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16 July 2014 ~ Comments Off

Practical Kitchen Stuff to Give Newly Weds

Bridal registries have gotten a lot more creative these days, with couples asking for contributions to honeymoons, home renovations, and even gifts to charity. But the most popular registry items continue to be practical kitchen items as cookware, small kitchen appliances, and other kitchen gear. Friends typically spend about $80 on a wedding gift while relatives spend about $150. Here are some affordable stuff to consider giving for the bride and groom.


A standard kitchen stand mixer is a perennial item on wedding registries that is affordable. It can be a whiz when it comes to whipping and mixing and scores points for versatility, thanks to its dough hooks, whisk attachment, and liquid blending rod, which is designed to blend soups, smoothies, and more.

Frying pan

If there’s one pan to have, it’s a nonstick 10-inch Omelet Pan, a best buy at only $40. Eggs slide out of the pan with ease and it is superb at evenly heating food. It’s simple to clean and stands up to tough durability tests. Nonstick frying pans can be bought separately or usually as part of 10-piece sets that costs around $200, still a best buy.


Coffeemakers as wedding gifts are still selling like hot cakes and offer the advantage of letting everyone make their favorite brew. They are excellent for brewing speed and no waiting for the water to heat. Java makers are also consistent at filling the cups to the same level and keeping a steady temperature.

Toaster oven

Toaster ovens are good choices to prepare smaller meals. The quartz and ceramic heating elements can cook more efficiently and don’t require any preheating. Corn muffins and frozen pizza come out nicely in tests as well as toasted sliced bread and corned beef.


Stainless steel toasters are now all the rage for wedding gifts. Its ability to turn out evenly browned toast, batch after batch, is quite unsurpassed. It is particularly good at toasting at a range of intensities, ideal for folks with different preferences, and does a good job on single slices as well. Special features include settings for bagels, warming and reheating, and defrosting.


Microwaves are definitely must-haves for cooking convenience. Easy to use, microwave ovens are the fastest to heat water for a quick mug of instant coffee, and are relatively quiet when on high. A very good performer overall, it offers superb defrosting and very good heating evenness.

02 July 2014 ~ Comments Off

Top 5 Subtle Signs That It’s Time for Basement Waterproofing

Anyone can tell you that if your basement is full of water, it’s time to look into basement waterproofing. But what if there’s just a little moisture on the walls? Sometimes, the signs of basement waterproofing problems aren’t obvious. Water is a tricky substance; it can appear and disappear almost at will, leaving behind only subtle hints that it is planning on turning your basement into a pond soon. The cost of waterproofing a basement isn’t as much as you might think, and taking action before the problem gets worse can save you a lot of trouble.

Take note of dampness

If your basement is relatively dry, but sometimes the walls or floor get a bit wet, it’s time to take action. Even a small amount of water, especially on the floor, is an indication that your foundation has been compromised. Water is obviously making it from the outside world into your basement, and with enough pressure, such as during a storm, this could cause a major leak or flooding.

Look out for efflorescence

Water can contain lots of dissolved substances, and when it evaporates, it leaves these substances behind. Efflorescence is a scientific term for these leftover crystallized substances. In your basement, efflorescence appears as a powdery white substance on your basement walls or floor.

Even if you do not see water, efflorescence is a tell-tale sign that water is getting into your basement. Soil and concrete contain plenty of dissolvable, tiny particles. As water squeezes its way through tiny orifices to get into your basement, it picks up lots of substances along the way.

Watch out for stains

Much like efflorescence, stains can indicate the presence of water, even if your basement doesn’t actually look wet. Thanks to the process of evaporation, the water can leak into your basement and then disappear, leaving behind only an unsightly spot or two to let you know it was there. These stains are especially apparent if you have a finished basement.

Be alert for humidity

Humidity is water in its most covert form. It may be invisible to the eye, but you can still tell it’s there. It makes the air in your basement feel heavy and damp. Humidity indicates that water is somehow getting into your basement and evaporating, a growing environment for molds.

That funny smell

Let’s say your basement doesn’t look at all wet, but it smells somewhat musty. That musty smell might just be mold, a fungus that can grow in seemingly inhospitable environments; all it needs to survive is organic material like water. Basements tend to be enclosed environments with little air circulation and sunlight, which mold loves.

Not only can mold become an aesthetic problem as it starts to show on the walls and floor of your basement, it is a health hazard that can cause serious symptoms in some individuals. Mold is an allergen, triggering sneezing, watery eyes, asthma attacks, and other health concerns. When you weigh the cost of waterproofing a basement with the value of your and your family’s health, the choice becomes pretty easy.

18 June 2014 ~ Comments Off

Simple Ways to Decorate Boldly Without Denting Your Wallet

Want to give your home and rooms a new look without emptying your pockets? These super simple tricks deliver major results for a minor investment.

Repeat Yourself

One is nice, two is better, but for maximum impact, three is the magic number. If you’re skeptical, take a look at the pages of a decorating magazine or catalog. You will be certain to see trios of identical stools, vases and other items. The triad seems to be the point at which a group of objects turns into a significant statement.

Try a Tray

It’s hard to overstate the usefulness of a tray. Place one on a coffee table to corral a group of decorative objects, or on an ottoman to transform it into a cocktail table. Do not ever forget the tray’s main purpose, which is serving food and drinks. Look at discount home stores for great deals on wood, leather, brightly hued plastic and fabric-covered versions. Or browse thrift shops and flea markets for enticing bargains with quirky vintage charm.

Supersize It

Adding an oversize accessory requires some confidence, but it frequently ends up making the room. There’s something so playful about the contrast of a large-scale clock or lamp set against its more diminutive cohorts. You often can find big pieces at big discounts in the clearance section of department and housewares stores, since lots of people think twice about investing in, say, an enormous ginger jar or timepiece.

Get Busy

Bold patterns are a surefire way to energize a space. And dollar for dollar, a jazzy bedspread or area rug can do more to change up a room than virtually any other accessory. Small prints are sweet, but for maximum drama, choose a design that’s medium or large in scale. Keep in mind that mixing prints can be tricky, so play it safe and stick to one big idea.

Dress Up the Living Room

Dress up windows with easy-to-make curtains. Sew multiple pairs of ribbons to one end of a twin-size flat sheet. Use the ribbons to tie each panel to the curtain rod. Add beauty to any room with flowers from the garden. Now is the time to use a variety of flower vases to make nice bouquets.

Dress Up the Bathroom, Too

Install inexpensive photo ledges on which to create interesting displays. Vintage mirrors and dishes lend the room a touch of granny chic. Save money by making, and not buying, billowy fabric shades. They require minimal sewing skills.