set, and then choose your color pattern accordingly. For example, if you are hoping to give the room an energetic feel, look for throw pillows that have orange in them as orange tends to evoke feelings of enthusiasm and excitement. Conversely, if you are looking to make things a bit more serene, consider using greens and blues?they evoke feelings of balance and peace.

Image Credit: Flicker.com

 

 

Bedroom-curtains2. Curtains

Curtains are a seamless way of giving any bedroom a complete look. They can enhance the room with a glamorous appeal or give it a fun look that mimics your personality?the possibilities are endless! Be sure to get curtains that are the right size (otherwise the window treatment looks unfinished). And pay attention to details such as what type of header style you want (like pinch pleats or swagged) and what kind of curtain rods and finials look best.

Image Credit: Flicker.com

 

Chair3. Sassy Seating

Incorporating additional seating in the bedroom both gives some stylish flare and adds an extra lounge spot. Consider creating a cozy reading nook or ideal location for slipping on your shoes with a corner chair or tasteful bench at the foot of the bed. This does not have to be financially taxing?you can even just reupholster a chair you already have!

Image Credit: Flicker.com

 

 

 

Art4. Awe-inspiring Art

Adding one or two fun pieces of artwork is one of the simplest ways to incorporate a little creative edge to any bedroom. Consider adding an exciting piece, even if it is a little bit ?out there.? This can be anything from paintings to photographs?the sky?s the limit when it comes to choosing how best to decorate the wall space (you could even create something yourself!).

Image Credit: Flicker.com

 

 

 

5. Chic ChandelierCeiling-decor

A chandelier is a great piece to feature in any bedroom space. Not only does it add to the overall d?cor, but it is also a fantastic lighting technique. Take some time to shop around for the perfect chandelier that sits well with the general ambiance of the room. There are so many from which to choose with options from beaded to Victorian and everything in between!

 

 

 

 

 

rugs6. Rugs Galore

A rug is a great way to help define a space. It?s also a great opportunity to link different colors that are used elsewhere in the room. Furthermore, rugs add a feeling of warmth and coziness to a room, especially if the floors are hardwood. With all of this in mind, go out and find that perfect fit for your space?and always remember that there is no rule about having a rectangular rug!

Image Credit: Flicker.com

 

 

 

timeless-item7. That One Fun Piece

Finally, the grand finale to any bedroom ought to be that one fun piece that really stands out and draws the attention of any guest. Ideas include a large globe situated near the desk, a bamboo divider screen between the bed and window, an antique trunk alongside the wall, or a large clock that sits above the headboard.

Image Credit: Flicker.com

 

 

 

The key to vamping up any dull space is incorporating color, patterns and unique pieces that unify the room and make it pop. Whether you are a senior in high school looking at health care schools in Calgary and trying to figure out how best to decorate the dorm or a senior VP at a marketing firm hoping to draw some of that work creativity into your personal life, try incorporating one or two of these accent pieces into your room?they are just the ticket to transforming any bedroom from simply fine to totally fab!

Annie Babbitt is a freelance writer whose interests include entertainment, lifestyle and current events. Annie loves helping promote change and being an advocate for those in need. She most recently has found an interest in writing about issues related to business and education and draws inspiration for her writing from companies such as ABES.