Thursday, December 24, 2015

Guest post- Hand Care Essentials for DIYer’s!

Oh DIY. The satisfaction of creating something crafty, chic, and beautiful all on your own is undoubtedly rewarding. But so often, amongst the exiting results we are also left with tried, dry hands. If you notice this trend, know that you are not alone, and that there are some fabulous habits you can participate in to avoid the post-project dryness.

Essential 1 – Prevention is Key! 

The best way to beat dehydrated hands is to prevent them in the first place. So of course, a nourishing hand cream will be necessary. Make it a goal to start your project with moisturized hands, and be sure to reapply your moisturizer after hand washing or during the breaks in your project. Lollia, created by amazing designer Margot Elena has a fabulous variety of shea butter hand creams that looking, feel, and smell absolutely amazing.

Essential 2 – Keep Them Covered!

If you are working with any materials that could possibly wick the moisture away from your skin (paper, cardboard, and certain woods are especially good at this), simply insert a barrier between your hands and the material. I am talking about wearing gloves, so long as it does not hinder your project! Wearing gloves might also protect you from any potential irritants or chemicals that may cause you to wash your hands more frequently, which is yet another common culprit of dryness.

Essential 3 – Give Yourself a Treat!

At the end of a long day, do not be afraid to spoil your hands a bit. If your hands are dry, but in pretty good shape (i.e. not irritated), treating yourself to a nourishing sugar scrub can be a very good idea. This will eliminate dead skin cells while infusing moisture into the skin, and prepping your hands to better absorb and product you slather on following your scrub treatment.

For intense moisture, apply your favorite product on your hands, and cover with cotton gloves for the night or evening. This will help to lock the moisture into your skin. Lastly, if you find your hands are both dry, and uncomfortable, look for treatments that are specifically designed for this occasion. It is important to remember that even your most agreeable products might cause excess irritation when applied to skin that is broken or inflamed.

Essential 4 – Do Not Be Afraid to DIY Hack It!

If you are a DIYer, odds are you are an avid lover of Pinterest. If at the end of a long craft day you notice your hands are dry and uncomfortable, and you do not have any hand cream “on hand”, do not be afraid to search up a fun DIY at-home recipe. You can enjoy this by yourself, or turn it into a fun event the entire family can enjoy. As always, exercise caution and use judgment when putting together at-home treatments.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

4 Tips For Designing The Perfect Home Office!

Working from home is a dream come true for a lot of us. No need to commute, no one to tell you what to do, no set hours, and you can head to the office in your pjs. However, many remote workers find that it is fairly easy to get distracted when working from home. There are so many things to sidetrack you. From the television to the kitchen with all the snacks, you can easily be sidetracked for hours at a time. To try and minimize the amount of distractions, many recommend creating a home office.

A home office is essentially a space where you go to complete work. It should be an area that is isolated from the common distractions. What is great about having a home office is that you are in charge of the design. You can make the space as chic or eclectic as you desire. If you are creating an office space, you might enjoy some of these design ideas listed below:

1. Location

One of the most important steps to creating a home office is the location. It needs to be someplace that is far from distractions. If your home has the space, placing the office in a spare room, the basement, attic, or even in a garage or shed is a great idea. This gives you enough room to house all of your office equipment and furniture but keeps you free and clear from having easy access to the living room television or the kitchen cabinets.

When choosing a location, you also want to keep your Internet connection in mind. Since you will be accessing most of your work virtually, you want to make sure that the connection is strong enough in the space where you are going to design your office. If you do not have a strong internet connection, this should be one of the first things you invest in. Companies like Frontier offer Ann Arbor internet packages as well as other qualifying locations. Comparing the speeds and rates is a great way to see what matches your needs.

2. Functionality

It can be easy to get caught up in the aesthetic appeal of your home office; however, functionality is most important. Sure you can make your office look beautiful, but if the chair you chose has a hard back that is horrible for sitting, it is not going to do you much good. As you begin to think about the layout of the office and the types of furnishings you will choose, remember you need to be able to function comfortably. Never choose items based on looks alone.

3. Lighting Is Inspiring

Did you know that proper lighting can actually motivate you to be a better worker? Whether your home office is in a poorly lit area or not, investing in lighting is ideal. Using window treatments like ventilation blinds allows you to control the amount of natural light that comes into the office at any given time. If this is not an option or there are no windows in your office, going with bright, energy-efficient bulbs is a great alternative.

4. Add Your Own Personality

You are going to be spending a great deal of time in your home office. Therefore, you do want to make it a place that you feel great about walking into every day. While keeping comfort and functionality in mind, you should add a few design elements to the space that really interest you. 

For instance, if you are into nature, adding some plants around the room can liven up the place. If you enjoy bright and vibrant colors, apply bold color paint to the walls or create a feature wall that encompasses all the colors you like.

It may take time for your home office to come together like you imagined. Remember, while the aesthetics are interesting, it is imperative that you remember to create an office space that allows you to be productive at all times. Hopefully these design tips will get you started in creating a space that you enjoy working in on a daily basis.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Guest post- What causes foundations and slabs to start to sink?

Whether your home is new or old, there is a possibility that the foundation (or slab) can start to sink into the ground.  The reasons for this are many. Settlement or movement can be caused by expansion in the clay, improper compaction in the soil or improperly maintained ground surrounding the foundation. Regardless of the cause of the settling, this scenario can be very serious for the homeowner. Settlement can not only reduce the value of your home, it can also render it dangerous to live in.

In most cases, the underlying cause of foundation settling is water. Certain components in soil tend to swell or shrink with varying levels of moisture. The result is varying degrees of movement in the soil. High clay content in soil is more susceptible to settling than those types of clay that have less clay. The degree of settlement can vary from very slight (which is still an issue worth addressing) to quite pronounced- a dangerous situation.

When the foundation of a home or building is laid upon unstable soil, there is much higher likelihood that the foundation will move, shift, and settle. Because there is no real degree of uniformity to each type of soil’s movement, virtually every foundation is subject to movement. This is true of all kinds of foundations, whether it is slab, pier-style or beam-style foundations. In some cases, the soil underneath a home will swell uniformly, in which case there is no issue as the foundation will also move uniformly. The problems arise when the soil swells unevenly, causing the slab to settle unevenly. That differential movement can cause cracks, fissures and other problems.

When slab settlement occurs, a host of problems can arise.  The structure can be at risk of being damaged, which can cause a variety of hazards and make the home unsafe.  Drainage problems, tripping hazards, cracks and other issues can also arise from slab settlement.

How do you know that your home may have settlement issues? There are some signs to look for.  These include:

Exterior Warning Signs

Rotation in the walls

Separation around windows or garage door

Noticeable cracks in bricks or surrounding mortar

Moldings that have fallen off or shifted

Interior Warning Signs

Doors and windows that fall out of alignment

Cracks in drywall or sheetrock

Floor cracks

Generally, settlement cracks will appear vertically, as opposed to the kind of cracks that will occur as a result of a wall being subject to lateral movement from soil pressure.
If you notice any of these warning signs, do not hesitate; call a foundation specialist such as SMR Supplies Inc. They can assess the issue and devise a solution to remedy the problem. Shifting foundations can be a serious issue, posing a threat not only to the value of your home but also to its structural integrity. Do not take that risk. Call in the experts to fix the problem and keep your home and your family safe.