Category: BCV Blog

Home Improvement Convention Hacks

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Home improvement conventions are a great way to get ideas for upgrades to your home. If you have never been to a home improvement convention before, you may not know what to expect. It can be a little overwhelming the first time you attend. Luckily, we are able to offer you some great tips and advice for attending a home improvement convention.

Saving Time

Home improvement conventions can be really crowded. We suggest that you get to the location early. This can ensure good parking and also you can beat the rush of people at the door. Research to see if you can preorder your tickets. This will save a ton of time by not having to stand in ticket lines. Be sure to pick up a map of all the home improvement booths. You can plan out what vendors you want to visit first before the crowds start building. This way, you get personalized attention. It gives you extra time to ask questions and gather informational brochures. Bring an extra large bag to pack a refillable water bottle and snacks. Waiting in line at the convention center cafeteria can use up a good portion of your day. It may be tempting to dress up for a home improvement convention because you never know who you are going to run into. We strongly urge you not to. Comfortable clothes and especially shoes are important because you will be on your feet all day. Comfort over fashion for these events.


Don’t be afraid to ask vendors at this event important questions. An important one is “how long have you been in business?” Experience of a contractor is crucial when you are hiring for work on you home. This is going to help keep your project on time and also on budget. Be sure to get their business card and research them online when you are home. Pay special attention to customer reviews. Websites like Angie’s List is a great way to get unbiased customer experiences. You can find out about their licenses or any other credentials this way. Being able to obtain permits and inspections is an important part of home improvement. Ask your potential contractor if they have experience with applying for permits. A good contractor will also be able to explain the technical language in each permit to you.


You may want to google questions to ask contractors and print it before going to the home improvement convention so there are important things you forget to ask. Workmanship guarantees are a great thing to ask about when talking to vendors. These can vary anywhere from 6 months to a few years. This normally has to do with defective materials or poor workmanship. This guarantee should be in writing. Getting this notarized is a great idea too, so you are protected in case anything goes wrong during the construction process. Worksite scheduling is something that should be discussed early on. Ask your potential contractor when their day will start and end. Just as most jobs go, there should standard hours. Sometimes circumstances may change, such as rain or an unexpected problem with the remodel. Being on the same page with your potential contractors can clear up some conflicts before they happen. Asking for a contract before the work begins is another great idea. Include the scope of the work, timeline and all of the supplies needed. Things are always going to go wrong when you are renovating your home, but having a contract keeps you protected in the long run.

Tips For How To Save Money

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We all know how life is very expensive. But, it doesn’t have to be. Learning how to save money is an important step to your financial freedom. It gives you a cushion of savings for your future needs. Our techniques of how to save money aren’t huge. They are little steps that add up over time. Some are easy and take only a few minutes of your time. By applying these tips for how to save money, you will be surprised how much extra money it adds to your bank account.


Homemade gifts are a great idea for how to save money. Not only are they very inexpensive, but they are more meaningful than anything that you can buy in a store. You can find resources online for how to make food mixes, candles, fresh-baked bread, cookies, soap, picture frames or all kinds of other items. Your gifts will be more appreciated then others because of the thought and time you put into them. Also, you aren’t paying a ton of money for them.

Grocery Lists

Make a list before you go to the grocery store. Without a list, you sometimes make impulse buys that add up over time. This wastes money initially, and in the long run because many time these buys don’t get eaten and end up in the trash. Making a weekly meal plan is another way how to save money. It keeps your family from eating out and paying top dollar for meals. It is also healthier for your family to make meals at home. Even better yet, invest in a crock pot. You can cook a large batch of food and freeze it for meals all week.

Used Items

Before you head out to a retail store, think about searching for what you need used. There are tons of used sporting goods stores, used game stores, consignment stores and flea markets. Another way of how to save money is to check these second hard stores first. If there is something specific you are looking for, call these stores in advance to save even more money on gasoline. Many people donate items that are close to new at these types of stores.


If you are always buying name brand food at the grocery store, try switching to generic or store brand. In most cases, the quality of the products is exactly the same. With name brand items, the extra expense you are paying for is the marketing and packaging. This little switch can save you a lot of money on your monthly grocery bill.


Packing your lunch for work may sound like a lot of work, but it actually isn’t. It just takes a little bit of planning. Not going out to eat at lunch can save you $50 a week, depending on what you normally purchase. Weeknight leftovers can make an easy lunch to bring to work. Another good tip is not to buy coffee at a coffee shop. Start using the one at your office. Or brew your own at home and bring to work in a travel mug.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies bought at a grocery store or a drug store can be very expensive. Again with these, you are paying for the marketing and packaging. With some research online and empty spray bottles, you can make your own cleaning chemicals at home. They are just as effective as the ones you are buying at the store, and actually safer for your family. The store bought versions contain a lot of chemicals that give off harmful fumes. The ones that you make at home are made of natural ingredients that are safe for your family.

Landscape Your Backyard Like A Pro

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Investing in your backyard landscaping is a great way to add value to your home. Your backyard landscaping can be a little tricky with the hot and humid Florida weather. The key is to use plants and flowers that are Florida-friendly. We have some tips to help you maximize your backyard landscaping potential this year.


Because of all of the rain that Florida gets, you can save money and time by skipping the fertilizer. The fertilizer that you use on your backyard landscaping can actually be a huge danger to the environment. The rain can wash your fertilizer into the bays, lagoons, rivers, lakes and oceans. Florida soil is unique and contains very fine sand. Knowing this fact, plant your backyard landscaping with plants that grow well in this climate. Some good examples are Palm Trees, Milkweed, Honeysuckle and Firebush.


One problem that you may have in your backyard landscaping is brown dry patches in your grass. Visit your local garden center and purchase some iron and micronutrient supplements. They work in two important ways. They help your grass stay healthy and green and also curbs excessive growth. You won’t have to cut your grass as much in the Florida heat.


Buying weed killer can really eat away at your budget. Instead, you can make your own weed killer that is just as effective as store bought ones. Our recipe consists of 3 cups vinegar, ½ cup salt and 1 tablespoon liquid dish detergent. First add the salt to the vinegar and let it dissolve before adding the soap. Use a spray bottle to spray the mixture on any unwanted weeds.


When purchasing plants for your backyard landscaping at your local nursery, choose plants that are full sun and drought tolerant. Your best best is to choose plants that are native to Florida. They can withstand the Florida sun in summer months. Keep in mind the size of mature plants. You want to leave plenty of space when planting to prevent crowding. This will also help you in the future so you don’t have to prune as much to give your plants room to grow. Another great tip is to purchase smaller, slow growing trees. They cost less initially and their smaller stature helps them withstand storm damage better. Some of our favorite are the Crape Myrtle, Dogwood or Hydrangea. They also yield beautiful flowers that have beautiful, blooming flowers.

Decorative Items

Because grass is difficult to maintain in the Florida heat, we suggest using other items that don’t require as much maintenance. Gravel, stones and reclaimed wood look great in pathways. You could also add a rock garden or a water feature to spruce up your lawn. Some of these more permanent solutions can be expensive when you purchase them new. Instead, you can recycle old bricks or river rocks and use them in your backyard landscaping. Planters can be created out of pallets or old crates and add a vintage feel.


Mulch provides not only a great look but it also works well for the health of your plants. Mulch helps moderate the soil temperature. It keeps roots warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It also keeps moisture in the soil. This helps maintain your trees, especially in the warm summer months.

Tips For Painting Your Home

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Home improvement is a great way to add value to your house. While some home improvement projects are really expensive, others cost much less than you think. One example is paint. It is one of the most cost effective ways to change the appearance of your house. You can hire painting contractors to work on your house, or with our tips you can save money and do it yourself. Professional interior designers normally use a variety of colors to create a specific mood to a room. The colors are picked to enhance other. But before we even get to paint colors, let’s talk about paint preparation.


Your first step to painting is to remove everything from the room you are painting. You want to be able to move around freely when you are painting. Also, no home improvement project goes well if you have paint drips all over your furniture, rugs and floors. Designate a space to store all of your items until your painting project is complete.


The most important part of painting is your prep work. Begin by cleaning your walls with a mixture of three teaspoons liquid dishwashing detergent and a gallon of water. Wipe down your walls from top to bottom. Focus especially on areas where there are grease spots so the paint adheres evenly to your walls. After this step, rinse your walls with clear, clean water. Let your walls completely dry before continuing on with your project.


After everything is dry, apply painter’s tape around the trim, windows, door frames, ceiling and anywhere else that you are not painting. This can be done in advance up to about a week early. Use good quality painter’s tape on this part of your home improvement project. You will regret it later if you don’t. Be precise when applying the tape. You may have to take off a piece and reapply a few times. After you finish painting, remove the tape before the wall is completely dry so the new paint doesn’t peel off when you remove it.


No home improvement painting project can begin before you prime the walls. We prefer Kiltz primer to other brands. To save yourself some time, you can tint your primer with the paint that you choose. This will darken the primer so you won’t have to use as many coats of paint to reach the saturation that you want. Primer helps give your paint a more consistent appearance. It can also help the sheen of the paint you chose be more apparent.


For the best coverage, start by painting a large W shape pattern with your paint roller. Fill in the spaces of this pattern without letting your roller lose contact with the wall. Paint one section at a time and let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next coat.


When choosing your paint colors, you need to consider your house as a whole. Each room should transition to the next room without too large of a color change if possible. Popular home improvement contractors use a range throughout the whole house. Another tip is to stick with a neutral color palate. We love bright pops of color in a room, but not necessarily on the walls. If you use neutrals throughout your house, it connects all of the rooms as a unified whole. It also makes it easier to add color furniture or artwork without being overpowering.

Vintage Kitchen Remodeling Tips

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Vintage kitchens have become a huge trend in today’s home. 1950s kitchen remodels have become popular because of the fun and bright colors. You can take your 1950s kitchen to the extreme and buy all of your appliances and kitchen tools with this theme in mind. Or your 1950s kitchen can be more subtle and incorporate smaller items and color themes. We have some great tips for you to turn back the hands of time in your house.

Bright Colors

1950s kitchens were models of bright colors. Primary colors such as fire engine red, bright yellow, lime green, teal and bubblegum pink are all colors to focus on. Be careful with these brights not to overpower your kitchen. Use sparingly and balance out with white and black. They can be used on small appliances and curtains. Another great way is to buy bright sets of dishes and display them on shelves and open faced cabinets. You can also look to classic diners for inspiration. In 1950s kitchens, bold geometric floor tiles can give your kitchen an inviting feel.


Bold prints such as leopard and zebra print are another great idea for your 1950s kitchen. Use these in different areas around the room. One great idea is to reupholster your dining room chairs in one of these fabrics. It will add a pop of color to the room. Also, adding bright patterned tea towels and cloth napkins are a great way to liven up the whole room. If you want to use a print in a larger area, you can buy removable wallpaper in zebra print. Use this on small wall areas around your kitchen for a more dramatic effect.

Vintage Items

Another great way to decorate your 1950s kitchen is to fill it with vintage items. For example, antique tableware will bring this era to your guests. Look for brightly colored plates and glasses. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and colors. Vintage 1950s advertising signs look great hung on kitchen walls. Yard sales and antique stores are a good place to look for these. Also, you can get vintage looking signs new. This is an easy way to personalize your 1950s kitchen style without making any permanent changes. Kitschy items such as vintage clocks, old Coca Cola bottles, metal flour containers, vintage tea pots and old salt and pepper shakers are great additions to your new kitchen style.


Another really popular trend from the 1950s are pastel colors. They work in 2 ways, brining flair to your redecoration and also also making your kitchen seem larger. Lighter colors give the illusion of a larger space. Peaches, light pinks, baby blue, pastel yellow and mint green are all colors to consider. This is also a great way to revamp your kitchen cabinets without spending a fortune. You can paint the faces these pastel colors instead of installing all new cabinets. These pastels can also be used on a smaller scale like accent walls or on as squares on cabinet faces. If you are feeling really bold, with painters tape, you can section off geometric squares on your kitchen floor and paint pastel shapes.

Hurricane Preparedness

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There is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to hurricane preparedness. Hurricanes are massive storms that can be up to 600 miles across. They are characterized to have wind speeds of 75 – 100 miles per hour. Hurricanes are rated on a system ranging from one to five. Five is the most powerful type of hurricane. The most dangerous parts of a hurricane are the storm surges. Flooding, landslides and tornadoes are other damaging effects from these storms.


Hurricane preparedness is an essential part of handling these storms. There are steps that need to be taken before, during and after the storm. The earlier that you start your hurricane preparedness the better you are. When these storms approach, gas stations can run out of fuel and grocery stores can run out of water. Its best to clear out a closet in your home and store your hurricane preparedness kit in there.


As the storm approaches, charge our cell phone and have a list of the loved one that you need to contact. You can download apps for your smartphone that can notify people that you are safe, need shelter or you are in search of first aide. Use hurricane shutters or board up your windows with heavy plywood. Bring in any items that you have outside or in your yard that can be taken by the heavy winds. These can become extremely dangerous projectiles. Clear and secure all of your outdoors gutters. Fill your bathtub, sinks and any empty containers with water. If your family has multiple cars, fill at least one with a full tank of gas. Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting in case you lose power during the hurricane. Lastly, store all important documents such as passports in a watertight container for safety.

Hurricane Kit

Your hurricane preparedness kit will need to contain items for the next few days of the storm. Each person in your house needs one gallon of water each per day for 3 days or more. You also need a 3 day supply of food also. You want to stick to foods that don’t need refrigeration such as peanut butter, crackers, protein bars or trail mix. A flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, toilet paper, battery powered radio, duct tape, dust masks and a multipurpose tool are all important to keep in your kit. Do not forget any prescription medication, cell phones, baby supplies, family contact information and pet supplies. Be prepared to spend a week without electricity in the worst weather conditions.


During the hurricane, absolutely do not go outside. During the eye of the storm, weather conditions will become calm for a short amount of time. This does not mean it is safe to go outdoors. After the eye passes, hurricane winds will resume. If flooding is occurring in your home, immediately turn off the breaker to stop the electricity. Also, stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors. With hurricane winds, broken glass can become a danger to your family. If possible, take shelter in an interior room, closet or bathroom.

The Best Restaurants In Orlando

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Any foodie will understand our obsession with the best restaurants in Orlando. Orlando is normally known for its theme parks. But, there are many great restaurants in Orlando that get overlooked. With a wide range of styles and cuisines, restaurants in Orlando offer a unique range of flavors. We have compiled a list of some of the restaurants in Orlando that you absolutely need to try.

K Restaurant

This gem prides itself of locally sourced ingredients. They even includes some items from the large outdoor garden behind the restaurant. They combine traditional food with creative twists. Its a mix of southern favorites with high end dishes. Our favorite appetizer is the fried green tomato stack with crab salad. All of the flavors play perfectly off of each other. Also, don’t miss the lobster mac and cheese as an entree. The surprise addition of cherry tomatoes perfectly balances out the rich flavor of the melted cheese. It has a romantic yet casual feel, perfect for a date night or an office lunch.

Victoria and Albert’s

Victoria and Albert’s is one of the most well known restaurants in Orlando. It’s located in the Walt Disney World Resort and its breathtaking interior is completely elegant. Your multi-course dinner is a dining experience like no other. Choose from a menu of 7 or 10 courses. The courses are inspired by famous Chef Scott Hunnel’s travels from around the world. Its a once in a lifetime dining experience. Some examples of the courses are Veal, Kobe-Style Beef and seared tuna.


Another one of the best restaurants in Orlando is Norman’s. Its a fusion between Latin American, Caribbean, Southern and Asian styles. The dishes are beautiful and delicious. The unique style is evident in dishes such as Smoked Lamb Empanada and pan-seared sea scallops. Each dish has a creative twist of ingredients from different cultures creating a unique dining experience.

Bull and Bear Steakhouse

We are a huge fan of steakhouses. The Bull and Bear Steakhouse is absolutely the best at what they do. The décor is dark, elegant and romantic. They offer perfectly cooked steaks of any cut. Of particular note are the beef short ribs. They are so tender you won’t even need a knife to cut them. They also have an extensive cocktail list that features interesting an interesting spin on the classic cocktail.

Black Bean Deli

How would this list of restaurants in Orlando be complete without a Cuban deli? They offer very reasonably priced menu items. They are known mainly for their Cuban sandwiches. Each sandwich is grilled to perfection on authentic Cuban bread. Definitely don’t miss the fried plantains. We personally recommend the sweet. Save room for dessert, their flan is absolutely amazing.

Valhalla Bakery

This doesn’t qualify as a restaurant in Orlando, but this vegan bakery is one of a kind. Their decadent desserts are legendary. Their donuts feature interesting flavors that change often. Who doesn’t love Fruity Pebble, Chocolate Pretzel Caramel or Peanut Butter Chunk donuts? Also, don’t miss their cupcakes. Its almost a crime to eat them because they are so beautiful.

Do It Yourself Interior Design

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Decorating your home can be very expensive. Although we love the look of a beautifully decorated home, sometimes the look is out of your budget. Whoever said that you can’t do it yourself? You can turn anything into a perfect interior design project. Here are some of our ideas for your do it yourself design.

Mason Jars

These items are so versatile when you are do it yourself decorating. Empty jars are perfect for vases, utensil holders, toiletry containers or even pencil holders. Collect and clean any mason jars that you have been using for jams or jellies. Stop at your local hardware store and buy cans of matte spray paint that matches the décor of the room that the jars will be in. Do it yourself by spray painting each jar with this matte paint. If you prefer a more distressed look, wait until the jars are fully dry. Take rubbing alcohol and a Brillo pad and gently scratch away some of the paint to give it an aged look. You can also make paper stencils to apply before you spray paint for a different effect. After you finish painting, remove the paper stencils. This will not have any paint applied to you will still be able to see the glass of the mason jar. If your do it yourself side is feeling extra crafty, you can hot glue marbles or letters onto your jars to make them extra personalized.

Light Switch Plates

Light switch plates are another do it yourself project that is super cheap, but looks high end in your home. First remove your light switch plates with a flat head screwdriver. You have multiple options as to decorating them. One method is to take wallpaper, newspaper or even magazine pages and modge podge them onto the switch plates. Once the paper dries, use sharp scissors to cut holes in the paper where the hardware goes though. This is an interesting visual style when it is applied to all of your light switches throughout your house. One last method is to use the some spray paint that you used for your mason jar projects. Apply a layers of matte spray paint, allowing each to dry before starting a new coat. You can lightly distress the finish with rubbing alcohol and Brillo pads. When all of these do it yourself projects are dry and complete, you can reapply them with your screwdriver to your light switches.

Chalkboard Paint

Its amazing how many things that you can do with chalkboard paint. Its a do it yourself project in itself. Using painter’s tape and a ruler, tape off 3 squares on your kitchen wall. Fill these squares in with chalkboard paint, removing the painters tape after its dry. These not only look great, but are good for reminders, grocery lists or recipe lists. This can also be lightly distressed with a Brillo pad to keep the look consistent though all of your house. If you are feeling more ambitious, paint an entire accent wall in your kitchen with the chalkboard paint. Some areas can be used to lists, while you can draw decorative items like flowers in colored chalk.

Budget Bathroom Storage Tips

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Always seem to run out of usable space in your bathroom? Join the club, with styling products, extra towels, toilet paper rolls, toiletries and basic needs, there never seems to be enough bathroom storage. Budget constraints can be a major issue when looking for extra bathroom storage. We have some simple and cost effective ways to give your bathroom a makeover without breaking the bank.


There never seems to be enough space in the shower for all of your daily products. Too much shampoo, conditioner and body wash? All you need are some dollar store suction cups and hair ties. Lace a hair tie through a suction cup and knot it securely through the hole in the middle. Attach the suction cups to the walls of your shower and fit all of your extra bottles into the hair tie loop. Another inexpensive tip is to install another tension rod inside of your shower. Add hooks to your secondary rod for places to hang your loofahs or even another small shower caddy for shaving cream.


Unless you are lucky enough to have a huge medicine cabinet or a massive bathroom cabinet, bathroom storage for this area is at a premium. You can double your medicine cabinet’s space by installing organizers on the back of the mirror. For only $11, you can purchase 3-packs of attachable pods that use adhesive to attach the the unusable space. You can store Qtips, toothbrushes or cosmetics with these easy to attach pods. IKEA offers another great solution. You can install a picture ledge above your sink to store hand soap, hair products and even scented candles. This solution not only gives you extra storage but it also is a great decorative feature for your bathroom.

Towel Rack

Hanging towels to dry takes up a ton of space, especially for large families. A underutilized area in your bathroom is behind your bathroom door. You can stack inexpensive towel drying bars behind your door with screws to hang multiple towels to dry. Clean towels also eat up precious bathroom storage space. Screw a wine rack above your toilet to store rolled up towels in many sizes for future use.


New cabinets can be very expensive and hard to swing for a family on a budget. We have an easy and cheap solution for you. Visit goodwill or even prowl the neighborhood on trash day for old drawers from a dresser. They can be easily spray painted to match your bathroom’s décor. Attach to the walls to store extra toiletries that are used everyday without the hassle of storing them in a medicine cabinet. You can customize these drawers further by attaching old wallpaper to the open area.

Who would ever figure that you could gain so much extra space in your bathroom on a tight budget? Not only are these budget friendly items, but they help organize your space for hectic mornings when the kids are running late or you have an unexpected meeting.

Get Your House Ready For The Holidays – Carpet Cleaning

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Carpet Cleaning is a great way to improve the appearance of your home. It removes stubborn stains and spills from your carpet. Not only does carpet cleaning effect what your house looks like, it can also affect your family’s health. If anyone in your family is suffering from breathing problems such as snoring or asthma, it’s important for you to vacuum your carpets at least 3 times a week. Professional carpet cleaning is something that you will need to have done at least once a year. If your family is still having any problems with their breathing, you should get them professionally cleaned twice a year.

Indoor Pollutants

Your carpet can hold several types of indoor pollutants. The most common are pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, pollen and everyday dust. Once these allergens are on your carpet, they get rereleased when you vacuum or walk across your carpet. Professional carpet cleaners are able to remove these items from your carpet with a combination of special shampoo formulas and with high powered vacuums.

Dust Mites

Another allergen that isn’t widely known is dust mites. The reason for this is that they are microscopic and you cannot see them with the naked eye. The actual dust mites are not allergens. Their body fragments and feces are the things that are though. When your family inhales these, it can cause severe allergy problems. The way to remove this is to have your carpet steam cleaned. Steam cleaning heats your carpet to temperatures that dust mites cannot survive.


Another reason to schedule your carpet cleaning is mold. Molds can be very hazardous to human health. Some of the symptoms of mold exposure are running nose, sore throat, itchy eyes, cough, wheeze, chest tightness, shortness of breath and asthma. These can be severe especially for the young and elderly. When you live in places such as Florida with high humidity, your carpet is more at risk of developing mold. Moisture can easily get tracked into the home and can sink into your carpet fibers. You can prevent this by drying your carpet and vacuuming immediately. Getting your carpet professionally cleaned will also fix these mold and mildew problems.

Extend The Life Of Your Carpet

Carpet cleaning also prolongs the life of your carpet. Professionally cleaning involves extraction methods that increase the life of your carpet. This is very helpful for your home improvement budget. It makes your carpet easier to maintain. If you get your carpet cleaned regularly, minor spills can be removed by vacuuming alone. It also will remove spots and stains. The problem with getting a stain on your carpet is that it can become worse. More dirt and debris can attach to this original sport and make it nearly impossible to remove further down the road.

Maintain Your Warranty

Most people aren’t aware that not getting your carpet cleaned can void the manufacturer’s warranty. Most warranties require cleaning with the extraction method in a specific amount of time. The most common is 12 or 18 months. After a professional cleaning, even the oldest carpet can appear brand new. This will improve the appearance of your home and will help the resale value if you choose to sell in the future.

Do It Yourself Crafts

2 Extremely Fun And Addictive Do It Yourself Crafts

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Do it yourself crafts are a great activity to occupy your families free time. They teach your children how to complete tasks and enjoy family time together. Buying craft kits from a retail store can be quite expensive, unfortunately. We have some cheap and easy do it yourself crafts that will impress all of your friends and neighbors.

Marbleized milk paper

Marbleized milk paper is a good do it yourself crafts that combine creativity and science. The ingredients that you will need are almond milk, card stock, dish soap, toothpicks, food coloring and a baking dish. Trim your cardstock to a size that will easily fit into your baking dish. Keep all of your paper next to the tray to quickly dip into the milk and color mix. Add 4 tablespoons of almond milk to your tray and add in drops of food colouring. Next, add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the milk and food coloring. A chemical reaction will start happening between all of these ingredients. Swirl the drops of food colouring together using a toothpick Once everything is a vibrant mix of colors, lay a sheet of cardstock into the tray. Press down and gently lift the paper and set aside to dry. You can usually get 3 or 4 prints out of this mix until the colors get too muddy to continue. These can be displayed all by themselves or can be used for doing it yourself cards and letters to relatives. After a few days of drying, you can place the paper between two pieces of blank card stock. Use a hot iron to flatten the paper.

Marbleized coffee or tea cups

Another interesting do it yourself crafts project is making marbleized coffee or tea cups. The super easy craft can yield very beautiful results. All you really need to purchase is white mugs from a local dollar store. You can also use an off-white or light yellow. Make use of your old nail polish that went out of style or started to get old and hard to apply. Using an old large Tupperware bowl, warm water in the microwave. Next, add drops of nail polish into the warm water. You can use multiple colors or stick to just one color for a more subtle design. Gently move the Tupperware bowl around to swirl the nail polish into the water. You have to move quickly because the nail polish starts to harden in the water if it is left for too long. Dip the mugs into this water and polish mixture. You can dip the full bottom of the cup for an overall color design. Also, you can dip just the side of the mug for a creative wave effect. Experiment with different ways to dip your mugs. Don’t fear mistakes or a pattern you do not like. You can easily remove all of the nail polish with nail polish remover once its dry. These mugs are not dishwasher or microwave safe. You will need to hand wash your mug after each use. This technique can be applied to other glass items. For example, it can be used on vases, decorative plates or even old bottles used around your house as an interior design piece of art. 

Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costume Ideas

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Halloween is a fun time of year for you and your family. Store-bought costumes can set you back on your budget, especially if you have a large family. Why not make do it yourself Halloween costumes? All it takes is a little creativity and a glue gun. You would be surprised at how much fun it is to make a do-it-yourself Halloween costume. Get the whole family involved for some great quality time together. We have pulled together some of our favourites.

Stickman costume

This do-it-yourself stickman is super easy and creative. First, find a matching sweatsuit. We prefer white or grey. It’s easiest to assemble this with a partner while you are actually wearing the sweatsuit. Take the black electrical tape and put a line down the torso. With the same tape, make arms that go down your actual arms. Lastly, use the tape to make stick legs that run down the length of your actual legs. The finishing touch is the smiley face mask. You can use either a white paper plate or cut a circle large enough to cover your face from white poster board. Cut holes for the eyes and a smile for the mouth. Use a sharpie to make a circle inside the mask to match the lines of your limbs on your sweatsuit. Attaching the mask to your face is easy. Cut two holes for your eyes and use a fine piece of elastic to attach around your head.

Crazy cat lady costume

Another great do it yourself costume for any age is a crazy cat lady. Start your costume by purchasing some plush cats and a bathrobe at a thrift store. Use your glue gun to attach the cats all over your robe. If you plan on reusing the robe, you can also attach the cats with safety pins. Keep one or two cats out so you can hold them. Next, you want to tease your hair making it look messy and unkempt. The final step is to take a few mixed matched curlers and pin them haphazardly in your hair. A great choice for shoes would be slippers or house shoes.

Bank robber costume

Some of the best do-it-yourself costumes come from items you already have. A bank robber is a creative and easy costume for Halloween. Most likely, you will have most of the clothing items already. You will need a black hat, black pants, black shoes, black gloves and a black and white striped shirt. You will need to purchase a black mask that covers your eyes. You can get this inexpensively from a dollar store. The thing that pulls the whole costume together is the money bag. Get 2 paper bags with handles from your local grocery store. Use a black sharpie to draw big dollar signs on the outsides of the bags and carry one in each hand.

“Covered in bugs” costume

The easier and creepiest do it yourself costume is to be covered in bugs. Our favourite is plastic cockroaches, but you can also use ants, spiders or flies. All you need to attach these to your arms, legs and face is eyelash glue. This is easy to wipe off with soap and water. Be sure to use enough that the bugs stay put for the whole evening.


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