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Refinishing your furniture with a crackled and antiqued look

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Refinishing your furniture with a crackled and antiqued look

Instructions to refinishing your furniture for an antiqued look fast ansteps.
  • Furniture acrylic paints or latex, 2 colors crackle medium
  • 2 foam brushes
  • 1 bristle brush
  • sandpaper
  • tack cloth
  • clear varnish

    Have you ever seen furniture that is old and charming? It has little cracks in the paint and you can see the old finishes. Well, you can give your new or unfinished furniture that same charming look with a few simple steps.
  • If the furniture piece is unfinished your first step is to decide on colors. What color do you want to see through the cracks and what color is going to be the top color? Once decided, be sure to sand the piece and wipe clean of dust with a tack cloth. Using those sponge type brushes, brush on the first coat of paint. Let dry and apply a second coat if you desire a darker color. Let the second coat dry according to the paint directions.
  • Once those layers of paint are dry, you must apply a special coating called "Crackle Medium" which can be purchased at most craft and home decorating stores. Apply one medium coat with a bristle brush and let air dry till sticky or tacky to the touch. DO NOT let dry completely.
  • Once tacky to the touch, apply a light, even coat of the second or contrasting color to the furniture. The topcoat should start to crackle immediately. Be sure not to over brush the top coat as that could cause smearing and it won't crackle.
  • If the furniture is still not aged enough, you can take a medium weight sandpaper and lightly sand the corners and sides of the furniture. Be sure to wait until the paint is completely dry. After you sand some paint off, be sure to use the tack cloth to remove the dust from the furniture.
  • When you are happy with your new "old" piece of furniture, be sure to protect it by using a few coats of clear varnish.
  • Installing a mailbox post

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    Installing a mailbox post

    This article is a step-by-step guide to installing a mailbox post on your property.
    Whether you have an old mailbox post that has rotted away or you just don't like the one you have, installing a new one is a simple process that can be completed in one day. You can find pre-cut mailbox posts made of wood or metal at almost any home improvement store. They come in many varieties and lengths. If you are choosing a wood post, be sure to buy pressurized wood for the longest life possible. Remember before you do any digging anywhere, you should call the North American One Call Referral Service to be sure you are not going to damage any utility lines that may be running through your property. The number for One Call is 1-888-258-0808. Once you have called and know that you are about to dig in a safe place you are ready to begin.

    Be sure to call your local post office for specific regulations about heights and placements of mailboxes. The federal regulation for post height is 42 inches from the ground to the bottom of the mailbox. The post should be at least two feet from the side of the road so that your mail carrier can safely pull off of the side of the road to deliver your mail. If you have purchased an extended post, be sure to compensate for this when you decide where you will place your post. An extended post means that the mailbox will be set closer to the road then it would be if placed it on a straight post. Your local post office will be able to tell you what side of the road the box should be placed in the event that you are installing a box on new property for the first time.

  • The first thing you will need to do is remove the old post if one exists. Use a shovel and dig around the post until it comes loose and can be removed. If the old post was set with cement you will have to dig around the clump of concrete until it can be removed. If you do not have to remove a post, you will need to dig a new hole. Remember to measure out the exact distance you will need and mark the spot before you dig. Measure your pole for length. Subtract 42 inches from the length of the pole to decide how deep the hole will need to be. If you are using a wooden pole, you may want to add four to six inches to this length to allow for gravel to be placed below the pole. If you have 4 to 6 inches of gravel below the post this will help with water drainage and save the bottom of your post from rotting quickly.
  • You can use a shovel or a post-hole digger to dig the hole. A good size for the hole is a foot and a half wide. Remember to dig so that the mark you made for your post is directly in the center of the hole. Once you have your hole dug to the size you need, insert the gravel, if needed, into the bottom of the hole. Insert the post into the center of the hole and measure again to be sure post will be sitting at the required height above the ground.
  • Next you will want to add the concrete. This is a great time to have someone help you if anyone is available. Have them hold the post as you pour the concrete. Be sure to use a level to ensure that the post is straight. You can also use two long pieces of rope or wire to steady the post as you pour. Tie the rope or the wire around the center of the post and use two stakes to secure the post into an upright position.
  • Mix the concrete according to the directions on the bag. You should wear gloves while working with concrete because it may irritate your skin. Once the concrete is mixed you can add it to the hole slowly. Fill the concrete up until it is a few inches short of the top of the hole. Use your level to be sure the post is straight and then leave the concrete to set. Once the concrete has set you can fill in the rest of the hole with dirt. Then let the concrete set until dry. The concrete bag will tell you how long this should take. Once the concrete is dry your new post is ready and you can attach your mailbox to the top.
  • How to make a pet sofa protector

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    How to make a pet sofa protector

    Tired of pet fur all over your furniture? This sofa and chair protector will prevent that mess in the future.
    Pets are such a wonderful addition to our lives but some things about them can drive us crazy. If you love your pet but you're tired of fur all over the sofa make a couch protector pad for the pooch. Measure across the width of the first cushion. The protector doesn't have to be the exact size of the cushion - it can be wider or more narrow depending upon how large of a dog you have. And if you want, you can make the protector the size of the couch for multiple pets. You know your pet's favorite spot to lay so make the protector to cover that particular area of a sofa or chair.

  • Cut two pieces of fabric to the width desired. Now measure from the back part of the couch, down the front and across the seat. Measure down the front of the couch a few inches as well. Cut the two pieces of fabric this length. Sew around the two pieces, right sides together, except for a few inches at the middle of the bottom. Use this area to turn the pad right side out. Stitch shut.
  • Measure the length and height of the inside arm of the couch. Cut two pieces to this size. Sew the two pieces, right sides together, all the way around, leaving a small space for turning. Turn the pad right side out and stitch shut.
  • Lay the large pad out in the appropriate position on the couch. The pad should hang slightly over the back and somewhat down the front of the couch. Now set the small pad up against the inside arm of the sofa. Pin the two pads together, from the back, where they meet at the seat and the back. Place the area under the presser foot and stitch across the seat area then up the back area. Back tack on each end to secure. If you're making a sofa size protector cut and stitch two of the inside arm panels.
  • You can even add a long pillow for the pooch to rest his head. The pillow will stretch across the lower back part of the couch. To make it cut two circles approximately 9" in diameter. You may need to adjust this size for smaller dogs. Cut one long rectangular piece of fabric the width of the pad and the length of the approximate circumference of the circular pieces. Start by sewing the rectangular form on to the circle at the edges. Leave a few inches at the beginning unstitched. When you get to the end fold under a half inch or so. Sew the other circle to the other end of the rectangle. When you get almost to the end remove the fabric from under the presser foot. Now sew the ends of the rectangular piece together. Place one circular part back under the machine and stitch shut. Turn right side out. Stuff the pillow through the opening on the one end. Stitch shut. Now you can hand stitch the pillow to the main pad or simply toss it up on the sofa when you lay the pad down for pup.
  • A padding can be put in between the two layers of the main piece and the arm piece. After stitching and turning, stuff the pads with foam, cotton or poly. Another way is to stitch the padding in while sewing the pad. Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together. Now lay a sheet of foam or even a blanket onto the top cloth piece. Sew around then turn right side out before stitching shut.
  • How to make paper for gifts and crafts

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    How to make paper for gifts and crafts

    Papermaking is a fun and easy craft, suitable for gift-giving, that uses simple materials that can be found around the house.
    Whether you want to recycle, create your own unique stationery or make a gift with a personal touch, papermaking is a fun and easy craft. In order to make your own paper, you will need water, a tub or sink, paper scraps, starch or glue, a blender or food processor, a screen and pieces of cloth.

    Any of the following can be ripped into small pieces and used to make paper pulp:

    • Computer paper
    • Newspapers
    • Paper towels
    • Tissue
    • Paper bags
    • Napkins
    • Typing paper
    • Magazines
    • Construction paper
    • Light cardboard

      The texture and color of your final product will depend on the make-up of the paper scraps used in the pulp.
      You can also include decorative materials in your paper like:
    • Colored thread
    • Small bits of foil
    • Dried flowers, leaves and herbs
      This is your chance to really experiment to make a unique craft or gift.

      The most common screen used in papermaking is a wooden frame with a piece of wire mesh screen stapled to it. It is possible to use any material for the frame, as long as you can securely attach the screen to it. A simpler alternative is to bend a clothes hanger into a rectangle or square and slip a pantyhose leg over it.

      1. Tear the scrap paper into small pieces and fill the blender or food processor about half full. Add warm water. Blend until the mixture looks smooth and there are no individual pieces of paper left.
      2. Fill the tub or sink with warm water and then add the paper mixture. Mix it together thoroughly. Add a little bit of glue or starch - this will help make it so that inks don't bleed, making the paper better for writing.
      3. Put your screen into the paper pulp, letting the mixture settle on top of it. Shake it back and forth a little for more even coverage.
      4. Lift the screen out of the tub, keeping it level. If the texture of the paper doesn't look right, you may want to add more water or blended paper to your tub and try again. A little experimenting will help you learn how thick the mixture should be for the type of paper you want. Press as much water as possible out of the paper pulp.
      5. Lay a piece of fabric or felt on a flat surface. Flip the screen over onto the fabric, and transfer the paper to the fabric. Place another piece of fabric over the paper and squeeze out any excess water by hand or with a rolling pin.
      6. Repeat this process for as many sheets of paper as you wish to make.
      7. Leave your paper out to dry. When it is completely dry, peel the paper off the fabric. You may want to iron the pieces of paper to remove any final dampness and to flatten them out a little more.
      8. If you are making the paper for yourself, it's ready to use. You can cut it to size or trim off any rough edges, although it's often the roughness of homemade paper that makes it so unique. If you want to give your paper as a gift, bundle it together and tie it attractively, perhaps with a nice pen attached.

    How to dry out fresh cut flowers

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    How to dry out fresh cut flowers

    Find out how you can dry and keep your own flowers fresh from your garden by reading this article.
    Have you ever stuck a flower, like a corsage from a wedding or other special occasion that you wanted to keep, in between the pages of a thick book? After awhile, when you open the book again, the flower is dried, brown in color now, and flat. This is called pressing flowers. While being pressed, the flowers dry out too. Over time, the flower will deteriorate and become hardly recognizable. This was once a popular way for people to preserve, so to speak, flowers of every sort.
    Nowadays drying flowers has become an art form. Dried flower arrangements can be seen in a lot of homes and businesses: they don't take much care and they stay looking nice for a long time to come.

  • To dry flowers, you must first choose some fresh ones. (This is the probably the easiest method of drying flowers.) The freshest will be out of your own garden, of course, picked when they are free from wetness from the rain or dew. Cut the flowers when they are still fresh--don't wait until they have bloomed or they won't preserve well. Be sure to cut off at least four or five inches of the stem along with the flower that you want to preserve so you will have a way of hanging each one.
  • Flowers need a good place to air dry. The best place to hang them will usually be in a closet that is warm, dry, and out of the sunlight.THe clothes rod in a closet,minus the clothes, of course, is an excellant place to hang the flowers from. If you need more space, if you have alot of flowers to dry, then you can hang additional rods from the existing one.
  • Now, carefully, tie the flower stems together in small bundles. Separate the flowers one from the other as much as possible so each one gets sufficient space to air dry.Hang each bundle of flowers upside down, by their stems,from the rods you have set up in the closet. Hanging them this way keeps the flowers and leaves in an upward position as they dry. This way, they won't look droopy and old. Leave the flowers undisturbed in the closet for about a week or so. You can then check on their progress. How long it will take for your flowers to dry will depend on the humidity in the closet as well as the condition of the flowers, etc. To finish preserving your flowers, you can purchase a special spray at your local craft store.It is much simpler just to mist each dried flower with regular hair spray.Hair spray works just as well, and it costs a lot less too. Be sure to let each flower dry well after spraying them before you place them in an arrangement or use them however you choose. Remember to handle the flowers with care throughout the drying process, and especially now that you have your finished products.
  • Dried flowers make beautiful arrangements. You can also dry some greenery to put with them in an attractive flower pot or vase. The possibilities are simply endless!
  • Gift basket ideas

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    Gift basket ideas

    Ideas for creating gift baskets that your friends and family members will love to receive. Can be created as a hobby or as a profitable home business.
    People love receiving gift baskets. Fun to create, they show the person receiving the gift how much you care and value their individual tastes. There are so many different ways to make these wonderful gifts that the ideas become endless.
    There is also the opportunity to sell your creations. Design a web page and sell them, or advertise in your local newspaper and yellow pages. Gift baskets are highly profitable especially if you have a flair for creating beautiful and unique baskets. If you do decide to get into the gift basket business be sure and find places you can buy wholesale, which will greatly increase your profit.
    Here are some ideas for different types of baskets you can create.

    Find a small to medium sized basket and line with pink tissue paper or raffia grass. Buy a sampler pack of flavored lip glosses, powders, lotions, a makeup kit and a light sporty fragrance and artistically arrange. Don't forget bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, and necklaces. Wrap in colored cellophane and tie with a bow.
    Place a couple of their favorite c.d.s in the basket along with a pocket comb, cologne, and skin care products designed for males.

    Using a medium sized basket, place a thin and soft blanket in as a liner. Select a couple of dolls, stuffed animals, cars, or whatever toys the child might enjoy inside.
    Big kids are wild about cartoon pencils and erasers, stickers and trading cards. Add small games (like a Game Boy along with accessories) and the latest Harry Potter book.
    Place a soft receiving blanket in along with socks, onesies, teething rings, rattlers, and a small plush toy. Baby brush sets, clippers, bottles, and pacifiers can be added. Or make a basket filled with baby skin products and diapers.

    Buy a couple bottles of wine and add cheese, crackers, a cork screw, a pretty bottle top cork, and a couple of wine glasses.
    Make up a batch of your famous BBQ sauce and can it in a pretty jar. Add bags of chips, beer and/or cokes, homemade potato salad, and big soft cookies wrapped in colored cellophane. Line the basket with red gingham cloth napkins, and add a package of rolls and a can of baked beans.
    Place gourmet tea or coffee in a basket along with cookies, tea cups or coffee mugs, pretty cloth napkins, and a ceramic tea pot (or coffee pot.) Add sugar cubes and flavored creamers. You could also include flavored syrups. If the person you are giving the gift to likes music or reading, throw in a c.d. or a novel.

    Buy an assortment of various fruits and create a basket filled with fruits and nuts. Add homemade breads and rolls, or cookies, candies, or other goodies.
    A romantic gift idea would be to add sexy lingerie and massage oils into a basket. Include flowers, scented bubble bath, a soft jazzy c.d., candles and a bottle of champagne, along with two wine glasses.
    How about creating a basket filled with art supplies? Include paint brushes, different types of paints, markers, pencils, and sketch books.

    There are many more ideas but by now you should have the picture. Think about what the person you are giving the basket to and then create a special gift that they will remember forever.

    Homemade air fresheners

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    Homemade air fresheners

    Fun, easy, natural, homemade ways to freshen the air indoors!
    Indoor air quality is becoming more of an issue as people are spending more and more time indoors. Most of us have seen reports on common dangerous household pollutants such as deadly molds, lead from paints, asbestos, and many others. What many people are not aware of are the dangerous chemicals we are willingly bringing into our homes and using in the form of air fresheners! Many commercial air fresheners use chemicals that have detrimental side effects such as agents that deaden your sense of smell, oils that coat your nasal passages, chemicals that can be damaging to skin and eyes, and ingredients that can be very poisonous if accidentally ingested. In addition to being potentially dangerous, many commercial air fresheners don't actually freshen the air, they just mask one odor with another! So, what are we to do if we want a pleasant smelling indoor environment? Try a more natural approach!

    The very best way to make indoor air smell good is to maintain a clean environment. Remove the source of any offensive odors instead of just trying to cover up a bad smell with a good one. Cleanliness goes a long way in maintaining a pleasant and healthy environment. Plain white vinegar can be purchased for very little and is an excellent stain and odor fighter, as well as an air freshener. White vinegar can be diluted in a bucket of water and used to mop floors that are moldy, mildewy, have a pet odor, or any other offensive odor. The same solution of vinegar and water can also be used on carpets. Be sure to do a small "test spot" on any surface you are going to clean to make sure it will not be damaged by the vinegar.
    The absolute easiest and cheapest way to truely freshen indoor air is to open up widows and doors and allow outside air into your home. Not only will the fresh air smell good, it will help remove any toxic air that might have been building up in your home.

    A wide assortment of air fresheners can be found hiding in your kitchen cabinets. Many of the herbs and spices we cook with also make wonderful air fresheners (such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, rosemary, basil, etc.). Try boiling your favorites alone or combined. Scented extracts (such as vanilla, almond, etc.) can also be used. Try dabbing some onto cotton balls and then placing the cotton balls throughout your home. Another kitchen staple renowned for removing odors is baking soda. An open box of baking soda placed in a room will help eliminate odors, especially musty mildew odors. A cup of vinegar can also be used in the same fashion to help remove smells. Simply fill several small bowls with vinegar and place in the area of the offensive smell.
    Potpourri is a fun and versatile home air freshener. It can be homemade using dried flowers, herbs, and scented oil or purchased pre-made. Potpourri can be placed in pretty containers throughout the home, in sachets and tucked into closets and drawers. Or even boiled in simmer pots* for an extra strong scent.

    Scented oils alone also make wonderful air fresheners. They come in a wide variety of scents and potencies. Oils can be dabbed onto cotton balls, or placed into special porous containers made to hold oils and dissipate their scent. Oils can also be added to boiling water to enhance their scent, or used in simmer pots*.
    Be creative when looking for ways to pleasantly scent the air in you home. Even something as simple as a loaf of baking bread could be considered an air freshener if you like the smell. Cut flowers, opening the windows to the smell of a freshly mowed lawn, cutting lemons and placing them out in the open for a fresh blast of citrus scent are all fun, natural, simple ways to make your home smell good!

    * A simmer pot is a small kettle shaped pot with an enclosed heating element on the bottom of the pot. It plugs into a standard wall outlet and heats the contents in the pot to enhance their aromas.
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