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10 DIY 4th of July Decorations

Independence Day isn’t far away and at Oliver, we’ve scoured the internet for some fun and easy DIY crafts that you can do at the last minute. Here are some great decor ideas, whether you’re throwing a party or just like to celebrate the holiday:

Flag Mason Jars

An easy way to dress up any party table is to paint some mason jars and use them for forks, knives, and other supplies. This project only requires a few simple necessities and about 30 minutes!

Get the tutorial HERE.

Bandanna Wreath

Hang something on your door that greets guests with a holiday spirit. This bandanna wreath is fast and easy (as long as you can fold triangles)!

Get the tutorial HERE.

Soup Can Luminaries

Have some empty soup cans or vegetable cans lying around? All you need is a hammer, nails, and some paint and you can make your very own garden luminaries.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Paint Chip Banner

Make a statement using a banner made from paint chips! Head to your local paint store and find some large red, white, and blue paint chips. Then trace your letters and cut them out to say whatever you’d like.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Star Topiaries

Add a splash of patriotism to any room with these styrofoam-and-paper-star topiaries. These take a little bit of time, but the results are pretty fun.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Ruched Pillow Cases

If you love to sew, you’ll love these ruched 4th of July pillow cases. Once you’re done putting them together, you can use them to add a bit of festive pop to your couch, chairs, or porch/deck furniture.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Homemade Confetti Poppers

If your neighborhood doesn’t allow fireworks, make the next best thing – confetti poppers. All you need is a few toilet paper rolls, some confetti, and balloons and you have your very own “firecracker.”

Get the tutorial HERE.

Wooden Star Coasters

If you really want to kick up the festive decor, make these cute wooden star coasters with just some paint and a stencil!

Get the tutorial HERE.

Burlap Table Runner

Table runners are a great way to spruce up your dining room or kitchen table – especially if you’re using it to serve food. Grab some paints and as much burlap as you need and craft your own.

Get the tutorial HERE.

Paper Flowers

Love origami? Then this craft is for you. These flowers can be made from scrapbook paper of any pattern and are easily assembled with stem wire and paper brads.

Get the tutorial HERE.

*Photos courtesy of:
www.ahs.com
www.virginiasweetpea.com
daysofadomesticdad.com
rebekahgough.blogspot.com
www.simplydesigning.net
www.piikeastreet.com
decoart.com
www.serendipitydefined.com
livelaughrowe.com
i-candy.handmade.com


14 Ways to Repurpose Broken Household Items

Every year, homeowners throw away thousands of household items that have broken, chipped, frayed, or have otherwise become useless. With a little creativity and some effort, however, these items can be anything but. Our HVAC installation company shares some favorite ideas for repurposing common household items:

Picture Frame Earring Holder

If you break the glass in a picture frame, use the frame to create an earring holder. Cover the cardboard insert with paper or fabric, then cut a piece of chicken wire to fit the frame opening and fasten to the frame back. You’ll have a perfect place to hang your earrings.

Wicker Basket Recycler

Have an old wicker basket that’s broken or fraying? Depending on the size, place one or two small trash can inside and turn it into a recycling center. You can even fashion a lid from an old piece of wood. Just drill a few holes, string some yarn through, and attach.

Bottle Cap Tea Lights

Though bottle caps technically aren’t broken, they do end up in the trash – repurpose them by creating tea lights instead. Place a wick in the middle of each bottle cap, then fill with melted wax (from an old candle or even old crayons!). Trim the wicks and light.

Terracotta Garden Markers

If you have several terracotta pots that are cracked or broken, use a piece of lid as a garden marker. Simply write your plant or herb on the pot and place the curved shapes in front of your crop so you know where everything is.

Mosaic Plate Planters

Accidentally break a plate? Take a hammer to it and break it further (into half-inch pieces). Glue each piece onto a terracotta pot and let dry. Spread grout around the pieces and wipe with a damp towel to level. Once dry, you’ll have a decorative planter.

Stemware Flower Accents

Nothing is worse than breaking the stem of a beautiful wine glass or martini glass. Instead of tossing the glass, sink it into the dirt of a potted flower plant and add a votive candle. Then light it for a cozy accent.

Door Coat Rack

Old doors of all kinds can easily be transformed into a beautiful coat rack for your entryway. Simply repaint or re-stain the door and attach large hooks to a smooth area. For uniformity, replace the doorknob with one that complements the hooks.

Chair Swing

If you have a chair with legs that are in bad shape, remove them altogether and drill four holes in the chair seat (two in the front, two in the back). String some heavy-duty rope through the holes and attach hardware to a tree or porch ceiling and hang your new swing.

Mini Blinds Picture Frame

Don’t throw away your blinds just because one or two are broken. Instead, detach them from their cords and stack them in a rectangular shape to create a unique picture frame. You can get creative by cutting them into different sizes and layering them large to small as you go.

Teacup Curtain Tiebacks

If you have teacups with chips or cracks on the cup portion, you can turn them into adorable curtain tiebacks. Simply drill a large hole through the bottom of the cup, slip your curtain through, and hang the teacup on a wall hook.

Ladder Bookshelf

If you have an old wooden ladder that can’t be used anymore, sand it down and refinish it with paint or stain. Then, lean it up against your wall and use it as a rustic shelving unit!

Tin Can Hairbrush Holders

Instead of recycling your used tin cans, remove both ends and paint them or cover them with Washi tape. Then attach them to your bathroom wall or cabinet and use them to hold your hairbrushes.

Bucket Serving Containers

Buckets with holes may seem useless, but you can easily repurpose them into silverware, condiment, or napkin containers for your outdoor parties. Give them a new paint job and line with a decorative piece of fabric – then fill with your goodies!

Rake Utensil Holder

An old metal rake makes a great kitchen utensil holder while adding a rustic accent to your decor. Simply remove the rake handle, attach the toothed portion to the wall (teeth facing out), and hang your spoons, spatulas, whisks, and more.

*Photos courtesy of diyncrafts.com


Start Your Christmas Decorating Early with These 8 Ideas

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas will be here before we know it! Get into the holiday spirit early by decking your halls with garland, candles, lights, bows, and more. Here are some decorating ideas from our heating and cooling company:

Break Out the Garland

xmas-mantel

The great thing about Evergreen garland is you can you use it nearly anywhere in your home to add some holiday cheer. Wrap it around your staircase banister, around your hanging light fixtures, across your fireplace mantel, above your mirrors, and more. You can even add lights, bows, or small ornaments to it for more flair.

Go Plaid

plaid

For a rustic, homey touch, choose plaid as a decoration theme this year. Wrap your presents in various plaid-colored wrapping paper, choose plaid ribbon to accent your Christmas tree, create plaid pillow covers for your couch and chair pillows, and even create your own plaid votive candle holders. You’ll give your entire home a cozy feeling.

Up the Front Door Appeal

porch

Why not impress your family, friends, and passing neighbors by giving your front door a holiday makeover? String garland around your front door, columns, and/or banisters, hang ornaments from the ceiling, add a colorful wreath, or get creative with oversized Christmas bows. You can even keep it simple by displaying festive poinsettias on either side of your door or on your porch stairs.

Create a Stunning Centerpiece

centerpiece

Why not make your table centerpiece the focal point of your decor this year? Start with large glass cylinders of different sizes and fill them with festive ornaments, pinecones, berries, and even red roses. Then, group them together on your table and lay pieces of garland around and in-between them. Finish the centerpiece off with some gold or silver votive candles.

Add Some Faux Gifts

gifts

Nothing says Christmas like some neatly wrapped gifts, so why not create a few of your own to use as decoration? Take a few old boxes of various sizes and wrap them neatly with wrapping paper colors that complement each other. Finish them off with some pretty ribbon or a bow and stack them neatly on your end table, coffee table, or mantel.

Include Your Mailbox

mailbox

If you have a mailbox at the end of your driveway, why not turn it into a decorative piece for all to see? Tie a big red bow to the base or wrap garland around it. Or, you can cover the actual box with wrapping paper and turn it into a present. If you have a mailbox built into a brick or stone column, try adding some decoration to the top of the column.

Ribbonize Your Tree

tree

Everyone puts ornaments on their tree, but not many drape ribbons down it. For a unique look, grab a large embroidery hoop and tie just one end of long ribbon pieces to it (you can use scraps you have or search the remnants section of your local fabric store). Then, slip the hoop over the tree so that you have cascades of ribbon falling down it.

Put Some Glow in Your Windows

windows

Small touches can really make your home a cozy one for the holidays. If going all out with the decorations isn’t your thing, keep it simple by placing an electric candle in each of your windows. Then, put them all on a timer so that they turn on as soon as the sun goes down for a warm glow.

*Photos courtesy of:
lisahiggason.com
majhofftakesawife.com
homebnc.com
hometalk.com
hgtv.com
natyoreiro.com
timewiththea.com
a57.foxnews.com


6 Easy Ways to Add Halloween Spirit to Your Home

painted-pumpkins

Halloween is fast approaching and if you haven’t decorated your home yet, there’s still time! Here are six easy ideas from our HVAC and plumbing company that can add some spirit to both the interior and exterior of your home:

Porch Pumpkins

What better way to say “Happy Halloween” than with some pumpkins? Pumpkins come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so get creative and stock up. Try clustering or stacking several pumpkins together on either side of your front door or along your steps. Or break out the paints and paint some fun patterns or designs on them. You can even go traditional and carve some scary faces or a fun message.

Hanging Crows or Bats

Another easy way to add some spooky fun to your home is to hang black crows or bats around your rooms. You can usually find plastic crows and bats at your local party store, so all you’ll need is some black yarn or string and some tape or tacks. Wherever you hang them, hang them at different heights to give them a realistic quality (but don’t hang them so low that guests bump their heads on them).

A Festive Wreath

Wreaths aren’t just for Christmas and with that said, there are tons of fun, festive Halloween wreaths you can either buy or make. Hang a playful candy corn wreath above your mantel and an orange felt flower wreath on your front door. Or up the creepiness factor with a wreath made from “eyeballs” or one of these other spooky Halloween wreaths.

Spider Webs

One of the easiest ways to add some Halloween spirit to nearly anywhere in your home is with spider webs. Head to your local party store and grab some stretchable spider webs that you can string along your banister, in the corners of your doorways, around your fireplace, along the ceiling of your porch, and more. It’s easy to get creative!

Colored Lights

Colored lights are a great way to add some Halloween ambiance both inside and outside your home. Swap out your regular porch lights for yellow, orange, or even purple lights to make your home look a little haunted. Or if you have exterior spotlights, illuminate your whole house in Halloween colors. Inside, try lining your mantel with strands of colorful lights or placing some colored candles in your windows. If you have a chandelier, you can even swap out the bulbs to give the room an old mansion-y glow.

Banners

While you can hang a festive banner from nearly anywhere, one of our favorite places is across the mantel. Craft a paper “trick-or-treat” banner or use some black and orange glittery felt to make geometric banner. You could even find a simple strand of craft leaves or tie some shiny ribbon tassels to a string for a pop of color.

*Photo courtesy of tuvaluhome.wordpress.com


How to Avoid Common Plumbing Mistakes

plumbing mistakes

At Oliver, we know the world of plumbing is a complicated one, and there are many homeowners who decide to take on plumbing projects themselves. If you’re going to attempt a DIY venture, don’t make some of the most common plumbing mistakes:

Uneven Fixtures

If you decide to take on a larger installation like a toilet or a sink by yourself, one of the most crucial parts is leveling. While it seems like a common step, many people forget about leveling and end up with a fixture that doesn’t look or function properly. Invest in a level and don’t let an uneven installation cause you problems down the road.

Too Much Drain Cleaner

When homeowners experience a clogged drain, the first thing many turn to is a drain cleaner. However, drain cleaners contain harsh ingredients that can actually do more harm for your pipes than help; too much can eat away at both metal and PVC pipes. Here are a few more reasons why you should avoid chemical cleaners.

Wrong Tee’s or Wye’s

There are several different types of pipe connectors including various tee and wye fittings. Which you use depends on whether your pipes are running horizontally or vertically as well as their directional change. Using the right tee or wye is an important step in pipe installation and their future performance, so make sure you’re using the correct shape.

Leaving the Hose Connected

Once the temperature starts to drop, there are several things you should do to prep your home for winter – including removing any outdoor hoses from your spigots. If you leave them connected, ice can form and pressure can build up in the water lines inside your home, leading to water line damage. Remove them before it gets cold and store them in a dry place like your garage or a shed.

Mismatched Pipes

If you’re in need of a pipe replacement, it’s easy to accidentally choose the wrong shape, size, type, or material. Before you attempt a pipe replacement project, make sure you know exactly what replacement type you need. Choosing the wrong one can lead to leaks, breaks, corrosion, and more.

Avoidable Costly Repairs

Too many times, our home plumbing experts are called to repair a situation that was caused by a DIY attempt. Before you decide to take on a plumbing project yourself, know whether or not it’s beyond your skill level. If it is, simply give Oliver a call. We’ll take care of the project correctly and you won’t have to worry about costly repairs in the future.


8 PVC Pipe Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

Last month, our HVAC repair company shared a few great DIY Mother’s Day gifts using PVC pipe, so we figured some Father’s Day gift ideas were in order, too:

Desk Organizer

If organization isn’t one of your father’s strong suits, why not make him something that can help keep all of his office supplies in place? All you need is a few different sized PVC pipes,  some nails, some cardboard, and some paint, and he’ll have a stylish place to put his pens, pencils, scissors, and more. This tutorial explains how to do it.

Fisherman’s “Friend”

Does dad love to fish? Make his outings a little sweeter by building him a holder for both his fishing rod and a tasty beverage (a beer, perhaps?). With just a few specific pieces of PVC pipe, dad can have an easy-to-assemble caddy to bring with him on his next fishing trip.

Rocket Launcher

Some dads are just kids at heart, so this Father’s Day, surprise him with something fun. With some PVC pipe parts, a 2-liter plastic bottle, and some cardboard paper, your dad can have his very own paper rocket launcher. This video shows you exactly how to put together a little piece of childhood.

Garage Tool Arranger

With just a piece of plywood, some nails, and some angled PVC pipes, you can give dad a great way to organize all of his garage tools along the wall. By creating a system of pipe storage, dad will be able to store his pliers, hammers, wrenches, and more. Click here for the instructions. You can even create the same thing on a larger scale for larger tools like shovels, rakes, and hoes.

Firewood Rack

We found this great tutorial about how to build a custom firewood rack. Even though it’s made from plumbing pipe and not PVC pipe, we still think it’s a pretty awesome Father’s Day gift. Plus, it’s so modern, dad can use it as decorative piece in the family room.

Drawer Organizer

If dad can never find his ties, socks, underwear, or other small articles of clothing, why not create a custom dresser drawer organizer? Choose a specific width of PVC pipe, then cut it into pieces based on the height of the drawer. Once you sand them down to make them smooth, you can choose to keep them white or paint them, then place them right in dad’s drawer for an easy way to organize.

Shoe Storage

A father’s shoes can get pretty dirty – especially if he spends a lot of time in the garden, doing yard work, or building things in the garage. With several pieces of large PVC pipe, you can create a customized shoe storage rack where dad can stores his dirty shoes. Follow this tutorial for how to get started.

Tailgate Golf

What’s a little tailgating without tailgating games? With some PVC pipe, rope, golf balls, and some paint, you can build your very own game of tailgate golf. It’s perfect for backyard barbecues, football games, birthday parties, and more.

*Photo courtesy of homestoriesatoz.com.


10 PVC Pipe Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Every year, stores, television commercials, and internet ads are filled with Mother’s Day gift ideas like chocolates, flowers, and candles (not to mention the push to make your brunch reservations). But this Mother’s Day, our heating and cooling service company suggests taking a break from the norm and treating mom to something homemade. We’ve found some great PVC pipe crafts that are not only affordable, but easy to make!

Kitchen Organizer

Every mom loves an organized kitchen, right? With this tutorial by Ashbee Design, you can create a wall- or cabinet-mountable organizer for mom’s pots, pans, spoons, measuring tools, and more. All you need is PVC piping in several diameters and foam-backed mounting tape. You can even get creative and paint the pipes different colors!

Double Laundry Bin

Double laundry bins come in handy for separating large loads of lights and darks, but many times, they’re pretty pricey. Make mom her very own double laundry bin that’s customized to her favorite color or pattern. Better Homes and Gardens shows you how to do it using PVC piping, spray paint, and fabric.

Custom Lamp

Lamps can add a nice warm ambiance to any room, and PVC lamps are super-easy to make. Simply choose your desired PVC size and use a drill bit or small saw to carve a design into it. You can make it as classic or modern as you’d like. Then, fit a lightbulb into a cut (and empty) paper towel tube and slide the pipe over top. If your “lampshade” is larger than a paper towel tube, glue pieces of another tube on either side to make it fit snugly inside.

Bubble Wreath

Wreaths are great to hang on your front door year round, and what’s better than a wreath that’s great looking and durable? To make a wreath for mom, grab some PVC pipes in various sizes and cut them into 3-inch pieces. Then, use a hot glue gun to glue together into a “bubble” wreath. The best part is you can paint the pipes any color you want and even fill them with decorative bulbs for extra flair.

Wine Rack

PVC pipes come in a wide variety of diameters, which means you can easily find one that will fit a wine bottle. Follow these simple instructions by Daily Savings and you can make mom her very own stylish wine rack that can hold as many bottles as you’d like. Bonus: Use this same technique (but bigger pipes) to make her an organizing shoe rack.

Hair Styling Tool Holder

This awesome Mother’s Day gift is perhaps the easiest craft on our list. All you need is a Y-shaped (or double Y-shaped) PVC pipe piece that’s big enough to hold mom’s hair dryer, curling iron, straightener, or any other hair styling tools she has. To make it even more unique, coat the piece with some pretty paint before giving it to her.

Floating Planter

If your mom loves plants, why not make her a beautiful windowsill floating planter? This craft takes a little more time, but it’s something we know she’ll love. Grab a large PVC pipe, some rocks and soil, and a few of mom’s favorites plants or herbs and follow these instructions from A Beautiful Mess.

Jewelry Holder

Does mom wear a lot of bracelets and necklaces? Give her a great place to store it all with a DIY jewelry holder. We found a great video tutorial for making one (though the girl in the video uses paper towel tubes – we think PVC pipes would be better).

Sewing Organizer

Sewing accessories are small, and between bobbins, needles, spools of thread, and buttons, they can get easily lost or misplaced. Use several different sizes of PVC pipe and cut them into 2-inch or 3-inch pieces. Glue the pieces together and coat them with a crafty shade of paint and mom will have the perfect place to store her accessories.

Birdhouse

Birdhouses always make great gifts – especially ones that are resistant to outdoor elements. With some PVC piping, a saw, and a piece of wood you can make this adorable birdhouse that mom can put anywhere in her yard. Like many of our other crafts, you can make it unique by painting it to match her garden or make it her favorite color.

*Photo courtesy of dailysavings.allyou.com


Last-Minute Ways to Spruce up Your Home for Christmas

mason jar lights

It’s nearly here – or should we say they’re nearly here… If you’re expecting friends or family for Christmas, we know you’ll want your home to look clean, cozy, and most of all, festive for the holiday. If you’ve spent more time shopping and not enough time on the latter, we’re here to help. Our heating and cooling service experts have some easy ways to add a touch of Christmas before company arrives:

Christmas Light Accents

Hanging Christmas lights doesn’t have to be a chore or take up your whole day – just adding a few strands to certain areas of your home will bring on that cozy effect. String a strand around your bathroom vanity, wrap some around your stairway banister, or fill up a line of mason jars with them for a rustic touch.

Pinecones

Not only are pinecones easy to find (whether they’re outside your front door or at your local craft store), they’re also easy to decorate with. Try dropping a handful into a festive bowl or a tall vase for an easy mantle or end table decoration. Or, glue a variety of them onto a metal wreath frame and spatter them with some white paint to create a front door masterpiece. You can even paint them if you have time.

Glass Dome Ornaments

You can find packs of plastic ball ornaments in a variety of colors nearly anywhere, so pick up a set and find a nice glass dome to go with them. Fill the dome up with the ornaments, then turn it over and use a ceramic plate as a base. You’ll have a classy, beautiful decoration that you can easily place on your mantle or pair a few together and use them as a centerpiece.

Poinsettias

Nothing says Christmas like a poinsettia plant. These days, poinsettias come in a wide variety of sizes, which makes it easy to use them around the house. Place small plants on window sills to add a pop of color to any room and use larger plants outside your front door for a welcoming entrance. You can line a dish with the flowers and place a pillar candle in the middle for a nice coffee table decoration.

Festive Touches

Some festive touches go a long way when it comes to Christmas cheer. Try replacing your kitchen towels and bathroom towels with holiday-themed towels. You can also swap out your hand soaps and candles for ones with festive scents. Also try hanging some mistletoe over a doorway that gets a lot of traffic.

Garland

Just like Christmas lights, garland can be hung in numerous places to give them a little cheer. Wrap some garland around your stairway banister, drape some across your mantle, or line your front doorway and add some Christmas lights for a festive welcome sign. Spruce the garland up even more by adding some red bows, candy canes, paper snowflakes, and more.

Colored Water Candles

Have some floating candles, food coloring, and several wide-mouthed glasses? You’ve got an easy decoration on your hands. Simply fill the glasses with water and dye each one either red, green, or blue, depending on your preference. Then, drop in your floating candles and line up or cluster the glasses together for a cheery accent to any table.

*Photo courtesy of allthings-jane.com


 

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