Printing Out Beautiful Wedding Invites

So you’ve decided to get hitched, and you’re wanting to pursue the most budget-friendly option available. In most cases, that means making your own wedding invitations, which is perfectly reasonable! Having the perfect custom invite “feel”, without the custom invitation price, is one of the often-overlooked aspects of a great do it yourself wedding! Unfortunately, the headaches that can come along with deciding to create and print your own invites can cause many couples to skip this option. For your research purposes, however, I’ve gone ahead and gone through the trouble of testing out a variety of different printing types, settings, and options, as well as different types of inks, to ensure that you are completely satisfied with your custom wedding invitations.

PaperInvites

Starting off, it’s important to decide upon the proper printing machine and ink in order to not only be satisfied with the end results, but happy with the invitation’s colors and sheen on the finished product when it’s received! In general, most commonly-found printers are inkjet, and use a dye-based ink that soaks into the paper. These are the best for using on semi-gloss or glossed paper, because they will soak into the material and look brilliant. Unfortunately, the major downside to these common inks is that they tend to have a smaller lifespan than other ink types, such as pigment ink.

The special pigment-based inks that are typically more expensive than your average dye-based inks, don’t actually soak into the paper. They are held in a solution that stays and dries on the material’s surface instead of being absorbed directly into the paper.

It’s also vitally important that you choose the proper paper when printing out your own wedding invites. The right paper will just feel correct. In general, some good guidelines to follow include choosing a highly-durable paper which has a weight of 80 lbs. or more, as well as having the heft and general feel that you would want your invites to have. Depending on the type of ink you choose, you can also vary up the material of the invites – some fun and unique materials include linen, card stock, cotton rags, and any other fabrics you can think of! It can help to head to an office supply store or a local stationery store such as Hallmark to check out the various options you have.

If all else fails, you can call a high-quality printing company, that specializes in office technology, printing supplies, and document management, such as Cobb Technologies, to help give you some guidance on how to proceed.

Tackling the Toughest Carpet Stains

Maintaining a neat and clean carpet is important to many of us, but that doesn’t mean we want to call a professional for every spill or stain. Provided that we’re not going to just make things worse, a lot of us would prefer to try and remove the stain ourselves.

There’s just one problem: We don’t always know which stains we can handle, and which stains are better left to the experts. Let’s take a look at four of the most difficult stains and explore what, if anything, we can do about them.

Wine

The dark red-purple color of wine is notoriously difficult to remove. That’s because the pigments in the wine bond very strongly to fabrics – so much so that these pigments are used in fabric dyes. Once wine dries, you’ll certainly need to call a professional. You may have a chance to remove the stain if you act quickly enough.

The first thing you’ll want to do is lightly dab away the wine with a white cloth. You’ll be tempted to press down hard to pull up the wine more quickly, but don’t do it; you want to keep the liquid as close to the carpet surface as possible. If the wine penetrates too deeply, you will probably require the heavy-duty extraction equipment used by your local Chem-Dry or other carpet cleaning pro.

After most of the liquid is removed, you’ll want to apply a cleaning solution. Three can work well: Salt, club soda (or a combination of the two), and dish soap mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Salt is effective at soaking up wine. Club soda is effective at lifting wine so it can be dabbed away. Dish soap is also effective at lifting, while hydrogen peroxide is capable of breaking wine down.

Blood

The dark red color of blood can also be challenging to remove. That’s because the proteins in blood aren’t broken down by water. Like any staining agent, blood is easier to remove before it sets, but you may still have some luck with dried blood. Give it a shot.

The three most common household treatments are club soda, hydrogen peroxide, and ammonia. While all three can remove blood stains, the latter two are also capable of discoloring your carpet and making a bad situation worse. As is the case with every carpet stain removal solution, test it on a hidden place your carpet before applying it to a stain that’s out in the open; this is also true of store-bought solutions.

Coffee

Like the two substances above, coffee can leave a dark stain. Coffee is difficult to remove because it’s oily, and that oil is both sticky and easily absorbed. The key to removing coffee stains is overcoming the oil, and that’s something that a mild detergent like a dish soap can usually do.

If dish soap alone isn’t able to remove the stain, try tackling the stain with a tablespoon of vinegar and a cup of warm water. As always, be gentle. Lightly dab in your cleaning solution with a white cloth to slowly pull away the stain.

Permanent Ink

We probably wouldn’t use ink if it was easy to remove from paper or fabric, and permanent ink is especially hard to remove. That said, you have a chance. The earlier you get to work on an ink spill, the less likely you’ll require a professional carpet cleaner. If it dries, you’re likely to need help.

Permanent ink isn’t broken down by any of the remedies that we’ve already mentioned. Instead, the best cleaning solution for ink is rubbing alcohol. Unlike water, rubbing alcohol is able to dissolve the dyes in ink. Once dissolved, you can dab away the color with a towel. Not all inks are permanent, however. Some are water-soluble, and can be dabbed away with water and perhaps a little dish soap.

What Today’s Window Tinting Can Do For You

Many of us love the feel of sunlight on our faces. When summer arrives, we’re happier and more energetic. But these are the benefits of natural, visible light – just one of the components of sunlight. We’re often better off without the other two: ultraviolet (UV) and infrared rays.

Untreated windows let through all three components of sunlight, the good and the bad. But thanks to window tints, we longer have to let in light that causes damage or makes us uncomfortable. Modern window tints are designed to let in the natural light we love, and block out the UV and IR rays we don’t. Here’s why that matters:

You already know that UV light can harm you; it’s what we shield against when we wear hats and sunscreen in the summertime. You may not know that UV light is also what fades the furnishings in our homes. If you can see discoloration where sunlight hits your rugs, fabrics, or artwork, you would benefit from the application of a window tint that blocks UV rays.

You also know that sunlight brings warmth; you may not know that heat is a by-product of the infrared rays that are part of sunlight. If your home becomes too hot in the summertime, you might benefit from the application of a window tint that blocks a fraction of IR rays.

Unlike older tints, modern tints are effective at blocking UV and IR rays without compromising natural light or the appearance of the window. Window tinting affords a bright, clear view of your surroundings. And tinted windows can offer an inviting natural look – not the dark or highly reflective appearance offered by traditional window tints.

Of course, too much natural light can become a problem as well. If you want to reduce brightness or glare in your home (or through select windows), window tinting can accomplish this as well.

Your local window tinting professional will carry a variety of tints designed for just about any circumstance. For starters, you’ll find tints that are designed to perform best in specific climates. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, for example, you’ll want tints that are suited to a cool, northern climate; tints will be more inclined to allow in heat and trap it inside. In hot climates, the tints will be more inclined to reflect away heat, and less inclined to trap it in.

This management of the sun’s rays helps to regulate the temperature in your home, and that relieves the burden on your heating and air system. You’ll be more comfortable, and your monthly power bill will be more manageable. With the relatively modest investment of tinting your windows, you protect your furniture and be more comfortable. And you won’t need to sacrifice the view through your windows to do it.

Keep Your Carpet Looking Great in 8 Easy Steps

When treated with care, your carpeting should last more than a decade. But without proper care, your carpeting will look dull and worn before its time. And you may find yourself compelled to replace your carpeting a few years early – something that could cost thousands of dollars. With that in mind, a little extra time and effort in maintaining your carpet is a worthwhile investment. Here’s what you can do to keep your carpet looking great.

Kick off your shoes

Shoes can track dirt, grit, and other stain-causing materials onto your carpet – but not if you leave them at the door. Consider swapping your shoes for slippers that you wear while you’re inside. Place outdoor shoes in a basket or rack that you keep near the door.

Use entrance mats

While entrance mats lack the softness and sophistication of fine carpeting, they are designed to capture the dirt, grit, and moisture that shoes track into your home. Generally speaking, mats are highly durable, stain-resistant, and quick-drying; relative to new carpeting, entrance mats are also very inexpensive.

Vacuum regularly

If you don’t have a regular vacuuming schedule, you’re probably not doing it enough. Without regular vacuuming, grit can become embedded in your carpeting, where its abrasiveness can wear down carpet fibers. Following a schedule of one vacuuming per week is recommended.

Vacuum thoroughly

When it comes to vacuuming carpet, one pass isn’t enough. Be sure to pass multiple times over each area – with extra attention given to high-traffic areas or carpeting located near doors.

Attend to stains immediately

No matter how careful you are, you will stain your carpeting. Keep temporary stains from becoming permanent ones by addressing them quickly. The earlier you respond, the more material you can pick up before it penetrates deep into your carpet. Plan to remove that stain before it can set.

Blot, don’t scrub

When dealing with stains, the goal is always to gently pull the staining substance up and out of your carpet. Blotting with a damp cloth fits the bill. Scrubbing, on the other hand, can be abrasive and harmful to carpet fibers; it can also push staining material deeper into the carpet.

Schedule professional cleanings

If you don’t have a professional carpet cleaning schedule, you’re probably not doing it enough. Professional cleaners have equipment that can penetrate carpet more deeply, and pull away more dirt and grit, than vacuuming can. Look for an eco-friendly carpet cleaning service that dries quickly.

Don’t forget your pets

Dogs can bring an abundance of dirt, grit, moisture, and debris into the home and onto your carpet. Try gently wiping your dog’s paws at the door. And wash your dog regularly and keep him well-groomed; the cleaner you keep your dog, the cleaner you’ll keep your carpet.

Getting More From Your Portable Generator

A portable generator can be your best friend when the power goes out. But there are limits to the convenience you’ll enjoy until you connect that generator to your home’s electrical panel. Until you do, household systems such as your air conditioner won’t run; you’ll also have to run extension cords throughout your home in order to connect individual devices.

In short, you’re really going to want to connect that portable generator.

When you do, you’re going to need a transfer switch, or an interlock kit that performs a similar role. Don’t even think of not using one. Connecting your generator directly to an appliance or an electrical outlet would be a violation of electrical code and, more importantly, extremely dangerous.

Transfer switches create a connection from one power source, such as your neighborhood’s power line, while breaking the connection to the other (your generator); throw the switch, and the connection changes to the other source. This ensures that you can’t draw power from more than one source, or feed power into more than one destination.

Without a transfer switch to isolate the power, power can travel in the wrong direction – such as out of your home into the neighborhood’s utility lines. This is called backfeed. If power travels from your home to a nearby transformer, the transformer could attempt to power high-voltage utility lines. A neighborhood line that shouldn’t have power could suddenly be carrying thousands of volts – a potentially deadly jolt to a utility worker.

Now that you understand why you need a transfer switch, let’s look at the two basic types: a manual transfer switch (or an interlock kit), and an automatic transfer switch.

Manual transfer switches require you, the operator, to manually select one power source or another. For example, if your neighborhood loses power, you would personally break the connection to your neighborhood line in favor of the one to your generator; the same is true of interlock kits. Neither manual transfer switches not interlock kits will select the power source on their own.

Automatic transfer switches have the added benefit of being able to sense if power is coming in through the utility line. When utility power goes out, the automatic transfer switch will break the connection to the power line; within seconds, a backup generator will engage and power the home until utility power is restored. Both automatic transfer switches (and the accompanying backup generators) are larger, more sophisticated, and more expensive solutions.

It is worth mentioning that, while manual transfer switches and interlock kits can allow you to provide power to your home’s electrical system, most portable generators cannot power an entire home. Instead, both of these options allow you to connect only to select circuits in your home. For example, you may be able to power your refrigerator and other larger devices, but you’ll need a larger generator to power your heating and air system.

For most of us, however, installing a manual transfer switch or interlock kit provides a sensible, reasonably priced upgrade to the convenience a portable generator can provide on its own.

How to Get Rid of Recurring Carpet Stains

Did you ever notice that some carpet stains are more stubborn than others? Some stains respond well to cleaning; they disappear and are never seen again. Other stains seemingly have multiple lives; they disappear when cleaned, only to reappear a short while later. What is it that causes some stains to reappear – even after a professional cleaning?

It isn’t the staining material – it’s the carpet cleaning method. Either the carpet cleaning fails to address the entire stain, or it contributes to new stains on its own.

Soaps and detergents are very effective at removing staining materials from fabrics. We see ample evidence of this each time we do our laundry. But cleaning carpets isn’t the same as doing laundry: we can neither rinse nor dry our carpets as well as we can our clothing. As a result, a sticky residue of soap can remain in the carpet after cleaning – despite the best efforts of the technician.

If a residue of soap remains in the carpet, it will attract dirt, grime, and likely whatever caused the initial stain. If the dirty high-traffic area you just cleaned has a sticky residue, continued traffic will soon bring about another stain.

Overcoming this issue requires using carpet cleaning methods that do not leave a sticky residue. In the Olympia, Washington area where I live, the local Meridian Chem-Dry uses a carbonated solution instead of detergent; this method does not leave a sticky residue. You should be able to find a Chem-Dry or other company in your area that likewise does not use detergent.

As mentioned above, stains that are not completely addressed can reappear. Effective removal of stains requires dealing with the stain at all levels – not just the surface. Some cleaning efforts very effectively remove the stain from the carpet surface, but fail to address the staining material at the base of the carpet fibers. If staining material remains at the base of the carpet, it can work its way back to the surface.

In order to remove stains down to the base of the carpet, two cleaning practices should be followed:

First, the use of cleaning solution should be kept to a minimum. Why? Any solution that’s applied to the carpet and not extracted will retain the staining material. Cleaning methods that require less solution will leave less behind. Next, you’ll want to use cleaners that use powerful extraction equipment. Look for professionals that use truck-mounted extraction equipment; these will be more powerful than portable extraction systems.

In addition to reducing the likelihood of recurring stains, professionals that follow the two practices above should also yield cleaner carpets that dry more quickly. With this in mind, it’s definitely worth asking any prospective cleaners a question or two about the methods and equipment they use.

Finding the Right Replacement Window Company

Replacing your windows is an important job – one that will have an impact on you and your home for years to come. More efficient windows can reduce the energy and expense required to keep your home comfortable. Windows can also add beauty to your home, and increase its curb appeal and sales value. And of course, replacing your windows represents a sizable investment.

With this in mind, it’s very important for you to work with a reliable and reputable window replacement company. You’ll improve your odds of finding one if you take the time to follow these steps and ask the right questions:

Meet potential installers in person. You can and should get basic information over the phone or email, such as how long the company has been in business and whether or not they are licensed. But there are some things that only a face-to-face meeting can reveal to you. Even if you’re no expert on windows, you can learn a lot by asking some simple questions. Here are some examples:

  • Do you specialize in windows?
  • Do you have your own crews?
  • How do you handle issues, post-installation?
  • How much time will it take, from ordering to installation?
  • How long would it take to install my windows?
  • Do you back your installation with a warranty?
  • Can you provide referrals from recent customers?

The answers to these questions should be reassuring. For example, the replacement window company I chose for my Charlottesville home specializes in windows and has their own crews; they also back their installation with a five-year warranty. In addition to providing clear, confident answers, your prospective installer should also convey a sense of pride and professionalism – like mine did.

Follow up on referrals. Your potential window installer should be able to provide references – and you should plan to contact them. There is no better source of information than a customer who has worked with your prospective installer. Here is the information you should seek from past customers:

  • Was the project completed as scheduled?
  • Did the windows and workmanship meet your expectations?
  • Was the company responsive to your questions and concerns?
  • Would you recommend the company to friends and family?

Chances are, if you follow these steps, you won’t go with the replacement window company that provided the first or the lowest estimate. Instead, you’ll go with the company with the best service and the best track record. That’s a decision you’re not liable to regret.

Graduation Party Planning Checklist

Graduation season is upon us once again, and high schools and colleges everywhere will be handing students their hard-earned diplomas and degrees. For most students and families, this long awaited event calls for celebration! Families across the country will be inviting all of their friends and relatives over to congratulate recent grads on all of their hard work.

Depending on the size of your graduation party, there are a number of things you’ll want to take into consideration while planning. This party planning guide will help you make sure you’re getting the most out of your graduation party.

Graduation Party Planning Checklist:

  • Guest list – Carefully look over your guest list and make sure you have enough food and drinks, seating, plastic or silverware, and space to accommodate everyone comfortably. Especially think about space, this shouldn’t be a problem if you are having an outdoor party, like a BBQ, but if you’re hosting inside, make sure everyone will have room to sit and move around. Guest lists can get out of hand quickly, so make sure you look over yours carefully.
  • Food – Make sure you have an appropriate amount of food to take care of everyone on your guest list. Depending on what kind of party you’re throwing this could just mean having a good selection of hors d’oeuvres or finger foods, but if you’re throwing a dinner party, make sure there’s more than enough food to go around – you can always eat leftovers later! If cooking isn’t your thing, or you just want to be able to properly host and enjoy your party, catering is always a good option. My niece in Long Island graduated last year and they got the Summer BBQ catering package from Suburban Eats in Melville, and it really took a lot of stress off of my sister and brother-in-law in terms of preparation for the party. Food is one of the biggest considerations for a large party like this, and should probably account for a large part of your party budget.
  • Decorations – Decorations are fairly easy for a graduation party, and you should be able to find plenty of themed plates, cups, table settings, balloons, etc. without too much trouble. If you’re crafty, you can make some pretty easy grad party decorations with the black, white, and gold color scheme (or the color scheme of the school or university that your graduate attended).
  • Invitations – This is another often overlooked part of planning a successful graduation party. Since everyone graduates at the same time, chances are high that many of your graduate’s friends will also be having parties on or around the same day as your party. Sending out invitations early will ensure that you’re the first party on everyone’s list and hopefully increase your turnout. If you wait until the last minute to invite the people on your guest list, you might end up with fewer guests than you were expecting due to conflicting engagements.
  • Layout – Plan where you want everything to be at your party. Are food tables too close together? Are drinks easily accessible? Are people going to hold up the food line while pouring drinks? Are trashcans visible and accessible? Where is everyone sitting? Will there be room to mingle even after a food line forms? All of these questions need to be considered while planning for your party to make sure the space is comfortable throughout your shindig.

For most graduation parties, you’ll also want to set up a table honoring your graduate. Generally this is where people will drop off their graduation presents. Usually for this kind of table you’ll want some pictures of your graduate, these are usually senior pictures but can also include some “through the years” pictures to make a nice timeline of achievements. This is also a good place to put a “Congrats Grad” centerpiece with some balloons to spruce it up a bit.

Luckily, graduation parties are frequently informal, and you can go into planning as much or as little as you would like. Perhaps you want everyone you know to come and have a big catered event, or maybe you just want to do a smaller thing with family and close friends, either way if you follow this checklist, you’re sure to have the perfect graduation party to cap off a successful high school or college career.

Understanding Common Carpet Cleaning Methods

There’s more than one way to clean a carpet. If you want to keeping your carpet at its best, a little understanding of the different methods used by professional carpet cleaners will help you choose the right one. Let’s take a look at the carpet cleaning options you’re likely to find:

Hot Water Extraction

Sometimes called steam cleaning, hot water extraction is the most common method employed by carpet cleaning professionals. In this process, the carpet is generally sprayed with a mixture of hot water and detergent; this solution loosens soil, allergens, and staining materials. Then a powerful vacuum is used to pull the soil, water, and detergent out of the and into a holding tank. Because this method effectively removes dirt and grime, many carpet manufacturers recommend this technique.

Hot water extraction methods can vary, however, depending on the cleaning company. Olympia’s Meridian Chem-Dry, for example, doesn’t use an application of detergent; instead they opt to use a carbonated solution which allows a lighter application and doesn’t leave a soapy residue. Some companies also use truck-mounted systems, which are more powerful than portable systems. The extra power results in more effective removal of soils, oils, and other residues; truck-mounted systems also leave less moisture behind after cleaning.

Dry Cleaning

Rather than relying upon steam or water, this method employs a highly-specialized absorbent compound. This compound is sprayed on, and then brushed or scrubbed into the carpet. Once there, the compound attaches itself to soil, grime, and other staining materials. In addition to being designed to latch onto soil, these compounds are also engineered to easily vacuum away. Dry cleaning is gaining in popularity because no drying time is involved – and because this method doesn’t stress (and break down) carpet fibers.

The most popular variation of dry cleaning is called dry encapsulation. In this method, specially designed polymers are sprayed or brushed into carpets where they can attach to soils. After latching onto soils, these polymers dry, crystallize, and harden; in this form, the polymers can be easily extracted from the carpet.

Spin-Bonnet Cleaning

Another carpet cleaning method you might encounter involves using a spin-bonnet, or buffer, to apply the cleaning solution. In this method, cleaning solution is applied to the carpet or onto an absorbent bonnet. Then the bonnet is pressed into the carpet, while oscillating or spinning to capture dirt and grime.

This method has fallen out of favor in recent years, as it has several drawbacks. Unlike hot water extraction or dry cleaning, spin-bonnet cleaning places a lot of stress on carpet fibers; this can cause premature wear. Bonnets also become less effective as they absorb more soil; if the bonnet is not changed as frequently as needed, excess soil will be left behind on the carpet. On the plus side, this method requires relatively little moisture in order to work.

Let’s summarize: For the most thorough clean, but a bit of drying time, hot water extraction is a great way to go; you should also keep in mind that this method is even more effective when truck-mounted systems are used. Dry cleaning methods are a solid choice when carpet wear or dry times are important factors for you. As for spin-bonnet cleaning – like carpet shampooing before it, this method is losing ground to newer and better solutions.

Planning Your Home Vegetable Garden

Tips to Know Before Planting Your Garden

Growing a home vegetable garden offers a family several benefits: reducing food expenses from needing to buy less, a chance to get out in the sunshine, and a way to give to neighbors and family. Before you begin planting your home vegetable garden, you need to plan what you will do. No garden is complete without effort, time, and forethought. A great resource to explore for great gardening tips that I frequently use is Better Homes & Gardens. But nonetheless, here is what I have learned.

Vegatable Garden

Location of Your Home Garden

The first thing gardeners need to consider is where around the home they will plant. Location is very important to vegetable gardens. You need to find a space that will get an average of six hours of sunlight each day. It should also be near a water source to make watering easier for you, however also look for an area that drains easily to prevent excess water from pooling and drowning your plants.

Soil is very important for home gardens. The area that you choose to grow a garden in needs to have good soil for growing plants. The soil needs to be free of large rocks, silt, and garbage. Dark, crumbling soil is the best for growing a garden in. You can improve your soil by adding compost to it.

What Vegetables Should You Plant

The types of vegetables you plan to grow in your home garden needs to be determined next. Make a list of the vegetables that your family loves to eat. This list will help you to plan what you will grow in your home garden. Once you have a list prepared, begin to research each plant. Make notes about what each one will need to grow successfully, what the typical yield is, and how large the full-sized plants will become. You can skip any vegetables that will not grow well in your area or that you do not have enough room for in your home garden.

Plan a Garden Arrangement

Digging For A Garden

Once you know where your home garden will be and what vegetables you plan to plant, it is time to plan the arrangement of your garden. Some plants grow well near each other, some do not. There are simple tips to use when planning where your vegetables will be in your garden.

  • Plant taller vegetables on the northern side of your garden, the shortest plants on the southern side. This will make sure taller plants do not steal sunshine from shorter ones.
  • Plant vining and spreading vegetables, such as squash and cucumbers, near the edges of your garden space. Keeping them on the edges will let them spread out without taking space from other plants.
  • Grow vegetables that work well together. This is called companion planting. There are several good companion charts that can be used to determine what vegetables help and hurt each other.

With proper planning, anyone can grow vegetables in their own home garden. However, if you’ve reached the age where you need a little help, a great option is finding a Fort Pierce senior care helper. It’s a great way to get the help you need to get your garden started if your body is holding you back. I hope these tips have helped you to get your vegetable garden going!