October 19, 2017

EcoSmart. Organic Insecticide

Here at Southernsmarts.com we are always on the look out for new products that are good for our environment and safe for our furry friends. Upon a trip to my local Lowes store, we found yet another product we would like to introduce you to.

EcoSmart Organic Insecticide. Now there is an organic insecticide that is safe around children and pets and will not harm the environment. EcoSmart Organic Mosquito fogger is made form a patented blend of organic plant oils. It kills fast and repels mosquitos and other pesky flying insects for hours, without any synthetic toxins or harmful residue. Its safe. Its effective. Its smart. Naturally

The fresh natural pleasant scent signals it’s working.

Upon using this product ourselves here at Southernsmarts.com we found it to be all it stated to be. Plus the scent was very pleasing and lingered for up to 8 hours.

Thanks for visiting and y’all come back now. You hear.

Steven J. Chaberek

 

EMPATHY (What is it and do you have it?)

              I have recently discovered, that there is a theory that only certain people are born with empathy. In relation to sympathy, which is a harmony of feeling, empathy is a deeper, more vicarious connection to another’s experience. It is one of the best character traits to have, but it is possible that if you were not born with it, you will never have it! It could be that possessing true empathy is like being born with blue eyes!
           We all experience disappointments in some people. Their lack of connection to a myriad of individual situations is frustrating at best. But this plausible idea has been an epiphany for me. It has freed me from some of my relational prostrations, and made me realize that some may not be capable of walking in another mans shoes.
This lack of empathy can also lead to the not so favorable trait of righteousness. If someone cannot relate to another persons experience, then that posture is ripe for judging.
     So for those of us out there that nurture, and are in touch with their ability to empathize, we need to share it, and if we don’t get it back from someone, then maybe that person is not capable of the gesture. Lowering my expectations for the empathy exchange, has freed me from much disappointment. If your empathy tank is low, be conscience of filling it up, trying on some different shoes, and adding on a new intense awareness for a richer life.     Stephen Spurling

Finding the Joy in the Journey.

When life suddenly scaled things down with the subtlety of an F5, I had to regroup on most things. Gone were the days of chartered boating, upscale resorts, and divine city dining. This lifestyle change may have adjusted my itinerary, but it has not changed my wanderlust, and curiosity for what may be around the next bend. Therefore, In my travels, I have reached out, and made incredible journeys into my own.

Locally, I have discovered an ethereal coastal compound for wild horses, that have inhabited this extraordinary island for hundreds of years. I happened on a bird sanctuary, that rehabilitates birds of prey, and fosters and guards its local eco system. I have toured  historic buildings to better understand my local history. I have happened on locally grown treats at state highway roadside markets, that make it more than worth the diversion. I have found characters in small, rural towns, that have turned their passions into content for national documentaries.  I have enjoyed views from day hikes that can be postcard perfect, and sunset kayak excursions on local rivers, that would be worth a much longer trip.

I am grateful for the five star resorts, and the first class seats, and all the luxury of a different time. But for now, I am tuned into a fresher, deeper, and more mature adventure. I am enjoying rich and simple discoveries in my own backyard. “The Joy of the Journey”

Andi Bartruff

Contributing Writer/Southern Smarts

 

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5 Low Cost Kitchen Redos.

The kitchen is the focal point in many homes. And it’s one of the features, should you decide to ever sell, that potential buyers compare most closely when they are shopping for a home. Here are cost estimates for some low-cost kitchen upgrades that can give you a  real “POP” without breaking the bank.

1. Hardware

replacing cabinet hardware such as handles, knobs, and hinges is a quick, DIY way to enhance kitchen space. According to houselogic.com, an average kitchen is 200 sq feet with 30 linear feet of cabinetry,which equates to about 40 handles and knobs. averaging between $2.00 and $20.00 per knob or pull, a homeowner can expect to spend between $80.00 to $800.00 for this enhancement.

2. Faucet

There are a myriad options today in terms of height, spouts, pullout hoses and folding necks, with quality faucets starting at around $200.00.

3. Lighting

Adding an LED under-cabinet light can have a dramatic effect for around $40.00

4. Organization

Practical storage in the kitchen will go a long way. Over the door hooks, baskets in the Pantry, drawer organizers, wall hooks for pots and pans and stackable shelves for cabinets will add appeal, typically for less thank $100.00. Make your kitchen appear cook friendly.

5. Countertops

Laminate can mimic the contemporary look of granite at a significant discount. The cost for the average kitchen with 30 linear feet of laminate countertops is roughly $1575; the same space in granite would be about $2400.00

How I made my fish table…

OK, Chabby asked me to share how I made my fish table… This project started with my neighbor sitting one of  those little wine rack tables, we’ve all seen before, on the curb…free to a good home…with a plan in mind, I scooped it up…We were in need of a table that could live on the front porch with the rockers, a place for appetizers when we are hanging out…So this is what I did…First, I flattened out a cardboard box so I could make a pattern for my fish. That way I could create the right size of fish to fit over the existing table top. I decided to leave the original top on the rack because it was sturdy and well attached.

After I got my fish drawn, I cut around it leaving about a 2 inch margin so I could have the ability to tweak the final shape, to make sure I liked the shape and more importantly that it covered the existing top. I then realized that I would need to nip off the corners of the original top to accommodate the roundness of the fish otherwise my fish would’ve had to be a lot bigger.

So now I have my pattern and I went to Lowes to look for a piece of wood. I was hoping to be able to purchase a small piece of plywood instead of a whole sheet but what I found was much better. They had small finger jointed wood in three or four different dimensions, pre-sanded, suitable for a table top. The wood is not a hardwood so you have to be ok that it will get dinged easier and just consider that part of its future character.

Back home, I laid the pattern on the wood and traced my fish, then used a jigsaw to cut it out. Because it is a softer wood, it was easy to cut and the I took a piece of 220 sandpaper and sanded the edges. Then I used the jigsaw to cut the corners off of the original table and I drilled 4 holes so I could attach the screws to the fish from underneath. A little secret I learned a long time ago, is that when screwing two pieces of wood together it is important to pre-drill the first piece of wood for the screw to slide through the hole and only bite the second piece of wood, otherwise they will push away from each other. I then attached the fish adding some wood glue before screwing it together.

Now, the really hard part…How to paint it??? Since I am not an artist, a realistic fish was not an option, so I decided on a “folk art fish”. That translates to no rules. Google is your friend, so I googled folk art fish…I didn’t really see anything that I thought would work for me, but what I did see was freedom, uneven lines, color…

It’s time to pick my colors… I looked around my kitchen and saw a few pieces of fiesta ware grouped together…and decided to use 4 of those colors…so off to Lowes again…I picked paint chips that matched my colors and had them mix samples for under $3.00 a color. This is the best deal ever!!! Back home, I am ready to design…I drew on my pattern till I figured out what how I wanted to paint the fish. I used leftover interior latex primer to prime all the raw wood first. Then I turned the table upside down and sprayed the underneath black (Rustoleum Satin Finish Enamel). I wanted the underneath to seem to disappear, so when you were sitting down, all you would notice was the color.

To apply the paint I used a combination of sponge and small (cheap) artist brushes. I applied the primer and most of the first coat with the sponge brushes and used the artist brushes for the second coat and the eye. It needed a second coat to make the colors really pop. Then I put three coats of clear polyurethane to seal the paint…I always wait at least a week or two before I use anything with poly on it, to give the polyurethane time to cure (ie. harden)…not sure if it really matters, it’s just what I do…and that’s it…we now have a fun table for the porch that cost less than $40.00…And my friends are amazed…You gotta love that :>))  Karen M.

What Is Your Ratio Of Happiness?

I realize that we all think about our happiness, but what if we counted the percentage of  time we weren’t. I have a formula that has always worked for me, remember, we are just pondering  my perspective.  I strive for 75% of the time… I must be happy. I allow 25% for all the crap that I cannot control. This is my way of keeping my life and the direction of my life in check. I always think about this every morning… Saying “Stephen, you have to find happiness in at least 75% of this day” And believe me it’s not always easy… sometimes I am left with nothing but to start the day all over again!  I am determined to live my best life. Making the effort to find happiness in my life is so important that I really don’t want to give up even 25%!  But, I realize that my life will never be perfect, so this is why 75% is so precious to me.

Think of your happiness in terms of a checkbook, if the balance falls too low, we take the necessary actions to correct  the balance, a transfer from savings, working overtime, etc. So… if your happiness falls too low, take the necessary action to correct your “balance.” Live your life in the black, not in the red! I mean set a realistic ratio for yourself and try to live it.

I know a lot of you may think this is just hogwash, but think about your happiness in terms of percentages. Putting a number on it will only inspire you to make the necessary changes.  Set a goal of happiness for yourself, and if you fall below that number, make the adjustments! After all it is your life, your happiness, and your checkbook!   Stephen Spurling

A Porch Is A Porch

        This house needed to be what I call “un-remodeled”. Years ago someone thought it would be a great idea to enclose the front porch…NOT! I think that a porch is a porch… and that thinking goes double if you live in the south! Just look at the curb appeal of this open front porch, and then look at the  picture of when it was enclosed!  I have never had so much fun subtracting heated square footage from a house! The hardest challenge of this improvement project was returning the interior brick back to its orignal color. When they enclosed it, they left the brick walls exposed on the inside room  and painted them white. I know your thinking I had the brick sandblasted, but I didn’t. I painted it with a like color matching the exterior brick. I used a paint sprayer and then a sponge with a slightly lighter color of the brick to match the existing brick. I of course had to build a corner support (column) and add a handrail.

Yes, these are drapes that you see hanging outside. Drapes on a porch create temporary privacy, intimacy and they just look great! Okay… a secret about the drapes… they are not drapes. I bought painters canvas drop cloths at Home Depot. They work great as they are made to be water-resistant and that helps to keep them from getting dirty and moldy. Besides they are cheaper than buying fabric at the fabric store. I think the pictures tells the whole story as to whether I did the right thing  on this “un-remodel” project… Stephen Spurling

 

Heart.

The heart has always been a symbol of love, courage, and devotion. Heart and Soul are two words often found together,

and for good reason. It is through the heart that the soul expresses itself. The heart is the organ that keeps us alive

physically, and it is the central source of our emotions and feelings. We know when someone is speaking from the heart, and

we know when our hearts have been touched. It has nothing to do with logic or being rational; knowing is a feeling. When we say

that someones heart is in the right place we know that regardless of the outward appearance of that person’s life, his or her intent

is soul felt and honest.

How is your heart feeling? Is it sad, happy, light or burdened? Is your heart in the right place? To know what is in our hearts

takes effort and time, for we must practice listening to the voice within. Don’t go to sleep at night with a sad heart; take time

to lighten your heart with the universe. Open your heart to the universe each night before you go to sleep, and it will bring joy

to your soul and wings to your ideas.

My Heart is happy, light and full of love.

Angel Wisdom. Chabby Chaberek

Winter

Without winter, how could we possibly appreciate the spring“?

Winter is the season of reflection and challenges. In the rythm of natural cycles, it corresponds to that part of us

that must conserve our resources, draw inward, and allow ideas and situations to hibernate and awaken in their own time.

Winter is a time of opposing forces that teach us beauty through harshness. The cold both chills and invigorates us. The

snow and ice can be fierce in their fury or breathtaking in their pristine purity. The long hours of darkness make us yearn

for the day while appreciating the stillness of the night, the warmth of the evening fire. Through winter we learn the art

of patience and the joy of discovering new inner strengths, as we wait for growth to emerge.

At times in your life when you experience the chill of winter-the frieze of activity, the harshness of painful experience, the despair

of the lengthening darkness–the universe may be telling you to draw inward, to look within for understanding and solutions, and

to release the old in order to prepare ground for the new.

A Reflection: I rest in the night to be ready for the day.

Angel Wisdom: Chabby Chaberek

Progress

“Progress is not always visible, but It’s always in progress.”

Sometimes progress is such a subtle process that we don’t know if it’s happening to us. Things may

seem unchanged at the surface: we may become doubtful or frustrated by an apparent lack of movement.

But the universe remind us that progress is a process of moving slowly and surely. It does not happen in an instant;

it does not announce itself with grand fanfare and excitement. Rather, each action we take towards our goals is

like carefully setting brick upon brick, building slowly and steadily until one day we step back and realize the house is completed.

If you have been working steadily toward a goal but wish you could make faster progress, think

about how far you have already come and trust in the process.

Even through it may not always  seem like it, I am always progressing

Angel Wisdom,  “Chabby Chaberek