Vegetable and fruit workshops fill garden calendar

Citrus and Fruit Trees for the Houston Area:

Sociohorticulture – The Holistic Garden: with Joe Novak, former Texas A&M University and Louisiana State University professor. 7-8:30 p.m. at the White Oak Conference Center, 7603 Antoine; 713-895-8021,

Montgomery County Master Gardeners’ Fruit and Nut Tree Sale: 8 a.m. educational presentation, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. sale at the Montgomery County AgriLife Extension Service, 9020 Airport, Conroe; 936-539-7824,

Fort Bend Master Gardeners’ Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (or until sold out) at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, Barn H, 4310 Texas 36 S., Rosenberg; 281-341-7068,

Successful Spring Vegetable Gardening: with Master Gardener Luke Stripling. 9-11:30 a.m. at the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Service, 4102 Main, La Marque; 281-534-3413,

Tomato Varieties and Growing the American Gardener’s Favorite Plant: with Dianne Norman. 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Wabash Feed and Garden Store, 5701 Washington; 713-863-8322,

Harris County Master Gardeners’ Open Garden Day and Soil and Composting Workshop: 9–11:30 a.m at Harris County AgriLife Extension Service, 3033 Bear Creek; 281-855-5600,

Sponsored by Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance. 4-8 p.m. at United Way, 50 Waugh; register at $55 members, $75 nonmembers, includes dinner.

[...] Sustainable Landscape Conference:

Harris County Master Gardeners’ Fruit Tree Sale and Symposia: 8 a.m. plant preview, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. sale at the Harris County AgriLife Extension Service, 3033 Bear Creek; 281-855-5600,

Secrets of Managing and Installing Your Landscape: with Norman Arnold, owner of Glorious Gardens and Landscapes.

Nottingham Country Garden Club program. 9:30 a.m. at the Municipal Utility District building, 805 Hidden Canyon, Katy; 713-870-5915,

Houston Area Urban Forestry Council event co-sponsored by the Harris County Flood Control District, Texas A&M Forest Service and CenterPoint Energy. 10 a.m. at the Harris County Flood Control District retention basin, 7600 block of W. Little York; 713-688-8931, 713-688-8932,

Harris County Precinct 2 Master Gardeners’ Fruit Tree Sale: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Campbell Hall, Pasadena Fairgrounds, 7600 Red Bluff, Pasadena;

Brazoria County Master Gardeners’ Fruit and Citrus Tree Sale: 8 a.m.-noon at the Brazoria County Fair Grounds, 901 S. Downing, Angleton; 979-864-1558, …read more

Via: Gardening


5 DIY Home Maintenance Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Guest Post by Andrea Davis

When embarking on home improvements and renovations, it’s important to separate the do-it-yourself projects from those best handled by professionals. Attempting to handle a professional job on your own could lead to expensive repairs and additional renovations. Here are some DIY disasters and how to fix them with professional help:

#1 Fixing plumbing pipes

If the plumbing starts to go out in your basement or attic — or underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks — be extremely careful in how you go about fixing them. Homeowners often think that they can twist pipes with a wrench to get a clog out, but this can lead to a pipe coming off and water puddling all over the floor. Moreover, when pipes have more extreme damage like holes, rust or cracks, they need to be replaced. Don’t attempt to buy new pipes without some guidance; you could get end up getting the wrong materials or the wrong size.

That’s when you need to find a licensed local plumber. Plumbers have the knowledge and experience to safely and quickly fix your plumbing issues, whereas attempting to do the job without experience will likely lead to costly repairs — including new flooring or insulation, depending on the extent of damage.

#2 Replacing windows

image via North Georgia Replacement Windows, Inc.

There are many factors to consider when replacing your windows. First, windows don’t typically come with a frame, which means additional materials and installment costs. Second, you need to consider how you will safely remove the old window and frame. Homeowners who don’t have experience with window replacement run the risk of damaging the old window frame and breaking the glass, which could lead to a dangerous mess and the need for costly repairs. Local window professionals offer the tools and knowledge necessary to remove old windows and frames. They can also suggest new frames for replacement windows.

#3 Demolishing walls

If you’re planning to remodel or add to your home and are looking to save a few dollars by doing the demolition work yourself, first consider the average remodeling costs before you start swinging the sledgehammer. If you DIY a remodel, you could run into plumbing pipes, electrical wires and structural beams meant to hold up the roof. Depending on the age of your home, could also run into lead, asbestos, radon and other hazardous materials that could infect your lungs. You never know what’s lurking behind the walls of your home, but you do know that you don’t want to spend money on extensive infrastructure repairs or medical bills. To be safe, you should always at least consult with a general contractor before attempting to demolish and remodel anything yourself.

#4 Felling trees

While some homeowners may choose to trim branches on their own, felling trees is another matter entirely. There are a lot of risks involved with felling trees, including:

  • Sharp tools causing injury
  • Branches hitting power or phone lines
  • Trees hitting the landscape (bushes, lawn, fence, etc.)
  • Trees falling onto the home
  • Trees falling onto a child or …read more

    Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


How To Create The Perfect Vanity Set-Up At Home

Growing up with two sisters and living away at college for 4 years, I realized something: don’t take personal space for granted. It’s a rare commodity. When I finally moved into my own place a few years ago, I knew I had to dedicate a spot in my apartment for “getting ready.” I wanted a place where my beauty products were organized and neat so I could sit down every morning and prepare for my day in peace, without running all over the place looking for a spare bobby pin or eye shadow brush.

Setting up a vanity station, I found, was something that required some planning. Here are my tips for creating the perfect set-up at home:

1. Make sure you go through your stash and throw out anything that’s old or expired
There’s no use in organizing products you don’t use or should no longer be using due to expiration dates. (YES, makeup has expiration dates!) Do a full clean-out of makeup, hair, and skincare products and only keep what you use regularly. This will minimize clutter and make for more efficient decisions when getting ready every day. If you need help figuring out when makeup expires, read this.

2. Pick a vanity table that makes cleaning easy
My vanity has a glass top (see photo above!), so wiping it down is a breeze. If your vanity table is made out of wood or another material that’s difficult to clean, remember you can always take measurements of the table’s dimensions and have a piece of glass cut to sit perfectly on top.

3. Find the perfect spot in your home to set up your vanity
This could be in your bedroom near a window so you can make use of natural light, or even in a corner of your home office. I wouldn’t suggest setting up in any of your main living spaces, but hey – your house, your rules!

4. Be creative
Put some personality into your vanity area by adding a fun vintage mirror painted in your favorite color, or making decorative organizers out of mason jars or flower pots to ensure each of your brushes has a home. Here are some ideas to get you started!

Setting up an organized vanity area is guaranteed to make getting ready at home fun and fabulous!

The post How To Create The Perfect Vanity Set-Up At Home appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

…read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Life in FiDi: Renting in the Financial District NYC

Home to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Federal Reserve Bank, the Financial District NYC has long been known for its all-business environs. Although the neighborhood remains a hub for finance, it’s also brimming with charm and history, and it boasts excellent public transportation, particularly with the addition of the new Fulton Center.

In the past decade, “FiDi” (as it’s been labeled) has seen a rebirth, now attracting more New Yorkers then ever. The mixed-use section of Manhattan has a lot to offer, including wide-open Battery Park City. Those searching for a place to hang their hat shouldn’t ignore this historic section of downtown, as they may find home sweet home here.

What’s positive about renting in the Financial District NYC?

1. More Space for the Money

Apartments are generally larger and cost less than some other areas south of 14th Street, such as TriBeca and the West Village. Currently, the median price is about $3,600 per month for a one-bedroom in the neighborhood.

2. Bigger Apartments Work Better for Families

More square footage is better suited for couples with children. Room to sprawl is most likely on your wish list if you have little ones or plan on starting a family soon.

3. More Free Wi-Fi Spots

Believe it or not, this part of Lower Manhattan offers more public Internet spots than any other part of the island. This amenity is particularly attractive to those who work from home and look for places to accommodate their mobile office.

4. More Public Artwork

Who would think of the Financial District as a location for public art projects? Most likely, creative endeavors like this wouldn’t be high on someone’s list, but the unexpected perk of discovering art on the streets where you live only adds to your quality of life. You’ll find more free art here than in any other neighborhood in town.

What’s negative about renting in the Financial District NYC?

1. Less of a Neighborhood Feel

Still considered a business district, the area lacks brownstones and tree-lined streets, which populate many other parcels in the city. In turn, everyday life might not feel as comfortable or permanent as it would in the East Village, Upper West Side, or Hell’s Kitchen.

2. Streets Bustling with Crowds

While you can expect relatively quiet evenings and weekends, weekdays will be busy year-round with commuters and nine-to-fivers traveling to work, eating lunches, and meeting for after-work cocktails.

3. Construction

Much of Manhattan is engulfed in construction, but the Financial District NYC will continue to grow and change, which means ongoing building and renovation projects. Noise, dirt, detours, and inconvenience will easily be a regular part of life in the neighborhood. By the same token, growth often brings increased property values and higher prices — which brings me to the next point …

4. Higher Rents in the Future

With major corporations such as Condé Nast relocating to FiDi and the area becoming increasingly family-friendly, more New Yorkers will express interest and desire to live here, which drives …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


How the Heart of the Home is Getting Smarter

What struck me at the Consumer Electronics Show is the ability for innovators to continue making technology that has been around for decades fresher, newer and more intelligent. Check out the video below for my take on the ever evolving heart of the home: the kitchen.

To see more of the fabulous innovations featured at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, visit

The post How the Heart of the Home is Getting Smarter appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

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Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Essential Nursery Room Ideas

Designing a nursery is exciting! As you begin to plan for your new baby’s space, consider some of these nursery room ideas to give you a head start on designing and decorating.

Choosing the Right Room for Baby

Choosing a room that will become your nursery may be an obvious choice or an agonizing decision. Whether you have a few spare rooms to choose from in your DFW home or are struggling to create a space in your already cramped place, use these tips to figure out where to plan your nursery.

  • Heating, Air and Ventilation: New babies are especially susceptible to heat and cold. Evaluate spaces in your home to ensure you choose one that can be maintained at a proper temperature.
  • Easily Accessible: Accessibility is key for you now and baby later. In homes with bedrooms on different levels, accessibility can be a key decision factor — are you going to go up or down stairs every trip to the nursery? Could you choose a space on the same level as your room while your child is an infant and move them to a bedroom on another floor as they grow older?
  • Privacy: If you have additional people living with you in your home, remember that baby will need to have private, quiet space to accommodate falling (and staying) asleep and distraction-less feedings. You’ll also want a place that can keep a majority of your baby gear self-contained.
  • Lighting: Whether flooded with natural sunlight or aided by overhead or standing lamps, having a nursery with lots of lighting is important.

What’s in a Color?

Once you’ve picked a space, your next step is to choose the main color for your nursery room. This color can influence furniture picks, wall hangings, and matching accessories. Don’t feel like you have to follow conventional color schemes (e.g., pinks and blues). Instead, think about what colors you already love and what overall theme you want to create.

Try out some of these potential nursery room ideas for your color palette.

  • Deep hues: For a twist on conventional colors, consider using a deep blue, hot pink, vibrant green, or sunny and bright yellow for the walls.
  • Rich earth tones: Use a rich golden tan color, a smooth chocolate brown, or a forest green shade for an earthy palette.
  • Complementary color: If you’ve already chosen a character or theme to build your nursery around, pick a complementary colors associated with that theme to be your main wall tone.

Fill It Up

Last (but certainly not least) is filling your nursery with furniture for the baby — and for you! Here’s a list of must-haves for your new baby space.

  • Crib: When it comes to the crib, you have two major choices to make: Would you prefer a crib that will simply and only be a crib, or one that convert into a bed as your child grows older?
  • Changing table: You’ll use this item almost a dozen times a day as your little one goes through diaper after diaper. If your space is limited, …read more

    Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Soundproofing a Room: How to Reduce City Noise in Your Home

In a busy city like Philadelphia, the vitality of urban life can interfere with the quiet enjoyment of your living space. If noisy neighbors or loud street noises filter into your new home or apartment, soundproofing a room can be a sanity saver. Here a few suggestions to help you block excess noise.

Add Textiles to Mute Sounds

The easiest and cheapest way to mute sounds from outside or other apartments in your building is to add heavy fabrics to your living space. Heavyweight material like velvet curtains or product made exclusively for sound dampening work best. Light-blocking curtains available at Bed Bath & Beyond contain extra layers of fabric that also work to reduce noise. To cover a shared wall, specially made fabric acoustic tiles or even canvas prints can add to your decor while serving to reduce noise.

Flooring Options

Certain flooring options work better than others when soundproofing a room. For an easy solution, place area rugs over hardwood flooring to dull some of the noise rising from apartments below. If you’re looking to add new flooring, cork flooring is well known for its sound-absorbing properties. Carpeting absorbs noise as well as providing cushion and added heat retention in the cold winter months.

Some Not-So-Simple Solutions to Consider

If you work from home or sleep during the day due to a second- or third-shift job, soundproofing a room may be more of a necessity than a personal preference. The best noise reduction solutions may require a greater monetary investment, but with some additional home improvements you can block a large percentage of noise creeping in to your home. Window soundproofing can be completed through the use of acoustic seals. Products like the Climate Seal Acoustic Series window inserts claim to reduce noise by 80 percent. Installing a second drop ceiling using acoustical tiles is another solution. The hollow space between the two ceilings works to kill sound vibrations emanating down from higher floors, while acoustical tiles provide additional noise reduction. Although the drop ceiling tiles are often used for basements or in commercial settings, they can provide a significant sound barrier in apartments as well.

Everyone’s tolerance level for noise varies and solutions are available from simple to complex. If you’re searching for a home or apartment in Philadelphia and have concerns about the surrounding noise level, keep in mind that many products are available to assist with soundproofing.

The post Soundproofing a Room: How to Reduce City Noise in Your Home appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

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Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Real Estate Headlines with a CES Twist

The Coldwell Banker Blue Matter team has returned from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show and there’s one thing we know for certain: the home of the future is here today. From home automation to robots to smart appliances, science fiction is a reality for those who want their homes to be. So for your weekly dose of real estate headlines we wanted to highlight some of the top posts we published during our time at CES.

Everyone’s heard about the smart home, but what about a smart garden?

The Smart Watch just might be the control center for your home.

Vintage vinyl with a modern style and sound is the perfect addition to the audiophile’s home.

Will the future laundry room take some of the dirty work out of cleaning clothes?

These LG vacuums are like having your own cleaning service.

Lowe’s Iris app might be the best smart home system out there.

Your driveway is now your personal basketball trainer thanks to 94Fifty.

Forget about Rosie from The Jetsons. Your home will soon need Jarvis from Iron Man.

Soon you’ll be able to ask your bedroom vanity “Which outfit or makeup style makes me the fairest of them all?

You can cancel your gym membership because iFIT is turning your home into the ultimate gym.

Go get a 4K TV. Like right now. Go.

And finally, be sure to watch our Day 1 recap video. And you might as well watch the Day 2 recap video as well.

The post Real Estate Headlines with a CES Twist appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

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Via: Coldwell Banker Blog