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Make Your Home A Dream In 2011

(NAPSI)—Whether you’re thinking of building a vacation home or just want a year-round house that makes every day feel like a vacation, take inspiration from the HGTV Dream Home 2011, located in the vacation wonderland of Stowe, Vermont.

The newest custom-designed home at Spruce Peak in Stowe Mountain Resort blends rustic mountain appeal with modern architecture. It’s nestled amid emerald-green rolling hills, winding roads and exhilarating ski slopes.

Linda Woodrum, who designed 14 of the 15 HGTV Dream Homes, offers these tips to help you create the home of your dreams:

  1. Take inspiration from your surroundings. HGTV chose a color palette pulled from the Stowe countryside to complement the contemporary-style furniture in the home. There are so many great options today, you can find virtually any color or texture you want.
  2. When designing a home that will be a great gathering place for all your family and friends, use beautiful upholstery fabrics that are durable. You want to create a home where everyone can relax and feel comfortable without worrying about damaging the furniture.
  3. Think about using outdoor fabrics as coverlets on beds in rooms like the sleep dorm in the HGTV Dream Home 2011. They’re easy to maintain, don’t stain and look great wash after wash, even if you sleep eight to a room!
  4. If your home has a mudroom, provide lots of storage to help manage the space. Closets and pegs can hold all your outer- wear, while cubbies and drawers are perfect for gloves and scarves. Don’t forget to choose a tough floor that can stand up to shoes and boots.
  5. Arrange each room to maximize the visibility of the great outdoors. Accomplish this by arranging the furniture in various ways so you don’t block the views and by utilizing earth-tone colors and selective fabrics.
  6. In your kitchen, contemporary glass shelves framed by antique barn boards can make for easy storage and a unique design element.

Learn More

For more information or to learn how you can enter for a chance to win the HGTV Dream Home, visit the website www.HGTV.com/dreamhome.

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Feeling Overwhelmed? Stop And Smell The Roses

(NAPSI)—For decades, people have advised friends to cope with stress by taking some time to “stop and smell the roses.” Now, research shows that the old cliché might be onto something—that floral scents might actually increase productivity and mental performance.

For example, a study conducted by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that people exposed to a mixed floral aroma completed memory-testing portions of neuropsychological tests 17 percent faster than those not exposed to the aroma. A study published in the journal Science showed that students exposed to the smell of roses while studying performed tests with 97 percent accuracy, compared to 86 percent accuracy among those not exposed.

“Learning and memory retention can depend on multiple variables: attention span, interest in the subject at hand, task difficulty, state of mind and what’s going on around you,” said Dr. Alan Hirsch, executive director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. “The area of the brain that regulates arousal and sleep-wake transitions is particularly sensitive to odor. Floral odors like rose, jasmine and lavender have been shown to enhance the brain’s learning mechanisms and positively impact memory.”

Fresh flowers, however, aren’t the only way to reap the benefits. According to Dr. Hirsch, other ways to incorporate floral aromas into a daily routine include:

  • Use floral-scented body washes and lotions;
  • Drink a cup of green or black tea rich in aromatic scents;
  • Use a rose-scented room freshener at night;
  • Light scented candles in high traffic areas always—just remember to keep them out of reach of young children;
  • Keep sachets of lavender in dresser drawers;
  • Float orange rinds in glasses of water;
  • Incorporate scented cleaning products, such as Pine-Sol Lavender, which has a calming floral aroma.

Visit www.TheCloroxCompany.com to learn more about their products.

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 Preparing Your Home For Overnight Guests

(NAPSI)-Every host wants to make sure their guests visiting from out of town feel welcome with cozy, comfortable accommodations. Preparing your home for overnight visitors doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly. Rachel Ashwell, designer of the Simply Shabby Chic for Target collection, says, “A few special touches can make your home feel like the perfect bed and breakfast.”

A quick bedroom makeover

“A spare bedroom can feel warm and inviting for guests with just a few key pieces and thoughtful placement,” says Ashwell. Refresh the linens and bedding with a clean, white comforter that is warm and simple, like the new Simply Shabby Chic White Heirloom Comforter at Target for $89.99. Adding new decorative pillows, mixing and matching shapes, sizes and colors can create a nice look without spending too much.

To give your guests some privacy and soften the look of the room, adding window sheers is an easy, affordable option. It will give the room an ambient, inviting glow.

“I always like to add hotel-like touches,” Ashwell says. A lamp on the bedside table and a few classic novels or magazines for reading, a bottle of water and a pretty glass, and of course, fresh flowers will make your guests feel right at home.

A fresh take on bath

Getting your bathroom ready for guests can take a few simple steps and will create an inviting oasis during their stay. A new crisp, white shower curtain and cozy bath rug will give the room a fresh look and an updated feel. Other items, such as a vintage inspired soap dispenser and wastebasket, can add a unique touch and leave the bathroom guest-ready.

Be sure that your guests have their own set of towels. Place the towels on a dresser or on a spare chair in their room and they will feel well taken care of. The Simply Shabby Chic White Ruffle 3-piece towel set for $29.99 is a great classic white with a feminine twist and is available exclusively at Target. A dressing robe and individual toiletries are always an appreciated touch.

“Choosing a few items to add or update a room will create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for your guests,” Ashwell says. For more product ideas, visit Target.com.

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 Make Everyday Cooking Extraordinary

(NAPSI)-Here are a few hot tips on pots, pans and stoves that can help keep things cooking in your kitchen:

• Opt for flat, stainless steel pans. For even cooking results every time, use a heavyweight stainless steel pan with a flat bottom to transfer heat better. A bowed pan is typically less efficient and isn’t able to absorb all the burner’s heat.

Nonstick pans might be slightly easier to clean but if overheated, the nonstick surface may chip or flake. A stainless steel pan cleans easily, cooks evenly with good heat distribution and is ideal for searing.

• Pick the right range. For electric ranges, coil burners offer an even heat distribution across the pan even if the pan isn’t flat. The downside of coil burners, however, is a lack of a good heating range.

For something that looks sleek, is easier to clean and is versatile, consider a ceramic glass cooktop surface. Because the heat comes from beneath the glass, the heating elements can be in all different sizes to accommodate nearly all cookware. Just remember, flat pans are essential to absorb all the heat.

If you cook often, you may care to consider induction cooktops. They deliver superior cooking results by using magnetic energy to evenly heat the pan. Plus, they’re very efficient and easy to use.

• Two is better than one. Double oven ranges are great for everyday meals, since the smaller upper cavity is large enough for most dishes and preheats faster than a full-sized oven, bringing dinner to the table in less time. Plus, for those occasions when you need two dishes ready at the same time, the double oven is essential. Each dish may be cooked at separate temperatures while avoiding picking up flavors of the other dish.

There are several double range options available these days, the main difference being the cooktop configuration. One benefit to look for is the burners’ wattage. For instance, the Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science (WIKS) notes that the Maytag Gemini double oven electric range has a 3,200-watt Speed Heat element on the cooktop, providing high heat for searing as well as a good turn-down for simmering sauces.

• Learn more. For more cooking tips, visit www.instituteofkitchenscience.com.

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 Cleaning Tips

(NAPSI)-To keep your home in good shape, consider these maintenance ideas:
  • Check your windows. Clean the glass and seals and inspect all windows. Fix worn weather stripping and recaulk inside and out if needed. Replace broken or chipped window boards or trim.
  • Clean windows inside and out with a soft, absorbent towel designed for the task.
  • Check the exterior of your house and doors to see if they need to be painted. If so, you can clean your tools with a soft, absorbent, clothlike towel, such as Scott Rags in a Box, which is durable and designed for fast and efficient cleanup. Unlike paper towels, clothlike disposables can be rinsed and reused.
  • Clean spills off the garage floor. As soon as oil spills, place a clean, disposable and absorbent shop towel, such as Scott Shop Towels, on the floor to absorb the spill-but don’t rub, as that pushes oil into the concrete.

To help with all this cleaning, clothlike disposable towels previously used for such messy jobs as house painting and changing auto oil are readily available to homeowners. They can now be found in the cleaning aisles of Home Depot and other home improvement and hardware stores.

Learn more at www.scottbrand.com and 800-443-4231.

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Shop Your Own Closet

(NAPSI)-Even when your purse strings are a little tight, you can still beat ever-changing fashion fads by “shopping” your own closet.

Your closet is an extension of your personal style, and whether that’s romantic, boho-chic or classic, there’s a way to make it work for you. Here are some helpful tips on how to create a closet worthy of any boutique while maximizing the wardrobe you already own.

  • Become inspired. Scour magazines and books for outfit inspirations.
  • Edit. How can you create a chic outfit when you can’t find half your clothes? Clear the clutter and introduce order to an overstuffed closet by taking an inventory of what you already own. Make three piles-keep, donate or discard-and edit your wardrobe to reflect your style and what looks best on you.
  • Get organized. Go from disorganized to divine with do-it-yourself closet and room organizers, a smart and budget-friendly solution for taming disorder. To help locate items later, try grouping your clothes by style (that is, pants, skirts, T-shirts) or by color, with all pieces facing the same way. It makes it easy to coordinate outfits and choose accessories on the fly.
  • Be creative. With a little imagination and some rearranging, you can create looks with what you already own. Trendy and classic pieces are just lurking somewhere in the depths of your wardrobe-a classic trench, an any-occasion top, that basic black dress or a pencil skirt. Need a quick outfit update? Cardigans add a punch of color while bold belts are an inexpensive way to update your wardrobe.
  • Assemble a style file. Did a to-die-for outfit just pop into your mind? Jot it down. Keep a binder of outfit snapshots by groups, such as dressy or casual, or by style trends. Your go-to outfit may be just a thought away.
  • Showcase your closet. Your closet can become a focal point of your room-even an artful display. Fortunately, creating the look of a custom closet doesn’t have to cost a fortune. ClosetMaid® offers a variety of storage and organization products, from shoe racks to open shelving and drawers, to fit any design aesthetic and budget.
  • Get inspiration and help getting started. To view storage solutions that fit any decor and budget or to access an online design tool, visit www.ClosetMaid.com. For additional information, call (800) 874-0008.

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Quick And Easy Steps To Protect Your Gear

(NAPSI)-While the weather can wreak havoc on homes and yards, with the right tools, homeowners can easily and quickly protect and maintain their houses and their gear, even under the worst conditions.

The first step is to have the right tools, such as a silicone spray to provide a slick coat of protection for your gear, repel water and inhibit rust. In the garden and yard, you can spray it:

  • On shovels and garden tools to keep dirt or snow from sticking;
  • To protect and waterproof lawn ornaments and outdoor wood benches;
  • On bird feeder poles to keep squirrels and other varmints from climbing up them.
  • Outside and around the house, it can:
  • Prevent moisture buildup in outdoor outlets;
  • Keep doorbells from sticking.

Online and Mobile Tools Help Make Protecting and

Maintaining Your Home Easy

Homeowners can also save time hunting down solutions to DIY and home improvement questions with the handy “Solution Finder” search box and How-To instructional videos at www.liquidwrench.com. They can also get instant product uses on their mobile phones by texting a code provided on the cans. Another helpful resource is the Home 101 section at www.lowes.com, where they can find home upkeep project ideas and tips to help protect their homes inside and out.

A Wrench for Every Job

Liquid Wrench offers six different kinds of penetrants and lubricants. They’re all available nationwide, including in a handy sample six-pack at Lowe’s and other major retailers. Visit www.liquidwrench.com for more information.

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Fast Fabric Fixes

(NAPSI)-You don’t have to spend money on new clothes just because the old ones are worn, torn or stained. There are fast, easy and inexpensive ways to breathe new life into your family’s wardrobe. Here are hints on how:

• Remove rust stains: Mix lemon juice with salt to create oxalic acid. Apply it gently and a little at a time to the stain. Rinse thoroughly.

• Sock it to hole-ly hose: Darning socks and other knits can be easy with the help of a large needle and an old lightbulb. Put the sock over the bulb so that the hole shows. Surround the hole with small stitches, set far enough outside the damage that they won’t unravel later. Use long, loose stitches horizontally across the hole to create a framework for weaving. Turn the sock sideways and start weaving the thread in and out of the horizontal stitches. Keep going until the hole is repaired.

• Knee holes and tears: To repair a hole in a pair of pants, apply a line of fabric adhesive around the hole on the back of the pant leg and thin it with your finger. Thinly coat a complementary patch and press it over the hole.

One fabric adhesive that consumers have stuck with for generations was invented in the 1930s at the height of the Great Depression. Called Tear Mender Instant Fabric & Leather Adhesive, it works on tears, rips and holes to create durable waterproof bonds.

“With a little know-how and the right tools, it’s easy to do minor fabric repairs at home, far more affordably, with professional results,” says Jerry Cismoski, of the family-owned business.

• A smart hemming way: You don’t even need to sew to repair a dropped hem. Simply apply a thin line of fabric adhesive to the hem side only. Smooth it out with your finger and press the hem back in place. On most fabrics, the adhesive will dry within three minutes and be machine washable in 15.

• Repairing belt loops and pockets: For a broken belt loop or ripped pocket, even on heavy fabric such as denim, you can apply a dot of fabric adhesive to both the back of the belt loop or pocket and the jeans. Press both sides together firmly and let dry.

• Leather fixes: Snags are a drag on leather. For an easy fix, pour a drop of the adhesive into the open fiber of the leather and work it in with your finger. Close the snag off and rub the surface clean; the repair will seem seamless.

Learn More

For more information about making clothing last longer, see www.tearmender.com or call (773) 927-9442.

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