Make Your Own Kinetic Sand

As we approach September, children are heading to school.  However, the last few weeks of summer can be difficult — you may have used all of your great ideas for activities to keep children busy!  Here’s another idea to keep everyone happy until school begins!

Chances are you have most likely heard of or played with kinetic sand. This is popular with kids as well as adults. Kinetic sand actually sticks together, almost magnetically. It has shown up any many offices around the country, it eases the mind, provides stress relief and helps get the creative juices flowing. Find out how to make your own, without spending nearly as much as you would if you purchased this item from a retailer. When buying this item from the store, you could spend anywhere from $30-$80. This recipe cost under $10, or even less if you don’t have to buy the sand.

What You Will Need:

5 Cups of sand

1 ½ Cup Corn Starch

1 Cup Water

½ Teaspoon Dish Soap

Directions:

In a large container, mix the sand and cornstarch together.

Once these two ingredients are mixed well, grab a separate container to mix the water and dish soap together. It may be helpful to mix the water and dish soap with a whisk.

Mix the sand and corn starch container with the wet mixture container. Make sure all the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly.

*Tip: You may need to add more or less water depending on how wet your sand is. If the sand you are using is completely dry, start with the single cup of water. If the sand is damp, start with one half a cup of water.

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Topiary Planters: Not Just for Gardening

Decorative planters for topiaries are a wonderful item to repurpose and use for other applications, other than planting plants in. Find out how to upcycles these items in a surprising way.

First decide if the planters you have are the finish you prefer. If so leave them as is, if not; simply spray paint them with the desired finish for the space you intend to use them in.

The taller topiary planters are great for housing kitchen supplies, like spatulas, spoons and whisks. The natural stone planters are a fun match for natural stone countertops. Thoroughly wash them out. Place the planter on top of a wooden cutting board or a piece of felt that is an appropriate for the size for the base to sit on. This protects countertops made of granite or marble. This makes it easy to grab utensil while cooking, because they are right on the counter and you can see the tools clearly. Place the planter next to the stove top for ease of cooking.

Tall planters are also a great place to keep hair styling tools. They can be kept right on the bathroom vanity and basically hide hair straighteners, curling irons, brushes and combs. Stone planters are good for this application when placing a hot flat or curling iron in, after use. Make sure to not place any other item inside until the hot tool has completely cooled down.

Shorter topiary planters make wonderful and decorative water bowls for dogs. For this application it is helpful to find an elevated planter that has a wide, rounded bowl for the planter. Simply measure the diameter of the planter and look for a metal dish that can be placed right inside the planter. This is a really good idea for larger dogs. Make sure the dog can reach the height of the bowl easily. These are perfect for outdoor water dishes. The stone planters work best because they cannot be easily tipped over.

At Levis 4 Floors, we are always happy to help with ideas to make your home look its best.  Visit us to find out more!

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Trends to Use in 2016

There are some great new trends for 2016. Find out what they are and figure out a way to incorporate them into your interior!

Black finishes are big this year. The black gives a sophisticated look to faucets, handles and door hardware. Matte is the optimal finish for these items. When using black finishes, select items that are simple with clean lines. This will keep these finishing touches from becoming overwhelming and weighing down the room.

More elaborate window dressing details are making a comeback. Draperies have been an element that people have avoided. Draperies have the ability to add the perfect finishing touch to any space. Some interesting drapery details that are hot right now are Lucite drapery rods. It is also a growing trend to hang drapery hardware from the ceiling, instead of the wall. This can be done easily by hanging regular curtain rods on the ceiling.

Rounded furniture is becoming more and more popular. Steel or shaped metal is a common material for this type of furniture. That is because it is easy to bend while being manufactured. Rounded wood pieces are also popular. Furniture with rounded edges is smoother to the touch. It is a natural preference to rub hands over smooth objects, as opposed to a sharp angles.

Eclectic style is making a comeback. An eclectic mix of furnishings adds interest and excitement to any space. Keep in mind that when using this design style, keep harmony by selecting furniture and decorations with similar proportions. The furniture should have a similar proportion and the room should have furnishings proportionate for it.

One of the largest trends this year has to do with the advances that have been seen in digital printing.  Using this technology, porcelain tile is printed with scans of wood, to create an amazingly detailed wood-look tile.  This allows the look of wood (in many different wood species and stains) with the benefits of tile – scratch-resistant, water-resistant and ease of maintenance. 

If you need any help deciding on the trends that are best for your home, feel free to ask us at Levis 4 Floors! We are always happy to help.

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How to Decorate a Girl’s Nursery

What you want to remember when decorating any nursery is that it should be a calming place for a baby. Find out how to create a peaceful sanctuary for any baby girl.

Use calm and muted colors. Light or baby pink is the perfect choice for this space. It creates a calming effect and is easy to pair accent colors with. Stay away from bright colors. Light lilac purples and light mint colors work great in this space as well. Pair warm greys and creams with the main paint color.

Mix in different textures. This will help add interest to the space. Babies love feeling and exploring different textures. Make that easy for them by choosing a soft textured upholstery for the rocker or lounge chair. A chair that rocks or glides will help get baby off to sleep faster.

Have new carpet installed, preparing for your new baby to explore as part of her first textures.  Make sure that the carpet and padding will be just right and that is comfortable for baby to lay on for daily tummy time.

Install black out curtains or shades. This will keep the room dark during nap time and at night. Baby will sleep better because of this, and your sleep will benefit too!

Be careful not to overwhelm baby with really bold art or wall decals. Select interesting art for the walls with calming colors. There are some really great 3D wall art that can be purchased in muted colors.

The space should feel balanced and in harmony. This will help calm baby and help her to enjoy being away from mom while she naps or when she goes down for the night. It never hurts to have a sound machine that can play sounds from nature and soft lullabies.

Once the child is older you can add more brightly colored items and bolder artwork that they can appreciate. It is important not to overstimulate the baby. They may become restless if there is too much to look at within the space.

We are happy to help at Levis 4 Floors.  As a family company, we strive to make your home as comfortable as possible for your little ones.  Feel free to drop by and ask any questions you may have!

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Starting a Vegetable Garden from Kitchen Scraps

If you haven’t ventured into vegetable gardening yet, a fun way to start is by growing vegetables you’ve already purchased from the store by using their scraps to start new plants. Rather than throwing away or composting scraps from your vegetables, save them and watch the miracle of regrowth right before your eyes! Here are a few vegetables you can get started with, listed in order from easiest to most difficult.

Green Onion, Leeks and Fennel:

These three are the easiest vegetables to have a continuous supply always ready to use in your kitchen. Simply place the root end in a glass of water with the cut end out of the water. New growth will spring forth and can be trimmed off as needed.

Potatoes:

This is the classic grade-school project that can be fun as an adult as well! Cut the potatoes into pieces and keep in water until sprouts develop. They can then be planted in soil in a container.

Cabbage and Bok Choy:

You can either start the new growth by placing the root end in water or very damp soil. Sometimes soil works better with cabbage.

Garlic:

Place a garlic clove, pointed tip side up, in a container and cover with soil. Choose the largest clove from the bulb you have on hand. Place in a sunny spot in your home. As the greens start sprouting, trim them back, so as the new bulb is forming more nutrients will be channeled into the bulb.

Ginger:

Ginger is easy to regrow but takes more time for the new growth to mature—up to several months. Simply place a cut up piece of ginger in soil and keep in a sunny, indirectly lit, spot. After the ginger rhizome is large enough, pull from the soil, use in your recipes and save a piece to replant.

Avocado:

By far the most challenging to regrow, avocados can be a fun long term experiment. The easy part is getting the pit to sprout by suspending it with toothpicks over a cup of water. The challenging part is maintaining its growth and nurturing it until it’s ready to plant into the ground. It can take anywhere from 5 to 13 years for the tree to grow fruit and some trees never do!

We hope you enjoy starting your own indoor experimental garden from the produce of your choice! Growing plants in the home have many positive effects on our well-being and we think growing something you can eat pays off even more!

 

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Protect Your Furniture From Your Pets

Our beloved pets can be one of the greatest sources of joy in our lives. Unfortunately, they can also be some of the most destructive when it comes to our furniture! We all know that even the best behaved pets can have their moments. Luckily there are a few things you can do to try and prevent our furry friends from cutting the life of your furniture short.

 

First things first—try and groom your pet regularly. By brushing your pet regularly you will prevent the inevitable build up of their fur on every surface. You can also avoid unpleasant odors by being sure to give your dog a wash every month to keep their coat clean. Generally, our feline friends do not required a bath. When you groom your pets it is also a good idea to keep up with their claws. By maintaining a properly trimmed nail you can avoid some of the damage that might happen down the line. Be sure that you use the proper equipment for your pet and do not cut them too short. If you are unsure, it is best to consult your vet before trying this yourself.

 

Next, you will want to be sure to provide your pet with the proper outlets for the scratching and chewing. It is in their natures to engage in these activities so the better you prepare for this, the better protected your furniture will be. If you have cats, try to make sure you provide them with scratching posts that they can use to “scratch” their itch. If you have dogs, be sure to provide them with plenty of toys and bones to chew on. By using these items with your pet and showing them they can scratch and chew all they want on these, they will eventually learn where to go to vent their needs.

 

Finally, if you have any valuables or breakables that you are worried about, be sure to display them out of reach of your pets. This can be trickier with cats who love to climb and are typically fearless when it comes to doing so. Use your discretion, and when appropriate it may be that you have to put that item away so your cat doesn’t have a chance at getting to it.

 

Following these rules will generally help aid you in your quest to protect your furniture from your beloved pets. Keep in mind accidents happen, but by following these rules you can at least try to mitigate the worst of it.  

 

Levi’s 4 Floors knows that pets are a large part of our lives.  Above we have given several ideas for protecting a portion of your home so that you and your pets can live together more peacefully.  In addition, check out our Pet Guard Plus installation service package.  Keep your home in the best shape possible! 

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Naturally Repel Mosquitos

Mosquitos are a pesky bug that can ruin a wonderful day outdoors.  Deciding on the best product to protect yourself and your children from mosquito bites may feel overwhelming. But what if you need a mosquito repellant when you don’t have the time to get to the store?  Below is an idea that can help with products you may have already in your home. 

This recipe is easy to make and safe to use on children. Children are especially sensitive to harsh chemicals. It is in their best interest to use an organic mixture to repel mosquitos.

What You Will Need:

A small spray bottle

2 oz. Distilled or spring water

20 drops of lavender essential oil

2 oz. witch hazel

Directions:

In the spray bottle add contents. Before each use, shake well. Spray directly on skin and clothing. Use the spray as needed.

Other tips for repelling mosquitos:

To keep mosquitos at bay, plant lavender and cat nip around the yard. These pests do not like the scent of either plant, but they are pleasant for humans!

Tiki torches are great for backyard ambiance. Buy the citronella fuel to further repel mosquitos.

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Happy Fourth of July!

May you have a wonderful Fourth of July! 

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Quality Wall Art Project for Kids

This is a fun and easy project that you can start up with a child – your own, a nephew or niece, grandchild – any child who loves to have fun with art. The best thing is that the art will be worth showing off and hanging! The project that inspired this idea began with a much larger area. 

An individual wanted to paint their basement floor.   Before painting, he made geographic shapes by laying down masking tape first. Then he painted directly over, let the paint dry and then removed the tape. He allowed children to paint the floor with many different colors. Once the tape was removed, there was a work of art that looked like contained chaos! 

This project inspired the below mini art project, ready to be shared with any child who loves to have fun!

What You Will Need:

A canvas, the size of your choosing

Painters or masking tape

Acrylic paint, or finger paint

Paint Brushes, Rollers

Directions:

Place painters or masking tape onto the canvas. You can create a certain pattern or design. We prefer to make art that is not so much planned out as evolving as we go. Either select the color palette for your child, or let them help when choosing what colors to paint with. Once the tape is applied, let your child go to town painting the canvas however they like, or you can guide and help them. Once they are finished, removed the tape. If you remove the tape after the paint dries, some of the paint may come off with the tape. Now a work of art has been born. Hang the masterpiece and repeat!

 

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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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