Donna Coakley McGowan's Blog
An enriched soil is an indispensable requirement for a fantastic garden. Flourishing plants are a delight to the soul. An affordable means of improving the quality of your garden soil is making your own fertilizer. This cost-saving process can be clean and easy if done the right way. It is waste management by recycling. The results are as complete as that of inorganic fertilizers, yet it lasts longer and is safer because it is organic. Making your organic fertilizer will be hassle-free if you pay attention to these three things:
- Get a good container: A proper container will help you hold all the decomposing materials that you are going to use. Your bin doesn't have to be fancy or decorative; it just needs to be able to keep all the elements together while bacteria works on them. The kind of bin that works is one that retains both heat and moisture as both are essential to the process. You can purchase a compost bin from any gardening store near you. The container should be situated in the sun so that it gets maximum heat.
- The right ingredients and preparation process: Your compost should be a combination of brown and green plant materials along with some moisture so the bacteria can get to work in a conducive atmosphere. Use items like newspapers, dry leaves, and wood shavings, kitchen waste (not including meat, however), and grass cuttings to start the compost. Other items that should go in your compost bin include fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, cut grass, and wood. Some items are not good composting materials because they cause pests infestation. Avoid things like meat, fish and dairy products as they will attract rats and raccoons to your compost bin. Also, avoid diseased plant materials as these will transfer pests to the soil. Also, avoid animal feces. Always add even layers of green and brown materials for excellent balance and an even flow of moisture.
- The composting procedure: Add water to the compost pile regularly; you are aiming for the consistency of a wet sponge so be careful not to add too much water. Keep turning the pile with a pitchfork every two weeks to make sure the process is going as expected. The mix should always be warm, around 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Final use: Your fertilizer is ready to be added to your garden soil when it no longer gives off heat. You can then apply it to your garden and flower pots up to about five inches of thickness. Following these basic steps will help you to enrich your garden soil organically. A beautiful lawn and garden add curb appeal to any home.
One exciting part of moving into a new home is dreaming up all the ways you will redecorate and make it your haven. Here’s a guide to picking the perfect paint colors and types for a gorgeous home.
Part of choosing a great color selection is understanding what makes your colors work together so well. You want to pick and stick to one of three color schemes.
Here’s a quick art lesson for today:
Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. These colors when used together allow one color to really stand out.
Monologous colors are shades in the same color family. This color scheme creates a soothing, calm feel to a room.
Complementary colors are opposite one another on the color wheel. The colors in this type of color scheme balance each other equally.
Before heading to the home improvement store for some paint samples it’s best to have the rest of your room’s decor picked out first. Once you have furnishings and accessories picked out you can find a shade for your walls that will tie the entire room together.
A general rule of thumb is:
If you choose a bright or vibrant color for your furniture, choose a neutral shade for your walls.
If you choose neutral colored furnishings you can bring in a bright, vibrant color for your walls.
When designing your entire home it’s best to think of the overall design scheme cohesively. Not every room needs to look the same or have the same colors. However, it should feel like a natural flow and progression as you move from room to room.
Now that you know your colors you’re ready to pick out your paints.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many paint sheen options? And if there is someone out there painting their house entirely with high gloss paint?
While I cant answer the latter question the answer to the former is this: the glossiness of paint directly affects how easy it is to clean.
Here a general guideline of where to use which type:
High gloss should be used for high traffic areas that come into a lot of contact. Think railings and furniture. High gloss can be more costly per gallon but worth the relatively small investment in the long run.
Semi-gloss is great for places that come into contact with a lot of moisture. These are areas like cabinets and trim.
Satin sheen is great for bathroom and kitchen walls. It’s a great balance between a gloss and the matte finish many prefer for their walls.
Eggshell is perfect for bedrooms and other rooms where they aren’t likely to meet as many messes or moisture as the bathroom and kitchen.
Whether your adult children have left the nest or you recently decided to "upsize" to a larger house, you're now faced with the minor "problem" of what to do with that extra space.
While some homeowners just use it for storage or guest bedrooms, there are plenty of other possibilities that are well worth considering.
Exercise room: In spite of the many proven benefits of regular exercise -- ranging from increased strength and endurance to weight control and slowing down the aging process, many people have trouble getting started and staying motivated. It's a lot easier to come up with a laundry list of excuses than join a gym and stick with an exercise program. It's surprising how many people actually join a health club, but then stop going after the novelty (and their enthusiasm) wears off.
However, when you create a dedicated fitness space at home, most of your former excuses no longer hold water! With a home gym or exercise room, you not only have convenience, privacy, and 24/7 availability, but there are no parking issues, traffic problems, membership fees, or noisy weightlifters. If you prefer a regimen that's less vigorous, there's always the option to use the room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.
Home office: With more homeowners telecommuting, consulting, freelancing, blogging, and starting ecommerce stores, it makes sense to set aside a dedicated space in your home for business and career development. A home office is also a quieter place to go for other tasks, such as paying bills, applying for jobs, social networking, catching up on your email correspondence, or planning your next vacation.
Home library: If you or any of your family are avid readers, a room with lots of built-in shelving, comfortable furniture, and adjustable lighting would be the perfect place to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Not only would a home library be the ideal environment for reading, studying, or doing research, but it might even encourage your children to cultivate more of an appreciation for reading and learning.
Craft room: Whether there are artists, embroiderers, or jewelry makers in your household, a special room for artistic endeavors lends itself to creativity, while helping to keep craft supplies and projects confined to one area of the house! A craft room can also be ideal for storing gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards.
Music room: If your family is musically inclined, a separate room for practicing instruments is beneficial to both budding musicians and those who want to watch TV, do homework, or have quiet conversations elsewhere in the house. A dedicated music room can also be a good spot for making music videos, recording music, and having jam sessions.
As you can imagine, extra space in your house gives you and your family the opportunity for more physical, intellectual, and creative development. Designating a spare room, a finished basement, or an attic area for artistic expression or personal development may even encourage others in your family to discover and cultivate their hidden and emerging talents!
After a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her house, it likely will be only a few weeks before you can wrap up your home purchase. And if you understand exactly what to expect during the homebuying process, you should have no trouble eliminating potential hurdles along the way.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.
1. Conduct a Home Inspection
A home inspection is paramount for a buyer. Because if you encounter home problems during an inspection, you still have an opportunity to back out of a house purchase.
Hire an expert home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This inspector will assess a house both inside and out and offer comprehensive insights into a residence's condition.
Of course, you should always review a home inspection report closely too. This will enable you to analyze a house and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase or reconsider your options.
2. Perform an In-Depth Home Appraisal
Oftentimes, a lender will require an appraisal before you can close on a house. Lucky for you, there are many home appraisers available in cities and towns nationwide, and these property experts can perform an appraisal at your convenience.
Spend some time looking for the top appraisers in your area. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who will go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an accurate appraisal.
3. Prepare for Closing Day
As closing day approaches, your stress levels may rise accordingly. However, a homebuyer who plans for closing day can stay calm, cool and collected as the homebuying journey reaches its conclusion.
Generally, it is a good idea to prepare any documentation that you'll need for a home closing. If you have all of the necessary documents ready in advance, you can avoid the risk of potential delays when you close on a house.
If you need additional assistance in the weeks or days leading up to a house closing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, a real estate agent can offer extensive support as you navigate the homebuying journey.
Initially, a real estate agent will help you narrow your house search and ensure you can find your ideal residence. He or she then will help you prepare a competitive offer for this home. And once your offer is accepted by a seller, a real estate agent will provide plenty of guidance as you get ready to finalize a house purchase.
A real estate agent also will respond to any concerns or questions that you may have throughout the homebuying journey. That way, you can make informed decisions as you pursue your ideal residence.
Get the help you need to wrap up a home purchase – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can streamline the homebuying journey.
Confidence can play a major role in the homebuying journey. If a homebuyer is confident in his or her ability to evaluate a house, this individual may be better equipped than others to complete a successful home purchase. Conversely, a homebuyer who lacks confidence may struggle to identify his or her ideal residence, resulting in a long, arduous homebuying journey.
Becoming a confident homebuyer may be easier than you think. In fact, there are several key attributes of successful homebuyers, and these traits include:
A confident homebuyer makes the most of the time and resources at his or her disposal. By doing so, this buyer can identify housing market patterns and trends and map out a successful homebuying journey.
Typically, a confident homebuyer performs deep real estate market data analysis. By obtaining comprehensive housing market insights, this buyer can take an informed approach to purchasing a residence.
A confident homebuyer is willing to do what it takes to acquire a home. As such, he or she will take a conscientious approach to the homebuying journey, as well as ensures that both a buyer and seller can achieve the optimal results.
For example, a confident homebuyer may be willing to negotiate with a seller to determine a price that works for both sides. This buyer also may make sacrifices along the way to guarantee a home sale is a seamless transaction for all parties involved.
A confident homebuyer has a no-quit attitude and will go above and beyond the call of duty to purchase a terrific house at a price that fits within his or her budget. Therefore, this buyer displays persistence throughout the homebuying journey.
With a persistent attitude, a homebuyer can boost the likelihood of discovering his or her dream house. This buyer will keep track of new houses in cities and towns where he or she would like to live. And if the right home becomes available, this buyer won't hesitate to submit a competitive offer on it, either.
When it comes to buying a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with plenty of confidence. If you consult with a real estate agent, you can build your homebuying confidence in no time at all.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with a homebuyer and learn about this individual's goals. A real estate agent then will help a buyer plan for the homebuying cycle, ensuring he or she is fully supported at each stage of this process.
A real estate agent also is an expert resource to a homebuyer. And if a homebuyer has any questions throughout the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to provide responses.
For those who are ready to pursue their dream home, it helps to become a confident homebuyer. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can enter the real estate market with the confidence that you need to thrive.