Archive | October, 2011

Painting Pointers for Your House

31 Oct

Do it yourself painting is not as easy as it looks. However, it doesn’t have to be hard either, as long as you know what you’re doing. All it takes is a little creativity, time, and effort.  By learning how paint your house properly, you will no longer have to hire someone else to do it for you, which will mean more money in your pocket  that you can put toward other projects.

So, here are a few pointers…

  • First of all, plan. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say, and the last thing you want it to paint a room only to realize you don’t like the color.  Take your time when choosing your color, what type of design or color combination you would like, etc.  By not rushing yourself, you can avoid the double effort, double time, and double costs of having to go back and redo things. So, plan ahead, deliberate on what type of color, what design and how to go about it. Never rush anything.
  • Prepare your walls the day before you begin painting. If there are cracks and holes, fill them in ahead of time. Cover furniture with drop cloths to avoid getting paint on them.  If you are painting your ceiling, be sure the floor is covered as well.  Tape off all windows and molding, so you can paint more quickly around them without worrying about getting paint on them.  By doing these things the day before, your painting will move more quickly because you won’t have to stop every few feet to prep a section at a time.
  • Gather all the tools that you will need, so you will have easy access to them while you paint and won’t have to stop what you’re doing to go search for something. It’s also a good idea to put your supplies together in some sort of a container, so you can easily transport everything together.
  • If you have a small room that you want to make feel more spacious, use lighter neutral colors.  Light colors will enhance the size of your room, while bolder, darker colors will tend to make it feel smaller and closed in.
  • If you are using a roller, only put on as much paint as you need at any given time.  Excess paint will drip from the roller, making it hard to control, and it can also leave behind drip marks on the wall if too much paint is applied too quickly.  When applying the paint, make your paint stroke in a consistent direction in order to achieve smoother results.
  • When painting wood, use oil-based paints, which seep into the wood better.  Apply the paint in the same direction as the grain in order to make it smooth and even.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Making Your Nursery The Safest Place For Your Baby

27 Oct

Expecting a baby soon?  One of the most exciting things about preparing for a bay is decorating the nursery.  Once your little one is born, you’ll want everything to run smoothly, so one of the things you’ll need to consider when layout out your nursery is what measures you need to take to ensure that it is safe and secure room.

Here are some tips on how you can make your nursery the most perfect, safest place for your beautiful baby.

  • The crib should be your primary concern. Your baby will be spending most of its time there, so it is essential that it is a safe structure. Hand-me-downs and antique furniture may have appeal, but when it comes to the crib, purchase a new one, so you won’t have to worry about damaged or weak areas that could be potential hazards for your baby. If purchasing a new crib is not an option, be sure that an older one is checked thoroughly, repaired properly, and painted with lead-free, child-friendly paint.
  • Use only a firm mattress inside the crib. We adults love to pad our beds with oversized comforters and pillows, but your baby will need more space and air to breath, so avoid filling the crib with pillows. It is also extremely important to never put anything inside the crib when your baby is there (i.e. toys, comforters, unnecessary linens) that could possibly cover or trap your baby and make it difficult for them to breath.
  • If your baby already knows how to stand up with the support of the crib, lower the mattress, so he or she cannot easily escape!
  • Do not put anything near the crib that could be a choking hazard.

  • Set up a baby monitor, so you can keep track of whether your baby is awake or asleep no matter where you are in the house.
  • Install braces in your nursery furniture so they cannot easily tip over.
  • Install a smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detector.
  • Have a wall thermometer, so you can monitor the temperature of the room.
  • To prevent the child from consuming potentially poisonous materials, store all baby lotions, oils, and powders out of your baby’s reach and secure them in a latched cabinet if possible.
  • Keep all electronic devices out of your baby’s reach and always put safety covers on your electrical outlets.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Oklahoma Wants $60 Million for Early Childhood Education

25 Oct

A share of $60 million is what the state of Oklahoma wants for the currently under-funded early childhood education programs for children between four and five years of age.

There are currently 35 states applying for the $500 million Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. According to Secretary for Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, the program indicates that there is a commitment to increase the quality of early education programs across the country. The grant money will primarily be geared toward underprivileged children who will be starting kindergarten later than their classmates.

The state of Oklahoma has been a leader in early childhood education, and it was one of the first states to fully fund an all-day kindergarten program. According to State Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi, the funds will be used more for enhancing the quality of education that already exists, especially for low-income students, and will not be utilized for creating new programs.

With the new funds, there would be a student data system for tracking the performance of each student in order to help teachers be more aware of their students’ individual levels. Barresi added that one of the major issues in the state’s kindergarten schools is identifying for each student the areas that need the most help. The funds will help teachers in this endeavor, which will better facilitate Barresi’s philosophy that, even if parents are the primary teachers of their children, teachers should be there to support them.

Parents of young children will have the option to enroll them in either public or private pre-kindergarten programs. In 2010, about 71 percent of the 4-year-olds in Oklahoma were enrolled in kindergarten.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

De-clutter Your Closet… Now!

24 Oct

Have you ever opened your closet and had a difficult time finding a single shirt to wear in the sea of mess? Do you tend to settle for the first clothing items you lay your eyes on rather than spending several minutes trying to search through your closet for the clothes you want to wear?

Well, if you answer yes to either of those questions, it’s time to take action. Either you suffer the same fate every time you open your wardrobe or simply de-clutter your closet… now!

Organizing your closet takes time – no doubt about it, especially if your closet is filled with jumbled clothes, strewn all over… not to mention shoes, a few linens and perhaps some additional things you happen to throw in your closet when guests are coming.

So, gather all your strength, face the fact it is going to take time, and lets start to clean up that closet!

  • Before, starting on your mission to de-clutter your wardrobe, first of all, prepare everything you will need during work. This includes several boxes for storing clothing (and other “treasures” you will no longer use), trash bags to throw your trash away and maybe some light snacks in case you get hungry in the process. You can also set the mood with some cool music and open the windows to let in some fresh air. Remember, it is not an easy job and you will actually lose your patience especially if your closet is rather large.
  • Empty a space around your closet. You will need more space to pile up and sort things while taking them out of the closet.
  • Gradually take things out of your closet. You start with your clothes (might consider having a “laundry” pile and a “Fold/Hang” pile), then your shoes and other things. While taking things out, sort them to the things you will need to use, the things you need to store away and the things you definitely need to throw out. Empty everything in your closet. After you are done, set it all aside.
  • After sorting all your things, it’s time to throw out the garbage so it will not mix up with your other useful things and put you right back where you started.
  • Place all of the clothes, shoes and other things in boxes and sort them depending on what you need them for. You can classify them with one box for clothes, one box for the shoes and another box for the rest. You can even sort them for the things that you might use someday down the road and the other things that are better off donated.
  • Seal your boxes and put them in your attic or basement. DO NOT forget to label the boxes so they will not mix up with the other boxes in your storage room and for you to easily find them when you need them.
  • Before going through your useful clothes, clean your closet first. Dust off all corners and wipe it all over with a clean rag.
  • It is time to sort the clothes you will often use. Just another reminder- these clothes have been in a huge muddle with your other things so set aside those that need to wash first. Arrange your clothes either according to style or according to season. You can fold and pile all of your shirts in one compartment. Put all your dresses on the hanger in one corner and your pants in the other corner. In another compartment arrange all your underwear and your socks. Put all your shoes in your wardrobe floor or in a built in shoe rack if you have one.
  • Now, breathe, relax and keep in mind to organize things every time you take something in and out of your closet so you do not need to repeat the steps all over again.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Creative and Functional Uses for Your Favorite ‘Junk’

20 Oct

Love your old things at home and hate throwing them away?  Well, fortunately, you don’t have to because most outdated or out-of-service items can be repurposed in a very functional way.  So, gather up your favorite “oldies” and explore some creative ways to reuse them more efficiently and reduce clutter in your home.

Here are a few ideas…

  • Turn an old ladder into a plant display. Take out that old ladder hidden in your basement and repaint it. Use the steps to hold several potted plants and display it in a small garden or nook. Not only will it look great, but it will also maximize the space for more plants. Or, if you prefer, you can place it in your bathroom and use it as a towel rack.
  • Want to receive reminders in an efficient way?  Use your mirrors. Old mirrors can serve as great reminder boards for all of your important tasks.  Jot down your notes with a dry-erase marker, place it near your sink mirror, and every time you wash your face or brush your teeth, you will be reminded to hurry up!
  • Make use of your old suitcases by turning them into extra storage.  Rather than giving them away or storing them in your closet, take them out and use them as a creative way to store linens.
  • Don’t throw away your old picture frame. Instead, turn it into a tray. Replace the picture with a plain or patterned cloth, and the frame is instantly transformed into a serving tray for cocktails or a vanity tray for all of your beauty essentials.
  • If you have empty drink carriers, use them as condiment holders. The spaces once used for transporting your fast-food sodas can also be used to carry your salt and pepper, ketchup, and plastic utensils for a backyard barbeque.
  • Pull out your old forks and spoons and use them as coat hangers. Bend the spoon or fork to create a hook and install it near your hallway as a coat or hat hanger. You can even put them in your kitchen to hang your apron and cooking mittens.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Oklahoma City Firefighters Educates OKC for National Fire Prevention Month

18 Oct

National Fire Prevention Month is this month (October) and the firefighters of Oklahoma City are all busy educating the OKC community with practical and life-saving information to help make this month-long event a success!

The Oklahoma City firefighters are holding school fire drills, open houses at fire stations and other methods of teaching fire safety in an enjoyable, even fun atmosphere.  EDITH, Exit Drills in the Home, is the theme for this year’s National Fire Prevention Month and residents are all invited to join and learn about how to prepare their home and families for evacuation in the event of a home fire.

There will be fire station tours every Sundays of October from 1 – 5 pm and visitors are encouraged to ask questions to the firefighters present.  Fire Sgt. Greg Speicher said that the EDITH theme implies that people should get out of the house during fire versus trying to save things or call the fire department. Speicher stressed that you should leave your house first and always use a neighbor’s phone instead of attempting to use your own.

In schools, fire drills will also be conducted throughout the month. Children will be provided with coloring books and stickers that concerns fire safety. Firefighters will also educate the children on what to do during fire and educate them about the 9-1-1 emergency number if they encounter a fire.

Some of the information noted by the firefighters includes the checking of the heating equipment as well as changing of the batteries. Air filters must be changed and wires must be checked to help prevent home fires. And remember – change your batteries in your fire detectors!

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Eco Friendly Washing Machine Buying Tips

17 Oct

Eco-friendly appliances are becoming increasingly popular these days since a lot of people are realizing the importance in being more environmentally aware. Such eco-friendly appliances are more energy efficient and thus not only save the environment – but more money for the family as well!

When it comes to laundry, a washing machine and dryer is one culprit of high energy use (just think about how often yours is running). Luckily, there are now eco-friendly washing machines that you can use just as you would any other – without changing the frequency of your laundry cycles, but at the same time, you will be reducing energy use.

When buying an eco-friendly washing machine, consider these tips:

  • Look for a machine that has an Energy Star. Any devices nowadays that are labeled with energy star are certified energy-efficient. The energy star is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy to appliances that are mostly energy-efficient. Moreover, these machines use only 50% energy that the regular machines.
  • Look for auto sensors. Although a bit pricey than those machines without an auto sensor, washing machine with sensors will be able to determine the load of your washing, how dirty are your clothes, so you can determine the exact water to use and avoid any waste.
  • Look for an Energy Guide label. Washing machines with an energy guide will provide you details on the energy amount the machine is utilizing and even the operating cost per year. You can compare machines based on the energy guide label.
  • Explore drying your clothes naturally. As much as possible, try hang your clothes outside and let it dry naturally, no energy is ever going to be used there. However, if you really need to use a dryer, look for a machine that has a moisture sensor. This automatically senses if your clothes are all dried up so it will stop, unlike manual settings wherein it continues to work even if the clothes are already dry.
  • Look for varying temperatures. Choose washing machine that has options for a cold or hot water to use. Most often, you only need to use cold water so it is good that you can easily set the temperature to avoid any energy consumption that is not needed.
  • Look for front loader. Although front loaders are typically more costly and will require you to squat when putting your clothes to the wash, it is more efficient when it comes to energy consumption. Front loaders have larger capacity which means you can combine several loads. Also, it utilizes less water and has a higher spin cycle.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031