Home & Garden Decorator 8

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home garden

D E C O R AT O R 08

HOW TO USE A MOOD BOARD

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ARE HOME WARRANTIES WORTH THE COST?

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3 VEGGIES YOU CAN GROW INSIDE

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READY TO SELL? READY TO REMODEL?

Winter 2017

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Contents

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Contrary to popular belief, limited access to outdoor space doesn’t have to mean giving up your green thumb this winter.

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HOW TO CARE FOR FRUIT TREES THIS WINTER ARE HOME WARRANTIES WORTH THE COST?

HOW TO USE A MOOD BOARD WHEN REDECORATING

3 VEGGIES YOU CAN GROW INSIDE

20 GARDENING PLANTS THAT STAY GREEN ALL YEAR

If you’re tired of watching your spectacular garden wither away every winter, try planting something with a little more staying power. Perennials are plants that can typically withstand nearly any season, and include trees, shrubs and flowers. Color-changing perennials and conifers are all the rage this winter.

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D E C O R AT O R

CHRISTMAS FAVORITE BEEF TENDERLOIN

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW HOME AND HEALTHY MORTGAGE

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READY TO SELL OR REMODEL?

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DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: REMODELING PROJECTS BEST LEFT TO THE EXPERTS


home garden

D E C O R AT O R

Executive Publishers Greg and Suzanne Fox Jumpstart Publishing, LLC Managing Editor Suzanne Polk Fox Editor Liz McGehee Contributing Writers Tami Charbonnet Patricia Danflous Michele Robert Poche Anja Springthorpe Creative Director Dianne Waller Art Director Jennifer Caballero Design Tra Pham Web Neal Boyd

AD Home Garden Decorator is a quarterly magazine that is a resource for readers in our 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!


HOW TO CARE FOR

FRUIT TREES THIS WINTER BY ANJA SPRINGTHORPE

C

aring for fruit trees during the winter means one thing – planning ahead. Take the right steps at the right time to safeguard your fruit trees during the winter and reduce the risk of disease the following year. Deciduous fruit trees are shrubs that drop all of their leaves in the fall. Members of the deciduous fruit tree family include apple, peach, pear or plum trees. Use these simple tricks to protect your fruit trees this winter:

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CLEAN UP. Rake up fallen fruit and leaves from the ground, which may contain pests, such as insects, eggs or spores during the winter.

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PRUNING. Pruning fruit trees is important. Once leaves have dropped, remove dead, damaged or diseased parts with sharp pruning shears. Thinning out unsightly branches now will help your fruit grow next season. To prevent

the spread of disease, sterilize your shears with rubbing alcohol before and after you prune each tree.

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INSULATING THE ROOTS. If you are expecting a harsh winter or care for younger fruit trees, insulating the roots is a must. Mulch, pine straw, bark and wood chip are all suitable mediums to cover the root area of your trees. To prevent frost reaching too far into the ground, which can cause root damage, be generous when adding mulch.

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WINTER WASHING. As with fallen fruit and leaves, pests, eggs and spores hibernate inside the bark of fruit trees during winter months. Applying a winter wash reduces the risk of pests or fungi attacking your tree once temperatures rise. Different products are available for particular trees, areas and pests. Your local garden centre can help you choose the product best suited for your needs.

Your local garden center can help you choose the product best suited for your needs. 6

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D E C O R AT O R

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CITRUS TREES. Citrus shrubs are extremely susceptible to damage in harsh winter conditions. Citrus trees are not pruned before the winter. Shape your citrus in spring and summer. To protect a citrus tree from frost damage, cover the root area and the first 10-15 inches of the trunk with soil to keep frost reaching the delicate roots. If a significant cold snap is anticipated, cover the whole tree with a light fabric to protect the foliage. Landscape lighting, which can be wrapped around tree trunks, provides some warmth and is also a proven frost-damage preventative.


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HOW TO USE A MOOD BOARD WHEN Redecorating BY ANJA SPRINGTHORPE

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ould you like a fresh, new look for an old room, but aren't sure what color scheme to use? A mood board is a great tool to create a visualization of color, texture and style for any project. Interior designers utilize these boards to achieve elegant, balanced spaces. You can create a mood board on a piece of cardboard, paper or even digitally. A number of apps and websites offer free mood boards with plenty of guidance on how to get that interior dream look.

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D E C O R AT O R

1.

What will stay? Decide which furniture, decorative accents or window dressings will stay. Are any of these items favorites? If so, these should be the focal point of your mood board. Take pictures or find similar items on the web to pin on your board. Knowing what will stay is important when it comes to choosing the overall style of the room.

2.

Get inspired! Flip through interior design magazines, surf the internet and check out local design stores for inspiration. Save pictures of any colors, pattern or designs you find appealing, and add these to your board. Found a fabric you like the look of? Ask for a swatch to include on your board. Take your time. This research is crucial - don’t rush it.

3.

Decide your color scheme. Once your board includes a range of ideas, pictures and colors, decide what goes well with together. Remove things that don’t work. This process helps determine your overall color scheme. DIY stores offer free color swatches in different shades which help to visualize the final outcome. So be brave. Don’t be afraid to play around with unusual or contrasting colors since they’re not going on your wall just yet.


4.

Bring it all together. Review your board over a number of days. Do you still like the overall composition? Once you feel confident, it’s time to get started with your project. Take a picture of your board and take it with you when shopping for paint, fabric or accessories. This will give you the focus to create the look you’re aiming for. Mood boards can also be used to plan outfits, create landscaping inspiration and help with party planning.

A mood board is a great tool to create a visualization of color, texture and style for any project.

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CHRISTMAS

FAVORITE BEEF TENDERLOIN BY SUZANNE FOX Easter ham, Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas beef -- food traditions are a critical part of every family. I’m not sure how ours came to be, but one thing is certain – beef tenderloin is our favorite Christmas dish. It’s extremely easy to make, cuts down on hours in the kitchen and gives you more quality time to enjoy with your family. You can also prepare tenderloin in advance to save even more time on the big day!

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INGREDIENTS  4-5 pounds whole beef tenderloin  3/4 cup soy sauce  1 stick butter  Salt and pepper or Montreal steak seasoning DIRECTIONS  F irst thing’s first. When buying your beef tenderloin, read the label carefully to make sure it is processed in the USA.  You want to trim the tenderloin. You can have the butcher trim it, or you can watch a youtube video and do it yourself. Bobby Flay makes it very easy to do at

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home. I also found that I had less waste and more usable meat to use in other dishes when using his expertise. Once trimmed and tied, sprinkle your tenderloin with salt and pepper or Montreal steak seasoning (do not use both), and rub to season entire outer surface. Wrap in foil or Saran Wrap and place in refrigerator the day before you plan to cook.  On cook day, take the tenderloin out of refrigerator two hours before serve time. Leave in wrap for 45 minutes in order to bring the tenderloin close to

room temperature.  Place a half stick of butter in a pan and melt on medium-high heat. Sear meat for 2 minutes on each side.  Melt the other half of the butter stick with 3/4 cup of soy sauce.  Transfer the meat to a clean glass casserole dish and pour the mixture over the tenderloin. Place in oven at 375 F for 40 minutes or until mean reaches 160 F for medium doneness.  Remove from oven and baste. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Start to finish: 1h 20 minutes Servings: 5-6


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Prices ran ge between $ 30 $600 ann 0 and ually Available to the hom . at any tim eowner e

s e i t n a r r a W ARE HOME

WORTH THE COST? BY MICHELE ROBERT POCHE

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lectronics, appliances, automobiles … these days, everything comes with a warranty, including a new house. But considering the financial burdens of a mortgage, insurance and inspections, is a new home warranty really worth it? • What is a home warranty? Realtor Dominique Gray of Keller Williams Realty, a company vetted by Forbes, Realtor Magazine and

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Entrepreneur Magazine, says, “A home warranty is a service agreement for one year that covers repairs (due to normal wear and tear) on or replacements of major appliances.” • Is it worth the investment? “Yes. Annual plans range from $400 to $600, a small investment compared to what you’d pay to replace your air conditioner, for example,” she says. Note: With new construction, the appliances may be covered

D E C O R AT O R

under the manufacturers’ warranties. So inquire before signing any contracts. • What’s the difference between insurance and home warranties? Gray says, “Insurance is mandatory and covers accidents that happen to your home including fire, hail and water damage as well as injuries that occur on your property. Home warranties are optional and cover appliances and fixtures within the home.”

• Who pays for the plan? According to Gray, there are several options: (1) the seller can offer to pay for it at the act of sale, (2) the buyer can ask the seller to pay for it at the act of sale, (3) the buyer can purchase his own policy at the act of sale or (4) the buyer can purchase one at a later date.” (The best pricing is available when purchasing with the home.) • What’s the biggest mistake made by home warranty buyers? “Don’t under/overthink it. Just as you shouldn’t go with the first company you find, you also shouldn’t spend weeks researching companies because they are all relatively similar,” Gray says. Remember that no two policies are alike. Read the fine print carefully to determine which policy best fits your home and needs.


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3 Veggies

YOU CAN GROW INSIDE BY ANJA SPRINGTHORPE Harvesting your own produce is rewarding, tasty and easier than you may think. Contrary to popular belief, limited access to outdoor space doesn’t have to mean giving up your green thumb this winter. You can grow a variety of fresh vegetables inside your very own home.

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D E C O R AT O R


{SCALLIONS {RADISHES

weeks, 4 d n u o r a r Afte ns will your scallio m the ri be ready. T just green stalks line. l above the soi

Scallions are a fantastic vegetable to grow in your kitchen. They have shallow roots and require very little space to flourish. Fill a 6-inch-deep clay pot with potting soil. A high-quality potting soil will contain healthy nutrients that allow your scallions to cultivate. Use either scallion seeds or the scraps from shopbought scallions. Trim the green stalks just before the white of the bulb, then plant your bulbs 2 inches apart in the soil. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not wet. A sunny spot is an ideal location. Scallions need at least 6 hours of light per day. After around 4 weeks, your scallions will be ready. Trim the green stalks just above the soil line. Avoid pulling bulbs out of the dirt, as the scallions will continue to regrow.

Radishes are one of the fastest growing vegetables. Because radish thrives in container planters, it’s a great choice for growing inside. Select a radish seed and sow on top of a onegallon-wide container filled with potting soil. Lightly cover the seeds with a sprinkle of soil. Boost growth by adding a vegetable fertilizer. Like most vegetables, radishes require ample light exposure as well as moist, well-drained soil. During the growth period, cover your emerging radish bulbs with extra soil. This prevents your radishes from drying and cracking. Harvest as soon as the radishes develop color by pulling straight up at the base of the greens. Mature radishes will last longer in your fridge than they will in the ground, so it is important to harvest them quickly.

{ARUGULA

Growing your own salad is as easy as can be. Seeds or starter plants are widely available. Ideally plant a few arugula starter plants and fill in spaces with seeds. This technique allows for continuous growth and harvest. The deeper the container, the higher your arugula leafs will grow. A 4-inch-deep container will guaranty sufficient growth. Arugula also likes a cool environment. Avoid south-facing windows and other heat sources. To harvest your arugula cut the leaves with scissors above the soil line. Avoid pulling out the roots as arugula plants can regenerate up to 3 times.

Winter 2017

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BY SUZANNE FOX

L L A B W O N S Recipe TREE

You can start prepping this convenient, fun dessert days before the holidays and assemble it the day of! SNOWBALL TREE • White boxed cake mix • 1 can cream cheese icing, ready-made • White coating chocolate • Bagged coconut flakes  Bake the boxed cake as per box instructions in a 13 by 9-inch pan.  Once cooled, crumble into bowl.  Spoon cream cheese icing directly into crumbled cake.  Use a cookie scooper to scoop cake balls. Roll in your hands to form a uniform round ball. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Then leave in freezer until frozen.  Melt white coating chocolate in microwave per instructions.  Dip frozen cake balls in chocolate, then roll in coconut. ATTACH TO TREE  Next, cover a Styrofoam tree with white tissue, followed by saran wrap. Tape to secure.  Mount on cake plate with melted white chocolate. Once the chocolate dries, the tree will be securely fastened to the cake plate.  Use toothpicks to attach cake balls to tree.

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D E C O R AT O R


SPARKLE VASE

From shabby chic to classic elegance any design style you choose this holiday season is better with a little, or a lot, of sparkle! The shabby-chic look featured on our magazine cover is a favorite among glam-lovers. With tons of easy-to-find items and simple DIY projects, it’s easy to love this motif.

& C RY S TA L T R E E S EASY ALTERNATIVE TO TWIGS you can buy pre-painted, white twigs with pre-attached lights from your local craft store. Use one pack per vase.

Pair chalk-painted lanterns and candlesticks along with homemade, sparkly vases and crystal trees to create a festive holiday everyone will remember. SUPPLIES • Vase, tall and round (from dollar store) • G litter, gold, silver or iridescent to match decor • Glue • Plaster of Paris • Twigs • Spray paint, white • Twinkle lights, battery operated • Package filler, to match glitter • Fishing twine DIRECTIONS:  Spray paint the twigs white. While paint is still wet, sprinkle with iridescent glitter. Once dry, rap twinkle lights around twigs stopping at 8-inches above the end so the end can be placed in the plaster without affecting the battery box.  Using a paintbrush, spread glue on the outside of clear vase, 3/4 way to the top. Sprinkle with glitter of choice until heavily coated. Spray glue does not work as well as tacky glue. Do not put glitter on bottom of vase.  Prepare plaster of paris using package directions and pour in vase to the half-way point. While plaster is wet place twigs in the plaster and hold for a few minutes until plaster sets. Do not use too many twigs because you will not have room for your light batteries. Place the battery packs in the vase and cover with package filler.  Hang crystals from sticks with fishing twine.

DESIGN TIP spray paint pine cones to match your décor, then sprinkle with glitter. Glue a ribbon on top and tie around napkins

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HOT CHOCOLATE Start to Finish: 20-30 minutes Servings: 2-4 MARSHMALLOW SNOWMAN Start to Finish: 10-15 minutes Servings: 1

C H O C O L AT E - C H O C O L AT E

Hot Chocolate

Throw the instant hot chocolate away this season! No matter what kind of chocolate you have on hand, this delicious holiday favorite is easy to make with any chocolate you have on hand. HOT CHOCOLATE • 1 quart heavy cream •½ to 1 cup Hershey’s chocolate chips (or whatever you prefer) • 1 cup regular milk • 1 tablespoon ancho chili pepper  Using a stove pot, heat heavy cream on low.

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 Add 1/4 cup chocolate at a time. Stir until melted at desired richness.  Add regular milk, then sprinkle ancho chili pepper.  Turn stove off. Let cool before serving. Once heated, I place my hot chocolate into a “hot chocolate” dispenser that conveniently keeps the batch warm and stirs the mixture before dispensing as well. MARSHMALLOW SNOWMAN • 3 marshmallows • Pretzel sticks • Candy Corn

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 Link three marshmallows together with pretzel sticks.  Use pretzel sticks for arms and legs as well. Make sure pretzel sticks extend past the rim of the mug to help the snowman float on top.  Make pipe buttons, eyes and mouth with melted chocolate. With the point facing away from the marshmallow, poke a piece of candy corn into the head to create a nose.  Place marshmallow snowman on top and enjoy!

EASY DECORATION TIP FOR ANY OCCASION Pick flowers from your garden and tuck a sprig into each napkin ring. For Christmas, use a white napkin with holly. For the fall, use a green napkin with yellow and/or orange flowers. For the Spring, pair a pink napkin with lavender for a pop of color!


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Hellebore

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2.

(Christmas rose) Blooms in early spring but the foliage continues throughout the year. Colors include white, green, purple, pink and speckled varieties. Though this plant is beautiful, it does contain poisonous alkaloids that may bother sensitive skin, but this feature makes it impervious to deer and rabbits.

PLANTS THAT STAY

GREEN ALL YEAR BY LIZ MCGEHEE If you’re tired of watching your spectacular garden wither away every winter, try planting something with a little more staying power. Perennials are plants that can typically withstand any season, and include trees, shrubs and flowers.

C

olor-changing perennials and conifers are all the rage this winter. However, this plant group is so diverse that it’s easy to customize your year-round garden to your individual needs and desires. If you tend to get a touch of seasonal affective disorder, there are plenty of colorful options to keep your yard bright and your heart happy during the cold season.

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Sedum

1.

(stonecrops) This spectacular perennial boasts over 600 species and actually looks better as temperatures drop. With fleshy, starshaped leaves and stems, these plants bear more than a few resemblances to succulents. Bud and leaf colors include bright green, gray, blue, red, maroon, chartreuse, white, pink, gold and yellow.

“Blue Star” Juniper

3.

Not to be confused with the Bluestar wildflower, this dwarf shrub and conifer is a member of the cypress family. This plant grows out rather than up, only reaching a max of 3 feet typically. After the first year of growing, these beautiful, blue plants are relatively low maintenance.


a Brunnera

i s i m e t Ar

4.

(silver sage, wormwood, silver mound, mugwort or sagebrush) This silver foliage flowers in the summer and is great for making winter wreaths. It’s also pest resistant, does well in containers and provides beautiful contrasts when paired with flowers.

Hostas

6.

(Siberian bugloss) Anything with the name “Siberian” in it can withstand harsh conditions. Brunnera Macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ or Siberian bugloss have silver leaves with green veins and tiny, pale blue flowers. They prefer shade, rich soil and a bit of moisture, so arid climates are not recommended. Siberian bugloss is also resistant to most pests and diseases.

Generally speaking, most of these perennials are low maintenance once established. The best way to know what is right for your garden is to check the USDA planting zone of your desired plant. You want to make sure the perennial can withstand both

the winter and summer temperatures in your area. You also need to be realistic about whether or not you can provide the adequate level or shade or sunlight for you intended plant. It’s easy to create a microclimate by planting a few trees.

Heuchera

5.

(plantain lily or giboshi) These beautiful leafy plants are known for being shade-tolerant, but you should pick yours based on the amount of shade you plan to keep it in. Green, blue and white varieties do well in partial shade, while yellow hostas do better in full sunlight.

7.

(coral bells or alumroot) Coral bells, a genus of evergreen, come in many colors such as white, maroon, pink, red, silver, green, coral and marbled color patterns. You will have to assess which type of alumroot will do best in your environment as there are many species that do well in a range of climates.

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• Make one-time loan payments toward the principal when you get extra cash from a work bonus or inheritance. You will save a significant amount in interest fees. • On a bimonthly payment plan you pay on the fifteenth of every month as well as the last day of every month. This means 24 payments a year instead of 12. While the early payment reduces your interest, it doesn’t necessarily shorten the mortgage in a significant way.

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW HOME AND

HEALTHY MORTGAGE

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BY PATRICIA F. DANFLOUS

ouldn’t it feel great to own your home sooner rather than later? And don’t you want it with less interest, more discretionary funds for investing and to own a viable asset outright? If you are looking to pay off your house in less time, there are a few methods you need to investigate. Before you do anything, you need to thoroughly read the terms of your agreement. Some mortgages include a pre-payment penalty. If you are ready to shorten those mortgage years, look at these suggestions on all phases of the home buying process:

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• Biweekly payments will save you tens of thousands. However, you need to make sure your lender doesn’t put you on a payment plan through a third party. Check to see if you can set up a biweekly payment plan with your bank.

• Pay half of your monthly note every other week. That adds up to 13 payments a year, with the extra payment directed to the principal. Talk to your lender to set up a payment plan. • Add a little more to the regular note. If you paid $200 extra per month on your 30-year fixed loan at 3.625 percent on a home purchase of $300,000 with 10 percent down, you’d save $42,969 in interest and pay off your loan six years and eight months’ years early. • Refinance, then reinvest savings. It’s a good idea to evaluate refinancing when rates drop, but unless you refinance from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan, refinancing doesn’t automatically shave years off your mortgage. However, if you apply the savings from a new loan, you’ll be able to pay it off several years ahead of time.

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Ready to Sell? READY TO REMODEL? BY PATRICIA F. DANFLOUS

Kitchen? Bathroom? Roof? Which remodel or repair project will increase the value of your home as you prepare to sell? Surprise! A leakproof roof is the wisest investment. Real estate agents agree that open, modern kitchens and up-to-date bathrooms may attract the most interest from potential buyers, but basic maintenance issues are what finalize an offer. Before spending time and money tearing out kitchen cabinets or knocking out a wall between the kitchen and family room, you may want to dedicate a few hundred dollars on a home inspection. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, “Licensed professional inspectors will identify trouble spots, such as a leaking roof, building code violations, electrical problems, water

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damage or foundation subsidence. If the inspector determines ‘no issues’ you will have a written report to show prospective buyers.” If repairs are necessary, you can either make the repairs or lower the selling price. The National Association of Real Estate agents recommends that you discuss such decisions with your agent, who has experience in what gives you a better advantage. Additionally, he or she will be aware of the full disclosure laws in your state. Rely on your real estate agent’s awareness of what sells and what doesn’t, as well as trends specific to your region. He or she may recommend relatively inexpensive home improvements to make your house more competitive. If you are not ready to sell just yet, but want to plan ahead remember that remodeling now can

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make your home more comfortable and put money in your pocket down the road. If you want a new bathroom, for example, don’t wait until you are ready to move out – do it now! You’ll be happier and boost the value of your home at the same time.

CONSIDER REPLACING OR IMPROVING: • lighting fixtures • f aucets in the kitchen and bathroom • paint in trendy colors • d oorknobs, cabinet pulls, towel racks • carpet • b linds or shades to replace curtains • landscaping

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PALLET

Projects! BY SUZANNE FOX As far as do-it-yourself projects go, pallets are still the number one goto for wood. Probably because it’s super easy to find free pallets! After scouring craigslist and calling your local hardware store, simply take your pallets apart and start building! Here are two easy-to-make pallet projects that won’t take all weekend to make.

From minimalist to elaborate, space-maximizing shelving, there are a number of ways to approach your DIY pallet headboard. For a simple headboard, measure the top of the bed frame before building the headboard so that there is room to drill holes for the bolts to attach to the frame. 2-3 wooden pallets (find pallets that are similarly sized)

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Screws Drill Saw Hollow wall anchors Untreated oak boards or extra timber Paint of your choice  Clean pallets with water and let dry. If your pallets have splinters, you may want to sand the side that will face away from the wall so you don’t get snagged.  Measure your mattress and determine

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Similarly, you can build a bookshelf as simply or elaborately as desired.  Wooden Pallets (find pallets that are similarly sized) Screws Drill Hollow wall anchors  Untreated oak boards or extra timber Paint of your choice

C ut pieces of untreated oak boards to desired length of your shelves. Paint them the color of your choice.  Using the bottom of the pallets, place your painted wood pieces on the long end of the pallet (where you would like the shelves to go), and then using a your desired headboard drill screw attachment add size my taping lines on screws in the back to keep the wall. them from shifting. You  If your desired width is want the shelves to be more than one pallet, cut secured so they hold a good the missing width from amount of weight. second pallet using a saw. Use scrap board to  Place your largest pallet on the bottom and the smaller segment the back of the one on the top if they are pallet with screws. different sizes. If not put  Paint with base coat. one on top of the other. Look for a paint with  Look for a stud, then drill built-in primer to save into the pallet and wall. 2-4 time. Feel free to stain long screws and wall anand seal to match the chors should do depending bedroom. on how heavy the wood is.  Enjoy your new head Enjoy your new shelf! board!


MINI GRILLED

CHEESE & TOMATO BISQUE From four-cheese to margarita, you can’t go wrong with yummy grilled cheese sandwiches. This classic comfort food is easy to make and highly customizable. Not sure which option will go over best with guests? Grab some extra ingredients and start experimenting. Sour dough bread, bacon, red pepper, tomato (sun dried or raw), lettuce, pesto, pot roast, mushrooms, red chili flakes, garlic, onion and a combination of strong cheeses are an excellent place to start.

ese GStartril etodfinish:Che35 minutes

to Bisque TStartomtoafinish: 50 minutes

Servings: 10

Servings: 10

INGREDIENTS  1 baguette  1 bag of arugula  1 package of basil  1 cup of cheddar cheese (or whatever you prefer)  1 stick butter (or sub with olive oil)  Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

INGREDIENTS  2 cups basil  5 cloves garlic, minced  1 large onion, sliced  2 cans tomatoes (28 oz), peeled  1/3 cup half and half  1 cup chicken or vegetable stock  2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil  1 tablespoon oregano  Sugar, to taste  Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS  Prep ingredients as desired. If you don’t want a huge basil leaf in your mouth, chop leaves into small pieces.  Slice baguette into thin pieces. Place bottom slices in a large frying pan on med-low heat. Add cheese, basil, arugula and spices. Melt butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time.  When the outside looks crispy and the cheese begins melting, place the other slice on top and flip. You can do 3-4 mini sandwiches at the same time but pay attention. No one likes a burnt grilled cheese.

DIRECTIONS  Heat butter or olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. Sauté onion until soft. Next, add garlic and cook for half a minute. Be careful not to burn your garlic.  Tomatoes, sugar and chicken stock will go in next. Simmer uncovered on low until thick.  Then add half and half, oregano, basil and remaining seasonings as desired.  Puree with a blender or serve chunky.  Place bisque in tall, disposable or reusable shot glasses at the halfway point. Stick a toothpick through the mini grilled cheese and hang at the top of the glass over bisque. This will make it easy for guests to carry. A thicker bisque also makes it hard for guests to spill.

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DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

REMODELING PROJECTS BEST LEFT TO THE EXPERTS BY MICHELE ROBERT POCHE

D-I-Y.

In the fields of home renovation and repair, these letters are thrown around pretty casually. Homeowners are always looking for new ways to stretch a dollar, but the fact is not every home job can or should be done independently. In addition to the risk of home damage and personal injury, the cost of operating autonomously can actually be greater than that of hiring a professional. Experts buy their materials in bulk and can often get them at reduced rates. Additionally, any faulty work that needs to be corrected adds to the bottom line. So what projects are best left to the pros? Only you know your full abilities, but here are a few things to

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consider before biting off more than you can chew.

1.

Electrical Wiring. House fires, electrical shock, hefty fines and failure to pass home inspection are just a few of the risks associated with DIY electrical work. GFIs, phantom voltage, busbars, pigtailing … there are just too many ways to go wrong. Natural Gas Pipes. Improper work in this area could literally explode in your face. Avoid it at all costs and hire a trained expert for gas appliance repairs and installation as well as other related work. Roofing. If you make even one error, you compromise “the roof over your heads” putting everything within your home at risk.

2. 3.

House fires, shock, hefty electrical fi failure to pa nes and ss home inspection a re just a few of the risks ass ociated with DIY electrica l work

And I don’t mean figuratively. When you factor in the danger associated with climbing around your rooftop, you’ve got two great reasons to hire a pro. Plumbing. Yes, there are simple jobs, such as toilet installation, but the vast majority of this work involves a complicated network of pipes and drain lines that, if installed incorrectly, could result in leaks causing mold, structural damage and other major problems. Asbestos Removal. Older homes (built between 1940 and 1980) often contain this harmful building material. Specialized equipment and training are crucial to the removal process, otherwise you could put yourself at risk for a life-threatening illness. Remember that most of these jobs require permits, licensing and certifications. These safeguards are put in place for your protection. Respect them.

4.

5.


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Community

RESOURCE DIRECTORY

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D E C O R AT O R


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Winter 2017

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D E C O R AT O R


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