Your home with quick and easy drawer dividers

I have two drawers in my kitchen that drive me crazy; the two that hold all the larger utensils and cooking gadgets. I have yet to find an organizer large enough to keep spatulas, spoons, and can openers in line. A trip to the hardware store, a couple pieces of wood and some amazing glue... and you can say hello to organized bliss.

You will need:
Small sheet of 6mm plywood or supawood
Wood glue
Tape measure and pencil

Here's how:
1. Measure the width of the inside of the drawer and cut your board accordingly. You can use a cut-off saw, jigsaw or handsaw to do the cutting.
2. Sand the cut edges with 220-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.
3. Insert the boards into the drawer and align so that it is straight.

4. Apply a bead of wood glue along the front and back of each seam.
Gently run your fingertip over the glue, removing any excess, and filling in any gaps.
Let sit to dry for 24 hours. Everything is held into place simply with the wood glue - nothing else.

Visit: for more ideas and inspiration.

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Decorating with stripes in your property

If you're prepared to do all the preparation required for painting stripes onto a wall, they really do add interest to boring rooms. Not only that, but horizontal stripes visually widen a space, while vertical stripes create the illusion of height in a room with a low ceiling.
Add to that the various other ways that you can use stripes to add colour, interest and texture and make an instant impact - and you're ready to earn your stripes.

Use stripes to add interest

Take this pretty average guest loo for example. On the left is the room before adding stripes and stencilled design, and on the right... well, it speaks for itself!

Simply by adding a couple - that's two - thick stripes to the wall and a few stencilled designs, this pretty average guest loo goes from average to awesome.

How was it done?
In a room this small, adding stripes is easily be done in a weekend.
Paint on the base coat colour and let this dry.
Decide how wide you want your stripes to be - bold, thick stripes are very trendy at the moment - and then use a spirit level, tape measure and pencil to mark them onto the wall.

Measure from ceiling to floor all around the room to ensure that walls are the same height all round. This may seem like a odd thing to say, but you would be surprised at how many walls are not.
Do check that the floor and ceiling is level before you start painting, or else you might have to start all over again.
After everything is marked out and you are happy, it's time to start adding masking tape. Make sure you have a few rolls of tape on hand to complete the task. If you can, use the blue painter's tape that is now available - it sticks nicely and easily peels off.
Apply the second paint colour and remove the masking tape when the paint is almost dry. And there you have it.

Use stripes to define a space

A cosy day bed fits nicely into a sunny nook. The pale orange stripes that match the cushion fabric not only define the space to create a feature, they also lighten and brighten to create a spot that is warm and welcoming - a place where you really do want to sit down in and read a good book.

BELOW: Some homes are designed in a way that leaves awkward spaces that are hard to decorate. Instead of trying to hide these away, why not make them into a dramatic feature. [via]

Dress up a wall

Have fun and be creative with stripes and choosing bold colours creates a dramatic impact. Keep stripes crisp by painting over the edge of the painter's tape to create a seal and stops paint from bleeding into the next stripe.

Thick, bold stripes are an easy way to add detail to an entrance hallway or long, narrow passage.
Take your colour cue from colours used to decorate the rest of your home and the mix in a lighter or darker shade as a contrast.


Transparent stripes

A subtle painting technique involves the use of matt paint and glossy stripes. The finished look is classic and elegant, mimicing the look of expensive wallpaper.
A wall painted in broken white is given transparent stripes with acrylic sealer. This effect is very subtle but quite dramatic, especially under artificial lights.

This transparent stripe effect is stunning for staircases, dull hallways and passages, where it can reflect artificial light and bounce it back into the space.

How to create transparent stripes
Apply the base coat colour in a matt paint and allow this to dry. If you use a paint such as Prominent Paints UltraMatt, you'll still be able to wipe down occasionally. Let the paint dry completely.
Starting at one end of the wall, place columns of masking tape to create the width of the stripes you require. Use the tip of your finger to press down along the tape edges to reduce bleed.

If you own, or have access to a laser level, this makes the process of taping up the stripes much easier. Simply align and move the laser level along as you tape.
As an alternative to taping the lines, use chalk to mark the stripes. This is easily wiped off once you are finished.
Paint the stripes with a medium-wide foam roller, applying one coat of acrylic sealer. Peel away the painter's tape before the paint dries.

Colourful stripes - or not!

If you are looking to add interest to a nursery or playroom and wallpaper is just way too much of a commitment, consider painting stripes! You can go elegant with a tone-on-tone look easily achieved by using the same paint colour in two different finishes, as we've shown above, or use contrasting colours for a playful look.
Is it a boy? Is it a girl? With these colours - who cares! Palest aqua and tangerine are teamed with chocolate brown to design a nursery that pops with colour. Play up the walls and tone down the rest with white furniture. For the less daring, tone down the colour a notch or two with white walls and soft grey stripes.

Punch up the colour in a children's bedroom of playroom with horizontal stripes in various widths and colours.
LEFT: Thick and skinny horizontal stripes introduce colours into this playroom. Take your colour inspiration from accessories and fabrics already in the room.

Stripes can be bold or subtle depending on the atmosphere you want to create. Bold, colourful stripes will liven up the space, whereas soothing colours with be calming and add an elegant touch to your nursery.
For a nursery or children's bedroom that needs to be cleaned regularly, chooseProminent Paints UltraSheen for a finish that is easy to keep clean. Alternatively, choose UltraMatt as your base coat and UltraGloss for the stripes. Prominent Paints Ultra are water-based paints, which means they are 100% lead-free and have a low VOC content.
You don't need to paint the entire room, you can also choose to do a single wall or opposing walls.
Whether you decide to paint all of the walls, a single wall, or furniture, paint is a great way to complete the look of your nursery.

Stripes for the not-so-brave

If you love the look of stripes but just aren't ready to roll out the masking tape, there are other options.
Add your stripes with fabric, decor accessories, and even art!

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Can I tile over tile?

Believe it or not - you can. As long as the existing floor tiles are in good condition, and the surface is level, you can install new tile over an existing tiled floor. However, it is not recommended that you tile over high-gloss ceramic or other tiles, as there is insufficient bonding between the old and new surfaces.

Here's how:
The existing tiles need to be thoroughly cleaned with a heavy-degreaser or sugar soap to remove all dirt.
Where applying new tile over existing tiled floors, lightly sand the surface of the old tiles to improve the bonding of new adhesive.
When buying tile adhesive you will also need a tile bonding adhesive liquid, which is mixed into the adhesive to create a strong bond between old and new installations.
Apply tile adhesive over the existing tile floor.

Use an adhesive trowel and ensure that you apply equally over the area to be tiled.
Pay particular attention to grout joints or depressions to ensure a consistent level across the entire area.
Butter the back of the tiles with a thin layer of tile adhesive before placing the new tiles over the old tiles.
NOTE: Buttering the back of a tile simply means to spread a thin, even layer of tile adhesive across the entire back area.
DIY Tips:
When tiling over tiles, use only lightweight ceramic tiles to reduce the load factor.
Remove fractured, cracked or uneven tiles and fill in any voids with a self-levelling agent before applying new tiles.
Make sure that you allow for sockets, outlets or switches that are on the wall.

The increased thickness will mean that these will have to be extended or moved forward.
Doors and skirtings will need to be modified or planed to allow for the increased floor height.
In an open-plan arrangement, edging strips will need to be fitted to allow for the differences in height. You will find these at your local hardware store in the tile section.
If you're not sure about applying new tiles over existing tiles, consider vinyl tiles as an option. These can easily be glued over tiles with contact adhesive.

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Your home and the small garden 2

It's often said that small gardens are harder to design than large ones. Because they're viewed so closely, every line and every plant has to be "just right". The first and most important decision is the style of garden you'd like to create. What style will marry best with the architecture of your house? What sort of setting are you happiest in? Formal or informal, perhaps "cottagey" is more your style.
The cool charm of a Woodland garden is beautifully shown in this design, and the clever use of silver birches make the area appear far larger than it actually is.
In total contrast, the French formal garden is precise and strongly structured. It's enclosed in a framework of trellis, and good use has been made of traditional pots. The raised terrace is a perfect setting for the lion's head water feature. Massed planting provides a good balance of colour.
The Romanctic garden - the little lovers' seat-for-two was tucked away amongst a galaxy of flowers, over-looking a small pond. A stepping stone pathway gently trails throughout the garden.
Nothing tastes as special as fresh home-grown Herbs and Vegetables! A large area isn't necessary to produce basketfuls of delicious goodies! As long as it's in full sun, a well-planned proverbial pocket-handkerchief like this will be a culinary delight!
This special little garden has been designed as a place of interest, fun and learning for Children of all ages. The bright, gay colours seem to promise an exciting world of adventure and fantasy!
A great deal of thought went into the creating of this special garden, for the enjoyment of Disabled people. The pathways are easily accessible; the flower beds are raised and filled with fragrant flowers, and the sound of water and wind-chimes fills the air. A variety of paving stones and building material has been used on the Show. The flower beds in the Disabled garden were first constructed of blocks, then "faced' with special "rock" pieces, to give this attractive appearance.
There's an increasing swing towards "back to nature" gardening. This Wildlife garden is designed to attract birds and other small animals. Trees and shrubs provide nesting sites and shelter, and flower and fruiting plants attract insects, butterflies and birds with fruit and nectar. Water is important for both bathing and dri

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Easy DIY magazine rack for your home

If you need somewhere to store your copies of Easy DIY magazine, or printed out copies of Home-Dzine Online - make this easy magazine rack.
This rack is made using standard off-the-shelf brackets. Pick a bracket slightly larger than the magazines you plan to store, with scrollwork bold enough to keep the corners from flopping over. Most brackets are set in an L-shaped frame; removing it will allow the magazines to sit directly against the scrollwork. Select boards that are just a little wider than the bracket's longest edge.

You will need:
4 x brackets *
2 x shelf or piece of pine
Moulding trim
Wood glue
Panel pins
Wood filler
Rust-Oleum Primer spray paint
Rust-Oleum 2X Heritage White spray paint
Tape measure
Jigsaw or circular saw
Mitre saw or mitre box and saw 

*Janice: If you're handy with a jigsaw you can easily cut out these decorative brackets yourself.

Step 1
Apply wood glue to the rear edge of the base piece, and butt it against the back piece. Using a hammer and panel pins, fasten through the back and into the base.

Step 2
Position a bracket 1 cm in from the edge of the assembly. Mark the position, apply glue to its edges, and set it back in place. Nail through the frame and into the bracket with panel pins.

Step 3
Place spacers between the brackets along the back and base to keep the dividers parallel. Glue and nail each bracket to the frame.

Step 4
Mark a length of moulding for the front and both sides. Cut all sections at a 45-degree angle.
Step 5
Apply glue to the strips, hold it against the edge, and nail it in place with panel pins.

Step 6
Fill the nail holes and sand those spots. Finally, in a well-ventilated area, spray the assembly with primer, let it dry, and spray-paint it a fitting colour.

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Bulbs in containers in your garden = lovely home and garden

Should be light, airy and friable - good drainage is essential. A good quality potting soil from any garden centre will do. If possible don't use saucers or drip trays under the pots as this may cause waterlogging of the soil. If saucers are used, empty them out an hour or so after watering.
It is best to grow your containerised bulbs in a semi-shaded position - away from heat reflecting walls or paving. Once your bulbs are in bloom they can be moved inside to any focal point, where their beauty can be fully appreciated.
Special care must be taken to keep the roots of your bulbs moist at all times. The soil in containers tends to dry out quickly, especially if they are in a warm or sunny position. It is best to water every second day, making sure the water is seen to drain out of the bottom. It is essential that the water drains away quickly. Bulbs cannot tolerate submersion in water without air, just as they will not tolerate draught during their growing period.
When planting your bulbs in pots place them so that they almost touch one another. This will give you the maximum amount of flowers. If you would like to try something different plant your bulbs so that just their base is covered with soil. This will give you an unusual display even before they have flowered.
Once your bulbs have finished flowering, you can dig them into a semi-shaded position in your garden, pot and all. This will allow them to receive the regular watering and feeding program of the rest of your garden. Don't disturb the soil or the roots when you dig the pots in.

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Your home and the small garden 1

Small Garden Designs -1
The development of the small garden is probably this centuries greatest contribution to the art of gardening. As residential properties become smaller and smaller, large landscaped gardens are nowadays confined mainly to public parks and botanical gardens.

The term "small gardens" means different things to different people. If you live in a flat and your gardening is confined to a tiny balcony, even a small townhouse garden will seem large. On the other hand, a medium-sized country garden will seem small to the owner of a large estate. Generally, though, most small urban properties are about 600 square metres or less, with the house occupying between a third and half of the area.
This Modern garden is geometric in design, with a strong, structural pattern and bold architectural plants, chosen for their shape and form. The colour theme is bright yellow and blue, with just a touch of white. Focal points have been achieved - such as the clever placing of a simple terracotta pot and a pond set into the irregularly paved pathway.
Orange, blue and white are the colours chosen for this Formal garden. Backed by a small Cape Dutch house, the central pathway is flanked by raised flower beds. The planting is repeated on either side of the path, creating an attractive mirrored image. Adding interest to this central axis, is a small circular bird bath, complete with a classical cherub.
A Cactus and Succulent garden is the ultimate for low maintenance. And of course, it's ideal for drought conditions! This garden clearly shows the effect that can be achieved by the use of contrasting plant forms - together with the occasional bright spot of colour! The meandering dry River bed fits well into the overall design.
Even in a tiny garden, it's possible to create totally different moods - purely by the use of colour. Blue and Grey suggests serenity, coolness and tranquility, and gives the effect of distance and spaciousness.
In complete contrast, this Yellow-theme garden suggests warmth, excitement and liveliness. Yellow can be used well to lighten any dark corner and of course as always, the inclusion here of water, adds the final touch!
The relaxed informality of a traditional Cottage garden has been well designed here. Evergreen shrubs form the basic structure, with a profusion of soft-coloured perennials and annuals gently merging together. A pathway of different sized flagstones curves easily through the garden, and a well-placed bench invites you to enjoy the peace and tranquility.
Equally peaceful and tranquil, but in a totally different way, is the Japanese garden. Every plant, rock and pebble has been placed purposefully and all are in harmony with each other. Water is an essential part of the garden - a wooden bridge crosses the pond, leading to the sitting area beyond.

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Your home and October gardening tips

Gardening month by month - October

Water shrubs deeply to encourage downward root growth. They will become stronger and more drought-tolerant. Shallow watering encourages roots to turn upwards, and so weakens the plant.

Hydrangeas and fuchsias need lots of water. Try to group your water-loving plants together. It saves water and makes watering much easier.

Pinch back fuchsias regularly to encourage more branches. This ultimately leads to more flowers.

Feed camellias and gardenias with ammonium sulphate, 30g (two tablespoons) per bush. Mix in 5 litres of water. Water the bushes well before feeding. Fertiliser should never be applied to dry soil.

Perennials will be growing strongly - make sure they get enough water. Feed with a high potassium fertiliser such as 3:1:5(26)(SR).

Weeds will be flourishing. Cut annual weeds before they set seed.

Pinch back the growing tips of argyranthemums (you may know them as chrysanthemums) and pelargoniums to encourage bushy growth.

In the Western Cape, water regularly, particularly plants that are native to summer-rainfall regions. And remember to mulch well. If your bunches of grapes are over-crowded, cut out some of the berries.Guavas should be fed with 2:3:2(22) fertiliser.

Start fertlising your container plants, and do so regularly throughout the summer. Use a liquid fertiliser such as Nitrosol. Always wet the soil before applying the fertiliser.

Summer bulbs can be planted now, up to late November.

It's a good time to plant hedges in summer rainfall regions, or any other region if water is plentiful.

Final sowing of in-situ seeds of summer-flowering annuals by the middle of October.

Plant out summer-flowering seedlings. See what's available at your local nursery.

Rotate annuals - don't sow the same species in the same place every year.

Fruit fly and coddling moth larvae will be after your ripening fruit now. Try using a herbal insecticide before resorting to the chemicals.

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Life cycle of a plastic bag - coming from your home

We’ve all seen images of birds and fish, with plastic grocery bags in mouth. Disturbing indeed. Plastic bags are entering our food chain through oceans, rivers and the stomachs of wildlife. The toxins they carry are nearly impossible to eliminate as we don’t really know how if ever they break down naturally.

You might ask well how do all these bags get into our water supply, most people throw them away when they unpack their groceries, right? You’d be amazed how these little wonders of mass production have nine lives, so to speak. They go to landfills, where they blow away due to their zero weight, almost like kites on a gentle breeze. Gulls and pigeons carry them for the food scraps inside. You get the idea. 
Has the bag surcharge made any difference?
The majority of stores in South Africa impose an extra charge for the bags in an effort to make people consider using reusable bags for their groceries. This was a wonderful initiative, but has it made any difference? I say yes. Many shoppers carry around their own eco-shopping bags or, like me, have a stash of folded shopping bags in their handbag.
If you are among the few who recycle their plastic bags, or even better yet, take your own bags to the grocery store - thank you! I have stocked each of our cars with a trunk full of re-useable fabric shopping bags, and it is really a no-brainer to get into this habit. Plus, these fabric bags are much stronger and larger than the plastics, they can hold a full load of canned goods, litres of milk, anything large and heavy, with virtually no danger of breakage. No more driveway full of yogurt while the profanities fly. You can’t argue with that.

This kind of reminds me of the stop smoking ban. When it first was passed, it seemed reactionary and maybe even an invasion on our freedoms. Now, most public places in South Africa are smoke-free and for the most part, everybody loves it. As does our indoor air quality. 
WATCH 'LIFE CYCLE OF THE PLASTIC BAG' narrated by Jeremy Irons.

sierra club

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10 tips to prevent water damage in and around your home

Water damage is the most common cause of household insurance claims. Not surprisingly, it is also the area in which most damages claims are rejected by insurers.
This is because "home owners often confuse damage arising gradually over time from poor maintenance with once-off and unforeseen catastrophic events like exceptional storms, snow or freak floods," says Gari Dombo, Managing Director of Alexander Forbes Insurance.
The scary thing about most water damage is that it is usually very gradual and remains undetected until the last moment when, suddenly, out of the blue, a wall collapses or a pipe or geyser bursts damaging a host of other household goods and property. 
From an insurance perspective, "the onus falls on homeowners to regularly maintain their homes, checking for leakages or accumulating water so that if water-related damage occurs it cannot be attributed to lack of maintenance and can be genuinely classed as unforeseen" advises Dombo.
As such, Dombo encourages homeowners to take the following precautions to protect their homes against water damage:
  • Regularly check and maintain the structural integrity of buildings. For example, making sure doors, window frames, sills and roofs are waterproof.  "We see quite a few claims where water leaks into the house under a sliding door that has no lip for example," says Dombo.
  • If you suspect or have uncovered a leak in your home, contact a reliable maintenance company to repair the leak immediately. "Never take small cracks or leaks for granted, they may cause major damages to a home and its contents if ignored," warns Dombo.
  • Inspect the screws on fiber cement and iron roofs regularly. Screws on these roofs loosen over time and need to be repaired, replaced or re-sealed as necessary.
  • Turn off the main water supply in your home if you are going on holiday. If a pipe leaks while you are away it may flow unchecked for weeks damaging your home and destroying most of your household contents.
  • Check the gutters, valleys and roof flashing for blockages before each rainy season and clear these of leaves and debris. Anything that impedes the flow of water is likely to cause leaks and consequential damage. Consequential damage resulting from blocked gutters or valleys or perished flashing will not necessarily be covered by your insurer. Both galvanized zinc and membrane flashing become brittle and porous over time. Paint these regularly, preferably every year. Similarly, malthoid underlay used on some slate roofs becomes brittle with time allowing water to penetrate. Inspect this annually and replace if necessary.
  • Locate the source of and fix damp issues without delay. "Damp resulting in damage due to poor maintenance will not be covered by your insurer," warns Dombo.
  • Turn off the main water supply if your water has been cut off for municipal repairs. When the municipal main is open, air may enter the system causing airlocks and blockages that could damage geysers and pipes. The mains should only be turned on again after the municipal repairs have been completed. When the municipal supply is interrupted, "you also run the risk of leaving taps on, coming back to find your home flooded if the municipal system was switched on in your absence," warns Dombo.
  • Have the seals and valves on your geyser looked at from time to time. "When you get the plumber in for routine maintenance, get him to give your geyser a once over, while he’s there. It may prevent a lot of damage and expense in the long run," advises Dombo.
  • Always check and know where the stop cocks are situated for the toilet, sink, geyser, washing machine, shower, etc. If your toilet suddenly starts leaking in the middle of the night you can switch off the toilet valve and call a plumber in the morning.
  • Building or buying above the flood line and thoroughly scoping how water drainage affects your property in bad weather or during a natural disaster is very important. If there is a natural water flow path through your property, "build a drain to help control the flow in wet times and be sure to build structures in such a way that the water can flow freely around them without building up or causing damage," advises Dombo. 
In short, the best way to avoid water damage claims being rejected is to regularly maintain your home, acting quickly on the first suspicion of damp or a leak "so that any water damage that you suffer is genuinely unforeseen," concludes Dombo.

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Clean a Spa, Whirlpool bath or Jacuzzi at your beautiful home

We all know what a dirty bathtub ring looks like. Now imagine what that scum buildup is doing inside the jet plumbing of your Jacuzzi or Spa style bathtub!
Sure, you can clean the bathtub itself, but once you start up the air jets all kinds of nasty looking bits and specks will come floating to the surface if you don’t properly clean the jets themselves - and the interior plumbing system.

That’s right, the jets and pipes behind your jet tub can quickly become contaminated with all sorts of infectious bacteria — some you can see, and some you can’t see!
Fortunately, cleaning the inside of your air tub’s elaborate collection of pipes, jets, and nozzles is really straightforward and easy.

Here’s how to properly clean a whirlpool tub yourself in just a few quick steps…
1. First, check your manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. They typically specify which cleaners work best, as well as which ones you should avoid. Each air tub is different.

 Close all of the air controls on the individual jets so there is no air induction. Then fill the tub until all jets are submerged by 10 cm of water.

Some air tub manufacturers call for the air controls to be fully opened, so it’s best to read the manual first to confirm which method is best for your specific bathtub.

Add 2 tablespoons of a low-sudsing dishwasher detergent and 1 cup of vinegar. Some recommend adding these both to the water in one step, while others make it a 2-step process: first clean once with the detergent, then clean again afterwards with the vinegar. I guess it’s a personal choice.

 Run the jets for 15 minutes, then drain the tub. Refill the tub with water 10 cm above the jets and run the jets again for 10 minutes to rinse thoroughly.

Finally, drain the water and wipe down the tub and all nozzles using a soft cloth. Use a Q-tip to get into the cracks and crevices around the nozzles.

Without a doubt, proper cleaning of your jet tub is very important and cannot be overlooked. Since moisture is always present in the jets and pipes of your air tub, bacteria can easily build up and mould, mildew, and other health risks can quickly become an issue.
How often you need clean the jets in your air tub depends on how often you use your tub. For the everyday user it may be necessary to clean and sanitize once a month (or more). Those who only use their jet tub occasionally can probably get by with cleaning and sanitizing it once every 3 to 4 months.

Shake some baking soda into the tub and use a slightly damp rag to lightly rub around the inside to clean away built up grime.

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