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A few minor changes here and there can make a stark difference in the overall look and feel of your home. Here’s a look at a few simple tips to update your home and give it fresh, new energy.
Having a look at your light fittings and where you can change things around is a good start to a mini, no-spend makeover around the house. You may have a beautiful chandelier in your dining room which can be moved into your bedroom. Again, your lampshades are also a quick fix when changing things up. Many home decorating stores sell lampshades that can easily replace your outdated ones. Make sure you buy the correct size so that it fits your lamp perfectly.
Artworks can also be swapped around easily. A large painting above your bed may be better suited above your fireplace now. Bathroom art is very popular too and maybe all your bathroom needs is that lithograph you stored away years ago.
Be creative when it comes to painting. Painting a fresh coat over bricks is very popular at the moment. We love the look in white and other muted pastels. This is a great idea if you want to lighten up or modernise a space.
Not up for a big paint job? Focus on one wall in a room and give it a fresh coat of paint. Accent walls are still a thing and remain popular because of their flexibility. Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold colours and textures when it comes to an accent wall. Remember, the point of an accent or focus wall is to compliment the space around it. It should ideally pick up the colours used in the rest of a room’s furniture or accessories.
Rearranging your shelves is always a good idea. We often forget about our shelves and the great books hiding in them. Gather your pretty things and favourite books and make your shelf as interesting as you are. Get creative with the way you stack your books and objects. Create a few interesting shelves with beautiful pottery or sculptures. You can even use your shelf to display small framed artworks.
Need to update your home? Find an expert on HOMEMAKERS.
Supporting local businesses is always good for the economy. Here are a few local businesses that you can support in rainy Cape Town.
Sexy Socks’ mission has always been about sustainability, social responsibility and making sure everyone has the chance to enjoy having fun looking, warm feet. Adapting their mission to help curb the spread of Covid-19, they have repurposed the off-cuts from their sock manufacturing and turned them into face masks. For every mask sold, a portion will go towards their efforts to provide the most vulnerable members of the community with masks.
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room
Clarke’s has so much to offer during lockdown! From a substantial breakfast, lunch, snack and dessert delivery menu to the ability to stock up your pantry with everything you need including meat and milk and organic vegetables. Ordering is done via a shopping list downloaded from their website that you can send back via WhatsApp for contactless collection or next day delivery. You can also support the team by purchasing a printed illustration of Clarke’s originally drawn by Dylan Jones and Andy Fenner. The original drawings were auctioned off by Yuppie Chef as part of a creative initiative to support Dylan and Andy’s favourite restaurants.
Touted as one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets, Miller’s Thumb is a charismatic family restaurant run by husband and wife, Jane and Solly. The pair have adapted to the lockdown by finally putting their own line of coveted spices on sale called “Sol Food”. You can buy their spice jars or vinaigrette by contacting them via their Facebook page.
Oranjezicht City Farm
The Oranjezicht City Farm community have continued to work hard to ensure a harvest of healthy fresh produce. They have partnered with UCOOK for weekly Farmer’s boxes deliveries that you can order online. New boxes of seasonal fruit and vegetables are put up on Thursdays and tend to sell out fast. On the site you can also find out more about the farmers involved and get some recipe ideas to try at home.
Who says you can only eat Ice-Cream in Summer? The Creamery is up and running online so you can have your share of sustainably sourced, small-batch, all-natural ice-cream! With flavours like sea salt caramel, honeycomb crunch, coffee and cookie dough, how can you resist?Read More
As lockdown eases up, supporting local businesses is a way to not only get the economy restarted but it makes a real difference in the lives of families and business owners who have put their all into keeping their doors open. Here are some local businesses you can support in the cosy and welcoming city of Bloemfontein that you can support during and after lockdown.
Started by coffee-loving radio presenter turned barista James Kilbourn, Stereo Cafe has been pioneering Bloem coffee culture since opening in 2013. The cafe is currently closed so you can’t run in and grab a delicious cup of coffee on the go but you can order online for delivery and help support staff members Nkosi, Mamello and Nthabi by contributing to the virtual tip jar.
Stereo Cafe has also partnered with fellow Bloemfontein based business, Freshbox to bring you weekly deliveries of fresh vegetables, yoghurt, cheeses, bread and, of course, Stereo roasted coffee.
Jack & Jill’s Food Co. have added their own flavour to home delivery with #RingAndRunDeliveries. You can request to have Jill send the weekly menu to you via WhatsApp or email. To ensure consistent quality, personal service and safety daily orders are limited to 15 so get your order in quick!
You may be missing a seat among the flowers at Urth Lifestyle Centre but you can enjoy their food delivered to your home. Their hot menu includes curries, peri-peri chicken and beef koftas to share or enjoy all on your own. We suggest checking their online store regularly to see any new additions such as seasonal flowers, seedlings, quirky home decor items and custom design face masks.
Known for stunning clothing, dance and athletic wear, Fancy Fitness is a home-based business who have added masks to their line of products. If you are looking for small-run custom designs that support your neighbours, this is the company to support.
Boet & Sus is a “mengelmoes” of beautiful gifts, trinkets and homemade treats. They are not currently open to the public but are definitely a first-stop place to visit once they reopen.
Itching to get out once lockdown is over? Be Human – Middlewater Farm just outside the city is the place to go. There is an incredible amount to do for the whole family from the Saturday market, live music shows, festivals, animal farm hotel, splash pool, jumping castles, quad bike riding, hiking trails and game drives. Too tired to drive home? There is even an award-winning hotel and self-catering unit.
The Langehoven Boeremark is a chance for locals to sell their fresh produce, handmade goods and other products. The market is the sole source of income for many stallholders who have taken a knock since the market can currently not take place. Make sure to go out and support it “doors” are reopened.
Angel Hearts is an NPO that supports people with disabilities by creating a space where people can learn to make different decor items and handmade gifts that can be sold. Along with beautifully painted items such as trays and signs, handmade teddy bears, pillows, shoes and bags, the team are currently making unique two-layer masks.
Find more businesses to support here.Read More
If space trades as a high commodity in your home, clever multi-purpose furniture is always a winner. Finding the right plans that will conquer the purpose of the build can be challenging. The key to a great multifunctional piece is the perfect balance between style and functionality. This month’s project from Vermont Sales’ brand Kreg brings you just that; a strong, beautiful and dual functional fold-out coffee table bed.
Cut two, 45″ x 45″ squares from 3/4″ thick plywood or MDF
Cut two, 8-1/4″ x 42-1/2″ face panels and four, 8-1/4″ x 41″ sides panel from 3/4″ thick plywood or MDF. Cut the remaining scrap into 8-1/4″ lengths of material and various, random widths.
Cut an entire 2′ x 4′ x 1/4″ plywood or MDF “hobby panel” AND an entire 2′ x 4′ x 1/2″ plywood or MDF “hobby panel” into 8-1/4″ lengths, at random widths.
Align the lower box face on the top of the bottom panel. Allow a 1-1/4″ set-back from all edges. Secure in place using glue and 1-1/4″ screws through pocket holes.
Align the lower sides flush to the ends of the lower face. Allow a 1-1/4″ set-back from both sides. Secure in place using glue and 1-1/4″ screws through pocket holes.
Align the upper face on the underside of the Top. Allow a 1-1/4″ set-back from all edges. Secure in place using glue and 1-1/4″ screws through pocket holes.
Connect the upper box sides to the upper face and the underside of the top. Allow a 2-1/8″ set-back from top edges. Secure in place using glue and 1-1/4″ screws through pocket holes, as well as 2-1/2″ screws driven from the face. The sides will be set in 13/16″ from the ends of the face board.
Laminate (glue together) three, 1 x 3 boards, face-to-face. Once dry, cut into five, 8-1/4″ lengths. It is much easier to glue and clamp full-length boards together and allow to dry before cutting into shorter lengths.
Drill 3/4″ pocket holes on the underside of 8, 3/4″ x 3/4 x 39″ dowels. Connect pairs of legs together, using the dowels as double, side-by-side stretchers. Create a 1/2″ space between stretchers. Align the bottom face of stretchers 3″ from the bottom of each leg. Secure in place using glue and 1-1/4″ screws.
Connect leg pairs together with remaining stretchers. Secure in place from the underside using glue and 1-1/4″ screws through 3/4″ pocket holes.
Align the table base (legs and stretchers) on the underside of the lower box. Space all 4 legs 1/2″ from outer edges. Pre-drill into the top of the legs and attach using 3″ screws driven from the inside of the box.
Align the centre leg 8″ from the open side of the lower box panel. Pre-drill into the top of the leg and secure using two, 3″ screws.
Place the upper portion of the box on top of the lower box. Attach random-width, 8-1/4″ long veneer pieces to the lower face, sides, and upper face. Alternate the pattern of widths and thicknesses to create a random look. Secure in place using glue and 1″, 23 gauge brads.
Sand the entire surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove dust and paint or finish however you’d like. We recommend using an all-foam mattress. The inside of the box will accommodate a twin-XL mattress, folded in half.Read More
From the dry landscapes in Alexander Bay and the hot temperatures in Vioolsdrif, to rainy climates like Franschhoek, and Sutherland, the coldest place in South Africa – it seems that every province comes with its own climate. Every region has a grass type that works the best for that region. Whether you need widely adapted (exotic) or indigenous wild grasses, there is a lawn grass solution for absolutely every possible application in Southern Africa! This should be great news to those who struggle with their grass. MayFord shares some great insight with us, so take a look and identify which grass type will suit your lawn the best.
MayFord has become a household name as the trusted and tested seed brand. The MayFord packaging comes with easy to follow planting instructions and the expiry date printed on the packaging gives the customer the insurance that the seed is always fresh.
LM Berea is indigenous to South Africa and originally found on the KwaZulu Natal coast and into Mozambique. It performs very well in shady to semi-shaded conditions, but it can also be planted in the sun. The name ‘LM Berea’ derives from the former name for Maputo (Lourenco Marques) and Berea, a suburb of Durban. LM is heat tolerant and can recover from drought and heat stress through its creeping growth habit. LM is a water-wise shade-tolerant creeper that promises rapid establishment from seed.
Princess is an indigenous fine-textured Cynodon Dactylon grass variety. Perfected on the golf course, Princess is the most advanced Cynodon variety available and has a creeping growth habit with a medium-fine texture with excellent colour. Princess is suitable to plant in the full sun and has excellent drought, heat and wear tolerance which makes this grass very suitable to the home garden as well as bigger landscape areas, sports fields and golf course fairways.
Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum Secondatum) is a unique grass seed that is indigenous, Waterwise, and tolerates both sun and semi-shade. Buffalo is a perennial creeper grass and is heat tolerant and drought tolerant. Sounds a bit like LM Berea right? The difference is that Buffalo grows naturally in most coastal areas and is therefore very well known all over the Cape region. A perennial creeping grass with long stolons, it forms a dense coarse mat. Leaf-sheaths are prominently flattened. It is therefore slightly more coarse than LM Berea with a lighter green colour. Buffalo grass grows naturally in coastal regions, always near the coast or close to some source of water. It grows in all types of soils. It is also found inland as a lawn grass.
MayFord’s cool-season grasses have been locally trialled and tested for 30 years to develop a perfect mixture of lawn seed specifically focused on South African conditions. They are referred to as cool-season grasses as they prefer to be planted in cool seasons ie; spring and autumn, and since they do not creep, you will never need a weed-eater! Watch for correct (much higher) cutting height. These grasses have become brands in their own right and are the only grasses available in South Africa in both seed and instant lawn. Ask for them by name!
All Seasons Evergreen® has been designed to grow in full sun and semi-shade conditions. Unlike the creeping grasses, this grass mixture will stay green throughout the year, no matter how cold it gets. All Seasons Evergreen® can thrive in a wide variety of growing conditions and reduced susceptibility to disease without compromising the overall uniformity of the lawn’s appearance.
Shade-Over® has been designed to grow in full shade and semi-shade. The combination of All Seasons Evergreen® and Shade-Over® thus covers the whole spectrum from shade to full sun while maintaining a uniform appearance. Shade-Over® has been designed to cope with low light intensities under trees and on the south sides of walls. This grass mixture will also stay green throughout the year.
LM Berea is currently the most popular and best-selling MayFord lawn grass. MayFord is the first seed company that can supply LM grass in the form of seeds. The fact that LM Berea grass is indigenous, means it can be planted in full sun, semi-shade and shaded areas. It is relatively heat tolerant and Waterwise making it the top-seller grass that considers South Africa’s climate.
Kikuyu remains a popular grass largely due to ease of maintenance. It is not indigenous to SA (indigenous to East Africa) and is therefore not exactly Waterwise. Either way, Kikuyu is easy to establish from seed provided the sowing guide on the seed packet is followed carefully. Kikuyu tends to ‘thatch’ and therefore needs a fair amount of attention in early spring including scarification every other season.
Biomosome™ grass has been developed according to the various biome areas of South Africa. They represent a significant advantage on the all-purpose veld seed mixtures which are easily available. The initial purpose of these veld grass mixtures was to rehabilitate natural veld, but they can also be used within the landscaping environment to create an aesthetic effect in bigger landscape areas. These grass mixtures can be planted in shaded or sunny areas and are both heat and drought tolerant.
Mowing defines a lawn. Do it right and the result is a healthy, manicured and dense lawn. The practice of mowing is highly stressful for the grass plants. Never remove more than ⅓ of the blade length at a time. The mowing frequency will depend on the growth rate of the grass.
MayFord suggests cutting grass growing in full sun at about 40 to 50 mm and grass growing in shade between 50 and 80 mm – the deeper the shade the higher the cutting height.
The amount of irrigation needed will largely depend on the type of grass that was planted. Overwatering causes waterlogged soils that encourage diseases. The soil in shade areas often tends to be over watered and thus is often too wet and generally of poor physical condition. Creeping grasses should be watered during their growing season. The correct irrigation frequency and quantity will also depend on prevailing temperatures. Deep and less frequent irrigation will encourage deep root growth. Shallow irrigation confines the roots to the upper soil levels where they will be regularly exposed to dry conditions. This stresses the plants, slows the growth rate and increases their susceptibility to disease.
Lawns are some of the most densely planted areas – if you think about it, it is thousands of plants that grow together in limited space in the ground. The soil nutrient carrying capacity of permanent lawns is quickly exhausted. A fertilizer programme will ensure that the plants have the necessary nutrients available to sustain growth during the growing season by providing the correct nutrient environment in the soil. We recommend organic fertilizer and ‘Bio Ganic Lawns’ from Atlantic Fertilizers is a perfect companion for our entire range of grasses. For a more detailed fertilizer programme, consult any leading garden centre or retailer.
MayFord is a proud member and sponsor of various associations within the green industry, that include SANA (SA Nursery Association), SAGIC (SA Green Industries Council), Cape Green Forum and SALI (SA Landscapers Institute). MayFord is also a proud sponsor of an annual SALI award, awarded to the landscape company with the best use of colour in a landscape project.
MayFord has a team of specialists that are always on standby to give lawn advice and with a professional after-sales service. The MayFord website under the “Grasses” section is also a fantastic guide filled with information and guidelines on the soil preparation, planting and caring for all the various MayFord grass varieties.
For the full product range and planting instructions please visit the MayFord’s website.
by MayfordRead More
by Marion Nowak
Decorating your home is a pretty intense job. You may even feel some anxiety towards a décor project because decorating changes are supposed to last a very long time. A bedroom is usually redecorated every five to 10 years, and kitchens and dining rooms may remain the same for much longer than that.
It is really important to avoid making rookie mistakes and we’re here to tell you how. There are many ways your decorating ideas could be limiting and there is no reason that it should be!
Be like an artist and start with a visual diary or mood board. This gives you the chance to experiment with colours, fabrics and ideas that you would love to incorporate into your space. Having a clear idea of where you want to go with decorating is key to a successful overhaul.
It is never a good idea to start with a paint colour as your main inspiration. This makes it very difficult to find unique pieces that work with your colour. It is much easier to choose your decorating and design elements and then choosing a colour that comes forth strongly in those.
Big trends can get old fast. A great example of this is word art. It was cute at first, but now synonymous with being a simple space filler with no meaning. Now found in every shop including large discount stores, word art is outdated and unflattering. Instead of settling for mediocre word art choose wooden designs and art pieces with meaning for your space instead.
It is always a good idea to shop from different and unique suppliers. Avoid buying full furniture sets or bedroom suites. This can be very limiting and can suck the ambience right out of a room. Instead of choosing full sets of furniture, buy pieces that work together stylistically. Sets may seem like a quick solution to decorate a space, but it is much less appealing than mixing things up.
Find a decorating expert at HOMEMAKERSOnline!Read More
Air conditioners have been around for a really long time and today it is still a very exclusive piece of equipment to have in your home – mainly due to the fact that these units (especially installed air conditioners) are very expensive and so is electricity. People are also moving around all the time, which means that they might not want to install such an expensive device, only to leave it behind when they have to pack up and leave. Having said that, South Africa does have some of the hottest summers around and experts predict that this summer is going to be the hottest we’ve experienced in quite a while. In this article we focus on portable air conditioning systems, which can be moved around to your leisure, is often more environmentally friendly and less expensive. Hope you find this information useful, especially if you are considering in investing in such a unit this summer.
Portable air conditioner maintenance
In order for your portable air conditioning system to last as long as possible, it is essential to give it the proper care and maintenance needed:
1. Drainage: Most portable air conditioning units also acts as a dehumidifier as it removes water from the air, which is then also used to assist in the cooling process. Portable Air Conditioners will collect condensate in buckets which need to be emptied often as it normally can not be connected to pipes that will drain this water automatically.
2. Cleaning inside: Portable air conditioners will usually have some sort of air filter to eliminate airborne particles, and some advanced units may even come with built-in air purifiers complete with carbon filters and ionizers. For effective particle abatement and optimal cooling efficiency, regularly clean or replace the filters in your portable air conditioner. This should occur on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, depending on use. If your portable air conditioner has a washable filter, slide the filter out, immerse it in warm water with a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly, and let it dry before replacing it back into the unit.
3. Cleaning outside: A clean portable air conditioner will result in increased air volume, so the actual housing of the unit should be cleaned every few weeks. Wipe the surface of the unit with a soft, damp cloth when the unit is turned off. Try to keep the portable air conditioner away from direct sunlight because this can change the colour of the unit’s surface.
4. When you put it away: An air conditioner is often not something you would use the whole year round, as some do not come with a heating option as well. Ensure that you store your air conditioner properly in order for it to be in good working condition when you want to use it again the following season. Prepare your unit for storage by draining all the water from the water tank and switching it to fan mode. After you have allowed the unit to dry properly for several hours, unplug it, clean the filter, wrap the cord around the cord hooks, pack the unit in its original carton box and store in a safe, stable and dry location.Read More
Becoming a homeowner is always exciting. Making sure that your home remains in good condition can take time. Use this simple maintenance guide to keep up with regular maintenance and avoid the most common maintenance issues.
Although we’ve tried to keep this guide as simple as possible, it is always best to seek professional help if you are unsure. Find a range of home lifestyle professionals here.
Assess possible insect issues. Clear cobwebs and prepare your insect repellent measures.
Check, clean and repair patios and decks. Ensure that it is sealed properly, check for loose boards, insect infestations, cracks and that the railing is secured.
Check for cracks, blisters, bubbles and peeling paint, especially on exterior walls. Look out for water stains, moisture and damp in walls and ceiling.
Remove sediment and prolong your geyser or water heaters life by flushing it.
Service fireplaces/built-in braais and clean chimneys.
Check paving for cracks.
Check windows and door seals, replace broken or cracked panes of glass and apply new putty where necessary.
Check batteries and test smoke/ carbon dioxide detectors.
Prevent grime and build up in less frequently used spaces such as guest bathrooms by running water and flushing toilets.
Check that power outlets, switches and light bulbs work.
Check window and door handles and locks are in working order.
Clean build-up residue in shower heads.
Clear gutters of leaves and debris to ensure proper water flow. Make sure gutters are properly secured and connected allowing water to flow away from the house.
Check for roof leaks and damaged roof tiles.
Check and fill wall, ceiling and foundation cracks.
Clear dead plants and shrubs, check that plants are not growing into cracks and trim trees where necessary.
Check the grout in bathrooms and kitchens.
Check for small leaks in plumbing and taps
Check, clean and if necessary change air conditioning filters.
Clean sink disposal using vinegar ice cubes (this cleans the disposal and sharpens the blades).
Clean stove extractor fan filter with degreaser and hot water.
Test geyser or other water heater pressure relief valve.
Do a deep clean: Thoroughly clean appliances, windows and surfaces.
Vacuum refrigerator coils. Dirty coils cause fridges to run less efficiently and use more electricity.Read More
Summer is here and that means wonderfully, and sometimes unbearably, hot temperatures. To survive the heat without the exorbitant electricity bill, here are ten simple home cooling hacks.
It’s as simple as closing the curtains, blinds and doors. This makes your house cooler by simply keeping the sun’s rays out.
Closing the doors of rooms you’re not using allows cool air to not be rerouted into unused space and away from where you are.
Setting your fan to rotate counter-clockwise lets it pull hot air up instead of blowing it in circles.
Place a bowl of ice or an icepack in front of a floor fan for an instant extra cool, sea-like breeze.
Swop out thick bedding for cooler options such as cotton and silk. These materials are far more breathable, therefore are able to keep you cooler. For really hot nights freeze a water bottle and put it at your feet or lightly dampen your sheets with cool water to help you cool down.
While plants such as cacti remove humidity from the air indoors, planting trees or vines near light facing windows helps block out the sun’s rays. You can also opt for less natural options such as awnings which will also reduce the amount of heat your house absorbs.
Using the stove and oven generates more heat in your house. Hot summer evenings are the perfect excuse to get some fresh air and put your braai and outdoor furniture to good use.
Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking any vital airflow and move it if it is. This will ensure that air moves through your home freely and lower the overall temperature.
Keep the use of your washing machine and tumble dryer during the day to a minimum. These machines increase indoor humidity in turn make your house hotter.
Using incandescent bulbs not only use more electricity but emit far more heat during use than LED and CFL (energy savers). Ninety percent of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs goes to producing heat not light. Changing to LED or CFL bulbs will therefore make your house a little cooler and save you money in the long run.
Whether it’s in your car, home or office, an air conditioner is a welcome respite from the summer heat. As technology has developed so has the way air conditioners are made, providing more environmentally friendly options for cooling down on hot days.
If you are looking at upgrading or getting a new aircon this summer, here are three things to help you make the best choice for your pocket and the environment.
Picking the correct size air conditioner for your room is step one to getting the best results. Air conditioner size is measured in terms of cooling capacity, which is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). A simple calculation to work out the best unit size is to work out the square meterage of the room and multiply that by 500. For example, an 18m2 room will require a 9 000 BTU air conditioning unit (18m2 X 500 = 9 000 BTU).
If your aircon is too small, it will have to constantly run as it struggles to keep the room cool. If it is too big, it will cool the room too quickly and turn on intermittently without removing removing moisture so the room will still feel clammy. In both cases you will end up using more energy than necessary.
Energy efficiency goes beyond your personal electricity bill every month. As South Africa regularly struggles to produce enough electricity, being conscious of your overall electricity usage is a way to help alleviate pressure on the electricity grid.
When buying a new air conditioner check its Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), this is usually indicated by a sticker on the front of the unit. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient it is and the less it will cost to run.
Opting for an aircon with inverter technology, where the unit maintains a constant ambient temperature without having to turn on and off constantly also saves energy. Inverter units also run more quietly.
Keeping the aircon temperature between 18oC and 22oC or no more than 10oC below the ambient temperature will also reduce energy consumption. This temperature range is generally the most energy efficient.
Help your air conditioner to keep your home cool by correctly insulating your home. Put insulation in your ceiling and seal windows and doors to keep the cool in during summer and heat in during winter. Keeping windows and doors closed will help keep the temperature constant.
Choosing an air conditioner that works efficiently for your home will home is kept perfectly cool while saving you costs. An energy efficient air conditioning unit will also ensure the environment is better looked after while you stay comfortable through the hot summer days.Read More