Gallagher Group, Inc. | Norwell Real Estate, Marshfield Real Estate, Hanover Real Estate


Image by Miriam Müller from Pixabay

Nothing says summer fun like outdoor games!  Games can allow new friends to get to know one another outside of awkward chit-chat, and is a must at parties that involve children.

Here are three games that you can make today, from easiest to most challenging.  None of them will take more than a day to make.

1) Nighttime Lawn Bowl

Appropriate for adults as well as children, this is a fantastic game to play in the evening.  

Materials:

  • Glow sticks
  • Six empty water bottles
  • A ball
  • Instructions:

  • Cut the tops of the glowsticks with a knife or a sharp pair of scissors and empty a different-colored glowstick into each empty bottle.  Depending on how much water you use, you may wish to pour the contents of more than one glowstick into your bottles.
  • Add water to your bottles.
  • Set up your 'pins' and play!
  • If you intend to play with small children, don't fill up the bottles all the way, and use a lightweight ball.  For adults and teens, you can fill the bottles up a bit higher.  Just test it out yourself first, to ensure you can really knock the pins down with your chosen ball!

    2) Beanbag Toss

    Materials:

  • Plates (paper or ceramic are fine)
  • Small beanbags
  • Writing tools or cut-out numbers
  • A meter stick or measuring tape
  • Instructions:

    This is a great project because you can make it using what you have on hand.  

  • Take several plates and mark them with point values.  You can do this as elaborately or as simply as you wish.  A simple method would be to use paper plates and use a marker draw point values -- just be sure to pin your plate to the ground, possibly with a rock, or they will blow away!  A more long-lasting method would be to buy ceramic plates and Mod Podge numerical values on their surface.  It all depends on whether you want your game for one night or years to come.
  • Lay your meterstick or measuring tape out where your players are to stand.
  • Take your lower point value plates and place them close to the meterstick; place higher-value plates further away.
  • Toss the beanbags!
  • 3) Cornhole Toss

    What summer lawn party would be complete without the cornhole toss?  It's a yard party staple and for good reason: it's easy to make, fun, and kids and adults can all play.  

    Materials:

  • Two pieces of plywood, 24" x 48" x 1/2"
  • Small beanbags: you can get these at a dollar store or make them yourself by filling machine-sewn pouches with dry beans!
  • For the frame:

  • Four 2' x 4' x 48" 
  • Four 2' x 4' x 21"
  • For the legs:

  • Four 2' x 4' x 11-1/2"
  • Make the two boxes

  • Fasten the 2x4s with the 21" pieces inside the 48" pieces to form a 2’ x 4’ box, using 3" screws.
  • Using a jig, create two pocket holes in your plywood at each end of the four 21”, 2' × 3' ends.  Together with the 48", 2' x 3' sides, this will make the frame.  
  • Take your plywood and place it atop your box and use it to square up your frame.  Screw the plywood into the frame using 1 5/8" screws.
  • Repeat steps 1-3 to make your second box.
  • Make & attach the legs

  • Take a 2' x 4' and cut it down to 11 1/2" to create four legs.  
  • Measure 1 3/4" down the 2' x 4' and draw a line across the leg.  Next, place a compass on that line and draw an arc to create a 3 1/2" radius guideline.  Cut with a jigsaw.
  • Flip the box upside down and clamp legs into place; the radius side should be in the corner.
  • Mark a central point, and then drill a 1/2" hole through the side of your box and into the leg.
  • Connect the legs to the frame using carriage bolts, washer, and wing nut.  
  • Sit the completed frame upright on a table and fold the legs underneath.  Next, prop the back of the completed frame up until it is 12" off the tabletop and let the legs hang down.  Using the edge of the table as a guide, draw a straight line on the base of each of the legs to ensure the frame will sit straight on the ground.
  • Finishing the cornhole

  • Draw a dot at the center of the cornhole frame and, using a compass, draw a 6" diameter circle from this central point.
  • Drill a lead-hole at the circle's edge and then use a jigsaw to cut the circle out.
  • Sand the edges and the inside of the hole.
  • Sand all your surfaces, prime, and paint as desired.
  • _______________________________

    Jumpstart your lawn party with these fun, active, inexpensive outdoor games!


    Photo by Rades via Shutterstock

    Not everything you’ve heard over the years about home improvements actually “improves” your return on investment. In fact, there are some myths that continue to crop up that surprise homeowners when they price their homes to sell them on the market. Learning the difference between a change you make for your family to enjoy versus an improvement that raises your home’s value can be a painful lesson if you wait until requesting a market evaluation from your real estate agent.

    • Every renovation adds value to the home. Splitting a large master bedroom to create a guest room or add a bathroom to your home might increase your asking price, but that doesn’t mean an underwriting evaluation determines it the same way. And while combining two smaller rooms into one or removing a wall could increase the room’s usefulness, on paper, the decrease in bedrooms might lower the valuation amount. If improving livability for your family is the goal, do what works best for you. But, if you’re renovating so that you can sell for a higher price, talk to a home valuation expert, such as a licensed appraiser, to see what really gives you a return for your home.
    • Completing the project yourself saves money. This myth only holds true if you’re a qualified contractor. Sometimes, in an effort to save money, you end up spending more to correct errors you didn’t know not to make. Hiring qualified professionals nearly always pays off as compared to doing it yourself.
    • Pools add sales value. Many homeowners believe that installing a hot tub or pool makes their home more attractive. While in some locations this indeed is true, if your home is located in a climate with variable seasons, a pool requiring maintenance can be off-putting to many buyers. Putting in a pool should be for the sake of those living in the home. When it comes time to sell, your experienced real estate agent can help you market it with a pool even if that’s not a big seller in your location.
    • Improvements should be trendy. Despite what you see on television, not all design trends improve your bottom line. Trading out your bathroom door for a barn door might satisfy your need to update your home, but not all buyers appreciate the lack of privacy a barn door offers. And, while shiplap might be popular when promoted by a well-known designer, homebuyers often prefer less textured walls on which to make their own mark.

    The bottom line is that to improve your bottom line, stick with upgrades to appliances, a new roof, replacing that garage door and upgrading the landscaping. Your real estate professional can clue you in on which improvements increase the price and which promote a speedier sale. When you’re ready to sell, ask for a market evaluation on your house.


    Photo by eric montanah from Pexels

    Furniture DIY projects can be fun and exciting. And better yet, these can help you save thousands of dollars. However, these projects take time, energy, and knowledge, which is where you’ll see a lot of people give up. But by learning some super simple DIY projects, you can get your hands on custom-made, useful furniture that can really change the look and feel of your home.

    Whether you’re trying to fix damage or you want to give your furniture a new look, there are many DIY tips to consider. Keep reading to learn some quick and effective ways on how to refresh your old furniture:

    Patch It Up!

    If you have a hole or tear in your furniture, then patching it up is a great option. And luckily, there are some simple ways on how to do this yourself. Take a look at this step-by-step guide for patching furniture:

    1. Cut off a piece of thick and hefty fabric to use as your patch. It’s important to make the patch a little bigger than the area you want to cover.
    2. Pull back the ripped upholstery and put the patch beneath it. Hold the flap of the upholstery back, then pin it in place.
    3. Apply a uniform layer of fabric glue to the patch, then add glue to the corners of the ripped upholstery.
    4. Take out the pin, and press down on the upholstery flap.
    5. Insert more pins if needed until the glue has dried.

    Reupholstering

    Another option is to reupholster your furniture. Whether you want a new look or you have a damaged piece, this can be a very beneficial method. Here is how to do this effectively:

    1. Only choose high-quality furniture. Reupholstering something that isn’t long-lasting could be a waste of time.
    2. Gather your fabric and make sure you have plenty of it.
    3. Assemble your tools: a flathead screwdriver, pliers, a hammer, a staple gun and a sewing machine with supplies.
    4. Remove the fabric from your furniture by removing staples, tacks, or screws.
    5. Clean the furniture or repair it if needed.
    6. Measure and cut the new fabric.
    7. Next, you’ll want to sew the fabric where necessary. Try to mimic the original sewing pattern with your new upholstery work.
    8. Staple the new fabric to the furniture with your staple gun. Work on one section at a time and ensure the fabric is lined up properly.
    9. Add finishing touches such as piping, buttons, or reattaching feet to the bottom of the furniture.

    Give Your Home the Refresher It Needs!

    A simple DIY furniture project can really take your home to the next level. These easy tactics can leave your furniture looking new and refreshed, which can really wow your guests. Staining and painting are a few other restoration methods you can try, and the results can blow you away! Now pick your furniture, grab your supplies, and get to work on your next DIY project!


    Photo by Schluesseldienst via Pixabay

    Selling? Ready to wow potential buyers with some high-impact touch-ups? Here are some top ideas to mesmerize home buyers—without spending a fortune on renovations. 

    Dazzle Them at the Doorstep

    Many of today's home sales, and certainly most fast transactions, begin with online browsing. First, snap a photo of your home. Take it from the perspective of someone walking up to the front door. Is the walkway weeded? Is the welcome mat spiffy? Is the patio tidy? Think about the irresistible qualities of your home, as you first saw them. Are those charming elements as visible today? Lay fresh mulch on the front garden to touch up the landscaping. A coat of paint for the door, window frames, and decorative shutters is well worth the time invested. Just one sunny day's work...et voilà!

    Now, to clean the windows. Are they perfectly clear and inviting? Peek in. Is the interior clutter-free, sparkling clean, and charming? Well done! You're ready to start your virtual home tour on your social media accounts!

    Uplift the Interior Mood

    Look for spots where you can lighten up the interior look. White paint over dark panels, doors, or cabinets can make a world of mood-lifting difference.

    If possible, remove the furniture, except for your staging pieces, before having the photography done. Make the essence of your home bright and joyful. Consider, for instance, that essential oils can be exceptional mood enhancers. Research has confirmed lavender's "anti-agitation and antidepressant" effects.

    Make this knowledge work for you. Drop a little lavender oil on your AC filter, or on the cardboard roll inside toilet tissue, for diffusion that keeps spreading a calm feeling throughout your home. (You can share the tip with the new homeowner at closing!)

    Try Speed Renovating 

    Here again, start by taking pictures inside. Find your best touch-up targets. 

    For example:

    • Pick out some simple brass outlet covers to replace your old ones.
    • For a mini-makeover in the kitchen, install a sleek, new faucet. It's a relatively small project. But it can be transformative.
    • Grab some attractive peel-and-stick tiles. Make a backsplash to frame your stove or sink.

    Now, throw those curtains open! Open those blinds and windows. Bright, sunny interiors sell homes. 

    Ready to Sell Your Home?

    Great!

    You've cleared out everything. The baseboards are painted. Your kitchen is ready with its glistening—and empty—countertops.Be sure the lock and key work nicely. (You might be surprised, but homes get passed over because the agent can't get the key to work.) Now, you're ready to open your home, and I'm ready to help you. Just give me a call, and let's get that SOLD sign ready!


    The wall finishes you loved five years ago seem a little stale now. Even though the walls have held up and don't need repainting, the look seems dated. Either that or your do-it-yourself gene wants to express itself again with something completely different. Go ahead. Splash some paint on those walls. Better yet, try a new finish to add warmth, depth, and sophistication to any room.

    Decorative techniques

    • Sophisticated stenciling. Instead of flowers, paisley, and fleurs-de-lis think techno dashes or graphic geometrics. Try a single wall in the bathroom, or above the backsplash in the kitchen. For a fanciful finish, wrap your design around a corner and fade into the larger wall.
    • Stripes and checks. New painter tapes and smoother wall finishes lend themselves to stripes and checks. For an intricate detailing try graduating from wide stripes to narrow as you move up the wall or start with a darker color and move to a lighter one. Another sophisticated look is a plaid or check. Think gingham for a classic design. You'll need both a deeper and lighter version of the same hue to complete the look.
    • Strié. Different from stripes, strié is a faux finish utilizing glaze and brushes in a horizontal or vertical motion to create natural striations—fine ridges or grooves—on the surface of the wall. Because the process removes glaze with each brush stroke, it is a "negative technique" rather than adding it. The simplest version requires rolling a layer of faux-glaze over the entire wall, then removing it in lines with a dry brush.
    • Dots and harlequins. Add a bit of whimsy to the wall of a bedroom wall with polka dots or harlequins (elongated diamonds). Use a stencil for the dots and tap for the harlequins. Raise the bar a bit with your dots by placing them randomly rather than an evenly-spaced pattern or put larger groups of dots nearer the ceiling with fewer and fewer as they progress down the wall toward the floor.
    • Metallics. A newcomer to the paint scene, metallic paints such as pewter or copper in a glossy finish add drama to a niche or alcove. Use a metallic bronze above a fireplace or paint a powder room ceiling antique gold.
    • Sponging. Arguably one of the least complex finishes to master, sponging can date your home back to the 90s or move it into the modern era depending on the care and precision you use. A single color, say blue or green on a white wall, is the old version of this technique. To give a completely updated version, paint the wall a medium dark color, say an ocean blue, and then sponge on slightly lighter and slightly darker colors with a light hand to give the wall the look of aged azure stone. For a more formal look, lightly add metallic touches with a dry sponge to add reflective tones.
    • Color wash. For textured walls and paintable wallpaper, color wash creates a beautiful finish. Paint the walls in a satin finish paint, then, brush over it with a glaze mixture to bring out the texture.
    • Hand rubbed. Like color wash, the hand-subbed technique uses a soft cloth or old cotton sock, instead of a brush, to rub the glaze in a circular pattern onto the wall.

    No matter what the technique, if you don't love the finished product, simply paint over it and start again. Before utilizing a specialty paint technique on the walls in a home you plan to sell, chat with your local real estate professional to see if it's the right choice for your home.




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