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SEPTEMBER 2013


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A

h, September. My favorite month. (And it’s not because the kids are back at school!)

My vegetable garden provides an abundance of veggies and fruit, much to the delight of my friends and neighbors. My garden provides a luscious space where we can harvest and chat and marvel at how little seeds can produce so much food. Across the street, the annual job of piling firewood for the winter has begun in earnest. And at the block party last week, the main topic of conversation was the shortening days and cooler nights. We all know what’s coming. The seasons provide stability in our hectic lives. A dependable rhythmic cycle that’s well beyond the reach of human intervention. And that’s a good thing!

How much food will $5 buy?


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SEPTEMBER 2013

INSIDE Decorating With a Personal Style............................... 6 What’s New in Showerheads....................................... 8 Getting Rid of an Old Tree Stump............................... 9 VIDEO: Beware of the ‘Booster Bag’ Scam............... 12 Ask the Experts....................................................... 14 10 Ways to Clear the Clutter..................................... 16 The Anatomy of a Happy Home .............................. 18 How to Design Small Comfy Spaces.......................... 21 Make the Rake a Rack............................................. 24 Who Let the Dog In?................................................ 27 For the Love of Gardening....................................... 30


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around home & Yard

Home is where you can say anything you please, because nobody pays any attention to you anyway.

Joe Moore

Decorating With a Personal Touch Photos makes it personal... Add your favorite photos of family and friends, but streamline your picture frames. Go for variations of a classic silver frame.

Don't be afraid of using color... Add a cashmere throw in your favorite color. It brings vibrancy and luxury to any space.

Incorporate treasures and knick knacks from your travels... It doesn’t need to be a work of art,

oftentimes an unusual item works best. It gives your home a unique and interesting appeal.

Mix and match... Never stick to a "color scheme." Instead, use what you love. Have your grandmother's fur coat or your favorite vintage rug made into a pillow. Vintage textiles go with just about anything and they add an interesting layer.

When in doubt, keep the walls neutral... Go for a pale, warm gray or a true ivory. Let your furniture, accessories and art speak for themselves. With a neutral color you can add vibrancy and excitement with accessories. 


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Be Bold! Add a Statement Wall Looking for a new decor idea for your home? Try a ‘statement wall’... something eye catching but not in an area where there’s already a lot going on. These walls add whimsy and character to a room and presents a happy mood. Check out these four inspiration walls.


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around home & Yard

What’s New in Showerheads? F

rom an invigorating spray that kickstarts the morning to an enveloping waterfall that washes away a long day, today’s showers offer luxurious experiences to meet every desire. Showerheads have become increasingly sophisticated. Whether it’s water conservation, functionality or a spalike experience that is your priority, you can easily customize the experience by mixing and matching different accessories and sprays.

Water conserving design For homeowners looking to conserve water, new showerhead technology is offering a variety of efficient water flows without sacrificing performance. Creating a luxurious spray no longer translates into wasted water. New showerhead designs push water out with greater force, maximizing water flow regardless of water pressure. It’s now possible to save water and energy without sacrificing your shower experience, but you need to do your homework. Not all efficient showerheads have the technology needed to deliver on performance. You’ll want to explore pressureequalizing showerheads and novel spray patterns, each of which can provide optimal performance at flow rates up to 40 percent lower than the traditional style showerheads. When functionality is top of mind, handheld showerheads with slide bar

mounting systems on the wall offer a great solution as they cater to a variety of needs. Slide bar systems are a versatile option because the spray direction is so easy to manipulate. You not only have the ability to pair a wide variety of handheld showerheads with them, but they also cater to diverse heights and accommodate physical limitations. Often paired with a wall- or ceiling-mounted showerhead, handheld showers are particularly useful when washing your hair, rinsing off legs, bathing children or even cleaning the shower.

The H2Oasis If you’re hoping to create a spa-like experience, today’s custom shower systems often combine wall-mounted body sprays, handheld sprayers and high-performance showerheads to transform the shower into a relaxing getaway. For those days when you want to escape and truly wash it all away, custom systems are the ideal shower solution. Adjustable, wall-mounted body sprays added to a shower allow you to direct the water flow in your preferred position to complement the other elements of your shower. Many custom systems offer a variety of styles and finishes that also coordinate with bathroom faucets and accessories to create a cohesive decor. 


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Dealingwith a C

utting down the tree was easy. Now you have to deal with that unsightly stump. Here are a few cost-effective removal tips, as well as professional services, that can rid your yard of that stump.

Cost Effective Removal The roots of the tree will continue to feed the stump. If you pour Epson Salt on the roots and stump, the salt will kill the roots. Rock Salt or “ice cream salt� will also kill the remains of a stump. You may have to cut the stump to the ground, then put the salt on the stump and cover it with dirt, but this should remove the stump. You can buy a product from your farm supply store or coop. This product contains bacteria that will eventually cause the stump to rot or decay. Chopping the stump repeatedly and setting it on fire can kill the stump. Once the stump is on fire, continue adding firewood until the stump is burned away. If the stump is small, chop it repeatedly until it is nearly mush. Leave the stump alone for a few days, and then you can dig the stump up out of the ground. Cut the stump back as far as you can, and cover it with a black plastic feed store bucket.

TREE STUMP You will need to put something on top of the bucket to keep it from blowing off. Keeping light from the stump will keep it from re-sprouting, and the stump will die. If you would like to take a more natural approach to stump removal, start by drilling holes in the stumps. After you drill the holes, fill them with a high nitrogen fertilizer. If you keep the stump moist, the nitrogen will feed the fungi, which naturally decomposes wood. Building a compost pile over the stump will speed up the decomposing process as well. If you are not in a hurry, there is

a more decorative removal option. Hollow out the stumps, fill them with potting soil, and use them as planters. The stumps will last only a few years as you water and fertilize the plants. The stumps will eventually decompose.

Chemical and Professional Removal Caustic Soda (sodium hydroxide) solution will kill a tree stump. This product can be found at any hardware/paint shop. Make a solution of 1 part Caustic Soda and 2 parts water, and pour the solution over the tree stump. You might have to apply the solution 3 or 4 times before the stump is completely removed. You can hire a professional who owns a stump grinder. They will come and grind the stump into sawdust. You can the use the sawdust for mulch. You will need soil to fill in the hole left by the stump.


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A 5-Step ‘Shady Contractor’ Tracking System 1. Was he late for our first meeting? First impressions matter… a lot! When you are hiring a service, any service, the interested party should always be on time. If a contractor doesn’t arrive on time for the first meeting with you, you can bet he won’t be dependable if hired.

2. Did he just say we don’t need a contract?

T

here is no magic trick to select a good contractor; however, there is an effective 5-step tracking system to avoid the bad ones, the ones who can really mess up your life by ruining your remodeling project. The system consists of asking yourself 5 questions as you contact several contractors and talk to them about your remodeling needs. Here are these 5 questions. Write them down or memorize them to have them handy upon meeting a potential contractor:

Red alert! Run! Don’t even bother talking any further to a contractor that tells you he doesn’t need a contract to guarantee his work. Every good contractor will gladly put every detail in writing as much for his sake as for yours.

3. Is he hard to reach? A remodeling project is a complicated activity, no matter the size, and the only way to ensure success is to be able to maintain constant communication with all the parties involved, interior designer, contractors, etc. If you start talking to a contractor and he doesn’t return your calls promptly or answer your emails within 24 hours, you are better off

looking for help somewhere else.

4. How did he react when I asked for references? A good contractor will feel pride in showing his work, thus, he will be more than glad to give you the names of clients he has done work for. If you ask a contractor for references and he gets evasive, maybe you should think twice about hiring him.

5. Is he asking me to pay in advance? Good contractors work with payment schedules, based on completed jobs. They will set everything in writing; establishing dates and amounts to be paid. Never ever, pay a contractor in advance; you never know what you will get for the money. This system works because it is simple; if one or more of the above apply, you are not looking in the right place. Start your search from scratch and wait until you are certain you have found a good contractor, otherwise, you are in for disappointment, high and unnecessary costs, and worst of all, poor results that will mean your home will lose value.


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around home & Yard Time-pressed in the Kitchen?

Rediscover the Pressure Cooker You may recall your mother or even your grandmother talking about using the old-style pressure cookers, sometimes with unexpected results. A pressure cooker uses steam to cook foods. Available in stovetop or electric models, foods and liquids are placed inside a pot that has a pressurized chamber, and the steam transfers heat to the foods. The pressure builds up inside the pot to cook food at a high temperature. This allows the food to retain its moisture and nutritional value. When cooking is complete, the steam is vented using a release valve before the lid is opened. Manufacturers are increasingly taking the guesswork out of pressure-cooking with intuitive features that make it easy to prepare delicious, nutritious meals in a flash.

Beware of the ‘Booster Bag’ Scam

For example, Calphalon’s 6-quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker has a cover that locks on with the touch of a button, and a pop-up pressure indicator that makes it easy to monitor cooking times. The cooker also has a pressure release dial that lets you select from multiple settings for cooking, and to safely release the steam after you’re finished.


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ask an expert

  Vinegar not the best choice   Tiling directly on OSB

vinegar used on it. Over time, vinegar can deteriorate the condition of your grout.

  Lifting up sloping concrete

5. Stone Surfaces - Stone surfaces can be etched and damaged by vinegar. For best results, check with your stone supplier for guidance on the best cleaners. Often, all that is needed is water and a soft cloth to keep your stone looking great. 

  Furniture polish not a necessity   Carpet shrinkage when cleaning

Q

I’ve read that vinegar can clean almost everything. Before I throw out all of my other cleaning products, are there things that vinegar shouldn’t be used on?

A

Diluted vinegar works great on a lot of surfaces. It’s an amazing cleaner. But here are some things that vinegar shouldn’t be used to clean... 1. Hardwood Floors - Vinegar is acidic and will dull and damage the finish on hardwood floors. Opt instead for a hardwood floor cleaner. 2. No Wax Floors - Vinegar’s acidity will take away the shine and sheen here as well. 3. Carpet Odors - Vinegar doesn’t work as well as an enzymatic carpet cleaner. Vinegar might mask the odor, but it won’t eliminate the reason for the odor. 4. Unsealed Grout Grout that hasn’t been sealed, or needs to be resealed should not have

Q

Is it okay to install floor tiles directly on top of a particle board sub-floor? Is there a tile adhesive that won’t damage the wood?

A

Ceramic tile is a beautiful floor material, but it can quickly become troublesome if the installation isn’t done properly. Installing tile over OSB board is not recommended due to possible moisture issues and also because the material can be a little more susceptible to movement than plywood. The OSB should be replaced with 3/4 inch plywood or a plywood underlayment needs to be installed over the OSB. Depending on your application, cement board as an underlayment may also be an option, but check with your tile manufacturer. A ceramic tile installation can be hard work and the last thing you want is for the grout joints to start cracking or tiles loosening a few months after the project is complete. If there is any question in your mind about your sub-floor or the proper tile adhesive to use, consult a tile or floor contractor before starting the job. 


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Q

The front stoop of my home is covered in flagstone, presumably laid over concrete. The flagstone has sunk and now drains towards the house. What is the best way to fix this issue?

A

My guess is that your concrete and flagstone patio has slumped because of underlying voids caused by improperly compacted fill material. Without ripping up the existing patio and installing additional fill, the best solution is hiring a concrete contractor that does mud jacking. Mud jacking is when pressurized concrete grout is injected underneath an existing slab in order to raise the level of the slab’s surface. This process is beyond the abilities of most DIY’ers. When trying to lift a concrete slab, a concrete contractor will core drill several holes in a the slab and then inject pressurized grout through the holes in order to fill the voids beneath the slab. If the slab lacks enough structural rebar, or the contractor injects too much pressurized grout, then there is a chance of cracking the slab, which could mean you would have to replace the slab regardless. Get a concrete contractor to inspect your home’s patio and offer you some potential solutions and cost estimates. 

Q

Most fine furniture will benefit from regular dry dusting using a lambs-wool or microfiber duster. These products attract the dust from the furniture without pitting or scratching the surface. They won’t leave any type of buildup or chemical residue. For oiling/polishing requirements for your piece it’s best to get the advice of the manufacturer. Non-polish methods work well for dusting, without using a polish. 

Q

We have puchased an 8-year old home with carpet that is still in very good condition. I want to clean them, however I’ve heard that carpet cleaning, especially steam cleaning, can cause the carpet to shrink. Is this true?

A

It’s everyone’s worse nightmare. You hire someone to clean your carpet and when they’re done it’s shrunk into a smaller pile. In reality though, this isn’t usually a concern with modern day flooring.

I’m trying to eliminate using needless chemicals around my home. Is it necessary to use furniture polish every time I dust?

Years ago most carpets were made from natural fibers and shrinking was a major concern. Today most carpets are made of synthetic materials, reducing the risk of shrinking to almost zero. However it’s always a good idea to know your carpet type and the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning it.

Furniture polish...it sounds like heaven for furniture. Who wouldn’t love to be shined and polished. But furniture polish is not always a great idea for furniture. There are harmful chemicals—even natural products—that can dull the finish of furniture. Oils in furniture polish can also attract dust and create a buildup over time.

One thing that could cause minimal shrinkage would be an overly wet carpet after it has been cleaned. Experienced companies don’t allow this to happen. Always make sure to hire a reputable company to clean your carpets. 

A


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Top 10

Ways to CLEAR THE CLUTTER TEN QUICK WAYS TO GET RID OF WHAT YOU’VE GOT

A

s you flip through your favorite interior design magazine and wish that the neat and tidy rooms were your own, comfort yourself in knowing that this sleek, stylish look can be attained. By following 10 quick and easy tips to clear out the clutter in your house, you too can have a showcase home.

need. Just because you want something when you buy it doesn’t mean you’ll need it forever. “I have had my stuff in storage for a year and we hardly missed any of it,” said Kelly Porter, owner of Probst Decorating. The moral of the story is simple. “Only buy what you love,” said Porter.

1. Identify clutter hot spots

Start by making a list of all of your trouble spots. Then, choose to do one thing at a time and chip away at it until you have solved the problem, whether it is updating your calendar or creating files to make way for the New Year’s documents. Once you have succeeded, revisit the list and choose something else.

Find where most of your clutter is accumulating and sort through it. Recognize what you will need in the near future and make sure those items are more accessible. This means organization is key. “You need to make sure your tulle skirt is tidy, your mask is magnificent and all costumes are categorized,” said Kay Morrison of the Occasional Wife. You can even go so far as to organize your clothes by theme, color and style.

2. Purge It’s natural to collect knickknacks even though you may not even realize you’re doing so. Sometimes it takes moving to realize how many things you have that you don’t

3. Deal with a little every day

4. Stay focused If you don’t think you need to clear the clutter because you are the only one who sees your home, play makebelieve. “My mother-in-law used to visit me every day at 12 o’clock, and it was a nightmare getting everything straight,” said Anne Teachworth, a couples therapist at the Relationship Center in Metairie. Even after her


Top 10

mother-inlaw stopped coming by, she continued to pretend, which kept her motivation high.

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the drawers or things that keep things separated inside of your drawers,” said Porter. And try to identify a place for things before you buy them. If you don’t have a place for it, don’t make the purchase. Try labeling so if you are storing items in a tub or box, you may want to make a list of everything in it and stick it on the outside so it will be visible.

5. Look at the big8. File things now ger picture This means assessing clutter in all aspects of your life, not just your home, and discarding appropriately. “I do New Year’s deletion where it’s not necessarily things or papers; sometimes it’s behaviors, habits or even people,” said Teachworth. Stopping emotional clutter in your life can make you feel better. Once you are organized, you tend to become a happier and healthier person because you no longer feel overburdened.

“I used to have a slogan for my clients that was ‘Straighten up and file right,’” said Teachworth. This means taking advantage of filing in a smart way. “If you have one drawer for bills, one for letters and one for coupons, you can learn to organize and keep things so they don’t clutter your life,” said Teachworth. You can do this with style. And Morrison suggests boxing up 2013 documents to make way for 2014 using colored folders.

6. Make use of unused space

10. Give it away

“Save time, money and effort by getting your pantry organized with stacking bins and turntables,” said Ginger Ellis of the Occasional Wife. Focus on adding things that help with time management. “Make your stainless steel refrigerator control central again with magnetic clippers and dry erase planners,” said Ellis.

“Who needs 19 chopping knives? You really need five good ones and that’s it,” said Porter. It can be fun to plan a garage sale. Make it easy on yourself by clearly pricing your items and having an extension cord handy so people can plug things in to see if they work. Be sure to cover sprinkler heads or anything that might pose a safety risk so people don’t trip. Another option would be to select your favorite charity and give it all away. 

7. Identify a place for everything “Having tables next to your sofa that have drawers in them so you can put your remotes can help to keep things all in one place,” said Porter. Try to purchase multifunction pieces. “You may want drawers, baskets in

9. Get your kids to help What better way to teach your kids to organize and declutter than by having them help you out? If asking them to go through their rooms first will only elicit groans, have them redecorate the TV room instead. That should get things off to a good start.


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Anatomy of a Happy Home

Real estate website, trul were either married or l features based on what their relationship. Here


lia.com asked 1200 couples who living together to rank the 11 home they thought would best enhance are the results.

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decorating ideas 21 HOW TO CREATE

Small Comfy Spaces BY CHET POURCIAU

T

here can be many reasons you may find yourself in a smaller apartment or home. Young people, just getting started, find living spaces they can afford and this usually means buying or renting a smaller space. Many people who retire choose to downsize and move to a smaller space. You may think this means making sacrifices when it comes to design, but don’t give up hope. You can have a beautiful and functional space no matter what size it is. It is important to plan your design before getting started since a small space presents many challenges. Make sure you are taking advantage of every square foot of your home or apartment. There are several things to consider. First, you want to decide on the benefits of the space and focus on the areas where creative design can have the most impact.

 Color selections are very important. Use light colors to give rooms an airy and serene feel. Consider painting the walls and trim the same color. You will be amazed how this makes the ceiling appear higher. Also, select furniture that is slightly smaller than typical furniture. Using round tables or tables with glass tops will open the space up visually.  Floor to ceiling bookshelves will let you take advantage of floor space and allow you to display many of your treasured items. Do not put doors on your media centers or bookshelves. Every time you add a door you close off a space. And consider removing doors between rooms and just leave the space open.  Add a light colored carpet to a room that has dark floors and place several lamps throughout a room to brighten the space at night. Light can have a profound effect on small spaces.


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decorating ideas

 Many people work from home these days and in a smaller space you want to combine your office with the living room. There are several manufacturers that produce hidea-way office armoires, so at night you just close the doors and your desk becomes a beautiful piece of furniture.  In the bedroom you should

consider the classic Murphy bed which folds up into the wall. During the day this will create a much larger space. For those people living in efficiency apartments this is a great way to combine a bedroom and living room in one room. If you have a traditional bed all is not lost. One of the most difficult things to do in a small space is store valuables safely. Today there are many plastic storage units that are made to slide under beds, so take advantage of this space.  In the bathroom use open shelves and a light colored shower curtain. Solid or dark shower curtains create a barrier that makes the room appear much smaller. Add a larger mirror to the wall that will reflect light and create a feeling of openness.  If you have the luxury of changing the structure of a space you should take out walls and create a loft. If you have a large open space you can use folding walls, providing privacy when needed. These walls can also be moved when needed to create more space.  Using large mirrors throughout your home will make rooms appear larger. The materials you use in your home are also important. Glass, metal, polished wood and reflective items can keep a space light and airy.  If you have windows try to emphasize them and bring the outside light in during the day. Curtains allow you to add a vertical design element to the room that does not take up a lot of space and provides a pleasing frame for your windows.  Small dining rooms can present a challenge. Make sure you have a table that folds down or has leaves that allow you to extend your dining room table when needed. Use smaller chandeliers that do not hang low. A low hanging chandelier in the middle of a small room will make the room feel cramped.  Probably the best advice I can give is to avoid clutter. A smaller space will always appear larger when you keep the design simple! 

To learn more about this topic and other helpful interior tips visit my blog at www.chetpourciaudesign.blogspot.com


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decorating ideas

Oh, for Some Extra Kitchen Storage Space! If you asked any cook what they needed most in their kitchen, their response would be, “more storage”. Well planned cabinetry is one option to help eliminate the clutter, especially in drawers, that can add a little variety and incredible functionality. Whether you need tilt-out bins to store fruits and vegetables or slide-out interior drawers for easy reach, these drawer options are sure to enhance your kitchen experience. 


decorating ideas 25

Make the Rake a Rack


pets at home

27

BY DR. KAREN BECKER

H

ouseholds with pets—particularly active dogs—can be a challenge to keep clean and fresh, but the right materials and tools can make the job a lot easier.

Flooring Carpeting stains easily, is often difficult to clean, and functions as a wall-to-wall trap for pet hair, dander and grime. When choosing flooring, go with a surface that is resilient, stain-proof, and easy to clean and disinfect. Tile, vinyl, laminate, sealed concrete and sealed stone are better options than carpeting. Some pet owners swear by porcelain or ceramic tile with epoxy grout.

Who Let the Dog In? How to have a clean home without banishing your pets

A consideration when choosing flooring is a pet that can’t maneuver well on slippery surfaces—for example, a dog with hip dysplasia or some other disorder that affects movement. Older pets or animals with muscle weakness must have a path of non-skid runners around the house to be able to move safely from room to room. If you have carpet, you can reduce staining and wear by putting small rugs and runners in high traffic areas. The rugs should be easy to vacuum with a powerful vacuum cleaner (for example, small shag rugs are not a good choice, in my experience) and if they’re machine washable, even better. Put down floor mats outside your doors and just inside to catch as much outdoor dirt and muck as possible before it spreads through the house on paws. A good-sized litter mat, as well as large absorbent, rubber-backed mats under pet food and water dishes,


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pets at home

will also help contain mess.

Furniture Many people feel leather furniture is the worst kind to have in a home with pets, because sharp claws can cause scratches and punctures. However, if your pets aren’t allowed on the furniture, leather is great because any pet hair that lands on it is easily wiped away. Semi-aniline leather is a type of leather that has been protected and sealed to make it difficult to puncture and soil. If leather doesn’t work for you ethically or economically, another option is microfiber-covered sofas and chairs. Microfiber is a tight-woven synthetic material that is soil resistant, easy to clean, difficult for pets to tear, and relatively inexpensive. Another type of furniture material that is nearly indestructible (if a bit pricey) is Crypton. Crypton is a synthetic fabric that resists dirt, stains, odors and bacteria. You may have to look around a bit for Crypton furnishings or fabric. You can also slipcover your upholstered furniture to protect it and make it easier to clean. Canvas fabrics are a good choice for this purpose. Another option is to use washable furniture throws draped over your pet’s favorite couch or chair. Small wood tables (coffee and end tables) might not be a good idea if you have a cat who scratches where he shouldn’t, or a frequently drooling dog. Metal, stone, tile and glass are better choices for coffee and accent tables if you’re concerned about pet slobber or claw damage.

dering or dry cleaning window coverings can be a real chore. Better options for both wear and tear and cleaning include wood or faux wood blinds, non-fabric vertical blinds, roller blinds, or the rather deluxe integrated/ between-the-panes blinds. Wall finishes—especially low on the wall—should be easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss are the easiest paint finishes to clean.

A Word on Environmental Toxins Please keep in mind most flooring, furniture and window covering materials are treated chemically, and those chemicals enter your home right along with your new floor, throw rugs, mats, etc. It can be a challenge to combine a desire for a green environment with the need for furnishings that are pet-proof and easy to keep clean. If you aren’t able to avoid toxins with some of your purchases, consider purifying your pet’s air to reduce chemical fumes emitted by new furniture and carpets.

Windows and Walls

Remember, your pets live at ground level and are also likely to spend many more hours lying on upholstered furniture than the human members of the household.

Curtains and drapes attract pet hair, dander and odors. They are also a climbing temptation for kitties. Laun-

You can further reduce the environmental pollutants in your home by using non-toxic cleaning solutions.


pets at home

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TIPS for a Clean Home With Pets T

he fact is, no matter how pet friendly and easy to clean your home is, it will still require planning and consistent daily and weekly effort, especially if you share your life with several furry critters.  Make sure your dog is thoroughly house trained, and your cat has plenty of appropriate scratching surfaces.  Keeping your pets wellgroomed is a must. Brush or comb them daily or several times a week, and bathe them regularly. The less dirt and loose hair on your cat or dog, the less mess on your floors and furniture. Regular nail trims are also a must to prevent damage to flooring and furnishings.  Train your dog to immediately sit on a floor mat each time he comes in from outdoors. This will allow you or another family member to wipe him down, especially his paws. There are dog paw cleaning gloves you can buy specifically for this purpose, or make your own, or

set up a foot soak instead.  Cover all the furniture your pets snooze on with sheets when you’re not expecting company. Just move the sheet out of the way when you want to sit or lie down in that spot, and put it back in place when you get up.  If your pets get up on your bed, cover your comforter or bedspread with a sheet as well. Throwing sheets in the washer and dryer is a lot easier than cleaning your furniture or king size bed furnishings.  Vacuum. A lot. Daily, if possible. Even if you have hard floors and little or no carpeting, the best way to pick up pet hair, dander and dirt is with a vacuum. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, do some research to find the brands most popular with pet owners.  If you have a large home, buy

more than one vacuum. When the equipment you need is handy and doesn’t require lugging up and down stairs, it provides incentive to vacuum more often.  Close off rooms you don’t use regularly, like guest bedrooms. As much as you love your furry companions, why make extra work for yourself by allowing them to lounge around in rooms you don’t even use?  Make sure to thoroughly clean up pet accidents as soon as you find them. Always use a product designed specifically for pet messes—it should contain enzymes that break down organic waste and remove odors. Avoid ammonia-based products when cleaning pet messes or sanitizing litter boxes. Having a clean home that happens to house several pets isn’t mission impossible. Preventing as much mess and destruction as you can and staying on top of routine cleanups will insure your home is always a warm, welcoming place for you, your family (including pets) and guests. 


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in the garden

For the Love of

GARDENING

September tips and

Start your compost

Clear garden debris

Start your compost going by buying a compost bin or building a partially enclosed and easily accessible area for a heap. It is essential to replace the goodness in soil and autumn produces quantities of garden waste that will add invaluable organic richness back into your soil next spring.

Keep weeding; most perennial weeds are susceptible to weedkiller this month and systemic weedkillers will carry on working throughout the winter. Also clear any debris and diseased material from your garden. Pests and diseases that overwinter in your garden will reappear next spring with a vengeance so get rid of them now. Burn diseased material and put the rest of your garden rubbish (apart from woody stems) in the compost.

Remember to add a variety of different materials; spent vegetable plants are ideal but NEVER add diseased or pest-ridden material to your compost heap—it will nurture whatever villain you are trying to eliminate with loving care!

Clean out the greenhouse Once tomatoes and other greenhouse crops are over, give the greenhouse a thorough clean to prevent pests from making a home in that lovely warm environment, ready to leap into action next spring.

Dig clay soil If your soil is heavy clay, start digging it over now whilst it is still relatively dry. Add plenty of organic matter to improve the quality and pea shingle to improve the drainage. It can be left in a pretty rough state over the winter


in the garden

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gardening maintenance

when the cold will break the lumps down, making spring planting infinitely easier!

Watering Should September turn into an Indian summer, remember to keep watering thoroughly once or twice a week rather than little and often. Containers and hanging baskets need watering every day. For recently planted large shrubs or trees, leave a hose trickling around the base for an hour. The same goes for established plants in dry periods—camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and hydrangeas will abort next season’s flowers if they get too dry.

Birds Do put out food to help birds build up their reserves for winter. Birds need fresh water for bathing and drinking, especially during warm, dry spells, so keep supplies plentiful and regularly changed. Throw out mouldy food on bird tables and remember that birds cannot digest milk—it can kill them.

Ensure trees or shrubs planted in the last couple of years on lawns or in areas of rough grass have a circle of clear earth around them—this MUST be kept clear or grass will prevent essential moisture getting through. Mulching with bark or compost will help.

Planting With the ideal planting conditions of autumn (warm moist soil), now is the time to plant container grown shrubs, trees, fruit bushes, perennials and bulbs. The key to successful planting is to water in well. Soak the rootball in a bucket until no air bubbles come to the surface, dig the planting hole, fill with water and allow to drain away. Place the plant in the hole, fill with soil, firm gently and water well with a watering can—this will give the plant a huge advantage over one planted with a dry rootball in a dry hole and watered only on the surface.

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arden g HOME Main Street

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Empowering women and children.

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