Eerie sounds, spooky lights and jack-o'-lanterns aglow-extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. To keep the fun going, however, it's important to plan your home's scary set-up with safety in mind.
Decorations for special events, most often involving candles, such as those found in jack-o'-lanterns, account for an average of 800 home fires in North America, causing nearly $4 million in direct property damage every year.
To keep your house from being haunted with potential insurance woes, Wayne Ross, insurance and claims expert for Aviva Canada, offers some Halloween preparation tips for preventing fires and other insurance claims.
• Practice fire safety: When setting up spooky electrical decorations and lighting, ensure that electrical outlets are not overloaded. Consider battery or solar powered jack-o'-lanterns.
• Make sure your walkways are safe: Although darkness may set the Halloween mood, keep walkways well lit and obstruction free to reduce the risk of injury and allow many guests to walk through simultaneously.
* Check your insurance coverage: While homeowner policies will generally cover you and your property during Halloween, it is a good idea to contact your insurance broker to ensure you have the right amount of coverage-especially with hundreds of visitors to your home.
"It is the responsibility of homeowners to make sure their property is safe for visitors during the Halloween festivities," Ross explained. "By taking some precautions, homeowners can join in the Halloween celebrations and enjoy a safe night of festive fun with their families."
Additional information can be found at www.avivacanada.com.
Courtesy of Newscanada
Preparing to buy a home requires more than just a down payment. Before you purchase property, take time to understand your available mortgage options and balance your debt load. Thorough planning and smart budgeting now can help you avoid running into high debt or repayment problems down the road.
Farhaneh Haque, director of mortgage advice at TD Canada Trust, says that first time home buyers should answer three important questions before they start hitting any open houses this season.
• Do I understand the process? It never hurts to meet with a mortgage specialist to learn more about the home buying process and the different mortgage options available, such as fixed versus variable rate mortgages, flexible repayment schedules, and even mortgages that offer cash back. Before falling in love with a home, consider getting pre-approved so you know what you may be able to afford and avoid getting disappointed by falling in love with a home that is outside your price range.
• What is my personal debt load? If you have other obligations like a car payment or student loan, ensure you are taking on a mortgage that you can manage within your total budget. Try using an online debt management calculator to help determine how much debt you can reasonably take on based on your income, current debt payments and expenses.
• Can I afford my mortgage and save for the future? Sometimes home buyers take on more debt than they can manage and quickly find themselves "house poor" – with no money left for future savings or a rainy day. Before you take the leap into homeownership, crunch the numbers to ensure your budget reflects the lifestyle you want after you move into your new home, and you are clear on what sacrifices you may need to make to continue to live comfortably and save for your future.
Courtesy of Newscanada
(BPT) - It's the cycle of fashion - trends are always recycling, returning and changing. Save time and money by transforming your existing wardrobe into stylish, on-trend pieces with a few simple tricks.
Do-over your denim
Shorts are a fashionable warm weather staple - and a great way to show off your tan. Make a personalized pair by repurposing old jeans - just trim them at your desired length for a cool, casual pair of cutoffs. Or, embrace the bright color trend by transforming colored khakis or denim into capri pants or Bermuda shorts. Add a bit of pop to your jeans by adding fabric panels at the sides - open the side seams and sew in some fabric all the way down. For a simpler touch, add lace or ribbon down the side seams for a chic effect, or cover the back pockets in a unique design.
Transform a T-shirt
The classic summer tee is the perfect medium for some do-it-yourself fashion flair. Give new life to a favorite T-shirt by transforming it into a halter top. Start with a crew neck T-shirt, remove the sleeves, cut a v-shape in the front and back, then trim straight across the back at the bottom of the v-shape to create straps. To embrace another fun trend, add some fringe to the bottom of a t-shirt. For best results, start with a T-shirt that's a bit longer. Mark where you want the fringe to start; next, use a ruler to measure even strips. Then, snip, snip.
Stick to it
Father's favorite fix-all isn't just for home repairs anymore - duct tape clothing and accessories are everywhere. A recent episode of the popular fashion design program "Project Runway" even featured an Unconventional Materials Challenge asking the designers to create dresses using Duck Tape brand duct tape.
"What is great about making a dress out of Duck Tape is that you can always change as you go - the -dress is never set in stone, because it's tape," says Michelle Lesniak Franklin, winner of the Duck Tape Unconventional Materials Challenge and Season 11 of "Project Runway."
Flexible and fun, Duck Tape can be used to create entire garments or to simply add a bit of color and pattern to existing clothing and accessories. For instance, cut out a personalized monogram using Duck Tape Sheets to add some style to a handbag or backpack, make a funky flower ring or create colorful waterproof flips flops using a few of the hundreds of colors and prints available.
Stenciling or painting on fabric is another easy way to turn basic clothing into sophisticated styles. Create your own customized stencils using contact paper, or find plenty of options at your local craft store or on websites like Etsy. Just pick up some fabric paint, lay out your stencil and get to work. For a super simple - but definitely eye-catching - transformation, try replacing the buttons on a favorite sweater or jacket with new buttons in an unexpected color, fabric or texture. Adding beads, ribbon or lace are additional options for making your clothing your own.
Not ready to make over your favorite existing pieces? Experiment with finds from a local consignment store, Goodwill or Salvation Army shop - you'll often discover gently used or like-new clothing for just a few dollars, and you won't have to worry if your design goes awry. For more fun fashion do-it-yourself ideas, check out Pinterest, crafting websites like Craftster, or try to recreate styles from the pages of your favorite fashion magazine.
Courtesy of BPT
Technological advances are making our homes more efficient, but when it comes to technology, one area is often overlooked: the bathroom.
"People often don't think of the bathroom as a space where you can incorporate technology because so much of what we do there is routine," says tech expert, Marc Saltzman. "But advances in technology touch every part of our lives, every member of the household, and every room in the home - the bathroom included. Indeed, new products with smart solutions make bathroom activities more efficient, accessible, and even less costly, such as technology that can greatly reduce the amount of water used at the sink."
Consider these time-saving tools and tips to help you make the most of your bathroom time:
• A hands-free faucet not only saves water, it can also save time and reduce bathroom mess. Imagine your morning without having to struggle to turn on the water while your hands were covered in shaving cream? At deltafaucet.ca, take a look at the new Addison lavatory faucet as one example. It functions with an advanced, hands-free feature called, Touch2O.xt.
• Electronic toothbrushes have come a long way in recent years. Today's models feature added technology and timers that let you know when it's time to change sides, ensuring your teeth are minty fresh and clean.
• Self-cleaning electric razors save you time and mess and make the chore of shaving that much easier.
• A high-tech shower system with customized user-settings can help you achieve the perfect shower conditions with the press of a button – and nothing is better than that on a Monday morning.
• Bathroom fan timer switches make you conscious of time spent in the shower and can help you save water and time every morning.
Courtesy of Newscanada
(NC)-Although most Canadians-save for those heading south for golf vacations-pack their clubs into storage at this time of year, many experts suggest that winter is actually the ideal time to refine your game.
"In the spring and summer, given the option to practise or play, most people will want to play," explains Andre Cuerrier, the director of academies and services at Golf Town, the largest golf retail chain in Canada. "But in fall or winter, you really have an opportunity to tune things up so that you'll get even more out of your game next year."
Cuerrier has seen the fruits of such labour firsthand. "We have a lot of testimonials from people that have seen improvement from winter lessons," he says. "Last winter, we had a gentleman who only played occasional corporate golf and said he had never broken 100. This summer, following some winter lessons, he came to the store and told us he not only broke 100, he broke 90."Cuerrier points out that Golf Town administers an estimated 40,000 lessons through its fleet of PGA of Canada instructors.
"Moving the game indoors, without the distraction of fair weather, can make for a more efficient learning environment," says Glenn Cundari, the technical director at the PGA of Canada.
"Taking winter instruction allows you to do the same thing as the top players in the world," he explains. "You hone your craft and by the time summer rolls around you can simply focus on playing the game much improved."
Understanding and refining that swing motion has become vastly easier in recent years. Sophisticated computer-swing and ball-flight analysis software and hardware enables instructors and club fitters to capture a vast array of swing data. Cuerrier says that Golf Town's new winter programs take advantage of that data to establish a benchmark of players' current abilities.
"We run players through a battery of tests in a simulator-a 30 to 45-minute assessment of their short and medium putts, chipping, pitching, short and long irons and drivers-to create a report card that shows where you should focus your energies," he explained. "The launch monitor data is not merely the way of the future, but it is the present of golf instruction, understanding your ball flight and launch conditions helps every player improve faster, but it also makes club fitting a more effective and efficient process since a player's swing becomes more refined and repeatable. But most importantly, when next spring rolls around, you'll enjoy playing golf more than ever."
Find out more about the array of cost effective lesson packages and coaching programs by visiting your local Golf Town or golftown.com
Courtesy of Newscanada
Light blocking curtains, sometimes known as blackout curtains or lined blackout curtains, can be a very appealing and functional interior design touch. Once you understand the main elements involved in choosing your light blocking curtains, you'll be able to successfully install and utilize them to their maximum effectiveness.
Blackout curtain drapes or blackout window curtains come from the factory in many different sizes, shapes and styles. Since the main purpose of these curtains is to perform the function of blocking out daylight, it's essential to take accurate measurements around all of the windows and glass doors in which you intend to hang them. You need to always measure a little wider and lower so that the drapes extend past the corners, bottoms, and sides of the glass where all possible outdoor light can come in.
Are they Dark Enough?
Blackout curtains come in several colors. But they're all usually dark enough to serve the purpose of blocking the light out of your home, apartment or condominium. If you're buying them because you want to be able to sleep comfortably during the day when the sun's bright, then you should carefully choose the darkest color you can find, as this will successfully block out more sunlight than lighter versions. But if all you want to do is block out the often blinding glare of the sun that's coming into your living room, you can go with a lighter color to match your interior decor.
Materials and Textures
Many of these lined blackout curtains are made of heavy-duty thermal material since thermal textures are more efficient at blocking out the strong, harsh rays of the sun. You have to understand that when this type of material gets dirty from dust and other airborne pollutants, you'll have to eventually clean them. This will often mean removing them and taking them over to the dry cleaner, as household steam cleaners usually aren't effective enough for a thorough cleaning and a full disinfecting procedure.
But the many benefits of these heavy, rugged textures also include keeping out the intense heat of the sun in summer time, saving on your air conditioning energy consumption costs, and helping prevent the sun from color fading of your carpets and furniture, especially the leather, velour and suede variety.
You can find these blackout curtains selling for a wide variety of prices depending on which brand you buy and from which online or physical retail location you choose to purchase at. Wider, longer and heavier ones will always cost more. So will ones with custom designs and weaved patterns on them. These are the upscale, high end brands. Many homeowners are content to buy the least expensive, simplest designs and just color coordinate the curtains with their carpet, hardwood floors, wall coverings, and sofas. Well priced light blocking curtains are also going to be incredibly durable. They won't fade due to the strong sun hitting into them all day long, so they make an excellent household investment.
Because light blocking curtains can be used in so many home window applications, they have become very popular over the years since they first came out. Blackout window curtains can be used instead of ordinary blinds to block out much more sunlight. They're certainly ten times better than even the darkest standard curtains. And these light blocking curtains can be installed over either windows that rise vertically or over ones that roll inward towards the room. They can also be used on sliding glass doors that lead to patios, porches and decks.
By: Alfred Oliver
Please visit our Open House at 15 MILLER BAY in OKOTOKS.
Open House on Saturday, October 5, 2013 1:30 pm
OPEN HOUSE SAT OCT 5 1:30-3:30
This custom built 3bedroom with option of 4th bedrm bungalow in Okotoks is Feng Shui designed. The home is calming, peaceful & relaxing. Located on a quiet friendly cul de sac on a 3rd acre! Prof landscaped yard has a maintenance free deck, hot tub, fire pit, shed, lots of trees, flowers & underground sprinklers. It's an oasis! Inside is stunning, loaded with the highest quality & upgrades. With it's sleek architecture, open floor plan and roughly 3290sq feet of living space this home is sure to please! Starting with beautiful vaulted ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, 2-fire places one is a 2-way, Brazilian cherry hardwood, porcelain tile, air conditioning, on demand hot water, granite, wired sound, ceramic counter top stove. Master suite is very large & private, the ensuite is elegant with granite counters & oversized shower. This home boasts a private loft/bedroom & or office with separate bathroom. The Lower level is an entertainers dream with full bar, huge family room, sports room & extra bedroom.
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