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Keep Cold Air Inside with a Draft Blocker

By Becky Striepe

You might think of a DIY draft blocker - aka a draft dodger - as something to keep cold air out during winter months, but you can also use it to keep cold air in all summer long.

You might think of a draft blocker – aka a draft dodger – as something to keep cold air out during winter months, but you can also use it to keep cold air in all summer long. Here’s a quick and easy way to sew your own DIY draft blocker for drafty doors or windows.

Related: 35 Ways to Refashion a T-Shirt

DIY Draft Blocker

Materials

  • tape measure
  • 1/2 yard of medium to heavy weight fabric
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • large bag of rice, sand, or kitty litter
  • funnel
  • cup for scooping

Directions

1. To get started, measure your door. You want to make sure your finished product blocks the whole underside. Add 1 1/2″ to your measurement for your seam allowances and to make sure your draft dodger goes slightly past the door on either end. My door was 36″ wide, so that means cutting the fabric to 37 1/2″ wide. No matter what size your door, you’ll want to cut the fabric about 8″ high.

2. Fold the fabric in half on the short side, right sides together. So, I’m now looking at a rectangle that’s 4″ X 37″. Pin along that long, unfinished edge. You’ll sew that whole edge and only one of the short edges. I did this twice, so the seams would be reinforced a little, but this second pass is optional.

3. Turn your project right side out. If you are having trouble flipping things, a wooden dowel or broomstick is your friend. Once your project is right side out, give it a quick press with your iron.

filling the DIY draft stopper

4. For this next part, you’ll want to go outside, because things can get a little bit messy. I filled our draft dodger with some leftover kitty litter that our cats hated. No matter what you’re using, let’s learn from my mistake here. Don’t try to pour directly from the heavy bag of litter, rice, or sand into your draft dodger. You’ll end up with half of the filling on the floor! Instead, use your scoop to get a manageable amount out of the big bag, then pour it into the dodger with your funnel. Less mess!

5. Fill up the dodger, leaving about 1″ unfilled. Grab your pins, and fold the unfinished edge inward. You’ll want to do some tricky pinning, otherwise you risk getting your filling all over your sewing room. Not only do you want to pin across your folded edge, use a couple of pins parallel to the edge to keep your filling at bay, like in the picture below.

pinned draft stopper

6. This next part is all about finesse. Stick the folded, pinned edge into your sewing machine. Sew several backwards stitches, then sew along the edge to close it up. Finish with some more back stitches to reinforce the closure. It’s a little tricky to maneuver the heavy draft dodger in the machine, so just take your time. I found it helpful to rest the other end of the thing on the bookshelf that’s next to my sewing table. You might try bringing a folding table over or something like this to support the weight. It will make it much easier to maneuver your project in the machine if you don’t have to support that weight with your left hand!

That’s it! From here, you’re ready to keep cool air in all summer and cold air out all winter long.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Have a Green 4th of July with These 23 Eco-Friendly Crafts

By Julie Finn

4th of July crafts

Holidays don’t have to be yet another excuse to buy a bunch of nonsense and waste a bunch of resources. Instead, have yourself a very green 4th of July this year, by replacing something store-bought and consumer-driven with one or more of these eco-friendly crafts and recipes!

1. 4th of July Waldorf window star. You don’t have to be into fireworks to love the 4th. Here’s a lovely decoration that’ll give you some peaceful, quiet time in the making.

2. button flag. Kids love to play with buttons, so why not hand over some of your stash and let them go? While they’re working, you can make your own patriotic button art.

4th of July crafts3. cupcake toppers. You’ll be the hit of your 4th of July potluck with these festive cupcake toppers!

4. egg carton flag. You probably have everything that you need to make this quick and easy preschool-friendly craft.

5. film canister rockets. Are you still hoarding an old film canisters from the days of print photography? Whip them out and show all the neighborhood kids how to have a fabulous, messy time launching these DIY rockets.

6. firework painting. Here’s a process-oriented craft for the kids, and it upcycles toilet paper tubes!

firework salt painting. Keep those little hands busy with another process-oriented project.

7. fireworks block set. You could make these in all sizes, from tiny tabletop models to giant porch ones. I also think that they’d make a cute toy set for the kids.

8. Mason jar candles. It’s the dyed rice that makes these candles truly special.

painted burlap banner. It never would have occurred to me to paint burlap!

9. painted rocks. My kids and I have been painting rocks lately, and I have to say that I’m hooked!

10. parade wand. If you’re marching in a 4th of July parade, make it something special!

11. patriotic Mason jars. These are SO pretty. They look beautiful by themselves, but also make lovely vases or luminaries.

12. pinwheel. Here’s another toy that will keep a kid busy during the downtime at a parade or cook-out.

13. ribbon wreath. This is a great way to use up a LOT of ribbon scraps.

14. sparkle bottles. To make this even more eco-friendly, have your kiddos search for found or recycled items. This would make a great preschool or day camp craft for any time of year.

15. pineapple centerpiece. Spray paint isn’t a great choice, but I do like the fact that you can eat this centerpiece instead of trashing it.

16. stars and stripes rag ball. I don’t think that you should use Styrofoam balls, but I’d be very curious to see how old tennis balls would work for this project.

17. stick flag. If you’re in the market for a nature craft, this is the one for you.

18. tin can toss. This would also be a good target for bean bags.

4th of July Crafts19. toilet paper tube rockets. Love them or hate them, you know we can’t have a round-up without including at least one toilet paper tube craft!

20. toy sparklers. Give the little ones something that they can play with without burning their hands.

21. upcycled firecracker decorations. Here’s another toilet paper tube craft. It also upcycles old book pages, for a more adult look.

22. windsock. Decorate this for the 4th of July, or just give it a summery feel.

23. yarn-wrapped star. This star takes a while to make, but just look how lovely it turns out!

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

17 Crafty Things To Do with Pegboard

By Julie Finn

Make an Easy Hanging Planter

Pegboard is even more versatile than you thought it was! Whether you’ve got a full panel or just a few scraps leftover from your latest project, check out these crafty things to do with pegboard:

Make a Pegboard Cookie Cutter Holder1. cookie cutter organization. I put this pegboard cookie cutter organizer over my kitchen cabinets, because why were all of those pretty cookie cutters just stuffed into a drawer?!?

2. cross stitch pegboard. Sure, you can organize some stuff on it, but its main purpose is going to be to show off the beautiful cross stitch that you did–right on the pegboard!

3. doughnut pegboard. I am totally making this for my next party. I don’t care what the theme is–it WILL have a doughnut pegboard!

4. drawer organizer. I LOVE this idea–what you lose in the ability to wipe the surface down you gain in the ability to exactly customize your drawer interiors.

Make an Easy Hanging Planter5. easy hanging planter. The pre-drilled holes makes it easy to hang this planter made from a pegboard scrap.

6. floral backdrop. I think that this would make a lovely backdrop for portrait photography.

7. flower box centerpieces. This would be easy to modify to use fresh flowers as well as faux ones.

8. freestanding pegboard display. Here’s another craft fair idea that’s light and easy to transport.

9. marble run. Kids will love building and playing with this. And bonus points–it uses empty paper towel tubes!

10. pan holder. Get those bulky pans out of your cabinets and onto the wall.

11. pegboard box. This box is ridiculously useful.

12. pinball machine. Along the lines of the marble run, this pinball machine is even more customizable for the busy kiddo.

13. Plinko board. I just need to tell you that Plinko is the BEST game ever.

14. spinning display rack. If you do craft fairs, you need one of these!

15. stenciled pegboard. This is soooo pretty!

16. thread rack. You can buy these from any big-box craft store, but this one is so much cheaper–and cuter!

17. wall art. Why try to organize anything with your pegboard? This one is pure art.

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Tesla Electric Power

By Andrew Dunning

Tesla

Solar energy – we all agree it’s a good thing, but generally the panels are so ugly. If you have a beautiful home and want to add solar panels the option has until recently been very limited. Too many beautiful homes have been ruined by the additional of ugly black rectangular panels on roofs along over the country. However much you want to harness the power of the sun surely we can still have a good looking home?

Thankfully Elon Musk and the innovators over at Tesla have just launched a great looking solution and it could be a game changer in seeing more people adding solar energy to their own home. If your home looked like this and it was collecting energy from the sun who wouldn’t want to choose solar panels?

The solar roof from Tesla, in conjunction with SolarCity, consists of glass tiles that are embedded with a very high-efficiency photovoltaic cell. The tiles will be offered in four different styles to suit the different architectural styles of home – Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile and Smooth Glass Tile.

Tesla

Tesla also announced the launch of Powerwall 2, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to allow you to use the solar power from Solar Roof in your own home. Surplus solar energy can be stored when generated and used later, i.e. when the sun isn’t shining. The Powerwall 2 is around 115cm x 75cm so can easily be installed in your home – either indoors or outdoors.

Tesla

These new products were launched just last Friday in Los Angeles so it will be interesting to see how the products develops and progresses until they are launched next year. If you want to learn more head over to the Tesla site – alternatively for a more in depth review take a read of a great Bloomberg article on the new products.

Let’s hope Mr Tusk does for solar energy what he has done for electric cars – and maybe one day you’ll be inviting people over to see your new roof! I’d love to start harnessing the power of the sun and using it in my own home.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, or follow me for my regular updates on twitter. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Filed under: Product Reviews Tagged: Solar Power, Tesla

Read more here: APD Interiors

It’s time to start planning your 2017 interior

By Andrew Dunning

image

So you told yourself over Christmas that 2017 is the year you will finally get that new kitchen, redo the bathroom, rid yourself of the previous owners decor and finally make your house our own. But where to start? It can be very confusing deciding which room to redecorate, how to prioritise your spend, what to tackle first? To help you get started I’m giving you some inspiration from design projects APD Interiors completed for our clients in 2016.

Did your living room let you down over Christmas? When planning your home renovation I think this is always a good room to focus on as it serves as a retreat from the rest of the house. Relaxing in comfortable seating at the end of the day makes you forget that your bathroom is still avocado.

Last year after several years of grey being the fashion, and buoyed by a rediscovery of colour in interiors, we’ve seen a return to blue. In this Islington townhouse we used Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue to decorate the double reception room. The dark colour provides a perfect backdrop for the strong lupin fabric on the L shaped sofa and two custom upholstered chairs in Osborne and Little fabrics. The room is anchored by a modern engineered light wooden floor that has the slightest hint of blue in the grain.

The fireplace of the home was restored, something we always try to do to retain some of the original character of the home. The marble surround is complemented by a smart convex mirror in matt black. Adding a dash of black to your interior is an interior designers secret trick.

Good storage is essential to any home but you do need to strike a balance and not build into every space in your home. In this part of the room we didn’t opt for the alcove cupboards often seen in Victorian homes to keep the look more relaxed. Instead we bought smart media storage furniture from Heals and used a chair in the other alcove.

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If your bathroom is the 2017 project this is one we completed in Kings Cross. In an urban apartment we decided to remove the bath and fit a large walk in Matki shower surround. The homeowner very rarely takes baths and this solution is a much neater solution.

Tiling is always the one item where I always tell clients they shouldn’t comprise even if your budget is limited. On this project we combined a large grey square tile with a feature faux marble strip running around the bathroom. Luxuries like heated mirror pads and concealed LED lighting finish the look.

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One of the biggest projects you tackle in your home will always be the kitchen. Everyone now wants their kitchen to be the heart of their home and you need to think about how you will use the room. This is one area where a specialist interior design firm can listen to your brief and build a solution for your family.

In Highbury this year we designed and installed this bespoke kitchen for a client. If your budget allows this route will give you the kitchen of your dreams with little comprises. It also doesn’t have to be hugely expensive and is often comparable to the cost of mid end high street kitchen. We work with our in-house fabricators to create bespoke kitchens that are truly unique to our clients and their lifestyle.

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This kitchen was custom sprayed in a soft grey that complements the Element 7 mansion weave floor. Dashes of black were introduced with the honed black granite worktop and the steel exterior door. We also installed a new custom designed roof light to flood the room with natural light. The perfect balance between kitchen and dining space was achieved and it has now become the client’s favourite room of their home.

So having given you some inspiration it’s time to start thinking about your own home. Whether it’s the kitchen or bathroom, your bedroom or living room the sooner you start the sooner it will be finished. If you need help from us head over to our website and drop us an email.

If you have enjoyed this post and would like more inspiration why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, follow me for my regular updates on twitter or look at our Instagram feed. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Filed under: Projects Tagged: Highbury, Interior Design, Islington, Kings Cross

Read more here: APD Interiors

How to Reuse Wine Bottles and Corks in the Garden

By Becky Striepe

wine bottle garden border

Got a collection of empties that you haven’t recycled? Here’s how to reuse wine bottles and corks in your garden!

We love to entertain and hate to toss out anything that might prove useful later on. Of course, what that means is quite a little collection of empty wine bottles and the corks to match. Luckily, it’s time to get our summer garden planted, and our bottle and cork collection might just pay off!

Related: 8 Craft Projects for Glass Bottles

Creative Commons photo by cara fealy choate

How to Reuse Wine Bottles in the Garden

If you’ve got a sizable collection of empties, you might consider using them to line a raised garden bed. If you go this route, you’ll want to be careful if you’re using a weed-whacker out there. That’s a recipe for broken glass in your garden, and you certainly don’t want that! Here’s a good example of a place where the wine bottle garden would work. Since the area around the bed is all covered in gravel, there’s no need to bring a weed whacker anywhere near it.

If you’ve got just one or two bottles handy, there’s always the awesome wine bottle gas lamp. My husband made a couple of these for our back yard, and they’re awesome! A word of caution: make sure you buy the right sort of coupling. We had to make an extra trip to the hardware store, because the first one we got tapered way too much, and we couldn’t get the wick through!

Another great project that requires just one empty bottle is this handmade hummingbird feeder. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, so you might consider decorating your bottle with some red glass paint or even tying a red ribbon around the neck of the bottle.

How to Reuse Wine Corks in the Garden

Cork makes awesome mulch for potted plants. Just cut the cork into teensy pieces with a sharp knife, and you’re ready to mulch! The porous cork will let moisture in and help keep it in the soil. Just remember, we are talking about the old-school corks made from cork oak, not the newfangled plastic ones.

With just a little bit of DIY power, you can turn a handful of corks into sweet little garden markers. All you need are some corks, a wire hanger or two, wire cutters, and permanent marker. Cut the hanger into 6″-8″ pieces. Then, use your marker to write your plants’ names on your corks. Gently stick the wire into the cork, and voila! You’re ready to mark those garden rows. You could also use strong glue (or maybe hot glue?) to attach your corks to the ends of thrifted utensils – butter knives would work really well for this! Just let the glue dry completely, and you’re good to go!

So, have you guys done any fun wine-themed garden crafts? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Got a collection of empties that you haven't recycled? Here's how to reuse wine bottles and corks in your garden!

Read more here: Crafting A Green World

Cameron van der Burgh’s Top 5 Grooming Tips

By Men’s Health

The general man’s man and Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Cameron van der Burgh, knows what it takes to look and feel good. The Head & Shoulders ambassador is also known to lead a life uninhibited and filled with natural confidence.

“Whether I’m competing with the world watching, training in the pool or at home relaxing with my family, my daily grooming routine is an important part of maintaining the confidence I need to succeed in the competitive world of swimming,” explains van der Burgh.

Here are his five tips on grooming to look and feel as good as him:

1. The Basics:
The fact of the matter is one’s grooming routine shouldn’t get in the way of an action-packed daily schedule. That’s why I stick to the basics in the morning of brushing and flossing my teeth.

2. Sun Savvy:
Sun screen is another important part of my morning routine – I apply it every day whether I plan on being in the pool or out.

3. Face-Off:
I truly believe that less is more when it comes to my skin, which is why I make use of a cleanser that washes away any excess chlorine, as well as a basic moisturiser to sooth the harsh effects of swimming pool chemicals.

4. Scrubbing Up Well:
My skin tends to take a beating in the pool, which is why an exfoliator only forms part of my routine once a week.

5. Hair Affair:
Our hair is one of our most defining features making a significant contribution to our overall appearance. For this reason I wash my hair everyday paying particular attention to the health of my scalp. With this in mind you’ll always find my limited edition Head & Shoulders shampoo and conditioner in my gym bag, because having visibly flake free hair and a healthy scalp gives me the confidence I need to stay ahead of the game.

Cameron feels confident to take on each day and the challenges it presents thanks to Head & Shoulders wide range of shampoos and conditioners. Head & Shoulders have been at the leading front of scalp care and hair science for over 50 years. Popular for it’s dandruff efficacy they also offer distinct scalp and hair care benefits that includes relief from itchiness, dryness and irritation. It removes 100% of visible flakes and produces healthy hair filling you with confidence. Get your hands on some now!

“Maintaining a healthy scalp and hair is about more than just washing your hair. It’s a holistic routine that can help you to relax you while you stimulate your scalp with a calming head massage. There’s a lot to be said for having visibly flake free hair and a healthy scalp. It gives me the confidence I need to lead from the front,” adds Cameron.

Think it’s time for a new fresh look? Check out The Best Haircuts For Men or Take Care of what you already have.

Read more here: Men