Home & Garden Decorator 13

Page 1

home garden

D E C O R AT O R 12

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CLOSET

18

THE DRIP COFFEE POT- GETTING AWAY FROM THE POD

24

KEEP CALM AND AQUARIUM ON

26

HOME WARRANTIES ARE THEY WORTH THE COST?

THE HISTORY OF THE

BIRDHOUSE

Spring 2019

1


AD

2

home garden

D E C O R AT O R


AD

Spring 2019

3


Contents

28

Over the centuries baskets and clay pottery were used as the initial birdhouses in Europe while birch bark was used in North America. Song birds that use tree cavities are not capable of creating their own nesting cavities because their beaks are specialized for hunting insects or gathering seeds.

06

08

10

12

14

16

18

19

20

24

26

28

30

GROWING TOMATOES THE DELECTABLE FRUIT

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CLOSET

THE DRIP COFFEE POT- GETTING AWAY FROM THE POD

22 g n i n a e Cl BLEACH FREE SPRING

4

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

EASY NO-SEW CURTAINS

ROASTED TOMATOES STUFFED WITH SPINACH AND MOZZARELLA

DEVILED EGGS THREE WAYS

KEEP CALM AND AQUARIUM ON

HISTORY OF THE BIRDHOUSE

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE

DECKING THE WALLS

YOU’VE SURVIVED THE MOVE . . . NOW WHAT?

HOME WARRANTIES ARE THEY WORTH THE COST?

STRAWBERRY LEMON EASTER CAKE


home garden

D E C O R AT O R

LETTER from the Editor

Spring is here, so comes green leaves on the trees, and budding flowers. A time for rejuvenation, renewal and of course, spring cleaning. Don't give up on your dead plants, they still might have some life in them. Last year, after the last frost of the year, I found a dead hydrangea in a pot on my rear deck. We had several hard freezes and even snow, which was mostly unheard of in the south. I moved the dead plant aside intending to throw it away to reuse the pot. A couple of weeks into the spring, greeen leaves sprouted, a few more weeks were followed by beautiful full hydrangeas. A blessing, new life came from something I thought was gone forever. This gave me a new outlook on my plants. I'm looking forward to standing watch in hopes of new blooms and new life.

Executive Publishers Greg and Suzanne Fox Fox Print and Creative Publishing Managing Editor Suzanne Polk Fox Copy Editor Chad Ruiz Contributing Writers Shannon Magee Michelle Fouchi Esneault Kai Bragg Dina Zelden Julie Etter Creative Director Dianne Waller Design Tra Pham Web Claire Thomas

Suzanne Fox

Š 2019 Fox Print and Creative Publishing, New Orleans, LA All rights reserved Printed in the USA by Fox Print Services (igofox.com) I-13, V5

AD

Home Garden Decorator is a bi-annual magazine that is a resource for readers in your community for home decor inspiration, creative DIY projects, gardening tips, home selling tips, product reviews and much more. From gardening to real estate, this magazine has something for everyone! We would love to hear of your ideas and projects to share with our readers. If you would like to submit a project, recipe or idea, send pictures and instructions to editor@hgdecorator.com

Spring 2019

5


GROWING

TOMATOES THE DELECTABLE FRUIT

BY MICHELLE FOUCHI ESNEAULT

N

othing says summer like a ripe, juicy, home-grown tomato. No matter what area of the country you live, or how much real estate you have, anyone can grow these delectable fruits. Yes, they are a fruit, but don’t let that stop you from slicing them up into your salads or chopping them to make salsa. Any way you prepare them, they are a delicious treat and so easy to grow. First, tomatoes love heat. Start them inside in seed-starting trays or

recyclable pots filled with a seed starter mix six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area which you can easily find by consulting The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Keep the seeds moist and in a warm location such as the top of your refrigerator or on a heat mat. You can transplant your seedlings when they are three inches tall and the soil warms after the last spring frost. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), plant hardiness zones eight and nine can start as early as mid-January. Colder climates, USDA zones three and four, should wait until midMarch or early April. There are thousands of tomato varieties. How do you decide what to plant? In areas that winter comes early and the growing season is short,

you want a variety that matures in less than 70 days. In warmer climates you want tomatoes bred to tolerate heat. These mature in as many as 90 days. Tomatoes come in red, green, pink, yellow, white and even purple and range in size from small cherry tomatoes to large beefsteak. Seed catalogs and garden stores will have all the information you need. Good varieties for cool or cold climates include Black Prince, Celebrity, Early Cascade, Glacier, Husky Gold, Manitoba, Northern Exposure, Polar Beauty, Russian Red, and Yellow Pear. Warmer climates get the best results from varieties that love hot weather. Amish Paste, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Creole, Heatmaster, Lumpy Red, Mountain Magic, Sungold are some of the recom-

Tomatoes come in red, green, pink, yellow, white and even purple and range in size from small cherry tomatoes to large beefsteak. 6

home garden

D E C O R AT O R


mended varieties, but check with your agricultural center or your local college Agricultural Center for the best varieties for your area. After you decide what you’re going to plant, you need to decide how you’re going to plant them. If you have a large sunny yard, you can plant your transplants right in the ground. Tomatoes require well-drained soil amended with aged manure or compost. They need at least six hours of sunlight a day and in warm climates do best with light afternoon shade. Pinch off the lower branches and plant so the remaining lower leaves are just above the soil. Place cages or stakes while transplanting to avoid injuring the roots later. Water about two inches a week, avoiding getting the plants wet as much as possible. In areas where the soil is poor, or if you have trouble working close to the ground, raised gardens may be the way to go. You can make the beds yourself or there are many commercial products to choose from. Plant your transplants in raised beds

Tomat well-drain oes require ed so with aged il amended man or compost ure .

much like you would in the ground. One of the benefits of using raised beds is that you can plant closer together which yields more tomatoes and less weeds. Pots and planters are a great option for those without suitable yards. Use containers with drainage holes

that are big enough for the cultivar you choose. Fill it with high quality potting soil, setting one plant per pot. Place in a sunny location on a patio or anywhere that gets six hours of sun. Containers need to be watered more often, sometimes twice a day during very hot periods.

AD Spring 2019

7


EASY

NO-SEW CURTAINS BY SHANNON MAGEE

t der abou n o w r e v E bolts of all those e seen in ’v u o y p a burl ite crafts r o v a f r you tore? supply s

T

HE NEXT TIME YOU’RE STARING AT YOUR BARE WINDOWS, WISHING YOU HAD A NEW LOOK, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT IT’S BOTH EASY AND QUICK TO MAKE NEW CURTAINS. NO MAGIC, NO OVERNIGHT DELIVERY - YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF, AND YOU DON’T EVEN NEED A SEWING MACHINE! HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR TWO STYLES OF SIMPLE CURTAINS THAT WILL FRESHEN UP YOUR SPACE: • Clip-style curtain rings • Scissors • Iron • Measuring tape

{

TEA-RIFFIC KITCHEN CURTAINS For a smaller window, use two matching tea towels. With all the fun patterns and colors out there, you

home garden

 Although brand-new tea towels normally have a bit of crispness in them, you may want to run a hot iron over them before hanging.  Using curtain ring clips, hang the curtains from the rod by the hem. Tea towels already have finished hems, sturdy washable fabric, and are easy to launder and re-hang.  If your curtains are a bit too long, simply trim and hem, or just hem them with your fusible bonding web and your iron.

{

• Fusible bonding web

8

can easily find something to match or enhance your current style. Bonus: unexpectedly lush details like embroidery and appliqués are everywhere.

D E C O R AT O R

BEAUTIFUL BURLAP PANELS Ever wonder about all those bolts of burlap you’ve seen in the fabric section at your favorite crafts supply store? Although it’s been popular for table settings, burlap also makes fantastic draperies. It’s durable, has a great texture, and it’s quite affordable. Here’s how to make a panel simply re-peat the process if you’ll be

putting more than one up.  Select a color you like - due to its popularity, there’s a rainbow of choices out there - and length you’ll need for your windows. Burlap comes in 48” and 60” widths, normally - a great panel size.  Determine your yardage requirements- it’s easy. First, measure the length of your window from the curtain rod clips to the floor. If you want a bit of a fabric puddling on the floor, add a couple of inches. Now add 3 1/2 inches for the top hem. If you’d like to hem the bottom, add another 2 1/2 inches. Trim your fabric to this length.  Iron the top hem down, using a steam iron - this is so you’ll get a sharp edge to work with. Repeat this if you’ll be adding a bottom hem.  Using your fusible bonding web, tack down the bottom hem. You’ll only need to do this for the bottom.  Clip the top hem that you’ve ironed down to the curtain rings. Behold! Textural interest and a whole new window look!


AD

AD Spring 2019

9


{

LTERING THE LANDA SCAPE There is a wide array of choices when it comes to size and shape combinations. Knowing how you will use the pool will help determine your choice. Another factor to consider is the size of your yard. Do your research. Attend home and garden or pool and patio shows. Gather some brochures and check out photos in magazines to see what appeals to you. What will be the design of the surrounding area? Where will guests lounge? All these things need to be planned out ahead of time. Many pool experts recommend having a soil test to be sure ground conditions are optimal. It is also a good idea to brush up on zoning and building laws in your area.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TAKE

e g n u l P e h T BY DINA ZELDEN

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE PLUNGE AND ADD A POOL TO YOUR HOME? SAVE YOURSELF HEADACHES AND MINIMIZE STRESS BY CAREFULLY CONSIDERING YOUR OPTIONS BEFORE YOU BEGIN.

{

LIFESTYLE CHANGE Owning a pool can be a major lifestyle change. You need to know exactly why you want a pool in the first place. Take the opinion of all family members into account. Who’s on board and who’s not? How do you envision using your pool? Are you a lap swimmer wanting the convenience of a home workout or will you be the hangout spot for the neighborhood kids? Pool maintenance can be quite a chore. Will you take on the job or pay someone to do it?

10

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

{

MAJOR INVESTMENT Installing a pool is an investment of time and money. It will significantly change the resale value of your home. How will you finance the cost? Most consumers use home equity accounts, lines of credit or dip into their savings. Pool construction is not the time to cut corners. Know your budget but expect to pay more. As with most major projects, there are often unexpected costs for which you should be prepared. Find a professional who makes you feel comfortable. Get recommendations from friends and neighbors then meet with them to determine if they are the right fit. You will be relying on them to help make many decisions, both big and small. A good rapport will make the process more pleasant. Whether you are looking for family fun, exercise, or poolside relaxation, a pool can be a welcome addition to your home. Knowing what you want, how you will finance it, and working with the right professional will ensure an exciting project that will enhance your leisure time for years to come.

Installing a pool is an investment of time and money. It will significantly change the resale value of your home.


AD

Spring 2019

11


t e s o l C

THINKING OUTSIDE THE DINA ZELDEN

DREAMING OF A BEAUTIFUL, ORGANIZED CLOSET WITH A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE? FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO GET AND KEEP YOUR CLOSET IN TIP-TOP SHAPE.

1.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER Any closet organization project should begin with a purging session. Start by tossing items that are showing signs of wear and tear then move to pieces which you own in multiples. Donate items which you like but haven’t worn it in one season. Now, with what you have chosen to keep, group like things together in a way that make sense for

you. You can organize by occasion, garment type, or season to name a few.

2.

MAXIMIZE SPACE There are several tricks to getting the most of the space you have. One unusual but effective secret is to hang the main rod slightly higher. Portable drawers can be placed under blouses, tops, and skirts. Hang shoes on the door to keep shelves open

for other items. Consider attaching a towel bar to empty wall space as a convenient place to hang scarves, belts, and various accessories.

3.

UNIFORMITY Go for uniformity in organizational tools to prevent visual clutter. Purchase the same kind and color whether it is hangers, bins, or baskets. This will go a long way in presenting a clean, organized space.

4.

THINK “OUTSIDE THE CLOSET” When you are looking for organizational tools, look beyond your typical closet items. Office, bath, and craft organizers can be used in unique ways. For

12

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

instance, shower hooks make it easy to hang purses from a rod. Thread racks make great jewelry hangers and magazine files work well as holders for clutch purses and wallets. Look for new ways to use existing storage items in your closet. Bulky sweaters, for example, can be rolled and stored in hanging shoe keepers.

5.

A ROOM OF ITS OWN Finally, when you are done, add some pizzazz. Treating your closet like other rooms in your house helps you to respect the space. Try adding a rug to define the space and proper lighting to help find items. Adding a mirror and some decor, like a pretty picture, will motivate you to keep it organized.

We wear 20% of th own 80% of the tim e clothes we e. The re hang in our closet st just s.


AD

Spring 2019

13


ROASTED TOMATOES STUFFED WITH SPINACH AND MOZZARELLA INGREDIENTS • 6 medium tomatoes • olive or avocado oil • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning • 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

14

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

• fresh basil - chopped (at least six leaves, more if desired) • chopped shallots for garnish DIRECTIONS  Cut the top off each tomato and set aside. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2-in. thick shell. Invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain.  Add olive or avocado oil to skillet. Add spinach; sauce 10 minutes.  In a bowl, combine bread, parmesan cheese, basil and

Italian seasoning. Set aside 1/4 cup for topping. Add spinach to remaining Parmesan mixture.  Line baking dish with parchment and place tomatoes in pan and sprinkle tomato shells with garlic salt and pepper; stuff with spinach mixture, then mozzarella slice.  Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over tomatoes. Replace the top of the tomato, bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned.


AD

Spring 2019

15


g n i k c e D

The Walls BY SHANNON MAGEE

Need a little bit of pattern in your home? Wallpaper is back, and you can use it in ways that go far beyond entry halls and kitchen walls. With bold designs, the very latest in design trends, and easy application, wallpapers today are one of your best secret weapons for updating your home. 16

home garden

D E C O R AT O R


HERE ARE 4 UNEXPECTED AND FABULOUS USES THAT WILL HAVE YOU FLIPPING THROUGH THOSE SAMPLE BOOKS!

{

MAKE YOUR OPEN SHELVING POP Installing wallpaper behind your existing open shelves can bring out the best of your items on display, even when it uses a pattern. Select neutral shades like gray to show off your pottery, or consider a deeper hue with some texture to provide a background that would make a gallery proud.

{

LIVEN UP YOUR STAIRS When you apply wallpaper to your stair risers, you get big impact with low commitment. It’s quite possible that adding something unexpected to this overlooked spot can put that extra spring in

your step. Add a couple of coats of clear varnish to protect against smudges and shoes, and you’ve just made quite an impression. For even more fun, embrace the bold bohemian trends and mix up the patterns. Go floral with mixed blossoms, or blend stripes and solids.

{

FRAME IT UP Chances are, you’ve looked at some wallpaper patterns and loved them, but thought they would be too much for a whole wall. Now you can admire that gorgeous look that caught your eye­— but con-trol the size. This works best for those big patterns that have a lot going on. All you

need to do is decide on the wallpaper itself—and this could be the hardest but most enjoyable part! Apply the wallpaper to foam board, and pop it into your frames. This treatment looks great in sets, by the way.

{

DOORS YOU’LL ADORE Another easy project with a big visual impact is to cover an interior door

with wallpaper. In a small room, this splash of color and pattern can provide the accent wall that you just don’t have. Paneled doors look especially sharp with this addition—the recessed panels will really show off the pattern—but don’t be afraid to use your roll of paper on a single panel design. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in your space.

Wallpaper dates back. to 200 B.C China!

Whether you’re a wallpaper fan from way back, or you’re just intrigued with the idea of the transformation that a new roll of paper can make in your home space, have some fun with our easy ideas, and enjoy your new style! Spring 2019

17


THE DRIP COFFEE POT-GETTING AWAY { FROM THE POD

consumers are rethinking just how much a quick, convenient cup is worth.

BY DINA ZELDEN THERE IS NO DOUBT AMERICANS HAVE A LOVE AFFAIR WITH COFFEE. THOMAS JEFFERSON DESCRIBED IT AS THE “FAVORITE DRINK OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD”. THE MAJORITY OF CUPS ARE BREWED AT HOME, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL COFFEE ASSOCIATION’S COFFEE DRINKING TRENDS REPORT. WHEN IT COMES TO HOME BREWING, THERE IS A DEBATE AMONG COFFEE AFICIONADOS AND AMATEURS ALIKE- DRIP OR POD? IN MAKING A DECISION, CONSUMERS NEED TO CONSIDER THREE MAJOR FACTORS.

{

QUALITY There are a few reasons aficionados tend to steer clear of the pods. First, the grinds themselves are less than fresh. Coffee begins to lose its flavor and aroma as soon as it is ground. Vacuum-sealing requires waiting for grinds to be packaged, typically about two weeks after grinding. This allows carbon dioxide to be released so the pods do not build up pressure, possibly

causing them to explode. Another factor determining flavor is the temperature of the water. Pod brewers do not reach even the minimum temperature recommended for a quality cup of coffee. Lastly, the proportion of water to grinds is relatively high, resulting in a watery taste.

{

PRICE One cup of pod-brewed coffee costs 66 cents on av-

In 2017, U.S. consumers spent over $3 billion on singleserve coffee.

18

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

erage while that same cup from a drip pot costs only 28 cents. Depending on your choice of brands and how many cups you brew per day, switching to a drip coffee pot could save you up to $600 per year. This doesn’t even take into account the initial cost of the machine. A no-frills drip pot will cost about $25, while a basic model of the pod version will set you back $100 or more. Some

ENVIRONMENT Pod brewing has increased steadily since 2005 however, many consumers are beginning to consider the impact on the environment. Those little plastic pods cannot be easily recycled. Some environmental groups estimate that the amount of pods already in landfills could wrap around the planet ten times. While a recyclable pod is being developed, eco-friendly opponents say it may be too little, too late. One fix many pod brewing fans have discovered is the recyclable pod. It saves money, ensures fresh grinds, and helps eliminate waste. While there are pros and cons to both brewing methods, it seems the debate will rage on, as long as there are late nights, early mornings and bleary-eyed java drinkers.


DEVILLED EGGS THREE WAYS

I once met a chef who prepared 100 different kinds of devilled eggs. I can’t imagine 100 different ingredients to add to devilled eggs, but it proves the versatility of this staple. › DEVILLED EGGS:  6 boiled eggs, cooled in ice water for an hour (for each recipe). If making all three recipes, use 18 eggs  2 tablespoons mayonnaise per recipe  2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard per recipe  1 tablespoon sweet relish per recipe  1 tablespoon dill relish per recipe  1 tablespoon chopped pimento per recipe  1 tablespoon chopped basil per recipe  3 slices bacon – fried crispy and crumbled  2 tablespoons chopped shallots  1 tablespoon Tobasco or hot pepper jelly  1 tablespoon finely chopped apple  Paprika for garnish  Spicy season-all  Dash of salt  White pepper › RECIPE ONE: Use mayonnaise, brown mustard, sweet relish, dill relish, pimento, top with bacon and shallots, season with spicy season all.

› RECIPE TWO: Use mayonnaise, brown mustard, dill relish, pimento, chopped apple, top with bacon and shallots, season with dash of salt and white pepper. › RECIPE THREE: Use mayonnaise, brown mustard, basil, hot sauce and top with Tobasco or hot pepper jelly, season with dash of salt.

AD

To make the best devilled eggs, first you must boil the perfect egg. Anyone can boil an egg, something most take for granted.... but knowing how to do it perfectly is the key.  Place eggs in your pot before adding cold water to keep them from cracking.  Place pan over high eat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and cover. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain and place in bowl with ice water. This prevents the yolks from turning green around the edges. For easy peeling, crack the eggs slightly and leave in ice water for an hour.

Spring 2019

19


YOU’VE SURVIVED THE MOVE . . .

NOW WHAT? BY JULIE ETTER

T

he house hunting is done, the boxes are all in, and you are in your new home! All is perfect, right? It will be, but may not be just yet! In reality, the next chapter has just begun, and you want to write it carefully. Settling into your new house can be an exciting experience, but don't overlook the necessary steps to make it "HOME." Here are a few

quick steps to making that house a home to ensure everyone is on board with setting up the space to best accommodate your family. ›› Let the children have a say in some décor—perhaps it's a paint color for their room, or input on the wall where the couch will be positioned. Your children’s involvement will add a delightful personal touch. It's now HOME.

›› Offer some consistency. Yes, it's a new house and fresh start, but did you have a staple painting in the last eating area? Was the snack cabinet set up a certain way? You will find there are natural things you do for your set-up (e.g., glasses go in the cabinet above the dishwasher), but don't overlook the chance to create consistency in areas that are seemingly insignificant to you because they offer

If this ho is bigger me , smaller , better or w o r s e , it's your s! C new begi elebrate nnings.

20

home garden

D E C O R AT O R


familiarity to the children. ›› Be efficient and get settled as soon as possible. This is easier said than done. You are exhausted from the move. Oh, and you still have jobs and a family to take care of. However, the sooner the house is settled (you know, the "main" stuff . . . your box of high school trophies that has followed you for years can stay unpacked), the sooner the kids will acclimate. Children are resilient; the sooner they can depend on stability in their surroundings, the sooner they can get comfortable. ›› Have a party! Big or small. Celebrate the new home. Regardless of why you moved and if this home is bigger, smaller, better or worse, it's yours! Celebrate new beginnings. Also, make a specific point of paying attention to the things your kids point out to guests—you will find they will be very open while giving a tour. Take note of the positives you can further accentuate or the "negatives" you could improve

based on their perception. Finally, and most importantly, give yourself a pat on the back. You are on the other end of the move and despite the late nights, details, and boxes, you are in. Your kids know how hard you worked; time to enjoy with them . . . after you give yourself another cup of coffee!!

Julie Etter is a professional, national award-winning realtor and former middle-school teacher based in Wrentham, MA. She is the author of Lily and Andrew Are Moving (Hardcover, $14.95; Kindle, $11.99), published by JT Publications, LLC. For more information, visit www.treehousebuddies.com

AD Spring 2019

21


• Get rid of mold in the bathroom with one-part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water. Spray on mold, wait one hour then rinse. • Hydrogen peroxide disinfects and it has a mild bleaching effect. Use a halfcup in your laundry to make your whites bright.

g n i n a C le

• Mix a few drops of anti-bacterial and anti-viral tea tree or thyme essential oil with warm water and spray to disinfect and clean.

BLEACH FREE SPRING

A

BY MICHELLE FOUCHI ESNEAULT

s the weather warms up, many of us are thinking about spring cleaning our home. Traditionally when we disinfect, we use chlorine bleach, but studies have found it bad for your health. The Environmental Protection Agency rates chlorine bleach as a highly toxic chemical that by law must be marked as a poison. Exposure to such indoor pollutants can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, damage to the nervous system, as well as cause symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illnesses and create long term health problems. Yet, we still use this harmful disinfectant because it does kill dangerous bacteria including staphylococcus, streptococcus, E coli and salmonella as well as viruses that cause the flu and the common cold.

22

home garden

There is a better way using natural ingredients. • The International Journal of Food Microbiology states that baking soda kills viruses. It also deodorizes and cuts through grease and grime. Use it with a little water to scrub surfaces, or, for serious disinfectant power, scrub with a mixture of a half-cup baking soda with a teaspoon of castile soap and a half-teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide on a wet surface, rinsing thoroughly when done. • If you’re concerned with bacteria, use anti-bacterial soap and water to clean just about anything. • Lemon juice destroys most household bacteria. Rub a slice of lemon on your wood or plastic cutting board to clean and disinfect the surface. Let sit ten minutes, then rinse. It will also fight mold and mildew. • White vinegar mixed

D E C O R AT O R

half and half with water cuts grease and gets rid of soap scrum. Just spray, let sit several minutes, then wipe away. At full strength it can fight mold and mildew. It’s also a great disinfectant for countertops other than granite or marble.

• An excellent all-purpose cleaner is one-half cup vinegar and a fourth cup baking soda in a half gallon of water. Non-toxic homemade cleaning products can be just as effective against germs and dirt in your home. With just a few all-natural ingredients, your home will be sparkling in no time.

AD


AD

Spring 2019

23


KEEP CALM AND AQUARIUM ON BY DINA ZELDEN

W

aterfalls, babbling brooks, ocean waveshumans have a natural fascination with water. Aquariums are a great way to bring a bit of water indoors. Do you notice a sense of calm when you gaze at colorful fish swimming in a beautifully decorated tank? Aquariums can enhance your life with several benefits for both mind and body. Aquariums can improve the health of all ages. The modern pace of life has many of us stressed and anxious. Spending time near an aquarium can have a calming effect. This can be helpful for hyperactive children. It can also help lower blood pressure and improve the mood of those suffering from anxiety. Aquariums

have been shown to improve the appetite of Alzheimer’s patients, while reducing aggressive behavior. Have you ever wondered why many medical and dental offices have an aquarium in the waiting room? Studies have found that patients who watched fish while waiting for their procedure, required less pain medication. Fish may not be the interactive equivalent of a dog or cat but helping to maintain an aquarium can teach children responsibility and encourage caretaking qualities. Like other pets, you need to consider your schedule and lifestyle. Keeping an aquarium clean and caring for aquatic life takes time and money. Temperature and water chemistry changes take place quickly in a small tank. A larger one will be

Spending time near an aquarium can have a calming effect. This can be helpful for hyperactive children.

24

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

more forgiving of mistakes, so if you are just starting out, experts recommend getting at least a 10-gallon tank. With its smooth glass and metal, an aquarium makes a great addition to modern dĂŠcor. It can be a conversation piece in the family or living

room, however, you may consider other places in the home as well. An aquarium in the bedroom can help you relax and be a sleep inducer. Aquariums have been shown to increase productivity, so you may want to place one in your home office. It is a common feng shui practice to have an aquarium in your space. The Chinese believe that placing a fish tank somewhere in your house will bring financial good fortune and wealth. Aquariums require a small amount of money to set up. Once you learn the basics you can enjoy setting up a beautiful scene and adding lots of colorful fish. Think about which room in your home will be the best place for you to enjoy the fish tank, then sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

AD


AD

AD Spring 2019

25


E S HOAM NTIE

ARTHEYRWORTH THE COST? WARE

W

BY KAI BRAGG

hen it comes to buying a home, insuring your new property against potential damage is essential. While, the purchase of a comprehensive home insurance policy can help provide protection for many aspects of your home, a home insurance policy alone will likely not provide total coverage. Despite the added cost in the short-term, the addition of a home warranty to your existing home insurance policy can help save money in the long run. HOME INSURANCE Although not a legal requirement of owning your own home, the purchase of a home insurance policy is a smart idea. Home insurance policies predominately cover unexpected damages to the structure of your home, resulting from events such as natural disasters and vandalism. Be sure to research your individual policy thoroughly, as not all circumstances are covered. A home insurance policy can really help the frantic homeowner in times of need; however, home insurance does not cover normal wear and tear of appliances and household systems. The most frequent and costly

26

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

home repairs, such as the replacement of an oven or air-conditioning unit, can be covered by a home warranty. For more thorough coverage of household appliances and systems, consider coupling your home insurance policy with a home warranty. HOME WARRANTIES First-time homebuyers are often surprised by what their home insurance policy will not cover. Helping to fill the gaps left uncovered by an insurance policy, home warranties can be well worth the cost. Focusing on replacement of household appliances and systems damaged through normal wear and tear, home warranties can extend protection to some of the most heavily used household fixtures. With coverage on everything from roof replacement to plumbing issues, home warranties can help provide added financial security and peace of mind to the homeowner. Coverage may vary greatly from plan to plan, so it is crucial that you select one that highlights the areas in which you need added protection. QUALITY COVERAGE Not all home warranties provide

the same quality of coverage, so, be sure to thoroughly research each option. Take care to select your plan wisely, and ensure that it not only extends coverage to all necessary items, but also, that it supplies replacement fixtures and appliances of equivalent quality. Some home warranties may only offer to replace your fixtures and appliances with the most basic models. Although a particular plan may appear to include everything on your list, it’s often worth taking a second look. When it becomes necessary to replace the family oven, you don’t want to be surprised with a downgrade. COST COMPARISON To better outline the potential merits of a good home warranty plan, it can be helpful to look at the numbers. On average, a basic home warranty ranges from around $350 - $600 a year, but can cost hundreds more depending on the need for additional coverage. Consider this as compared with the cost of a replacement fixture or appliance. Typically, a new refrigerator can range from $500 - $1500 and up. By selecting a comprehensive home warranty plan that provides coverage and replacement of your specific make and model, the purchase of your new refrigerator may be completely covered. Taking into account the balance between coverage and ongoing expense is essential when choosing a plan. TAKE AWAY For most people, home warranties are worth the cost. Buying a home can be expensive, and it is crucial that new homeowners understand where it is safe to cut costs. While a home warranty plan may seem an unnecessary additional cost, purchasing the right warranty now can save you a lot of money on major repairs in the future. When deciding to purchase a home warranty, research what you need covered, weigh your options carefully and find a plan that works well for your investment.

ten ers are of y u b e m o eh surance First-tim at their home in by wh r. surprised licy will not cove po


AD

Spring 2019

27


HISTORY OF THE

BIRDHOUSE

B

irds are looking for nesting cavities in which to build their nest. Song birds that use tree cavities are not capable of creating their own nesting cavities because their beaks are specialized for hunting insects or gathering seeds. In an undisturbed ecosystem songbirds such as wrens, chickadees and nuthatches look for tree cavities created by other birds such as woodpeckers. While we normally think of birdhouses as a way to protect nature

28

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

and increase the amount of birds in our area, that was not always the case. Birdhouses in some places in Europe were used initially as a trap to capture eggs and even birds. A nest box, also spelled nestbox, is a man-made enclosure provided for animals to nest in. Nest boxes are most frequently utilized for birds, in which case they are also called birdhouses or a birdbox/bird box, but some mammalian species may also use them. Placing nestboxes or roosting boxes may also be used to help maintain populations of particular

species in an area. The nest box was invented by the British conservationist Charles Waterton in the early 19th century to encourage more birdlife and wildfowl on the nature reserve he set up on his estate. Nest boxes are getting more attention because industrialization, deforestation and other human activities since the mid-20th century have caused severe declines in birds' natural habitats, introducing hurdles to breeding. A nest box can help prevent bird extinction. Birdhouses have been part of Western culture for hundreds of years in both North America and Europe. Over the centuries baskets and clay pottery were used as the initial birdhouses in Europe while birch bark was used in North America. The first use of man-made birdhouses in history was around the 15th - 16th century.


{

GENERAL CONSTRUCTION Nest boxes are usually wooden, although the purple martin will nest in metal. Some boxes are made from a mixture of wood and concrete, called woodcrete. Ceramic and plastic nestboxes are not suitable. Original Nest boxes were made from untreated wood with an overhanging, sloped roof, a recessed floor, drainage and ventilation holes, a way to access the interior for monitoring and cleaning, and had no outside perches which could assist predators. Boxes may either have an entrance hole or be open-fronted. Some nest boxes can be highly decorated and complex, sometimes mimicking human houses or other structures.

{

BIRD NEST BOX CONSTRUCTION The diameter of the opening in a nest-box has a very strong influence on the species of birds that will use

the box. Many small birds select boxes with a hole only just large enough for an adult bird to pass through. This may be an adaptation to prevent other birds from raiding it. The size of the nest box also affects the bird species likely to use the box. Very small boxes attract wrens and treecreepers and very large ones may attract ducks and owls. Seasonally removing old nest material and parasites is important if they are to be successfully re-used. Placement of the nest box obviously is also significant. Some birds prefer their nest box to be at an optimum height. For many birds orientation relative to the sun is of importance with many birds preferring an orientation away from direct sun and sheltered from the prevailing rain.

Original nest boxes were made from untreated wood with an overhanging, sloped roof

The nest box was invented by the British conservationist Charles Waterton in the early 19th century to encourage more birdlife and wildfowl on the nature reserve

AD


y r r e b w StraLEMON

EASTER CAKE

INGREDIENTS • 1 Box strawberry cake mix - bake as directed • 1 Box lemon cake mix - bake as directed • 2 containers vanilla butter-cream icing • 1 container of decorating icing for flowers or purchase sugar flowers from craft store. Decorating icing is more stiff than regular butter-cream icing, which is required for making flowers. • Candied eggs

• Sprinkles • paste food coloring • piping bags to make flowers • 127 Decorating tip for piping bag • piping nail for flowers • turntable for decorating cake This is a four layer cake that can be baked ahead of time by freezing the layers as they are done. Use food coloring paste to make the pink and yellow icing colors.

This semi-homemade cake will please your pallet and decor this Easter! Easy to make and put together, this beautiful spring-time cake will impress your family and friends.

30

home garden

D E C O R AT O R

DECORATING TIPS:  It is easier to decorate a frozen cake.  Always start with a crumb coat. Once the layers are stacked, trim around the outside to make layers even, then start with a thin layer of icing all over cake. Let icing dry before spreading the final layer of icing.  Once final layer of icing is applied, wait one hour, then using a plain paper towel or cheesecloth, place on the cake to smooth the icing. Do not place on wet icing.  Once the icing is smooth to your liking, go back with a decorating layer to create the effect you desire.  Use flavored buttercream between layers. If you choose to add fresh fruit, keep in mind the finished cake must be refrigerated and must be served promptly for freshness.  There are tutorials on youtube with stepby-step instructions and demonstrations on making buttercream flowers if you find the written instructions too difficult. TO MAKE BUTTERCREAM FLOWERS:  Divide the container of decorating icing into three or four batches, one for each desired color. Mix small amounts of food coloring paste into each batch until the desired color is achieved.  Cut 2.5 inch squares of parchment paper.  Transfer yellow buttercream to piping bag and snip off the tip.  Add a 127 tip to a piping bag. Transfer blush and darker pink buttercream to one bag.  Use a dab of icing to glue down the square of parchment to a turntable or piping nail.  Mold a small cone of the thick base buttercream in the middle of the square.  Add bits of yellow in the middle.  Using the pink, pipe a spiral, then add arcs to the spiral, curving up. Add more petals until you’ve reached a desired rose look.  For a peony or closed rose, start off with a smaller base, pipe tight arcs and close off in a round shape.  When you’re ready to use the roses, cut the bottom with scissors and transfer to your cake. For a peony or closed rose, start off e with a smaller base, pip off se clo tight arcs and in a round shape.


AD


AD

32

home garden

D E C O R AT O R