Hometalk Offers Tips from Social Network

Hometalk, the largest home and garden social network on the web, has released its Hometalk app for iPhone and iPad.

Hometalk connects millions home enthusiasts and home improvement professionals. Users can browse a wide range of topics related to the home for inspiration, from cleaning and plumbing to gardening and construction. They can also share their own photos and step-by-step DIY projects. Experts and peers answer questions and provide tips and feedback on anything related to home and garden. To tackle larger projects users can also search for local contractors to hire or to simply ask for advice—contractors can easily display examples of their work in project portfolios.

“Hometalk is a premiere destination for people who want to engage with their homes,” said Miriam Illions, Director of Community Development. “Our users are extremely active and want to access this content wherever they are—almost 30 percent of our traffic comes from mobile devices. With the release of the iOS app, Hometalk makes it even easier to find inspiration and share ideas. The app is especially helpful for contractors who are out on the field so they can lend help and give tips right from their pocket.”

The Hometalk app is available for free on the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad. Download at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hometalk-home-garden-knowledge/id643027980

It’s a Mess Down There on the Kitchen Floor

Our kitchens are the heart of our homes and the hub of our household activities, but a study just released by Kelton Research and BISSELL Homecare, Inc., shows we’re not treating them with the TLC they deserve. More than three in four Americans (77 percent) say their kitchen floor isn’t always as clean as it could be, and one in four admits that it’s at least sometimes, if not more often, dirty enough for feet to stick to. While this has something to do with the level of activity our kitchens see – everything from cooking and entertaining, to doing homework and playing with pets – it’s compounded by the fact that close to one-third of Americans who clean their floors wait at least a week to do so, likely because they don’t want to spend the time and effort.

“What’s ironic about this situation is that, while many consumers are hyper-vigilant about sanitization outside their homes, they’re forgetting about one large surface they actually have control over – their kitchen floor,” said Leah Haywood, associate brand manager for BISSELL. “Plus, our research shows that when they do clean their hard floors, they use a mop which often pushes germs around, or they get down on their hands and knees and scrub1! We want people to know that steam mops offer easy, effective solutions for sanitizing floors. Our goal is to help Americans spend more time making memories and less effort cleaning up after them.”

Kitchen floor confidential
Overall, Americans aren’t proud of the state of their kitchen floors – more than two in three (68 percent) say it isn’t always clean enough to prevent embarrassment if guests stopped by; more than three in four (77 percent) don’t think it’s always clean enough to show their home to prospective buyers; and nearly one in four (24 percent) say it’s at least sometimes too dirty to allow guests to enter the room.

Americans crave a deeper clean, with 58 percent saying their kitchen floor is at least sometimes in need of sanitization, but they’re deterred by the time (20 minutes, on average) and effort they think it requires. Nearly half (49 percent) say their kitchen takes more effort than any other room in their home to clean properly.

At the same time, cleaning perceptions and behaviors are markedly misaligned. About three in four (72 percent) say their kitchen floor isn’t always clean enough to allow a child to sit or crawl on it, but roughly half (46 percent) of parents say they’d let their child eat food dropped on the kitchen floor if it’s been there for five seconds or less, and another 7 percent would allow their child to eat any food that’s been on the kitchen floor no matter how long it’s been there. Are parents unsuspecting of the germs that live on kitchen floors, or just too worn out to care?

Parenting’s sticky side effects
Households with kids have even tougher cleaning challenges, as little ones are identified as causing more difficult-to-clean floor turmoil than pets or significant others. More than half (54 percent) of parents with a cat or dog say their child is more likely than their pet to cause a tougher-to-clean mess on any floor in their home, and four in five (80 percent) married parents say their child is more likely than their spouse to cause these sticky situations. While kids of all ages are cited as mess-makers, on average, the ones who leave parents grappling with the trickiest messes are nearly 4-years old.

Not only do those with kids face greater cleaning challenges, they also hold themselves to higher standards when it comes to their homes. Married parents are 20 percent more likely than non-parents (55 percent vs. 46 percent) to think their in-laws would judge them more for grime on their floor than stains on their clothing, and 65 percent of parents (vs. 54 percent of non-parents) say their kitchen floor is at least sometimes in need of sanitization.

A smarter solution
The good news is that we are taking responsibility for dealing with floor messes, even if it means flying solo. More than nine in ten (92 percent) Americans say they would typically clean up a mess in their home on their own instead of getting help or leaving it there, and only two percent say they would ignore the mess altogether. So, if we’re stuck with tackling floor messes, why not explore a smarter solution?

“As many as 82 percent of Americans perceive steam as an effective tool for cleaning hard floors, but our research shows only a fraction of them realize that steam mops exist,” said Haywood. “We want consumers to know that BISSELL can help them achieve a deep clean with less effort than it takes with a mop and bucket.”

The BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop cleans dried-on sticky messes twice as fast as the leading steam mop. Using just heat and water, steam can remove 99 percent of germs and bacteria. It is available for a suggested retail price of $99.99 at bissell.com and at mass retailers including Target, Amazon.com, JCPenney, Lowe’s and BestBuy.

Visit www.bissell.com to learn more about BISSELL’s full line of cleaning products.

Groovystuff to unveil “Collage is the New Color” Collection at the Summer Las Vegas World Market

Sustainable home furnishing company, Groovystuff, will showcase its newest home furnishing “Collage is the New Color” Collection at the Summer Las Vegas World Market. The Las Vegas World Market is host to more than 1,500 world-class manufacturers showing the latest industry trends at one state-of-the-art campus. Groovystuff exhibits on the Ground Floor of Building B, Showroom Number B-0146.

The “Collage is the New Color“ Collection of coffee tables, sofa tables and end tables are direct from the Chris Bruning Signature Series of Designer Products for Groovystuff. Continuing their use of sustainable and re-claimed materials, these tables highlight salvaged steel drums in an array of eye catching color patterns.

According to Time Magazine’s A Brief History of the Oil Barrel, the oil drum has historically been an industry standard since the mid-1800’s. In the early days, due to the number of Moonshiners on the market, Pennsylvania oilmen used whiskey barrels to collect oil after striking their first oil gushers. Despite currently being transported through tankers and pipelines, oil is still measured by the 42-gallon barrel on the world market today. To celebrate these early Pioneers, Designer Chris Bruning has dedicated an entire collection of over 50 furniture, lighting and home décor products titled the “Moonshine Collection” and is pleased to include the latest “Collage is the New Color” tables to the signature line.

The “Moonshine Collection” includes bar tables, side tables, lighting, wall art, mirrors and other home décor. The brilliant blues, greens, reds and oranges set the newest trend in sustainable home furniture, lighting, and home décor by adding a dash of color to the neutral palette of the reclaimed materials.

Outdoor Living a Growing Trend

Casual Living Magazine has a nice commentary right now about recent reports that tell us more about a trend we’d all sensed — that we’re more comfortable with doing more of our living in outdoor “rooms.” I drove through an Orlando neighborhood last year and was surprised to see how many homes had most of their backyards enclosed in screened porches. Folks had obviously invested heavily in a lifestyle that includes large amounts of time cooking, eating, visiting and probably even sleeping in the outdoors and didn’t want to be bothered by insect pests.

As this commentary points out, manufacturers of casual furniture are not behindhand on supplying the weather-resistant casual furniture, the firepits and outdoor cooking appliances that go along with this. The same magazine includes a preview of one manufacturer’s plans to debut 21 outdoor furniture groups at the Las Vegas Market, coming up next week. The story quotes Emerald Home President David Beckmann’s opinion that outdoor furniture will be a growth category in the next few years, and his company is planning to supply products that it hopes will be embraced by the mid-market at retail prices ranging from $799 for a table and five to $3,499 for a seven-piece set.

IKEA to Add Augmented Reality App to New Catalog

When IKEA rolls out its 2014 catalog this August, shoppers will be able to use the combination of a mobile app and the paper catalog to get a better picture of how the IKEA products will work in their own homes. According to Mobile Commerce Daily.com, “The free app version of the catalog carries out the theme ‘All Moments Count’ by allowing users to virtually place and view IKEA furniture in their homes via augmented reality.

“The feature lets consumers explore a room in 360 or 180 degrees using the device sensors. Consumers will be able to view a room both vertically and horizontally.”

We’re going to be able to get a look at how the technology works on a YouTube video that’s scheduled to be released at the same time that the app is launched, but so far, what it looks like is that you’ll be able to click on a product in the IKEA catalog and use your tablet or smartphone to superimpose the picture of that item onto a view of the room that you’re planning to put it in.

Massachusetts Furniture Retailer Collects Clothing for Needy Children

Until September 9, all Jordan’s Furniture store locations will accept like-new and new clothes and shoes for children infant to 12 years old to go toward the Cradles to Crayons “Ready For School” program. Through partnering social service agencies, the donations will go to children in homeless or low-income situations. This will be the second year for the partnership between the retailer and the organization.

“We are so proud to be working together with Cradles to Crayons. They run an incredibly impressive and efficient operation, ensuring the dignity of the children and families that they serve,” said Eliot Tatelman, Jordan’s President and CEO. “It is so important for every child to feel important and worthy. By working with the team at Cradles to Crayons, we hope to do our part in helping area children get ready for school and be prepared to learn. We know that our donation drive made an impact last year. We hope for the same success this year.”

Cradles to Crayons was founded in 2002 and provides for children from birth through 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive at home, school, and play. Items are distributed to the children via social service agencies such as MSPCC, Horizons For Homeless Children, Head Start Programs, and more.

Lynn Margherio founded Cradles to Crayons 11 years ago in Quincy, Mass. The organization moved to a bigger location in Brighton, where the donations are assembled by staff and volunteers for individual KidPacks. “We are thrilled to partner again with Jordan’sto help get local children ready for school from head to toe. Jordan’s is a true champion and advocate for children. I applaud them for their commitment to assist local children in-need. Cradles to Crayons is grateful for the shared belief that the first day of school should be an exciting new endeavor for all children. The items collected in the retail stores will ensure thousands of local children will receive the essential items they deserve and need to start the new school year ready and excited to learn.” For more information, log onto www.jordans.com or www.cradlestocrayons.org.


Stunning Wine Stoppers by EcoSea Tile

I ran across some beautiful wine stoppers here. They’re made by EcoSea Tile, which uses recycled shells from marine life along with other materials from the Earth to make several lines of gorgeous products, including tiles, doorknobs, switch plates and more. These wine stoppers are made with silicone gaskets and thick chrome plating over zinc alloy to provides a rugged piece that can easily be cleaned to give you a lot of years to bring them out at your parties, where they’d surely become a conversation piece. They’re available in abalone, mussel/abalone, lobster, mussel/lobster, oyster, mother-of-pearl, aluminum and copper, and they retail for $24 apiece.

Trade Association Pushes for More Transparency in Bedding Materials

Furniture Today, a trade newspaper for the furniture industry, is reporting that an organization of bedding manufacturers, the Specialty Sleep Association, is changing its mission from promoting what the association calls specialty sleep products to becoming an information resource that consumers can trust for information about the construction materials of different beds. To that end, they’re pushing for better labeling. Consumers with allergies will be rooting for them on this.

“Our motto, ‘The Future of Sleep’ remains the same, but the vision of that future is changing,” said Dale Read, SSA president, who is quoted in the Furniture Today article. “Over the next few months and years we want to transition from a group that merely markets and promotes innovative technologies labeled as specialty sleep to become a trusted authority for consumers to turn to when they want to know about the contents, the health, the wellness aspects and the safety features of specialty sleep products. We want to assist in educating mattress/bedding consumers about what is going on with the materials, components, construction and finished products of sleep products.

“To do this we have to help both our manufacturers and the retailers carrying their products,” Read added. “We have to offer a mattress label/contents or consumer disclosure label that is not ‘green’ oriented, but covers all materials in the sleep products category.”

Great Grilling Tips

The Saturday Evening Post has a terrific article on grilling in its July/August online issue.

An exclusive video sharing Post staffers’ grilling tips can be found here: http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/ja13vid.

The July/August 2013 online edition of The Saturday Evening Post covers:

  • The differences between barbecuing (indirect grilling)direct grilling, and two-zone direct grilling
  • Steven Raichlen’s, author of The Barbecue! Bible, three-day grilling workshop in Sulpher Springs, WV
  • Grilling tips from Post staffers
  • Six essential rules of open-fire cooking

Plus, the Best of Barbecue from Emeril Lagasse, Curtis Stone, and Barton Seaver.

Save and share more of the Post’s favorite open-fire recipes by visiting its Grilling Recipe (Smorgas)Board on Pinterest!

Survey Finds Americans Have a Love/Hate Relationship with Hot Dogs

As National Hot Dog Month approaches in July and Americans prepare to gather around the backyard grill for casual meals of hamburgers and hot dogs, a new survey sponsored by Applegate, a producer of organic and natural meats, finds Americans need a “wienervention” when it comes to their dysfunctional feelings about franks.  While virtually every American has bought a package of hot dogs (a whopping 92 percent!) in the last year, 71 percent don’t think those franks are high quality. In addition, 34 percent of parents want to say no when their kids whine for wieners.

However, the survey found that 85 percent of people who consume hot dogs would rather purchase franks with a short ingredient statement that listed beef, water, sea salt and spices versus one with items like sodium phosphate and sodium nitrite. Additionally, 65 percent of respondents thought it was important for hot dogs to be made from animals that were not administered antibiotics or hormones, underscoring just how important this issue has become for shoppers.

“Hot dogs and summer are synonymous, but it’s no wonder that with ingredients like sodium diacetate and partially hydrolyzed beef stock on many conventional hot dog labels, most Americans don’t think much of what’s in them,” says Stephen McDonnell, founder and CEO of Applegate. “I think the survey shows a certain level of guilt when it comes to enjoying a hot dog, but if you know what you’re looking for on a label, it doesn’t have to be that way. Applegate’s ingredients are straightforward: beef, water, sea salt and spices.”

Applegate makes a full line of natural and organic hot dogs: beef, beef and pork, turkey and chicken.  All of Applegate’s hot dogs are antibiotic- and hormone-free, with no added chemical nitrites. Applegate hot dogs generally have fewer calories, 50 percent less fat and 40 percent less sodium per serving than conventional hot dogs.

In an effort to give Americans permission to enjoy a cleaner wiener, Applegate is inviting consumers to “wienervene” and eat hot dogs that aren’t on drugs. By visiting www.whatsinyourhotdog.com, consumers can learn more about what’s in their hot dogs and send a “wienervention” to friends and receive $2-off coupons.

More Survey Results
The Applegate “Permission to Enjoy Hot Dogs” showed that only 8 percent of Americans claim to “never buy hot dogs.”  Other survey findings:

  • Grill, baby, grill:  91 percent agree that hot dogs cooked on the grill are delicious.
  • Wait, wait, do tell me: 68 percent really want to know what’s in hot dogs and how they are made.