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Get Screened: Creating An Old-Fashioned Screened Porch May Be The Best Prescription For Preventing Stress In A Busy World

Before air conditioning became popular, screened porches were a fixture of summer life in many homes. The warm temperatures inside the house drove family members to the screened porch for a respite from the heat. The porch was the perfect place for a mid-afternoon nap, visiting with neighbors, or relaxing with a glass of iced tea.

When air conditioning arrived on the scene, many homeowners viewed screened porches as outdated and enclosed them. However, screened porches are making a comeback, as people are longing for a simpler way of life.

Screened porch pros

A screened porch lets you experience the great outdoors while at the same time providing privacy and benefits similar to an indoor room. Simply lock the screen door if you want to nap on the porch while enjoying a summer breeze. Feel like staying in your night clothes all morning? No problem. A screened porch is more private than other outdoor spaces.

When you have a screened porch, rainy days won’t keep you stuck inside. What could be more refreshing than listening to the sound of rain while relaxing with a good book or resting in a hammock?

Enjoy bug-free living without worrying about applying insect repellent. A screened porch makes it possible to enjoy sultry summer evenings outdoors without being eaten alive by mosquitoes and other unwanted insects.

Screened porch essentials

Install a ceiling fan or have portable fans available to use on days when the summer wind isn’t blowing. Fans allow you to enjoy the fresh air and the smell of the great outdoors on days when mother nature fails to provide a breeze.

No old-fashioned porch would be complete without a porch swing. Don’t oil the chain if it squeaks. Squeaky porch swings add nostalgia. The same holds true for the screen door on the porch.

A lounge chair or hammock is essential for relaxing or napping. Don’t forget to add a rocking chair or two. Make sure to use indoor/outdoor cushions that will hold up well in moist and humid environments.

A table and chairs makes the screened porch the best place to enjoy any meal of the day outdoors without the need to swish the flies away. It’s also a great place to enjoy your morning coffee, work on homework, or put a puzzle together.

Traditional furniture, such as wood, rattan, and wicker is best for your screened porch. No matching needed. Mix colors, textures, and style to achieve an old-time look.

Screened porch accessories

No screened porch is complete without a few plants. A metal plant stand is perfect for keeping plants organized and makes a practical addition to a screened porch. Boston ferns and orchids are good plant choices for screened porches, as they tend to thrive well with indirect lighting.

A metal plant stand is also useful for growing an herb garden if placed in a sunny area of the porch. It can also be used to hold books, magazines, games, or a radio. You may also want to use it for storing eating essentials, such as dinner plates, napkins, and silverware. Place the dinner items in a basket with a lid and the plant stand can be used as a makeshift cupboard.

Install shades if desired to control the sunlight on the porch. A few candle lanterns will provide soothing ambiance on summer evenings.

Creating your own screened porch can take you back to a time when life was less hectic, and summer living happened on the screened porch. A well-designed screened porch is inviting and enticing. You’re likely to find it is your new favorite place to pause and rest during a busy and stressful day.  

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Types Of Natural Stone Pavers

Stone pavers are an elegant building material that can be used to create luxurious pathways, walkways, and driveways. There are a number of different types of stone pavers, which, besides having different appearances, also carry a number of distinctive advantages and disadvantages. Understanding what stone pavers have to offer can help you choose the ones that best fit your needs.

Travertine

Travertine is a type of rock that provides a natural aesthetic, as it is naturally scored with small holes and divots, adding texture to the smooth surface of the rock. Travertine pavers are able to withstand general wear and tear fairly well, but the main draw of travertine pavers is their affordability – they are able to fit into any homeowner’s budget. However, travertine tiles do have a more limited color and shade selection when compared to other types of pavers, as they tend to only come in lighter shades, which can make it harder to match the aesthetic of your walkway to the rest of your yard.

Slate

Slate provides a truly unique appearance to your yard. Slate pavers are quarry cut, which means that every paver will be unique in coloring and pattern. Colors are much more wide ranging than travertine, including darker shades. This allows for a greater degree of customization when it comes to designing your walkway or driveway, but it also means that no other homeowner will have a path installed that looks exactly like yours does. Furthermore, slate is naturally slip resistant, as the surface of each paver has enough texture on it to provide grip even while the paver is wet. This is an important safety consideration, especially for elderly homeowners or homeowners with children.

Granite

Granite is an incredibly durable rock that has a crystalline structure, giving it a unique shimmery appearance that other types of pavers do not have. It has a wider range of colors, coming in dark blacks and rich reds as well as the more traditional lighter colors. However, as already stated, the main draw of granite is its superior durability when compared to other types of pavers, as it is able to withstand wear and tear without becoming visibly worn for an extremely long period of time. However, the increased durability of granite comes with a higher initial price tag. Though a tougher paver will translate into a longer lifespan and savings in the long run, a large initial investment prevents granite from being the ideal choice for homeowners with a budget. For more information about stone, visit a stone dealer such as Old World Stone.

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Do Your African Violets Always Have Spilled Dirt? You May Have Pillbugs

If you have many African violets and are constantly seeing dirt spilled around them, you may have pillbugs. You will often see the pillbug on the soil surface. They enter potted plants through the drain holes, and as they come through they push the soil out the hole, which results in soil spilled beside the plant. Chances are if your African violets have pillbugs, you have them outside your home. Below is some information about these bugs and what you can do to get rid of them.

The Pillbug

You will often hear the pillbug referred to as a roly polies because they curl up in a tight ball when they are threatened. Pillbugs are actually not an insect, but they are relatives of lobsters. The main difference is they do not have to live in water at any time. They have two antennae and seven pairs of legs, and are black or dark brown in color. They have a segmented body, which is why they can roll up.

Where You Find Them

Pillbugs like quiet and moist places to live. You find them in mulch in your flower gardens, under leaves, under pieces of bark, or in outdoor flower containers. You will also find them in your vegetable garden hiding in the soil, and they will come out at night and eat the vegetables. You will know this by finding small holes in the leaves, as well as in the vegetable itself, such as in tomatoes.

How to Get Rid of Them

There are many ways you can get rid of pillbugs. For inside the home, simply find them in your flower pots and remove them by hand. For outside, beer works well. First, bury empty tuna cans in the soil where you suspect the pillbugs are. The top of the cans should be at soil level. Fill the cans up with beer, and the next day you should see pillbugs drowned in the beer. Refill the cans until you stop seeing the pillbugs in them. You could also keep the cans throughout the spring, summer, and fall, as a preventative measure.

If you think you have a very large infestation of pillbugs in your yard, you should call a pest control company to remove them for you. They can use special insecticides that will not harm your vegetables or flowers.

Prevent pillbugs from coming back by picking up grass clippings, leaves, accumulation of mulch, boxes, stones, boards, and anything else they can hide under. Remove any food sources, such as plant or vegetable debris.  

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Keeping Spiders Away From Your Child’s Outdoor Toys

If you have a child who enjoys playing on outdoor toys such as swing sets, yard slides, or activity centers, you will want to do your best to keep them safe while they are enjoying themselves. Since these play items cannot be brought indoors at night, they are prone to having lurking spiders crawling upon them in an attempt to make webs to capture their meals. Spiders can bite if they feel threatened, leading to raised up skin, itching, and pain. To help keep this scenario less likely, follow some of these tips to keep spiders away from your child’s playthings.

Watch The Placement

If your child’s activities are located in a shaded area, they will be more susceptible to crawling critters of all types, including spiders. Spiders are less likely to crawl upon surfaces exposed to sunlight, making it important to place your child’s playthings in an area where sunlight shines upon them. If there are tree limbs blocking the sun, consider cutting back a few so rays peek down at your child’s outdoor area to help keep creepy crawlies away. Do not however, cut back all foliage in this area as then spiders will have no other areas to build their webs, making the equipment their prime focus for capturing food.

Eliminate Food Sources

If there area is free of mosquitoes, beetles, and other spider food, they will be less likely to stay in the area. Light citronella candles and set them on a nearby table to keep the area scented. This will deter insects from the area. Make sure to cut the lawn regularly to help keep ticks, ants, and other insects away.

Hire a pest control service (like Suffolk Pest Control and other companies) to eradicate insects from your lawn. Ask them to use green products that will not be harmful to your child after they are applied. Once spiders realize food sources are limited, they will move on to more heavily populated insect areas. It is better to remove the smaller, harmful insects and allow spiders to remain as they are beneficial in keeping insect numbers down. 

Divert To Other Areas

To help keep spiders away from your child’s outdoor area, have them attracted to other areas of your home or yard by using lighting. When lights are turned on, spiders will head toward them in an attempt to capture insects that are also attracted to the light source. Keep these areas lit overnight and have your child play on the equipment in the morning hours when spiders are still located near their nighttime webs.

Use Moisture To Deter

Do a spot check of your child’s activity areas before allowing them to play on outdoor toys. Spray toys down with a hose to scatter any spiders that may be lurking on the undersides of swings or slides. Consider wiping down plastic items with essential oils to deter spiders. Add a few drops of peppermint oil, citrus oil, or tea tree oil into a spray bottle of water. Add a dash of dish detergent to help disperse the oil evenly through the liquid. Shake well and spray the surfaces of the toys. Dry with a clean piece of cloth. Spiders will stay away from these scents.

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Four Ways To Effectively Use Lawn Sprinklers To Make Your Lawn Green During A Drought

Droughts are notorious for zapping the life out of all things green, including your lawn. If you are currently experiencing a drought where you live, and your mayor or state governor has not banned the use of lawn sprinklers just yet, you can keep your lawn a nice envious green. Here are four ways to effectively achieve and keep a green lawn with sprinklers during a drought.

Choose Watering Times Carefully

Time is of the essence, especially when it comes to water and drought. Using your sprinklers, turn them on before the sun rises so that your lawn has a good saturation before the sun begins to blaze. Also, a good ten minutes is all your lawn really needs during this time of the morning. Do the same thing in the evening, just after sunset, so that your yard can really absorb the water overnight. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, see if you can program the system to go off at set times automatically.

Rotate Your Sprinklers

If you do not have a built-in sprinkler system and rely on sprinklers connected to the ends of garden hoses, then you need to rotate the sprinklers manually. Keep one in the largest part of your yard all the time, but move the other one or two sprinklers around the side and front yards, occasionally moving one of them to enable a fuller watering of your back yard (or the largest area of your lawn). If the sprinklers’ spraying distance is short, be sure to move them around so that most of the yard will get water.

Poke Holes In Your Garden Hoses

Although this tends to decrease water pressure, it does help water more of the yard than just your sprinklers alone. If you are careful and methodical about where the holes are placed, the water pressure will not decrease so much that the sprinklers cannot do their job. Small slits about the width of your pinky fingernail every couple of feet should be enough. Then turn your outdoor faucets on full blast. The water that squirts from the holes should and can reach the areas of your lawn that are untouched by the reach of your sprinklers.

Place Sprinklers In Areas Of Bright Sunlight

As you may have already noticed, your grass is probably higher in places where it there is full shade. The sun is not killing it or evaporating the water from the sprinklers too quickly. With that in mind, place your sprinklers in the various parts of your yard that receive the full blast of the sun’s light during the day. These areas will get more of the water they need to deal with the hot sun and the drought while your shaded areas get just enough to keep green and growing.

For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Krupske Sprinkler Systems.

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Learn How Movers Can Help You After You Inherit A House

When you inherit a home, it can be difficult to handle all of the moving process on your own. You can hire a moving company to help you clean out the house and move your belongings into it to make the process easier. The guide that follows walks you through a few tips to make the moving process easier.

Create a Guide for the Movers to Follow When Emptying the House

You want to use labels to identify which items are to be donated, trashed, or kept. Create a guide on a piece of poster board that you can hang in the house for the movers to see easily. This allows them to place the items wherever they need to go without having to wait for you to give them guidance about each piece.

Rent a Large Dumpster

You need to rent a large dumpster to toss all of the trash into during the clean out. People accumulate a lot of items over the years and while they may have significance to the homeowner, they may not have any significance to anyone else and just be considered trash.

Go Through and Label the Items in the House

Take stickers that correspond to the colors on the guide that you created to label items throughout the home. If you are labeling something that has fabric on it, such as a sofa, attach the sticker to an index card and then use a safety pin to secure it to the fabric. Stickers do not often stick well to upholstery and creating a sticker tag ensures all furniture is properly labeled.

Clean Out the House

Have the movers clean out the house. If the dumpster starts to become filled, you can have the company come and dump it for you. Likewise, if the donations start to pile up, have the movers take them to the local thrift store as a donation.

Create a Guide for the Movers to Follow When Bringing in Your Belongings

While the movers are moving items out of the house, create a guide for your belongings like you did for the items that are being moved out of the house. The guide for your belongings will indicate where your items go inside of the home. This allows the movers to grab items off of the truck and move them into the exact room they belong. Go around your home and label your belongings the same way that you did the items that were being removed from the home you inherited and then let the movers move everything for you.  

Moving can be a long, tedious process, but taking the time to help the movers know where items need to go will make the move much easier and faster. Be sure to stay nearby during the moving process so the movers can ask you questions about what stays and what goes, if a tag falls off of something or cannot be found. For more information, contact a moving company, such as Frank and Sons Moving and Storage Inc. Agent for Wheaton World Wide Moving.  

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2 Novelty Gift Idea To Consider

Buying a gift for someone can be a very difficult experience, mostly because it can be quite hard to find something that you know they will enjoy. Below are two novelty gift ideas that can help make gift giving a bit easier for you.

Photograph Conversion

One great novelty gift idea is to submit a photograph to a service or artist that will convert it into a hand-drawn work of art. In many cases, these services will take a photograph and turn it into a pencil or charcoal portrait. In some cases, the service will even be happy to convert it into a painting for you. 

This is a great idea if you want to create a more personal gift for your friend and loved one because you can take a picture from an important event or of an important person in his or her life and turn it into a memorable showpiece for their home. If you want to save a bit of money, you can also utilize a service that does these conversions digitally in order to recreate the hand-drawn look.

Personalized Mugs and Apparel

Another novelty gift idea to consider is to customize mugs, dinnerware, or apparel in a way that appeals to your friend or loved one’s interest. This is a great option if you have a friend that is obsessed with a particular video game, television, movie, or book franchise. In many cases, you can easily find a store that creates everything from coffee mugs to t-shirts and hoodies with logos and scenes from many major and obscure franchises.

If you cannot find the exact scene, quote, or character on a piece of clothing or mug, you can often contact a service to create a custom piece for you. In many cases, these services will simply ask you to submit a picture of what you would like and then print it on one of their items to create a one-of-a-kind piece. This is a great idea as it can allow you to completely surprise your friend or loved one with a gift relating to their fandom or hobbies that they have not already seen listed for sale numerous times in the past.

While trying to figure out what type of gift to give a loved one can be a bit challenging at times, there are cheap novelty gift ideas that can simplify the process for you. Novelty gifts can help you give memorable and one-of-a-kind gifts.

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