Experts on safety tell us not to overload circuits at Christmas time, but they don’t tell us how. The solution to overloading is the power strip.
Born of computer users’ need for many electrical connections, the power strip can have six or more outlets. There’s no need to stack cords on a single wall outlet. The power strip has a circuit breaker that will turn it off, preventing a fire.
But it does more. Put the power strip on the floor, and you can turn on decorations with a touch of your foot. Gone are the days when you had to crawl behind the tree to plug them in.
The strips work just as well for outdoor decorations, but should be protected from rain and snow. Placing the strip in a plastic bag or under a wooden box works very well.
Other decorating safety rules include:
* Select a fresh green tree and keep it in water while it is in your home.
* If you select an artificial tree, check to be sure it is made with fire retardant.
* Position the tree so it is three feet away from any fireplace, candle, heater, heating vent, or other source of heat.
* Check each string of lights before using it. If a string has a frayed cord or any damaged light sockets, throw it away.
* Don’t use indoor lights outside, because they may not be waterproof.
* Don’t use outdoor lights inside because they burn hotter. Some lights are approved for both indoor and outdoor use, so you can use those in either place.
* If you have to use a ladder outside, use a sturdy one. Have someone steady the ladder if it is against something unstable, like evergreen branches. Don’t try to decorate very tall trees.
* Unplug indoor and outdoor decorations when you go to bed or leave your home.
7 essential steps for painting kitchen cabinets
An effective and affordable way to freshen up your kitchen is to paint the cabinets. For great results, follow these seven steps.
1. Remove doors and drawers
Start by taking apart the cabinets so you can work on a flat surface. You should also remove all handles, hinges, and other hardware. Be sure to number the doors and drawers so you know where each item goes when you reassemble the cabinets.
2. Clean every surface
3. Lightly sand each surface
Remove the finish on the doors and cabinets using a sanding block with fine-grit paper. This will create a rough surface for the paint to grip. If the existing paint is peeling, you may need to start with a medium- or coarse-grit sandpaper and then finish with one that has a finer grain.
4. Remove all the dust
Sanding the cabinets will create wood dust, which needs to be removed to ensure a smooth paint job. Start by vacuuming up the loose particles, then wipe down each surface with a damp cloth. Allow the cabinets to dry completely.
5. Apply a coat of primer
An undercoat of primer helps ensure the paint’s adhesion. Be sure to apply it evenly to all surfaces. For a more eco-friendly option, choose a water-based product.
6. Add two coats of paint
Once the primer dries completely, apply a thin coat of paint to the interior and exterior of the cabinets, doors and drawers. Make sure the paint flows into the corners of any raised features. Wait at least three hours for the paint to dry before you apply the second coat.
7. Let the paint cure
To ensure your cabinets are resistant to scratches and dents, wait a week or two for the paint to harden before you reinstall the doors and drawers.
Once your cabinets have been remounted, consider getting stylish hardware and light fixtures to enhance your kitchen’s new look. These elements will help define the space’s style.
For a flawless finish, lightly sand every surface after the primer dries and between each coat of paint. This will remove dirt and dust particles that would otherwise create a rough texture.
How to own a pet if you’re allergic to animals
Passionate animal lovers with allergies may be unwilling to live a life without pets. While no cat or dog is completely hypoallergenic, there are many breeds that shed little and, therefore, rarely cause allergic reactions. Here are just a few:
• Bouvier des Flandres
• Lhassa apso
• Shih tzu
• Yorkshire terrier
• Devon rex
Additionally, there are several ways to mitigate your allergy symptoms if you live with a pet. This includes brushing your animal outside every day, washing them once or twice a week with an anti-allergen shampoo, and keeping them out of your bedroom. You should also limit the amount of carpet and fabric furniture in your home as these tend to accumulate allergens.
Another way to reduce your symptoms is by taking allergy medication. Consult an allergist, doctor, or pharmacist to determine the right treatment.
Did you know?
Contrary to popular belief, pet allergies aren’t caused by cat or dog fur. Rather, they’re a reaction to a protein found in the animal’s saliva, skin cells, and urine. In most cases, allergy symptoms are triggered by exposure to dander that pets normally shed.
Unwind on a daybed
If you want an elegant piece of furniture built for lounging, consider including a daybed in your home decor. This trendy item offers a number of advantages.
A cross between a couch, single bed, and chaise lounge, the daybed is a versatile piece of furniture. It’s equally great as a spot for sitting, sleeping, or curling up with a book.
Plus, a daybed is just as stylish as it is functional. Available in a wide variety of materials and styles, it can tie in with nearly any design esthetic. Use yours to create a private retreat or an inviting area for guests.
This multipurpose piece of furniture can be used to optimize your living space without having to compromise on decor. To find the right daybed for your home, visit a furniture store in your area.
3 types of DIY costumes anyone can make
Whether you waited until the last minute or simply want to make your own, here are a few ideas for Halloween costumes you can easily create at home.
1. Sandwich board outfits
All you need are two large pieces of cardboard and string to build your sandwich board. Use markers, paint, or other craft supplies to turn yourself into:
• A chocolate bar. Use tin foil to mimic the classic wrapper texture.
• An advertisement. Make up your own unusual product and write a catchy slogan.
2. Character impersonations
Comb through your closet or borrow pieces from family members to recreate the iconic look of a fictional person. Here are a few options:
• Mario. You’ll need a fake mustache, denim overalls, white gloves, and a red T-shirt and hat.
• Mary Poppins. Wear a white blouse, red bow tie, long skirt, and a black straw hat. Be sure to carry a long black umbrella.
• Wednesday Adams. Put on a black dress and wear your wig or hair braided. To nail the look, be sure to smear on white face paint.
• Sandy Olsson. Dress in a tight black top and pants. Complete the costume with curled hair, hoop earrings, and a pair of wedge sandals.
• Waldo. Slip-on a pair of blue jeans and a red-and-white-striped shirt and beanie. Round glasses and a wood cane are also key.
3. Balloon creations
If you have a bag of birthday balloons lying around, all it takes is a little creativity and a strong set of lungs to turn yourself into:
• A bunch of grapes. Cover your body in dark blue or purple balloons. Top off the creation with a green hat and scarf to represent the stem and leaves.
• A bubble bath. Use white balloons and accessorize with a bath brush and rubber duck.
• A sea anemone. Create your tentacles with the long modeling balloons used to make balloon animals.
• A flower. Dress completely in green and surround your face with a ring of pink or red balloons.
• A bag of jelly beans. Wrap yourself and various balloons in a large clear garbage bag.
If you need more inspiration, there are plenty of photos available online as well as tutorial videos to help you bring your costume to life. Happy Halloween!
3 ways to enjoy your retirement years
While some people look forward to retirement, others may be worried about how to fill their days once they stop working. If you share these concerns, here are three enjoyable ways to spend your time and find fulfillment once you retire.
If you have an abundance of free time, consider donating some of it to a cause that’s close to your heart. Non-profit organizations, libraries, religious groups, schools and more are often looking for people to lend a hand. Even if you only volunteer a few hours each week, it’s an opportunity to give back to your community and meet new people.
Do you have a knack for building furniture, knitting mittens, painting landscapes, or baking bread? Whatever your talents are, you’ll have plenty of time after retirement to refine your skills. Plus, you can choose to sell your creations, gift them to loved ones or donate them to a charity to be sold at a fundraiser.
If you’re still not sure what you’d like to do once you retire, consider speaking with a life coach. He or she will be able to help you pinpoint your priorities and map out new goals.
3 creepy Halloween crafts for kids
This Halloween, encourage your kids to get creative. Here are a few fun and easy crafts your little ones will love making.
1. Felt critters
Cut pieces of felt into various shapes and glue them together to make insects, animals, and fantastical creatures. For young crafters, you can trace out the desired shapes with a marker and get them to simply cut along the lines. Use pompoms, buttons, and bits of yarn to add the finishing touches.
To create a spooky spider, for example, cut out a large black circle for the body, two medium white circles for the eyes, and two small black circles for the pupils. Attach eight same-sized pieces of black pipe cleaner to make the legs.
2. Mason jar lanterns
To create a spooky lantern, paint the outside of a Mason jar with the face of a jack-o’-lantern. Another idea is to make it look like the lantern is covered in creepy crawlies by filling it with plastic insects and cotton cobwebs. Alternatively, you can fill the jar halfway with dried leaves, flowers, and pebbles to create a more fall-like look.
Once the jar is ready, place a battery-powered tealight inside. The flickering candle will cast the perfect eerie glow.
3. Toilet roll monsters
Make ghosts, vampires, and other Halloween monsters out of empty toilet paper rolls. Use the tubes as torsos for your spooky creatures, then create horns, wings, fangs, and other eerie features with markers, paint, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and other odds and ends you have around the house.
To make a mummy, for example, wrap the roll in strips of gauze or paper towel. Or, to bring your very own Frankenstein to life, use green paint and black felt for the hair.
All three of these crafts can be made with objects found around your home and adapted to your children’s ages and abilities. Use the crafts you make to help decorate your home, design a haunted house, or put on a spooky puppet show.