DIY Tile

Don’t be scared! You can easily DIY your own tile floors by following these tips:


1. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but it’s definitely easier. Larger tiles are much easier to install than small ones. Larger tiles are commonly used for bathroom walls, but are great for kitchens and other rooms too. The smaller 1x1s are going to take longer to set, so choose a small pattern.

2. What you can’t see, will hurt you. If you don’t have a flat subfloor, you won’t have a successful install. Self-leveling subfloor compound works great and is easy for a DIYer to install. Other options are plywood or cement backer board, but regardless of what is used, the subfloor should be at least 1″ thick to ensure a quality job.

3. Squaring a room is as easy as 3-4-5. The best method to squaring a room is using a 3-4-5 Triangle. Measure 3 feet against one wall, 4 feet to the center of the room and connect the two lines to make a triangle with a 5 foot line. If the room is larger, use 6, 8, and 10 foot lines. If it’s smaller, use 18″, 2′ and 2’6.” Mark off all lines by snapping a chalk line along the measurements.

4. Make the best of a sticky situation. Thin-set not only keeps tiles on the floor, it can make up for minor imperfections in the subfloor. There are different thin-sets for each application of tile, but for ceramic tile, use a latex modified thin-set. Latex modified thin-set only needs water. Remember, only mix what can be spread or used in an hour, otherwise, the job will become very hard. There is also a premixed thin-set which would be better for wall tiles. It is stickier and the tiles won’t move much. With thin-set, you can always add a little more on one side if the subfloor isn’t perfectly level or take away a little on the other side to straighten the subfloor.

5. If cutting corners, rent a wet saw. Renting one will save time and frustration. Unless it’s a perfect house with perfect rooms, you will have to cut the tiles. The time saved in cutting all of the tiles perfectly will pay off immediately. Wet saws are relatively inexpensive and can usually be picked up in any home supply store.

6. Don’t rush yourself into a poor job. Always take your time and work in a small area to ensure you get everything right. Behind every quality tile job is an installer that chose to take his time. Even when working in a small area, don’t rush to lay the tiles down.

7. When the trowel gets jammed, butter the tiles. When working in tight corners or edges, the trowel won’t be able to fit inside that space. The easiest way to work around this problem is to put the adhesive on the back of the tiles.

8. Don’t rush the cure. Even though all the tiles are down on the floor and set, don’t start putting the grout down. Allow the thin-set the proper amount of time to dry, otherwise you will damage the tiling job.

9. Never trowel grout in a straight line. There are two types of grout, wall and floor grout. The only difference is that floor grout has sand in it and wall grout doesn’t. Make sure the grout is the right consistency, and trowel it diagonally to ensure an even application.

10. Guarantee perfect gaps with plastic spacers. Buy the space between each of the tiles in a bag. Plastic spacers come in different sizes for different sized tiles. Simply place the little Xs between the tiles while they set and remove them before grouting. This will ensure the same exact space between each tile.

Tips: Seal before tiling. Always waterproof showers and wet areas before tiling them. Tile installations do not act as a 100 percent moisture barrier. They are designed to protect the waterproof surface below them and make cleaning easier. There is a good range of waterproofing materials available that are easy to apply and work well.

Save the extra tiles. Keep spares for any future repairs. Ceramic tile is very brittle and if a heavy object falls on the tile, chances are it’s going to break.


Source: HGTV, DIY Network


5 Home Improvement DON’Ts

Fall is in the air and it’s nice outside. Perfect time to do some DIY home improvements to your house. But make sure you do them correctly. Here are the top five things to make sure you DON’T Do:

Messy Extension Cords

Don’t Ignore Safety

This goes for any home improvement project. Simple precautions like wearing safety goggles, not overloading outlets and turning off breakers will only take a few minutes or a few extra bucks, but these steps can save you from disaster.

Wall Space Painted Green with a Roller Brush

Don’t Skip the Primer

The key to a successful paint job is always prep. A coat of primer will seal the surface, provide durability and create a solid bond for the paint to adhere. The only time primer may not be needed is when painting latex over latex and the colors have a similar intensity.

Electrical Outlet Plate Removal

Make Sure You Get a Real Pro

If you need to hire a pro make sure they are qualified for the job. Never let anyone other than a licensed electrician repair or alter the wiring in your home. The same goes for plumbing — many states also require them to have a license or state certification.

Don’t Forget Ductless HVAC Systems

Don’t forget to consider an energy-efficient ductless heating and cooling system for an addition or if you’re remodeling. You won’t have to install or redo any duct work, which saves time and energy.

Don’t Forget About the Subfloor

Laminate flooring needs an underlayment/vapor barrier for almost any surface it is being installed upon. Not only will it protect it from moisture, it will also help with soundproofing. Hardwood floors need an even subfloor, so use subfloor compound to ensure a level surface. If laying tile in a bathroom, cement backer board should be used underneath.

Fall Door Decor

The calendar says that is is officially fall, and we’ve been enjoying our first pumpkin spice lattes of the season. So it’s time to take another look at all the ways you can decorate your front door for the season. (We couldn’t resist adding in a few Halloween ideas, too!) After all, it is the first thing guests encounter when they come to your home. Shouldn’t it be a reflection of what’s waiting inside? Check out our top picks.

1. DIY Pumpkin Wreath: You can never have too many pumpkins. And this DIY wreath proves that point. Plus, because it’s not too Halloween centric, you can leave it up through Thanksgiving. (via 320 Sycamore)

2. Balloon Spiders: Don’t worry these pumped up arachnids won’t bite! But they will make your home ready for trick-or-treaters! (via Martha Stewart)

3. Tulle Wreath ($55): The autumn colors in an unexpected tulle will make a statement on your door this fall. Of course, we’re fans of the fact that there’s a little sparkle involved, too.

4. Stained Glass Tree: This twisted tree is great year round, but we love the shades of brown for fall. (via James Witt)

5. Broom Garland: We’re betting if you hang up this broom garland you’ll sweep the competition for best Halloween outdoor decor—especially if you’re dressed as a witch. (via Martha Stewart)

6. Gourd Family: Think of this gourd family as the autumn answer to snowmen. They are perfect for kids to decorate. Just look for pumpkins with out stems so the stack more easily. (via Martha Stewart)

7. Pumpkin Totem: Another take on the stacked pumpkins, this totem is one of our favorites from our no-carve pumpkin roundup. The goofy faces give us a chuckle. (via HGTV)

8. Eyeball Wreath: If your front door gets full sun all day, this is the wreath for you. Each of the bouncy ball eyeballs glows in the dark. Trick-0r-treaters will be greeted by a group of ghoulish glowing eyes. Creepy! (via Country Living)

9. Mummy Door: You can make this spooky mummy door in less than 15 minutes. All it requires is white streamers and construction paper eyes. (via Honey and Fitz)

10. Monster Door: If monsters are more your style try this take on a Frankenstein door. Admittedly, he looks a bit more goofy than scary, but that’s best if you have young trick-or-treaters. (via My Life and Kids)

11. Chalkboard Door: Of course we saved the best for last! Chalkboard paint works great on the inside of the front door, but we bet it would work just as well outside, if your door has an overhang. (via Apartment Therapy)

12. Three-Story Spiders: Okay, this goes beyond just the front door, but we’re impressed with the dedication of these home owners. We can only imagine how intricate their Christmas decorations must be! (via Apartment Therapy)

Do you decorate your front door for fall or Halloween? Tell us what you do in the comments!

Yard Sale Tips

With the Celebration-wide Yard sale just around the corner, I thought it would be good to post some tips to help make your next yard sale a success!

Sign for yard sale


1. Place Your Ad Here

Have your kid help you write an ad for your local newspaper and put signs up around town. Less is more when it comes to effective advertising, so skip the glitter (unless your kid feels really strongly about it) and make signs using bold markers with your address, the date and time of the sale and an arrow pointing in the right direction.

2. Enlist Some Helpers

Have your kid ask a friend to chip in for the cause, both by putting her stuff up for sale, too, and volunteering to help the day of. Not only will this double the selection of items for sale, you’ll have an extra pair of hands to help. In the days leading up to the sale, look over and clean all the items. There’s nothing worse than selling a pair of jeans for $3 and remembering there was a $20 bill in the back pocket.

3. Consider Your Layout

When it comes to rummaging through other people’s used stuff, presentation matters: Have your kids help you arrange all items by category, and make it easy to navigate between sections. Instead of throwing books into a box, line them up on a bookshelf for easy browsing. Hang up clothes on an old shower rod and order them by size. (No one wants to dig through piles of precariously stacked T-shirts, and you don’t want to be the one stuck folding and refolding them.) Place hot ticket items near the end of your driveway to lure in customers. If people driving by see something that catches their eye, they’ll stop to take a look.

The same goes for the kids’ stuff. Kids love shopping at garage sales almost as much as they love putting them together. So help your child go through all her goodies and separate out the really good stuff to make sure it’s properly displayed.

4. Create Ambiance

Just because you’re setting up shop in your front yard doesn’t mean it can’t have the vibe of a classy boutique. Play some nice background music so shoppers aren’t perusing in silence. If your kid is really into it, he could even open a lemonade stand and sell packaged snacks or your favorite homemade cookies to make some extra cash. Make sure to have a garbage can nearby to keep things tidy.

5. Advertise Each Item’s Value

Make sure all your items are clearly marked with price tags, which will discourage bargain-hunters from offering a bargain-basement price on items that aren’t marked. We recommend setting your kid up with masking tape or blue painter’s tape and letting him go to town once you’ve decided on the prices. After shoppers take their items home, they can remove the tape without the sticky residue that stickers usually leave.

6. Don’t Overprice

The main thing to remember is not to overprice. Although it’s nice to make money, clearing out that excess clutter should be your ultimate goal. A good rule of thumb is to sell things for one-half to one-third their original price. Your kid might be very attached to that old stuffed animal, but even though it’s super cute, it’s still a secondhand product to a new owner.

Also, try to price things with round numbers–25 cents instead of 15, $2 instead of $1.80. This way, you’ll avoid juggling loose change and making math errors when calculating totals.

7. Be Thoughtful About Checkout

Instead of putting all your money in a tin, both you and your child can tie on your cutest aprons with pockets so you have cash on you all the time (assuming she’s old enough to handle the money, of course). Have lots of small bills to make change for customers, and when they’re ready to pay, tally up their items and keep a ledger of what you sold for how much. Once your customers have selected their treasures, have your kid help them wrap up breakables in newspaper and provide bags for easy transport. As the day winds down, don’t be afraid to lower prices or offer everything half off.

Source: Real Simple Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV

Fall Window Displays

Get inspired with these 11 examples of beautiful Fall window display for your coming project this fall!

Autumn Display

Fall Window Display, a photo by Display Window on Flickr.


Fall Window Display 2012

ISETAN department store, a photo by LaLa-blue. (Fall Window display Isetan, Autumn, Tokyo)

6 well-dressed mannequins, a photo by wwward0. (dresses, intermix, mannequins, night, nyc, store front window)

Window Display on 5th Ave, a photo by Amberyz. (new york city, east coast, autumn, ,foliage, fall, leave, central park, outdoor)

Ragtag Shibuya Autumn Window Display, a photo by tokyofashion. (Ragtag, Shibuya store, shop fall window display, cute bear, Japan, Japanese, resale, fashion, Tokyo)

Window Display – DM Robinson – Autumn, a photo by c3imaging. (Fall Window Display – DM Robinson – Autumn, Leaves: Full colour digital printed – DieCut Leaf Shapes, Silhouette: Black SAV Cut Outline.)

Autumn window display 2012

Squirrels, a photo by maxnugget. (Cheltenham, Literature, Festival, Cheltenham, Squirrels, Shop Front, Fall Window Display, Autumn)

window display 2012 2013

MCU032, a photo by mwbonney. (Apples, Autumn, Color photography, Corn, Customs and celebrations, Exhibits and displays, Food and drink, Foods, Fruits, Garlic,  Hazelnuts, Holidays, Indoors, Nobody, Nuts, Pecans, Photography, Produce, Seasonings, Seasons, Thanksgiving, Vegetables, Walnuts, Window displays)

Fall Window Display, a photo by Everyday People Clothing. (Leaves, Autumn, Fall, Mannequins, Clothing, Fashion, Display, Everyday People, Clothing Exchange, Window Display, St. Paul)

Rockefeller Center, New York, NY, a photo by anthropologie+you. (Harvest, Fall, Autumn, Anthro, Anthropologie, Windows Displays, Art, Craft, Project, Gourds, Color, Design)

Ralph Lauren Fall 2008 Window 3, a photo by Swell Dame. (Oval (“5′x4′) antler mirror made for the Fall 2008 window. Real deer antler (sheds) painted gold, antiqued with dark glaze and highlighted with gilding cream.)

5 Tips for Hanging Picture Frames

1. Don’t Use Wire 
Professionals who install framed art for museums and galleries never use wire or string. It’s too wobbly—a picture could easily be knocked right off the wall.

2. Use D-rings 
Two small D-shaped metal rings cost pennies. Screw one into either side of the back frame rails, then hang the D-rings directly onto two hooks on the wall. That way, a good bump won’t budge it.

3. Get Hooks That Attach to the Wall with 2 or 3 Nails 
They’re sturdier than the ones that use one nail at an angle.

4. If You Must Use Wire, Hang It On Two Hooks

If you’re lazy and your frame comes with wire on the back, install the hooks about a hand’s width apart so the frame’s more stable.

5. Think About Hiring a Pro 
Call your local gallery or frame shop and ask who does their hanging. Pros can hang five or six small frames in an hour, usually for $40 to $75.

Sources: Women’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV

How to Puppy-Proof Your Home

Bissell cleaning products and ASPCA team up to present these tips for puppy-proofing your home!

2010-09_ChillyMessPets are like children—they’re curious about everything! And just as a new parent would child-proof their home for a toddler’s safety, pet parents should be concerned with the safety of their four-footed children.


Consider this – most parents spend nine months preparing for the arrival of a new baby, taking classes on child safety and child proofing the home. But how many “pet parents” prepare the same way for the arrival of a new cat or dog?


An Ounce of Prevention


Whether you are thinking about getting a pet, or already have one, take the time to implement some safety precautions both in- and outdoors. A bit of forethought may save your pet from trouble, and can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in emergency veterinary costs.


With kids as well as pets, most injuries occur where you and your family feel safest—at home. While you can’t prevent any and every danger, you can minimize the possibility of your pet getting hurt or sick by always being aware of his in- and outdoor surroundings and regularly examining his body for injuries.


To truly pet proof your home, you should start by literally getting down on “all fours” and pawing your way through the house and yard, looking for possible pet hazards. If something looks interesting, a child will investigate—if it looks or smells vaguely interesting, a pet will investigate!  By exploring your home from your pet’s perspective, you’ll be much more likely to spot dangerous conditions such as sharp branches or broken wire on fences.


Steps to Protect Your Pets


While kids remain inquisitive for many years, they eventually learn to avoid potential hazards like a hot stove or broken glass. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for our pets—they will remain childlike for all of their life! So be prepared to look for possible pet hazards on a regular basis.


Here are 10 simple pet proofing tips to get you started:

  1. Plants and pets don’t mix. Many common house plants are poisonous to pets when chewed or ingested, and almost all lilies are toxic for cats. Eliminate toxic house and garden plants or move them to a safe area. Because they’re usually very easy to knock over, place house plants up high to keep them from fallingon your pet (and creating a big mess!).
  2. Secure your toiletries. Keep medications, lotions and cosmetics off of accessible surfaces and well out of your pet’s reach. These items may contain ingredients, dyes or chemicals potentially harmful to pets if swallowed.
  3. Check your cabinets. Use cabinet locking devices, like those used to keep young children from opening doors, to keep your pets from getting into food or household and lawn chemicals. Evaluate all lower shelves to make sure there are no unsafe items within easy reach.
  4. Set boundaries. Keep doors closed or install toddler safety gates to keep animals out of rooms you don’t want them to sniff around in. But be sure to consider the type of gate you are installing with respect to its intended location.  For example, you wouldn’t want to install a pressure mounted gate at the top of the stairs where a pet might lean on it and topple down the stairs.
  5. Hide trashcans. Unless you want garbage scattered all over your home, it’s a good idea to hide your trash receptacle in a cabinet or large drawer, or at least keep it tightly lidded. While most food is not hazardous, wrappers can be. Most pet owners know that chocolate and anti-freeze are harmful to pets, but many probably don’t know that grapes and raisins also can be deadly for dogs.
  6. Check your curtains. To avoid the risk of strangulation, make sure cords from blinds and curtains are well out of your pet’s reach.
  7. Beware of wires. Tuck away electrical wires and cords from lamps, DVD players, televisions, stereos and telephones so they’re out of the reach of chewers. Consider installing electric cord shorteners, outlet covers and window cord safety locks.
  8. Protect your knick-knacks. Remove any precious or valuable items from tail wagging level to prevent them from being accidentally toppled by an enthusiastic wagger.
  9. Clear the floor. Keep children’s toys and games and everyone’s shoes and clothing off the floor unless you want Fido to have a field day with them.
  10. Eliminate temptation. If you want to be extra-cautious, consider keeping your pets in a crate when you have to leave the house.

Sources: Bissell cleaning products, ASPCA