Archive for December, 2012

Is Your Bed Squeaking?

Is Your Bed Squeaking

Do you have trouble going to sleep at night?  If so, you might want to check your bed and see if it makes noise when you move. A squeaky bed makes it harder to have a peaceful night’s sleep, and it may be keeping you up without you even realizing it.

If you have a squeaky bed, the first thing you need to do is get to the bottom of the squeak.  Explore the possible reasons why your bed is making a noise, and, hopefully you can try to fix it instead of buying a new one.

To help you when you check your bed, here are some reasons why it may be squeaking:

  • Your bed is weakening. A bed frame, especially one made of less durable wood, oftentimes weakens after being used for a few years. As it grows older, your bed frame can no longer support your body weight, so it makes noise when you move around.
  • Your floor is making all the noise. There are flooring materials that do not conform well to the material of your bed frame.  As a result, they create noise every time your bed moves slightly.
  • Metals are grinding together. If you have a metal bed frame, it is common that the pieces of metal will grind together and make noise.
  • Loose bolts and joints are making sounds. If there are loose screws and bolts in your bed, they may be squeaking or grinding into the frame or floor.

So, what can you do to eliminate the squeaking sound?

  • Add more pressure on your mattress to reduce the squeaking sound. Adding hardwood or something else with seight under your mattress will minimize the squeaking.
  • Add lubricants to the springs. This will help reduce the noise that comes from the grinding metal springs. You may also want to replace old springs with new ones.
  • Balance your weight on the mattress, so the springs inside are also balanced. You can do this by rotating your mattress every few months.
  • Tighten all the bolts and screws on your bed.
  • Check your floor. If your floor is the problem, place an area rug underneath your bed frame to reduce the squeak.
  • If your bed frame is too weak or old, it’s probably best to replace it with a new one.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Decorating Ideas for Your Backyard Parties

Decorating Ideas for Your Backyard Parties

Backyard parties are very common during the summer months because the weather sets the perfect ambiance for socializing outdoors.  It’s fun to create a festive environment by decorating the table on your deck or creating a party area further out in the yard. You can even set up a gathering spot underneath  a tree.

To help you prepare for your backyard parties, here are some decorating ideas you can use:

  • Bring nature closer. Since it’s a backyard party, why not add some décor using natural materials? Make use of organic elements around you such as flowers, potted plants, small pebbles,  and nature-inspired dining pieces. Instead of plastic furniture, use wooden tables and chairs. Wooden benches are an excellent addition if you are expecting more guests.
  • Prepare outdoor games.  Play a game of Frisbee or Badminton while waiting for the food to finish grilling. You can let the kids run around and play tag or hide and seek among the trees.
  • Bring everything outside. Refrain from going in and out the house, as it spoils the outdoor fun. Bring everything you need for barbecuing outside and set up a cooler or mini-refrigerator to hold your drinks and other items that need to remain cold.
  • Dress up your table. If you have a theme for the party, let it be reflected on the table as well. Add a few added touches like small fresh flowers spread all over the table or a beautiful centerpiece.
  • Make your guests more comfortable by providing shady areas and protection from the sun with sun hats, fans, sun block, and bug spray. Arrange the items in a wicker basket, so your guests can access them when they arrive or just let everyone know that they are free to use them at will.
  • Add lights for an evening party. Let your party extend well into the evening with ready to use decorative lighting installed around your deck. That way, when the night comes, there is no interruption to the party.
  • Don’t forget the trash.   Provide colored trash bins with labels for recyclables and non-recyclables, so guests can dispose of their own trash and minimize the post-party cleanup.
  • Add paper lanterns for added color and fun to the party. Hang them above the table and in corners. Choose cheerful colors like green, orange, and yellow.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Junior League of Oklahoma City Offers Grants to YWCA and the Myriad Gardens Foundation

In celebration of its 85th year of operation, the Junior League of Oklahoma City Inc. will be offering a grant to two of its community partners in Oklahoma City. It will be a part of its annual program to provide grants and projects, and this year, the grants will be offered to the YWCA and the Myriad Gardens Foundation.

Established in 1927, the Junior League of Oklahoma City Inc. aims to provide training and support for women who are committed to leadership and volunteerism. This group of women desires to enhance the potential of women through various improvement projects and encourage more volunteers. Any woman volunteer is welcome without discrimination based on race or religion.

JLOC is awarding YWCA a grant to improve resources in its Business Technology Center and Hand in Hand Learning Center. YWCA is a nonprofit organization that provides support programs for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Through the $51,000 grant, YWCA will be able to add more computers, books, furniture, and updated technology to their center.

The Myriad Gardens Foundation will also be receiving a grant from JLOC to help expand their resources for their programs. A two-year grant of $34,000 will be given to the “Bringing Books to Life” program of The Myriad Gardens Foundation. New books and interactive programs will soon be available through the grant, and children can enjoy their own book nooks to read their favorite books.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Lighting a Small Space in Your House: How to Make It Brighter

Lighting a Small Space in Your House How to Make It Brighter

Small spaces at home are often dark and cramped.  Having to work in a small home office or eat in a small dining room makes it difficult to feel relaxed and comfortable. Although installing lights can help brighten the room, there are also other ways to do so using natural lighting, such as the following:

  • Add windows to let the sunshine in. Install a window in your small living room or dining room to make the space light and bright.
  • Cut an opening in your solid wall divider or install an interior window. If you have a huge divider in between two rooms that makes each room smaller, cut a long opening out of the top of it to create more open space. If you don’t want a huge opening, install an interior window instead. An interior window will help expand the feel of the room and also let the light come in.
  • Use thin, sheer curtains instead of thicker drapes. That way, even if you need to close the window with a curtain, the natural light can still pass through, making the room brighter. Use silky sheets in white or pastel colors.
  • Install a glass interior door instead of a solid hardwood door. Interior doors add class and style to a home, but the drawback is that they take up a lot of space.  Maximize the use of interior doors without compromising the space of a room by adding a glass panel or full glass door. This will allow you to see the other room and create more light for each smaller room.
  • Paint your small space white. Painting in dark colors will create the impression of a smaller, darker room. But, painting in white or other light colors will brighten the room.
  • Let the natural light reflect all over the room. Add a mirror to an opposite facing wall to help reflect the natural light and make the room brighter.
  • Use better lighting solutions, such as wall scones, chandeliers, and pendant lights. These kinds of lighting tools can provide the proper lighting for a room without taking up much space.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Working with a Landscape Professional

Working with a Landscape Professional

When you want to increase the curb appeal of your home, one of the many things you take into consideration is landscaping. Having beautiful landscaping in your yard will enhance the look of our property and make our home appear more elegant. Lovely flowers in bloom, green grass,  stunning water features, and well-crafted stone pathways all serve as eye-candy for homeowners and potential buyers.

If you want to add a scenic touch to your yard, a landscape professional can help. Landscape professionals are experts in beautifying your yard and garden, so you can simply relax and enjoy them.  To make your landscaping project a success, it is important that you work well with your landscape professional. You will be spending a lot of money, so it’s important to communicate well the first time around because mistakes and changes can be costly.

So, how do you work well with your landscape professional?

  • Set a budget. Before you begin any home project, always set your budget first to evaluate whether or not you really can afford hiring a professional to work for you for a period of time. Consider the costs of hiring a professional, including labor and overhead.
  • Decide what you want and use it as a basis for hiring the right kind of landscape professional. There are different kinds of professionals that can work on your landscape, so you want to be sure you’re working with someone who will address your needs. A landscape architect will focus more on the overall structure of your landscaping, while a designer will concentrate on its aesthetic appearance. If you only need help in growing more plants, try working with a horticulturist.
  • Sign a contract prior to the start of the project. A written contract will provide support and security for both you and your hired professional. Make sure that everything you want and everything your landscape professional needs are described in the contract.
  • Supply the resources that your landscape professional will need. This includes access to a source of water, electric outlets, and added space for their materials and equipment. If you give your landscape professional what he or she wants, then your project will be done in no time.
  • Set the ground rules up front. You may be working with people you don’t know, so it is important to establish guidelines before you work with them. If you don’t want somebody to smoke on the job, you need to express that from the beginning.
  • Learn everything about maintenance before the project ends. Ask your landscape professional to teach you how to properly maintain your landscaping, so it can last for a long time.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Edmond Sees Increase in December Sales Tax Collection

Edmond Sees Increase in December Sales Tax Collection

Since pre-holiday shopping encourages major spending among consumers, it is no surprise that the City of Edmond will be collecting more sales tax revenue.  Edmond officials recently announced an increase in sales tax revenue by 3.25 percent, and although it’s not entirely credited to pre-holiday shopping, it exceeded expectations with significant growth compared to last year.

An 8.25 percent sales tax is paid by shoppers on each of their purchases with 4.5 percent going to the state and 3.75 percent to the city. There was a $4,439,437 increase in the city’s tax collection in December as compared to last year.  That is about a 19.97 percent increase since July, which amounts to $26,669,492.

Of that amount, 2 percent will go to the general fund for operations, amounting to a total of $2,736,018, which is an increase of $652,442, or 31.31 percent, as compared to last year. In addition, $4,102,999 has been collected from the new half-cent sales tax, which is going toward the public safety center.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Cooking Safely at Home This Winter

Cooking Safely at Home This Winter

There are a lot of advantages to easting at home instead of going out to eat. Cooking meals at home generally allows you to provide more nutrition to your family because you know what you are putting into your food and body.  In addition, cooking meals frequently can save you a lot of money because you can feed your family for half of what you would pay in a restaurant.

If you plan to stay in and cook a lot of meals for your family this winter, it’s a good idea to keep safety in mind. Cooking in the winter can pose a challenge because ventilation is limited, as are resources like outdoor grills. That said, below are some effective ways to cook safely at home during the winter season:

  • Avoid using gas grills or charcoal grills inside the house. These types of cooking devices are meant to be used outside, not only due to the fact that they have open flames, but also because the fumes given off from grills can be harmful to your health.
  • Be careful about plugging in appliances. If you need to use an electrical appliance, make sure that your circuit is not overloaded, so you avoid sparks and possible electrocution.
  • Install a smoke detector. You may be cooking delicious meals during the holidays when you guests.  But, once they arrive, you can become distracted and forget to turn off the oven or stove, which could lead to fire.  If that were to happen, a smoke detector would alert you, so you could contain and extinguish the fire.
  • Avoid using your gas oven or range for added heat inside your house. Aside from the fact that it’s a costly way to generate heat, it is also unsafe, especially if left unattended.
  • Never leave the kitchen when you are cooking your food.  The best precaution is to stay in the kitchen, so unwanted disasters like pets or kids knocking hot pans of the stove can be avoided.
  • Do not store your gasoline inside your house because you want to avoid inhaling the fumes or risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Sealing and Protecting Your Asphalt Driveway

Sealing and Protecting Your Asphalt Driveway

Aside from its essential functional role of providing a smooth pathway for your vehicles, a well-maintained driveway can also add more beauty to your property. Just compare two driveways: a driveway filled with cracks and holes and a smooth driveway. Which would you prefer?

One way to maintain your driveway is to add more protection to your asphalt through sealing. Sealing adds a layer of protection to your driveway so it can withstand wear and tear from extreme weather condition, harmful external elements, and continuous traffic. It keeps your driveway looking new despite frequent use.

Here are some specific advantages of using sealant on your asphalt:

  • Protects your driveway from harsh weather conditions like extreme heat and snow, which can otherwise cause your asphalt to deteriorate.
  • Shields your driveway from oil and gas leaks coming from vehicles. Oil spots on the road can be unpleasant to look at and they also attract more dirt and dust, leaving your asphalt dirtier than ever.
  • Prevents your driveway from becoming dull and gray. If you don’t want your asphalt road to look old and worn out, sealing it will help it maintain its look.
  • Adds curb appeal to your property. Whether or not you sell your house or property, a well-maintained driveway adds more value to your property.

But, before you seal your driveway, check it first for any possible needed repairs. Clean your driveway thoroughly, so dirt, dust, oil leaks, and stains are not trapped by your sealant.  If you don’t, they will make your driveway look old despite fresh sealing.  Try to scrub oil stains first and then sweep your driveway thoroughly.  Then, look for potholes and cracks and properly fill them. The idea is to smooth out your driveway and make it look like new before sealing it.

If you are ready to seal your driveway, make sure to use the proper sealant for your particular type of asphalt. Read the instructions first so you apply it correctly and know what to watch out for to remain safe throughout the process. If you feel unsure about your ability to seal your driveway yourself, hire an expert.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Free 2013 Calendar Offered to Edmond Residents

Free 2013 Calendar Offered to Edmond Residents

As part of the city’s annual tradition, Edmond officials are offering a free calendar to local residents who are interested. This year, 10,000 calendars for 2013 have been prepared by the local government to be given away to the public. The calendars include different useful city information like trash collection dates, city council and planning commission meeting dates, holiday office hours, city budget information, and a community directory.

Those who want to get their free 2013 calendar can pick them up at select city offices like Utility Customer Service, Public Works, the City First building, the Municipal Court building, and the Downtown Community Center.  Certain select shops in Edmond, as well as the Edmond Public Library, will also have the calendars available for pick up.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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Keeping Pests Away During the Winter

Keeping Pests Away During the Winter

When the weather turns cold outside, we like to take shelter in the comforts of our own home and escape the freezing temperatures.  The problem is that pests like to take shelter in your home as well and scavenge for food that you may leave behind.  As much as you would like to maintain the cleanliness of our home, when this happens, there can be lots of messes to clean up.

So, to help you get rid of pests when winter comes, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Seal all entry points. If there is nowhere to enter your home, then the pests will have to go somewhere else.  Entry points are areas that allow them to easily access your house, so seal up cracks, crevices, and gaps that you find in your house.
  • Check your firewood before bringing it inside. You may never know what’s hiding within your wood that could come out and scatter inside your house. Before you store wood near your fireplace, check for ants and cockroaches.
  • Clean your gutters and waterspouts. Dirt accumulated in these areas can serve as a good habitat for pests. So, while you still have the time to clean up these areas, do it.
  • Keep your trash cans out. If you need to put a trash can inside your house, make sure to throw leftover foods outside rather than in your indoor trash. Empty your indoor trash can regularly.  This will prevent pests from being attracted to potential food sources.
  • Keep everything clean. Keep everything sanitized inside the house

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors
http://www.alanandheatherdavis.com

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