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The Finishing Touch Homeowners Forget

If you're in search of the right molding to make a room look polished and complete, head over to The Home Depot, where you can pick up prebundled molding Pro Packs that offer convenience and cost savings of up to 40 percent.

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In any remodel, the average homeowner tends to focus mainly on the end result, seldom understanding that overall success usually hinges on the handling of seemingly minor, insignificant details. Contractors know the fact of the matter: It’s the planning stage of a project that, to a large extent, determines the strengths and weaknesses of the outcome. For that reason, experienced pros encourage client participation early and often. Plenty of homeowners embrace the decision-making process with gusto, knowing more or less precisely what they would like to achieve. But even in the clearest vision for a given job, there are bound to be blind spots.

Take wall moldings, for example. While contractors appreciate their importance to the well-groomed appearance of a finished space, nonprofessionals rarely think of such things until the last minute, if they do so at all. Plus, even when directly addressing the question of moldings, the average homeowner may be at a loss as to which of the many options to choose. After all, there’s a great deal to consider, from the style of the home to the size of the room to the number and nature of moldings already present. Fortunately, there are a host of guidelines and rules of thumb to help simplify what might otherwise become a complicated, overwhelming choice.

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Moldings come in a dizzying variety, from the ornate and detailed to the simple and clean-lined. Best practice is to take a cue from the prevailing architectural style; moldings look most natural when their profiles harmonize with the overall aesthetic tenor of the home. Though a molding with an elaborate profile may be eye-catching, it’s likely to look out of place in a contemporary context. By the same token, the minimalist profile suitable for a modern space would clash with the decorative flourishes of a century-old Victorian. In other words, thoughtfully chosen moldings complement the home without drawing undue attention.

As important as it is to select an appropriate style, it’s equally important to choose moldings that are properly proportioned for the dimensions of a room. Designers buck convention all the time, but general practice is to let the height of the ceiling dictate the trim size. For rooms with standard eight-foot ceilings, choose slim (9/16-inch) moldings between three and six inches in height. Thicker, taller moldings may be considered where the ceiling reaches a more generous height. Also, where baseboard and crown moldings are installed together, be sure to specify the same size for both trim types in order to promote a visual balance.

From one room to the next, tradition holds that there can be varying sets of molding types installed. That is, in the living or dining room, it’s not uncommon to find a full suite of wall trim, including baseboard, chair rail, picture rail, and crown molding. In a less formal room, meanwhile, you seldom see more than one or a couple of types of trim. But even though the number of moldings employed may differ according to the function of the room, homeowners are wise to avoid mixing styles. Size may vary, but throughout the home, keep to a uniform molding profile. Inconsistency never fails to create a discordant, unsettled look.

Moldings come in a number of materials. Of them all, hardwood typically commands the highest price, especially when it’s “clear”—that is, free of knots and other imperfections. In cases where the homeowner specifies a stain finish, hardwood (usually poplar) makes the natural choice. If the moldings are to be painted, then multiple materials may be considered. Offering the look of wood at an affordable price is prefinished pine. Similarly budget-friendly are MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and EPS (expanded polystyrene) moldings, prefinished or pre-primed. Ultimately, the right choice of material depends, first and foremost, on the desired finish, and secondarily on the preference of the homeowner or the budget available for the project.

In more than 2,200 locations nationwide, The Home Depot offers moldings in a wide range of styles, sizes, and materials. Most notable are the retailer’s new Pro Packs, which are premeasured and bundled in quantities in 60, 80, 120, or 160 linear feet. Their grab-and-go convenience saves you time, and Pro Packs also save you as much as 40 percent off the regular cost. Call or go online, and you can even arrange for your Pro Packs to be ready for you when you arrive at your local store.

As you plan your next remodeling project, make sure to think about moldings early to ensure that your completed spaces don’t look underwhelming and incomplete. You certainly don’t want to become aware of their vital role only when you notice their absence! So, the next time you’re trying to bring a project from almost-there to full completion, visit The Home Depot for handy Pro Packs that make it quick, easy, and cost-effective to add that crucial finishing touch.

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This post has been brought to you by The Home Depot. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

Bob Vila Radio: Is It a Three-Way Lamp Socket?

The next time you return home from the flea market with a lamp under your arm, here's how to tell whether or not its socket can take a three-way bulb.

How can you distinguish between a standard lamp socket and a three-way? It’s simple! Standard sockets have only two electrical contacts. The hot contact, a small metal tab, sits at the bottom of the socket, while the negative contact is the threaded metal shell (the one the bulb screws into).

Three-Way Lamp Sockets

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Listen to BOB VILA ON STANDARD SOCKETS or read the text below:

Three-way sockets look very similar. The difference is that next to the metal tab at the bottom, there’s a third contact—a bit smaller than the metal tab and set slightly off center. That extra contact matches a small ring-shaped contact on the bottom of a three-way fluorescent bulb. Such bulbs are characterized by having two filaments, not one. When you twist the switch on a three-way lamp, the first click illuminates a single filament. The next click deactivates the first and illuminates the second, this one with a somewhat higher wattage. The final, third click illuminates both filaments at once, giving you the brightest light.

If you’re looking to trim your electric bills, you might want to check out compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, many of which are made expressly to work in conventional three-way fixtures.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

5 Smart Solutions for an On-the-Fritz Fridge

A malfunctioning refrigerator isn't necessarily ready for the trash. You may not know it, but there are a number of DIY fixes you can try to troubleshoot a troublesome fridge. Read on for 5 homeowner-friendly solutions to this appliance's most common woes.

Refrigerator Troubleshooting

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Holiday entertaining is getting underway, and gracious hosts everywhere are busy cleaning, shopping, decorating, crafting, and cooking up all sorts of incredible edibles for family and friends. With all that planning and hard work going into creating delicious dishes for guests, the last thing you need is a fridge on the fritz. Fortunately, most common fridge ailments are easily treatable by the handy homeowner. Armed with just a little bit of know-how and some readily available parts, you can deal with many maladies before they become dining disasters. Here are a few typical problems and some DIY solutions that can help keep your hardworking refrigerator in tip-top shape.

Refrigerator Troubleshooting - Common Problems and DIY Solutions

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PROBLEM: You’ve found a puddle of water on the floor in front of or under the fridge.
SOLUTION: Tighten and replace any faulty tubing. 

Start by identifying the source of your leak. The most common troublemaker, and the first place to check, would be the water supply to the refrigerator’s ice maker and/or water dispenser. Look for the water supply shut-off valve, either in the basement or under the sink closest to the refrigerator. Once the water has been shut off, replace any cracked, worn, or brittle tubing according to the instructions that come with the part.

Alternatively, you may need to replace the water inlet valve, which is a solenoid-operated device that connects your household water supply line to your refrigerator. This valve can typically be found at the rear of the fridge, near the bottom. First, carefully inspect its supply connections for leaks, then tighten or replace the connectors; while you’re back there, check the valve body for any cracks and replace if necessary.


PROBLEM: Noise, noise, noise! Your fridge is making grinding and scraping sounds.
SOLUTION: Check and clean out your appliance’s fan motors, located at the condenser and evaporator.

Most modern frost-free refrigerators operate with a fan-cooled condenser coil, which is located near the compressor, at the bottom rear of the refrigerator. To investigate whether or not it’s functioning properly, first disconnect all power to the fridge and remove the rear access panel. Look for any obstructions or debris that could be preventing the fan from moving freely. If any fan blades are physically damaged, or if the motor shows visible wear, these components will need to be replaced. Also, check the rubber mounting grommets for signs of wear, and replace if necessary.

If the noise seems to be coming from the freezer, however, the evaporator fan motor may be the one to blame. Located in the freezer compartment, this motor pulls air over the evaporator coils when the compressor is running. Again, disconnect all power to the fridge and remove the evaporator fan cover from the freezer. As with the condenser fan, if any of the fan blades are loose or damaged, or if the motor shaft doesn’t turn freely, these parts will need to be replaced. Also, check the evaporator fan motor grommet, which isolates the motor from the mounting bracket; regular wear and tear can cause the grommet to detach, leading to increased vibration and noise.


PROBLEM: The fridge cycles on and off more frequently—or, worse, it won’t start at all anymore.
SOLUTION: Dust out your fridge’s coils.

Frequent cycling often indicates dirty condenser coils and dirty fan blades. Especially if you share a house with animals, dust, debris, and fur can accumulate along the condenser fan blades and on the coils. In extreme cases, this condition will trip an overload relay and prevent the fridge from turning on at all. But the fix is an easy one: Turn off the power to the unit, and remove the rear access panel. Carefully vacuum the coils, fan blades, and motor with the brush attachment of your vacuum. To help prevent future dust buildup, cut a section of lightweight filter material—or, in a pinch, stretch a piece of old pantyhose—and fit it inside the vent panel beneath the door to trap debris before it reaches the coils.


PROBLEM: You’re constructing a mini glacier inside your freezer.
SOLUTION: Seal up any gaps.

Ice and moisture buildup inside the freezer or refrigerator compartment typically results from damaged door gaskets or torn seals. A leaking gasket or seal will allow cold air to constantly seep out of the unit and allow excess moisture inside the unit, creating a layer of frost—one that eventually turns into an ice dam. To see if you have a leak on your hands, stick a high-powered flashlight inside the freezer with the beam pointed at the door and shut it inside. Kill the lights in the kitchen. If you see any light leaking around the door, replace the defective gasket. Clean the gaskets regularly to help keep them pliable and working properly.

If you can’t find any problems with the gaskets, check the door hinges next. If the hinges become worn out or the lubricating grease dries out, the doors may not close completely, allowing moist room air to seep into the fridge. A common indicator of a faulty hinge is a thumping or scraping noise when the door is opened or closed. Lubricate stiff hinges with food-safe grease, and replace any worn or damaged hinges altogether.


Refrigerator Troubleshooting - Nonworking Ice Machine

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PROBLEM: Your ice maker just doesn’t work.
SOLUTION: Flip the functionality back into gear.

Yes! It can be that simple. Check to see if the wire along the side of the ice maker assembly is raised, which indicates the unit is turned off. Typically there is a red lever that lowers the wire into the “on” position. (If there is no lever, gently pull down on the wire itself to turn the unit on.) Another problem may be a blockage or leak in the water supply system. Inspect the fill tube and the fill cup area at the back of the ice maker to make sure nothing is blocking the water supply—sometimes a buildup of ice (caused by faulty door gaskets) can block the fill tube; you can defrost it using a hair dryer.

You should also inspect the inlet valve and water supply tubing for leaks or damage. Finally, check to see if your ice maker is equipped with a filter. Many newer models include a carbon filter that helps remove debris or contaminants from the local water supply. Over time, the filter can become clogged, thereby reducing the water flow to the ice maker. Most manufacturers recommend checking and replacing the filter every six months, or more frequently if necessary.


PROBLEM: You found a spill inside your refrigerator, but nothing seems to have leaked.
SOLUTION: Clean and clear out the drain tube.

Many fridges have a drain tube that routes excess moisture to a drain pan underneath the fridge; there, the evaporator fan then blows over it to disperse the moisture. If the drain tube becomes blocked by food spills or other debris, that moisture could end up on the inside of your fridge rather than where it’s supposed to go. Turn off the power to the refrigerator and look for the drain plug, which should be located near the back or bottom of the main fridge compartment. Next, use a turkey baster to force a 50/50 solution of bleach and warm water (or, if you prefer, white vinegar and warm water) into the drain tube. Repeat this process several times, and then remove and clean the drain pan.


Know when to call in a professional. These fixes are great to keep in your back pocket, but certain problems do not lend themselves to a DIY approach—especially issues involving the coolant or electrical systems. Call in reinforcements if:
…the condenser coils are cracked or damaged,
…you feel an oily residue on the floor of the freezer compartment,
…you hear a slight hissing noise and the fridge is not cooling effectively,
…the unit continues to cycle frequently even after you have cleaned the condenser coils,
…the outer shell of the unit is sweating,
…the fridge breaker keeps tripping in your main electrical panel,
…or the unit is leaking and you can’t locate the source of the leak.

How To: Get Rid of Stink Bugs

If stink bugs have been making themselves at home within your four walls, it's time to roll up the welcome mat by following these suggestions for eliminating an infestation and keeping the critters out in the first place.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs

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Stop! If you encounter an unfamiliar pest in your home, think twice before swatting it with a magazine. If you do anything to bother the shield-shaped, dime-size stink bug, you may suddenly find yourself subject to its foul odor—which actually attracts even more stink bugs! True, that sounds like something ripped from the plot of a bad horror movie, but it’s far from fiction. Native to Asia, stink bugs have proliferated in the United States since first arriving here in the mid-1990s. Today, particularly in the Midwest and along the Eastern Seaboard, they have become a uniquely repugnant household pest.

Most of the year, stink bugs breed and feed outdoors, but when temperatures drop in the fall, they seek out a warm spot in which to hibernate through winter. Entering via holes and cracks in the exterior, stink bugs tend to hide in the dark, cloistered crevices of the home—behind baseboards, for example. Because they spend the winter in dormancy, though, it’s possible not even to notice an infestation until the seasons change and the bugs begin hunting for a way back outdoors. That said, it’s somewhat common for stink bugs to emerge earlier, having mistaken an unseasonably warm day for the arrival of spring.

Perhaps the best way to deal with stink bugs is to prevent them from gaining access to your home in the first place. To that end, go out of your way to locate and seal the little gaps through which they might intrude. Pay special attention to the trim around windows and doors; here, add caulk or weatherstripping to fill in any breaks. By the same token, make repairs to even minor damage you discover on the siding or foundation. Finally, inspect around utility pipes, behind chimneys, and beneath the roof overhang. In short, wherever outside air or moisture can infiltrate the home, so too can stink bugs. Act accordingly.

How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs - Isolated in Detail

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There are clearly compelling reasons to shore up your home’s exterior, but if there are stink bugs in your home already, then you may want to take them on directly. Fortunately, with any of the following methods, you can get rid of stink bugs without creating an awful stench in the process.

Vacuuming. For the average homeowner, vacuuming offers the most effective method of removing even a large number of stink bugs. There’s a catch, though. Afterward, you must be very careful with the vacuum bag. Be sure to close it up tightly, right away, disposing of it at a safe distance from your home. To do otherwise is to invite a recurrence. Also, if you have a bagless vacuum, this isn’t the method for you—unless of course you’re ready to trash the now-smelly vacuum too!

Detergent. Combine equal parts liquid detergent and water in a spray bottle and employ it to drench any stink bugs you encounter (or any spots where you suspect that they are hiding). Another option: Add the detergent-and-water solution to a small, open container and, using a popsicle stick or a gloved hand, knock or drop the stink bugs into the liquid. The trick here is to work very quickly, fast enough not to give the bugs an opportunity to emit their signature stink.

Nicotine. For once, you can be glad to have a smoker in the house! Shred cigarettes or butts into a volume of warm water (use about 20 cigarettes’ worth of tobacco for every gallon). Let the mixture soak overnight, and in the morning, strain out the debris. Next, add about two tablespoons of dish detergent to the liquid that remains, then funnel the solution into a spray bottle. Now you have a spray that kills stink bugs instantly. For safety, wear rubber gloves when handling the solution.

Electricity. Hung in a windowless attic or another similarly dark space in your home, a run-of-the-mill bug zapper can work wonders to lure and eradicate stink bugs. Because the insects die upon contact with the electrical discharge, there’s no residual stink to worry about or suffer through. Just remember to clean the zapper every few days to help maintain the efficacy of the unit. (In the case of a lighter infestation, you can probably get away with cleaning the zapper less often.)

Any of the methods described above can go a long way toward ridding your home of stink bugs, so long as you’re dealing with a problem of modest, manageable size. But keep in mind that some homeowners have reported infestations with stink bugs numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands. In such severe cases, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trained pest professional. A certified, licensed expert can put an end to your infestation while also providing advice on how to prevent problems in the future.

How To: Remove Paint from Glass

Whether it’s accidental splatter on the window or a mason jar crafting misstep, here’s how to quickly remove paint and make any glass crystal clear again.

How to Remove Paint from Glass - Cleanup After a Paint Job

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You set out a drop cloth and meticulously lined the wall trim with painter’s tape, but you still ended up with a little bit of paint splatter on the windows in your kitchen. Even with careful preparation, you’ll have the occasional drip-drop during a project, but removing paint from glass is a lot easier than you think. In fact, it requires minimal tools (most of which you can find beneath your sink) and minimal time. Still, there’s an art to getting the job done, whether you want to remove the paint from your windows or from a mason jar paint project gone awry. Master the fix with this straightforward step-by-step.

- Glass measuring cup or microwavable dish
- White vinegar
- Rubber gloves
- 3 clean cloths
- A bucket (optional, depending on the size of the job)
- Water
- Dish soap
- A new razor blade
- Glass cleaner

How to Remove Paint from Glass - Cleaning a Window

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Fill a glass measuring cup or other dish with 1 cup of white vinegar, and bring it to a boil in the microwave. Then, wearing a pair of thick rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat, dip an old rag into the liquid. Use the soaked rag and a little elbow grease to rub the paint spots you want to remove. The hot vinegar will help loosen the paint and often causes it to come right off in this first step. Don’t get discouraged if the paint remains, though; just proceed to Step 2.

If vinegar doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to kick things up a notch. Fill the dish or bucket with warm water and dish soap (enough to make it sudsy), and dip your second cloth into this solution. Use it to thoroughly wet the paint spots on the glass. The soap you apply to the affected areas will act as a lubricant so you don’t accidentally scratch the glass.

Now position a single razor blade (the sharper and newer the blade, the better) at a 45-degree angle from the windowpane. The angle here is very important: Any more or less, and you’re likely to scratch or break the glass.

Push the blade in one slow, smooth motion to scrape the paint away. Always work in the same direction—never back and forth—as you carefully lift the paint off the glass. Basically, you want the paint to lift off all at once in one sheet rather than flake off the glass. Keep your damp and sudsy cloth nearby to moisten the paint anytime it appears to be drying out.

Once you’ve removed all the paint, grab a glass cleaner and spray down the windowpane wherever the paint used to be. Use your third clean, dry cloth to buff out any streaks left behind so your paint-free pane will have zero obstructions on the next sunny day.

Bob Vila’s Pick Your Present Give-Away from Hayneedle.com Official Rules

Bob Vila’s “Pick Your Present Give-Away from Hayneedle.com” (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by Vila Media, LLC, Post Office Box 835, West Barnstable, MA 02668 (“Sponsor”). The Sweepstakes consists of four (4) separate, successive, random drawings (each a “Drawing” and collectively, the “Drawings”). The Sweepstakes begins at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) on Monday, November 30th, 2015 and ends at 11:59 a.m EST on Thursday, December 31st, 2015 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). One Drawing per week will be held during the Sweepstakes Period. The entry period for each weekly Drawing shall begin on each respective Monday during the Sweepstakes Period, starting with 12:00 p.m. EST on December 7th, 2015, and end at 11:59 a.m. EST on the following Monday, with the exception of the last entry period which will end at 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, December 31st, 2015 (each an “Entry Period” and collectively, the “Entry Periods”). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. ONLINE ENTRY ONLY AND INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED. AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM MAY BE REQUIRED.

Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. Employees of Sponsor and its respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members or household members are not eligible to participate in or win the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any person who fails to meet the eligibility requirements or any person it determines, in its sole discretion, to be sufficiently connected with the Sweepstakes such that such person’s participation could create the appearance of impropriety. Entries generated by script, macro, or other automated means are void, and Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. Entries that are determined, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor to constitute advertisements, commercial messages, or “spam” will be disqualified and deleted.

Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply. No purchase is necessary to participate in the Sweepstakes. You may enter any given Drawing one (1) time per household per day by visiting the BOB VILA website at http://www.bobvila.com and submit your name and email address using the online “Pick Your Present Give-Away from Hayneedle.com” submission form. Each entry submitted in response to a Drawing and in accordance with the Official Rules will constitute an official entry. Duplicate entries submitted through either method within one day will be deemed void. If you do not have internet access, alternative means of entry for each Drawing is available by faxing your name, address and phone number to the Sponsor at 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Up to two (2) alternative entries per household per day. Any additional entries submitted via fax within one day will be deemed void. Entries received after the end of the Sweepstakes Period will be deemed void. Normal time, toll, connection, and usage rates, if any, charged by your Internet service provider will apply.

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All prizes (or in the event of a lost, misdirected, or otherwise unavailable prize, a prize of equivalent value) will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules. Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Prize Fulfillment, Vila Media, LLC, PO Box 835 Barnstable, MA 02668. Specify winner’s list or rules on your request.

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The prize for the first Drawing during the Sweepstakes Period shall be choice of 1 (one) Red Ember Wheatland 50 in. Outdoor Square Tile Convertible Fire Pit Table with FREE Cover with approximate retail value of $349.98, 1 (one) Red Ember 28 in. Clarksville Campfire Fire Pit valuing $295.97, or 1 (one) Red Ember Hammered Bronze Commercial Patio Heater with Table with approximate retail value of 169.98; the prize for the second Drawing during the Sweepstakes Period shall be choice of 1 (one) Belham Living White Mini Concord Kitchen Island with Stainless Steel Top valuing $290.98, 1 (one) Belham Living Sutter Bakers Rack with Baskets valuing $214.98, or 1 (one) Keurig K450 2.0 Brewer valuing $139.99; the prize for the third Drawing during the Sweepstakes Period shall be choice of one (1) Belham Living Palmer Printed Arm Chair valuing $399.99, 1 (one) Belham Living Brinfield Rustic Console Table valuing $159.98, or 1 (one) Belham Living Grayson Tufted Entryway Bench valuing $159.98; and the prize during the fourth Drawing during the Sweepstakes Period shall be choice of 1 (one) Belham Living Trenton Bar Cart valuing $287.98, 1 (one) Palazzo 30 Inch Bar Stool – Set of 2 with approximate retail value of $179.99, or 1 (one) Arachnid Cricket Pro 800 Electronic Dart Board Complete Set with approximate retail value of $319.99. Prizes are not transferable. Limit one prize per entrant. Actual retail value may vary. Winner will not receive the difference between actual and approximate retail value. Hayneedle.com has 30 days from official end of Sweepstakes (January 30) to deliver prizes to respective winners. Prize is product only and does not include installation. An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the Sweepstakes, and his or her entry may be deleted, if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these Official Rules, as determined in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Participation in the Sweepstakes is at entrant’s own risk.

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Sponsor does not make any, and hereby disclaims any and all, representations or warranties of any kind regarding any prize. Unless prohibited by applicable law, your entry constitutes your permission to use your name, photograph, likeness, voice, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner Sponsor deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant. By entering or accepting a prize in the Sweepstakes, Winners agree to be bound by these Official Rules and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the Winner (or, if the Winner is a minor, the Winner’s parent or legal guardian) may be required to execute and return to Sponsor within three (3) business days an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability and Publicity Release and relevant tax forms to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner may be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address and birth date in order to receive a prize.

By entering, an entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless Sponsor and each of its respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively, “Claims”) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize or their participation in the Sweepstakes, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, regardless of whether such Claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such Claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any entrant or to any Winner or any person claiming through such Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond the Released Parties’ sole control.

The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing, electronic or human errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) viruses or technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information, any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (5) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (7) late, lost, misdirected, illegible, incomplete or mutilated entries or for theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. These indemnification and release provisions shall survive expiration of the Sweepstakes.

Persons found tampering with, abusing, or otherwise disrupting any aspect of this Sweepstakes, or otherwise attempting to defraud Sponsor, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and their entries will be deleted. If disqualified, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the entrant’s eligibility to further participate in this Sweepstakes and future promotions and sweepstakes of Sponsor or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. This Sweepstakes is strictly for promotional and entertainment purposes and may not be used in connection with any form of gambling. In the event this Sweepstakes is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the Sweepstakes, or to disqualify entrants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, the Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action.

Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules in any way or at any time. Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Sweepstakes should viruses, bugs or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any portion of this Sweepstakes is compromised by any non-authorized human intervention, actions of entrants, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, corrupt or impair the integrity, administration, security, or operation of this Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to suspend, modify, abbreviate or terminate the Sweepstakes without further obligation.

If Sponsor elects to abbreviate the Sweepstakes, Winner(s) will be determined from all eligible entries received for Drawing(s) prior to the action or compromise giving rise to the suspension or termination of this Sweepstakes. In the event of cancellation, abbreviation or suspension, Sponsor shall promptly post a notice on the Sweepstakes entry page to such effect. This Sweepstakes shall be governed by New York law. By participating in this Sweepstakes entrants agree that New York courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this Sweepstakes and that venue shall be only in New York City, New York. The failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, that part will be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain fully in force.

Enter Bob Vila’s Pick Your Present Give-Away from Hayneedle.com Today!

Enter daily for you chance to win one of three weekly prizes from Hayneedle.com

Dec300x250The chilly temps and snowy days signal that winter isn’t coming, it’s already here. With the winter season also comes an influx of friends and family. Playing host to guests can be an overwhelming—and expensive—task. But if you’re a lucky winner of Bob Vila’s Pick Your Present Give-Away from Hayneedle.com, you could outfit your home with all the cozy furnishings, stylish accessories, and entertaining necessities you need without spending a fortune.


Enter today and every day this month (starting 12:00 p.m. EST on November 30th, 2015 through 11:59 a.m. EST on December 31st, 2015) for the chance to win your choice of one of three weekly prizes from hayneedle.com. (See Official Rules below.)

hayneedle contest - barstools

Hayneedle.com is one of the nation’s largest online retailers for home furnishings and decor, featuring over 3,000 brands and millions of products for every room, style, and budget. Offering everything from furniture to kitchenware, it’s an online destination for homeowners looking to bring their decorating visions to life.

Each week in December we’re giving one lucky winner their choice of hayneedle.com prizes. Check back every week to choose from these amazing options:

During Week 1 (November 30December 7), warm up to any of these porch and patio heaters. Choose from the Red Ember Wheatland 50-inch Outdoor Convertible Fire Pit Table and cover, the 28-inch Campfire Fire Pit, or the Hammered Bronze Commercial Patio Heater with Table.

For Week 2 (December 7–14), you could give your kitchen a most welcome treat. Enter to win the Belham Living White Mini Concord Kitchen Island with Stainless Steel Top, the Sutter Bakers Rack with Baskets, or a super convenient Keurig K450 2.0 Brewer.

Week 3 (December 14–21) could give you the gift of brand-new furniture. One lucky winner will take home their choice of a Belham Living Palmer Printed Arm Chair, a Brinfield Rustic Console Table, or the Gayson Tufted Entryway Bench.

Your guests will never want for entertainment if you win the Week 4 drawing (December 21–31). Take home your choice of the Belham Living Trenton Bar Cart, the Palazzo 30-inch Bar Stool, or a fully electric dart set from Arachnid.

So what are you waiting for? Enter today and every day in December for your chance to pick a very special present for your home.

To learn more about hayneedle.com, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s Pick Your Present Give-Away from Hayneedle.com” is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 p.m. (EST) Monday, November 30th, 2015, through 11:59 a.m. Thursday, December 31st, 2015. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.

Quick Tip: The Best Way to Prevent Freezer Burn

This airtight solution to freezer burn will ensure a Thanksgiving feast that’s forever frozen in your memory.

How to Prevent Freezer Burn - Leftover Storage

Photo: fotosearch.com

For many Thanksgiving hosts, the holiday’s fun, family, and food mark the culmination of a month-long process: diligent decorating, guest planning, and, most notably, large-scale meal preparation. Menus are strategized with oven scheduling in mind, vegetables diced days in advance, dry rubs measured and mixed, and buttery pie crusts baked to perfection. But at the end of the big day, what remains of that hard work often gets haphazardly strewn into the fridge or freezer, where it can fall victim to freezer burn. Don’t let storage mistakes turn your Thanksgiving feast into a short-lived success. Switch out your go-to food containers, and you can preserve your feast—not to mention freezer space—after the holiday.

How to Prevent Freezer Burn - Using Freezer Bags

Photo: fotosearch.com

To reap the fruits (and vegetables) of your Thanksgiving labor all winter, round up the cooled leftovers and transfer a small amount of any dish into a Ziploc freezer bag, squeezing out excess air from each before sealing. Think ahead: Make reheating easier on yourself by only packaging the portion that you’d reheat for your next meal, roughly one to two servings per bag. Then slide the filled bag into a second one to create a dual-layered seal that will protect the foods from air and moisture. Repeat this process with all of your sweet and savory comestibles, labeling as you go.

Worried about running out? It’s better to stock an extra box of freezer bags at the holidays than count on ill-fitting plastic wrap or bulky storage containers with loose lids. Not only does oversized organization eat up space that could be used for the more leftovers and future grocery purchases, but these particular methods also invite air and encourage freezer burn. (Besides, it never hurts to have these disposable bags on hand so that you can send some leftovers home with guests without sacrificing a dish!)

When you’re ready to stow your holiday feast, stack or group similar foods together using baskets for a space-smart solution to your limited freezer space. Then move the most recently cooked foods behind any other lingering leftovers so that you don’t forget to thaw and gobble up all of your home-cooked goods this season.

Bob Vila Radio: Power Strips vs. Surge Protectors

There's really only one major difference between power strips and surge protectors. But when you're using either to power an expensive or essential device, that sole distinction matters more than you might think. Read on for the details.

Not quite sure of the difference between power strips and surge protectors? You’re not alone. Home improvement centers report that many customers ask the same question. Perhaps it’s time to set the record straight?

Power Strips vs. Surge Protectors

Photo: fotosearch.com

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON SURGE PROTECTORS AND POWER STRIPS or read the text below:

Power strips are basically extension cords with multiple receptacles. For most purposes, they work fine in supplying electricity to devices located near one another—so long as those devices are not expensive or essential for your daily routine. However, if you’re plugging in a laptop, modem, router or flat-screen TV, you may wish to opt for a surge protector. Because they provide a safeguard against power spikes, the latter makes the best choice for certain prized items. Note, many surge protectors look just like power strips, but you can always tell a surge protector by the specification stamped or printed on the housing (this indicates the level of protection the unit provides). Some newer surge protectors can even help cut your utility bills by temporarily powering down devices not in use—a great option for accessories you don’t use all day, every day.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

A Man Who Remakes Vintage Relics into Modern Marvels

See how one man's light bulb moments transform an eclectic assortment of unused housewares into brilliant lighting displays for today's one-of-a-kind home.

Stonehill Design - Jason Aleksa

Photo: stonehill-design.com

Jason Aleksa is no stranger to the shop. His grandfather founded a machine shop in the 1960s, which his father then took over until retirement. Growing up, Jason spent a lot of time sweeping the floors and watching his dad pull white-hot pieces of metal out of the furnaces. As he got older, though, he started making things for himself. Fast-forward to today: The 33-year-old now runs a small business in Fairfield, CT, called Stonehill Design, where he crafts unique home goods that boast both history and heart.


Stonehill Design - Fan Lamp

Photo: stonehill-design.com

How did you get started making these home accents?
I’ve always made things myself. We had a lot of tools—a milling machine, band saw, and drill press—in the shop. Having those tools available just makes it easier. When I was 14, my dad and I bought a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle with the intention of fixing it up and that being my first car…and he’s still working on it!

You can pick up a piece of furniture in a store going $1000, or you could spend a few days, buy some materials, and make something of better quality yourself. That idea was instilled in me at a young age. It’s not always about how expensive things are, or how fancy it is. If you can make it yourself, that’s more important than how much something costs. You know where it came from, you know what went into it and how hard it was to make.


Stonehill Design - Antenna Rotor Lamp

Photo: stonehill-design.com

Why do you choose to upcycle old items?
I make original pieces, but the majority of what I do is repurposing. I’ve always had an appreciation for the amount of work that went into making some of these things. Take an old 1920s radio speaker, for example—you just don’t find things like that anymore. I could probably reproduce that somehow and make something that looks like it, but these things are still out there. You can go find them. I think that’s half the fun: poking around in a flea market and finding something that you never would have thought to use.


Stonehill Design - Starry Night Lamp

Photo: stonehill-design.com

Where do you find the vintage components you use for your projects?
I have a few different places. There are some antique shops that I frequent, with owners who always know the certain things I’m interested in. But sometimes people will just bring me things. They’ll be cleaning out a garage and they’ll say, “Oh, I found this. Do you want it?” There’s a whole network out there to find what you’re looking for.

Granted, some of the pieces are not very desirable in their current state. They’ve far outlived their purpose. Nobody needs an antenna rotor control anymore, but 50 years ago somebody put a lot of thought into the design of this thing. And then over those 50 years somebody saved it, packed it away in an attic, and kept it in really nice condition. It’s kind of neat to take something like that and make it into a piece that someone else will appreciate for another 50 years.


Stonehill Design - Gumball Machine Lamp

Photo: stonehill-design.com

I’m especially curious about the gumball machine lamp. Tell me a little about that one.
I’ve made a few of those. The original one came from an antique shop out on Cape Code, where my parents have retired. It was in working condition, and I thought that it’d be awesome if I could figure out a way to remake it and have it still operate.

So it’s both a functional light and a functional gumball machine. I created a lens by sandwiching antique marbles in between two panes of plexiglass in the front. Then I put an LED bulb in the back and managed to mount and wire it around all the mechanical workings of the gumball machine so that it could still work.

At the first show that I displayed it, some kids came up to it with nickels. I had forgotten to put anything in there because I didn’t even think someone would want to use it, so I had to disappoint a few children.


Stonehill Design - Typewriter Lamp

Photo: stonehill-design.com

Have there been any designs you’ve made that just didn’t work?
I definitely have. Usually when I find myself struggling, I just set it down and work on something else. I’ve bought pieces where I think, ‘Oh, I’ll totally use this.’ Then I get it home and really look at it, and nothing comes to mind. So I set it aside for a while. I’ll continue to subconsciously work on it in my head a little, though, until one day when know exactly what I should do. You can’t just force your way into the design; you have to let it come to you every once in a while.


Stonehill Design - Crosley Dynacone Radio Speaker Lamp

Photo: stonehill-design.com

What’s next for you?
I have a full-time job, so I’m creating on the side. The ultimate goal is for this to become my full-time gig. I do a lot of shows, so I get the opportunity to interact with people and see their reactions to the things I’ve created—that really keeps me wanting to make things.


To learn more about Jason’s work, visit the Stonehill Design website.