Stones Superior Homes - Lifestyle - Blog

Civic number updating and DIY


A civic number is so much more than a way to identify a home, in a way you could say it’s a first impression or a handshake. Along with the decor and aesthetic of the outside of your home, it can also share a little bit of personality as well.
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Tis' The Season For Yard Sales

Spring cleaning usually leads to something glorious: Yard Sales!

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Clean Start: 5 Surprising Benefits of a Clean Home

An untidy house can just kind of creep up on you. Random socks are strewn in strange rooms. Nothing seems to be where it belongs. And where is that hint of a stale odour emanating from? Yes, our homes are a mess! But fear not, for cleaning needn’t be an aggravating chore, but can be a chance to freshen our homes and ourselves. In fact, having a little spruce can be a regenerating, rejuvenating, realigning experience with benefits that range from the obvious to the somewhat surprising. Read on to learn 5 benefits of a clean home.

Read the blog post: Tips to Spruce up Your Yard

Benefit 1: It’s good for your health

We have all by now at least heard of Marie Kondo and the philosophies she shared in her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and in her wildly popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. There is a reason Marie’s message has struck such a chord with so many people – it is a message grounded in truth. Whether you are a neat freak who loves nothing more than giving a room a quick spritz, or a clean-o-phobe for whom the very sight of a mop and bucket sends you into a cold sweat, it cannot be denied: A clean and tidy living space is a lot healthier than a dingy domicile.



In fact, considering cleaning as an act of self-care, rather than a boring chore, is a great way to approach the process. Set aside a weekend (or two), get your family members involved, crank some tunes, and have a fun, liberating experience!

The act of cleaning itself is a repetitive task that gives your brain something simple to focus on and your mind a break from the daily bombardment of work, life, and social media. Sometimes, so-called mindless tasks are exactly what your brain needs in order to de-stress and refresh. In fact, studies show that as little as 20 minutes of housework can reduce stress and anxiety by as much as 20 percent. 

It comes down to mindfulness. In today’s busy, technology-driven world, we so rarely take the time to slow down and focus on something straightforward. We are always looking for the next notification to check while rushing to the next appointment, or scratching off the next note on our never-ending to-do lists. When we focus on simple, repetitive tasks, we bring ourselves back into the momentmaking the act of cleaning less mindless and more mindful.



And if you think it’s just your mind that’s getting a once over – not so! Your heart stands to benefit, too. Low-intensity exercise, like housework, increases your heart rate and gives you a decent little workout. In fact, just 30 minutes of the kind of light exercise involved in tasks such as vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing floors can decrease your risk of heart disease by over 20 percentNot convinced? Next time you find yourself scrubbing that bathtub, notice your elevated heart rate, heavy breathing, and, is that a bead or two of sweat forming on your forehead?! That’s not housework, it’s a houseworkout!

Benefit 2: It’s really good for your health!
So, you rolled up your sleeves, pulled on those Marigolds, and got in several hours of muscle-strengthening, heart health-supporting, mindfulness-enhancing scrubbing. That’s where the health benefits end – right? Nope – not nearly! The health-giving advantages of cleaning extend well beyond the mopping and dusting itself.

Let’s be honest: The only time fresh air got into your home during those long winter months was for the split second it took you to walk in through the door at night, and even then you were pushing with all your might to keep that cold, frosty air on the outside of your home! So, yeah, it may be time to crack open a few windows and let that place air out a little.



Here’s something that might surprise (and possibly disgust) you: According to scientists, the air inside your home is often more polluted than the air outside your home. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency says the top five air quality problems in the U.S. are all indoor air problems. Pollutants commonly found inside the home include VOCs (volatile organic compounds), pesticides, viruses, and bacteria. They lurk in places like plant pots, rugs, carpets, and fabrics.

Furthermore, moisture in the home can be responsible for the three malicious m’s: mold, mildew and dust mites, all of which can contribute to asthma and allergies. High indoor humidity can also lead to the release of toxins from furniture or cleaning products, as well as creating an uncomfortable cold and clammy feeling in the home. Consider chemical-free or natural cleaning products and a dehumidifier if your home has that damp, muggy feel.

As you can see, beyond all the psychological benefits, there are big advantages to be gained by a good house cleaning to protect your physical health and wellbeing.

Did you know..?
Your appliances are healthier when they are cleaner, too! Dust and dirt build-up are an appliance’s worst enemies, leading to issues requiring repair or replacement, and reducing their lifespan. Be sure to include appliances in your cleaning plans to save yourself an inconvenience and money down the road.

Benefit 3: Declutter – your home, and your head!
“The things you own, end up owning you.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Tyler Durden may have been the imaginary friend of a fictional character, with some very questionable philosophies about life but, oh boy, did he have this one right!

Firstly, physical clutter. Trinkets and knickknacks, whatnots and bric-a-brac. The things you just had to have that you soon don’t even know where to find. It’s easy to fall prey to the lure of the latest gadget or gear, and sometimes hard to let go when that object of your former affections loses its appeal. Many of us will have that spare room, basement or garage where it’s easy to throw things and just forget about them. Every single one of us has a drawer or cabinet in our home filled with utter junk!*

*Not proven by science. But we bet it easily could be!



There comes a point where this physical clutter just gets in the way. Maybe the in-laws are coming in for the weekend, but that spare room couldn’t accommodate a small rodent, let alone a couple of fully grown humans. Perhaps you want to bring the car inside, or use your garage or basement as a rec room space, except the thought of clearing out the junk it houses fills you with dread. It’s time to declutter your space and open up new possibilities with your home.

Next, there’s the mental clutter. Most people these days seem to agree that true fulfillment can’t be attained through amassing material possessions, yet we still live in a society where more seems to be more. Lawn decorations, patio furniture, ATVs, cars – heck, even cottages, cabins or summer homes. Sure, things can be nice to have, but there is always a limit.

What’s more, the relative ease of being granted credit these days can cause people to overextend. Suddenly, all those material possessions and the associated monthly payments really start to add up and it becomes a real slog just to cover the bills.



Psychologically, all those things that were supposed to bring you joy are in fact sucking the pleasure out of life and hanging like a particularly plump albatross around your neck. Material possessions, in short, can make you miserable.

Purge, polish and purify! You may find that a decluttered home and mind will lead to a more habitable living space and a more fulfilling life.

Read the blog post: Downsizing Purge - What Not to Get Rid Of

Benefit 4: You’ll be move-ready when you want to leave
Have you ever moved house? Most of us have at least one time in our lives. Did you enjoy it? Most of us would say no. Quite apart from the emotional toil (moving is considered among the top most stressful life events, right up there with bereavement and divorce) moving house can involve physical strain and creates extra red tape for you to untangle.



Probably best, then, not to add to the upheaval. If you have lived in your home awhile and are now considering a move, you’ll be a whole lot happier if you’ve spent the preceding years keeping on top of the kipple*. 

If you have a garage full of garbage or a spare room packed with odds and ends, take a moment to consider the work involved in not only sorting through that little lot but then adding a move on top of it. Oftentimes, people will give in, pack all the junk into a load more boxes, and carry their burdensome junk on with them to the next place.

Ultimately, every big task becomes easier when broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks, and this is certainly true of cleaning, purging, and sorting. Doing it on the regular will help keep down that kipple, making moving a (relative) breeze.

*Kipple is what legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick called the sinister little pieces of junk and rubbish that would gradually build up in a dwelling over time. Eventually, without human intervention, Dick speculated that the whole world would one-day fall victim to a state of complete kipplization!

Benefit 5: You’ll be happier in the meantime!
But wait! What if we’re not ready to move yet? Perhaps we’re a year or two away from securing financing. Maybe we can’t downsize till the youngest flies the nest (and who knows when that might be?!) Does that make it okay to amass copious amounts of rubbish and bask in the questionable odour of our uncleaned abode?

Sorry, afraid not. Staying ahead of the cleaning and on top of the clutter is about much more than just being able to make a quick escape when the stars align and you’re ready to move on to that new home. It’s about big things like your health and happiness.

The act of cleaning can improve your mood. Even if you don’t buy into the therapeutic mindfulness that can be mined from the process itself, most would agree that the feeling of having gotten it done is pretty great. There’s nothing quite like finishing that last stroke of a cloth or sweep of a brush, then standing back to admire the gleaming, airy rewards of your sweat and elbow grease. In fact, coupled with the fresh smell, the experience boosts endorphin production in your brain and ups your energy levels. Longer-term, having a clean home has been proven to benefit mental health and reduce the risk of depression. Talk about a clean start!



That really is only the beginning, though. Studies support the adage that good habits beget good habits. One U.S. study measured the effects of an orderly room versus a disorderly room on participants’  food choices and charitability. Those in the tidier, more organized space tended to go for healthier snacks than those in the messy space, while monetary donations were higher among those in the neat environment. It was suggested, however, that creativity increased in the disorderly space. (Just don’t tell your bass-playing teenage nephew!)

In summary, the majority of people (pubescent would-be songwriters with questionable hygiene aside) benefit greatly from a bit of house cleaning. So, toss that kipple. Buff those tabletops. Breathe in the just-cleaned aroma and let the endorphins flow! And don’t limit the cleaning to your home – use your reinvigorated space as inspiration to start a new workout routine (now, you’ll have room for it!
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Tips To Spruce Up Your Yard For Spring

Now that winter is finally done, it’s time to get back outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures and the sound of the chirping birds. But first, you need to clean up the mess left behind from all the harsh conditions that come with winter. Not only will it improve the curb appeal of your home, it can give you and your family something to do together and can also be a form of exercise. It also can increase the value of your property and the number of potential buyers. The main goal though is to get your yard looking nice and fresh by the time summer comes so that you and your family can enjoy it. 

So, get your gloves on, put your earbuds in, and get to work! To make it a little easier for you we’ve come up with some tips to help you get started:

1. Clean it up
You know how you do a “Spring cleaning” inside your home? Well, it’s just as important to do it outside as well. Weeding out your gardens will not only help your plants grow better but it will also make your home stand-out. Rake up any dead leaves and twigs and cut down any branches that may have broken off to prevent them from falling and possibly causing damage. Prune bushes and shrubs to make them more shapely and to encourage new growth. Use your hose and spray down your patio furniture, decking, walkways, and siding to really make your home shine.

Check out these tips on pruning trees and shrubs



2. Re-seed bare patches
Give your lawn a new life by re-seeding any bare or dead patches that didn’t make it through the winter months. Start off by loosening the ground with a rake to remove any debris, this will help the new seed to penetrate properly. Then spread a mixture of seed and compost or fertilizer to give it a boost and be sure to keep it watered as needed. This will help bring your lawn back up to par and lusciously green. 

3. Fix fences
Do a walk-about along your property and check to make sure your fences and/or any other structures you might own haven’t been damaged. Fix or replace any broken materials and give it a fresh coat of paint or stain to give it a newer look. Same goes for your decking. Staining it won’t only improve its appearance, it can also improve the longevity of your deck by protecting the wood. 



4. Re-mulch your gardens
A quick and easy way to spruce up your landscape and your gardens is to add a fresh layer of mulch. It will help make your yard pop and helps your flowerbeds fight off pesky weeds. Apply a 2 – to – 3-inch layer around the base of plants, shrubs, and trees to give your yard a fresh new look. You can also add a bit of fertilizer in the mixture to help increase the growth of your plants.

5. Get planting
Shrubs and trees aren’t the only way you can add life to your landscape. Add some color by planting flowers such as geraniums, petunias, and pansies, which are all very easy to maintain. Plant them in pots and scatter them around your decks or plant a few in your flower beds. Try to pick colors that enhance your home's features and style. This will help make your house POP from the street and stand out from others in your neighborhood. 



6. Add furniture
Adding some patio furniture can help make your home look more inviting and can create cozy little nooks for you and your family to enjoy. A pair of chairs to share your morning coffee, a table and chairs to host your guests on a summers evening, or lanterns strewn around your property will visually impact the look of your property and make your guest feel more welcoming. Also, potential buyers will better be able to picture themselves relaxing on the deck if it’s nicely furnished and has a welcoming impression.

7. Lighting
By adding lighting to your landscape you can set moods, add drama and enhance your home’s architectural features. Pot lights around the perimeter of your roof, stake lighting along pathways, spotlights shining on certain features are easy ways you can bring your landscaping to life and you can enjoy the space longer without being in the dark.



8. Freshen up the driveway
Don’t forget to give your driveway some love! If your driveway is paved use a push broom to clear off rocks, dirt, and debris left behind from your vehicle’s tires and give it a good wash using a garden hose or a pressure washer if you have one. Consider re-sealing the driveway to really make it look fresh and new.

Check out this “how to” for tips on re-sealing your driveway

9. Clean your windows
Dirty windows not only affect the view from inside out but also can make a difference in how the home looks from the street. Also, cleaning around all of the trim and sills where dirt and debris can gather can help with the longevity and operation of the windows. 

Now that we’ve given you some ideas we hope it inspires you and your family to get started on the perfect oasis to hang out in during the summer months (or to help you get your home sold faster and for more money). And don’t stop there! These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work… some say gardening can even be relaxing. So, get outside and get moving because the sooner you get it done the longer you can enjoy it.
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DIY Headboard with Nicole


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Celebrate Valentine's Day at Home

Valentine's Day seems to be a love it, or hate it, holiday. You don't need to go all out and spends tons of money to make it special, from making your own cards to cooking a meal together here's a list of things you can do at home with your significant other, your kids, or your pets to make Valentine's Day enjoyable.
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DIY With Nicole: Learn To Knit (Without Needles!)

I can tell you that there’s no greater feeling than making a gift for someone with your own hands and seeing them enjoy it - especially when it’s minus 20 degrees Celsius and you made them a knitted good!

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Doughnut Disturb: DIY Vacation-Mode Sunhat With Nicole

I am notorious for seeking inspiration on blogs, stores and scrolling through Instagram and deciding that I won’t pay a high price for something that I think I make myself.

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DIY Tool Kit with Nicole

Happy New Year! Many of us have a renewed and refreshed approach now that 2019 is here, and if you're like me, that means an endless list of DIY projects.

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Last Minute DIY Gifts with Nicole

As a maker, there’s no better feeling than to make something with your own hands and time, and give it to someone. For those who aren’t crafty or creative, I say: yes you are!
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DIY Yarn Ball Wreath With Nicole


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A Look Back at 2018

Click the link to watch Danielle's Holiday Wishes https://youtu.be/I2YRM-_6cFc 

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Quick and Gourd-geous Pumpkin Centrepieces

Fall décor is out in full force, and this week I’m going to show you how to prepare your own pumpkin centre piece in minutes to bring some fall décor into your home and add that extra piece as you welcome guests to your table for Thanksgiving.

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Home Is Where The Wifi Is

One of my favourite little touches I have in my guest rooms is ensuring that the Wi-fi password and connection is clear for guests to use. 

Yes, you can easily tell someone your password, but if you’re like me and you haven’t changed it from the standard-issued one, it’s a ridiculous series of letters and numbers that you never remember anyway. I'm lucky I remember anyone's telephone number these days!

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Cleaning Your Heat Pump

I recently bought my first home and property, a minihome on 3 acres in rural Nova Scotia. One of the things I loved about the minihome when house-hunting was the ease and efficiency of a heat pump, which was only three years old. Now that we've been in the minihome for a few months, including one of the hottest Nova Scotian summers in history, we truly know the heat pump's worth! 

But my son and I have both been feeling a bit 'stuffed up' since moving in, and I noticed our sinus issues were worse on mornings when we had the heat pump running all night to stay cool. I started looking into how often heat pumps should be cleaned and found that if you aren't cleaning your unit once a year, you may be giving black mold and bacteria the perfect place to grow!

I reached out to an expert: Tommy Campbell Gallant owns and runs Breathe Easy, a mini-split heat pump cleaning and disinfection company located in Pictou County but servicing all of Nova Scotia. 

Tommy runs a one-man business. Back in January, he noticed there weren't any professional services fully dedicated to disinfecting heat pumps, and with a BSc in Toxicology and over 5 years experience in the HVAC industry, he was uniquely qualified.

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Mixing Modern With Heirlooms: Climb up to your own blanket ladder project!

Home Alone is one of my favourite movies, and I know that everyone loves the house from the movie, though as adults, many of us are focused on how much their mortgage could possibly be, and what the power bill is. Sometimes adulting is hard, eh?

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DIY Fails with Nicole

When we moved into our Stone’s Home, it was a blank slate. I couldn’t wait to get my craft on. One project in particular I got my craft on a little too hard, and the result was messy.

When I do my craft projects, I typically prefer something I can make quickly - patience is truly a virtue when it comes to letting things dry, or respecting the process to properly create something. With one exception.

I once decided to make a beautiful wreath for the upcoming holiday season. It was a simple craft: I purchased an MDF cutout of the letter ‘R’ with a circle around it, and several bags of teeny-tiny Styrofoam balls. The vision was to glue the teeny-tiny balls to the cutout and then spray paint it a beautiful cherry red. I sat at my kitchen table, burning my fingers on the glue gun, hunched over this cut out for hours. If you’ve worked with Styrofoam before, you may notice that it conducts static, so keeping the teeny-tiny balls in the work space, then placing them to glue them on was tedious, to say the least. Knowing how pretty it would look in the end kept me going. Finally, after many Christmas movies later it was done, and ready for the coat of paint.

I quickly began sweeping the paint across the wreath for what was intended to be an even coat, of beautiful, cherry red, just as I had pictured hanging on my front door. Then, a sound. A hissing sound.

Stopping, I look down and see that the spray paint was in fact melting each and every single one of the teeny tiny styrofoam balls that I had painstakingly glued onto the wreath. I can tell you that for approximately 1 second it was the beautiful cherry red, just as I had envisioned. But shortly after, it was a hot mess, literally.

You may be surprised to learn, as I was, that if you simply Google “Can you spray paint styrofoam”  the top answer is essentially no, and that it will in fact melt your styrofoam. Who knew? (Other than Google).

So that one was a learning moment, and one of many in the DIY realm. Not all DIYs work, or turn out how you want them to, or maybe aren’t what you envisioned, but it’s all part of the process. It’s important to do a little research to ensure you’re using the proper tools, process, adhesives, techniques or learning from others mistakes (and triumphs!) as you embark on your next project.

If after an endeavour such as this you need a laugh (time has passed and I can now laugh at this) I encourage you to Google ‘Pinterest Fails’, and you’ll know that there are others out there, just like you. Happy Crafting!


About Nicole
Hi, I’m Nicole! My partner John and I have owned a Stone’s Prestige Home for over 3 and ½ years, and we love our space! With a passion for DIY, I’ve had so much fun personalizing and really making our space our own. I love to craft and get creative, and like all DIY’ers, I’ve had my fair share of fails. I’m excited to share ideas, inspiration, and projects, and a few tips along the way to help you along your DIY journey!

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TV Gallery Wall with Nicole

When we were looking for a home, we fell in love with the layout of the Millbrook at Stone’s. Our family spends a lot of time in our TV room, which opens to our eating area, and our kitchen. Since we spend so much time there, it was important for us to create a space that had flow, and that the TV area was comfortable, inviting and had some personal touches.

Gallery walls are a really cool trend that brings in a mix of elements to any space. For us, We started with our TV on the wall, and on the left, we have a large frame from Michaels that I change out with seasonal prints. Purchasing or downloading free printables is one of my favourite ways to freshen up my decor. I search blogs, Pinterest, or Etsy and purchase or download free files and print them at Staples or Walmart.

Above the TV I have a sign that I made myself. I always strive to have our decor represent both mine and John’s taste, and here I have a wooden sign (purchased at Michaels, ready to hang!) with the phrase ‘Come as you are’, which is a Nirvana song, and a phrase I thought suited the message for our home. For my personalized signs that I make, I use a Silhouette machine which essentially allows you to cut custom pieces of paper or vinyl to make decals. I purchased a letter ‘R’ at Winners, added a basket for blankets, a plant and an old box to prop up a cozy pillow and blanket.

My favourite piece is a copper wreath that my dad helped me make. Using scrap copper he had, we fused the pieces together in the shape and size that I wanted. I love using metals in my decor, and for this I chose a non-traditional shape for a wreath. To finish, using a glue gun, I added a faux flower and some greenery, which can be removed for a more simple look.

For a final little touch, I changed out the knobs  on the fireplace doors, just to personalize it a bit with our decor. Adding new knobs or handles is a quick and easy way to change any pieces you may already have in your home.


About Nicole
Hi, I’m Nicole! My partner John and I have owned a Stone’s Prestige Home for over 3 and ½ years, and we love our space! With a passion for DIY, I’ve had so much fun personalizing and really making our space our own. I love to craft and get creative, and like all DIY’ers, I’ve had my fair share of fails. I’m excited to share ideas, inspiration, and projects, and a few tips along the way to help you along your DIY journey!

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Spring Cleaning and Declutter

Despite the weather and temperature, it seems that Spring is here, and though you may not feel like it, spring-cleaning time is here as well! As a new homeowner, my partner and I are no strangers to top-bottom cleaning and painting, so I know how much work it entails. But I also know how worthwhile it is to stand back and look at an old room become like new again!

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First Time Homeowner: The Millbrook

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First Time Homeowner: The Millbrook

 

In my role in marketing, I've had the privilege of touring, videoing and photographing so many beautiful Prestige Homes. I get to meet a lot of our new homeowners and I often ask them the same question.

"What advice would you give to a young person or couple who are beginning to look at the real estate market for the first time?"

Though the wording may vary, the response is always the same.

“Contact Stone’s."

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Packing It Up

Last post we talked about how to stage your home for selling and assuming those tricks worked, now it’s time to pack!  Where do you even start? How do you figure out what to take and what to sell?

I was helping someone unpack recently and I asked for her tips on moving.  And her reply was, “Start 3 years in advance!”  It’s easy to see the reasoning behind that when you are staring at 5, 10, 30 years worth of living that needs to be sorted out and packed up.  It can be so overwhelming.  If you’re planning on purging while you pack, then you need the time to go through everything well in advance of the moving trucks showing up.  And no one else can really do the purging for you.

So, here are a few tips to get you started!

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What Makes For A Comfy Bed?

Our bedrooms need to be comfortable and relaxing.  Do you know why? Because we spend a third of our life in bed.  So, let me ask you – do you want to spend that time in a place that you dislike and that doesn’t draw you in or do you want to spend that time in a place that is inviting and helps you shed the worries of the day to day life?
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