Monday, July 24, 2017

Perler (Iron) Bead Heroes #SummerKidFun

Check out these awesome super heroes my kids made for me out of Perler (iron-on) beads back in June. They hit up the Internet (ahem, Pinterest) for the patterns and went to town one day! I don't iron clothing, but I feel like I have spent half my life ironing bead creations! It keeps them happy and busy and I always love to see what creative item they have come up with!

Wonder Woman Iron-on Bead Creation











Saturday, July 22, 2017

Proactive Pool-Cleaning Tips (Guest Post)

How about another guest post? If you have a swimming pool in your yard, this one is for you. I am dreaming of this someday ... a house in the country with one of those big, round above-ground pools and a bunch of kids frolicking in it while I sit on the deck next to my cute husband supervising and reading my Kindle. Ahhh, fantasies!

PROACTIVE POOL-CLEANING TIPS
It's always pool season somewhere in the world right now. And it's always good to ensure that your backyard pool is functioning at its best. You will never know when a party and unexpected guests are coming. Better yet, prepare your pool all the time for your family, friends and important guests to enjoy at any sudden occasion.


You probably know that prevention is always better than cure. And when it comes to pools, this quote says it all. It's always better to take simple and easy cleaning steps from time to time rather than clean a totally green and dirty pool that you left unattended for a long time. Addressing problems ahead of time before they get big will pretty much save you more money, time, and effort in cleaning your pool.
So here I listed some of the most effective yet very basic pool cleaning tips that any pool owner can easily do on their own.
·         Skim Regularly
Skim regularly depending on how much debris falls into your pool. Check your pool daily to see if it needs to be skimmed or not. Leaves and bugs normally fall into any pool at any time of the day. Always remember not to let these debris sink at the bottom of your pool. It will most likely stain your floor and will cause bacteria and worse, algae to buildup. Also, get in the habit of checking your strainer basket. Empty it out and remove all debris to avoid it from clogging. This will give your pool a better water circulation and will prevent algae formation.

·         Brush the Walls & Vacuum
It is necessary to brush the entire walls of your pool every week, especially when your pool is always used. This helps avoid dirt from accumulating. You will need a good and durable pool brush to do this work. It is recommended to know your pool surface before buying a brush to avoid the tiles from getting scratched and damaged. One tip, you can use baking soda to clean your pool tiles easily while brushing them. Very effective!

Right after brushing your wall, the next thing you need to do is vacuum. Vacuuming your pool keeps the water clean and clear. It takes away the dirt and any objects that have sunk at the bottom of your pool. It's best to invest in an automatic pool vacuum cleaner to save you time and effort. You simply have to turn it on and let it do the work for you. But if you choose the manual type, vacuum your pool just like how you vacuum your carpet.

·         Always Test the Water
This step is very important especially when your pool is highly used. You will need to test out the water at least three times a week. Highly used pools are mostly to get water imbalances than the less used ones. Sunscreens, lotions, and tanners disrupt the chemical balance of the water in your pool.  This explains why water becomes cloudy after a pool party.

Test the water level and especially its pH level to ensure that the water is safe for swimmers. The ideal pH range is between 7.2 - 7.8. Test it out using a testing kit which comes in different types. Check the manual provided for instructions on how to use it. A well maintained water and pH level will maintain the chemical balance and avoid pumps from getting damaged.

·         Check your Pool Regularly
A short visit to your pool regularly is the most basic yet effective preventive step in keeping your pool clean. This will allow you to check for areas that needs your cleaning attention. This way, you will foresee problems before it gets worse. This is also the right time to check leaks and damages that needs to be repaired. A simple stroll at your backyard surely helps a lot.


So these are some of the easiest ways to keep your pool clean on your own. If you want more useful and easy to follow tips check out this great definitive guide. Swimming pools don't have to be a high maintenance work. Proactive maintenance goes a long way on keeping your pool clean, safe and ready to use. It is the best way to prevent problems, but if big troubles occur it's best to call the experts and hand them the work. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Damp in Basement and Cellars? What to Look Out For

Do You Have Damp in Your Basement or Cellar?


Throughout London and the Home Counties, many homes have basements or cellars which are used something like a garage – to store a few items or maybe house a boiler or a tumble dryer.  They are often considered wasted spaces that are dark, damp and cold and unsuitable for everyday purposes.  
However, if you have a vision of what it could be like or what you would like to use it for, then there are methods of damp-proofing that can be used to make your vision a reality and create valuable additional living space and your favorite room.

Moisture in basements

Whether your property has a basement, cellar or just a vault, they probably face the same problem – damp. Because they are mostly, or completely built underground, they have a far greater risk of damp than standard rooms.  
Damp problems in basements are very common but because the areas may not frequently be used, homeowners rarely think about it or what benefits they have right under their feet.  If you are considering a basement conversion then, without doubt, damp-proofing should be your priority. This should only ever be handled by an experienced damp proofing company and carried out under a long-term guarantee.
There are two main reasons why damp affects walls below ground level – lateral damp which is forced through the wall by pressure and rising-damp from upon the ground, by capillary action.  
In the winter, problems with condensation can occur and if there has been an exceptional amount of rain the water table rises and can cause flooding. Whatever the reason an experienced damp consultant should be instructed, who will recommend the most suitable solution to keep your rooms dry.

How damp occurs

The main type of damp to affect rooms below ground level is called lateral damp penetration. This is caused by ground water being forced through the wall by hydrostatic pressure. The movement of water through the wall can cause enormous damage both internally and structurally and must be controlled as a priority.
Rising-damp occurs when there is not a sound damp proof course at the base of the walls to prevent it. Damp from the ground rises through the pores of the brickwork and masonry, by capillary action and can rise to a height of approximately 1.5 meters. This also must be dealt with, as a separate item, by a qualified damp expert.
All types of damp create similar signs for homeowners to watch for in the basement.  
Large damp patches on the walls, cold to the touch. Decolourization and degrading wall plaster, rotting joinery, musty, damp smells and at the very worst, dry-rot fungus.

Basement Damp proofing

On the positive side, a damp basement doesn’t intend that your plans for additional living space are over because a damp expert such as Tapco HomeDry has several solutions that can solve the problems.  
The process starts with an assessment of exactly what is causing the damp and what method of damp proofing is the most suitable for the problem at your property.
Once the assessment has been carried out it is likely that we will recommend one of the two following options.

A Cavity Drain Membrane (CDM)

This is a high-density Polyethene, studded membrane which is installed to the walls or ceilings using special water-proof fixing plugs. A sump and pump are often installed into the floor before a damp expert installing a larger studded floor membrane. The floor is either screeded or overlaid with treated flooring. Galvanized framing is then installed before dry-lining of the membrane can be plastered directly onto.
This method of damp-proofing is not designed to block the damp but to allow it in and controlled to where we want to take it before being discharged to a place chosen by us.

Structural Damp-Proofing (Tanking)

This method of damp proofing is designed to block the movement of water through the walls.
Following a coat of waterproof rendering, slurry coats of a cementitious tanking system are applied to the walls, floors or ceilings, before further damp proof plastering being carried out.


Top Spanish Cities/Destinations in Spain

Top Spanish cities to visit in Spain

Whether you’re looking for a weekend away or family holiday, a trip to a Spanish city will tick all the boxes. From traditional Spanish culture and sandy beaches to buzzing city life, these top cities will have you wanting to return again and again.

Barcelona

Situated in the Catalonia district of Spain, Barcelona is home to over one million people. Famously known for its architecture, art and football club this city has something for everyone. Here you will find countless bars, restaurants, markets, cafes and nightlife spots, as well as spending at least part of your visit in awe at its astonishing landmarks.
Barcelona is made up of stunning buildings and architectural buildings, with some of the top attractions being the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Cathedral, La Pedrera, and the Montjuic Magic Fountain, which attracts thousands of tourists every year. The city has lots of museums, but for art lovers, the Picasso museum is a must see, as is the FC Barcelona museum and the Nou Camp experience for sports fans.
Even though Barcelona is a city, it also holds lots of natural beauty including Park Guell and numerous sandy beaches, perfect when the Barcelona weather is at its finest.  

Madrid

Madrid, the capital city of Spain, is a buzzing city packed full of charm, with a vibrant nightlife and a fascinating culture. Bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs line the streets with fun to be had around every corner. Landmarks cover the city and offer plenty to do. The Royal Palace of Madrid, Templo De Debod and the Real Basilica De San Francisco El Grande are definitely worth a trip while visiting this fabulous city if you’re in search of traditional Spanish culture.
Venues throughout the city offer a variety of events throughout the year, so there’s always something to keep everyone entertained. One of the biggest of these is the home of Real Madrid football club - the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is a breath-taking venue whether you’re a sports fan or not. Madrid’s land marks and beautifully formed buildings demonstrate the city’s natural beauty, as does the Retiro Park -  another impressive feature in the heart of the city.

Alicante

Based in the Costa Blanca region, the city of Alicante has lots to do and if you want your holiday to offer an extensive selection of options, then you’ve come to the right city. If you’re searching for a good time Alicante has a wide range of bars, restaurants, casinos nightclubs and entertainment venues and if you’re feeling a little delicate the following morning you can relax on one of its sandy beaches. Playa Del Postiguet and San Juan beach are the favourite amongst tourists and are surrounded by cafes, bars, shops, family friendly activities and a golf club.
Like other Spanish destinations that are rich in culture and history, Alicante combines both modern living and traditional culture beautifully.  One of the highlights of this is the Castle of Santa Barbara, a 9th century Roman remains located 544 feet above sea level. Or perhaps you’d prefer to see Alicante in its natural beauty – if so, a trip to the marina or Guadalest Valle should offer the perfect solution.

Murcia

Located in Southeast Spain, Murcia is a large city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its warm temperatures, vineyards and orchards, tourists flock to this great city for a sun filled break, but Murcia has a lot more to offer than just its warm climate. Filled with a plethora of stunning landmarks this city is full of culture. One such example is the Cathedral de Santa Maria - this breath-taking site is must see on any visit.  If culture is what you seek, then Murcia has it all with historical grounds, religious sites and outstanding architectural buildings. If you plan a visit, it’s well worth a trip to the Sanctuary of the Fuensanta - or for art lovers the Museo Salzillo - which displays some of the world’s most beautiful pieces of art and sculpture.

Whichever Spanish city you’re looking to jet to next, with a wealth of opportunity at your fingertips, you’re sure to want to make a city break to Spain a regular event.

July #Swagbucks SWAGO US


Swagbucks is holding their Swago promotion starting Monday, July 24th at 9am PDT! It's just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it.    

The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash! 

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus! That's enough for a $5 gift card in our Rewards Store. 

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before the first of next month, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!
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