Clean Granite Counters

With What To Clean And Not To Clean Granite Counters?

If you have recently had granite countertops installed in your home, you are probably wondering what you should clean them with. This is a tricky question. How do you find a cleaner that is strong enough to kill bacteria but not be so strong that it pulls the sealer right off? How do you find a cleaner that cleans and keeps your counters shiny and not smudgy? The answer to this question is quite simple and it is to buy a granite cleaner, but every household cleaner is not the right choice for granite countertops.

The ones that don’t strip the sealer off usually leave a sticky residue or a film. The ones that seem to work the best are stripping your sealer off little by little. Remember, natural stone is porous, and can let in moisture and germs if not kept sealed. If you do nothing else, please stay away from Windex and bleach. These are some of the worst products you can use on your granite!! Also stay away from abrasive cleaners, as they may scratch certain stone surfaces (not to mention strip the sealer off as well). Here is a complete list of cleaners to steer clear of.

  • Ammonia (Windex is ammonia based)
  • Bleach
  • Abrasives
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon and other high acid liquids

When choosing a cleaner, it is best to go with something that is meant for your specific type of stone. If you have a honed surface (commonly limestone, travertine, and some granite), go with a cleaner that will also condition your stone such as Stonetechs Professional Revitalizer Cleaner and Protector.

If you have a polished granite countertop, go with something like Stonetech bulletproof stone sealer. This is what I use at my house.

If you are looking to seal granite and you want a really good clean before you seal, use Denatured Alcohol. This is what I use during my installs to get the granite perfectly clean before I seal it.

Technique When Using These Cleaners

No matter what cleaner you use to clean the countertops, you need to clean them with the right technique to get them looking shiny like they are supposed to. Here are some simple instructions to get it right;

  • Dry wipe with a dry or slightly damp cloth to get any excess debris off the counter like salt, dirt, dust or whatever.
  • Next, spray on your cleaner. Spray it on pretty liberally, getting the desired area pretty wet. Wipe in a circular motion with two paper towels folded in half. I only use bounty because it doesn’t leave any pieces behind, and doesn’t fall apart easily, and I won’t use anything else.
  • The third and most important step is to do a second wipe with a dry paper towel in the same circular motion and buff them out. It is kind of like waxing a car.

That’s it! Buffing them dry is the key to getting good results with no streaks.

Granite Countertop Maintenance

Aside from cleaning them properly, your granite is going to need a good sealer application every so often. Check with your granite company to see if they sealed your granite, and how long their sealer will last. Most sealers only last one year, so try to figure that out as soon as you can.

Party Theme Invitations

Why To Have Printable Theme Party Invitations?

With today’s lifestyle, most people love and enjoy socializing and organizing parties, and this is the reason printable party invitations are very much in demand. It is quite obvious that no party can be organized without invitation cards; almost in every party you plan the first thing on your list is the invitation cards or printable party flyers. However, most of the people purchase or buy these invitations from stores. Also, many even think of the easy way out idea of making phone calls to all the people invited for the particular party, but doing so you just happen to miss out the most fun part of the whole event. For instance, the latest trend for parties taking place nowadays, are theme parties and to explain the theme of your party over the phone might not be all that exciting.

The printable party invitations for theme party actually brings in life and after your guests see your enthusiasm, even they get all ready to take part in an event like this. The children, adults and even elderly people love to have fun and to have parties like theme parties. However, there are many parties that you can have and some of them are listed below.

Birthday Party Themes For Kids

Birthday is a time that every child wants to make this day his or her most memorable day which they always remember with joy and cherish this time all their lives. Whether it is a child’s 1st, 5th, 10th or 15th birthday, the parents must make it a point to celebrate it in a different manner always so as to bring joy and happiness in the lives of their children. Hence, to make this event precious, you can get printable birthday party invitations made, and these can be made for free as well by just going online and you will get many options and ideas on how to go about this.

Zoo Theme Parties

There are zoo theme parties where you can ask the kids to get dressed in different animal costumes and you can have same theme invitation cards for this party as well. You can easily find many free printable party invitations online and all you need to do is choose the one that goes well with your party theme and get them printed for free. The invitations can have little lines where you could write “Lion King invites you to his jungle kingdom” and this will indicate the rest of the kids that your child is going to be a lion for this party and even they will want to take part in a this party with full enthusiasm.

Hanna Montana Or Ben 10 Theme Party

These are the two latest characters that each child loves to imitate or dress like. What more can be fun for the kids than a theme that they love? The printable party invitations with Hanna Montana or Ben 10 pictures on it would even make the kids feel more enthusiastic about the whole event.

Halloween Party For Kids

Halloween party is something that not only the kids enjoy, but this is the time the elders get to connect with the childhood fantasies as well by dressing up in different costumes and having the kind of fun that you can’t have on any other party. There are many different pictures and ideas for printable Halloween party invitations and you can choose one very easily. However, you have to add a little more to the invitation, so you could also send a souvenir or a small gift with these printable party invitations. Something like devils horns can be given with each printable party invitations with a message written inside it saying “admission without wearing these will not be permitted” and this will encourage the kids who are a bit shy to participate in the event.

Baby Shower Theme Party

Baby shower parties are organized specially for expecting mothers and this is the time all the women get together and have a lot of fun. The best theme for this kind of party would be back to school theme. For this event, you can have printable baby shower party invitations or you could also add small baby booties in pink and blue color added with the printable party invitation as a small gift for all the guest coming in for this special evening.

Antique Shakers

What To Look For When Buying Antique Salt & Pepper Shakers?

A fabulous part of the antique collection is the antique salt and pepper shakers. In addition to being absolutely adorable, they take up little space, are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. For the novice collector, antique salt and pepper shakers can be a fascinating collectible. The beautiful sets fan be found for as little as $5.00, making this a very affordable hobby.

History of Salt and Pepper Shakers

Salt and pepper shakers have a long and rich history. In the Victorian era, people stored their salt in open cellars which were small round bowls. At that time salt came in rock form and it needed to be chipped off the rock before it could be used in cooking. After the salt cellars came salt mills. They were similar to today’s pepper grinders. The salt mill contained a piece of rock salt and a shaker that broke the salt into pieces.

All the production of salt improved and advanced, and the salt mills were replaced by modern salt shakers. The 1940s saw the production of salt and pepper shakers really expanded. The birth of modern ceramics made it easier to make the shakers in a variety of shapes and designs. As they became more affordable, an additional market grew for souvenir and novelty shakers.

Salt and pepper shakers today can be found in nearly every conceivable shape, size and material. They are made from wood, metal, ceramics glass and plastic. As long as there have been salt and pepper shakers, there have been collectors. Their demand as a collectable grew along with their production in the 1940s.

Things To Look For When Buying These Collectible Items

Like any other collectible, the salt and pepper shakers have their own set of guidelines to follow when you are looking to add a new set to your collection.

Quality

  • Look for good details
  • Paint that does not flake
  • Heavier ceramic

Markings

Check carefully to make sure that the markings on the set are authentic and match the manufacturer’s stated markings.

Souvenirs

Not every set needs to be a priceless antique! Collecting sets from your travels can be a great way to remember a special vacation or trip.

Uniqueness

Look for the sets with unique shapes or decoration, something that makes you smile.

What To Watch Out For?

When buying shakers for your collection, you need to be careful of a number of things which are mentioned below;

Chips Or Cracks

Examine all the pieces carefully as these may be hidden and may make your set less valuable.

Paying Too Much

This can be a particular problem at auctions. Do your research beforehand and know how much you should be paying. Additionally you will always want to stick with a budget and not get carried away with the competition at an auction.

Repaired Pieces

As with chips or cracks you will always need to examine a piece carefully. Some repairs can be so good that they are easy to miss. Again, the repairs can lower the value of a piece or set.

Granite Seams

What To Expect Of Granite Seams?

If you are thinking of having granite installed into your house, one of the main things you need to think about is that there may be seams in it. Not all kitchens have seams in them, but a good portion of them do. There are many things to think about when determining seam placement, so I am writing this article to give you some good information on the subject.

Factors When Determining Seam Placement

The first thing you need to do when deciding seam placement is to pick a material. Slabs come in all shapes and sizes so make sure the slabs you want are big enough to get your whole job out of. Secondly, you want to make sure all of the pieces are small enough that they can be carried into the house safely. If your kitchen is on the second floor, or it is hard to reach from your driveway (or wherever the truck will unload the stone), then this may mean smaller pieces, which can more seams. An experienced granite installer is the best person to tell you where the seams can or cannot go.

Another big thing to think about when placing seams is the flow of the stone. If you have a material with a lot of veining in it, you want those veins to flow naturally throughout your kitchen. You don’t want pieces with veins going different directions. when placing a seam with regard to flow, you have to make sure the veins match up pretty good and are going the same direction right at that seam. If it is a white stone with a black vein, you want to try your best to continue that black vein from piece to piece. In some cases, this may cause you a lot more money due to the fact that they are cutting the slab out of the ordinary to match the veins. In certain cases, there may not be enough stone to match all the veins perfectly, but a good stone fabrication company should be able to make it look pretty good. Most stone companies will usually do something called a ‘slab layout’ with you if your stone has enough movement in it. If it is a consistent color throughout the whole slab, there is no need to do a slab layout.

How should Seams in Granite Look?

When placing the seams, keep in mind they are visible. The flow of the stone matching up will minimize the visibility of a seam, and a very tight seam also makes the difference between a good and a bad seam. If you are worried about your seams not looking right, make sure to inspect the tops after they are put in place, and before they are glued in. Once the seam is set, it’s set. It is extremely hard to break a seam apart without breaking the stone. Make sure the seams are flush, flat, and tight. If the stone is touching at the bottom of a seam and not the top, have the installer cut the stone at a slight angle on one of the pieces at the seam, allowing the top of the seam to be really tight. Any good installer should be able to do this.

Remember that seams are visible no matter how good of a job was done. Seamed areas are two pieces of rock glued together, so don’t expect any miracles. As long as you follow these easy guidelines, your kitchen will be beautiful. Flow is one of the most important factors in making granite tops look like they should.

Chips in Granite

Tips to Fix the Chips in Granite

A big question I get all the times is how to go about fixing chips in granite or engineered stone countertops. Most of the people think that when their countertop is chipped, there is no way to ever fix it and make it disappear, but fortunately, they are wrong. You can do it and you need the following items.

Supplies for Fixing Chips

The key to fixing a chip to get it looking natural is having the right product and tools, so here is what you will need:

  • ‘Hot stuff” superglue (available at most hobby shops)
  • An accelerator for the glue. This should also be available at hobby shops. You don’t need it, but if you want to take care of the problem right away, then you need this. If you donot find the accelerator, that’s fine. You will just have to wait until the glue dries.
  • Plenty of razor blades (single sided). Go ahead and buy a big pack of these, as you will need to use at least five or six per pea sized chip.
  • Astone cleaner (you most likely already have this)
  • A sharpie
  • A magic marker (black, or the closest color to your stone)
  • Denatured alcohol (This is not a must, but it is recommended.)
  • Paper Towels

Method for Fixing Chips

The first thing you need to do is make sure this chipped out area is clean and dry. If it is wet or greasy, it will not hold the glue. Take your granite cleaner (just a small amount) and clean the area really good. If you are in a hurry you can use denatured alcohol, as it dries a lot faster, (almost instantly).

Once the area is clean and dry, you are ready to repair the chip. If the stone is a dark stone, (brown, dark gray, or black) color in the chip with your sharpie. If it looks too dark, just wipe it out with the denatured alcohol. Don’t worry about it looking perfect, as the glue will do this. Cut open the tip of the HOT STUFF super glue very small, making the opening about the size of a pin head. Squirt a small amount into the chip, making sure there are no bubbles. Put a very small amount in, as the accelerator can’t dry a lot of glue at a time. After you squirt that small amount of glue into the chip, go ahead and spray the accelerator on it. Only spray for about half a second, and stay 8-12 inches away with the tip of the accelerator bottle. Repeat this in very small intervals until the chip is filled up. It’s supposed to be over filled a little bit, so don’t worry if it looks like there is too much glue in the chipped area.

After you have filled up the chip completely, make sure that the accelerator has done its job. Poke the area with a small stick, or just use a razor blade cover. If you have waited five minutes, and the glue is dry, you are ready to file it down and make it disappear. Take a fresh razor blade and file the glue down gently. Hold the razor blade perpendicular to the countertop. If you hold it at any kind of angle, it could pull the glue right out of the chip.

Only use each razor blade for a little bit of time, as it will lose its sharpness quickly. Once it does that it can scratch the glue, or pull the glue out. You will know when to get a new one. Make sure when you are filing that you are very gentle, and move in a back and forth motion, holding the razorblade in two hands, one on each side. Don’t worry, the razorblade will not scratch the granite or engineered stone surface.

File the glue down until you cannot feel the difference between the glue and the countertop, then file a little bit more with a fresh razor to shine the area up. It should get as shiny as the counter, or very close to it. If not, rub it with your finger until it buffs up. It should get nice and shiny.

That’s it! The chip should be filled and virtually unnoticeable. Go ahead and clean the area good with your granite cleaner, as the area might be a little hazy here and there, as well as full of glue shavings. If you have any questions feel free to leave them on this page, and I will answer them promptly.

Ashley Lighting

Introduction to Laura Ashley Lighting

Laura Ashley did not start out with her own line of lighting fixtures. She started in her humble home where she lived in England with her husband. Around the middle nineteen fifties, Laura was wiped out by the flooding of the Derwent River overflowing. By then she was well on her way to being a household name with her beautiful prints and fabrics. Laura Ashley lighting was started many years after her passing in nineteen eighty five.

Laura Ashley lighting can be found in most of the department stores and discount houses. The line carries many different lamps and chandeliers. One is called the Cherry Blossom 5 arm chandelier. It is made of steel pretty wrought iron flowers entwined throughout. The colors are quite nice of antique pale sage and pink. There are a number of different styles in this line alone.

Another Laura Ashley lighting line has mini chandeliers. They will go into a small bedroom or dining room. They come in a variety of shapes and colors. How pretty a mini chandelier would look in a girl’s room all pink and frilly? The chandeliers in the Laura Ashley lighting collection is mind boggling. There are so many to choose from, some people might be intimidated by the selection. There are choices from the very simple to the ultra-fancy. Some have just a few crystals others have thousands of them. Some crystals are even colored, adding pretty hue to the room.

Lamps in the Laura Ashley lighting collection are very lovely. The designs range from tall and skinny ones, to short, fat or round ones. There are different lamps and table lamps with shades to match any décor. They are also fancy ones that will add that special touch to the room they are in.

The collection of Laura Ashley lighting has one special lamp called the birdcage complete lamp. It looks like a gilded birdcage with so many sparkling suspended glass droplets. It hangs from the ceiling as a plant hanger would and would fit just right in that empty corner.

There is a lamp shade in the Laura Ashley lighting collection that is an unusual shaped shade. It looks like someone took a bunch of material and pleated it all together. It has a beaded swag on the bottom that looks like diamonds. It is for a large lamp to set on an end table or two. Or some people will hang it as a chandelier, giving the room a different look all together.

Found in the Laura Ashley lighting collection are floor lamps of many designs. Some are very simple, great behind a reading chair. Others are made of glass balls sitting on top of each other. The choices are many and there is one out there just right for your home or office. The prices in the Laura Ashley lighting collection vary. Depending on where you are putting the lamp or hanging that chandelier will determine the price. As her clothing line reflects softness, so does her collection of lamps and chandeliers. They give the feeling of fragileness and will soften a room, no matter where it is put.