Home Improvement: Steps for hanging holiday lights outdoors – Salisbury Post

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It begins to look a lot like Christmas when twinkling lights brighten up homes inside and out. Few things liven up the season more than holiday decorations, particularly clear and colored lights. Prior to taking out the lights, ladder and thermos of coffee to get you through the job, it’s important to note that there are right and wrong ways to hang holiday lights.

• Sketch out your plan. Start by taking a few photos of your home from various vantage points. Print out the photos on regular paper so that you can draw your lighting arrangement and decoration placement right on the photos to see how things will look.

• Measure the area. Use a measuring tape to roughly measure the width and height of eaves or other areas of the home where you plan to hang light strands. Calculate how much overall footage you will need so you can purchase all of the lights in one shopping trip.

• Test the lights first. Plug in the lights to be sure all strands are operational.

• Begin where the lights will be plugged in. Start where the lights will be plugged in and then work your way around the house.

• Add to shrubs and trees. Lights also can adorn shrubs and trees. Lowes Home Improvement says a good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 1 1/2-feet of tree or shrub to cover. A 6-foot evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting.

• Exercise extreme caution. Accidents can happen when stringing lights. While many professionals use harnesses, homeowners are not always so cautious. Utilize a spotter to hold the ladder and make sure things are safe. Never set foot on a wet or icy roof. Do not attempt to string lights in inclement weather.

• Know the wattage. Each outlet can generally hold about 17 amps or 1,870 watts if the lights are not sharing a circuit with another outlet. Plan accordingly to ensure you have enough power to handle your lights.

• Use plastic clips. Plastic light clips hang strands along eaves and gables. They’re specially designed for hanging lights over the gutters. Some slip under the edges of roof shingles. Lights can be hung without staples or nails, which can damage exterior surfaces. Plastic zip-ties or deck clips also can attach lights along a handrail.

• Use only outdoor extension cords. Be sure the extension cords you use are designed specifically for outdoor use.

• Use a timer. Timers can make sure the lights turn on and off even if homeowners forget. Once lights have been safely strung, sit back and enjoy the splendor of a well-decorated house.

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Home Improvement: Simple ways to improve a kitchen pantry – Salisbury Post

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People have been spending more time at home in 2020 than in years past, and certain projects around the house have become a priority. One home improvement idea that serves the double benefit of creating organization and making cooking at home more efficient is to reimagine the kitchen pantry. A pantry is a room or closet where food, beverages and linens or dishes are stored. Pantries can be highly useful spaces that provide ancillary storage in kitchens. Many modern homes are equipped with pantries, but older homes may require some modification to create more useful pantries. Whether starting from scratch or modifying an existing pantry, these tips can help projects go more smoothly.

• Maximize vertical storage. Utilizing vertical areas can help increase storage capacity. Build in extra nooks by investing in undershelf storage baskets. These baskets can instantly create designated areas for different types of ingredients. Homeowners also can look for ways to use the inside of cabinet doors or add extra shelves on walls or in eaves.

• Consider your needs. Figure out which items you would like to store in the pantry and then shop for corresponding storage systems. For example, storage solutions may feature wine bottle racks, baskets for potatoes and other produce, shelving for small appliances, and even pull out racks for baking pans or cutting boards.

• Use clear storage. Put ingredients in clear, airtight containers of similar dimensions so that you can easily find items you need. Transfer bulky items, like cereals and baking supplies, to storage containers for uniformity.

• Store bulk items elsewhere. Bulk shopping can be cost-efficient, but bulk items can quickly eat up real estate in the pantry. Designate another area for non-perishable bulk products, like paper goods or canned items, such as in a garage or utility room.

• Pull out drawers are convenient. Pull-out drawers can reduce the need to seek and reach for items. These drawers conveniently roll out so items in the back can be accessed without disturbing foods in the front. Drawers can be custom built for any pantry space.

• Make it accessible. Think about who will be taking items from the pantry. Put children’s snacks on the bottom pantry shelf where they can reach them, and then organize other shelves for adults in the home. A pantry remodel can add valuable storage space and make one of the busiest rooms in the house operate more efficiently.

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Home Improvement: Signs your gutters are in need of repair – Salisbury Post

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Fall is a great time to tackle projects around the house. The weather each fall allows homeowners to make improvements to their homes’ exteriors without worrying about extreme heat or cold, while interior projects like painting are made easier because homeowners can open the windows to allow for proper ventilation. Fall also marks a great time to prepare for upcoming projects that can make winter work that much easier. For example, fall is a great time to take stock of your gutters so you can address any issues before leaves begin to fall or the first snowstorm touches down. Compromised gutters can contribute to water issues in basements and adversely affect a home’s foundation if not addressed immediately, so it behooves homeowners to learn the signs that gutters are in need of repair or replacement.

• Gutters hanging off the home: Gutters were once installed predominantly with spikes. However, many industry professionals now install gutters with hanger brackets. Why the change? Spikes loosen over time, leading to the gutters hanging off the home. That can contribute to serious issues if left untreated. Gutters hanging off the home need not necessarily be replaced, but rather secured to the home, ideally with hanger brackets instead of spikes. Brackets hook into the front of the gutter and are then screwed into the fascia of a home. A professional who specializes in gutter repair can perform this task relatively quickly, and it’s an inexpensive yet highly effective solution.

• Gutter separation: Gutters that are no longer fastened together can leak and contribute to issues that affect the home’s foundation, siding and appearance. Clogs and the accumulation of debris can cause gutters to separate because they are not designed to hold too much weight. Replacement of separated gutters may or may not be necessary depending on how big the problem is and the condition of the existing gutters. If replacement is not necessary, separated gutters may be remedied by securing the joints, another relatively simple and inexpensive fix.

• Peeling exterior paint: Paint that appears to be peeling off of your home may indicate that water is seeping over the edge of the gutter closest to your home. When that happens, water is coming down the side of the house, causing the paint to peel. In such instances, replacing the gutters is often necessary.

• Basement flooding: Not all signs of deteriorating gutters are outside a home. Many a homeowner has been flummoxed by flooding in their basements, and such flooding can be caused by aging, ineffective gutters. That’s because deteriorating gutters sometimes allow water to leak near the foundation of a home, contributing to basement flooding. Fall is an ideal time to inspect gutters and have any issues fixed before leaves begin to fall or harsh winter weather arrives.

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Home Improvement: Holiday gifts to spark home improvement ideas – Salisbury Post

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People have spent more time at home in 2020 than they likely have in years past. This has provided homeowners with plenty of time to ponder potential upgrades to their homes. After taking inventory of their lifestyles, surroundings and furnishings, people have embarked on construction projects or home interior design renovations in record numbers. Holiday gifts that cater to projects around the house are likely to be highly valued this holiday season. Here are some ideas for home improvement-related gifts.

• Home improvement retailer gift card: Home improvement centers are one-stop shopping for do-it-yourselfers. To help offset the cost of supplies, gift-givers can give a gift card to a neighborhood hardware store.

• Magazine subscription: There are plenty of ideas on the internet, but a subscription to a home remodeling or interior design magazine puts inspiration right in homeowners’ hands. Pages can be marked or cut out and used on idea boards.

• Tools and supplies: Homeowners just starting out may benefit from the basics. Stores often sell starter tool kits that can be used in home improvement-themed baskets. Experienced DIYers may have a special tool in mind that is outside their budget right now, like a chop saw or cordless power drill. Purchasing one of these items can help projects move along more smoothly.

• Expert consultation: Who can’t use a little help with their home remodeling efforts? Give the gift of a consultation from an interior designer or professional contractor to help complete plans that may be a little out of reach for the average DIYer.

• Big-ticket item: Some friends and family members may want to pool their resources and offer loved ones an over-the-top gift. This can include a backyard playset for children, a storage shed, a pool installation, or even a new appliance package. Gift ideas are endless and only limited by budget.

• Room re-do: All it may take is some new linens or accents to transform a room. From throw pillows to curtains to wall art, give the gift of an easy room makeover. Riding the momentum of increased home improvement projects from the past several months, holiday shoppers can choose home-related gift ideas to keep the projects and ideas flowing.

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Home Improvement: How home design trends are evolving for social distancing – Salisbury Post

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COVID-19 has brought changes to everything, and home design is no exception. Experts are expecting to see lasting impacts on everything from the materials we use to the rooms we prioritize. Check out these and other noteworthy trends:

Houses over apartments: Many people who live in condos or apartments do so to be closer to the action — work, entertainment and shops — and never planned on spending much time at home. But the pandemic has changed that, and more people are going to want a home that offers plenty of room and outdoor space in case they need to self-isolate again.

Self-sufficiency: A hard lesson we’ve learned is that things and services we thought we could count on aren’t necessarily a sure thing, so items that increase self-reliance will become very popular. Expect to see more homes with sources of energy like solar panels, sources of heat like fireplaces and stoves, and even urban and indoor gardens that allow you to grow your own produce.

Outdoor living: Between playgrounds closing and parks becoming overcrowded, many of us are turning to our balconies, patios and backyards for fresh air and nature. This means we’re going to be investing more in our outdoor spaces, with functional kitchens, soothing water features, cozy firepits, and high-quality outdoor furniture to create a much-needed escape.

Healthier spaces: Thanks to spending more time indoors and reprioritizing our health, we’ll turn to design to help ensure our homes are safe and healthy for our families. We’ll see a rise in products like water filtration systems as well as materials that improve indoor air quality. For new homes and additions, alternatives to wood-framing like insulated concrete forms from Nudura, which offer improved ventilation for healthier indoor air quality and an environment that’s less susceptible to mold, will be key.

Home office space: Business experts are suggesting many companies will see that working from home is not only possible but offers tangible benefits, like saving money on office space rent. With working from home on the rise, creating a home office space that inspires productivity will be a major project many of us tackle. Luxury home office furniture that feels chic and blends into your décor as well as ergonomic chairs and desks will see a major boost.

Custom and quality: With the hit to the economy, people are going to be buying less, but what they do buy will be better quality, while at the same time making an effort to support American businesses. When it comes to design, trends will shift to locally made furniture, custom-built homes and pieces and materials that stand the test of time. Find more information at nudura.com.

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Home Improvement: The secrets to cold weather entertaining – Salisbury Post

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Upon the arrival of cold weather, people tend to move indoors and limit their time spent in the elements. For those who live in places where there are restrictions placed on indoor entertaining and gatherings, it may be challenging to find ways to spend time safely together as temperatures drop. The COVID-19 virus as well as other respiratory viruses are spread from person to person through respiratory droplets released into the air while coughing, talking or sneezing, states the Mayo Clinic. A person is more likely to inhale these droplets from an infected person while indoors, especially when they’re in close contact with that person. When outdoors, there is a lower risk of contraction.

Outdoor entertaining in winter may be challenging, especially in regard to keeping everyone warm. The following are some solutions that can help people stay warm and have fun outside.

• Invest in fire pits: Fire pits are an affordable way to heat a patio or another outdoor area. They can be great places for friends and family to gather around and enjoy special occasions. They’re readily available from garden centers and home improvement retailers at a variety of price points. Permanent fire pits can be built by a homeowner or professionally built by masonry experts.

• Install an outdoor fireplace: A step up from a fire pit, outdoor fireplaces not only add warmth, but also improve the ambiance and value of an outdoor entertaining area. Set up outdoor furniture right next to an outdoor fireplace and you have a cozy alternative living room where everyone can gather.

• Explore outdoor heating systems: Few things are more effective at warming up outdoor entertaining areas than patio heaters and infrared heaters. These devices are far more effective than average fire pits or fireplaces. One or two heaters will be enough to keep a large entertaining area warm.

• Keep cozy options available: Guests should dress warmly, but having a basket of throw blankets, scarves and parkas available for extra warmth while mingling is helpful. Use outdoor rugs to insulate from the cold from the ground up.

• Serve hearty foods and beverages: Stews, chilis, soups, and other hot foods can help guests warm themselves up from the inside out. Warmed cider, hot chocolate and mulled wines also can be served to help people stay warm.

• Get moving: Incorporate activities that encourage guests to move around and stay warm. Beanbag tosses, dancing and even sports like flag football can keep guests’ blood flowing. Entertaining outdoors doesn’t have to stop when the weather cools. Find ways to stay comfortable and safe when entertaining outside in the cold.

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Home Improvement: Safe and effective ways to clean up leaves – Salisbury Post

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Removing leaves from the yard is a task that homeowners must perform each fall. Thousands upon thousands of leaves can drop from a single tree. Multiply that by the number of trees on a property, and it’s no surprise the task of leaf cleanup can seem so daunting. Furthermore, not all leaves are shed at the same time, so several cleanup sessions may be necessary before the last leaf is banished from the yard. Just like removing snow, leaf cleanup can be a taxing job if done by hand. For people unaccustomed to exercise, cleaning up leaves can turn into quite a workout.

According to the Discovery Health Calorie Counter, raking leaves for one hour can burn nearly 292 calories. Shoulders and arms will feel the burn. Raking leaves is considered moderate physical activity, similar to brisk walking. Those who find themselves straining or out of breath should take a break, and these tips also make the job safer and easier.

• Wear layers when cleaning up leaves. It may be cool at first, but it’s easy to work up a sweat after raking for awhile. Layers can be peeled off so as not to get overheated or risk hypothermia from sweating in chilly temps.

• Pay attention to your posture while raking. James Weinstein, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Dartmouth Medical School, recommends forming a wide base with the feet and holding the rake slightly toward the end of the handle with one hand three-quarters of the way down the handle from the other. Do not twist the spine; move your entire body. Avoid overuse of muscles on one side of the body by switching sides periodically.

• Do not try to rake or blow leaves on windy days. Wind will only make the task that much more difficult, which could lead to overworking oneself.

• Avoid overfilling bags. For those who plan to mulch and bag leaves, remember that compressed leaves can get heavy pretty quickly. Do not over-fill bags, as they can be hard to move or bring to a recycling center. Using a leaf blower to push leaves into piles will reduce the strenuousness of the task, but leaf blowers can be heavy and noisy and gas-powered blowers can produce a considerable amount of exhaust. Raking leaves can be quite a chore. It is important that homeowners take steps to prevent injury while cleaning up leaves in their yards.

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My Turn, Hope Oliphant: Garden made possible by United Way – Salisbury Post

By Hope Oliphant

Main Street Marketplace Gardens is designed to grow awareness and provide education surrounding the vital importance of good nutrition and healthy lifestyles. In addition, our hydroponic garden will help fuel our community market with fresh and affordable produce for all to enjoy.

Thanks to the generous support of the 2020-2021 United Way grant funding, Marketplace has been able to expand our ability to provide fresh foods and to create a 400-square-foot living garden with year round produce within our warehouse space that is attached to our current marketplace. Individuals in our community will have the ability to see their healthy produce grown before their eyes, taste the harvest, learn how to utilize micro-greens, herbs and a variety of lettuces and actually purchase it all at an affordable price for their families. People can even use EBT to make these purchases if needed.

For many, visiting Marketplace means having the opportunity to access healthy foods that are affordable for their families. So often, people living on a limited budget must sacrifice the ability to purchase quality products for the necessity of quantity. This means purchasing more processed food and fewer whole foods for their families. Through our hydroponic garden, we have the ability to make it possible for all in our community to access fresh produce.

The hydroponic garden will be all organic, sterile, and kept at a controlled temperature of 65 degrees. When harvested, this produce will go directly from the garden into our cooler, which will allow our produce to have a shelf life of four to five weeks. We will have the ability to have a harvest of greens in approximately 31 days from seed to full growth.

The benefits of an indoor hydroponic gardens are truly far-reaching. We are growing to train and employ our local neighbors as Marketplace staff helping those in our community work toward a living wage. We desire to improve the diets of those in our community and, therefore, help end healthy food insecurity.

We hope to educate and inform others on the importance of good nutrition. Finally, we are growing to meet the challenges of tomorrow today, as our natural resources dwindle and climate changes create extra challenges for generations to come. As we continue to grow sustainably with safe and health-conscious agriculture practices, our organizational goal is to adapt and learn how to innovatively increase healthy options for all in our community.

Now more than ever, your support ensures we build a healthy, thriving, and equitable community.

As a community change agent, you and your gift to Rowan County United Way will improve individuals’ and families’ lives by making a positive impact in our community.

Hope Oliphant is executive director of China Grove-based Main Street Marketplace and Meeting Place, which was formerly known as Main Street Mission.

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Woman faces drug charges after being found in laundromat bathroom – Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — A local woman found faces meth and heroin possession charges after police say she was found high in a laundromat bathroom.

Salisbury Police charged Dystanie Yolanda Richard, 23, whose address is listed as the streets of Salisbury, with felony possession of a controlled substance schedule I, felony possession of a controlled substance schedule II and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

A man alerted an officer that the woman was in the bathroom of the Speedwash Laundromat, 124 S. Avalon Drive, and appeared high.

The officer seized a Crown Royal bag that was inside another bag and contained sterilized water, a powder substance believed to be heroin and a spoon with a white substance on it. She admitted she was high when the officer spoke with her, police said.

She remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $3,000 secured bond.

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