Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas for 2010

It's the end of another Thanksgiving weekend. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Tomorrow is Cyber Monday!! Time to get ready for some great online shopping! Here are some new gift ideas to get you started...

If you know someone who would like to learn calligraphy or know someone who loves Asian arts and crafts, these beautiful Chinese calligraphy box sets make a wonderful gift. Don't forget to include the extra ink.

Large Calligraphy Silk Box Set

Large Calligraphy Wooden Box Set

Calligraphy Brush Stand

Another great gift idea for the holidays is my high quality Asian tea. These Asian tea blends are imported from China. Two yummy new flavors, just in time for the holidays are

Black Vanilla Tea

and Christmas Scents Tea

Chinese tea is not only a delicious way to warm yourself on a cold winter day, it has health benefits as well. A great way to serve your tea is with these decorative Oriental tea sets. They make a great gift for the tea lover in your family.

Black Calligraphy Modern Round Tea Set

Cherry Blossoms Calligraphy Classic Round Tea Set

Stone Dragon Modern Round Tea Set

Stone Cherry Blossoms Oblong Tea Set

There will be more gift ideas to come, so please check back every week from now until Christmas!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Guest Blogger Eric Stevenson on Safe Home Renovations

Home Decorating News would like to welcome guest author Eric Stevenson, who was kind enough to offer these helpful tips and information on safety with home renovations and the possible hazards you need to watch out for.

Ensure Safety Before the Style

Home renovation can be an incredibly exciting process. You probably watched home improvement shows, picked a color pallet and figured out what each room is lacking. Sometimes these renovations can be relatively small, like the installation of a new rustic lighting fixture or a new color of paint. However, many of the biggest and most exhilarating home alterations can include committed changes, like removing walls, tearing out old fixtures and digging through layers of flooring. Some of the more mundane renovations you’ll likely need, especially with an older home, are the updates and removal of structural and internal dangers, like mold, inefficient insulation and wiring.

While the installation of an impressive new oak door might look great, failing to modernize insulation around it will make those improvements purely aesthetic. Wiring, too, is especially important not just to your wallet, but to your safety as well. Older home wiring might not be able to withstand the increased power consumption of modern appliances, leading to electrical strain that can cause fire. In addition, many older homes contain outlets that are not grounded, which is again dangerous when families use appliances that require higher levels of electricity. These older, two-slotted outlets should first be replaced before homeowners take on any form of aesthetic improvement.

Chemical dangers, especially, are an important factor to consider when renovating your home and removing outdated materials. Because these dangerous chemicals are hard to spot, many families fail to take the necessary defenses. One such dangerous chemical is lead. Since 1991, the United States has identified it as a huge health risk to children because it is easily absorbed into growing bodies. It’s widely known lead is present in older paints. However, it was also used in many other products as well, such as gasoline and pipes. Therefore, there are numerous ways homeowners, especially children, can risk exposure to this chemical if it is not properly removed. In addition to chipping paint, lead exposure can occur through the air, in the form of lead dust, in drinking water, in food or even in contaminated soil.

Another common chemical in older homes is asbestos. A natural mineral once popular in the 20th century for many construction purposes, it also poses huge risks if exposure occurs. Once popular because of its fireproof, heat resistant, and electrical-insulating nature, this material has since proven toxic. It poses a serious cancer threat when broken, jagged or shredded, allowing its release into the air and inhalation into the lungs.

Although asbestos also received a lot of attention because of its dangerous nature, its commonness in past construction makes it an ongoing problem, especially as older homes are renovated and the aged mineral is exposed. Mesothelioma, the name of this disease, is a cancer that results from exposure to this chemical. If exposed, there are four different types of this disease, with the most common developing in the lining of your lungs. The worst part about mesothelioma symptoms is that they usually don’t show up until 20 to 50 years after your first exposure to asbestos.

Home renovation includes more than picking out paints, acquiring tools and freeing up several weekends to finish the project. It also includes collecting the knowledge to get the most from your improvements and keep your family safe as you dig through old walls and wiring. Only when you first plan for what you might encounter during these projects will improvements match expectations. It is then you will see your time, money and efforts were well spent and your excitement was justified.

Have fun with your next home renovation project, just make sure you keep safety in mind at all times. Nothing is more valuable than your well-being.