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DIY 4th of July

DIY 4th of July Decor

by Brittany Franciosi

With many large public gatherings and annual events canceled this year, why not throw your own backyard 4th of July celebration. Here are a few festive but easy décor ideas to spruce up your outdoor space.

Mason Jar Candles

Image and idea via TheGardenGlove.com

Use existing mason jars or find them at your grocery store and turn them into an illuminated American flag. Tape off, paint red and white stripes and use star stickers to create this look. Just finish off with candles or battery operated string lights.

Pallet Flag

via RissHomeDesign.com

With just red, white and blue paint you can create this flag that can be used for outdoor decoration all summer long.

Bandana Banner

Image and idea via Hatter & Hare Events

Find red, white and blue bandanas at the dollar store and cut out into triangles. Fold over the top of the triangle and glue around some twine. Add this festive banner to the front of a picnic table or between trees.

Tin Can Windsock

heyletsmakestuff.com/4th-july-ribbon-projects/

Make this patriotic windsock with an old tin can, whatever size you have can work and paint blue, using star stickers to create the look. Cut and hang red, white and blue ribbons found at your dollar store or craft store.

This is Home

Countertop considerations

by Anastasia Reetz

Kitchen countertops are a primary feature of any kitchen. Not only do they offer an aesthetic layout to the space, countertops also provide essential workspace. With so many different types and styles of countertops, making the perfect choice to suit your needs, tastes and desires may be somewhat of a challenge. Because countertop selection is one of the most important decisions about your kitchen, it requires thought, understanding and insight. As such, I put together a short list of surfaces to help you navigate the myriad choices available to you.

Laminate

TREND ALERT: A leathered finish is one option.

With improved graphics, longer-lasting surfaces, and better edging techniques, laminate countertops are finding their way into more homes. They are much more cost-effective than other man-made or natural products. One of the biggest sticking points was the undermounting of the sink. Traditionally, this has not been possible. But more recently, with high-pressure laminates and waterproof rolled edges, undermount sinks can be successfully and safely bonded to the bottom of laminate countertops.

Marble

TREND ALERT: extending the countertop material up the backsplash.

Marble countertops consistently remain the top choice for many homeowners, primarily because they offer a lovely, natural pattern and colors not typically found in other types of natural stone. As beautiful as it is, marble lacks general durability that’s required in some kitchens. It is a more porous stone by nature and requires good sealers to help with staining and a more gentle care since it is a softer stone as well.

Quartz

Quartz countertops are often called engineered countertops because they are fabricated from natural silicon dioxide and synthetic materials. Loose quartz makes up about 93 percent of the material. It is blended with a binder and pigment and then formed into countertops.

Being a man-made product, it has an advantage in consistency over natural products. Quartz requires very little maintenance. It wipes clean with a damp cloth. Abrasive cleaners should not be used on quartz, and they really aren’t needed. Ease of maintenance is the main advantage quartz countertops have over quartzite.

Quartzite

While more expensive than granites, marble and quartz, quartzite countertops have become very popular. It boasts a sophisticated look, natural strength and low maintenance. Each slab will vary as it is uniquely created by nature. Quartzite resists extreme heat and cold and will not burn, scorch, or discolor. If you do have a scratch, it can be easily repaired or re-finished if needed.

Granite

TREND ALERT: Dark countertops add drama and sophistication.

Granite remains a popular choice in countertops for its beauty, durability and its selection. Granite is extremely hard to scratch and it tends to withstand normal wear and tear of daily kitchen activities. When properly sealed granite can last a very long time, and complement your kitchen in a subtle way or be a showstopper and a center of attention.