Home Improvement

Published on Thu, Sep 18, 2003
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Home Improvement

Adirondack Chairs: The perfect porch accessory this season

It�s the early autumn season and that means it�s time to enjoy the warm days and cool nights. Garden and porch furniture has been popular since the early 1900s and one of the most admired pieces is the Adirondack chair. Durable and valuable over time, an Adirondack chair can be built for less than $70.

Secure an Adirondack chair pattern from a home center, hardware store or online site, such as www.diynet.com and gather tools needed for this project, such as scroll saw, drill/driver, band saw and disc sander. Additional materials include four 1x2s, one 1x3, three 1x4s and four 1x6 pieces of hardwood board, woodworker�s glue, 1 1/4-inch galvanized screws, tape measure, wood clamps, a square and wood finish. Once the materials are gathered, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Legs and Front Assembly
� For the front legs, cut two 1x4 boards to be 21 inches long. Use a scroll saw to create notches 4 inches wide at 10 3/4 inches.
� Position a third 1x4 at 23 inches long in the notches to use as the front seat support and screw in place.
� Trace the leg pattern onto the wood and use a band saw to cut the legs.
� Drill holes into the back brace and legs.
� Add the back brace across the center of the legs and attach with screws. Back Support and Arms
� Cut two, 29-inch-long arms from two pieces of 1x6 wood with a band saw.
� To create a bracket, measure nine inches from the narrow edge and cut a square edge.
� Glue and clamp the bracket perpendicular to the front edge of the base assembly and repeat on the other side.
� Allow the arms to extend 3 inches from the edge of the leg and connect with screws after countersinking.

Back Assembly
� Cut all the back slats to the dimensions listed in the pattern.
� Use 1/4-inch thick scrap wood as spacers at the top and the bottom of each slat.
� Place a 1x3 at 20 inches long as the lower cleat across the bottom of the back.
� Countersink two holes into the cleat and center slat and one hole through the cleat and back slat. Affix with 11/4-inch galvanized crews.
� Remove the spacers after all the slats are screwed to the cleats.
� Position one 1x2 at 21 inches in length as an upper cleat 9 inches from the top edge.
� Countersink and drive screws into the cleat in the center of each slat.
� Flip back assembly over and cut the top arch with the scroll saw. Drill pilot holes into the front surface of the bottom of the slats for later assembly purposes.

Finishing the Chair
� Bevel the back brace at 33 degrees.
� Attach the back assembly to the base assembly with screws.
� To assemble the seat, cut the slats and drill two holes in the end of each to secure to the seat with screws.
� Sand all the exposed surface edges and apply your desired finish.

Bringing comfort inside
When not on your porch or in the garden this fall, bring the comfortable weather inside, inspired by some blooming flowers.The following are some helpful ideas:
1. The windows are a great place to start; you want to see those beautiful flowers in bloom through a clear, bright and cheery window. If you�re not getting that feeling, maybe your windows need some freshening up. Give the panes a good wash and launder your drapes.
2. Move into the kitchen. You can easily spruce up this room by purchasing some new, colorful dishtowels. It seems so simple, but you will be amazed at how much of a difference a fresh, decorative addition will make in your kitchen workspace.
3. If you have a dining room, why not break out the good stuff? Who says that your linen tablecloth can only be used for Thanksgiving dinner? If it�s wrinkles in the tablecloth that's keeping you from taking it out of the drawer, the steam generator can cut your ironing time in half.
4. Treat yourself to some flowers. Floral fragrance is one of the first things people notice about the change in season. You can carry that smell inside and don�t have to break the bank by going to a gourmet flower shop either. Most supermarkets and grocery stores carry an array of flowers in pre-made bouquets. All you need to supply is the vase!
5. Never forget to treat your bedroom to a little freshening. Purchase a light-colored or floral sheet set to perk up your inner sanctum.

Creating handcrafted touches in your home

A timeless creative outlet, crafting is a great way to express yourself, discover new talents and connect with family and friends. Whether creating special gifts, memorabilia or accessories, you�ll also be crafting moments to remember.

The Keeping of Keepsakes.
From old photographs to concert ticket stubs, special mementos are priceless. Compiling these items in one place, such as a beautifully decorated scrapbook, is an excellent way to preserve them. What's more, a scrapbook makes an ideal gift for almost everyone.

Bring the Outdoors In.
As your garden flourishes, celebrate by adding outdoor touches to your indoor d�cor. Personalize decorative pieces such as table arrangements with wild flowers and fresh sprigs of herbs from the garden. Place small arrangements in antique jars and bottles for a shabby chic look. These crafts are festive, earthy and stylish � and can be created at little or even no cost.

Coordinate a Crafty Gathering.
From the beach front cottages to the homes in the hills, creative-types everywhere are painting pottery. Try hosting a �paint your own pottery party,� inviting friends and family to paint together at a local pottery boutique. Ask each guest to bring delicious snacks or a handcrafted bottle of wine. Let the oak background and rich black currant and black cherry flavors inspire you. After experimenting with different colors of paint and wine varietals, send each person home with personally designed pottery and fond memories.

Crafts in the Kitchen.
Sharing recipes between close friends and family is a great way to exercise creativity, while making menu planning interesting. To keep family recipes and traditions alive, incorporate stories about the birth and evolution of a recipe or even a funny cooking mishap. When gathered with friends, open a bottle of your favorite wine and try experimenting with new recipes, or add a twist to traditional ones by incorporating fresh spices and herbs, which can infuse new flavor into food. You can celebrate your new flavors by serving a unique, tasty hors d'oeuvre,. Your recipe collection will be a perfect mix of new and old world flair.

Rearranging items
Can rearranging the furniture in a room bring peace and harmony? According to the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) it can. To help you, here are some simple tips for using Feng Shui, which means wind and water, to create peaceful surroundings and bring positive chi (or energy) to your life.
� At work, you should be able to see the door from your desk. If this is impossible, position a mirror so you see the entrance.
� At home, your bed should not be directly across from the door because the chi runs up the bed.
� Having an odd number of healthy plants brings live, flowing energy to a room.
� A water fountain or picture of moving water should be placed near the entrance to your office to bring money and diffuse negative chi.
� Don�t sit under anything bulky or heavy, like a shelf or storage bin, because it symbolically impedes your movement up the corporate ladder. If this cannot be helped, hanging a crystal sphere from the shelf can brighten your environment.
� Use freshly cut flowers to bring positive chi in, but get rid of them before they wilt and die.

Americans are making quality time spent at home with friends and family a top priority, which means they�re furnishing their homes to create warm and comfortable environments.

Fencing: Finding the right type for your family pet

One of the top reasons homeowners choose to fence in their yard is to keep their pets from wandering off, according to one expert.

�Homeowners have several options for fencing in their pets. They can put up a kennel, fence in the whole yard, or even create a special area within a fenced yard,� explains certified fence professional Tom Phillips.

Phillips, who has built kennels for veterinarians, says they prefer long narrow runs, instead of square areas. �Vets usually like a kennel that is 4� x 14� instead of 8� x 8� because the dog can get more exercise that way.� Most kennels are constructed of 6� tall chain-link.

Homeowners who wish to enclose the entire yard often choose privacy fence styles in either wood or vinyl. �If a yard is enclosed with a privacy fence, dogs can�t see movement outside of the yard, and they don't bark as much,� he added.

Some homeowners choose to fence in their whole yard, then create a special area for their pets to keep them separate when children or guests are present. �A special fenced area within a fenced yard can keep the dog from jumping on people,� Phillips said.

Pet fencing contains some unique challenges. �Most people want the fence installed close to the ground to prevent dogs from digging under it. We usually recommend fence be at least an inch from the ground. Wood fence in particular should not touch the ground to prevent premature rotting.�

While installing the fence close to the ground keeps pets in, it can create a landscape challenge. �People either hand trim the grass under the fence or use weed killer to get rid of the grass beneath the fence. Other alternatives are to put decorative rock beneath the fence to keep grass or weeds from growing there.�

Some homeowners opt for a maintenance strip, which is a 6 x 12 wide concrete strip beneath the fence that prevents dogs from digging and grass from growing beneath the fence.

�A maintenance strip can be expensive, but many feel it�s worth the expense to ensure dogs don�t get out,� Phillips explained.

Autumn moving: Timing is everything when planning

Proper planning can help do-it-yourself movers this fall season and avoid the stress of last-minute moving tasks. Following tips for achieving a smooth and hassle-free move:

Three to four weeks before:
� Map out a timetable of things to do during the weeks before the move.
� Select and reserve the appropriate size truck for your needs.
� Pick up packing supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap and tape.
� Start packing out-of-season clothing and other non-essential items.
� Gather important documents such as medical records, prescriptions, pet immunization records, passports, marriage license, birth certificates and Social Security papers. Pack in one box and place on the truck last for easy access.

Two weeks before the move
� Provide the post office with your forwarding address online at www.usps.com. This site also provides links for connecting your utilities, moving your magazines, updating your e-mail address and other services needed when moving.
� Contact utility companies. Have services disconnected the day after your move so you have water, gas, electric and phone services on moving day. Schedule connections at your new home in time for your arrival.
� Contact services such as newspaper delivery, trash collection and cable to discontinue or transfer service.
� Secure helpers and reserve a babysitter for moving day.

One day before the move
� Finish packing, taping and labeling boxes.
� Prepare major appliances and furniture for the move by securing doors and drawers with rope.
� Put together a moving day travel kit to keep with you in the truck cab. Include your checkbook, credit cards, ID cards, flashlight, keys for old and new home, first-aid kit and prescriptions.
� Pick up your rental truck the day or evening before moving day. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the vehicle�s operation and handling.