morning journal - spring home improvement 2014

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Great ideas for keeping your home fresh and fun from the Morning Journal.


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  • M O R N I N G J O U R N A L S P R I N G H O M E I M P R O V E M E N T 2 0 1 4 S U N D A Y , M A Y 1 8 , 2 0 1 4 3


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    (Family Features) Whether youre reminiscing about a romantic getaway or dream-ing of a future foray to the City of Light, you can recreate the elegance and joie de vivreof Paris in your own corner of the world.

    Vignettes of French life provide delightful inspiration for handmade crafts and decorthat bring the mystique and romance of Paris to life. Pull inspiration from the sights andsounds that define the city, such as the softly muted illumination of a cozy French bistro.

    Strips of fabric are tied and knotted around wire lampshade frames to create softstripes of color and texture in this project for Fabric Strip Lamp Shades, from the craft-ing experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.

    Whether you hang them indoors or out, these whimsical pieces create a soft andromantic ambiance youll love.

    For more Parisian-inspired decor ideas, visit

    Fabric Strip Lamp ShadesCrafting Time:Weekend projectSkill Level: Some experience necessary

    Supplies and Tools:LampshadeFabrics in a variety of colors and textures (approximately 2-3 yards)Rotary cutter, cuttingmat and rulerScissorsSpray paint to match fabricCover for work surfaceLamp cord set, turn knob socket and loops for hanging (available at hardware stores)

    1. Remove any fabric or paper from the lampshade so only the wire frames areexposed.

    2. Spray paint lampshade frames. Let dry.

    3. Cut fabric on the bias into 2 strips.

    4. Starting at the top of lampshade frame, tie a knot with the end of one fabric striponto frame.Wrap fabric around the top of frame until completely covered, knotting stripstogether when each strip is close to ending.

    5. Tie another strip of fabric to the knot tail and wrap under and around the front ofthe closest vertical wire on the frame. Go to the next vertical wire, wrap and continuearound all vertical wires working around and down the lampshade.

    Tie extra knots throughout to add interest. At the bottom of the frame, tie a knot tofinish.

    6. Tie another strip to the knot tail and wrap around the bottom until the entire frameis covered. Tie knot to finish.

    7. Trim all knot tails throughout.

    8. Attach cord set, knob and hanging loops as instructed.

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    (Family Features) The benefits of having your own backyard vegetable garden areplentiful, and can include significant lifestyle impacts, such as healthier eating habits,money saving perks and more.

    A Relaxing, Healthful HobbyLooking for a hobby that allows you to contribute to the health of your family? Take

    up gardening. Beyond producing nutritious foods, it can help you teach your familyabout local agriculture, all while basking in the tranquility of the great outdoors. Thoughstarting your own home garden can be intimidating, there are a few simple steps to getyou started. Once developed, it can yield fruits and vegetables from early spring and intothe fall.

    1) Do Some ResearchFind out what vegetables grow best in your area and when is the right time to plant

    and harvest. Many local university extension programs have this information readilyavailable online. For each plant, consider the amount of water needed, how much sun-light is required and if it should be started from seed or a transplanted seedling.

    2) Choose a Good SpotKeep in mind vegetables need at least six hours of sun each day, so plant away from

    the shade of buildings, trees and shrubs. Planting close to your house may make youmore likely to bring your harvest right into your kitchen, and will help you remember toweed and water.

    Including rain and irrigation, your garden needs at least one inch of water per week.Make sure you can easily access a water supply nearby. Some products, such as anAmes NeverLeak hose reel, provide convenient hose storage and can easily reach allparts of your yard. Be sure to choose a level area of your yard so when watering it willnot pool in lower areas.

    3) Clear the AreaUse your garden hose or a string to mark the area for proper placement of your gar-

    den. Use a sod lifter or garden spade, keeping the area level and removing as little top-soil as possible.

    Next, use a round point shovel, such as the True Temper True American Round-Point Shovel, to dig into the soil about 12 inches, breaking it up and removing clumps.To encourage proper drainage and escape light freezes in early spring and fall, constructa raised bed by creating a border with wood slats and filling in with soil.

    4) Prepare the SoilUse a rake to create a smooth finish and remove debris or stones on the surface. You

    may want to add manure, compost or soil additives to provide additional nutrients in thesoil.

    5) Plant Your SeedsDetermine if you will be starting your plants from seeds or transplanting small

    seedlings. Be sure to research how much room each plant will need and plot the layoutof your garden. Dig V-shaped furrows using a warren hoe or the edge of a garden hoe.Carefully distribute the seeds in the furrows evenly and in accordance with the instruc-tions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds and pat down gently, then water thoroughly.

    Use this information for a fruitful harvest this gardening season. For more tips, or

    Tips for a bountiful backyard garden

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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    (NAPS)Did you know that homes with automatically timed irrigation systems useabout 50 percent more water outdoors than those without them? Your system could bewasting as much as 30,000 gallons of water each year if it is programmed incorrectly, asprinkler head is pointed in the wrong direction, or you have a leak. Regular sprinklermaintenance could save as much as $120 annually on your water bills!

    Now is the perfect time to get your irrigation system off the snooze button with a lit-tle sprinkler spruce-up to ensure it is operating efficiently. Maybe your system hasbeen inactive for the long winter, or it may have been damaged during the harsh winter.Before you take your sprinkler system out of hibernation, use a little water sense andtake four simple steps to get it ready for efficient operationinspect, connect, direct andselect:

    Inspect your irrigation system for clogged, broken or missing sprinkler heads andreplace where necessary.

    Connect sprinkler heads tightly to pipes or hoses to prevent water pooling in yourlandscape and leaks that could drown your favorite plants.

    Direct spray away from your driveway and sidewalk to water only your lawn orplants.

    Select a watering schedule that meets your yards minimum needs or, better yet,replace your clock timer with a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller, which useslocal weather data to control your system to water only when needed.

    If youre not the do-it-yourself type, go with a prolook for an irrigation professionalcertified through a WaterSense labeled certification program to help maintain your sys-tem. And even if you dont have an automatic irrigation system, you can make your yardmore water smart. On your next trip to the nursery, look for plants that are local to yourregion or labeled drought tolerant.

    These tips can help you save water andmoney

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