Friends Around the World

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Emerald Greens and Junifer

Our new home has a long driveway to our detached  garage.  One of the many things my husband  love about this house is that, he has now a two car garage compared to the former house we lived in.   For me, I love that it is spaceous and there's plenty of space to garden.   I always wanted a driveway with pine trees so this  house gave me an opportunity to do that.  
We bought some emerald greens and junifer and that's the project we worked on last weekend.
Even though there is a privacy fence along the property, it's not enough to shield  our house from the business area so I am hoping that when these pines grow tall that the noise will be less especially that a big pharmacy is building right next to our property.  I am bummed out about it because I love those bamboos, it reminds me of my first home in Asia.  With the new  business, they will have to tear down all the bamboo and I feel bad for the birds because they love living there.  The singing of the birds relaxes me when I am gardening but it will soon be gone.  If you  play the video below, you can hear  the birds.
I love doing projects like this with my  family.  I remember when we first moved in to our first home, our daughter was just a year old then.  We bought a cherry tree and planted it with her "help".  It made me sad when we left  that house because we've made so much memories there.  My husband  told me that we will start making memories  again on this home so that's what we are doing.
Our driveway looks a lot better now that we have plants on the side of it.

I also decided to do the corner  to give it a little curve appeal.  I still have to add more mulch to it  but I will wait for the  next sale so I can  buy them cheaper.
We bought us a hedge trimmer  because  the clipper that we have is so old and dull now  that I find it hard to cut the bigger part of the bushes.  My little helpers were so eager to help although I was scared that they might get hurt but they did okay.  
A photo posted by Chubskulit Rose (@chubskulitrose) on
Our neighbor told us that the former owner drove by one day and talked to him. He complimented us for fixing his old place.  It makes me happy that he like what we have done so far to his former home.

DIY Photography Tips for Taking Better Pictures with Your Smartphone

Smartphone cameras are becoming more and more sophisticated. With dual-camera capability becoming standard, Qualcomm has announced its intent to take one step further and equip future phone cameras with the ability to support Clear Sight, a technology with specialized cameras that divide up the duties of the eye’s rods and cones for unprecedented sharpness. Such innovations will continue to ever more closely approximate actual vision, but even the most sophisticated camera relies on applying good photography techniques to produce a quality picture. Here are a few tips to make your smartphone photos turn out better.
Choosing the Right Phone
The smartphone camera market is increasingly competitive and there are a number of excellent phones to choose from. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has the best smartphone camera currently on the market, in the estimation of Tom’s Guide staff writer Sam Rutherford, who ranks it above the iPhone 7. The S7 comes with a 5 MP front-facing camera and a 12 MP rear-facing camera. One of the innovations the S7 delivers is a 12-megapixel dual-pixel sensor, which enables rapid autofocusing so you don’t miss those rare shots. The S7 also has large 1.4-micron pixels and a f/1.7 wide aperture to let in more light, which comes in handy for low-light shooting.
Considering Your Composition
One of the most basic principles of good composition is the rule of thirds. Imagine two horizontal and two vertical lines intersecting to divide your camera view into nine squares. The points of intersection define where you should place points of interest to capture visual attention. Use the intersections to position your subject in one of the vertical or horizontal thirds of your composition rather than in the exact center of your shot. If this leaves one area of your shot feeling empty, you might consider balancing your main subject against another secondary subject that fills up the empty space elsewhere in the shot. You can also use natural lines such as roads and other patterns in your shot to help organize your composition.
Selecting a Good Angle
While deciding your composition, you'll also need to think about selecting your camera angle. There are many camera angles you can use, but a few are used most frequently by photographers, explains The Beginners’ Lens.
The most common type of shot is an eye-level shot, which simulates the way an object would appear if it were right in front of your face in real life. This type of shot can be used to make the viewer feel as if they're there and to emphasize the details of your subject.
Another common type of shot is a high-angle photo where the camera angles down towards the subject. This makes the subject appear smaller, less dominant and more vulnerable. This can enhance qualities such as cuteness. It is often used for selfies or for shooting subjects such as puppies.
A low-angle shot has the opposite impact, making the subject appear larger and more imposing. It can be used to emphasize the height or stature of the subject. For instance, shooting a skyscraper from its base makes the building appear even taller and more impressive.
Adjusting Your Lighting
Lighting is another key consideration. The simplest approach to lighting is learning to take advantage of whatever natural lighting is available first, says photography author Andrew S. Gibson. One principle of using natural lighting is to generally avoid hard light, which is the light the sun radiates when it is high in the sky, casting deep shadows. Shooting near dawn or dusk will give you softer light that better reveals the subtleties of your subject’s shape and texture. However, hard light can be useful for bringing out very bright colors, so it may be appropriate for some shots. The opposite of hard light, soft light, is the light cast on a cloudy day. It does not bring out much contrast, which can make it useful for portraits and shots in shaded areas. Avoid shooting the sky in soft light, which will make it appear whited out. Backlight, which appears behind a subject, brings out contrasts in a way similar to hard light and can be useful for shots illuminating the outline of a subject.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Choosing And Using Your First Greenhouse

You know you’re a passionate gardener when you’re considering buying a greenhouse. Introducing a greenhouse to your current makeup will give you a whole new dimension to your gardening, and add a lot more enjoyment to your little green patch. However, like every new piece of gardening apparatus, picking the right greenhouse and using it is going to be something of a learning curve. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices out there, then read on. Here’s a guide to choosing and using the greenhouse that’s right for you.
From Wikimedia

Perhaps you’re still just curious about getting a greenhouse, and not sure whether or not you’d get much use out of it. The main advantage of having a greenhouse is that it allows you to grow plants and veggies that require higher temperatures and more shelter than others. Greenhouses also work to effectively stretch out the seasons. You’ll be able to grow spring plants slightly earlier and autumn plants slightly later. Over the summer, they’re excellent for growing tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. Through the winter, on the other hand, you can fill them with tough oriental greens. Protecting your plants from chilly nights, growing cut flowers and protecting your veg from the elements are a few other advantages. If you’re going through a particularly bad growing season, a decent greenhouse can be the thing that saves your yield and your spirits.
So, onto actually making the purchase. If you’ve been browsing greenhouses recently, then you may have found they’re not quite as affordable as you thought. However, if you live in the UK, odds are you’ll be able to find a pre-used greenhouse in your local area going for an absolute steal. Check your local paper, along with classifieds websites like Gumtree, and look for some good candidates. Obviously, they’re not going to be in pristine condition. However, many of them will be perfectly adequate with a little cleaning and TLC. The real bargains are usually from people who are selling their homes, and simply want to shift the greenhouse rather than go to the trouble of getting an accurate value. If you’re going to buy used, just be sure to take a couple of pictures of the greenhouse before you start loosening bolts, and use a permanent marker to mark out where there current glazing is. This will make it much easier to piece it back together back at your garden. If you’re still not sure about how much you’re going to use it, you may want to consider getting a lean-to greenhouse rather than a large, free-standing one. Lean-to models will be much cheaper, though the fact that they’re so squat can get in the way of some of your plans for growing. If you’re going to choose one of these, bear in mind that you’ll need a wall to build it against, that has to get a lot of sun.
Aside from the greenhouse itself, you’re going to need to budget for proper foundations. Any free-standing greenhouse needs a solid, well-built base in order to stay standing. Any good vendor will give you the precise measurements you need. These bases are most commonly made of concrete, but you can also use brick or certain kinds of timber, or a combination of these materials. If you want to make your greenhouse extra green, then you can buy some recycled plastic lumber as well. This not only helps the earth, but requires very little maintenance and will never rot, unlike natural wood. Again, the vendor you buy your greenhouse from will probably recommend the perfect material for the model you’re using.
If you’re a specialist who’s buying a greenhouse just so you can grow certain exotic species of plant, then you’ll need to think about how you’re going to heat it. Unfortunately, greenhouses are horribly inefficient when it comes to holding in heat. This means that you’re going to have to sink a lot of money into growing certain plants. It’s pretty common for some gardeners to buy a greenhouse exclusively for exotic plants, and then having to take their heating element out simply because they couldn’t pay for it! If you’re happy to forego plants from around the equator, then you may be able to get by simply using the natural heat of the sun. If you need an artificial heat source, choose electric over gas. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but also produces better growing conditions.
Now that you have a good idea of the type of greenhouse you’re going to set up, we’ll get into actually using it. If you don’t have much experience with greenhouses, then growing in one may seem fairly straightforward. However, there are still many ways that a newcomer can go wrong. You need to be aware of the best practices if you don’t want to end up shooting yourself in the foot.
From Pixabay

One of the most important habits you need to get into is keeping the door open during the summer, and check the thermometer as often as possible. In your standard greenhouse, temperatures can easily get up to 30 degrees during the late spring and summer. This can be fine for certain plants. However, you may find that this raises veg which like milder conditions way too fast, or fade certain seedlings. Open the hatch and the door when the weather’s getting intense, and this will help to keep the temperature a little more stable. It’s also a good idea to take those plants which are best suited to milder conditions outside during the day. You may find that even with the doors and hatches open, plants like sprouts and broccoli seedlings will get massive stalks in no time. Pretty soon, they’ll be close to collapsing. However, if you get into the routine of popping them just outside every day, you might just save them. Certain crops like leeks and kale can also benefit from being left out of a greenhouse. If you’re really struggling with the heat, you can also get some products like Coolglass and brush them on. Think about this carefully before doing it though. You’ll only need to re-adjust if you want to grow heat-loving plants such as chillies.
Aside from temperature control, it’s also very important to keep your greenhouse organised and tidy. Of course, it’s your greenhouse, and if you wanted to take the easy route of leaving your tools and clutter around you can. Take it from a fellow slob though, you’ll end up regretting this! You’re going to need as much room as possible when you really get into seed sowing. You’ll need to move around a lot of compost and pots, which will be very hard if your potting bench is covered in all your different tools! You’ll also need a clear space for your pots once you’ve sown in them. Furthermore, if you keep your plants all squashed together you’ll end up creating a micro-climate, which will raise the temperature and could have a detrimental effect on your other plants. Finally, leaving piles of gardening tools and paraphernalia around is the perfect way to attract slugs and snails. I’m not going to lie to you, these slimy pests will find their way in at times whether you like it or not. Still, anything you can do to discourage them is strongly recommended.
Hopefully this post will give you a great start to owning a greenhouse. I know you’ll grow all kinds of gorgeous plants, and get years of use out of your greenhouse.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cooling Down the Dining Room with Tower Fan

I love that the temperature is starting to cool down a bit. Fall season will begin in a few days and I am excited for the leaves to turn yellow, orange, and red! I love Fall foliage and I always look forward to it. I am also glad that the temperature is cooling down because we don't have AC at the first floor of our new home. Hubby find it unbearable when the temperature is very hot because he is not used to a home without an AC.
I don't mind not having an AC  in the summer because we have Ozeri fans in every room and it does cool down  the space as you turn it on.  Of all the fans that I got from them, I love this white tower fan with passive noise reduction technology.  It is really quite and it really cools down a room when you turn it on.  
I love that it is very easy to assemble.  Unlike the other fans that I got from them, this one does not require any tool.  All you have to do is connect the  base on to the fan, lock it and it's done.  
Here are some of the  great features of this fan via  amazon.
  • Upgraded with canted fan blades that utilize the physics of blade curvature to generate opposing sound waves to reduce blade noise and isolate the soothing sounds of the airflow itself.
  • Boasting unrivaled technology, the 3x Tower fan is engineered with 3 independently controllable fans and 3 fan speeds, offering up to 9 levels of cooling and customized airflow
  • Defining the latest in stylistic innovation and digital decor, the 3x Tower fan is among the world's thinnest fans at less than 3 inches thick and boasts a visually arresting design with an elegant reinforced glass base stand
  • Features 3 preprogrammed airflow patterns designed to foster sleep, relaxation and comfort with 90 degree whisper-quiet oscillation for optimal air circulation
  • Extended range remote control and the touch sensitive LED control panel provide easy access to all features, including a 7.5 hour timer that can be programmed in 30 minute increments
I put this fan in our dining room because even though we don't  normally eat there, my kids love to do their homework, do their reviews, and do  artworks there.  We have an  eat-in kitchen  and  that's where we eat so  we don't really utilize the dining room for dining purposes unless we have  a party where we need a bigger place for guests to sit and eat.     The dining room  has always been the children's favorite spot when they come home from school.
Disclosure: The owner of this blog was NOT financially compensated to write this review.  I was provided with the product/s mentioned  to help me  facilitate this review but  opinions are my own.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Childhood Dreams

If I would have given a chance, I could have been an interior designer, a landscape designer, or a photographer.  Interior designing, photography, and gardening are the things that I enjoy doing.  I may not be  reallly good at it but I sure enjoy  every minute when I do it.  Moving to a new home is such a challenge because you  start refiguring out  where things should go and what would look good.
Anyway, I am a member of one  buy and sell  group in Facebook and I A dream to found these 3-set of vases  for $15.  I bought it and thought that was a great deal since they are in great condition.  It's a perfect set to put in one of our corner shelves since I have vases on the other  corner as well.  I was waiting for someone to  post a violin for sale and I finally found one but I was late and it got sold very quickly.  I even saw a slide trumpet for sale in that group.  We have very limited budget now that we are paying two mortgages so I am kind of shopping  where I can save money.
Again, those three I have mentioned above were all my childhood dreams!

Decorating with My Daughter

Our daughter might be small for her age but she can do a lot of things especially around the house.  We shared the same interest in decorating, photography, and our style in fashion are very similar.  She received a wall decal and other things  as a gift for her birthday from our friend and she was very excited to work on it.  
 It is so much fun to  do some decorating around the house with her help.  She have so many ideas and sometimes she would suggest things that I never thought of doing and I would say "Wow, why didn't I think of that?"
 Her aspirations  include of becoming an interior designer, an astrophysicist, and a musician.  I told her that it is great to have  dreams to pursue in the future.  I mean, she is still young and I am sure that her interests will change as she grow up but it is always great to talk to them about their dreams.  We never know what the future holds, she might become a business owner like the guitar center in nj or a great musician.  You never know.  
As parents, it is important that we encourage our children to dream and to pursue those dreams.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Downsizing Your Home? Here's the Painless Way To Do It Downsizing Your Home? Here's the Painless Way To Do It

Downsizing your home can be tough. Reaching that decision means accepting that your old family home is now too big for you and that it’s time to move on. Some people find that difficult to handle. But in practical terms, downsizing is often exactly the right thing to do. It allows you the chance to live affordably and in a way that suits your own current needs. So, if you’re looking to downsize your home, here is the easy and painless way to do it.

Be Honest With Yourself About What You No Longer Need

You won’t be able to take all your possessions with you when you move to a smaller place. Many people accumulate many possessions when they have been living in the same home for many years. Before you move, you should be frank and honest with yourself about which possessions you want and which you don’t. It will make your move so much easier.


Choose a Home That’s Smaller But Not Too Small

You want a home that is going to be smaller than the one you already have. This is obvious because that’s what downsizing is all about. Having said that, many people get tempted to buy something that’s pretty much the same size as the current one when it comes down to it. This is a trap you should avoid falling into. Remember the reasons why you wanted a smaller home in the first place. But you also need to make sure you have enough space for visitors and family when they stay over. See what’s on offer at places like Mass Home Team, and then take it from there.


Get the Floor Plans of Your Home and Make Plans for Your Furniture

Working out how much furniture you are going to be able to take with you can be a challenge. Going from a large home to a smaller one usually means that you won’t have as much space for furniture. But it’s always hard to tell how much you will be able to fit in the new home. The only proper and accurate way of knowing is to get hold of the floor plans of the new home. These will tell you exactly how much floor space there is in each room. You can then measure your furniture and make plans for how much you will be able to take when you move.


Don’t Throw Anything Away, Profit From It Instead

When you know for sure what you want to keep and what you can get rid of, you need to get rid of the stuff you don’t want. This doesn’t mean simply throwing things out though. You can do a lot better than that. Some of those items might be worth something to someone. And we all know how expensive moving house can be, so why not sell the things you no longer want. Auctions and online auctions can be great for making some fast money from the things you no longer want or need. This money can then be used to cover some of the costs of moving.

Friday, September 2, 2016

#FamilyProjects at Home

I can't believe it's been two months already since we moved in into our second home.  We have been busy  organizing, putting things away, fixing things, and doing little projects around the house.  Here are some  outdoor projects we have done so far.  
I am not sure why the  former owner got rid of   the plants around the house but I've seen so many  stumps of  plants that were  used to be  around this house.  I think it has to do with  his age and  the maintenance of  the garden was  hard for him already that he decided to  eliminate the plants.  
I love gardening so as soon  as we closed the sale of this house and  we started working on it, I started doing some gardening projects  months before we even moved in.
We always encouraged the kids to help us on whatever we do because  it's a great bonding experience for us with them and they learn things.  
The mailbox on this house was  so old  so we  bought us a new one and we  installed it in  the week after we moved in.  
I ordered the mailbox online because  my husband does not like the ones that we see  around here.  It was expensive but I think it would last a long time since it is heavy duty.  The mailbox also came with a doormat that is heavy duty.
The front porch on this house is longer  than what we had over at our former house so  our patio furniture is  perfect to use here.  
We will need a  another set of patio furniture for our back porch as we also have a bigger size  at the back.
We bought this Whitehall Custom mailbox at Mailbox Works for $403.97.  It was painful for me to pay that much for a mailbox but as my husband always say, you get what you pay for.
My daughter helped  by reading the instruction for his Dad.
The Whitehall mailboxes is  larger than most premium mailboxes that we've seen in the store so even packages can fit inside without a problem.  This is supposed to be  manufactured from die-cast rust free aluminum but I already see rust forming  inside where the  door is hitting it so that is a problem. 
   I love that the deluxe post comes complete with the decorative scroll brackets which looks awesome.  I did not order  a side panel with our name on it because it was an addition 88 dollars which is ridiculous!
So now the fronr of our house is a little bit prettier than before.  My husband told me that I skouldn't bring the rocks that we have  laid in our garden over at the other house but I insisted to do it since I wanted to use it in this house.  I need more of it though because  this house needs a lot of  face lift in order  add some  curb appeal to it.
I planted some plants around the  new mailbox .
So here it is, our new mailbox.  The rocks around it  is from our travels and walks.  We always  pick up some rocks when we go somewhere as remembrance  and we have a lot of it already so I thought of using it there.  
We also transferred our  flag from the other house to here.  I didn't want to leave it there because it is one of those things that I got from blogging so I want it to  remain part of our new home.  Besides, the house here in the neighborhood doesn't have flags so I want our house to be different.  
I think we encourage some people coz I've seen one of our neighbors put a flag on her porch which is nice.
I want to remove this big  crab apple tree in the front because the roots are  getting big and I don't want it to tear up the  sidewalk.  I think a dogwood tree or a Japanese maple tree would look great here instead of this messy crab apple.  That would be our project in the future, w hen we finally sold the other house.
Glad to see the plants we planted during Mother's day are now blooming.
I got a lot of calluses in my hands doing this garden projects but it's okay because it looks nice when you drive by.  The neighbors are very welcoming and they  compliment me for the plants hehehe.
 I also planted some hostas, day lilies, and burning bushes along the drive way.  The hard part of this project is  digging the  grass because it was so thick and I only used shovel  to removed it.  It wasn't an easy job but I got it done.  My husband could not help me with this one because he was doing the wood floors  that time.  
 I brought the red bricks I had at the other house.  My husband was like "No one will buy this house  now because you are stripping it down" lol.  Those bricks are expensive so I don't want to buy again although we did buy some more (the tan ones) because  the red ones  were not enough.  I used almost 150 pieces of bricks on this project, so glad I only have to buy over 50.
I have a lot of lilies and hostas at the other house so I transferred some of them here.  Why pay if I already have some that I can transfer right?  Hopefully, the plants will grow back thicker next summer.  

We still have a lot of things  to do on this house but that would be in the future, one by one.  Our priority would be  to replace the old windows.  If we sold the old house, that would be the project we will do first so that we will have good seal on our windows during winter.  The kitchen of this house also need a face lift so that would be another project to tackle in the future.  

About Me

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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