Tips & Tricks for Gardening

Gardening is a fun spring and summer hobby! You can grow an array of vegetables and fruit. You can also garden to create curb appeal for your home. If you are looking to sell your home, curb appeal makes a huge difference in the interest level of a potential buyer. Here are some fun gardening tips and tricks!

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1. Use cut gardening hoses to store your garden tools.

2. Want to remove the salt deposits that have formed on your clay pots? To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Make sure you let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.

3. Line your raised garden beds with chicken wire to keep out gophers and moles.

4. To create markers for your plants that are natural, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes. Place them at or near the base of your plants. It keeps your plants organized, and your garden looking beautiful. You can make them pretty with colors and pictures, or you can just write the names on the stones.

5. Use your old coffee grounds in the garden. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.

Read this article to get five different ideas on using coffee grounds in your garden: http://www.nwedible.com/2013/02/5-ways-to-use-coffee-grounds-in-the-garden.html

6. Want a quick and easy way to dry your herbs? Lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, and arrange the herbs in a single layer. Roll up your car windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. Even better, your car will smell great!

7. Plastic milk jugs can be used for many different garden tools!

  • Make a flexible scoop out of an old plastic milk jug. This scoop is great for potting soil in tight spaces or distributing fertilizer. Make two horizontal cuts on the sides next to the handle. Then, make two forward-slanting diagonal cuts on the other sides.
  • Make a garden watering can out of a milk jug. Poke holes in the top of the cover!

8. Are you always losing your garden twine? To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you’ll never go looking for twine again.

9. Dirty fingernails after gardening? To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, run your fingernails across a bar of soap and you’ll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Then, after you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.

10. Save your veggie water! The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”

11. Start seeding in eggshells. When you are ready to plant, put the whole eggshell in the ground. The shell will naturally compost and provide valuable nutrients to your plants.

 

For more curb appeal tips, call us directly at 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com

References:

  1. http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/14-simple-gardening-tips-and-tricks/index.html
  2. http://www.nwedible.com/2013/02/5-ways-to-use-coffee-grounds-in-the-garden.html

 

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

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Kitchen cabinets can either make or break the look of your kitchen. If you have an outdated kitchen, with a small budget, consider painting your current kitchen cabinets. Painting kitchen cabinets are a great weekend project. The process isn’t difficult, but it can be tedious. The great thing about painting your cabinets is that you can save thousands of dollars!

  • If you have a smaller space, or you are just looking to brighten up your kitchen, consider painting your kitchen cabinets white. 
  • If you are looking to create a modern and elegant looking kitchen space, consider painting your cabinets a deep brown or black. When painting your kitchen cabinets darker, consider lighting choices, and also the type of appliances you have. Good lighting, and stainless steel appliances can really make the cabinet color pop.
  • If you have a very small space, consider using a bright color on your cabinets. Red is a popular and modern choice. Try a bright red with a shiny finish. 
  • If you are looking to create a country chic style for your kitchen consider a light blue or teal color for your kitchen cabinets!

Wood, metal, and wood-laminate cabinets can usually be repainted without difficulty. Plastic laminate cabinets may not be so easy. If any of the cabinets are badly worn, damaged or warped…consider buying new unfinished doors and drawers and paint them along with the existing cabinets.

1. The first step for the job is to remove the cabinet doors and drawers and remove all pulls, knobs, latches and other hardware from these parts. Put all of the hardware in a plastic bag, and stick inside the cabinet. That way you don’t lose it. Also, consider numbering each door and corresponding location so you don’t mix up their locations. The last thing you want is to have to figure out which hinge matches up where.

2. Next, clean all of the surfaces that are being painted. We recommend 4 parts water and one part tri-sodium phosphate. Make sure after they are washed, that they dry completely. Do NOT get overly wet.

3. Next you need to lightly sand all of the doors on all side and faces. If old paint is sound and well-adhered, there is no need to remove it all. The point of sanding is to created a rough surface for the new paint to stick.

4. After sanding, vacuum areas to remove all of the dust. Wipe down all the areas being painted with a tack cloth to pick up any remaining residue.

5. Apply an even coat of primer-sealer to all surfaces. This provides a good base for semi-gloss and water-based paint. These are preferable paint options in the kitchen because they are easily cleaned and resist stains and water.

6. Lastly, start painting the cabinets. Start by painting the inside edges and openings of the face frames, then the outer cabinet sides, and finally the face frame fronts. Next, paint the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, along with any separate wood pieces or moldings. ALWAYS paint in thin, light coats and cover every area. Thin coats of paint allow for fewer visible brushstrokes, bubbles and drips. The paint can also dry faster. The paint needs to dry for at least four hours between coats. Two coats of quality paint are usually all that is necessary. A third coat never hurts.

For more ideas on less costly renovations that make a big impression, get in contact with our team. Call us direct at 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com. Visit our website at www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty

 

Relocating to Minnesota? 10 Fun Things to Know

Thinking about relocating to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”? Minnesota is a great place to call home. But, before you move, we decided to throw in some fun facts about the beautiful state. 

1. 10,000 Lakes- Means More Like 11,000!

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Minnesota has around 11,000 lakes with 90,000 miles of shoreline. This is more shoreline then that of Hawaii, California and Florida combined! Join some crazy Minnesotans for the Polar Bear Plunge into the cold water during the winter, play some ice hockey, go skating, or go boating and fishing during the warm months.

2.  We are Home to the Mall of America

The famous Mall of America is the size of 78 football fields. It has over 8 acres of skylights to allow natural light into the Mall. The mall offers 25 different rides and attractions, Sea Life (a large aquarium), Lego Land, The American Girl Doll Store, Mini Golf, a mirror maze, and 520+ different and unique stores. This famous attraction generates nearly $2 billion in economic activity for the state of Minnesota.

3. Move Over Starbuck’s- We’ll take Caribou Coffee
Caribou Coffee is famous in the Minnesota, and you can find one of these cozy coffee shops on
almost every corner throughout the Twin-Cities. Caribou uses real chocolate in their drinks, and
with cozy fireplaces, they are the perfect location to visit in the cold winter months!

4. Vikings Vs. Packers- It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

The two bordering states have a “my state is better than your state” attitude. Whether over sports teams, restaurants or weather, there is always an argument for who does it better. Both states are full of opposite state born residents.

5. Downtown is Impressive

There are two great downtown areas in Minnesota. One is Saint Paul (the capital), and the other is Minneapolis. They are neighboring cities, receiving the famous label “The Twin Cities”. Minneapolis’ skyway system connects 52 blocks of buildings downtown!

6. Our State Fair is Large- and we Fry Everything!

We are famous for cheese curds, fried fruit, fried candy bars, and everything (fried) in between. Our state fair offers a large variety of fried food, and food on a stick. If this isn’t your thing, there are plenty of fun stands, rides, and performances.

7. Minnesota Winters are Cold, but They Can be Fun!

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Minnesota winters are cold, and messy… In fact, the winter of 2014 was ranked one of the worst winters, in over thirty years! The average temperature in Minnesota this past winter was 9.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Many days fell below 0, with the windchill making the temperature feel even colder.

However, winter can also be fun! There are many great ski and snowboard resorts, ice fishing activities, skating rinks and… who doesn’t love to warm up with a bit of hot chocolate by the fire?

8. Thank Minnesota for Target

We are home to wonderful and great Target. We even named our baseball field, “The Target Field”!

9. We are “Minnesota Nice”

Google it. It’s a real thing. As noted in Wikipedia, Minnesota nice is:

“the stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota to be courteous, reserved, and mild-mannered. The cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation

Pretty awesome. We know. To add to this… Minnesotans Have Great Accents

We also have some great sayings, such as:

  • Yah sure
  • You betcha

Learn the Minnesota Accent Here: http://www.howcast.com/videos/500510-How-to-Do-a-Minnesota-Accent-Accent-Training 

10. We are Home to Some Great Music Artists

You’re welcome for Prince and Bob Dylan…We have proudly birthed some of musics greatest artists. Minnesota also has a great music scene with many great music festivals.

If you are thinking about moving to Minnesota, and have specific questions about relocation, please give us a call at 651-269-3487. You can also email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com We would love to send you over a relocation package!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty
Website: www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

 

References:
http://www.movoto.com/mn/moving-to-minnesota/
http://welshco.com/resources-and-news/tips/minnesota-facts

Conserving Energy in the Home!

Why conserve energy at home?

There are many reasons to conserve energy, but some of the major reasons are:

  1. For the Environment- Implementing green solutions into your home can help reduce waste, and conserve natural resources. This makes sense, because there are a limited amount of resources in the environment, and more people to use them up every day.
  2. For the Savings- Green systems and different materials can help reduce energy consumption and this can lower your energy bills. Usually, the products last longer and can be more efficient.
  3. For Your Health- Sustainable design and technology can enhance the air and water quality in a home.

Here are some easy and inexpensive ideas for going green:

  1. Cool your home at 78 degrees or warmer with the thermostat fan switched to AUTO. Raise your thermostat to 82 degrees or warmer when you’re away.
  2. Heat your home at 68 degrees or cooler with the thermostat fan switched to AUTO. When you are gone, or throughout the night, keep the temperature to 65 degrees or cooler. 
  3. If you have a pool, limit the amount of time you run your pool pump: Summer- 6 hours a day. Winter- 4 hours a day.
  4. Reduce your water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees, which is the recommended temperature setting. This will save you around $2 a month.
  5. Clean and replace your A/C filter regularly to help your unit run more efficiently and trim cooling cost.
  6. Unplug electronics when you aren’t using them.
  7. Turn off a ceiling fan when you leave the room. A fan that runs all the time costs up to $7 dollars a month.
  8. Replace old, high-flow showerheads with water-efficient showerheads and save up to $80 a year.
  9. Make sure you adjust the water level on your washing machine to match the load size. Especially when using hot water. ALWAYS use a cold rinse.
  10. Clean the lint filter in your dryer before every load to dry your clothes faster.
  11. Change your light bulbs. According to Energy Star, one of its qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs can save you around $30 dollars over its lifetime and pay for itself in 6 months. 
  12. Use the auto sensor function on your dryer to conserve energy by not over-drying your clothes.

References:

  1. http://www.fpl.com/residential/energy_saving/resources_tips/top_tips.shtml
  2. http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/save-money-on-energy.aspx?PageId=3#ArticleContent

For any questions about energy conservation tips in the home, please contact us at: 651-269-3487 or Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Website: www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty