Home Help: Finding fabulous furniture fabric

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Decorating Tip: Furniture fabric

If you're buying from a big-box furniture store, you'll likely have only a few fabric selections to choose from. Limited fabric choices allow manufacturers to buy their fabric in volume, keeping their costs down. If you go with a smaller company, you may find yourself with more choices -- or even the ability to supply your own fabric. When choosing a fabric type for your upholstered furniture, keep in mind that durability is a key consideration. Some materials commonly used include:

- Acrylic: Originally developed as imitation wool, this synthetic fabric resists wear, wrinkling, soiling and fading.

- Cotton: A natural fiber, cotton resists wear, fading and piling but is less resistant to soiling. Blending cotton with other fabrics can address soiling issues.

- Nylon: One of the most resilient fabrics, nylon is rarely used alone. Most often, it is blended with other fibers, making it one of the strongest upholstery fabrics. It's highly resistant to soiling and fading.

- Olefin: Often used in blends with other fibers, olefin is a perfect choice for furniture that will get heavy use and wear.

- Polyester: Most often blended with other fibers, polyester resists wrinkles.

- Rayon: Developed as a silk alternative, this synthetic is more durable than silk but does wrinkle. (ARA)

By the Numbers: $196,000

The median sales price of existing single-family homes in metropolitan areas in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2008. -- Source: Realtor.com.

Did You Know …

There are many easy (and green) ways to freshen your home without using sometimes-harsh commercial air fresheners. Here are some tips from www.eartheasy.com:

- Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.

- Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.

- Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tablespoon in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.

- Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.

- Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.

- Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.

- Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.

Garden Guide: Prepare your lawn for fall

Fall is the time to repair summer-damaged, lackluster lawns and prepare for the winter season. The time you invest in your lawn this fall will earn you lush, healthier grass next spring. Follow these four fast and simple fall lawn-care steps:

- Loosen up and let it breathe. As a rule of thumb, if you can't see the grass due to leaf coverage, then it's time to remove the lawn debris from the yard. Aeration and dethatching loosen up the lawn, promote deep root growth and reduce soil compaction that can keep grass from developing roots deep enough to absorb rainwater.

- Drive out drought damage. To help your lawn recover during and after drought, fertilize it every eight weeks with a slow-release fertilizer.

- Continue to feed the need. Even lawns not stricken by drought need nourishment in the fall. Two feedings -- timed around Labor Day and the end of October -- are recommended for northern lawns, while southern lawns are best-fed four to six weeks before the first frost occurs.

- Always overseed. Once the lawn is aerated and dethatched, look for weak spots in it. Overseeding, the spreading of grass seed directly onto soil within an existing lawn, can improve a lawn's appearance dramatically and eliminate the need for a total lawn renovation. (ARA)

Home Improvements: Make your kitchen sparkle

Incorporating current trends into your kitchen design not only helps you create a stylish and updated room but also increases functionality. A recent national survey of kitchen designers identifies several trends influencing today's kitchen design:

- Style. More than half (56.8 percent) of the kitchen designers surveyed said "traditional" was their most often requested type of kitchen design. However, designers identified contemporary and clean, simple lines as kitchen design trends to watch for.

- Appliances. Designers identified modular refrigeration, along with induction cooktops and speed-cooking ovens as one of the most exciting kitchen technologies.

- Countertops and backsplashes. The countertop material used most frequently is granite, and with unlimited stone colors and designs, it's highly customizable. (ARA)

Backyard Buddies

Some tips from Birdsforever.com on keeping birds from flying into your windows:

- Place hawk-shaped window stickers or decals on the window.

- Hang a few long, 1-inch strips of foil from the eaves. Hang strips of paper or colored ribbon, or even a mobile, outside the window.

- Spray a thin coat of artificial snow on the window.

- Attach sheer nylon netting over the window.

- Try making your windows less transparent by shutting the blinds, changing the lighting inside or pulling the shade. Tape paper or cardboard on the inside of the windowpanes.

- Place your feeders closer to the glass. If the feeder is only a foot or two away from the glass, panicked birds won't have the momentum to injure themselves.

- Or move your feeders to another location.

GateHouse News Service