Tuesday, November 22, 2016

5 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Backyard

Are you tired of the same old backyard that you've had for years? Are you ready to shake things up with new features, fresh accessories and one-of-a-kind design elements? Here are just a few things that will make your backyard pop!
  1. Build a Gazebo
    Gazebos are a great way to add a touch of elegance to your backyard. Not only can you build the gazebo itself with any kind of shape, size, material or feature that you desire, but once it's finished, you'll also have a blast decorating it! From paint to pillows, the design is all up to you. Try building a gazebo if you're looking for a creative backyard endeavor.
  2. Put in a Pool
    When it comes to Jacksonville backyard water features, it's hard to beat the idea of a pool. Construct an elaborate infinity pool with steps, inclines and special water jets; inflate a simple above-ground pool for pets and kids; create something else entirely with a little water and a lot of imagination. Any kind of pool is a good pool, so don't be afraid to dream big.
  3. Install a Fire Pit fire pit
    There's nothing like sitting around a fire on a chilly evening to warm you up inside and out. While the large, ceremonial fire pits can cost a pretty penny, there are numerous designs for smaller and more intimate ones that can be installed in any backyard. Just ask your local contractor or outdoor design company for help!
  4. Add a Patio
    Patios are both functional and fashionable, so you'll get a lot of mileage when you add one to your yard. Not only are they great architectural elements that can add thousands of dollars of property value when it's time to resell your home, but they'll also be highly convenient until then as a place to host parties and gatherings.
  5. Plant a Garden
    Do you dream of a colorful, bountiful vegetable garden filled with fresh goodies of all shapes and sizes? Or maybe you'd prefer a quiet zen garden that you can treat as an oasis in the whirlwind of your life. Whatever your preferred aesthetic, every garden starts with a single flower, so grab your shovel and start digging.
There are many more ways to breathe new life into your backyard, so don't be limited by this list. Use it for inspiration and come up with some great ideas of your own.

Monday, November 21, 2016

More Missing Words

Recently I mentioned my frustration with those cryptic symbols on laundry tags, and while those may be annoying, I think I found something even more annoying.

This weekend my husband had to assemble something - something that most definitely needed to be done correctly.   And this is what the directions looked like:

No words. No explanations. Just a bunch of very helpful incredibly confusing pictures.  Thankfully he's pretty good at stuff so he got it figured out - except for those one things that we have no idea what they are so they didn't get put on.  Hopefully it's not a big deal...

Again - why can't they just use words? Along with the pictures.  The pictures might actually be helpful if there were some words to go along with them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4 Ways to Be a Better Web Designer

Easy Development of Web Design TemplatesAre you feeling uninspired with your current web designs? Do you need something to boost your creativity or kick-start your productivity? It's not uncommon to experience a slump, especially if you've been in the business for awhile; the key is to not let it defeat you. Here are just a few ways to become a better web designer.
  1. Get New Software
    The same way a Mastercam dealer can provide CAD/CAM software tools for all types of programming and machining needs, there are many different software packages for web design. New software may be exactly what you need to grease the wheels of your imagination. As a bonus, the right software will handle all of the boring automated stuff while you're free to let your creativity take flight.
  2. Experiment With Different Styles
    It's easy to fall into familiar patterns when you've been doing something for a long time. If you feel like your designs are becoming too boring or too similar, it's time to break out of your shell and try something new. Go crazy with colors; flip your typical layouts upside down and inside out; erase your old templates and start from scratch. You never know when you'll stumble onto your new trademark.
  3. Enforce Deadlines
    Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come at the eleventh hour? It's no coincidence; it's the way the human brain works. You can deliberately harness this energy by setting and enforcing self-imposed deadlines that force your mind to work under time constraints. Instead of being a free-willed artist, you'll be a disciplined one, and your work will improve because of it.
  4. Ask for Input
    Don't be afraid to ask others for feedback. It doesn't matter if you're soliciting the opinions of clients, friends or random web users; in fact, getting advice from multiple sources is better than getting it from one. Just make sure that you actually listen to the suggestions that you're given. If everyone agrees that pink text on a red background is horrible, don't argue with them.
web design atlanta
The world of web design expands by the day, and if you aren't careful, it's easy to get swept away in the tide. Use these tips to ensure that you're always on the cutting edge of technology and style.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Sometimes I just stand and watch the leaves fall.

Yes, I'm easily entertained.

Of course, all those leaves hurling themselves from the tree to the ground mean that someone's gotta rake them up.  Jeffrey and I raked all of them into a pile before we went out on Sunday afternoon.  There were quite a few more on the ground by the time we got home, and by Monday afternoon there were almost as many on the ground as we'd already raked up.  I put all the leaves we'd raked on Sunday into the trash toters and raked up enough more to fill two of those big leaf bags on Monday afternoon.

Not that I'm complaining - it was a gorgeous and glorious day, and I was taking any excuse to be outside.  The laundry wasn't going anywhere.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Deciphering the Laundry Code

Laundry_symbols_with_japaneseHave you noticed the laundry labels on clothing lately?  Seriously, what do those cryptic symbols even mean?  It seems that nobody really knows.

On Good Morning America yesterday they put up several of those laundry symbols, and the guesses were kind of hilarious, but nobody got them right.  Are those symbols supposed to make things easier?  Or just confuse us all so we wash things wrong, ruin them, and have to buy new clothes?

Why can't they just use words?

I hate the dumbing down of everything - from laundry tags to street signs.  Are we just assuming that people can't read, but they'll be smart enough to decipher the symbols?  How's that working?  I can read, but most of those symbols make absolutely no sense to me.  If we really think that people who can't read can decipher those cryptic little symbols, why don't we just let them decipher the usual symbols - called letters.  Formed into words.

Of course, possibly it's because everything is made in China these days and it's easier just to use symbols instead of repeating the washing directions in every possible language - which could lead to some really big labels.  In the meantime, I guess we all need a little help decoding those laundry symbols.  Seriously - how many of these did you know?  Better keep the computer handy when doing laundry.  (or download the available PDF, print it out, and keep it near the washing machine)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Interior Surface Renovations

There are times that a simple surface renovation of your home can refresh and update the look of every room. It is not as costly as some deep renovation projects, but just as effective in giving a new shine to your home. You can find a local remodeling contractor that can get these projects done quickly and affordably.

Drywall and Plastering
Cracks and holes in drywall and plaster can make a home look old and shabby. Moving furniture, accidental damage and uneven foundation settling can cause areas to crack and break away. These repairs can be done right and make the surfaces look like new again. You will not be able to tell there was any damage.

Painting and Wallcovering
A fresh coat of paint using contemporary colors can really brighten a home. A quality gloss product can even withstand the rigors of small children. It makes the wall surfaces washable. Specialized wallcoverings like wainscoting and paneling can bring a sophisticated look to any area of the home.

Old tired carpeting, linoleum, broken floor tiles or scratched wood flooring can make a home look used and drab. Renovate the flooring using high quality modern products that will last longer and look newer for a longer period of time. It is possible in many cases to refinish natural wood flooring and have it look as good as new. There are also quality laminate products that look as nice as natural wood for a fraction of the price.

It might be time to part with the old, stained and ugly laminate counters. There are a variety of slab stone and compressed products that will make your bathrooms and kitchen shine like never before. You can go with a chic marble, stoic granite or everlasting soapstone, just to name a few.

Tile and Grout
Tile floors, counters and walls that are made of outdated colors, patterns and materials can be removed and replaced with products that are incredibly beautiful and contemporary. New grout will stay cleaner looking for longer periods of time. It can completely transform the home.

Call on home renovations specialists like renovationexperts.com to find a local contractor that can get started right away!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Spice Up Your Clothes with Patches

Are you looking for an easy way to give your clothes a little extra personality?  With options from embroidered patches to satin, taffeta, or laser cut labels, clothing patches are one of the quickest ways to make a splash.   Patches can be placed on shirts, jackets, or jeans. It's really up to you what direction you want to go and what you want to say.

Northern Soul holdall

Here are some of the ways patches can be used:

Root for a Cause
Unique patches are ideal when you are supporting a cause. Whether you are standing up for a charity, an organization, or someone you love, you can give everyone involved a patch that represents your cause. You can also make patches a part of a fundraiser that will raise awareness while also increasing donations.

Promote Solidarity
When you want everyone to stand together, patches are an excellent way to demonstrate solidarity. When everyone has an eye-catching patch, you can make a powerful statement. Design your patch to fulfill your needs with a logo, graphics, and colors that work for you.

Make a Fashion Statement
Think patches when you are looking for some fun with your clothes. You can throw them on anything, choosing patches that are discreet, or going big to really make others notice your distinctive sense of style.

Enhance Your Uniforms
If you own a business and require uniforms, consider using patches to make sure everyone sees your logo. It is a great way to brand yourself. Even if you don't have a uniform, you can give all of your employees a jacket that includes a patch in order to spread the word about your company. It is an effective option to thank your employees as well when you give them a company coat.

Make Patches Work for You
Only you know the best way to use patches in your life. Whether you want it for your sporting event, your business, or personal use, you need to consider how patches can make a difference. Dress up the simplest clothes with a stylish patch. Say it your way with the patch that you have designed. Remember someone special or an important event in history. With patches, it is really up to you as you make the most of them. Choose what you want and your patches can be customized to work for you.

Why Didn't We Do This Sooner?

We haven't had an actual home phone in ages. Several years ago we transferred our home phone number to my cell phone and went to all cell phones.  It's definitely saved us money, and we haven't missed the home phone at all.

Except that I had to get used to keeping my cell phone close by and checking periodically to see if anyone had called.  And, of course, all those annoying telemarketer calls now come to my cell phone, but I have blocked a whole bunch of them.  I do still tend to leave my cell phone in one room while I'm off working in another, or downstairs when I run upstairs to do something.  Of course, that's exactly when someone I actually want to talk to decides to call.  And I don't always remember to check when I come down.

That problem is now in the past.  We got one of these cordless phone systems that connects to my phone via Bluetooth.  Now, when my phone rings, it also rings on both handsets, one upstairs and one down.  It's really loud and hard to miss, which is a good thing because sometimes I just don't hear the cell phone, especially when I 'm in the other room.  And, when I leave my phone downstairs and my son calls (somehow he seems to do this regularly), I can still answer the phone and talk to him.  It's been really convenient, and I keep wondering why we didn't do this sooner.  I know these phones have been around for a while, but I just didn't think to check into it.

I know our cell phone company offers a 'home phone' service, which is a separate line and costs $20/month, but this does the exact same thing with no new phone number and no monthly charge.  The cost of the phone system itself is only a couple month's worth of service, and additional handsets (the system is expandable up to 5 handsets) are only $20, so if you need more than 2 handsets, they pay for themselves in just a month or two.  That is, if you're thinking of adding a home phone service like this.  If you're still paying for a traditional landline, this is a great way to save a lot of money - unless the cost of phone service has decreased significantly since we stopped using it, which I doubt - by cancelling that service and still keeping the convenience of having a home phone.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Monitor Your Health with Test Kits

Some people think that the only way they can know what is going on inside of their body is by visiting a doctor, paying a consultation fee, paying for tests, and then paying for the doctor to give them the test results. Of course, there are times when consulting with a medical professional is absolutely essential if you want to maintain good health, but there are also some good options for monitoring your health on your own. There are devices and test kits that you can purchase in order to monitor many different health problems you have or even to find out if you have a particular health problem.

Medical Lab Tests.
Many people will purchase different types of test kits in order to monitor a particular condition. They will work closely with their doctor in order to find out how to use the kit and then to do the testing on a regular basis. When they notice a change, they will report this change to their doctor, and then they will get the treatment or the help they need. There are many reasons why this is beneficial. First, it gives a person peace of mind. Just think about how a person who has high blood pressure feels when they know they have high blood pressure. They may take steps in order to lower their blood pressure, but if they only have their blood pressure read when they visit their doctor, they will not know how their blood pressure is doing until the next appointment. However, if they get a blood pressure monitoring device and keep it in their home, they can measure their blood pressure whenever they want to. This will help them to chart their progress and see if they have made any improvement.

Other people decide to do different types of tests that they can purchase online.  When a person begins to do research on different conditions they have, they may see that other tests may be available, tests their doctors have not thought about or will not order. There are a variety of tests available, including ELISA kits, for example.  Individuals will purchase these tests, visit a local laboratory in order to have their blood drawn or in order to drop off other specimens, then they will return in order to pick up the results. Once they have these results, they can consult a medical professional. The great thing about the ability to do this kind of testing is that it helps an individual to accurately see what is going on inside of their body.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Sad Day

Our first two houses we had built.  They were in new subdivisions that had been corn fields until someone decided to sell lots and start building houses.  So, we didn't have trees.  At least not trees of any size.   Do you know how long it takes for a tree to grow?  Years.

We did have a couple young Maple trees in Wisconsin that were there when we built the house, so we let them grow.  They weren't huge, but they had gotten pretty tall, and then we lost them in the tornado.

Beginning on the tree out front
So we were excited when we moved here to finally have trees.  So excited to have trees that I took lots of pictures of our trees.  No, actually I didn't; I just spent quite a bit of time looking through all my pictures from the summer we moved here, and I can't find one picture of the trees I want to talk about now.  But they were here, and they were big, and they were beautiful and healthy.  That fall was the first time we had ever had to rake leaves.  And there were a lot of leaves.

It takes the right equipment
But apparently something very small can kill something very big and old in a very short time.  I had heard of the Emerald Ash Borer, but hadn't really paid attention.  It was something about not being able to take firewood from one area to another, but it didn't really seem to apply to us.  But when we got these trees, it did apply to us - only we didn't really think about it or realize it.  Until our trees died.  One summer they had leaves; the next they didn't.  Or not very many.  And this summer there was one small branch on one of the two Ash trees that had some leaves.  One.

The tree in the back yard

Multi-year studies have shown that if more than 50% of the canopy has been killed by EAB or if the canopy appears to be thin and carrying less than half as much foliage as it should, it is probably too late to save the tree.

Making progress

So, but the time we noticed anything was wrong (honestly, but the time I even knew they were Ash trees), it was too late to do anything.  Except have the trees removed.

Today we had the nice guys from Sutton's Tree, Lawn, Landscape come and begin the process of taking the trees out.  While it was interesting to watch them, I couldn't help thinking as I watched them come down, "Our poor trees."  It's just crazy that a little Asian bug can cause so much damage.

Tomorrow they come and take the rest
Yes, we do still have more trees than we had before, but it's really sad to see these two go.