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Date:2009-07-31 11:17
Subject:Greetings from Your Friends at This Old House

Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on the launch of Wildest Houses II at thisoldhouse.com! Please give us your feedback and tell us of other wild houses you may know about...it could even be YOUR wild house!

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Date:2009-04-19 14:27

i hope this is allowed, if not delete right away.

I created a new commmunity, kiddiescorner,
which is about your childrens rooms and how your kids
live in your houses.

Hope to see you over there!
Thanks =)

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Date:2008-06-30 11:35
Mood: frustrated

We've hit a snag in getting the bathroom finished, and it's doing my head in.

We're replacing the (uPVC) seals around the window frame (internal), and it should be a simple enough job to mitre the joints and then seal them in - but it's not proving quite as simple as it should.

The problem we've got is that the pieces we're trying to mitre to fit are ¼ rounded, and whichever way we've cut the mitres, none of it seems to want to fit together in a sensible manner that'd mean we can fix it to the windows in the places where it should be.

pics for assistanceCollapse )

Now I realise we're probably doing something idiotic, but I was hoping that using the mitre box'd mean we could get this done pretty quickly and easily, only it ain't happening.

I've tried Google, and the closest thing to being of any help at all was Fig. 332.—Method of Setting out for a Curved Mitre, which unfortunately has me completely lost.

Anyone got any (sensible) advice/suggestions as to how we can get these mitres cut properly so they'll fit together when going at 90o around the window?

Xposted a bit.


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Date:2007-09-11 19:50

Hello! I found this community through mutual interests, and I'm excited to read through it. I also started a new community recently - ourlovelyhomes - and would like to invite everyone to post pics of your homes, design projects, and landscaping ideas! I cannot wait to get some ideas for my home. I've already done some remodeling, but have a lot of work left to do!

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Date:2007-05-25 19:48
Subject:Must-Know IAD software

It's been a while since I've posted anything here, but I've got a good reason. Really! This spring I spent every waking moment learning a 3D modeling program from Autodesk calledVIZ. It's a huge program and to some extent can interact with Autodesk's AutoCAD (although not as seamlessly as their marketing department would suggest).

Those are both huge programs. If you need a program that is more affordable for small businesses, Sketch-Up is starting to make some noise. It's free, easy, and produces decent images. They do have a Sketch-Up look and feel, and trained eyes will recognize images from this program, but it's great for functionality!

For kitchen and bath, 20/20 is the program to learn. Even in my remote area the custom places are requiring proficiency in 20/20 as a hiring requirement. :)

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Date:2006-09-19 22:33
Subject:Interior icons

I made these icons of beautiful interiors a while ago and I thought I would share them here.. No credit necessary..just comment and let me know if you like them or if you take any..

Read more...Collapse )

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Date:2006-09-16 18:16
Subject:Getting Ready to Turn Inwards: Preparing for the Indoor Season

Fall is the time when we get ready to go indoors for the winter and focus on indoor pursuits and activities. Now is the time to make sure your home is ready for the indoor season! A good fall cleaning is as important as spring cleaning. Since we are going to spend more time indoors, focus on removing allergens and respiratory irritants! Wash draperies and easily-forgotten items such as bedskirts. Think about having carpets cleaned.

Get your mind ready to go, as well: this is the time when we can go within and work on our personal visions for our future. Make sure you are stocked up with notebooks for writing wish lists. Get ahold of some mentally stimulating books to keep your mind active during the indoor season. This is also a good time to examine your life and see what needs to be put in good order; perhaps your financial life needs some attention, or you are seeking a class to take so you can keep learning. This is the time to work on our inner lives, so get your tools in gear and start dreaming!

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Date:2006-08-16 16:38
Subject:Kitchen Knives?


I'm not really sure that this is the right topic for this community, but I couldn't find any other group on livejournal that had to do with this topic.

So, basically, my problem is that I am looking to buy a new set of nice knives (sharp, good quality) for my kitchen. I've tried Consumer Reports, but nothing came of it.

So my question for you all is: What brand of knives do you recommend I get? Which brand have you been most satisfied with? etc...

Any suggestions or a lead in the right direction is greatly appreciated.


P.S.--If this is not the right community to post this question to, if anyone knows of a better suited community, please let me know by commenting! Thanks!

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Date:2006-08-05 13:36
Subject:Cleaning Synthetic Area Rugs

I like thriftiness as much as the next person, so when my husband and I both dropped pancake batter on the area rug which is in our kitchen, I really wanted a way to be able to clean it myself rather than have to take it somewhere for professional cleaning. This rug is an inexpensive rug made for mass distribution at big box home centers, and our original investment in it did not warrant handling it with the kid glove treatment.

To successfully do this, please check the tag on your rug to see what the rug is made of. The rug we are doing is olefin, a fiber that is super durable, colorfast, and used frequently for commercial applications and in instances where it has to resist the effects of children ;) Rugs with polyester content will tend to fuzz, so they are not as good a candidate for this as olefin. Nylon has more resilience than polyester, so a careful cleaning could be successful there too. Natural fibers, particularly sisal or wool, should NOT receive this treatment as it can do irreparable damage to your rug.

I am fortunate to have a back porch with a railing. Today is a nice sunny day, so I hauled the rug outside and draped it evenly over the railing and went off to get my garden hose, a bucket of soapy water (use a gentle dish soap like Ivory), and a scrub brush with large (inch long) bristles.

Hose the rug down thoroughly, paying special attention to problem areas - on our case, where there was dried-on pancake batter. Using the scrub brush, I started at the top of the rug, where it is folded over the railing. Scrape the scrub brush over the surface of the rug, but go in ONE direction only or you will damage the nap of the rug.

I did this with both sides and followed up with another thorough soaking with the hose. Sunlight will kill any bacteria or viruses which may be harbored in the rug, because of the ultraviolet light, so let your rug dry in the sun and it will be de-microbialized while it dries.

Very inexpensive way to get a big problem out of a synthetic rug.

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Date:2006-07-12 17:28
Subject:A Feng Shui Primer

Some people have expressed interest in Feng Shui, so here is a quick primer!

Feng Shui, translated literally, refers to wind and water. However, this translation cannot be seen as complete. Feng Shui really refers to the actions and interactions of those elements on the physical landscape. It has also been translated as "where water meets" land, referring to the balance of the two elements. Wind is seen as carrying the life force, and water is seen as containig it. The most important principles in Feng Shui are Ch'i (universal energy), Yin and Yang, The Five Elements, and The Eight Compass Points.

Feng Shui is a complex set of guidelines relating to the flow of energy, or Ch'i, through or around a building. These guidelines work with the natural patterns of energy flow as identified by the ancient Chinese culture, and each area of the compass corresponds with an area of life. Feng Shui provides a framework for understanding the universal energy that exists, understanding that there is one universal energy flow (Ch'i), which is then broken into Yin or Yang, which then may be broken into eight compass directions.

Ch'i is the all encompassing natural energy of which we all are a part. Ch'i washes over, around, and through all that is, like water flowing, and where the Ch'i can flow easily and gently, it is positive Ch'i, but if the Ch'i gets caught and stagnates, or if the Ch'i flows too quickly, it can change to evil Sha and then creates unhealthy situations. To keep Ch'i moving correctly, strive for cleanliness and a streamlined way of arranging objects. Energy should easily flow throughout the area, and should not be disrupted by a confusing array of junk. Healthy ch'i is able to flow gently and smoothly and not too fast. It should also not be allowed to collect into pools where it can stagnate.

Yin and Yang can be understood as Spirit and Matter, Heaven and Creation. Matter was referred to as Yin and Spirit referred to as Yang. This system of dualities illustrates the opposing forces of the cosmos, which by their opposite nature brings balance.

The eight enrichment points are the places in the home that correspond to certain aspects of Chi. 1.South: Wang Ts'ai, vigorous energy, fame, fortune, well-being. 2. NorthWest: Chin Ts'ai, combines the resting energy of the North with the change energy of the west. new beginnings, fresh starts. 3. East: Fa Chan, Judgement and experience. 4. North East, infants, children, and close family. 6. Southwest:An Lu, harmony, peace and enjoyment.7. West: Chang Yin, Indulgence, social enjoyment. 8. South East: Huan Lo, fortune and finances. 9. North: Chin Yin, relates to successful relationships. Note there is no 5 - it is the center and relates to the Yin and Yang.

* South: Lights and mirrors can help in this area. Mirrors reflect Sha and also can slow Chi that moves too quickly.
* West: A good place to put a large piece of driftwood or other pleasing stationary object to assist in slowing down the flow of Ch'i.
* North: Since this area requires constant maintenance, an object which has movement, or even flowing water, should be placed here to keep Ch'i active.
* East: To prevent dull Ch'i, useful objects should be placed in this area to assist with the tasks of learning or education.
* North East: Since this is the area of children, bright colors should be used here to encourage luck, fame, wisdom, and wealth.
* North West: Just as when we entertain friends, we would play music in the background, this area responds well to the use of music or sound to prevent the formation of stagnant Ch'i.
* South East: With its broad associations of money, fame, and fortune, it is crucial to keep this area lively and filled with flowing Ch'i - use fish, broad leaved plants, and live flowers to keep the Ch'i fresh and stimulated.
* Lastly, the South West: Straight lines are appropriate here to help the Ch'i move smoothly; bamboo, swords, and fans may be placed here so the Ch'i is broken up, disrupted, or aimed back into the room to help preserve health.

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Date:2006-06-16 21:35

Interested in green building design?

The US Green Building Council is developing new exam tracks for their LEED Accredited Professional exams. (LEED is the "green" rating system developed by USGBC.) They are currently seeking applicants to take the beta versions of their new exams. There is no charge for beta testers, and those candiates who pass the beta exam will earn the LEED Accredited Professional credential. Go here for more information.


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Date:2006-06-16 21:12
Subject:6 Incredibly Easy Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Save Everything.

1. Switch Light Bulbs. By replacing energy sucking incandescents with compact fluorescents, you can save up to about $7 per fixture per year. Compact fluorescents last an average of 10 times longer than a regular incandescent bulb. The light quality has improved greatly in recent years, as well - no more weird color distortions in the bathroom mirror!

2. Go Barefoot. Leaving shoes at the door can reduce the gross stuff we track in by 2/3! Less dust tracked in means less pollen, less lead, less mold, and fewer pesticides. And that means less respiratory distress and less vacuuming (yay!). Additionally, when you leave your shoes at the door, envision also leaving the stress of the outside world there, too - letting your home act as your sanctuary where you can get away from the world.

3. Use Cloth Napkins. This will immediately reduce the amount of trash produced by your household, and also will take one regular expense out of your grocery bill. The life of your cloth napkins can be up to 10 years. If you spent $3 on napkins every season, the savings more than pays for the initial cost of the cloth napkins, and they don't really create added laundry - they'll fit into whatever load you're doing.

4. Enjoy Houseplants. Houseplants are a major weapon in the fight against indoor air pollution, and yet they consume zero electricity and are super cheap to maintain. (See article in this issue for more information!)

5. Use Glass for Food Storage. It lasts indefinitely with careful handling; it does not absorb food smells or colors; it will not react with acidic foods such as tomato sauce, and it does not release any questionable particles. Again, glass containers will last for literally generations, where plastic food storage containers may need to be replaced shortly after their purchase.

6. Use Slow Shipping. Regular ground shipping saves on greenhouse emissions (up to 5 times less than overnight or air) and is a much more energy efficient way of transporting goods. Order gifts from one place rather than many, and have the items sent in all one shipment rather than as they are ready.

Amazingly, most of the things we can do to save energy and reduce waste also cost us a lot less, so we have more money to spend on really important stuff, such as organic chocolate!

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Date:2006-06-10 15:06
Subject:Eco-Living and Indigenous Design

A historical perspective today. When I was very small, my parents took me to Chaco Canyon and to see the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings, and I can still remember how incredible it was to see these structures.

The broad definition of eco-living refers to the practice of living in accordance with Nature rather than seeking to overcome Nature or defy Nature.

In design and building, what this can mean for us is that it is simpler to find design solutions which work within the parameters of the surroundings. Specific points could include

* at which angle the house sits
* how deep the eaves are
* where the trees should be planted
* where the materials come from
* what materials are used
* how the shelter interacts with the landscape
* how the shelter interacts with the inhabitants

These concepts were very familiar to home builders in the past. From the compact sod houses of ancient Scandinavians to the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi in the American Southwest, evidence of good use of available materials abounds. It is only recently that we have had a cultural shift away from this practice, resulting in increased use of raw materials, damage to environmental infrastructures, and disruption of ecosystems.

Fortunately, the US is experiencing a resurgence in these old ideas; first beginning as a grass-roots effort from a small but vociferous group of architects, environmentalists, and designers, this movement is slowly spreading and increasing in magnitude. The nationally-recognized LEED program is but one of several organized efforts encouraging and recognizing environmentally sound building practices.

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Date:2006-05-23 00:51
Subject:clutter & organization, :)

Hello, I am new to the community. In case this might motivate someone... I wrote a 3-part series on clutter & organization if anyone is curious. I have them posted in a new website that I am writing for. The info and links are posted in my Lj:
Hope it motivates you to cut your clutter and free up space in your place! :)

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Date:2006-05-15 06:07
Subject:Quirky, Easy Outdoor Project

This project is probably the most comment-stimulating project I have done so far. I hit up all my friends and neighbors for their empty wine bottles. All different sizes; it doesn't matter. The large ones can be used for corners or accent pieces, and I mixed the colors in an intentionally random fashion. I took these wine bottles, upended them, and buried them as a garden border. Yes, I have a garden gnome ;)

(Can you tell I live at the beach? Look at the sandy soil, lol!)

The left side has been buried since last fall. Some people had questions about whether the border would be affected by the freezing and thawing, but it came through great. Since the bottles are open at the bottom (which used to be the top), it allows for expansion and contraction of the air inside.

The next phase of this project is move my stepping stones to better suit the new design, and then mulch or add gravel to the pathway.

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Date:2006-04-27 00:53
Subject:New projects?

Hi all! Anyone have some spring projects planned?! Do tell!

I just redesigned my living room and LOVE it! And I didn't spend a dime! I can't wait to have company!

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Date:2006-04-11 06:53
Subject:Tile, hardwood, bamboo

Hard surface flooring is a great, practical, easy to care for choice for your floors. Hard surface flooring is great for people with allergies, because it is easy to keep clean, does not produce dust, and cannot harbor tiny allergens the way carpet can.

Ceramic, porcelain, and stone tile serve similar functions. Many people aren't aware that there is even a difference between porcelain and ceramic; porcelain is a much denser material than ceramic and so can be used outside even in areas where the temperature goes below freezing. Otherwise, the decision to use ceramic, porcelain, or stone is really determined by what look you want to achieve. All are super easy to clean, extremely durable, and will last many years if installed properly. The key to success is to have a reputable installer do the work, so that you aren't plagued by cracked tiles in the future due to slight variation in the setting of the tiles.

Hardwood is a controversial subject: on one hand, it is renewable; on the other, harvesting hardwoods has caused huge amounts of damage to this country and others. One way to get the beauty and durability of hardwood without the concern of whether it is contributing to losing forested land is to look for the FSC seal. The Forest Stewardship Council certifies hardwoods as sustainably harvested, which means it comes from a managed forest.

Bamboo is a great choice for sustainability, since it can regrow in as little as 5-6 years, and it looks fabulous. Like hardwoods, however, it can be dented if something heavy or sharp is dropped on it, and it must be well acclimated to the location before being installed.

A word about laminates: Many people choose laminates because it is so easy to care for, it can look remarkably like real wood or stone, and it is a little less expensive than the "real thing". These are great advantages to having laminate flooring. One caveat, however - many of the more passionate advocates of healthy houses avoid laminate because of what it is made of (essentially fiberboard). Its ingredients tend to include things like formaldehyde which can be released into the home. However, if you have throngs of running children and dogs with nails, laminate is a tough and durable alternative to ceramic tile.

Every item has its purpose, and we won't all be well-suited by the same material.

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Date:2006-02-03 16:08
Subject:Flooring - Linoleum and Cork

Let's switch gears and talk about one of the basics now - flooring! Flooring is on my mind today because I really need to replace the carpet in my house. And of course I have to share all my thought processes on this!

Currently I have plain ol' regular carpet, the kind that you get when they are building your house and they say, "Alright, pick a color". And you say, "Um, OK, I'll take that one" and you point to some 2x3" square on a cardboard display, and hope the color looks tolerable with your stuff.

And in my case, I picked (please remember this was almost 9 years ago) ... are you ready? ...


I know, I know! It was fun for a while, and it served its purpose in that it covered up almost 9 years worth of cat disasters and coffee spills, very successfully actually. But now the pets have pretty much beaten it into submission, and it is starting to look worn, and maybe most importantly, I have learned a whole lot about flooring since that February day in 1997.

So, when we are shopping for new flooring, here are a few things to remember, so you don't end up with your version of my worn looking raspberry carpet in a few years.

First of all, if you have allergies, definitely look for hard surface flooring. Great choices include linoleum, which is a simple time tested material made of linseed oil, sawdust, and pigments, basically. New linoleum has come a long way from the stuff that made us want to scream and run in our parents' kitchens. The benefits of linoleum are many and varied: the color goes all the way through, for one thing, so it wears extremely well. It also has almost no "off-gassing", which is the industry term for "nasty stuff it releases into the air that will bother you if you have asthma or bad allergies". It comes in an almost inlimited array of colors, and you can do really artistic things with it. Check it out: Marmoleum brand linoleum ideas in use.

Another super cool flooring option is cork. Made from material that is peeled off the cork tree (relative of the oak), cork is totally renewable. Compare that with the 20-30 years it takes for hardwoods to grow to a harvest-able size. Wow! Plus it comes in all kinds of groovy patterns and colors. Cork is very resilient, so you can stand on it all day long and it helps keep the fatigue down. Cork is also water resistant, and is very durable. A cork floor is made up of bazillions of tiny plant cells, so essentially it is like a latex foam mattress in that it does keep impressions. It will spring back to shape, resisting furniture marks. Check out how beautiful cork can be!

More good options include bamboo, ceramic or stone tile, and traditional hardwoods, all coming up next!

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Date:2006-01-31 08:01
Subject:Heat question X posted

Hello Everyone! I have a question for you.

What is the cheapest way to heat an insulated garage/barn that has no built in heating system? Propane? How bout a wood burning stove? We have gas in the house that is super super efficient but nothing in the barn that we want to convert into an office. I am not sure how complicated it would be to put a pipe out to the barn to heat it with the gas system we currently have.

The barn is about 25 feet from the house. It is a 2 car garage actually with an extra small room on the side.

Thank you in advance. I may not reply to all comments but I am very grateful for any advice.

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Date:2006-01-17 08:48

How long has it been since you took an objective look at the artwork you have hanging in your home? Artwork is an often-overlooked opportunity for self development.

Let's talk about how the images that surround us can help or hinder our efforts at crafting a home and supporting our spirit.

Today, take an objective look at all the images you see in your space. Where did you get each picture? What do you think about when you look at it? Have you even really looked at it recently, or have you become so accustomed to seeing it that you don't really even see it any more?

See if you can decipher any themes that run through your art collection. For example, if you have a lot of pictures that show faces or people, it may be a key to alert you that you might be lonely in your life. Decide if the art you are displaying truly matches with the person you want to be.

Some artwork can simply be moved to a new location to give it new life, thereby eliminating the stagnancy that forms when things are left to sit and decay in place. The energy we create when moving things helps stimulate energy in our lives.

Some artwork that you once treasured may not be suitable for the life you live now. For example, years ago, I was a big fan of Monet. As my life changed, I found that, for me personally, I wanted to see things in clearer focus, both in my art and in my life. So I changed the artwork I displayed to suit the goal of "clarity in thinking" that I was working on.

If you are seeking tranquility, it goes against your efforts to display pieces that are active, violent, or disturbing; you would do well to seek images of lakes, landscapes, images with gentle blues, greens, purples, and images that have a soothing rhythm. If you want to have more energy, it goes against your efforts to display pieces that are gentle and soothing; you might choose images with reds and oranges and yellows, or images showing action. If you are seeking romance, images with reds, pinks, and salmons would be good choices, and showing pairs of animals or people.




(Nobody said we couldn't have a sense of humor.)

We create our own blueprints for our lives with every action every day. Be mindful of what you are drawing into your life on every level; if you surround yourself with images of a certain type, be aware that you are energizing that thought, and will draw it to you in your life. Art can be a great help or a great hindrance to our personal development.

Take an in-depth survey of the images around you, decide what you want to encourage in your life, and go make it happen!

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