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Happy Thanksgiving! November 26, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Holidays , comments closed

We hope that your Thanksgiving finds you surrounded by your friends and family!

How Can I Get My Kids to Help Clean? November 12, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Reader Questions , comments closed

It’s one of the greatest problems that most parents face on a daily basis – the fact that kids make the biggest messes in the house, but are the least likely to clean them up again. If you’re struggling with getting your kids to help tidy up at the end of the day, try using these tips to help motivate them to pitch in.

Make Clean Up Simple

Sometimes the biggest stumbling block to kids picking up after themselves is simply the amount of time it takes. After all, they have other things that they want to get onto, and cleaning isn’t fast or fun.

Try purchasing several plastic bins with lids and go through their toys, organizing them by type. Put one type in each bin. Now clean up can be fast and fun as kids try to pitch things into the bins, rather than trying to tidy up onto shelves or moving things from one room to the next.

Make Cleaning a Game

Another way to get kids to help is to make some of the chores you give them a little more novel. Try to find chores that can be done in unorthodox ways so they’re fun, rather than boring. A few suggestions include:

  • Giving them a dust buster having them go after the dust bunnies and clumps of pet hair in the corners – tell them it’s a seek and destroy mission
  • Pull out a pair of old socks.  Let the kids find dusty corners with their toes!
  • Mix up a bucket of extra sudsy water and let them get into bathing suits to scrub down the tub and shower with the suds; just turn on the showerhead to rinse when they’re all done

Make Them Responsible for One Area

If your kids are older, give them one area of the house that is their responsibility to keep clean at all times. Tell them that how and when they clean it is up to them, but that it must be kept clean. Kids usually find that having ownership in an area, also means taking pride in keeping it nice, which motivates them to help keep it clean.

Sealing Natural Stone November 7, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Stone , comments closed

Even though natural stone is very hard and strong, it can also be very porous. Because of this feature, you want to protect your natural stone investment by using a quality sealer.

If left unsealed, stains can penetrate deep into the stone. Using a sealer allows the sealer to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone, filling them so that stains cannot penetrate those pores.

There are different types and qualities of sealers on the market.Keep in mind that not all sealers are the same. There are topical sealers and penetrating sealers. To get the best job, you want to use a penetrating sealer. A penetrating sealer fills the pores of the stone so that when a stain tries to fill those pores it can’t because the sealer is already there blocking the pores.

How can you tell if you need to reseal your natural stone? Simply pour some water on your stone. If after half an hour your stone does not turn dark, then your sealer is still working.

Protecting your investment is easy. Call today to discuss your project so we can help you determine what product is right for you.

How To Brine a Turkey November 1, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Kitchen , comments closed

There’s cooking a turkey, and then there’s serving a turkey. Anyone can read the instructions on the back of a frozen turkey and toss it in the oven. For a spectacular meal, though, that simply won’t do. To leave a lasting impression on your guests take the extra time to brine the turkey. This requires you to build extra time into your food preparation timeline because it must be done two days prior to the day of the dinner. You can save some time, though, by opting to purchase a brining solution instead of preparing it yourself. Many specialty food retailers offer top-notch solutions by the jar. Here are instructions for brining an 18-20 pound turkey that is either fresh or already thawed. 

  1. Two days prior to your dinner, bring one jar of brine and one gallon of water to a boil. Stir frequently to help evenly dissolve the brine.
  2. Remove the solution from the stove and allow it to cool to room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  3. Then refrigerate for approximately three hours, until it’s well chilled.
  4. Test the fit of your turkey in a five gallon pot.  
  5. Combine the brining solution with 6 cups of apple cider and 1.2 gallons of ice water in the five gallon pot. 
  6. Submerge the turkey slowly and ensure that all the cavities fill with liquid.
  7. To keep the turkey fully immersed, place a weight on top of it. The glass lid from a pot or crock pot is usually heavy enough to get the job done.
  8. Leave the pot with the turkey in the brining solution in the refrigerator for two days. (The turkey should be in the brine solution no less than 24 hours, and ideally for 36.)
  9. Take the turkey out of the pot prior to cooking.  Thoroughly rinse it under cold water and use paper towels to pat it dry.

You can now proceed with cooking the turkey, and then serve a masterpiece!

How to Repurpose a Bunk Bed Into An Awesome Play Place For Your Child October 23, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Kids , comments closed

Bunk beds are one of the simple joys of childhood. They provide endless hours of climbing, jumping and fort building. At some point in time, though, they seem less exciting. Perhaps one child has outgrown sharing a room, or if the bed belongs to a single child, he or she may have run out of ideas to make it fun. Before you decide to get rid of it, though, consider this awesome project. It actually adds play space, and it allows you to get additional value from a piece of furniture that was likely expensive. 

  1. Remove the bottom mattress. Leave support slats in place.
  2. Measure the rectangular dimension of the space where the mattress used to be.
  3. Visit your local materials supplier and find MDF or Fiberboard that most closely resembles the bed. You can also opt for thick grade plywood. Both of these materials are very affordable. Or, you can purchase wood that is the same species as the bed.   Just ensure that the material you select is thick enough to support the weight of a child. Ask a clerk to cut the board to size.
  4. Also purchase a strip of molding that fits the style of the bed. It should be the same length as the longest side of the board.
  5. If necessary, paint or stain both pieces to match the existing frame of the bunk bed.
  6. Place the large board in the place where the mattress used to be. Attach the strip of molding along the front edge of the board to cover the raw edge and make the adaptation look seamless.
  7. Purchase and install a simple curtain rod above the front edge of the new play space.
  8. Purchase fabric that coordinates with your child’s room. Double the measurement of the curtain rod and use that number to determine the minimum length of fabric you’ll need along one side. Then be sure that it is also wide enough to cover the entire open space between the top and bottom bunk.
  9. Cut the fabric to size, and use curtain rings to clamp the fabric, and then slide them onto the curtain rod.

Voila – a brand new place to play! Kids can sit on it and do projects, or sit outside of it and use it as a platform to set up dolls, race tracks and other toys that inspire their imagination. 

Smashed Pumpkin Clean-Up October 14, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Holidays , comments closed

There’s nothing sadder than a smashed pumpkin, unless of course that pumpkin happens to have smashed in your home. If you have smashed pumpkin on your floors, don’t panic; here is the best way to start cleaning its orange stains from your home.

Getting Pumpkin Out of Fabric

Getting pumpkin out of your rugs and upholstery may seem challenging.  Acting quickly is the best way to begin. 

Start by scraping up as much of the pumpkin as you can. Use a spoon to scrape the fabric or rug to get the solids up and to expose as much of the fabric surface as you can.

Mix up a little bit of PH neutral dishwashing detergent with water. Be sure to avoid anything with acids or alkalines, which could stain your fabrics. Add one-quarter teaspoon of dish detergent to one cup of warm water.  If you’re unsure, test it on an area that is hidden from view for color-fastness first.

If this doesn’t work, use a mixture of one cup of white vinegar to two cups of warm water.  Make sure the vinegar is of a 5% acetic acid solution.

Blot the pumpkin stain with either mixture until you are able to get it up. Go back over the area with a cloth rinsed in clean water to get any remaining soap out and let it dry. Make sure to use clear water to remove residue of any cleaner used so it will not attract future dirt.

Here’s even more information about pumpkin stain removal!

Removing Pumpkin from Stone

If you have smashed pumpkin on your stone floor or front walkway, you can still get the orange out if you act quickly enough.

First clean up as much of the pumpkin solids as you can. Use a soft bristled brush and some clean water to help remove the bulk of the squash. Now apply a stone cleaner or a PH neutral cleanser to the stain and agitate gently with the soft bristled brush to get up the surface stains.

Check out our page for more information about maintaining your natural stone.

Remember that if any stain is too stubborn for your own efforts, call a professional cleaner.  These experts have tools and cleaning methods that are more aggressive and the experience to know what your floor needs.  

Your Choice! October 8, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Design Perspectives , comments closed

Would you choose an ottoman or a coffee table?  Why?

Should I Choose My Cabinets or Counter First for a Kitchen Renovation? October 4, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Reader Questions , comments closed

A kitchen renovation can be an overwhelming process. You have dozens of choices to make from the color of the cabinets to the finish on the hardware. And all these choices have to begin somewhere, often with one of the biggest – the cabinets or the countertop. Choosing one first over the other is not going to have a monumental impact on your final design. But yet, you may be curious to know how choosing one may impact your selection of the second.

There are many choices on the market for both cabinet designs and countertop materials. From formal and ornate cabinets to smooth and contemporary surfaces, it’s possible to design a kitchen with any look or style you’re after.

The key is to create a cohesive design that looks like it pulls together. And you may be surprised to find that selecting either a cabinet or a counter will limit your choices in the other. Why? Because some designs naturally gravitate toward other, matching materials.

Take the example of the selection of a traditional, formal cabinet door for your kitchen. An arched panel and a glazed finish would be to high of a contrast with any of the smooth, uniform counters on the market. The contrast would not work in the finished design. This type of cabinet door works best with flecked stones like light-colored granites and marbles.

This works the other way as well. Begin with a wild and colorful granite that you fall in love with. You’ll find that it does not match well with ornate and formal cabinets, but would work better with a simple slab or shaker door.

The best way to go about making your first decision is to try to determine the theme you want for the kitchen. Once you’ve made this determination, move toward the cabinet or counter. Make sure you feel would make the best statement in the space; the rest of your decisions will follow on their own.

How Can I Tell if I Have Asbestos Floor Tile? September 20, 2014

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If you have old vinyl or linoleum tile in your home, and you want to replace them with something more up to date, make sure you check for asbestos first. Asbestos floor tile was frequently installed in homes from the early 1900s through the 1970s and ’80s. Asbestos tile cannot be easily removed, and are usually encapsulated and covered with a new material to update them safely. If you suspect your floor tile of containing asbestos, the only way to know for sure is to have a laboratory test done. There are several indicators to look for in the floor, however, that can help you make the determination without expensive testing.

Color

The color of your floor tile may be an indicator that it contains asbestos. Most asbestos tile was either black or a very dark color such as maroon or dark green. Unfortunately, color is not always a reliable indicator; sometimes the asbestos isn’t in the tile itself but in the adhesive. So you could have a white or seagreen tile that doesn’t contain asbestos, but with an adhesive that does. If a missing tile enables you to see the adhesive, asbestos adhesive is usually black in color. Do not remove a tile to check without professional assistance.

Size

The size of your tile may also be an indicator of asbestos. While asbestos tile can come in several different sizes, they were most commonly produced in two sizes: 9 inches and 13 inches, with some companies producing a 12-inch tile as well.

Keep in mind that tile sizes are nominal. This means that the manufacturer may have called a tile 9-inches when in reality it is 8-7/8 inches. Therefore any vinyl or linoleum tile from the era known to produce asbestos tile that measures around 9 to 13 inches in size may contain asbestos.

Play It Safe

If you suspect any tile in your home of having asbestos do not attempt to remove it, scrape it, nail through it, or in any way agitate it. Instead, cover it with new flooring or call for professional assistance.

What’s the Best Way to Arrange Pictures on a Wall? September 10, 2014

Posted by creatingyourspace in : Design Perspectives , add a comment

Whether you’re creating a gallery wall, or you just want to hang a selection of family portraits, it can be difficult to know exactly how to space them. Moving back and forth, eyeballing and using a ruler and level are all impractical methods at best. For a faster and easier way to arrange your pictures, try this trick instead.

Get a roll of butcher paper and cut a piece – or several pieces – that will equal the size of the wall where you will be hanging the pictures.

Take your frames and lay them right on top of the paper, arranging them the way you want them. Use a ruler to spread them out evenly around the area. When you get the design exactly the way that you want it, take the time to snap a photo of the finished design. You can refer back to this when you are hanging the pictures so you don’t forget the arrangement.

Once your picture is taken, trace the outlines of each of the frames onto the butcher paper right where they are. This creates your template for how they will hang on the wall.

Flip them over and measure down and in from each side until you find the hooks on the back of each frame. Mark each traced frame on the paper where its hook is located.

You can now tape your butcher paper onto the wall, raising or lowering it until you find the right spot for the pictures. Leave the paper in place while you drive a nail right through the paper into the wall at the location you marked for the hooks on the backs of each frame.

Now all you have to do is tear the paper off of the wall; your nails will remain behind in the perfect locations. Hang your pictures in the same pattern you arranged them in on the paper to get a perfect picture gallery each and every time without having to move, re-nail, guess, or eyeball the space.