2016 Trends in Interior Design

Floral Patterns

floral patterns

(source: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/news/g2873/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=5)

We have noticed a distinct move towards lovely floral decorations, both in accent pieces and soft furnishings generally. We wonder how this will develop going forward.

Heated Entranceways

heated flooring entrance

(source: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/news/g2873/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=5)

Another interesting development. We have long thought the entranceway to many homes needs work. It is the first impression that is made on guests and as a result very important in making a good impression. We like soft lighting, and airy feel and most especially we like the trend towards heated flooring.

Black Stainless Steel Kitchens

black stainless kitchen

(source: http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/news/g2873/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=5)

We’ve had stainless steel finishes in kitchens for a number of years now and although we do not think they are getting old we do believe that black stainless steel is a really interesting development. What do you think?

Airy Living Spaces

open and airy

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

This is a very popular trend. Modern living just demands an open, light and airy feel. Light colored walls with clean lines and hard floors are very much the preferred choice for all homeowners. We like the feeling of space that these light and airy rooms are able to provide, even when space is limited they work well.

Contemporary Lighting

contemporary-lighting

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

We love lighting. It is such an effective way of making a statement in a room. You might have guessed that we also love the move towards new and contemporary lighting designs. Modern techniques mean that lights are no longer functional but also now make a real statement in your home.

Reclaimed Materials

reclaimed materials

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

Recycling materials is an increasingly popular production technique. But gone are the slightly shabby reclaimed items of yesteryear. Now reclaimed materials can be made into fantastic original pieces that look great and are good for the environment too.

Contemporary Powder Rooms

contemporary-powder-room

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Houzz/10-home-design-trends-for_b_9043920.html)

A little bit tongue in cheek, but we do believe that the powder room is often overlooked in homes and it is high time that we threw something of a spotlight onto it. Making your toilet a pleasant place to be will pay you back handsomely so don’t overlook the simple steps to improve your powdering experience.

A New Space Heater – Some Background Research

If you are looking to purchase a space heater then it is good to know something about what you may be getting. This post has been written to provide a brief introduction to the many types of electric heaters you can buy these days.

Generally different types of space heater have been designed for different needs. However, they do boil down to a relatively few overall categories.  Essentially the most common ones that are energy efficient include portable space heaters, wall heaters, bathroom heaters and baseboard heaters.

Choosing The Best Electric Space Heaters Can Help You Save You Money

Portable_space_heaterMost home heaters use electricity to generate heat and since it is readily available anywhere in the world, using electric heaters can actually save you money on your household energy bill. Moreover they don’t require much maintenance from you. Any electric heaters wall mounted ones can be your best electric heaters as some electric heaters reviews show.

Portable Space Heaters

As the name portable space heaters implies, this kind of electric heaters are usually small and portable and functions to heat up small spaces in your rooms; or if the main heating system is not performing the heating adequately. Many people found this type of heater to be one of the best electric heaters.

Bathroom Electric Wall Heaters

Bathroom electric wall heaters are commonly used in smaller rooms like your home bathroom. They are usually built-in types nicely recessed in the wall cavity between two wall studs. In some models such heaters have a fan inside the heater while others used an electric coil to work. Could this be another one of your best electric heaters?

Baseboard Electric Heaters

These energy heaters are quiet and safe and do the job of heating the room through convection which primarily is generating heat without using a fan. There is a safety thermal device that automatically turns-off the electric heater when there is overheating and reactivates later when the temperature cools.

Safety Tips for Using You Electric Heater

fireThe best safety measure you should take for your newly found efficient electric heaters to prevent any accident caused through the use of them is to ensure adequate distance between your electric heaters and any source of combustion. They are what you can find in any home – your usual furniture, paper based products or any flammable liquids.

Also never keep a portable heater in use if it close to water. There is a very real danger of fire or electrocution in such circumstances.

Never use an electric heater on an extension cord, the ratings of the heater and the cord may vary which can cause overheating and a fire risk.

All in all space heater safety is a matter of common sense. Apply this and you can easily ensure that portable electric heater remains safe to use and to serve you a lifetime for you and your family.

Understanding Household Allergens

What are common household allergens?  To adhere to the concept of allergen avoidance, you have to know what can cause an allergic response.  The major household allergens are the dust mite, pet dander, cockroaches, and mold mildew.

The optimal allergy free home environment is one that minimizes these common household allergens.

The dust mite is a microscopic creature which eats dead flaked-off skin cells.  They live in warm humid environments such as bedding, carpeting, and pillows.  Take a look around your house.  You can probably identify pretty quickly the things that are dust collectors.  It is those things that need to be cleaned (on a regular basis) or removed entirely.  Our home is decorated with simplicity in mind and with things that are easily removed for cleaning.

Pet dander is among the  common household allergens.  Pet dander from either cats or dogs can penetrate carpeting and bedding surfaces and is very difficult to remove entirely.  It is recommended that if you have a cat or dog allergy, you should consider having your pet stay outside the home.  I understand how difficult this can be.  I grew up around pets and we always had multiple animals living in our home.  I once even shared my bedroom with my cat!  If you just cannot keep your pet outside the home, then at the very least do not allow your pet into your bedroom.  Try to keep this one area of the home as allergy-free as possible.

Cockroaches are also listed among common household allergens.  The key here is to eliminate them from the home.  Make sure they don’t have a place to hide or access to food.  Since a water source is of primary importance to the cockroach, look for those places first.  Check for leaky faucets and pipes.  Be sure to eliminate food sources by sealing up food and removing garbage containers to the outside.

Also on the list of common household allergens are mold and mildew.  Some individuals have mold spore or mildew allergy.  Mold grows in damp environments.  It can be present in basements, shower stalls, humidifiers, and house plants.  A good cleaning routine can help prevent an overgrowth of mold.  A furnace humidifier or a dehumidifier can provide the correct humidity level for your home.  For allergy relief at home reduce or remove the sources of common household allergens.

Why Outdoor Exercise is Better Than Indoor Exercise

It may seem that working out in the gym, with its temperature controlled environment, convenient parking, and the fact that you know what you’re going to get is an easy option. This is especially true when the nights closing early and the temperature falls. However there is increasing evidence that there are significant benefits to doing your exercise outdoors rather than in the gym.

You probably know this already, but when you’re walking outside your stride pattern is significantly different from when you’re running on a treadmill. Your ankles flex more frequently, your strides are just continuously in order to adapt to the differing terrain and as a result significantly different set of muscles are used.

outdoor exercise

It’s also true, again something that you probably realise, that outdoor exercise is more strenuous. There have been a number of studies undertaken to compare the effort required to run on a treadmill with the effort required to run outside and it was noted that less energy was used by the treadmill runners even though the same distances in each test were involved.

It’s not just running however where this been shown to be the case similar tests on cyclists have also shown that factors such as wind drag and changes in altitude can have significantly greater demands on your energy when cycling outdoors than travelling the same distance on a bike in the gym. The reality is therefore that if you are trying to maximise the number of calories that you want burn because you have a limited time to exercise at all, and you really should be taking your exercise outside rather than in.

Now, the more scientific readers, may want to question exactly what was involved in undertaking these studies of exercise, and it’s true that they were relatively small in scale and conducted over a relatively short period of time. This can have issues when it comes to scientific rigour. However, these small-scale studies are not the only ones that have been undertaken measuring exercise outside compared with exercise inside. For instance a research study aimed at determining the exercise habits of older men and women, through a process of interview and electronic measurement showed that those involved in the study who actually were active outdoors, usually in their case they walked, were found to have a significant higher level of physical activity than those who spent more time indoors, exercising or otherwise.

walking in the woods

Not only, is outdoor exercise an improvement on indoor exercise, but there are significant well-being benefits to spending more time outdoors. We live in a beautiful world and there is no question in my mind that if you spend time outdoors you appreciate the world much more, and generally are more emotionally and mentally capable of dealing with the issues that everyday life presents to us.

In conclusion therefore, if you are trying to determine how you should go about increasing the amount of exercise that you do in your life then not only is the evidence significantly in favour of undertaking outdoor activity, but it will probably make you feel a lot better both about yourself and about your appreciation of the world in general.

A Brief Guide To Buying A Shower Head

rain-shower-head

A good shower is always the best answer after a hard day’s work or a rigorous exercise session. And the perfect shower depends on a perfect showerhead. To find the best shower head, we’ve done a lot of research (meaning, taken a lot of showers).

But how do you find the best showerhead?

There are so many shapes and sizes available out there. To make it easier for you, here is some criteria for the whole process.

With water bills running high, one is always concerned about how showerheads can be economical. New showerheads provide very refreshing experiences despite their modest 2 gallons per minute flow rates.

No need to spend big bucks. Some top-rated showerheads literally cost a quarter of other good models. No need for fancy, multiple setting showerheads, either. Some people just like single-setting showerheads, and such models are actually very efficient.

  • Single-setting showerheads
  • Multi-setting showerheads
  • Shower towers
    • w/ fixed showerheads
    • w/ handheld showerheads
    • Both!

There are also some features you should know about. Your own taste should determine what you want.

  • Aerating showerheads – providing misty spray and cooling the water from 5 to 15 degrees F. Laminar-flow showerheads might be more expensive, but save energy by better maintaining water temperature.
  • Handheld showerheads – no explanations needed
  • Rain showers – large heads provide wide spray pattern to reduce pressure. If you like soft, soothing flows like the rain, this is the type for you.

Don’t worry about installation. Most showerheads come in simple, do-it-yourself kits. However, some more complicated models need expensive plumbers to do the job.

And if you are new to the brand names, here are some to get started:

  • Delta
    • Delta In2ition
    • Delta 9-Spray Shower Mount
  • Kohler Filpside
  • Moen Nature Three Function
  • Speakman Anystream
  • Hangsrohe Clubmaster

Where to look for showerheads?

Try browsing through Amazon, Home Depot, Overstock, Target and Bed Bath and beyond to see a variety of sets to choose from.

You may see many ads on the set, so what is “Watersense”? If you see such labels it means they use no more than 2 gpm.

Now, if you’re looking for a low flow shower head, here are some tips.

Low-flow showerheads combine water-saving technologies to both save you money and provide the best experience. See which one you prefer to adjust spray settings, such as:

  • Narrow to wide
  • Spray only,
  • Pulse
  • And so forth (especially if different family members like different types of sprays).

This was a quick and short guide to the various types of showerheads. Take your time surfing on the Net or going to the local construction store. Remember, you can have a good shower and save money.

What to Look For In a New Sewing Machine

MC15k-Beauty-Side-CC

Amazing Computerized Sewing Machine – Janome

With various devices out there, sometimes it becomes difficult to choose sewing the best machine. So before becoming dizzy from all the options, it’s good to sit down and think about what you truly need. We will provide you some good brands.

Of course, you can pay big bucks and get a really professional machine. But you may never be able to use even a portion of its abilities and consider your money wasted. If you truly can’t afford something above $75, no problem. Think about buying a 2nd quality device. Just be careful not to buy a cheap plastic machine. Some can be fooling and look very adorable. Buying the best you can afford is the best advice.

To get technical, you need a device with a straight and zigzag stich. Even professionals with 200-stich machines only use 2 or 3 types of stitches. Focus on what you will need on a regular basis, not what is the most fancy.

Being able to adjust the width and length of the two above stitches is also crucial.

  • Short stitches are for example for toy designs, with small, tight stitches
  • Long stitches are for more general designs
  • Zigzag length & width are adjusted for applique & finishing off edges

One good example is the Janome 2032. This is a low-cost machine with variable stitches.

The next issue is what attachments you need. Feet can be changed easily.
If you intend to make clothing make sure you have the following as standard:

  • Buttonhole foot
  • Zipper foot
  • Blind hem foot

If you want to make quilts you need:

  • Walking foot
  • 1/4th foot (seam allowance for patchwork)

And for freehand quilt you will need a freehand embroidery foot.

Janome 220XT comes with easy to use snap-on feet at a low price.

Next, focus on the motor. A strong, heavy motor will allow you to cope with frequent use and heavier fabrics. Again, a plastic machine is far different than one with metal parts. But if you need to frequently transport your device, you have to decide very carefully. Remember, a lightweight machine, is simply a lightweight machine.

Singer 4411 maybe the best heavy weight machine. This beast can truly sew through almost anything.

Some insight about older brands:

  • Singers are nowadays made of plastic with smaller motors
  • Janome makes low-end hobby & high-end professional devices
  • Brothers are known to be lightweight, hobby machines

These dedicated retailers are high-end machines starting cheap. But they are not available in big department stores.

  • Bernina
  • Pfaff
  • Huqsvarna
  • Juki

Don’t forget to consider the machine’s noise. Put time in picking your machine, or you might see angry neighbors banging on the door or calling the cops! (Just kidding)

Janome DC2013 is a known quiet machine.

All in all, my suggestion to you is the Janome 2212. Here are just some specifications:

  • 12 stitches
  • 4 step button-holes
  • Variable lengths
  • Easy snap-on feet
  • 16 lbs. or 7.25 kg

This is the best machine for beginners. Once you become a pro, definitely keep it as a spare.

So go out there and have fun. Choose carefully, but then sew away with your imagination.

If you want more advice check out this youtube video below: