Decorating Your Home for the 4th of July

Decorating your home for the Fourth is easy! Gather up things that are red, white and blue!

Start with a flower display of white daisies. Get three glass containers and fill them half way with water. Add a few drops of red food coloring to one container. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to another. Leave one container’s water plain and fill with freshly cut white daisies. Voila you have patriotic water for a patriotic flower arrangement!

With the help of Mod Podge, a small American flag and a jar, can easily be made into a festive luminary. Using a small foam paint brush, brush on a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the flag. Wrap the flag around the jar. Allow the flag to dry and adhere to the jar. Next brush on a layer of Mod Podge to the front of the flag. This will seal the flag to the glass jar. Place a tea light in the jar and display! Place luminaries along entrance steps to illuminate the way in for guests. The luminaries can be placed on table tops or anywhere candle light can be used.

Start with red, white and blue sand. Fill the tops of potted plants with the colorful sand. This adds a subtle yet interesting effect. You can even get creative and make designs if you like. To keep it simple just keep the color of the sand the same for each pot.

If you have string lights hanging outdoors, consider changing the bulbs out with red, clear and blue light bulbs. This will make a beautiful festive gleam while watching fireworks and enjoying the holiday evening!

The excitement and mood of this wonderful holiday doesn’t need to wait until the fireworks begin.  With these ideas, your guests are sure enjoy the extra effort of these decorations at your festivities!

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How to Properly Harvest Lettuce

Growing your own lettuce is a great way to eat a fresh salad anytime, all throughout the season. It is a common misconception that once the lettuce is ready to harvest, you dig up the plant and that is the end. People are under this impression because when you buy the plant at the grocery store, you typically are buying the whole head of lettuce; including the base. This plant is quick to come back and provide you with more lettuce all throughout the season. Find out how to properly harvest this leafy vegetable.

Scissors are the best tool to use for this. Garden pruning shears are too short to get the job done. The goal is to make a clean cut all the way through the diameter of the plant. Gather the plant together with your free hand, so it is easy to make one simple cut to harvest the entire plant. Using your clean, sharp scissors decide where you are going to cut. The length should be about 2 inches from the base of the plant, at the dirt.

Place the leaves in a colander or strainer and rinse it off at least three times. Do not use anything to clean the lettuce, except water. Place wet leaves on a clean dry paper towel so they can dry out. Let the leaves dry for about an hour or use a spinning produce dryer.

To store the produce, use a relatively large plastic container that has a flat bottom and a lid that fits. Add a paper towel to the bottom of the container. Then lay several pieces of lettuce on the towel. Then add another paper towel and lay more lettuce down. Continue to do this until the container is filled to the top. Careful not to cram too much in the container. You do not want to have pressure pushing down on the lettuce leaves. The paper towels absorb any extra water in the plant and keep the produce fresher for a longer period of time.

This technique can be used for any type of lettuce, along with most types of leafy vegetables.  Using this method of harvest and storage, you should have plenty of lettuce all summer long.

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Today We Remember

Today is a day of remembrance and one of thanks.  We would like to thank all of the service men and women who have given everything for our country.  Thank you. 

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Which Space is More Successful

These two images both portray a contemporary living room. However one is more successful than the other. Find out which space works the best and why.

In image #1, the brown space feels cold, despite  having a fireplace. The dark brown paint can be considered warm, but in this application it is not inviting. Between the leather sofa sitting on the shiny hard surface floor and a glass accent table, the space feels cold. A warm wood floor or carpet could solve this. In image #2, the gray space feels warmer. Gray is usually considered a cooler color.  The reason image #1 feels less inviting than image #2 is because there is a harsh contrast, between the dark brown and the clean white. It is true that contrast is needed in any space. However this can be taken overboard. The gray living room in image #2 works because the subtle gray is accented with a warm and sunny yellow.

In image #2 the tree and fruit add a natural element to the area and bring in warmth and life. Image #1 has a palm, but the palm is not full enough to stand out against the dark brown. A plant with fuller leaves would work better in image #1.

The rug in image #1 is not wide enough for the space. The rug in image #2 is wider, yet not quite wide as it should be. If the rug in image #2 was as wide as the sofa, the space would look more balanced. If the rug was as wide as the fireplace in image #1, the space would gain more warmth and balance.

Proportions are important in any room. The proportions are a little off in image #1. The one lamp is tiny and almost invisible. Such a large wall needs artwork. Because the lack of anything on the dark wall, the area feels heavy on the bottom and unbalanced.

An important point to remember: when decorating a space, make sure that you incorporate a variety of textiles and elements to make the room a success. Keep in mind where the eye is drawn to and make sure the space is balanced and the furnishings are proportionate.

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Keep Flower Arrangements Fresh Longer

Fresh floral arrangements bring a beauty into your home that is hard to replicate any other way.  Their scent is a wonderful addition to your home, although only if they stay fresh.  Find out how to keep your arrangement looking fresh for much longer.

Select a clean vase and fill it up slightly less than halfway with cool water. Add the flower food that typically comes with the flowers you purchase. Cut the stems before adding the flowers to the watered vase. Using scissors, cut the bottom of the stalk diagonally rather than simply cutting the stalk straight across. This provides the flower with more surface area to use when drinking in water. It is important to cut the stem because the ends may have dried out or hardened with time, making it hard for the plant to take in water and nutrients.

Keep the water clean. Leaves or any part of the flower should not be under the water. Make sure to remove any leaves or buds that have fallen into the water. This will cause the water to become polluted and therefore make the arrangement wilt much faster. It helps to change the water completely every day or two. Keeping the water clean is a key element to keeping the arrangement looking fresh for longer.

Place a finished arrangement in an area that stays rather cool. Keep the arrangement out of direct sunlight. Also make sure the flowers are not placed right in the path of an air supply vent.

Add a crushed aspirin tablet to the water. This will help keep the flowers from ageing as fast. Add a couple drops of alcohol or white vinegar to keep the water clean. Using one of these two agents keeps mold and bacteria from growing in the water. Keeping the water clean and keeping organic plant matter out is the key to the longevity of an arrangement. Make sure the flowers have plenty of clean water to drink by checking on the arrangement daily!

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Happy Mother’s Day

May this be a very special day for all of the very special women in our lives.  Happy Mother’s day!

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Healthy Peanut Butter & Banana Popsicles

Summer is a wonderful time for your children.  There are plenty of activities from swimming to camp to sports.  However, with the lack of schedules comes a problem with nutrition.  Many families find it harder to keep children eating well during the summer, especially with the prevalence of ice cream and popsicles.  One great solution is to make sure those cool treats are good for them!   

The recipe below is an appetizing yet vitamin rich snack. When your children crave something that is cold, turn to these popsicles! These pops are a great snack for anyone, anytime, not only during the summer. They satisfy your sweet tooth and taste creamy and delicious! The best part is that you can have your kids help as well.

 

What You Need:

Electric Mixer

1 Ice Tray

Short Popsicle Sticks or Plastic Silverware

 

Ingredients:

2 Bananas

3 Tbsp. Smooth Peanut Butter

½ Cup Plain or Vanilla Yogurt

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or a food processor to mix the contents into a smooth and creamy mixture.

Spoon mixture into ice trays and fill to the top.

Place short popsicle sticks in the center of each popsicle. Freeze for 2 hours.

*If you cannot find small popsicle sticks, cut the tops off plastic silverware. Leaving only the plastic handle and place in the center of the pop.

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Why Every House Deserves Area Rugs

Area rugs can quite possibly be one of the easiest elements to completely change the style of a room. They can top of any kind of floor, given the right padding is selected to accompany the rug. An area rug is the only floor type that can be stored and move from house to house. They can be cleaned easily and offer a versatility that fits into any home and décor.

Hard surfaces cannot absorb sound well. A rug has the ability to buffer sound and add warmth to any area. A room with a hard surface floor is greatly enhanced with a softer element for added dimension. Rugs also bring with them the benefit of texture to the home. They are available in many styles, an array of sizes, colors and patterns.

Area rugs are available at many different price points.  The lifestyle you lead will help you determine what type of material is best suited to you and your home. This is a perfect starting place starting your search.

Area rugs help a room feel finished, warm, and inviting.  They can also help with rooms that feel too large!  Place an area rug in your large space and center the furnishings towards the center of the rug.  A focal point has been created and the space will feel much more cohesive.  In very large spaces, this can be repeated as many times as you need.  Each area rug will serve as a separate “room”!

Check out our online product catalog to view all the different styles available. Our selection of Karastan area rugs has many options in color, design, size, and shape.  Please feel free to stop by or browse our catalog.  

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Fun Ways to Add Whimsy to a Garden

Gardening should be fun and relaxing. There are some easy ways to add a bit of whimsy to any garden. Find out how to add a bit of fun to your garden decoration.

Use tiered pots to make a vertical herb garden. This is so simple. Get three different sized of terracotta pots, from small to medium and large. The pots need to have holes in the bottom to provide for water drainage. Place a medium sized container upside down in the large pot. The container should be flat on the bottom (so another pot can sit on top). Add potting soil around the container and plant herbs around the container. Add more soil to make sure the container is covered. Next set the medium terracotta pot on top, in the middle of the large pot. Add the small container to the medium pot, the same as above. Fill in with potting soil and plant herbs around the middle container. Fill in the rest with the potting soil. Place the small pot on top of the container in the medium pot and plant herbs throughout. Sticker decals are great for labeling each pot. This design is great for saving space, since it is a little garden that extends vertically.

Use a large container of any type.  Tip it on its side and dig a small divot underneath to keep the container from rolling. The idea with this project is to plant flowers in such a way that they appear to have spilled out of the overturned container. This creates a fun and interesting look.  Try this with a broken pot, an old metal bucket, or even a large pitcher. Make sure the flowers you plant inside have access to sun, or you may want to plant flowers or plants that do not require direct sunlight.

Drill holes in the bottom of an old wheelbarrow. Fill it with potting soil and plant whatever kinds of plants you like inside the wheel barrel. This is wonderful because this creates a little mobile garden that can be moved around the yard!

Do you have any other ideas for a whimsical garden? Share them in the comments below!

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Removing Sidewalk Chalk Stains

With the weather getting warmer outside, the sidewalk chalk has started to make an appearance. Although meant for outside purposes only, it often finds its way inside or in pants pockets. The packaging states the chalk is washable; however there is a certain manner in which it should be cleaned.

The most important thing to do first is to vacuum the carpet first. Vacuuming should be done before applying any liquid to the carpet. Adding liquid to chalk helps it mix in with the carpet fibers. Depending on the color of the chalk, depends on how easily the stain can be removed.

It is preferred to use only a detergent solution on chalk stains. Make the solution by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of clear liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup of warm water. If the dish detergent is colored, then dye in the cleaning solution will stain the carpet. It is very important to only use a clear detergent. It is important to never use a stronger concentration then is recommended.

When using a detergent solution it is also very important to remove any excess residue and moisture. Leftover residue will cause rapid soiling to the carpet. This means even if you clean the stain another a stain will quickly emerge. This happens because the residue attracts dirt and soil; which cling to the carpet fibers.

For more tips on how to remove specific stains from carpet, keep this site bookmarked – it is well worth it!

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