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General Article

The Best Way to Keep Your Kitchen Clean While Cooking

The Best Way to Keep Your Kitchen Clean While Cooking

Cooking is one of our favourite hobbies, we love going into the kitchen and creating tasty meals and treats fro our loved ones. What we don’t love, however, is the trail of destruction that we leave behind. How come there’s so much mess?

This has bugged us for generations, well, since the days of masters and servants ceased to exist. At one time, all our ancestors had to do was sit at the table, have their meals brought to them and then retire. The staff downstairs had to worry about all the tidying up.

If you were at the other end of the social scale and didn’t have servants it wasn’t a problem either as you couldn’t afford to cook elaborate meals so there was little, if anything to clean up. The thing is, with today’s so called time saving gadgets, there seems to be more mess than ever. As well as utensils we have used, there are also a stack of appliances such as blenders that need to be cleaned out.

Of course, you may well be very wealthy and not have a clue what I’m actually talking about, but I’m guessing not. Ok, you may have a cleaning lady a couple of times a week, but a bombsite kitchen isn’t really something you want to leave for her. Cooking is one of my great passions in life, tidying up after myself is not. I’ve tried various things to lessen this chore; most of them didn’t work, I’m happy to report that this one did.

Clean as you go is now my kitchen motto. Keep a bowl of hot, soapy water and wash each piece as soon as you’ve used it. Then when you’ve finished, there will only be the last couple of things that you’ve used, so much better than a teetering pile of dirty dishes.

In the long run, leaving everything to the end is making more work for yourself. This is particularly difficult if you have guests for dinner, you know what a state your kitchen is in but can’t abandon your guests to go and clean up. Cleaning as you go means you can enjoy your evening as you know your kitchen is okay.…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Looking For The Best Patio Roof

Thanks to the creative minds behind patio designs, there are several sorts of patio roofs available on the market. With contingency plans for all the usual weather and maintenance issues, innovative techniques have made most patio roofs ideal for any situation. Nowadays, it has all boiled down to what you deem as the right roof for your patio.
Get a conventional patio roof to match your house roof. Whether you go for aluminum, polycarbonate, or plastic, pick a patio roof that would complement your main roof and design. It would be better if the patio is connected to your home to get a fluid transition to the extension patio. Make sure that the patio roof is light but sturdy enough to withstand wind and rain.
Ponder on pergolas. Lattice-roofed patios can provide just the right amount of sunlight to push through the shade. Having climbing vines crawl all over the pergola also serves as a double purpose. The blossoming flowers would contrast against the green leaves and make for an attractive patio accent while the seasonal ripening of fruit can serve as a delicious snack. Thatching the pergola could also create a tropical feel to the patio.
Go roofless. Outdoor patios, especially those with gardens, playgrounds, or pools do not necessarily need to have anything overhead. Just make sure your floors, walls, and furniture can withstand all types of weather. Choose patio accessories with materials that are resistant to heat, rain, and snow. Frequent maintenance might also be needed to keep the patio looking sharp.
Cover up. If you like a patio that can commune with the sun and the night sky but not with the rain or sleet, there are many patio roof covers to choose from. Retractable ones are convenient since they can be shown or hidden from view easily. They also don’t need to be folded open or close every time the weather takes a turn for the worst. For a little shade on those hot days, patio roof covers made of fabric add a soft look and cooler ambiance for the patio.
Think outside the box. Your roof doesn’t necessarily need to be a singular rectangular top. The patio can also provide its users smaller bits of shade through beach umbrellas. These covers also have the advantage of being portable or movable angling themselves against the sun. Even a shady tree is enough to provide some much-needed cover for the patio.
As you can see, patio roofs are not just about sturdy top covers. Shade against the sun and rain can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s all just a matter of letting your creative mind dictate the design you want for your patio.…

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General Article

The Best Kitchen Cabinet Designs

The Best Kitchen Cabinet Designs

We all know just how useful a kitchen cabinet can be. Personally, I have never seen a kitchen that did not feature this kind of furniture. I’m sure we all know understand the importance of this simple kitchen appliance, but what do we do when we want a new, or a better one and we have so many to choose from? How do we know which one to choose? Let me tell you a thing, choosing a fitting kitchen cabinet really makes a difference. It is very important that you consider your kitchen space, the style that you are going for and consult the top designs before purchasing this important kitchen appliance. I will describe some of these kitchen cabinet designs bellow, so that you can make up your mind a little bit easier.

The Antique Style Kitchen Cabinet

The antique style cabinet is a great looking appliance, fitting for the person that strives for that antiquated feel and look in their kitchen. Although it is not really antique, this appliance gives the impression of “old” thanks to the amazingly skillful brushing techniques that were used in its making. These brushing techniques simply create the impression of a glazed or distressed look, but they can also vary depending on the brushing method that was used. Not all the antique style cabinets have the same feel to them; some offer a more refined or polished feel than others.

The Cottage Style Kitchen Cabinet

The cottage style cabinet is well known for the warm and cozy ambience that it creates around it. This interesting appliance style is inspired by the country of England. It features amazing wood work that creates an amazingly warm, relaxed or calm feel all around. It suits different kitchen designs and it goes amazingly well with vivid and cheerful colors or textures. The cottage style cabinets usually come in white. They feature a minimalistic design with square doors, islands, wooden cupboards and baker’s racks. Sometimes they also come with glass doors, but these are mainly used for the top cabinets. Another characteristic of this design is the simple shelve design.

The Shaker Style Kitchen Cabinet

The shaker kitchen cabinet is the perfect choice for the organized, neat, and minimal person. This is a design that is preferred by many, thanks to its clean and wonderful design. Obviously, it goes very well with minimalistic and modern kitchen designs. Although it is very simple, it does not mean that it is lacking the necessary functionality. On the contrary!…

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General Article

Replacement Windows and Energy Efficiency is Sexy – Per President Obama

Replacement Windows and Energy Efficiency is Sexy – Per President Obama

While strolling through a Home Depot for a media spot a few weeks ago, President Obama was quoted as as saying, “Energy Efficiency is sexy.” This, as one can imagine, caught the ears of reports who quickly spread the tag line across all media outlets.

Obama was referencing the tax credits the government gives for replacement windows and other such energy saving home improvement projects. And if the public’s mindset is one that perceives energy efficiency as “sexy”, people will buy.

Why Use the Word “Sexy”?

The tobacco companies have used this tactic since the dawn of time. By highlighting their product as cool, they attract the likes of young adults trying to find any way to fit in. If the public thinks smoking is cool, then why not go buy a pack cigarettes and look cool with the rest of them.

President Obama is well aware of this effect, as are his public relations team, and the lobbyists for home improvement companies. So with cameras rolling and reporters eating up every word, President Obama’s reference to energy efficiency and sexy, was an attempt at reaching the subconscious of the public.

Next time homeowners are considering a home improvement project, how about replacing those old leaky windows instead of redoing the floor. Cause hey, an energy efficient home is sexy.

Replacement Windows are Sexy

At least this attempt at taking advantage of the consumers mindset is for a good cause. The truth is, an energy efficient home is good for the economy. It supports countless numbers of new jobs made available by investments into new green technology. It supports the home improvement companies that have based their entire marketing plans on energy efficiency.

Replacement windows are one such project that can reduce heating and cooling bills by up to 40%. Just imagine if every home was able to afford new windows. Think about the reduction of home energy consumption.…

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Home Renovation

Hardwood Spline – What You Need to Know

If you’re laying a hardwood floor anywhere within your home, then you’ll likely need some hardwood spline. A spline is the slither of wood that connects two pieces of hardwood floor, where they join and change direction. For example, where two hardwood floors meet in a doorway and the wood changes direction, you use a spline to connect the wood and hold it in place securely.
Before you begin to lay your wooden floor, you should prepare in advance everything you’ll need. And one of those things is a strip of hardwood spline. Here are some thing you need to know about and should consider with hardwood spline:
Consider How Much You’ll Need: It’s worth preparing in advance how much spline you need before you begin laying the hardwood floor panels. There’s nothing worse than getting started on a project and having to stop halfway through because you don’t have everything you need. If you don’t have any spline, then you’ll have to halt any progress as soon as you need to change the direction of the wood. Just as you will need to – or have already – calculated how much you’ll need of the actual wooden floor panels, work out how much spline you’ll need. It’s worth getting more than you actually need to take into account any errors or inaccurate estimates.
Get The Correct Size: This is just a simple tip, but be sure to get the correct thickness of the hardwood spline, that is the correct size for inserting between where the wooden panels join. As you probably know, hardwood panels come in different thicknesses, thus, so does spline. Again, there’s nothing worse than being halfway though laying the floor then realizing you have to stop because the spline is too thin or thick. So as well as getting the appropriate length of spline, be sure to get the correct thickness. If you don’t want to buy the spline of the specific thickness, you can always cut a piece of hardwood yourself to the appropriate length and thickness.
Where To Get Your Spline: Spline is available in your local DIY store, or you can even buy it online (and potentially at a huge savings) if you know what size you need. It can often be cheaper to buy things such as this from the Internet. Also, you can even make your own spline from any hardwood that you have available, although this is only recommended if you are quite handy and have a desire to put in the time and effort to do this yourself.
In conclusion, if you want your hardwood floor to flow seamlessly from one room to another, even when the wood panels change direction, then you’ll need some hardwood spline. Oak is often used as a hardwood spline for hardwood flooring, but you can also use plywood as a cheaper option. Take your time, and be sure to use the spline accurately with a tight fit, and no-one will be any the wiser that there is a transition in the wood.…

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Bathroom Renovations

Entertaining Made Easier With a Conservatory

Lean-to conservatories can be a god send when it comes to planning a BBQ. As is often the case, depending on the weather to guarantee a dry day can be a thankless pursuit. When planning that outdoor barbeque, with family and friends expected, there’s nothing worse than looking out the window to see an ominous black cloud quickly rolling overhead. Rather than cramming everyone indoors, wouldn’t it be better to have the best of both worlds? What you want is the feeling of being outside yet avoiding a drop of rain. This is where a uPVC conservatory can prove its worth.
A lot of people may be unsure regarding conservatory prices in the UK, due partly to our unpredictable weather and the idea that they’re only really useful on warm, sunny days. This isn’t particularly true at all, when used efficiently, conservatories can be used all year round. People use them not only as sun lounges but as offices, bedrooms, second living rooms and playrooms. Adding a conservatory, quite simply, gives you more living space. This can be especially useful for a growing family, looking at the options of extension or moving home.
Although conservatory prices may seem costly, they can often prove cheaper than moving to a bigger property. Even for the price of decorating a new home, that money could go some way to purchasing a perfectly nice conservatory.
With a conservatory you get fantastic natural light, making it a unique room in your house. With the large amount of glass, it looks and feels like no other room and can really lift your mood on a bright day. Even on a rainy day, they can be very relaxing, especially with good heating. The sound of rain against the roof whilst you remain warm and dry indoors.
In the evenings they also offer a wonderful ambience, making them perfect for dining rooms. What better way to enjoy your meal as the sun goes down and the sky above you turns to dusk?
Then of course, they offer a great transition from indoors to the garden. It helps bring the natural feel of the garden in to the house, especially if complemented by a nice patio or decking area. It can give your home a limitless feel, as you’re not restricted by 4 solid walls. They are perfect for garden parties and barbeques, as they allow guests plenty of space to sit or stand, in complete shelter, while enjoying the sights of the garden. It also helps keep people together rather than having a few people sitting outside, with others indoors and out of sight.
There are many benefits that certainly outweigh a conservatory price tag so why not take another look for yourself and think about investing for the summer?…

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General Article

Kitchen Composters, Buckets, Or Tumblers, What’s the Difference?

Kitchen Composters, Buckets, Or Tumblers, What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a kitchen composter, compost crock and a compost tumbler? Do I need all of these? Are they all the same thing? I’m going to describe what each of these things are and how to find what works best for you.

A compost crock is basically a container that you have in your kitchen to hold your food scraps until you get a chance to go out to the yard and empty it in your compost pile. I’ve seen these made out of plastic, ceramic and stainless steel. Since plastic tends to be somewhat flimsy and hold smells (especially compost), I recommend avoiding them. Ceramic is nice looking, heavy and easy to clean, but it’s also easy to break. Therefore, I tend to like stainless steel compost crocks. I’ve had mine for quite some time, and many of them come with a charcoal filter to combat the smell although I’ve never had a problem with this.

Could you use a Tupperware container to do the job? Absolutely. However, if you can shell out a few bucks, the stainless steel crock will show its worth to you quickly. Of the three items, having a compost crock is probably the most necessary.

Next up, the kitchen composter. This is usually referring to a plastic bucket that sits in your kitchen and collects food scraps. You add a rice bran blend to the bucket as it fills, and it breaks down the material surprisingly quickly. I feel that this is the expensive way to go, as you need to buy refills of the rice bran and it isn’t all that cheap.

Most kitchen composters have a spout on them to collect “compost tea”, which is awesome. Compost tea is like steroids for your plant, so it’s nice to have that bonus for using a kitchen composter. They’re also good if you live in a cramped space and you don’t have the yard space for composting.

Finally, we have the compost tumbler. There’s a lot of variations on composting in your yard, such as having a hole in the ground, a chicken wire fence with the material layered high, or a secure barrel of varying levels of quality. When I first started composting, I had a trench in the ground and used a shovel to turn the got old pretty quickly. Stray animals would mess around with the contents, so I needed to get a contained pile going. Using a tumbler keeps the moisture straight, the animals out, and some even provide compost tea.

As you can see, all three items have different purposes, but using all three is not necessary. I love composting, so I own a compost tumbler as well as a nice kitchen compost crock. Whether you live in the city or the country, hot or cool climate, you can benefit from implementing any of these in your home.…