Holiday Tips

How To Build An Outdoor Fire Pit

December 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

How To Build An Outdoor Fire PitWith most of the country easing into full-on winter weather, last-minute outdoor projects need to happen soon. And what better way to enjoy a cozy holiday season than by drinking hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows at your very own outdoor fire pit.

In one weekend, the steps below can help you build an outdoor fire pit and get you fired up about the cold!

Determine The Size And Location

The first order of business is to choose where to build your outdoor fire pit. You want to make sure it’s not too close to the house or overhanging trees.

Once you’ve found the spot, lay out a ring of stones and mark it with a shovel before you dig the hole. You’ll want it to be between 35-45 inches in diameter. This will allow a roaring fire, but it will also feel cozy and intimate.

Dig The Pit And Make A Trench

Make a hole six inches deep within the circle your marked using your stones. You want the sides to be straight and the bottom flat. Then dig down an extra six inches around the perimeter.

This trench should be wide enough to fit a ring of stone blocks that will be the base of your wall. Fill the six-inch deep trench with drainage gravel until it’s level with the center of your pit.

Lay The Stone Blocks

Lay out the stone blocks on top of the gravel. Place the first one and use a level to make sure it’s sitting squarely. Set the second block next to it and so on. Use a level to ensure everything is even.

For the second layer, squirt masonry adhesive in a snaking pattern and center a block on top of the seam of the first layer. Build up the wall until it’s about one foot above ground level.

Finish It Off

Fill the pit with gravel until you reach ground level. The gravel will help the base of the walls set straight. If you want to cover the outside of the pit walls with stone cap pieces, then try to fix them together like a puzzle using masonry adhesive.

Then you can either build a fire on top of the gravel or insert an iron campfire ring into the center. Once you’re finished, then it’s time to bundle up and get those marshmallows roasting!

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WelcomeHomeNWI.com was created to demystify the national real estate headlines and to provide unbiased real estate trends and statistics relevant to Northwest Indiana. Our mission is facilitated through a collaboration of professionals who are dedicated to the Northwest Indiana real estate industry. Welcome Home NW Indiana! Welcome Home! WelcomeHomeNWI.com is Your Home for Real Estate and Mortgage News for the Best Communities in Northwest Indiana.

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Holiday Tips

4 Safety Tips For Your Christmas Tree

December 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

4 Safety Tips For Your Christmas Tree It’s Christmas time, it’s Christmas time – which means it’s time to get a tree for your home. Whether you get a real tree or an artificial one, it’s also time to think about Christmas tree safety.

Prevent A Fire Hazard

There’s a potential fire hazard that comes with real trees, a danger that’s lessened with artificial trees, but artificial trees have their own safety issues.

For instance, those that spin on their bases shouldn’t be left to rotate on their own. Make sure the motor is turned off whenever you leave the room.

Even though safety precautions are more necessary with real Christmas trees, sometimes you can’t resist the fresh pine smell filling your home. Should you decide to go with a real Christmas tree, here are some safety precautions that should be followed to avoid fire hazards.

Safety Precautions For That Tree Of Yours

1. Place the tree as far from any heat sources as possible. While it may seem picturesque to have your tree close to the fireplace, the heat can dry out the tree and make it more susceptible to burning.

2. Fresh cut the tree. While you may have cut the tree down before bringing it home, you still need to cut a little bit more off the bottom just before you put it in the Christmas tree stand. This gives the tree a better ability to absorb the water in the stand, which stops it from drying out.

3. Don’t let the water run out. It’s important to stress that your Christmas tree needs to stay moist and green. To check for dryness, lightly grab the end of a branch and pull on it.  If several needles come off, it’s time to take it down.

4. Don’t burn the tree to get rid of it. A dry tree blaze is hard to control, and pine generates a lot of creosote that can catch fire. There are safer ways to dispose of your tree including recycling your Christmas tree. To learn more about safe disposal of your tree, contact your local city or state.

Have fun decorating your home and tree and for Christmas. Just remember to be safe as you celebrate the season! If a new home is on your Christmas list, contact your trusted mortgage professional today.

WelcomeHomeNWI

WelcomeHomeNWI.com was created to demystify the national real estate headlines and to provide unbiased real estate trends and statistics relevant to Northwest Indiana. Our mission is facilitated through a collaboration of professionals who are dedicated to the Northwest Indiana real estate industry. Welcome Home NW Indiana! Welcome Home! WelcomeHomeNWI.com is Your Home for Real Estate and Mortgage News for the Best Communities in Northwest Indiana.

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Holiday Tips

Five Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Returns

November 25, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The long and winding bill by Maica | iStockphoto.comTo ensure that recipients are happy with holiday gifts, millions of Americans will rely on gift receipts to enable loved ones to return or exchange a gift seamlessly when the holidays are over. According to NRF’s 2009 Holiday Returns Survey, 58.6 percent of shoppers said they enclose a gift receipt most of the time or some of the time when giving a gift. The survey also found that 87.9 percent of shoppers feel that retailers’ return policies are fair. 

“Whether it’s a toy, an appliance, a DVD or a sweater, gifts of all shapes and sizes can be easily returned when a gift receipt is attached,” said Tracy Mullin, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation. “In this economy, no one wants to worry that a present will be a duplicate, or go unused, so many people are relying on gift receipts to make the returns process easier.”

Although gift receipts make returns easy, many people didn’t need to return a thing last holiday season. According to the survey, more than two-thirds (67.1%) of gift recipients said they did not return any gifts last year, up from the 65.2 percent who went sans returns in 2007. 

NRF’s tips for stress-free returns after the holidays:

1.  Know the retailer’s return policy before you buy. Most retailers have return policies
prominently displayed, especially at this time of year. Gift-givers should read and remember them. If policies are not clearly displayed, ask a sales associate or a manager to explain them to you. Most retailers also outline their return policy on their website.

2.  Save and file all receipts! Receipts are still the key to hassle-free returns. Some retailers will allow consumers to exchange merchandise without a receipt, but oftentimes will only provide merchandise credit for the lowest markdown-price at which the item was sold during the holiday season. Make sure to provide the recipient with a gift receipt to save hassle after the holidays. 

3.  Provide all original packaging and all parts (including tags) when giving a gift. Some retailers won’t accept returns unless the item is in its original package. If you plan to take back a gift after it is unwrapped, resist the urge to open it or play with it. No one wants to buy someone else’s merchandise. 

4.  Make online returns easy! Returns are a part of shopping, no matter where you buy. In addition to the other rules of returns, here are a few things to find out before you purchase a gift online:

–  Know the process: Who pays for shipping the return–you or the merchant? Some merchants will pick up the delivery charges for exchanges, but not for returns; others offer free return shipping on every return.

–  Where to make returns: Does the retailer have a physical store, and can returns or exchanges be made there? Make sure you have the correct address if you need to mail returns back to the company. Some merchants have offsite service centers to handle returns that may be in a different location from where the merchandise is sent.

5.  Be patient. Remember, the week after Christmas is one of the busiest weeks of the retail year. With people’s frustration high and tolerance low, be patient when returning merchandise.

By: Kathy Grannis www.nrf.com/holidays
Published: December 8, 2009

The NRF 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 8,692 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, November 3-10, 2009. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent. 

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 8,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace.

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees – about one in five American workers – and 2008 sales of $4.6 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations.

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WelcomeHomeNWI

WelcomeHomeNWI.com was created to demystify the national real estate headlines and to provide unbiased real estate trends and statistics relevant to Northwest Indiana. Our mission is facilitated through a collaboration of professionals who are dedicated to the Northwest Indiana real estate industry. Welcome Home NW Indiana! Welcome Home! WelcomeHomeNWI.com is Your Home for Real Estate and Mortgage News for the Best Communities in Northwest Indiana.

More Posts - Website

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