It will soon be time to put Christmas away for another year. It may only be days since Boxing Day but Christmas will already be dusted away from some homes.
It's usually as you begin the post-Christmas clear up that you wish you had given more thought to sticking Christmas cards on glass and cute looking santas on walls.
After you have taken the Christmas cards and decorations, or birthday day cards down, you may find remnants linger on -- in the form of sticker residue.
There are many tried and tested ways to remove sticker residue but caution needs to be exercised. You will need to bear in mind a few simple rules before you begin the job in hand.
Some stickers are fairly easy to remove whilst others seem to have far too much adhesive applied to them. The ease of removal will also depend upon the item that the sticker was attached to. Obviously some surfaces will offer better adhesion than others.
Let’s start with the actual item. The method of removal of any residue will depend on the material that the item is made out of.
For example, soft scouring pads are fine for some surfaces but may scratch others. A sponge, with a liberal amount of warm soapy water, can, alternatively, treat some surfaces. Read any manufacturer’s instructions before you begin as these may offer advice and warnings.
Methods to remove sticker or label residue
It is best to start with the least destructive and intrusive method initially. For many items, this may be as simple as using an eraser. If the residue is on glass, an eraser may do the trick first time. Work on a small corner of the residue at first, so that you can check the results.
The next option to try should be sticky tape
This may sound silly but using a heavy duty sticky tape and applying just a little pressure, could remove any sticky residue from clothing, curtains and other such material items. Take care when choosing the tape, so that you do not leave any additional residue on the surface. Duct tape will often be the best option.
It may be possible to remove the residue if you first freeze the item. This will only be suitable for small items. It works on the same principle as freezing chewing gum, so that it can be easily removed from items.
Art Galleries often use a tiny amount of methylated or surgical spirits to remove sticky residues. You could also try a surgical hand wash, alcohol gel or even alcohol. Again it is vital that you have assessed the material first. Obviously such products should be fine of glass and some plastics.
Various oil based products that you may have around your home, could help remove sticker residue from furniture. Oil based furniture polish and cooking oil are good examples. Take care however.
There are many branded sticker residue removing products on the market. These can be expensive and usually unnecessary. Most of us can find what we need in our homes already. However, if you have any concerns invest in one of these branded products.
Remember, if your attempts at sticker residue removal fail, it could cost you lots of money in the long run.
Next Christmas will you think before you 'stick'?
Water a precious commodity
These days we are all more conscious of the need to protect the environment and to use our valuable resources wisely. Water is one of the most precious commodities that we have. It is needed for life itself and is not the limitless resource that we once thought it to be.
Modern life has created many labour saving devices but some of these can waste water, if not used thoughtfully. Making a conscious effort to utilise your water supply effectively makes sense. If your water supply is metered it could also save you money. There are many ways to save water and most of them require little work on your part.
How to conserve water in the bathroom
There are many ways that you can save water in the bathroom, such as:
How to conserve water in the garden or yard
How to conserve water in the kitchen and utility area of your home
This is perhaps where the most water can be saved or wasted. Dishwashers and automatic washing machines are brilliant labour saving devices but they can waste water unless used efficiently. Consider:
You will need
A fire in the home is most people’s worst nightmare. A fire breaking out when the family are asleep is an even more frightening thought. After all, it could prove to be lethal. There are many products on the market these days, that will help prevent fire in your home but there are quite a few ways that you can prevent a fire happening in the first place.
• Get a routine
Each time you go out or go to bed, you should have a routine that you can rely on. It may be as simple as checking the electric sockets in each room have been turned off, ovens switched off, that cigarettes have been properly extinguished and all doors are closed. It could also include hanging your outside door keys in a place of easy access. If a fire were to break out when you were asleep, time would be of the essence. You would need to evacuate your home quickly. Fumbling for the right key could mean the difference between life and death.
• Fire prevention
Make sure that your home has fully working fire alarms installed. Check them regularly and replace batteries as soon as necessary. Too many people install a fire alarm and then forget to check that it is working. Some people remove the battery when it needs replacing to quiet the warning beep. It is all too easy then to forget to replace it.
Consider investing in a small basic fire extinguisher and perhaps a fire blanket. It is never advisable to tackle a blaze yourself but it could be that you have no alternative. A fire blanket could help you leave a fire filled building safely. Overall though it is better to prevent a fire in your home, than have to tackle one.
• Checking your home and goods for faults, safety and potential fire hazards
Maybe the electrics of your home are old and no longer safe. Conduct a full safety test around your home. Make a list of what needs to be done. If there are appliance plugs with incorrect fuses or loose wires put them right.
If necessary, contact an appropriate professional to make your home safe.
• Consult your local fire officers
Your local fire officers will be happy to offer fire safety advice. It will save them time and money in the end.
• Good working practices in the home
Have a family get together, or meeting, to discuss good fire safety practices around the home. Many fires occur when a person is cooking, has been smoking or an appliance, such as a hairdryer, is not turned off and stored properly.
If a smoker cannot quit smoking try to make sure that they at least smoke outdoors. This will help improve the air quality in your home and prevent a cigarette fire from occurring. Having a family meeting can make sure that everyone understands the danger of fire and how he or she can prevent it. Assess your cooking skills to ensure that you do not leave tea towels near to cooker flames and the like. Always use a fireguard and never dry clothes near a naked flame.
• Plan your escape
All households should have some idea of how they would evacuate their home if they needed to. With the best will in the world, you can never say that you will not have a fire in your home. An electrical fire could start and take hold quickly. Check what windows could be opened wide enough for you to escape. If none is available, have some windows changed. If windows have locks, the keys must be within easy reach.
Fire safety in the home is mainly common sense. Start as you mean to go on. This means putting fire safety measures in place and continuing to follow them. Once you have an evacuation plan you may need to update it from time to time. Keep on top of fire safety, as you know it makes sense.
Are you prepared for winter? Does winter catch you out each year?
Winter could still be some way off but before you know it we will be trudging around during damp, dark days. Christmas Day 2016 mild weather has blown into parts of the UK but sooner or later winter weather is bound to set in.
So many things in this life are more manageable if we are prepared. Winter is no different. If for instance you buy salt for outside paths in summer it will be dirt cheap and in ready supply when and if you need it. Wait until the weather is already bad and salt for paths will already be pricey and in short supply.
OK so firstly why not take a good look around your home. Use a critical eye. Look at it as if it was someone else’s property and you were a would-be buyer. Check roofs, downpipes, guttering and brick work. If there are holes that need attention get them fixed before they need major work on them. It could pay you to seek professional help before the weather deteriorates.
Call in a registered gas engineer to service gas appliances such as boilers and fires. If necessary replace. Install a fire and gas alarm system. This will protect you from any potential harm from a house fire or poisonous gas fumes.
Check windows and doors for drafts. You can buy cheap draught-excluders which are easy to fit. Make sure your home is weather proof inside and out. Fix loose fence panels and posts.
Make sure that you can easily locate items such as snow shovels if and when they are needed.
If necessary buy these items and store together. Items that could be cheaper to buy in advance are:
Make sure that your home insurance if paid up and offers you the cover you need. It is worth knowing exactly where your policies are in case of an emergency.
In light of the possibility of price increases for energy consider swapping your gas and electricity supplier.
Whether your vehicle is a car, van, motorbike or cycle it will need to be in good shape to cope with the challenges of winter. Make sure your means of transport is roadworthy and safe.
The above is not an exhaustive list. Now that we have your attention though consider what winter preparations you should make.
Our skin is under constant attack. What with ageing, harsh weather, work, home cleaning substances, tanning, make-up and neglect, is there any wonder that your skin is not always looking its best?
And as winter winds blow and temperatures drop skin dries out further.
Although some people suffer from overly oily skin the most common problem that day to day life can cause is dry skin. As Autumn and Winter approach your skin will face a different set of challenges. The Sun in Summer may dry your skin but the cold sharp weather of Winter will do it more damage.
In the past men tended to neglect their skin but now both men and women have realised the importance of skin care. If skin becomes extremely dry open wounds and cracks can occur. This can lead to infections and be painful. Your skin does not have to be dry though. Consider a few simple ways to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
Prevention is always better than having to look for a cure
When we are young our skin tends to repair itself quickly. With age the signs of skin damage are often permanent. This means that it is better to:
Take a good look at your skin, in order to assess its present condition. Some people have a combination skin which means that the skin can be oily but have dry patches in places. Take a shower, dry yourself and have a good look at yourself in a full length mirror, if possible. Hold a smaller mirror in your hand so that you can look at your back in the full length mirror. If there are any problem areas of your skin begin a skin repair regime.
Underlying health problems
Occasionally dry skin will be the result of an underlying health condition such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, or seborrhea. If you have a thyroid condition this may also affect the condition of your skin. If you suspect any such health problems consult your medical practitioner.
Knowing the possible causes of dry skin may help you to prevent it
There are many possible causes of dry skin such as:
Tips & Warnings
If you are considering re-designing your garden you need to have a good look at its current state. Whether it is a small or large garden re-designing will offer a great opportunity to maximise this outdoor space and ensure that your garden works for you.
In these dire economic times many people are starting to grow some produce at home. Even if space is at a premium you may be able to incorporate:-
Decide on a budget and aim to stick to it.Shop around for items needed. See if you can find any special offers. If you want to buy a greenhouse, for example, the autumn is often the best time. In early autumn or late summer you can usually buy a greenhouse relatively cheaply.
Many people in the UK are moving away from traditional gardens. Some are simply block paving the outdoor space in order to provide off road parking. However, this can be done sympathetically, if it is deemed necessary. Chippings, for example, will be more Eco-friendly than concrete or block paving. A willow screen can hide unsightly views and the like. A wealth of plants can be displayed in pots or hanging baskets. All of this will help soften a harsh looking exterior and will offer kerb appeal to potential buyers.
It may be that you want to lose your lawn and make a garden that is easy to maintain due to time constraints, health issues, pets or age. Whatever the reason there are plenty of alternatives these days.
Most DIY stores and garden centres have a ready supply of:-
This article may spur you on to make the changes you want to your garden.
If your budget is small consider transforming a section of your garden this year with further work to be carried out for the next few years. If you love your home and plan to stay there, plans which will take a few years to complete, should not be a problem.
Finally. So have we whet your garden design appetite? If so now could be the perfect time to start the preparations for your re-design and to begin work. Remember to:-
Strawberries these days can be bought and consumed all year around. The trouble with strawberries bought out of season though is that they often taste woody and have very little strawberry flavour.
Freezing strawberries in season for use later in the year is quite easy.
There are two main ways to freeze strawberries.
One uses a dry sugar pack and one uses a syrup pack.
Obviously better quality and really fresh strawberries will freeze much better than cheaper out of date stocks and give great results.
It's no good buying cheap or tasteless strawberries. To make the effort of freezing strawberries fully worthwhile pick good, healthy, fresh and tasty fruit.
So having bought or picked the most plumptious strawberries here is what to do:
TO DRY-SUGAR PACK
Cut your strawberries in half, quarters or just slice them. Wash them and place into a bowl or shallow pan. If you prefer the strawberries can be crushed rather than sliced.
Sprinkle between a third and a quarter of a cup of sugar over your strawberries. You need to use this amount for every quart of fruit. Just keep turning the strawberries over, as gently as you can, in the sugar until the sweetener is all dissolved.
Once the sugar has completely dissolved pack your strawberries into a suitable container and freeze as quickly as possible.
TO SYRUP PACK
To one cup of sugar add one and a half cups of either hot or cold water. If you use hot water you will need to let it cool before use or alternatively chill it.
Pack the whole, or sliced, washed strawberries into a suitable container and pour about a half a cup of the prepared syrup, to one pint of strawberries, over the packed fruit.
When you have done this, seal the container and freeze as soon as possible.
There is a third, less popular, option which does not have such good results and this is Freezing unsweetened Strawberries.
FREEZING UNSWEETENED STRAWBERRIES
This one appeals to me as I never add sugar to fresh strawberries. To my mind they are sweet enough and the flavour is better if no sugar is added.
Prepare the strawberries as before.
What you are going to do this time is cover the berries with water or some sort of berry juice. If you have crushed the strawberries you can cover them with their own juice. If possible add ascorbic acid to the liquid which will cover the strawberries, or to the strawberries themselves. This will help the strawberries keep their fresh red colour.
Ascorbic acid can be bought in some supermarkets but more easily from a Chemist or Pharmacist.
The syrup pack or dry sugar pack will give your strawberries the best results as far as colour and taste go. However the result will obviously be sweet and I would think too sweet for me. The choice of how to freeze really depends on what you want to use the strawberries for.
Strawberry recipes here