Indianapolis Community and Life

Feeding Your Family: Farm to Table and Container Gardening

Posted by Paula Henry on Sep 18, 2014 10:30:00 AM

If you've purchased a new home recently, you're likely considering some upgrades - like painting a few rooms or even bigger projects like tearing down walls. (For those, you might considering hiring a repair specialist.) Other projects are much more do-able on your own, like gardening, for example.

So if you're looking for something fun to do as a family and a way to help grow some of your own food, farm to table and container gardening might just be for you. If you're not sure what you're doing, have no fear. We'll fill you in on everything you need to know.

vegetables

What is farm to table?

In recent years, farm to table eating has become quite popular. It's based on the premise of healthy, organic food produced locally, which means that you purchase produce or meat straight from the farm. Not only does this support local farmers, it provides you with the freshest food possible.

You might have taken advantage of some of these fruits and vegetable offerings at local farmer's markets. (If you haven't, we highly recommend it!) These days, there are farm to table restaurants; there are blogs devoted to it; there are even websites where you can choose your state, and it will tell you what's in season during each month. It has never been trendier - or healthier - to choose farm to table eating.

Container Gardening

In the event that you would like to produce your own fruits and vegetables, you can do so by container gardening. (Make sure you check with your HOA to see if they have any rules about this first!) In case you weren't born with a green thumb, here are some guidelines for creating your garden. 

Location, location, location

Choose a spot that will yield at least 6 hours of sunlight. Beware that placing pots on cement may provide too much heat for the plants to bear. You might consider starting to grow plants inside your home so that they can get a healthy start before you put them out in the elements. 

Think out of the box

Lots of people build wooden boxes for their yard in order to grow their fruits and vegetables. And while these are great, there are plenty of creative ideas online that can help spark some unique ideas - from planting in old suitcases to used purses, to paint cans; you can make your garden as personal as you are!

Thankfully, most fruits and vegetables aren't picky about their container as long as it's big enough and provides drainage for extra water. The bigger the container, the more soil there is to absorb water (so you don't have to worry about watering it as often). This also gives the plant opportunity to grow.

Soil

Even though most plants aren't picky about containers, they are picky about their dirt. Your fruits and vegetables will grow best with a potting mix made for containers since it will include lots of nutrients that the plants won't be able to get from the ground. If you're not sure what you're looking for, ask a local nursery for some direction.

Planting

Plant seeds according to the package directions. Because not all seeds will germinate, so plant more than you need, then thin the excess later. Set transplants at the same level they were growing in their pot (except for tomatoes, which you can strip off their lower leaves and plant them deeper in the container).

After planting, water gently but thoroughly to settle the seeds or transplants. Keep the soil in your vegetable container garden from drying out as fast by mulching with straw, compost, leaf mold, or a similar material.

Caring for your plants

Watering is the most important thing to watch for in your vegetable container garden. So inspect your vegetables regularly to make sure the potting mix hasn't dried out. About a month after planting, feed your vegetables about once a week with a water-soluble fertilizer, following the package directions. Also keep an eye out for weeds and other pests. While plants in containers usually aren't as susceptible to disease as varieties grown in the ground, you'll still want to watch for problems. Remove or treat any plants that show signs of disease or insect damage.

Harvest

Harvest is the most satisfying step. Pick your vegetable container gardening crops as soon as they reach a size where you will enjoy them. Most vegetables are more productive if you harvest early and often. 

Whether you choose to feed your family via farm to table or container gardening, make sure you enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor!

Topics: Green Living, Gardening

Riding for Charity in Indy

Posted by Mandy Padgett on Sep 16, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Charity_Rides

There are certain combinations that just make sense. Cookies and cream. Bert and Ernie. Chips and Salsa. And Motorcycles and Charity.

Every Summer, Indianapolis has a host of events featuring that very mashup and bikers riding for a cause will surely have the time of their lives. There are two different kinds: rides that go around a pre-determined route with various stops, and Poker Runs which are rides where riders get a card at each stop of the bike run and whoever has the best poker hand at the end gets a prize.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a fun night out or just a leisurely ride, each of these events ensures that your money is well-spent on charitable causes. Here’s some not-to-miss charity bike events that you need to mark your calendar for in the coming year!

Charity Poker Runs

If you’re looking for a great way to have fun and do some charitable work at the same time, you can join a poker run like the James Lee Rike Memorial Benefit Ride, which just completed its 6th ride this June. The event provides live band entertainment, a silent auction, a bike show, and prizes for the winning poker hand as well as the 100 mile scenic bike run.

The poker run is in memory of James Lee Rike who passed away at young age of 9 due to a golf cart accident. At that time, his family did not have money for the funeral so the event was started to raise money. Today, the proceeds of the event go to the Indiana Dream Team, a non-profit organization that helps troubled youth reconnect with their family. Part of the earnings also go to the Children’s Death Benefits who assist families to pay for children’s funerals.

Charity Rides

You can find plenty of bike runs all across Indianapolis, all raising funds for charity. The RAMS Ride or Riders Against Multiple Sclerosis stems from Rod’s Ride and is open to all types of bikes and all kinds of riders. The RAMS Ride’s only objective is to raise awareness, money and support for their fight against multiple sclerosis.

If you have a pet or are just an animal lover in general, you can always join the Ruff Ride Motorcycle Fun Run. The registration fee costs $35 and includes food, a shirt, as well as live music, casino cash, and many more. The Ruff Ride Motorcycle Fun Run is in benefit of the Pets Healing Vets & The Humane Society for Hamilton County.

One of the biggest riding events in Indianapolis is the annual Rock for the Cure Ride to End Breast Cancer. Registration is at $25 for single riders and $35 with passengers as well as a $10 after-ride walk in. The whole day event includes free food and live music as well as a silent auction to raise money and field events that allows riders to show off their bike skills to that audience. The event is unescorted which means that riders can ride around the designated areas at their leisure. The event is in benefit of the Rock For The Cure Foundation Corporation which is a charity that aims to help the fight against breast cancer.

To look for more info on these and other events throughout all of Indiana, visit this website!

 

 

Topics: Things to do in Indianapolis, Just for Fun

Bleeding Blue: How to Throw the Best Colts Party

Posted by Paula Henry on Sep 14, 2014 10:30:00 AM

It's Fall, which means it's football season. If you're in or around Indianapolis, chances are that you are a Colts fan just like we are here at Home to Indy. One of the best ways to celebrate your new home is to have people over. So why not host a Colts party?

If you're not able to be at the game, the second best thing is to recreate the energy surrounded by your closest family and friends. But in case you're not a natural party planner, here are a few tips to creating an awesome Colts party.

football-party

Invitations

Send invitations (digital or snail mail) to your neighbors, family, and friends. Create football-themed invites that look like actual tickets. (You can order some personalized ones online here.) Encourage fans to wear their best Colts gear - or go over the top with blue and white (then have a contest for the best dressed). Make sure you give your friends plenty of time to plan ahead so that they can make it to the party.

Decorations

Decorate your home with team colors. If you've moved into a new home, you might put blue and white balloons out on the mailbox so that guests know where the party's at. Any party store should have ample paraphernalia. Consider the following to add to the football vibe:

  • Mylar football balloons
  • Pompoms
  • Noisemakers
  • Football napkins, plates, and tablecloth

Photo Booth

Set up a photo station where guests can take goofy pictures of themselves. Have Colts jerseys, helmets, footballs, pompoms, hats, cheerleader uniforms, referee shirts, goofy glasses, wigs available. The crazier, the better!   

Food

Every good party needs food. But why not create some football-themed edibles? Snack foods tend to go over best at parties, so you might throw some chips in a football-shaped bowl. If you're extra domestic, make some chocolate covered strawberries and make them look like footballs by piping the white crossbars on them. Carve the shape of a football helmet out of a watermelon then have it on a tray with fruit spewing out. (Pinterest has tons of ideas!)

On the other hand, you can also do something easy like throwing some hotdogs or hamburgers on the grill - or putting some chili in the crock pot.

If you've just moved into a new home, don't feel like you have to provide all the food yourself. A pot luck is an easy way to eliminate some of the cooking stress.

Games

Create some healthy competition between your fans. Have a sign in sheet where guests can fill out their name, who they predict will win, and the final score. Have a fun prize for the winner.

Why not plan some games for halftime as well? Transition the party outside for some cornhole, which is a great way to pass the time! (It's even better when it's a Colts cornhole set!) 

Invite Blue

What better way to entertain your guests than to have our beloved mascot Blue show up? (Obviously, this would only be available during away games.) He can be hired to make an appearance, during which he could sign autographs, throw a football, and make everyone laugh. Keep in mind, they ask for 4 weeks' notice for your request. With Blue, it's sure to be a game that no one would forget! 

For the Homegating Guide, visit the NFL Pro Shop and check out your local Bed Bath and Beyond for more Colts party items. GO COLTS!

What did we leave out? Write a comment in the section below - we'd love to hear your great ideas!

Topics: Family Activities, Just for Fun, Colts

Dog Days: Keeping Your Pooch Active, Cared For, and Groomed

Posted by Paula Henry on Sep 11, 2014 10:30:00 AM

We're big pet fans here at Home to Indy. We have agents who love horses - others who have cats and still more who own dogs (or do their dogs own them?). Regardless, we understand how important pets are to your family.

For those of you with pups who have just moved to a new location, you'll need to know where to get him/her groomed, where you can go to play, and daycares available (just in case you need it). We want your pooch to feel loved and cared for.

dog

Dog Parks

Broad Ripple Dog Park

To purchase pass, go to:
1550 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46220

Annual "Pooch Passes" are based on the calendar year (January-December). Passes include a tag for your dog, and a gate access device for you. Please note: separate Pooch Passes are required for each bark park. An annual Dog Tag is $75. To obtain a Pooch Pass, come to the park office with your dog's vaccination records documenting current inoculations for Rabies, Parvo, Distemper and Bordetella, and complete the application form, sign the waiver, and pick up the dog park brochure.

Eagle Creek Bark Park

To purchase pass, go to:
7840 W. 56th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46254-9706

Annual passes are $50 and are based on the calendar year (January-December). This includes a tag for your dog and a gate access device for you. To obtain a pass, go to the park office with your dog's vaccination records (documenting current inoculations for Rabies, Parvo, Distemper and Bordetella), complete the application form, sign the waiver, and pick up the dog park brochure.

Paul Ruster Bark Park

To purchase pass, go to:
1313 South Post Road
Indianapolis, IN 46239 

Yearly passes are based on the calendar year (January-December) and include a tag for your dog as well as a gate access device for you. An annual tag is $50. To obtain a pass, visit the park office with your dog's vaccination records documenting current inoculations for Rabies, Parvo, Distemper and Bordetella, and complete the application form, sign the waiver, and pick up the dog park brochure.

Daycare

Camp Bow Wow - Multiple Indianapolis locations

Camp Bow Wow offers dog walkers, sitters, daycare, groomers & Spas. They can boarding & kennel your dog in addition to being a general pet store. They offer Premier Doggy Day and Overnight Camp!

Doggy Day Camp & Day Care at Multiple Indianapolis Petsmart locations

Doggy Day Camp is a great way for your dog to play, get plenty of exercise and socialize with other dogs while you’re at work or out of the house. Day campers also get one-on-one care from our trained Pet Care Specialists who supervise camp activities. And when your dog’s done with all that activity, he’s more likely to be well rested and relaxed later that evening.

Doggie Day Care gives your puppy or senior dog extra attention with Doggie Day Care! Also perfect for Pet Parents who prefer their dog be kept away from other playtime activities. This service even features a special add-on that includes our Pet Care Specialists administering your pet his medications if needed.

Groomers

Animal Arts Academy of Pet Grooming

Located in Carmel, Animal Arts Academy employs 7 groomers (4 of which are certified teachers, including prestigious award winners)! Their dedicated, seasoned professionals were the very first State Accredited School for Pet Grooming in Indiana and have been around for nearly 20 years.

Angela's Groom Room

Operated out of Greenwood, Angela's Groom Room offers both dog and cat grooming. She boasts 16 years of working with animals and is a graduate of the Animal Arts Academy. She offers free estimates and full service - from teeth brushing and nail grinding to shed less treatments and walk-in toenail trims. 

Wherever you go to play, get groomed, or housed, make sure you leave your pet in good hands. After all, he/she is an important part of your family!

Topics: Indianapolis, Pets

Garden Getaway: Creating an Outdoor Living Space

Posted by Mandy Padgett on Sep 9, 2014 10:30:00 AM

outdoor_living

When its time to relax, its easy to get sucked into a couch in front of the TV or a desk chair in front of a computer. But if you really want a luxurious, vacation-at-home kind of spot for every day relaxation, consider your own back yard. There have never been so many ideas and resources related to outdoor living spaces. By turning your backyard into a mini-outdoor retreat, you can create a one-of-a-kind living area that will help you sit back, relax and stay in touch with nature.

Here are some tricks to get you started:

Before you start

Set your budget. Do it before you crack a magazine. I’m telling you, your impulse control may suffer if you haven’t already established your ceiling for the project.

And then, all I can say is: Pinterest. It's an endless stream of ideas to get the ball rolling. Make a pin-board for landscape design and go to town. Compiling all of your ideas in advance will make the process of planning, purchasing and installing a lot smoother. When you feel like you’re ready, whether you’re DIY-ing or calling in the professionals, you will always want to make sure you call your utility company to mark any buried lines first. This will spare you a lot of headache and expense later.

Do It Yourself

From fire pits to plant types, knowing what you need to buy will be determined by figuring out exactly how you want your space to look. You may have a board full of pins or a binder full of clippings, but knowing exactly what you want where is crucial.

Here are some free online landscape planners, which allow you to make to-scale plans, adding all of your dream elements! Smart Draw, Show Off and this tool from Better Homes & Gardens are all good choices for planning and visualizing your ideal space

Bring in the Professionals

Depending on how ambitious you were in imagining your space, or how experienced you are at bigger projects, sometimes, it just makes sense to get out the check book out and call in the professionals to do the job. In Indy, you have numerous choices that guarantee to transform your garden into your personal outdoor park.

BPI Outdoor Living, winner of the 2013 Indy A-list for Best Landscape Design, offers plenty of outdoor living space services including water features and outdoor lighting.

Another reliable landscape design firm is Fiano Landscapes, who can help you design the perfect outdoor living space using 3D rendering.

So what are you waiting for? Transform that old empty backyard into a relaxing haven that you can come home to every single day.

Topics: Curb Appeal, Outdoor Living

DIY vs Hiring a Professional: How to Know When to Call in Reinforcements

Posted by Paula Henry on Sep 7, 2014 10:30:00 AM

You've just purchased a new home, and you already have a To Do list a mile long of improvements you want to make to it: add crown molding, paint the bathroom, add on a deck, maybe knock out a wall or two.

In a world where there are more DIY blogs, magazines, and suggestions than one can possibly read, it can be tempting to potentially tackle some big(ger) projects that might be better suited for a professional. After all, if the Do It Yourself Network shows it, surely you can do it too, right? Well, maybe. 

So, how are you to know when a project is something that you can tackle on your own versus when it's time to hire it out? If you've been asking this question, you've come to the right spot. Here are several areas that you need to consider:

tools

The time

One of the first things we recommend you considering is the size of a project. Something small - like adding handles to your kitchen cabinets - can be done in a fairly short amount of time.

On the other hand, if you're considering adding on a screened in porch to your home, that's a whole other story. Could you feasibly do the woodwork, run the electrical, and pour the cement required for it? Maybe. But the bigger question is: do you have enough time to do it? If you're wanting it done before the end of Fall (so that you can enjoy it), you best be bringing in the pros, who likely have slots available in their schedules. However, if you don't mind working on it here and there for several months - or years - then maybe it's something you can tackle on your own (with some DIY research).

The cost 

Another area we recommend looking at is the cost associated with any project. If doing it yourself saves you $10,000 in labor, then that's definitely a motivation to roll up your sleeves. However, if a project (like painting a room) will only cost you a few hundred dollars to hire out, it might be worth the dough just so you don't have to bother with it. In the end, does the cost outweigh the time/effort? Only you can make that decision.

Skill level

Take a good assessment of your skills. If you shy away from even hammering in a nail, then a big project like crown molding probably isn't going to be up your alley. Ask yourself: Do you enjoy getting dirty and doing physical labor? If the answer is no, then it might be time to turn to Angie's List to find yourself a good professional. The last thing you want to do is create a bigger mess that may end up costing you more money. According to local contractor Jeremy, "A sizable percentage of our business each year involves salvaging do-it-yourself projects that have gone wrong." 

The risk

Some home improvement projects require tapping into electrical or gas lines. In these cases, the cost of failure could be serious injury or death. Other projects - such as plumbing - may not be complicated, but they can cause big, water-clogged headaches if something goes wrong. You'll also want to consider local building codes and regulations that come into play. Failure to comply could result in fines and problems should you try to sell your home later on. The inherent difficulties of some projects make them good candidates for a contractor's skilled hand, even if you think you might be able to do it yourself.

We're all for homeowners getting their hands dirty and altering their home to make it more "them." But make sure you take into consideration all of these factors before you decide to do it yourself over calling in reinforcements.

Topics: Home Maintenance, Home Repairs

Painting Tips: What You Need to Know Before You Start Taping

Posted by Paula Henry on Sep 4, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Most of us would like to think that we could decently paint a room, right? How hard can it be? Pick a color, slap it on the wall, and you're good...right? Well, there's a bit more to it than that. In fact, we would argue that there's an art to painting.

And just like most things, if you take your time and follow the proper instructions, the outcome will be better for it. But what if you don't know the secrets to making a painted room look professional? Then you've come to right spot. We'll fill you in on everything you need to know before you start taping.

painting

Clear the room

Step 1 is to take everything out of the room you're painting. And we really mean everything - doors, light fixtures, hardware, etc. (Large pieces of furniture can stay in the middle of the room if they are covered.) Put down high-quality drop cloths, ones with canvas or paper-backed plastic. Old sheets are not sufficient, as paint soaks right through.

Prepare the surfaces

Before you start painting, you need to create a smooth surface to paint over. If you have minor cracks or dents, use a lightweight putty to fill them in. (If they are larger than 1/8 of an inch, use plaster of Paris instead.) Smooth any of the repairs with a sander. Unless you want textured walls, you'll need to remove the dust from the sander before continuing. (You can wash the walls with a mild cleaner.) Once the surface is dry, you can add the tape. Painter's blue tape is usually easier to remove than regular masking tape.

Selecting the paint

Now that your room is prepped, you can pick what's going to go on it. The pros start with an alcohol-based primer which establishes a solid, even base and seals stains. You also want to purchase quality paint, which sadly doesn't come cheap. (You'll likely spend $20-$35 per gallon for a good quality paint.) In general, glossier paints are more stain resistant and scrubbable. But a higher sheen will highlight any imperfections.

Plan to paint two coats, which makes for the nicest finish, and save at least 1/4 gallon for touch ups in the future.

Choosing the right equipment

You can have the best paint in the world, but if you don't use the right equipment, your job won't turn out as well. Thankfully, you don't have to opt for the most expensive roller. If you do buy a cheap one, wash it in dish soap before you use it to remove any stray fibers. 9 inch rollers are lighter and easier to use than 18 inch ones, which also tend to create more texture. 

You also might consider using a painter's rod, which will help you paint the ceiling without bothering with ladders or stepstools. Just don't stand directly under the area you're painting; otherwise, you might get some excess splatter. 

Investing in a good brush is also a must. High quality brushes can cost $20, but they are worth the investment. When choosing a brush, pay attention to the bristles. Tapered ones can help you get into corners and cut a line. There are obviously different sizes of brushes. Pros keep an arsenal on hand. A 2-inch brush can help you get started but keep in mind that you wouldn't want to paint a whole room with it.

Painting tips

Ideally, you want as much paint on the brush as you can control without making drips or blobs. Instead of wiping your brush against the side of the paint can, consider tapping both sides instead which removes the excess and forces the paint onto the bristles. 

Here are a few tips straight from the pros:

  • After painting the ceiling, you'll want to work from the top down (from the crown molding down to the floor). 
  • The best time of day to do the windows is the morning while you're still fresh. 
  • Lay down doors on sawhorses to paint horizontally so that your paint doesn't run.
  • If you're doing a two-day job, don't bother washing your brushes. Wrap them in a grocery sack and put them in the refrigerator.

Painting requires patience, but the effects of a freshly-painted room are well worth the effort. Not sure if you're up for the challenge? You can always hire the job out. Or follow our tips and let us know how your room turns out! 

Topics: Home Interiors, Design and Decor

Dip Into Fun: An Indy Pool Buying Guide

Posted by Mandy Padgett on Sep 2, 2014 10:30:00 AM

dipintofun

The hot summer months make us all crave a way to stay cool and if you’re thinking that installing a swimming pool might be your families future solution, here are some things to consider and a few ideas for area contractors.

What to consider

Once you’ve decided that you want a pool, you have a few decisions to make:

  • Are you going with in-ground or above ground? If it’s in-ground, there are actually several different construction types you’ll have to choose from. Set a budget and make a look book or a Pinterest board and decide what shape and style you’ll want, as well as how you’ll treat the rest of your yard.
  • Are you going to hire a service which will landscape your finished pool, or is that a separate contracting service, or even perhaps something you’ll do yourself?
Once you have your pool there are other expenses to think about; filter systems, chemicals for cleaning, skimmers, heaters, lights, decking and optional accessories like diving boards.

Another thing to make sure you investigate in advance is your HOA or local guidelines. Many times the legality of an area will specify that you must have a privacy fence if you’re going to have a pool, for the safety of children in the neighborhood.

Along these same lines, something to think about is resale. A pool can be a strong selling point to people who want a pool, but it could be a total deal killer for someone with very small children or who isn’t looking to deal with the upkeep and maintenance a pool requires.

Dealing with a contractor

Once you settle all of these things and have reached the point of talking to contractors, ask them these questions:

  • What warranty to you offer?
  • Do you service pools after installation?
  • How many referrals can you provide?
A good contractor should cover the entire scope of the project with you in writing. The contract should detail everything that is and isn’t included, materials they’ll use, the expected duration of the project and a total, fixed price. Installing a pool is a major and invasive construction project. Make sure you establish in advance who is liable for repairs to things like your driveway, existing landscape or any damage to your sewer/power lines.

Here are some pool services to interview:

Pools of Fun

Indiana’s largest pool company, Pools of Fun has been cooling Indiana residents since 1981. They have local roots right here in Indiana as a small family business, which has grown due to maintaining good customer rapport. Even now, Pools of Fun boasts a 98.5% customer satisfaction rating.

Pool City Inc.

Pool City Inc. is located in Greenwood but has been providing pool services to surrounding areas such as Indianapolis for over 40 years. The company specializes in constructing in-ground pools that come in all shapes, sizes and designs so that families can have a resort-style getaway without having to leave their homes. Pool City also offers services such as leak detection, automatic covers, and pump and heater servicing.

Along with many pool products and replacement parts, Pool City offers a line of grills and smokers for a complete pool side experience. They also sell hot-tubs, gas and wood fireplaces, and fire pits to give customers a true outdoor getaway in their backyards.

Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies

If you’re not looking to get a pool built just simply repairing your old pool for the summer, Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies will have all your DIY pool repair needs. Leslie’s holds a huge range of pool products that range from chemicals, heaters, pumps, covers, and liners. You can even shop to outfit your pool with great accessories like ladders, slides, diving boards and even signs. If you don’t have a pool and are not keen on your backyard being dug up, Leslie’s has a great line of above-ground pools that can be used as a great, portable alternative to the traditional in-ground pools.

While it’s true that having a swimming pool at home is a bit of a luxury, it’s an amazing investment. Especially when the summer heat is raging, you’ll be happy you had a piece of the Caribbean installed right at your backyard.

Kendall Pool Service

If it’s a simple repair job you’re looking for to fix up the old, unused pool in your backyard, then Kendall Pool Service is your best bet. The company that was started by Matthew Kendall prides itself in providing the best customer service to its clients. With over ten years of pool experience, the company provides services such as swimming pool leak detection, vinyl pool lining replacement, as well as installation of automatic pool covers for a worry- free and clean swimming pool. The company also provides packages that can get you weekly check-ups of the water, filters and pumps to ensure that your pool is always in the top shape. 

If you end up getting a pool, you're diving into a fun adventure!

Topics: Just for Fun

Being in the Know: Best Blogs for New Homeowners

Posted by Paula Henry on Aug 31, 2014 10:30:00 AM

When you're a new homeowner, you're constantly looking for decorating ideas for your new abode, DIY tips, and ways to save money. One of the best ways to do all of the above is to check out other people's ideas on their blogs. 

Blogs (which is a combination of the words web and log) became popular in the 1990s. But the internet has since exploded with blogs for just about everything! They are the ideal way to share ideas with the world. (And aren't we so grateful?)

The following are just a few of some of the best blogs for new homeowners. From couponing tips to staining concrete, you'll find it all! Happy reading! 

Blog

DIY Blogs

Bell'alimento

Paula lives in North Carolina and loves to share her DIY tips on her blog. (She also shares lots of cooking ideas, as well, but we especially love her Kitchen Sink posts where she details everything from DIY outdoor serving trays to DIY front door decor.

Beneath My Heart

Traci is a Southern girl living in a house full of boys, and she claims to "love hammers, paint, and a hard days work." We love this post where she crafted a DIY sawhorse desk. On her blog, you can tour her home, check out her project gallery, and drool over some of her homemade treats!

The Idea Room

The Idea Room is written by Amy, who is a Lowe's Creative Blogger. We adore this DIY fireplace mantel! In addition to doing regular giveaways (who doesn't love free stuff?!), she has projects amazingly categorized, so it's easy to find what you might be looking for.

Handyman Blogs

Home Repair Tutor

Jeff is the brains behind the Home Repair Tutor, which is "for thrifty homeowners who don't mind getting dirty." Not only does he offer tips to saving money, he'll show you how to fix your house (which makes you feel empowered). Want to know how to wire a dimmer light switch? Or repair your garden hose? Jeff has got you covered.

Dadand

Dadand is a blog about "DIY, how to, family, and gadgets." Pete and Marty will keep you laughing with their humor and busy with their projects. "As cheapskates, er, I mean, frugal people, we're all about normal maintenance and upkeep on anything you can maintain. Lawnmowers, cars, HVAC, and ...FURNITURE?" 

The DIY Village

The DIY Village is "Home of the Never Ending Honey-Do List" written by Matt and Jacque. In addition to having DIY posts, they also share important information like how to revitalize outdoor wood furniture. We also love their Before and After gallery. (Isn't it fun to look back and see how your hard work has paid off?)

Garden Blogs

The Home Garden

Stay at home dad Dave writes The Home Garden where he writes about vegetables, plant propagation, and his home garden projects. He makes even the most daunting of garden tasks (like building a paving stone pathway) seem like a snap!

Studio 'g'

Studio 'g' is written by Rochelle, who shares garden design inspiration, landscape ideas, outdoor art and design, and the latest in landscape products and services. Here, she tackles a shed makeover, but she also includes beautiful before and afters like this gravel garden in Queens.

What are some of your favorite homeowner blogs? Post below in the comments! 

 

 

Topics: Design and Decor, First Time Homebuyers

Best Ways to Find Home Repair Professionals

Posted by Paula Henry on Aug 28, 2014 10:30:00 AM

If you are a home owner, then you understand the joys - and the challenges - of home ownership. You likely love that you are not limited in painting like renters. Nor do you have to worry about rent rising or finding a parking place.

On the other hand, you know how much work it can be to keep your home up and running. From mowing the lawn to fixing the random assortment of things that go wrong, owing a home takes time and money. 

So what are you to do when something in your house breaks, and you aren't necessarily skilled in plumbing (or electrical or landscaping, etc)? One of the best ways to get it done (and done well) is to hire it out to someone who knows what they're doing. But if you don't happen to know a handyman personally, where are you to find these aforementioned professionals?

Don't sweat it... you've come to the right spot. We've put together some of the best ways to find home repair professionals. 

home-repairs

Ask your close friends and family

If you are going to be inviting a home repair professional into your home, you want it to be someone that you can trust. 

One of the best ways to get good, honest recommendations is to ask your family and friends. These are the people who love you the most, so they are most likely to be honest with you and give you good suggestions, especially if they live in close proximity. Chances are, your neighbors may have had similar issues with their home(s) since they were built around the same time. They would be a great resource to ask as well!

Turn to social media

If you come up empty handed with your close family and friends, you can always turn to social media. Regardless of your medium of choice (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+), people are always willing to give their opinions. Put a post out asking for recommendations - or generally asking if people have had good (or bad) experiences with professionals they may have used. You are likely to get many responses, which is great!

Angie's List

You can always turn to local industry leader Angie's List to get report cards for local professionals. It does require a paid subscription, but for a small fee you gain access to over 700 home review reviews and ratings. It allows you to sort by what type of professional you're looking for (plumber, electrician, etc). From there, you can read what other customers have said. It's a great way to choose someone that's right for you!

Your realtor

Have you thought of asking your realtor? (Why not?) Your realtor should be a trusted resource for all sorts of information. Most likely, your realtor has used a repair professional you're looking for. But if not, he/she will go to great lengths to find you a good recommendation. Here at Home to Indy, we love it when current and past clients get in touch with us for whatever their needs are (dentist recommendations, good places to ride your bike, where to find the best Mexican in town. Don't ever hestiate to contact your realtor for any questions you may have.

Online reviews

Check out online reviews on websites like Yelp. Enter in what you're looking for and in what city, and options will come up. Services are ranked with a 5 star rating system, and you can read reviews from past customers. Best of all, it's free!  

Do you have other recommendations for finding home repair professionals? If so, comment below. We'd love to know!  

Topics: Home Maintenance, Home Repairs