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Newsletter Articles - 7th Editions


"Checking Weather Stripping Now"

Why wait for the cold winds of winter before checking the weather stripping at your place? Summer is a good time to examine wall spaces that may let in cold air or heat, which could lead to a waste of electricity and a waste of your precious dollars!

The money you spend on weather stripping will come back to you in lower heating and cooling bills. Even before freezing winds blow, it's easy to check your home to see if weather stripping is needed.

· Hold a tissue up to a crack to see if it moves.

· At night, have someone outside run a flashlight along edges of doors and windows. See where the light shines in.

Before buying material, check the windows and doors involved to see if they open and close properly.



"Spring is here ! Six Spring Cleaning Tips !"

Spring cleaning is easier with these great tips!

* Clean blinds easily -Hang them outside on a clothesline and hose clean.

* Get rid of mattress stains-An upholstery or carpet cleaner does the job easily.

* Rid wicker of mildew -Rub mildew with a cloth and weak ammonia. Don't saturate.

* Remove candle wax-Cover wax with brown paper and heat paper with an iron or hair dryer until the paper has absorbed the wax.

* Hide scratches in woodwork -rub with cold tea.

* Remove scuffmarks from tiles -Rub with a gum eraser from an art store.



"Always Wanted a Pond? Put One in This Weekend!"

 Even the smallest backyard can benefit from the addition of a pond and it's not nearly as difficult as you might think to put one in!

You have two main choices-using a plastic liner or buying a pre-formed garden pool. The latter is more expensive, but easier. Both are available at larger garden centers.

If you use plastic liner, the guiding rule is to buy enough for double the depth that you're planning. This will provide enough overlap for ledges and for the pool's top edges.

STEP 1: Dig the hole for the pond. If you're planning to have fish, a depth of over 3 ¢ helps keep fish safe from animals. For those in colder climates, it also increases the chances of keeping fish alive through freezing temperatures.

If using a pre-formed pool, dig the pool a little wider than the shape of the pool. If using plastic liner, slope the sides down and create shallow-level shelves. Place a wooden plank across the hole and use a level to check that it is straight.

STEP 2: Remove any sharp stones from the hole and then cover with 1 ² of sand and firm.

STEP 3: Pre-formed pool-Place the pool in the hole and check for level. Fill in the gap around the sides and press down firmly. Now fill with water. That's it!

STEP 3: Plastic liner-Unfold liner into the hole with at least 6 ² overlap at the top edges. Make neat folds in the liner to shape to the hole where needed. Weight the overlap down with bricks or rocks and slowly fill the pond with water. When it's full, remove the weights. Cut off any overlap beyond 6 ² and then hide the overlap under rocks or bricks. You're finished!

For a great final touch, add plants, like water lilies and water hyacinths, and a few goldfish. To protect against mosquitoes and to keep the pond healthy, you may also want to add a fountain feature that keeps the water moving. Garden centers have a good variety, along with pumps. The basic ones are easy and fast to install just follow the package directions.



"Helpful Hints"

 To keep lint and dust off glass top tables, wash them with a solution of warm water and fabric softener. Add one tablespoon of liquid fabric softener to one quart of warm water. The fabric softener will clean the glass inexpensively and helps keep lint from gathering on the glass. It's also great for computer screens and TVs.

Here's how to clean blenders and food processors quickly and easily. Fill with water and a dab of dishwashing liquid. Replace lid and activate on low setting. Let the soap and water blend for a couple of minutes. Turn off. Pour out soapy water. Rinse well and let air-dry!

Note: Do NOT fill blender or food processor all the way to the TOP! Fill only about ¾ full.



"Natural Remedies Every Home Should Have!"

 Sometimes the best remedies don't come out of the medicine cabinet. Many people swear by these natural solutions. As always, with any medical tips, don't replace prescribed remedies without a discussion with your doctor.

OIL OF CLOVES: This is amazing for a toothache. Dab a little onto the area to numb the pain. Alternatively, you can gently chew a couple of whole cloves.

 CHARCOAL: Stirred into a glass of water, charcoal is a strong absorbent that's reported to be highly effective for nausea, hangovers, diarrhea, and even poisoning. One word of caution: charcoal may also absorb prescribed drugs and render them ineffective.

PSYLLIUM: This soluble fiber lowers cholesterol. It's also an impressive natural remedy for constipation and sometimes, even diarrhea helping to regulate bowel movements.

GINGER: This is the time-honored natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. Add a large pinch to a cup of boiling water and sip. If desired, a little honey can also be added to improve the taste.

GARLIC: Studies report garlic can fight viruses, stop infection, raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, and generally build resistance. If you can't stand garlic breath, try garlic capsules from a health food store.

BAKING SODA: Use in a paste with water to reduce swelling and discomfort from insect bites. Gargle with baking soda and salt in hot water to reduce the discomfort of sore throats.

BRAT: Doctors swear by this after vomiting. The letters stand for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast which are the recommended first foods to soothe the digestive system



"Stained Glass Windows Recipe"

This recipe is for delicious holiday candy that can be prepared weeks ahead of time if needed.

What a great way to spend time with family and friends, and such a "sweet" way to make memories.

You will need:

1 stick of margarine

12 oz bag of chocolate chips

10-½ oz pack of colored miniature marshmallows

1 cup chopped nuts (any type)

1 cup of shredded coconut

In a microwave safe bowl, combine margarine and chocolate chips.

Microwave on high until chips are nearly melted.

Stir mixture until chips completely melt.

Cool chocolate mixture until just warm but not hardened.

Add colored miniature marshmallows and one cup of chopped nuts. Mix.

Sprinkle a long sheet of wax paper with coconut.

On another piece of wax paper, form chocolate/marshmallow mixture into a long roll about 2 inches in diameter.

Transfer roll onto the coconut and wrap wax paper around roll so that coconut transfers around the roll completely.

Refrigerate for at least four hours or freeze until ready for use.

When ready to serve, remove roll from refrigerator and slice roll into ¼ inch slices.

Each slice will look like a snow capped stained glass window.



"Six Brilliant Tips for Your Home Office"

 Is your home office the home's disaster zone? Is your office in such a mess you can't even think straight? Set yourself one key goal: keep papers and files off horizontal surfaces. That means absolutely no piles of anything on your desk surface, tabletops, cabinet tops or floor! Here's how, starting with a shopping list:

*  10 lightweight 3-ring binders. The type kids use for one subject.

* 1 3-hole punch.

* 1 pack of binder dividers.

* 1 transparent, 3-hole report holder.

* 1 A-7 or legal-sized hardback, lined notebook.

* 1 pack of large brown envelopes.

Tip #1: Put each month's bills in a 3-ring binder. Label the spine. Use a divider to separate bills to be paid from paid bills needed for records. Keep the latter at the back. At the end of each month, aim to have all the bills in the back part, i.e. PAID! Move them into a storage box out of sight, and start afresh with next month's bills.

Tip #2: Keep mail in a second binder. As above, use a divider to separate letters to be answered from mail to be kept for records. Start afresh each month.

 Tip #3: Assign another binder to each of your clients or projects. Label each one and use dividers if necessary. Label one final binder 'Active Miscellaneous' for odds and ends that crop up. Put all binders in your upright file holder, with labeled spines on top.

 Tip #4: Put VIP papers in your report holder. Use this for important papers that you need to have to hand. For example, phone numbers in hard copy list form, etc.

 Tip #5: Put receipts in a big brown envelope on the wall. Label the envelope 'Receipts', add the date, and tape it to the wall. It's so visible, you won't forget it. Just throw your receipts in when you enter the office. At the end of each month, store the envelope for tax time and start afresh.

 Tip #6: Never use scrap paper! Label your hardback notebook with the date and take it everywhere. Use a highlighter to strike through notes of things you've attended to. You'll have your notes in one place, and you'll never lose an important phone number again!



"Home Safety Checklist for Kids who Stay Home"

 As children get older, they often start begging to be left at home alone sometimes, instead of with babysitters or daycare providers. If your child is old enough, maybe you should consider it. Experts say that leaving kids home by themselves on occasion can be a good way to build independence and confidence and increase their sense of responsibility.

But before you give in, make sure your home is super-safe!


* Are there smoke alarms on every floor? Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Are they in good working order? Does your child know what to do if the alarm sounds?

* Do you have a fire escape plan? Is it posted in a visible place?

* Do all exterior doors lock and open easily with your child's key? Has your child practiced locking and unlocking the front door, both from inside and out?

* Can all windows be securely fastened and easily opened from inside?

* Do you have a first-aid-kit? Does your child know where it is? Is it within easy reach?

* Do you have a list of emergency numbers clearly posted by the phone? Is your child completely comfortable using the phone?

* Are house rules and safety rules understood and clearly posted? Does your child understand that he or she should never open the door to someone who isn't expected? Does your child know that he or she should never let callers know they're home alone?

* Do you have a powerful flashlight, portable radio and spare batteries? Are they all easily accessible for power outages or emergencies?



"When Is It Time To Get A New Appliance?"

 How long should you hold onto an appliance before you replace it?

Old appliances are costly to run and much less efficient than newer models. Even if your old appliance is working properly, you could be throwing hundreds of dollars down the drain in wasted energy each month.

You should replace your appliances as they reach these ages: refrigerator 14 years, washer about 11 years, dryer 13 years, dishwasher 13 years, and a hot water heater every six years.

You will save money on utility bills and you will get to enjoy the latest features on these new models.



"Is This Odorless Danger Lurking In Your Home?"

 You can't see or smell it, but it has the potential to make you very ill or even worse.

Carbon monoxide is present whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of carbon monoxide is usually not hazardous. On the other hand, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide may build up in your home.

The following will help ensure your family's safety:

Know The Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

* Moderate Levels: Severe headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, or fainting.

* Low Levels: Shortness of breath, mild nausea and mild headaches.

What To Do If You Think You Have Been Exposed To Carbon Monoxide

* Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows and turn off combustible appliances and leave the house.

* Go to the emergency room. It can often be diagnosed by a blood test.

 Prevention Is The Key To Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

* Have your home inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of the heating season.

* Whenever possible, choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside.

* Check out these links EPA's IAQ INFO Clearinghouse or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for more information.

 When placing carbon monoxide detectors in your home, consider them protection, not replacement, for proper use and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances. It is important to know that the technology of carbon monoxide detectors is still developing. Look for UL certification on any detector you purchase.

Before purchasing a detector for the first time or replacing an old one, know the real facts. Log onto - consumersunion.org , www.ul.com , and www.aga.org so that you can make an informed decision.



"Discover Your Home's Secret Past"

 When people remodel older homes, they are often amazed at what they find in the hidden places in the house. But researching a property's past can be a frustrating, time-consuming project. That's why people are hiring old-house detectives (also called architectural historians, house genealogists, or historic building consultants). Visit www.sah.org for more information .



"Hang a Wallpaper Border in 4 Easy Steps"

A wallpaper border can give almost any room a fresh, stylish feel. And pre-pasted borders are so easy; you'll have one up in no time!

STEP 1: Prepare the walls by wiping clean. Decide where you're going to start and end. Pick the least noticeable spot like the corner behind a door.

 STEP 2: To pencil a guideline, measure up from the floor or down from the ceiling and then use a level. Cut the border for the first wall, adding a little extra for overlapping the start and end pieces.

STEP 3: Activate the adhesive on the back of the border by soaking it in a tray of water. Unroll the wet paper as you lift it out and fold the pasted side accordion-style. This step is called 'booking'. Unfold the accordion-folded border as you move along the wall.

STEP 4: Carefully overlap at the joints to match the pattern. Then use a utility knife to cut cleanly through both layers. Work your way around the room. Now stand back and admire your handiwork!



"Fixing That Cracked Sidewalk"

Have a crack in your concrete sidewalk? One of the best ways to repair a cracked sidewalk is to purchase a vinyl concrete patch, found at your local home improvement or hardware store. The cost is minimal, around $10 for 50 lbs. The vinyl patch is a fine powdered cement with vinyl fortifiers, and it really sticks to old concrete that has been properly prepared. You can trowel it as thin as 1/16 in.

To prepare the concrete for repair, you should first remove all the loose material with a chisel and/or steel brush. Then rinse the area well with water. A spray nozzle on a garden hose works great. Make sure to sponge out puddles of water before applying the vinyl patch, but leave the area damp. Now apply the vinyl patch with a trowel or putty knife.

You will notice that as you work it, vinyl patching material becomes stickier and harder to smooth so don't wait long to apply it after you've mixed it. You will notice instant results that will hold up even during the cold winter months.



"Get a Great Sponge Paint Finish !"

Have you ever looked at home decorating shows and wished you could create those amazing creative paint finishes?

Well good news they're not only fun, they're a whole lot easier than you think!

Sponge painting is particularly simple, providing you have the right supplies. And it's versatile, too. You can use the same basic sponge technique to paint walls, doors, cupboards, furniture you name it.

The great thing is, you can't really make a mistake. Sponge finishes are meant to look unique so you can pretty well do whatever you want!

Here's what you need for a wall:

* A base color paint flat latex or satin finishes are good. Darker base colors result in the most dramatic effect. A lighter color will give you an airier, more subtle approach. It's your choice.

* A paint in a lighter color for the sponge effect. Some people like to add two sponge coats in different colors but one color works just fine, too.

* Two sponges. Any sponge will work, but a sea sponge gives the most interesting effect. You'll find sea sponges in the paint section of most large stores.

For a dramatic, high-contrast finish, you can use regular paint straight from the can for both base and sponge coats. However, most of the TV decorators go for the more subtle effect that comes from a glaze sponge finish.

STEP 1: Get the base coat on the wall and let dry.

STEP 2: If you're after a subtle look, dilute the sponge finish paint to create a glaze before you start this step. Just pour your paint in a bowl and add equal parts paint thinner and water.

Dampen the sponge in water (or thinner if you are using oil paints) and ring it out - and you're ready to sponge!

Dip one of the sponges in the paint and blot it on a dry cloth. Now dab it onto the wall, pressing down until you get a good sponge impression. Use the other clean sponge to soften the effect, dabbing until the edges blend.

Keep going over the entire wall. If the effect's not dramatic enough in some places, go back and sponge on more paint. If you'd prefer it subtler, keep softening with the clean damp sponge.

That's it!



"How to Patch a Tear in Your Wallpaper"

What do you do if you get a tear in your wallpaper, but the rest of the room is just fine? You patch it, that's what!

With a bit of luck or a lot of foresight you've already got a piece of the same wallpaper left over. If not, you'll have to plead with your local wallpaper store to give you a small sample. Worst case scenario: you can try and remove a piece from an unseen spot behind a large piece of furniture. But this really is worst case. It's not a fun job.

Start by cutting out a piece of wallpaper a little larger than the torn area. Match it up with the pattern on the wall and secure it in a few places with masking tape.

Using a box cutter, cut through the two layers of wallpaper on the wall. If the wallpaper has a random pattern, you can cut wherever you like. If there's a definite pattern, aim to cut along pattern lines to keep the seams as hidden as possible.

Lift off the patch you've just cut out. Then remove the remaining extra paper and masking tape, along with the torn edges.

Apply adhesive on the back of the patch you cut out and carefully fit it back into position so it covers the hole and matches the pattern. Give the patched area a wipe with a damp sponge.

Abracadabra-almost like new!



"Frugal Cleaning Solutions!"

Whether you prefer conventional cleaning supplies or nontoxic, environmentally-safe household products, stock up on vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice for spring cleaning. The items are inexpensive and useful for a variety of cleaning projects.

For example, lemon juice removes rust stains from counters. Baking soda and water work wonders on tile grout, carpet stains, and appliances. And white vinegar removes soap scum and mineral deposits from showers, tubs, and sinks.

Coffee filters come in handy when cleaning mirrors and windows. Because the filters are lint free, they won't streak or smear glass surfaces. Simply spray glass cleaner on a filter and wipe.



"Add A Decorative Touch To Any Room"

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is great time to take a look around your house to see what areas need some sprucing up before the onslaught of guests head your way. One popular fall project that adds a beautiful finishing touch to any room, especially the dining room, is crown molding.

Most homes are built with baseboard moldings, door and window trim, but beautiful decorative woodwork such as chair rail and crown molding are often installed later on. Moldings are a great way to hide small cracks near the ceiling due to settling and soften a stark corner where wall meets ceiling. Moldings can complement any room décor and add architectural interest.

Here are some helpful decorative molding tips.

Select molding styles: The style of your home somewhat determines the type of molding that will look right. Contemporary homes need sleeker, simple moldings while period style homes look nice with more intricate, detailed molding.

Height of crown molding: The room size and the height of molding is usually about one inch of molding for every foot of ceiling height. Be careful not to overpower smaller rooms.

Have it professionally installed: Getting the proper and consistent angle and making sure the joints fit correctly can be a nightmare. Save the frustration and have a professional install your beautiful new moldings.



"Perhaps a Pool Table for That Finished Basement?"

There are 32 different colors to choose from for the surface of the table. You'll have no problem in coordinating with your new basement décor. Since that is no longer an argument for not having one, the next choice is choosing a weight for the surface cover between 20 to 22 ounces. Make sure you choose a good wool-and-nylon blend.

When choosing your pool table, keep in mind that the most vital part is the playing surface.

* Be sure to choose slate that has been mined in Italy or Brazil.

* The better tables will have 7/8-inch to one-inch thick slate.

* Be sure the slate extends over the edge of the surface.

* The better tables will have a wood backing for the surface cloth to be attached to.

* Be sure to budget for your pool table accessories.

Did you know?

* An estimated four million people play pool every week.

* Billiards placed first out of 58 activities in terms of frequent participation.



"A Moment to Ponder"

How can your life be more meaningful today?

Wayne Dyer says that a situation we are faced with needs to be either dealt with or accepted. Why make it into a problem? If we are not prepared to face it, then we simply accept it as it is and let it be.

- Meaningful Moments Weekly Ezine


Take the first step to fulfilling your dreams. 

Give us your ideas and we will turn them into reality.


B&B Contractors
10 Greenhill Road
West Chester, Pa 19380
Phone: 610-696-0294

E-mail us at: bbcontractors@verizon.net

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