• Practical Ways to Green Your Home Sewing Hobby

    Updated: Sun, Sep 28, 2014

    Sewing is a fun and practical hobby that helps aficionados save money while getting exactly the fashion look that they want. If you are a "sewist," as they say, you can bring together both your love of sewing and your concern for the state of the planet when you try out these tips and tricks for greening your favorite hobby. 3 Rs of Sewing When you know how to sew, you can take the basic 3 Rs of green living -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- into a whole new dimension as you Repair, Refit and Revitalize. The first green principle of sewing, repairing (aka mending), is a time-honored skill that keeps your beloved, still-wearable clothes in active use via patching, strategic placement of embroidery, or simply re-sewing a torn seam.

  • Eco-Friendly Ideas for Awesome Halloween Crafts

    Updated: Thu, Sep 25, 2014

    Just like when watching a horror movie has you glued to the edge of your seat waiting for the next scream-worthy moment, the anticipation of a happily haunted evening is a big part of the Halloween fun. If you really want to stir up the holiday spirit, get crafty and try your hand at some easy DIY to decorate your home, outside and in. (The projects we suggest are both kid- and eco-friendly, to boot.) These Halloween crafts all use commonly available materials that you may well already have around your haunted house. Pumpkins When pumpkins are dressed up in no-carve styles, you can repurpose their guts once Halloween is done. (Keep your jack-o-lanterns inside during the day if you live in Florida where it’s still hot; other

  • Rent, Don’t Own, to Simplify Your Life

    Updated: Tue, Sep 23, 2014

    "The more you have the more you want" may be a truism but like most truisms, this simple sentence contains a grain of … well … truth. America has long been known as a consumer society, where the hallmark of an individual's status has tended to be how much they own and what they are worth in financial terms. Since the economic downturn early in this century, though, people have been learning to tighten their belts and make do with less. Part of that process involves giving up traditional American consumerism and instead of buying more and more consumer goods, renting what they need when they need it. Would that work for you? What You Can Rent Nowadays you can temporarily “own” a huge assortment of material objects.

  • 11 Unusual Uses for an Old Cardboard Box

    Updated: Sun, Sep 21, 2014

    Somehow, you can't bring yourself to recycle them, or worse yet, to throw them away. They'll come in so handy some day if you decide to move to the other side of the state or put together a collection of vintage vinyl records. There's something about cardboard boxes, from tiny jewelry cases to super-sized appliance containers, that awakens the inner hoarder in almost everyone. Don't just hang on to your old cartons though ... use them! Here are 11 fun and practical ways to repurpose a cardboard box. 1. Surprise Package. This is an oldie but goodie. If you and your loved ones adore surprises, package a present inside a cardboard box in order to conceal its size and shape.

  • Repurpose Tree Trimmings as a Charming Twig Fence

    Updated: Thu, Sep 18, 2014

    Would you like just a bit more privacy in your urban front yard? We're talking about a friendly distance from your neighbors and casual passersby -- nothing hostile or extreme. Oh and while you're at it, maybe you want to persuade the local dogs not to use your geraniums as all-too-public conveniences. Well, here's a DIY twig fencing project for you. Made of repurposed tree trimmings, it's uncomplicated (although rather slow going), does not require rigidly precise construction, and the only thing you need to buy is a small amount of wire or cord to reinforce the twig structure. This type of fence can also be made to a miniature scale to encircle a darling fairy garden.

  • 10 Quick Fixes for Healthy Weekday Dinners

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    With cooler evenings and busier schedules, it seems like the whole family is hungrier than ever at suppertime these days. How can you get everyone fed, healthy, and happy -- fast -- without wearing yourself out? Be prepared and creative with these ten quick, easy shortcuts. 1. When you have a little downtime, sauté large batches of onions and garlic in a minimal amount of oil. Cool and freeze in flat, shallow containers so you can break off a piece easily. Adds fast flavor to purchased soup, tomato sauce, omelets, or just about any main course. 2. Speaking of soup, many home cooks think of it as a slow food, requiring lengthy simmering on a back burner. Truth is, though, that a filling main course soup can be assembled in ha

  • Yes, You Can Remodel on a Tiny Budget

    Updated: Tue, Sep 16, 2014

    If your home no longer fits your needs, it may be time to think about remodeling. Even with a limited renovation budget, there are a number of very practical ways that you can improve your house's appearance and functionality. Find out how. Prioritize Start by brainstorming all the changes you'd like to make in your home. When you look at the ideas that you've come up with, you'll find that most of them (the practical ones, anyway) can be organized into one of three categories. These could be described as: 1) What drives you crazy. It may be a hideously old-fashioned master bathroom or a kitchen with the traffic flow pattern from Hell. Whatever it is, you want it fixed … yesterday! 2) What you need.

  • 11 Tips to Green your House Painting Project

    Updated: Mon, Sep 15, 2014

    1. Paint for results that will last for years. This has the green effect of reducing the amount of material you use over time. Buy quality paint and never apply it to a dirty, damaged, rough, or wet surface. Prepare for indoor painting by using a broom to sweep away dust and hard to-reach cobwebs; then wipe  the walls with a damp cloth. Outdoors, a hose is the best tool for cleaning walls and trim; do not use a pressure washer, which can damage the wall surface. Repair moisture problems, roughness, cracks, or holes. 2. Don't waste paint. Calculate carefully how much you will need so there will be no waste. Normally 1 gallon will cover 350-400 square feet. For a small project, you might be able to use up leftover paint that you

  • Take Care of Ducts Now for Greener, Cheaper Winter Heat

    Updated: Sun, Sep 14, 2014

    How can you prepare for a healthier, energy-efficient, and money-saving winter? Take care of your HVAC ductwork by cleaning, repairing, and insulating it as necessary. Proper attention to the air duct system is an easy, inexpensive step toward improved air quality and more efficient heating. Why not take care of this task now, before winter's cold sets in? Clean Routine vacuuming or dusting of your HVAC registers is important, but cleaning further inside the ductwork is not necessary on a regular basis. However, there are certain circumstances that warrant cleaning the interior of your ducts ASAP -- for your health's sake. If you see mold growing inside your HVAC ducts, it is essential to clean the system to avoid allergies,

  • Why Brutalist Architecture is Hated and Loved

    Updated: Sun, Sep 14, 2014

    While it may sound off-putting or even a little scary, Brutalism is actually a distinctive type of architecture and a very interesting phenomenon. Brutalism was a controversial architectural movement in the middle of the 20th century. It led to the construction of some dramatic-appearing yet functional buildings, many of which are still in use as of the present day. What is Brutalism? Brutalism is a style of architecture that descended from the Modernist movement. It was fashionable from the 1950s to the end of the 1970s and is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity in some circles.

  • 203K Home Buyer Loan: What Is It and Who's Eligible

    Updated: Thu, Sep 11, 2014

    The 203K is a home-ownership loan program originated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is a division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This type of FHA-guaranteed mortgage loan can allow you to either buy a home that's in poor shape and fix it up, or refinance and repair your current home. The loan comes in two types: 1. A regular 203K is suitable for homes that require structural repair. You will receive an amount equal to the property's as-is value plus the cost of repair OR 110 percent of the estimated value of the home after repairs. 2. A streamlined 203K is faster to process and is more easily obtainable these days. It applies to fixer-uppers that need only non-structural repairs.

  • Create Easy Eco-Friendly Décor Accents with Fall Fruit

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    With the change of season, you're probably looking for a few home decor touches that say "Autumn." You'd like them to be seasonal, eco-friendly, easy to make, and, most of all, charming and welcoming … just like your house. Decorating with fall fruits is not only eye-catching and fun, the green part is that when you're done with them, you can repurpose the fruit as part of a healthy meal. Fruit Bowl Fill a pretty bowl with a pleasing array of fall fruit in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Put it on display in your living room or foyer. Choose fruit that will stay good for a week or so (how about rich red pomegranates?) or change it out frequently.

  • 10 Popular Roofing Styles: Which is the Best for You?

    Updated: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    Besides performing the essential function of protecting human beings from sun, rain, hail, and snow, roofs come in various shapes that add architectural interest to the buildings they cover. Factors to consider when choosing a roof are local climate, cost to build and maintain, and the style of your home as a whole. If you are actively planning to build a house -- or just daydreaming about your future residence -- it's fascinating to learn about different roofing styles and decide which one you like best. 1. Flat A flat roof is the simplest kind to build. It takes the least amount of roofing material but needs to be carefully waterproofed, because it doesn't drain well.

  • Recycled Content Tile: Choose the Eco-Friendly Option

    Updated: Tue, Sep 9, 2014

    Whether it's used for flooring, backsplashes, or countertops, tile is beautiful, durable, and fire resistant. Easy to maintain using biodegradable cleansers, it's also hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly. It doesn't off-gas dangerous VOCs, absorb pollutants, or harbor allergens. If a part is damaged, you won’t need an expensive replacement for your entire tiled area. Recycled content tile, a relative newcomer to the home improvement scene, goes conventional tile one better by offering all its traditional advantages together with an even more impressive green scorecard.

  • Why Not Plant Vegetables this Fall?

    Updated: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    As your late summer vegetable harvest winds down, why not celebrate a great home gardening season by … planting some more!! “What?” you may ask. “The leaves on the trees are starting to change color already and we’re getting out scarves and sweaters. Why plant anything now?” Well, no matter how generous Mother Nature was in supplying you with homegrown produce over the past weeks, it soon will be used up, given away, or preserved for the coming winter. Imagine having a new stock of fresh, delicious, healthful veggies to enjoy as the weather turns nippy. What Are the Advantages of Fall Planting? Planting in the autumn means you’ll be able to extend the season when you can pick the freshest imaginable vegetables.

  • Remodeling: Envision Your Dream Home

    Updated: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    Just about everyone has a vision of their dream home. Even if you built it yourself or had extensive remodeling done before moving in, after several years in residence you’ve likely come up with ideas about how your living space could be improved. It’s human nature to want to create a “nest” that’s as cozy, attractive, and practical as can be. Clarifying your needs and wants before you hire a professional remodeler helps ensure that the work will be done to your satisfaction. Mentally walk through your house and picture how you'd like it to look and feel. GET STARTED Find Your Personal Style Your personal style will determine the direction your dreams flow in.

  • Transform Your Patio with Paint

    Updated: Thu, Sep 4, 2014

    Is your patio looking tired and dull? Why not give it a lift? Painting an outdoor floor a color you love ... or even adding a DIY brightly patterned “rug” right onto your patio surface ... is a fast and fairly inexpensive fix for a case of the decor doldrums. It’s easy to do, too – just follow these simple patio painting guidelines. Prepare the Area Move your patio table and chairs safely out of the way. Make sure that children and pets will not have access to the patio until the paint job is complete and has had time to dry. Clean first – get rid of dirt, debris, and stains. Remove mold or mildew (concrete, because it is a porous material, is susceptible to moisture and mold).

  • Here’s How to Clean Concrete Floors

    Updated: Wed, Sep 3, 2014

    Strong, long lasting, and easy care, concrete floors have a lot of pluses. And with today’s new elegant finishes, concrete is just as much a flooring option for your living room as for the basement or garage. Be aware that although it is a relatively low maintenance material, concrete does need occasional cleaning to get rid of dirt, stains, and oily patches. Here’s how. It’s Easy to Clean Standard Concrete Floors Standard concrete floors are super easy to clean. When you just need to remove a small amount of dust, you can use a vacuum cleaner. Sweep up large particles of dirt and debris with a sturdy synthetic broom. In either case follow with a high pressure wash down with your garden hose.

  • Garage Door Opener Problems: A Troubleshoot Guide

    Updated: Tue, Sep 2, 2014

    Having trouble with your garage door opener? Now’s the time to take care of any problems. Chances are good that come winter, you do not want to arrive home from work on a cold, dark evening and be stuck outside. Even in a mild climate like Atlanta’s, garage doors that can’t be closed securely will provide would-be intruders with easy access to your home. Troubleshoot the potential malfunction sources to figure out whether you can fix the opener yourself or you need to call in a professional. Even if you do need a pro, it will likely save time and money when you can describe the source of the trouble. Here is a troubleshooting guide to common garage door opener problems. PROBLEM #1: The remote doesn’t work.

  • 8 Amazing Hometalk Ideas to Fancy up Your Fence

    Updated: Mon, Sep 1, 2014

    Fencing plays a starring role in the home decor news these days. You’ll see weathered pickets or rugged fence boards ingeniously repurposed as living room wall art or headboards for the bedroom. But sometimes a fence is just a fence – not something to be recycled, but an actual structure that provides privacy, security, and shade to your yard. There’s no reason for this essential item to be boring, though. Here are 8 fences imaginatively decorated by Hometalk members. Try doing one of these projects yourself to delight the eye and perhaps add curb appeal to your home. 1. Marble-Embellished Fence Here’s a whimsically embellished fence courtesy of Creating Really Awesome Free Things (C.R.A.F.T.).