Home and Garden Products from Taylor Gifts

A place to shop for home organizers and other items for your home and garden is Taylor Gifts, an online store specializing in mail order catalog business since 1952.  Here you'll find  a large selection of gadgets,  novelties, as-seen-on-TV items and many other products for the home and for personal organization.  Over five decades, Taylor Gifts has established a loyal customers follwing in and outside USA.  Taylor Gifts website offers a number of items to fit all types of shopping preferences and budgets.  Browsing items on their online store is easy because of their well organized assortment of products.>>> MORE

The product categories are grouped into the following:

Gifts & Novelties
Home Décor
Home Organizers
Outdoor & Patio
Personal Care
As Seen on TV


DIY Painting: Choosing Your Paint Primer

Paint primers are formulated to produce a solid base, seal stains, and help bond the top coat to the wall. Both alkyd and latex primers provide good coverage and do a great job. Which one you choose will depend on the top coat you have selected.

Likewise, go with good quality, brand-name primers and paints, like Sherwin-Williams, Pratt and Lambert, Benjamin Moore, or Pittsburgh Paints. Better yet, visit a professional paint supplier and talk to the knowledgeable employees. They can give you useful tips and help you get the paint system (primer and top coat) that will work best in your climate and for the job you're doing.

Flickr image by Aine D
Here are some important priming tips:

If the walls and ceilings were heavily prepped and the first coat did not do the job well and there's a light bleed through, apply a second coat.
• Some climates, especially those near salt water, need a second primer coat.
• Closely work with your paint supplier. Some primers are best for wetter rooms like bathrooms and laundries. Meaning, one primer doesn't necessarily fit all conditions.

Older homes that were constructed without vapor barriers will need a primer that seals and stops moisture from getting under the paint and causing peeling.

Plaster walls and drywall are different and normally require different primers. Consult your paint dealer for the ideal type that matches your walls and conditions.

Interior wood trim may also need different primers. Your paint dealer can also lead you in the right direction in this area. If you have primed over unpainted drywall or wood trim, you'll probably have to lightly sand after the primer has dried. Primer tends to raise the fibers or grain so a light sanding is needed before painting the top coat. Make sure to run a tack cloth over the sanded area so no dust is left on the surface.

Don't spot prime problem areas on walls that you've had to go back and work on. Those areas would often show through. Correct the problems and then recoat the whole wall. Luckily, ceilings are more forgiving and never show spot priming as much. There are also special paints developed for ceilings that cling to textured surfaces better than wall paints. Check with your paint supplier for what works best on your kind of ceiling.
If you prefer a darker top coat, tint the primer coat to match. It could save you having to apply a second top coat.

Selecting the Right Top Coat for House Painting Projects

© 2012 Tip Writer

Selecting the Right Top Coat for House Painting Projects

A visit to the home center or paint supplier may be confusing. There are scores of paint types, methods of application, and special effects to select from. The following suggestions will help you sort out the confusion:

Choose a high quality latex primer and top coat. That means you'll spend $30 to $45 per gallon. Top quality paint applies better, lasts longer, and looks better compared to cheap discount paint. Consider it an investment in your home's value.

Gloss and semi-gloss paints are more stain-resistant and washable, but highlight any wall problems. Flat paints are excellent for living and dining rooms. Eggshell gloss is a nice all-around finish for hallways, kids' rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. 

• Some professionals feel flat paint is the best way to go for ceilings, others love a bright white gloss that reflects more light into the room. If your home tends to be on the dark side, gloss ceilings reflect more light and makes the room appear larger.
• Plan on two top coats for the best looking job and figure on about 400 square feet per gallon. Also, be sure you have about a half gallon left over for touch-ups.
• If you live in a dry climate, you might want to put in an additive to slow down drying time and make the paint more workable. Adding a few ounces per gallon of Floetrol or another similar additive can make the jobgo easier.

Go over those mildew-inhibiting paints if you live in a humid area, and also for baths, kitchens, and laundry rooms. These paints will not kill mildew that's already present, but they'll keep mildew from forming later on.

When you've decided on the paint system, the following step is to decide on the colors and tints. For a few homeowners this is the project's fun part, for others it's divorce material. Fortunately, there are six shortcuts that will help you decide:
1. Take your time and look into builder's open houses to get ideas of what's currently voguish in your area.
2. Consider color schemes in home magazines and check out some helpful websites
3. Gather up paint chips of colors you like and narrow it down to those that you believe will go with your home's other colors.
4. Keep in mind that color choice should take into consideration your home's architecture, ceiling height, and exterior and interior colors.
5. When you have narrowed it down to three or four colors, get pint samples from the paint store and roll four foot swaths on one of the walls you are planning on painting. Live with it for a few days and see which color grabs you.
6. Don't be afraid of making a big mistake. What's the worst that can happen? You could always repaint!

© 2012 Tip Writer


DIY Painting: Steps in Painting a Room

House painting can be fun and rewarding, especially when it's all done and you step back and see outstanding results. Many people who say they hate painting and don't want anything to do with it may ultimately admit that they once tried to paint a room and it turned out terrible.

The joy of living in a well-decorated home, that feeling of pride when company comments on how nice your home looks, and, of course, the boost a great interior gives your market value—these are great reasons to learn how to do a super job with brush and roller.

photo by  Chance Agrella
Fortunately, terrible paint jobs don't have to happen, and they won't if you learn and apply the easy steps to follow. Admittedly, there's some grunt work involved, but the end result is more than worth the effort.
Actually, a great paint job is one of the easiest and best things you can do to increase the value of your home. If you're thinking of selling in the near future, you'll want to get started on the painting about ninety days prior to planting a For Sale sign, so it doesn't turn into a rush job.

However, if you've just bought a home and are looking at dismal or uninspiring contractor- white walls, this section will show you how to change your environment for the better.

First, plan on about two days per room. No, you can't knock out painting the house over the weekend; not even the Labor Day weekend. Even though slumlords and painters with power sprayers can coat a new house in a day, that's not for you. So allocate the time to do it right, which means a room at a time.

Basically, painting a room consists of three parts:
1.         Prepping the Room. This encompasses getting the drywall in perfect condition, because a paint job can be no better than the prep work. Remove or mask all the fixtures, doorknobs, and whatever you can't remove from the room.
2.         Priming the Walls. A great-looking top coat starts with a great primer coat.
3.         Applying the Top Coat. This is the main event. Using good technique, tools, and paint will guarantee you a lot of compliments at your next party.

© 2012 Tip Writer 

How to Make Your Own Wildflower Garden

A wildflower garden isn't for everyone but may add something unique to your landscape. Most wildflowers are not hard to grow once you understand their nature. You could start a wildflower bed two different ways: 1) buying plants or seeds from commercial growers; 2) getting them from their native sites. Remember that many are protected by law and cannot be gathered from native sites unless construction projects will be uprooting them.

Great care must be taken when digging wildflowers or they will not survive. A lot of wildflower species have been depleted due to careless uprooting. Your best bet is to purchase hardy wildflowers from a nursery. Nursery-grown plants are generally better suited to your garden than those dug up in the wild.

Success rides planting wildflowers in the same conditions under which they grow naturally. For instance, marsh marigolds, swamp iris, and cattails like boggy conditions. Arbutus, goldenrod, most asters, and daisies, and black-eyed Susans like poor, dry soil. Do not try to grow woodsy shade lovers in the sun. Do not plant sun lovers in the shade and observe the conditions around your home before you try to start a wildflower garden.

A lot of wildflowers like shade and humusy soil. The north side of the house where few tame flowers would grow can be turned into a wildflower bed if the soil is prepared to resemble conditions where shade-loving plants are grown by nature.

Study wildflower catalogs and reference books before planting. Flowers that grow naturally in wooded areas love generous amounts of humus in the soil, and moisture in hot weather.

Spring is perhaps the best time to start a wildflower garden, although some plants can be moved during fall. Success rate is high when moving early-flowering species like Dutchman's Breeches in fall. The secret is to maintain the soil moist after transplanting, particularly during a dry fall.

Warning! Be careful about putting wildflowers to your front lawn. Some neighbors may object to the "no one lives here look" of a wildflower front yard, and city officials occasionally frown upon wildflower yards and have passed ordinances forbidding them.

© 2012 Athena Goodlight


Lawn Care: Dealing With Lawn Problems

Lawns are prey to more than one hundred different diseases, although they're not likely to be severe except on bent grass and highly managed lawns. No single chemical can cure all of them, and recommendations change quickly, so consult your local garden center or state agricultural college for the up-to-date recommended remedy. But prevention is favored over treatment. Most lawns are not so easily damaged by diseases if not over-stimulated by high feeding.

Lawn Of Puerto Rico by Darrell Goode
Luckily, newer turfgrass varieties have been bred with at least an amount of resistance to diseases. A generation ago almost every bluegrass lawn was victim of excessive leaf spot during spring. Now almost all of the new varieties withstand this disease. A mixture of several varieties should provide you a reasonable disease-proof turf without using fungicidal sprays.

Among the latest innovations in lawn care is the use of endophytes—"contaminated" turf grasses that survive extreme droughtconditions better than other grasses and even kill insects. An endophyte can be either bacteria or fungi that live inside another plant without causing disease. These endophytes can be found in broadleaf plants and grasses all over the world. How endophytes work is a mystery, but they're believed to be fungi that create toxins which disrupt the biology of insects. Plant breeders hope to harness these endophytes ("End-o-fights") as important tools in bringing down insect population.

Non-Chemical Lawns
The trend toward non-chemical lawns is spreading. In the past, the suburban picture perfect lawn drenched in toxic herbicides and pesticides did more than kill bugs—it made a lot of people sick, primarily because of careless application. Environmentalists, committed gardeners, pest control people, and producers of alternative lawn-care products have shown that organic ideas spread faster than crabgrass. News wire services have carried stories about non-chemical lawns and many writers narrate horror stories experienced by some homeowners. Because of these problems, there has been a boom in sales for oldline organic gardening products.

Presently, about 15% of U.S. households use commercial lawn services that apply pesticides, says the Environmental Protection Agency. It estimates that another 20 to 25% of households are do-it-yourselfers, also employing pesticides on their lawns.

Chemical Lawns
While lawns have many turf diseases, there's a ray of hope that a lot of these diseases can be checked with systemic fungicides. These are applied to the grass and are absorbed via the root system. At the present time, the composition of fungicides shifts frequently. Hence it is best to consult with your state college of agriculture. The systemics give great control of Sclerotinia dollar spot, fusarium, smut, pink patch, snow mold, and others. Some golf course diseases are checked marginally, if at all, by the systemic fungicides.

Grass Seed Mixtures for Gardens and Lawns

Natural Grass Lawns Versus Artificial Grass Lawns