October Valley Forge Festivals- Skippack Days

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As one of Montgomery County’s largest arts and craft shows, Skippack Days has endless art pieces covering the streets with all types of unique treasures. Along with the art, food, beverages and music make the show a more than pleasant experience in Skippack Village!

The 44th year of this event will occur on October 3rd and 4th from 10 am to 6 pm with free admission.

Come join the start of this years fall events!

Top Trends in Home Design

Luxury living room with french windows, fireplace and glass top coffee table

If you’re trying to design a home or are curious about the hottest trends, there are some developments in housing construction and decoration that are apart of today’s styles!

According to the National Association of Home Builders, homes are actually getting smaller. Homes today are 10% smaller since 2010! They say that the decrease size in homes is due to financials, including lower heating and air costs.

Here are some trends within the home from this year:

1. Living Rooms have transformed greatly over the years. Instead of actually having a living room, a lot of houses have one large room combining kitchens and family rooms to bring everything together.

2. Energy efficient appliances and windows are more popular than ever before. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of energy including long-term savings as well as positive effects on the environment.

3. Kitchen Basics these days include recessed lighting, double sinks and plenty of room to sit and eat with others. Large walk-in pantries and office spaces are also more popular along with large central islands. The feel of present day kitchens is intended to be warm and welcoming, as the kitchen is more of a place to come together than in the past.

4. Texture is more popular, especially in woods and stones that resemble raw materials. Homeowners more typically leave these materials in their natural form to show its original beauty.

5. Technology is evolving in the bathroom when it comes to touch screens that assist consumers in controlling their devices including water flow and temperature. A common example of this is the touch faucets, where you can tap the top of it to turn it on and off if your hands are full or dirty.

Tips to Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

Cropped shot of a growing plant in a man's hands

There are basic steps to planting a garden that beginners might not be aware of. These simple guidelines will help make sure your garden will flourish without any problems:

First you need to pick a spot with a lot of sun exposure. Vegetables need sunlight, so choose an area in your yard where they will definitely get some.

Second, make sure you get good soil. The soil the plants grow in will have an effect on their growth and quality. Some soil can contain compost and still be fine for planting, but other soils need help. Vegetables must grow in rich, well-drained soil. Check with your local nursery about free soil test kits!

Next, make sure your placement is right. Avoid planting too close to trees, which will block sunlight and absorb nutrients from the garden. Also, a garden closer to the house will prevent animals from eating your vegetables.

Then you must choose between a tilling and a raised bed. A raised bed is a better option if you have poor soil or is you are limited in mobility, it’s easier to reach and maintain.

Lastly, you will need the basic planting tools. The necessities include spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder and wheel barrow or bucket for transporting soil.

Don’t forget that plants also need a lot of water, at least one inch a week!

The Tax Advantages of Buying a Home

Holding house keys on house shaped keychain in front of a new home

Aside from having your own place and setting it up exactly how you want it, there are other benefits of buying a home, financial benefits. As a homeowner, taxes become more complicated than if you are renting but it is worth it when you see the money you will save at the end of the day.

How deductions work:

There are deductions and credits in the tax world. Credits are like a coupon, they are taken off of your bill. A tax deduction reduces your adjusted gross income, which then reduces your tax liability. So, if you’re in the 25% tax bracket, your tax liability will be reduced by 25% of the total claimed deduction. If you claim a $2,000 deduction you can expect your tax liability to drop by about $500.

The most common types of deductions include mortgage interest, real estate taxes, points and private mortgage insurance (PMI).

For the most part, you can probably deduct all of your home mortgage interest. There are some exceptions such as there being a $1 million yearly cap on the amount you can deduct but that probably doesn’t apply. You can even deduct late fees in many circumstances.

The money you pay in property taxes is deductible also. You’ll find the amount on your 1098 form if you pay for your taxes through a lender escrow account. If you pay directly to your municipality, you have personal records in the form of a check or automatic transfer.

With a new loan, you may have paid points to your lender. Points are normally priced as a percentage of the total. As long as you actually gave the lender money for these points, you will get a deduction. If you refinanced your loan, you get a deduction for points over the lifespan of the loan. Ever time you give a mortgage payment, points are put into the loan which can be deducted each month you made payments.

Private mortgage insurance: If you took out a loan in 2007 or later, you may be able to deduct your PMI. If you’re single and your gross income is less than $50,000, you’re eligible for the deduction. For those who are married, the starting point is $100,000.

For the full article on tax deductions when buying a home, click here.

Please Touch Museum

Philadelphia, USA - April 13, 2013. Please Touch Museum at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Pak, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Please Touch Museum is the most loved museum by children where kids learn by playing. The Memorla Hall in Fairmount Park is a national historic landmark built in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition.

The Please Touch Museum is a museum containing two floors of exhibit zones designed to encourage learning through play. The unique exhibits are very open-ended to ensure all types of learning and making each family visit personalized for your own experience! Parts of the exhibits include activities like “City Capers” with construction props, “Roadside Attractions” that allows kids to explore what’s on the road, and much more!

The museum is located at 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131 with hours Monday-Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.

Admission is $17 for children and adults and free for children under the age of 1.

Don’t let your child miss out on this amazing learning experience!

Simple Tips For Painting a Room

Couple Decorating Room Using Paint Rollers On Wall

When it comes to a good paint job, it’s all about prepping the walls and knowing a couple little techniques. As long as you know what to do beforehand, painting can be pretty easy!

  1. The first step is to clean the walls. Gently clean the walls with a wet sponge and a little mild dish-washing detergent to remove any dust, dirt or grease spots. This will ensure that no particles get stuck under your new paint, and the coloring will look how you want it to.
  2. A second important step is to tape the trim, window, and door frames. Be sure to use painter’s blue tape, which can be applied up to a week ahead of time. Remove it as soon as you’re done painting, so you don’t pull off any paint with the tape. This will allow you to have defined, straight lines on your trim to make it look crisp and clean.
  3. Priming your walls before you paint will definitely enhance the appearance. Primer helps maximize the sheen and coverage of paint and gives the finish coat a more uniform look.
  4. Brush where you can’t roll. Rollers will be used on majority of the walls, but there are some hard to reach places that will come out better with a brush. Use a brush around the trim and corners of walls, where the roller can’t reach, with a two inch angled brush.
  5. This tip is less important for the quality of the paint job, but using the W technique will increase efficiency. Start in the corner of a wall and roll on a three-by-three-foot W pattern, then fill it in without lifting the roller. Continue in sections until you’re done and paint one wall at a time.
  6. Paint the trim will make your new paint pop even more. When the walls are dry, tape where the trim meets the wall. Paint the moldings as well as the door and window frames with a two-inch angled brush.

Now you’re ready to execute a professional looking paint job!

Today’s Treasures Antiques In Plymouth!

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Today’s Treasures is an enchanting store that has a great selection of affordable antiques. There’s something there for everyone, whether your a beginner at purchasing antiques or a dedicated collector. There is helpful assistance throughout the store if it is needed while you’re browsing as you please.

Today’s Treasures Antiques is the largest and oldest antique store in the Wyoming Valley area of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Northeast. They have over forty years experience, selling a variety of antiques that have been hand-selected for value and uniqueness. The variety of antiques include furniture, jewelry, silver, toys, decorative accessories, stained glass windows, etc.

Hours are Wed-Sun 12-5 pm located at 10 East Main Street, Plymouth, PA 18651

Come find a unique antique that’s perfect for you!

Philadelphia Zoo Animal Inspired Sculpture Exhibit

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The Philadelphia Zoo has made a new addition to their family this year: The Second Nature Exhibit

This exhibit is different from the rest. It doesn’t include any playful animals you see throughout the rest of the zoo, but larger-than-life sculptures of them made from recycled, reused and re-purposed materials.

These sculptures are made out of any materials you can think of including spark plugs, cardboard and even chewing gum! (There is an alligator that is made of 200 pounds of chewing gum!)

The exhibit is made up of 12 works from a dozen renowned artists  from around the world like Rome, Rotterdam, Montreal, Queensland and, of course, Philadelphia.

Second Nature is full of endangered species of animals and tells a story about the connection between endangered species and human behavior It tries to get visitors thinking about the small things we can do in our daily lives to help endangered animals and think about our habitats.

Be sure to check out this extremely unique exhibit, open until October 31st!

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Where To Start When Decorating

Flowers in a vase against sofa with velvet pillows

Decorating a room or home can be both exciting and overwhelming. In order to make your house look the way you want it with less stress, there are a few tips on how to begin your decorating process:

  1. Find your style. This may seem like a fairly obvious first step to decorating, but some people don’t exactly know what they want their overall look to be. Researching different styles can help find one that you like and you can start picking out furniture and artwork that is either formal or casual, french country style or cottage style; whatever fits your taste.
  2. Choose a Fabric With Colors You Like. Possibly the most common way of beginning a decorating project is to select a fabric with colors, a pattern, and texture you like. You can then use the colors in the fabric to pick colors you’ll use on the walls, on other pieces of furniture, and in accessories you choose afterwards.
  3. Start With an Area Rug. The reverse of finding furniture fabrics you like is to find a patterned rug first and then keep your other elements simple. But if you want to use the rug as a starting point, pick colors from the pattern and use them throughout the room on walls, fabrics, furniture, and accessories.
  4. You can also start with what you have. Most people have some furniture or art to use or the house has carpeting, tile floors or counter tops, or architectural features that you’re not ready to get rid of that you can go off of.

Patio Decorating Tips to Transform Your Backyard

Morning light streams into a garden patio and reflects off of the waterfall.

Having a cozy, relaxing patio can really come in handy during the summer when you want to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. Here are some simple tips that can really transform your outdoor space and bring it all together:

  1. Create a spot to gather: a good way to get started on any outdoor decorating is creating a space in the backyard for friends and family to hang out. This can be anything from a fire pit, a shady tree, fountain or sculpture, a favorite piece of artwork, etc. Wherever your favorite part of your backyard is, place seating to attract attention and create a welcoming spot to hangout.
  2. Use Trees to Hang Lighting: Another unique tip is to use trees in your backyard to provide light. Trees aren’t put to any use at night mainly because there is never enough light around them to attract attention. Christmas lights and candles can be hung from them to brighten up your yard in creative spaces.
  3. Hang up a hammock or swing: Hanging a hammock is one of the easiest ways to add a new and personal area to a patio. You can find hammocks in different styles and creative ways of hanging them in all sorts of places!

For all 25 of these great patio decorating tips, click here.